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SA unearths new human ancestor

first_imgThe skull and skeletal fragments of the juvenile male fossil Australopithecus sediba, a newly discovered species of hominid.  As I stare at the skeleton of this human ancestor in its glass case I find the idea difficult to grasp: this boy walked this very area of the earth almost 2-million years ago.An entirely new species of hominid, or ape-man, has been described following the discovery of two 1.9-million-year-old fossilised skeletons in the Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg.Named Australopithecus sediba, the creatures had long ape-like arms and short powerful hands, so they probably retained their ability to climb trees. But they also had a more advanced pelvis and long legs that would have allowed them to stride and possibly run like modern humans.The skeletons, of a boy between 11 and 13 years and an adult female in her late 20s or early 30s, were unearthed by a team from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), led by professors Lee Berger and Paul Dirks. Berger is a palaeoanthropologist at Wits and Dirks a geologist based at the James Cooke University in Australia.Fragments of the boy’s skeleton were on display at the announcement of the find on 8 April at Maropeng, the visitors’ centre of the  Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.Berger believes Australopithecus sediba is likely to be the transitional species between the southern African ape-man Australopithecus africanus, such as the Taung Child and Mrs Ples, and either Homo habilis or even a direct ancestor of Homo erectus – Turkana Boy, Java man and Peking man.The australopithecines are believed to be the ancestors of species in the genus Homo, which includes modern humans. The find, which Berger describes as the Rosetta Stone of human evolution, promises to turn the palaeontological world upside down. Homo habilis will have to be re-examined, and textbooks rewritten.“It is estimated that they were both about 1.27 metres, although the child would certainly have grown taller,” Berger said. “The female probably weighed about 33 kilograms and the child about 27 kilograms at the time of his death.“The brain size of the juvenile was between 420 and 450 cubic centimetres, which is small when compared to the human brain of about 1 200 to 1 600 cubic centimetres, but the shape of the brain seems to be more advanced than that of [other] australopithecines.”Australopithecus sediba’s environment would have been a mix of open savannah grassland and forest.The fossils were deposited in a single debris flow and were found together in the remains of a deeply eroded cave system. It’s likely that they died at about the same time, and could have known each other, or even been related.Berger, whose 11-year-old son Matthew found the first fossil, expects many more fossils to be excavated from the site. With 130 bone fragments recovered, they are the most complete hominid skeletons ever found. And Berger is confident that the site will yield the missing pieces.Sediba is Sesotho for spring, fountain or wellspring, and the species so named because it is hoped that “a great source of information will spring from the fossils”.The find is the cover story of the prestigious journal Science, with two articles, written by Berger and Dirks, published on 9 April 2010.“I am having the adventure of my life,” Berger said.International team of scientistsBerger and Dirks have assembled a team of around a dozen international scientists to work on the find. In total, some 60 scientists from around the world have been involved in unravelling the discovery.The first step was a geological study, to help determine the age of the fossils. Other dating techniques included assessing the uranium lead components in the rock, establishing its magnetic polarity, which changes over time, and studying the site’s rate of erosion.Dirks studied the context of how the fossils landed in the cave, taking a series of sedimentary deposits and making a detailed description of different rocks up to two metres deep.“It is a hole in the ground – it must have been a cave,” he said.Investigation revealed that the fossils were deposited by a muddy flow of water, which probably carried the two bodies at the same time, because they were found together. Other fossils found were a 1.5-million-year-old sabre tooth cat, and 2.36-million-year-old wild cats and dogs.The erosion rate of the opening was measured, and it was established that it had been between 30 and 50 metres deep.“The animals probably smelled the water in the cave, and fell into the cave trying to get to it,” said Dirks. They would have died almost immediately, and their bodies carried down into a deeper chamber of the cave, joining others that suffered the same fate. This is supported by the fact that the fossils have no scavenger or insect damage.Excavations have not yet begun, says Dirks, only the surface has been cleared.Using Google Earth to find fossilsThis adventure began some 18 months ago, in early 2008, Berger said. He first charted the area on Google Earth, finding 600 new sites in the Cradle of Humankind, and then walked it with his dog, Tau.On the day the first fossil was found he and Matthew, then nine, were walking with post-doctoral student Job Kibbii and Tau. They walked to the edge of a pit, and Berger encouraged the others to look around.“Within one and a half minutes Matthew called out that he had found something,” said Berger. At first he thought it was a fragment of antelope, a common find. Then he recognised the fossil as the collar bone of a hominid.He soon found other fragments – a scapula or shoulder blade, normally never found because it is so fragile and erodes quickly – and arm bones, while two hominid teeth “fell into my hands”.Matthew said he has been on sites with his father more than 20 times, and intends to become a palaeoanthropologist too.Treasure chestProfessor emeritus Philip Tobias, present at the announcement, described the area as a “treasure chest”“I am thrilled that our expectations of the cradle area have so soon been realised,” he said. “This evidence a kilometre or two from Sterkfontein has yielded several hominid individuals and that is something to get very excited about.”Describing the find as “ä great joy”, Tobias said that the fact that two skeletons had been found means that it allows scientists to study a family or community which is much more valuable than studying individual fossils.Children in South Africa have been invited to come up with a name for the skeleton of the boy.The fossil will be on display at Maropeng until 18 April, and will then move to Cape Town for the launch of Palaeo-Sciences Week from 19 April. It will again be on display at the Origins Centre at Wits during May. – Lucille Davielast_img read more

