tiistai 19. kesäkuuta 2018

Dlvr.it: How to Use Pinterest for Business – Boost Your Pinterest Marketing in Under an Hour

Pinterest may seem like a business opportunity that is worth skipping for many business users. After all, it’s just a picture based platform that can only appeal to those who are interested in art, fashion, or food, right? This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your business Pinterest account is a valuable resource that is another free option for marketers who are looking to appeal to their target demographics.


There are quite a few things that you can do with your Pinterest to make it more relevant, and some of these things can be done in only an hour!
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Why do I need Pinterest?

Pinterest is a fast growing platform that year-over-year expands its user base among both men and women. Pinterest is stereotypically associated with women, which is understandable since that is the primary user base. However, 40% of new user signups are men. This indicates that this form of social media is on the rise. Yes, photo-based social media is not just for Instagram anymore. There are quite a few things that you can do with your Pinterest to make it more relevant, and some of these things can be done in only an hour!

Pinterest is also one of the fastest revenue-generating platforms out there. Shopify partnered with Pinterest to gather data about product purchase habits of Pinterest users. They found that 96% of Pinterest users rely on Pinterest to gather product information, 93% plan purchases using Pinterest, and each of these purchases averages $50. All of this revenue could be slipping through your fingers if you choose not to use Pinterest.

Add your logo to your business Pinterest account

2 minutes
Setting up your business Pinterest account is the first step in this process. If you become a verified business through Pinterest, this can add a lot of goodwill and trust in the community. Not only can this add goodwill and trust, but it can offer opportunities that aren’t available in personal Pinterest accounts. The most important of these opportunities is Rich Pins. These Pins can provide information about your product right in the Pin.

Adding a logo as a picture in your profile can also add an air of legitimacy to your Pinterest posts. If you need a logo, there are many tools that can help you build a logo. I’ve always personally been partial to Canva due to their library of templates to get you started. However, there are other tools that can help in this arena. Once you have your logo created, you can use the steps that Pinterest has provided to get this added to your profile.

Make sure all your Pins are active and functional

5 minutes
This is probably the most important check to perform of all. After all, your Pinterest account will probably not be super helpful if it doesn’t direct back to functional content. Shockingly, VentureBeat reports that 50% of top Pins on Pinterest link back to outdated links that no longer function!

There are a number of tools out there that can help to perform this check. You can start with Boardbooster’s Pin Doctor. They require a monthly plan and they will also ask that you pay per Pin that you check, however, this is the fastest option to keep your business Pinterest as functional as it can be. Pin4Ever also provides an excellent suite of tools that not only backs up your Pinterest, but also checks the functionality of your Pins.

If you prefer to avoid paying for these checks, you can perform more manual processes that will help you check out these links. The ScreamingFrog SEO Spider tool will help you check your links manually. You can also use a broken link checker to make sure that your links are functional.

Add a Pinterest follow button to your website

5 minutes
A great method to link your business Pinterest account front and center is to create a follow button or widget to your website. These buttons can link directly back into your Pinterest profile and help your users follow the content that pertains exactly to what they’re reading. If they see these links on your website, you are setting a direct pipeline to your users that can provide them with everything that they need to know about your business.

Also, if you have an RSS Feed that is generated with your website, you can link this directly to your dlvr.it account so that your content is automatically published to your Pinterest account. This option will help you optimize your Pinterest publishing for the best dates and times.

img source: Pinterest

Add your keywords to your Pinterest username

5 minutes
This suggestion really has to do with SEO. Your search engine optimization depends on your ability to make your desired keywords front and center in your content. To become the Google authority on a subject, placing this keyword front and center in your title is key in making sure that Google picks this up. It’s much easier for Google to find a subject if it is placed within the headers in a website, and placing those keywords in your title is doing just that.

Promote your Pinterest boards on Facebook, Twitter and all your social media pages

10 minutes
Why would I want to use my other social media content? In order to promote all of your social media accounts, you must consider that all of them can be linked together. Your other social media accounts can benefit from your SEO that is implemented from your Pins. All of your business Pinterest content can lead back to your other content on your social media accounts. That being the case, linking your social media accounts to each other can only benefit you.

But posting each of your pins to your other social media pages and profiles can be a pain, particularly if you’re limited on time.

If you are looking to save time, try dlvr.it’s social media automation service to effortlessly share your pins to your Facebook pages, Twitter profile and more. Just connect Pinterest board to dlvr.it and add your social media pages and profiles. dlvr.it automatically posts your new pins across your social media pages.

How do I connect Pinterest to my other social media accounts?

dlvr.it provides many options to link your content directly to your Pinterest account along with many other Socials. Pinterest only states that you can directly link your Facebook and Twitter, while dlvr.it offers the options to send content simultaneously to Tumblr, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Company pages, and more.

Another great reason to use a service like dlvr.it to link your content to your Social Media accounts is that the content will appear more Curated. This means that if you have an RSS Feed that is more suited for Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, but your other Feeds may only be suited for Pinterest and Facebook, you will be publishing your content to the appropriate Social Media channels.

If, however, you would like to do this through Pinterest, Pinterest has created a tutorial to help you add your business Pinterest account to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

If you find some extra time after sifting through your Evergreen content, take some time to comment on the Pins of others that tie into your content. It will help to direct potential followers back to your content.

To automate the cross-posting of latest blog posts to Pinterest, try dlvr.it’s social media automation service.

Re-pin some of your Evergreen Content

10 minutes
Pinterest has recently been publishing a string of what they consider important to consider when using their platform. One of the most important aspects of their anticipation of success is publishing Evergreen content. Unlike other platforms, Evergreen content is vital to Pinterest success.

