Congress moves to protect Pentagon’s basic research spending at universities

first_imgThe Air Force’s basic research spending would fall 10% to $474.5 million; the request called for a 13% cut. Proposed cuts to basic research conducted by universities for the U.S. military would be erased under budget legislation approved yesterday by the U.S. House of Representatives. But the Pentagon’s overall basic research accounts would still shrink by about 3%, or $60 million, to $2.1 billion in 2015 under a defense authorization bill approved Thursday on a 300 to 119 vote. That cut is smaller than the 7% cut proposed by the White House earlier this year.Lawmakers reversed proposed cuts to Pentagon programs that fund basic research at universities, however, bumping up those programs by 6% or more. The reversal comes as a relief to many in academia, which has become increasingly reliant on Pentagon research funding. About one-half of the Pentagon’s basic research spending, or $1 billion annually, is distributed to university researchers. And certain fields, including engineering, computer science, math, and physics, receive up to one-half of their research dollars from the Department of Defense (DOD). Military research officials had estimated that the proposed cuts would mean about 1500 fewer grants to academic institutions.Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate had expressed concerns about that outcome, and earlier this week they acted in the massive defense authorization bill. It details how DOD should spend some $585 billion in the 2015 fiscal year, which began 1 October. Although the bill does not actually appropriate the funding—that is done in separate legislation—it typically dictates appropriations levels.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(*)Overall, the Pentagon’s core basic research accounts would fall to $2.108 billion, 3% below the 2014 level and 4% above the president’s request. Within that total:The Army’s basic research account—known as the 6.1 budget line in Washington parlance—would grow 2% to $444.2 million; the White House had proposed a 3% reduction. DOD-wide basic research would grow 1% to $592.5 million; the White House had requested a 4% cut.Programs dedicated to university research saw gains. The Air Force’s academic programs will grow to $89.8 million in 2015 from $79.4 million, a 13% jump. The Navy’s jump to $133.9 million from $112.8 million (plus 19%), and the Air Force’s to $147.1 million from $138.3 million (a 6% bump).The authorization bill now goes to the Senate, which is expected to approve it. Congress is expected to complete work on a 2015 spending bill later this month.*Correction, 5 December, 6:38 p.m.: As a result of a spreadsheet error, this article incorrectly reported an increase in the Pentagon’s basic research budget for 2015. In fact, overall spending on basic research would fall by 3%. We regret the error.center_img The Navy’s 6.1 account would fall 4% to $596.3 million; the request called for a 7% cut.last_img read more

Amit Shah launches website on Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial House

first_imgVadodara, Apr 2 (PTI) A website on the Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial House at Chorwad in Gujarat was launched today by BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.The website – – was launched in the presence of Parimal Nathwani, Independent Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and Group President of Reliance Industries Limited, a press release from RIL said.”The website contains the pictures of the ancestral house of Dhirubhai Ambani, chronology of Dhirubhai Ambanis life, historical information about Chorwad, development works carried out by RIL in Chorwad among other details,” it added.According to the release, the website will provide much needed information about famous places around Chorwad to the visitors.Late Dhirubhai Ambani was the founder of Reliance Industries. PTI COR NRB MKJ BASlast_img

Top Reasons Why Working for a Best Place to Work Can Help Your Career

first_imgWorking for a Best Place to Work isn’t only going to keep you satisfied, but it can boost your career as well.While a great company is usually defined by its culture, having that name on your resume will undoubtedly enhance your brand.“If you have two applicants and everything else is the same but one is coming from Apple and the other is coming from a no-name tech company, nine out of ten times the Apple person is going to get hired,” says Jennifer K. Hill, president of J Hill Staffing. “Your employability is equal to your education times the company you work at times the skills you have.”Brand equity isn’t the only thing you get from being employed by a company that holds the title of a great company to work at. It enables you to learn from some of the brightest people in your field because they are typically also drawn to great companies.“Companies touted as a Best Place to Work typically attract bright people that are content and productive in their role, which means you’ll be working with happy, successful people,” says Susan Vitale, Chief Marketing Officer at iCIMS, the human resources software company. “These organizations have strong senior leadership teams that offer valuable career development and training opportunities and are, frankly, inspiring to work for.” According to Vitale, these companies usually have a strong vision, can execute on their plans, and hold employees accountable, all of which bodes well for anyone lucky enough to work for one of these companies.Landing a job at a company that is highly regarded is going to be tough, but the battle isn’t going to stop once you step through the door. According to Luan Lam, vice president of global talent acquisition at AppDynamic, the bar is usually set higher, which means employees will have to raise their own personal bar to succeed. What’s more, Lam says a company that is honored as a Best Place to Work is usually on the right track in its business. It’s not likely that employees will give a company on the brink of bankruptcy high marks.  According to Lam, if a company is private and then goes public, it validates the employees’ worth and value to other companies. “We all manage our careers on a piece of paper (resume) and if you have all of the right/winning companies on there, all of a sudden your background is all that much more elevated,” says Lam.Career development should be a top priority of every size company, but often it’s the ones that are willing to invest in their employees that get high marks from its workforce. Turns out it’s also one of the reasons the company gets bestowed as a Best Place to Work. “Some of the best companies out there reinvent their employees,” says Hill of JHill Staffing.  “A lot of companies don’t realize the value in training people.”last_img read more

Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions for 2016

first_img“If you were a fruit, what kind would you be and why?” – Topdeck Travel Trip Leader job candidate (London, England). See more Topdeck Travel questions. “What was the last thing you Googled?” – Tim Hortons Leadership Development Program job candidate (Oakville, ON). See more Tim Hortons interview questions.COMPLETE RESULTS: Check out this year’s six lists by country:United StatesUnited KingdomCanadaFranceGermanyNetherlandsThere’s no reason to fear tough interview questions. In fact, Glassdoor research shows tough interviews lead to higher employee satisfaction later on.Plus, job candidates should be ready to take on any question during any interview, so Glassdoor has also compiled a list of some of the Most Common Interview Questions.Have you been stumped by a tougher interview question than these? Share the interview question with others. 1Methodology: Glassdoor evaluates all approved interview questions shared during the past 12 months (3/18/15-3/17/16) by job candidates on Glassdoor. To develop the list, we take into account community feedback (e.g., question tagging like ‘brainteaser’) and compile a range of questions that give job seekers a better idea as to what may come up in an interview. This is a sample list of questions. Job candidates should be ready for any question asked of them in an interview – even the most difficult and bizarre.To help, Glassdoor has revealed its annual report of the Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions for 2016, featuring six lists across North America and parts of Europe. Based on thousands of interview questions shared by job candidates in each country over the past year1, these lists identify some of the toughest questions job seekers could face when interviewing for any position.Here’s just a sample of some of the toughest interview questions being asked around the world:“When a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split and why?” – SpaceX Propulsion Structural Analyst job candidate (New York, NY). See more SpaceX interview questions.last_img read more

