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Google Assistant to roll out across newer smartphones

The virtual assistant capability will soon be available on smartphones running Android 6.0 and 7.0.

The post Google Assistant to roll out across newer smartphones appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

[Reminder] Upcoming webinar — Build Your Ultimate Martech Stack

It’s not enough to build a martech stack… you’ve got to build the right stack for your organization. Strategy, efficiency, integration and resources all play significant roles in martech stack decisions. Join martech expert Matt Heinz and Linda West, Act-On’s senior director of marketing services…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

How LinkedIn Uses LinkedIn for Marketing [Infographic]

How-LinkedIn-Uses-LinkedIn-compressor.jpg

If you’ve applied for a job within the last several years, you’ve probably used LinkedIn somewhere along the way. Whether you’re updating your resume, applying for a role, or communicating with a recruiter, LinkedIn has become a huge part of the modern job search.

And while LinkedIn might not be your first thought when it comes to content sharing, there are 467 million users on the network — and that number grows every year. For marketers, this means a huge opportunity to reach an engaged community through sponsored content, messages, and campaigns.

To help folks get a grip on how to effectively use the platform, the folks at LinkedIn published a guide that explores how they use their own marketing tools on the network. They’ve also distilled the results from various sponsored content tests they’ve run into the infographic below. Among their findings about successful advertisements on LinkedIn:

  • Posts containing a statistic achieved a 37% higher clickthrough rate
  • Shorter updates saw higher engagement rates
  • The words “research” and “guide” performed better than “ebook”

Check out the infographic to learn more insider tips about LinkedIn marketing straight from the source. And when you’re ready to launch your next ad, download our guide for more tips for success on LinkedIn.

How_LinkedIn_Uses_LinkedIn.png

free planner: how to run successful LinkedIn ads

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com

The Do's and Don'ts of Infographic Typography [Free Guide]

Dos-and-Donts-of-Typography-compressor.jpg

The following is an excerpt from Do’s and Don’ts of Infographic Design, a free guide we created with our friends at leading graphic design software company Venngage. If you’d like to access the full guide, click here.

One of the most important, but least considered parts of designing an infographic is typography. After all, picking the right fonts is exceptionally hard. Besides the fact that there are thousands of options, finding the “right” font is actually really subjective. Different designers have different fonts tastes, and any designer could any number of fonts in their designs.

Getting good at choosing the fonts for your designs is difficult, but here are a few guidelines to get you started.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Infographic Typography 

DO: Stick to the primary categories of font families.

If you don’t know much about typography, here’s the biggest thing you need to know: there are three main categories of font families: serifs, sans serifs, and display fonts. Each has different purposes and common uses among designers.

Serif fonts are fonts that have small lines or embellishments attached to the letters. These embellishments are called “serifs.” Common fonts such as Times New Roman and Merriweather are examples of serifs.

How are they used? One common argument is that serif fonts should be used as body text because it’s easier to read them in large blocks of text. However, this preference mostly stems from historical precedence: we’re used to reading Times New Roman in books and white papers, therefore there is the precedence that the font type is generally “easier to read” in large bodies of text. When you’re first starting out, it’s a good idea to keep this use in mind.

DosDontsTypography1.png

Sans serifs are fonts that do not have small lines or embellishments attached to the ends of letters. Some of the most popular fonts in this family include Roboto, Helvetica, and Arial.

How are they used? While serif fonts are considered to be best for body text, sans serif fonts are considered to be better for section headers, captions, lists and titles in your infographic. Still, many designers on the web tend to use them for body text as well, so it’s mostly a matter of preference and trend.

DosDontTypography2.png

Display font families are fonts that are more playful by design. The might be cursive or handwriting fonts or just funky fonts meant for specific types of design.

How are they used? Generally speaking, most designers agree that you should really only use display fonts as headers to set the mood and theme of your design. Typically, display fonts are used as a focal point in a design so that it draws the reader’s eye to one spot. Some popular display fonts include Lobster, Alfa Slab One, and Unica One (see below).

