Halep in line for No. 1 after Cincinnati semifinal win

first_imgMASON, OH – AUGUST 19: Simona Halep of Romania returns a shot to Sloane Stephens during Day 8 of the Western and Southern Open at the Linder Family Tennis Center on August 19, 2017 in Mason, Ohio. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFPMASON, Ohio — Simona Halep moved within a victory of the No. 1 ranking.The second-ranked Halep needed just 54 minutes to cruise past Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday in the Western & Southern Open semifinals, and can displace Karolina Pliskova as the top of the ranking with a victory over Garbine Muguruza on Sunday.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH 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 Games Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. The fourth-ranked Muguruza reached her first W&S final with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over defending champion Pliskova.The men’s final will feature two first-timers. Grigor Dimitrov outlasted John Isner 7-6 (4), 7-6 (10) in the first men’s semifinal. Nick Kyrgios beat David Ferrer 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4).FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingHalep, seeking her first No. 1 ranking, has yet to drop a set in the tournament and appears to be peaking at just the right time.“I think I played my best match on hardcourt so far,” said Halep, who can become the first Romanian woman to be ranked No. 1. “It felt great. I moved very well today. From the first point, I felt like I was going to play good tennis.” Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Favorites to win, PH triathletes reminded not to be complacent Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side The final Sunday will be the first on American soil for Muguruza, who lost to Pliskova in last year’s W&S semifinals after losing to Serena Williams in the 2015 finals. The Spaniard had lost six straight matches against Pliskova since winning their first in 2013.“I was very precise with my shots,” said Muguruza, who is 2-1 in her career against Halep, though the two haven’t played since 2015. “I wanted to be more aggressive and take my shots. I felt pretty good out there – under control. Everything went my way.”Muguruza won when Pliskova sailed a forehand long on the fifth match point. Pliskova, who played part of one match and all of another Friday after rain forced postponements Thursday, had 28 unforced errors to Muguruza’s 13.Muguruza was coming off playing the tournament’s longest match, a 2-hour, 45-minute three-set win over Svetlana Kuznetsova on Friday. That followed a 2-hour, 18-minute win over Madison Keys on Thursday, when she fought off three match points.“I don’t think I played my best tennis today,” Pliskova said. “I think the energy was pretty low from my side. Obviously, a tough schedule for me the last two days – three matches in about not even 24 hours.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR “I think she played very solid, not missing much and obviously serving well. Everything started, I think, in the first game of the first set.”Muguruza took charge early, breaking Pliskova in the first and last games of the first set.She gained a second-set edge with a backhand winner on break point for a 4-2 lead before closing it out in 1 hour, 19 minutes.Stephens, playing her fourth tournament since returning from January foot surgery, also was playing a third match in a span of 24 hours.“That’s never easy,” she said. “I’m going to go with that. I didn’t play that badly. She was a little fresher. It was just not a great day.”The 11th-ranked Dimitrov, who lost in the last year’s semifinal to eventual champion Marin Cilic, had just one double fault and finished with nine unforced errors to No. 19 Isner’s 28 in the 2-hour, 3-minute match. The Bulgarian will play the winner of the semifinal between Nick Kyrgios, who knocked out second-ranked Rafael Nadal in straight sets in a Friday quarterfinal, and David Ferrer.“Today was, I think, one of those matches that I really had to just be patient,” Dimitrov said. “I think that that was the key. I knew I’m not going to have that many rallies against John. I knew that he’s going to serve big, bold serves. I just had to be very composed and use every opportunity that I had. I think in the end of the match, it was just a few points that made the biggest difference for me. I’m just happy obviously with the win, but I’m just happy with the way I kept myself together throughout the whole match. Just remained calm in those tough moments. I mean, I know it’s nerve-wracking from outside, but it’s even tougher when you’re in there and have to receive a serve that comes 141 mph.”Dimitrov’s composure was the key, according to Isner.“The difference was he was a lot more decisive at the big moments,” Isner said. “He was a little calmer as well — a little more free-flowing in big moments. I thought he played a high-level match. He certainly is in good form. I played well enough to beat a lot of players today — just not him.”Kyrgios and Ferrer displayed remarkably efficient serving in their nightcap. They combined for six break points, converting none. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo View commentslast_img read more

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In a need of a good coach: Team India

first_imgWhatmoreViswanathHopefully when the Indians queue up at Heathrow immigration on their tour of England, they will know who their coach is. What we already know is that Indian cricket is adamantly refusing to move up the evolutionary ladder. Going by the noise, this could be 2000, the first time the,WhatmoreViswanathHopefully when the Indians queue up at Heathrow immigration on their tour of England, they will know who their coach is. What we already know is that Indian cricket is adamantly refusing to move up the evolutionary ladder. Going by the noise, this could be 2000, the first time the Indians hired a foreign coach. The conscientious objectors to the idea have remained the same, their arguments have remained the same, and their choice of alternative candidates does not feature any new names. At least none that have made public.Sri Lanka and Pakistan, with equally capricious Boards, now know how to hunt for coaches. They put out ads, invite candidates. India’s method involves big-name committees, shooting in the dark, Chinese whispers and conspiracy theories.While other countries pick coaches in a planned manner, the BCCI believes in shooting in the darkWhat do the Indians look for when picking a coach? Er, who cares because coaches, apparently, come in only two kinds: Indian and foreign. Other qualities like a track record, the ability to manage men, to work hard, to build trust, are, apparently, built into passports, rather than the men carrying them.Dav Whatmore, as is known, is the front-runner but could be part of a package deal which includes G.R. Viswanath as batting consultant. South African Graham Ford is a late entrant with backers in the team, but more names will be thrown into the meeting for dramatic effect.In 1990, former India batsman Nari Contractor went to England to find a coach for the Mumbai Cricket Association’s bowling scheme. When no one impressed him, he returned and was not satisfied until he ran into former England fast bowler Frank Tyson. Twenty-seven bowlers from that scheme played first-class cricket and one of them, Paras Mhambrey, is a coach himself today. That’s the effect the right man can have in a job.advertisementLike Mhambrey, there are other former players who have committed themselves to cricket coaching like students, rather than gurus. Robin Singh and Venkatesh Prasad are already with the team. It won’t be long before an Indian heads our support staff. But to push for an Indian for the sake of his Indianness is meaningless.This is no defence of or campaign for What more. But the Sri Lanka-born Australian must be wondering what is it about him that has so incensed two of our luminaries, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar. When asked about Whatmore taking the job he once did (without any great distinction) Kapil Dev responded, “Who is Whatmore? Why do we need to talk about Whatmore?” So often has Kapil paaji replied to questions by asking “Who is…?” in his fabricated earthiness, that he should consider patenting the response to prevent other rent-a-quote artists from making capital out of it.Sunil Gavaskar’s recent newspaper columns have contained a series of sniper attacks on Whatmore. May 23: “While it is no secret that (Habibul) Bashar is not the greatest tactical captain, what was the dressing room doing?” May 26: “Bangladesh’s limited success… is largely a matter of a good team playing them having a bad day… If eyes aren’t opened after this, then we are a myopic nation.” May 28: “What more does it take to prove that they have been plain lucky in their odd oneday wins and have made zilch progress in Test cricket? Nothing more, I guess.” You get the drift.For a columnist, all this is fair game but Gavaskar was also part of the panel to pick the new coach. Couldn’t a candidate believe Gavaskar has it in for him? Didn’t this strident public stance muddy the process? Besides, is any of it constructive? As India staggered into a new season, the search to find a perfect fit for their backroom turned into a battle of wills, a contest of non-issues and an exercise in self-aggrandisement.last_img read more

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2 Huge Mistakes by 2008 Presidential Candidates

first_img Originally published Oct 31, 2007 9:30:00 AM, updated October 01 2019 Today we released a 2008 Presidential Candidates Internet Marketing Report, which analyzes how the major candidates in the upcoming election are using Internet marketing to promote themselves. Nothing in this report or post is meant to be a political statement, so please keep the comments on marketing related issues. Below are some of the findings from the report that I thought were surprising.2008 Presidential Candidates Internet Marketing Report – 2 Mistakes the Candidates are Making Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Blogging – Most of the candidates websites have blogs, usually written by staffers who talk about the campaign in general terms. But blogging is a lot more about a personal connection and discussion than preaching from the safety of an ivory tower. Only Mitt Romney uses blogging to create a personal connection with the audience. Mitt’s wife and sons frequently post to the blog, and Mitt himself even writes some entires. John Edwards and his wife and daughter do have “diaries” but the posts are very infrequent. All the other candidates are missing out on a huge opportunity to personally connect with voters – which is important.SEO – The search engine optimization performance of the candidates is pretty weak if you ask me. They have tons of inbound links, lots of people in the blogosphere who love them, and they are just not doing the things they should do to get qualified traffic from search engines. How cool of a PR stunt would it be for one of the candidates to dominate the first page of google for “President” or “Best President”. Plus, if someone is researching “war in Iraq new policy” and I were running for president, I would be pretty pissed if I was not mentioned in the search results.If you want to see an older post I wrote that inspired some of this analysis, you can read Presidential Internet Marketing – Data Comparing Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Romney, Giuliani and McCain. And again, here is a link to the full Presidential Candidate Internet Marketing Report and the Press Release about the Internet Marketing Report announcing the report and results. Did you like what you read? Want more? Get automatic updates by subscribing to our RSS Feed or Email List (top right hand side of this page). last_img read more