Interviewing? 5 Tips To Get To Know Your Future Manager

first_imgWhether you’re searching for a job or hoping for a promotion within your company, you’re probably curious what it’ll be like to work with your future manager.If you’re like most people, you probably hope your future manager will be supportive of your goals and professional development. Research by Zenger/Folkman found the most important quality an effective manager should have is the ability to motivate and inspire others.Finding the perfect manager is tough, but if you pinpoint the qualities you desire in a manager, your search will be much easier. Here are five things to pay attention to when getting to know your future manager:1. Read the manager’s LinkedIn recommendations.If you’ve connected with the manager on LinkedIn, spend some time researching their recommendations. As you scan through their recommendations, pay attention to whether current or former employees provided any.Take note of the personality traits people have identified with the manager. For example, do people say the manager is bubbly and fun to work with? Or do they say the manager is results-driven and a team player? These attributes can offer insight into what the manager’s personality is like.2. Ask why they love their job.When you ask someone why they love their job, it gives them the opportunity to talk about their passions and goals. If you ask the manager this question and they offer a glowing response, it’s very likely this manager genuinely enjoys what they do.As the manager talks about why they love their job, pick up on the key details of what they like most. For example, does the manager explain why she loves team meetings or does she focus more on creative projects? These qualities can give you a better idea of the manager’s personality and leadership style.3. Uncover their workflow.Every manager is unique when it comes to getting projects completed. Ask the manager questions about their typical day in the office and how they like to interact with employees.For instance, say you’ve applied for a graphic design position with an advertising agency. Ask the manager to explain his system for approving final projects. The manager might explain how he uses a project management system called Brightpod to manage his projects and communicate with employees. You can infer from this answer that the manager is very organized and ensures deadlines are met.4. Find out their method of giving feedback.Feedback is crucial for workplace success, and each manager offers feedback in their own way. For example, some managers believe in only offering feedback when necessary, whereas other managers provide ongoing feedback on projects and assignments.Simply ask the manager during the interview how they give feedback to employees. Depending on their answer, you’ll be able to determine whether their management style fits the way you work. You can also ask how the manager provides critical feedback and addresses areas for improvement.5. Ask about their greatest accomplishments with the company.This question is a great way to find out how a manager prioritizes their projects and what they care about most in the workplace.For example, if the manager talks about how his team was able to launch a viral social media campaign, you’ll can assume that the manager cares about the overall success of his employees. On the other hand, if the manager talks about numbers and data, you could assume that he’s a results-driven manager.Just because you’re being interviewed for a job doesn’t mean you can’t interview your future manager. The more you can learn more about your future manager will help you determine whether the job is a good fit for you. By bringing up some of these topics during a job interview, you’ll discover what you really want to know about your future manager.What are some ways you were able to uncover information about a manager during a job interview?last_img read more

How Will Your Job Change After You Negotiate Your Salary

first_imgSo you successfully negotiated your salary–now what? Did the raise come with a job change or promotion? Do you have all the same tasks or have stricter deadlines? Are you a manager or employee with authority now? Do your co-workers know you are making more money than they are now?Here’s a look at what happens after you negotiate your salary and some tips on making it a good transition.1. Your responsibilities will increase.If your salary increase also came with a new job title, that’s more of a promotion than a salary negotiation. If you didn’t get something in writing, make sure you get a letter or e-mail from your boss with the details of the new role outlining what they expect from you. Most importantly, make sure you know when your job changes–whether it’s immediately, or at the start of the next quarter.If you negotiated your salary but still have the same job, your responsibilities still might increase if your boss expects more out of you now. Since you stepped up and showed your worth, you’ll have to prove you were right about deserving more pay.[Related: 9 Work Habits That Could Be Killing Your Chances For A Promotion]2. Your boss will have more respect for you.Salary negotiations are always tough and nerve wrecking, but when you have a successful one, it sends at least two positive messages to your boss. The first one being that you have plans to stick around at the company for a while, which is good sign to any leader. The second is that you’re someone who does their homework and if you got the salary you wanted, your boss will likely respect that you came to the negotiation with a solid defense case.As you go back to work post-negotiation, you might find your boss trusting you more or asking for your input on bigger decisions. Moreover, after they’ve seen the kind of confidence you have and how you view your work performance at the company, they will likely have a greater respect for you.[Related: How To Handle Any Kind of Manager]3. Your co-workers might get jealous.You should never be ashamed about negotiating a higher salary than your co-workers–just because they didn’t ask doesn’t mean you can’t. But if you’re now making more than they are for the same job, don’t be surprised if they find out and aren’t too happy about it.If your co-workers confront you about it, or you constantly hear them gossiping, try talking to them about the situation and suggesting they consider negotiating their salary if they think they should be paid the same amount. You can tell them how you determined your worth to help get your raise, and maybe they’ll be thankful you did so.[Related: 7 Annoying Coworkers To Avoid]4. You might be seen as an authority figure by co-workers.You used to be on the same level with the same pay as your co-workers, but when you walk out of your salary negotiation with a higher salary or a new title, they will likely view you differently.Sure, they might have to report to you now or view you as their boss, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat them as if they are beneath you now. Remember: you were just in their position, so treat them the way you liked being treated by your manager.[Related: 9 Inspiring TED Talks Every Manager Should Watch]5. You’re not done negotiating.Lastly, after a salary negotiation, it’s important to know that it likely wasn’t the last. While it’s great that you already have one successful negotiation under your belt, that doesn’t mean that later down the road you won’t need to ask for a new salary again.Your job might become harder if you end up taking on new responsibilities, or you might find yourself with a promotion next year. A lot can happen in the next year or two, so it’s always important to know that you’re being paid fair for the amount of work you’re doing.last_img read more

​Stoke chief Scholes: Butland worth more than Pickford

first_imgStoke chief Tony Scholes believes that Potters goalkeeper Jack Butland is worth more than Jordan Pickford in the current market.Pickford yesterday joined Everton from Sunderland in a deal believed to be around £30m, but Scholes argues that Butland is a more finished product than Pickford.However, he has made it very clear that the England international remains a key part of Stoke ahead of the next season.”Jack’s a very special talent,” said Scholes. “He’s done extremely well for us and has done well for England.”I think most people objectively would argue he’s some way beyond Jordan Pickford, I think, but that’s not what we are thinking about.”We are thinking about what Jack can do for our football team and Jack is a key part of what we want to be next year.”He’s a player we missed last year, albeit Lee Grant came in and was magnificent and deservedly won the player-of-the-year award.”But when you’ve got a player of Jack’s quality you want him available for your team.”last_img read more

Ex-Man Utd coach Warren Joyce to take charge of (Man City partners) Melbourne City

first_imgFormer Manchester United coach Warren Joyce is joining Manchester City.The Daily Mail says Joyce, who had a short stint in charge of Wigan Athletic, is set to take charge of City’s Australian partners Melbourne City.The 52-year-old former Manchester United coach took a flight on Saturday ahead of finalising terms with the Australian A League side, a partner club of Manchester City.Joyce retains a reputation as a strong coach despite a disappointing spell at Wigan Athletic where he was given just four months in the job before being sacked by chairman David Sharpe in March, two weeks after Joyce had major eye surgery.last_img

Juventus launching bid for Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric

first_imgJuventus are launching a bid for Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric.The Croatia international is considering his future after winning a third Champions League title this year.Modric is weighing up whether to pursue a new challenge as he enters the twilight of his playing career.TMW says Juve are aware of the midfielder’s mindset and have internally discussed moving for the midfielder.Indeed, coach Max Allegri has urged his board to make an attempt to bring Modric to Turin this summer market.last_img

For India, Achieving the Next Generation of Maternal Health Goals Requires New Approaches

