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Three Basic Steps To Plan Your 2020 Content Marketing Campaign

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Any savvy marketer knows there is a lot more to content development than writing a blog and haphazardly publishing it to your company’s website when you have time. To create and execute a content marketing campaign successfully, your content should have a carefully crafted purpose and be planned out well in advance.

Great content delivers the exact information your prospective customers need, when and where they need it — and one of the best ways to accomplish this is with a full-fledged content marketing campaign.

For many business professionals, this process is much easier said than done. Below, we’ll explore a few basic steps to get your 2020 campaign started:

1. Consider Your 2020 Goals

At this point in the year, your team has likely already mapped out a strategic plan for your organization in 2020 — from strategizing how you will manage your online reputation and what (if any) leadership changes will take place, to new technology you will implement to streamline processes.

Before planning your content marketing campaign, it is essential to consider the goals your team has set in place for the new year, and how your content will complement them and drive results.

If you have not already, identify your focus for 2020. Are you targeting a new market demographic? Have you made changes to your products or services that you plan to promote? Are you offering a new promotion?

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The answers to these questions will dictate your focus. From there, you can identify the keywords someone might use to search for information about your services and what blog content would resonate best with your target audience.

For example, when one of our clients, an alternative online ratings platform, set a goal to change its core messaging, our agency shifted the company’s entire campaign. The client wanted to shift from promoting how alternative ratings can drive new leads and instead focus on how the ratings market is transforming to meet the changing needs of today’s consumers. Our team took this fresh messaging and developed blogs, emails and social media posts to complement and promote the client’s new focus with great success.

2. Research Your Buyer Persona(s)

Never lose sight of your buyer persona(s) when planning your content. While you now have a primary focus in mind for your content, it is still important to consider the pain points your prospective customers are experiencing, and address these challenges in all pieces of your content accordingly. If your content does not speak to your persona, your campaign will likely suffer and may not drive the ROI you desire.

According to HubSpot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

Research the market demographics of your audience. Take into consideration customer demographics, behavior patterns, goals and motivations. Be as detailed as possible. What social channels do they use regularly? Where do they like to spend their free time? What products or services are most valuable to them? What’s the most challenging aspect of their daily life that you are trying to solve?

These questions will not only help you determine who your content should be targeted toward and how it should be promoted, but they will help you craft specific blog and offer topics that position your business as a valuable resource.

For example, with the alternative ratings platform, our research found that its buyer personas — decision makers and senior-level marketing managers — were not only struggling to understand why alternative ratings were important but also why their internal online reputation management efforts alone were not yielding the results they desired.

3. Plan Your Content

When I talk about content marketing, I do not just mean blogging. While blogging is an integral component of your campaign, your strategy should also include social media, emails and drip campaigns, downloadable offers, and landing pages.

That being said, a campaign often begins with engaging blogs that then lead prospective customers down the marketing funnel. With your 2020 focus and buyer persona in mind, it is time to determine a series of blog topics that support and promote your goals while addressing the pain points of your target audience.

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For example, when the alternative ratings platform shifted its messaging, our team developed an extensive list of blog topics to support the change. Instead of topics like “Five Ways Alternative Ratings Can Drive Leads to Your Business,” we brainstormed topics like “Why Subjective Ratings Are on the Downfall, and How Your Business Should Respond” and “Why Your Online Reputation Management Efforts Aren’t Working.”

These topics not only promote the company’s new messaging, but also address some of the core pain points of the company’s buyer personas.

Once you have your blog topics in place, things should begin to flow more easily. From here, you will develop supporting social media posts, targeted email campaigns and downloadable offers that help tie these pieces together while promoting your organization’s products or services.

Planning What Works Best For Your Business

While the basics of developing a strategic content marketing campaign are similar across various industries, the implementation of this strategy will vary depending on your business and location and the market demographics of your audience.

Ultimately, you must map out what will work best for your organization and buyer persona(s). Setting up and growing a successful content marketing campaign takes time, patience, creativity and organization. If you follow these steps to get you started, executing your strategy for the new year won’t be as daunting as it seems.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Owner of Criterion.B, overseeing client strategy and company culture.

 

Source: Three Basic Steps To Plan Your 2020 Content Marketing Campaign

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Remember: You Are Not The Target Audience

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One key component of any marketing program is determining a target audience. That is, once you’ve developed a message, who do you want consuming it?

Ask yourself: Who should care? And who will care? How am I going to create compelling content that attracts the people my business can best serve?

If you’re representing a tech startup in Silicon Valley, perhaps your target audience is recent Stanford graduates looking for a job. If you’re promoting a skiing and snowboarding conference in Boston, then your target audience is most likely the avid skiers and snowboarders in the New England area. For sporting goods companies in New England, you want to be reaching athletes in the region but also their family and friends — those who could make purchases on their behalf.

It may seem like common sense, but your target audience is just as important as the message itself, and the channels by which you’re communicating it. Picking the right audience can turn an otherwise average PR campaign into a resounding success. Choosing the wrong audience, however, can derail even the best-laid talking points. Targeting the right demographic can be invaluable.

