In 1995, Bill Gates made these predictions about streaming movies and fake news on the internet

Today, pretty much everyone regularly uses the internet to read breaking news and stream the latest blockbuster films. But in 1995, the internet was still in its infancy, and many Americans weren’t even online yet.

Bill Gates — as the co-founder of Microsoft (which made Internet Explorer, one of the first web browsers) — likely knew as much about the potential of internet technology as anyone in the mid-90s, however. So it’s not shocking that in 1995 Gates would be asked for his predictions on what the internet might look like a couple of decades into the future.

That’s exactly what happened when Gates sat down with author and journalist Terry Pratchett for an interview that appeared in the July 1995 edition of GQ magazine’s UK version. At the time, Gates was 39 and the world’s richest person with a net worth of $12.9 billion (he’s now second to Jeff Bezo with a $99.6 billion net worth, according to Forbes).

Gates’ conversation with Pratchett recently resurfaced online when writer Marc Burrows, who is working on a biography of Pratchett, tweeted two screenshots of the magazine interview (Gates is identified in the interview screenshots as “BG” and Pratchett is “TP”).

Not surprisingly, Gates had a couple of predictions for the future of the internet — one of which would turn out to be eerily prescient, while the other one seems to have come up short.

View image on Twitter

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Streaming movies

One prediction that Gates nailed was that the internet would forever change the way we consume entertainment, like movies and television shows. At the time, most people’s idea of a home entertainment system was a television hooked up to a VCR (electronic devices that played VHS tapes for anyone too young to remember), though video discs like DVDs were beginning to be introduced by the mid-90s.

In the interview, Pratchett is astounded when Gates tells him that “VCRs will be obsolete within ten years.”

“What? Completely obsolete?” asks Pratchett, who then asks if discs will be the primary home video format.

“Oh, they’ll be replaced by a disc player within four or five years,” Gates says. “I’m talking about access to media across the network.”

In other words, Gates is describing our ability to watch movies, TV shows and other streaming videos online. Gates, who complained that VCRs had “the world’s worst user interface,” went on to explain: “Everything we’re talking about will have screens to guide you and when you pause there’ll be a built-in personality that’ll immediately jump in and help you.”

Gates’ prediction ended up being pretty much on the money, as online video technology continued to improve over the next decade to the point where the now-ubiquitous video streaming platform YouTube was founded in 2005, 10 years after this interview took place. In 2007, Netflix announced plans to start streaming full movies and shows online. Today, Netflix has nearly 150 million streaming subscribers around the world, while more than two billion people watch videos on YouTube every month.

Pratchett also wanted to know if Gates thought that the internet would eventually make it easier to spread misinformation to large groups of people.

“There’s a kind of parity of esteem of information on the Net,” Pratchett remarked to Gates in the interview. “It’s all there: there’s no way of finding out whether this stuff has any bottom to it or whether someone just made it up.”

As an example, Pratchett proposed a hypothetical situation where someone purporting to be an expert promoted a theory online claiming that the Holocaust never happened. That theory, Pratchett argued, could be propped up on the internet and “available on the same terms as any piece of historical research which has undergone peer review and so on.”

While Pratchett’s biographer, Burrows, argued on Twitter this week that Pratchett had “accurately predicted how the internet would propagate and legitimise fake news,” Gates’ response is worth noting for the fact that the Microsoft co-founder failed to foresee the same negative effects of online misinformation.

Gates agreed with Pratchett that misinformation could be spread online, but “not for long,” the billionaire reasoned. For instance, Gates argued, the internet could contain fake news, but it would also create more opportunities for information to be verified and supported by appropriate authorities, from actual experts to journalists and consumer reports.

“The whole way that you can check somebody’s reputation will be so much more sophisticated on the Net than it is in print today,” Gates tells Pratchett.

Of course, we know now that many online platforms — from social media sites like Facebook to online video sites like YouTube — have struggled to squash the spread of misinformation and fake news on the internet. Even Gates himself says today that he’s concerned about the spread of misinformation online, admitting that “it’s turned out to be more of a problem than I, or many others, would have expected.”

But Gates also said, in a 2018 interview with Quartz, that he remains optimistic that the internet will continue to become more sophisticated as an information source over time, and that the benefits of having access to such a wealth of information on the internet will eventually outweigh the “challenges” of separating fact from fiction online.

[“source=cnbc”]

Avoid These 5 Blog Strategy & Creation Mistakes

Avoid These 5 Blog Strategy & Creation Mistakes

Regardless if a business sells gluten-free pasta, real estate software or coaching services, a blog is the most powerful marketing tool.

First, let’s address a vital element that is typically overlooked. A blog helps establish the voice and tone of the business, displaying the personality and core values of the overall brand.

This is something that is sometimes missed in traditional blogging efforts, but now, more than ever, people want to work with those that they trust.

A blog is the easiest way toward building – and sustaining – a trusted relationship.

Blogs, if created with SEO in mind on a frequent and consistent basis, will help a website garner much stronger search engine results.

With blogs, you can chase longer-tail keywords that will earn views from more qualified prospects – those looking for some exact information.

Avoid these blogging mistakes

With the correct strategy, a blog campaign can also speak to various prospects in the inbound sales funnel – those who are looking to be educated to those ready to buy.

And blogs are also the endless fuel for other marketing channels, including social media posts, newsletters and providing useful and linkable information for others within your niche.

Sadly, many agencies and businesses continue to keep blogging on the proverbial backburner. The main reason is blogging is not a short-term power play.

Blogging is for the long term, and if a business leader is truly a visionary, they’d understand the value of a strong blog campaign – one that would build their brand awareness and search results over the next year versus dumping thousands into a paid search campaign for the short-term benefits.