first_imgPosted on March 28, 2017July 5, 2017By: Francesca Cameron, Program Assistant, the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health InitiativeClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Achieving the next generation of maternal health goals in India, which accounts for almost 15 percent of maternal deaths around the world each year, will require innovative new approaches to stubborn problems.“We have gone through the low-hanging fruit,” said Aparajita Gogoi, national coordinator of White Ribbon Alliance India, to a room full of maternal health experts in Mumbai in February. “We have reached a saturation point and will plateau unless we address quality in a broader sense.”Gogoi addressed 45 researchers, practitioners, and advocates from across India, and a few from beyond its borders, at the new Mumbai outpost of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as part of a two-day workshop organized by the Wilson Center and Maternal Health Task Force.In a country as sprawling and diverse as India, improving maternal health outcomes may seem like a daunting task. Yet, the country nearly achieved the ambitious Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters from 1990 to 2015, with a decline from 556 deaths per 100,000 live births to 174.The new target of the Sustainable Development Goals, which took over for the MDGs in 2016, is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030 and reduce national mortality rates by at least two thirds from 2010 baselines. Doing so in India, while addressing the bevy of other maternal health-related SDG targets, will require a greater focus on equity.Aggregated national data obscures steep differences across socioeconomic lines, said experts. Not to mention, the mortality ratio alone does not provide a complete picture of the state of maternal health, leaving out quality of care and morbidities, among other challenges.Unanticipated ChallengesOne notable improvement during the MDG era in India was the increase in institutional deliveries. As of 2013, 83 percent of children were delivered in institutions. Workshop participants largely attributed this to the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) programs.Launched by the National Rural Health Mission in 2005, JSY is a conditional cash transfer program that offers financial incentives for pregnant women to use maternal health services and give birth at a medical facility. Also implemented by the National Rural Health Mission, the ASHA program trains rural women to act as liaisons between expectant mothers and the public health system, guiding them through the process and answering questions.According to workshop participants, though, too many poor women with little education – the targets of the JSY program in particular – are still being left behind. These women do not always receive payments, they said, due to administrative lags, and many are not able to travel to a health facility even if they do, thanks to poor roads and distant hospitals.Women in urban areas face different access challenges. As explored in a similar workshop convened in New Delhi by the Wilson Center, Maternal Health Task Force, United Nations Population Fund, and Population Foundation of India in 2013, India is urbanizing at a rate that is overwhelming many municipal governments. According to the minister of state for urban development, 60 percent of the population will live in cities by 2050. A dearth of quality, affordable, and accessible health services often greets women moving into informal settlement areas, exacerbating existing socioeconomic disparities and creating an “urban disadvantage.” Safety is also a major concern for urban women, who may have a theoretically short trip to the nearest clinic but must pass through dangerous areas, as well as find child care, said workshop participants.Furthermore, some women do not want to give birth in a hospital due to experiences with and perceptions of poor quality of care and disrespect. Many workshop participants expressed concern that moving from home deliveries attended by traditional birth attendants to institutional deliveries, without a proportional investment in health infrastructure and workforce training, has turned facilities into “factories.”“You want women to receive good quality care wherever they deliver,” said Dipa Nag Chowdhury, deputy director of the MacArthur Foundation’s India office. To deliver “patient-centered” maternity care that respects women’s choices, Chowdhury suggested developing more practical guidelines for care in low resource settings; developing more research proposals exploring equity issues; collecting more disaggregated data; and creating patient feedback mechanisms. Training more midwives could ensure that women who deliver at home also receive high quality care.Innovating to Put Women at the CenterThe good news is that researchers, advocates, and practitioners all over the country are rising to the challenge of designing and implementing interventions that are patient-centered and cognizant of the sociocultural determinants of health.In the west-central state of Maharashtra, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Maharashtra University of Health Sciences are working with medical colleges to dispel myths from textbooks and improve “gender sensitization and awareness” in the curriculum.Anuja Gulati, UNFPA’s state program coordinator for Maharashtra, described textbooks filled with sexist myths such as “spinsters, childless married women, and those who have not suckled their children” are the usual sufferers of breast cancer. UNFPA created a chapter for medical textbooks that includes modern information about maternal health as well as other related issues like gender-based violence and sex-selective abortion.Other organizations are working directly with patients. The Foundation for Mother and Child Health is setting up “pregnancy clubs” run by local women. During meetings, expectant mothers share knowledge about sex, nutrition, and health services among a trusted group of people, helping to ensure that no mother is left behind.The White Ribbon Alliance has developed a tool that allows women to call a toll-free line to report on the quality of care they received during labor and delivery at a facility. The project has been piloted in Jharkhand, a state with a maternal mortality ratio of 219, and women have been eager to participate, said Gogoi. Thus far, 73,000 women have made reports.Preliminary results indicate that women measure quality of care in terms of timeliness, respectful care without abuse (maintaining comfort, privacy, and confidentiality), and cleanliness of the facility, she said. One unanticipated finding was that it’s important to many women that hospitals have food, since they may have to spend several days there. The White Ribbon Alliance used the feedback to generate a patient satisfaction dashboard that they then took to hospital managers.Changing the HeadlinesSeveral workshop participants agreed on the importance of participatory feedback and community engagement. Moving from a strictly medical approach, focused on clinical interventions, to a community health approach is necessary to close the remaining maternal health gaps across this sub-continent. In many cases moving beyond low-hanging fruit will require addressing women’s interactions with their environment, culture, religion, and social networks.Such a change requires political will, and there’s considerable work to be done on that front, said Dr. Beena Joshi from the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health.Before recent state legislative assembly elections, many candidates prepared manifestos on health but none mentioned women’s health, primary care, or the continuum of care, she said. Meanwhile, the lead story of The Times of India on February 13 was “Space Odyssey: India Plans Trips to Venus, Mars,” reflecting a national excitement over India’s surging space program. When women are dying every day from giving life here on Earth, what do these silences say about our priorities, asked Joshi.Getting better data to government officials, empowering women as advocates, and combatting systemic sexism are the best ways to save mothers and newborns and change the headlines.Event Resources:Photo Gallery (Maternal Health Task Force)This post originally appeared on New Security Beat.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

A Lot of Talk, and Some Action Too

first_imgWhat a great week to be talking about health care reform. On Monday, battling snowstorms and train schedules, Freelancers Union made its way to Washington D.C. – no, we weren’t invited for tea at the White House (yet?) – we were participating in the New America Foundation meeting, The New Health Insurance Marketplace. Sara Horowitz, our Executive Director, discussed how essential it is for individuals to access health insurance through groups. Grouping offers many benefits in the delivery of a health care plan, cost control, and promoting civil society. And we know from our surveys of independent workers that individuals would rather get their health insurance from such groups than through the government, an employer, or directly from a health insurance company. And all of D.C. was totally abuzz with health care news! With Kathleen Sebelius named as the new Daschle for Obama’s Health & Human Services cabinet spot, it feels like things might finally get rolling. The New America Foundation certainly feels optimistic about her, as does The New Republic. What’s your take?last_img read more

1 Day Only! Crunch Fitness Discount

first_imgJoin Crunch Fitness at any of their NYC locations and save $30 of the initiation fee, from now through April 27 at 9pm. Discounts are one of the benefits of Freelancers Union membership. Check out our newly redesigned Discounts page to find more membership perks.last_img

Update: February Member Meeting

first_imgAs we (hopefully) wrap up a long and snowy winter here in NYC, there’s much to report on the Monthly Member Meeting front. At the member gathering on February 16th, we broke into small groups and the Sample Contract Working Group led a great conversation about what clauses should be included in an ideal business contract. The New York District Meetings Working Group shared their progress on scheduling meetings with legislators to lobby for the Freelancer Payment Protection Act and recruiting fellow members for a volunteer phone bank. To read more details about these projects, check out the Monthly Member Meeting minutes from February. The next Monthly Member Meeting will be held at Freelancers Union HQ in Brooklyn on Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. Interested in seeing what this super-productive-pizza-party is all about? RSVP today. Not in New York? This month, we’ll be talking more about how to leverage our Political Action Committee (PAC) to create an even more successful political force nationwide. Be sure to check out our nifty new comic explaining how the PAC works, and weigh in on the questions raised at the February Member Meeting:Why do you donate to nonprofit causes? What information do you need to know before donating?If you’ve given to the Freelancers Union PAC before, why did you give?If you’re considering giving to the PAC or another nonprofit, what would you like to know to help you make the decision?Give me a virtual shout-out in the Comments section with your thoughts on these questions and I’ll make sure your feedback is shared at the March meeting! Kaitlyn Organizer/Volunteer Coordinatorlast_img read more