One of the most common mistakes I see people make when identifying a target audience is assuming that they represent the demographic. Just because you don’t use Facebook or Twitter, for example, does not mean that your target audience doesn’t. I often advise baby boomers who aren’t active on social media and yet are trying to reach Americans who use it every day. And I tell them: Your blind spot isn’t necessarily the average American’s.

My mom and I have a joke because as an 86-year-old, she doesn’t care for watching 20-somethings with bare midriffs shaking their bottoms on television. When she complains and asks, “How could anyone watch this stuff?” I respond, “Ma, you are not the target audience.” I’ve said this to her so many times that she hears me start saying that line, and we end up saying it in unison.

Take Instagram, one of the most popular platforms for photo and video sharing. Instagram has 1 billion users around the world. Just under 3% of Instagram users are in the 55- to 64-year-old age group, although many in that age group are probably professional decision makers — from small business CEOs to nonprofit executives. Users under the age of 35, on the other hand, make up more than 70% of the platform’s users.

Therefore, if you’re looking to target that age group with a PR or advertising campaign, Instagram can be a powerful tool — regardless of your own social media preferences. Even if you don’t post travel photos and share concert videos on Instagram, it doesn’t take away from the power of Instagram as a way to communicate your message to others.

Identifying the right demographic requires a holistic view of the general population. Think beyond yourself. From college students and CEOs to football dads and soccer moms, the United States is home to more than 300 million people of different ages, colors and creeds. We truly live in a melting pot. Also, just because someone is female, 40 years old and likes shopping does not mean that she is the same as another person the same age.

One 40-year-old might like shopping at Cabela’s for hunting supplies, and the other might like going to the makeup counter at Nordstrom. So it’s important to drill down and know your audience. I sometimes say that marketing is like marriage. You need to know your partner so well that you can anticipate their every move and preference.

Not everyone is like you. Not everyone consumes content like you do or gravitates to the same messages as you. What you find unappealing someone else may find incredibly tasteful.

Because there are so many people in the United States (and globally), picking the right target audience isn’t always easy. But therein lies a golden opportunity — an opportunity to reach consumers you didn’t even consider at first.

That’s what makes marketing fun (at least for me). You have an opportunity to reach all sorts of people by learning more about their tendencies and unique interests. The sheer size of the population forces you to learn.

Stepping outside of yourself is valuable in many aspects of life, but especially in terms of communication. Imagine how boring the world would be if you had to send messages only to people like you.

Fortunately, there’s much, much more to the world than you, my 86-year-old mom or me. Remember that, and remember to choose your target audience accordingly.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Nancy Marshall, The PR Maven(R), CEO & Founder, Marshall Communications, creating & implementing marketing/PR/personal branding strategies.

Source: Remember: You Are Not The Target Audience

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Russian Scientists Show Off 18,000-Year-Old Prehistoric Puppy Perfectly Preserved in Permafrost

This is a handout photo taken on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, showing a 18,000 years old Puppy found in permafrost in the Russia's Far East, on display at the Yakutsk's Mammoth Museum, Russia. Russian scientists have presented a unique prehistoric canine, believed to be 18,000 years old and found in permafrost in the Russia's Far East, to the public on Dec. 2, 2019.

(YAKUTSK, Russia) — Russian scientists on Monday showed off a prehistoric puppy, believed to be 18,000 years old, found in permafrost in the country’s Far East.

Discovered last year in a lump of frozen mud near the city of Yakutsk, the puppy is unusually well-preserved, with its hair, teeth, whiskers and eyelashes still intact.

“This puppy has all its limbs, pelage – fur, even whiskers. The nose is visible. There are teeth. We can determine due to some data that it is a male,” Nikolai Androsov, director of the Northern World private museum where the remains are stored, said at the presentation at the Yakutsk’s Mammoth Museum which specializes in ancient specimens.

In recent years, Russia’s Far East has provided many riches for scientists studying the remains of ancient animals. As the permafrost melts, affected by climate change, more and more parts of woolly mammoths, canines and other prehistoric animals are being discovered. Often it is mammoth tusk hunters who discover them.

This is a handout photo taken on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, showing a 18,000 years old Puppy found in permafrost in the Russia’s Far East, on display at the Yakutsk’s Mammoth Museum, Russia. Russian scientists have presented a unique prehistoric canine, believed to be 18,000 years old and found in permafrost in the Russia’s Far East, to the public on Dec. 2, 2019.
Sergei Fyodorov—Yakutsk Mammoth Museum/AP

“Why has Yakutia come through a real spate of such unique findings over the last decade? First, it’s global warming. It really exists, we feel it, and local people feel it strongly. Winter comes later, spring comes earlier,” Sergei Fyodorov, scientist with the North Eastern Federal University, told The Associated Press.

By DARIA LITVINOVA and ROMAN KUTUKOV / AP

Source: Russian Scientists Show Off 18,000-Year-Old Prehistoric Puppy Perfectly Preserved in Permafrost

Russian Scientists Show Off 18,000 Year Old Prehistoric Puppy Perfectly Preserved in Permafrost scientists on Monday showed off a prehistoric puppy, believed to be 18,000 years old, found in permafrost in the country’s Far East. Discovered last year in a lump of frozen mud near the city of Yakutsk, the puppy is unusually well-preserved, with its hair, teeth, whiskers and eyelashes still intact. Follow us : https://web.facebook.com/News-Of-The-…

 

60-Second Habits for Quick Bursts of Personal Growth

Anyone working in a business big or small can benefit from one universally powerful thing: personal growth. Entrepreneurs are some of the hungriest for it because there’s so much to learn when you set out to start your own thing and often there’s so little feedback given to you. Personal growth includes, and leads to, growth as a leader and business person because it means you’re expanding your overall capacity for learning, adapting, and fostering change (all vital for business success).

