Mo Farah receives knighthood from the Queen at Buckingham Palace

first_imgMo Farah makes his famous Mobot gesture.  He officially received his knighthood from the Queen on Tuesday. Courtesy photo.Mo Farah has officially received his knighthood from the Queen describing the moment as “incredible”.The four-time Olympic champion was honoured at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday for his services to athletics, and swapped his running kit for a top hat and a full morning suit.Sir Mo, who called time on his track career at the end of the summer, will be moving back to London from the United States to concentrate on running road marathons.“Over the years you dream of becoming something or doing something in your career, to take it to the highest level and become an Olympic champion – that was always the dream,” Sir Mo said. “As an eight-year-old coming from Somalia and not speaking a word of English, to be recognised by your country, it is incredible.”On being handed the honour by the Queen, Sir Mo said she told him he has been “going too long” and asked him if he has retired.“I said ‘no, I am going to run the London Marathon – I want to go into roads’. She said that’s marvellous,” Sir Mo said.Farah received the honour on Tuesday at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace (PA). Quizzed on whether he had taught the monarch to do the Mobot, letting out a loud chuckle, he said no as it is “far too rude – not in Buckingham Palace”.Commentslast_img read more

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Erik Karlsson to play Game 5, but Sharks are making one lineup change

first_imgSAN JOSE — Defenseman Erik Karlsson dressed for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the St. Louis Blues but the Sharks did make one lineup change for Sunday’s matinee.Forward Micheal Haley was reinserted into the lineup and Marcus Sorensen was a scratch. Sorensen, who played 9 minutes and 8 seconds in Game 4 of the series, a 2-1 Sharks loss, did not take part in pregame warmups Sunday morning.Haley came … Click here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.last_img

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Book

first_imgThe Discovery Institute in Seattle has published a new book, Darwinism, Design and Public Education, by John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer, encouraging schools to teach both sides of the controversy over Darwinism vs Intelligent Design.The Darwin Party’s spin doctoring that students should be protected from the controversy over Darwinism is unpopular and unsupportable, and should be exposed for what it is: political and religious bias.  If it were about science, well then, science thrives on controversy.  Science is about pitting evidence against evidence and logic against logic.  Wouldn’t that be a healthy science lesson?  Read this testimony and see what you think.(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img

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HIV in SA improving slowly

first_imgThe 2009 HIV gauge reveals that progress is being made, especially among South Africa’s youth, but more needs to be done. (Image: MediaClubsouthafrica.com. For more free photos, visit the image library) MEDIA CONTACTS • Fareed MohammedloveLife public relations+27 11 523 1102 or +27 79 597 9374RELATED ARTICLES • Loving life, fighting Aids • HIV in South Africa stabilising • Powerful HIV antibodies found• Hunger strike against HIV • HIV/Aids in South AfricaJanine ErasmusNational youth HIV prevention programme loveLife, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in October 2009, has released its second annual publication on the status of HIV in South Africa.The publication shows that in some areas there has been marked improvement, but a lot more needs to be done to control the spread of the epidemic and save lives.The 2009 Gauge of HIV Prevention in South Africa is written by Dr David Harrison, former loveLife CEO, and freelance researcher Ruth Scott. Harrison now heads the national youth empowerment programme Connected! – a loveLife initiative.“The publication will give us a sense of where progress is, and is not being made,” said Harrison, speaking at the launch on 2 November 2009.“We’re finding that data such as that from national antenatal surveys are becoming less and less useful – we would prefer that the money be used to better understand the dynamics of the epidemic.”LoveLife CEO Grace Mathlape concurred, saying that the gauge would inform people about what has been and can still be achieved in preventing the spread of HIV and Aids.The publication was funded by the UK Department for International Development, which manages UK aid to poor countries, working to eradicate destitution. It may also be accessed online.Comprehensive informationDrawing on a wide range of published sources, the publication collates all current data about HIV and Aids from both national and regional studies, and presents it in one comprehensive document.The gauge has a threefold aim. Firstly, it reports on the status of the HIV epidemic in South Africa and identifies trends that will assist in halting the spread of the disease. Secondly, it aims to identify areas where knowledge is lacking, and thirdly it makes recommendations that could influence the direction of future policies and programmes.The report noted a number of positive developments. The HIV epidemic has peaked, according to the publication, but the prevalence will not drop for at least five years even if the incidence, or rate of new infections, is slashed in half. This is because antiretroviral drugs help to prolong life, and therefore there are more people living with HIV and Aids.More precise measurements must be implemented to overcome this situation and deliver accurate results, said Harrison. In fact, he added, if the prevalence goes down too soon it could mean that treatment is failing and that too many people are dying.Another significant statistic reveals that in the past five years the prevalence of HIV among 15- to 24-year-olds has dropped, indicating that the rate of new infection has also decreased sharply.Research did show, however, that there is a sharp jump in new infections among people in their mid-20s and early 30s. This means that children in school are relatively protected, but once out of school their lifestyle changes, the future is no longer so certain, and they are more willing to take risks.The report recommends more support structures for new school leavers, and immediate opportunities for personal growth and development.The number of people who have been tested and now know their status has also increased over the past few years, from less than 33% of the population, to about 50%.Preventing infectionThere are a number of areas where firm action could save thousands of lives.Mother-to-child transmission is a key area that could result in fewer new infections. According to the report, every year about 30 000 babies are needlessly infected with HIV in this way, when prevention is possible. Although this number has decreased in the past few years it is still unacceptably high – there should be no more than 4 000 of this type of infection per year.The strategy for preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) does not reach all babies. When successful, the programme reduces transmission to less than 5%, but the report revealed that for various reasons, at most only about 66% of infants who need PMTCT actually benefit from it. The main reason is that testing doesn’t extend to all pregnant women, and many of those who are tested, and found to be HIV-positive, are later neglected by the health system.Testing also falls short with regard to tuberculosis, as incidence of the two diseases are closely related and more than 50% of tuberculosis patients also have HIV. The successful detection of tuberculosis in HIV-positive people must increase.For every two pregnancies in South Africa, there is one HIV infection. This is largely as a result of higher risk in the social environment, since young girls often drop out of school during this time and become insecure about their financial situation. There is also a greater physiological vulnerability to infection.The report recommends a focus on the prevention of teen pregnancy, but failing this, there must be a greater use of condoms during pregnancy as well as the return of new, young mothers to the school system as soon as possible.While condom use has increased among young men between the ages of 15 and 24, the same cannot be said of women in the same age group. Furthermore, not enough condoms are distributed, as seen in the high incidence of HIV in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State – the provinces where condom distribution is lowest. Female condoms are expensive and not readily available.Some of the most vulnerable groups, such as prisoners, are not protected by easy access to condoms. This is especially dangerous because each year 25% of all prisoners are released back into society. “We must flood prisons with condoms,” said Harrison.Disabled people, Aids orphans, and commercial sex workers are also at particular risk of contracting HIV. The group most at risk of infection are those living in informal settlements, whether urban or rural. Most-at-risk groups are neglected in general, and this is an area that needs urgent attention.Taking actionAnother strategy that could drastically reduce the infection rate is the introduction of a national male circumcision programme, as this medical procedure has been proven to reduce HIV incidence – when performed properly.Behaviour change and the reduction of risk tolerance must also be addressed. Such programmes do not address all age groups and there is too little focus on high-risk groups.The report recommends that healthcare be improved generally, as well in specific areas relating to most-at-risk groups, men and those with sexually transmitted infections.More funding is needed. Although currently about R1-billion (US$130.6-million) is spent on HIV prevention, the gauge reported that the investment of another billion into a comprehensive national programme will result in three times that amount in annual savings within a decade.Finally, government needs to be firm and clear on how it is tackling the spread of HIV and tuberculosis, and it must form joint partnerships with the civil and corporate sectors to strengthen its work.last_img read more