4 Most Frustrating Bank Fees (And How to Avoid Them)

first_imgHas an organization or university offered you an opportunity with a stipend? Whether it’s an internship or apprenticeship, a stipend is a set amount of money that helps offset living expenses. This fixed amount is financial support provided while you’re… Full Story,Truth is, there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to college: new friends, a new routine, (college parties!), and more independence. But along with all these perks, it’s also time to start thinking about your finances…. Full Story,A routing number is a unique number that identifies a specific banking institution. Each routing number is made up of nine digits. Routing numbers are sometimes referred to as an American Banker’s Association routing transit number or an ABA RTN…. Full Story,It’s stressful enough having a car loan over your head and staying on top of your monthly payments. But what if you have an upside-down car loan — in other words, the amount you owe on your set of wheels… Full Story,When you’re trying to get your financial house in order, it’s easy to get lost in the specifics. You might stress about how to adjust your budget, where to find some extra cash for the holidays or what funds to… Full Story,Shortly after graduating from New York University with a Master’s degree, Melanie Lockert turned to food stamps, as she worked her way out of $81,000 in student loans. “There were a lot of emotions around carrying that debt. It caused… Full Story,Traveling is one of the best things in life, and luckily, low funds don’t have to dash your dreams of enjoying an epic adventure. A wealth of destinations—both in the U.S. and abroad—are so affordable that even hardcore penny pinchers… Full Story,While we don’t yet have flying cars that collapse to the size of a suitcase, pneumatic tubes that transport us from room to room or machines that automatically bathe and clothe us in the morning, every day we’re getting closer… Full Story,Times have changed since Grams and Gramps were your age, looking to settle down and buy their first home. But today the house with the white picket fence—or that trendy loft in downtown—isn’t completely out of the question if you… Full Story,We recently hosted a Twitter chat as part of our #RealTalkSeries. And let’s just say, things definitely got real. Many of you joined us to discuss “taboo” and cringe-worthy money questions such as how to improve a bad credit score,… Full Storylast_img read more

How Much Money Should You Keep in Your Checking Account?

first_imgSources | Investopedia | myFico | Wells FargoShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedEverything You Need to Know About Opening a Savings AccountNovember 29, 2018In “Saving”How to Save Money in Just 6 Simple StepsOctober 31, 2018In “Saving”How To Prepare Financially For A Big Breakup Or A DivorceJune 18, 2019In “Family Finances” Post navigation Your checking account is held at a bank or credit union that allows withdrawals, deposits, and payments. The money in a checking account is liquid—meaning you can retrieve it or spend it immediately. Many checking accounts are free and are great for everyday spending, automatic bill payments, and ATM withdrawals. Having a checking account gives you access to liquid funds and an easy way to manage your cash flow. When you have enough funds in your checking account, you avoid fees and have a better pulse on your monthly budget. You won’t want to stow away all of your savings in a checking account, though. The excess money should be put in a higher-yield savings account or retirement account. How Much You Should Keep in Your Checking AccountHaving the right amount in your checking account helps reduce the risk of fees and puts you in a good financial position, even in the case of an emergency. Figure out how much to keep in your checking by considering a few important factors. Minimum Balance Requirement Checking accounts often require a minimum daily balance in order to avoid charging you a fee or closing your account. Some minimums will be as low as $5, while others might be higher, such as $500 or $1,000. By keeping the minimum amount in your account at the end of each business day, you’ll avoid fees or account closure. If a bank doesn’t list a minimum balance for their checking accounts, there may be a general minimum for accounts of any type. Be sure to check the details with your bank or credit union.Cushion to Avoid OverdraftsBesides the minimum required by your financial institution, keep enough in your account to avoid overdrafts. An overdraft happens when a debit, such as a purchase, is greater than what you have in your account. For example, if you were to make a $40 purchase, but only have $30 in your account, you will overdraft by $10. Most banks and credit unions charge a fee for overdrafting, which can be anywhere from $20 to $50 or even more.To avoid overdrafting, keep extra funds in your checking account. When emergencies and unexpected situations arise, you’ll be able to withdraw money without having to worry about fees.You’ll also want a small cushion for what’s called “preauthorization charges.” Retail stores and restaurants, for example, send through a pre-authorization charge, typically for $1. It allows the company to verify through a small payment that your checking account is valid before they charge for the full purchase. You will receive the $1 back, usually within 48 hours of the preauthorization charge appearing on your account. While these charges are minimal, if you have a few in process at once, and don’t have extra funds, you could experience an overdraft charge, even on a small purchase.Enough to Cover UtilitiesMany people set up automatic monthly payments for utility bills, such as rent, cable, and electric. Some of these bills fluctuate, though. For example, your electricity or gas usage might be higher in the winter, and you don’t always know much the bill will be. Having a buffer in your checking account helps ensure you always have enough to cover bills, even if they increase from time to time. Review previous monthly statements and calculate an average. Overestimate to ensure you always have enough and won’t be charged for an overdraft.You’ll also want to keep track of when your bills are paid out of your checking account. Knowing which dates the money is withdrawn will help you plan to have enough to cover each bill.Everyday ExpensesFinancial experts recommend keeping one to two month’s worth of spending dollars in your checking account. They suggest that the rest of your savings be placed in an emergency fund or in a savings account to earn higher interest. Don’t know how much you spend in a month? Estimate your spending by tracking expenses through Mint. The app gives you a monthly average of how much you spend, so you know exactly how much to have available in your checking account.Not All of Your SavingsWhile you want sufficient funds in your checking account to cover bills, everyday expenses and pre-authorization charges, you don’t want to stow all of your money in that same account. You’re better off putting additional funds in a high-yield savings account or retirement fund. Not only will you earn more, but you’ll be less likely to spend those extra funds accidentally. How to Protect Your Checking AccountKeep your money and your identity safe. Put a few steps in place to ensure your checking account is as secure as possible. Be discreet at ATMs: Cover the keypad when you’re typing in your PIN at an ATM. Make sure no one else can see the buttons you’re pushing. Choose ATMs inside the bank: Instead of using an ATM on the street or in a parking lot, opt for ATMs that are inside the bank building. In-house machines are more secure and difficult to hack into. If it’s after-hours, choose machines that are connected to the bank or located in the vestibule. Those are safer than standalone machines. Set up alerts: Log into your online checking account to set up text alerts for certain balances and big expenses. You’ll receive a notification when certain—or all—transactions occur. If you spot a purchase that wasn’t yours, notify your bank to halt the transaction and to make them aware of the fraudulent activity. Establish a two-step login: For extra security, opt for a login process that requires two steps. For example, you can choose to use a password and have the bank text you a verification code each time you want to login. By creating barriers for logging on, it helps ensure your data and money stays safe from predators. Access your online account with a secure connection: Make sure your device is linked to a safe internet connection, such as your home WiFi network, when you log into your checking account. Certain public connections are easier for hackers to retrieve your personal banking information.Log in at least once a month: Even if you have alerts sent to you when transactions happen, be sure to log into your online account periodically. Review your statements to make sure nothing looks out of the ordinary and that you weren’t charged any unnecessary fees.A checking account is a great tool for managing and saving money. Keep an adequate amount in your account to cover living expenses and fluctuating bill payments—while maintaining the minimum required balance. By avoiding unnecessary fees and overdraft charges, you’ll save yourself money and stress. Mint can help you track your spending—ensuring you have enough for all life has to offer. last_img read more