Not all personal growth has to be grounded in lengthy, involved processes, however. Sometimes, quick strike efforts suffice. I reconnected with personal growth once I left my corporate job and dove into my own entrepreneurial venture. I was forced to get “unstuck”, get off my plateau and quickly learn a bevy of new things.

Combining this personal experience with experience coaching people like me who left corporate to become an entrepreneur (and reignite their learning), I can share six quick, powerful hacks for enabling little doses of personal growth. Take 60 seconds to do any of these and get that growing going.

1. Pause to ask what good and great looks like.

Before engaging in an important project or task, take 60 seconds to ask a mentor, customer, or boss (if you have one) to clarify the difference between what good and great looks like relative to completion of the work.

Often times, we don’t do our best work because we simply don’t understand the difference between good and great. If the definition of great (or even good) is such that it requires you learning new things, you just built yourself a mini-learning plan. Growth will follow.

 

2. Emphasize assets not deficits.

The next time you find yourself in a moment where you’re about to face a daunting challenge, take 60 seconds to remind yourself of all the assets you have working in your favor, like your strengths, your experience, or the support you have from others. Resist the temptation to focus on all the things you don’t have or that are working against you.

Growth happens when we build up from a place of possibility, not tear down from a place of pessimism.

3. Remind yourself that how you feel is not how things are.

Growth stalls when you’re not in the mood to invest in it; when you think you’ve got problems to work through and bigger fish to fry. I recently started this 60-second hack and found it to be quite powerful. I tell myself when I’m in a bad mood that it’s just that, a bad mood, and it immediately reminds me that I don’t actually have bigger problems in life to deal with that would deprioritize getting into a learning and growth mindset. I just have to power through my sour disposition in the moment and stay open to opportunities to learn something new.

4. Focus on being interested not interesting.

You learn when you listen. Not when you’re talking. Before engaging in your next conversation with someone, pause for a moment and remind yourself to be interested in what the other person has to say, not focused on what fascinating thing you could say next.

5. Listen to understand, not to convince.

This one’s related to the above but worthy of its own mention. When we’re arguing for our point of view, we’re often listening the least. We focus on trying to find flaws in the other’s argument and statements to refute rather than keeping an open mind and trying to learn something from the other’s perspective.

One coaching student told me that every time she’s engaged in a professional argument, she takes a moment to imagine she’s a judge at a debate team event and must assign points to each side. This forces her to be more objective and see what’s fair in the other person’s argument, which helps her learn more about the opposing perspective. She’s also better able to commend, versus condemn, the opposing point of view and learn from the way the point was argued. Set, game, and match go to personal growth.

6. Start your week with three “What’s.”

Before you start work on Monday, when you get to your desk (or wherever it is that you work), ask yourself three “What” questions and quickly answer them accordingly. I’ve found you can do this in 60 seconds. Here are the self-inquiries: “What do I need to learn this week to advance my business/professional goals?”, “What do I want to learn to advance my cause?” (your higher order purpose), “What am I interested to learn to feed my curiosity?” In one minute you’ve prioritized your learning goals for the week.

A moment is all it takes to spur on doses of personal growth. Fair tradeoff, no?

By Scott MautzKeynote speaker and author, ‘Find the Fire’ and ‘Make It Matter’

Source: 60-Second Habits for Quick Bursts of Personal Growth

How Virtual Travel Could Help With Overtourism

The idea of travel without consequence, restriction or even leaving the confines of one’s own home has been both the defining arc for many a sci-fi tale, and also the basis for the burgeoning field of live virtual travel (one estimate by research firm MarketandMarkets puts the virtual reality market at $44.7 billion USD by 2024).

Although simulations have previously appeared in hotel and airline walk throughs, increasing sophistication in gaming and other related areas have brought us ever more realistic versions of actual tourist destinations, such as Everest, Alcatraz and even outer space. Now, the ability to livestream travel experiences in real time via drone, satellite and other technology is coming, and it could have unexpected effects on a travel industry that is currently experiencing its own disruption.

These advances may usher in the rise of a new form of travel — one that separates the physical element from the experience, much like the trend already occurring in the food sphere. As the “eyes eat first” ethos pervades the virtual world of instagrammable plates and aspirational (or otherwise) food television and youtube influencers, the disconnect between the dining room and the diner is simultaneously shrunk and widened immeasurably.

In some cases, this separation may be a good thing — especially when it comes to illustrious destinations such as Venice that are literally sinking under the weight of unsustainable levels of tourism and the resulting environmental impact. Although these cities — ill equipped to deal with the hoards of tourists depleting resources and not always spending at local businesses— are trying to limit the effects by restricting visitors to certain areas, only time will tell as to whether it will be successful. In these situations, would a virtual tour (especially to those merely interested in checking a box off of a travel to do list) be a complete loss?

