Baking Industry Awards ’18: Baker of the Year

first_imgSponsored by Brook Food Processing EquipmentWinner: Paul Rhodes, Paul Rhodes Bakery Paul Rhodes began his career as a chef, and this background spurred him on to developing and baking products for businesses such as five-star hotels, Fortnum & Mason and Google, as well as events including Ascot and Wimbledon.Based in Greenwich, this mainly wholesale business has grown consistently over the past 15 years and serves about 600 chefs across London. It also has shops in Greenwich and Notting Hill.“One moment that really stands out from my early days is when chef Pierre Koffmann let me bake my own breads for the first time,” says Rhodes. “I didn’t realise that one day I’d also serve them to Prince Charles.”All the breads, pastries and cakes are handcrafted.“I don’t want to be the biggest bakery in London, but I do want to be the best and make sure we’re a choice employer for good bakers to come to learn and develop,” adds Rhodes.“I love baking and am in the bakery each day. I try to be transparent and ambitious. We are now using a number of heritage grains that are organically grown.”Paul Rhodes Bakery is also increasingly active on social media, sending newsletters on new products, tweeting, blogging and posting on Instagram. Finalist: Aidan Chapman, Flint Owl BakeryAidan Chapman has worked at Flint Owl in Lewes, Sussex, for 18 months and has played a key role in its progression by helping expand the product range and training new bakers. Flint Owl has recently opened a second shop and café, and it wholesales throughout Sussex.Previously Chapman was head bread tutor at the River Cottage restaurant and worked at Bread Ahead in London’s Borough Market. “I’m passionate about using organic and local produce and believe bread should be regarded as a healthy contribution to the daily diet,” he says. “I’ve developed new breads and pastries – for example, vegan burger buns and vegan croissants – while our bread range is ever-evolving with beautiful sourdoughs and focaccias, using seasonal and local produce.”Chapman’s ambition is to have his own book published, and he also takes pleasure in passing on skills that have been given to him. As a result, Flint Owl is setting up a bakery this month (September), aimed at bakers who want to open their own business doing a paid internship.Finalist: Aidan Monks, Lovingly Artisan Aidan Monks’ core values are “simple hard work, a culture of respect and integrity, a deep-seated understanding of the science of breadmaking and a focus on using quality ingredients”.He was initially inspired by his grandfather, who was a baker in Ambleside in the Lake District, later enhancing his knowledge at the College of Culinary Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, followed by expert mentoring from Grands Moulins de Paris.His family business, founded in 2010, is located at Plumgarths, just outside Kendal, and comprises a bakery and retail shop there, and at Altrincham in Cheshire. Employing 15 people, Lovingly Artisan supplies wholesale to catering and hotel businesses across the north west.“I like to use raw milks, ancient heritage grains and double fermentation for our breads,” says Monks. “This understanding of the ancient art of baking is at the heart of all I believe in, all that we do and strive to be.”A hands-on baker, Monks is now National Toast Ambassador for National Toast Day.last_img read more

‘We came out and played with some fire’ B52s learn from, look to build from loss

first_imgSometimes a loss a says a whole lot more about a team than a win does.After loosing 12-1 in their series opener on the road against the Healdsburg Prune Packers on Saturday, the B52s responded with a much better outing on Sunday and pushed the Prune Packers into extra innings, eventually loosing 4-3 in 10 frames.It was a loss which B52s’ head coach Scott St. John said described as a moment in which his club showed perhaps as much promise going forward as it had in any win this season.“After …last_img

Eskom, Transnet boost for technical skills

first_imgKnowledge transfer and training “In addition, commercial contracts have been entered into with suppliers on Eskom’s build programme with clauses that deal with knowledge transfer and training,” Gigaba said. Source: BuaNews Gigaba said the recently launched Eskom Academy of Learning would, together with partnerships with tertiary institutions and supplier networks, be used to train new recruits. He pointed out that Eskom’s build programme alone would require on average 160 scientists, 2 145 engineers and 2 950 artisans per year over the next five years. Additional funding required On the other hand, logistics group Transnet is aiming to train 427 engineers and 1 412 artisans this year and a further 60 engineers and 500 artisans a year between 2012 and 2016, Gigaba said. State-owned companies Eskom and Transnet have several programmes under way to ensure that South Africa acquires the skills it needs to carry out its infrastructure investment programme, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba told Parliament in Cape Town last week. Eskom’s aim is to constantly ensure that it has at least 2 500 artisan learners, which are replaced when the learners qualify every year. Usually about 1 200 learners qualify every year. 12 May 2011 He added that the Department of Public Enterprises and the Department of Higher Education and Training are together looking at ways to fund the additional trainees, as the National Skills Fund currently does not fund infrastructure investment. Transnet spends R144-million a year on engineering bursaries and a further R73-million on artisan training. Recipients of its bursaries are all placed in positions across the group’s operations. The electricity utility is currently training over 5 200 learners, 80% of whom are studying in the engineering and technical fields, and has also entered into a joint project with other state-owned enterprises to train an additional 1 500 trade persons per year by making use of underutilised training facilities in the sector. The academy is focusing primarily on developing engineers, technologists, technicians and artisans and has faculties in engineering, artisan, services, project management, leadership and finance. “Although opportunities exist to grow the intake of artisans, this will require additional funding to upgrade facilities and ensure adequate resources,” Gigaba said, adding that preliminary estimates indicate that R212-million is needed to fund a further 1 000 trainees and R325-million for an additional 2 000 trainees.last_img read more