Yes, many, especially those who sell products, need the strength of Google Ads and Facebook advertising. But nothing will create a brand’s authority stronger than optimal content marketing, which is driven by blogging – strategic blogging, that is.

Here’s where many agencies and businesses go wrong.

Many agencies and clients I’ve worked with made the mistake of only discussing the products or services without ever bringing a personality or emotion to the strategy.

Some failed to think of SEO, and others failed in consistency.

And many had a blog strategy, but then outsourced the work to the cheapest freelancers available. There’s no doubt that idea was not sustainable. The work may be super cheap but so will the results.

Over the past few years, I’ve stuck to a few core principals – all learned through what mistakes I’ve witnessed with new clients and other agencies over the past decade.

Here are the top five mistakes you should avoid when creating a blog strategy and each blog itself.

always write a blog with SEO in mind

Mistake 1: Not Performing 3 Layers of Research

Lack of research before a campaign is the biggest mistake I see.

Three types of research should be performed before a word is typed:

  • Overall market analysis
  • Target audience analysis
  • Traditional competitive research

Overall Market Analysis

You’ll want to get an overall snapshot of your market, including its size, profitability, distribution channels, trends, and growth rate.

Unlike the other two, the market analysis doesn’t need a crazy amount of energy. It’s just good to know what the big picture is across the industry.

Do a quick search of “(industry) market analysis 2019”, and you’ll find loads of reputable sources to create a snapshot of this information. The data can also be used in blogs for research, so make sure all the research is fresh.

The other two are more valuable for blogging and require more time.

Target Analysis

The strategist should get some crucial questions answered first by asking various players of a business who their target audience is.

This information should be sourced from everyone from the CEO to CMO to the sales/customer reps.

It helps to ask across a company because sometimes you’ll get a few different answers. This is where you can help a business further refine their target audience, and provide more value than the blog itself.

Once you got a grasp of the target audience, you must learn everything about them.

  • What questions are they asking online (forums, social media, etc.)?
  • What’s their income?
  • What’s their buying habits?
  • What services or products are they using that you can replace and do better?

Again, all this data will be used within the blogs and can help you create various blog topics you would have never explored.

Just typing in niche-specific keywords in Reddit or Quora will show you loads of questions that your target audience is asking. Your goal is to answer those questions with a personality specific to your brand.

Competitive Research

In this third layer of blog-strategy research, you take snapshots of exactly what your biggest competitors are doing.

  • What topics are they exploring?
  • How often are they posting?
  • What keywords are they ranking for?
  • What’s their overall website information (traffic, top-ranking blogs, CTA usage, paid advertising ads and spend, etc.)?

I typically look at five – three directly from the business leaders who say who their top competitors are, and two from SEO tools that show who the top competitors are from an SEO perspective.

And remember one thing when doing competitive research: it’s just for insights, not mimicking.

Just because one blog topic is working for a competitor doesn’t mean it’ll work for your business or client of your agency.

My agency mostly uses competitive research for keywords we want to focus on and to basically see what we can do better.

Once these three levels of data are compiled, it can also be used as a baseline for progress going forward. Make sure to include a snapshot of the business’s data before this strategy even begins.

Most leaders will want loads of vanity metrics, such as increased traffic or rankings for broad keywords that are sometimes impossible to rank for.

It’s the agency or blogger’s responsibility to be a guide and educator, and explain quality over quantity, showing metrics like rankings for keywords that are actually converting.

On the subject of being an educator, one must also explain that this is a long-term play.

I tell clients at minimum true results won’t show until 6-12 months of consistent blogging.

Though results come in sometimes much quicker, it’s always good to stick with the adage of over delivering versus overpromising.

The time and money spent here are vital to serious success. Again, this is what separates a viable blog strategy over just hiring some freelancer and providing a list of topics.

avoid this blog strategy and creation mistakes

Mistake 2: Not Creating Content for Various Target Audiences in Various Buying Stages

Go online and research companies within your niche. For those that have a blog, check out the content:

  • Is it written for those in the beginning stages of learning or those who know everything and are ready to buy?
  • Or is it basically an outline of the services or products that the company sells?

A quick example, even if your selling baby food to moms everywhere in suburbia America, you must create content that speaks to those at different levels of the sales funnel.

  • Some – say a pregnant woman not ready to buy – will research to simply be educated on various types of baby foods, and asking things like what makes one healthier than another. Here the blogs must address the simplest forms of education.
  • Others will be in the middle of a sales funnel, knowing they need food but are looking to refine their reasoning for one brand over another, such as the benefits of organic baby foods. Here the content can get much deeper to show your authority.
  • The third is the one who wants to purchase immediately – they know everything are basically looking for a trusted brand. Here the content can be seriously in depth – but with a focus on the personality and core values of your brand up front. Basically, the content should address the trusted factor.

Though the percentage of what audience to target your blog efforts for will change based on the business, most revolve around the simple formula:

  • 50% educational content for those needing to learn – even the basics.
  • 25% educational content for those ready to buy, but need more focused and deeper content.
  • 25% content for those ready to buy now – deep into the products/services with a focus on the trust factor.

write your blog for a target audience

Mistake 3: Not Thinking of Frequency & Consistency

When growing as an entrepreneur over the past few years, two terms have always been at the forefront of my progress: patience and discipline. Without either, I’d see failure.

In the world of blogging, two terms to live by are frequency and consistency. This goes for your content calendar and days/times of uploads, to the consistency of voice, tone, and style across all your blogs.

Sure, you may be speaking to three different target audiences in various stages of the sales funnel as explained in mistake #2, but your voice, tone, and style should be united across each blog.

