Horned Dinosaurs Had Better Teeth than Mammals

first_imgTriceratops and its buddies carried around fine sets of self-sharpening steak knives (to eat plants).Imagine finding dinosaur teeth so well preserved you could put them in a cow and they would work. That’s what biology prof Gregory Erickson (photo) says about teeth of Triceratops examined by a team of paleontologists and engineers at Florida State. They could see five distinct layers in the teeth, compared to mammals’ four and crocodiles’ two. “Each of those tissues does something,” Erickson says. “They’re not just there for looks.”Moreover, Science Daily says, the dino teeth are self-sharpening. This is a stunning case of “paleo-engineering” the headline announces; in fact, Brandon Krick, a professor of engineering from Lehigh University and an expert in tribology (the study of surfaces in motion), found that these self-sharpening teeth are so good, he’s getting ideas for “new engineering techniques that can be used for industrial and commercial applications.”A sophisticated three-dimensional model was developed to show how each tissue wore with use in a strategic manner to create a complex surface with a fuller (a recessed area in the middle, much like those seen in fighting knives and swords) on each tooth. This served to reduce friction during biting and promote efficient feeding….“Paleontologists challenged us with an interesting engineering problem, and now, we have a wear model that can be used to design material systems with optimized wear properties and surface features for many applications,” Krick said.A short video on Live Science features Erickson calling this a “remarkably complex tooth” – with emphasis on the adjective. “It rivals modern mammal teeth such as horse teeth in sophistication,” he says. “The material properties of these 70-million-year-old teeth are still preserved. You essentially could take these teeth and put it in an animal today; they would self-wear back to their functional morphology and function today.” Mammals used to be thought to have the most complex teeth that ever evolved, but Erickson says that Triceratops teeth are even more complex; they are “far more intricate than any reptile or mammal living today.” They provided “very efficient feeding” on the bulky plant material that comprised their diet.Meet RegaliceratopsSpeaking of horned dinosaurs, a new species with an ornate frill was announced in Current Biology by paleontologists in Alberta. Nature calls it “bizarre” because of its “strange halo of bony spikes.” An artist’s representation is shown at PhysOrg and Live Science. Though its genus name Regaliceratops refers to its royal-looking crowned frill (with a hat tip also to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada), some of the fossil hunters are calling it “Hellboy” over its fearsome appearance.The scientists are invoking convergent evolution again. Caleb Brown from the museum calls this “bizarre” dinosaur “the first to show evolutionary convergence in horn-like structures between different horned-dinosaur subfamilies.” To the discoverers, convergence is just a fact of life everywhere in the fossil record:Most surprisingly, Regaliceratops exhibits a suite of cranial ornamentations that are superficially similar to Campanian centrosaurines, indicating both exploration of novel display morphospace in Chasmosaurinae, especially Maastrichtian forms, and convergent evolution in horn morphology with the recently extinct Centrosaurinae. This marks the first time that evolutionary convergence in horn-like display structures has been demonstrated between dinosaur clades, similar to those seen in fossil and extant mammals.All the reporters bought the convergence line without criticism. Laura Geggel at Live Science, for instance, dutifully reported that it’s “the first example of a horned dinosaur showing evolutionary convergence, meaning that these two groups developed similar features independently of each other.”Let’s get this straight. Blind forces of evolution hit upon complex self-sharpening teeth that engineers would like to imitate. And these teeth are 70 million years old but still work today. This is known as cognitive dissonance, an affliction of evolutionists who refuse to abandon a falsified worldview even when it bites them in the behind. (Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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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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