How to Review Your Marketing Analytics in Just 10 Minutes

first_img Keyword analytics 4. Monitor Conversions Got 30 minutes? . Got 30 minutes? forms lead generation best practices will allow you to review which channels are the most effective at driving website engagement. Review a line graph of organic search, social media, email marketing, campaign-specific, direct, and total traffic over at least two weeks. Any surprising trends? Review referral traffic by individual URLs — any surprising referral pages? Are your blog posts generating traffic from quality inbound links? Take notes of the sticky content, and incorporate more of those topics into your content calendar. Got 30 minutes? Make sure to also consider seasonality if that is applicable for your business by examining year over year data. 2. Track Sources sources report Review a HUGS 2011 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack and join their Birds of a Feather roundtable discussion, “Using Analytics Tools for Business Growth.” 3. Analyze Keywords lead G Most business owners and marketing managers are too busy to dive into Got 30 minutes? keyword grader Marketing Analytics Write down goals for each traffic source and at least one step to reduce costs for each source. Also review your lead nurturing campaign(s) to jot down failed experiments or new content ideas to introduce. A The conversion rate metric allows you to gauge the efficiency of your website’s performance. All the traffic in the world won’t help your business grow if your website isn’t able to turn visitors into business leads. It is important to note that every page of your website should offer opportunities for users to convert. In your review, jot down two pages with the lowest conversion rate. Examine those pages for any missed conversion opportunities. There are many different ways to optimize your pages for lead generation. For tips, review these Take a look at the inbound links driving traffic to your website to see if there are any cross-linking opportunities to build authority for your site with search engines. Be sure to add long-tail variations of top converting keywords to further refine your niche keyword opportunities.center_img 5. Measure ROI For a deeper investigation, review traffic on a line graph against your conversion rates and sales trends. Do you regularly review your marketing analytics to check the performance of your marketing? What other metrics do you track? is a top-line metric of website engagement that measures the amount of users visiting your site. Why is reviewing traffic important? Without sustained amounts of traffic to a website, regardless of industry, businesses will have incredibly low visibility online. Use your favorite analytics platform to review trends in website traffic over two weeks or more. Do the peaks in traffic from marketing campaigns or new blog posts match what you’ve done in the past? Were there holidays or other external factors influencing the traffic? Jot down a couple of notes about potential reasons for the trending up or down when compared to weeks past. Topics: . Be sure you have a compelling “hook” for users to fill out the form as well! . LyntonWeb helps companies grow with creative inbound marketing and technology solutions. Visit them at generation every day. However, it is important to keep a pulse on how your online marketing programs are performing so you can adjust them as needed. The following is a recommendation for a 10-minute, 5-point inspection to use weekly or bi-weekly in order to keep current on your latest metrics. website analytics principles ot 30 minutes? basic Break down your ROI by traffic source. Any surprises? can be digested in many different ways. The most beneficial to your business in a quick-hit analysis is analyzing lead conversions by keyword. While traffic by keyword will show you which keywords are popular, lead conversions by keyword will show you which topics are bringing in qualified visitors. Do the keywords accurately portray your business’ products and services to drive leads? Your top converting keywords are invaluable to guide your website content, advertising buys, and even how you sell your products/services. Also look for keywords with low conversions. Usually these are opportunities to drive more leads. Add more of these keyword-focused topics to your content calendar. Review your website’s two worst converting forms against these for Traffic LyntonWeb to access your site rank on the search engines compared to competitors for popular keywords. As a best practice, always leave your analyses with takeaways and action items. Having these will encourage you to continue to reviewing your analytics regularly. Prioritize analytics for 10-minute weekly or bi-weekly reviews. Capture all your notes and high level metrics in an easy spreadsheet to keep history and share with your team. Photo credit: LIBECK 1. Check Online Traffic Originally published Sep 12, 2011 5:01:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 This is a guest blog post by Samantha Schultz, an online marketing specialist and project manager at tool Finally, tie it all back to ROI. Take the sum of what you’re spending and divide by what you are generating in returns (sales) from the website. There may be other key performance indicators marketing managers can use for an online program, however. Perhaps you’re working against cost-per-lead. Has this changed over time as you’ve grown or taken on lower cost initiatives, like search engine optimization and email marketing? Jot down two ways to reduce overall cost to the program and/or get more leads to balance out the equation.last_img read more

3 Simple Design Tips to Make Charts That Don’t Suck

first_imgAnd voila! No more sucky charts. Topics: Originally published Sep 30, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack  MAKE MEANING!center_img SMALL TASTY BITES! Excel Raise your hand if you love data.Now raise your hand if data presented like this makes you want to stick a fork in your eye:It’s colorful. It’s brimming with data. But HOLY HORSESHOE is it confusing!Having data is awesome. Using it to persuade others is powerful. Presenting it in a way that inspires eye-forking is criminal.Here are three simple design tips to help you make sexier, simpler charts that are sure to elicit applause and approval, not violence.TIP #1: Make friends with white space.Tempting as it is to fill your chart with every possible data point, detail, and label, there’s an extremely good reason to fight this urge: The human brain uses contrast to distinguish objects from one another. White space is one of the easiest, most elegant design tools that creates this contrast and increases the likelihood that your audience will grasp the point you’re trying to make.Compare this version of a basic bar chart with the one below it.CHART #1:CHART #2:By removing the grid lines and tick marks along both axes, as well as the value labels along the vertical axis, and deleting superfluous content from the bottom left corner, we’ve made it much easier to glance at this chart and see that more blogging results in a lot more leads.Which is a perfect segue into the next tip…TIP #2: Don’t just share data. MAKE MEANING!It’s common practice for charts to be labeled with a sentence that simply describes what data is being presented. In the example above, the title clearly states that what we’re looking at: The Impact of Blog Size on Monthly Leads.Fine, right?Wrong. To maximize the impact of your charts and graphs, don’t just state the obvious, explain why it matters. What’s the core point you’re trying to make? Is it that 52 or more blog articles per month yields an average of 23 leads?So? What action do you want your audience to take as a result of seeing this data?Blog more?So tell them that! Better yet, use a touch of color to draw their eye to the specific data element(s) that drive your point home.Now isn’t that better?Last but certainly not least, design tip #3…TIP #3: Serve bite-size pieces.Nobody likes biting off more than they can chew.  Well, except for maybe this guy.Most of us, however, prefer tasty bite size morsels that we can savor and enjoy without unhinging our jaws.So instead of something like this:…consider chunking up the data into smaller pieces that are more easily digestible (and more effective at conveying your core message)……like so:Better, right?To summarize:MORE WHITE SPACE!last_img read more