DosDontsTypography3.png

When it comes to choosing fonts, there are millions of options. That said, experienced designers tend to have strong preferences for which fonts to use and which fonts not to use. If you’re not sure where to begin, try using a tool like Font Pair to get designer-recommended font groupings.

DO: Match the theme of the infographic.

The first step to picking fonts is to think about the theme or topic of your infographic. Are you trying to convey a playful or serious tone? Humorous or dark?

Then think about the audience and intent of your infographic. If the goal of your infographic is to share data, you probably want to make the infographic look more professional than cartoonish. Alternatively, if your infographic is meant for kids, it might be more appropriate to use cartoonish display fonts.

Sometimes, it helps to take a look at other infographics to grasp how you should think about thematic design.

In the example below, the author decided to use sans serif fonts throughout. The result is a very minimalist and futuristic design that correlates well with the topic: online learning.

DosDontsTypography4.png

In contrast, the creator of the next infographic used a mix of serif fonts and sans serif fonts, creating a very sleek, classic look that pairs well with the topic of cooking.

DosDontsTypography5.png

The next infographic showcases a different serif font. Through the use of bright colors and easy-to-read fonts, the infographic feels very whimsical. Could the author have used a different font family in it? Of course! The point is the font that was chosen subjectively, by the designer, to fit the theme they were aiming for.

DosDontsTypography6.png

There’s no right answer when it comes to picking fonts for your infographic. Instead, try to think about typography as a complementary element of your whole theme. Choose with purpose, not just because you like a font you see in a list somewhere.

DO: Pick a font palette & stick to it.

It’s not enough to just pick a few fonts and use them however you want. To make a well-designed infographic, it’s important to establish for yourself what sizes, weights, and fonts you’re using throughout different sections. In other words, creating a font palette will keep your design consistent and improve the overall look of your infographic. Just like choosing a color palette, you need to find fonts that work together and then assign them to different parts of your infographic.

No idea where to start? Here a few tools to help:

Google Font tool: Made up of about 800 different font choices and shows you what particular fonts will pair well together.

For example:

DosDontsTypography7.png

Font Pair: This blog makes finding fonts that go well together (by font category) easy by showing you examples in action on a simple browser.

Once you have a few font options in mind, you can start creating your font palette. In general, most infographics will have about five parts to a palette.

Note: this does not mean you need five different fonts. Here’s an example of how a font palette might be broken up based on the organization of your infographic:

  • Main Title
  • Section Title
  • Headers
  • Descriptors
  • Body Text

In general, you shouldn’t be using more than 2-3 different font families. Instead, use different weights and colors for different sections, but keep the fonts consistent.

In this next example, the font palette uses two different fonts with different weights and cases to create five unique parts of the palette:

DosDontsTypography8.png

Here is an example of font palette you could use to create your own hierarchy.

DosDontsTypography9.png

DO: Match fonts with icons.

Picking icons to use with your headers and fonts can be another area of difficulty for first-time designers.

When it comes to icons and fonts, great pairings can be achieved just by keeping the style consistent throughout.

For example, take a look at the infographics below:

DosDontsTypography10.png

The infographic on the left conveys a certain feel of professionalism because the strong title font contrasts with the minimalism of the icons. Additionally, all of the fonts match each other, which helps to create an organized structure. The example on the right, on the other hand, uses four different fonts that don’t have the same level of contrast with the icons.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your icons are minimalist, light, and thin, trying using strong fonts in contrast.

Alternatively, if you’re using bolder, fuller icons, use a minimal font in contrast. Here’s an example demonstrating that effect:

DosDontsTypography11.png

In the next example, the font icon on the left has good contrast because the icon is meant to stand out. The version on the right, however, doesn’t have the same level of contrast, making the focal point harder to navigate.

DosDontsTypography12.png

DO: Align everything.

Design alignment refers to how you place similar elements in proximity to one another. Poor element alignment makes for a poorly-designed infographic and can be distracting to the viewer.

Alignment is a part of placing every single graphic, text, header, and element on your infographic. When you’re in the design process, have a mental checklist:

  • Are all of my headers aligned in the same vertical axis (left, right, center)?
  • Is there the same amount of space between my headers and body text elements?
  • Is there the same amount of space between my sections?
  • Do my lines end and begin in the same proximity to the elements they’re placed next to?

