Tag: 宁波信息网

  • State to form policy on pesticide use

    first_imgFollowing the deaths of farmers in Vidarbha’s Yavatmal district due to pesticides last year, the State Agriculture Department will bring in a policy to allow the sale of only registered and recommended pesticides as per the crop patterns of the region. The department has appealed to farmers to purchase only these pesticides. Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar said, “Farmers and farm labourers died due to the use of poisonous pesticides. It is important to save lives of farm workers. The Agriculture Department has alsoundertaken a public awareness programme for the same.” Licences for production, storage, exhibition and sale of pesticides are issued under the Insecticides Act, 1968, and Insecticides Rules, 1971. The Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee issues the licences, and prescribes pesticides. An Agriculture Department official said, “The State government and experts studied the farmers’ deaths and found that the pesticides used were unregistered and had not been recommended for use. The dosage used was also much more than the prescribed amount. It was also found that a mixture of more than two pesticides had been used and were available for sale.” Officials said these pesticides have also created environmental problems. “Since the policy is currently under preparation, we have asked officials to submit citizens’ suggestions and objections.”last_img read more

  • Russell Westbrook rebounds with triple-double as Thunder beat Mavs

    first_imgHotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Paul George added 22 points and Jerami Grant had 16 for the Thunder, who had dropped three of their last four games. That included a 105-103 loss at Dallas on Sunday, when Oklahoma City blew a six-point lead in the final 1:59 and Westbrook went 4 of 22 from the field and scored only nine points.Westbrook promised after that game, “We play tomorrow and I’ll be better from then on,” and he responded by going 13 of 24 from the field and knocking down midrange shots with regularity — often banking them in — as the Thunder built a 60-43 halftime lead.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion“If I’m in that area, I’m going to shoot that same shot,” he said. “Why do anything different? If they give you the same shot, then take it. Part of this game is keeping it simple. When you keep it simple, it makes the game easier for everybody else, not just myself. Keeping it simple is something I’ve tried to learn over the course of the years.”Dallas coach Rick Carlisle burned five of his seven timeouts in the first half in an effort to stem the tide, but the Mavericks proved unable to overcome a 1-for-9 start from the field. Dallas committed 29 turnovers, the most ever by a Thunder opponent. LATEST STORIES SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Despite going 8 of 13 from 3-point range in the quarter, Dallas made no headway, trailing 92-75 at its end. Barnes hit two more 3-pointers to cut the margin to 94-81 with 10:59 left, but George scored and Abdel Nader followed with a 3-pointer to rebuild Oklahoma City’s lead. Dallas came no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.TIP-INS:Mavericks: F Wesley Matthews returned after missing two games with right foot soreness, but Dallas made F Dirk Nowitzki inactive, citing “return from injury management” after he played 10 minutes on Sunday night . The Mavericks were called for a technical foul with 6:43 left after Carlisle called a timeout Dallas did not have . Dallas went 14 of 38 from 3-point range.Thunder: C Steven Adams had 12 points and 13 rebounds . Nerlens Noel scored 15 points in 15 minutes . Abrines sat out due to what the team called personal reasons . G Terrance Ferguson started despite being listed as questionable with a stomach illness . The Thunder are 9-2 on New Year’s Eve since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City . After playing Dallas on consecutive days, the Thunder won’t see the Mavericks again until March 31.NADER TAKES ADVANTAGEPlaying time has been difficult to come by for Nader, but the absence of Alex Abrines in recent games has allowed Nader an opportunity for more minutes, and he’s played well. He scored 18 points in 33 minutes in a win at Phoenix on Friday before scoring 10 on 4-of-6 shooting in his 12½ minutes on Monday.“One thing the coaching staff here preaches is you stay ready, never get ready,” Nader said. “I think I’ve done a good job of that all season long, so when my number is called, I don’t miss a beat.”George said it’s good to see teammates like Nader perform well when given the chance.“The good thing about this group, when someone goes down, the next guy steps up and they’re ready for that role,” George said. “We need all our guys. Our young guys are starting to step up for us.”UP NEXT: 46-point third quarter help Spurs overcome Celtics PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots in front of Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (1) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook promised he’d be better on Monday night against the Dallas Mavericks, and he kept his word.Westbrook had 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his 10th triple-double of the season and the Oklahoma City Thunder gained a split of their back-to-back against the Mavericks, never trailing in a 122-102 victory.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? “They had a lot to do with it, but we could do better,” Carlisle said. “We’ll keep working at it. You can always find positives in games. . But right now we’ve got to fixate on taking better care of the ball.”Harrison Barnes led Dallas with 25 points, matching his career high with seven 3-pointers in nine attempts, and Luca Doncic had 17 points. The Mavericks are 2-16 on the road, offsetting their 15-3 home record.As the Mavericks were misfiring to start the game, George scored 16 points in the first quarter as Oklahoma City built a 17-point lead. The Thunder led by as many as 22 in the first half.“We were on our heels early and never really got our bearings,” Carlisle said. “That kills you on the road.”Consecutive 3-pointers by Dennis Smith Jr. and Doncic pulled Dallas within 69-57, but a bucket by George, a steal and layup by Westbrook and an alley-oop dunk by Grant off Westbrook’s pass led Carlisle to burn his final timeout at the 6:45 mark of the third quarter, with his team down 75-57.ADVERTISEMENT Mavericks: Visit Charlotte on Wednesday.Thunder: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion View commentslast_img read more

