Journalist speaks on DPRK

first_imgOn Wednesday evening, acclaimed journalist and human rights activist Laura Ling spoke to students about her 140-day captivity in North Korea.Detained · Laura Ling and fellow journalist Euna Lee were tried and found guilty of illegal entry in North Korea in June 2009. – Benjamin Dunn | Daily Trojan In 2009, while reporting along the China-North Korea border, Ling and fellow journalist Euna Lee were apprehended by North Korean soldiers. The two women were charged with illegal entry into North Korea and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in a prison camp.In August 2009, former President Bill Clinton met with former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang to negotiate Lee and Ling’s release.“Five years ago, I thought I might never get the chance to see my family ever again,” Ling said. “But just this morning I kissed my                                       3-year-old daughter and my two-month-old baby boy, the children I once thought I might never get the chance to have.”Ling traveled to the border to cover a story about North Korean defectors in China. Many of these defectors are women, trafficked into prostitution and arranged marriages.Prior to her capture, Ling said that she prioritized her interviewees’ safety over her own.“The ironic thing is that this wasn’t necessarily a story in which I was fearful for my own physical wellbeing,” Ling said. “Our biggest and main concern was for the safety and security of the people we had been interviewing.”Ling noted, however, that the situation was extremely unpredictable.“Anything can happen once you’re in the field,” Ling said. “Situations that you could never have planned for evolve, and you’re forced to react.”On the day of her capture, Ling and her team went to the frozen Tumen River, the thoroughfare that separates China and North Korea. Though they did not intend to enter North Korea, their local guide ensured them that it was safe to cross. After filming for one minute on North Korean soil, the group was halfway across the river when Ling heard yelling from two armed soldiers.Ling described her captor as particularly violent, beating and kicking her in the head. The soldier raised the butt of his rifle and struck Ling’s head, causing her to black out immediately.“At one moment, I’m reporting on a humanitarian crisis that’s taking place along the border with China and North Korea that neither country wants the world to know about,” Ling said. “And in the very next moment, I’m a prisoner, in one of the most isolated countries in the world and one that views our own as its enemy.”Ling described the ensuing 140 days as the most terrifying time of her life. She shared glimpses into her captivity in the so-called “hermit kingdom,” highlighting moments of compassion and humanity that she also experienced.Ling recalled a conversation she had with a female guard. The guard expressed sadness that she had the opportunity to spend time with her family while Ling had been separated from hers for so long.Throughout her detainment, Ling communicated periodically with her family. Her sister Lisa, a prominent broadcast journalist, reached out to her political connections and worked tirelessly to secure Laura’s release. After several discussions with North Korean authorities, Laura found out that Clinton would be the only acceptable envoy to negotiate her release.“It was one of the lowest points of my captivity because I didn’t think someone of President Clinton’s stature would be approved to make such an unpredictable trip,” Ling said. “And so I mentally began to prepare myself to be sent to a labor camp.”When she saw President Clinton before her, she experienced utter astonishment and disbelief.“I swear he had a halo over his head,” Ling said.Ling concluded her lecture by encouraging aspiring journalists to pursue their passion.“Being able to make people more aware of what’s happening in our world and in our own backyard is a vital service, and one that I have found to be deeply rewarding.”last_img read more

CALLBACK BRILLIANT IN GATE TO WIRE SCORE IN GRADE I LAS VIRGENES; GARCIA & BAFFERT TEAM FOR HALF LENGTH WIN AS STREET SENSE FILLY GETS FLAT MILE IN 1:36.92

