NFL draft: Raiders should stand pat at Nos. 1, 24, 27

first_imgALAMEDA — It was getting toward the end of a nearly hour-long interview session at the NFL owners meeting in Arizona when Raiders coach Jon Gruden covered all the bases.“It depends when you’re on the clock and you’re sitting there at No. 4 and someone offers you to move back to whenever, what are they giving you?,” Gruden said. “We’re wide open to moving up. We are wide open to moving back. We are wide open to just sitting there and taking a guy who falls to us.”And the winner is . . . …last_img

NHBRC invests over R30 million to drive its transformation agenda

first_imgThe National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) will be spending more than R 30 million in the new financial year starting on 1st of April 2017, as part of an effort to transform the home building industry.Addressing the NHBRC Transformation Charter launch, Deputy Minister of Human Settlements Ms Zou Kota-Fredericks,  said transformation and economic empowerment must be driven aggressively in the home building environment.“It is critical to note that the radical economic transformation programme is not a stand-alone programme as it has no special budget and should be an integral part of each and every department and all entities of government. It calls on all of us to revisit the Preferential Procurement Act so as to respond adequately to this issue.”The launch was hosted in partnership with the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) as part of the 2017 International Women’s Day celebrations.NHBRC Acting Chairperson of Council, Ms Julieka Bayat said one of the biggest challenges in achieving an effective transformation programme in the industry is the lack of adequate skills and we will be investing most of this money in the upskilling our most vulnerable groups: Women, Youth, People living with Disabilities and Military Veterans.“Women are particularly under-represented with respect to ownership, control and the management of companies involved in the housing value chain as well as in terms of technical skills.  Also, the high unemployment rate, especially of our youth has heightened the need for us to aggressively pursue transformation of the sector so as to create self-employment opportunities,” said Bayat.The NHBRC’s transformation charter seeks to address issues that relate to the advancement of equal economic opportunities in the human settlements value chain. The expectation is that participation of vulnerable groups will be optimised.“As the NHBRC we believe that our transformation charter will assist us in unlocking obstacles to and the effective participation by the identified groupings, it further asserts measureable goals for us to achieve on the road to a radically transformed home building industry” she said.We also wish to demonstrate our support towards government’s efforts of promoting social and economic transformation.For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Molebogeng Taunyane on 011 317 0070/ 082 646 8663 or email molebot@nhbrc.org.zalast_img read more

RWW Recommends: Best Twitter Apps for Mobile

first_imgBoth the App Store and Google Play brim with Twitter clients vying for your 140-character affections. We cut through the noise to bring you the best apps for unleashing tweets on the go. A smartphone is the perfect Twitter launchpad. Short and sweet by design, shooting off a tweet from a mobile gadget is a breeze – if you’re using the right app, that is. Twitter’s bite-sized updates are the ideal social content to digest in the short spans of time that life tosses our way when we’re not tethered to a computer, whether it’s on a bus ride or waiting in line for a latte.To reflect the social network’s fast-paced micro-blogging nature, the ideal Twitter app needs to be quick and lightweight without sacrificing the kind of tools that power users crave. Pour too many features into the mix and “full featured” can turn into a nightmare. Happily, there are plenty of good Twitter apps out there, once you sort the wheat from the chaff.Our Choice for iOS: TweetbotThis iPhone exclusive has quite a loyal following, and for good reason. Tweetbot is a great little mobile tweeting toolkit that’s easy to use without shaving off bells and whistles like muting, which can prove invaluable for the everyday Twitter-goer. Tweetbot supports most anything you’d want to plug into it too. You can zap a choice tweet right to Pocket or Instapaper to read the link later, for example. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tweetbot’s multiple timelines are a must for anyone leaning toward the power-user end of the scale, since they let you hop between accounts and lists effortlessly. Top that off with a gorgeous, responsive UI and a strangely addictive set of sound effects (seriously, I don’t know what it is about the refresh noise), and you’ve got the most well-rounded Twitter app in the iOS stable.The app will set you back $2.99, but that’s a small price to pay for its uniquely successful blend of power and elegance. Cruising your tweets from an iPad? Tweetbot has a pretty slick iPad app to boot.Our Choice on Android: Plume The Android ecosystem lacks a standout as obvious as Tweetbot, but that’s not a bad thing. Google’s mobile OS is all about options, and it offers plenty of fine Twitter clients to choose from. That said, we prefer Plume by LevelUp, creator of Beautiful Widgets, a longtime Google Play all-star. Plume is the latest evolution of an app we used to know as Touiteur, which was solid in its own right. Android’s Twitter clients aren’t always the best-looking apps on the platform (popular client Twicca is a bit of a pixelated eyesore, for example), but Plume manages to include plenty of customization without clutter. You can swipe easily between your timeline, mentions, and direct messages, and painlessly add a column for a custom list or search. Plume also includes mobile must-haves like URL shortening, multiple account support, picture previewing, and a nicely implemented mute tool – a requisite for quieting down folks in your timeline who tend to live-tweet when they get excited about a sports match or TV premiere.The free version is ad-supported, so if the banner at the bottom bugs you, spring for Plume Premium ($4.99).Alternatives for iOS and Android Not too keen on our feature-rich picks? The good news is that the official Twitter app is a solid choice on both the iPhone and Android. While third-party apps are king when it comes to plenty of social services, Twitter’s official app is one of the best of the lot. It lacks some of the tools that true Twitter addicts require, but it’s reliable, good-looking and intuitive. Ultimately the best Twitter client (or any client, really) is the one that speaks to your needs specifically, but if you want a fallback, you’ll be well-served by the official app.Still not quite the right fit? Beyond regular ol’ Twitter and our main picks, check out Twitterific and Echofon for iOS and UberSocial or Seesmic on Android. Finding the right app for zapping your 140-character flashes of brilliance is serious business, after all. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts taylor hatmaker Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#apps#web last_img read more