The reasons for Evergreen content to be at the forefront of your strategy lies in the content itself. By nature, Pinterest content is around forever, and because of this, your content should be relevant to all audiences for a long period of time. Things like tutorials, infographics, and and recipes last forever and Pinterest will make sure that they are found.

dlvr.it’s EverQueue service helps you re-pin the Evergreen content that you find the most appealing. All you have to do is import the content that you want to republish automatically, set your Pinterest account to re-pin, and then let dlvr.it do the rest! This service cuts down on the time that you spend re-pinning even further.

How should I choose my Evergreen content?

Finding your most popular content is a great start to locating your best Evergreen content. Once you’ve located the most popular content, you can determine the most relevant content. Start with the content that is most currently relevant. Since it’s your content, you probably know it best. Find those pieces of content that will be the most timeless. “How-tos” and tutorials are the most Pinterest-friendly content.

When you create a new blog post, share your featured image and link to your Pinterest page. Take advantage of Pinterest’s vast audience to promote your blog. It’s easy to pin your new blog post page to your Pinterest board – be sure to use an attractive and compelling featured image with your post to grab the attention of your Pinterest audience.

Turn off your search engine privacy

2 minutes
Why would I want to turn off my search engine privacy? In short, this privacy setting has the potential to be a game changer in your Pinterest traffic. The search engine privacy setting functions to protect people from finding your content on Google. Pinterest is a unique social media platform in that it allows your Pins to be Google search results. Because this is the case, if this privacy setting is activated, you’re throwing away the traffic that could come from Google.

In essence, the traffic that comes in from Google is the most important traffic that has the potential to be retrieved. Because Google uses Pinterest to populate a lot of search results, you can steal this traffic right out from under your competitors.

How do I turn off search engine privacy in Pinterest?

Turning off this setting couldn’t be easier. Pinterest has made a tutorial that will help you instantly launch yourself into Google’s search engine.

If you find yourself with a little bit of extra time during the week, you can hone your search engine craft. The best way to do this is to use a search engine optimization tool. Using these tools can help you select the most important keywords for your company’s interests. This can help to skyrocket your Pins to the top of Google’s results. Check out our blog post that will help you find the best search engine optimization tools.

Make sure you finish your profile

10 minutes
Why would I want to finish my profile? Isn’t a picture enough? In many ways, no. Not finishing your profile makes you seem lazy and uninterested in optimization. Not only is this another opportunity to make an impression, but it is another opportunity for SEO. You must think about Pinterest as an SEO machine to generate money for your endeavors. The platform will only work for you if you put your effort into it.

When you remember that Pinterest is a direct venue to Google, you understand that every word that you put into Pinterest is important. All things Pinterest feed into your SEO directly, and therefore, your profile is extremely important to making that impression that you need on your business Pinterest account.

Rename your boards to be more bold and innovative

5 minutes
Renaming your boards can help to improve your SEO immensely. There is a school of thought that discourages renaming Pinterest boards, however, if you are having trouble with your Google results, the only direction that you can go is up. As long as you’re remaining on topic with one focused category, your SEO will only improve. You can’t afford not to change these titles if you’re not optimized for search engine results.

How do I rename my boards?

This is another quick and easy edit to your Pinterest boards. It’s simply a matter of accessing the edit panel and changing the name of the board.

Use a popular Pin as your Cover Photo

5 minutes
Why is using a popular Pin important for your board’s cover? This cover photo is the first impression that you can make with your users. It is an 800 x 800 pixel space to convey exactly what your users can expect in your boards. This gives you the opportunity to place your branding front and center in every board and make an impression with all that you have available in your boards.

The best reason to use this is that it is dramatically underutilized. The cover photo being the impression that your users see is also a first impression. This first impression can lead to additional followers of your Pinterest boards, and thus, convert a lot of traffic into money for your products and services.

img source: smitten kitchen Pinterest

How do I change the Pin for my cover photo?

This is also a quick and easy process. Business Pinterest users spend most of their time finding the most important Pin to use, but I recommend using the most popular Pin in that board. User feedback in the form of Pins and views are the most valuable information that you can use to determine the content that you want as a lasting impression.


Pinterest is a tool that can provide so much insight into your business, and convert a lot of cash for you.
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Bringing it all together

Pinterest is a tool that can provide so much insight into your business, and convert a lot of cash for you. It is a direct marketing platform that has proven to be extremely valuable. By putting just a little bit of time and effort into your business Pinterest account, you can turn your followers into customers. This tool is too valuable to ignore, and it’s not just for crafters anymore.

The post How to Use Pinterest for Business – Boost Your Pinterest Marketing in Under an Hour appeared first on dlvr.it | blog.



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tiistai 12. kesäkuuta 2018

Dlvr.it: How to Promote Your Blog – 19 Easy Tactics To Get Traffic To Your Blog

We recently renewed our effort to boost the profile of our blog and increase quality traffic to our posts. As part of our improvement process, we researched successful marketers and studied their advice on how to promote your blog. Our objective was simple – learn and implement the best blog growth strategies and tactics to boost our business.

Much of the trusted blogging advice emphasizes long-term strategies – like building great content and nurturing an email list. This is clearly solid, reliable advice.

But we were left wondering – What can we do to promote our blog right now?

 

We have over 500 blog posts – some of which already drive a decent amount of traffic. We were looking for concrete steps we could take in just a few minutes to help drive traffic to our blog immediately.

We also wanted to make sure we have a sturdy blog promotion foundation in place so that we are in the best position to get the most traffic and attention from each new post we create.

Here’s some of the best ideas we found that can help you promote your blog and get traffic with just a few minutes of your time.