  • How to Calculate Whether That Trade Show Was Worth the Investment

    first_img Trade Shows Topics: We’ve always been pretty hesitant to jump in head first with event sponsorship and attendance. Sure, there are some industry events we think rock: Dreamforce, SMX, Dublin Web Summit, LeWeb, and of course Inbound. But what usually happens with events? They end up over-hyped and under-delivering, chalk full of poor networking opportunities, generic content, and few opportunities to make meaningful connections with new leads and customers. That means a whole lot of time and money gets wasted. What a bummer.Wouldn’t it be nice, then, to be able to determine whether an event yields enough new business to justify the cost to participate in it? Absolutely. That’s why we wanted to outline exactly how to track event ROI accurately so you can determine whether you should keep sending in that sponsorship and/or attendance check year after year. Let’s get started.How to Calculate the ROI of an Event or Trade ShowIf you’re going to sponsor an event, the two core components your boss will ask about will be (or at least should be) ROI and tracking. Of course there are additional benefits of events such as thought leadership, networking, learning, branding … but when there’s a hefty sponsorship check involved, there needs to be a measurable, positive ROI that can be tracked.How to Track Event ROIThe best way to track ROI is using this formula:(Gross Profit – Marketing Expenses) / Marketing ExpensesFor instance, let’s say we went to an event and our expenses were as follows:So, did we have a positive ROI? At the moment, we wouldn’t know, because our sales cycle isn’t instantaneous — it’s a few weeks long. As such, it would take a few weeks before we could look back to determine whether the investment was worth it. But when that time comes, this is how we’ll calculate it:ROI = (Gross Profit – $100,000) / $100,000Note that the gross profit number would consist only of deals that happened due to our attendance at the event, so they would not have happened if HubSpot had chosen not to show up. As long as your gross profit — which for HubSpot specifically will be measured based on our LTV:CAC performance model — is higher than your total investment, then you’ll post a positive ROI. It will then be up to you to determine if the ROI is enough to justify continued involvement in the future.How to Track Trade Show Lead Generation and SalesNow that we know how much we spent on the event, we then need to determine what leads and sales were generated as a result of our participation. The best way for us to track this is to set up a naming convention for all leads generated due to that event. Using a CRM — we use Salesforce because it integrates with HubSpot for a nice, closed-loop view of our sales and marketing activities — we would enter every single lead generated at the event (via badge scanning, business cards, or email addresses collected) with an event tag. Because we’ve tagged them properly — the tag can just be the name of the event you attended — we can then set up weekly reports to monitor performance. As the leads begin to turn into new HubSpot customers, we’ll then be able to perform our ROI calculations.Now, if the event just ended but you have a long sales cycle, it would take a little bit of time to calculate the exact ROI. But you could still run some predictive ROI calculations each month, and wait to perform the final analysis a few months down the road. After that, though, the team that attended the event should meet, review the numbers, and ultimately make a call on whether or not the participation was worth it based on the ROI calculations. Having this post-attendance meeting is essential for your company — just be sure that the meeting happens after all leads and sales can be accounted for, and have adequately matured.How do you determine whether your presence at a trade show or event was worth the cost?Image credit: Images_of_Money Originally published Sep 28, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated August 26 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