Royalty Free Music for Mouthwatering Food Videos

first_imgGetting into making food videos? Make yours totally irresistible with this royalty free music playlist.Head anywhere online, and you’re likely to stumble upon something food-related. Instagram overflows with gorgeous pics of people’s latest restaurant discoveries. And there’s a jaw-dropping number of food blogs out there providing easy-to-follow recipes and cooking tips.Since food has such a big online presence, it’s no surprise that food videos have become basically a genre of their own. After all, who can resist clicking on a mouthwatering how-to recipe video when it pops up in a newsfeed?If you’re getting into making food videos, there is plenty of great advice out there on how to film them. Take a look at these useful techniques from food blogger Amanda Garbutt. Or, a little closer to home, see our own top food styling tips. A popular way to film food videos is by using the top-down approach — here’s how you can pull off this striking shot.One often-overlooked aspect of a video’s success is the music. It’s one ingredient you don’t want to leave out because the right music can really amplify your video.What should the soundtrack achieve in a food video? For most people, preparing food is a chore at the best of times, so light, breezy music really helps to give the impression that cooking is not just easy but fun too. Take this video as an example. In it, the PremiumBeat track “Aftershock Blue” by GG Riggs helps create a fun, stress-free vibe.Another approach is to select a track that matches the cuisine. This approach can help give your video an exotic flair — like this delicious grilled chicken shawarma recipe by Julie Remer, which makes great use of “Middle Eastern Day” by K Lo Music.With these tips in mind, our music team dove into our library to create an irresistible playlist that blends fun, breezy tracks with world music cues. Take a listen and find your perfect track.last_img read more

Stopping The Google AdWords Morphine Drip: How We Saved $183 Last Week

first_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack I have written a number of articles about the importance of being found in Google, especially for B2B marketing.  Though Google AdWords is a great way for businesses to start getting immediate results for search engine marketing — in the longer term, we think the optimal strategy is a balanced approach to PPC (pay-per-click) efforts like Google AdWords and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts.  Too often, businesses get very used to the “morphine drip” of Google AdWords and forget that there are other ways to draw traffic from search engines.  It is widely believed by search marketing experts that more people click on the “unpaid” search results on the left in Google (vs. the AdWords on the right).  Question is, just how much more?  And, though everyone knows free is better, how much better?  Is it really worth all the time and effort to try and rank in the organic search results?Lets take a look at one small example within our own company.  We are now ranking for the term “internet marketing software”.  This is a good thing, because, as it turns out, that precisely describes what we do. HubSpot ranks #6 for this term in the unpaid/natural results.  This gave us 25 visitors last week  So, 25 people  searched on that phrase in Googlek, saw us in the results, and clicked through to our website.  This is not that much traffic, but even then, we would have had to pay Google $183 for this traffic because the average CPC (cost-per-click) is about $7.32 for that phrase.  So essentially, we’re saving over $700/month on just this phrase alone and getting lots of great qualified traffic to our site.  This is what gets us excited about SEO.  But, let’s look at some more data.Most people know that in order to actually be found in Google, you need to be on the first page of results.  But where on the first page, exactly?  Well, recently I looked at a variety of data from Enquior and Marketing Sherpa to compile some aggregate results on Google searches, specifically to see “where the action is” or where people looked and clicked.Here is an eye tracking image of the first page of Google showing what areas people looked at the most.  Red shows the areas where more people looked for longer periods of time, blue areas got less attention, and grey not much at all.  I discussed heat map images before in the article “3 Hot Marketing Tips from Heat Map Analysis”  But here I wanted to go a step further.  What I have done is overlayed some statistics on the heat map image to show where people click.Here are the key takeaways from the data and the images above:1) Organic results get 75%+ of the attention.  People don’t click on the ads nearly as much as the organic results.2) The first organic result gets over 25% of all clicks.  Within the organic results, the first result gets the most clicks by far – more than double the second result.3) Within the ads, the first ad also gets the most clicks.  But, since you pay per click for the ads, you should care less about volume and more about if the traffic will actually convert and what your cost per lead and cost per sale will be.4) There are a good number of clicks on all top 10 organic results.  Even the last result gets about 3% of people to click on it – this is about the same rate as the second pay per click ad, and unlike the ad, its free!Note: Google heat map images from Marketing Sherpa. Originally published Jul 26, 2007 12:22:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Google Adslast_img read more