Another element to consider is that a virtual experience would allow those (fool)hardy souls viewing a world heritage site as a backdrop for an elaborate (and in some cases, downright lethal) selfie to do so without risking themselves or others.

One could argue that this fake it until you make it mindset when it comes to travel self portraits is already pervasive, whether using DIY materials such as toilet seats and coffee mugs to approximate airplane windows, or professional backdrops emulating luxury plane seats and other situations.

At the heart of the matter of virtual travel lies the question of how these technologies are redefining our ideas of travel: i.e. how much of our enjoyment and understanding of a place derives from the tactility of being in the location itself. After all, aspirational media extolling the virtues of unique destinations has been a part of culture since humans could record what they saw in a transmittable form, whether by cave painting, parchment or cellphone.

There’s certainly a debate to be had about whether it is a trifle elitist to restrict the experience of travel to those who have the means to do so. And although the terroir and soul of a place that may be hard to convey via pixels, we’re seeing the travel industry seek to reduce its carbon footprint and question sustainability in tourism practices.

Perhaps, as technology develops and destinations seek to contain the impact of the madding crowds, the clearest thing that virtual travel will show us is that travel can leave a mark on the destination as well as the visitor.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m a Toronto-based freelance writer who has spent the last 18 years traveling the globe as a magazine editor, and a lifetime consuming and exploring the world’s most interesting plates. A former editorial director of several national trade magazines on food, restaurants and fashion, I’ve covered luxury global trends and local flavors — and the chefs, artisans and tastemakers that drive them — across Asia, the Americas and Europe. Whether foraging with herb witches in Germany or hunting for the perfect small batch bourbon, I’m always seeking out new experiences in restaurants, wines and spirits and travel. I’ve also put my Masters degree in Communications to use by teaching magazine journalism and creative writing to the next generation of explorers. I tweet at @leslie_wu

Source: How Virtual Travel Could Help With Overtourism

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Virtual Reality apps for Travel are becoming more realistic, as VR hardware and software gets more advanced. If you like the idea of travel and exploration, but would rather do it from the comfort of your own home these five apps might offer you the perfect weekend getaway. » Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC » Watch more NBC video: http://bit.ly/MoreNBCNews NBC News is a leading source of global news and information. Here you will find clips from NBC Nightly News, Meet The Press, and original digital videos. Subscribe to our channel for news stories, technology, politics, health, entertainment, science, business, and exclusive NBC investigations. Connect with NBC News Online! Visit NBCNews.Com: http://nbcnews.to/ReadNBC Find NBC News on Facebook: http://nbcnews.to/LikeNBC Follow NBC News on Twitter: http://nbcnews.to/FollowNBC Follow NBC News on Google+: http://nbcnews.to/PlusNBC Follow NBC News on Instagram: http://nbcnews.to/InstaNBC Follow NBC News on Pinterest: http://nbcnews.to/PinNBC These Virtual Reality Apps Let You Travel The World Without Ever Leaving Home | Mach | NBC News

Marine: Innovation Abounds In Shipping

Not many industries can trace their roots to ancient Egypt, but history tells us it was the Pharaohs who oversaw the creation of some of the world’s first ships. Since then, the ocean-related shipping industry has grown into a massive multi-trillion-dollar global market, responsible for moving 90% of world trade. According to the American Association of Port Authorities, the shipping industry contributed $5.4 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2018.

While ships may still have the same function as they did back in 3000 BCE – bringing people and goods from one place to another over sea – they’ve undergone a massive evolution, says Tom Molenda, director of marine coatings at PPG. “It is an industry that’s been around for a long time,” he says. “But ships are getting larger and larger and more efficient.”

Molenda, who says he was drawn to the shipping industry because of its global reach, has been directly involved in a myriad of marine-related innovations over the years, including making ships more environmentally friendly and more fuel-efficient. With the need for environmental protection becoming more prevalent as well as other threats, such as cyber security potentially impacting the delivery of goods, the industry will only evolve further from here, he says.

State-of-the-art coatings 

Most people may not realize the role that paint has to play in the modernization of the shipping industry, but without the kinds of specialized coatings that PPG provides, the sector wouldn’t be nearly as efficient as it is today.

For instance, one constant frustration for shipping companies is the build up of barnacles – little crustaceans that live in the water – on a boat’s hull. These sea creatures not only slow ships down, but they also induce corrosion and can cause extensive damage to a ship’s exterior hull. A 2007 report found that barnacles cost the U.S. Navy $1 billion a year in damages and lost productivity.

Knowing the destructive power of barnacles, PPG developed what it calls ‘surface regeneration technology,’ which prevents them from sticking to the ship. PPG SIGMAGLIDE, a silicone-based product, is applied to the ship’s hull, which causes these organisms to slide off. “There are many application areas within a vessel and each has unique needs” says Molenda.

Marine Coatings play a role in the wider environment. The more efficiently a ship moves through the water, the less fuel it consumes, helping to reduce carbon emissions. PPG has developed a range of coatings under the PPG SIGMA SAILADVANCE brand that can help companies increase sailing speeds, while saving energy and reducing the ship’s environmental impact.