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7 Things to Know When Hiring a PR Firm

first_img Agencies traditionally have used clippings, media impressions, advertising equivalency and PR value (which is basically an artificial multiple of ad equivalency) as a means of measuring success. 6) What is their billing structure? . Follow him on Twitter  In the social web, PR agencies are evolving into content publishers, connectors, educators and consultants. Website Grader It’s no secret social media and inbound marketing are  changing the role of PR firms . PR firms can be invaluable strategic partners as your organization moves beyond traditional marketing methods and navigates the social web, but make sure to do your homework and find an agency that has the knowledge, capabilities and staff to fit your needs and budgets. Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR? Questions to Ask Your PR Firm Twitter Grades 3) Do they maintain an insightful agency blog? 7) How strong and stable is the firm? The agency should have a strong Website Grade, which demonstrates their knowledge and capabilities in search engine optimization, social media and content marketing – all essential competencies of today’s PR firm. Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR Simply check out their LinkedIn profiles and  For agencies that do have blogs, make sure it’s updated regularly (at least once per week) with content that is relevant to its readers, not just agency news and updates (which should be reserved for the media room). You must accept that your brand is now what Google and the social Web say it is, and your PR firm should be adept at protecting and strengthening your brand online. While generating media coverage offline and online is important, that coverage, at the end of the day, must deliver measureable results. 1) How active are the consultants/account managers and agency leaders in social networking, specifically LinkedIn and Twitter? PR should generate an ROI. If a firm can’t tell you how they measure and report their value to you, find a new one. Visit  It is extremely important the lead strategist on your account, as well as the agency’s leaders, be heavily engaged in social networking. If they’re not, how can they possibly provide the strategy, creativity and consultation your business needs to succeed online? Focus on value and results. Your firm should be transparent when it comes to billing rates (or set prices if they are offered), and you should know exactly what services are being provided. 4) How do they measure success?  and see for yourself. Paul Roetzer is founder and president of PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and  Concern yourself less with clippings and impressions and more with search engine rankings, inbound links, Website traffic, leads and sales. These metrics are how PR campaigns should be judged. Don’t forget to share this post! Leading digital/online PR firms will most likely provide content marketing, social media consulting, blogging strategy, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising, as well as evolved forms of publicity, brand marketing and crisis communications. If the agency doesn’t have a blog, just move on. Any PR agency that has yet to integrate a blog into their site is simply too far behind the times and most likely will not bring the value and results your business needs. 5) What are their core services? While many traditional PR agencies were built upon the ability to generate editorial coverage (or publicity) through mainstream media (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines), the leading digital/online PR firms are social-media and SEO savvy, with proven track records for generating website traffic, inbound links and leads. for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter. Download the free webinar As with any outside provider, it is essential to evaluate the agency’s leadership, client base and financial viability. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions before entering into a relationship. 2) What’s their Website Grade? Do Your Homework . Originally published Jan 21, 2009 9:05:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Also, be sure the blog is hosted on their domain, and not someone else’s (e.g. Blogspot, Typepad, etc.). Hosting it on another domain may imply they don’t understand the search engine value of blogging and content marketing. PR firm @paulroetzer .last_img read more

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SXSW: Brian Solis – How Your Brand Can Succeed on The Web

first_img from the bottom-up within organizations. Social media gives businesses the opportunity to check perception and reality related to brands.  The social web democratizes the influence and how brands are perceived.  Solis referenced his FutureWorks suggests that you leverage features that have an impact on customers such as providing relevant tips, like social bread crumbs. If you are attending SXSW, be sure to check-in to Solis says . Today, at one of the first sessions of South By South West Interactive, Solis along with Jeremiah Owyang , Altimeter Group HubSpot’s Virtual Booth the opportunity to learn from its customers in order to improve its service. and check out our full SXSW content feed at Comcast The social web has changed how businesses interact with customers and has raised the bar for customer expectations. Solis believes that individuals are defining a new era of society and how we ultimately communicate with one another. The Web has brought a new level of transparency to business. Offline and online interactions combine to serve the overall brand of your business. by social media Comcast Solis brought panelists onto the stage with him to point out examples of companies using social media well to improve their businesses. Comcast Foursquare Originally published Mar 12, 2010 4:54:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 social media is causing corporate change Download the free video Solis highlighted research pointing out that women dominate usage on the social web and that they must be considered when marketing to and Dennis Crowley from Eliason : : than technology according to Solis. Understanding how people communicate with each other is a key to marketing success, and social media provides insight into what people care about and information they want from businesses.  People become fans of businesses online because brands offer and continue to provide value. Solis says that companies must have social media style guides to help the brand thrive on the social web. Having a clear voice online is important to engaging potential customers. Some companies using social media to market their businesses are missing an opportunity because they are driving people from social sites to boring static websites that don’t offer a valuable experience for potential customers. Frank from is principal of Video: How to Use Social Media to Attract More Customers and learn how to generate more business using social media. influencers Foursquare to illustrate the conversations that can happen on the social web. Engage gave key insights for businesses looking to succeed on the Web to a pack room of marketing and public relations professionals. http://blog.hubspot.com/sxsw Cases of Success addressed that social media gave as a place where people connect with people they want to meet in real life. As a marketer, : Social media is more about sociology and psychology . More than 1,500 businesses are currently providing offers to customers for visiting their business and using Foursquare by providing discounts and free goods. Dennis from Foursquare shared that by their one year anniversary, they now have 540,000 users. He defined Owyang FourSquare Jeremiah Comcast talked about the need to scale customer interactions for businesses. He noted that social media customer management software that will integrate social conversations into conversation prism , an award-winning new media marketing and branding agency in Silicon Valley.  He is also the author of the new book, punked Foursquare Learn how to use social media to attract more customers. Foursquare . CRM data will help companies scale online interactions. Customers don’t care about what department you are in; they want their problem solved. Jeremiah argued that customer support should report to marketing instead of technical services. He also mentioned a post he wrote about brands who got Brian Solis has 11 people on their customer service team to help monitor and address customer issues that are shared online. Frank points out that improving service can help to improve marketing and public relations because it has an impact on all facets of business. Measuring customer service should not be about the lowest handle time; it should be about solving problems. Frank says that companies need a chief customer officer to change the approach of how customers are prioritized within a business. . Companies need to get the organization ready from a policy and organizational standpoint.  Social media empowers customers not to make mistakes when making purchasing decisions, meaning companies need to pay attention to word-of-mouth.  Frank One example that was given: local businesses earlier this year started rewarding customers for using social network and helping information to spread online. Topics: Brand Management 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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Google Introduces Analytics App Store

first_img marketing analytics .  You may come across an app that lets you organize your analytics in a way that helps you get more out of measuring your marketing.  The gallery is chock full of tools to help Analytics users understand their web stats.  It is currently divided into 12 categories, including business intelligence, campaign management, content management, data collection, e-commerce, , mobile solutions, phone call tracking, reporting tools, Originally published May 5, 2010 12:57:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 they should be Google’s Analytics Application Gallery Learn how to measure the effectiveness of Your web site. If you’re a Google Analytics user, take some time to browse the new gallery and check out Google’s Topics: If you’re a marketer, web analytics (different from  Today’s launch of will hopefully make it a little easier. The new gallery offers applications that extend Google Analytics’ reach deeper into specific areas like eCommerce and content management.  search optimization ).  Analytics help you determine how each of your initiatives are performing and can indicate whether you need to change or improve upon your existing programs.  In a nutshell, web and marketing analytics ) are a significant part of your marketing programs (and if they aren’t, Google Analytics Have you taken a look around the gallery? Are any of the offered tools useful to you? Share some of your favorite Google Analytics apps in the comments below. help you determine the ROI of your marketing efforts. Why is this helpful for marketers? Editor’s Picks email marketing Download the free video Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Trying to get more out of your Google Analytics? , site audit, and widgets & gadgets.  Currently, there are 38 available apps, though this number will continue to rise as developers submit their new apps to the gallery. to learn how to measure the effectiveness of your web site. Video: Marketing Analytics 101: How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Websitelast_img read more

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How to Build Better Buyer Personas to Drive Killer Content

first_img Buyer Personas Originally published Jan 25, 2012 11:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Pick any day of the week, and there’s one thing on every inbound marketer’s to-do list:  creating new content . Marketers used to create content only when it suited their company’s internal needs – say, when they had a new product to promote. Well, inbound marketing forces you to give up that approach. But constantly coming up with new content can be overwhelming, and if you panic and start pushing out content that’s a bad fit for your audience, you risk attracting the wrong kind of visitor while driving away high-quality prospects.That’s why, like publishers, inbound marketers must have a detailed picture of their target audience in order to create optimal content for them. The best way to understand your audience is to build buyer personas with these 3 steps: segment by demographics, identify their needs, and develop behavior-based profiles. 1. Segment by Demographics Who are your ideal customers and prospects? What are their biggest concerns, needs, and interests? Where can you reach them – on search engines , social media , or blogs – and what kinds of content do they prefer? These types of questions will help you develop buyer personas. Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.Start developing personas by researching your existing customer base to identify the most common buyers for your products and services. You may have several different types of buyers, so give each one a detailed description, including name, job title or role, industry or company info, and demographic info.For example, a community bank’s biggest customers may include small business owners and mothers managing the bank accounts for a family of four. In this case, the bank’s marketers might name these personas “Business Owner Bob” and “Martha, the Busy Mom,” and extrapolate details about their responsibilities, the typical size of their business or household income, what geographic region they’re in, and so on. 2. Identify Their Needs Based on those profiles, you can outline the pains, needs, and challenges of each persona by asking yourself several important questions: What are the biggest problems they are trying to solve? What do they need most? What information are they typically searching for? What trends are influencing their business or personal success? Analyzing the path that prospects take on the journey to becoming a customer is a great way to get insights about the needs and challenges of your target audience. If you use a marketing platform like HubSpot , you can see which search terms brought prospects to your site, how long they stayed on your site, which pieces of content they viewed, and which forms they’ve filled out. Such lead intelligence will help you make better decisions when identifying the characteristics of your ideal customers and ways to nurture your new prospects. 3. Develop Behavior-Based Profiles Next, develop a profile of each persona’s typical online behavior. You know who they are and what their needs are, now think about all the ways they research a potential purchase on your site or on others. Here are suggestions of the questions you should ask:What do they do online? Do they read blogs? Are they active on  Twitter , Facebook , or other social networks? What kind of search terms do they use? Are they email newsletter subscribers?What kind of information do they tend to consume online? Educational pieces? Trend articles? Interactive tools like calculators or worksheets? Do they watch videos or listen to podcasts?Which of your products do they spend the most time researching? How do they use those products?The result of this process should be a detailed description of your personas’ demographics, needs, and behavior. The more detail you pack into your persona development, the easier it will be to create content for each of your target customer segments and know where to promote it.Don’t look now, but you just put yourself on the path to a killer content strategy. This post is an adapted excerpt from our free ebook,  A Practical Guide to Killer Marketing Content .  To learn more about keeping those great content ideas flowing,  download the free ebook here! 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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How to Master the Connect Call