How to Painlessly Transition Your Company to Inbound Marketing

first_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Switching to Inbound Marketing We talk to people all the time that are totally sold on the inbound marketing methodology, but there’s just one thing standing in their way from becoming a full-fledged inbound marketer … they can’t convince their boss they can switch to inbound marketing without experiencing a painful blow to their current marketing.It makes sense — change is hard, and honestly, nobody is going to let you waltz in and, with the snap of your fingers, totally change the way your business and marketing department functions. If someone came up to you and said that the proper way to cut paper is by grinding your teeth on it because it results in higher levels of efficiency than traditional scissors, would you make the swap? Of course not. Even if it was true. (Note: it’s not.)That means if you’re really interested in transitioning your company to inbound marketing, it’s time get a little sneaky. It’s time to integrate your inbound marketing campaigns with your company’s more traditional marketing campaigns. Over time, you can not only prove the value of inbound marketing as your campaigns start to generate staggering ROI — numbers tend to do the convincing for you — but you’ll already have that gradual transition towards more inbound-friendly methods underway! So let’s start that transition to inbound marketing together, right now, step-by-step … here’s what to do.Merge Inbound Tactics with Outbound CampaignsMany marketers have already started fusing online and offline marketing techniques. According to Marketing Charts, 90% of marketers believe using online data to optimize the offline experience is important. Furthermore, 73% of company marketers say they will be using a cross-channel marketing strategy over the next few years.Clearly a large population of marketers are comfortable with weaving online marketing tactics with their traditional campaigns. So let’s start there. Kindly request to make inbound tactics a part of the outbound promotion. Here’s a few examples.Connect Your Commercials with a Social Media CampaignIf you work for an organization that uses commercials to advertise their business, ask if you can get social media in on the action just a little bit. Perhaps something small, like a hashtag? Just look at this screenshot from an Audi commercial, for example.This inclusion enables you to unify your online messaging with your advertising campaign, and gives you the opportunity to go to town with social content revolving around the hashtag. Use it in quotes, to start Twitter chats, when citing stats … anything that can help unify the messaging from your commercial and the content you’re publishing to social media.Attach a Landing Page to Your Print Advertisements and Direct MailYour print advertisements may get you noticed, it’s the call-to-action part that’s difficult. In other words, is there any way to get someone to actually take action when they’re inspired by your print ads? Well, when your team sits down to put together their next print ad, ask them for a little space for some copy that points readers to an online destination. This could be through a QR code like Gucci did below, or by simply including a URL.This allows you to create a customized landing page just for this advertisement — you know, something a little more personalized to the reader and the ad you created than just your homepage.Simulataneously Run Inbound Campaigns Alongside More Traditional CampaignsNow that you’ve started to integrate digital and print campaigns, ask if you can run a few additional “inboundy” campaigns of your own. Make this easier by promising you’ll still complete your routine tasks — these additional campaigns will be tests you’re running in addition to those. While this will require more of your time for a bit, it won’t require more of your budget, making it easier to sell your boss and colleagues on the subject. Here are some quick campaigns you can run to include in your ultimate portfolio for convincing your team.Repurpose Existing Content to Create Some Lead Generation OffersIf you’ve been in business for a while — even just a year or two — you’ve likely accumulated a bunch of content and expertise without even knowing it. And if you want to do a test drive of an inbound marketing campaign, you’re going to need that content and expertise. Gather your current sales and marketing collateral — case studies, testimonials, brochures, whatever you got — and start reworking it to spin it into offer content that you can put behind a form, and/or share across social media channels.Set Up CTAs and Landing PagesSee if your boss would be alright with you making some website tweaks. You’re not going to redesign the skin or anything, but you could improve upon what’s already there … and make some key new additions.First, create a call-to-action that lives right on the homepage. It’s easy, you can even make them in PowerPoint! That CTA should lead to a new landing page that houses one of those awesome new lead generation offers you just created. Make sure you consider what type of offer visitors to your home page might be interested in — if the bulk of your traffic is coming in on branded keywords, for example, something a little further down your sales funnel, like a case study or product-focused whitepaper, might be most appropriate. When your sales team starts to see people “raising their hand” to talk about purchasing your product or service, you can bet they’ll want to try more of that inbound marketing stuff.Create Visual Social Media ContentPut on your creative hat and think of a cool new idea for increasing engagement on your social media channels. Can you create a series of memes around a common industry fad? Can you create a few visual representations of important stats and data in your field? You don’t need Photoshop to do this, either. Just head over to memegenerator.net or use PowerPoint to whip up some visuals that can be easily shared, helping you generate more fans and followers and increase your overall social reach.Create and Share Your Blog Content StrategicallyStart writing posts on your company blog — and if you don’t have one, set one up! But be strategic. You can’t just write a post and hope the world stumbles upon it. Instead, start sharing that post with advocates of your brand or others who would find it valuable. And yes, that includes your social media fans and followers. You also need to make sure search engines can find it by writing about topics germane to your company and industry. It would also help to start writing guest blog posts for other related sites so you can get some of those coveted inbound links that help your site rise in the search engine rankings!Collect and Compare MetricsNow that you’ve got some campaigns up and running, you can start collecting metrics that speak to their effectiveness. Collect every metric humanly possible. Generate reports that show you the number of times your hashtags were mentioned on Twitter. Look at your website analytics to see how many users were sent to your customized landing pages or landed on your website because of your blog posts. See which keywords drove the most traffic to your website. You know, see what didn’t work, what did work, and what really, really worked. These metrics will show impact you can tie directly to business goals like generating revenue and closing new business.Then it’s time to organize all your results into a clear, succinct, and educational presentation so you can prove the ROI of inbound marketing to your team. And when you use data based off of recent campaigns — data that you can tie directly to leads and customers generated — you don’t have that difficult of a case to make!What tactics have you used to convince your boss and colleagues to invest in inbound marketing?Image Credit: IT Tech News Originally published Oct 8, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