Here is an example of how elements should be lined up for consistency and elegance:

DosDontsTypography13.png

Make sure to place the same types of elements — body text, headers, graphics, etc. aligned in the same position relative to the other object within and outside of its section. If you have three sections with a header and body text, each header should be aligned with the other headers, and the same is true for the body text. In addition, there should be equal amount of space between the three different sections.

Here’s an example of an infographic with perfect alignment:

DosDontsTypography14.png

The reader can quickly flow from one piece of information to the other without alignment distraction.

Want to learn what not to do? Click here to access the complete guide: The Do’s and Don’ts of Infographic Design.


Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com

The Do's and Don'ts of Infographic Typography [Free Guide]

Dos-and-Donts-of-Typography-compressor.jpg

The following is an excerpt from Do’s and Don’ts of Infographic Design, a free guide we created with our friends at leading graphic design software company Venngage. If you’d like to access the full guide, click here.

One of the most important, but least considered parts of designing an infographic is typography. After all, picking the right fonts is exceptionally hard. Besides the fact that there are thousands of options, finding the “right” font is actually really subjective. Different designers have different fonts tastes, and any designer could any number of fonts in their designs.

Getting good at choosing the fonts for your designs is difficult, but here are a few guidelines to get you started.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Infographic Typography 

DO: Stick to the primary categories of font families.

If you don’t know much about typography, here’s the biggest thing you need to know: there are three main categories of font families: serifs, sans serifs, and display fonts. Each has different purposes and common uses among designers.

Serif fonts are fonts that have small lines or embellishments attached to the letters. These embellishments are called “serifs.” Common fonts such as Times New Roman and Merriweather are examples of serifs.

How are they used? One common argument is that serif fonts should be used as body text because it’s easier to read them in large blocks of text. However, this preference mostly stems from historical precedence: we’re used to reading Times New Roman in books and white papers, therefore there is the precedence that the font type is generally “easier to read” in large bodies of text. When you’re first starting out, it’s a good idea to keep this use in mind.

DosDontsTypography1.png

Sans serifs are fonts that do not have small lines or embellishments attached to the ends of letters. Some of the most popular fonts in this family include Roboto, Helvetica, and Arial.

How are they used? While serif fonts are considered to be best for body text, sans serif fonts are considered to be better for section headers, captions, lists and titles in your infographic. Still, many designers on the web tend to use them for body text as well, so it’s mostly a matter of preference and trend.

DosDontTypography2.png

Display font families are fonts that are more playful by design. The might be cursive or handwriting fonts or just funky fonts meant for specific types of design.

How are they used? Generally speaking, most designers agree that you should really only use display fonts as headers to set the mood and theme of your design. Typically, display fonts are used as a focal point in a design so that it draws the reader’s eye to one spot. Some popular display fonts include Lobster, Alfa Slab One, and Unica One (see below).

DosDontsTypography3.png

When it comes to choosing fonts, there are millions of options. That said, experienced designers tend to have strong preferences for which fonts to use and which fonts not to use. If you’re not sure where to begin, try using a tool like Font Pair to get designer-recommended font groupings.

DO: Match the theme of the infographic.

The first step to picking fonts is to think about the theme or topic of your infographic. Are you trying to convey a playful or serious tone? Humorous or dark?

Then think about the audience and intent of your infographic. If the goal of your infographic is to share data, you probably want to make the infographic look more professional than cartoonish. Alternatively, if your infographic is meant for kids, it might be more appropriate to use cartoonish display fonts.

Sometimes, it helps to take a look at other infographics to grasp how you should think about thematic design.

In the example below, the author decided to use sans serif fonts throughout. The result is a very minimalist and futuristic design that correlates well with the topic: online learning.

DosDontsTypography4.png

In contrast, the creator of the next infographic used a mix of serif fonts and sans serif fonts, creating a very sleek, classic look that pairs well with the topic of cooking.