Are You Emotionally Intelligent? 5 of the Tell-Tale Signs

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 Originally published Sep 12, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Emotional Intelligence I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of emotional intelligence — the ability to absorb emotional cues and use it to guide behavior. And the more time I spend in business (marketing and editorial, in particular) the more it’s clear what a valuable asset this is in your employees and teammates.Think about how valuable it is when creating content, for example: Those who are able to empathize with their readers are able to think of hot topics, write in a way that draws on common experiences, and anticipate questions and hangups so they can address them in the writing.Even if you’re not in marketing or creating content on a regular basis, knowing the signs of emotional intelligence are critical for one more reason: hiring. If you want to build a team of people that are able to recognize and make choices based on their own emotions and those of their peers, you’ll need to be able to screen for emotional intelligence alongside subject matter expertise and specific skill sets during the interview process. If you’re wondering how you can identify an emotionally intelligent person (or whether you or your coworkers pass the emotional intelligence test), consider these common qualities.A Quick Note on Emotional IntelligenceThis is a cursory look into emotional intelligence and its role in the workplace, based largely (though not exclusively) on research from Salovey and Mayer, and Goleman, a few of the recognized leaders in this field of research. For a more in-depth look into emotional intelligence in the work environment, I recommend reading:Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQWorking With Emotional IntelligenceEmotional Intelligence: Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model1) An emotionally intelligent person is curious …About people he doesn’t know, specifically. There’s no “rational” reason to care about a complete stranger … but you probably don’t want to work alongside people that don’t. That’s because those who are curious about other people are typically more empathetic than their ambivalent peers — another sign of high emotional intelligence.One way to screen for it in an interview:When you mention a project you’re working on, does he ask specific and engaging follow-up questions, or does he just nod his head or say something generic? 2) An emotionally intelligent person is self aware …One of the hallmarks of high emotional intelligence is not just the ability to recognize signals and emotions in others — it’s the ability to read ourselves with similar (or hopefully, greater) levels of depth and accuracy. Growing a self aware team can help teammates recognize where they can work together, make feedback easier to give and receive, and help everyone have a more trusting working relationship.One way to screen for it in an interview:When asking the typical “what’s your weakness” question, ask him to explain ways he compensates for it. This indicates that he’s thought at length about where he needs help, so much so that he’s found ways to ask for it, work on improving, or find other support systems. That’s a sign of someone that constantly self-evaluates, and can deal with what they uncover in the process.3) An emotionally intelligent person is self motivated …Self-motivated individuals are a treat to work with and manage. Because they’re typically rewarded less by outside stimuli — recognition, bonuses, promotions — and more by their own goals and interests, they can handle disappointment and negative outcomes well due to their bigger-picture, long-term outlook. One way to screen for it in an interview:Ask her the last thing she taught herself. If she’s self-motivated, she likely enjoys learning and education because she knows the fulfillment of self-improvement — and is happy to lead the charge in that endeavor.4) An emotionally intelligent person is well-liked …Let me be clear: Not everybody needs to like you. In fact, that can be considered a red flag to some. However, emotionally intelligent people are often well-liked. Not popular, necessarily, but well-liked. That’s because they have people skills, have garnered the respect of their peers/managers/employees in various ways both personal and professional, and as a result, people enjoy working with them.One way to screen for it in an interview:Anyone can scrounge up three references. Ask them: “If I asked you for five more references other than the ones you gave me, who would you refer?” If they can list those people quickly, that’s a good sign that they’re easy to work with, well respected by many, and people just plain like ’em.5) An emotionally intelligent person is empathetic …We’ve talked a lot about empathy, so it’s high time we called it out directly on this list: Emotionally intelligent people are empathetic, and it’s a skill you should look for when hiring. Personally, I think of this as the basis for high emotional intelligence — you have to be able to understand other people’s points of view, even if you don’t have a lot of firsthand experience (or any firsthand experience) to draw from. Those who are able to feel empathy for the people with whom they work are better able to respond in constructive ways — particularly in tough situations — and even anticipate their teammates’, subordinates’, or manager’s needs.One way to screen for it in an interview:Ask for her to explain an instance in which she had to deal with someone difficult, angry, or just plain wrong. If she was able to find common ground with that person, she might be a highly empathetic person.Sources:, Inc.,, My personal opinion (just kidding)last_img read more

11 of the Best Microsite Examples We’ve Ever Seen

first_img Website Design Examples Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 4, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics:center_img They say the best things often come in small packages. Think about it: jewelry, Snapchats, books, the keys to a brand new car … all of these things support this notion. And with our attention spans shrinking below that of a goldfish, it should come as no surprise that we’re beginning to crave more focused content at a smaller scale, too. Enter the rise of microsites. Unlike regular websites, microsites tend to be rather simplistic and easier to navigate. This isn’t to say they won’t make you want to poke around for a while, though. In fact, the really great ones do just that.Click here to download our curated collection of interactive content examples. Ready to see a few use cases? Check out the list below for some great examples of microsites in action. Note: There is profanity in example seven, so scroll on by if that’s not your cup of tea.What Is a Microsite?A microsite is an individual web page or small cluster of web pages that act as a separate entity for a brand. A microsite typically lives on its own domain, but some exist as a subdomain. Microsites can be used to help brands achieve a number of things. For example, some companies have used them to highlight a specific campaign or target specific buyer personas. Others have used them to tell a short story, or to inspire a specific call-to-action.11 Examples of Ingenious Microsites1) | SpotifyAside from serving as a painful reminder of how many Justin Bieber song I listened to on repeat last year, Spotify’s Year in Music has proven to be one of the most well executed microsites we’ve ever seen.Commonly referred to a “celebration” of the music that carried us through the year prior, Spotify’s interactive site is personalized especially for you, based on your listening habits. What exactly does that mean? Well, the tool makes it easy for you to create a personalized recap that incorporates details such as your first played song, top artists by season, and how much time you spent listening. The experience is unique to the user, making it fun for them to share and compare their synopsis with their friends. And when it comes to sharing, the microsite makes it really easy. Every stat that the site pulls for you can be shared on social media thanks to a handy button at the bottom right of the screen.2) | Linda DongIn an effort to gain support for the FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act), Interaction and Industrial Designer Linda Dong designed a beautiful microsite that uses parallax design to tell the story about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing.The story starts with a water droplet falling from a cloud, and as you scroll down through the site, you follow the water droplet as it’s taken from truck to fracturing site, turned into tracking fluid, and sent down a gas well into the ground. Along the way, you encounter floating facts and statistics about the dangers of fracking until you encounter two simple calls-to-action at the very end: “Contact your local officials” and “Join or support your local organization.”Microsites like this one are heavily focused on using