  • How UK Data Collection Laws Affect Email Marketers

    first_img Topics: Originally published Nov 23, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Email is a critical tool for lead generation and lead nurturing; not only does it allow you to continue a dialogue with those who have shown an interest in your company and keep them coming back for more, it also helps marketers reach new and untapped markets. With email, there are no geographical boundaries, and growing your business to leverage new locations is increasingly viable.If you are looking at using email marketing to help you explore the UK market specifically, however, you may find you have a bit of a pickle on your hands. That’s because when marketers are collecting data from the UK, specific laws apply that may not apply in other markets. Failure to comply with these data collection laws could not only end in disaster for your email marketing, but could also put you to the wrong side of the UK law. With these roadblocks, it’s no wonder the Direct Marketing Association values a single email address in the UK at £9.11.If you’re looking to grow and nurture your email database in the UK, this post will help acquaint you with the laws you need to be aware of, and explain how they’ll affect how you do your job as a marketer.UK Email Marketing Laws in a NutshellEmail marketers targeting a UK audience should acquaint themselves with the 2003 Electronic Communication Act. It governs email marketing, and states that you cannot email anyone unless they have previously opted in to receive your email. This means they must have stated they’d like to receive your communications through actively signing up.There is, however, a 3-point caveat to this. You can send to anyone:If a previous relationship exists;You are selling products/services of a similar nature to what they have shown an interest in;The addressee was given the opportunity to opt out (free of charge except for the cost of transmission) at the time of sign up. The opportunity to opt out must be given with every subsequent message, meaning there must be a valid unsubscribe link on every email you send.Further — and this is obvious to any legitimate email marketer — you must not conceal your identity. Be sure to use a recognizable and non-spammy ‘From’ name and address. What constitutes a previous relationship?Anything that indicates that person has shown an interest in your products or services; an inquiry on your website or via the phone where they’ve left their email address; or making a purchase on your website. A request for a quote is enough, they don’t have to complete a transaction.Having connected with someone on LinkedIn or having their business card, on the other hand, isn’t enough to be considered a previous relationship — unless they’ve already indicated that they would be happy to receive your promotional material in any of the previous ways we just discussed.Going Above and Beyond the Law When Collecting Email Opt-insThe law is pretty basic and makes being legally compliant easy, but if you’re looking to be an effective marketer, you should obviously go above the law and into best practice territory. Data collection is about the quality of the data you’re collecting, as well as respecting the personal nature of the information you hold. And of course, good and legally compliant data means getting expressed opt-in from all subscribers. Email sign up forms should follow these guidelines to help you not just stay legally compliant, but boost opt-ins while doing it:Calls-to-action should outline the benefits, i.e. “Receive the latest news straight to your inbox.”Landing pages, thank you pages, and the email that confirms their opt-in should set the expectations, inform new signups of email-sending frequency, and explain the type of content they can expect.Include at least one welcome email from your email signup that confirms their opt in.Inquiry forms should also have a tick box (not pre-ticked) and a minimum of a link to the privacy policy. And if you’re an ecommerce business, you should have a dedicated opt-in instead of simply automatically adding shoppers to a list.Another common way marketers acquire opt-ins is through incentives. When running an incentive, ensure the incentive is small and relevant to your business, as people who sign up for the incentive — whether it’s a prize draw, giveaway, gift, or whitepaper — may otherwise be interested in only the incentive, and not your business offering. That means all you’re doing is growing your database full of recipients who aren’t actually interested in your products or services.You may also decide to pursue co-marketing opportunities, collaborating with other businesses to grow both your databases. To remain legally compliant and not suffer quick list depreciation, it must be clearly states that the data will be shared between the two of you. Requiring opt-in for both is advisable.Finally, you should not email anyone you have not recently contacted, or has stopped engaging with your email content. It’s likely that they either don’t remember your company, they’ve stopped using that email address, or they’ve lost interest in your content. Continuing to email them will only serve to harm your online reputation.What About Buying Data?The law covers any consumer, sole trader, and partnership data — all except those from limited companies. You can still buy data about limited companies; but just because it is an option, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. We strongly recommend against such actions as it ruins engagement with subscribers, harms online reputation, and undermines any inbound marketing activities you may be engaged in. We spend so much time as marketers building up our online reputation and working on improving engagement rates, it would be damaging to contradict this.Remember, as someone who wants to be an effective marketer, it’s much better to have a smaller mailing list of people who are generally interested in your products/services and a higher likelihood of purchasing in the future, than a large list of people, most of whom are unengaged with your brand. You’ll see your brand engagement improve, and your ROI skyrocket.Anna Penrose is an email marketing specialist at Jarrang, a UK-based online marketing agency with ten years experience working with clients in multiple sectors from luxury travel to financial services.Image credit: @Doug88888 Email Marketinglast_img read more