DosDontsTypography5.png

The next infographic showcases a different serif font. Through the use of bright colors and easy-to-read fonts, the infographic feels very whimsical. Could the author have used a different font family in it? Of course! The point is the font that was chosen subjectively, by the designer, to fit the theme they were aiming for.

DosDontsTypography6.png

There’s no right answer when it comes to picking fonts for your infographic. Instead, try to think about typography as a complementary element of your whole theme. Choose with purpose, not just because you like a font you see in a list somewhere.

DO: Pick a font palette & stick to it.

It’s not enough to just pick a few fonts and use them however you want. To make a well-designed infographic, it’s important to establish for yourself what sizes, weights, and fonts you’re using throughout different sections. In other words, creating a font palette will keep your design consistent and improve the overall look of your infographic. Just like choosing a color palette, you need to find fonts that work together and then assign them to different parts of your infographic.

No idea where to start? Here a few tools to help:

Google Font tool: Made up of about 800 different font choices and shows you what particular fonts will pair well together.

For example:

DosDontsTypography7.png

Font Pair: This blog makes finding fonts that go well together (by font category) easy by showing you examples in action on a simple browser.

Once you have a few font options in mind, you can start creating your font palette. In general, most infographics will have about five parts to a palette.

Note: this does not mean you need five different fonts. Here’s an example of how a font palette might be broken up based on the organization of your infographic:

  • Main Title
  • Section Title
  • Headers
  • Descriptors
  • Body Text

In general, you shouldn’t be using more than 2-3 different font families. Instead, use different weights and colors for different sections, but keep the fonts consistent.

In this next example, the font palette uses two different fonts with different weights and cases to create five unique parts of the palette:

DosDontsTypography8.png

Here is an example of font palette you could use to create your own hierarchy.

DosDontsTypography9.png

DO: Match fonts with icons.

Picking icons to use with your headers and fonts can be another area of difficulty for first-time designers.

When it comes to icons and fonts, great pairings can be achieved just by keeping the style consistent throughout.

For example, take a look at the infographics below:

DosDontsTypography10.png

The infographic on the left conveys a certain feel of professionalism because the strong title font contrasts with the minimalism of the icons. Additionally, all of the fonts match each other, which helps to create an organized structure. The example on the right, on the other hand, uses four different fonts that don’t have the same level of contrast with the icons.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your icons are minimalist, light, and thin, trying using strong fonts in contrast.

Alternatively, if you’re using bolder, fuller icons, use a minimal font in contrast. Here’s an example demonstrating that effect:

DosDontsTypography11.png

In the next example, the font icon on the left has good contrast because the icon is meant to stand out. The version on the right, however, doesn’t have the same level of contrast, making the focal point harder to navigate.

DosDontsTypography12.png

DO: Align everything.

Design alignment refers to how you place similar elements in proximity to one another. Poor element alignment makes for a poorly-designed infographic and can be distracting to the viewer.

Alignment is a part of placing every single graphic, text, header, and element on your infographic. When you’re in the design process, have a mental checklist:

  • Are all of my headers aligned in the same vertical axis (left, right, center)?
  • Is there the same amount of space between my headers and body text elements?
  • Is there the same amount of space between my sections?
  • Do my lines end and begin in the same proximity to the elements they’re placed next to?

Here is an example of how elements should be lined up for consistency and elegance:

DosDontsTypography13.png

Make sure to place the same types of elements — body text, headers, graphics, etc. aligned in the same position relative to the other object within and outside of its section. If you have three sections with a header and body text, each header should be aligned with the other headers, and the same is true for the body text. In addition, there should be equal amount of space between the three different sections.

Here’s an example of an infographic with perfect alignment:

DosDontsTypography14.png

The reader can quickly flow from one piece of information to the other without alignment distraction.

Want to learn what not to do? Click here to access the complete guide: The Do’s and Don’ts of Infographic Design.


Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com

SearchCap: Google Assistant, local finder test & Bing hospital finder

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google Assistant, local finder test & Bing hospital finder appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

CafePress – A is for Algorithm Infant Bodysuit – Cute Infant Bodysuit Baby Romper

CafePress brings your passions to life with the perfect item for every occasion. With thousands of designs to choose from, you are certain to find the unique item you’ve been seeking. What newborn doesn’t look great in an infant romper with a funny or cute design? This baby bodysuit has been crafted with quality and care, so your newborn will be sporting style through their onesie and twosie years. The 100% super soft cotton will feel great on their skin, both comfortable and durable. The three-snap closure for diaper changes and machine washable care will be a breeze for mom. These baby creepers are the perfect baby gift for a boy or for a girl at your next baby shower, baby birthday, or mom-to-be event. And with CafePress, your satisfaction is always our promise…buy with confidence, as we offer easy returns and exchanges and a 100% money back guarantee. CAFEPRESS DOES NOT OFFER PRODUCTS IN THE CATEGORIES OF ROBES, PAJAMAS OR LOUNGEWEAR INTENDED FOR USE BY INDIVIDUALS UNDER THE AGE OF 12. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED FOR SUCH USE.

Product Features

  • These short-sleeve baby bodysuits are 100% combed ringspun cotton jersey for your baby’s comfort. The reinforced three snap closure makes diaper changing a breeze.
  • Romper designs are professionally printed. Your unique design will make someone smile with funny, cute, vintage, or expressive artwork.
  • Make this newborn creeper the perfect gift for mom-to-be, Mother’s Day, baby shower, baby birthday, and Christmas.
  • Machine wash cold inside out with like colors. Tumble dry low for easy and convenient care. IMPORTED.
  • We offer 100% money back guarantee, so you can buy with confidence. Your satisfaction is our promise, and returns/exchanges are made easy.

Reblogged 1 year ago from www.amazon.com

How to Build a Growth-Minded Design Process at Your Agency

As important as creativity is to an agency’s success, no great work can be produced without a great process.

Next time you admire a stunning design project, think for a moment: This work looks great, but did it go out on time? Did the project exceed budget? Was the client actually happy with the end result? Did the team run into any major project management roadblocks?

Modern agency processes like Growth-Driven Design (GDD for short) and the Agile Methodology give us a new way to optimize the production of creative projects, helping us develop work that consistently looks great and exceeds client expectations.

Adopting these innovations for your agency might seem like a no-brainer. What client doesn’t enjoy faster delivery, higher user satisfaction, and lower financial risk?

Your team, however, might be harder to sell on adopting a design process.

To develop a sustainable process for your design team, everyone at your agency needs to play a part. Check out our tips for each department below, and make developing a design process a painless company-wide effort.

A Culture Change for Designers

At most agencies, creative thinking lies with designers, art directors, and creative directors. Their unrestricted imaginations and out-of-the-box thinking bring forth new ideas and inventive solutions to clients’ problems.

However, many creative people have trouble putting external limitations — deadlines, budgets, client demands — on their ideas. Sometimes, individual self-expression is allowed to override business concerns.

For Growth-Driven Design to work, a culture change might be required at your agency. Designers, crazy as it may sound, shouldn’t be the sole drivers of design decisions. They must also be driven by end users’ needs, as dictated by feedback and behavior data.

From this comes the concept of the Launch Pad website: a website tailored for a fast initial release. Short production time and early collection of feedback is prioritized over completeness or perfection. Non-essential elements, features, or content are omitted. That’s why the GDD process has us releasing websites earlier than ever — the Launch Pad stage enables us to gather crucial user data earlier in the process than other design methodologies.

Be sure that your design team has a fluent understanding of your customer personas, and that empathy for the customer is the center of their creative process. Provide training in user experience design — a relatively young field rarely taught in art schools — so they have the tools and concepts they need to connect their visuals to real world use cases.

Restraints are often the key to producing the best creative solutions. Imposing some limitations creates a starting point from which to judge the strength of a design decision. Working around a limitation means designers are forced to think harder for a solution, pushing the limits of their creativity.

Focus Development and QA on the End User

Technologists, too, can be creative thinkers — envisioning a website as an elegant, modern, efficient, and ever-improving system of code. Talented developers hate compromising the quality of their code due to external limitations such as deadlines. They too might try to run a project over time or budget in order to be able to execute the ideal solution.