1. Share Your Blog Posts Widely on Social Media

People are spending time across an increasing number of social media platforms and on multiple devices. It’s easy (and cheap) to promote your blog posts across your social media profiles and pages.

If you don’t yet have pages set up for all these platforms, do so. It’s easy and free to get started. The most popular platforms and their monthly user numbers as of April 2018:

  • Facebook – 2.234B
  • Instagram – 813M
  • Tumblr – 794M
  • Twitter – 330M
  • Pinterest – 200M
  • LinkedIn – 260M
  • Google+ – 34M

Usage stats from Statista, Pinterest and Raka Creative.

2. Promote Your Blog Posts on All Your Social Profiles & Pages Instantly

Then when you create a new blog post, share a link, a photo and a short introduction or pitch to all your social media profiles and pages.

This ensures your latest content is instantly shared with all your followers. The faster your post receives likes, retweets and shares, the more credibility it has – and the higher the likelihood it will be shared and viewed by others.

To make this even easier, set up a social media auto-poster, like dlvr.it, to automatically post your latest blog posts across all your social networks as soon as they go live on your blog.

3. Share your blog posts again and again

The sheer volume and speed of social media content makes it easy for even the best posts to be missed. The lifespan of social media post is incredibly short:

  • Twitter: Half life of a Tweet is 24 minutes
  • Facebook: Posts garner 75% of impressions within 2.5 hours

To increase the chances of breaking through and getting the attention of your readers at the right moment, it’s best to share your new posts more than once.

When you launch a new blog post, share it with your social pages instantly, then schedule posts to your social media pages for a few hours and a few days later.

Sharing your posts multiple times can double (or more)  your traffic.

If you are in a pinch for time, try dlvr.it’s Echo tool to automatically post your original content instantly, then post two additional variations of your post hours or days later.

4. Reshare and Promote Your Evergreen Content

We’ve discovered that our most successful blog posts — the ones that drive the most traffic — are Evergreen. In other words, these posts are interesting and valuable to people months or even years after they were originally created.

In our case, most traffic flows to these pages via Google search. People search for the same keywords years after the post was written, and click through to our blog because these posts still answer questions or address issues we wrote about years ago.

What makes these posts interesting to people searching Google, likely makes these posts interesting to people on Facebook, Twitter and beyond.

Identify your evergreen content and reshare it across your social media profiles.

Check your blog stats for the last few months and determine which older posts are still attracting visitors. Then share these posts again to your followers and subscribers.

To make it even easier to share your evergreen content, try dlvr.it’s EverQueue. You can quickly fill your social media sharing queue with your evergreen content, then once it is posted, dlvr.it will automatically recycle it back into your queue and share it again and again in the future.

5. Promote Your Blog in Your Email Signature

Think of your email signature as free advertising space. Why not promote your blog every time your send an email?

Include a link to a recent blog post or one of your blog’s all time favorites. Or…include a link to both.

It’s free and easy to create and update your email signature with fresh blog links on a regular basis.

Or you can use a services like WiseStamp or  Email Signature Rescue.

  
img source: Wise Stamp

6. Promote Your Blog With Social Media Pins

As noted above, the half-life of a social media post is measured in mere minutes. Think about that. The typical social media post gets half of the attention it will ever get within a few moments of going live.

Maybe that’s acceptable for quick posts that require little thought or time. But after investing a significant chunk of time to create and tune a blog post, you want to get as much out of it as possible.

Instead of sharing your blog post on social media and watching the social media riptide instantly carry it away, pin your post to the top of your profiles. When you pin a post, it remains at the top of your profile. So when users view your profile page, your pinned post is the first post visible. This is great option when you share high investment content, like blog posts.

It’s quick, easy and free to pin a tweet, pin a facebook post, linkedin post  and more. 

 

7. Mention and Link to Others in Your Post

There is one (nearly) universal law of online marketing: Everyone loves to get links.

It’s free and easy to link to other people’s posts. And linking to valuable content is an easy way to make your blog highly useful to your readers.

Generally speaking a lot of good things can happen (and morewhen you mention someone in a positive light and link to them. They might link back to you. Perhaps they’ll follow you on social media. Next time you update your blog, they might share your post with their followers. And you might even make a new friend and business contact.

Next time you write a blog post, make a point of mentioning a related post or article and linking to it from your blog post. Maybe even target an influencer who has written a relevant article and call them out with a link in your post.

Most professional writers and bloggers track backlinks and are notified when their pages are linked to. More on backlink monitoring tools below.

To increase your chance to be noticed, include multiple outbound links in your posts to related pages from multiple authors.

To make an impact right now, update one of your existing blog posts to include a mention and a link.

8. Promote Your Blog Post with Tags and Mentions

When you mention someone in your post, tag them the next time you promote that blog post on Twitter. It’s easy and let’s them know via Twitter that you’ve referenced them in your blog post.

For example:

 

In most cases, it’s easy to track down the writer’s social media pages and determine if the author is active on Twitter.

This approach to alerting the people to whom you’ve linked requires very little effort to initiate or respond. Contrast Twitter tagging with notifying someone via email – which can require time consuming email communication and may involve the touchy subject of sending unsolicited email.

Make sure you understand the difference between a reply and a mention.

Here are some additional details on using twitter mentions.

9. Monitor Links to Your Blog & Say thanks!

If someone mentions you and links to your blog, reach out and say “thanks”.

Posting a tweet that says thank you, links to the post, and tags the author is a quick and easy way to show your appreciation. Here’s an example:

Saying thanks to a writer who has written about you builds goodwill and lays the foundation for future links and mentions. Next time you write about a related topic, let the writer know – you might get another link.