Voice and tone will all be contingent on each brand. If the tone is laid back, stick with that style across each blog.

We also recommend the same for all content on the website, social media, and newsletters.

The tone should be the same across each outlet, which will show consistency across your brand. This will help make that brand’s identity unique, and everyone will see that immediately.

  • As for style, do you write in short, choppy sentences?
  • In regards to guidelines for styles of writing, do you adhere to AP or APA?
  • Do you write many listicles, and stick to the same format each time such as numbering conventions for each point?
  • Do you mention #1 or the final number first?

These are all things to ask, and it doesn’t matter what your tone or style of writing is – as long as it’s consistent.

Mistake 4: Writing Without SEO Guidelines on a Technically Sound Platform

Before I work with a client, I run a quick SEO audit of their website.

If they are missing the vital things (e.g., speed, duplicate pages, missing title tags, non-unique meta descriptions), I’d recommend completing an audit first and addressing the main issues.

A blog strategy can’t reach its full intention until the core SEO issues are addressed.

All blogs must also be written with SEO in mind.

After I complete the necessary research and create the strategy and blog calendar, I provide my writers with “SEO Content Templates”. These are basically guidelines for exactly what’s needed, including:

  • The optimized headline.
  • Focus keyword.
  • All related keywords needed for user intent.
  • A list of the top URLs for research.

Again, this is something that’s tough to find with many of the freelancers you can find online – some working for as much as a penny a word.

Never forget a strict editorial process for your blogsMistake 5: Forgetting About a Strong Editorial Process

This is huge.

You can have the most optimized platform, blog posts, voice and consistency in the world, but if your grammar is sloppy, or your information is not factually correct, your prospective clients will go elsewhere – and quickly.

For our campaign clients, I use a seven-layer blog creation process that blends in best practices of grammar, style, fact-checking, and SEO.

The process begins at stage one, individual keyword research and SEO Content Templates that have optimized titles that adhere to an overall blog-calendar strategy.

Once the first draft comes in, it goes through factual edits, then another round for grammar/style.

Then there’s a third edit of SEO elements and creation of a “plug n’ play” document that we provide to clients if they do uploading in house.

Even then I ask them to allow my agency to perform one more edit in preview mode – on their actual website – before allowing it to go live.

The viewing environment changes quickly when it goes from Google Doc or Word to the actual website. This allows an editor to truly look at a blog with fresh eyes.

I do the same if we are doing the uploads, which we do for 90% of our clients – this truly keeps things hands off, something most clients prefer.

Concluding Thoughts

Many businesses, regardless of service- or product-based, don’t understand the power of blogging.

Some do, but go at it haphazardly, doing things as the budget or resources become available.

These types are missing out on the serious potential of blogging, which for those with a long-term vision of their company can be the largest producers of qualified leads and ultimately ROI.

There must be a strategy to truly benefit from everything a blog has to offer, and it begins with avoiding the five mistakes I point out above – mistakes I’ve learned to overcome from over a decade of working with blogs, both as a writer/strategist and now an agency owner with clients who rely on blogs for sales and increased revenue.

[“source=searchenginejournal”]

Apple’s AirPower Wireless Charger Said to Be Delayed for These Reasons

Apple's AirPower Wireless Charger Said to Be Delayed for These Reasons

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Engineers hope to launch the charger by June 2018
  • Aim now is to put AirPower on sale before or in September
  • Apple engineers have ramped up testing of the device in recent months

When Apple introduced AirPods earbuds in 2016, chief designer Jony Ive hailed the beginning of a new “wireless future.” The company’s devices would connect and charge without fiddly white cords and unsightly plugs and sockets.

The next step was wireless charging for the iPhone, the ability to drop Apple’s flagship product on a charging mat and juice it up via a process known as induction. This accessory is taking longer to make due to a series of technical hurdles, slowing the company’s wireless strategy and highlighting supply-chain challenges that have hampered product launches in recent years.

Apple said in September that the iPhone X and iPhone 8 could be charged wirelessly. It recommended charging hubs from Mophie and Belkin, an unusual move for the consumer-hardware specialist. Apple also announced its own AirPower charger, but said it wouldn’t be released until 2018.

Since then, AirPower hasn’t been publicly discussed by Apple. Company engineers have been toiling away to address problems. One challenge is making sure the charger doesn’t overheat. Another is the complexity of the circuitry, according to people familiar with the device’s development.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Unlike wireless chargers on the market today, the AirPower is designed to charge three devices simultaneously: an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods with a still-to-be-released wireless charging case.

Apple also wants users to be able to place any of their devices anywhere on the charging mat to begin a charge. That ambitious goal requires the company to pack the AirPower with multiple charging sensors, a process that has proven difficult, the people said. The charger is based on custom charging technology, which it intends to integrate with the Qi charging standard, the company said last year.

An executive at an Apple partner that manufactures third-party wireless chargers for iPhones, who asked not to be identified, said that the multi-device charging mechanism is challenging to build because it likely requires different sized charging components for the three types of devices, which would all overlap across the mat.

The AirPower charger is also more advanced than the current competition because it includes a custom Apple chip running a stripped down version of the iOS mobile operating system to conduct on-device power management and pairing with devices. Apple engineers have also been working to squash bugs related to the on-board firmware, according to the people familiar. They asked not to be identified discussing a product that hasn’t been released yet.

The company plans to produce the charger with Pegatron Corp., which also builds some iPhones, according to a person familiar with the arrangement.

Apple didn’t say when in 2018 it would release AirPower, but engineers hoped to launch the charger by June. The aim now is to put it on sale before or in September, according to one of the people. In recent months, some Apple engineers have ramped up testing of the device by using it as their charger at the office, another person said.