  • How to Conduct a Competitive SEO Audit to Outrank Industry Rivals

    first_img Originally published Mar 26, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack A lot of marketers are interested in keeping tabs on their competitors’ search engine optimization (SEO). And it makes sense — whether you’re just starting out with SEO or have been at it for a while, you want to have a clear sense of the competitive landscape in the search engine results pages (SERPs) so you know where you stand, and how much work you need to do to see some progress.So … do you know who shows up, and where, in the SERPs? Do you know how your competitors’ SEO strategies should impact yours? Do you know what kinds of questions you should even be asking about their organic search strategy? Well, as you might have guessed, we’re about to talk about how to do all of this stuff. Dive in to learn how to perform your own competitive SEO analysis!5 Simple Steps to Perform Your Own Competitive SEO AnalysisArticulate your buyer personas.To understand how you want to stand out from your competitors in the SERPs, you have to understand your buyer personas, first. What pain points are you solving for? As a result, how will that impact how they will find you in the SERPs? Will they be using organic search to find you at a particular stage of the buying cycle — like the research phase? What terms will they be using to find you? Is it industry jargon, or are they using more descriptive phrases to get at what they mean?This information will help give you a clear sense of what your whole goal of “doing” SEO is … and more importantly, what it is not. That means there are keywords and topics your competitors will beat you for — and that you’re totally cool with them beating you for — because it isn’t part of your persona targeting strategy.Once you’ve thought this all through, you’ll be in the best position to move on to the next step of your competitive SEO audit if you have a list of keywords and topics that you think are most important to reaching your buyer persona, and generating leads.Identify key competitors.Chances are this has already been done — it’s pretty rare I come across a business that doesn’t have some grasp on their competitors. This list, however, could be a little less than comprehensive, so it’s your job to stay ahead of the game and see if there are new competitors emerging, or some you had never considered that are edging you out in the SERPs more than you might have expected. So, how do you do this? It’s all about knowing who’s in your space. And that means a bit of research. The easiest way to know who’s in your space is to do a Google search for your keywords. Search for your top keyword phrases — short and long tail — to see who else is listed with you in the SERPs for those phrases. Those surrounding you are likely competitors since you are literally competing for clicks in the search results.Also, don’t assume that just because you’re in, say, position 3 on page 1, that you’ll always be there. Have a full understanding of who appears below you and on subsequent pages, as well. You may soon find that someone on page 2 is getting closer and closer to your top position.Additional ways to find competitors include:Looking at other search engines. Bing may show you some competitors that Google missed, especially on the paid side.Exploring social media users and groups. Social media can help find new competitors you might want to keep tabs on.Signing up for Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your keywords, which may unearth other potential competitors.Talking and listening to your sales team. They’ll get insight from prospects about the competitive landscape all the time.Explore what the competition looks like.Now that you have a more comprehensive list of your true competitors, it’s time to assess what they’re doing that could impact your SEO strategy. Are they selling the same vision? What are their products and/or services? Are their buyer personas like yours? Are they addressing similar personas in a different way than you? What topics are they writing about, and at what volume?Tools and tactics to help you do this include:Searching for branded keywords in Google Trends; this will give you a great trend line of your performance compared to your competitors.Signing up for Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your competitors.Using Open Site Explorer to mine your competitors’ link graph — which sites are linking to them, and roughly how many inbound links to they have.Using BuiltWith to see what kind of tools a business may be employing. For example, you can easily identify which websites use shopping carts, what type of analytics they’re using, etc.Using competitive intelligence tools like HubSpot which allow you to plot trending patterns against an unlimited amount of different websites.Finally, here’s more information on additional competitive intelligence tools as written up by Avinash Kaushik.Compete, but don’t copy.Ever look at a really skinny person gobbling up pizza and wonder how they can eat that way, and still look great? Well the same rings true for your website. You’ll never know with 100% certainty what is or isn’t working for a competitor’s site — especially what exactly is driving results. I mean, just because they hold the top position for, say, “unicorn hairstyles” doesn’t mean they’re generating any leads and customers from it. Know what I mean?What you need to do is differentiate yourself. If you aren’t different, then you’re the same. And “same” in the eyes of search engines means redundancy, a good chance you’ll be viewed as duplicate content, and the associated risk of not showing up in search at all.Being different also opens the door to make you a better, new, more tasty alternative to your competitors’ SERP listings. This is particularly true for niche businesses. The more niche you are, the more important it is for you to diversify. You have to demonstrate uniqueness in order to compete, and you have to stand out among the crowd. Create genuinely remarkable content, products, and services, and stand by them.So don’t copy keywords from things like page titles or other content just because a competitor is ranking for it. Be concerned with the keywords that drive results or your business. Similarly, don’t aim to go after all the links they have, or spend money on ads just because they do it. Remember, the point of competitive audits is not to copy tactics and strategies, it’s to position yourself appropriately in your space.Define what sustained success looks like for you.So you’ve got an idea of where your SEO sits alongside competitors in your space, and you’ve even started making some topic and keyword adjustments based on this intel. What next?Well, the whole point of competitive analysis and the intelligence that you gather is to help you make informed decisions. Think about how you will use this information — whether it be for your content strategy, product or service positioning, social engagement tactics, etc. — all of which help with your SEO in the long run. So if a better balance of topics is what’s unearthed from your competitive audit, that’s where you can place resources to see sustained SEO success. Wherever you choose to allocate your resources, this is where you should hold you and your team accountable in the long-term for accomplishing — driving results that make SEO one of your most important marketing channels.How do you stay abreast of your competitors’ SEO strategies?Image credit: JD Hancock SEO Topics:last_img read more

  • The Anatomy of a Perfectly Search Engine Optimized Web Page [INFOGRAPHIC]

    first_img Originally published Aug 12, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: SEO can be tricky. You’re optimizing your pages to be surfaced by robots, yet at the same time they must be engaging to humans. You also encounter constantly changing algorithms which means that some elements of your SEO strategy might be great one day … and then completely irrelevant (or even detrimental) the next.In short, there’s a lot to keep in mind.Lucky for us, our friends at Moz created an infographic that will make the world of on-page SEO a little less overwhelming — and we couldn’t help but share it with you. To make sure you’re hitting all the most important SEO points on your web page, refer to the infographic below. (May I even suggest you print it out? Or for the most digitally-minded, a bookmark would do, too!)(Click infographic to enlarge.) What tips do you have for making sure each element on your site is SEO friendly? Share your advice with us in the comments!Image credit: JD Hancockcenter_img On-page SEO Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