Wheat yields and quality looking good so far

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As of June 27, Ohio’s wheat crop was drying-down and being harvested in some parts of the state. Thanks in part to cool spring conditions followed by relatively dry weather during early grain-fill, head scab and other disease levels were generally low in most areas. Low disease severity often means very good grain yield and quality. Stripe rust was our biggest disease problem this year, but outbreaks only occurred in pockets within and across fields. Moreover, several of the affected fields were treated with a fungicide which helped to keep this and other later-season diseases in check.The first set of harvest numbers are showing yields above 80 bushels per acre and test weight in the upper 50s. While we expect these numbers to vary from field to field, once the rain stays away as harvest continues, we expect to continue seeing very good grain yield and quality. Lodging is being reported in some fields, but unless it becomes very windy and rainy over the next few weeks, this will likely not be a major problem. However, getting the wheat off as soon as possible will minimize the chance of lodging and other late season problems. If you opt to harvest early (moisture in the upper teens or lower 20s), make sure you dry the grain down to minimize post-harvest problems.last_img read more

How Leaders Can Overcome The Leadership Gap, with Lolly Daskal – Episode #86

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 25:51 — 23.7MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | RSSOne of the people who was incredibly generous and helpful to Anthony when he launched his book recently was a woman he had heard about but didn’t really know, Lolly Daskal. Lolly helped promote the book, wrote articles about it, and more – which shows a bit of the type of person she is. Lolly has a new book coming out, herself – The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness – and Anthony highly recommends that everyone grab a copy of it. What he loves most about Lolly’s book is that she artfully weaves together stories and data to show that every leader has “shadows” within themselves that inhibit their most effective leadership and that those who deal with those shadows wisely and well will rise to the levels of greatness they truly desire. You’ll enjoy this insightful conversation, so be sure to listen.How Great Leaders Overcome The Leadership Gap, with Lolly Daskal – Episode #86Click To TweetThe leadership gap is real. Great leaders will admit it and go to work on it.When Lolly Daskal talks about the “leadership gap” she’s referring to the things about each of us that hold us back from being the best leaders we can be. Saying a statement of that sort is asking for immediate resistance, but Lolly says that the leaders who really get the importance of what’s being said don’t push back, they embrace it as true and get to work on it. Find out how Lolly has outlined her thoughts through the use of 7 archetypes and what she says leaders today need to do in order to step into their greatness, on this episode of In The Arena.Confidence doesn’t come from affirmations, it comes from capabilities + competence.Every leader wants to lead from a place of confidence. Lolly Daskal says that what she’s discovered in her years of personal development and leadership consulting is that true confidence does NOT come from standing in front of the mirror each morning, telling yourself how great you are. Affirmations like that simply don’t work. The thing that fuels confidence is the combination of your capabilities and your competence, both of which can be and should be growing all the time. On this episode of In The Arena, Lolly uncovers what she’s discovered about how that growth process takes place in leaders who are diligent in dealing with what she calls, their “shadows.” It’s an intriguing and powerful conversation.Confidence doesn’t come from affirmations, it comes from capabilities + competenceClick To TweetGreat leaders are as great as the people they surround themselves with.One of the caricatures of leaders you often see is the bossy, know-it-all sort that can’t accept help or even admit it’s needed. Lolly Daskal says that a true leader is exactly the opposite. Great leaders are only great because they surround themselves with others who are great. They learn to make opportunity for and leverage the confidence and capabilities of those around them. As Lolly and Anthony chat about her new book, “The Leadership Gap,” you’ll get a glimpse into the things Lolly has discovered about great leaders and the way they deal with their own limitations, and how that approach enables them to become even greater.Who leaders are is more important than the what, how, when, and where.Many leaders think it is their role to provide their teams with the what, how, when, and where. But it’s really not. Who a leader is, is much more important than whether or not they have all the answers. It’s character-backed competence in leaders that inspires people to follow and serve up to the level of their potential, and Lolly Daskal has made a study of how that kind of leadership comes about – and what prevents it from being realized. You’ll learn a lot by listening to her conversation with Anthony on this episode of In The Arena.Who leaders are is more important than the what, how, when, and whereClick To TweetOutline of this great episode Anthony’s introduction to Lolly Daskal. What IS the leadership gap and how did Lolly discover it? The 7 archetypes Lolly has discovered. What is the imposter syndrome? Rituals can help you deal with the “shadow” parts of yourself. How Lolly came to understand that trying to fix people doesn’t work. Why is it so difficult for us to see the “shadows” about ourselves?Resources & Links mentioned in this episodewww.TheLeadershipGapBook.com – Lolly’s new bookhttps://www.lollydaskal.com/1101981350 The theme song “Into the Arena” is written and produced by Chris Sernel. You can find it on SoundcloudConnect with AnthonyWebsite: www.TheSalesBlog.comYoutube: www.Youtube.com/IannarinoFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/iannarinoTwitter: https://twitter.com/iannarinoGoogle Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SAnthonyIannarinoLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iannarinoTweets you can use to share this episodeThe leadership gap is real. Great leaders will admit it and go to work on itClick To TweetGreat leaders are as great as the people they surround themselves withClick To TweetSubscribe toIn the ArenaApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsAndroidby EmailRSSOr subscribe with your favorite app by using the address belowlast_img read more