first_imgPICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $95,169 INTO SUNDAY, TOTAL POOL SHOULD EXCEED $500,000; SPECIAL EARLY FIRST POST TIME ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY IS 11 A.M., WITH GATES OPENING AT 9 A.M. ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 31, 2015)–Sent to the lead, Callback opened up leaving the three furlong pole under Martin Garcia and went on to a hard-fought half length win in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes as she ran a mile in 1:36.92 while outrunning eight rival 3-year-old fillies. Trained by Bob Baffert, lightly raced Callback ran without blinkers for the first time in her four-race career.“I was just cruising all the way around there,” said Garcia, who has ridden her in all of her starts. “I asked her a little going into the far turn and then again when (second place finisher) Light the City came back at us, she took off. There was no way they were going to go by us. I don’t see why stretching out further would be any problem, she’s a good filly. She can do anything you want.”The second choice in the wagering at 5-2, Callback paid $7.20, $5.00 and $4.40.Owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, Callback, a Kentucky-bred filly by Street Sense, came off a second place finish in the Grade II Santa Ynez and tried two turns for the first time on Saturday. She picked up her second win and with the winner’s share of $180,000, increased her earnings to $245,450.“We’ve always been pretty high on her,” said Baffert, who also saddled 2-1 favorite Maybellene, who finished eighth with Rafael Bejarano. “They were high on her when they sent her in. I wanted to run one-two. My other filly, she just didn’t kick today…It was nice to get a win for Wayne Hughes. He couldn’t make it today.”Baffert indicated that Callback would be pointed for the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks on April 4, “Unless the earth moves or something.”Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Light the City broke from the far outside and was four-wide into the Club House turn but settled nicely into a good stalking trip down the backside as longshot Suva Harbor pressed the winner to the far turn. Light the City appeared to have Callback measured a furlong out, but was second best, finishing 3 ½ lengths in front of Achiever’s Legacy.Off at 7-1, Light the City paid $8.20 and $6.20.“In hindsight, maybe I should’ve switched posts with the winner, then they might have been taking my picture,” said Desormeaux. “I think that situation might have been the difference…She ran an incredible race. I’m thinkin’ she’s got a few Grade I’s with her name on them.”Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Achiever’s Legacy rallied from far off the pace to finish third, 2 ½ lengths in front of Majestic Presence. Achiever’s Legacy paid $6.80 to show.Fractions on the race were 22.89, 46.88, 1:11.42 and 1:24.22.There is a Pick Six carryover into Sunday of $95,169. Sunday’s total Pick Six pool should exceed $500,000. First post time on Super Bowl Sunday at Santa Anita is at 11 a.m. Admission gates open at 9 a.m.last_img read more

THE PHANTOM COMES TO HAUNT LETTERKENNY AUDIENCES FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY

first_imgTo mark its 25th Anniversary year, “The Phantom of the Opera” is to be staged in a lavish production, set in the sumptuous Victorian splendor of the Royal Albert Hall with a cast and orchestra of over 200.Now audiences around the world are invited to join the celebration on Sunday October 2nd when the event is beamed live via satellite to cinemas across the globe. “The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall” will be screened live in around 250 including Century Cinemas in Letterkenny at 7pm on October 2nd.Worldwide, “The Phantom of the Opera” has grossed over $5.6 billion. The box office revenues are higher than any film or stage play in history, including “Avatar”, “Titanic”, “ET” and “Star Wars”.It has been seen in 145 cities in 27 countries and played to over 130 million people. “The Phantom of the Opera” is currently showing in London, New York, Budapest, Las Vegas, and Kyoto.Mark Doherty of Century Cinemas said he was really looking forward to the evening and advised people to book their tickets early. “The Phantom of the Opera’ is one of the most classic shows ever produced and this particular show should be exceptional.“We are delighted to be able to beam it in live to Letterkenny direct from the Royal Albert Hall for what will be a very special occasion,” he said.Tickets for the show are priced at a very reasonable €15 with concessions priced at €10.The pre-show commences at 6.30pm with curtain up at 7pm. Tickets can be booked at www.centurycinemas.ie or by phoning 074 9121976.EndsTHE PHANTOM COMES TO HAUNT LETTERKENNY AUDIENCES FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY was last modified: September 13th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:century cinemas letterkennyPhantom of the Operalast_img read more

Hiring Evans’ replacement should challenge Giants in unexpected ways

first_imgThat process began with the dismissal of general manager … SAN FRANCISCO–The Giants don’t build search committees.They don’t fire and they rarely need to hire. Instead, the Giants reassign and promote from within.They don’t look outside the organization, because for so long, others organizations viewed the Giants’ model as the one to emulate.But after back-to-back losing seasons, the organizational blueprint is changing. And before the Giants can say hello, they must say goodbye.last_img read more

