Month: December 2016

YouTube Notifications in the Navigation Bar

YouTube has recently started to experiment with replacing Google+ notifications in the navigation bar with YouTube notifications. You get notifications for recently uploaded videos from your subscribed channels, but only if you’ve enabled notifications for those channels. For example, you can go to the subscription manager and click the bell icon next to a channel to enable or disable notifications.

The settings button sends you to the Notifications section from YouTube’s Settings page and the 3-dot icon next to each notification lets you turn off notifications from the corresponding channel.

If you don’t like this experiment, you can always clear cookies for youtube.com in your browser’s settings and opt out.

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Google’s New Mobile UI for Recipe Search

Just in time for New Year’s dinner, Google has a new mobile interface for recipe search. I searched for [avocado mayo] and noticed a long list of keywords below the search box and ads: salad, chicken, shrimp, vegan, bacon and more. You can select more than one keyword and this helps you refine the results.

When selecting a related search, you get a completely different interface that only shows recipes: bigger expandable cards, bigger thumbnails, infinite scrolling.

Optimizing Content for Consumers NOT Just Keywords

Keywords are important, but your consumers are more likely to engage with your content and consequently your brand, if the content you provide actually gives them what they want.

Consumers will favor brands whose content includes the following:

  • Clear and simple answers to consumers’ questions
  • Clear, easy-to-follow directions to consumers’ most common online paths (i.e. checking out with a coupon or signing up for an email newsletter)
  • Unique, creative content with little to no grammar and spelling errors
  • Information and facts relevant to the products and brand and that the consumer is interested in
  • Relevant and desired “Calls-to-Action” (CTAs)

Consumers want content that is:

  • Fresh
  • Exciting or entertaining
  • Easy and quick to read or view
  • Funny, Sad, happy—in some way emotional
  • Worth sharing with friends/family
  • Unique and individual when compared to their competitors’ content (doesn’t necessarily mean the subject matter itself, but can be the way its presented, the voice used, images chosen, or overall layout)

So how do you optimize content for consumers?

1. Find out what your consumers like! Use simple on-site surveys to ask consumers what type of content they prefer (video, blogs, infographics, etc.) and adjust your strategy accordingly.

2. Figure out the voice your brand uses and ensure its still resonating with your desired customer base. Brands grow and change as their consumers do, so be sure that over time, your content voice is “evolving” accordingly.

3. Talk to them as a human not a brand or computer. They want to connect with you on a personal level so they know they matter to you as more than just a source of profit.

4. Be aware of outside trends related to your consumers from either competitors or other non-competing brands and products within your industry.

5. Ask consumers what they want to know more about, hear more about, see change, or have clarified. This is an easy way to generate content and acknowledge customer needs and desires while also providing key information that’s most likely keyword rich.

6. Adapt to your customer base’s age, generation and demographic. This one is simple. As your brand grows older, your customer base either grows older or undergoes a general shift. For example, if your customer base was Baby Boomers and is now Seniors, the concerns, way of talking, imagery and way content is presented will change. If your products target young teens, you will see a generational shift from Millennials to
Generation Y or Z and will need to adapt your strategies according to each generation’s way of thinking or utilizing technology and your products. Finally, as times change, so too does the value of a given product or the financial capability of many consumers. Be aware of the economic influences on your target audience and be looking for ways to help get more customers by altering costs. The once overly expensive Apple Watch is a good example. Apple has since begun lowering its price to reach more customers as smartwatch desires decline.

Original post: Optimizing Content for Consumers NOT Just Keywords

How to Stay Up to Date on Blogging and Content Marketing Trends

Perhaps you’re doing well now, but will you still be competitive in six months, a year, or five years? If you continue using the same techniques and processes, then chances are, you’ll eventually fade into obscurity. That’s why we recommend developing a method of staying up to date with new trends and industry developments.

5 Ways to Stay Current

While the growth of the internet means the average persons has access to more information than ever before, the ironic thing is that – much of the time – it’s actually harder to consume that information.