“Hopefully, Apple learns a lesson to only announce products that are for sure shipping soon or immediately after announcing,” said Ben Bajarin, an analyst at research firm Creative Strategies. Still, he sees little impact in the long-term because the AirPower product is part of a much larger strategy that will develop over years, not months or quarters.

Apple designers eventually hope to remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone, including the charger, according to people familiar with the company’s work. During the development of the iPhone X, Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely. That wasn’t feasible at the time because wireless charging was still slower than traditional methods. Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones.

Wireless accessories have become a key way for Apple to differentiate its products. The wireless synchronisation of AirPods and the Watch with Apple’s other devices are compelling features. And the pricey accessories are only truly compatible with Apple devices, giving consumers more reasons to stick with iPhones and iPads over competing smartphones and tablets.

All of these accessories are part of Apple’s Other Products business, which has been growing rapidly.

The AirPower charger should bolster this business – when it finally arrives. The wait is another indication that Apple continues to struggle with last-minute engineering and manufacturing issues, particularly for first-generation accessories.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has overseen the shipment of hundreds of millions of major devices since taking over as Apple’s top executive in 2011 – and for many years prior as chief operating officer. But nearly every significant new Apple accessory has faced delays in recent years.

The first major new accessory to the iPhone launched under Cook was the Apple Watch. Announced in 2014, it was marketed to go on sale in early 2015. It ended up initially going on sale at the end of April in limited quantities, with more models being subsequently released in stores in May and June. When the wireless Apple Pencil came out in 2015, it was difficult to find in retail stores for several weeks.

In 2016, when Apple launched AirPods, the company planned to release the accessory in October. The earbuds came out close to the December holiday season.

A year later, the HomePod was announced in June 2017 for release in December of that year. It ended up going on sale this February.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

These Post-Purchase Marketing Strategies Encourage Loyalty And Retention

Successfully marketing to today’s consumer requires online retailers to better understand their decision-making journey. All marketers want more sales streaming into their online channels, and your post-marketing strategy is essential to achieve this.

While traditional marketing methods will help digital marketers attract interest from consumers abroad, funnel acquisition is just one play in the marketing handbook. To make the most of the customer journey, take things a step further.

Here are several post-marketing strategies that are proven to deliver results:

The power of the newsletter is undeniable.

Newsletters are one of the most effective post-marketing tools. According to MailChimp (full disclosure: my company makes a CRM integration for MailChimp users), the average email newsletter has an open rate that varies from 16.75% to 27.23%, depending on the industry. A common strategy to encourage signups is to offer customers a perceived value. Most often, this involves giving them a one-time discount off a purchase — typically 10% off — to add them to your mailing list. Here are some other strategies that encourage conversions:

• Newsletters that underscore the customer journey of your products or services help drive new purchases and secure retention.

• Featured content in newsletters helps customers better understand the value of your products and services.

• Flash sales in your newsletters increase average conversion rates and attract new impulse purchases from interested customers.

Case studies attract new sales and improve loyalty.

Another proven method that should be in your post-marketing strategy playbook is a case study. Prospects in the research stage of the sales funnel want to know if your product or service can solve their problems. Including customer case studies on your website shows them the proven benefits of your product or service.

• Case studies highlight how your products and services can be used, and how beneficial they can be to the consumer.

• They provide value proof to the consumer by giving real-life examples.

• Customer spotlights validate and which further illustrate how your products and services are being successfully used.

Blogging is still a must-have post-marketing tool.

You’ve heard plenty about blogging. If you’re still behind on your strategy, there’s no time like the present to pick up the pace. While 99% of your digital marketing dollar doesn’t have to go solely toward content marketing, a blog should be viewed as one of the most important gears in your content marketing and outreach engine.

• Blogging as a content marketing tool can drive thousands of leads.

• The most effective blogs contain videos, infographics and fact-heavy listicles, with a how-to or problem-solution focus that enhances authority.

• Posts that contain powerful visual references such as charts and graphs are also more effective.

Video is the workhorse that content can’t ever be.

We’ve all heard the expression, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” If that’s true, then in an online marketing world where content is king, a video is worth a million words.

Video is one of the most powerful post-marketing tools that you can incorporate into your retention and loyalty strategy because:

• 74% of consumers have made new purchases based on what they’ve watched in a video.

• 81% of consumers have been convinced to make a new purchase or increase their current purchase based on the contents of a video they’ve watched.

• Branded videos are shared by as many as 83% of viewerson social media, with informative and entertaining brand videos getting the highest share percentage.

It’s important to remember that post-marketing strategies are also about reaching new consumers. To do so successfully, you’ll need help from your existing site visitors. And video is a surefire reach-enhancement mechanism.

Resource-and-learn pages deliver authority content.

When visiting a website, you probably expect to see a product or service showcase, as is the status quo. But resource-and-learn pages are taking center stage as more efficient post-marketing strategies. They underscore the true value that the consumer is offered by delivering in-depth, authority content that is enhanced with animated GIFs, charts, graphs and (drum roll, please) videos. Good examples include:

• A walkthrough page just for your new website visitors to help them find what they’re looking for.

• A sole topic page dedicated to one product or service offering.

• A topic bible that covers every product and service you’re offering, complete with internal links to related pages.

Live webinars and meetups offer personalized interactions.

Two additional post-marketing strategies you’ll want to consider putting into place include live webinars and video meetups. Consumers react positively to personalized interactions such as these.

• A common strategy is to offer video meetups with coffee by using Postmates, where your company orders Starbucks for the attendees, and you host a video chat session over a fresh cup of coffee.