How to Use Facebook to Get a 99% Discount Off Traditional B-to-B Advertising

first_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Facebook Advertising If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably using it to connect with friends, create groups and build a following for your business.Here’s a little secret: You should also be using Facebook’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising service. It’s an awesome deal.Since Facebook ads are charged on a PPC basis and very few people actually click on the ads, you don’t end up paying much. However, lots of people who don’t click on the ads see them, and since Facebook allows you to target the ads to very specific demographics, the impact of your ads ends up being far broader than what you actually pay for.Here at HubSpot we run Facebook ads targeted at marketers. The CPM (cost per thousand impressions) works out to about $.50. CPMs for traditional targeted B-to-B advertising run between $25 and $50. So we’re getting as much as a 99% discount. Pretty good. In the video below I walk through all the steps you need for setting up your own Facebook ad campaign.Facebook for Business:Free Marketing WebinarDownload Now –> Originally published Nov 21, 2008 8:30:00 AM, updated October 01 2013last_img read more

HubSpot TV – Marketing 2.0 With Guest Bernie Borges

first_img form – If you want the PDF, do it now because it will go away in 1-2 weeks. You can now send any item you are reading to Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, etc. right within Google Reader. : Look for your marketing tools to start to leverage these new features. Why did you write a book?  It takes a lot of time, and you already run an agency… mvolpe :I’m just launching my site now and will be using the inbound marketingstrategy. I’ll make a note to come back to this question in a couple ofweeks and let you know the results of the increased activity, clickthroughs, lead conversions, etc. or Problem: Companies (besides Twitter itself) lose the ability to track retweets and the spreading of content. One Month Later: I’m very pleased with the results thusfar and I’ve already received a couple ‘authentic’ leads via my contactpage and I attribute this to new content creation; mostly throughblogging. Forum Fodder Special Guest: Bernie Borges Check out Marketing 2.0 in Subscribe in iTunes: RSS Becomes Really Simple Social with Google Reader When Will You Find Your Inbound Marketing Pot of Gold? PDF Marketing Takeaway Marketing 2.0 Marketing Takeaway (Episode Length: 25 minutes, 8 seconds) : Make sure you are using Facebook to promote your blog and other business content today to prepare for tomorrow. Facebook Search Becoming Social News Engine www.HubSpot.tv @berniebay What is the key takeaway? You are giving away a PDF of the full book?  Why? , an inbound marketing agency, and the author of the new book Related article: 8% of companies (over 1000 ppl) have fired someone for mis-using Social Media according to a study by Proofpoint 15 percent disciplined an employee for violating multimedia sharing / posting policies Headlines Remember Kevin Colvin?  Do a Google search for “cool wand”. Marketing Takeaway Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack . (Buy on Amazon or download a free PDF copy asks, ” Good: More reach/buzz for the originator of the tweet.center_img How to interact on Twitter: @ How long does it take to get found with new site?” What is different about this book as compared to other inbound marketing books? with to learn how to get your company started with social media. ) 988 visitors (820 new) / 2 leads directly as aresult of website content (remember, I don’t even have landing pages orcalls to action set up yet. Good: More support and organization for retweets. Marketing Takeaway https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/B2046/IMG4450.jpg” alt=”last_img” /> read more

5 Time-Saving Tools to Add to Your Twitter Tool Belt

first_img every week on his blog. 2. Read Only the Most Relevant Tweets Tool: StrawberryJ.am Making good use of these five Twitter applications has helped me greatly to push my Twitter account to new heights and capitalize more on my efforts. Most importantly, they enable me to save time so I can still jump in for casual conversations with my followers. This is a guest blog post by Leo Widrich, co-founder of 4. Find the Right People to Connect With recent $800m investment followed by several acquisitions of various apps were the first signs. 3. Figure Out How to Increase Clicks by 200% Consider adopting some of these tools for yourself and watch your Twitter productivity soar! StrawberryJ.am in a time-saving, yet genuine manner, is the most important thing to consider. Here are 5 Tool: inboxQ TwentyFeet Learning about the best times to tweet is only helpful of course if you start tweeting at these times. So what I then do is go to my A key ingredient to better tweeting is knowing when are your best times to tweet. A tool I love to use for its simplicity and detailed analysis is called What I found to be even more impressive is the speed at which new features have recently been unveiled. An activity stream together with the new @username tab brings a lot of interactivity to Twitter.com. TweetWhen , a Twitter publishing application. He writes InboxQ also allows you to save questions as “to do’s” for later, and you can even browse through any questions you have answered previously. What I like best here is that the tool comes with a great slideshow you can check out whilst your data is crunched, helping you to learn more about optimal tweeting times. Originally published Aug 22, 2011 5:03:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Bonus! A fantastic app I have discovered recently is called Twitter Tips All this makes Twitter very attractive, but putting Twitter to work for you and establishing a firm reputation for whichever niche you’re in isn’t always easy. Bonus! Buffer Finally, after all things are said and done, you should want to find out whether you have actually made an impact through your tweets. Is your account growing? Do more people listen to what you have to say? Go ahead and find out with . The app provides you with an easy-to-use browser extension and allows you to answer any questions relevant to your niche on Twitter. In my case, I have a filter for questions containing “Twitter Tips,” “Twitter Tools,” or “help with Twitter.” I can then easily identify and answer questions and can also connect with people in my niche. Bonus! account and set it up with these optimal times. Now, whenever I find an interesting article, I add it to my Buffer, and the tool takes care of the rest. You can do this very easily with one click from any website you are reading via browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari). Bonus! 1. Discover When Is the Best Time to Tweet Twitter is upping its game considerably. A Tool: TwentyFeet The app automatically tracks your tweets and shows you their number of clicks, retweets, and reach received. On average, Buffered tweets achieve 200% more clicks. . Within seconds, the app will crunch the numbers of your past 1,000 tweets and provide you with some great insights. Not only will you learn about the best times of day to tweet, but you will also discover the best days of the week you should be tweeting. comes in. It takes all the tweets from your stream and orders them by most mentioned. This means, at first glance, you will be able to see all tweets that are really relevant without wasting time cutting through the clutter manually. Photo Credit: Bonus! Another big problem I have encountered with my Twitter stream is that tweets often fly by so fast and my stream is so cluttered that it’s hard to get to the really good stuff. This is where inboxQ StrawberryJ.am enables you to get an enhanced view of tweets for lists or hashtags, too. Check out the benchmarking reports. Whenever you hit significant new highs or lows, you will receive a notification so you can immediately improve on the lows and learn from what caused the highs. tools to help you maximize your time on Twitter. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Tool: TweetWhen great Twitter 5. Determine if Your Twitter Strategy is Working Buffer Tool: Buffer Making the most of Twitter Blue Diamond Photography Topics: Twitter Marketing . You can think about the app as a sort of Google Analytics for Twitter. The tool provides interesting graphs with stats you can use to evaluate your Twitter account, such as following, retweets, and mentions.last_img read more