Investing in innovation 

Coming up with these types of coatings takes an enormous amount of scientific work, adds Molenda, but it also requires close collaboration with our customers. “Innovation starts with a deep understanding of your customers’ problems,” he says. “I can’t emphasize that strongly enough.”

While PPG closely watches developing regulation and global trends, it’s also working with customers to identify issues that they need solved. The company’s research and development team, which spends about $1 billion on new technology every two years, creates various coatings that eventually get tested and then implemented on its customers’ ships.

With everything from oil to clothing to other industrial and consumer items needing to be moved from point A to point B, the shipping industry is only going to grow further from here. PPG is already testing out new coatings and innovations to ensure its customers can continue moving their items quickly, efficiently and safely.

“There’s a very deep bench of technology and a lot of smart people we draw into this,” Molenda says. “We develop products to meet very specific customer needs.”

By: PPGView

Source: Marine: Innovation Abounds In Shipping

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15 Things You Didn’t Know About Running A Shipping Business | Industry Wednesdays SUBSCRIBE to ALUX: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNjP… 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Oil Industry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9hj9… In this Alux.com video we’ll try to answer the following questions: How to start a shipping business? How hard is to run a shipping business? What is drop shipping? How big is the shipping industry? Who is the richest person in the shipping business? Which is the biggest company in the shipping business? What are the drawbacks of the shipping business? What is the hardest part to do in the shipping business? #alux #industry #shipping WATCH MORE VIDEOS ON ALUX.COM! Most Expensive Things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay0u3… Luxury Cars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5Ghe… Becoming a Billionaire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skwfw… World’s Richest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAy_G… Inspiring People: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMjO3… Travel the World: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Blsz… Dark Luxury: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch7JW… Celebrity Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuhPR… Businesses & Brands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr2Yd… – Follow us on INSTAGRAM for amazing visual inspiration: https://www.instagram.com/alux/ & Don’t miss the latest Luxury News only on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ealuxe — Alux.com is the largest community of luxury & fine living enthusiasts in the world. We are the #1 online resource for ranking the most expensive things in the world and frequently referenced in publications such as Forbes, USAToday, Wikipedia and many more, as the GO-TO destination for luxury content! Our website: https://www.alux.com is the largest social network for people who are passionate about LUXURY! Join today! SUBSCRIBE so you never miss another video: https://goo.gl/KPRQT8 — To see how rich is your favorite celebrity go to: https://www.alux.com/networth/ — For businesses inquiries we’re available at: https://www.alux.com/contact/

Christmas Day Sees The Third, Final And Most Dangerous Solar Eclipse Of 2019

In 2019, Christmas comes a little late in the day for nature lovers, sky-watchers and astronomers as the decade’s final solar eclipse rips across the globe.

Unlike the events of August 21, 2017’s “Great American Eclipse,” this one won’t be visible from North America, and nor will it be as impressive as that day’s total solar eclipse.

What begins at 03:43 a.m. Universal Time on December 26—that’s 10:43 p.m. EST and 7:43 p.m. PST on Christmas Day—is an annular solar eclipse. Since a New Moon is slightly further away than usual, it will appear smaller in the sky so will only block the center of the Sun’s disk. Observers will therefore see a ring around the Sun, and for a maximum of 3 minutes and 40 seconds.

However, it will be dangerous. In essence a partial solar eclipse, solar eclipse glasses must be worn at all times to avoid the threat of blindness. That makes it the most dangerous solar eclipse of 2019, since the peak of July’s total solar eclipse could be viewed with the naked eye.

It’s the third solar eclipse of 2019 after January 6, 2019’s partial solar eclipse in Russia and northeast Asia, and a total solar eclipse in South America on July 2, 2019.

Today In: Innovation

Where is the annular solar eclipse happening? 

The phenomenon—often referred to as a “ring of fire” or “ring of light”—will be visible at sunrise in Saudi Arabia, and then slightly higher in the sky from a narrow path through Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, southern India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. The Sun will then set as a “ring” east of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.

Is it safe to look at?

No. At least, not with the naked eye. An annular solar eclipse is effectively a particularly beautiful partial solar eclipse.

At its maximum, the Moon will block 97% of the Sun. That might sound like a lot, but in practice it’s not nearly enough to block the Sun’s light enough to look at the spectacle. So at all times eclipse glasses will be needed, as will solar filters on the front of telescopes or binoculars. That makes it easily the most dangerous solar eclipse of 2019.

However, observers may notice the light levels dim around them in the few minutes either side of “annularity.”

Where’s the best place to watch it? 

As with all astronomical phenomenon, it’s advisable to go to where the spectacle will look its most dramatic, and where there’s the biggest chance of clear skies. Saudi Arabia fulfils both of those needs, and some eclipse-chasers will make their way to near Al-Hufuf around two hours northeast of Riyadh where it may be possible to see a “ring of fire” distorted as a bizarre sideways “D” shape right on the eastern horizon. That was last possible in May 2013 in Western Australia. If you’re planning such a trip, there’s some great advice here.

When is the next annular solar eclipse? 

