There’s a One-in-Five Chance Your Parents Hate the Name You Gave Your Kid

first_imgAccording to a new survey of grandparents, 20% say they HATE their grandchild’s name.  And here are the main reasons why . . . When you had a kid and you told your parents the name you picked, did they say, “Awww, we love it” . . . or did they kinda scrunch up their faces and say, “Hmm.  Interesting”? 1.  32% say it’s too odd.2.  20% don’t like that their name suggestions were ignored.3.  15% think it sounds made up or is too unconventional.4.  11% think it will embarrass the child.5.  10% wish the kid had gotten a family name instead.6.  And 5% think it’s too hard to pronounce.center_img The survey also found that grandmothers had more issues with baby names than grandfathers.  44% of parents say their own mother had the worst reaction to the name they picked for their baby . . . and 42% say it was their mother-in-law.last_img read more

Spencer boys basketball rips Granton

first_imgRockets win second in a row, now 4-4 in Cloverbelt EastBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterSPENCER — Jack Bezlyk had 18 points, and Collin Nieman added 15 to lead the Spencer boys basketball team to a 77-47 victory over Granton in a Cloverbelt Conference East Division matchup Thursday night at Spencer High School.The win is the Rockets’ second in a row, and they improve their record to 4-6 overall and 4-4 in the Cloverbelt East. Granton is now 1-10 and 0-9 in the conference.Spencer rolled out to a 48-21 lead by halftime and held control the rest of the way.Spencer hosts Edgar in a nonconference game Friday.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)Rockets 77, Bulldogs 47Granton 21 26 – 47Spencer 48 29 – 77GRANTON (47): Vandeberg 5-17 0-0 13, Riles 6-14 0-0 13, Opelt 4-16 0-2 10, Ludwig 1-4 3-4 5, Tyler 1-1 0-0 2, Martin 1-4 0-0 2, McConkey 0-0 1-2 1, Carver 0-1 0-0 0. FG: 18-59. FT: 5-9. 3-pointers: 6-19 (Vandeberg 3-8, Opelt 2-7, Riles 1-2). Rebounds: 35. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: none. Record: 1-10, 0-9 Cloverbelt East.SPENCER (77): Jack Bezlyk 7-10 2-3 18, Collin Nieman 6-10 0-0 15, Lukas Ellefson 4-12 1-2 9, Jordan Viegl 1-1 0-0 2, Noah Zastrow 4-8 0-0 8, Jacob Miller 3-7 2-2 8, Austin Bacon 2-8 1-2 6, Nate Karau 3-6 0-0 6, Vladimir Rivera 2-4 1-3 5, Brett Kasch 0-2 0-0 0, Josh Rudolph 0-3 0-0 0. FG: 32-72. FT: 7-12. 3-pointers: 6-19 (Nieman 3-6, Bezlyk 2-3, Bacon 1-4, Zastrow 0-1, Kasch 0-2, Ellefson 0-3). Rebounds: 50. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: none. Record; 4-6, 4-4 Cloverbelt East.last_img read more