FNB launches banking app for tablets

first_img17 April 2013With tablet devices growing in popularity in South Africa, First National Bank (FNB) has become the first of the country’s retail banks to release a banking app customised for tablet devices.“The new banking app, designed specifically for tablet devices, was developed with ease-of-use as a key priority and utilises the full capability of the latest tablet devices. It is completely custom-made and not a re-skin of our existing smartphone app,” FNB’s Farren Roper said in a statement on Monday.“We decided to build a customised App in order to offer consumers a fully immersive app that includes touch screen tablet banking, with features like drag and drop, swiping and double tapping, all of which make for a great user experience.”According to the research firm IDC, year-on-year sales for tablet devices in South Africa has grown by 78.4%, while laptop and desktop computer sales have declined by 4.1%.The tablet market grew more than 80% to surpass 128-million units shipped in 2012, and IDC expects tablet shipments to surpass desktop PC shipments for the first time in 2013, and to outpace “portable” PC shipments in 2014. Currently, it is estimated that South Africa has more than 1-million tablets in circulation.According to FNB, new adopters of tablets are not the only consumers who will benefit from the new banking app. A quarter of the bank’s current 450 000 smartphone app customers are accessing the app from a tablet device, the bank says, meaning that these customers can now migrate to the tablet app.“Customisation is crucial for tablets because of their popularity globally and in South Africa,” said Roper. “Tablet devices are important enough to have their own roadmap.”Aside from content, new account openings and applying for products, some of the other functionality contained in the new app includes: viewing accounts, viewing detailed balances, changing limits, viewing transaction histories, viewing eBucks, once-off payments, multiple payments, forex and calculators, send money, prepaid airtime and electricity.“We know that tablets are very popular devices and that their popularity is on the rise, which has given us an opportunity to super-serve our tablet app clients,” said Roper. “This App was built in South Africa, by South Africans.”The app is available for download in app stores across Apple, Android and Windows 8 devices.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

How to Launch a Google AdWords Campaign the RIGHT Way

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Google Ads Originally published Dec 27, 2011 11:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 So you’ve decided to try out a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign for your business. Awesome! Paid search is an extremely powerful tool and a valuable asset for enhancing your company’s online presence. But let’s be honest here – Google AdWords can be a little intimidating when you’re just starting out. There are a handful of decisions to make when you’re setting up your campaign, and it’s not always clear how to approach them.Let’s assume you’ve already compiled a list of relevant, long-tail keywords that you want to target. (If you haven’t, check out these keyword selection tools to help you out.) Once you’ve compiled your keyword list, you’re ready to create your AdWords account. Here are 3 important how-to’s for getting started.1. How to Structure Your AccountThe structure of your account in Google AdWords is critical to the efficiency and success of your paid search campaign. So you have your keywords, you have the list of keywords that you’re buying, and then you have the ad that you want to show when somebody types in one of those keywords. Now you want to group together the keywords for which you want your ad to be displayed, so that you can create highly relevant ad copy for these keywords and increase the likelihood that the searchers are going to click through.You can do this by creating a grouping of related keywords in what is called an “ad group.” So let’s say you have the keywords ‘tennis shoes,’ ‘best tennis shoes,’ and ‘shoes for tennis.’ You can create a ‘Tennis Shoes’ ad group, put those keywords in the ad group, and create an ad that is closely targeted to those keywords. Then if your company also sells other kinds of shoes, you can set up more ad groups, maybe for ‘Walking Shoes’ or ‘Running Shoes.’Let’s say your company also sells shirts though. Google lets you structure your account on one more level as well, and that is by “campaign.” So you can take all of your ad groups for shoes, put them in a ‘Shoes’ campaign, and then create another campaign for ‘Shirts’ with its own ad groups, keywords, and ads.It’s important that you structure your account in such a way that your keywords and your ad copy are tightly woven together. Then you can use your ad groups and your campaigns to keep them nicely bucketed together and better organized.2. How to Set Your BudgetWhen you pay Google for your PPC campaign, you don’t whip out your credit card every time someone clicks on your ad. Instead, you set a daily budget on the campaign level. So for each campaign, you can dictate how much money Google can spend on those ad placements per day. For example, you can say you want to spend $300/day on your shoe campaign and $200/day on your shirt campaign, and Google won’t exceed those amounts.But what if all that money is spent in only an hour or two? After all, if you have highly relevant or very popular keywords, you do run the risk of blowing through your budget quickly. Well, Google also offers a feature that allows you to request that your budget be spread out throughout the entire day. This works well for brands that want to establish a presence