  • 8 BuzzFeed Long Reads With Seriously Compelling Stories

    first_imgMost of the content I read online is short and sweet — and for the most part, I like it that way. While skimming articles on my commute or between meetings, it’s nice when the author gets right to the point. But when I have the time, there’s something really special about getting totally engrossed in a gripping, detailed, spun-out story.That’s what a great long read does. There are a few outlets that publish amazing, well-researched, canonical stories; among them The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and BuzzFeed.Yup, you read that right. Although widely known for feel-good, GIF-heavy, and sometimes quite silly content, BuzzFeed’s editorial staff actually does long stories really, really well.Below are some of our favorite BuzzFeed long reads. These are examples of great storytelling that anyone — marketers, content creators, and just curious humans — can appreciate and learn from. Enjoy.Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post TemplatesThe 8 Best BuzzFeed Long Reads1) 36 Hours on the Fake Campaign Trail With Donald TrumpEven though Donald Trump has only ever toyed with the idea of running for office, he still travels the country giving what might be best described as pep talks about his political ambitions. Why bother, especially when he doesn’t really have an interest in running for office?In this long read, BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins spends some quality time with Trump as he travels on his private jet (with gold-plated seatbelts) from New Hampshire to his 17-acre Florida estate. Read the full story to learn how Trump feels about his “fake” campaign, how he got nudged into politics in the first place, and how he feels about the press.Image Credit: BuzzFeed2) The Vocal Life CoachWhat do pop stars like Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, and Vanessa Hudgens have in common? They share one of America’s most in-demand vocal coaches, Eric Vetro, who’s been in the industry for over 30 years. Although Vetro’s main job is to help singers work on proper technique and maintain their beautiful voices, he isn’t just a voice teacher to them. He’s a friend, a mentor, and an extremely positive personality, which is a big part of why he’s become so successful. In this long read, we’re taken through the story of how Vetro built his success, the state of the vocal teaching industry, and what it’s like to work with Hollywood actors, Broadway singers, and pop stars.Image Credit: BuzzFeed3) Can You Die From a Nightmare?Ever dreamt that you were in such imminent danger that you needed to escape your bedroom by jumping out the window — and then woken up screaming, crouching on top of your desk by the window, about to take the plunge? Doree Shafrir has — and it was terrifying. Unfortunately, she’s had many, many other dreams just as scary, bizarre, and sometimes even violent. But it wasn’t until she read a tragic New York Times news story about a 35-year-old man named Tobias Wong who committed suicide in his sleep (despite having no history of mental illness) that she realized she might be dealing with something called “night terrors.” In this BuzzFeed long read, Shafrir shares stories of her own bad sleeping experiences and dives into the science of sleep disorders.Image Credit: Adam Setala for BuzzFeed4) How I Escaped a Kidnapping Attempt in YemenGregory Johnsen fell in love with the Middle East in college, thanks to a series of study abroad programs and many return trips for leisure, then graduate school, and then finally, his job as an American journalist. Of everywhere he’d visited, though, Yemen was his favorite — and in 2014, his editors agreed to send him there in exchange for three great stories upon his return. He got his stories, alright. In this long read, Johnsen recounts how an innocent trip to a local café turned into a nightmare that almost cost him his life.Image Credit: BuzzFeed5) Training, Tanning, and Branding With the Bikini Bodybuilding Stars of InstagramThere’s bodybuilding, and then there’s bikini bodybuilding: a newer style of competition that’s opened up the world of weightlifting to female athletes who want to promote positive body image in a more attainable, approachable way. Ashley Kaltwasser is one such athlete. At 26 years old, she’s not just a bikini bodybuilding champion — she’s also something of an Instagram celebrity, and has experienced all the pros and cons of public exposure. In this long read, Amanda Shapiro tells Kaltwasser’s story in the context of today’s social media trends.Image Credit: BuzzFeed6) The Girl Who Survived the Brain-Eating AmoebaBefore Kali Harding got to the hospital, her parents thought it was the flu. But her 103-degree fever wasn’t responding to medication, a spinal tap ruled out meningitis, and her eyes were rolling back into her head.It was a sample of cerebrospinal fluid that came back with the verdict: Kali had a “brain-eating amoeba” — a parasite found in fresh water and mud that can enter a person’s brain directly by way of their nasal passage. The survival rate for this particular organism? One percent. In this long read, Peter Smith recounts the miraculous story of Kali’s survival and the state’s hunt for the parasite’s origin in the local water system.Image Credit: BuzzFeed7) I Had a Stroke at 33″I am trapped in my brain.””My memories are mixing with imagination.”When Christine Lee had a stroke on New Year’s Eve, these are things she wanted to say, but couldn’t. She’s lost her voice and her words. When she finally got to the hospital, she was 40 years younger than everyone else in the stroke unit. In this tragic and fascinating story, Lee recounts what it was like to experience a stroke and how it affected her thoughts, her movements, her relationships, and her life in the months and years afterward — the good and the bad.Image Credit: BuzzFeed8) Why I Bought a House in Detroit for $500When he was 23 years old, Drew Philp bought a house — a fixer-upper, you could say. In a city where abandoned houses and buildings are commonplace and young people are flocking to other, more prosperous cities, Philp decided not only to stick around Detroit, but to invest in it. In this long read, learn the story of how one man took what he called “an American vision of torment” and created a home.Image Credit: BuzzFeedWhat are your favorite long reads (BuzzFeed or not)? Share them with us in the comments below. Storytelling Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Apr 13, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