iwasshot in Joburg: a city in pictures

first_imgBernard Viljoen and the young photographers from the Twilight Shelter, a boys’ outreach centre. They ramble through Hillbrow in Johannesburg’s inner city in search of beauty and stories captured in a frame. Hard at work in the studio, Viljoen wanted to further the boys’ opportunities, developing a skills transference division to create opportunities for economic growth, social development, and job creation. The project’s success has allowed the team to move into a permanent space at Arts on Main in the Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg’s teeming central business district. (Images: iwasshot in joburg team) MEDIA CONTACTS • Bernard Viljoen Founder and Director iwasshot Foundation +27 82 922 5674 RELATED ARTICLES • Inner city kids learn about film • Education at the movies • Nikon to nurture young photographers • Uplifting township kids with music • Photos to promote social dialogueMelissa Jane Cook“iwasshot in Joburg is a [South African] business venture established to provide a platform for former street kids who received photography training through the iwasshot FOUNDATION,” says Bernard Viljoen, the architect who founded the three-month project after community service for a boozy misdemeanour.Initially teaching basic photography skills to street children, the project has expanded and now, flash forward, these budding artists receive six months of photography training, using disposable cameras to document their environment.The young photographers from the Twilight Shelter, a boys’ outreach centre, now ramble through Hillbrow in Johannesburg’s inner city in search of beauty and stories captured in a frame.“From there they receive more in-depth digital photography and computer training for another six months. Once they have completed the year they can join the iwasshot brand and start generating their own income,” says Viljoen.At the end of each year, an exhibition showcases the boys’ photography, which also goes on sale. The establishing shot this year shows boys holding disposable cameras, in a strong stance that says “I know what I am doing and I belong here too”.From the shadows, into the lightViljoen says, “… how these boys are transformed, from when they started out to being proud citizens, actively participating in their society, discussing their camera angles, colour and composition, it is incredibly humbling to see”.The project aims to enrich the lives of street kids who have found their calling through a lens. Viljoen wanted to further their opportunities, developing a skills transference division to create opportunities for economic growth, social development, and job creation.Solani Dube, a former student at iwasshotin joburg, says he had no self-esteem; he was” living with no direction”. He had never thought of himself as a “normal human being”, but now he is studying law.The words “I was shot in Joburg” can elicit fear, seeming more suited to a newspaper headline, but Viljoen thought it was an expression of life in Hillbrow, with its violent reputation.“I believed that if a brand is relevant, conceptual and slightly controversial, that it will take off. It did. It has now been four years and we are going strong.”Viljoen says the project aims to “To create quality products; to establish a brand. We want to become part of the South African economy rather than sitting at a robot begging for a hand-out.”The project’s success has allowed the team to move into a permanent space at Arts on Main in the Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg’s teeming central business district.Toni Sithole, another student, says, “I am moving forward with myself, I am improving, and I am doing something for myself. I see myself in the future as a person, opening new doors for myself. Hillbrow is a new playground for budding photographers.”He also wanted the boys “to find beauty where you thought there was none. If you move your eye, you can see a different world and whatever you see can make an impact on people”.An unfamiliar lifeViljoen is interested in people living on the periphery of society, people who don’t have a voice, but who have experienced so much in their lives.Little previews of city life are exposed in the photographs; glimpses into lives unfamiliar to suburbanites. Shadows reflecting off a leg or a sign are fragments, enticing viewers to look deeper and be witness to a transformation, an invisible human being becoming a person with a voice.Viljoen believes consistency is important with his charges as they have had such volatile, tumultuous lives. So each week, he showed up.He says, “For some of the boys, the project has also meant feeling more at home. There are stories of neglect, abuse, being orphaned. Abandoned in different ways by the families and systems that give children the love, support and nurturing they need. Iwasshotin Joburg is a way to claim something back, to make something of value, to be of value.”Sandile Mdlalose says, “I used to eat out of rubbish dumps and beg. [Now] When people talk to me, they speak to me as if I am a big person. Everyone can do something for themselves; it doesn’t matter where you are from. I believe in myself now, I have a strength that I never had before.”“I tell them the cameras are like our little AK47s,” says Viljoen. “They give us permission to walk the street. If you keep it in your hand it elevates you above the everyday street life.”To Viljoen, Johannesburg is the most interesting, textured city in South Africa.“I’m lucky enough to work almost solely in the heart of the city, and over the years it’s become more striking to me. It’s the synergy of history, drive for success, passion and interesting, warm people that give Joburg a buzz of energy.“If you walk around and experience the space – new and old – you’re always treated to a visual overload. Suburban dwellers, who don’t hit the streets of Joburg, never really see or understand its beauty. They’re blind-shot by unjustified fear.”The snapshots, he says, capture the beauty, intriguing spaces, textures layers, and diverse people of Johannesburg.“Hillbrow is an assault on the senses … the towering blocks of flats draw your eyes upwards and you’re mesmerised by the rainbow-coloured clothing hanging on practically every balcony, the rowdy sounds of street vendors bargaining and schoolchildren laughing and chatting.“There are contrasts … the countless broken window panes glistening in the sun and the vivid colours of the fresh fruit sold by the vendors … the boys see photo opportunities lurking on every corner. Over the years, they’ve produced really powerful images.”Pritchard Ndlovu manages the studio at Arts on Main. He says that the iwasshot space has changed his life; he now has a future and it’s thanks to the lens; “The photos allow the boys to tell stories. It is an incredible initiative that brings joy to the boys and inspires a sense of belonging.”Viljoen adds: “I have succeeded in this if every kid is able to tell a story with their photos – their own — if I can make them feel worthy of sharing it with the world, visually documenting their stories, their observations, their hopes and dreams.”last_img read more

Fraudulent Recruiting?

first_imgOne of the many conventional wisdoms in HR is that it is important to increase the diversity of the applicant pool by posting positions and recruiting externally. I could not agree more, except when I disagree.Let’s look at the case of the vacant Marketing Director position of Company ABC. Renee is a Vice President of Marketing and wants to promote Alexa into the vacant position.Following the conventional wisdom relative to increasing diversity, HR strongly encourages Renee to post internally and to recruit externally. Renee reluctantly agrees in response to HR’s persistent encouragement.There are three (3) very strong final candidates. Ultimately, Renee goes with her first choice, Alexa, and promotes her.Alexa is a white woman.  One of the unsuccessful external candidates, Max, is a man of color.When Max looks at Alexa’s credentials as she has described them on a social media profile, he concludes he is more qualified than she and files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging race and gender bias and ultimately sues in court.When deposed, Renee admits, as she must, that she really knew whom she wanted to hire before opening up the position to internal posting and external recruiting. As a result, a number of candidates invested time and emotional energy on an opportunity that was an oasis.How do you think a jury will feel about applicants being played this way? In this case, I am with the plaintiff and not the defendant.What would have happened if the position has not been posted internally and externally? Alexa would have gotten the job but there probably would not have been a charge, let alone a lawsuit.When the deal is effectively sealed, the posting has a fraudulent feel to it and does nothing more than create a pool of potential litigants. Legal and fairness considerations argue against posting in these circumstances.Some employers still post or recruit in these circumstances but add something to the effect “strong internal candidate identified.” This is not transparency but a transparent hedge that may invite attack.I don’t foresee it. I have seen it. So let’s go back to the general recommendation of not posting when you know who you are going to hire.Of course, make sure your policy on posting does not lock you into posting all vacant positions. If the policy states or suggests that you will post in all circumstances, then your failure to post may be used as evidence of discrimination.HR policies need to be drafted to allow for exceptions to general rules to reflect the need for agility in the business world. But let’s not stop there.Where an exception is made, document contemporaneously the legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the exception. This will mitigate, not eliminate, the risk of not posting.Yes, in the case of the vacant Marketing Manager position, there are risks no matter what you do. That’s why HR needs to think more about managing as opposed to avoiding risk.It’s a bit uncomfortable. Once we accept this, we can get more comfortable with it.last_img read more