first_imgThe sales connect is the most transferrable skill to master. If you master the connect, you can begin mastering so many other important life skills — sorority rush, dinner party schmoozing, networking events, and even the first date.In sales, the connect is your opportunity to make that first impression on your prospect — the first time that you’re catching someone live on the phone. And the last thing you want is for it to be the last time. So, what should you say?Free Download: 101 Sales Qualification QuestionsA connect call is about getting to know your prospect. Think about when you meet someone new at a dinner party — the first conversation you have is about introductions and learning the basics without being overbearing or creating a tell-all confessional too soon. Similarly, in the sales world, we use a connect call in order to begin understanding whom we’re talking to, what she cares about, and whether we have anything in common that we can get value out of discussing. We ask questions to find out what she’s working on, how that fits in with her company’s greater business goals, what’s tough about her day, whether that’s something we can help with, and whether she even wants anyone’s help in the first place.The goal of a connect with any person is to strike up a good conversation, get to know what makes them tick, and walk away knowing whether you want to continue that conversation at a later point in time. The goal of a sales connect call is exactly the same, with an added emphasis on determining whether there’s any way you can help a prospect with a need that her business has prioritized addressing.A Few ClarificationsBefore we jump into the methodology for running a sales connect, it may be helpful to describe some common pitfalls that should not find their way into your connects. OR … before discussing what a connect actually entails, let’s highlight what it should never become.The connect is NOT an opportunity for an elevator pitch. Remembering this takes discipline, because many times the prospect will insist that you provide one. If the prospect asks you for a high-level sale, give them a high-level overview instead. Resist the urge to talk about your product for 20 minutes straight. Practice conveying what you do in 2 sentences or less; then learn how to pivot back into your intended playbook.Secondly, this is NOT an opportunity to budget-qualify someone as quickly as possible. There are no shortcuts in a strong and thorough sales process, so I’d encourage you to over-invest in the front end of the sales process here. The last thing you want to do is to pass on a potentially qualified opportunity because you’re trying to cut to the chase too quickly. How would you feel if you met someone at a party and they asked you what your salary is within the first few minutes of conversation? Keep that in mind, and don’t jump the gun.The Connect Call PlaybookThe art of the connect is to uncover a prospect’s pain points and determine whether there’s any way you can help address these struggles. This is achieved through a combination of expressing genuine interest, active listening, and abiding by the guidelines in the following playbook:1) SalutationsKeep your introductions short and sweet: “Hi, this is Dannie calling you from HubSpot.” (PAUSE)A brief pause after stating your company name allows you to gauge your prospect’s reaction to/familiarity with your company. Does he sound happy to hear from you? Does he recognize your company name? Does he sound like he’s anticipating a sales pitch?2) Address ResistanceWhen you’re calling someone who’s not expecting your call, her natural reaction is to feel guarded. She is assuming you’re calling with an agenda, and will often be eager to get off the phone. Addressing resistance allows us to earn permission to continue the conversation, despite this initial reaction. Try the strategy of ‘going negative’ on a prospect from the very outset of the phone call by saying something like “sounds like I caught you at a bad time.” Nine times out of 10, they’ll swoop in to save you and insist that now is actually an okay time. At that point, you’ve earned yourself permission to continue the conversation.3) Leverage Past Prospect ActivityHow did you find this prospect? Had she downloaded a whitepaper from your company’s website? Use the prospect’s recent actions as a conversation starting point: “I noticed that you downloaded our ebook on XYZ best practices. What were you looking for help with when you stumbled upon that ebook? What’d you think of it?” By referencing something the prospect has done, you are creating relevancy and are showing her that you’ve done your research and reminding her that she was, indeed, looking for help with something your company created content around.  4) Build RapportBe a human first, and a salesperson second. Your prospect’s day may be extremely monotonous, and your phone call should be an opportunity to liven it up. Spend some time building rapport by bonding about anything you can find in common (and do your very best to find some unexpected commonality that’s more creative than today’s weather). If you have your prospect’s website open, look at what city they’re located in. Have you traveled there recently? Did you go to any fun restaurants while in town? Did you notice anything particularly charming about the architecture? Did your prospect grow up there or relocate for work? Have some fun getting to know the stranger on the other end of the phone. The more you can establish some sort of commonality, the easier it will lower the prospect’s guard and ask some probing questions down the road.5) Gather ContextNow that you’ve built some rapport with the person on the other end of the line, take the opportunity to naturally segue into some questions about their business and their job role. Here’s an example: “So like I said, I’m on your website, and now I’m checking out your services page. Looks like your company specializes in XYZ services, is that right? What’s your role at the company? How long have you been there? Are you liking it? Interesting — so what does your day typically entail? Does your company focus on selling to any specific industry verticals? Interesting — how’d you choose those?”The more context you have, the better you can paint a picture of the world your prospect is operating in. Who do they like doing business with? Can you help get them in front of businesses like that? You need to be able to visualize as much of their business context as possible in order to choose which positioning statements have the best chance of resonating with them — and in order to keep the rest of our conversation as relevant as possible to their priorities.5) Introduce Positioning Statement(s)The purpose of a positioning statement is to make your prospect say, “That’s me. How did you know?”Positioning statements help you show your prospects that you understand their pain points. You’re showing them that you’ve been around the block and that you’ve seen similar companies go through similar struggles. The implication is that you’ve found a way to help them through that struggle. This should pique a prospect’s interest and convince them that they could learn from you. Here’s an ad-lib example: “A lot of time, when I talk to companies like yours, they’re really good at ________, but they struggle to ________ for the following reasons: _____, _____, or _____.”Positioning statements are not one-size-fits all, and it’s all too possible that the one you tried out doesn’t resonate with the prospect. Have a list of three to four different positioning statements on hand, and use them as a chance to do two things: 1) show active listening by paraphrasing their current situation as they described it, and 2) determine whether they can relate to scenarios you’ve helped similar companies address. Use tie-down questions at the end of a positioning statement to determine whether you’ve successfully identified a pain point worth digging into. For example: “Can you relate to that? How so?” Now it’s time for the prospect to do some more of the talking.6) Dig Deeper Into Pain PointsWhile positioning statements may lead the prospect to certain conclusions, short, open-ended follow-up questions allow prospects to continue the conversation and articulate their struggles in their own words. The shorter the question, the more freedom you provide your prospect for putting things in her own words. Here are some good ones: “How so? Tell me about which part of that statement resonated with you. Is that a big problem? Do you have a plan to fix this? Do you think that’ll work?”Asking an open-ended question after you hear a prospect affirm that a positioning statement resonated with her allows her to open up and do some talking about her challenges. This helps paint a picture of the context they’re operating in, and allows you, the salesperson, to start getting a better idea of how you may be able to help the prospect.7) Validate Desire for Help”That’s something that I’ve helped a lot of similar companies overcome. If that’s something we could give you some guidance about, would you be open to receiving and implementing our help?”Use a soft tie-down to make sure that you’re not about to spin your wheels providing unsolicited advice in follow-up calls or meetings. You will be using different forms of tie-downs throughout the sales process to confirm that whatever you’re about to help the prospect with is a top priority to invest time and money into, and this is your first shot at getting this affirmation.If you’re feeling particularly bold, you can even ask the prospect what’s held him or her back from getting any help up until now. This will begin to help answer the critical question: “Why now?”8) Suggest Concrete Next StepsBe specific here. Set expectations properly. If you operate on a monthly sales cycle, encourage the prospect to take a follow-up call that same week. If you’re going to set up a GoToMeeting for your next phone call but don’t intend to demo your product, make sure the prospect knows what you do plan to cover during the next call and why that will ultimately be valuable for him. Try this: “I hope this conversation was valuable to you. Do you want to schedule some time on Thursday of this week to dig a little deeper into what you’re hoping to achieve within this facet of your business? That can give us a better opportunity to mutually assess if and how we might be able to help.”See what you did there? You reminded the prospect that this conversation was about him, not about you. You set expectations about what you’ll cover during the next call. And even more importantly, you pointed out that sales is a two-way street, and that both parties should be mutually assessing one another to determine if it’s a good fit.Practice Makes PerfectThe more you practice the connect playbook, the more you’ll realize that every connect call can really follow a similar methodology. If you’re nervous about trying it out on a prospect first, then try applying the connect playbook to a real-life situation as you’re making new friends or forging new business connections. When you’re ready to practice the connect in a sales setting, use this methodology to structure your notes. Are there parts that you find yourself repeatedly leaving blank? That’s probably an area that feels a little less comfortable for you, and therefore an area that’s worth doubling down on during practice. No two connect calls will ever be exactly the same, but mastering a repeatable structure should make every new sales job a little bit easier.Have some tactics that have worked for you? Disagree with any part of this methodology? Share your comments below.   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 Aug 21, 2013 6:00:00 PM, updated October 29 2019 Inbound Sales (Marketing) Topics:last_img read more