It’s All in Your Head: 9 Reasons You Can’t Resist a List

first_img Topics: I have a friend who works at a very big national publication and is a genius at making lists for the web. Her lists go viral and generate millions (I mean literally millions) of pageviews. She sees this as a curse. Because she wants to be a “real” journalist, meaning: someone who writes articles. But she’s so good at lists that her editor keeps her doing those instead.I’ve told my friend that she has been blessed with a gift, that she should forget writing boring articles and instead launch her own site doing nothing but lists. (For an example see Listverse, which is amazing and — I warn you — addictive.) My friend won’t listen. She insists on seeing her lists as second-class citizens of the media world.She’s not alone. Among some old-school journalists there exists a kind of snobbery about articles written in list form. They’re derisively called “listicles” (list + article) and are considered kind of cheesy, the stuff of workout magazines and mindless websites like Buzzfeed.Thing is, people love Buzzfeed. And people love lists. Consequently, lists drive traffic, which is why website editors demand them, which is why you see so many of them on the internet. That’s why this article is created in the form of a list. If I wrote it as an article, nobody would read it. But if I make it a list, there’s a chance it will get shared and Liked and linked and tweeted.That’s also why this post is loaded up with photos — because somewhere deep down in the dark recesses of your reptile brain, there is some kind of prehistoric trigger that gives you a squirt of dopamine every time you scroll down and find another shiny object. It isn’t magic. It’s psychology. For various reasons lists are almost impossible to resist. We asked a few shrinks to explain. Here’s why:1) Because lists overcome chaos.“As human beings we come into a world that seems chaotic, and we have a desire to make sense of things. When we create lists we are creating order out of chaos, and the structure helps to alleviate our anxiety,” says Doug Foresta, a licensed clinical social worker and clinician at Change Happens in Chicopee, Mass. (Note: That is not a photo of Doug Foresta.)2) Because hey, that’s how God does it.As Foresta points out, Moses didn’t come down from the mountain and say, “Here are a few things to think about.” Nope. He came down with 10 Commandments. For what it’s worth, Buzzfeed took that same example and a bunch of others and made a listicle called, “18 Totally Convincing Pieces Of Evidence That Jews Invented The Listicle.” I know what you’re thinking: But what if God doesn’t exist? Look, friend. This is a marketing blog. Let’s not get all philosophical, okay? Someone could get hurt.3) Because lists save precious brainpower.“We are all moving fast in our hyper-stimulated environments. We want facts delivered rapidly with information packaged in tiny, quick bites. This requires little from us. It takes away our need to slow down and think critically or analytically about things,” says Marcy De Veaux, a depth psychologist and assistant professor at California State University, Northridge. 4) Because lists create a sense of mastery.A list “organizes thoughts and offers an overall feeling of understanding and solidity regarding one complex topic,” says Jaroslava Toutonghi, a psychologist in Prague who also has an MBA. “If you just list one thing, it’s never as convincing as listing the 10 best, the 10 strongest, the 10 most successful. All of the 10 options will share one common theme, and that common theme will be interpreted as a direction, a thing to follow.” You may not be able to snatch the pebble from a blind man’s hand, but when it comes to skimming listicles about cute kittehs or ways to get better abs, you’re a fourth-degree black belt!5) Because we are afraid of death.Wait, what? Well, that’s what Umberto Eco told Der Spiegel, and he’s a famous author (The Name of the Rose, Foucault’s Pendulum) and big-shot intellectual who once curated an exhibition at the Louvre — about lists. “How, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries. … It’s a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don’t want to die,” Eco says. Each individual list may end, but there’s no end to the number of lists we can write.6) Because lists help us remember.It’s why you make a list when you go to the grocery store. Knowing how many can help you remember the actual items. Like this woman, who knows she has three kids, but can’t remember what the little one was called, or where she left him.7) Because let’s be honest — nobody reads anything anymore.As Farhad Manjoo pointed out in Slate recently, nearly 40% of readers bounce out of an article before they even read the first sentence. Most never get past the halfway mark. People don’t read — they scan. Hey, chances are you’re not even reading this; you just glanced at the boldfaced part and jumped to the next item.8) Because PowerPoint has turned us all into mindless corporate zombies.This is my own personal theory, and I’m no expert, but I think it holds water. We see so many PowerPoint presentations, in every context, that our brains (or what’s left of them) have been trained to consume information in bullet points. Why fight it? Give the zombies what they want.9) Because readers know a list has an end.A regular article is like a baseball game — in theory, it could go on forever. (And sometimes it does, if the article is in The New Yorker.) With a list, on the other hand, you know before you start how long the journey is going to be. And you know when you’re getting close to the end. Everybody loves that feeling of getting closer to a destination — the end of a long car trip, the end of a book.Oh, and look — now you’re nearly at the end of this article. Does your brain hurt from all that non-thinking? No, of course it doesn’t! Because it was a list!The Bottom LineIf you’re an inbound marketer and you’re trying to create content that draws customers toward your brand, think about putting things in list form whenever possible. Pro Tip #1: McKinsey & Co. and other consulting firms believe that you’re better off using an odd number of items rather than an even number, according to author Duff McDonald, whose history of McKinsey, The Firm, will be published by Simon & Schuster in September.Pro Tip #2: Check out this article from the HubSpot blog for tips on how to make a really compelling listicle. Why do you find lists so compelling?Image credit: dierk schaefer Productivity Originally published Jun 12, 2013 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 SlackSlacklast_img read more