How to Approach the Creation of Viral Marketing Content

first_imgSee that strong start, and the pretty quick fizzle-out over a short period of time? We saw something similar — though at a smaller volume, with our Alanis Morissette cover: As someone who’s been professionally putting content on the internet for the last few years, I’ve seen my fair share of it fall flat. But every once in a while, everything lines up and a piece of content takes off, racking up views as it races across the internet. In this article, I’m going to look at a few videos that I’ve been a part of at HubSpot, talk about how they performed and why, and then dive into some takeaways that’ll help you get on the road to creating an awesome viral video for your company.A Couple Notes on “Going Viral”First of all, I think it’s good we agree on a definition of virality, just for the sake of working off the same definition throughout this post. When I talk about a piece of content going viral, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s achieving views in the millions. It’s more about achieving an extremely high volume of views — even if it’s not in the hundreds of millions — in an incredibly short amount of time. More on that in the next section, though.Also, this post will focus on viral videos, though keep in mind any piece of content can go viral: Blog posts, infographics, images on social media, you name it.Finally, remember that there is no way to predict that a piece of content will definitely go viral. This post is simply finding trends that became apparent to us after looking back on what worked, and what didn’t, when trying to make something go viral. Even following all of these well-reasoned, but only best-ish practices, you still shouldn’t go to your boss and say you’re about to make the next great viral video. Instead, let your success be a pleasant surprise ;-)The Dirty Secret of ViralI have a secret for you. Viral videos don’t always spread like you might think. When people imagine creating a viral video, they expect that everyone who watches it will pass it on to at least one other friend, who will then pass it on to at least one more friend, etc. In this way, the number of people watching it at any given time will grow exponentially and you’ll get that exponential viral growth chart that everyone dreams of. With this school of thought, only a few people need to see the content at first, before the “viral growth” takes over and spreads it to millions.In reality, though, that’s not what happens. Most of the content you and I watch and read on the internet, we never share. Even if it’s really well done, most people will smile or nod … and then move on to something else. Only a small group of people who see your content will actually share it. In this way, the content fizzles out very quickly over time.For example, check out these charts of new video views per day from some of our most popular videos, over the first approximately 20 days of launch: Originally published Mar 5, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Even some of the most famous “viral” videos didn’t see the type of exponential growth you’d expect. Here are the number of new views per day for the Gangnam Style video, also over the first approximately 20 days, and one of the most popular Super Bowl commercials from a few weeks ago (with data graciously provided by ChannelMeter — A YouTube analytics service): According to ChannelMeter’s CEO, Eugene Lee, “Most videos we track see about 75% or 80% of views in the first 3 to 5 days.” So, it might seem like viral content is a pipe dream, out of reach from even the most savvy of marketers. But fortunately, you can fake it.The most important component of virality is seeding it with a large audience, all at once. If you know it’ll fizzle out over time, you need that first generation of viewers to be as large as possible. Promote it on social media multiple times throughout the day. Send a memo to all your employees, encouraging them to share. Send an email to your evangelists — especially the ones with large social reaches. Spend a bit for some sponsored promotion for a few hours.It’s important that you do all of this at once, to create an initially large pop, and get as many people watching your video in that first generation as possible. People who might ignore your content the first time will grow curious when they hear about it a few more times that same afternoon. I mean, no one wants to get left out, right?While having a large first generation is important, it can also generate secondary lift. Many services like YouTube will often feature “popular” content in various places, so drawing a ton of attention to your video quickly will make it more likely to get featured. You also stand to gain some press and PR if people think that your content is taking off. It’s much less likely this would happen if you spread your promotion out over a few days.All of this also helps explain why Gangnam Style didn’t follow the same growth trajectory as the other videos — because it wasn’t necessarily a marketing campaign. The other three videos above came out with, well, a bang. And that was on purpose. Gangnam Style is one of those viral videos that started from the ground up — and frankly, that’s the hardest kind to make.So whatever content you invest time in, you need to go all-in with promotion when it first launches in order to get that viral ** pop **.HubSpot Case StudiesNow, I’ll talk a bit about some of the videos I’ve been a part of at HubSpot. If you want to skip this section, go for it, but I will be referring to some of these videos in the last section. If you’ve never created a viral video but are interested in doing so for your own company, this section might be helpful — just to get an idea of what the process of creating a video that you