Sending a thank you email is a more formal and a bit more time consuming. This approach may work better than a tweet if the author is someone you want to connect with and perhaps have a discussion longer than 140 characters at a time.

It’s easy to monitor backlinks.

If you are using wordpress, you may already be receiving a pingback notifications when another WordPress blog links to you.

Here’s info on some of the leading backlink tracking tools. https://mention.com/blog/tools-to-monitor-backlinks/

10. Monitor Social Mentions and Shares – and Say Thank You!

In addition to linking to you from a blog post, people will also mention you and link to you from social media. There are many tools to monitor social mentions of you and your site.

Check your monitoring feed on a regular basis and respond with quick hello and thanks when someone shares your posts.

Popular tools for monitoring social mentions include Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

 

11. Make Your Posts Shine with Eye Catching Graphics and Visuals

As part of writing each of our new posts, we review dozens of related articles and blog posts. We discovered when reading posts, within a few seconds  we judge the quality of the blog based on the layout and look and feel of the page.

Based on this judgment, we determine how seriously we should take the post and if we are going to invest the time into reading the post.

So what do we judge in a split second?

We re subconsciously evaluating the visual presentation of the post.

In short, if the post contains quality graphics and images that break up the text, we are more likely to take the article seriously and invest the time to read on. Posts with lots of words crammed into big paragraphs, small text, and limited or no graphics can feel ‘homemade’. We are likely to ignore the posts that lacked professional polish and focus our attention on more visually appealing blogs.

Adding a little visual sizzle to your posts is easy and doesn’t require a dedicated graphic designer.

Photo libraries like UnSplash make it easy to find high quality, royalty free images.

And easy-to-use graphic design tools like Canva and DesignBold allow even the graphic design novice to create eye-catching graphics to include in your blog posts and share on social media.

To make an impact right now:

1. Pick one of your top performing / evergreen blog posts

2. Create a visual on canva

3. Update your blog post with the image.

4. Post a link to your updated blog post to social media, include the new image in your post.

12. Use Hashtags to Reach a Larger Audience

Add one to two hashtags per tweet and Instagram post and boost your visibility and traffic. Hashtags are a quick and easy way to help new people discover your posts.

There are many tools to help you identify hashtags to include in your posts:

  1. Hashtagify
  2. TrendsMap
  3. RiteTag

13. Promote Existing Blog Posts with Internal Links

When creating new blog posts, you should include links to your other relevant posts and pages on your blog. This introduces visitors to your related posts and encourages them to stay on your site longer.

Additionally, and perhaps even more importantly, internal links are good for SEO. The links around your blog tell Google what pages are valuable and useful on your site. Using focused anchor text provide Google with additional guidance on the keywords for pages.

While you can’t control the backlinks other site give to you, you 100% control the internal links on your site. You can build internal links right now.

Ideally, you should link to posts that are related or have a natural connection to the current post. As you create more content for your blog you’ll have a larger pool of content to link to.

It is common practice for leading marketing blogs to include up to 10 internal links. So link away.

For WordPress users, Yoast is a popular tool to help you identify related posts and streamline the internal link building process.

To make an impact right now:

1. Pick one of your existing blog posts to drive internal links to (the Target Post).

2. Identify several other existing blog posts that have related content (Related Posts)

3. Update these related posts with a link back to your Target Post. Ideally, you will add the link to an important keyword or phrase in your Related Posts.

14. Promote your new post with internal links from older blog posts

You can also use the power of internal links to promote your newest article.

Spend 10 minutes reviewing your older blog posts looking for opportunities to link back to your newest post.

Adding internal links from a few related posts back to your latest effort can help boost traffic and boost SEO right out of the gate.

img source: Yoast

15. Clean up your Open Graph tags

OpenGraph  tags are small code snippets on your pages that tell Facebook and other social platforms exactly how do display your page details when your readers share your page with their friends. Setting up your Open Graph tags correctly is key to making your posts look professional and driving more shares on social media

For instance, Open Graph tags specify the Title, Summary and Image that should be displayed by Facebook when your page is shared.

For instance:

— vs —

If your pages do not explicitly call out Open Graph tags, you might be surprised by how your pages appears when shared on Facebook. The most common issues are the wrong image (or no image) displaying and a qmissing page summary.

Use the Facebook debugger to see your pages as Facebook sees them. This tool will let you know if you are missing OG tags or if there are other errors that could impact the display of your pages on Facebook.

WordPress users can set and control their Open Graph tags with Yoast or other Open Graph plugins.

16. Add Twitter Cards to Your Pages

Twitter Cards allow you to attach rich photos, videos and media experiences to Tweets, helping to drive traffic to your website.

Much like OpenGraph tags, Twitter Cards are small snippets of code on your pages that tell Twitter how to display your pages when someone shares your link.

Here’s an example of how Twitter displays a link when the target page does not include Twitter Card details:

 

And here’s a much richer display when the page contains Twitter card tags:

Tweets with images enjoy a 18% higher engagement rate. Twitter Card tags include Title, Summary and Media fields.

There are many WordPress plugins that allow you to easily add and manage Twitter cards on your posts, including our tool of choice Yoast (https://yoast.com/).

17. Freshen Up an Old Blog Post

Writing a new blog post from the ground up is time consuming and labor intensive. Only after investing many hours in research, writing and editing can you publish a post and start promoting it.

A faster way to give your blog a traffic boost is to freshen up an old post. In as quick as a few minutes you can make key updates and start promoting your freshly updated post on social media.

What posts are top candidates for freshening up? Scan through your blog and identify posts that have not been updated in a long time and that cover topics that are relevant today.