A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Better Facebook Ads [Infographic]

first_imgDon’t think you have an audience on Facebook? Facebook has 1.3 billion users of pretty much every age, job title, hobby, and socioeconomic status. Most brands can develop an audience on Facebook — they just need to figure out who their audience is and how to reach them.And with the decline in organic reach, more and more companies are using Facebook advertising to do just that.Free Resource: How to Reach & Engage Your Audience on FacebookTo help marketers make the most of their Facebook ads, SurePayroll and Ghergich & Co. put together the following infographic. It’ll teach you how to:Target Facebook advertising and content to people who have visited your website, used your app, or signed up for an email list.Target similar or “Lookalike” audiences.Set up a campaign aimed at getting Likes on your Facebook Page.So keep on reading to get more information on attracting the Facebook Fans you never knew you had.737Save Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 737Save Originally published Jul 7, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated August 25 2017center_img Facebook Advertising Topics:last_img read more

8 Data-Driven Tips for Using Images in Blog Posts

first_img Originally published Oct 31, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated October 08 2019 Images If you knew something as easy as adding images to your blog posts would increase your readers, subscribers, followers, and leads, wouldn’t you do it every single time?  According to Jeff Bullas, articles with images get 94% more total views than articles without images. Ninety-four percent! If I were to tell you that you could expand your reach by 94% by doing something fairly simple, I’m guessing you wouldn’t think twice.Of course, “simple” is relative. I don’t mean you should take five minutes to scope  out some stock photos   and then insert them randomly into your posts. To get more eyeballs on your blog, you’ll have to be more strategic than that — and this blog post will help you get started with that strategy.Follow the eight tips below  to learn data-driven tips that will help you squeeze the most value out of images in your blog posts.Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates Now8 Data-Driven Tips for Using Images in Blog Posts1) Use images of real people.In one of Jakob Nielsen’s usability studies, he discovered that pictures of people are one of the most engaging forms of web content.Nielsen’s data showed that users spent 10% more time looking at pictures of people on a page than they did reading the biographical content associated with the pictures. Even though the text content took up 316% more space, and was thus more quantitatively dominate, users preferred looking at the pictures.But Nielsen offers a critical disclaimer: Some types of pictures are completely ignored — typically the generic images that are purely decorative. To show this, he analyzed the image on the Yale School of Management website and discovered that the stock-style photo on the right side of the page received very few eye fixations:Describing it as “pure filler,” Nielsen advises using images that are relevant to the user experience. Images used in an article just for the sake of using an image can be unhelpful.But if the image has a purpose, like helping to explain a concept, emphasize a point, translate to an external page or email, or show personality, then it can only help you. For example, I use a headshot in my website because it’s a professional courtesy and an engagement marker.2) Combine photos and text to increase viewer retention and engagement.In a study conducted by Socialbakers, researchers discovered that images on Facebook constituted 93% of the most engaging posts, compared with status updates, links, and even video.Although this data is specific to Facebook, the principle holds true for blog content as well.The appeal of pictures is known as the “picture superiority effect.” According to the dual-coding theory, the human memory has two main forms of retention: verbal and imaginal (directly related to the word “image”). Images encode concepts onto our memory in a concrete way, rather than the abstract form of verbal concepts.This video from Digital Splash Media explains the picture superiority effect, making an overwhelming case for the importance of images.3) Optimize your images so they load quickly.Even though the days of dial-up sluggishness are behind us, we still crave quick load times. As you’re probably aware, quick load times are important for SEO — and the source of greatest lag are often clunky plugins and huge images.The optimal load time is still being debated. A study by Akamai says that two seconds is the “new threshold of acceptability for ecommerce