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The Complete Guide to Updating and Republishing Outdated Blog Content

first_img Originally published Sep 9, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Blog Optimization   Add any new best practices that have emerged (and remove “best practices” that are no longer so). Every once in a while, things need to be updated. Your mailing address, your wardrobe, your hairstyle, your media collection. Things get outdated, stale, and irrelevant — it’s just the way of our constantly changing world.Unfortunately, your marketing content is no exception. Over time, what once was an accurate, fresh piece of content becomes, well … not so much.Luckily, just like it’s easy enough to change your address, go shopping for stylish new clothes, get a brand new haircut, or buy new music, it’s also pretty easy to update your content. And doing so can help you extend the life of your popular, high-performing content as well as save you the time and resources from creating content from scratch. Not too shabby, huh?So sit back, read on, and learn all about how you should approach and execute the process of updating and republishing your outdated blog content. Your blog readers will thank you for it.Updating Old Content? Why Bother?If you’ve been blogging for a while, I’m willing to bet you’ve got some old, stale content lurking in the shadows of your blog. But why should you care? That stuff is buried deep in the depths of your blog, and no one is going to see it anyway. Right?Wrong.As you probably know, one of the main benefits of blogging is the search engine optimization (SEO) value it provides. In fact, earlier this month, I analyzed traffic to this very blog and found that in July 2013, 69% of the blog post visits we received in July were to blog posts published prior to July. That’s a lot of traffic. And it makes sense considering that 45% of the traffic to our blog in July came from organic search. This means that any given moment, someone could stumble upon a blog post you wrote months (even years) ago that ranks well in search. This is one of the biggest advantages of blogging — content that continues to drive results in terms of traffic and leads over time. But if that searcher doesn’t bother to check the date/time stamp on that blog post, they might have no idea they’re reading outdated and possibly inaccurate information. Yikes. Okay, that’s one good reason. The other reason is that not everyone who is reading your blog now, was reading your blog months and years ago. And even if they were, it also doesn’t mean they read every single article you published. By updating and resurfacing some of your older yet high-performing evergreen posts, you can extend the life of your best blog content as well as increase the results it continues to achieve over time.Finally, it’s often much easier and quicker to update and republish an old post than it is to write a new post from scratch. While I wouldn’t recommend you do this for every post you publish — you should still be publishing lots of new, original content — this is a great way to shave some valuable time off your content creation efforts while still maintaining a consistent publishing frequency. How to Choose Which Posts to UpdateOkay, hopefully now I’ve convinced you of the value of updating and republishing updated blog content. But what’s your plan of attack? How should you decide which posts are worth it to resurface? Here are some important variables to consider:1) Identify your top-performing posts.Let your analytics be your guide here. In general, focus on posts that are backed by some good-looking metrics, such as:Inbound Links: According to our resident SEO expert Rebecca Churt, this is the most important metric to look at, since it is most indicative of search authority. Which of your posts have a lot of inbound links?Traffic: My recommendation is to look at your blog analytics, and specify the last full month as your time frame. (HubSpot Customers: Look in Page Performance.) Which old posts are still generating a lot of traffic for you? Social Shares: The number of social shares a post has generated is also a good indicator of a high-performing post — particularly since social shares factor into search rankings, too. To determine how many social shares a post has, enter its URL into LinkTally.com, a free tool created by HubSpot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella that tells you how many times a URL has been shares on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter. Keywords: Use updating and republishing content as a way to support your keyword strategy. Are there certain keywords you’re trying to rank better in search for? Use a keyword (like HubSpot’s Keywords tool or Google Analytics) to identify keyword ranking opportunities. Do you have any posts that already rank for these keywords? Could you improve their ranking positions?2) Consider content relevancy and trending topics.In addition to a metrics-driven selection approach, you should also consider content relevancy and trending topics. In fact, depending on your content strategy and marketing goals, updating content for the sake of these two variables may actually trump a metrics-driven approach from time to time. For instance, we recently found that a lot of our prospects and customers were asking questions about local search. While we’d already published a post about this very topic, it had become a little outdated (and buried on our blog). Rather than create a new post from scratch (and risk rubbing Google the wrong way with duplicate content), we decided to update and republish that original post — even thought our metrics may not have indicated it was a good target for updating.Best Practices for Updating and Republishing PostsOkay, once you’ve identified the posts you want to update, it’s time to actually update them! Here are some best practices to consider.1) Use the same post, and keep URL the same.Rather than publishing an additional article on your blog — which could result in a ding from search engines for duplicate content — modify the original article. Because this article is live, I usually copy/paste the post into a new draft, make my changes there, and then copy/paste the HTML back into the original post when I’m ready to re-publish the original article (more on that in just a minute). While you may be tempted to update the post’s URL slug, it’s important to keep the URL the same, even if your software automatically creates a redirect. Redirects will remove some of the link value, so it’s best to just keep it as is.2) If you change the title, keep keywords.If you feel compelled to update the post’s title, try to avoid changing it drastically from the original. While the URL is more important to keep the same than the title, if you really need to change the title, do your best to keep your keywords in there.3) Add an editor’s note for transparency.It’s a great idea to add a little editor’s note at the bottom of your updated post — if for no other reason, then for transparency’s sake. This is particularly a good idea if your post has accumulated a lot of comments; your readers will be confused if the publish date is current, but there are comments from months or years ago. Here’s an example of what we typically include at the end of our republished posts:4) Update the content for accuracy.Yup. The name of the game here is accuracy. Over time, there are quite a few things about a piece of content that can get stale and out of date. Evaluate the post for accuracy and determine what needs to be modified, added, or removed. The first thing I usually do is delete any parts of a post that are no longer relevant, and add headers for new sections that need to be added or replaced. Then I go through the post in its entirety to fill in the blanks and make my changes. Here is a checklist of things you should keep in mind as you’re updating your content: Topics:   Update the post’s call-to-action (CTA). Evaluate whether your CTA’s offer is still the best option for this post. Do you have a better article? Is the CTA’s creative out-of-date?5) Optimize the post’s meta description.Review the post’s meta description. Is it still accurate? Can you update it to make it a little catchier? Remember, meta descriptions don’t affect the ranking of your content, but they can impact its clickthrough rate from search. Make sure your meta description is both an accurate reflection of what’s within the post, and enticing enough to get searchers to click through to your content from search results.6) Republish it! Yay! By now, you should have an awesomely updated piece of content that’s ready for publishing. While the process of actually publishing your content will vary depending on the blogging software you use, I’m going to share some tips for doing it using HubSpot’s Blogging tool.Replace the old content with new content. This will probably be the same no matter what software you use. Like I mentioned, I usually copy/paste the HTML from my new draft to replace the copy in my original article.Wait until you want to publish the “new” post to update its date/time. If you’re using HubSpot’s new Blog COS, you’ll want to wait until the specific date/time you want the post to appear on your blog homepage to click “update.” Changing it to a date/time in the future will result in a 404 error for those who stumble upon the article in search before the newly designated publish date/time (not a good thing if your article already ranks well in search results).Send a manual email to instant subscribers. If your blogging software is (or is like) HubSpot, it will only trigger the automatic email notification to subscribers for a post once. This means that if you’re just changing the publish date/time on an already-live article, the email will not get triggered again. However, if you’re using HubSpot’s new Blog COS, there’s no stopping you from creating a manual notification email in HubSpot’s Email tool and sending it to your instant subscriber list. If you use the same template you use for your automatic emails, your subscribers won’t even be able to tell the difference. Plus, you can use the opportunity to run an A/B test!7) Track the before/after performance.Okay — maybe I got a little bit ahead of myself. Before you publish your new post, it’s a good idea to create a record of the post’s “before” stats. That way, you can compare it to the post’s performance after you’ve republished it to understand how your update affected its overall performance. Over time, this might also give you a better idea about which posts are worth targeting for updates. The following are the data and stats I keep track of before and after I republish:Post’s Title (in case I tweak it for the republished version)Post’s URL (just so I have the information in one place)Before/After Publish DatesBefore/After Number of Comments Before/After Number of Inbound Links Before/After Number of Social Shares (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc.)Before/After Post Views (use the month before and the month after as a proxy)Before/After New Contacts/Leads Generated (use the month before and the month after as a proxy)Before/After Keyword Rankings Are you incorporating updated blog posts into your blogging strategy? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.   Remove content that is no longer relevant.   Update outdated copy.   Check and replace internal links (particularly if there are now better resources or lead gen offers for you to link to).   Update screenshots if things have changed (this is particularly important for step-by-step guides, etc.).   Replace outdated data/stats with fresher, more timely ones. Add new, fresh examples or replace outdated ones. 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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Negotiating a Job Offer? 15 Rules From a Harvard Business Professor

first_img Negotiation This post originally appeared on the Opinion section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Opinion.So you’ve been through a few job interviews and now you’re down to brass tacks — you’re negotiating the offer. This can be complex, tricky business — and costly, too, if you don’t do it well.But complexity also creates opportunities, at least for people who have done some homework. Deepak Malhotra is a professor at Harvard Business School who teaches negotiation skills. He’s put together a pretty thorough list of 15 rules to follow when you’re negotiating a job offer, which I highly recommend.”Every situation is unique, but some strategies, tactics, and principles can help you address many of the issues people face in negotiating with employers,” Malhotra writes in a must-read article in the Harvard Business Review.After reading the article you might also want to watch a one-hour video where Malhotra gives a presentation about how to negotiate a job offer. You can see that here: 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 26, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017center_img Topics: Malhotra’s first rule, “Don’t underestimate the importance of likability,” may not come as a big surprise to most normal people, but remember, Malhotra is not advising normal people, he’s advising Harvard Business School students, many of whom actually do need to be told this. Another neat piece of advice is, “Negotiate multiple issues simultaneously, not serially.” If there are four things you want, mention them all at once, and let the employer know the relative importance of each one. The thing you don’t want to do is just bring up one thing, such as salary, then go back and forth on that one point, and then say, “Okay, now here’s the next thing on my list.” Do that, and the employer “is unlikely to remain in an understanding or generous mood,” Malhotra writes.Other rules include: Understand the person across the table. Understand that this person has constraints in terms of what she can offer, and know what those constraints are. Consider the whole deal, not just salary. And avoid ultimatums. And another favorite: “Don’t negotiate just to negotiate.” Apparently this is a big problem for freshly minted MBA students. They’ve just taken courses in negotiation, so “they go bargaining berserk the first chance they get, which is with a prospective employer,” Malhotra writes. If something is important, then sure, fight for it. But don’t haggle over every little thing, just to show that you can.”Fighting to get just a bit more can rub people the wrong way.”last_img read more