Wasps have injected new genes into butterflies

first_imgIf you’re a caterpillar, you do not want to meet a parasitic wasp. The winged insect will inject you full of eggs, which will grow inside your body, develop into larvae, and hatch from your corpse. But a new study reveals that wasps have given caterpillars something beneficial during these attacks as well: pieces of viral DNA that become part of the caterpillar genome, protecting them against an entirely different lethal virus. In essence, the wasps have turned caterpillars into genetically modified organisms.“The key strength of the study is it clearly demonstrates that [viruses] have been a source of horizontal gene transfer for some insects,” says parasitic wasp expert Michael Strand of the University of Georgia, Athens, who was not involved in the study.Study author and biologist Jean-Michel Drezen of François Rabelais University in Tours, France, has been studying the parasitic relationship between the wasps and their lepidopteran (butterflies and moths) victims for decades. He specializes in bracoviruses, which are injected by the wasps along with their eggs. Once inside the caterpillar, the bracovirus prevents a normal immune response by disrupting the cell’s cytoskeleton—a network of filamentlike proteins responsible for moving components and machinery around the cell. Without an immune response, the wasp eggs are free to grow unchecked.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But the discovery that the caterpillars have taken up and repurposed bits of the wasp virus for their own means came as a surprise. “I couldn’t believe it,” Drezen says. “We did not expect this at all.”To understand the interplay between wasp, virus, and caterpillar, the scientists analyzed a computer database containing DNA from multiple species of moths and butterflies, including the iconic monarch, for sequences similar to a known segment of bracovirus DNA. The initial search showed that, indeed, certain segments of the lepidopteran genome closely resembled bracovirus sequences. At some points in evolutionary history—those rare cases where wasp parasitization did not prove fatal for the caterpillars—it seems that the injected virus genes found their way into germline cells and have been passed down in several lepidopteran lineages.The researchers then confirmed the computer search by grinding up real insect specimens, extracting the DNA, and searching for the presence of bracovirus integrations. Not only did they find the evidence they were looking for, they also found the virus sometimes “picks up” genes from its original wasp host and brings those along, too. In simpler terms, this means wasp genes riding on a virus have been found within the caterpillar genome.More surprising still was the finding that both the wasp and virus genes are active inside the caterpillars and have been passed down over many generations. This led the scientists to wonder whether the caterpillars had found their own use for the parasitic genes.Further tests, both in cell cultures and in live specimens, revealed that the genes acquired from the wasp virus appear to protect the caterpillars from a different (but similarly named) pathogen called baculovirus. The baculoviridae family infects many different insects, and, in the case of moths and caterpillars, is usually acquired by eating leaves contaminated with the infectious particles. In the course of a normal infection, baculoviruses make heavy use of the cell’s cytoskeletal system in order to reproduce inside the caterpillar. The team’s results—reported online today in PLOS Genetics—suggest that the same bracovirus genes that disrupt the cytoskeleton and allow the wasp eggs to grow also cause enough disruption to inhibit the growth of baculovirus. In effect, the genes from the wasp virus impair the lepidopteran cells’ normal functions, but the disruption may be enough to keep out baculovirus—a silver lining on an otherwise nasty history of parasitization.The authors point out that the addition of wasp genes to the butterfly and moth DNA means many lepidopteran species are naturally occurring genetically modified organisms. This type of gene transfer has been observed between other species in the wild before, mostly between bacteria (which have been known to share genes for antibiotic resistance). The scientists say that the finding should remind us of two things: that genetically modified organisms occur naturally and that any gene introduced into an ecosystem has the potential to spread between species. “We have very simple principles that, in practical situations, can be very, very complex,” Drezen says.last_img read more