hope goes viral looks like, and how it can differ from video to video.SEO Rapper (March, 2011)I first heard about Chuck, a.k.a. The SEO Rapper, after a few of his videos had made the rounds on the HubSpot Marketing Team in the spring of 2011. We reached out to him, worked on some lyrics, and then flew him out to Boston for the video shoot. It ended up taking much longer than I expected — coordinating and producing both the song and video took weeks leading up to the video shoot, and another few days of editing afterwards.For promotion, we reached out to our email and social subscribers to let them know about the video. We also paid for some promotion on StumbleUpon, thinking each stumble would help drive up the view count. What we didn’t realize at the time was that YouTube requires viewers to watch a certain portion of the video before it counts it as a “view,” so the thousands of sponsored stumbles we paid for didn’t yield nearly that many views. Oh well, lesson learned.Almost a year later, the video has 19,000 views, which is a bit lower than what I was expecting. However, it does occasionally come up in conversation with our leads and customers, and has earned us a bunch of “street cred” as a cool place to work.’Gangnam Style’ Parody (September, 2012)As Gangnam Style was taking off last summer, I saw it a few times before I really understood what an impact it was going to have. By the time the video was really gaining traction, we decided HubSpot should make our own parody — both for fun, and to ride the trend. We wanted to release our version quickly, so we did all the planning and filming in two days and then our rockstar video & production team worked over the weekend to get it edited and published.Again, we promoted the video on our social channels, but held off sending to our main email lists. We also wrote a blog post on our inbound marketing blog, and that post helped the video spread, considering the blog’s large readership. Promotion within the company was also huge — pretty much every employee posted it to their own personal social networks.The video got picked up by BuzzFeed, as well as a few news publications like BostInno, Bloomberg Businessweek and the Boston Herald. In the first week, the video garnered an impressive 95,000 views, as well as hundreds of comments and likes. Five months later, the video is just shy of 200,000 views.While the SEO Rapper video might have helped us earn some of our first street cred, this video kicked it up a notch and really got people talking about us. It’s even (allegedly) helped us close a few deals and comes up in sales calls all the time. Harlem Shake (February, 2013)This was a trend that was taking off quickly that we wanted to be a part of. While we jumped on this one before we really knew whether it’d become mainstream, it was clearly worth making the video, even if it was just for some fun. You can’t underestimate good office morale, after all. From the time we decided to do it until the moment it was live on YouTube was maybe 18 hours. A quick company-wide email was all it took to get a bunch of people excited, and then filming and editing was super straightforward. It was really a no-brainer to make this video since the time and production cost was so low.The video is only a few weeks old right now, so we’ve yet to see how far the waves will travel. It got 12,000 views the first week and has been climbing along slowly but surely since then. The demographic that this viral video trend targets doesn’t line up as well with our target customer persona as most of our other videos, so this one was more for the “cool factor” than helping much with branding and awareness among our targeted personas.Lessons Learned From Trying to Go ViralThroughout all of these projects, we’ve made some mistakes and learned a ton about what it takes to make a great video. In general, making your own viral meme out of nothing is much harder than meme-jacking another trend (find out why, below). So if you want to get started, you should probably focus on the meme-jacking style of video for your first attempt. Here are some things to keep in mind.Find a Unique Angle to Create “Combined Relevance”In some of his research, Dan Zarrella found that the number one reason people share things is because of personal or audience relevance. Think about the last time you posted a video on someone’s wall. It probably wasn’t just because it was funny or interesting or particularly well done, but because you thought the video was extremely relevant to that person. You watched it and thought “wow, would love this!”So if you want your video to be widely shared, it has to be relevant to a lot of people. One of the easiest ways to make your video relevant is to find some common idea, and combine it with a unique twist that surprises the audience and makes your content stand out among the rest. That’s called “combined relevance.” If you look at the Harlem Shake videos with the most views, for instance, you’ll find that they’re the ones that took the Harlem Shake idea and catered it to a particular audience, like the “UGA Men’s Swim & Dive Harvard Shake” (30.8 million views), or the “Harlem Shake (original army edition)” (49.4 million views). Pretty much anyone who swims competitively has seen the UGA version, and I imagine many armed service members have already seen the army edition, and probably the one for their particular branch of service as well. By putting a spin on it, these versions suddenly became very relevant to a particular audience, and have racked up more views than the original videos themselves.If you’re early enough to jump on a trend, you can go after a huge niche; if you’re a later arriver, you’ll probably have to go after something smaller, like your industry or even company. For instance, when we made our Gangnam Style