On June 21, 2020 there will be a rarer and far deeper kind of annular solar eclipse when the Moon very briefly blocks 99% of the Sun as seen from the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Oman, Pakistan, India, Tibet, China, Taiwan and Guam. Seeing a sunrise “ring of fire” will be tricky, and Ethiopia (61 seconds), Oman (37 seconds) or Tibet (23 seconds) is where clear skies are predicted. Those watching from the edge of the path may just glimpse the Sun’s white-hot crown—its corona—which is normally visible as a halo only during totality at a total solar eclipse. Ditto Baily’s beads and even rare shadow bands.

When is the next annular solar eclipse in North America? 

After a very long drought, North America is currently experiencing something of a boom in solar eclipses. In fact, the great American eclipse of 2017, although a major event at the time, will probably be remembered for being merely a precursor to a golden age of eclipses. Perhaps the biggest and most important so that the clips of most North American’s lifetime will be on April 8, 2024, when a total solar eclipse will be observable from 12 states across the U.S. The Great North American Eclipse?

However, before that there are actually two annular total solar eclipses in North America, one in 2021 in Canada and another in 2023 in southwest U.S.:

  • June 10, 2021: A week after a total lunar “blood moon” eclipse, a 94% annular solar eclipse will be visible at sunrise from at northern Ontario, northern Quebec (including the Polar Bear Provincial Park), Greenland and far north-eastern Russia. Expect eclipse-chasers to get into planes to get above the clouds.
  • October 14, 2023: a 95% “ring of fire” at lunchtime from Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico (including Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, Great Basin National Park in Nevada, and four national parks in Utah).

Few people—even experienced eclipse-chasers—travel across the world to see an annular solar eclipse. After all, they’re not considered to be as dramatic as a total solar eclipse (for which eclipse-chasers are prepared to go anywhere on the planet to witness)

Disclaimer: I am the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and co-author of “Total Solar Eclipse 2020: A travel and field guide to observing totality in Chile and Argentina on December 14, 2020

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m an experienced science, technology and travel journalist interested in space exploration, moon-gazing, exploring the night sky, solar and lunar eclipses, astro-travel, wildlife conservation and nature. I’m the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and the author of “A Stargazing Program for Beginners: A Pocket Field Guide” (Springer, 2015), as well as many eclipse-chasing guides.

Source: Christmas Day Sees The Third, Final And Most Dangerous Solar Eclipse Of 2019

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Pam talks about the second half of December and the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on the 25th-26th. Where does this fall in your own birthchart? If you don’t know, check out her two-part tutorial videos at https://gumroad.com/l/FHjOZ. Just download a birthchart free from her website http://www.thenextstep.uk.com, and then use the tutorials to get much more meaning for yourself by better understanding these transits to your birthchart. I have recently filmed around two and a quarter hours of concentrated teaching called Astrological Synthesis. This is the video explaining these: https://youtu.be/EwDyUCdC3r4. These videos are not for absolute beginners, you should at a minimum understand the meaning of the signs, and the house rulerships. If you want to understand these further, I have an Astrological Signs video and my two part Tutorial Video Series, both available via the Products page on my website. The contents covered in Astrological Synthesis are 1) Planetary Symbolism 2) Where Planets Become Stronger 3) Aspects 4) Blending Archetypes 5) Life Theme/Story in the birthchart. These videos do not pretend to offer exhaustive natal chart analysis, but will help to give you some powerful insights that you may not find elsewhere. Here is the link to the global meditation on 12th January organised by The Master Shift: https://www.facebook.com/events/22263…

How Video Marketing Will Grow Your Business Into Profit

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You have a unique story to tell: maybe you’re great-grandmother started the business in her kitchen, and you’re continuing the tradition. Maybe you were down and out and developed an idea to help people improve their lives. Maybe you developed a brilliant tech solution and want to keep innovating. Whatever the backstory, video provides a way to tell it effectively and with impact.

According to Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words! You don’t have to produce epic tales: use each second to connect with your audience, build trust, and grow your business.

In fact, with a little creativity and the right software, your videos can become an integral part of your inbound marketing strategy.

Software such as 23 allows you to turn your videos into points of conversion for your users. You can edit your videos with links to relevant supporting content on your site, as well as overlay forms right on the video!

For instance, if you have an educational series of videos, you can collect valuable information from your audience, so you can continually provide them with content that nurtures them through your marketing and sales funnels.

Using video in your growth strategy in 2020 will empower you to grow your database with engaged contacts and continue to deliver valuable and engaging content. Your videos will stand out and become your competitive advantage and give you the push you need to become the thought leader in your space.

Stay Top of Mind

People are busy. Surprise, right? Whether you are trying to reach consumers or business decision-making, time is of the essence. Your audience is more likely to watch a video than wade through a long article (at least initially: as they delve into the topic, complementing your video marketing strategy with a strong written content strategy is essential).

Video can convey key information in minutes; a text version of the same content could take up to 40 minutes. While your videos should be long enough to say what you need to say, remember you can say a whole lot in a minute or two!

Email is a great medium for using video. If you’re utilizing video on other marketing channels, there’s no reason you should exclude email. In fact, videos in email can lead to a 200-300% increase in click-through rates!

