#5. Use Your Own digg Account: #2. Write a description with a sales pitch: As a relatively regular blogger on a couple of blogs, I’ve had the good luck to have several of my stories make it to the digg front page. As such, I often have people ask me what the secret formula is for having a story make the front page of digg. The honest truth is, I don’t know. I haven’t come up with any sure-fire ways to ensure that your brilliant article will get dugg up to the front page. It is not sufficient to simply write a crappy title. Crappy titles are much too easy to ignore. What you want is a title that will motivate a pool of digg users to take time out of their busy days and come bury your story. However, some subtlety is required. If it’s too obvious that it’s spam, you might fail to get buried because everyone believes the story is so obviously spam that a bunch of other people have alreay buried it. The key is to find the right balance to ensure that people will take action. Of course, nothing in life is guaranteed. But, if you follow the steps above, you’ve got a decent chance of having a sure-fire loser of a story. Let me know if I missed any and leave them in the comments. Of course, the title can only go so far. You might be able to lure a few digg users before their morning cup of coffee into doing what is morally right and visiting the story to burying you. But, now you need to close the deal. Make the description some sort of salesy “call to action”. This one is a bit more nuanced than #3. As it turns out, only 23% of the digg user base actually believes that Kevin Rose is cooler than Steve Jobs. But, this is a sufficient number to get a story buried. As it turns out, you can’t reverse this and try to get the other 77% to bury you by saying Kevin Rose is cooler. Those people are way too pragmatic and sure of themselves to come waste time burying your article. However, I do know what I think are reasonably effective ways to ensure that your digg story gets buried. As it turns out, getting a story buried is much easier to do than getting a story on the front page — so I thought I’d write about that instead. #1. Write a title that makes it clear that the story is SPAM: Bonus #8. Never, ever write about Google, Apple or digg itself: 7 Sure-fire Ways To Lose Friends And Get Your Story Buried On Digg #7. Leave Some Crappy Comments On Your Own Story: Often, you do a decent job at #1 and #2 above, and get some good burying activity. But, you don’t really generate the comment flames and name-calling that you could have. One way to achieve a higher level of vitriolic response is to make sure you post your story from your own digg account. As it may not be obvious you’re posting your own story, you can write the description in the first person so they know for sure it’s you. Ideas for actually coming up with appropriately crappy comments is beyond the scope of this article. #3. Suggest that Bill Gates is Cooler Than Steve Jobs: Originally published Apr 25, 2007 8:54:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 No more needs to be said. #6. Make This Your First Submitted Story: Doesn’t matter how well you do at the seven items above, but if you make the mistake of including any of these companies in your story title, description or somehow make a passing but glowing reference you greatly diminish your chances of being buried. Some digg users that have recently had some “happy moments” might make the mistake of cutting you some slack before they decide what a schmuck you really are. One way they’ll do this is to check out your history and see what kind of other stories you’ve submitted or comments or voted on. Make sure you haven’t voted on anyone else’s article and if you have submitted other articles, they should follow these guidelines too. #4. Suggest that Steve Jobs is Cooler Than Kevin Rose: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
I liken the state of machine intelligence to the state of the Internet in 1990. Some very cool stuff is going on, but it’s still a ways from widespread commercial use. But watch this space very closely. Those that can get in on it in the equivalent of 1994, rather than 1999, can make a lot of money. strip of solar film Publishing companies should be very scared. Publishers operate under the bargain that they assume the risk of printing and distributing thousands of copies of a book, in return for taking almost the entire sale price. But if there is no printing and distributing, publishing companies become obsolete, and authors are better off selling direct. Hawkins claimed that Robots today are ineffective at anything beyond the most basic of tasks, because they operate in a way entirely different than the human brain. Imagine if every time you shot a basketball you had to take in account the exact position of every body part and the exact strength of every muscle fiber in your arms and hands. The calculation would take forever. And then, if you move just a little or your arm fatigues, all of your calculations are off and you have to start them over all over again. This is how our current robots do it – and it’s why they are so ineffective at anything outside of highly controlled situations. paper consumption by 40%. Meanwhile, there is an unfathomable amount of information on the web, but the highest quality information is still in books. Most of these books are still printed on dead trees and are not available online. All four of these technologies have had major breakthroughs in the past year. Whether you are doing a startup or working in an established company, they all will change your business and provide new opportunities. Below I introduce the technologies and explain their implications for business. This level of efficiency seemed like magic, but the article said that the development of tiny, inexpensive jets could make it possible. The United States has thousands of airports that are too small and have runways too short to support commercial jetliners. Most cannot even support the typical commuter jet. But they can support a six-seater air taxi. The sheer number of these small airports means there is likely to be one close to you. Furthermore, the small flight size and low number of passengers means efficient ticketing, less onerous security, and no hassling with checked luggage. DayJet The that makes flights with four passengers profitable. announced the release will open the first air taxi service this summer, serving six cities in Florida. This is a business to watch. There are already competitors sprouting up, and if successful, the model could spread across the country very quickly. . And with the continuing improvement of computing technology, the processing power and memory of our super computers are at last reaching that of the human brain. Business implications 2) E-Ink – online reading that doesn’t burn the eyes promises to change this. Like a computer monitor, E-Ink can display digital content such as a web page or PDF. Unlike a monitor, e-ink does not produce light, but reflects it. That means looking at it is just like looking at paper. There is no glare. On Intelligence At first, the most effective products will be better data mining and classification tools. But the potential of better machine intelligence is mind boggling. The beauty of mind is that it can adapt to understand a huge variety of patterns – from basketball to physics. The right machine intelligence platform can be used for everything from language translation to cars that drive themselves. Business Implications Is news from the war in Iraq depressing you? Here’s a graph that will cheer you up. This is the price of solar power in Japan over the last 15 years: Business Implications Sony Reader In addition to these incremental gains, venture capitalists have poured in the investment over the past few years. In the past few months I have come across articles on a is the first product out that uses E-Ink. Unfortunately, the product is crippled by onerous digital rights management, a clumsy interface, poor integration with the web, and a high price tag. Blogger Robert Scobleizer (source) new dye People do not like to read online. The glare of the monitor strains our eyes. Even a laptop is too bulky to curl up with or read on the bus. Originally published Apr 30, 2007 3:21:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 increases of the first version of its platform for machine intelligence. The platform itself does not do anything, but it allows others to build products that use this brand new theory of machine intelligence. 1) Air Taxis – the dream of hassle free travel a future flying utopia. The traveler of tomorrow drives to an airport only ten miles away and parks right outside the terminal. In minutes she obtains her boarding pass and breezes through security. Moments after she sits down in the plane, the plane taxis down the runway and takes off. Hawkins proposed that we should model machine intelligence on human intelligence. Shooting a basketball does not involve calculations, it involves a memory of patterns. When learning to shoot a basketball for instance, first you have to learn the basic mechanics of shooting. Once you have committed that pattern to muscle memory, you do not think about it. But you then reuse that basic pattern to new patterns, such as a jump shot or a slam dunk. Solar power has one awesome property that may be even better than the environmental and geopolitical benefits. With fossil fuel based technologies, the improvement in extraction technology has always been balanced by the increasing difficulty of finding and exploiting more resources. With solar power, the better the technology, the cheaper it gets. There is no reason that once it reaches the same price as fossil fuels it won’t continue to fall further and further in price. This cheap power could make many other technologies that today require too much power – such as the desalinization of seawater – become economical. E-Ink In 2007 the technological ground work has been laid and the first air taxi company is taking to the skies. The jet that makes this possible is the Eclipse 500, now available for the low price of only $1.5 million. The second enabler is the development of incredibly that imitates photosynthesis, a Business Implications that can power a cell phone, and a 4) Machine Intelligence new cell desig article promising The paperless office never happened. Studies show that use of email in an organization actually The magazine and newspaper industries are already struggling. Widespread adoption of E-Ink will kill the printed versions. For entrepreneurs this is an opportunity. There is still tens of billions more being spent on advertising in the print version of newspapers and magazines than in the online versions. These advertising dollars will be looking for a place to go. This means increased demand for advertising networks, analytics, API’s, and demographic and behavioral targeting. Three years ago the book ” The price will come down, the design will improve, and web sites like Amazon will start supporting ebooks in mass. It will become far more efficient to store a thousand ebooks on your E-Ink reader than to build a huge library of paper books. And there will be no need to print out that report when you can just send it to your reader. When it comes to oil, we hear a lot about vicious cycles of violence in the Middle East. It’s about time we finally have a virtuous cycle. As solar power gets cheaper, more people buy it. The more people buy it, the greater the economy of scale, and the cheaper it gets. The result is an average price drop of 7% a year. The immediate change will be that short range business flying will become far more pleasant. But the most important thing to watch might be the economics of location. For instance, land values near small airports might increase relative to land value near big cities. It’s a lot more convenient to live in the exburbs outside the suburbs if you can get to an airport in ten minutes. Also watch for locations that might make wonderful tourist destinations or business conference centers, but that have not been developed due to lack of airport access. These properties may become hot. ” provided both a wonderful synthesis of the latest brain science and a wake up call to Artificial Intelligence researchers. The author, Jeff Hawkins, was the former founder of Palm Computing. He invested his startup fortune in both creating a neurology institute and creating a startup to develop machine intelligence. tortured us While any one of these advances might be mostly hype, there is so much research going on that some advance probably will succeed. I would bet my hat that in ten years it will be cheaper to get electricity from the sun than from oil. 3) Cheap Solar Power with a report that Apple was releasing the iReader with a near perfect design – only to reveal it as an April Fool’s joke. But though it might not exist yet, it will very soon. n that doubles efficiency. The Eclipse 500 -making Air Taxis possible Artificial Intelligence has already gone through a couple of hype cycles, and this may be another. But signs point to this cycle being better. We know far more about the brain than ever before, and we are getting much better at applying it. Just this year AnyBots company developed the first Last month, after several years of development, Hawkins complex logistics software robot that actually walks like a human The AnyBot robot actually walks like a human Back in 2001 I stumbled upon an Atlantic Monthly Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