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The Rocket Science of Social Media Marketing

first_img Social Media Marketing At NASA, one of the world’s leading space associations, social media marketing and rocket science combine in a way that could shock even the most weathered social marketer. The organization manages more than 500 social accounts. Imagine what their analytics must look like!From broad agency accounts to specific accounts dedicated to certain NASA missions, their social media isn’t selling products or services, but rather inspiration.NASA has nailed down an elusive social media success around an incredibly complicated and naturally curious topic. Even with so many different accounts, NASA has managed to create meaningful connections with followers and spread a consistent message.Although not directly marketing for profit, NASA has developed a strong social media marketing strategy that B2B brands and all marketers can learn from and use in their own content and campaigns.How to Tell Your B2B Brand StoryIf there’s one thing NASA knows—besides the mysteries of space, it’s their own voice. They have cultivated a brand image and tone that is based on history, exciting developments, generating buzz, some professionalism and a nerdy sense of humor.In an environment where voice can vary from platform to platform, this is quite the accomplishment. From quick Twitter quips to informative Instagrams and straightforward Tumblr posts, NASA sprinkles their updates and science lessons with pop culture, striking images and conversational language. This tone complements their mission and still relates to the average follower.To follow NASA’s lead, B2B companies first need to find their voice. This means fully understanding your company, its intention with customers and its future goals.For example, if you want your brand to be community-oriented, write like a community leader who cares. If you want your brand to be strictly professional, keep your tone clinical and simple.The point of even giving your brand a voice is to humanize your company. A personal way of conversing as a brand allows you to participate in conversations naturally with followers.Find your voice by asking yourself the following questions:What do I want to accomplish with my social content? Maybe you want to educate or promote. This answer will guide the voice of your content.What tones complement the voice I want? A tone is an expression of language that supports your overall voice, so find a few that are good for your brand.What emotions are you trying to evoke in your customer? Identifying the emotional connection can help nail down the voice you are looking for.Once you’ve established your voice, you can begin to develop your story. NASA has the advantage of having a built-in story of exploration and discovery, but you can also find the story you want to tell by using themes and hierarchies within your content.Telling a multi-channel story, as NASA does across the many social platforms, all connects back to your central goal. A story, regardless of the form it takes or how it is presented, should be specific in nature and relate to the interests and needs of your customer.Sell the Value, Not the ProductSometimes marketers can get lost in the microscopic focus of selling a specific product or service. Boasting the features of something and harping on its shiny new elements is an easy trap to fall into. But in the long term, it’s not about the minutiae of a single aspect of what you offer.It’s important to take a step back and present the value of your company in a macro sense. For NASA, they have the ability to share information about an up close photo of the surface of Mars or an infinite photo of Saturn’s rings, which is literally a zooming in and out of their content. But from a deeper level, they are trying to inspire their followers and generate genuine interest in their missions and work.Their move to post a photo of dwarf planet Pluto before the official press release of the New Horizons’ results was an impressive show of giving followers excitement and capitalizing on anticipation.They knew the value of NASA is providing these fresh facts to a public with curiosity about the universe. Companies can also deliver social content of a similar vein by discussing the ways their product or service solves problems, avoids issues or brings certain emotions to customers’ lives.Think about how your customers’ lives will be improved by making a purchase with you. Pinpoint a before and after effect to really determine the value of your product or service.You can also use the tactic of value and authenticity in generating leads, improving sales and affecting the company as a whole.Involve Customers in Your ContentAnother strength of NASA’s social media marketing is to not just engage with followers, but to give them the opportunity to be a part of the social movement. B2B companies should also take user-generated content as a viable component of social strategy.The NASA program, called NASA Socials, gets followers involved in learning about and sharing information on the organization’s missions, people and programs. The program hosts events where social followers gather to get a behind-the-scenes look at labs and projects, hear from engineers and astronauts, and can meet fellow NASA enthusiasts.The content these fans create at the event also gives them the understanding they need to make shareable content in the future. When the fans tell the story, NASA’s story becomes more powerful.In a way, this is an even stronger tactic for companies because of the importance and reliability of brand advocacy and loyalty. Testimonials, first-person accounts and user-contributed content tell a more convincing and credible story.Here are a few specific ways you can involve your customers in telling your story:Free TrialOffering your product or service for no cost for a short period of time gets customers comfortable with your company. You can also build in the stipulation that they must share their story on social media to receive the free trial.Case StudyThe most traditional, but one of the most effective, forms of using your customers’ experiences to your benefit is to tell their story in your branding. A case study is proof positive your product or service has performed well in a real setting.Community ForumsFor hyper-specialized industries, it’s good to provide a forum for professionals to gather and discuss your product and new industry trends. You can use the ideas and opinions from the forum for social and blog content fodder.Guest PostsAsking a customer to write a guest post for your blog or to collaborate on content shows a dedication to a partnership and presents your company from a perspective with some weight.Getting your customers involved also shows you consider their input and are working to create an inclusive community. Customers who are part of a like-minded group will have more positive feelings about a company, increasing their word-of-mouth marketing and your sales.Infinity and BeyondNASA has infused their social content with originality, narrative and community. They take their mission in connecting with an interested public as seriously as an astronaut on a mission in space. They use their background in rocket science to good use in an unlikely place.B2B companies should take away important lessons from the visuals, language and content NASA generates. They don’t have to emulate the famous association, but can be inspired by both their images of planets and stars and their brilliant approach to inbound and social media marketing. 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 Aug 9, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

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What Successful Marketing Looks Like Today: 8 Foundational Principles [Infographic]

first_img Originally published Oct 14, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: Marketing Strategy When you think of the basics of marketing, you might be thinking: Okay, create an awesome website; design and send some cool emails; post strategically to social media; maybe supplement with some advertising.But what about the principles behind your campaigns? When you’re planning and doing all of these marketing activities, what motivates your decisions?Today, the most successful marketers aren’t just crossing items off their to-do lists; they’re taking a holistic, adaptive approach to their marketing. They’re elevating the customer experience, building personalized connections, adapting to the evolution of technology, attracting customers to them using inbound marketing, and more.When marketers take this approach, they start creating a better brand experience and driving real business results. To learn more about the eight pillars of modern marketing, check out the infographic below from Olive & Company.191Save191Savelast_img read more

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16 Questions to Ask Before Beginning a Brand Redesign Project

first_imgDid you ever play the telephone game as a kid?A group of kids take turns whispering a single message to the person to their right, and by the time the message reaches the end of the line, it has usually has taken on a completely different meaning then when they began.The telephone game is a perfect metaphor for how communication between agencies and clients can break down during a brand redesign project. Clients might have a clear picture of what they want out of a branding project in their heads, but when it comes to communicating each subtle nuance, many things get left up to interpretation.Free Download: Creative Brief TemplatesA brand redesign project can feel like a high-stakes guessing game for agencies and designers. You present the client with endless drafts and revisions, but there’s always something that isn’t quite right. To help agencies navigate the unique challenges of brand redesign projects, we’ve compiled a list of questions clients should answer before your agency agrees to take on the project. These first set of questions will help you uncover what your client really wants out of the brand redesign project, and the second set will help you deftly navigate the logistics. 16 Questions To Ask Before A Branding ProjectDiscovering Your Client’s Desired Identity for the Brand Redesign1) What do you like about your current brand identity?Before you start redesigning a brand, it’s important to know what specific qualities the client likes about their current brand. Just because they requested a brand redesign doesn’t mean they want to completely scrap what they’ve already built. It’s important to determine which areas of the current brand should be maintained or given just a light update, instead of getting rid of them entirely in the redesign.2) What don’t you like about your current brand identity?In the same vein, it’s also vital to recognize what the client doesn’t like about their current brand. Figuring out what your client is particularly unhappy with will set some initial boundaries for your team. It lets you know what areas of the brand should be given the most attention, and also gives you an early idea of your client’s tastes.3) What’s the story behind your current brand?Brands are driven by storytelling, so agencies need to make the effort to learn their client’s brand story early on. Think of yourself like a Hollywood director tasked with remaking a classic movie: You need to get familiar with the original before you can put your own spin on it — otherwise the remake is sure to fall flat.4) Can you name a few examples of brands you admire?There’s really no way around it: Branding is a fluffy, floaty topic, and it can be challenging for clients to clearly articulate exactly what they want. Asking your client for some examples of other brands they admire (either in their industry or outside it) can help your team start building a more informed vision, and also forces your client to seriously consider what kind of brand they want to be. Make sure you ask them to unpack what specific qualities they admire about the brands.5) Are there any particular adjectives you people to associate with your brand?Asking clients to find a few descriptive terms to characterize their desired brand presence can help them ground their thoughts and put words to abstract ideas. This deceptively simple question will help your agency define an aesthetic scope and understand which qualities to prioritize as you begin the project. 6) Where do you see your brand in 10 years?This question will help your team understand your client’s long-term aspirations, and get a feel for the direction they want to head towards with their branding. It also shows the client that you’re committed to helping them grow their brand, and not just treating this account as a one-off project.Getting acquainted with your client’s target audience7) Who exactly is your ideal client?At the end of the day, the brand you create isn’t just for the client, it’s for their target audience. To make informed design and storytelling choices, your agency needs to make a concerted effort early on to understand the client’s ideal persona. If you find that your client doesn’t have an ideal persona, this can be a great chance to offer additional value by helping them figure out who to target in their marketing efforts. You can download our free buyer persona template here.8) Who are your direct competitors?Agencies need to understand the context in which their clients’ businesses operate. What does the industry look like? How are other companies in the space approaching their marketing and branding? Much of this information can be found through research, but it’s still beneficial to ask your client to define the competition in their own words.9) What are you ideal customers’ biggest pain points?While customer pain points can’t all be completely solved by branding alone, it’s important for agencies launching into a brand redesign to know what exactly their client’s customers struggle with. Having this information can give you agency an idea about how your client needs to position their business through their branding.10) Why should your target audience choose your product or service above your competitors?This question is important because it pushes your client to think about what specific factors makes their business unique. Developing a brand that stands out (especially in a competitive industry) is all about differentiation. And nobody knows what makes your client’s business unique better than their own team. 11) Are there any audiences you aren’t currently reaching that you want to reach with your brand?Even if your client already has a good grasp on who their business best serves, it’s relevant to see if there are any untapped sources of new business they’ve previously had difficulty reaching. Your agency can consider this desirable audience during the branding project to potentially extend your client’s reach.Understanding the Logistics of the Brand Redesign Project12) Who is the key decision-maker on your team?From the outset, your agency should know who on your client’s team will have final approval of the branding project. It’s great to get buy-in from everyone on the client’s team, but if there’s a single person or group of people that have the final say, you’ll want to focus your efforts on keeping them in the loop as the project moves forward.13) What does the approval process look like?The end goal is to get the new brand approved by your client’s team, but how exactly does that work? Make sure you have a good understanding of how your client will review and approve the project so you can see where in the process particular elements are getting stuck or rejected.14) What are the expected deliverables for this project?Branding means a lot of different things to different people. Some clients won’t even have a full idea of what they need out of a branding project at the outset, so it’s important to discuss the tangible products early on and agree on what you’ll be providing. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a web of miscommunication and scope creep. If you want to learn how to avoid scope creep with clients, check out this free ebook.15) What is the budget for this project?Asking about the budget for a branding project up front is a great way to evaluate how important this project is to your client. If they offer an extremely low budget, they probably don’t fully understand the value of branding, and may not be a good fit for your agency.16) What is the expected timeline for this project?A branding project can be a massive undertaking, so it’s vital to set realistic timeline expectations with your clients from the beginning. If they have a tight timeline, you may need to reevaluate the scope of what your agency is able to offer. It’s better to know time limitations right away rather than upset the client later on when you can’t deliver in the window they expected. Originally published Oct 18, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017 Topics: Rebranding Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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Personal Branding: The Ultimate A to Z Guide