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Is This Insulation Too Good To Be True?

first_img Video Series: Covering an existing roof with rigid foam Insulating Low-Slope Residential RoofsHow to Build an Insulated Cathedral CeilingMartin’s Ten Rules of Roof DesignOpen-Cell Spray Foam and Damp Roof SheathingHow to Install Rigid Foam on Top of Roof Sheathing Go with the spray foam optionOne of Verschuren’s objections to spray foam is that it would defeat the purpose of installing cedar shingles over skip sheathing by limiting their drying potential.But Holladay has a suggestion: “If you are committed to your plan,” he writes, “install some cardboard or housewrap between your rafters followed by R-20 of spray foam, and live with the imperfect thermal performance of that type of assembly (assuming, of course, that your local building department doesn’t require a higher R-value),” he writes.Once Verschuren has cut up all that expensive insulation and placed it between the rafters, Holladay says, there is still the problem of thermal bridging through the rafters. “Once thermal bridging is accounted for, the improved performance compared to spray foam is minor, and certainly not worth the investment.”Nate G looks at it this way: Verschuren’s planned installation of Spaceloft, with a total price tag of $10,000 for materials alone, yields a total R-value of 38. Holladay’s alternative of closed-cell foam over cardboard plus a single layer of Spaceloft gets the roof to R-29 at a cost of $2,480.“So for less than 25 percent of the price, taking Martin’s advice and adding only a little bit of Spaceloft would get you 77 percent of the R-value. That seems like a no-brainer to me. The differences between R-30 and R-38 are not worth paying another $7,500, in my humble opinon,” he writes. “Comfort-wise, if this is conditioned space, you won’t feel the difference. But it’s your money!” RELATED ARTICLES Do the math on how much you’d really saveThe cedar roof cost $20,000 just five years ago, Verschuren replies, so removing it to put more insulation above the rafters isn’t an attractive idea — and it makes the Spaceloft option look a little less harebrained despite the expense. In addition, the engineer who’s designing a radiant-floor heating system for the house wants a healthy dose of insulation.Charlie Sullivan has sharpened his pencil and done some math. After using new cost estimates provided by Verschuren, he calculates that Spaceloft would cost about $15 per board foot (1 foot square by 1 inch thick).“That brings is back into the realm of a little eccentric, as opposed to completely wacko,” Sullivan says. “I’m comfortable with a little eccentric. My previous cost-effective calculation changes to 12 times as expensive as it should be, rather than 75 times.“The extra heat loss from that, at a 60°F temperature difference (we still don’t know your climate, so that’s a guess) is only 265 Btu/h less than you’d get with an R-5/inch solution. The radiant engineer shouldn’t call himself an engineer (or radiant for that matter) if he thinks that an extra 265 Btu/h is going to undermine his design. That’s less heat loss than a 25 square foot high-quality U-0.2 triple-pane window.”Nate G believes Verschuren would do himself a favor by being more flexible. “You seem to be getting yourself tied in knots because of the limitations you’ve set for yourself,” he adds. “Sometimes it’s time to admit that those limitations either preclude any good options or need to be removed.”If Verschuren could lose just a few inches of ceiling height, he adds, he’s have many more options. Or, if he needs more space, he could always build a ground-floor addition that preserves the architectural character of the house. The coup de grace for this idea?The discussion so far has assumed Spaceloft has an insulating value of R-10 per inch, and that apparently does apply for certain versions of this product. But Bill Dietze takes a close look at the fine print and throws this curve: “Jan, the link you provide mentions the uses of Spaceloft as ‘Great for home insulation, winter clothing, science projects,’ but the link to datasheets for material with a conductivity of 0.14 W/mK (R-10 per inch) is an undersea pipe product,” he writes. “Hardly residential. If you proceed, be aware that you are probably in the ‘science project’ category.“The Spaceloft product rated for ‘Ambient temperature walls, floors and roofs in commercial, residential and institutional building’ has a lower thermal resistance (R-8.3 per inch) and no datasheet describing the application.”If the lower R-value is correct, it makes the case for Spaceloft even less compelling, Holladay points out.