If we used to drink from a garden hose, we’re now trying to drink from a fire hydrant. Sure, more is coming out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more. In order to tame the deluge of information and stay current on content marketing, you need a plan.

1. Personal Networking

The very first thing you should do is build up a core network with other content marketers and those familiar with your industry. You don’t need a group that meets once a month – or even someone who you have a regular lunch meeting with. You just need some contacts that you frequently brush shoulders with and are able to contact when you have questions or issues. The more exposure you have to other people in the industry, the less likely it is that you’ll fall behind.

2. Industry Blogs

There are thousands of blogs and websites dedicated to content marketing. How can you possibly sort through the worthless to find the valuable tidbits of information that you need to thrive? The solution is to find the right blogs and curate information from them.

According to Consultants 500, there are 19 content marketing blogs worth following. This includes well-known blogs like Content Marketing Institute, The Marketing Profs, and Convince and Convert, as well as lesser known ones like Digiday and Spark Sheet.

3. Competitor Analysis

Believe it or not, you can learn a lot by studying your competitors. Create a list of three of your closest competitors and make it a point to spend 30 minutes on each of their websites and social media profiles per month.

When conducting competitive analyses on these three competitors, you aren’t trying to mimic or copy what they’re doing. The goal is to get a pulse on their activities and see what they’re writing about, offering, saying etc.

4. Continuing Education

When most people think about continuing education, industries like medicine, law, and real estate come to mind. However, continuing education – in a less formal sense – is very much important in content marketing. It may come in the form of online courses, webinars, and tutorials.

5. Google Alerts

“Use Google Alerts to set up email updates regarding the trends that are the most pertinent to you. They will show up in Google results if you just state your topic of interest, which could be social media, content writing or anything related to digital marketing,” content marketer Jaykishan Panchal suggests. “You can filter these results further by region, occurrence and relevance.”

If you aren’t familiar with Google Alerts, then you need to read up on them. They allow you to track specific topics without having to manually input searches. This is a wonderful way to track the evolution of subjects in a very hands-off fashion.

Stay Up to Date

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to stay current without overwhelming yourself. Try to focus on these five methods and you’ll find that you’re up to date on just about everything you need to know to be a better content marketer.

Original post: How to Stay Up to Date on Blogging and Content Marketing Trends

7 Tips for Writing Better Instructional Content

The better you convey information to your readers, the more chance you’ll have of attracting new readers as well as retaining your existing audience. When it comes to instructional content, which entails teaching a lesson or providing a tutorial, this is of particular importance.

You need to become an effective teacher when you write this kind of content, so your students — your readers — will keep investing in your material. So how can you do this?

Why Instructional Content Is So Effective
First, we have to discuss what makes instructional content such a powerful tool in content marketing:

Practicality. First, instructional content is practical, which means it has the potential to make a difference in someone’s life. It’s not just entertaining; it’s helpful.

Demand. People will always desire instructional content because nobody knows how to do everything. So there’s always a demand for this kind of content.

Opportunity. Because instructional articles and content come in a variety of different forms, on all sorts of different topics, you have countless opportunities for new development.

Search optimization. Instructional content is also valuable because people frequently search for it online, which makes it a viable strategy for boosting your SEO.

How to Become a Better Teacher (in Writing)

When you’re ready to start becoming a better teacher in your writing, here are the strategies you’re going to want to employ:

1. Be a problem solver. As described by guitar teacher Tom Hess, one of the best ways to create better instructional content is to play the role of a problem solver. Instead of trying to create instructional content in the format of a flat “matter of fact” piece, focus on the problems your audience tends to encounter. For example, if you’re writing about baking cookies at the proper time and temperature, focus on the problem of getting cookies that are too soft or too crispy. This approach will make your content more relatable, and more appealing to an audience.