first_imgWhen you’re looking for a job, you should expect to be Googled.When you’re trying to land a speaking engagement for a big industry event, you should expect to be Googled.When you send a guest contributor pitch to a blog you admire, you should expect to be Googled.The truth is, anyone that may end up working with you in some capacity wants to get a good idea of your work and your personality before responding to your email or getting you to schlep all the way into the office.Click here for free professional bio tips & templates that will get you noticed.That’s where you personal brand comes in. Your personal brand refers to the way you present or market yourself, your skills, and your work. And if you want to get past that initial Google search, you’re going to want to develop a personal brand that accurately reflects what you’re capable of.That’s why we put together the A to Z guide below. From consistency to networking, we’ll walk you through all of the elements that go into defining an impressive personal brand so you can feel good about those Google search results.The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding 1) A: AuthenticityBuilding a brand around you requires quite a bit of soul searching. In the process, you’ll likely learn a lot about who you are, what you value, what your strengths (and weaknesses) are, and so on. These are all elements of your authentic self.When working on your personal brand, be sure to tap in to those layers — those things that make you, you.2) B: BioYour professional bio provides a clear and concise summary of your professional background that can be used to represent you across a ton of different mediums — blog posts, social media, a speaker profile, etc. In many cases, it serves as a first impression — which is why it plays such an important part in defining your personal brand.Trouble is, most people fail to keep it updated.”A short, professional bio is one of those things most people don’t think about until, all of a sudden, we’ve been asked to ‘shoot one over via email’ and have approximately one afternoon to come up with it,” explains HubSpot’s Lindsay Kolowich.Don’t fall into this trap. If you need help ensuring your bio reflects your best professional self, check out our free professional bio guide, complete with plug-and-play templates to help you get started.3) C: ConsistencyThanks to the internet, discoverabilityOne example of how to exercise consistency in your personal branding would be to align your username across all of your social channels. This approach is more memorable and it makes it easy for folks searching for you across platforms to surface the right account quickly. Just be sure the username you choose reads professional.Think: RoseJMills across everything instead of MissRose8794, RosiexMills87, and RJM8794.In addition to username, employing a consistent headshot across your online accounts is also a personal branding best practice. Take a look at how HubSpot Co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah sticks with the same headshot across his Twitter, LinkedIn, and Inbound.org profile: Job Search Topics: 18) R: ReputationWhen it comes to reputation as part of your personal branding efforts, there are two key areas you want to focus on:1) Your online reputationThe process for making most major decisions starts with a Google search. And when it comes to your personal brand, your online presence can and will reveal a lot about you, your work, and what it’s like to work with you.To keep tabs on your online reputation, set up a Google Alert for your name so you receive a notification every time you appear in a piece of content. This is a great way to track positive mentions of your name and your brand, while keeping a close eye on fires you may need to resolve.2) Your offline reputationYour offline reputation is determined by several factors including, the quality of your work, the way you treat other people, the way you respond to feedback, and the impact you’ve made on others.To achieve positive outcomes in all of these areas, you need to be committed to constant improvement by tapping into your self-awareness and self-regulation to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.19) S: Social MediaFor many people, personal brand and social media go hand in hand. In other words, if you want to establish a personal brand, you need to establish a social media presence to support it.That being said, simply having social profiles that you post to regularly isn’t enough. You have to be strategic about your social output — what you post, when you post, and why you post — to ensure that it reflects the behaviors and values that anchor your personal brand.Here are a few of our favorite tips for using social media to advance your brand:Follow people you admire. What types of content are they posting? How frequently? How do they engage with their followers? Make note of their strategy and look for nuggets that you can incorporate into your own.Align your title, username, and headshot across platforms. We mentioned this up in the consistency section, but it bears repeating. Make it easy for folks to identify you and what you do by maintaining consistent identifiers across accounts.Post often. Part of building a memorable brand boils down to properly setting expectations. Commit to posting at least once a day on particular channels so people can rely on your for consistent, fresh updates.20) T: TrustA great way to build trust and advance your personal brand is to ask those you have a strong professional relationship with to write a recommendation or testimonial that you can then use across your website or social accounts.Here’s a great example from experience marketing professional John Bonini’s personal website:Stumped on whom to ask for a testimonial? Try to capture a variety of people — managers, folks you manage, contacts at other companies you’ve worked closely with, etc.21) U: Unique Value PropositionAs a professional, what problem do you solve? What value do you add? How do you make a difference?Asking yourself questions like the ones above will help you determine your unique value proposition — a pivotal piece of your personal branding strategy.Think of your unique value proposition as the key differentiator that people will use to evaluate your personal brand and determine what makes you the most qualified person to do XYZ. You can use this on your resume, in a LinkedIn summary, or on your professional website.22) V: VisibilityOnce you have a foundation for your personal brand, it’s time to spread the word.One of the best ways to increase your visibility is through a strategic content strategy, where you’re focused on delivering your unique value through the mediums that matter to your audience. This could be blog posts, courses, email campaigns, video content, webinars, etc.Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven, has done an impressive job increasing his visibility on LinkedIn through his #AllenAsks video series that has helped him grow his followership from a few thousand to over 35,000…. plus it certainly doesn’t hurt your credibility when you’re creating content with Mark Cuban. Nicely done, Allen.23) W: Well-roundedThis one may seem a little confusing at first. After all, your personal brand is typically centered around the one thing you do better than everyone else, right?In most cases, yes. You want to become known for one thing — like being an expert in classical music or a seasoned pastry chef. However, there are advantages to knowing and owning your niche, while also maintaining a basic understanding of a variety of unrelated topics.Why waste brainpower on broadening your knowledge? It’s simple: Knowing a little bit about everything makes you more relatable. It makes it easy for you to talk to people, which in turn, makes it easier for you to build connections that can advance your person brand.24) X: X FactorSimilar to your unique value prop, your “x factor” is the thing you bring to the table that your competitors or other folks in your industry do not.Think of it as your very own disruptor.Maybe you have access to an extensive network of influencers that are willing to work with you on projects, or you’ve been recognized as the top content marketer of the year for three years running. Whatever your “x factor” may be, it’s your job to bake it in to your personal brand.25) Y: YearWe’ll admit it, coming up with a term for ‘Y’ was a little challenging, but this one is actually important.Make a conscious effort to update all of your personal branding assets — resume, professional bio, LinkedIn summary, author bio, personal website, etc. — on a yearly basis as a best practice for maintaining an up-to-date professional narrative.If nothing else, this will help you avoid all of those “Oh sorry, I don’t work there anymore” emails.26) Z: ZealousIf you’ve made it this far, well, we’re impressed. Thanks for sticking with us.You must really be really zealous in the pursuit of personal branding knowledge. And that’s an admirable trait. Why don’t you try working it into your professional bio?What are your best personal branding tips? Share them with us on Twitter @HubSpot. Originally published Nov 9, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 4) D: DirectionWhen it comes to determining the success of your personal branding efforts, how will you know when you’re making progress?This is where the importance of direction comes in.Some of the most accomplished professionals have a clear sense of direction. This includes well-defined goals, a long-term vision, and a handful of vehicles to drive that vision forward.Before you make any major personal brand plays, stop to think about the professional direction you want to go in and then plan your next steps accordingly.5) E: EvolutionaryOld Spice. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Instagram.Source: Logo InspirationsThese are all hugely successful names that have undergone dramatic rebrands over the years. And there’s something to be said about their willingness to change and evolve.Much like these brands, it’s important that you keep a close eye on the success and relevance of your personal branding strategy and pivot accordingly.As you develop new skills, consider how you might evolve your brand to reflect that. Similarly, as certain mediums for promoting your brand fizzle, invest in new ones. Your personal brand should be consistent, yet constantly evolving to reflect the most current, accurate representation of you.6) F: FocusRome wasn’t built in a day — and you shouldn’t expect your personal brand to be either. Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry or a noteworthy resource for any given subject requires a focused approach to delivering value to your audience while upholding your unique values.In other words, don’t expect overnight results. Instead, focus on what you can do today to strengthen your personal brand tomorrow.7) G: GrowthConsider the skills you already posses and the skills you want to build to advance your brand. If you have a fairly large skill gap to fill in order to achieve your desired outcome, it’s important to have a plan for prioritization.As you move towards mastering the skills on your “to-do” list, start by ranking each one by highest growth potential. In other words, which skills do you need to tackle first to make the biggest impact on your overall brand? Which skills are going to help you grow the most?Start there.8) H: HumanThink about the last time you scrolled through Twitter. We’re willing to bet that for every profound, original post from one of the folks you are following, there were about 20-30 automated tweets with a blog post title and a link.While there’s nothing wrong with automating aspects of your online presence — social, email outreach, etc. — it’s important that you’re strategic about how you go about it.Here are a few rules of thumb to help you strike the right balance:Don’t: Share just a link to an article. Instead, add color commentary. Share the article and share your thoughts on it.Do: Ask questions of your audience. No matter what the platform, inviting your audience to participate in a conversation with you will help you get to know them and better position yourself as a trusted authority.Don’t: Send the same pitch to everyone. Take the time to do some research. The more personalized your outreach is, the more willing folks will be to give you a shot — whether it be a guest post, a consultation, etc.Looking for an example of someone with a human social media presence? Give Ann Handley a follow:9) I: InterviewsHere’s a piece of sage advice: Say ‘yes’ to every single interview you’re offered — whether it be for a potential job, a podcast, an article, etc.Depending on the nature of the interview, there are a few potential personal branding wins to gain by simply saying yes.For job interviews …Even if you’re not interested in the position on the table, going through the interview process can serve as a great exercise for refining and practicing your professional pitch, as it provides you with an opportunity to sell yourself and your skills.What’s more, the feedback you receive from the interviewer can be extremely helpful in improving your personal brand. For example, if the interviewer questions a particularly weak part of your resume, you may identify an opportunity for improvement or clarity.For podcast or written interviews …If you’re comfortable talking about your industry or area of expertise, landing an interview — whether it is audio or written — is a really smart way to gain exposure for your personal brand.Depending on the spot you land, an interview can help you get your name in front of a large audience — one you may have not had access to otherwise. And in many cases, one interview can open the door for another. Momentum for the win.10) J: Join Thanks to the internet and social media, there is no shortage of professional groups to get involved with. And aside from the obvious networking aspect, joining these groups can be extremely beneficial when it comes to growing your personal brand.How so?Joining a community or group centered around something you’re passionate about and want to be known for can help you:Develop new skillsImprove ideasEstablish yourself as a resourceGain inspirationDon’t know where to start? Here’s an overview of how to find and join a group on LinkedIn.11) K: KnowledgeIn many cases, your personal brand is rooted in your knowledge in any given area. And knowledge can go a long way in helping you establish credibility with an audience.If you have a personal website, which we recommend for anyone looking to advance their personal brand, use that as a platform to highlight your expertise and share information with others. By volunteering your insight through blog posts, ebooks, or case studies, you are demonstrating your willingness to help.Marketer and entrepreneur Sujan Patel runs an inspiring blog where he gives away a ton of professional advice for companies focused on scaling growth. As a result, he’s become known as a trusted resource with a “mind for marketing.”12) L: LeadershipAnyone in a leadership position will tell you that personal branding comes with the territory.Think about it: It’s important that you are committed to developing yourself before you can prove that you can help others develop in their careers, right?This means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, honing your emotional intelligence, understanding how you like to receive feedback, and so on. All of these aspects contribute to your leadership style, which ultimately plays a role in defining your personal brand.13) M: MissionIt’s a best practice for companies to define a mission statement that sets the stage for what they do and, perhaps or importantly, why they do it. This statement serves as a guiding light, pushing those in the organization to uphold the company’s values and purpose.When it comes to personal branding, defining a statement that is specific to your professional development can be equally as effective.Before you sit down to write yours, take some time to reflect on the following questions:What are your personal career goals?What core values do you hold?What does success look like to you?What are you most passionate about? Why?14) N: NetworkWant to earn guest posting slots? Speaking gigs? Awards and recognition? All of these personal branding milestones require you to start by doing one thing: meeting people.By networking and building relationships on a regular basis, you’re constantly inviting new people in that have the potential to shape your brand by offering new opportunities for personal and professional growth.Need help kickstarting your networking schedule? HubSpot’s Chief People Officer Katie Burke suggests playing “Evenbrite Roulette.””Search for events happening in your area in the upcoming week and attend the third event that shows up on the page,” she advises. 15) O: OpinionA lot of people shy away from infusing their opinion into their personal brand, as they worry they might alienate part of their audience or say something offensive. While this is a valid concern, sticking to sweeping generalizations and careful word choice can actually hold your brand back.After all, part of establishing an influential personal brand means that you owe it to yourself to take a stance on the issues that matter most to you. And depending on your line of work, there is most certainly room for your opinion as a defining aspect of your personal brand.The key to success here? Share your opinion — but share it alongside your experience. This communication technique will help others understand where you’re coming from and opens the door for conversation around the subject.16) P: Public SpeakingWhether you’re comfortable with it or not, public speaking is a tried-and-true way to extend your personal brand. Speaking engagements help to position you as an authority, grow your network, and earn the trust of a new audience.Feeling a little shaky? Here are a few tips to ensure that your next speaking gig serves as a positive reflection of your personal brand:Speak about something you know inside and out. The more comfortable you are with the subject matter, the more conversational things will feel. Speaking about something familiar lends itself well to personal stories and experiences, which helps to humanize you.Know your audience. While you should always focus on being your authentic self, recognizing who your audience is will help you better direct your content. For example, your humor might land with one group, but not another. Know when to pull back.Get feedback. Practice your talk in front of a group of coworkers you trust before taking the stage. Running through your talk in advance will help you feel more confident in your delivery and also bring to light any areas you need to work on.17) Q: QuirkinessOne way to infuse your personal brand with a little individuality is to lean in to your quirks — the little things that set you apart from others. For example, maybe you’re known for calculating complicated math in your head, or doodling your notes, or being particularly clumsy.Whatever your quirks may be, don’t be afraid to incorporate them into your personal brand. While they may seem senseless, they make it easier for people to relate to you, as they provide a level of interest and intrigue.Leandra Medine Cohen, founder of Man Repeller, provides a great example of how to play up your quirks as part of your personal brand: Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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Dominican fishermen plead guilty in Bahamas court in illegal fishing bust by