throughout the day.The daily budget cap is certainly a reassuring feature, especially for those who are just starting out with paid search. You can set a low budget when you get started, slowly begin measuring success and lead quality, and try your hand at optimizing your campaign before you really invest a lot of money in it.3. How to Optimize Your AdsNow, just because you set a daily budget of, say, $500, doesn’t mean that the entire budget will be spent every day. Google will try to spend your full daily budget, but the ability to do so ultimately depends not only on your keywords but also the effectiveness of your ad copy. After all, if you can’t get anyone to click on your ads in the first place, you’re not going to be paying anything. This is why ad copy is critical to an effective PPC campaign.When it comes to creating your ad, there is essentially a formula for it, since Google limits the number of characters you can use. The four numbers you need to remember are: 25, 37, 35, 35.You have 25 characters for the title, which is displayed in blue text as the first line of the ad. Then you have 37 characters for the display URL (also called the ‘vanity URL’), which is not the actual URL to which your ad directs viewers, but is simply for display purposes. For example, if my ad is about blogging for business, I could set the display URL to be www.hubspot.com/blogging, even if this isn’t the site to which I’m redirecting. The URL to which you actually direct clicks to your ad is called the ‘destination URL.’ These will often be longer and may contain tracking codes, which makes them messier. So of course, you wouldn’t want these displayed in your ads anyway.Then you have two description lines of 35 characters each. You’ll notice in the sample ad above that there are actually two calls-to-action there. The first line informs viewers that they can use blogging to generate leads, a more general piece of information, whereas the second line is a call-to-action for a specific offer. Make sure you maximize use of the limited number of characters you’re given in order to make your ad as effective as possible.So now you know how to structure your account, set a starting budget, and plan your ad copy effectively. Go ahead and get started! And don’t forget, optimizing each of these things, though important to do well from the start, takes time and testing. Don’t get caught up in getting it perfect right away. Just do your best, and go from there.This post is an adapted excerpt from our free ebook, An Introductory Guide to PPC. To learn more about paid search, download the free ebook here!last_img read more

Getting the Most From Live Events: A Guide for Attendees, Hosts & Participants

first_img Event Marketing There are thousands of conferences every year, and thousands of opportunities for attendees, exhibitors, speakers and conference planners to benefit from these events. However, most of these chances are lost in the chaos of an event and the post-conference wrap-up. In fact, according to a study done by SiriusDecisions, 80% of companies don’t even follow up with leads after a trade show.So what can be done to make sure you get the most out of an event, whether you are attending, part of the conference, or throwing the event? This post will break down the ways everyone can squeeze every last ounce of ROI out of in-person events.If You’re an AttendeeAttendees go to events to learn how to do their jobs better. They want to hear from thought leaders, make new connections, and walk away from events more valuable to their company. Here’s how you can do that if you’re attending an event.1) Meet everyone you can.When people think about attending an event, one of the first things they think of is the networking possibilities. And for good reason! You could meet a future co-worker, boss, mentor, or just a plain ol’ smart person there.But networking is much easier said than done. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with the basics — just ask what company they are from and what their job is. Then move on to talking about projects in progress that might be interesting based on what your roles have in common. Close out the conversation by asking if you could keep in touch for the future, and explain how they would benefit from the relationship.Not everyone carries business cards anymore, but don’t let that stop you from asking for one to make staying in touch easier. Then after your conversation closes, jot down some notes on the back of their business card so that you remember the highlights of your conversation and can follow up in a meaningful way once you get home.2) Get exposure to other companies.It isn’t enough just to hear executives at companies speak; you should network with the companies who are similar to you. In fact, sometimes it is more helpful to talk to people who have the same positions in other companies than to talk to head honchos or speakers. Meeting others who are in the same shoes as you can be helpful to learn what tactics they are using, how they manage up, and what their businesses are doing to succeed. This provides the opportunity to learn from their struggles and triumphs and even see how competitors compare to your company.LinkedIn Events is a great resource to consult before attending events so you can do some recon work to see who will be attending events, and learn about their current positions, work history, and network connections. You should also plan in advance what types of questions you want to ask and who in the company you want to meet. That way you are prepared for conversations, and have some ideas about how these encounters can turn into co-marketing opportunities!3) Learn how to improve your business from the speakers.Conference sessions, especially those that present case studies, offer fantastic, actionable ideas about how to improve your business. If slides are used, request the presentations from the speaker or conference organizer so you can bring them back to your office after the event; this will help you better listen, think, and ask questions during the presentation instead of scrambling to take notes. You should also sit as close to the front as possible so you can ask