2. Write specifically to one niche. When you’re getting started, it’s better to write for one specific niche rather than a general audience. This may limit the total number of people you’re apt to reach with your content, but you’ll bring those people greater relevance and significance. It’s better to have a few hundred loyal readers than a few thousand casual and fickle ones, especially when you’re initially trying to find your footing as a content marketer.

3. Include resources for multiple learning styles. Not everybody learns the same way. In fact, there are dozens of different learning styles that affect how people receive and interpret new information. For that reason, it can be useful to readers, and beneficial to you, to create content that appeals to as many different learning styles as possible. Include written content, visual content, and audio content whenever you can.

4. Use figurative language and storytelling. According to Peter Fuda, metaphors are one of the most powerful rhetorical devices we have at our disposal because of their ability to encapsulate complex topics in simple, easily digestible concepts. Storytelling works much in the same way: by spinning an entertaining, approachable narrative that stands for a much deeper or more complex situation. Learn to use these devices effectively and you’ll be able to teach better and create a unique “voice” for your brand at the same time.

5. Learn from your competitors. The odds are, you won’t the first person to publish instructional content in your particular niche. Take some time to research your competition and see what they’re writing, how they’re presenting it, and who their audience appears to be. Take care not to duplicate their tactics directly, but do try to learn from what they’re doing, and apply those lessons to your own writing.

6. Be willing to adapt. Great teachers don’t maintain the same tactics for too long; they recognize that true effectiveness comes from improvement and adaptation over time. Turn a critical eye on the work you’ve done up to now, and pay attention to which of your articles is performing better than the others. The more you learn, and the more you’re willing to adjust your approach, the more potential for growth you’ll enjoy.

7. Seek feedback. Go out of your way to collect feedback from your readers and students. Read the comments you get at the tail end of your posts and on social media, and thinking about circulating an occasional survey so you can gather more quantitative, objective feedback about your work. It’s the best way to learn your strengths and weaknesses, so you can adapt accordingly.

You probably won’t become a masterful instructional writer overnight, but given time, patience, practice, and a willingness to learn, there’s no limit to how powerful your content may become.

Remember, the student-teacher relationship operates in both directions, so the better you understand your students’ needs, the better you’ll be able to address them. Work actively to tap into your readers’ mindset, and continue to give them exactly what they need.

Original post: 7 Tips for Writing Better Instructional Content

3 Tips to Outsource Like a Boss

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

I am guessing you want your website or online business to go far, right? If that is the case, you need to start bringing more people in and stop doing everything yourself.

At this point you might be thinking: “But my website/business is small! I don’t make nearly enoough to hire employees!”

But who said anything about hiring employees?

While you are small, a cheaper a more efficient solution is to outsource. That is, to hire the services of other people and companies to help out with your business. Here are 3 tips that will help you with that:

1. Identify Where you Add Value

If you are a talented writer and that is what drives people to your blog or website, there is no point in wasting time dealing with technical details. This means that it would be wise to outsource the website and hosting management to someone who is good and likes doing that kind of stuff.

Similarly, if you are a tech person but ends up writing content just because you need to have a freshly updated blog to attract customers, why not hire a writer to create that content while you focus on developing technical features?

Focus on your strengths and outsource the rest. This will help your business grow and make more money in the long run.

2. Find Outsourcing Candidates Efficiently

The whole point of oursourcing is to gain agility and to be able to focus on the things where you add value. If you spend a whole month posting job listing on several sites it will beat the purpose, right?

One thing you can do to speed up the process is post your job at Betterteam.com. It is a platform that will automatically broadcast your job listing to 100+ job sites around the web. Pretty cool huh? This will allow you to reach a much wider range of candidates, and it will allow you to find the right person to outsource much faster.

3. Measure the Results

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Ideally, write key aspects of your business down for a month or so before you start outsourcing, and then track the numbers after you start doing it.

You obviously want to see improvements on those key variables. For instance, if you are a writer, once you outsource the technical details of your website you should see an increase in both amount of content you will publish on the site and monthly site visitors. Google Analytics has several functionalities that will help you measure not only web visitors, but actions and special events that you can setup.