Stephen Fleming biography revives Aushim Khetrapal’s match-fixing woes

first_imgEPISODE 2: Fleming has Khetrapal on the backfootAushim Khetrapal protests his innocence a little too loudly. “I am off sports. I am into films and production, which are more exciting. Stephen Fleming has made the charges only to gain publicity for his book.They are rubbish,” he rants. It was pure,EPISODE 2: Fleming has Khetrapal on the backfootAushim Khetrapal protests his innocence a little too loudly. “I am off sports. I am into films and production, which are more exciting. Stephen Fleming has made the charges only to gain publicity for his book.They are rubbish,” he rants. It was pure deja vu for 42-year-old Khetrapal, who in his new avatar as actor-cum producer still cannot shake off allegations of cricket match fixing which had made him more famous than a stuttering Bollywood career ever could.In 1999, former England all-rounder Chris Lewis and New Zealand captain Fleming separately alleged that sports promoter Khetrapal had offered them Pound 300,000 to act as conduits to fix an England-New Zealand Test match in Manchester. At the time, Khetrapal, who ran Radiant Sports Management, had called a press conference and vehemently denied the allegations to clear his name. Five years on, in 2004, it was virtually a repeat performance or as he would probably want it known, Khetrapal: The Sequel. In a story that made international headlines, Richard Boock’s biography of Fleming, Balance of Power, recounts the incident featuring the sports promoter and names names. At a hastily convened press meet in Delhi, Khetrapal stuck to the same tune. Khetrapal maintains he met Fleming in the bar of the Holiday Inn in Leicester and again the next morning and left behind his numbers and visiting card.Fleming’s account of the meeting states that Khetrapal claimed there were people he could call all over the world to give insider information on cricket. He offered to pay the cricketer Pound 200,000 upfront and another Pound 100,000 within a year if he joined the syndicate.”Enough is enough. It is time I brought out my side of the story and I intend to publish my book to counter all these charges,” Khetrapal exclaims.”Khetrapal said he would pay me Euro 200,000 straight up.”Stephen Fleming, in his biography Balance Of PowerWaving a dogeared, spiral bound manuscript titled I Dare, Khetrapal promises that a book is coming, written in record time. “It contains episodes of match-fixing, and the row over sponsorship and telecast rights.”Brushing aside threats of legal action, the publishers of Fleming’s book have said they were okay with what has been published. Publisher Kevin Chapman and managing director Hodder Moa Beckett said that Balance Of Power had undergone the regular legal checks. “We did not think it was particularly problematic from the legal point of view,”Chapman was quoted as saying. “Stephen has been incredibly consistent … He recorded it all at the time and took good advice.”The controversy has its origins in August 1999 when Khetrapal says he went to England to organise a benefit match for Punjab Cricket Association secretary M.P. Pandove and met Fleming as the Kiwis were due to tour India. advertisementDeja vu for Aushim KhetrapalKhetrapal also claims that before this, he had met a news agent called Kamlesh Patel who fixed the meeting with Lewis, whom Khetrapal invited to act as coordinator for a benefit match which would feature either an England XI or a Rest of the World team.Lewis’ story, later sold to tabloid News of the World for Pound 40,000, was, again, different. He alleged that Khetrapal had tried to persuade him to throw the Manchester Test and asked him to offer similar amounts to England cricketers Alec Stewart and Alan Mullaly for dropping catches and bowling wides respectively. When Lewis refused Khetrapal, said the paper, he contacted Fleming. Five years on, other facts have come to light. Travelling on the same flight to London with Khetrapal and staying in the same hotel in Leicester was Mumbai-based film financier Jagdish Sodha. Sodha’s name featured prominently in the recent corruption case involving Kenyan cricket captain Maurice Odumbe, who was then banned. Neither Sodha nor Khetrapal deny knowing each other.”Yes, I was there. But I was on business,” said Sodha from Mumbai. The ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit detectives, who revisited the case, charged Sodha with using Khetrapal as a “front” in his attempts to fix players.Says one, “The material evidence was weak. It was one person’s word against the other … therefore, we did not pursue it.” Scotland Yard had also tried to establish links between betting syndicates that had contacted Lewis and those that had dealt with former South African captain Hansie Cronje. They arrested and questioned three Indians based in London, Kamlesh Patel (the same news agent Khetrapal said he had met), Jayendra Patel and Peter Patel, for their alleged role in recruiting England players to fix matches.Khetrapal will wait for Fleming’s book before deciding on his line of action. Does he believe that match fixing exists in cricket? “Let’s not be hypocritical. You know as much as I do what happens,” he says. That is telling.advertisementlast_img read more