• Webinars are powerful remarketing tools that help you improve awareness and understanding about the value of the products and services your company is offering. They can be easily advertised on your webpages and social channels, as well as in your newsletters.

A top-to-bottom approach is key to thriving in today’s marketing jungle.

To make the most of your marketing efforts, it’s best to incorporate a top-to-bottom approach. Tried and true strategies that generate strong, organic traffic for your website are just one part of the equation.

What you do with this traffic after it converts is equally important. It can mean the difference between being in the red or in the black come the end of each quarter.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

MIUI 9.5 Is Coming Soon to These 30 Xiaomi Smartphones

MIUI 9.5 Is Coming Soon to These 30 Xiaomi Smartphones

Xiaomi on Tuesday announced the rollout of its latest MIUI 9.5 Global Stable ROM for several of its smartphones in the Redmi, Mi MIX, and Mi Max series. Additionally, the company also announced estimated schedule and availability for MIUI 9.5 on numerous other phones in the coming weeks. Updates will be rolled out via over-the-air (OTA) method. Xiaomi also states that it will gradually release the update for other phones in the company’s portfolio. MIUI 9.5 is based on top of Android 7.0 Nougat.

In a post on the MIUI Forum, Xiaomi acknowledged the global rollout of MIUI 9.5 stable ROM for the Redmi Note 3 Special Edition, Redmi Note 3 (Qualcomm SoC), Redmi Note 4 (Qualcomm SoC)/ Redmi Note 4X, Mi Max, and Mi Max Prime. The update is said to gradually roll out to eligible handsets via OTA. The post also mentions that other phones such as Redmi 3S, Redmi 4A, Redmi 4 Prime, and Redmi Note 4 (MediaTek SoC) are estimated to be updated to MIUI 9.5 by “late March”, so within the next few days.

Further, phones like the Redmi Note 5A/ Redmi Y1, Redmi Y1 Lite, Redmi 5A, Redmi 5, Redmi 5 Plus, Redmi Note 5, Mi Max 2, Mi 5, Mi 6, Redmi 4X, and Mi MIX 2 are expected to get the OTA update by early April. And, handsets such as the Mi 5s, Mi Note 2, Mi Note 3, Redmi Note 2, Redmi 3, Redmi 4, Mi 3, Mi 4, Mi MIX, and Mi 5s Plus will get it by late April. “The above release dates are only estimated time and might be changed due to various reasons,” says a note on the forum post.

Earlier this week, some users had reported seeing the nightly build of MIUI 9.5 Stable ROM on Redmi Note 4 units. The update is said to bring the February security patch, Notification Shade, and quick reply feature.

[“source=gadgets.ndtv”]

These 5 tips will help you crack the code of online marketing

Online marketing is a vehicle that carries your business forward and establishes a connection between your business and your customers. It envisages an emotional journey that predicts the future of your business (more often than not in today’s scenario).

Someone rightly highlighted the importance of digital marketing with these words, “Brands which fail to establish an emotional connect with the millennials will be outshone sooner or later by the ones that do.

And it is not the big brands that are making digital marketing count. It is the smarter creed of startups and small-scale enterprises that have successfully cracked the code of digital marketing.

What can you as a business learn from them? Well, here are some of the key metrics that I’ve figured out. Take a look at them, and how you can succeed at the game of digital marketing –

Content marketing

In words of marketing prodigy Seth Godin – content marketing is the only marketing left.

Take a look at the trends for the past few years. You will get to see that brands that have invested in creating top quality content have managed to create powerful presence in the market.

One of the examples of effective content marketing comes in the form of Leadpages, a company that deals in designing customisable, landing page templates, and also provides testing services. Thanks to their powerful content marketing efforts, Leadpages were able to get their customer lifetime value to customer acquisition ratios quite high.

In words of the company’s CEO Clay Collins, “A content team of four people could outperform an 80+ person sales team at most companies.”

Here’s what they focused upon as part of their content marketing strategy –

  • Popularising their blog by creating beautiful, useful and compelling content
  • Spreading marketing resources such as e-books, case studies, infographics and courses
  • Conducting weekly webinars to build a community for spreading their content

And the results? Leadpages has become a multi-million dollar company, and one of the fastest growing companies in the US.

Video marketing

If we talk about the trends, video marketing ranks right up there in the present scenario. YouTube and live video streams have become the next big thing in marketing.

As per statistics, companies that leveraged video marketing to good effect were able to grow 49 percent faster than the companies that did not.

Just like content, you can leverage different types of videos in marketing. Starting from engaging and funny videos to creating tutorials – there’s a lot that you can do as part of your video marketing endeavors. And, thanks to the rise of live video streaming, it has now become easy to keep your community engaged and hooked by sharing live story videos and what not.

Lowes Home Improvement is one of the most prominent names when it comes to pocket-friendly, and successful video marketing.

Social media marketing

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” – Erik Qualman

Social media keeps us connected to the world. Over the past few years, it has become a lot more than just something that people use as a pastime. In fact, studies show that social media plays a massive role in user’s buying choice, with customers being 71 percent more likely to purchase a product based on social media referral.

As they say in the marketing world, ‘social today is not just a tick in the box, it’s bread and butter for a brand’s survival.’

The best example of cost-effective social media marketing campaign that worked really well – Know Your Lemons – Worldwide Breast Cancer! In this unique campaign, the organisation encouraged women to stay safe against breast cancer by checking their breasts regularly and looking for early physical warning signs. Using a standalone member’s page on Facebook, they were able to raise their fundraising target by 317 percent using just a smile ‘donate’ call to action.

As you can see, you don’t have to break your bank in order to succeed at social media marketing.