parody, we called it “Inbound Style” hoping to make something that would be relevant to, and shared by, inbound marketers. When we launched the Harlem Shake video, we intentionally didn’t call it the “HubSpot” edition because that would’ve been too small a niche for combined relevance — though in retrospect, perhaps going for a niche audience would have helped our video reach more people within that particular group.Come up with a specific audience you want to make your version relevant to, and put a spin on it that would appeal to those people. You might end up seeing better results from it than if you made another generic version.Strike the Right Balance Between Execution, and Production ValueVideo production can take a long time if you let it. Between planning and choosing a location, and casting, filming, and editing, you could spend days or weeks working on the video if you don’t force yourself to move quickly. Your video should have a single person directing everything — either the person who’s most excited about the concept, or the person who has the most experience making videos — or else you’ll suffer from too many cooks in the kitchen.It’s also a good idea to invest in a bit of production value. A tripod is a must, and you probably don’t want to shoot it on your smart phone. Shaky or grainy video ruins the experience. We’ve debated whether it makes the video look more “authentic,” but it always comes out looking better when we use better equipment and pay more attention to the cinematic details.If you don’t have a dedicated video person, you might want to accumulate some basic video equipment — like a decent video camera, a tripod, and some lights — along with a laptop loaded with some solid video editing software so that you can work quickly to get everything put together.Get the Timing RightTrying to get timing right for a viral video often comes down to luck. Launch too late, and the trend is over and no one cares. Launch too early, and you risk people not understanding the idea, or you find out that you picked a concept that never turns into a mainstream meme. Despite the unpredictable nature of timing, there are still a few things to keep in mind:Make execution happen quickly. It’s good to have some sort of video “plan” in place to make video creation even faster. Don’t worry about getting everything right. It’s usually fine to sacrifice a little bit of quality — hey, most of us aren’t Spielberg — to get it out at the right time.Make promotion happen quickly. As I mentioned earlier, you want to promote the video quickly to give it the big bang it needs to get off the ground. Once you start to promote it, you need to work all of your marketing channels simultaneously.Proving the Business Value of Your VideoAs fun as it can be to make a goofy video, your boss might be wondering what the value really is. After all, you’re going to spending some work hours on this that are taking you away from your day job, so to speak. “Get back to work and do something productive!” he or she might say.That’s why it’s important to approach viral video creation with agility. Do a good job, but don’t invest thousands of dollars or tons of man hours in your first couple attempts if your boss isn’t totally on board with the experiment. Work out the production and promotion kinks first, and see if you can get any quick wins that help bring your boss on board with the occasional attempts to go viral.As data-driven as we are, we still haven’t quite come up with the best metric to track the ROI of making these videos. But everyone feels it. When you put out fun videos, all of the following things may happen:More people apply for jobs. Top talent wants to have a fun, pleasant work environment. Show them that they can and you’ll win a lot of excellent candidates. We’ve had a number of comments on our videos to the effect of “Wow, I’d love to work with you guys.” That’s a huge win for us.You gain street cred with leads & customers. I’ve been told by countless salespeople and executives that people bring up our videos all the time in conversation. It gives us a work hard, play hard reputation that people really respect and admire.Journalists want to write about you. When your company seems cool, people are more interested in what you’re working on. Our videos have been a huge part of building out our brand and reputation, and it’s helped us get coverage naturally, without pitching.People recognize you on the street and ask for your autograph. Okay, so this hasn’t actually happened yet, but one of these days …Next time you see an awesome piece of content on the internet, think about what made it so appealing to you, and how you might be able to replicate something like that. Again, going viral is far more of an art that a science — so approach it with some of these guidelines in mind, but remember that the most important thing is to just, well, go for it.Have you ever tried to make a piece of content go viral? What lessons did you learn that you can share with other marketers that would like to have a big hit?Image credit: yonghokim The Super Bowl commercial followed a similar growth pattern as our two videos, but Gangnam Style was a little wonky — seeing a slower start and more spikes before petering out:center_img Topics: If you’ve ever put content on the internet, then you’ve probably felt that fleeting moment of anticipation that comes when your content goes live. Your heart beats a bit faster as you watch the video upload or the article publish. Will people like it? Could I have improved it in some way? Who should I share it with first? Will it go viral? Viral Campaigns Don’t forget to share this post! 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Facebook Home Opens Up Mobile Ad Targeting Opportunities, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