web page response times.” According to their data, 47% of viewers want a two-second load time.In another study by the Nielsen Norman Group, users in a test were asked to look at a page with a large header image that took up 23% of the page. The picture below shows a gaze plot of a user looking at a landing page. The slider image (yellow) took eight seconds to load; as a result, the user spent a mere 1% of their time looking at the image.When the image loaded quickly, the user spent 20% of viewing time looking at the image.Surveys indicate that slow load times are one of the most-hated features of a website. Not only will you lose the value that the image could provide, but you’ll also plain old tick off users.A few seconds is all it takes for a user to lose interest and completely ignore the slow-loading image. You can’t control the user’s connection speed, but you can control the speed of your own website. Note: Hubspot recommends that photos should be smaller than 100KB in order to load quickly.4) Present information in visual formats, like infographics.Many studies have found that the human brain processes images much faster than text. This data coheres with the picture superiority effect, and its impact upon marketing is huge. Your readers will absorb your content far easier if you put it in picture form.According to Mike Parkinson, “the human brain deciphers image elements simultaneously, while language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process.” Showing is better than explaining in many cases.Let’s take a look at an example. Which of these is easier to understand?Most of you would say the leftmost depiction. It’s common to say, “I’m a visual learner,” as opposed to someone who learns better by reading or listening to information. The fact is, all of us our visual learners — our brains are wired that way.This data is one of the reasons why I’m a major proponent of using infographics as part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy. (Here are five free infographic templates in PowerPoint to get you started.)5) Use high quality images to establish credibility.In case you think that pictures are simply a way to increase engagement or interest, listen to this point: According to the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, overall visual design “was the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the presented material.” There are a lot of factors involved in “visual design,” but good quality images need to be present.6) Use images to support persuasive copy and in calls-to-action.A study from the University of Minnesota School of Management and the 3M Corporation analyzed the effectiveness of presentations that contained visual elements and those that did not. The presentations containing visual elements were 43% more effective at converting users to agree with their point of view.Ecommerce is all about the art of persuasion. We as marketers are trying to compel people to take a viewpoint, click a button, or make a purchase. Let’s not forget that we can become far more persuasive simply by using images.7) Position your lead image to the right or left of the first paragraph in your post.According to Buffer, people are more likely to read an article that have an inline image to the right or left of the leading paragraph.The pattern looks like this:Why is it effective? First of all, people are visually attracted to images. An image positioned in this way will invite eye paths to the image and the nearby text. Secondly, people are more likely to read short lines of text than long ones. When compared with lines of text below the image, the lines beside the image seem short. This means that people will be more inclined to read them. As Buffer stated, “The fewer the characters, the easier the text is to comprehend and the less complex it seems.”8) Use one image per 350 words.How many images should you have in your posts? I would suggest you use as many images as you need to in order to communicate your concepts clearly and accurately. According to a study by Blog Pros, in 100 of the highest ranking blogs on the internet, there was at least one image for every 350 words.We live in the age of the visual. From flat screens to smartphones, images are everywhere. As Lori Kozlowski commented in Forbes, “It’s likely we’ll only see a deeper connection to video and to visuals on the Web in the next few years.” People are connecting with your content not only based on what it says with text, but what it says in images, too.How are you using images in your content? Share with us in the comments below!Image Credit: NNgroup.com, NNgroup.com, Socialbakers, NNgroup.com Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! 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7 Boring Big Brands That Used Humor to Amp Up Their Marketing