Search engine marketing

The good old SEO – you would have heard about it for sure. It is a mix of different practices that are used to get on top of results in search engines. How could a list of cost-effective marketing strategies be complete without SEO.

It is the oldest form of digital marketing, and still ranks right on top when you talk about getting results. With the right SEO tactics you can eventually gain limitless traffic to your website. And, it won’t cost you a dime. There are plenty of tutorials and online courses available that can help you master the art of SEO.

In fact, you can hire professional services for the same that will cost you much lesser as compared to any of the other services.

Remarketing

Lastly, we are going to focus on one area that’s fairly less discussed i.e. remarketing. Targeting users who have already visited your website, remarketing lets you tempt potential buyers who had left your website for some reason or the other.

It works based on cookies – the trail that users leave while visiting your website. With the help of these cookies, you can easily target social media accounts of users, or any other websites they visit, to display your ads and increase the chances of them getting converted.

Though it falls under paid marketing, the ROI is pretty good. Hence, you can expect to get a lot more than you are investing; making it an easy, quick way to boost your business sales with online marketing.

Do you have something more to add to this list? Share in the comments, and we’d love to know about it!

[“Source-yourstory”]

Skyrocket your digital marketing game to the next level with these TED Talks

Started with the novel concept of sharing ideas on public platforms, TED has over the years amassed a cult following with a league of legendary conferences and keynotes. It surely occupies a place as one of the most influential think tanks of our times. TED’s core belief lies in the power of ideas to change the world, and this reflects in its selection of elite speakers and the thoughts and perspectives they bring to our screens in an easy, engaging style. So when these speakers talk about social and digital marketing, we have no choice but to sit up and take notice.

At a time when the rules of social and digital marketing seem to be changing every day, we have compiled a list of inspirational TED Talks for timeless lessons in digital marketing:

Design and discovery, David Carson

Digital and social marketing, or even marketing in general, has the art of communication design at its heart. Whether it is the digital creatives of your Instagram handle or that video you’d love to see go viral on Facebook, design aesthetics and storytelling play a crucial role. That is what makes David Carson’s talk on communicating ideas, understanding the audience, and human-centric UX so relevant for digital marketers. He rightly says that design and storytelling in communication are timeless arts, despite the constant evolution of technologies and platforms.

Why videos go viral, Kevin Allocca

Kevin is the head of culture and trends for YouTube. So when a video goes or is about to go viral, he is usually one of the first people to know. Naturally, he is an expert in a space where a lot of work is trial-and-error. In this talk, Kevin shares from experience the four key reasons behind and elements present in all viral videos. He also showcases real-life examples of how these elements have been engineered in much of YouTube’s viral content. Kevin’s talk is a must-watch for content creators as well as marketers who try day-in and day-out to match the now-clichéd briefs of “making videos go viral”.

Where good ideas come from, Steven Johnson

A lot of numbers, jargon, and science are attached to digital and social marketing in workplace discourse, which is all very well given the need to drive ROIs and reach. However, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that a lot of marketing itself is an art. It is where ideas and data sciences come together to tell compelling stories – they are both equally important. This is where Steven Johnson’s talk holds importance. He speaks of creating environments that encourage the brewing of ideas, and he likens these environments to those of coffee shops, which are often perfectly designed for collaboration, conversation, and creative thinking.

Part of Steven’s message is also on shaping our own minds in order to think creatively. He says that being open and connected gives new perspectives to our thought process, which is crucial for creative ideation.

The nit-picking glory of The New Yorker’s Comma Queen, Mary Norris

The clamour for use of videos and similar creative elements is growing massively within the ambit of digital marketing. But they are just one part of the digital marketing game, the other being the power of words – in Instagram captions, tweets, video descriptions, blog posts, newsrooms, newsletters, and Facebook updates. It’s a given that social and digital marketers have to write a lot, hence every word and punctuation can make your content more compelling or less. That’s what makes New Yorker Copy Editor Mary Norris’ TED Talk relevant to digital marketers.

In work circles, Mary’s almost-eccentric approach to language and punctuation is very well-known, and she is often known as the “Comma Queen”. The most interesting part of the talk – especially for digital marketers – is when Mary speaks about the fluid nature of language and how conversational language affects the written word. We suppose that’s how “googled” became a real word too!

Adventures in Twitter fiction, Andrew Fitzgerald

For language purists, writing fiction on Twitter can sound blasphemous. Yet, that’s exactly what Andrew Fitzgerald speaks of in his TED Talk. The erstwhile editor of Twitter Moments, Andrew dives deep into the way online platforms, especially ones like Tumblr and Twitter, are changing how stories are told in our times. The talk is educational for social and digital marketers who are often adapting to new formats, like six-second videos that disappear in 24 hours and 280-character-press releases on Twitter.

3 ways to (usefully) lose control of your brand, Tim Leberecht

At first glance, “losing control of one’s brand” sounds like every digital marketer and PR professional’s worst nightmare. However, the very concept of a tight control on messages and content is old-school in the age of social media. Conversations and comments ensure that if a marketing message is actually relevant or persuasive, there will be constant chatter about the brand that its marketers have no control over. Tim’s talk provides an antidote to it – if you can’t control the narrative, you might as well design your communication in a way that sharing and conversation only regurgitate your core messages.

Tim calls for co-creation and collaboration with the brand’s audience. It is clear from the talk that an open world means that more empowerment for the audience is the only tool for brands to empower themselves.