As with all things email marketing, you’ll need to relentlessly test your emails. Many email clients such as Outlook have fallen behind and don’t render videos directly in email. However, an image with a play button overlay conveys that there’s a video on the other end of the click and works just fine.

We’ve started doing this for a few of our clients and click-through rates have sky-rocketed. Campaigns with video have had click-through rates of 51% against the email marketing average of 12%. While we made sure we had a solid method of collecting contacts, it’s unbelievable how a simple video can drastically improve your email marketing.

Reinforce Your Brand and product Messaging

Whether you’re creating video marketing ads, brand stories, customer testimonials, or how-tos, your audience is paying attention. More than half (55%) of people say they pay “close attention” when watching videos, a higher rate than all other types of content.

Moreover, they retain significantly more. When reading, we retain about 10% of the content. When viewing a video, we retain 95%. That is powerful – and it is a great way to reinforce your brand message clearly and consistently.

As for your product messaging, as people are researching their choices on the internet, video can be a great tool to position your product or service as the right decision. In fact, 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process.

When you’re making these videos, focus more on the value your product or service will deliver. You want to get people to visualize themselves using it, and experiencing that value. Make it all about them instead of all about you.

When you position yourself as the right solution you empower consumers to choose you over your competition. Not only do people use videos in their journey towards a purchase, but 64% of people are more likely to buy something online after watching a video.

Capture their attention, engage them with value, and offer the opportunity to purchase.

Reach a Wider Audience

Social media offers a cost-effective avenue for brands, but results depend on how many people you can reach – and if you can do so organically, all the better for your budget. The good news is that Facebook videos get 135% more organic reach than a photo and significantly more than status updates and links.

As marketers, we like video marketing stats that blow our minds. The fact that social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined definitely falls into that category. That’s the power of video. Reach more people and engage them with your brand. Utilizing social media in 2020 to share your videos will generate massive engagement with your content.

When you invest in video marketing, make sure you’re utilizing social media channels such as Facebook to get your content in front of your community, so they can share it with their friends.

Demonstrate Your Value and Gain Buy-in

When looking for a product, almost 50% of people look for a video before visiting a store. Consumers who watch demo videos are 1.81 times more likely to make a purchase, and 39% of executives who watch a video contact the vendor.

Demos can be utilized effectively with both B2C and B2B companies, and they allow prospects to see how your product/service works and how it can enhance their lives.

Other types of videos can be potent as well: for example, searches for “how to” topics on YouTube have grown 70% year-over-year. It’s no wonder the video platform is actually the second largest online search engine. Consumers can get quite a great (and free!) education on YouTube. Be there. Give them the answers they need, and they’ll see you as the trusted authority – the go-to problem-solver they need. Capitalize on the fact that the video platform (owned by Google) reports a 100% increase in mobile video consumption each year and shows no sign of slowing down!

When you utilize YouTube correctly, it combines your content and SEO strategy perfectly. Search engine results pages now pull in video results from YouTube and other video platforms to provide searchers with the most engaging and relevant content.

Optimizing your videos with in depth descriptions, tags, and relevant links to your site will tell search engines what your video is about, and you can drive traffic to your engaging content.

When setting up a plan for video in your 2020 content marketing strategy, make sure you don’t dismiss the written word entirely. This is not only what search engines use to tell what your video is about, but it also gives users the choice between reading and watching. It’s all about creating a great user experience.

Capture interest with Video Marketing Ads

Video marketing ads are far less intrusive than other digital ad formats; in other words, consumers are far less likely to get irritated with you and furiously click the X to close it out. The average click-through rate for video ads is 1.84%, better than all other digital ad formats.

With compelling videos, you have the chance to make an impact on your audience – to stand out from the noise and deliver a message that resonates.

Need Help with Video Marketing in 2020?

The bottom line: video is good for your bottom line! Brands that utilize this tool grow revenue 49% faster (year over year) than brands that do not. If you want to grow your business, video is essential.

The first step to using video marketing to grow your business is to get started. Start incorporating video content into your 2020 digital marketing strategy so you can jump in and start seeing results.

If you’re unsure of where to begin, that’s alright! There’s a lot that goes into it. We’ve made video a huge part of our 2020 strategy here at THAT Agency, and can help you set goals focused on realistic and measurable business growth.

To see where video can take your business, reach out to our content team, and we can formulate a video marketing strategy for you.

Source: https://blog.thatagency.com/video-marketing-will-grow-your-business-in-2018

 

Why Customer Engagement Should Be Every Business’s Top Priority in 2020

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Everyone’s talking about customer engagement — but why is it so important, and what does it really mean? How does customer engagement look in action, when you’re a business trying to connect with your customers today?

We already know a lot about the customer journey — how it’s made up of numerous touch points, from search to purchase to post-purchase support. And we know that providing a good customer experience at each of those touch points is critical to building and maintaining a solid reputation for your brand. But customer engagement is often overlooked, even though it’s critical to nudging customers along their journey.

Customer Engagement Impacts Profitability

Customer engagement is about inspiring your customers to interact with your brand and willingly take part in the experiences you’re creating for them. If you do it right, you’ll grow your brand and build customer loyalty — and, in turn, drive revenue.