suggests otherwise. HubSpot TV Episode #19 – December 12, 2008 http://bit.ly/XJ4A How to interact on Twitter – @karenrubin @mvolpe Mailbag ! http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/12/5-tips-for-successful-blog-optimization/ http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/smiling_in_your_social_network_photos_means_you_have_more_friends.php Question: Do you enjoy the extra content we have been posting to the iTunes feed? http://www.postadvertising.com/post/2008/12/12/Holiday-Season-Brings-Many-AdsOr-Does-It.aspx Thanks for the feedback on the show length! Marketing Takeaway: Make sure you are using your blog to have a conversation. No one cares about your products, so talk about what’s really interesting to your customers. Submit your votes for best viral video of 2008 to us…. Intro Search Advertising Surges in Q4 Marketing Tip of the Week @indyjones would love to know more about best practices for twitter bio. I’ve had good luck with @grader suggestions based on bios, but Remember to subscribe in iTunes – Viral Videos http://www.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?ident=30953 http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/12/10/health-check-how-trusted-is-your-corporate-blog/ Subscribe in iTunes http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2008/12/search-advertising-surges-in-q4-%e2%80%93-defying-the-economic-downturn.html @davecriswell asked When/How should you initially interact with inbound leads? Maybe don’t mention your brand: http://blog.clickz.com/081209-172517.html TiVo Shows Ads on Pause http://success.hubspot.com/Customer-Discussion-Forum/forumid/97/postid/6026/view/topic http://www.boingboing.net/2008/12/08/the-newspaper-indust.html Like HubSpot TV? http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2008/12/forrester-finds.html Marketing Takeaway: Print news is dying, find alternative methods to marketing. HINT: Look at inbound marketing. Squeeze Pages as an inbound marketing technique, good or bad? Marketing Takeaway: Recessions make people focus more on inbound marketing. Gatorade Ball Girl http://www.smartmarketmovie.com/eric/typical-online-video-watched/ http://itunes.hubspot.tv Chicago Tribune and the Death of Newspapers Marketing Takeaway: Make sure you have a good friendly photo of yourself to use on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, your blog and other social media sites. Headlines Closing 84% of Corporate Blogs Suck http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4437/You-Oughta-Know-Inbound-Marketing.aspx Marketing Takeaway: Figure out how to make your ads less interruptive. You Oughta Know Inbound Marketing Forum Fodder Smiling in your Facebook Photo Gets You More Friends Originally published Dec 13, 2008 2:47:00 PM, updated July 04 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
. Matt Eventoff – Part II of Simplicity: Speeches (and blog posts) that resonate don’t drag on. 2. Brevity to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. Photo: Webinar: Blogging for Business – Two of my favorite quotes, both of which apply to great public speaking and great blogging: “Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word, before you let it fall” – Oliver Wendell Holmes – Every great public speaker recognizes that a speech or presentation is not about the speaker, it’s about the audience. Blogging is no different. Ignore this to your own peril. ! – People will remember a story, they may or may not remember a fact. Most great speakers tend to incorporate great stories into speeches and presentations. Blogging is no different. Still, there are lessons that every blogger can learn from great public speakers of the past in order to 3. Message Consistency , motivate and move an audience. Here are a few: @communicate101 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack – Hope and change (Barack Obama). Never surrender (Winston Churchill). Ask not (JFK). There was never any doubt what any of these three men stood for when they spoke. Ok, that’s really not fair as Al Gore had not yet even invented the internet while each was alive. Wikipedia capture This article was written by Does this mean every blog post you write should be consumed in less than three minutes? No. It means if you want a reader to keep coming back, you better be interesting and you better get to the point Every week, week after week, these immensely popular sites get tons of traffic, and week after week these sites deliver subject matter that their readership cares about – consistently. 5. Tell a Story Topics: , a communications strategists who helps leaders become great communicators. You can read his blog Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address? Under three minutes. “Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.” – Dionysius 6. Care. Be Passionate! Communications 3.0 Originally published Jun 8, 2009 8:08:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Winston Churchill. Abraham Lincoln. John F. Kennedy. What do all three great leaders have in common? blogged or follow him on Twitter: All were exemplary public speakers, and not one of them Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website? Download the free webinar – To me, this is what truly differentiates great speakers from good speakers. A great public speaker cares, tremendously, about the subject which he or she is speaking on. And it shows, each and every time. Care passionately about what you are writing about if you want your readers to care at all. 1. Simplicity Every reader knows what he or she is getting when visiting the HubSpot Blog (expert internet marketing advice). Drudge Report (breaking news). PerezHilton (celebrity dirt). Business Blogging 4. It’s Not About You
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Order the book now on Amazon.com Get the Inbound Marketing Book . Originally published Sep 1, 2009 3:31:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 Like this cartoon? Find many more in the Inbound Marketing book.
Play now for a chance to to win. Happy New Year’s Eve, inbound marketing friends! Inbound Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack We will be announcing the winner tomorrow, on the first of the new year. Topics: Originally published Dec 31, 2010 1:00:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 The folks from HubSpot wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2011. Here’s to your success, and remember to keep learning and having fun. a free iPod Touch, pre-loaded with a couple fun marketing surprises. Today is the final day of our Countdown to 2011, and we’re raffling off our grand prize:
Facebook Updates Originally published Sep 14, 2011 2:55:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: This afternoon, Facebook announced the release of a brand new feature, the Subscribe Button for profile pages. Ultimately, the new feature enables Facebook to support and provide even more publicly available content, which is a huge stride for its position in the search market.Up until now, users haven’t had much control over what see in their News Feed. On a user-by-user basis, the Subscribe Buttons gives you the ability to choose whether you’d like to see all updates, most updates, or just important updates from another user.3 Main Functions of the Subscribe ButtonThe Subscribe Button, which Facebook promises to start making available on users’ profiles over the next few days, will allow you to:1. Choose exactly what you can see from people in your News Feed. Facebook users can already view updates from their friends in their News Feed, but using the new button, users can now choose how much will get displayed. They will now have the option of seeing all of that particular friend’s updates, most (the amount that they currently see) of their updates, or only important updates (e.g. just highlights like a new job change or a move). Furthermore, users can also choose how much of what type of content will get displayed, such as photos, games, or nothing at all.2. Subscribe to people who aren’t your friends. As long as the user enables the Subscribe Button on his/her profile, you can subscribe to view updates from those people in your News Feed as well. This is a bonus for political figures, journalists, artists, bloggers, etc. who don’t want hoards of friends but do want the ability to spread their messages to others.3. Allow others to subscribe to your updates. Conversely, you can enable the Subscribe Button on your own profile and start generating subscribers to your updates as well. This will allow you to share your updates and content with more than just your friends. You can get even more granular with it, too. If you’ve enabled subscribers, you can limit what the public can see compared to what your friends can see using Facebook’s post-by-post sharing options (e.g. public vs. friends vs. custom). To enable the Subscribe Button on your own profile, visit Facebook’s Subscription Page and click “Allow Subscribers.”Marketing TakeawayWith the new Subscribe Button getting rolled out to personal profiles, the availability of the new feature will mean more publicly available data on Facebook. In addition, as people start enabling the Subscribe Button for their own profiles and try to attract subscribers, Facebook’s search function will become substantially better. Up until now, Facebook’s search functionality has been fairly limiting and not very useful due to the lack of publicly available content. This will soon change, making Facebook even more powerful from a search standpoint.As a marketer, make sure that when you’re promoting your business content on Facebook, you make it publicly available. This will ensure it can be indexed by Facebook search, thus expanding the reach of the content you share on Facebook.Additionally, Facebook’s introduction of the Subscribe Button will likely have future implications for business pages as well as Facebook’s advertising platform. Marketers should keep an eye on Facebook’s future announcements to stay on top of how new features can potentially affect their Facebook marketing efforts.What do you think about Facebook’s new Subscribe Button? Will you add it to your profile? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Topics: Originally published Jul 16, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated October 01 2019 Summertime, and the livin’s easy. Unless you’re a marketer. Actually, the summer months are some of the hardest months for marketers. Leads and prospects are all on vacation, and you’re stuck at your desk freaking out about hitting those monthly metrics. What are we to do? Turn on an episode of Top Chef, that’s what.Okay, Top Chef alone won’t cure what ails you, but we can take a cue from the Quickfire Challenges the chefs embark upon at the beginning of every episode. If you’ve never watched the show, the Quickfire Challenges are very difficult scenarios the chefs find themselves in, usually with limited or otherwise “weird” resources with which they must solve the particular challenge at hand. For example, you have to make breakfast in bed … but all you can use is a microwave and you have to tie your dominant hand behind your back. Now that’s a lesson in resourcefulness.So what can we as marketers do with limited or impaired resources to solve some of our common marketing problems? That’s what this post will set out to answer. We’ve set up three theoretical marketing challenges — quickfire challenges, if you will — and are going to walk through how you could utilize a random assortment of resources to solve the marketing problem! Because let’s be honest … there’s no such thing as a perfect world in marketing.Quickfire Marketing Challenge #1: Your boss says you have to kick up the blog post volume, but you can’t hire anyone new.Uh oh. There’s nothing worse than an already strapped marketer being asked to produce even more work. But there’s no excuses in marketing! Let’s see what resources you have at your disposal:PPC landing pagesPartner organizationsA graphic designerYou were hoping one of your resources was going to be a freelance writer, didn’t you? We’re not letting you off that easy. At first glance, none of these resources seem directly related to blogging, but there’s something to be done with each of them to help you solve your content shortage problem.The quickest solution of all is to repurpose the offers that live behind your PPC landing pages into blog posts. I’m willing to bet you’ve been isolating your PPC content up until this point, but content is content, and content that you paid to direct people towards is probably pretty good.If you want to create some blog posts that are both super quick to write and super effective at getting massive amounts of traffic and leads, get ready to dig through some data — data from your partner organizations! Data posts, especially ones containing original data, are sure to captivate your blog’s audience. If you have access to a partner organization’s data, craft blog posts around some of the surprising statistics gleaned from their numbers (giving them credit, of course). If your partners don’t have data repositories, you can still lean on them for guest contributions. Offer them inbound links back to their website so their content creation for your blog reaps them benefits in return.Finally, let’s visit your graphic designer — sidle up, smile your most winning smile, and ask them to make you some infographics, data visualizations, cartoons, or other types of visual content. Visual content resonates well with readers because, well, there’s very little actual reading involved! They’re also super-shareable, helping you grow your reach and hit those lofty traffic and leads goals. For more visual content ideas, visit this blog post that highlights unique content you can post to your blog.Quickfire Marketing Challenge #2: Social media engagement took a nose dive with everyone on vacation, and you need to increase it … stat!Can’t I just tweet more? No, not really. Let’s see what resources you have at your disposal to solve this social media engagement problem, and then we’ll figure out a solution:SmartphoneLive eventLeftover advertising budgetSurely you or someone in your marketing department has a smartphone, right? Well smartphones are hotbeds of marketing hacks due to one little thing: apps. Whether you’ve got an iPhone and have the App Store at your disposal, or run on Android and have the Google Play store to, well, play around with, there are lots of apps that make marketers’ lives easier and will help you solve a social engagement problem. Are you a fan of memes, for example? Lots of people are. And you can make them easily with the MemeGenerator app for Android. If you’ve got an iPhone, you have another tool at the ready called Over. Over allows for the quick and easy insertion of text onto your pretty iPhone pictures, taking your visual content creation one step further. Take a look:Of course, Instagram is probably the easiest and most frequently recommended visual content creation tool for social media. Available for both iPhone and Android, Instagram is one of the best free social tools your company can use. Incorporating more of this visual content into your social media will help you engage an audience that’s more inclined towards easily digestible content of this nature.Now let’s talk about that live event. When we talk about live events, we mean both in-person gatherings like our upcoming INBOUND 2012 conference, and online events like webinars. These events can help your social media engagement with a little assist from gameification — get a hashtag going for the event, and encourage participants to make use of it in order to win something. For example, on our latest webinars we’ve been giving away tickets to our upcoming inbound marketing conference to those who meet some end, like tweeting the most with our hashtag.Finally, that extra paid ad budget you’re sitting on can give you the quick engagement boost you need. Did you know about Facebook Promoted Posts, for example? They’re Facebook updates whose overall reach you can pay to increase. In an effort to monetize, social networks are making use of paid ads more and more frequently in order to let brands get more out of their social media presence; don’t be afraid to experiment with it!Quickfire Marketing Challenge #3: Sales is projected to miss quota, so they need extra marketing support to help meet their goal.When sales is in trouble, we’re all in trouble. What can marketers do to help? Let’s visit your resource kit:Closed-loop analyticsSocial media monitoring toolBlog contentFirst things first, it’s time to do some serious data diving. Break out your closed-loop marketing analytics tool and figure out which types of leads close at the fastest rate, with the highest average sale price. Knowing this will let your sales organization prioritize the leads that are most likely to close before the end of the month, and drive the most amount of revenue for your business. Think about it — if a salesperson knew there was someone in the pipeline worth $500 that would close in a week, they’d probably like to prioritize them over the lead that will close at $100 in 3 weeks. And if you’re the one to tell them that, boy will you be a hero.Additionally, you can use your social media monitoring tools to locate promising leads who aren’t even on your radar yet — often when they’re at the bottom of the funnel, too. Monitor for updates explicitly mentioning your company’s product or service so you get tipped off to people who are sales-ready, but somehow haven’t landed in your company’s funnel yet. Then you can identify and connect those new leads directly to sales reps right at their point of need!Now that your sales organization is swimming in bottom-of-the-funnel leads, you can help them accelerate the process with some collateral that addresses their leads’ problems. Instead of starting from scratch, visit your business blog to find content you’ve already written that directly addresses the questions that come up on sales calls. What better way to let your sales organization assert themselves and your business as the foremost authority on a subject matter than having a huge bank of collateral to send along to answer absolutely any question that’s asked?How have you gotten creative with the resources you have on hand to solve some tough marketing problems?Image credit: kennymatic Don’t forget to share this post! 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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 Jul 25, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 One of the most controversial decisions for almost any business owner is whether to post pricing information on their website. Invariably, business owners are inclined to keep this information off the website (this is not true for pure commodity driven sites, such as car rentals or hotels, of course, but for B2B services such as consultants, accountants, translators, and high end B2C items).But why is this the case even though it’s perhaps one of the most important pieces of data in the buying cycle?We’re here to say and show (in detail) that this is a huge mistake! If there is one thing that every buyer wants to know, it’s “What is this going to cost me?” So, why won’t people put price on their website?When I suggest placing price on a client’s site typically I get some version of these responses:1) “It’s not done in our industry” 2) “What happens if my competition sees it?”3) “All our pricing is custom, nothing is standard”And then simply:4) “We would never do that”It takes some negotiation, to be sure, but there are some very compelling reasons to rethink those lines of thought.Own the Price Conversation Here are some compelling reasons that reticent business and site owners should start including price.Here’s my logic: any buyer is trained to search for price as part of any purchase decision. They will continue to search until they find a price. And if it’s not on your site, you are not part of the price dialog. If there’s a price conversation going on anyway, don’t you want to be a part of it? It’s up to you to own the price conversation.Not having price on your site cedes the opportunity to your competition — or worse, someone not even affiliated with your industry — to control this crucial aspect of the buying decision. In fact, in keeping with a true inbound strategy, you should even blog about price. Openly share results and what your service costs with the people who are looking for that information. The goal is to own the price and value dialog of your product or service, so you can provide researchers with the context they need to understand your pricing model.What About Sticker Shock?There are several tactics you can employ to offset the fear that a visitor arrives at your pricing page and experiences sticker shock — another common concern among the reticent.First, use testimonials right on the page that speaks to the value of your product or service. Quotes from satisfied clients or buyers who shopped around and decided to purchase your product or service is a powerful strategy. There is an innate sense from buyers that the low cost provider is never the best, and there is more assumed value in a higher priced product. I also recommend listing the prices of other providers alongside yours — you can name them “Competitor 1” and “Competitor 2” if you’d rather not call them out by name — and use this chart to detail what is provided in your pricing versus the competition. Call out the features you and your competitors provide in the rubric, and accompany those with actual consumer benefits, too. Tying product or service features to things that matter to buyers, like support or quality, are what make buyers recognize the value behind additional cost. Finally, show actual results. Nothing is more powerful than, say, a before and after example. Instead of simply listing price on your site, use it as an opportunity to address anticipated buyer reactions like sticker shock, turning those research experiences into sales opportunities.And Don’t Forget the SEO OpportunityHere’s something else we’ve discovered: Ranking for pricing related keywords is easy. Why is that?No one wants to put price on their site!This is SEO gold. Highly searched terms with little to no competition means we should all set out to do some keyword research. Check out the terms and phrases in your industry related to “cost” and “price,” and invariably you’ll uncover some huge content opportunities. You can garner easy SEO wins by creating a pricing page and optimizing for these terms, and even including free offers to capture that qualified traffic and engage them in a sales conversation. This strategy works alongside another viable strategy for the really price-averse out there — putting detailed pricing information behind a landing page to make the exchange of this valuable information more controlled. Just to show you this strategy is grounded in experience (I have, indeed, employed this strategy on several occasions with profound results which you can see in our Inbound Marketing Strategy Case Study: The Priceless Download), here’s one example of a client of ours with decent traffic, but very few conversions. We conceived and launched a price chart behind a landing page and received 223 submissions over 4 months: We’ve employed this strategy on several occasions and the results have been profound. If you’re looking for more details on how to create, market, and distribute pricing downloads, please feel free to read our latest guide that explains how to turn pricing information into many, many (many!) leads. Doug Kirk is the President of Optimize 3.0, an inbound marketing agency located in New York that specializes in delivering online marketing strategies for websites seeking more return on their inbound marketing expenditure. Website Design