Tech trends fostering new links to consumers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Retail grocers and innovative farmers are using technology and new store concepts to address changing demographics, capitalize on new shopping trends, and bring consumers closer to the source of their food.Smart phones have now become the most important kitchen tool. They’re used to look up recipes, research brands and ingredients, check prices, interact with foodie friends, get advice from experts and key influencers, and trace the origins of food items. Statistics show that food accounts for the most popular posts on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and other major social media sites. Consumers also use social media to engage directly with farmers.Grocers and others in the food industry now are scrambling to meet the desires of Millennials, who recently overtook Baby Boomers as the largest working population in the U.S. A recent study conducted by Deloitte, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute showed that beyond the traditional drivers of taste, price and convenience, more than half of Millennials make purchase decisions by weighing “evolving drivers” — including health and wellness, safety, social impact, experience and transparency.Millennials treat grocery shopping as part of their social activities. They’ll meet for coffee, an in-store restaurant experience or cooking class and then pick up a few groceries. They’re willing to save on budget items in order to spend more on select luxury foods, often meeting friends to build their shopping trip around a particular recipe. Upscale markets have even become hot dating sites in some urban areas.Grocery stores are retooling to accommodate consumers’ changing tastes to include more story-telling as part of the shopping experience. With more than 80 percent of the U.S. population living in urban areas, few consumers will ever visit a farm. Retailers and farmers are using technology and innovative new store concepts to bring farms to consumers.• A new Whole Foods flagship store in Alpharetta, Georgia, features interactive digital elements like Instagram feeds to show produce being grown at local farms which supply the store.• BrightFarms Hydroponic Gardens is working with more than a half dozen grocery chains to build and manage hydroponic greenhouses on store rooftops, or in nearby parking garages and empty lots. Farmers trained by BrightFarms will grow tomatoes, salad greens and herbs for local sale and delivery. They’re also planning a 100,000 square foot farm in Brooklyn that will be able to grow a million pounds of produce each year.• The Farmery is developing a transportable “aquaponics store” made of stacked shipping containers. Reversible growing panels will allow customers to pick their own strawberries and leafy greens. Empty panels can be replaced by new panels from other containers stacked above the store level.• Wegmans Food Markets recently announced a new, on-site mill in the bakery of its Pittsford, New York, location. The first-of-its-kind, the mill will be used to grind raw grains, featuring Einkorn and rye sourced from a nearby farm. Commodity groups are also fostering innovation. The California Avocado Commission is receiving accolades for its creative approach to connecting with shoppers during the Super Bowl.  Every time a food or beverage commercial aired, they posted Twitter links to videos showing how California avocados would pair with it – from beer to soft drinks, snacks to grilled foods and even candy bars.More innovation is coming still! Consumers already can use their phones to scan bar codes or read Radio Frequency Identification tags in a grocery store to see ingredients, look up recipes and get more of the story behind their food. Increasingly, customers are able to use their phones to learn more about the farms or ranches where their food was grown, or even chat with the farmer who grew it.Thanks to social media tools, more farmers are making farm and ranch life come alive for consumers. This increased interaction is more important now with fewer and fewer consumers living near a farm or ranch. Innovative shopping trends and technology are bringing consumers and farmers closer together than ever before.last_img read more

The Online Anatomy of a Spreading Story

first_imgLast night, U.S. forces killed “the most wanted face of terrorism,” Osama bin Laden. However, this is not a political blog post or a commentary on the event. Instead, it is an examination of how technology has drastically changed the word-of-mouth spread of information. Traditional media, TV and print newspapers, couldn’t keep up with the story as fast as new, social media could draw the evolving picture. This dynamic teaches important marketing lessons about the power of self-publishing, diffusion of news and the future of information gathering. Twitter: Where the News First Leaked As you might have already learned, the news about Bin Laden’s death first leaked on Twitter. The White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, announced on Twitter that the President of the United States will address the nation at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, May 1. This act demonstrates the power of self-publishing tools and the subduing power of media as the messenger. The marketing takeaway is that today, you don’t need to knock on the door of journalists if you want to get the word out about something. If you build a large following, you can publish a story yourself and expect the press to come to you. Facebook: How the News Spread Don’t know about you, but I first learned about the story from Facebook. The status updates of all my friends had started to reflect the evolving story. They were leaving comments and heatedly discussing the news. In fact, Adam Ostrow wrote that within hours of the reported death, ‘a Facebook Page titled “Osama Bin Laden is DEAD” had already accumulated more than 150,000 ‘likes.’’Who you learn from hasn’t changed, it is still friends and family. But today, they won’t make a phone call to spread the news–they might post it on Facebook and expect to see a discussion take place. The marketing takeaway here is to realize the increasing potential of the Facebook news feed in delivering information and prompting action. Online Video: Where the Announcement Took Place Lots of people watched Obama’s speech on their televisions. But if you happened to learn about it online, you could have as well gone to www.whitehouse.gov and watched the live streaming of the announcement there. CitizenTube, YouTube’s channel on news and politics, was also broadcasting the President’s live address. In other words, the video was one click away from your current view.From start to finish, the story progressed on the Web. One could learn everything there was about it without turning the TV on. The virtual ecosystem carried the news from it’s leak on Twitter, to its spreading on other social media channels, to the actual video announcement and to the post-analysis on news sites and blogs. What has this event taught you about the spread of information online? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Newsjacking Topics: Originally published May 2, 2011 12:01:00 PM, updated October 20 2016last_img read more