If a blog post is continuing to get traffic from google, that a sign people are still finding value in the post and it’s topic. We’ll have a lot more to say on this in a future post.

What to Update:

  • Add any new insights, tips or examples you’ve gained
  • Add your target keywords to headers and throughout the text
  • Add internal links to newer articles with relevant information
  • Improve readability by breaking up text and adding images, screenshots or other graphics.
  • Fix Any Broken Links
  • Check whether the resources or tools you recommend are still the best
  • Remove or replace any methods you no longer support

Then share it again across your social profiles.

18. Check Your Page Speed

If you pages load fast your visitors can view your page content quickly without waiting. Fast loading pages make for happy readers who are more likely to read your post and visit more pages on your site.

Additionally, Google rewards pages (https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html)  that load fast with higher placement in search results.

Google Page Insights and Pingdom offer simple free tools that analyze your page load speed and provide suggestions on how to improve your page load.

 

The suggestions can be a bit technical in nature. However, these tools will quickly let you know if your page speed is an issue that may be dragging down your traffic and wilting your search engine results. Learn more about Page Speed.

These tools helped us identify caching and image optimization as are problem areas. Based on this feedback painlessly cut our page load time in half and experienced a significant lift in our Google search placement.

BTW – we now use WP Rocket for caching and ShortPixel for optimizing our images.

19. Run a Quick SEO Check to Find Issues and Errors

If you’re like us, you regularly add plugins to your blog and update their settings. It’s no surprise when all these plugins don’t work well together and cause formatting issues that can negatively impact your your SEO.

You can quickly identify errors and issues on by using free SEO checkers such as SEO Analyzer and Site Checker Pro.

Using these tools we identified some critical issues with our header tags (these ones: <h1>…<h2> and <h3>). These issues were introduced when we made an update to our blog design and added a couple new plugins.

Based on the feedback from the SEO checkers, we cleaned up our headers and within 2 weeks the Google traffic to several key pages increased 20%+.

 

Pick a couple of these blog promotion tactics and try them over the next week. Let’s us know what works best for you.

And please let us know what we’ve missed from this list!

The post How to Promote Your Blog – 19 Easy Tactics To Get Traffic To Your Blog appeared first on dlvr.it blog.



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perjantai 8. kesäkuuta 2018

Ragan.com: How the World Cup can boost workplace engagement

The World Cup is a vibrant, gut-wrenching affair that has a knack for turning apathetic bystanders into flag-waving lunatics.

The quadrennial event—which features an irresistible blend of spicy political intrigue, geographical rivalry, historical beefs, compelling underdogs and (sometimes) intercultural amity—makes for riveting programming. It’s easily the world’s most “widely viewed” sporting event, and this year’s extravaganza (hosted by Russia) promises plenty of thrilling drama.

Every four years, workplace leaders worldwide face a dilemma: Should we try to suppress World Cup excitement for the sake of productivity, or just ride the tidal wave of fútbol fever?

If you’re keen on the latter, try these tips to use the event as a springboard for greater collaboration, camaraderie and engagement:

Loosen up. Employers are under no legal obligation to let employees watch soccer matches, but come on. According to The Guardian, “The World Cup is as an opportunity for employers to improve engagement with their staff and boost morale.” It’s also a chance to make or break employees’ perception of the company. Clamping down on streaming, denying time-off requests or creating an atmosphere hostile toward World Cup enthusiasm is a great way to make employees miserable. If you make your people miss a moment like this, good luck with your Glassdoor ratings.

Alternatively, The Guardian suggests commonsense compromises, including “employees making time up if they left early, home-working, a swapping of shift patterns, or simply allowing staff to listen to the radio and/or watch live matches.”

[FREE VIDEO PRESENTATION: Inside Northwestern Mutual's culture-reviving online town hall event]

Set rules in advance. Let your workers know what the company’s expectations are. If you plan to allow soccer fans to take time off during matches, expect a contingent of non-fans to say, “Can we get the time off too?” Plan and (re)schedule priority projects accordingly.

Gravitas HR advises: “Don’t be casual how you make these arrangements. If you’re going to ask them to make up the time, be absolutely clear. Think about re-allocation of tasks, lost productivity and how you’re going to make up for them.”

If your plan is to wing it, to ignore the World Cup or just to ride out the month without solid guidelines, your HR referees might end up having to deal with a rash of violent slide tackles around the office.

Create social events around the games, or make a tourney of your own. Use the occasion to celebrate international flavor(s). Organize trips to the local pub to watch a match, or set up a TV in the office so colleagues can watch games together. Doing so just might boost office productivity and collaboration.

You might consider setting up an office pool for a bit of friendly competition, or at least letting employees pick a participating country out of a hat, as Ragan Executive Editor Rob Reinalda suggests. He also proposes posting a world map in the office, letting staffers tack up their names to convey favored-nation status.

Creating brackets can boost creativity, so feel free to tally votes for “best World Cup hairstyle,” “most egregious flops,” or perhaps a borscht eating competition to honor this year’s hosts. Either way, the stakes can be a lunch, gift card, a PTO day or maybe a giant Tupperware full of leftover borscht.

Image result for ronaldo 2002 haircut
Ronaldo sported the 2002 World Cup's best cut.

How do you plan to handle this year’s World Cup at your workplace? Feel free to leave goal-scoring guidance below.



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Ragan.com: Deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade spur suicide prevention efforts

Recent celebrity deaths are sparking conversations about suicide prevention and mental health resources.

On Friday, news outlets reported that Anthony Bourdain died by suicide.

CNN reported:

"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," the network said in a statement Friday morning. "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."