Design Templates Originally published Nov 25, 2013 11:04:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you’ve ever seen my “graphic design” work, you’d know why I’m putting it in quotes.Tis no bueno.But as a business blogger and an inbound marketer, I still have to do graphic-designey things sometimes — like create calls-to-action.Again, no bueno. Except for the fact that I work with a bunch of smart, creative people who are really good at making things easier for folks like me. So now, I’d like to round up all their knowledge and pass it on to you. Here’s the stuff that makes creating CTA buttons way easier. (For me, at least.)5 Resources That’ll Make Call-to-Action Creation Way Easier1) This software I’m using right now.I’m going to keep this short and sweet so you don’t think I’m sales-pitching you, but when I need a simple CTA, I use HubSpot’s tools. For instance, if you’ve ever seen the subscribe CTAs we use at the bottom of our blog posts, those are created using HubSpot’s CTA tools. It’s easier to just choose some basic design elements — color, shape, font — and get a button created in about 10 seconds flat.If I want something with more intricate design elements, I design outside of our software and bring it in later using that “Custom image” button. Here are the tools I use to do that.2) This post about PowerPoint design hacks.What does PowerPoint have to do with call-to-action button creation? Well, until about a month ago, I didn’t even have Photoshop on my computer, so most of my “design work” was done in PowerPoint. This post helped me understand the basics of using PowerPoint as a design tool — not just a presentation tool.So if you’re unsure of how PowerPoint could ever be used to create CTA buttons, check this piece out. If that’s old news to you, keep reading for more detailed stuff.(Make-Your-Life-Easier Tip: If you’re trying to keep your calls-to-action on-brand, but you’re not sure which colors to use, this “Quick Tip” post will teach you how to nail down your brand’s colors in PowerPoint.)3) This tutorial about creating call-to-action buttons in PowerPoint.If you’re like me, you “get” that PowerPoint can help you create marketing visuals, but you don’t feel like figuring out how to turn those random tools into an actual CTA button. Luckily, someone else figured it out for us.This post will walk you through, step-by-step, how to use tools in PowerPoint to actually get to a completed call-to-action button. This is perfect for the marketer who isn’t interested in fiddling around and just needs a button stat.4) These CTA templates for those who want to take the sexy up a notch.So you’ve got some calls-to-action that are somewhere between bare bones and sexy. How do you get it to the sexy end of the spectrum if you don’t have a designer, their software, or their skills?Templates, baby.Of all the things on this list, these templates are by far my favorite. They provide me with a wide array of design and style options and make it easy for me to see how I could customize them for my needs. In short, they help me be creative when I ain’t got no creativity left.To give you an idea of the array available, here’s a snapshot of a few of the templates. (There are 50 in total, all in PowerPoint.)5) This post about effective CTA copy.Of course, it’s not just about creating something that looks nice — our CTAs should have some killer copy to go with them, too. As a writer, I tend to focus on this more … because I’m better at it. Heh.Anyway, I found this post very helpful — a mix of research-based CTA copy advice and plain ol’ best practices. No matter how pretty your call-to-action button, confusing copy can ruin it. So don’t neglect the copy just because you’re having fun with design now ;-)I hope you’ve found these resources helpful. I seriously use them all the time when I have to create CTAs. And for the sake of clarity: These are resources for people who don’t have the resources to hire a designer — or learn how to be one.These are resources for agile marketers who have a backlogged designer and need a CTA in a snap or small business owners who can’t get a designer or agency on their payroll just yet. If you can get your CTAs created by someone fluent in the entire Adobe Creative suite and more, go for it! Topics:
The holiday season isn’t the only time your organization should be saying thank you and showing your appreciation of your supporters — but it’s a great time to start.In a recent podcast by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, fundraising consultant Claire Alexrad and Julia Wilson of One Justice shared their affordable methods of saying thank you all year round.A few things to remember that should apply to all your thank yous:It’s the thought that counts — not the cost.Personalize every gift.Think of both online and offline thank yous.6 Ways Nonprofits Can Say “Thank You” to Supporters1) Include your supporters in a video.There are a variety of ways to say “thank you” in a video, with tools like vSnap, GoPro, or your smart phone camera. But incorporating your supporters in the creation process is a fun spin on the traditional thank you video from your staff.One Justice scripted out their thank you message by printing out the words and sending them to all their supporters. They then had each person record their own video saying the words they received and then sending it back to One Justice. The organization then used iMovie to piece together the videos into one message, and shared it with everyone to say “thank you.” Those that participated didn’t know what the full message was going to say, so even those that helped were surprised, as well. You did it! Thank you! from OneJustice on Vimeo.2) Thank local supporters with some treats.One Justice’s Claire Alexrad shared her love of baking with her local supporters by baking cookies for her major donors and leaving them and a personalized note on their doorstep — her way of delighting her donors. Julia from One Justice also pointed out (if you’re not a baker) that her organization writes hand-written notes, attaches them to giant Ghirardelli candy bars, and has her volunteers go around their city of San Francisco delivering these sweet thank you treats.Establish who your local supporters are and do something personal — and in-person — for them. You can even tie your gift to your local city, as One Justice did with the local chocolate brand. Encourage them to share the thank you online with a specific hashtag.3) Customize swag to send as gifts.Claire uses Vistaprint to buy a variety of free customized items — from calendars, to mugs, to stickers. The simplest of free goodies can be great gifts for donors. Collect a variety of customized swag and send it out with a thank you note during the holidays or your giving campaigns.4) Make a point to remember your donor’s anniversaries.One Justice celebrates donor anniversaries with the organization — whether it’s the first time someone donated, or a big milestone like the 10th year a major donor has been giving. This is a great idea because most likely, your donors will never remember these anniversaries and will be so surprised to get a card celebrating this occasion. 5) Make personal thank you calls.charity: water has a year-round birthday campaign where anyone can pledge to give up their birthday and fundraise for the organization. In addition to sending out social media messages and sending end of the year gifts, they have volunteers call each fundraiser on their special day to say “thank you” and wish them a happy birthday. This is a great way to show your supporters you care, and that there are humans behind the organization’s amazing work. 6) Say “thank you” on Twitter.If you’re collecting donor information — either through the donation form or in person — ask for their Twitter handles (i.e. @TaylorLCorrado) so you can tweet at them to say “thank you.” This is a quick and free way to engage your online donors, and they’ll be sure to share your tweet with their followers, helping your organization raise awareness and potentially gaining new donors. How does your organization say “thank you”? Share your creative ideas with us! Nonprofit Marketing Originally published Dec 2, 2013 4:10:22 PM, updated July 28 2017 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
Blogging for your business is an important part of establishing your company as an industry thought leader, bringing in new site traffic, and converting that traffic into leads and customers.And while posts about an esteemed latest hire or an exciting product update are important pieces to help your readers keep up with company culture, the most impactful posts will be about your industry as a whole. But for marketers to pull back, assess current industry events, and provide a unique, helpful, practical take, it requires a certain amount of content curation. That curation sometimes turns into content on its own, or it simply helps inform marketers so they can create content that’s up to date (cutting edge, even).With that goal in mind, here are several quick ways to curate content for your industry blog. Use it to inform your content, find good topics, and add examples to the posts you’re writing.1) Use Reader ServicesThere are a number of reader services that curate content for you by pulling in blog posts from all over the web. After a quick morning flip-through, it’s easy to understand industry trends with everything all in one place. Some of the two most popular are Feedly and Digg, though there are certainly other options, too. Here’s a how-to for adding content to those two platforms:Feedly:Search keyword, business, or industry and select “matching feeds.”Click “+Feedly” to add feed to your curated dashboard.Digg:Search URL to add content.Click “Add” to add feed to your curated dashboard.2) Follow Trade Show BlogsTrade show blogs are some of the best places to find content, because they give good signals as to what’s changing in your industry and what trends you should keep reading more about. Even though trade shows are historically an offline lead generation source, they are becoming increasingly more inbound by providing attendees with industry blog content year round. 3) Monitor Social News StreamsThe mighty hashtag was literally created to track trends, so it’s not surprise it’s an excellent source of curating content for your blog. Broad tags like “#tech” or “#consulting” will give you general news, but getting more detailed will give you more detailed information. This blog post, “How to Do Keyword Research,” will be helpful in understanding how to approach selecting the right Twitter hashtags from which to curate.You’ll also end up inherently identifying some excellent Twitter accounts to follow when you start doing this hashtag curation. Identify the experts that provide the best content on Twitter — these are often the people who are doing a lot of blogging themselves on the subject matters you care about. Create Twitter Lists of these folks, and also look into who they are following to find even more fantastic content. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you’ll find monitoring hot topics on social easier using Social Inbox. You can use it to create an in-platform news stream when certain keywords are mentioned to help you easily scan for the latest industry news.4) Set Up Google AlertsGoogle Alerts scour the web for new mentions of specified keywords, and sends you an email notification with a link to that mention. So if you’re looking for updates on, say, inbound marketing — you can get pinged every time new content on the subject is published.Here’s an example of how to set up an alert for “inbound marketing” in Google Alerts:You can always click “manage alerts” to edit or delete an alert, too:5) Follow Folks on LinkedInYour LinkedIn feed is probably hopping with industry news, and it’s a fantastic platform to tap into to stay in the know. You can not only read what individuals are posting, but check out Group and Companies, as well — two treasure troves of industry information.To start receiving updates on the regular, make your life easier and follow a Company Page.If the content you’re interested in is largely in the many Groups on LinkedIn, select to be notified when there’s Group activity so you can check in. 6) Check Out Forums — May I Suggest Quora?Forums take more effort to dig through, but can be a great source of undiscovered industry content. This medium can be a place where customers come to praise or scold industry providers (yikes), or where industry providers get feedback on ideas. What’s great about forums is that it helps you keep your pulse on what people are talking about — so you know what you should be writing about.You can search for industry-specific forums, but I’d check out Quora for starts. It’s an already-active platform, so there’s plenty of existing content to comb through.7) Read and Subscribe to Other People’s BlogsYour industry includes more than just direct or indirect competitors — though you should be reading those blogs, too. In every single industry, there are complementary tools, software, hardware, or infrastructure.Think about what your company does, and what products or services a buyer would likely purchase in addition to yours. Let’s use HubSpot as an example, since we talked about Social Inbox earlier in the post. We provide software that (among other things) helps marketers get better at social media marketing. So it’s important that we read blogs from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to stay up to date on what’s going on with those platforms. We also read blogs from agencies, because many of our customers use agencies to help them with certain aspects of their business. Finding the blogs of these companies helps us identify the content we should write about, and stay in tune with our customers’ needs.What shortcuts have you set up for yourself to make curation of industry content easier? Share your tips with us in the comments! Topics: Blogging 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 May 13, 2014 1:06:17 PM, updated February 01 2017
@lkolo25 would love to! Let’s grab a drink later!— Jessica Gioglio (@savvybostonian) July 17, 2014 At most conferences, the speaking lineup is the main attraction. A lot of people buy their tickets specifically so they can see certain people speak. And you know what that means — there are a ton of people lined up after every session waiting for their chance to say hello to their favorite speaker. Meeting new people at conferences in general is an intimidating thought for most people — so how on earth do you meet one of the speakers without sounding like you’re about to make a sales pitch or ask for an autograph? You usually have only one shot to make a lasting impression with the people who everyone is dying to meet. Here are some tips to help you introduce yourself while looking calm, cool, and collected.DO: Ask for an introduction from mutual connections ahead of time.On LinkedIn, it’s easy to see if you and another person have mutual connections. In January 2014, LinkedIn added the “How You’re Connected” tool that shows you a list of mutual contacts demonstrating how a person’s connected to you. You’ll find this tool in the righthand sidebar when you visit the LinkedIn profiles of people you aren’t yet connected with. If you see you have a mutual connection with a speaker, reach out to that person and see if they’d be willing to make an email introduction so you can connect with the speaker ahead of time.DO: Let them know on Twitter you’d like to chat.Pretty much anyone loves getting tweeted at — famous speakers included. So a great way to connect with speakers is to tweet at them letting them know you’re a fan, that you liked their session, and/or that you’d like to connect later. Then, you can use the tweet as a conversation starter when you do connect in person instead of starting from scratch. I tried this with Dunkin’ Donuts PR & Social Media Manager Jessica Gioglio: 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 Aug 25, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: How easy was that? And even if you don’t get a response, remember that saying about how you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and whatnot.DON’T: Be the 100th person to ask for a selfie.Selfies with celebrities are hugely popular these days, so trust me when I say you’re probably not the first time the event speaker’s gotten a request for one that day. Above all, you want to make sure you’re respecting the speaker’s time — they’d probably rather spend it meeting people, answering questions, and engaging with event attendees, not smiling for the billionth photo they weren’t really ready for.But selfie-lovers, never fear: We have a special treat for those of you headed to INBOUND 2014 this September. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Shoot, I really wanted a selfie with Martha Stewart!”, then we totally have you covered. Thanks to Dan Zarella, you can now take a selfie with several of our INBOUND speakers — without actually having to take a selfie with them.Here’s how it works: Head over to the INBOUND Selfie Generator, choose a speaker from the dropdown menu, and click the “Take a Selfie!” button. Allow the use of your webcam, position yourself in the blank space next to the speaker, and click the button prompting you to take a photo. Don’t forget to say cheese!DO: Sit near the VIP section.Even if you can’t swing a VIP pass, you can still choose a seat at each session that’s close to the VIP section. Usually, you can find speakers and other VIPs sitting in the first few rows of every session. This will put you in a position to improve your chances of meeting one of the speakers by striking up a conversion before or after a session.DON’T: Be creepy.In other words, don’t fawn over the speaker. There’s no harm in sitting near the VIP section, but be cool about it — don’t take their picture from afar, and don’t hang around them throughout the event (unless you’ve been invited to do so).DO: Introduce yourself at a happy hour.You’ll find that many VIPs hang around event happy hours to chat with other speakers and attendees. This is probably the best time for you to introduce yourself, thank them for speaking at the event, and ask any questions you have about their work. In my experience, some VIPs don’t stick around happy hours for very long — they tend to have VIP dinners or other events planned. So, best to get to these happy hours on time — and don’t wait around for your chance to introduce yourself. DO: Send them a personalized invitation to connect on LinkedIn.It’s totally appropriate to connect with event speakers on LinkedIn before, during, or after an event — even you never got the chance to meet them in person. There’s no guarantee they’ll accept your invitation to connect (remember, they might have tons of invitations in their queue), but the key to standing out is sending a personalized message instead of resorting to LinkedIn’s default message. Here’s an example of what you could write:Hi Mandy,I really enjoyed your talk on social media in higher education this morning. I’m the sole person in charge of social media efforts at XYZ University, so I found your advice on how to get more budget invested in social media really useful. I can’t wait to use these tips at work!I’d love to connect with you here on LinkedIn and hopefully meet you at another one of your speaking events in the future. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to more helpful content from you.-Josh GarretyIf you send this before you meet them in person, you’ll have a talking point when you introduce yourself. “Hi, I’m Josh — I sent you a quick note on LinkedIn earlier. Really loved your session!”And that’s about it folks. Remembering these do’s and don’ts can help you stay cool when meeting a famous speaker, and will hopefully help you leave a good impression on them, too.What other tips do you have for staying calm and collected when networking with speakers? Conferences
Website Design Consumer behavior, from the city to the country, has changed. All of our consumer research begins online. Companies who fail to realize this are losing a lot of business.Over the last decade, there has been a massive shift in consumer behavior. Rather than reading ads, calling information lines, or speaking to sales reps, Google has become the research tool of choice. Before a customer calls your number or walks in your store, you can bet 99% of them already know what they want, and the pros and cons of that choice.The buying journey begins and ends on the Internet. And smart companies are the ones who are facilitating the buyer’s journey before those customers ever reach their competitors marketing. In short, if you are not actively pursuing customers on the Internet, you are losing business.’Brick and Mortar’ Businesses are Relics of the PastI’m from a small town in rural Oklahoma. We have one traffic light, and it hasn’t worked since I was a little kid. It wasn’t until I moved to the Pacific Northwest and claimed Seattle as my hometown that I became curious as to how the internet was affecting businesses in smaller communities.I did some research and was surprised at what I found. Let me show you why I believe there are no such thing as offline businesses anymore.How Do We Solve Our Problems?Some old-school businessmen might say the Yellow Pages or the newspaper; but that’s no longer true. We ask our questions on Google, and spend a few minutes checking out the results before we start evaluating solutions to our problem.For instance, as I was preparing to write this article, I saw this question from a friend on Facebook: “Who is the best dentist in Douglasville?” Now Douglasville, Georgia is a town of about 31,000 people. It’s not tiny, and I’m sure they have more traffic lights than my hometown. But it’s not huge either. I have lived in a city that size and everybody still knows everybody. So, I wondered how many people are asking that same question to search engines. I went to Google Keyword Planner and started looking up some statistics. What I found should make business owners sit up and take notice. Over 320 people are searching for “dentist in douglasville ga” every single month. Not only that, but there are a ton of related searches as well. A conservative ballpark would be 500 searches a month.People don’t search for dentists if they don’t need a dentist. Traditional “Local” Businesses vs. The InternetI took my research to the next level by looking up some business traditionally known around town. These are the bread and butter businesses every single township in the united states probably has; like plumbers and auto mechanics.It was not a surprise to learn well over 200 people are searching for a plumber in Douglasville every month on Google. It’s worth noting; no one looks for a plumber until they need a plumber. Need someone to fix your car in Douglasville? There are hundreds of people who share your problem and are looking for someone to solve that problem in Google.I don’t know about you, but I rarely search out mechanics for the fun of it. But when my car started smoking a month ago, I wanted to know who could fix it right at the best price. Where do you think I started my research? Hint: I didn’t drive around looking for ads on those expensive