4 Mistakes Marketers Make With QR Codes

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Brand Experience Topics: Originally published Sep 21, 2011 1:15:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Question: How do we become cool and trendy inbound marketers?Answer: Try QR codes.Response: Hooray! We’ll put a QR code on our website today.(Weeks later…)Question: What were your results?Answer: Uh…?There are a few problems with this interaction, and many modern marketers are facing them today. QR codes are quickly integrating into marketing efforts as a tool for leading consumers to some online destination: a website, blog, social media account, etc. As a quick reminder, QR codes are simply 2D barcodes that can be scanned using a smartphone reader application. Your mobile browser will then direct you to the linked site. However, many are making small mistakes that make an immense impact on their strategy—or lack thereof. Here are four mistakes to avoid when braiding QR codes into your marketing efforts.1. Using QR Codes OnlineQR literally stands for quick response. Making a QR code your Facebook picture, Twitter icon, or posting one on your blog isn’t exactly creating a situation for a quick response. Instead, doing so asks visitors to take out their smartphone, open the reader application, scan the item, and then see the link open in a separate mobile browser. For such online platforms, just use a link. There’s no need to get fancy when a simple link can navigate the consumer from one site to the other faster. One of the best ways to leverage QR codes is in places where your audience is already on the go and only has access to their smartphone, like when they’re out and about and away from their desktop or laptop computers.Think of QR codes as a tactic that just falls under the mobile marketing umbrella rather than marketing as a whole. To learn more ways to effectively utilize these nifty little 2D barcodes, check out these 5 useful ecommerce applications of QR codes.2. Ignoring Traffic SourcesLet’s imagine you’ve developed this brilliant plan that includes an awesome QR code as a tactic. The idea is unique, the execution is strong, and the feedback is positive. But is it actually doing something? To assess whether or not your QR code is even effective, you need to track where your traffic is coming from, as well as how much traffic is actually produced.Instead of generating the QR code with a direct link to the landing page of your choice, use bitly.com to shorten your link, and use that version instead. Bitly allows you to analyze how many clicks (in this case, scans) that shortened link received. Now you will have data detailing how many people scanned the code, on what day they scanned it, and which country they scanned from. (The latter would be helpful if your campaign included an international audience.) For more information about creating tracking URLs, check out the “Marketer’s Guide to Tracking Online Campaigns.”3. Linking to Boring Web PagesWhere are you sending people with your QR code? Your first goal with a QR code is to give people an amalgam of curiosity and desire to take the moment to scan. Once those two aspects are fulfilled, there better be some form of customized content for them to discover. One method could include posting a special YouTube video and making it exclusive to QR code scanners only by selecting the “unlisted” sharing option, which means only people with the link to the video can view it. Now, you have exclusive video as an incentive for anyone who scans the QR code.One major mistake people make when linking QR codes to URLs is in linking to their general website’s homepage. Make the most out of the code scanner’s experience by instead creating customized landing pages to point the code to. There, you can provide instructions on what the user should do next or use the page to offer them a discount or another offer.4. Linking to a “Web Page Unavailable”Whatever you do, do not send people to a web page that reads, “Page Cannot Be Displayed,” or “Web Page Unavailable.” In other words, check to ensure you’re linking to a mobile-optimized website. For example, websites built on Flash are not encrypted to open on a mobile browser. Test and check that your code works well on mobile devices before plastering it everywhere.Have you experimented with a QR code-inspired campaign? What have you learned from your experience?Image Credit: Aral Balkanlast_img read more