Bourdain’s death follows the passing of designer Kate Spade, who died by suicide on Tuesday, and Swedish musician Tim Bergling (known as Avicii), who died by suicide on April 20.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that suicide rates have risen almost 30 percent since 1999. In 2016, nearly 45,000 people died by suicide in the United States—and more than half (54 percent) of those were not known to have mental health conditions.

Many individuals and organizations are looking to change those statistics and cope with the recent losses through sharing resources via social media—while others are calling for journalists to be more responsible when publishing news of suicide.

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Resources, guides and stories on Twitter

As memorials for Bourdain poured in via news headlines and social media platforms, many Twitter users used the trending hashtag #suicide to share numbers of prevention hotlines and links to mental health assistance.

Some shared those numbers alongside stories of their own struggles with mental illness, such as comedian Patton Oswalt:

Twitter users outside the United States also tweeted under the hashtag:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline tweeted after the deaths of both Bourdain and Spade:

On Friday, National Alliance on Mental Illness tweeted:

The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention tweeted:

Other organizations, such as University of Michigan Health and Mental Health First Aid, tweeted articles and infographics that listed signs of suicidal behavior:

Mayo Clinic tweeted advice on how to intervene when someone makes suicidal comments:

Beyond tweets with hotline numbers and infographics of instructions and resources, some organizations are using the recent celebrity deaths to support mental health initiatives.

Billboard reported on a few efforts in the music scene:

Mental-health support for fans themselves has also emerged as an extension of harm-reduction initiatives. Electric Daisy Carnival promoter Insomniac has integrated onsite support for fans in the form of Project #OpenTalk, a collaboration between the Drug Policy Alliance, Healthy Nightlife, and Zendo Project; a separate partnership with mental health non-profit To Write Love On Her Arms; and the promoter's own health and safety support group, Ground Control.

This year at EDC, Insomniac also partnered with MusiCares to offer free custom-fitted ear plugs for anyone performing at the festival or working in the music industry. (Tinnitus is a troublingly common occupational hazard for DJs and production staff and is considered to be a contributor to mental health problems for those working in the music industry.)

Making a difference with reporting guidelines

Several social media users have lashed out at members of the news media for sensationalizing the recent deaths by suicide.

Vox reported:

When someone struggling with mental health is suffering and knows that someone like them responded to that suffering by killing themselves, it puts death on the table. Media contagion research shows a dose effect: the more exposure to media reporting of suicide, including the number of articles and the prominence of the death, the greater the copycat effect.

Changing the way a suicide is reported in the press can reduce suicides. In 1989, a national conference of suicidologists, psychologists, and journalists pooled their knowledge and came up with a set of media guidelines for reporting on suicide, the goal being to keep vulnerable people alive.

Some rules were straightforward: Don’t mention “suicide” in the headline. Don’t mention the method of suicide in the headline, and avoid a detailed description of the method in the article. Others were more subjective: Don’t “glorify” the act; don’t engage in “excessive” reporting of the suicide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the guidelines.

The AP Stylebook’s entry on “suicide” reads, in part:

… Suicide stories, when written, should not go into detail on methods used.

Avoid using committed suicide except in direct quotations from authorities. Alternate phrases include killed himself,took her own life or died by suicide. The verb commit with suicide can imply a criminal act. Laws against suicide have been repealed in the United States and many other places.

Do not refer to an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Refer instead to an attempted suicide.

After Spade’s death, The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention released a statement asking members of the news media to take care when reporting suicides. It read, in part:

We urge all members of the media (writers, producers, editors, etc.) working on these stories about Kate Spade or other related stories about suicide to refer to the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide for best practices for safely and accurately reporting on suicide.

The organization’s guidelines include these suggestions:

  • Inform readers without sensationalizing the suicide.
  • Include a sidebar that lists warning signs and tips for what to do for a suicidal person.
  • Include the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • Avoid misinformation, but note that mental disorders are treatable.
  • Avoid reporting that suicide was preceded by a single event, including a divorce or loss of a job.
  • Omitting the terms “successful” or “failed attempt,” but instead using AP style’s recommended “died by suicide” or “killed him/herself.”

Reportingonsuicide.org offers a more detailed guide of recommendations for reporting deaths by suicide, which include not reporting the method used. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers reporters and other communicators fact sheets and suicide statistics to help with media coverage, as well.

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torstai 7. kesäkuuta 2018

Ragan.com: 5 ways editors are like chefs

Master chefs transform humble ingredients like onions, tomatoes and carrots into dazzling culinary creations.

All proficient chefs do some version of that, though there is something deliciously satisfying about the notion of repurposing barely palatable foodstuffs into vibrant, surprising feasts.

As editors, we are like chefs: We take pride in turning words into something more substantial, stirring, sumptuous and, dare we say, salubrious.

There are plenty of similarities between the two professions; here are five ways editing parallels the work of chefs:

1. We strive for the most pleasing recipe. Just like chefs, editors core, score, slice and dice, testing the contents of the vessel and adjusting accordingly. We use skill and imagination to tinker with word recipes until the concoction is clear, concise and compelling. Portions (word counts), flavors (voice and tone), variety, balance, timeliness and the tastes of our audience all factor into the winning recipe.

2. We make do with the ingredients on hand. Generally, writers are purveyors of fine (and ideally fresh) ingredients, working with editors to create the best result possible. Other times, they are like unscrupulous fishmongers who plop a crate of fetid catfish on your stoop and disappear.

Editors find a way to make it work—even when the content cupboards are bare or they’re faced with a “Chopped”-style challenge of cobbling together a coherent creation from marshmallows, gefilte fish, relish, goat cheese and vegemite. Or just a bundle of kale.