first_img POACHERS FAMILY CONCERNED ABOUT SCABIES Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNASSAU, Bahamas – December 5, 2017 – It is unclear if The Bahamas will also confiscate two boats caught up in an illegal fishing operation, thwarted by the Defense Force just before Thanksgiving.Two men from the group caught illegally fishing near Bimini say they are guilty and were fined.  The Royal Bahamas Defence Force reports that two Dominican men, Rialerky Lantigua and Yordi Andujar were charged before the courts with possession of prohibited apparatuses for fishing purposes, with dive compressors.  The men plead guilty and were each fined two thousand dollars ($2000.00). Their bail was set and the matter was adjourned until February.It was on November 23rd, that 45 fishermen aboard two Bahamian registered fishing vessels were caught three miles east of Bimini. The vessels, “SRJ” and “Black Bahamian”, were captained by Stephon Green and Vernal Johnson respectively. The crew, consisting of 16 Bahamians, 23 Dominicans and six Haitians, was taken into custody after being found in possession of illegal fishing apparatus, namely diving compressors.Also found on board the vessels were a large quantity of fisheries product. The vessels and crew were brought into the Capital and turned over to the relevant authorities.Magistrate Joanne Ferguson Pratt said she would also make a ruling whether the vessels would be released, as there were no charges against them and the captain. Related Items:#dominicanpoachers, #illegalfishing, #joyannefergusonpratt Recommended for youlast_img read more

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City officials open new athletic fields in Mira Mesa

first_img Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter March 1, 2018 City officials open new athletic fields in Mira Mesa SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — City officials Thursday opened a set of athletic fields in Mira Mesa just in time for the start of the neighborhood’s Little League opening day.The new fields at Mira Mesa Community Park, which include space for soccer, baseball, softball and other recreational activities, are part of a larger 11-acre improvement project that’s set to be fully built in 2022.Mira Mesa Little League will play its first game on the fields on Saturday.The new construction is part of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s pledge to build or improve 50 parks in five years.Faulconer was joined by Councilman Chris Cate at the ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning.When complete, the park will feature an aquatic center, expanded recreation center, swimming pool, children’s play area, perimeter walking path, recreation areas, shade structures, security lighting and a comfort station, according to the mayor’s office. Posted: March 1, 2018 KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, last_img read more

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Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 leaked on multiple torrents

first_imgGame of Thrones season 8 episode 1 Bran stark meeting Jaime LannisterGame of Thrones (@gameofthrones/Instagram)Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” has apparently leaked online few hours before its official air time. Currently, HD-720 print is available on several torrent websites and desperate fans are downloading the illegal content rather than watching it legitimately.As per a report, fans in Germany were streaming Game of Thrones season 8 episode 1 “Winterfell” on Amazon Prime but soon after the episode ended, they were left in shock to find the second episode ready to stream. Soon after which, fans were quick to share the video amongst their friends and family, reports Winter is Coming.The synopsis of the Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 reads as “Jon Snow and Daenerys gather their troops before the confrontation with the army of the dead. The terrible menace puts in jeopardy everyone south of the wall.”As I have mentioned in the past, we are not going to disclose anything from the leaks but if you want to learn about the episode you can check out the entire Reddit subsection where hundreds of fans are currently discussing the unaired second episode. As of now, we have no idea whether that episode is removed from Amazon Prime or not but as of now, the episode has not made its way to the illegal torrents.Despite HBO’s best attempts to prevent the episodes from leaking, it happens almost every time that we get an episode leak hours before its release. We know that the ardent Game of Thrones fans will choose to avoid these leaks and will tune into HBO or other streaming services to watch the second anticipated episode of Game of Thrones season 8. Game of Thrones season 8 episode 1 review Daenerys TargaryenGame of Thrones (@gameofthrones/Instagram)As we have discussed extensively in the past, Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 title, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” will feature Jaime Lannister’s presence in front of Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow (or Aegon Targaryen). Jaime will have to answer for the crimes which he committed long ago — the murder of Daenerys’ father. At the same time, even Sansa Stark could question him as she saw it first hand how he behaved with her late father Ned Stark.However, we know for a fact that Bran Stark has something important to get from Jaime and he won’t let anyone do anything to him. Maybe Jaime is Azor Ahai and Bran Stark knows that he is the only way to put an end to the terrors of Night King.We will learn more about it when Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 will officially air in a couple of hours.last_img read more