30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #24: Schedule Social Messages

first_img1. List-Based PostExample: 10 Fresh Ways to Get Better Results From Your Blog PostsList-based posts are sometimes called “listicles,” a mix of the words “list” and “article.” These are articles that deliver information in the form of a list. A listicle uses subheaders to break down the blog post into individual pieces, helping readers skim and digest your content more easily. According to ClearVoice, listicles are among the most shared types of content on social media across 14 industries.As you can see in the example from our blog, above, listicles can offer various tips and methods for solving a problem.2. Thought Leadership PostExample: What I Wish I Had Known Before Writing My First BookThought leadership blog posts allow you to indulge in your expertise on a particular subject matter and share firsthand knowledge with your readers. These pieces — which can be written in the first person, like the post by Joanna Penn, shown above — help you build trust with your audience so people take your blog seriously as you continue to write for it.3. Curated Collection PostExample: 8 Examples of Evolution in ActionCurated collections are a special type of listicle blog post (the first blog post example, described above). But rather than sharing tips or methods of doing something, this type of blog post shares a list of real examples that all have something in common, in order to prove a larger point. In the example post above, Listverse shares eight real examples of evolution in action among eight different animals — starting with the peppered moth.4. Slideshare PresentationExample: The HubSpot Culture CodeSlideshare is a presentation tool owned by the social network, LinkedIn, that helps publishers package a lot of information into easily shareable slides. Think of it like a PowerPoint, but for the web. With this in mind, Slideshare blog posts help you promote your Slideshare so that it can generate a steady stream of visitors.Unlike blogs, Slideshare decks don’t often rank well on search engines, so they need a platform for getting their message out there to the people who are looking for it. By embedding and summarizing your Slideshare on a blog post, you can share a great deal of information and give it a chance to rank on Google at the same time.Need some Slideshare ideas? In the example above, we turned our company’s “Culture Code” into a Slideshare presentation that anyone can look through and take lessons from, and promoted it through a blog post.5. Newsjacking PostExample: Ivy Goes Mobile With New App for Designers”Newsjacking” is a nickname for “hijacking” your blog to break important news related to your industry. Therefore, the newsjack post is a type of article whose sole purpose is to garner consumers’ attention and, while offering them timeless professional advice, also prove your blog to be a trusted resource for learning about the big things that happen in your industry.The newsjack example above was published by Houzz, a home decor merchant and interior design resource, about a new mobile app that launched just for interior designers. Houzz didn’t launch the app, but the news of its launching is no less important to Houzz’s audience.6. Infographic PostExample: The Key Benefits of Studying Online [Infographic]The infographic post serves a similar purpose as the Slideshare post — the fourth example, explained above — in that it conveys information for which plain blog copy might not be the best format. For example, when you’re looking to share a lot of statistical information (without boring or confusing your readers), building this data into a well-designed, even fun-looking infographic can help keep your readers engaged with your content. It also helps readers remember the information long after they leave your website.7. How-to PostExample: How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step GuideFor our last example, you need not look any further than the blog post you’re reading right now! How-to guides like this one help solve a problem for your readers. They’re like a cookbook for your industry, walking your audience through a project step by step to improve their literacy on the subject. The more posts like this you create, the more equipped your readers will be to work with you and invest in the services you offer.Ready to blog? Don’t forget to download your six free blog post templates right here. Originally published May 6, 2019 7:30:00 PM, updated October 25 2019 You’ve probably heard how paramount blogging is to the success of your marketing. But it’s important that you learn how to start a blog and write blog posts for it so that each article supports your business.Without a blog, your SEO can tank, you’ll have nothing to promote in social media, you’ll have no clout with your leads and customers, and you’ll have fewer pages to put those valuable calls-to-action that generate inbound leads.So why, oh why, does almost every marketer I talk to have a laundry list of excuses for why they can’t consistently blog?Maybe because, unless you’re one of the few people who actually like writing, business blogging kind of stinks. You have to find words, string them together into sentences … ugh, where do you even start?Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates NowWell my friend, the time for excuses is over.What Is a Blog?A blog is literally short for “web log.” Blogs began in the early 1990s as an online journal for individuals to publish thoughts and stories on their own website. Bloggers then share their blog posts with other internet users. Blog posts used to be much more personal to the writer or group of writers than they are today.Today, people and organizations of all walks of life manage blogs to share analyses, instruction, criticisms, and other observations of an industry in which they are a rising expert.After you read this post, there will be absolutely no reason you can’t blog every single day — and do it quickly. Not only am I about to provide you with a simple blog post formula to follow, but I’m also going to give you free templates for creating five different types of blog posts:The How-To PostThe List-Based PostThe Curated Collection PostThe SlideShare Presentation PostThe Newsjacking PostWith all this blogging how-to, literally anyone can blog as long as they truly know the subject matter they’re writing about. And since you’re an expert in your industry, there’s no longer any reason you can’t sit down every day and hammer out an excellent blog post.Want to learn how to apply blogging and other forms of content marketing to your business? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free content marketing training resource page. 2. Create your blog domain.Next, you’ll need a place to host this and every other blog post you write. This requires choosing a content management system (CMS) and a website domain hosting service.Sign Up With a Content Management SystemA CMS helps you create a website domain where you’ll actually publish your blog. The CMS platforms available for you to sign up for can manage domains, where you create your own website; and subdomains, where you create a webpage that connects with an existing website.HubSpot customers host their website content through HubSpot’s content management system. Another popular option is a self-hosted WordPress website on WP Engine. Whether they create a domain or a subdomain to start their blog, they’ll need to choose a web domain hosting service after choosing their CMS.This is true for every blogger seeking to start their own blog on their own website.Register a Domain or Subdomain With a Website HostYour own blog domain will look like this: www.yourblog.com. The name between the two periods is up to you, as long as this domain name doesn’t yet exist on the internet.Want to create a subdomain for your blog? If you already own a cooking business at www.yourcompany.com, you might create a blog that looks like this: blog.yourcompany.com. In other words, your blog’s subdomain will live in its own section of yourcompany.com.Some CMSs offer subdomains as a free service, where your blog lives on the CMS, rather than your business’s website. For example, it might look like “yourblog.contentmanagementsystem.com.” However, in order to create a subdomain that belongs to a company website, you’ll need to register this subdomain with a website host.Most website hosting services charge very little to host an original domain — in fact, website costs can be as inexpensive as $3 per month. Here are five popular web hosting services to choose from:GoDaddyHostGatorDreamHostBluehostiPage3. Customize your blog’s theme.Once you have your blog domain set up, customize the appearance of your blog to reflect the theme of the content you plan on creating.Are you writing about sustainability and the environment? Green might be a color to keep in mind when designing the look and feel of your blog, as green is often associated with sustainability.If you already manage a website, and are writing your first blog post for that website, it’s important that your blog is consistent with this existing website, both in appearance and subject matter. Two things to include right away are:Logo. This can be your name or your business’s logo, either one helping to remind your readers who or what is publishing this content. How heavily you want to brand this blog, in relation to your main brand, is up to you.”About” page. You might already have an “About” blurb describing yourself or your business. Your blog’s “About” section is an extension of this higher-level statement. Think of it as your blog’s mission statement, which serves to support your company’s goals.4. Identify your first blog post’s topic.Before you even write anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start with. For example, if you’re a plumber, you might start out thinking you want to write about leaky faucets.Then, as you do your research, you can expand the topic to discuss how to fix a leaky faucet based on the various causes of a faucet leak.You might not want to jump right into a “how-to” article for your first blog post, though, and that’s okay. Perhaps you’d like to write about modern types of faucet setups, or tell one particular success story you had rescuing a faucet before it flooded someone’s house.If a plumber’s first how-to article is about how to fix a leaky faucet, for example, here are four other types of sample blog post ideas a plumber might start with, based on the five free blog templates we’ve offered to you:List-based Post: 5 ways to fix a leaky faucetCurated Collection Post: 10 faucet and sink brands you should look into todaySlideShare Presentation: 5 types of faucets that should replace your old one (with pictures)News post: New study shows X% of people don’t replace their faucet on timeFind more examples of blog posts at the end of this step-by-step guide.If you’re having trouble coming up with topic ideas, check out this blog post from my colleague Ginny Soskey. In this post, Soskey walks through a helpful process for turning one idea into many. Similar to the “leaky faucet” examples above, she suggests that you “iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics.” This can be done by:Changing the topic scopeAdjusting the time frameChoosing a new audienceTaking a positive/negative approachIntroducing a new format5. Come up with a working title.Then you might come up with a few different working titles — in other words, iterations or different ways of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing. For example, you might decide to narrow your topic to “Tools for Fixing Leaky Faucets” or “Common Causes of Leaky Faucets.” A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.Let’s take a real post as an example: “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.” Appropriate, right? The topic, in this case, was probably simply “blogging.” Then the working title may have been something like, “The Process for Selecting a Blog Post Topic.” And the final title ended up being “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.”See that evolution from topic, to working title, to final title? Even though the working title may not end up being the final title (more on that in a moment), it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific than a generic, overwhelming topic.6. Write an intro (and make it captivating).We’ve written more specifically about writing captivating introductions in the post, “How to Write an Introduction,” but let’s review, shall we?First, grab the reader’s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they will stop reading even before they’ve given your post a fair shake. You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.Then describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading and give them a connection to how it will help them improve their work/lives. Here’s an example of a post that we think does a good job of attracting a reader’s attention right away:7. Organize your content in an outline.Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information — for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content. The organization can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organized!Let’s take a look at the post, “How to Use Snapchat: A Detailed Look Into HubSpot’s Snapchat Strategy.” There is a lot of content in this post, so we broke it into a few different sections using the following headers: How to Setup Your Snapchat Account, Snaps vs. Stories: What’s the Difference?, and How to Use Snapchat for Business. These sections are then separated into sub-sections that to go into more detail and also make the content easier to read.To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. That way, before you start writing, you know which points you want to cover, and the best order in which to do it. To make things even easier, you can also download and use our free blog post templates, which are pre-organized for five of the most common blog post types. Just fill in the blanks!8. Write your blog post!The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. We couldn’t forget about that, of course.Now that you have your outline/template, you’re ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and be sure to expand on all of your points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. Need help finding accurate and compelling data to use in your post? Check out this roundup of sources — from Pew Research to Google Trends.If you find you’re having trouble stringing sentences together, you’re not alone. Finding your “flow” can be really challenging for a lot of folks. Luckily, there are a ton of tools you can lean on to help you improve your writing. Here are a few to get you started:Power Thesaurus: Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a ton of alternative word choices from a community of writers.ZenPen: If you’re having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist “writing zone” that’s designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.Cliché Finder: Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.For a complete list of tools for improving your writing skills, check out this post. And if you’re looking for more direction, the following resources are chock-full of valuable writing advice:The Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Writing Well [Free Ebook]How to Write Compelling Copy: 7 Tips for Writing Content That ConvertsHow to Write With Clarity: 9 Tips for Simplifying Your MessageThe Kurt Vonnegut Guide to Great Copywriting: 8 Rules That Apply to AnyoneYour Blog Posts Are Boring: 9 Tips for Making Your Writing More InterestingThe Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Successful Blog in 20199. Edit/proofread your post, and fix your formatting.You’re not quite done yet, but you’re close! The editing process is an important part of blogging — don’t overlook it. Ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copy, edit, and proofread your post, and consider enlisting the help of The Ultimate Editing Checklist (or try using a free grammar checker, like the one developed by Grammarly). And if you’re looking to brush up on your own self-editing skills, turn to these helpful posts for some tips and tricks to get you started:Confessions of a HubSpot Editor: 11 Editing Tips From the TrenchesHow to Become a More Efficient Editor: 12 Ways to Speed Up the Editorial Process10 Simple Edits That’ll Instantly Improve Any Piece of WritingWhen you’re ready to check your formatting, keep the following advice in mind …Featured ImageMake sure you choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are now more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content in social media. In fact, it’s been shown that content with relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images.For help selecting an image for your post, read “How to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog Post” — and pay close attention to the section about copyright law.Visual AppearanceNo one likes an ugly blog post. And it’s not just pictures that make a post visually appealing — it’s the formatting and organization of the post, too.In a properly formatted and visually appealing blog post, you’ll notice that header and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text — and those headers are styled consistently. Here’s an example of what that looks like:Also, screenshots should always have a similar, defined border (see screenshot above for example) so they don’t appear as if they’re floating in space. And that style should stay consistent from post to post.Maintaining this consistency makes your content (and your brand) look more professional, and makes it easier on the eyes.Topics/TagsTags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a tagging strategy. Think of tags as “topics” or “categories,” and choose 10-20 tags that represent all the main topics you want to cover on your blog. Then stick to those.10. Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end.At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA that indicates what you want the reader to do next — subscribe to your blog, download an ebook, register for a webinar or event, read a related article, etc. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and eventually you generate a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your content — use your CTAs to offer more content similar to the subject of the post they just finished reading.In the blog post, “What to Post on Instagram: 18 Photo & Video Ideas to Spark Inspiration,” for instance, readers are given actionable ideas for creating valuable Instagram content. At the end of the post is a CTA referring readers to download a comprehensive guide on how to use Instagram for business:See how that’s a win-win for everyone? Readers who want to learn more have the opportunity to do so, and the business receives a lead they can nurture … who may even become a customer! Learn more about how to choose the right CTA for every blog post in this article. And check out this collection of clever CTAs to inspire your own efforts.11. Optimize for on-page SEO.After you finish writing, go back and optimize your post for search.Don’t obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you’re targeting, and it won’t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density — Google’s smarter than that!Here’s a little reminder of what you can and should look for:Meta DescriptionMeta descriptions are the descriptions below the post’s page title on Google’s search results pages. They provide searchers with a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters and start with a verb, such as “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover.” While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google’s keyword ranking algorithm, they do give searchers a snapshot of what they will get by reading the post and can help improve your clickthrough rate from search.Page Title and HeadersMost blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you’ve followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords/phrases your target audience is interested in. Don’t over-complicate your title by trying to fit keywords where they don’t naturally belong. That said, if there are clear opportunities to add keywords you’re targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don’t get truncated in search engine results.Anchor TextAnchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site, because search engines take that into consideration when ranking your page for certain keywords.It’s also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking to pages that you want to rank well for that keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google’s first page of results instead of its second page, and that ain’t small potatoes.Mobile OptimizationWith mobile devices now accounting for nearly 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online, having a website that is responsive or designed for mobile has become more and more critical. In addition to making sure your website’s visitors (including your blog’s visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points.Back in 2015, Google made a change to its algorithm that now penalizes sites that aren’t mobile optimized. This month (May 2016), Google rolled out their second version of the mobile-friendly algorithm update — creating a sense of urgency for the folks that have yet to update their websites. To make sure your site is getting the maximum SEO benefit possible, check out this free guide: How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website: SEO Tips for a Post-“Mobilegeddon” World.12. Pick a catchy title.Last but not least, it’s time to spruce up that working title of yours. Luckily, we have a simple formula for writing catchy titles that will grab the attention of your reader. Here’s what to consider:Start with your working title.As you start to edit your title, keep in mind that it’s important to keep the title accurate and clear.Then, work on making your title sexy — whether it’s through strong language, alliteration, or another literary tactic.If you can, optimize for SEO by sneaking some keywords in there (only if it’s natural, though!).Finally, see if you can shorten it at all. No one likes a long, overwhelming title — and remember, Google prefers 65 characters or fewer before it truncates it on its search engine results pages.If you’ve mastered the steps above, learn about some way to take your blog posts to the next level in this post. Want some real examples of blog posts? See what your first blog post can look like, below, based on the topic you choose and the audience you’re targeting.Blog Post ExamplesList-Based PostThought Leadership PostCurated Collection PostSlideshare PresentationNewsjacking PostInfographic PostHow-to Post Hi 👋 What’s your name?First NameLast NameHi null, what’s your email address?Email AddressAnd your phone number?Phone NumberWhat is your company’s name and website?CompanyWebsiteHow many employees work there?1Does your company provide any of the following services?Web DesignOnline MarketingSEO/SEMAdvertising Agency ServicesYesNoGet Your Free Templates Topics: How to Write a Blog Post1. Understand your audience.Before you start to write your first blog post, have a clear understanding of your target audience. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? This is where creating your buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for your blog post.For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start their own business, you probably don’t need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down. You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their approach to social media from a more casual, personal one to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach. That kind of tweak is what separates you from blogging about generic stuff to the stuff your audience really wants (and needs) to hear.Don’t have buyer personas in place for your business? Here are a few resources to help you get started:Create Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Template]Blog Post: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your BusinessMakeMyPersona.com [Free Tool]center_img How to Write a Blog Post Free Templates: Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Free Blog Post Templateslast_img read more

How to Spell Words You Don’t Know: Techniques From Grammar Experts [Infographic]

first_imgEver wanted to write out a word, but realized you weren’t quiiite sure how to spell it? We all face this challenge every once in a while, and the internet — or autocorrect — isn’t always there to save the day.This is when we need to put ourselves in the shoes of a spelling bee contestant. When they’re up on stage and encounter a word they don’t know how to spell, what do they do?To help you sharpen your skills, we teamed up with the folks at Market Domination Media to create an infographic that explores four helpful techniques for spelling words you don’t know. Check them out, practice them, and soon you’ll be spelling new words correctly the first time — every time.Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates Now288Save 288SaveShare this Image On Your Site read more