“But it is still ahead in many ways over ‘the rest’ to use,” Verschuren says. We have the money to do it but do not want to waste it, either!” Editor’s note: After this article was published, GBA learned that the product formerly known as Spaceloft has be re-branded as Proloft. For more information on Proloft, visit Advanced Insolutions Inc.. Here is a link to a report on R-value testing of Proloft Aerogel Blanket.center_img There are a few downsides, however: The cost is “exorbitant,” and Verschuren still has to figure out how to detail the installation so it will be vapor-open and able to dry out.Or, does he have other alternatives? That’s the issue for this Q&A Spotlight. Our expert’s opinionHere’s how GBA technical director Peter Yost sees it:I decided I really needed to check in with Jan Verschuren on this one; just too many balls in the air to offer any helpful perspective. Having done that, I think the list of constraints (below) Jan poses or faces proves that if you narrow the boundary conditions on a problem enough, you can arrive at a singular solution.Here are the factors to consider:The newness of the current roof cladding means you can’t build up insulation topside.Very low ceiling heights mean that there is little room to build up insulation on the bottom.The ceiling is already being built down 13/16 inches for Warmboard-R panels, primarily for radiant cooling.Radiant cooling for the attic space is being driven by lack of room for ducts and an already-in-place ground-source heat pump system, making for a fairly easily retrofit for radiant cooling.The homeowners can’t really rely upon natural ventilation (open windows) for low-grade space cooling because of urban noise issues.Spray foam insulation is not an option.As Jan says, “…my hands are tied!”So, if we can agree to accept these constraints, Jan is ending up with layers of Spaceloft in between the rafters and two layers (2 centimeters) of continuous Spaceloft to the underside of the rafters.We confirmed that standardized independent R-value testing of Spaceloft yields about R-8.3 per inch. That makes Spaceloft significantly better per unit of thickness than any other readily available building insulation but also means the entire assembly is still not code-compliant and far from high performance.At the end of the day, that phrase “readily available” may be the key to whether this solution will work for Jan and others considering this pricey approach to insulation: neither I nor Jan could get Aerogel to respond at all to our requests for technical information and information on the availability of Spaceloft for Jan’s project.No magic bullet for this one, with neither the bullet or its delivery magical at all. Space what?GBA senior editor Martin Holladay has never heard of Spaceloft, but has two other suggestions. “Three and a half inches of closed-cell spray foam would give you about R-22.7,” he writes. “That’s less than code minimum requirements. The solution is to thicken up your rafters or to install several layers of continuous rigid foam under your rafters.“You’ll lose a little headroom, but at least you’ll have a roof that meets minimum code requirements.”If Verschuren absolutely can’t afford to lose any headroom in the attic, Holladay adds, “it’s time to raise the roof. Again, we’re talking physics. Sometimes you just have to face facts.”Nate G understands why Aerogel insulation performs as well as it does, but Spaceloft is another question.“I am highly skeptical of the claims of this product because Aerogel is a rigid material, basically a mostly-hollow brick made out silicon,” Nate G writes. “This stuff [Spaceloft] comes in a flexible blanket. I have a hard time believing that it behaves the same as rigid Aerogel. The way Aerogel material works is by trapping a lot of air in billions of nanometer-sized pores. In a solid material, the integrity of these pores can be guaranteed. In a flexible sheet, how can it?”And then there is the expense.“But let’s say I’m wrong that this stuff really performs as advertised,” Nate G adds. “The best price they offer is $95/inch thick/square foot. By contrast, conventional insulation materials are literally in the ballpark range of to 100 times less expensive. At 3 1/2 inches thick, you’re paying $332 per square foot of roof. You could, like, demolish the house and build a whole new one for that price given an average-sized attic.”To Holladay, that kind or price tag makes Spaceloft “fairly irrelevant to the everyday concerns of residential builders” even if it performs as advertised. CONSTRUCTION DETAILS Jan Verschuren has a nicely roofed older house, and a problem to go with it. Cedar shingles have been installed over skip sheathing, making for a roof that’s not only historically correct but one that allows air to circulate freely beneath the roof deck. Verschuren’s next objective is to insulate between the 2×4 rafters, and here’s where he has run into a snag.Building codes require at least R-38 worth of insulation in the roof. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be a problem, but Verschuren says that he has only the 3 1/2-inch deep rafter bay to work with. He can’t afford to lose any headroom by adding insulation below the rafters, and he’d rather not tear off the roof to add extra insulation on top of the rafters.He’s zeroed in on a type of insulation called Spaceloft with a reported insulating value of R-10 per inch. The distributor’s web site describes Spaceloft as “a flexible aerogel composite blanket.”“So, 3 1/2 iches is all we have, but we’d like to get to an R-50 or thereabouts in our upgrade of this 1925 house built in Climate Zone 4C,” he writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor. “Spaceloft seems the only option.”Verschuren thinks he can get nine layers of this material in the rafter bays, followed by one or two layers over the bottoms of the rafters.last_img read more