The Founder of the Blog Revolution, Mena Trott

Much before we started documenting every little life moment – on Facebook check-ins, in Tweets, and in six-second videos on Instagram and Snapchat – there was one woman who revolutionised the idea of sharing. Mena Trott believed that common people sharing their life stories in blog format had the power to change the world. With her husband, Mena founded Six Apart, the company responsible for Type Pad, LiveJournal, and Vox, which revolutionised how the common people document their life and times online. In this talk, Mena speaks about the early days of blogging, when sharing was the key to a friendlier, more connected world.

A lot of this talk is a lesson in telling authentic stories because that’s what actually connects people and creates open, positive conversations. Such deep level of honesty has the power to redefine brand communication at a time when there is significant trust deficit in brands as well as media around the world. That’s what makes Mena’s talk that much more relevant to digital marketers of our times.

The tribes we lead, Seth Godin

Seth Godin is one of the most successful independent digital marketers of our time and his TED Talks are always relevant and educational. In this talk, he says that social and digital platforms have ensured the coming together of humans in a way that went out of fashion years ago. He likens these social units to tribes that are founded on shared ideas, goals, and values. According to Seth, years ago these tribes formed the basis of the way we live. Internet tribes or communities have the same power. They give ordinary people the support system they need to bring real, positive change. The lesson in this TED Talk for digital marketers is that the promise of positive change is the most crucial element of getting people together and building strong communities. That is why brand social media pages must speak of powerful positive ideas and change, such as Nestle’s strategy of focusing on nutritious eating on their Facebook page.

How to get your ideas to spread, Seth Godin

Yet another TED Talk by Seth that has lessons for digital marketers, this one is all about capturing the interest of your audience despite their increasingly cluttered social media feeds. Seth speaks of unique ways in which brands can stand out in their marketing. He says that a good idea is not enough – it should be unique. The talk also focuses on the importance of constantly listening to your audience, knowing what they want to hear and then telling them exactly those stories. In conclusion, an engaged audience is the hallmark of great digital marketing and marketers must do everything they need to in order to achieve that.

What consumers want, Joseph Pine

Although this talk is almost a decade-and-a-half old, it just keeps getting more relevant as consumers become more and more focused on not just pricing and products but experiences and brand personalities. Now more than ever, consumers are interacting with brands as they do with peers, in conversation on social media, calling them out for mistakes and lauding them for a job well done. According to Joseph, authenticity and positive experience have become the hallmark of great brand communication. This is an important lesson for digital marketers and social media community managers who are usually now the first point of contact for consumers.

Joseph also adds that even as brands and their product offerings evolve, thoroughly understanding the brand’s legacy is key to being consistent, authentic, and engaging on social media.

These TED Talks have the potential to raise the bar of the kind of conversations, experiences, and content digital marketers produce because they are shaping brand reputations by the minute. Ultimately, the idea is to move away from clichéd click- and engagement-baits on social media and instead focus on honest, meaningful, and engaging conversations with your brand’s audience. All recent algorithm changes point in this direction and it is about time digital marketers read the writing on the wall.

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[“Source-yourstory”]

Step Up Your Online Marketing with These 10 Underutilized Strategies

There are plenty of online marketing strategies out there that most businesses already use or are at least aware of. But there are also some lesser known strategies or lessons that you might not have considered. See some of the top tips about not-so-obvious online marketing strategies from members of the online small business community below.

Don’t Fall for These Common PPC Misconceptions

When it comes to PPC advertising, it’s not always best to adhere to common practices. There are some misconceptions that have led to negatives for a lot of businesses. Pauline Jakober shares some common misconceptions about PPC advertising in this Search Engine Journal post.

Use Color to Increase Website Conversions

To make your website as effective as possible, you need to consider every single detail — and that includes the colors you choose to include in the design. In this SUCCESS Agency blog post, Mary Blackiston explainshow you can use color to increase website conversions.

Take Advantage of These New Facebook Groups Features

Facebook is already a great way to connect with your community online. And now, the platform has introduced some improvements that could make your community even stronger. Mike Allton of the Social Media Hat details those features here. And BizSugar members also share thoughts on the post too.

Try These Lesser Known Online Advertising Platforms

You already know about the big name online advertising platforms like Google. But there are plenty of other options out there that small businesses can use to supplement their online advertising strategies. Susan Solovic lists three lesser known options in this post.

Take a Look at the Best SEO Strategy You’re Not Using

Link building is a common SEO practice. But there’s another layer to that strategy that many businesses overlook. For that reason, Neil Patel thinks it’s one of the best SEO strategies you’re not already using. He goes into more detail in a recent post.

Track Blog Growth with Google Analytics

Blogging is a common tactic used to grow a business. But before you can reap the benefits of blogging, you have to actually grow a successful blog. In this Basic Blog Tips post, Susan Velez offers some insights you can use to track your blog growth using Google Analytics.

Change Your Content Marketing Program in 2018

Content marketing is already a popular strategy. But if you’re not adapting to the latest trends and changing up your tactics to better serve potential customers, you could fall behind. Rachel Lindteigen of Marketing Land outlines how you can change up your content marketing program for 2018.

Use Instagram to Grow Your Business

If you’re not already using Instagram for marketing your business, you’re really missing out. In this Blogging Wizard post, Elna Cain discusses the potential benefits of the platform. You can also see commentary from the BizSugar community.

Learn How to Identify and Deal with Detractors

Brand advocates can offer lots of potential marketing value for businesses. But detractors have the opposite effect. So you need to be able to identify those detractors and learn how to minimize their impact. Ivan Widjaya elaborates in a recent SMB CEO post.

Build a Top Notch Content Marketing Team

Content marketing isn’t just a small operation anymore. If you’re still trying to manage your content strategy on your own or with one part time team member, your business could fall behind. Instead, consider the skills listed in this Content Marketing Institute post by Michele Linn when building your content marketing team.