4 Marketing Lessons from the Presidential Campaign Trail

first_img — The fact that Mike Huckabee is still in the race is pretty interesting. The guy has been all but shunned by the Republican establishment and has a very small fraction of the funds of the other leading candidates, yet he won in Iowa and is still a “player” to be dealt with. We have done some analysis of the candidates and we were surprised to see how closely correlated the number of inbound links into the candidates’ sites were to predicting results. The interesting thing about Huckabee is that he was a relative unknown until a month ago, but his “remark”able (def: worthy of remarks, unique) message has attracted more inbound links to his website than Romney or McCain. If your company has a unique/remarkable message, others will comment on it (link to it) which drives you qualified visitors and which informs the search engines that you are interesting. Fill Your Brand With Meaning Make rules, don’t follow them Authenticity counts — At first, Obama was just acandidate trying to get heard in a noisy marketplace, but now he has become an idea and a brand that is full of meaning to potential voters. This is a difficult thing to do, but companies must fill their own brand with meaning the way Obama has done so. Here at HubSpot, we have gone through some exercises that talk about what type of brand we want to be and what adjectives we want people to think of when they think of us. I suspect we will write about this in detail at some point. This blog does not endorse either party or any candidates. The presidential election is a fascinating petri dish for those of us interested in marketing and strategy, so I cannot resist the temptation to comment on some of what’s happening. Here are some of the marketing ah-ha’s that have hit me in watching the election over the last few weeks and months: — I was watching some of the advertisements from Obama and Hillary. Early on, Obama defined the “rules of the game” and the decision criteria to be “change.” Hillary’scenter_img — I’m a big fan of Tim Russert and his show “Meet The Press.” This morning after his usual grilling one of the candidates, he had on two political consultants — one from each party. The consultants might be proven wrong, but they both predicted that Obama and McCain would win their respective party’s nomination and one of them credited that each of them were going to win because voters felt that they spoke from the heart, with conviction, and not based solely on polling data. I could not help but think how this correlated with businesses and their presence on the internet/blogosphere and how when companies have a singular vision and are able to lead their market, they are often richly rewarded. new Internet Flattens The Marketplace creating opportunity for new, “remark”able entrants advertisements now talk about how she is the real “change” candidate. She sounds particularly defensive in these ads and is now playing right into Obama’s hand. Hillary may end up pulling this election off, but I think she’s making a huge miscalculation from a marketing strategy perspective. If the rules you tried to set (i.e. that you are the “inevitable” candidate) are not working, you are better off trying to create a new set of rules than playing by your opponent’s rules. Originally published Jan 7, 2008 12:00:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 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

SEO: 301 Redirects Don’t Pass Existing Social Shares

first_imgWhenever you consider a Passes Social Shares?   Google+  value of social sharing For the other sites besides Twitter, none of the social sharing factors carried over at all and we didn’t notice this same phenomenon with them. Sharing addresses on the Performable blog or other parts of their site didn’t impact the sharing totals for HubSpot at all. It looks like Facebook and Google+ aren’t counting the redirects and final URLs in the same way that Twitter does as a result, or the results would have matched theirs. In summary: , particularly factors that show up in search engines or other formats, like the number of tweets or Likes a page has gotten. That led us to the weekend, and I checked the statistics on Monday. Something interesting had happened over the weekend though: As people occasionally tweeted the old URLs from the now-redirected Performable.com, those tweets counted towards the total tweets for the relevant page on HubSpot.com. Topics: It’s also worth mentioning that while Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn don’t read the redirect when deciding where to send people, they also often don’t properly realize that they are being redirected as part of the new URL. For example, if you try to share www.performable.com today on Google+, you end up with a very strange looking preview with the Performable logo and a page on HubSpot.com, as below: Reads Redirects? After we did all the redirect work on Thursday afternoon, we checked right afterwards for the social sharing stats for each of the pages for Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that any of the shares passed through to the new pages. All of the new pages on the HubSpot domain showed having no social shares at all, and the old pages still showed their old data. Don’t let something like this stop you from making important changes to your website or re-architecting how things are laid out, but if you need help we have a Putting a redirect on an old page and then pointing it to a new one didn’t move those shares through. This was somewhat a surprise to us – Since anyone who clicked on that old share or tweet still came through to the new site, we had hoped the share might come through too. Originally published Aug 10, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016  Twitter  One of the factors that can be easily overlooked on this front is the website redesign or changing the layout of your website, there are a number of extremely important questions that you should ask yourself. For example, you should think carefully about where you are going to move your key resources or pages, what impact the shift might have on them, and how to make sure that you’re easily able to get found. No  LinkedIn center_img Over the last month, as we prepared to shut down the Performable website after HubSpot’s acquisition of them. We took careful stock of each of their webpages and the statistics of them, so that we could carefully measure what would happen to each of them. For each page on Performable.com’s blog, we recorded the number of views that page had in the last month, and the number of tweets, likes, LinkedIn shares, and so on for the page. No No . No Yes No No When Twitter formulates the count of tweets for a certain page, they first read the URL that was tweeted and then follow any and all redirects off of that URL. As a result, the following tweets afterwards did count towards HubSpot’s pages. It makes a lot of sense for Twitter to do this – that way, no matter what URL shortener someone chooses to use, they make sure they’re always recording the final URL that was being tweeted by someone. The fact that matters for the tweet count is the final URL that was tweeted, and not anything in between or if that URL was redirected. If you are ever considering moving a website or a section of your website, be very conscious not just of the obvious factors, like making sure that the pages have redirects. Also be aware that there may be things that you lose or cannot control, such as losing the social shares that may exist of your current pages. website Having established our base data, we want to check on if we could take advantage of these shares in any way and preserve their value as we moved the website redesign kit to help. No  Facebook  Social Media Engagement 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