When their requests are refused, job satisfaction suffers. QA engineers are often the biggest proponents of high technology standards and user advocacy. Such enthusiasm should be encouraged.

In technical fields as well as creative, the key is finding a way to harness and channel this commitment for quality towards solving real business problems. Technology professionals must also learn to not let their creativity derail a project. Ensure that any proposed features or improvements are a means to an end, and align with your major project goals.

No matter how beautifully a system runs on the backend, or how cutting-edge a new feature is, there must be a tangible benefit to the user on the front end. Perhaps the site now loads faster, better protects sensitive information, or is easier to use on mobile devices.

Improvements to code can also have a benefit to the agency itself. They can make the site easier and faster for developers to update, improving overall team velocity. They may make it more forward-compatible with the latest technologies, reducing the need to rebuild and refactor in the future.

It’s also important for a smooth-running process that QA is an ongoing effort from the very beginning of a project. If QA starts too close to the release date, there will likely be inadequate time to rectify issues. QA engineers should be included in the design process, where they may add UX suggestions based on their user feedback experience.

Tighter Project Management

Project managers are the stewards of process and efficiency. Their challenge in these new paradigms is assigning the team a workload that can be done — to completion — in a single iteration cycle. PMs interface most often with other departments, and are the ones to whom demands and requirements are made. They must not give into the pressure to say yes to everything, while not knowing for sure that the team can deliver.

A certain level of pessimism is crucial for proper project and resource planning. “Underpromise and overdeliver” can’t be said enough. When working on fixed-length work cycles, deadlines can’t just be arbitrarily pushed back. However, this also grants the permission to be iterative — whatever couldn’t get done this release can always be done next time. Even requests from the highest levels of management must be carefully evaluated and prioritized appropriately.

PMs will also need to learn to communicate more frequently with their teams. Release cycles are shorter than before, so a single day represents a greater percentage of the timeline. Just one unproductive day can derail a release from delivery.

This makes enforcing practices like the a daily stand-up — where each team member recaps the previous day, outlines their plan for today, and airs any problems or critical blockers — absolutely essential. They must also be sure to facilitate intra-team communication amongst members working in different roles to reduce the chance that blockers will arise.

A More Grounded Approach for Marketing and Sales

Strategic planning, market research, and conversion rate optimization are among the components of GDD that marketing and sales people will embrace right from the start. Their difficulty will likely be getting used to the idea of iterative releases. They may resist the idea that what the agency releases into the world isn’t “finished” or “perfect” the first time. They might even feel embarrassed — like the company is going outside without its pants on.

Then can rest easy, however, knowing that releasing a Launch Pad site is more akin to going out in department store slacks. It’s a perfectly professional solution, and much faster and less expensive than a bespoke suit. You’ll invest in the tailored suit once you figure out precisely what kind of suit you should be wearing in the first place. That way, you don’t run the risk of having to toss it and pay for a second suit when you figure out it wasn’t the right style for you.

Your marketing and sales team might be the most appreciative of the fact that that design decisions are now based on real world user data and research, collected through meticulous experimentation. Guesswork is kept to a minimum.

Your agency is now delivering value to clients and users faster and more accurately than ever — why not make this the cornerstone of your company’s own marketing and sales strategy? Sales reps should be proud to let clients and leads know how much of their money and time your agency will save them, and how tuned in you are to their needs. It should be music to their ears.

Earn Buy-in from Executive Management

Managing expectations from those who are setting the direction of the company — the c-suite — is key to successful GDD implementation. They will demand to know what the ROI and bottom-line results are of making such a large time investment. Get them involved in setting goals and focus metrics, as well as prioritizing action items, and show them the results of each strategic experiment.

It’s important for managers to be involved not just in strategic planning, but also in continuous improvement. Even if you are a busy executive, take the time to prioritize your GDD training, as well as training your team members — they will be looking to your leadership when things get rocky or uncertain.

As you dive deeper into the methodology, you’ll find it resonates with already familiar truths and concept: inbound marketing, user-centered design, customer personas, KPIs.