If the numbers are improving, keep going and consider outsourcing even more stuff! If they are not improving, consider what might have gone astray and try to fix it.

Good luck!

Original post: 3 Tips to Outsource Like a Boss

The Difference between Inspiration and Plagiarism

Plagiarism has become one of the biggest problems in the sphere of modern writing. Many of you would agree that we are not able to reinvent the wheel. We live in the society and surrounded by other people and their works. Without any doubts, all this influences on us.

When writing something, we certainly use the words and thoughts of other people. We take them as role models. When we read their stories or works, they truly inspire us. Due to this, we are able to create something by our own hands, but would it be considered plagiarism? How to draw the line between plagiarism and inspiration, when we use others to get inspired? In fact, it’s not so easy to answer the question.

What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the process of borrowing the thoughts and ideas of others and pretending them to be your own. It’s okay to quote other sources if you show the reference of the quote. If there are any similar thoughts or topics, similar to the works of others, you should certainly indicate the reference.

There are so many plagiarism checkers this day. Unfortunately, they made people think that plagiarism is only a word-for-word copying. In fact, even copying the ideas can be considered plagiarism. If you are unsure about your writing, there are so many plagiarism checkers to figure everything out. Due to them, you’ll be able to see those, who have stolen your works and published them on their own website. Telling the truth, plagiarism is a frequent phenomenon even among well-known writers. In many universities, a plagiarized work can be a reason for dismissal.

What is Inspiration?

Inspiration is a sudden creative clever idea, which is inspired by another person, event, and work, thought or even daydreaming. In some way, it’s a driving force, which inspires you moving ahead. You are inspired to collect different facts to complete your research. However, this bunch of ideas, should have evidence and be proved during the research. It’s not illegal to write something if you are inspired by the work of another author. Don’t you agree that all famous writers began as simple story readers?

At the same time, one should understand that creating your own work would never happen in a vacuum. Everything, which exists have already been said or invented, so no matter what you create, it would be always be based on the works of other people. You just only get inspired by that.

How to Distinguish Between Inspiration and Copying?

If you find some information and simply add it to your paper, it’s considered to be plagiarism. If you find something and start doing the research into it: reason about the topic, consider the sources, check its logic- you are inspired.

Many say that quoting one source can be considered plagiarism, but many – inspiration. In fact, this phenomenon is very scary, when it comes to creating an essay. Telling the truth, all the essays and articles are changed works of other people detailed research.

Plagiarism & Law

Plagiarism is closely connected with law. Here is a list of things law considers to be plagiarism infringement:

-Creating derivative works, which are based on the works of other people;
-Displaying copied works of others;
-Publicly performing the works of others, without their permission;
-Reproducing the works of others, without their permission;
-Distributing the works of others, without permission.

The development of Web makes it really easy to use the works of others while creating your own. All of us can see that there are many sources, which are so similar.

College Plagiarism

It’s really difficult to draw the line between inspiration and plagiarism when it comes to college. If your text is similar to one online or handed in by another student, it’s considered to be plagiarism and you are simply out. If you re-write someone’s work, it’s also plagiarism. In fact, stealing the ideas of others is also plagiarism.

At the same time, the Internet is packed with all possible information, so even if you write something and consider it to be your own thought, it would certainly be mentioned somewhere on the Web by another individual.

Yes, the question is quite controversial. However, what is bad, when we use the thoughts of others? The ideas can’t be locked in our head – they should be always shared. If you don’t want others to use your ideas, you’d better communicate with no one.

In fact, there is a positive moment about it: if people take your thoughts and copy them, maybe you have created something right, something which inspires many.
In conclusion, it can be said that copying is a primal process. We imitate everything we learn and see. Is it bad? Why should we avoid all those fantastic ideas, many people have created and it’s really silly to omit them?