first_img Advertising Examples It seems like everyone is trying to be funny in their marketing these days, but why? Well, it works. Humor is a way to sell your brand without outwardly selling something, and consumers certainly don’t want to feel like you’re taking money right out of their pockets. By appealing to a consumer’s emotions you’re able to engage them and make them remember you.You do have to be careful when using humor though; I don’t think we want to revisit the DiGiorno scandal around the #WhyIStayed campaign. It’s important to make sure that you understand your audience and how they are likely to respond so that nothing is taken offensively.Download Now: Free Ad Campaign Planning KitThis doesn’t mean that we should kill a campaign just because it’s edgy or potentially controversial. You probably remember the “I Shipped My Pants” TV ad by Kmart last year. The goal of the ad was to bring people to Kmart’s website to take advantage of free shipping, but it did get some heat. With the pronunciation of “shipped” sounding awfully similar to a certain expletive, the ad was received with mixed feelings. Some people thought it was hilarious and a great way to make Kmart a little edgier and modern, while others thought it was offensive that they were alluding to vulgarity. Ultimately, this campaign was very successful for the struggling retailer and improved its website traffic.So does humor work best for a specific type of company or can anyone do it? If done appropriately, I think most companies can take part. Businesses with highly-specialized or expensive products can take advantage by appealing to all audiences. Someone who interacts with your marketing may not be your target customer, but they could very well share your information with someone who is. It’s all about brand awareness.Humor can also lend itself to companies in highly-competitive or saturated industries. What better way to stand out from those that sell a product or service of similar quality and price than by letting your company’s personality shine?I think the most remarkable thing about using humor in marketing is how companies with seemingly ordinary products can make you feel like theirs is the most exciting one out there. Oftentimes it’s a product we all need, one that really isn’t much different from brand-to-brand, and one that doesn’t have much price variation. Yet, we are fascinated by its commercials and social media presence.When it comes to humor, it’s all about authenticity. The brands that make humor work are authentic; they know their persona and they run with it. The companies below sell arguably “boring” products, but using humor in their marketing has transformed the way consumers perceive them.1) Dollar Shave ClubIf there is a company out there that embodies the effectiveness of using humor in marketing, it’s Dollar Shave Club. This is a company that a few years ago consisted of about 10 employees, just trying to find a way to compete in an industry filled with iconic, long-time brands. How did they expect to be able to compete with such big names as Gillette and Bic? The only way they knew how, by taking to social media to share their story.You could probably call it the “ad seen around the world,” with over 17.5 million views on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, you need to. Trust me.Being a small company, they couldn’t afford a production crew, ad space on TV, or anything glamorous right off the bat. So they took to good-old YouTube with their CEO as the main character to talk about why their blades are “f***ing great.” In an interview with the New York Times, CEO Michael Dubin expressed his firm belief in using video to tell stories and that the concept of using humor to promote a “smart business” led to the video going viral.The ad is unconventional, outrageous, and blunt, but this is why people love Dollar Shave Club.They aren’t conservative, they don’t “fit the mold,” and they’re perfectly okay with that. What they do is create a memorable experience for viewers while making them realize why they should give their service a try.2) CharminVoted the “sassiest” brand on Twitter, Charmin has found a way to stand out in a highly-saturated market. Bathroom humor is a topic that is often perceived as being overdone, but when you see one of Charmin’s ads or interact with them on social media, you don’t feel that way.On Twitter, they have launched their own hashtag campaign called #tweetfromtheseat. Hashtags are a great way to build brand recognition, track interactions, and create buzz about your company. They also interact with their followers and other big-name brands on social media by mentioning them in tweets.When the Charmin social media team was asked how they have achieved marketing success, they said, “At the end of the day, it boils down to authenticity. Define what your brand stands for and your voice. Don’t try to be something you’re not. It may be humor and entertainment, or it could be informative or educational. Understand the nuances of the different platforms and your community and how your brand is represented in each.”And that’s exactly what they’ve done. Charmin has found its place in marketing by serving as comic relief for a potentially awkward or boring topic. You can’t help but think of their advertising when you see their product on store shelves and immediately create a positive association. They’re able to entertain and show why their product is superior to their competitors, it’s no wonder they’ve made such a name for themselves.3) State FarmWhen you think about it, there are probably few industries more difficult to market than insurance; it’s not particularly exciting and it can be expensive. Maybe that’s why every major insurance company is jumping on the humor train in an attempt to breathe life into this essential, but pretty uninteresting industry. State Farm is leading the pack with a practically seamless transition from campaign to campaign.They didn’t get here overnight, that’s for sure. A few years ago you really weren’t seeing much of State Farm on TV and certainly not on social media. They went through a re-brand to target younger consumers, who make up their largest customer segment. As part of this transition, they changed their motto from “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” to “Get to a better State.”State Farm has successfully appealed to younger generations through a well-known spokesperson like Aaron Rodgers and sponsoring events like ESPN’s College Game Day. The “Discount Double-Check” concept seems to be what put State Farm on the market as a major player in the industry. Their ability to attract a younger audience through this strategy, who in turn provide more long-term potential as customers, has allowed the company to be among the top insurance providers.In addition to a celebrity spokesperson, State Farm introduced us to the “everyday” character of Jake. We can probably all recite in our sleep the TV ad featuring a customer calling “Jake from State Farm” at three in the morning as his wife comes downstairs to see him on the phone, refusing to believe he’s actually talking to an insurance agent. I’ve seen the commercial probably a thousand times and yet I still smile as she picks up the phone and asks Jake what he’s wearing.Their ability to take an everyday person and make him iconic has helped State Farm triumph in a very competitive marketplace. They also haven’t gotten stuck in a rut with their advertising; they effectively use two different story lines at the same time so their audience is continuously engaged.4) Old SpiceHave you ever not laughed watching an Old Spice ad or interacting with them on social media? It seems like they can do no wrong when it comes to their marketing.Check out their Twitter page if you haven’t before. The persona they embody in their hilariously creative commercials perfectly translates to their social media presence. You can’t help but forget that they’re selling men’s soap!Their TV