7 B2B Buying Signals Marketers Should Pounce On

first_img Topics: Originally published Dec 21, 2011 4:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Inbound marketers are getting even better at attracting visitors to their websites. But as we all know, in B2B environments, eyeballs don’t pay the bills. Getting visitors to convert into leads and ultimately sales is the name of the profitability game. With today’s modern analytics and marketing automation tools, marketers can play a bigger role in that ‘middle of the funnel’ conversion path with the power to re-engage interested prospects and tee up their sales teams for success.If you’re not taking advantage of prospect behavior to drive conversion, here are 7 buying signals you should look out for and specific actions you can take to increase sales.7 B2B Buying Signals All Marketers Should Track and Pounce On1. Multiple Visitors to Your Site in a Short TimeDid you know that you can use tools that leverage reverse-IP lookup to track not only a known lead’s but also a company’s visits to your site? Well, you can. Even if that hot company you’ve been trying to get access to hasn’t filled out a form to become an official lead, you can find out if one or more people from that company have visited your website. And … if you see a pattern of multiple different visitors from the same company in a short period of time, it’s a pretty good sign you made it to their ‘consideration’ step. Now is the time to alert your sales rep to reach out to the person who may be your target and really work deep into that account.2. Prospect Visited Your Site Multiple Times in a DayWhen considering a product, service or solution, most buyers do quite a bit of research. Some of that research happens off your website, but plenty also occurs on your site.  Your analytics can track how frequently a visitor is coming to your site, and if you see an increase in daily visits, it’s probably safe to assume that your champion is doing some due diligence on you before they either select you or decide to pitch your product/service to their management. Using marketing analytics to inform your sales reps with things like lead alerts can put them in a position to reach out at the exact moment your buyer needs more information or help. If you don’t have analytics or lead alerts set up, don’t wait. Your sales team will LOVE the added intelligence and sing your praises for the helpful assist.3. Filled Out a Form But Didn’t Press SubmitSometimes you’ve generated early interest from a prospect with a great ‘top of the funnel,’ informative ebook, webinar, or other piece of content. Your prospect filled out that form, and since then, has been getting additional information from you. Maybe they keep consuming your content, and then one day, they decide they really want to know more about your paid solutions. The prospect visits your ‘request a demo or consultation’ landing page form, fills out the form, and just before they hit ‘submit,’ they either decide otherwise or get pulled away…and you never get that request.Why not instrument that form so it knows you got a partial completion from that person so you can shoot them a heads up? Maybe now isn’t the time to have a rep call, but it could be the perfect time to invite them to a webinar that’s a deeper dive into your product or service. You’re giving them the option to enjoy a low-risk, non-salesy version of the information they were seeking. If they don’t accept, no harm no foul.4. Reviewed Case Studies on Your SiteBefore most B2B buyers purchase, they want to know what results others have generated. They are past the basic research phase and are looking for ‘stories like mine’ to prove or disprove your company’s fit for their needs. Set a trigger on your case studies page to alert you or your rep when a prospect visits the case studies section of your website. Based on that trigger and the particular lead’s score, you can set up automated flows that either offer an additional deep dive or a customer webinar to a low score lead, or alternatively, trigger a rep to follow up and offer a reference call. What better proof than talking to a happy customer LIVE and using your case studies to trigger the next value added conversation?5. Visited Your Pricing PageChecking out the pricing page usually means one of two things. If it’s early in the sales and research cycle, it might just be a ‘ballpark’ exercise to see if your product or service is priced within the realm of possibility for your prospect. Now might be a good time to offer a consultation or free trial via email.Now suppose that your sales rep is deep in discussions with a potential customer, and they visit the pricing page again. That rep would really want to know! Pricing discussions are a huge buying signal; send your rep a note from the website giving them a heads up that it’s time to move into a closing sequence.6. Signed Up for a Free Trial & Did Something or … NothingMarketing analytics isn’t limited to just your website (otherwise, we’d call it website analytics). Thank goodness, because a lot of B2B companies have a variety of other sales tools that should be instrumented for intelligence!If you happen to offer software that enables a free trial, you’re sitting on a goldmine of information. Why not connect your trial to your automation tools so that after sign up, you can engage prospects based on the actions they do or don’t take. One HubSpot customer, TribeHR, uses automated lead nurturing to remind users of their trial expiration date if they haven’t taken advantage of the features. They also have the intelligence to know what features users have set up, which can really inform additional content suggestions or sales activities. How great would it be if you could use people’s behavior to support them through a results-oriented free trial experience?!7. Tweeted About You or Your CompetitionAlthough no one ever wants to be in a competitive situation, it’s always better to find out early. With today’s hyperactive social media environment, it’s not uncommon for someone to tweet something like … Prospect lead intelligence can connect a lead’s information to their Twitter username, and if you follow them, filters can be set up to look for specific keywords. How great would it be if your sales rep could be alerted to this tweet and follow up with some information and a personal call? Modern behavioral marketing automation makes this amazing scenario a reality!Some folks might find this creepy and ‘big brother-ish,’ but it’s all about how you use the information. Consider the fact that your prospects are actively seeking out information and solutions, and then, based on their actions, help give them what they want. The above actions aren’t license to aggressively stalk your prospects. Rather, they provide an invitation to be helpful and then let human relationships take over from there.What other behaviors can you track that signal serious interest for your potential customers?Image Credit: Poppet Maulding Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Lead Nurturinglast_img read more