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A celebration for the whole church ELCA women reflect on 50 years

first_img By: Emily McFarlan Miller emmillerwrites By: Emily McFarlan Miller emmillerwrites Catholicism Tagschurchwide assembly Earlean Miller ELCA ELCA Churchwide Assembly Elizabeth Eaton Elizabeth Platz Emmy Kegler Evangelical Lutheran Church in America homepage featured Jessica Crist women’s ordination Wyvetta Bullock,You may also like We are not all the same, and in our difference we are divine August 30, 2019 Share This! Emily McFarlan Miller Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.,Add Comment Click here to post a comment Columns • Opinion • Simran Jeet Singh: Articles of Faith As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,MILWAUKEE (RNS) — As they entered the worship service on the last full day of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Churchwide Assembly, some of the pastors clapped along with the upbeat music.Some danced.Others draped their arms around each other’s shoulders as they filed into the worship service, two by two. All were women, ranging in age from their mid-20s to the 104-year-old Rev. Maria de Jesús.The processional was the kickoff of a year of celebrations leading up to the 50th anniversary of Lutheran women’s ordination in the U.S. in 2020, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton said in her opening remarks at the assembly.Along the way, Lutherans will mark 40 years of women of color being ordained and 10 years of LGBTQ people serving freely in the mainline Lutheran denomination, one of the largest Protestant denominations in the U.S.ELCA female clergy participate in processional celebrating 50 years of women’s ordination during the ELCA Churchwide Assembly on Aug. 9, 2019, in Milwaukee, Wisc. Photo courtesy of ELCA“This is not just a celebration for women, or women of color or for the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Eaton, the first woman elected presiding bishop of the ELCA.“These are decisions of this whole church, and this is a celebration for the whole church. This church has been blessed by the ministry of those formerly excluded.”Here are the stories of several ordained women serving the ELCA today.The Rev. Jessica CristThe first time The Rev. Jessica Crist encountered sexism in the church, she was a preteen in confirmation class.The pastor teaching the class asked students to raise their hands if they were interested in pursuing ministry in any of the following professions: secretary, educator, missionary, musician.When he reached “pastor,” Crist’s hand shot up.The pastor told Crist she couldn’t be a pastor.  The Lutheran Church didn’t ordain women.“So immediately I decided that was what I did want to do,” Crist later recounted.Bishop Jessica Crist, left, with the Rev. Elizabeth Platz, the first Lutheran woman ordained in the United States. Photo courtesy of Jessica CristThe Lutheran Church in America and American Lutheran Church, which preceded the ELCA, both changed their language barring women from ministry in 1970. Later that year, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Platz was ordained by the Lutheran Church in America.Nearly a decade later, Crist was ordained, too.She remembers being one of three ordained women in her synod. People often remarked to them that they were “so nice” — the implication being the women before them had not been, she said.“I would smile nicely and say, ‘And, you know, we can be nice because our predecessors broke down the doors so that we could walk through.’ They were bruised, breaking down those doors, and it’s not that we’re not bruised, but it’s a lot easier for us to walk through,” she said.Crist, 66, now chairs the ELCA’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of women’s ordination, which includes Bible studies and other resources for congregations to use.She’s also retiring as bishop of the Montana Synod, where she was the first female bishop, not just in the synod, but also in the entire Western U.S. She also was the first female bishop to head the ELCA’s Conference of Bishops.Crist said she hopes Lutherans will remember their history and not take for granted the fact that women now serve at every level in the ELCA. That’s not the case for Lutheran women in some parts of the world.Despite five decades of ministry, ordained women still face challenges in the ELCA. A 2015 survey showed a 9% gap between the compensation female clergy receive and what their male counterparts make in the denomination. And clergywomen are less likely to serve as bishops, senior pastors, and college, university or seminary professors.But, Crist said, “We pioneers have broken down a lot of doors. I think sometimes younger, newer folks don’t realize what their foremothers did.”ELCA female clergy participate in a processional celebrating 50 years of women’s ordination during the ELCA Churchwide Assembly on Aug. 9, 2019, in Milwaukee, Wisc. Photo courtesy of ELCAThe Rev. Wyvetta BullockGrowing up in Tennessee in a Baptist denomination that did not ordain women, the Rev. Wyvetta Bullock, 68, saw women in the church who were Sunday School teachers. She saw women who were missionaries.But she never saw a woman who was a pastor, like her father.And while she felt a call to ministry as a young adult, her father had mentored her brother to become a pastor.After Bullock married and moved to Philadelphia — the headquarters of what was then the Lutheran Church in America — she decided to pursue that call.Still, she had her doubts.Rev. Wyvetta Bullock. Photo courtesy of ELCAThe denomination was — and remains — one of the whitest denominations in the United States. Numbers reported at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly put its membership at 94% white.It took nine years after Platz’s ordination for a woman of color to be ordained in the Lutheran Church — the Rev. Earlean Miller.“I knew that as a black woman that there would be challenges for me in this church. It felt like I would be sand in the shoe,” Bullock said.“But when all was said and done, I knew I could choose not to, but I really felt in my heart if I chose not to become part of the Lutheran Church, I would move myself off the path that God was taking me down at that time.”Bullock was ordained in 1996. She now is the executive for administration in the ELCA and a pastoral associate at Bethel Lutheran Church in Chicago.Her ministry has indeed been “challenging” at times, she said.Still, she said, Lutherans continue to take steps to address racism, like the apology made in the “Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent” during this year’s Churchwide Assembly.“It seems like the Spirit won’t let us go. When we come together, it’s like we say once again, ‘This is who we want to be. This is who we believe God calls us to be.’ And that helps me on those days when I think I’m going to go sell shoes,” Bullock said.“It helps because I believe that God is afoot, and she is moving and doing things in this church that are bigger than me, that are beyond me and that I may not live to see the results of, but because I trust that God is faithful, I’ll come back another day.”ELCA female clergy participate in a service celebrating 50 years of women’s ordination during the ELCA Churchwide Assembly on Aug. 9, 2019, in Milwaukee, Wisc. Photo courtesy of ELCAThe Rev. Emmy KeglerGrowing up in the Episcopal Church, the Rev. Emmy Kegler, 34, felt a call to the pulpit and to serve communion that was so strong it felt like a “hook the size of a construction crane had settled in my chest and just started pulling me towards them.”That sense of call followed her to the ELCA.She was drawn to the denomination by the joyful worship she had attended in the campus congregation at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, a passion for Scripture and a theology that “understands how Scripture interacts with the world and how it’s formed within context.”Kegler, who is gay, thought she’d found everything she was looking for in the denomination.But the ELCA still was wrestling with whether to ordain clergy who were openly in same-sex relationships, and she put her call on hold.“When we came up against the discussions around sexuality, I, for a while, felt like I might actually not have found a church that can do this. I might have to once again leave, or I’m going to have to sacrifice my passion for Scripture or my sexual self,” she said.Rev. Emmy Kegler. Courtesy photoThings changed in 2009, when a contentious ELCA Churchwide Assembly approved a social statement titled “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust.” That statement allowed for differing viewpoints on sexuality in the church and opened the doors for clergy in same-sex relationships to be ordained.Not long afterward, Kegler was ordained.The social statement led some churches to leave the denomination, and, she said, “that will always be a mournful and sad thing.”“And yet it means that I don’t have to keep fighting at every turn for my legitimacy in the pulpit,” she said.Kegler — who is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church and co-leader of Queer Grace (both in Minneapolis), which organizes worship and activities for LGBTQ Christians and their allies — knows not all churches in the ELCA are willing to call openly partnered lesbian, gay or bisexual clergy to serve as pastors.And there hasn’t yet been a denomination-wide conversation to help Lutherans better understand transgender and nonbinary people in the church. That work now is being done at the grassroots level, said Kegler, who also founded an encyclopedia of the intersections of LGBTQ life & Christian faith.“I think we narrow our view of God so strictly and sadly if we reduce the image of God and who can speak pastorally or prophetically or publicly to only white men, and the kind of liberation that is brought with acknowledging that people of all genders have the capacity to proclaim the good news of God is deeply healing for everyone within the church,” she said.“Because it reminds us that our preset societal gender roles don’t actually have bearing on who we are in the kingdom, which means freedom for men, women and everyone across the spectrum.” News Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 Share This!center_img Share This! Share This! Emily McFarlan Miller emmillerwrites Israeli court fails to stop city concert that barred men and women sitting together Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts By: Emily McFarlan Miller emmillerwrites Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Share This! Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.,Democratic hopefuls talk prayer and politics at black church forum last_img read more

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Texas Abortion Rights Groups Sue In An Effort To Strike Down Years

first_img Share Bob Daemmrich for the Texas TribuneWomen holding signs spelling out “abortion = healthcare” line the second floor Capitol rotunda on July 27, 2017, after the House passed a bill requiring more reporting on abortion complications by health care providers.Multiple advocacy groups supporting abortion rights filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging several Texas laws that restrict access to abortion. The groups claim in the filing that the laws particularly harm low-income people, women of color and other marginalized communities.The suit targets laws that the advocates say promote the distribution of inaccurate information to patients, shame women who want abortions and create bureaucratic barriers to the operation. Citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that blocked a 2013 Texas bill, the advocates are attempting to retroactively apply the ruling to Texas abortion-related laws going back to 1999. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Austin.The plaintiffs in the case are the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, the Afiya Center, Fund Texas Choice, the Lilith Fund, the Texas Equal Access Fund, the West Fund and Dr. Bhavik Kumar, who serves as medical director of the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance clinic.The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states have a right to regulate abortions but cannot “impose an undue burden on abortion access,” the lawsuit states. The lawsuit says Texas has “failed to institute these parameters.” State policies the suit challenges include the targeted regulation of abortion providers, which has subjected abortion providers to different regulations than other healthcare professionals since 1985. The suit also challenges policies that it says halt progress on research to advance medical abortion.The suit also targets a University of Texas System policy barring students from getting credit for internships and field placements at institutions that provide access to abortions.Karen Adler, director of media relations and communications programming at the UT System, said the system does not comment on pending litigation.The lawsuit also mentions that low-income Texans, who comprise a majority of those seeking abortions, face increased barriers due to reduced state funding toward reproductive health.“This is about respecting the rights of people,” said Lili Gomez, director of outreach at the West Fund.Stephanie Toti, one of the lawyers representing the reproductive rights organizations, said the lawsuit only challenges laws that are not “medically necessary.” But, she said, it’s an important first step in increasing access to abortions in the state. She added that Texas is not alone in restricting abortions and that other states have similar restrictions.“As time goes on, we’re going to see more of these cases,” she said.Toti later added: “We want the courts to return Texas to the regime of reasonable and medically appropriate abortions.”last_img read more

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In the spotlight

first_imgA gallery known for showcasing the works of established and upcoming artists from the world over, Zynna, is now presents Zynna Spotlight Show of the renowned internationally acclaimed artist Rashmi Jain. The exhibition will showcase her creative brilliance through paintings in the specially assigned space in the gallery. Rashmi Jain owned a studio in Mumbai (2005-2011) and executed orders for interior decoration and conducted classes for Murals, Charcoal painting and Oil painting in addition to above art forms.  She had participated in Times Interiors Bandra in 2009 and the culture 2010 exhibitions in World Trade Centre, Mumbai. Also, she was a part of group exhibition in Art Life gallery in Noida. Zynna Art Gallery intends to bring in freshness and vitality to art by experimentation and by exploring and assimilating new mediums, new talents and new creative synergies from the fields of fine art, functional art and design by breaking barriers that separate them.last_img read more

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