In fact, there’s a direct and proven correlation between the level of customer engagement and business profitability. A study by Constellation Research reported that companies who improve engagement can increase cross-sell revenue by 22 percent, up-sell revenue by 38 percent and order size by 5 to 85 percent. Reputation.com research backs up these findings —  a high rate of customer engagement increases Reputation Score, and we’ve found direct links between high Scores and revenue in multiple industries, including Automotive and Healthcare.

Today In: Small Business

Despite the immense financial impact engaging with customers can have, some companies are still not doing it.

Case in Point: Retail

In the recently released Retail Reputation Report, data scientists at Reputaiton.com found that most retailers simply don’t respond to reviews — particularly negative ones. Think about the message that sends! I’m a customer who’s had a bad experience with a business, so I do the only constructive thing I can do to express my frustration: I write a review.

Probably like most consumers, I assume the business will care if I have had a negative experience and try to fix it. If they do, they’re better off. If they don’t, I might be left feeling like they simply don’t care what kind of experience I’ve had. Am I likely to buy products from that business again? Well, much less likely, right? And if I do, I’m not going to feel good about it. I may tell my friends I dislike that business, and they’ll probably avoid it in the future, too. Perhaps most importantly, I will almost certainly not say GOOD things about the business to my friends.

When someone takes time to leave a review — good or (especially) bad — it’s the ideal time to engage. We all get this, but surprisingly, the average response rate to negative reviews among leading retailers is just 2 percent. It’s no wonder Amazon is eating away at retailers’ market share, with their frictionless shopping experience and infinite inventory.

Now let’s consider a brand who does a good job of engaging with customers. Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack scored exceptionally high for engagement, compared to many other retailers (61% and 79% respectively). That’s because they place a premium on delivering exceptional service and ensuring their customers are happy and engaged. And maybe that’s one of the reasons that, while many retailers are struggling to keep their doors open, Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack are still reporting strong profits.

Investing In Customer Experience Is a Huge Lever for Revenue

The power of engaging and connecting with customers isn’t limited to the B2C world. According to Econsultancy’s Annual Digital Trends report, B2B companies identify customer experience — the product of meaningful customer engagement — as the single most exciting opportunity for 2020.

Temkin Group reports that companies that earn $1 billion annually can earn $775 million more within three years of investing in customer experience with “modest” results. The report found that to be true across industries, with software companies earning the most ($1 billion over three years). Success, effort and emotion, according to the report, were the three factors impacting customer loyalty, and an improvement in emotion increases loyalty more than any other factor. A meaningful customer engagement is the best way to stir up the positive emotions that keep customers coming back.

Take a Walk In Your Customer’s Shoes

So how do you connect with customers on an emotional level and improve customer engagement? Here are a few starting points:

  • Analyze the customer journey. How else can you know what the customer’s experience with your brand or locations is like? Take their journey, and take note of and sticking points or frustrating interactions. Are the emails you’re sending helpful and informative, or intrusive and self-serving? Are your locations easy to get to and welcoming? Is your staff friendly and professional? Do you follow up after customer interactions and respond to reviews? Every one of these customer touchpoints presents an opportunity for engaging with your customers in a mutually beneficial way. Make sure you’re doing that, and if you’re not, it’s time to start.
  • Listen to what customers say about you. Today’s customers are vocal, and it’s easy to find feedback on Google, Facebook, G2 and other review sites. You should also invest in social media management, so you can actively monitor social commentary and reviews as they come in — 42% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes, and a delayed response is almost as bad as no response.
  • Deliver seamless omnichannel experiences. If you analyze the customer journey properly, you’ll find brand interactions occur across many channels — search results, emails, websites, physical locations and even text. Make sure to deliver a consistent and pleasant experience every time you engage with your customer, regardless of channel. One bad or confusing interaction can ruin the opportunity to engage effectively, and could even begin to break down the trust and loyalty you’ve invested in building.
  • Pay attention to all factors that comprise your Reputation Score. Increasingly, brands are turning to Reputation Score as the most accurate measurement of customer experience. It’s more thorough than NPS, because it takes into account all the factors affecting your reputation. A critical component of the score is engagement, as measured by your brand’s performance across every customer touch point. Knowing and monitoring your Reputation Score is an essential step to mastering the art  — and reaping the benefits — of customer engagement.

Don’t Force It

An important thing to remember is you can’t force your customers to engage with you. As HubSpot’s Paul Greenberg said, “Customer engagement is the ongoing interactions between company and customer, offered by the company, chosen by the customer.” The customer decides how to interact and engage — you can only create the opportunities, and ensure that your diligent effort and reputation inspire people to take action.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m the Founder and Chairman of Reputation.com. I started my business because digital privacy, Big Data and online reputation are issues that impact everyone from individuals to massive corporations. People should be the center of the Internet machine – not cogs in its wheel. More empowerment online, not less, not what we have now. Follow me @michaelfertik.

Source:https://www.forbes.com

3.26K subscribers
Session recording from Industry Preview 2018. Session abstract: Salesforce Marketing Cloud Chief Strategy Officer, Jon Suarez-Davis (“JSD”) keynotes an engaging session drawing upon real life examples from working with some of the world’s biggest brands, shares Salesforce’s vision for the future of marketing, and makes some predictions about what’s coming next.

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