How to Create Content That Actually Resonates With Your Readers

first_imgMost content creators have probably felt like that puppy to the right … you try so hard to get a point across, but your audience just doesn’t seem to “get it.” Or maybe they just don’t care.What’s the deal, guys? Y U NO LIKE BLOG POST? (I won’t turn that into a meme; we’re on a strict 1-meme-per-post diet.)The task of not just creating content, but creating content that resonates with your readers, is a critical but difficult task to master. In fact, MarketingProfs’ newly released B2B Content Marketing benchmarking report cites that 52% of marketers find producing the kind of content that engages is their biggest challenge — it was the most frequently cited challenge, second only to producing enough content.But the content that tickles a reader’s fancy is the stuff that gets shared socially, forwarded, and linked to from other sites. It’s the stuff that keeps people reading ’til the end, driving conversions. It elevates your marketing from mediocre to monumental! We’ve got to create this kind of content, marketers.But … how do we do it? This post is going to break down what seems like an art — connecting with readers through your content — and turn it into more of a science. Because there are certain elements that, if you infuse them into your content, will make it more relatable and impactful for your readers. Here’s what you can do to create content that resonates within the deepest, darkest recesses of your readers’ souls (or something a little less intense).Develop PersonasThe first step to creating content that resonates with readers is getting a better understanding of who your readers are, especially the ones you want to convert into leads and customers. That means if you haven’t developed personas yet, now’s the time. We’ve talked a lot in the past about how to create buyer personas — you can read a comprehensive guide to conducting the research here, and download a free template to fill in that research and actually compile your buyer personas here.But in addition to buyer personas, consider also creating reader personas. Because while you probably care most about appealing to your readers who will convert into leads and customers, there’s also a segment of your readers who will probably never buy from your business, but will continue to read and share your content. In an ideal world, you can understand and appeal to both segments. Conducting that persona research now will give you the information you need to infuse the rest of the elements discussed in this blog post into your marketing content.Deliver Content in the Right FormatYou know how people get into debates about which is better — reading a book on a tablet, or reading a real-life book with pages you can actually flip through? That’s the kind of debate you should have about all of your marketing content. Whenever you set out to create a piece of marketing content, ask yourself:1) What content format type is the best way to get this message across?2) In what content format type will my audience most like to consume this content?Here’s an example from just the other day that nicely demonstrates the importance of choosing the right content format for optimal reader experience. Yesterday, we published a blog post, “12 Revealing Charts to Help You Benchmark Your Business Blogging Performance.” The graphs came from a new ebook, Marketing Benchmarks From 7,000 Businesses, which contained benchmarking data about business blogging … as well as landing pages, social media, and website analytics. Why use a blog post to highlight 12 charts just about blogging, and an ebook to highlight the dozens and dozens of other charts about all those other areas of marketing?Because a blog is better suited to short-form content, while an ebook — particularly because someone had to fill out a form with their personal information to redeem it — is going to have a more captive audience, interested in scrolling through dozens and dozens of charts. The right content format, for the right type of content.Whether it’s deciding to create an infographic instead of a blog post, a video instead of an owner’s manual, or a blog post instead of a checklist, determine what content format will help you get your message across in 1) the clearest way, and 2) the way your audience will most enjoy to read it.Paint a PictureLet’s say you’re about to write a blog post about how you should optimize your marketing for mobile, and you want to write an introduction that’ll hook the reader. Which introductory line is more likely to grab readers’ attention?Intro Line 1: Mobile devices are very important.Intro Line 2: You know when your alarm goes off in the morning, and the first thing you do is fumble around all groggy-eyed for your cell phone?Both statements get the point across — people are really into their mobile devices — but that second one paints a picture in the reader’s mind that he or she can relate to. “Yeah, I totally do that in the morning!” Or, “Yeah, my husband/wife totally does that and it drives me crazy.” When you find some common ground with the reader, and use that common ground to craft a story they can relate to, your reader becomes an active participant in the story you’re trying to tell through your content. Use words to paint a picture that tells your reader this piece of content was written just for them.Literally, Paint a PictureOr make a meme, embed some video, create charts and graphs … do something visual! There’s no person alive who looks at thousands of words of text and thinks, “Man, I’m so glad they didn’t include any pictures.”Images not only break up the monotony of text; they also help you tell a story better than words often can. Or at the very least, more succinctly. Take this content visualization that explains how different types of offer content align with different stages in the sales cycle:Explaining this concept is a huge pain in the butt. I know, because the reason this visualization was created was due to several hours of struggling to explain this complicated concept in this very long blog post about