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

Step Up Your Online Marketing Efforts with These 10 Tips

Today’s businesses need an online marketing strategy to succeed. While every business’s strategy may look a bit different, there are some common threads that hold most of those successful strategies together.

Members of the small business community have plenty of tips to share when it comes to successfully marketing businesses online. Check out their top tips below.

Make Your Way with Social Media

Social media isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You have to determine the strategy that is going to work best for your business, as Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media discusses here. And Strella elaborated on these suggestions in a conversation in BizSugar community here.

Super Charge Your Local Search Results

Even for local businesses, online marketing can make a huge difference. Local search, for example, can help to bring new faces to your store, restaurant or other local business. To make the most of your local search marketing, check out this Inc article by Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell.

Think About These Things for Your Website’s Social Sharing Features

Letting customers or followers do some of your online marketing for you can really help out and save you time. But you need to make sharing your content easy for them. So in this article at the Social Media Week, Larry Alton suggests some things you should think about when incorporating social sharing buttons into your website.

Keep Up with Marketing Technology Trends

Thanks to technology, online marketing is constantly changing. That means that you need to keep up with the new trends in order to stay relevant to tech savvy consumers. This article at Docurated by Angela Stringfellow includes some marketing technology trends that are poised to re-shape the world of marketing.

Grow Your Website Traffic

Content creation can be a key part of your online marketing strategy. But you need to build traffic in order for your content to be effective. This post on the official dlvr.it blog by Bill Flitter includes a playbook for growing traffic to your content.

Expect These Things When Joining Social Media

As a small business owner, the idea of joining various social media sites and regularly using them as part of your online marketing plan can seem daunting. But if you know what to expect, the process can be a bit easier. Here on NutsPR, Corina Manea shares some things you should expect when joining social media as a small business owner.

Use These Best Practices for Twitter Polls

Twitter’s polling feature can help you to gain insights and interaction from your followers on the platform. And the microblogging site has now revealed some of the best practices that people should use when running polls, which Matt Southern covers in this Search Engine Journal article. BizSugar members also chime in with their own thoughts here.

Consider Starting Your Own Podcast

Lots of businesses have websites and social media accounts. But starting your own podcast can really help you to stand out in today’s business world. Here, Ileane Smith shares some of the benefits that businesses could realize through starting a podcast.

Create a Content Anchor

When creating content for an online audience, the length and quality of your content can make a big difference in how many people see and interact with it. In this post on Blogger Sidekick, Will Blunt discusses the concept of a content anchor and how it could help your online marketing strategy.

Use Influencer Marketing That Works

Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept to a lot of businesses. But it can really jumpstart your online marketing efforts if used correctly. Here, Ann Smarty discusses how small businesses can use influencer marketing in a way that should work both now and in the future.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:  [email protected]

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

Step Up Your Online Marketing with These 10 Underutilized Strategies

There are plenty of online marketing strategies out there that most businesses already use or are at least aware of. But there are also some lesser known strategies or lessons that you might not have considered. See some of the top tips about not-so-obvious online marketing strategies from members of the online small business community below.

Don’t Fall for These Common PPC Misconceptions

When it comes to PPC advertising, it’s not always best to adhere to common practices. There are some misconceptions that have led to negatives for a lot of businesses. Pauline Jakober shares some common misconceptions about PPC advertising in this Search Engine Journal post.

Use Color to Increase Website Conversions

To make your website as effective as possible, you need to consider every single detail — and that includes the colors you choose to include in the design. In this SUCCESS Agency blog post, Mary Blackiston explainshow you can use color to increase website conversions.

Take Advantage of These New Facebook Groups Features

Facebook is already a great way to connect with your community online. And now, the platform has introduced some improvements that could make your community even stronger. Mike Allton of the Social Media Hat details those features here. And BizSugar members also share thoughts on the post too.

Try These Lesser Known Online Advertising Platforms

You already know about the big name online advertising platforms like Google. But there are plenty of other options out there that small businesses can use to supplement their online advertising strategies. Susan Solovic lists three lesser known options in this post.

Take a Look at the Best SEO Strategy You’re Not Using

Link building is a common SEO practice. But there’s another layer to that strategy that many businesses overlook. For that reason, Neil Patel thinks it’s one of the best SEO strategies you’re not already using. He goes into more detail in a recent post.

Track Blog Growth with Google Analytics

Blogging is a common tactic used to grow a business. But before you can reap the benefits of blogging, you have to actually grow a successful blog. In this Basic Blog Tips post, Susan Velez offers some insights you can use to track your blog growth using Google Analytics.

Change Your Content Marketing Program in 2018

Content marketing is already a popular strategy. But if you’re not adapting to the latest trends and changing up your tactics to better serve potential customers, you could fall behind. Rachel Lindteigen of Marketing Land outlines how you can change up your content marketing program for 2018.

Use Instagram to Grow Your Business

If you’re not already using Instagram for marketing your business, you’re really missing out. In this Blogging Wizard post, Elna Cain discusses the potential benefits of the platform. You can also see commentary from the BizSugar community.

Learn How to Identify and Deal with Detractors

Brand advocates can offer lots of potential marketing value for businesses. But detractors have the opposite effect. So you need to be able to identify those detractors and learn how to minimize their impact. Ivan Widjaya elaborates in a recent SMB CEO post.

Build a Top Notch Content Marketing Team

Content marketing isn’t just a small operation anymore. If you’re still trying to manage your content strategy on your own or with one part time team member, your business could fall behind. Instead, consider the skills listed in this Content Marketing Institute post by Michele Linn when building your content marketing team.

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]