first_imgMobile advertising has been a hot topic lately. In fact, we’ve seen a number of online platforms invest heavily in mobile as a way to monetize their businesses and leverage the popularity of mobile adoption among users. And with this influx of mobile marketing opportunities, companies like you and me have benefited from more effective ways to target their mobile audiences based on all the data at their fingertips.One major online platform in particular may have recently created the Holy Grail for mobile marketing. Think you know who we’re talking about? Read on to learn more, and find out what other inbound marketing stories may have flown under your radar this week.Facebook ‘Home’ Will Be Great for Ad Data, But Bad for Brand and Media Apps, From AdweekMany of you are probably well aware that Facebook recently launched Facebook Home, its new home screen replacement for Android devices, which Facebook describes as “a family of apps that puts your friends at the heart of your phone.” The downloadable system allows Android users to customize their home screens with multiple features like cover feeds, chat avatars, and notifications about calls, events, Facebook updates, and other apps. Through its App Launcher, Facebook Home also includes apps such as Instagram and Facebook Messenger, along with other third-party apps to complete the user experience.Okay, so what does this mean for mobile marketers? Well, according to Adweek, it means that Facebook Home will bring advertising on mobile app networks to a whole new level. With Facebook’s apps, notifications, and features taking up the homepage, Adweek speculates that it could affect how brands outside Facebook reach their mobile audiences. Aside from hindering other brands’ mobile efforts, Facebook Home will be able to consistently gather user data and open up opportunities for highly targeted ads. This ad targeting could take into account user behavior through interactions in chats, messages, status updates, photos, and location checkins, among other things. Learn more about what Facebook Home means for mobile advertisers over at Adweek.Every Character Counts: Google Secures New URL Shortener Domain, YT.be, From The Next WebWhen it comes to sharing content in social media, every character counts. This has become increasingly more difficult for YouTube’s 1 billion monthly users who share tons of videos on the web. On Twitter alone, almost 700 YouTube videos are shared every minute. So when we learned of Google purchase of the YT.be domain from The Next Week, our ear perked up. It’s rumored that Google will use this new domain name for shortened links to YouTube videos.For marketers, this is great news. Theoretically, by switching from youtu.be to YT.be, Google would be cutting the number of characters needed to tweet YouTube videos down by approximately 3 million per day. This means, as marketers, you’ll have more character real estate to work with when promoting your video content. Although 3 characters may not seem like much, in the world of Twitter, it could make or break a well-crafted tweet. Read more at The Next Web.Vine Adds Trending Hashtags to Aid Content Discovery, From Marketing LandThe wait has felt like an eternity, but Vine has finally rolled out trending hashtags to its users, which . This recently announced small tweak now appears in the Explore section of your Vine account, immediately below the existing group of pre-populated “popular” hashtag suggestions. With Vine’s small, but growing user base, there are only 12 trending hashtags to choose from at any given time. We expect this to expand a bit more as users begin utilizing hashtags to their advantage.As marketers, hashtags can be a helpful way to promote content and organize conversations around a topic or campaign, so this is a welcome addition to the short clip video-sharing platform. Furthermore, with Vine’s new addition of trending hashtags, it also looks as though Vine may be moving away from manually curating its user content, which we previously saw with its “Editor’s Picks” section. The increase in videos on Vine is most likely making it more and more difficult for editors to sift through and curate content, meaning that trending videos will be heavily dictated by the addition of its new trending hashtag algorithm. Read more about Vine’s new tranding hashtags at Marketing Land.79 Free Landing Page Templates to Use in the HubSpot TrialAny savvy inbound marketer knows how critical landing pages are to lead generation. But the success of a landing page isn’t just based on the content it gates; design plays an important role in landing page effectiveness as well. But, because we know design isn’t ever marketer’s forte, we wanted to make landing page creation a little bit easier on you. So to help you build good looking and high-converting landing pages, we’ve compiled 79 free landing page templates that you can customize and use to start collecting leads right from within the HubSpot trial. Not ready to start a trial just yet? This download will also get you a free PowerPoint template for landing pages elements and design best practices. Grab your free templates here. Twitter Already Shut Down Ribbon’s Newly Launched In-Stream Payments Feature, From TechCrunchIn less than 48 hours, Twitter has already pulled the plug on what seemed like a promising new payment method for purchasing products through Twitter streams. The service, known as Ribbon, would allow users to click a button directly within a tweet in order to make a purchase without having to leave Twitter.com. There are speculations that Ribbon used Twitter Cards to set up the one-click purchase method that may have violated Twitter’s Terms of Service.Although this service didn’t make it too far out the gate, it does show that companies are considering payment options that can drastically increase conversion rates for businesses. Allowing users to purchase items without ever leaving their Twitter streams opens up the potential to convert tons of leads into customers without additional landing pages or steps. Read more at TechCrunch.What other interesting marketing stories did you read about this week that are worth sharing? Facebook Marketing Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Apr 14, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated April 14 2013last_img read more