content mapping. If visuals can tell your story better than the written word, then go for a visual format — or at least incorporate visuals alongside your written content. The easier you make it for readers to understand your content, the more impactful it is.Plus, you know what they say about the picture to word conversion rate; I hear it’s somewhere in the thousands ;-)Use Data to Show ImpactSometimes content creators need a little help from their old friend (or foe) mathematics to convey the impact of a point. That’s one of the reasons I think infographics are so powerful … they combine words, numbers, and imagery to display just how monumental something is in terms everyone can easily understand. For instance, check out how this snippet from a GetResponse infographic displays data about the percentage of email marketers who include sharing links to a specific social network. Way more impactful that just writing it out, right?But data doesn’t necessarily need the backing of a designer to pack a powerful punch. Sometimes, the numbers just speak for themselves. Take one of our most successful blog posts of all time, “LinkedIn 277% More Effective for Lead Generation Than Facebook & Twitter.” That data point could have been positioned differently — but saying “LinkedIn Has a 2.74% Visit-to-Lead Conversion Rate” doesn’t exactly resonate as strongly. That’s because most people don’t really know what the benchmark is for an amazing visit-to-lead conversion rate. People do know, however, that 277% more effective is waaaaaay more effective. As such, it’s waaaaaay easier for people to care about the content.Solicit Audience OpinionWhen you actually ask readers to get involved with your content, they have a vested interest in it because they were a part of its creation. Ask your readers, commenters, social media followers, customers, the whole lot, to participate in the content creation process. For instance, in a blog post about overcoming crippling blogging challenges, I took to Twitter to ask people what their biggest challenges and solutions to those challenges are. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Even if you can’t find a real-life example to help bridge the gap between theory and application, you can write out a “for instance” of your own that helps your reader understand how your suggestion would play out for them. Again, practicing what we preach, here’s an example of just that from a recent blog post about generating leads from your business blog: We made up the example of a unicorn breeder trying to blog about his business, so that any reader could see him or herself in those shoes. An all-encompassing example like this resonates with everyone!Use the Right ToneThis is probably the most nuanced element of creating impactful marketing content. It takes not only experimentation to get it just right, but also an in-depth knowledge of both your personas, and how writing elements like grammar, tone, and punctuation affect your persona. This includes things like:Sentence structureSense of humorWord choicePunctuation usageContent formattingAll of these elements can dramatically change the way a sentence reads. Here’s an example to demonstrate what I mean by this.We recently published a blog post about how to prioritize your mobile optimization efforts if you don’t have the ability to optimize for everything — mobile website, mobile SEO, mobile emails, SMS, apps — all at once. Here’s what the first couple sentences of the post looked like: The flippant tone coupled with several short, abrupt sentences, one after another, help convey the feeling of annoyance many marketers face at constantly being told to optimize for mobile, even when doing so is a really overwhelming endeavor. Compare that to an introduction that reads like this:You probably understand that mobile optimization is important.It says the same thing; the reader knows mobile optimization is important. But it doesn’t really strike a chord. It doesn’t press that button with the readers who are sick and tired of being told to mobile optimize when they have no idea how to get started, and don’t have the resources to do it all. The first variation is tapping into both a fact, and a feeling. The second variation? Fact, with no feeling.A content creator that makes purposeful stylistic choices is ensuring their content reads in a way that resonates with their readers, and makes it easy — even enjoyable — for them to consume that content.What are your tricks to make your marketing content resonate with your readers?center_img Originally published Oct 24, 2012 12:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Getting Kate involved in the brainstorm process got her inherently involved in the blog post — seeing whether her problem and solution was featured, and what problems and solutions were addressed in the post. If you take this approach, be sure to reach out to those who participated in your crowd-surfed content after it’s published to increase the likelihood that they share it with their networks, too.Provide Real-life or Theoretical ExamplesExamples not only make you a better teacher — and content that teaches something is often naturally more engaging — but it also helps you connect with the reader by bridging the gap between theory and application. I mean, how often has “theory” really razzled and dazzled someone, am I right?After you explain a concept, bring it into the real world for your readers by providing an example of that theory in practice that they can relate to. These examples can be real-life examples, showing instances of real brands doing exactly what you’re talking about, or they can be theoretical examples, a la “imagine you’re a lawyer who’s trying to …”To practice what we preach, here’s an example of this very thing. In a blog post about how to make your customers feel all exclusive and VIP, we suggested partnering with relevant businesses so you can offer exclusive deals to your customers. Instead of just … telling you that … we found a brand that does it, and showed that tactic being executed: Content Creation Topics:last_img read more