  • Is Ecommerce to Blame for Black Friday’s Slow Demise?

    first_img Ecommerce Marketing Topics: Originally published Dec 9, 2015 10:45:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 With Black Friday totals down from last year, according to a survey by Nielsen, and total sales for the day slipping more and more each year, is it safe to say that the biggest shopping day of the year is losing its luster?Sure, Black Friday sales topped out at around $10.4 billion, but that’s down almost 10% from last year’s $11.6 billion. There are quite a few possibilities for the decline, with many shouting that opening on Thanksgiving will harm Black Friday sales. However, Thanksgiving sales were also down by 10%. One of the reasons for that might be the number of stores that decided not to participate in Thanksgiving sales this year, but it still couldn’t account for such a large drop in sales.Enter Cyber MondayReports for Cyber Monday show a total of $3 billion in sales, which is up almost 16% from last year. Quite a few different factors were involved in this unprecedented rise. First, Cyber Monday sales were offered just after the Black Friday buying frenzy, with some of the first deals available Saturday. Brick-and-mortar stores with an online presence even offered their Black Friday deals online before they were available in the stores.There were also delivery methods that made online shopping easier than ever. Amazon Prime provides two-day shipping, but they’ve topped themselves with Amazon Prime Now. Buyers can order online and receive their purchase in an hour or two. That kind of instant gratification is what most store shoppers are looking for. If they can enjoy the immediate ownership without leaving their homes, why would they go to a store?Target partnered with Curbside, which allows buyers to order online and pick up at the store. Even better, they don’t have to get out of the car. Shoppers who prefer spending while wearing PJs can get a lot of mileage out of that kind of service. Since it’s available to more than just Target, we can expect to see more pick-up orders in the future. The Mobile ShopperOne of the big reasons for the uptick in online sales is the overall ease with which buyers can browse and purchase on mobile devices. Thanksgiving sales reached $639 million from mobile devices. This may be the result of sheer boredom after everyone in the family fell into a turkey coma. The next day, Black Friday, sales hit $905 million from phones and tablets.Of the more than $3 billion in online sales during Cyber Monday, 26% were from mobile devices. That’s a record-breaking $799 million in sales from phones and tablets. Whether those sales came from ecommerce sites, social media buttons, or mobile apps, the message is still the same: companies without mobile friendly shopping options are missing out. While ecommerce and mcommerce certainly didn’t outstrip store sales this year, it is clear that online shopping is growing while in-store shopping has declined. Is this the beginning of the end of Black Friday, or will retailers find a way to incorporate multichannel marketing and sales for a streamlined experience? We think that’s the way to go.  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

  • Is an MBA Worth the Money?