the speaker questions after the presentation. Speakers plan to stay after the presentation for this reason, so take advantage of it!4) Make the lessons you learn actionable.It’s easy to waste money on events if you don’t have a goal in mind about what you want to achieve from your attendance. Before you go to an event, set that goal — it could be making 5 new connections for business development opportunities, growing your opt-in email list, or even finding a new employee. As you go to the sessions, sponsor areas, and networking events, keep your eye on the ball to achieve that goal, and take notes on what actions you will take when you get back to the office. Then, you know, do it. And don’t forget to share what you learned with your co-workers, too — at HubSpot, we frequently put together short presentations for our weekly meetings to share what we learned at the events we attended.5) Set new goals based on what you learned at the event.One of the reasons events are so great is the opportunity to learn about new topics and subjects. When HubSpotters attend events, for example, we get excited to learn about new advancements in traditional media, or growing fields like mobile marketing and location based services. So when you hear mention of something new at events, set a task for yourself to learn more about the topic. This could mean taking courses, reading the latest books and online publications. or networking with a thought leader that you met at the event. The lessons you learn should not stop once the conference concludes!If You’re an ExhibitorWhen a company sponsors an event, there’s immense pressure to demonstrate the return on their investment. That may mean getting more customers or simply getting their company logo out to others. Here’s how event sponsors can get more out of their event sponsorship.1) Measure event ROI. To demonstrate the ROI of an event, you need to set a goal and figure out how you want to measure it. Let’s say your goal is to sell $5000 worth of your product. Figure out how much that means you need to make each day, and keep track of every sale you make. Or perhaps you are looking to gather email addresses; do something similar by setting a goal of how many email addresses you would like to get from the event, and map out how many you would need to get each day. Having the goals and measurements laid out beforehand helps guide your activities at the event, and prove the ROI of your sponsorship to your boss.2) Generate leads and customers.Events are the perfect opportunity to meet new people and talk to potential customers about your company. You may close a deal on the spot, you may not — it depends on the nature of your business. Just focus on meeting new people and getting your company information in front of them.But how can you break through the clutter at events to get their attention? Do something interactive, that’s how. That may mean holding a live contest in your booth area, hosting a demonstration of your product, or giving away services for free that you would normally charge for. If you are able to get potential customers so excited about your product or service that they are still thinking about it by the end of the trade show, you are successful.3) Meet other businesses to work with.Great partnerships can be built at conferences. It only takes one event to kindle a beneficial relationship for two parties. Checking the list of other companies attending before an event can be a great way to plan for these meetings and be truly successful. Research who you want to meet at the event and dive into the nitty gritty of their companies so you’re prepared for your conversations. You can try to coordinate beforehand to have a meeting onsite, but if that doesn’t work, prepare questions and/or proposals of projects you could work on together. If you are prepared, you will be able to quickly get their attention and cultivate great partnerships.4) Get exposure to people you wouldn’t otherwise meet.You often have a lot of contact with people who are in the same city or state as yourself. Conferences provide an opportunity to meet others from all over the country or even all over the world. When you are preparing for your booth, don’t have activities, entertainment, or materials specific to one region of the country; make it applicable to anyone who may be attending the conference. For example, just because you are having a conference in Boston doesn’t mean you need to give away Boston related items or talk about locations in Boston!If You’re a SpeakerSpeakers want to spread knowledge about their work and advance their career. They may also want to promote themselves or their company to gain more clout and a larger following. Here’s how speakers can get the most out of attending events.1) Work on increasing your LinkedIn following.Growing your network is an important part of advancing your career. In today’s world, that means not growing your rolodex, but your LinkedIn following. Connect with people before the event who you are interested in meeting, and after the event to keep in touch with those you networked with. As a speaker, many people will want to get in touch with you after, and they will turn to LinkedIn to make this happen — so make sure your profile is comprehensive and up-to-date. During your presentation, encourage people to write a personalized note when they connect with you to help you remember when you met them.2) Promote your content.Often, speakers at events are also authors. If you fall in this camp, consider events a sort of book tour to promote your content. Look for conferences around the country that are directed at the best target market for your book, and even consider giving copies of your book away for free.If you’re not a book author, you’re probably still a content creator (or someone in your company is). Make sure your best content — your blog, ebooks, whitepapers, etc. — get some visibility. If you’ve written about a topic you’re covering in your talks in an ebook, for example, include a mention of it in your presentation, and include a QR code that links to that ebook so attendees can read it when the event winds down.3) Meet other influential speakers.Chances are