directional cues (in this case, the parallax movement) to drive users to complete a certain call-to-action — so any other distraction or navigation bar is removed entirely. If your microsite focuses on one or two calls-to-action, make sure they are concise and actionable like this one is, and that you set them apart visually from the rest of the site by making the font color pop or putting the copy in a button.3) | Bolthouse Farms”Why should junk food get all the glory?”You’re asked this question when you first arrive to BoltHouse Farms’ microsite, BoltHouse Farms created the site to show people how many social media conversations were happening about healthy foods versus unhealthy foods. To do this, they collected #UrWhatUPost hashtags and tracked the kinds of foods we share on social media, then pit the healthy stuff, like #grapes, against the unhealthy stuff, like #icecream. The goal of the website is aligned with their overall company mission: To change the way people think (and post) about healthy food.Bolthouse Farms proves microsites don’t have to be minimalist. The pages on the site are colorful and animated, with words and moving numbers turning into dangling carrots and swinging pomegranates. Click on a food item and magic happens — every food item is different. Click on a pomegranate and you can “hit” it with your clicker like a piñata. Click on a melon and you’re taken to a “melon meditation” page, kind of akin to the iTunes Visualizer. 4) | Domino’s PizzaLast year, Domino’s announced their new Chevy Spark pizza delivery cars, known as DXPs. The cars were purposefully re-engineered for pizza delivery, and as a result, they boast a ton of awesome features — like an oven where the left door should be, space for up to 80 pizzas, custom storage for sauces and drinks.To show off this awesomeness, they recently launched a dedicated microsite detailing all things DXP.The site is heavily interactive website enables visitors to zoom in each of the features to gain a better understanding of the purpose and level of thought that went into each addition. The entire site is also skillfully animated, making it really interesting to learn about each feature.If nothing else, this is a great example of how to take a fairly complex product or idea and promote and explain it in a way that’s both fun and easily digestible. But don’t just take our word for it … visit the website to explore for yourself. 5) | Matthew RothenbergThere is no “point” to — it was created by Matthew Rothenberg, former Head of Product at Flickr and Bitly, as an experiment in real-time tracking of all emojis used on Twitter.The only calls-to-action on the site are the tweet and follow buttons at the very bottom. Otherwise, it’s just for pure interest. With no navigation bar or way to get to another site, it might actually be confusing to some people.Technically, it breaks the rules of good user interface design, but it goes to show that microsites don’t need to have complicated designs. Keep it simple to keep people on the page without taking up too much of their time.6) | House of CardsStep aside, Donald Trump. There’s a new presidential candidate taking the internet by storm with this impressive, interactive microsite. If you’re not familiar with the Netflix series “House of Cards,” the program follows a man named Francis Underwood, a ruthless politician with a hidden agenda. As the series enters season four, they’re promoted the premiere with a clever microsite that pokes fun at politics. Talk about perfect timing, amirite?The microsite invites visitors to join Underwood’s movement and rally support for “important” issues such as inequality, dishonesty, and entitlement. But jokes aside, what we love most about this microsite is the design. In fact, you could easily argue that the site functions better than those of actual presidential candidates. From Underwoods attention-grabbing, shifty eyes (visit the website to see for yourself) to the high-quality videos, the microsite draws you in and provides good reasons for you to stick around and engage with the content.7) WhatTheF* | Zach GoldenDon’t have a big budget? Take a hint from Zach Golden, author of What The F*ck Should I Make For Dinner?, who created a microsite to promote the book. Earmuffs, kids.The site has a very simple layout: A rotating “purpose of the recipe” line, a rotating recipe from the book, and three links that let you kind of “choose your own journey.” It has a black-and-white, minimalist theme; uses all caps; and places a small call-to-action in the corner that promotes his book. That’s it. Media company Digiday took a cue from Golden and used his microsite template to conduct an experiment of their own. They created the microsite WhatTheF* — with zero media budget — to see if the content would go viral and help build their brand.”Thanks to the open-source WTFEngine by Justin Windle, some cheap Web hosting and a $12 domain registration, WhatTheF* was up and running in under two hours,” reads Digiday’s press release. “Step two was populating the site with content, which took [two hours].”Their biggest takeaway? That good copy works. “We didn’t spend a dime promoting the site, and it reached nearly 100,000 unique users ‘organically.'”8) | OfficeMaxYou didn’t think I could write a blog post about microsites and not include ElfYourself, did you? Of course not. The screenshot below shows what the website looks like right now, but come the holiday season, expect your inbox to be rife with ElfYourself animations again this year because ElfYourself isn’t going away.What made the site so popular? Other than being hilarious, it’s also easily shareable, has a single call-to-action, and makes the users the stars. “It brought the brand to life for consumers,” wrote Kenneth Hein in Forbes, “and for the business-to-business crowd it provided a human face for the big box retailer.”In other words, Office Max used the microsite to be creative and let their freak flag fly, and it worked like a charm. They focused the campaign on the consumers, not the brand — but the sales tie-in came at the end of the ElfYourself videos in the form of coupons and promos. 9) | Coca-ColaLet’s face it: We all love GIFs. And the folks at Coca-Cola have tapped into this inevitable admiration by creating a immersive online experience in the shape of the “Taste the Feeling” microsite. Here’s how it works: When users land on the page, they’re met with a two-minute music video set to the sounds of a custom campaign anthem from Avicii and Conrad Sewell. The video is made up of looping, three-second GIFs that depict the many emotions felt by Coca-Cola drinkers. As you watch, you can select an emotion by clicking on one of the 32 emotion-based icons, or enter your own emotion to pull up a corresponding GIF. All of the GIFs are easily sharable on social media, which serves as a great way to draw people back to the site to engage with the content. This microsite also serves as a great example for those interested in globalizing their campaign assets, as it’s available in more than 20 different languages. 10) | ChanelInside Chanel is a microsite that “works to inform consumers about the house’s history and heritage through video and multimedia content,” according to Luxury Daily. The site houses a ton of short, social videos that chronicle the people, places, things, and events that have contributed to continued success of this iconic fashion brand.The purpose? “The strategy behind this microsite is to create some accessibility of Chanel’s history, but more importantly, their success throughout the years,” explains Dalia Strum, president of Dalia Inc.We love their video-centric approach to visual storytelling. Each of the videos aims to pull back the curtain and give visitors an exclusive look at behind the scenes photos and stories, as they pertain to different aspects of the brand — color, couture, and so on.It’s important to note that this site isn’t Chanel’s first stab at microsite creation. In fact, the brand has experimented with multiple microsite formats, including the editorial-style site Chanel News:11) | Mellow MushroomThis microsite from the folks at Mellow Mushroom — a pizzeria franchise established in Atlanta, Georgia — was created to support their recent “Burger BFF” campaign. The campaign was launched to create buzz for their new menu items: Herb (a vegetarian burger) and Carnie (a beef burger). The menu items have been adapted into cartoon BFFs for the sake of the campaign … and the result is pretty lovable.Mellow Mushroom uses the microsite as a way to promote a contest for a chance to win a round trip to Denver or Seattle with their bestie. And it does so in a number of really fun and interesting ways. For example, one section of the site invites visitors to use the hashtag #BurgerBFF to enter the contest and show off their best burger shots on Instagram:But that’s not all: The site also offers visitors several other engaging, interactive ways to enter the contest, including quizzes and a Mad Libs-style storytelling generator. Here are 11 pricing page examples you’ll want to check out.last_img read more