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ROBBING: Return On Business Blogging Is Not Guaranteed

first_imgIf you have been reading this blog for a while, you likely know that I’m generally a strong proponent of the value of business blogging (particularly for small businesses).  I’ve been advocating the need for small businesses to start blogs as an important part of their Internet Marketing strategy for a while now.  So, why the controversial title for this article?  Simple:  If we’re going to try and rationalize an investment of time, energy and money by attaching an ROI (return on investment) to blogging, we need to be a bit diligent and thoughtful about how we do so.  In any case, here are some of my thoughts on about how to improve your chances of getting a return on investment for your business blogging efforts. ROI Of Blogging So, my points here are not particularly complicated.  My message is simple:  To really get value out of your business blogging efforts, you need to make sure that you are investing sufficient time into the process, measuring what matters and doing something about it.   First (and foremost) you should be looking to find more buyers for whatever it is that you are offering.  This is the best return you can hope for.  Of course, you can’t expect every visitor to your blog to whip out their credit cards (or call one of your sales people), but you can 3. Buyers, Back-links and Brand-Building:  This one’s a bit obvious too.  It is near impossible to demonstrate a return on your blogging investment if do something about it 5. Analyze and Adjust:  have an ROI – but just that an ROI is not guaranteed.  Also, my apologies for the acronym ROBBING (I just couldn’t come up with anything better).  I’m not suggesting that business bloggers are robbing anyone of anything.  All in good jest (and for some percentage of you, the word probably got your attention, thereby increasing the ROI of this article). .  You have to watch what works, and what doesn’t.  Do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.  For example, one thing I’ve learned from writing for two business blogs is that a majority of my readership seems to appreciate my casual, informal style. c) Brand:  a) Buyers:  Improving The Return On Investment For Your Business Blog ”.  As you might suspect, the article (and the associated paper), discusses how to measure the return on investment (ROI) for a blog – and more specifically, a business blog.  Though I have not purchased the paper (it talks too much about big businesses), the article itself has a useful framework for looking at this analytically. Topics: These are the three primary areas of “return” I think businesses should strive for when writing their blog.  I even put them in descending priority order even though the alliteration sounded better with a different order.  You’re welcome.  2. If A Blogger Types In The stuff.  For a more dynamic explanation of this, I encourage you to watch a video interview of  Brian Halligan (my co-founder at HubSpot).  The video is titled “ increase Defining ROI On Business Blogs The article was sparked in part by an article penned by Charlene Li of Forrester who wrote on the topic of “ nobody is reading your blog Lots of business bloggers are diligent about tracking things like their daily traffic, referral sources and other common metrics available through most web analytics tools.  Though all of this is good, it’s not enough – and not nearly as meaningful as the Forest…:  1.  Launching Is Not Enough:  the likelihood that this will occur.  This is done by focusing your content (and your promotional efforts for the content) on the types of visitors that are likely to become clients.   I think too many businesses think that they can simply sign up for a Blogger account, write an article, and call it a day.  This is what I would call the “Look Ma!, I’m Blogging!” phenomenon.  Nothing against Blogger.  It’s just that if you’re actually looking to create a measurable return, it takes more than that.  Stated differently, to get an “R” (i.e. Return) you have to “I” (that is Invest).   I have an uncanny knack for the stating the obvious. b) Back-Links:  real Astute readers will also notice that I am not stating in this article’s title that business blogging ”.  For further reading, I’d also recommend Seth Godin’s article “ If you can’t close a customer, you want back-links.  The world of search engine optimization (SEO) is driven by back-links.  The more people you can get to your blog articles, the more weighting you will have in the search engines, and the more relevant people will “find” you when doing a search.  In fact, you can help test this theory by linking to this article with the words “business blogging” in the anchor text.  (smile).  Originally published Jan 29, 2007 11:42:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 doesn’t ” Simply measuring how your blog is doing in ways that are meaningful is not going far enough.  You need to Business Blogging 4. Measure Something Meaningful:  .  In this case, the value you get from blogging is likely little more than the satisfaction of expressing yourself (and perhaps impressing your friends and family).  So clearly, to get an ROI, you have to find ways to draw visitors to your blog and have them read it.  If you got to this article through one of the popular social news sites (like reddit or digg), that is certainly one way to do it.  There are others ways too.  But all of it hinges on writing content that people are interested in. High Resolution Mistakes Finally, if you can’t get a buyer or a back-link, you can at least build your “brand”.  Although you will likely never have a powerful brand like Coke, Nike or Apple – you can certainly benefit from increased visibility of your business.  Readers of your blog will (hopefully) be left with a positive impression of you, and your company and this could help with future interactions with that individual (and perhaps then, they will become a buyer or give you a back-link). 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

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Lee Odden Explains How to Build a Top-Ranked Business Blog