there are many other great speakers at your event — take advantage of your “speaker status” to meet them! You may also have a free pass to a conference because you are a speaker; make the most of that opportunity by going to other sessions, introducing yourself to the speakers afterwards, and forming a bond with them based on the fact that you’re both speakers. If they’ve been asked to speak, they’re likely influential people with great networks; you can talk to them about future speaking engagements, guest blogging opportunities, and connect with them on social media to really leverage that great reach.4) Use your platform to achieve business goals.Speaking will get your company more visibility, so use it to advance your business goals — brand awareness, recruiting, co-marketing, whatever it is! At the end of your presentation, tell people how to find you and your company. That might be a job posting, company page, Twitter account or landing page to gather more information from the people in the audience. If you are discreetly touting your product or service, be sure to talk about real customers and their results so attendees see how their problems can be solved (using your company, of course!)If You’re the Event HostAs the event host, you’re going to get the most out of the conference by making it go off without a hitch, which means you’re constantly running around taking care of details and coordinating resources. That also means you need to have superhero planning skills to make sure everything is in place beforehand — employees, the press, your social media plan, etc. Here are the things you should set in place to ensure your conference is a success.1) Plan for PR coveragePart of having a successful event is inviting the media and working with them on various articles so your event gets the publicity it deserves. Make a list of journalists and publications who you think would be good fits to write about your event. Send them personal invitations, and waive the cost of attending the event. Give them exclusives with your executives and others in the company they are interested in speaking with. Planning for this in advance will make it easier to get more PR coverage before, during, and after the event, plus it will help build great relationships with journalists. Make sure others on your team have done proper research on the media who will be coming to the event and can represent your company well.2) Bring your company together to execute the event.Events are the time to bring together your entire company together to help the conference be successful. Every department should be there — from marketing and sales employees to developers and consultants. Your sales team should put their powers to good use helping to sell your products/services; give them a conference specific discount code to use, especially if it helps them close deals on site. Your product team (if applicable) should be available to help answer technical questions that may be difficult for others to answer. Your marketing team and consultants should be there to network with customers and find out what makes them happy or unhappy, and to identify partnership opportunities.Because you’ll be busy during the event, make people self sufficient. Appoint a few point persons to answer questions for employees, and provide guides that help answer common questions you people ask over and over throughout the day — like if we have any extra batteries, for example. Yes, we do, they’re with the technology point person, and your employees know that because it’s on their event guide!3) Prepare for social sharing at the event.Almost every event has people tweeting and posting their thoughts and opinions to social networks. Come up with a hashtag for your event that everyone can use. It’s a great way to see all of the feedback from the event in one place and also connect attendees to each other as another way to network. Put the hashtag on conference materials to ensure that everyone not only know about it, but is using the same hashtag.4) Don’t forget about career growth for yourself.Planning an event is a huge undertaking. It takes a lot of organization, attention to detail, leadership skills and management skills to execute successfully. Even though an event planner cannot always attend the sessions, network with attendees, or ask speakers questions, their career and reputation benefits tremendously if they pull it off. Be sure to take pictures throughout the event for documentation, favorite complimentary social media tweets (and those with great feedback, too!), and update your LinkedIn profile to show that you pulled off organizing a great event!How do you make the most of the events you attend? Share your tips with us in the comments!Image credit: Guillaume Paumier Originally published Apr 12, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Facebook Launches Page Manager App for Android, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

first_img Facebook Updates 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 Now that 2013 is here, there’s a lot to think about to help you kick your marketing year off strong. So many new concepts, ideas, trends, and technologies have emerged over the last year and are becoming more and more important for marketers today.But coming up with your marketing strategy for the year is easier said than done. So we’d like to help you put on that thinking cap and hit the ground running! That’s why the offer still stands for our marketing community members and devoted blog readers to sign up for a free marketing consultation with a HubSpot expert about strategizing and planning for the year ahead.Additionally, these top marketing stories of the week will provide some insight into the future of marketing and help you decide where to focus your efforts this year. Let’s get those thinking caps on, and start strategizing!16 Smart Resolutions for Better Marketing in 2013It’s really important to set goals for yourself … and for your company. Personal goals will help you improve some critical skills and habits that could also advance your marketing career and make you an even stronger contributor to your company’s success. And team goals