billboards, nor did I listen to the radio hoping to hear an ad. But you can keep spending money on those things if you want.None of these are warm leads; they are hot leads! And because they are local, the competition is non-existent online. The first company to discover inbound marketing is going to have as much business as they want.How to Take Your Business OnlineThe more I talk to companies the more I hear that they understand the need for online marketing, but they just don’t know how or where to start. Let’s take a high-level view of what you should do, and how.Step 1) Get a Good WebsiteFor a carpenter who needs a straight screwdriver, the prettiest Phillips head isn’t going to be attractive. Good doesn’t mean pretty; it means useful. It gets the job done.For companies just getting started online, your website should accomplish three things:Communicate Your Unique ValueIt should communicate your unique value proposition (UVP). What is it you provide your customers they can’t get from your competitors? That’s your unique value, and your website should communicate it clearly and directly.Learn More: 25 Companies Who Absolutely Nailed Their UVP Be Lead Generation ReadyThe purpose of your website is not to broadcast your service to the world. It’s to introduce yourself and ask for information in return. A website should be a dialogue, not a monologue. Make sure your website is ready to generate leads with an offer you will create in Step 3. This means you need a landing page design with a form that will capture information from your leads like name, address, phone number, and email address.For some getting started, services like Unbounce or LeadPages can make landing page design easy and fast.Feature a Blog or Learning CenterRegardless of what you call it, your blog is going to be the backbone of your online marketing strategies. It’s the place where you post fresh, interesting content your potential customers will find interesting, which we will talk about in step 4.Marcus Sheridan explains the difference in a traditional blog and a newer “learning center” approach. A traditional blog works for most companies. However, for those who need an extensive lead nurturing and customer education system, a learning center may make more sense.For websites built on WordPress or Drupal, having a blog attached is simple. For other’s, you may have to get a developer to attach a content management system to your website. We use HubSpot, which makes adding must-have features like this super easy.How to Get a Good WebsiteThere are a few ways you can get your company a good website. You can hire a freelance designer from services like UpWork. If you do this, you will have to closely manage the project and give your freelancer very detailed instructions. It’s a lot of work, but if executed right, you can get great quality development at a lower price.For companies who want the best, you could hire an agency to develop your website. There are benefits of having an agency develop your website, but the price will be more expensive than freelancer or web development moonlighters. However, for that price you will get access to skills from designers, web developers, and marketing professionals to make sure your website isn’t just good, but remarkable.Another option is to hire a full-time developer on your team or learn how to put together a website yourself. A full-time employee is normally the most expensive route to developing a website for your company. But for some companies, depending on what they want to do with their website, it’s the best choice.Learn More: 7 Tips for Finding and Managing Amazing FreelancersStep 2) Do Keyword ResearchKeyword research is done to discover how your target personas are doing their research online. You need to find what they are searching for, and then provide the content that will satisfy that need.Using the example above, the keyword “dentistry for children in Douglasville, GA” shows me a parent is looking for a good dentist for their kid. The driving desire or pain from that search shows me they don’t want to go to any dentist, they want to go to one who will be great with children. The winning question is, Why?What kind of content would address that person’s pain points? If you’re a dentist’s office, you should create content (blog article, video, etc.) that addresses that question. Keyword research reveals what you create in Step 4.How to Do Keyword ResearchThis is a huge topic in itself, and there are a lot of ways to do keyword research. Whichever methods you choose, you should create a spreadsheet or list of all of the keywords, long and short-tail, that you can focus on ranking for in Step 4.We will limit this article to talking about the best two ways to do keyword research:Tool #1 The Google Suggest ToolGo to google, and type in “Dentists in Douglasville.”The suggested searches, both in the drop-down and at the bottom of the search page show common search terms others are using. These are usually long-tail keyword phrases, which are much easier to rank for.For instance, it’s easier to rank high in the search engines for “Dentists in Douglasville That Accept Medicaid” than it would be for “dentists” or even “dentists in Douglasville.”To explode these suggestions out even further, you can use a tool called UberSuggest, which brings you an enormous list of phrases pulled from the Google suggest tool. Not all of them are valuable, but you’ll be able to come up with a ton of ideas for valuable keywords.Tool #2 The Google Keyword PlannerThe Keyword Planner is hidden inside a Google Adwords account. It’s primary purpose is for keyword research for paid advertising. But the search amount data for keywords is a great way to find high-value keywords to target in your marketing.This is where you can get hard numbers on search terms. Most likely, these will be root keywords or short tail keywords. Meaning, keywords with a lot of SEO competition. But when you find a keyword with a lot of search results, it also means that root keyword is going to be in multiplied times that in long-tail phrases.When I use Keyword Planner, I export all the keywords I feel are most valuable to target. And then, I run them through the keyword suggest tool to see what kind of long-tails I can find that I should target.Learn More: How to Find and Target High Value Keywords for Your BusinessStep 3) Create a Lead Generation Content OfferIn this step, we need to create the free product your ideal customers will want to download. This is what you offer them in the landing pages from step 1.There are many possibilities for content offers, the most popular being an eBook of some kind. If you’re just getting started, try to create an offer that relates to all of your target personas, and one that fits at the top of the buyers journey.Carrying on the dentist example, a great offer might be, “X Signs a Dentist is Great With Children,” or “The Scared Patient’s Guide to Finding a Gentle Dentist.” These are only ideas, but you should create an eBook or Case Study, or some other premium content your ideal customers would want to read.Then, you put it into PDF format and offer it as a download to everyone who will submit the form on the landing page. This is where you capture your leads and start the nurturing process.Learn More: How to Create Marketing Offers That Don’t Fall FlatStep 4) Provide Fresh, Interesting Content On Your BlogThis is where you attract your ideal customers to your website. The goal is not to write about your service or product. The goal is to write about the things that interest them and make their life better in some way.Always remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them. Don’t use your blog for sales pitches. Use it to solve their problems and answer their questions. The problem most companies face is writer’s block; they don’t know what content will be attractive to their customers. This article will show you how to come up with 100 blog topics your customers will be very interested in.Consult your keyword research. Use the questions your customers are posing to Google (Google Suggest Results) and produce content that addresses those concerns exactly.Create great, free content (blogs, videos, slide share) that make your target audience’s life better.Step 5) Join the Social Media WorldWho are your ideal customers, and where do they go for content? If you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn is probably your best network. If you’re B2C, Facebook or Pinterest might bring you the best return.If you’re a SaaS company, Twitter might be where you find the most engagement.As a rule of thumb, don’t try to be omnipresent. It’s a waste of time. Find out where your ideal customers hang out online, go there and mix it up with them. This is a great place to share your content from step 4. But, a word of warning, don’t just spam your channel with your blog posts. This is a place to have fun and be social. Share things that interest you and them, even things that have nothing to do with your business.Step 6) Measure, Learn, and Adapt.Marketing online is not a campaign. This is something we, as a marketing agency, face with customers all the time. Doing inbound marketing is not something you will push this year, then move on. It’s a way of life; it’s the way it’s going to be moving forward.For your first 12 months, you will be learning a lot, most of what not to do. Having negative results is frustrating when you’re just trying something out. But when you are truly an inbound marketing company, negative results teach you how to be better going forward.Whatever you try, be it paid ads or premium content offers, test and see how they perform. Measure their effectiveness against your goals. And then figure out how to make them work better moving forward.Test. Try new things. Try different content. Try videos instead of slide decks. Try long “deep dive” articles, instead of short, simple ones. Test, test, test. Then, find something that works and focus on it. Then, test some more to improve it even more.Offline-Only Business Goes ExtinctOnline marketing is not a fad, and it’s not a one-time test. It’s the way businesses will be for the foreseeable future.In times past, the most important thing to success was location, location, location. If a store was on the main road and had a big, noticeable sign; life was good.Today, if you’re not actively marketing online, someone eventually will. And they will take your customers quickly.Jump out in front, and find success. There is no such thing as an offline business anymore. They are going the way of the dinosaurs, very quickly. Originally published Nov 10, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 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 Sep 23, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Voice Search When you wear white, do you inevitably spill something all over yourself? I do. So when I had sushi at work last week, it wasn’t long before I was frantically yelling, “Siri, how can I get soy sauce out of white pants?”Thank goodness for voice search, am I right?Although, here’s the thing about voice search: According to the 2016 State of Inbound report, a huge number of marketers are making SEO their #1 priority. That’s great. But how does voice search fit into that strategy? Are marketers even thinking about it yet?While it’s certainly gaining popularity — the search engine Bing, for example, says that 25% of its queries are voice searches — it’s clear that this technology is still a work in progress. But that doesn’t make it any less important.To learn more about the challenges marketers face today, download the free 2016 State of Inbound report here.As people use voice search differently, the way they search in general is evolving. So how should marketers be thinking about it — especially when information and research are still limited? Let’s figure out how we got here, and where we are now.A Very Brief History of Voice SearchVoice search, as we today know it, dates back to the early 2000s, when Google first began to tinker with how voice recognition could be applied to their products. A patent was filed by Google in 2001 for a “voice