first_img Q: What are your five favorite blogs? (Other than the HubSpot blog!) June 2006 keyword analysis A: I’ve written about 1,800 posts over the last 5 years so it’s a bit tricky to pick just one. Online Marketing Blog A few specific posts that are top of mind: Q: Blogging and social media may work for some technology-focused businesses, but what about businesses in more traditional industries? Do blogging and social media work for everybody? . The man who currently owns that spot is Lee Odden, a successful online marketer who, in addition to running a his popular blog, is CEO of   in the top spot. A: I started blogging for  .  in  The web has become very social and will continue to do so through technology that enables content sharing and connections. Search engine optimization is at the core of what we do in all our practice areas. Blogging and social media marketing efforts affect SEO and vice versa. Direct Marketing vs Social Media Marketing Make no mistake, measuring return on investment for marketing channels that are not direct response takes some creativity. But it is there and definitely measurable. to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. Q. What impact has your blog had on your business? Q: What’s your favorite blog post that you’ve ever written? Why? That’s valuable real estate — over 700 searches per month, according to our  . Lee was kind enough to spend some time earlier this week answering questions about his blog and online marketing.  Q: How long have you been blogging? A: Blogging, SEO and social media are all intimately intertwined. I don’t see them as completely different marketing channels, although there are distinct metrics for each. Dec 2003 What’s important is the mix that will best help the client reach their goals. Marketing on the social web is about helping customers reach their goals. Consumer information discovery increasingly involves more than just search, so involving blogs and social media to some extent is almost always a part of every client engagement. If we can see opportunities for our clients to reach and engage their customers in specific areas of the web AND it can be measured, then we’ll make recommendations accordingly. I like a lot of the  Top Rank Online Marketing  because the majority contain great information and many are entertaining. A: The first thing to do is “listen” and pay attention to what  others are blogging and doing within social communities. It’s simply not effective to publish and promote content via blogging and social media without being a participant. Get involved by subscribing to other blogs on and off topic to get an idea of voice, frequency and etiquette. Join social networks and connect with other like-minded people, share opinions, content and interact. Then you’ll have a foundation for going forward with your own blogging and social media marketing efforts. TopRankMarketing.comcenter_img I’d also recommend using an outside consultant that clearly practices what they preach. Getting advice from an experienced blogger/social media participant can save time, embarrassment and money. That’s a big part of what TopRank does in our blog and social media marketing practices: serve as a guide to help clients help themselves. If you search Google for “marketing blog” chances are you’ll find  A: Measuring the return on any marketing investment starts with setting goals. Knowing the audience, your objectives, a strategy and mix of tactics for reaching those objectives all lead up to the measurement piece. Internet marketing offers amazing metrics, far beyond what many offline marketing and advertising expenditures return. Webinar: Blogging for Business Digital PR and SEO: Social Media Monitoring A. Online Marketing Blog has been instrumental in growing our business. It generates daily new business inquiries, weekly inquiries from the media as well as candidates and marketing partners. Over 5 years we’ve posted over 2,000 articles on internet marketing topics and have been recognized in many ways for that besides growing revenue, which of course, is what pays the bills. A: We manage a list of over 500 blogs on our  Q. In addition to advising companies on business blogging, your company offers search engine and social media marketing services. That’s a lot of different things. Do you advise clients to get involved in all of them? Is there one channel that’s best? Or most important?  so I have a lot more than 5 favorite blogs. Originally published Jan 16, 2009 8:52:00 AM, updated October 18 2015 A: In terms of traffic, “25 Tips for Marketing Your Blog” posted in  We identify expectations, business needs and reconcile those with goals for a marketing program. SEO is easier to measure in terms of a direct association with revenue. Blogs can be measured in that way too. Getting ROI measurements out of social media and blogging efforts most often comes from an association with other known channels. For example, if a blog ranks well in search engines, then the cost per click can be identified for those keyword rankings and a valuation can be calculated. If social media or a blog post result in media coverage, then a value for what it would cost to hire a PR firm to earn that coverage can be associated as a return on the social media or blogging effort. Content Distribution Networks A: Great question. Running our business in terms of day-to-day operation has little to do with our blog. In terms of marketing and building thought leadership, it would certainly be possible to have a successful marketing program without a blog. It would involve other social media communication channels that allow two-way communications, frequent updates, engaging information sharing, etc – many features of a blog. However, with all that functionality contained right within blog software, I’d prefer to use blog software as a preferred way to create and promote content that inspires the kinds of conversations leading to new business, improved credibility and confidence in the TopRankMarketing.com brand. Q: Could you run your business without your blog? A: Within our organization my functional responsibilities involve our organization’s business strategy, business development, some training and marketing. Most operational duties are handled by my business partner, Susan Misukanis. The marketing portion of my job is to be the public face of our organization speaking at about 15 events a year and being social on the web via TopRankBlog.com, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social channels. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack BIGLIST Q: What do you tell your clients when they ask about the ROI of social media, blogging or SEO investments? Q: What’s the most popular blog post you’ve ever written? A: Sometimes blogging and social media do not make sense for reasons other than a specific industry mis-match. If a company doesn’t have the resources or appreciation/understanding of how blogging and social media work – tech biz or not – it shouldn’t bother. At least not until they make efforts to get up to speed with internal staff and/or via outside resources. Back to your question. Wherever there are people talking online about a topic, there is an opportunity for blogging and social media. Industry is irrelevant to predicting the viability of incorporating social media into an organization’s marketing and communication efforts. It’s the customers that matter and if customers or potential customers are involved with and influenced by blogs and social media, then companies that serve those customers should participate. If not, their competition will. Q: When you’re not blogging, you run an internet marketing business — can you describe what you do? Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website? Download the free webinar Q: What advice would you give to a small business owner or professional marketer who’s just starting out with blogging and social media?  has been the most popular. interviews we’ve done with SEO and social media peoplelast_img read more

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What Do Coke, Pepsi, Pampers, Dominos, Google and Facebook Have in Common?

first_img Facebook Marketing Are audiences more interested in understanding what the big brands are doing?  Do we look up to Coke and Pepsi and other great brands for inspiration?At HubSpot, we love to measure everything, and recently we completed a short study on how the use of brand names (including Coke, Pepsi, Dominos, Google, Pampers, Facebook,etc.) in article titles had an impact on blog article performance. The results were astounding.  Out of the approximately 100 articles published over a period of 50 days, just over 20% of them had major brand names in the title.  As you can see in the graph below, the articles that had a major brand name in the title generated 60% more page views on average than articles without them.Also, we published 6 articles with Google in the title, and on average they performed 50% better than articles without brand names in their titles.Surprisingly, while the use of brand names appeared to have an impact on page views and readership, it had little or no impact on comments (or conversation) and what appears to be a negative impact on inbound links.  The brand name articles got 3 fewer inbound links on average than their counterparts. If you’re wondering why we used such a short time frame for the study, it’s because blog articles are like annuities. Over longer periods of time, articles continue to amass more and more page views, which would skew the study.  The top-performing articles in all groups were spread pretty evenly across the time frame used for the study!Thoughts,  Observations and TakeawaysTiming Your Article Publication is Key — There was definitely a “news” factor to articles with brand names in their titles, and the timeliness of the publication coincided with the conversation about the brand on the Internet and in media.  (e.g. the Dominos and Pepsi articles).Visible Brands Serve as Case Studies — People and marketers in general love hearing what major brands are doing and how they are conducting their business.  A lot of companies like to emulate and learn from big brands. Familiarity Has an Impact on Viral Effect — People become bigger “sneezers” (per Seth Godin’s idea virus) when it comes to bigger brands because they are more familiar with them and their products. Have you noticed any interesting trends in how your blog articles perform?  Please share your thoughts in the comments! Photo credit: Nikita Kashner Video: Blogging for Business Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website?Watch the free video to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. 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 Mar 11, 2010 8:30:00 AM, updated October 18 2015 Topics:last_img read more