and print advertising focus on a seemingly “perfect” man that every man wants to be and every woman wants to have by her side. He’s attractive, physically fit, and talks about how you could be just like him if you use Old Spice. Their marketing works because even though their products are for men, women are entertained and drawn in as well.Originally, Old Spice targeted women thinking that they would be the ones doing the shopping or encouraging their significant other to use the products. They realized that they needed to target men as well since they are the ones who actually use Old Spice, and have effectively revamped their marketing to appeal to everyone.An indication of Old Spice’s success is how they’ve been able to make their marketing go viral. This is no easy task, especially when there is pressure on marketing departments to generate revenue. But we can see that Old Spice’s decision to not be so focused on a hard sell is paying off. When you interact with their marketing you might think that their tactics are outlandish and have nothing to do with what they’re trying to sell, but you remember their brand the next time you’re out shopping. And that’s exactly what they’re trying to do: generate positive emotions and make people remember them.5) AllstateAnother insurance company? I know; I could probably list several others, but Allstate has made one of the most significant and effective transitions in marketing strategies the industry has seen.A few years ago, Allstate snatched up Dennis Haysbert as their official spokesperson and it seemed like a match made in heaven. His role as President Palmer on the iconic show 24 had just come to an end, so what better person to make the face of your brand than a well-respected actor coming off such an authoritative role?Using authority in marketing allows a company to demonstrate their expertise, and in this case Haysbert personified the idea that Allstate could protect you from anything.Fast forward to today, where Allstate is taking a completely different approach to marketing by using a “character” named Mayhem. Mayhem represents all of the freak accidents or situations that you could never envision actually happening, but with the reassurance that even under these circumstances Allstate has you covered.The marketers at Allstate have come up with the wildest situations in their advertising, that it’s always humorous and fresh in the consumer’s mind. Take this “tailgate gone wrong” ad:Allstate is another great example of a brand that hasn’t been afraid to switch things up. Like State Farm, they have been able to transition seamlessly from one concept to another, which is a truly invaluable skill in marketing.6) CloroxClorox is a classic American brand, one that has been trusted for decades to clean homes around the world. They realized they couldn’t just ride on the coattails of this “classic” persona forever, and have taken a more modern approach recently. Their motto today is “For life’s bleachable moments,” which gets you thinking a bit. What are some situations at home that are “bleachable moments,” circumstances where I need the best cleaning product out there to get the job done?There have been a series of TV commercials produced over the past few months that provide outrageous, yet completely relatable situations where having that bottle of Clorox comes in handy. You’ve probably seen the ad where a child is being potty-trained and he is running around the house with his training toilet to proudly show his mom what he has done. In the process, he spills the contents all over the floor. When he gets to his mom she sees an empty toilet and realizes what has happened. The ad immediately cuts to a picture of Clorox and a mop along with their tagline.The reason I think this approach to advertising has worked so well is that these things actually happen in life. We laugh at their marketing because we can either think of a time that something like this has happened or we can imagine it happening someday. And in this type of situation, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have a bottle of Clorox around.Clorox has also taken this tagline to its website, where it has a dedicated page for consumers to share their “bleachable moments.” This is a great way to interact with their customers while also getting free publicity. People go to the website to share times that they were happy to have Clorox in the house, so they’re essentially creating an opportunity for people to say how great their product is (known as crowdsourcing). Genius!7) Wonderful PistachiosAs society becomes more health-conscious, companies are finding ways to entertain consumers in their marketing while promoting a healthy lifestyle. Wonderful Pistachios is a brand that has paved the way by using humor to encourage healthy snacking. Most recently, comedian Stephen Colbert has served as the official spokesperson in the “Get Crackin’” campaign’s fifth year.Stephen Colbert is not only one of the most popular comedians today, he was also a very timely choice as his show “The Colbert Report” came to an end and he will be taking over the “Late Show” in the spring. The buzz around the new era that is about to begin at the “Late Show” carries over to Wonderful Pistachios’ branding by their association with Colbert.They launched his campaign during the 2014 Super Bowl through a two-part ad. The first 15 seconds of the ad aired, followed by another brand’s 30 second spot, and then the rest of the ad was shown. In the second half, Colbert jokes about how he was told that there wasn’t enough branding the first time around, so the second ad was necessary. This was an excellent strategy to make sure they didn’t get lost in the sea of other promotions.Previous spokespeople for Wonderful Pistachios have included Gangnam Style’s PSY, Jersey Shore’s Snooki, and YouTube sensation Keyboard Cat. Their ability to attract media icons to work with their brand has allowed Wonderful Pistachios’ brand recognition to skyrocket in recent years.For the most part, these “boring” brands are pretty different from one another, which goes to show that you don’t have to be in a particular business to use humor in your marketing. These companies occupy different industries, sell at various price points, and they all take a slightly different approach to how they use humor.There are some common themes here, though. Some of these brands have been around for ages, like Clorox. After some time, there’s a need to reinvent your brand to stay fresh in people’s minds, especially with how many options we have in the marketplace today.Others like Dollar Shave Club are relatively new, so they are setting a precedent for how they are perceived. It’s difficult to start a company these days, especially when there are so many long-time brands still in existence. That’s why we see companies using provocative and outrageous marketing to stand out, and I think we can agree a lot of them have done that quite well.Most importantly, these brands sell dull products. Who likes shopping for insurance or toilet paper? That’s why the use of humor is all the more valuable. It’s easy to take an exciting or entertaining product, like a car or clothing line, and make the marketing enjoyable. But the real gift is with those who can take something that people don’t typically enjoy shopping for and make it an experience they will actually look forward to.If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that people love to laugh. We could all afford to smile and laugh a little more in our lives, and if you’re a brand that can make us do that, we’re going to appreciate it. So keep the laughs coming!Want to learn how you can get a headstart at improving your branding in 2015? Dowlonad our buyer persona worksheet and start developing the right types fo content for your target audience! Originally published Dec 30, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated October 29 2019 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more