will help you see those visitors, leads, and revenue graphs go up and to the right. So to help you out, we’ve published a list of 16 resolutions to help you become a better marketer in 2013.Before I go on, you should know that content creation is going to be huge in 2013 — especially in the form of compelling visuals. Since this is the case, I’d like to call out one marketing resolution from this list of 16 in particular: “I will work to enhance my and/or my team’s design skills.” The trend toward visual content is only growing in importance. In fact, a recent HubSpot study found that photos on Facebook generate 53% more Likes than text.Investing in design skills will be crucial for your team in 2013, and a great place to start developing those skills — believe it or not — is with PowerPoint. In fact, we can even give you a 3-point checklist to help you master design using this tool you all probably already have installed on your computers. First, use this tutorial to create professional-looking calls-to-action (CTAs) for your website. Once you’ve mastered this skill, try creating these 3 different types of infographics to post on your blog and in your social media accounts. When you feel you’re ready to move on to the next step of your PowerPoint design training, take a stab at creating your very own ebook to help you generate leads and draw in more customers. There are a lot of ways to become a better designer, and 2013 is a great time to take advantage of them! If you’d like to check out all 16 marketing resolutions, read the full post here.It’s Time For an Image Strategy, From MediaPostDo you remember that image of President Obama hugging first lady Michelle Obama? You know, the one that became the most popular image EVER posted on both Facebook and Twitter? Well, if you can’t recall it, we included this image in our infographic that highlights 20 of the most memorable marketing moments in 2012. And there’s a reason this image was so shareable. MediaPost, for one, says it’s because the image “had a strong emotional impact” and showcased a “profound contentedness only a photo could convey.” It’s true. Visual content is completely dominating social networks because of this “a picture is worth 1,000 words” element. And according to MediaPost, 70% of all interactions on social media sites now involve pictures. These pictures are interactive, and they create an experience for fans and followers. Marketers can even gamify these images to spice up their marketing and further that experience — just something to think about in 2013. If you’d like to learn more, read the full story from MediaPost here.Facebook Pages Manager Launches on Android in Select Countries, From AllFacebookEarlier this week, Facebook tested a concept for ‘social voicemail’ on its mobile messenger app. Users have always been able to send private text updates to friends, but with this update, users can now also send audio recordings and voice messages. This is an interesting update from Facebook, considering how most people prefer text-based messages over voice messages nowadays — but it’s something to keep an eye on. Do you think Facebook will apply this audio component to its next business page update? If this existed, would you use it to send audio messages to your fans?Although audio messages are only available on a user-to-user basis, Facebook also launched an exciting update for business page owners this week. The Pages app is now available on Android! Previously, this was only available for Facebook users on iOS devices. The app is only fully available to users in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand at the moment, but it will be available to users in the U.S. and the U.K. soon. This is an exciting update for Android-loving marketers! Now, you can post and respond to messages as your brand and check your Facebook Insights on the go. If you’d like to learn more about the new Pages app for Android devices, read the full story here.Website Redesign Planning & Progress KitStrategize, plan, design, build, optimize, test, deliver, launch, promote, measure, analyze. Yikes — that’s a lot to think about when redesigning your website! It’s a long and tedious process, but if you nail all of these elements, a redesign can be a huge success. However, if you’re not following the right guidelines and you fall short on your planning process, your redesign could fail miserably. That’s where this website redesign planning kit can make your job a whole lot easier. And whether you’re working with an agency or redesigning in house, this guide can serve as your step blueprint to successfully strategizing your next website redesign. With this kit, you’ll also receive a tracking worksheet, which will help you lay out your plan and track your progress as you move forward. Ready to get started? Download the free ebook and worksheet here.Keys to an Effective Mobile Local Search Strategy, From Search Engine WatchSo we’re seeing updates to Facebook’s Pages and Messenger apps, and just a few weeks ago, the network made an update to include business pages in local mobile search results. Looks like Facebook is realizing the importance of mobile for both users and marketers! It’s a smart move on Facebook’s part because, according to Search Engine Watch, “Approximately 40% of all mobile searches on Google have local intent, and that number is only growing.”Think about it: If you’re searching for a cup of coffee on your smartphone, you want to grab one right down the street, not 6,000 miles away, right? Understanding mobile local search is important for all marketers, but it presents an especially large opportunity for small businesses hoping to draw in more customers. Some tips for leveraging mobile local search include having a mobile-optimized website, investing in local SEO, and also local PPC. Have you considered this for your 2013 marketing resolutions list? To see more mobile local search strategy tips, read the full story from Search Engine Watch here.If 2012 Was “The Year of Mobile,” 2013 Will Be “The Year of the Tablet,” From Marketing LandOkay, so visual content and mobile optimization have been added to the marketing resolutions list for 2013. Great! Now I’ll