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The Marketer’s Guide to Pinterest SEO

first_imgOnce viewed as a niche player in the social space, Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social networks ever, harnessing both an increased user base and its exponential growth as a referring site to become a considerable force in the marketing world.Free Resource: 12 Pinterest Templates for BusinessEqually important for businesses to consider is the buying power behind Pinterest: Pinterest users purchase items more often and in greater quantities, spend more money, and shop more frequently than any other social network. So if your initial trial of using Pinterest for business has yielded positive results and you think Pinterest is a viable social media marketing platform for your business, you know what the next step is, right? Optimization!To get you started, below we’ll outline 10 great tips to optimize your business’ Pinterest presence for search. 1) Choose an Optimized Company UsernameIn November 2012, Pinterest finally launched Pinterest business accounts, which make registering for a business account (or converting a personal account into a business account) easy and painless. Going the “business” route also makes it easier to verify your website, add links to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and add Pinterest buttons and widgets to your company site or blog. For more detailed information about how use Pinterest’s new business accounts, check out the free HubSpot ebook, A Guide to Pinterest’s New Business Accounts here.The first thing you should do to optimize your Pinterest business account for search is to make sure your company name is straightforward. The field to indicate your company name has no character limit; but the challenge often comes with your username, which is confined to 15 characters. If your full company name fits — fantastic! But if it doesn’t, choose something memorable, keyword-conscious, and easy to spell that is also clearly associated with your business. For example, The New York Times has amassed over 44,000 followers using the username “NYTimes,” while Martha Stewart Weddings in the Middle East chose “MSWeddingsME” to differentiate itself from other Martha Stewart properties, but still capitalizing on search traffic for weddings.Furthermore, be sure to verify your website. Log in to your Pinterest account, and go to ‘Settings.’ Check to ensure you’ve listed your website here before clicking the ‘Verify Website’ button.2) Optimize Your Page’s ‘About’ SectionThe Pinterest ‘About’ section provides you with 200 characters of prime keyword real estate, so use this space wisely. In addition to being descriptive and keyword-sensitive, your ‘About’ section should also be simple, succinct, and specific. Two hundred characters is plenty of space for a keyword-rich overview that covers the who, what, and where of what you do, so use it smartly — and don’t forget to add your website URL in the space provided!3) Include Links Back to Your Website  Pinterest re-pin links used to be “dofollow” links, but last year, following standard practice with other social networks in the space, Pinterest adopted “nofollow” links. In other words, these links do not pass any SEO authority. But even those these links won’t give you any extra oomph in terms of SEO, we still recommend optimizing for user experience and brand awareness. After all, what good is search engine optimizing your Pinterest presence if you’re not ultimately driving users back to your website?Always include a reference link back to your website with your pins, and if you re-pin a post that features your content or products, edit the description to include a full link (just don’t use a URL shortener here, as Pinterest is known to mark pins containing shortended links as spam). Including a link back to your website will not only reinforce that the image is associated with your brand, but it will also open up a direct pathway to purchase (for ecommerce) or learn more (for services).Etsy is a great example of a Pinterest presence that excels at mixing great content from other sites with products featured on its own site. In doing so, Etsy always includes a direct link to purchase the item on their site along with the username of the specific Etsy shop owner. A great example is Etsy’s pin featuring a humorous burrito card, which includes a brief overview of the card under the image and a direct link to see the product on Etsy in the link’s description.Think of links in Pinterest as providing the next step for pinners — where they can find the image they loved enough to click, re-pin, Like, or comment on. Use links to make that distance between the pin and the content/product as short as possible so you can improve the experience of your users and eventually drive more traffic and awareness to your site — social signals that search engines may end up picking up on in their algorithms over time.4) Differentiate Your PinboardsBy default, Pinterest offers some general pinboard options to get users thinking about how to bucket and organize their pins into different boards. For businesses, however, getting more specific and unique in your board descriptions is critical to helping you get found on Pinterest. According to a study by RJ Metrics, more than 3% of pinboards are titled “For the Home,” followed by “My Style” and “Products I Love,” all three of which are default board names recommended by Pinterest.Break through the pinboard name clutter and be specific and keyword-conscious in the selection of your board names. If you’re an interior designer, replace “For the Home” with “Modern Kitchens” or “Children’s Bedrooms” so that potential search terms align more closely with what end users might be looking for and increase the likelihood of standing out from the massive clutter of default –or just plain unoriginal — board names.5) Speak Your Customers’ LanguagePinterest is not a place to play inside baseball and use expressions that are unique to your company. Your ‘About’ sections and board names should all be optimized using terms your target customers and buyer personas actually use in their everyday lives. Being relevant on Pinterest means understanding what your customer is looking for, what he or she is most interested in buying or pinning, and what related industries or topics the pinner might be seeking out. It should not feel like an advertising board for your products; instead, it should feel like a comfortable space that’s curated around the style, needs, and lifestyle of your potential clients.One great example of speaking your customers’ language is fashion brand 2 Penny Blue. 2 Penny Blue is a high-end fashion brand specializing in blazers, but instead of only pinning items they make and sell, the company’s Pinterest boards are centered around the types of style and advice that 2PB clients might want to emulate, including a board called “Style Muses” featuring Audrey Hepburn and Gwenyth Paltrow, accessory boards packed with current trends, and pins like a guide to navigating champagne cocktails.When you think about your Pinterest boards, consider your customers’ buying habits, average age, and lifestyle, and build your pinning strategy around their terminology, interests, and potential search terms. For example, if you’re a real estate broker, Pinterest is a great place to pin images or videos with helpful tips for buying a home, but it’s also a great place to showcase your knowledge of your community. Boards featuring local schools, attractions, restaurants, and parks will help potential customers understand the markets where you sell and build trust that you understand their needs. Create authentic boards that connect to your clients and how they live, and use terminology that is straightforward and relatable. The search engines, your audience, and Pinterest will thank you for it!6) Use Your Pins’ Descriptions WiselyThe biggest opportunity for text-based content on Pinterest is the description area for each individual pin. Here, the platform gives you 500 characters to work with, which users can fill with anything from recipe instructions, to notes and commentary, to credits for other vendors, to location and usage information … and more. When describing