Your c-suite may find GDD confusing at first, or be hesitant to jump on some new business fad. However, once they get on board, it won’t be difficult to see how the process serves your own agency’s business needs as well as it serves your clients.

Your Team is Responsible for Change

Agency business leaders are well practiced in the art of communicating their creative vision to their team, and ensuring it is carried out. Though you may be the one championing a new Growth-Driven Design process, your team members are the ones who will make the revolution happen at your company. By understanding their unique needs and viewpoints, everyone on the team can become your fellow champions of process.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com

5 Steps for Improving Your Media Outreach: Insights From 1,300 Publishers

Publisher Survey Media Outreach.jpg

The media needs content to report, and marketers need exposure for their content. Together, it seems like these two would have a pretty simple, mutually beneficial relationship, right?

Unfortunately, like most modern-day relationships, it’s never really that simple. Marketers and PR professionals have long been denounced by the media as spin doctors thanks to poor outreach practices and failing to create valuable content that goes beyond selling a product or service.

Luckily, the industry is evolving past the point of flooding the inboxes of time-starved journalists with irrelevant press releases with the help of more strategic outreach planning. Just as marketing has shifted toward an inbound strategy of attracting a specific audience rather than forcing messages to the masses, PR has assumed a similar mindset by strategically targeting the best-fit publications and influencers to promote content made for a target audience rather than a “spray and pray” mentality.

Still, pitching isn’t easy, but communication is key for building and nurturing the symbiotic relationship between marketers and the media. That’s why my team at Fractl surveyed over 1,300 writers, editors, and contributors at countless publications to get a better idea of how to guide our own media outreach strategy.

The information proved to be invaluable for our digital PR team, so we wanted to share how the publishers’ insights can help your team improve your brand’s media outreach efforts in a five-step guide.

5 Steps for Improving Your Media Outreach

Define your audience.

Marketers know defining your ideal buyer persona offers helpful insights to guide everything from product development to content creation. In that same vein, gathering information about stakeholders across your brand is immensely helpful in defining your ideal target audience for content distribution.

Further, understanding not only the demographics, challenges, and motivations of your target audience, but also their online (and offline) behavior will help define your ideal audience and ultimately guide your outreach strategy. Specifically, it will help you better understand where they consume their news, turn to for insights and advice, and seek out entertainment.

Build media lists.

Become familiar with the publications and media outlets your ideal audience frequents, then vet the publications before going on to research the best-fit contact. Run through a mental checklist for each publication before adding them to your list build:

  • Do they publish third-party content?
  • Do they regularly post on the topic you’re planning to pitch?
  • Do they frequently promote their posts via other channels like social media?

Once the publication has passed this quick preliminary phase, go on to find the best-fit contact by scanning through their editorial contact list. Further research a few contacts whose beat fits your content and trace their online footprint. Start following them on their professional social accounts and keep an eye out for their recent work or contributions to other online media like podcasts. Commenting on their latest post or podcast appearance, or giving your genuine opinion about a topic you’re both well-versed in, is a great way to start off your pitch.

Obviously their beat must align with the topic of the content you plan to pitch, but make sure you also run through the second mental checklist:

  • Do they cite content produced by brands?
  • Do their posts see a lot of engagement?
  • Do they cover only breaking news or only write personal essays and critics, or do they feature timely and evergreen content?
  • Do they demonstrate values that align with your brand?

Researching who to contact can be time consuming, especially when initially starting a media outreach strategy. Fortunately, as time goes on, the investment pays off in the form of established, mutually beneficial relationships.

Grab their attention.

You only have one chance to make a good first impression, and when it comes to pitching, you only have a few seconds to make sure your email stands out in the overflowing inboxes of busy journalists. There are really only two things that can set a pitch apart at first glance: the sender (i.e., your name and email address) and the subject line.

While you can eventually build relationships and gain credibility solely on your name, your subject line is initially the deciding factor when it comes to whether or not your pitch is even opened, let alone read. Considering 57% of publishers receive between 50 and 500 pitches per week, it’s imperative to take your subject line seriously and consider some A/B testing.