3. We must adhere to high, consistent standards. If you’ve seen “Master Chef,” you’ve no doubt heard Gordon Ramsay yell, “Where are your standards?” or words to that effect.

Image result for gordon ramsay where are your standards gif

If your standards are low, as an editor or a chef, you’ll probably sicken people. Whatever style you abide by—be it Chicago, MLA, APA, or AP—set a high bar to please the palates of your patrons. Inconsistency is bad for business.

[Free download: 10 punctuation essentials

4. Skillful butchering is essential. Perhaps the most painful portion of any cooking show is watching amateurs mangle a beautiful piece of fish or ineptly slash away at a prime cut. Skillful editing, however, is more akin to precise butchering­—nothing useful is wasted, yet all the extraneous matter is discarded.

Editors must nimbly wield linguistic paring knives (rather than hacking away with cleavers) to methodically trim out fat, bone and gristle.

5. Attention to detail is everything. Great restaurateurs are keenly aware of their surroundings. They know what everyone else is working on, when the toilet seats need to be replaced, when the linens get washed and how often the salt shakers are refilled. They know success begins long before food hits the plate. Any slight annoyance, such as a wobbly table, can affect a diner’s experience.

Editors share this big-picture burden of having to be on top of everything. It’s our job to polish and present words in the clearest, most pleasing way possible to ensure an excellent experience. Just one typo, wonky font, extra space, punctuation mistake or misplaced image can spoil an otherwise great story. However, inserting a clever headline, scintillating teaser, punchy paragraph or timely joke into the mix can turn an otherwise plain piece into ambrosia.

So, editors, here’s to you and all the hard, often overlooked work you do to make those onion-skin, carrot-top, muffin-stump words into beautiful, meaningful prose. May your writing colleagues be of the premium, organic ingredient type, as opposed to the sketchy fishmonger ilk.

We may not receive compliments the way writers and chefs do, but we are the hand that stirs the sauce.

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keskiviikko 6. kesäkuuta 2018

Ragan.com: 5 tips to craft an exceptional PowerPoint presentation

I remember the presentation well—but for all the wrong reasons.

The keynote speaker at a well-known conference had decades of experience, a clear message, great stage presence and a truly cringeworthy presentation. Every other slide featured clip art, stock photos or dancing GIFs.

I don’t remember the message of his presentation, but I certainly remember the larger lesson: what not to do in a PowerPoint presentation.

A live presentation can be a powerful workplace communication tool, but a lot can go wrong. Try these five tips to stay on course and deliver presentations that will captivate your audience:

1. Embed attention-grabbing YouTube videos.

Did you know that more than a billion hours of video are watched every day on YouTube? There’s a reason video is perhaps the most engaging type of content.

Why make your audience endure hefty chunks of text or dull charts when you can easily embed a video instead? Instead of just “telling” people about the importance of learning from errors, you could insert John Cleese’s motivational speech on “The Importance of Mistakes.”

Including a memorable, entertaining video increases the chances that your message will stick.

The how-to:

  • Copy the embed code from your YouTube video.
  • In the Insert menu in your PowerPoint slide, click Video > Online Video.
  • Paste your embed code, or you can even search for a YouTube video from within PowerPoint.
  • Move and resize the video within your slide, and preview it to make sure it’s what you want.
The Insert Video screen in Microsoft PowerPoint

2. Zoom between slides at light speed.

The old way of navigating through your presentation was to click through it, one slide at a time, in order.

Zoom lets you zip around your presentation to different slides instead of clicking through laboriously.

For example, say you want to quickly flash back to your first slide, then return to your place in the presentation. Or, you have a funny Crying Jordan GIF (used sparingly, of course) in the middle of the presentation that you want to summon at opportune times. You can also use Zoom to show a bird’s-eye view of all your slides at once, like a table of contents.

The how-to:

  1. From the Insert menu, select Zoom.
  2. Summary Zoom will show an overview of all your slides, Slide Zoom enables you to jump to a single slide anywhere in your presentation, and Section Zoom enables you to show a group of selected slides.
  3. Once you have that down, you can get fancy with Zoom Tools (on the Format menu) and customize transitions and backgrounds.

3. Dazzle your audience with Morph.

Back in the early ’90s, a computer graphics technique known as “morph” was wowing audiences. Prime early examples of this tech in action include the T-1000 smoothly transitioning from a pool of mercury into a human in “Terminator 2" and Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” video.

Related image

Back then, morphing was a multi-million-dollar technology limited to Hollywood production studios. Today, the Morph feature in PowerPoint lets you use animations to seamlessly transition from one slide to the next.

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Morph is essentially an easier, quicker way of doing some of the things you can do in the Animations tab.

Check out this video for an example:

The how-to:

  • On the Transitions tab, select Morph.
  • The two slides you are connecting need at least one object in common: text or a shape, picture or chart, for example.
  • The simplest way to approach this is to duplicate a slide, then alter the duplicate by moving objects around, or by removing or adding text, etc.
  • PowerPoint will automatically animate these changes.
  • Once you have the hang of Morph, check out these advanced techniques.

4. Use the Designer to create sleek slides.

If you know what text and pictures you want to include, but don’t have the time or ability to design the perfect layout, Designer does the heavy lifting for you. Think of it as an AI interior designer for your slides. You add the text and images, and Designer lays them out for you. As PowerPoint expert Heather Ackmann says: “It instantly gives you a slide makeover.”

Don’t worry; you’re still in charge. If you don’t like what you see, you can always ask Designer to try again.