7 Types of Push Notifications Users Actually Enjoy

first_imgIf recent marketing news has made one thing clear, it’s this: Mobile is non-negotiable.A growing number of us are using mobile as our primary device for accessing the internet — over a quarter of us interact with our smartphones more than any other object, or human being, for that matter. And content, in kind, has to fit that format, whether we’re consuming it or discovering it for the first time.Brands are starting to respond to that. Just last week, for instance, Google announced that non-mobile friendly pages will be ranking even lower next year.Apps will be especially impacted most by this increasingly widespread mobile use. The push notifications we receive on our devices will play a vital role in the information we come across, and if we choose to consume it.Many of us are already receiving information that way. In 2015, the average opt-in rate for push notifications was 49.8%. But those messages have to be optimized — otherwise, brands risk being ignored or forgotten.Why is that, exactly, and how can it be avoided? Read on to discover the types of push notifications your users actually want to receive — and how each one will benefit both of you.Master the fundamentals of mobile marketing using this free guide.7 Types of Push Notifications Your Users Actually Want1) The ones that are encouraging — not shaming.Once upon a time, I had an activity-tracking bracelet. It was connected by Bluetooth to my phone, where I could use an app to log workouts and meals.One day, when I hadn’t worked out for a while as a result of having the flu, I received a push notification from the app.“You haven’t been your active self lately,” it said. “Log a workout now.”I can’t be the only one who would feel a little bit judged by a message like that, even if it was automated. I mean, was this app serious? I had the flu! No wonder health and fitness app have the lowest opt-in rate for push notifications — they shame their users.That doesn’t have to be the case — nor is it, for every health and fitness app out there. There are some, like 12 Minute Athlete, that let users schedule their own workout reminders. (And if you’re sick, you don’t have to schedule any.) Then, when it does come time for your workout, you get a notification that encourages you, instead of making you feel guilty.Source: 12 Minute AthleteMost health and fitness apps are traditionally created with a somewhat shared goal: To help their users get better at doing something. And one of the most ineffective ways of doing that? Feeling bad about not doing it. In fact, research has shown that it’s self-compassion and forgiveness that make us correct negative behaviors — not guilt.Consider giving your users the option of taking a break. That can be applied to a variety of app categories: Health and fitness, dating, or online shopping. Let them determine how long they want that hiatus to be — and feel free you set your own parameters for how long that can actually go on. Then, send a push notification to ask them if they’re ready to come back. That will remind them to launch the app, keeping them engaged after they’ve stepped away.2) The ones that make life a little easier.I’m one of those people who has to put everything in my calendar. But the one thing I never seem to remember scheduling is an online check-in for my flights.That’s why I absolutely love it when airline apps remind me to check in 24 hours in advance — and maybe that’s one reason why travel and transportation apps have the highest push notification opt-in rate.Many airlines notify passengers to check in via email, but let’s face it — with text messages outweighing email as the preferred method of communication by 23%, chances are that we’re looking at these quick notifications more than we’re checking our email.JetBlue is one airline that does this particularly well. Like clockwork, I always receive a friendly little note on my screen — “Hey there. It’s time to check in for your flight” — exactly 24 hours before I’m scheduled to take off. It’s one less thing that I have to remember to do and, therefore, these particular notifications are adding value for me.Ask yourself that question before you write copy for a push notification: How can we frame this in a way that creates value for the user? You’ll be glad you did — users who opt-in to push messages average three times more app launches than those who opt out.3) The ones that know where its users are — in a non-creepy way.When Localytics asked mobile users which type of push notifications they preferred the most, 34% responded with “a special offer based on my location” — the third most popular kind.And why not? If you’re already out, you might as well treat yourself with that special discount, right?Take this notification from Neoshop. It’s personalized on two levels — it includes the user’s first name, and it lets him know that there’s a shop location nearby where he can use some of the credits he’s accumulated.Source: Business 2 CommunityKnowing where your users are and responding in kind accomplishes two things: First, it lets them know that you’re paying attention. You’re not watching them in a Big-Brother-ish way — you’re looking out for them, and for opportunities around them.Second, offering them something special based on that information can make your brand relatable — like a friend texting to say, “I’m in your neighborhood. Wanna get coffee?”That’s another way to add value for your user. Instead of asking them to go out of their way to engage with you, you’re creating an opportunity when it’s convenient to them. That makes it easy for someone to find a reason to launch your app — and to remember that they have unused rewards.4) The ones that get people excited about something.There are also occasions when you might not be where you want to be — like a warm beach in the middle of winter, for example. And, there are times when a push notification can help you get there — like with a cheap airfare alert.Kayak, a travel search site, allows its users to set their own notification criteria — based on destination, date, or popular places to travel — and receive an alert when the price for any of those trips drops below a point of their choosing.Source: ArkeneaThere are few things that thrill me more than a good deal on airfare. And when it’s Kayak who lets me know about that deal, I associate that brand with my excitement.And that makes sense — “a special offer based on my preferences” was the #1 preferred type of push notification in 2015. The reward is twofold: Not only are your users receiving information that’s perceived as a great deal, but it’s the result of something they were able to dictate. There’s a return on their investment in your app — and they got to call the shots on what that return would look like.There are several verticals that could stand to benefit from this strategy. It’s the positive association I mentioned before that really stands out — just as it is with location-based alerts, these notifications send the message that your brand is looking out for its users. It’s as if the app is saying, “I know you mentioned that you were looking for one of these, so I picked it up for you.”It’s thoughtful, right? And since 52% of us prefer gifts that are truly considerate in that way, it seems fitting that we would respond well to brands that behave accordingly.So think about what’s really going to excite your users. Let your audience determine what they deem rewarding by letting them customize preferences. When you plan your push notifications, having that information will help craft the message that your app is going out of its way to benefit its users.  5) The ones that alert people to what matters to them.It might seem like we’re a bit overwhelmed with bad news these days — so much, in fact, that WNYC put together a Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook. As much as we like to stay informed, we also like the opportunity to tune some things out.But what about the rest of what’s happening in the world — the stuff that we want to stay in the loop for? At risk of sounding cliché: There’s an app for that.The Oregon Public Broadcasting app set a great example for how push notifications can be used for this kind of content distribution and promotion. “We’re not singularly a breaking news app,” said OPB’s Marketing Director, Paul Loofburrow, “but if there’s a public service announcement, we want to share that.”Instead, the app uses push notifications to alert listeners to live broadcasts, encouraging them to tune in. And it works — after sending these alerts, OPB saw a 483% increase in users listening to a specific radio broadcast.Source: Urban AirshipMedium, an online publishing platform, uses push notifications in a similar way. Users can receive an instant alert when someone they follow publishes a new post — and can decide if they want to Medium to select the top five posts of this kind, instead of receiving a notification every time something new is published. And if they want, users can also opt to receive notifications for stories that Medium recommends, based on their reading history.  Mobile Apps Topics: Originally published Sep 5, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated October 29 2019center_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 Breaking News is another app that has quite a few content customization features. It lets users decide what they want brought to their attention, and when they want to hear about it. There’s an option to disable notifications for “major stories,” as well as a way to set “quiet time,” when no news alerts will be sent.Source: Breaking NewsBut here’s where the real value comes in — the features that allow users to pick the topics they want to know about.Source: Breaking NewsThat level of personalization is a tremendous asset to your audience. In fact, users are three times more likely to respond to a notification that directly affects them, as opposed to an alert that might have been sent to everybody.Depending on what sort of information is shared by your app, a best practice could be to let users pick and choose what they want to know about. And, instead of only giving them the chance to turn off notifications completely, let them choose a time of day when they don’t want to be disturbed.6) The ones that help people pick up where they left off.You’ve walked into a room with an intention. But then, something distracts you. The phone rings, someone’s shouting your name for your attention, and by the time that distraction has passed, you’ve forgotten why you walked into that room in the first place.That scenario often plays out when we’re using apps. Let’s say I’m using a grocery delivery app to place an order, when someone sends me a text message. If leave the app to respond, I’m probably going to forget what I was doing before that message came in, and neglect to finish my order. That’s no surprise, since studies now reveal that we have a shorter attention span than most goldfish — largely due to smartphone use.But Instacart is one app that helps me remember to finish a task. If I abandon my shopping cart without checking out, for example, it sends me this friendly reminder:How convenient! Not only do I now remember that I need to order my groceries, but I don’t have to wait that long for them to be delivered, either.This example goes back to the idea of making life easier for your users. But in this case, instead of being reminded of a specific, salient event — like a trip or flight somewhere — the app is helping me stay on top of my day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.When you design your push notifications, keep two things in mind:How busy are your users?Is this alert going to help them, or just distract and disrupt them?Answering those questions will help you prioritize the alerts you want to send to your users, and limit the amount of overload they perceive from your app.7) The ones that keep people posted.Perhaps you’ve heard about the “hangry” phenomenon — an adjective that defines as “irritable as a result of feeling hungry.”When you combine the cultural pervasiveness of hangriness with the fact that more and more of us are ordering meals online (by 2020, it’s predicted that mobile ordering will be a $38 billion industry), the outcome is as follows: We really, really want to know when our food will arrive.That’s why it’s smart for what Business Insider calls “aggregators” — platforms like GrubHub and Eat24 that allow users to order online from dozens of different outlets — to incorporate a live delivery update feature, to let us know when our food is on its way.Source: LocalyticsSource: AllThingsDIt’s important to note that we’re becoming a species of instant gratification — 43% of us think it’s unacceptable to take more than 10 minutes to respond to a text message, for example. And whether we like that direction or not, it’s important for businesses to adapt, especially in the mobile sector.If your app requires your users to wait for something, ask yourself:Am I making my users wait longer than they want or should have to?Am I keeping my users posted about what they’re waiting for?Am I updating my users to the point that I’m becoming disruptive?Do my users have a way to reach me if they need more information after I update them?Those last two points stress the importance of striking the right balance with push notifications. Share just enough information so that your users aren’t left completely in the dark while they’re waiting. And if they need more details, make sure there’s an easy way for them to get in touch with you.Ready to start notifying?There are a few tools out there that can help you create and implement push notifications. A few of our favorites:Aimtell: Aimtell is a push notification platform for re-engaging desktop and mobile visitors with hyper-targeted notifications. It allows users to send tailored notifications to website visitors with highly personalized content.Amazon Web Services: Among Amazon’s many developer tools is its SNS Mobile Push Notifications feature. Like other platforms of its kind, this feature allows notifications to be sent individually (to one person at a time), or to multiple users at once.OneSignal: OneSignal is a notification service that’s used by several apps that need to provide real-time updates to their users — think Uber (“where’s my ride?”). It also allows A/B testing, so that marketers can send two different messages to samples of user groups and see which one performs better.When it comes to creating push notifications, there’s an unspoken golden rule: Alert others as you would like to be alerted.These notifications are absolutely crucial to your mobile marketing strategy — users that enable them are 171% more engaged with the app than those who don’t. But choose them wisely.When in doubt, we find it’s helpful to use a checklist. So make sure your push notifications meet these basic criteria:They aren’t redundant or disruptive to your users.They keep your users informed of the things they want to know.They’re thoughtful — they keep an eye out and make life a little more convenient for users, without seeming overbearing or clingy.They encourage users — and don’t shame them.How do you use push notifications? Share it with us in the comments.last_img read more