    first_img Originally published Apr 24, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Career Development Here on the HubSpot Marketing Blog, I haven’t exactly made it a secret that I went to business school. It was an experience that provided two years’ worth of fodder, lessons learned, and other actionables that I like to share here.But there’s one question I have yet to answer, at least in this venue, about the time spent earning my MBA: Was it worth it?It’s a question I considered even before I began applying to different business schools, and one in which I’m certainly not alone. When I asked my colleagues if any of them had experienced the great “Should I get my MBA?” debate, there was a clamor of responses. Many of us — all marketing professionals — had experienced the same decision-making process, which made us realize how many other marketers out there must be going through the same thing. Download our complete guide to productivity here for more tips to improve your productivity.While the topic seems to be eternally up for debate, we agree that there are instances when people should, in fact, go for an MBA — but it’s important to have a clear idea of what those circumstances are, and if they really apply to you. And if they don’t, fear not: There are alternatives. We’ve outlined the factors that do make an MBA worth the investment — and the other things you can do until that day arrives.When an MBA Is Worth the Money1) When you know exactly what you want out of it.Before I began studying for the GMAT — the required admission exam for most MBA programs — I spent about five years deciding whether or not to apply to business school. I had a lot of questions, many of which were shared by my colleague, Mimi An, when she was faced with the same decision. For her, she told me:The biggest things to consider were if I was at a place where I couldn’t progress further in my career, if I wanted to change function or industry, if I wanted to move, and what exactly I wanted out of the degree. I couldn’t answer the last question. In fact, the answer was ‘no’ to most of my questions. I could still progress. I did not want to change function. I did not want to move. I didn’t know what I expected to get out of it.”According to Investopedia, the average cost of an MBA is $140,000 — and $260,000 if you’re not working or earning any income while you’re in school. Think of it this way: Would you spend that much on a luxury car or new condo if you weren’t sure why you were buying it? That’s a big chunk of change to spend on something that you aren’t certain is going to benefit you in some way.Of course, for many people, the answer to those questions is overwhelmingly “yes” — in fact, they were for me. At the time, I wasn’t progressing in my career and I wanted to move, which are two fundamental reasons why I ultimately made the decision to go to business school. But not everyone will have the same responses to those important questions, nor do they come easily to anyone — so be sure to put sufficient time into them.2) When your work isn’t teaching you what you need to grow.There’s an important point that An made in her quote above — how much room for growth you have in your current career trajectory, whether that means you’re able to progress in your current job, or do it elsewhere.If you’re not getting the right learning opportunities in your current workplace, but you’re also short on some of the skills to progress in another role or company, it might be time to think about getting an advanced degree. It’s what Jim O’Neill, HubSpot’s chief information officer, realized early in his career here, when he was also considering leaving to pursue an MBA.“I couldn’t get it out of my head that I’d be giving up more by leaving the company at that stage than I’d ever be able to learn in business school,” he said. “And while I still might want a graduate degree someday, I was lucky to stay, learn, and grow over the following six years.”But again — everyone’s experience is different. When O’Neill was contemplating this decision, HubSpot happened to be scaling up, which forced him to learn a lot of crucial business lessons as a byproduct of being in the throes of a company’s earliest stages. Not everyone will be in that same position, and some people will have to seek the lessons O’Neill learned elsewhere.Depending on the program you choose, an MBA could be the best place to gain this knowledge. So when you’re making this decision, carefully evaluate where you are in your career, and how much you can learn on your current trajectory without an advanced degree.3) When you actually have the time to dedicate to it.During my first semester of business school, I was working full-time while also completing my coursework. Granted, most of my classes were at night, which on the surface seems like a convenient arrangement. But as any student will tell you, your academic work extends far beyond the hours you spend in the classroom. There are exams to study for, papers to write, and group projects to complete.In other words, if you add that to your current professional workload — your nights and weekends are pretty much toast. At least, that was my experience.That may seem like a sacrifice you’re willing to make, but think about it, in the context of the previous points. Even if you’re certain of your reasons for pursuing an MBA, do you really have the time to dedicate to it? Will you also be able to sufficiently take care of yourself, and spend enough time with loved ones to maintain a measurable level of mental health?It’s easy to think that the answers to those questions are “yes” — in fact, I told myself that I would have plenty of time to work out between classes or before work in the morning, and to cook healthy meals ahead of time on the weekends. And while that was sometimes true, it required extremely strict time management, and left precious little time to actually relax.My colleague, Karla Cook — who’s working full-time while pursuing her master’s degree — agrees. “I tell people the only reason they should work full-time while pursuing a graduate degree is if they get offered an opportunity that falls in the ‘dream job’ category,” she explains. “If that’s not the case, then it’s probably not worth completely killing yourself over, because you will have no free time.”But the good news is, it’s temporary. Business school doesn’t last forever — though it might seem like that while you’re going through it. But before you seriously consider going through this kind of program, have a clear idea of what’s going to make it “worth it” to you. Having that goal in mind gives you something tangible to keep you motivated during these stressful periods.4) … And when you have the money saved.They say that “time is money” — and just as you must be sure you’re willing to sacrifice the former, you also have to make certain that you have the latter. Remember those aforementioned dollar figures we cited about the true cost of an MBA? File this point under deciding what will make the degree “worth it,” with “it” being the hundreds of thousands of dollars that your degree will likely cost.When you’re deciding whether or not to go to business school, ask yourself if you can afford to take on student loan debt. If you’ve just bought a house, paid for a wedding, expanded your family, or bought a car — the answer might be “no,” unless you happen to have a lot of liquid funds at your disposal.That said, loans aren’t the only answer. You should also see what other resources might be available to you, like scholarships or fellowships, some of which might even be available through the school you end up attending.When you begin selecting which programs you’ll apply to, explore their respective policies on merit-based financial aid — that’s the kind that you don’t usually have to repay. There are several guides to external merit scholarships