your pins, include terms that your users will relate to and use on their own, add links to the original product or content, and consider adding instructions on product usage or care. The great balancing act with descriptions is ensuring that you include relevant keywords, relatable context, and easy-to-follow links to the content featured in the post. For example, real wedding website Style Me Pretty has almost five million followers on Pinterest and some of the most liked and re-pinned content on Pinterest. In addition to choosing beautiful imagery that’s relevant to their audience, they also tailor their descriptions perfectly for SEO. Their pin showcasing do-it-yourself noisemakers includes a link to the Style Me Pretty website for instructions, links to the photographer and stylist, and a quick overview of what pinners can expect (DIY noisemakers and escort cards) when they click through on the pin to the website.One of the single biggest mistakes companies make on Pinterest is being lazy about their pins’ descriptions. Ignoring the descriptions altogether, using language that your customers don’t understand or relate to, linking to irrelevant content (or not linking out at all), or just repeating keywords over and over again is a great way to get lost in the SEO shuffle. Instead, focus on creating remarkable descriptions that help you stand out from the pack.7) Make Sure the Images You Pin Have Descriptive File Names & Alt TextGiven that Pinterest is a highly visual platform, using interesting imagery that is formatted and named correctly can have a significant impact on the success of your boards — and individual pins themselves. Many companies make the mistake of uploading photos using their default names. For example, an image named 1.13.13ShootImage722.jpg doesn’t help you at all in search, while a clearly named “Boston-townhouse.jpg” can help a search engine decipher what your image is about much more easily. Furthermore, if you pin an image from your website, make sure that image has clear alt text associated with it. The same rule we talked about with pin descriptions also applies here: Use naming conventions your customers will identify with. If a product you’re pinning has an obscure name that isn’t broadly known or intuitive, skip it in favor of a potential keyword search term.In addition, make an effort to size your images optimally for Pinterest. Pinterest does not place any restrictions on the height of an image, but it does constrict the width of images to 554 pixels. Dan Zarrella’s analysis shows that taller images are more re-pinnable — likely because they take up more space in users’ Pinterest feeds — so use that to your advantage. Make sure your images are properly sized for use on Pinterest, use high-quality, beautiful imagery, and keep in mind that in this case, height is a distinct advantage, so if you’re assembling a “recipe for technology implementation success” or an inspiration board of your company goals for 2013, create an image that is tall, visually interesting, and aptly named using appropriate keywords.8) Incorporate HashtagsThat’s right! Hashtags are no longer just for Twitter. In fact, hashtags on Pinterest not only allow you to organize pins by a specific theme or campaign, but they also make your pins a lot more searchable. For example, Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida knows that wedding planning is one of the most common uses of Pinterest. As a result, pins on their “Weddings @ Rollins” board, which includes photos of alumni getting married in various locations throughout campus, are organized using hashtags such as #RollinsCollege, #Knowles Chapel, and #Winter Park to ensure that brides searching by city, college, or a specific destination on campus can easily find images of their potential venue.This maximizes awareness of Rollins College’s wedding venue offerings while staying top of mind for brides searching for those terms. And these integrated efforts have definitely paid off: The Weddings @ Rollins board ranks on the first page of a Google search alongside its homepage for the search term “florida wedding rollins,” giving engaged couples great visual content to drive interest and purchase intent as they plan their weddings.9) Leverage the Long TailAs we know from the success of big brands like Amazon, Google, and Netflix, the long tail isn’t just a niche strategy for small businesses. Take a page out of their books when you put your pins’ descriptions together. For example, according to Repinly, food and drink still represent more than 11% of all pins, so if you’re trying to get found by pins about chocolate chip cookies or wine, just writing a short, literal description of your pin is not going to help you cut through the clutter and stand out from the pack. Instead, identify niche, long-tail terms that your customers might pin around, and get more granular with your descriptions.Stumped about how to get more specific? Consider adding your location, product use case details, or the audience you’d like to target to help you master the long tail. Here are some examples:Location: Mistral Boston includes its restaurant name and location right within its Pinterest username, then adds even more clarity by identifying its neighborhood (South End) and style of cuisine (French Mediterranean). Doing so helps them stand out in the space and assists pinners who are looking for great, high-end restaurants in the Boston area.Use Case: RELAX Wines fills its Pinterest account with food recipes that pair well with their wines, backyard entertaining ideas, and even ideas for how to put your finished wine bottles to good use (e.g. wine cork ornaments, garden torches, etc). Help people understand creative ways to use your product or services — it will improve your SEO while also providing followers with more context around usage.Audience: The Seattle Seahawks football team is one of the top sports brands on Pinterest. By outlining specific gift ideas for men, women, and kids, they leverage the fact that 44% of NFL fans are now female to market holiday products, gift ideas, and specific, targeted holiday promotions, all of which helps fans and non-fans alike identify wish list items for their favorite Seahawk supporters.When it comes to descriptions, think about long-tail keywords for your business and industry. Identify keywords that are slightly more specific than “chocolate chip cookies” or “insurance companies” to help people find you more readily, and to help you stand out from the crowd in search results. For more information about the long tail, check out our ultimate guide for mastering long-tail search.10) “Pinjack” Relevant Search Terms and ImagesAlthough the number and engagement of male users on Pinterest is growing, Pinterest’s core user base demographics skew toward female users, so “pinjacking” trends and events relevant to avid pinners can be a great way to increase your organic search. For example, one of the top organic Google search results for “DIY Halloween Costumes” comes not from Walmart, Target, or some costume shop, but from Goodwill Industries of Western Michigan.By combining highly shareable imagery from other highly trafficked sites, trendy costumes, and great board descriptions, Goodwill Industries has managed to improve its overall online presence and increase visibility outside of traditional terms like “Goodwill locations” or “shopping at Goodwill” by taking advantage of pinjack-able trends (think newjacking, but for Pinterest!) and timing around Halloween to maximize their online awareness and traffic.The role Pinterest plays for businesses is growing every day. With 11 million users and growing, the network provides a unique opportunity for companies to leverage visual content, quality descriptions, and insight into customers’ lifestyles and needs while growing their reach and improving their organic search results. Just as with any website, your focus as a business should be on creating remarkable content and a strong community around your product, services, and brand. Happy pinning!Image Credit: Peter Alfred Hess Originally published Jan 11, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 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 Pinterest Marketinglast_img read more