give you another concept to mull over and add to the list — learning how to optimize for not just mobile devices, but tablets too. Marketing Land reports that growth and adoption of the iPad has actually been much faster than the iPod or the iPhone, and 33% of U.S. adults now own a tablet or an eReader such as the Kindle or Nook. Wow. One-third of U.S. adults?! As a marketer, there’s no way you can ignore such a large slice of the media consuming pie.Just think: Tablets will soon be as important as PCs and smartphones for marketing and may emerge as the most important platform for ecommerce. You shouldn’t rely on your PC-optimized website for your tablet audience. Keep this in mind when planning the next steps for your website. If you’d like to see more data about tablet optimization in 2013, read the full story here.What other marketing stories have inspired you this week? Share them in the comments below!Image credit: Carlos Varela Originally published Jan 6, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016last_img read more

How to Identify Content Topics That Hit Home With Your Readers

first_img Blog Post Topics His site aggregates marketing and business facts, so a lot of the keywords here have to do with that. In the past, he’s blogged about mobile facts, but never Xbox360 or Coca-Cola. Clearly there’s an untapped interest here that will help his search engine rankings tremendously if he begins creating content around them, particularly because it’s the stuff people want to know more about. 2) Sales/Support Your customer service and sales staff — or anyone interacting with leads and customers on a daily basis — often have the closest view into the challenges your customers face and the questions your prospects have. Create a forum for them to send blogging and content ideas to you based on feedback from their customer interactions. At HubSpot, we have an internal wiki page where staff can suggest topics for the blog. For instance, last year, a member of our sales team mentioned that he had been receiving a number of questions from leads about SEO and the use of video. So we wrote  SEO for YouTube: How to Search Optimize Video for B2B Marketing , a post that pulled in more than 11,000 views, nearly 500 tweets and a handful of interesting comments. And if you’re having trouble creating content around these topics, remember that your sales and services staff not only hears these questions every day … they answer them, too. If you’ve created a strong content culture at your organization, you could empower them to write blog posts or create other content assets that puts down on “paper” the answers to the questions they field each day. 3) Internet Forums If your staff and keyword research doesn’t give you enough to work with, take a look at external forums and sites for some relevant topic ideas. Quora is one of the best sites to check out, particularly for B2B marketers, because it positions itself as a place where anyone can ask anything (although some fields are represented more than others). For instance, some industries like landscaping and home repair have targeted forums like, DoItYourself . Try exploring these or other external forums that might help you surface questions in need of answers. And you know what’s really cool? Once you create your content answering the question, you can also go back to that forum to update the person seeking advice with your content! Here’s an example of a question that yielded plenty of content … I mean, who doesn’t need a little help getting over some blogging block ? Blank screens are the enemy of inbound marketing. So smug. So taunting. They think they’re so great with all that empty, useless space. As an inbound marketer, your job is to take that empty page down a peg or two.But you know what? A page full of drivel is no better than a gleaming white screen. When you’re writing content as frequently as most inbound marketers do, you’re bound to stumble over a few duds. You know, where the topics you’re publishing just don’t seem to be hitting the mark with your audience. So here are a few techniques we’ve picked up over the year for finding the right topics for your audience so you can publish the kind of stuff people will love to read.Free Download: Marketing Editorial Calendar Template Find Topics That Matter to Your Audience Good topics should be found at the intersection of your expertise, and your audience’s core needs and interests. You know what interests you ; now open up channels to find out what matters to your audience . Here are the venues you could be using to do that. 1) Keyword Research Sometimes it may seem like there’s nothing left in the world to write about. But millions of searches happen on a daily basis. Millions of people with questions take to Google (or another search engine of choice) to find their answers. So why not start reviewing keywords that readers have entered to find you — and heck, keywords they’ve entered for which you’re not getting found — and seeing if there’s a topic you could write around it. The example below comes from a friend of mine’s website, Factbrowser . He’s using HubSpot to show the keywords most commonly searched to find his content — and if you don’t have HubSpot, Google Analytics will also show some keyword information.  Topics: Why site this stat? Because it helps tee up the reader for the rest of the content, showing them that this topic is really important and that they have a huge opportunity to increase the quality of the leads they’re passing to sales using marketing automation … which they’ll learn how to do in that very blog post! 3) Conduct interviews. When you’ve written one too many posts in your own voice (aren’t you sick of me yet?) reaching out to a third party expert or interviewing a customer can add a new angle and tone to your content, and can extend the life of a topic. Including interviews in this post on the new roles in marketing , enabled me to stretch my topic and include first-hand accounts from people in each emerging role, not to mention lend more credibility to the content by quoting people to whom the reader can relate. 