available to MBA students, as well, like this one from GoGrad.org.5) When the program’s career resources will actually help you.At risk of sounding like a broken record, this point also speaks to the idea of what will make an MBA program “worth it.” Again, everyone’s priorities are different, but if you’re going to business school with the hope of advancing your career with a new employer, make sure the school you choose has the right resources to support your job search.This factor is one that institutions know prospective students take seriously. In the Graduate Management Admission Council’s Alumni Perspectives Survey Report 2017, 91% of respondents indicated that they found their MBAs to be “professionally rewarding,” and many schools feel a lot of pressure to uphold that significant figure for their own students. For that reason, many graduate students have found advertised career services to sometimes be a bit embellished. Cook echoes that sentiment, and says she’s come across many graduate programs that lack “any useful career benefits,” despite what they claim.In my own MBA experience, those services weren’t exactly embellished, but they were removed from the university’s budget after I had committed to the program. That wasn’t entirely negative — experiences like those can teach some students crucial lessons on networking and other valuable job search skills. Evaluate the resources available to you through a very fine lens, and consider how much of a priority they are in selecting a business school.6) When your employer will cover your tuition.This one seems a bit obvious, but it requires some reading between the lines, so to speak. If your employer will reimburse your MBA tuition, it might seem like a proverbial no-brainer to take advantage of that benefit. But understand what will be required if you do.First, understand that you’ll most likely have to pay taxes on any amount of reimbursement you receive over $5,250. Also, some employers require you to stay with the company for a certain amount of time upon completion of your degree as a condition of receiving this benefit. Once again — ask yourself what your reasons are for pursuing an MBA. If they include progressing your career in a new work environment, taking a route that requires you to stay with the same employer for at least two years after you graduate might not be the most optimal one.You might notice that many of these considerations work in tandem. For example, the point above about tuition reimbursement from your employer could be countered by having enough money saved to invest in the degree yourself, or being in a position to use student loans. That’s why we encourage you to spend ample time thinking about all of these factors — getting an MBA isn’t a minor decision.When an MBA Is Not Worth the Money1) When you should get a different degree.Maybe — just maybe — you’ve decided against getting an MBA because it’s simply not the right degree for your career trajectory, or for what you’re hoping to do. If you’re looking to specialize in corporate communications, for example, it might be worthwhile to look into graduate programs that specialize in it, and have the catered career resources to support it.That idea re-emphasizes the importance of knowing exactly what you’re hoping to gain from an MBA. When you outline your goals, compare them to the standard coursework required of an MBA, and see if they align. If not, it might be time to look into a different academic concentration.2) When you can work for an emerging or early-stage business.Remember O’Neill’s great story of how much he learned from sticking with a company that was scaling up — in lieu of pursuing an MBA? As we mentioned earlier, working with a company in its earliest stages often forces its employees, whether they like it or not, to learn a ton of business fundamentals.In a valuable MBA program, you should learn such fundamentals as managing budgets, personnel, projects, and — when the company really begins to take off — scaling it to keep up with that growth. Sounds a lot like the type of thing that managers have to learn with a new, emerging business, doesn’t it? If that’s the type of work and knowledge you crave, it could be time to look for job opportunities with a company in these early stages.3) When you can use individual courses to gain the skills you’re missing.When I was in business school, I was fortunate enough to have some truly great professors. But I also learned something else — without naming names, I realized that while many academic instructors are experts in their respective fields, that doesn’t mean they excel when it comes to teaching.That meant, for certain subjects, I sometimes had to seek outside resources to supplement classroom teachings — most notably, Khan Academy, an online provider of free classes and courses. I found out about it through a classmate in a particularly difficult class, and once I started using it for that particular topic, I saw how much knowledge the site has to offer.And while I wasn’t about to abandon my MBA to self-teach via this resource alone, it did make me realize that, for individual areas and skills, sites like these can be a tremendous help to those who aren’t ready to pursue a full degree, but want to improve their professional credentials. And Khan Academy — despite offering a plethora of courses on subjects ranging from economics to art history — is hardly the only resource of this kind. Our favorites include Coursera, edX, HubSpot Academy, Lynda, and Udemy. Even better, some of these sites, like Coursera, actually offer classes taught by faculty of some top-tier schools, including Stanford.To B-School, or Not to B-SchoolDeciding whether or not to pursue your MBA is a pretty big decision — it can be a significant investment of both time and money. But, for many, it’s worth it. And now, you have a checklist to help make that decision just a little bit easier.And as for me — the verdict is in. My MBA was worth it. In the thick of my coursework, I did sometimes question, “Why am I doing this?” Plus, I agree that there are many times when the investment just isn’t necessary. But in the end, I remain very happy with my decision to go to business school. I got to experience living in a new city, gain new skills, and figure out what I don’t want to do, which, to me, is a milestone in one’s career progression.All in all, I think of it as a very productive use of my time — and I want it to be for you, too. You’ll make the right decision. But please, don’t make it in a hurry.What are your thoughts on pursuing an MBA? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

  • 5 Creative Strategies to Stay Inspired to Write All Year [Infographic]

    first_img11Save If there’s one thing we know about inspiration, it’s that it’s not very good at giving advance notice of anything.It crops up at the most inopportune time — like when you’re without a pen or a device to otherwise record a brilliant idea. And other times, when you need it the most — it’s nowhere to be found.It also has its very own version of low seasons, when writers are left without special events or holidays to stimulate creativity. Now that the holidays are behind us, for example, many of us are feeling deprived of prolific cheer?Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates NowBut as it turns out, these claims are little more than excuses. Inspiration, it turns out, can be sought any time, anywhere.One of our very favorite infographic artists, Henneke Duistermaat, knows this to be true — and thus compiled her thoughts on the matter in the captivating visual below.Have a look, and discover how you can find the inspiration to write and blog — with consistency — all year.11Save Originally published Jan 17, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2018 Writing Skillscenter_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more