7 Dead-Simple A/B Tests You Should Run on Your Homepage

first_imgWouldn’t it be nice to know which buttons, with which colors, on which location on your website earn the most clicks? You don’t have to be a tech savvy marketer to find out because you can run A/B tests — all without an expensive, sophisticated redesign of your website.If you’re a newbie to website optimization, check out HubSpot’s A/B test FAQs to get started. But if you’re already in the know, let’s get started with one of the most important pages on your website — your homepage. Here are a few A/B tests you can start running right now on your company’s homepage that could result in much better conversion rates, with relatively little effort on your part.1) Test Your Call-to-Action ButtonsOne of the most obvious ways to impact conversion rates is to run some tests on your call-to-action buttons. You can make tons of iterative changes — color, copy, font, shape, placement — all which seem minor but could actually impact visitors’ behaviors. If it seems too minor to make a difference, consider this: we actually conducted an A/B test on button color and found that changing the CTA button from green to red increased clicks by 21%. In the world of website optimization, that’s huge! 2) Test Your Navigation BarDetermine which pages of your website bring in the most customers. Those are the pages to optimize and try to drive more traffic to. Switch the order of your site navigation bar and measure which order brings in the highest number of clicks for the pages that are most important for converting leads to customers. Or, if you don’t want to do a navigation bar reorder, you could work on optimizing the copy on your nav items to compare which version gets more clicks.As an example, a customer of Optimizely ran a test comparing the phrases they use on the navigation bar. They discovered that “How It Works” earned 47.7% more clicks than “Why Use Us.”3) Test Your Login and Signup ButtonsIf your company offers a product that allows users to sign up and/or log in, decide which action is more valuable to your company. Is it more important to get new users to sign up, or to get people logging into their pre-existing account? When you know which is a priority, try swapping the order or color of these buttons to learn which order earns you the most clicks for that option.4) Test Your Content OffersIf your company runs an inbound marketing playbook, you may highlight the most popular content offers on your homepage. As you can see in the screenshot below, HubSpot lists our most popular offers on the homepage. A/B Testing Topics: In the example above, WhichTestWon ran an A/B test on AwayFind’s homepage and found that Version B increased signups by 38%. This could be because the headline is more concise and the subheader includes bolded words to clearly communicate the product’s value — but hey, you never know what’ll work for your headlines. Which is why we do A/B tests. Right? Right.7) Test Your HyperlinksHyperlinks follow the same principles as the text in CTAs. Specific words resonate better with certain audiences — and since your hyperlinked words typically stand out visually, your anchor text matters. Revist the words on your homepage that link to other pages of your website. Brainstorm other phrases and test which earn more clicks. Another option is to change the color of the hyperlinks and determine if using a different color brings in more clicks.Of course, this wouldn’t be an A/B test post if we didn’t include the A/B test caveat: what works for one company may not work another. Several factors come into play including a company’s industry, target demographic, and product or service offering that all impact why one variation works better than others. The bottom line is that data should drive every decision regarding changes to your website. If you think there might be a better way to present information on your homepage, it’s worth testing.center_img However, it’s hard to determine which offers will be the most popular for your homepage — after all, the traffic you get to your homepage is different than the traffic to, say, a blog post. To determine which offer(s) brings in the most leads or even the most customers, try swapping out the offers you feature to see which ones perform best. And once you’ve determined which offers are the best to highlight, you can even test shifting the order of these resources to determine how you can get the highest clickthrough rate for those assets that convert best.5) Test Your ImagesDoes your homepage feature beautiful imagery? Have you tried different images to determine if some encourage more engagement than others? It may be worth it to learn if certain types of images — images of people, images of your products, illustrations versus photographs, sliders versus static images — draw visitors deeper into your site.Highrise, a small business CRM, A/B tested their website’s imagery by featuring two different people — Jocelyn on the left, and Michael on the right. They found Michael helped improve conversions by almost 5%.6) Test Your HeadlinesHeadlines are the main text featured on your homepage, so it makes sense to invest some time testing what the best copy or styling is for that prime real estate. You can measure visitor engagement, or like the example below, measure clicks on the CTA. Originally published Feb 24, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated October 29 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Facebook Updates Company Page Design and Introduces “Pages to Watch”

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack One of the most annoying things about working with Facebook Company Pages is that each type of post appeared different when viewed on your Page versus in the News Feed. Because of the way it was all laid out, you were never sure that your posts would look great across the platform. As of today, you can wave bye-bye to that confusing, cluttered, two-column Company Page design and say hello to a slick, one-column layout. This design is for web only, but it should look familiar — it’s very similar your personal profile layout. Here’s a snapshot Facebook included with its announcement post:Now, because the activity is on one column on the right, posts will look consistent across the entire platform — i.e. a post will look the same on your Company Page, News Feed, or shared on someone else’s Timeline. Since we don’t have access to the new Timeline look (it’s starting to be rolled out to everyone this week), we can’t tell you if image dimensions have changed from the previous design. We’ll update this post with more information once we have it. Additions and Subtractions to Facebook Page FeaturesWhen Facebook switched up this layout, not all features got transferred over. What’s missing? If you guessed “Custom Tabs,” you’d be right.From the screenshots Facebook provided, it’s unclear where the heck those little boxes went, though folks are speculating they’re under “More.” Regardless of where they went, they’re now not in your Page’s prime real estate, so it’d be wise to reevaluate the time you’re spending on them. It may not be worth the investment you’re putting in if you’re not getting any people to view the tabs.Besides the visual changes, Facebook also unveiled a competitive monitoring report called “Pages to Watch” to all admins, located in the ‘Overview’ tab of Page Insights. You add the Pages you’d like to watch to that dashboard, and you can see how their Likes and engagement have changed over the past week. Here’s what that report looks like:This report is the most interesting part of this new Page update to me. Having competitor data within Facebook insights could make the data way more valuable to companies looking to go head to head with similar companies. (Noticing that your competitor is getting a lot of Likes this week? See what they’re doing, and think about ways you can replicate — and improve — on those tactics.)Some companies may feel uncomfortable that their Facebook data could be available to competitors, but the data is pretty high-level, so I wouldn’t get too squeamish about it. And that’s pretty much it, folks. Nothing too groundbreaking here, but these updates could help give your Facebook Page the performance boost you’ve been vying for. Adapt your social marketing to fit the new features, and you’ll be in great shape.Do you have the new Company Page features yet? What do you think of them?  Topics: Facebook Business Pages Originally published Mar 10, 2014 4:57:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more