4) Run an experiment. There’s a common writers’ idiom that advises: “Show, don’t tell.” A post that shows the set-up and results of an actual A/B Test will always be more useful than a post that just talks about the merits of A/B Testing. A how-to post on preparing for a vacation, finishing your basement, or creating a good marketing video will always do better if it has photos and examples from the blogger him or herself. No matter how wonderful your topic, you can make it resonate even more if you show through examples that help reinforce your points. 5) Choose the right format. Once you’ve figured out the positioning of your topic, find the most appropriate content format. The format should fit the topic at hand. Are you answering a question? Laying down an opinion? Simply adding context? Each of these topic areas may call for different formats of response. Here’s what I mean: If You’re Answering a Question: A topic that centers around providing instructions or trying to teach readers something might want lend itself best to how- to blog posts ,  videos , or lists . If You’re Providing an Opinion:  Reviews  and thought leadership posts are both good ways to detail your perspective on a particular topic. You can also do so through list blogs like this one on Ten B2B companies that create exceptional content. If You’re Adding Context: Blog posts or ebooks that add context typically take a new angle on an existing topic.  Interviews , event blogging , and list blogs  are all good formats for this approach.I hope this has been a helpful start to deciding on your next blog post, whitepaper, ebook, or any other content format topic. Keep that inspiration coming, and that content useful! What other tricks do you use for determining which content topics resonate the most with your audience? Image credit: joewcampbell center_img 4) Historical Data You can also rely on your historical data to determine which content topics perform best for you. For instance, if you’re using HubSpot, you could export your Page Performance report to get a spreadsheet containing all of your blog posts alongside performance data, like inbound links, comments, and page views generated. export page performance, sort by inbound links, views to see what’s performing best . Then, sort by topic to see if there are any correlations between great performance, and topic choice. You should actually be performing these analyses all the time — not weekly or anything, but a quarterly check-up is a good idea. For instance, we’ve learned here at HubSpot (a couple years back) that blog posts about Twitter performed extremely well. Great! Write more about Twitter for marketing! But because we continued to check in to see which blog topics perform best, we noticed that posts about Twitter aren’t doing as well as they used to. They’re still pretty good, but not a top performer like they were a couple years ago. In fact, these days, Pinterest is performing much better as a blog topic! Makes sense, since it’s the new kid on the block and readers want to know how the heck to use it. Performing these analyses frequently is a pretty easy task, and it helps you determine what has worked historically, as well as identify trends over time to see if performance improves … or falters … around certain topics. 5) Expertise Finally, the best content provides an opportunity for you to learn something new, and teach other people about it. I mean, I bet that’s why we saw such success with Pinterest posts … we happened to identify something new that mad marketing applications, and figure out what those applications were so we could teach other marketers about it. Because bottom line? No one wants to do their own research. It’s a huge pain in the arse. Content creators that do it for their audience — and do it diligently — often see huge returns from it. And it wasn’t just a one-time success, either. We hopped on Vine when it launched a couple weeks ago, and after toying with it for a bit, were able to create several content assets around the topic that performed quite well for us: a news post about what Vine is , and a post about some real life marketing examples of Vine. All this being said, you don’t always have to just on the new big thing to be an expert. You have tons of knowledge on which you can draw to create excellent content around really helpful topics. Think about what your audience needs to learn how to do, and that you can teach them. To give you an idea, one of our most successful blog posts of all time was about how to retweet . That’s right. It may seem elementary, and we published it long after Twitter launched — in November of 2011, in fact — but we just heard the question over, and over, and over. And we happened to know the answer. Pretty powerful stuff. Position Yourself to Address Content Topics So you’ve found a good topic. That’s half the battle. Now you’ve got to figure out how best to write about it. Considering the steps below will help you to further ground your topic and create content that’s worth reading and sharing.  1) Determine how advanced your response should be. Every topic has a natural progression of development. Let’s take Vine again. When Vine first came out, it made sense to write introductory content. As more and more marketers heard about the new platform, though, new questions bubbled up and topics that merely introduced what the platform was no longer cut it. The topic evolved from ” What is Vine? ” to ” How Do Businesses Use Vine? ” For each topic area, you need to decide how sophisticated your content should be around that subject matter based on your audience’s level of knowledge on the topic. 2) Find data. As we note in this post , data is one of the best ways to add instant credibility to your content. It also just makes for a higher quality read, and provides some much-needed perspective by which to understand a topic. Try to find some data to help your readers understand the scope of something or see it’s span of influence, so the topic’s importance is positioned at the correct level of importance. For instance, in the introduction to this post about automated email workflows marketers should be using , we cite this stat: Originally published Feb 12, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more