interface for a search engine” — and in 2004, the search engine rolled out what the New York Times called a “half-finished experiment.” That was a primitive version of voice search in which users called a phone number provided by Google, asked a question, then opened their desktop browsers to reveal the results.Luckily — and obviously — that technology progressed, seeing many modifications that led to what is now Google’s Voice Search. And until 2013, that technology powered Apple’s Siri.And although Siri is strongly associated with Apple iOS, it actually began as its own independent app. It was operated by a startup — also aptly named Siri — that was eventually acquired by Apple. In 2011, the technology was built into the iPhone 4s.But in 2013, that all changed, when Apple began using Bing’s search engine technology to power Siri. It was a predecessor to Cortana, which launched in 2014 as Microsoft’s — which owns Bing — “voice-activated assistant.” (Fun fact: Bing also powers search engine results that are requested through Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service, or AVS.) Cortana is largely marketed as a full-service virtual assistance platform, which some say is what differentiates it from competitors in the voice recognition space.So, today, we have four major pillars of voice search:The Dawn of Voice Search: What To Know NowHow Has It Changed Over the Years?As we saw from the story about the earliest version of Google Voice Search, speech recognition technology is improving. And because it’s getting better, more people are adopting voice search.Source: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers 2016 Internet Trends ReportGoogle Voice Search queries have seen a 3400% increase since 2008. And of the current user population, the second-highest reason for using voice search is to get a faster result.Those numbers, says my colleague Matt Barby, show how voice search “is changing the way people find information.” A main point of voice search is to get an answer immediately, without actively searching for it. And Victor Pan, HubSpot’s SEO senior marketing manager, echoes that trend, noting that there’s a “higher intent” behind voice searches than conventional ones.That makes sense — just look at my soy sauce tale of woe. When it comes to voice searches, people are trying to do something, and they want to do it quickly. Those are things like layering appropriately for the weather, getting somewhere, or removing a stain from their clothes.But that made us wonder: What else are people looking for when they use voice search?Luckily, an app called Hound has been paying attention to what its users are doing. To shed some light on what people are using the app’s voice search features to uncover, check out this chart:What Are People Searching For?Source: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers 2016 Internet Trends ReportIn its analysis of these categories, Search Engine Land broke down the different searches that took place within each of them:Personal Assistant: Reminders, shopping and to-do listsFun and Entertainment: Searching for and playing music and video, social media interactions, sports and TV schedulesGeneral Information: Miscellaneous web searches for things like recipes, news, banking and travelLocal Information: Local business listings (like restaurants and shops), food delivery, weather and trafficIt’s that last one — local information — that really set the stage for vocal search as it was first pioneered. And when it comes to SEO, that category might have the greatest implications.What Does This Mean for Marketers?First, let’s make one thing clear: At present, “there isn’t really a way to plan and rank for voice search,” Barby says.The only exceptions to that are businesses that offer localized services. Figuring out what’s nearby is one of the chief reasons people are using voice search. But it also shows the way vocal search queries differ from conventional ones, Barby says. When you use voice search, you might ask, “Where is the best sushi in Cambridge?” That contrasts from a conventional search, where you might type something like “Best sushi Cambridge,” (P.S. It’s Thelonious Monkfish. Just saying.)That’s an opportunity for local businesses to optimize for voice search. As we covered, that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with SEO, but it does have to do with how these businesses package themselves elsewhere. Business aggregator sites are linked to different voice search platforms — for local searches, for example, Amazon’s Echo uses Yelp listings. So it’s important, writes Search Engine Land’s Wesley Young, for businesses to make sure their listings on those sites are “comprehensive, accurate and optimized to be referenced” within a third party site.But let’s go back to how we phrase these queries. Voice searches for local businesses reveal how much we’ve strayed from the way we were originally trained to search. Before this technology was available, Pan says, “we were trained to search by piecing different phrases together.” Think:soy sauce stainremove soy sauce stainsoy sauce stain removal“Voice search changes that,” he explains. “It becomes a conversation.”Read: “How can I get soy sauce out of white pants?”But there’s a bit of a problem. At the moment, there aren’t very many tools available to see what people are searching for via voice. While voice queries are definitely becoming more popular — Google is reporting that 20% of searches performed through its mobile app are vocal — voice-specific metrics and analytics aren’t currently provided by most platforms.But there’s a hack …And that, Pan says, is paid search.That can be used, Pan explained, to create something called a “broad match modifier,” in which an ad is only triggered when a certain set of words — dictated by the marketer who creates the ad — appear in a query.From there, you can analyze the impressions and metrics of the paid search campaign, and filter those results down to see which queries were mobile. And while there’s currently no way to isolate which of those were voice queries, you can examine the way they were phrased, and make an educated guess on which ones may have been vocal.Paid search is really its own beast, though — luckily, we’ve covered it before. Check out our beginner’s guide to pay-per-click, or our catalogue of blogs about it.But until there’s an official tool or analytics platform to measure these things, Pan says, marketers have to create hacks like these to find the data they want.“Until these numbers become official, we don’t have exact numbers, and therefore, we don’t have exact tools,” he continued. “And without exact tools, we don’t have an exact methodology on how to tackle this.”Planning AheadHere’s the thing: According to ComScore, at least half of all searches will be made via voice query by 2020. That’s not so far away. And it doesn’t mean that we should ignore traditional SEO, either.But it does make us think that, as adoption rates of voice search continue to rise and the technology continues to improve, search engine analytics will have no choice but to start providing the tools that aren’t currently missing. Google, for example, is certainly no stranger to algorithmic changes that improve the user experience. And with data indicating that more users are turning to voice query, that experience will have be optimized, too. With those changes, we hope, will also come more precise data available to marketers on these usage rates and voice-specific queries.In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to think about what you might do to start preparing. In addition to what we’ve covered thus far, Moz’s Rand Fishkin put together a helpful guide to the types of keywords he predicts will be in a “safe” versus “danger” zone for voice search — have a look here.What do you see for the future of voice search? Let us know in the comments. 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
Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Nov 28, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 SEO Topics: Think about everything you’ve bought in the last six months, specifically the big purchases. When was the last time you didn’t start a shopping trip with a Google search? If your answer is anything close to “I can’t remember,” you’re in good company. Every year, over 2.8 trillion search queries are made on Google alone.A strong SEO strategy will help your business generate more leads and get found by potential customers, but search engines are constantly switching up and tightening up their criteria for high rankings. If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of search engines and their algorithms, how will you know what steps to take to help your business get found?Click here to get everything you need to get your website ranking in search.Ryte and HubSpot have joined forces to bring you the answers you’re “searching” for with a 3-part Complete SEO Starter Pack. The kit includes everything you need to get your website and blog ranking on search engines, specifically:A 30-day SEO planner (with tips and strategies for each day of the month)Beginner’s guide on “What is SEO” and the new era of search enginesA template for on-page SEO tips in excelThe keys to gaining inbound links to your site for improved off-page SEOWhich performance indicators to track when analyzing SEO performanceHow to structure your web pages for maximum on-page SEOHow to identify the keywords your target audience is searching forAnd much more on a successful long-term SEO strategy Click here to download your Complete SEO Starter Pack.
WINNIPEG – A man was sentenced to 23 years in prison Monday for randomly attacking two women in separate sexual assaults that left both victims with severe physical and emotional trauma.Justin Hudson, 22, was given consecutive sentences for the attacks, which were committed with a teenage co-accused in different areas of Winnipeg on November 7, 2014 — a night that started with a plan to go out and steal cars, court was told.“He was presented with an opportunity and brutalized each woman because he could not control his anger,” provincial court Judge Tim Killeen said in handing down his sentence.“The accused must be separated from society to protect others and to denounce his crime.”Hudson, along with a co-accused who is waiting to be sentenced, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault.The first attack occurred when the two were walking down a street and came across a 16-year-old girl. They robbed, beat and sexually assaulted her. She ended up in the frigid Assiniboine River and dragged herself out 100 metres away, only to be beaten unconscious with a hammer and left for dead.She was found the next morning by a passerby and spent days clinging to life in hospital. She later became an advocate for a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.Hours after the first attack, Hudson and his co-accused repeatedly beat and sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman. She spent three days in hospital with severe injuries to her skull and other areas.The victims and Hudson’s co-accused, who was a minor at the time, cannot be named under a court order.The Crown asked for a life sentence at a hearing last year, while the defence sought a sentence of 12 to 14 years.Defence lawyer Amanda Sansregret noted that Hudson was neglected and sexually abused during his upbringing. A psychologist’s report said he has a cognitive disability, had a lot of trouble in school and was bounced between several homes.He was in the care of Child and Family Services and found himself suddenly without any support when he turned 18.Killeen said a lengthy sentence, but not a life sentence, was justified for Hudson.“His background, his limitations, his history of being abused and neglected, lead to a conclusion that his responsibility has not risen to the point where a life sentence is needed,” the judge said.“He will have the possibility of rehabilitation (and) a release at an age where he can have some semblance of a more-normal life.”With enhanced credit for time served, Hudson’s sentence going forward is 19 years and four months.