The how-to:

  • Designer works automatically in the background while you’re building your presentation.
  • From the Insert menu, just start adding pictures and charts, and Designer will make suggestions. Designer will even turn your bullet lists into sequential graphics.
  • Note that Designer works only when you’re online and using one of PowerPoint’s built-in themes.
  • You do have to opt in to Designer the first time you use PowerPoint, but you can always turn it on via the Design tab—or off from File > Options > General.

5. Use your smartphone as a remote and laser pointer.

How many presentations have endured where the presenter loses his train of thought due to constant fumbling with a malfunctioning remote or glitchy laptop?

Thankfully, there’s now an app for that. Downloading the free PowerPoint app allows you to seamlessly glide through presentations (and point at whatever you’d like) with a few taps on your phone.

The how-to:

  • You can download the free PowerPoint app for Android, iPhone or Windows phones.
  • Next, connect your phone to the projector with an HDMI cable or WiFi (through AirPlay or ChromeCast, for example).
  • In a pinch, you can even create and share presentations on the PowerPoint app, then continue working on them once you get to your computer.

Lousy PowerPoint presentations are good for a laugh, but wouldn’t we all be better off in a world full of beautiful, seamless presentations? Use these tips to strive toward that noble goal.

A version of this post first appeared on the Capterra blog.

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Ragan.com: Miss America waves goodbye to swimsuits and evening gowns

Miss America has a new look: inclusivity.

On Tuesday, the organization announced that it would no longer feature a swimsuit competition:

Instead, Miss America contestants will vie for the title with attributes other than their looks.

Gretchen Carlson, former Miss America 1989 and the organization’s chair of the board of trustees, announced the new look on “Good Morning America”:

“We are no longer a pageant,” Carlson said. “We are a competition.”

The organization’s overhaul—dubbed “Miss America 2.0”—replaced the event’s swimsuit portion with an interactive session and altered the evening gown portion to include contestants’ social causes.

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The Miss America organization published the announcement in its newsroom; it read, in part:

This change in format signals the end of the swimsuit portion of the competition. In its place, each candidate will participate in a live interactive session with the judges, where she will highlight her achievements and goals in life and how she will use her talents, passion, and ambition to perform the job of Miss America.

The former evening gown competition will now give participants the freedom to outwardly express their self-confidence in evening attire of their choosing while discussing how they will advance their social impact initiatives. Talent, which has always been a distinguishing element of Miss America, will remain a highlight of the competition.

“We are no longer a pageant. Miss America will represent a new generation of female leaders focused on scholarship, social impact, talent, and empowerment” said Gretchen Carlson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, adding “We’re experiencing a cultural revolution in our country with women finding the courage to stand up and have their voices heard on many issues. Miss America is proud to evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement.”

The organization was adamant that participating women “will no longer be judged on outward physical appearance” and said the competition is open to women of different shapes and sizes.

ABC News reported:

"We’ve heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘We’d love to be a part of your program but we don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit,’ so guess what, you don’t have to do that anymore," Carlson said. "Who doesn’t want to be empowered, learn leadership skills and pay for college and be able to show the world who you are as a person from the inside of your soul."

She continued, "That’s what we’re judging them on now."

Cara Mund, 2018’s Miss America, also tweeted the announcement:

The branding change is happening as the #MeToo movement accelerates in Hollywood and beyond, where it dominated events such as the Golden Globes.

ABC News reported:

In addition to being crowned Miss America in 1989, Carlson has more recently been an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual harassment and a champion of the #MeToo movement. In 2016, she settled a lawsuit against former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who stepped down from his role after mounting pressure from additional employees with similar accusations.

The move is also intended to separate the Miss America competition from negative PR.

The organization was in crisis mode after the revelation of internal emails from its former chiefexecutive, Sam Haskell. In December, Haskell was suspended from the board. Shortly after, he resigned.

Moneyish.com reported:

Carlson took over the Miss America competition with a new all-female leadership team earlier this year, after the organization’s former executive director Sam Haskell and president Josh Randle resigned over leaked emails that insulted former pageant winners’ appearance and sex lives — including Carlson.

The New York Times reported:

The organization, confronting its own harassment scandal and searching for its place in the #MeToo era, had worked on the new format for several months. The nine members of the board of directors — seven are now women — unanimously approved the change in March. It was kept a secret until two days ago, when state directors and former Miss Americas were informed.

ABC News reported:

"This is a new beginning and change can sometimes be difficult but I know a lot about change," [Carlson] said. "My life has worked in mysterious ways. I never thought I’d be the chairwoman of the Miss America Organization, but here I am and we’re moving it forward and we’re evolving in this cultural revolution."

Response to Miss America’s new focus has been mixed.

Though many social media users applauded the organization’s announcement, others pointed to pageants such as Miss World and Miss Universe, which will continue to have swimsuit portions. Some suggested the Miss America organization is ignoring its beginnings.

Piers Morgan wrote in Mail Online:

The competition was set up nearly 100 years ago in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a bathing beauty pageant specifically designed to attract tourists to the area during Labor Day weekend.

The first contest in September 1920 was entitled ‘The Fall Frolic’ and was so successful that by the following year 100,000 people turned out to watch young women compete from all over the country.

Margaret Gorman, Miss District of Columbia, was declared “The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America’, and quickly became known as Miss America.

Since then, thousands of beautiful young American women have entered their state contests hoping to win a coveted prize on the Miss America show.

The New York Times reported:

… [W]hat started as contestants wearing one-piece bathing suits, conservative by today’s standards, became women in revealing bikinis and high heels parading around for a leering television audience.

Miss America’s change also highlights organizations’ need to reevaluate how their structures and policies fare in today’s media landscape, where controversies can quickly become crises.

What do you think of the organization’s new approach?

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