Alexandra Foster is an ex-English teacher who helps parents/students and organizations with educational planning. She is a tech savvy, who loves education and technology, that makes studying process more convenient and collaborative. Currently working with Noplag.com team as a consultant

Original post: The Difference between Inspiration and Plagiarism

5 Tools All Marketers Should be Using for a More Engaging Blog

Do you have a roadmap in place for developing high-quality blogs? Do you know which writing styles resonate with your audience? What about which topics they love and how to approach them most efficiently? Do you know which blog development tools are at your disposal?

Using blogging tools correctly is one of the most efficient things bloggers can do, but many overlook it completely.

Today, there are dozens of fantastic tools on the web designed specifically to help bloggers share their thoughts and build a more engaging platform.

With that in mind, here are the top five top blogging tools that you should be using (10 more here if you have time!).

1. Grammarly

Grammarly.com is a powerful spelling and grammar checker that picks up mistakes Microsoft Word will not. From overused words and passive voice, to confused possessives and contractions, Grammarly does it all, and it’s a critical tool for any blogger who wants to escape the embarrassment of pushing out a blog riddled with typos. Plus, since it plugs directly into Google Chrome, it checks all of the text you write online, including your emails. There’s a desktop version, as well, for those times when you’re offline.

Grammarly offers both a free and a paid plan, and it’s well worth the investment for bloggers to hop in on it.

2. BuzzSumo

Content fatigue is a real thing for busy bloggers, and it can be tough to keep the creative juices flowing when you’re feeling exhausted by the sheer volume of content you have to create. Fortunately, a tool like Buzzsumo.com can help. BuzzSumo is a simple, far-reaching tool that can do everything from helping you research keywords to showing you which content is performing the best for a given topic.

Here’s how it works: just select the “content research” tab at the top of the screen and type in your keyword or phrase. Click “search,” and BuzzSumo will give you a list of the top-performing posts for that phrase.

You can also use the platform to search for influencers and monitor keywords or topics.

3. HubSpot’s blog topic generator

HubSpot is one of the leading names in the online marketing industry, and their blog topic generator tool is made by bloggers, for bloggers. While BuzzSumo can combat content fatigue by showing you which content is performing the best on social media, HubSpot’s blog topic generator fights fatigue by simply giving you an actionable, exciting list of blog headlines to choose from.

Here’s a sample list of blog topics created with the input words “digital” and “marketing.”

4. Hemingway app

Did you know that the most desirable reading level for your online content is about 8th or 9th grade? Do you know what an 8th or 9th-grade reading level looks like, though? If the answer is “no,” there’s a fantastic tool out there to help you. It’s called the Hemingway App.

A simple app that you can just copy and paste your text into, Hemingway shows you places where you can swap out complicated words for simple ones, shorten sentences, and correct overly-difficult words and phrases. Ideal for anyone who works in the online space and worries about the clarity of their writing, Hemingway is a fantastic check-in that can work wonders for your online material.

5. Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

As a blogger, you know that your headlines are critical, and that they’ve got to be good to draw readers in. But do you know how to measure their emotional impact? If not, head to the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer by AMI. Just input your headline and the tool will give you an immediate analysis of its quality. For best conversion rates, shoot for an EMV score of between 50-70%. For an example, here’s one of the HubSpot headlines, plugged into the EMV analyzer.

Simple Tools for Better Blogging

Every great blogger wants his or her blog to succeed, but this can be easier said than done. If you’re looking for a way to transform the success of your blog and make writing it easier, these five tools are for you.

Dave is the CEO of Dave’s Computers Inc. He writes a weekly column for Daily Blog Tips covering the best tips about blogging and Internet marketing. You can also find him on LinkedIn.

Original post: 5 Tools All Marketers Should be Using for a More Engaging Blog

How to Find Sites Accepting Guest Blog Posts

Guest blogging or guest posting involves one person writing a post for the blog or website of another person. As it turns out, this is a very efficient promotion technique, pretty much for everyone involved.

The hosting site gets a free and usually high-quality piece of content. The guest blogger gets the possibility to reach a new audience and to gain some new readers or clients via the credit link. The readers of the host site get to see content from different writers and with a different perspective on things.