A man walks past a television screen broadcasting live footage of a ceremony to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-Sung, at a railway station in Seoul. Photo: AFPNorth Korea’s military forces were massed in Pyongyang Saturday for a show of strength by leader Kim Jong-Un as tensions mount over his nuclear ambitions.Hundreds of flatbed trucks packed with soldiers lined the banks of the Taedong river ahead of a parade through the North Korean capital.Ostensibly the event was to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim’s grandfather, the North’s founder Kim Il-Sung – a date known as the ‘Day of the Sun’ in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name.But it is also intended to send an unmistakable message to Washington, Seoul, Tokyo and other capitals about the isolated, nuclear-armed North’s military might.Pyongyang is under multiple sets of United Nations sanctions over its atomic and ballistic missile programmes, and has ambitions to build a rocket capable of delivering a warhead to the US mainland – something US President Donald Trump has vowed “won’t happen”.It has carried out five nuclear tests – two of them last year – and multiple missile launches, one of which saw three rockets come down in waters provocatively close to Japan last month.Speculation that it could conduct a sixth blast in the coming days to coincide with the anniversary has reached fever pitch, with specialist US website 38North describing its Punggye-ri test site as “primed and ready” and White House officials saying military options were “already being assessed”.Trump has dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and an accompanying battle group to the Korean peninsula.“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump told the Fox Business Network. “He is doing the wrong thing,” he added of Kim. “He’s making a big mistake.”China, the North’s sole major ally, and Russia have both urged restraint, with Beijing’s foreign minister Wang Yi warning Friday that “conflict could break out at any moment”.The North has reiterated its constant refrain that it is ready for “war” with the US.Its army vowed Friday a ‘merciless’ response to any US provocation but diplomats in Pyongyang are more sanguine, pointing out that the North raises its rhetoric every spring, when Washington and Seoul hold annual joint exercises that it views as preparations for invasion.None of the North’s five previous nuclear tests have taken place in the month of April.‘Tough message’On past form, the parade will see Kim watch ranks of goose-stepping soldiers marching through Kim Il-Sung Square in the centre of Pyongyang, accompanied by tanks, missiles on trailers, and other materiel.Military specialists keep a close eye on such events for clues about developments in the North’s capabilities. Jeffrey Lewis, of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies said he was looking out for “the possibility of a new ICBM”, adding: “There may be some surprises.”The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty and Pyongyang says that it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself against a possible US invasion.The US cruise missile strike on Syria vindicated its stance, it said last weekend.According to diplomats, North Korean officials have described the US president as “unpredictable” and been unnerved by his comments and actions.Pyongyang could use the parade as a show of strength in preference to a nuclear test, analysts said.It wanted to send “a tough message to the United States in response to the Trump administration’s recent rhetoric and the military steps the United States has taken”, said Evans Revere of the Brookings Institution in Washington.Another missile launch or nuclear test “can’t be ruled out”, he said, but the Syria strike and Washington’s implied threats “may give Pyongyang some pause”.“A parade is a highly visible but non-kinetic way of showing off capabilities,” he told AFP.The North is aiming its message at China as well as the US, analysts say.Beijing has made clear its frustration with Pyongyang’s stubbornness but its priority remains preventing any instability on its doorstep, and it has been unnerved by the sabre-rattling.The state-run Global Times newspaper, which sometimes reflects the thinking of China’s leadership, issued an unequivocal warning to Pyongyang in an editorial this week that it “should avoid making mistakes at this time”.Pyongyang was “upset with all of its neighbours”, said Bruce Bennett of the Rand Organisation and Kim needs to “demonstrate defiance”.North Korean culture is that its leaders “are supposed to reign by power”, he said. “He cannot back down without looking weak and thereby facing the prospect of a coup.”
Supporters of the Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) Islamist political party chant slogans after the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam, during a protest in Peshawar, Pakistan, on 31 October2018. ReutersPakistan’s Supreme Court Wednesday overturned the conviction of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother facing execution for blasphemy, in a landmark case which has incited deadly violence and reached as far as the Vatican.Blasphemy is an incendiary charge in deeply conservative Muslim Pakistan, where even unproven allegations of insulting Islam and its Prophet Mohammed can provoke death at the hands of vigilantes — and the acquittal immediately sparked large protests from hardliners.Bibi appeared to be in state of disbelief after hearing that Pakistan’s chief justice Saqib Nisar had quashed her conviction nearly eight years after she was first sentenced to death.”I can’t believe what I am hearing, will I go out now? Will they let me out, really?” Bibi told AFP by phone from prison after the ruling.”I just don’t know what to say, I am very happy, I can’t believe it.”Demonstrations broke out in major cities across the country following the verdict, with approximately a thousand club-wielding demonstrators blocking Islamabad’s main highway as several roads in the port city of Karachi were barricaded by protesters sparking chaotic traffic jams.But the acquittal was met with near silence on the country’s airwaves as broadcasters appeared to be steer clear of covering the controversial topic.- Protection detail? -Bibi was set to be released immediately according to the court, although there was no word if any security arrangements were being made for her protection.Her legal team celebrated the court’s decision amid beefed-up security in Islamabad.”The verdict has shown that the poor, the minorities and the lowest segments of society can get justice in this country despite its shortcomings,” Bibi’s lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook told AFP.”This is the biggest and happiest day of my life.”Her case drew the attention of international rights groups and swiftly became the most high-profile in the country.Pope Benedict XVI called for her release in 2010, while in 2015 her daughter met his successor and the current head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.Freedom for Bibi in Pakistan, where university students have been lynched and Christians burnt in ovens over blasphemy claims, means a life under threat by hardliners, who regularly hold demonstrations calling for her execution.The allegations against Bibi date back to 2009, when she was working in a field and was asked to fetch water. Muslim women she was labouring with allegedly objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.The women went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, a charge punishable by death under colonial-era legislation.- Blasphemy weaponised -During the appeal hearing on 8 October, a three-member panel of Supreme Court justices appeared to question the case against her, with Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, considered Pakistan’s top expert in criminal law, listing flaws in the proceedings.”I don’t see any derogatory remarks vis-a-vis the holy Koran as per the FIR,” added chief justice Saqib Nisar, referring to the initial complaint filed in the case.Approximately 40 people are believed to be on death row or serving a life sentence in Pakistan for blasphemy, according to a 2018 report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.Leading rights groups have long criticised the legislation, saying it is routinely abused to justify censorship, persecution, and even murder of minorities.In recent years, it has also been weaponised to smear dissenters and politicians.Mere calls to reform the law have provoked violence, most notably the assassination of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s most populous province Punjab, by his own bodyguard in broad daylight in Islamabad in 2011.Taseer had also called for Bibi’s release. His assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, was executed in 2016 and has been feted as a hero by hardliners, with a shrine to him built by Islamists just outside the capital.Taseer’s son Shahbaz tweeted “Pakistan Zindabad”, meaning “Long live Pakistan”, following the ruling.Politicians including new prime minister Imran Khan invoked blasphemy during a general election this summer, vowing to defend the laws.Analysts have warned the tactic could deepen sectarian fractures and potentially spill into violence.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, FileFILE – In this Sept. 22, 2014, file photo, a view of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration, claiming it is violating immigration laws and its own policies by detaining immigrants who have a solid case for seeking asylum in the United States. The ACLU said it was filing a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington claiming that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is detaining many asylum seekers for months while they await hearings before an immigration judge. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration, claiming it is violating immigration laws and its own policies by detaining immigrants who have a solid case for seeking asylum in the United States.The ACLU said it filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington claiming that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is detaining many asylum seekers for months while they await hearings before an immigration judge.Immigrants seeking asylum must initially pass a “credible fear” screening to determine if they face a threat of persecution in their home countries. Those that fail that standard are deported immediately. Previously, those that passed were usually given “humanitarian parole” while awaiting an immigration hearing, provided that they were not considered flight risks or dangers to the public.The lawsuit claims that under Trump, the number of asylum-seekers granted such parole has dropped to nearly zero in five key ICE field offices: Detroit, El Paso, Texas, Los Angeles, Newark, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. The ACLU said in a statement that in 2013, nine of 10 asylum seekers from these field offices were released while awaiting immigration hearings.ICE officials did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment about the lawsuit.The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, names several plaintiffs, including a Haitian ethics teacher who has spent 16 months in custody in Chardon, Ohio. The teacher, Ansly Damus, has been granted asylum twice by an immigration judge. But the government continues to appeal the decisions and he remains behind bars. He has not been allowed outside in more than a year, the ACLU said.In an interview, ACLU attorney Michael Tan charged that the Trump administration is punishing people seeking asylum.“The United States is trying to send a message to asylum seekers that they need not apply,” he said. Share