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Help! Our VP of Sales Wants My Job

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Twitter Marketing Topics: If you had access to 373K new followers for a day, what would you say?That’s a question that HubSpot’s Phil Harrell, VP Corporate Division, is currently contemplating as he prepares to take on an entirely new role here: Social Media Manager.Yeah, you heard me right.On Monday, March 3rd, Phil Harrell will be taking over my job as Social Media Manager in addition to the job of HubSpot CMO, Mike Volpe. Why? He won it. During HubSpot’s 4th Annual Charity Auction, Phil purchased “@HubSpot for a day” and “CMO for a day” for a grand total of $875. This money went to Read to a Child, Phil’s charity of choice.In preparation for the big day, Phil and I sat down to go over the protocol for running HubSpot’s Twitter account. As it turns out, there’s a lot to think about (and a lot to be careful about) when you’re speaking in front of 373K people, on behalf of a company. Here’s some tangible advice I gave to Phil on ways he could be most successful:Have a Goal In Mind … And Stick to ItTo get an idea of Phil’s goals, I asked him why he chose to bid on @HubSpot for a day. He said:If you ask me, he’s already off to a great start simply because he has a clear goal in mind. This goal is not only helpful to him as the Corporate Divisions VP, but it’s also helpful to the company as a whole.Compile Great Content … And Schedule ItSince Phil’s ultimate goal is to build awareness around enterprise sales and marketing, I suggested he tap the resources he likes to read first. If he’s interested in the content, surely someone else at his level would be interested in that content, too.Next, since Phil actually paid good money to get access to HubSpot’s Twitter followers, I suggested that he promote himself in some way. Not tweet selfies and start bragging about how great he is, but I did advise that he share his knowledge with others. He’ll be doing this through his personal blog, SlideShare presentations, and general Q&A on HubSpot’s Twitter account.Finally, once Phil compiles all the content he wants to share, I told him to schedule it through HubSpot’s Social Inbox. This way Phil can participate in impromptu engagement during the day and worry less about the stuff that he can prep ahead of time. The @HubSpot account gets over 1,000 mentions per day, so he’ll need all hands on deck for interacting and responding.Add Value … And Align It With Your Buyer PersonasAs a Social Media Manager, one question I ask myself every day is: “Will this tweet/post add some kind of value to our audience’s life?”Value could mean many different things — including entertainment or education — and it’ll certainly change depending on your goals and buyer personas. But if the answer to this question is “yes,” then I proceed with scheduling the tweet or post. If the answer isn’t clear, I usually end up nixing it … because if I’m not clear about the value, our audience won’t be clear about it, either.Optimize Your Tweets … And Be Mindful of Your MessagingSince the average shelf life of a tweet is only 3 hours, I wanted Phil to be mindful of his messaging so he could get the biggest bang for his buck. I suggested he should optimize for clicks from the audience he’s trying to reach, which means he needs to think about writing his tweets differently than if he were optimizing for retweets.Something that works really well for HubSpot normally is asking a question, then following up with an action statement and a link. To use a very general example, a highly clickable tweet might say “Is your marketing stale? Read this ebook to find out: [link]” Nobody wants to think their marketing is going stale, so they’ll click the link just to make sure. ;-)Add Personality … But Not Too MuchOther messaging tips I gave Phil were related to tone. As a brand, it’s important to be professional, but it’s equally as important to have a touch of personality. The last thing someone wants is to talk to a wall that won’t talk back. People like talking to other people, so brands need to show that real human beings are there on the other end.Have a Sense of Humor … You Might Get Picked On ;-)Last year, our CEO and Co-founder, Brian Halligan, donated $600 to the Animal Rescue League of Boston to run HubSpot’s Twitter account. He was heckled by @DunkinDonuts and @BostonVC (in a loving kinda way) during his time running the account. I was proud to see that he stayed strong and came out of it with a smile on his face.The moral of the story here is that you never know who will mention you; you have to be prepared for absolutely anything. The happy, the sad, and the trolls. Just remember that on top of it all, you’re a human and it’s okay to act that way.I’m really excited to have some fresh new perspective on the HubSpot Twitter account, and I think Phil Harrell will be a great source of quality content for anyone who wants to come hang out with us on Twitter on Monday. Be sure to follow him at @HubSpot on Monday, March 3rd, so you can join in on the fun! Originally published Feb 28, 2014 3:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

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