Exactly because of those benefits guest blogging became a widespread trend on the Web. Even major sites like HuffingtonPost or TechCrunch use guest posts these days.

If you are just getting started, however, it might seen intimidating. Where do you find sites that accept guest posts? How to you pitch your ideas? How to you keep track of everything?

If that is you, last week I came across a site that will help you figure it all out. GuestPost.com offers a ton of tools and resources on the site, including Email scraper, website scraper, list of guest blog sites, pitch email generator, and so on.

For instance, on the “Resources” section you’ll find a list of websites that accept guest posts, and they update it regularly to make sure you won’t reach out to non-existing sites. Similarly, they have a list of marketing influencers who have written high-performance guest posts, so that you can check and emulate what they are doing right.

The “Tools” section allows you to get the hot keywords of websites that offer guest posts, so that you write posts aligned with the topics and audience of each website. There is also a tool to help you write your email pitch, and one that will help you find the contact email of any website or blog.

If you use or plan to use guest blogging as a promotional strategy, check out those tools as they might make your life a lot easier!

Original post: How to Find Sites Accepting Guest Blog Posts

Book Review: Wealth Management 2.0

Pretty much every week I receive requests to review books (both paper and digital). I rarely do so, however, because either the topic is not relevant to our readers, or because the quality is not that great. A couple of weeks ago Andrei Polgar got in touch, saying that he was about to launch a book titled Wealth Management 2.0: Financial Education for Internet Professionals. Interesting and very relevant topic, so I decided to take a look.

Boy am I glad I did! The book is fantastic, and I got hooked right in the foreword, written by another Internet entrepreneur called Eric Borgos. His story of Internet riches is quite interesting, so don’t skip it!

As I mentioned above, the book is about financial management for Internet professionals and entrepreneurs. If own some blogs or websites, if you freelance as a writer or designer online, or if you have an online business, this book is for you. It will guide you about the best ways to invest your money, cause leaving it sitting in the bank is the worst thing you could do (actually the worst thing would be to make bad investments that will make you lose money, but that is covered in the book too!).

Lately I am reading a lot and trying to learn more about investing, and I believe that everyone should do the same. Making a lot of money is one way to get rich or achieve financial freedom, but making average money and investing really well is another way! If you combine both (earning a lot and investing well) you will reach complete financial freedom very fast!

wealth-management-book

The problem is that investing your money efficiently is not that easy. On chapter 2 you’ll find this apt quote by Robert Arnott:

“In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable.”

Back to the book. The first 3 chapters are more or less an introduction, explaining what the book is about, what it is not about and so on. On chapter 4 the real deal begins. Chapter 4 itself is about understanind why and how most people waste away the money they make.

Chapter 5 is about wealth management. Andrei breaks it down into 11 virtues. They are:

1. Balance
2. Courage
3. Detachment
4. Diligence
5. Discipline
6. Foresight
7. Frugality
8. Humility
9. Patience
10. Purposefulness
11. Self-improvement

Chapter 6 is about understand the economy, and being able to see what is really happening and what the media says it is happening. In this chapter you will also understand what is “fear mongering,” and how it can affect your investment decisions.

Chapter 7 is where you’ll finally think about where and how to invet your hard-earned money. Andrei discusses how to invest in a diversified portfolio, the differences between starting a business and being a passive investor, real estate investing, stocks, bonds and so on.

Keep in mind that this is a very brief list of the topics discussed in the book. It has 457 pages, meaning that Andrei goes into a lot of detail in each section, and the explanations are very clear and straight to the point. As I told you, I am reading a lot about investing and financial management lately, and this is one of the best books I came across lately.

Bottom line: A must read in my opinion, especially if you are an Internet professional. The book is being launched today, and Andrei is running a launch promotion, selling it for just $2.99. Yes, that is 2 dollars and 99 cents. Here’s the Amazon link. Go get it!

Original post: Book Review: Wealth Management 2.0