After sending hundreds of pitches, I’ve learned treating subject lines like potential article headlines that match the journalist’s style of writing seems to have a higher open rate and the pitch is more likely to get a response — and our survey results support this observation. My theory is emulating their diction and syntax while also offering a compelling statistic or high-level summary of your content helps them envision a story.

Like news headlines, subject lines can be straightforward, data-driven facts pulled from the content, or can pose a question to pique curiosity about the content’s findings. According to our survey, news organizations opt for stat-heavy subject lines while beats like finance prefer more inquisitive subject lines.

Another option well-suited for more conversational pitches is to personalize the subject line based on the information you find while researching your potential contact. The survey revealed lifestyle and entertainment writers are most likely to open a personalized email compared with other types of subject lines.

It varies by beat, but only 2% of publisher revealed they never read pitches while nearly 45% always or often read them. These numbers indicate the odds of your pitch getting seen are more likely than not, so journalists moving a pitch straight to the spam folder should not be the go-to reasoning for a pitch going unanswered. Instead, consider the contents of the pitch itself.

Fractl Publisher Study.png

Develop the story.

The best pitches outline the story relevant to the writer’s unique audience clearly and concisely. Consider potential news headlines and the key message your content is conveying to that specific audience. Communicate the valuable newsworthy elements of the content (more on that below) and call out the most compelling or emotional insights from the content in a quick bullet list. In many cases, the same piece of objective content can offer several different story angles that would interest multiple audience profiles, so be sure to tailor the elements and insights you call out to the writer’s audience.

Since pitches should be 100–200 words max (half of survey respondents preferred this cursory length compared with just 10% preferring over 300 words), data visualizations and other visual media are ideal assets to link in your pitch to further support such a story angle without blocks of text. In fact, when asked what type of supporting assets they wish to see more of, publishers revealed visual content formats like infographics, photos, and videos were highest in demand, while generic press releases and text-heavy white papers fell to the bottom of the list.

Prove your value.

An attention-grabbing subject line, personalized introduction, and uniquely developed story are vital components to an effective pitch, but they won’t mean anything if you fail to prove your content’s value to the writer and their audience.

The media strives to report and share original, newsworthy content from credible sources, so be sure you highlight how your content aligns with their priorities by explaining how it exemplifies these three qualities of valuable content:

  • Credible: Journalism ethics stress citing content whose data is credible and authoritative, so be sure to include the data source or methodology in which your content is based on.
  • Newsworthy: Highlight newsworthy elements of the content like its timeliness to a trending topic or proximity to a local readership.
  • Relevant: As mentioned above, point out how your content relates and will resonate to the publication’s audience. Will it educate, entertain, or inspire their readers?

While it may seem time consuming to thoroughly research every single reporter you email, write a personal connection to kick off every single pitch, or tailor a value proposition to each audience, it’s time well spent to make your pitch stand out.

free press release template

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.hubspot.com

Community Discussion: Making Money

One of the most popular topics on ProBlogger (if not the most searched-for item) is making money blogging, and how to go about it.

There are so many ways of earning a living online, and we have almost just as much advice on how best to keep the dollars rolling in. Darren covers it quite extensively on his podcast, and it’s a topic we dive down deep in during every ProBlogger conference or event. If you’ve got a question, we would undoubtedly have the answer!

But because it’s so different, there’s no one real formula to success (and if there is, I’d probably say it’s “diversify“). Thats why I’d love to chat with you about what has worked for you and what hasn’t? What are the pros and cons of each choice for you? What would you love to try? What do you wish would be successful, but just isn’t?

For example, affiliate sales for me used to be difficult as it wasn’t as prevalent in Australia. Most of my income comes from freelance blogging, writing, and editing, and while affiliate income has grown, it isn’t what it could be if my audience was US-based. I also quite regularly had sponsored content on the blog over the years, but sidebar advertising wasn’t terribly successful. My next move is products (if only I can make the time!).

Where do you stand on making money? How much would you like to make? What kinds of income streams are you using or will you be experimenting with this year? Let’s chat!

The post Community Discussion: Making Money appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

Reblogged 1 year ago from feedproxy.google.com