“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. 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 STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHalep, 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.” Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief 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 Favorites to win, PH triathletes reminded not to be complacent Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST PLAY LIST 01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST00:50Trending Articles04:11Robredo accepts Duterte’s drug czar post appointment01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Read Next UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension LATEST STORIES SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games MOST READ LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games MASON, 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 WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Public Relations At HubSpot, we love to provide free tools to the marketing community. This Internet Marketing Blog is free, and read by thousands of marketers like you (thanks!). We also built Website Grader, a free SEO tool, and that has been used to evaluate well over 300,000 different websites.Now it’s time to try something else new, and we want your help. We’re launching a new tool called Press Release Grader, which analyzes your press release and provides some ideas on how to improve it.We’d appreciate it if you went to www.PressReleaseGrader.com and evaluated a couple press releases. We appreciate all feedback and look forward to improving the tool based on your input – so let us know what you love about it and also what you hate about it! You can either use the feedback link on the report, or just leave a comment on this blog article.Here is a video overview of Press Release Grader: Topics: Originally published May 30, 2008 10:56:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 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 Apr 28, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Photo: Robert Crum on Flickr Inbound Marketing Kit So you’re graduating from college in a month, you’re interested in marketing, but the economy’s stuck in a ditch, you don’t have a marketing job, and you’re worried. What do you do to standout from the thousands of others in exactly the same situation? I interview a lot of people here at HubSpot, and I think there are a few things you can do. Here are my top 10: Start a blog. This is critical. At HubSpot resumes that list a blog immediately move to the front of the line. Here’s why: Online marketing is a complicated ecosystem in which blog posts are the cells — the most basic forms of life. If you’ve started and maintained a blog, you understand that ecosystem. You understand how search engines suck up content and spit back visitors. You understand how web applications work. You understand the concept of linking. You understand widgets and basic html. You understand how important pictures and video can be. You get the point. Start a blog. Take your job search seriously. Sounds basic, but it’s really, really important. Don’t start off your interview joking about drinking with your roommates, as one unsuccessful HubSpot applicant did this year. Show up on time, respond promptly and be prepared. It’s easy, and it makes a huge difference. Be confident. The job market is tough and looking for a job sucks, but don’t let it show. Walk into your interviews with your head high and everything under control. This is critical for marketing roles because it’s how marketers have to present their product. Start a Twitter account. Twitter will teach you a lot about new marketing techniques, but even more importantly, it will connect you with professionals and companies looking for talent. It’s also very useful from the employer’s standpoint. Right now I’m following several people who have applied for jobs at HubSpot. Twitter is a way for me to get to know them better. Think analytically. Inbound marketing is comprised of two main activities: Creating content and measuring its use. Candidates who can do both well get hired. Period. Know the company. If you’re interviewing at HubSpot, you better know what inbound marketing is, and you better know how our approach to marketing is different from that of traditional marketers. Every company has similar “must understand” tests. Figure out what they are before you apply. Demonstrate a content mindset . Go to meetups or events and post to flickr, YouTube or Facebook. Show that you’re not afraid to dive into these tools. Online marketing is about building an online presence through content. The more you can do that, the more valuable you’ll be to a company. Show that you get stuff done. There are people who get stuff done and there are people who talk about getting stuff done. Show that you’re the former. Blogging and creating content is a great way to do that. Get passionate about something. People need to know what makes you tick. You’re going to be a much more productive employee if you’re excited about what you’re doing, so employers want to understand what gets you fired up. Learn to write well. Much of the day-to-day inbound marketing grind is writing — case studies, blog posts, emails, video scripts and lots more. If you can write clearly, your employer will be able to keep you very busy. What tips would you add to this list? Please add them in the comments. I’ll update the post with some of my favorites later in the day. One more thing: If you’re a job seeker in the Boston area, definitely check out today’s MITX Digital Combine being held at the Back Bay Events Center all afternoon. I’ll be speaking on a panel at 3 p.m., “Positions in the Digital Industry: The Opportunities, Skills, and Experience Needed.”UPDATE: HubSpot friend and Boston videoblogger Steve Garfield has an awesome post today that’s right on the money: ” How to Get a Job at HubSpot .”A couple more great ideas from the comments:From Kevin Richard : “Interact with people in the industry/area you want to work in.” From David Spinks : “NEVER pass up an opportunity to reach new people.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Learn more about inbound marketing and how to combine blogging, SEO and social media for results. Download our inbound marketing kit .
Episode #61 – October 9, 2009 (Episode Length: 28 minutes, 58 seconds) http://itunes.hubspot.tv/ Headlines Marketing Takeaway , @ mvolpe Marketing Takeaway Doing It Right with www.HubSpot.tv FTC Confirms Bloggers Need Not Fear the $11,000 Fines Registration Link: – Your offline events can stimulate online conversation. gameplanhayden If PR Dead? The Debate Continues… — Details: and @ Download HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University online training program Thepremise is simple: visitors “light” a candle and leave a message. 8599as of Thursday at 4PM – less than 48 hours after it went live Yahoo finally joins Google and stops using meta keywords for search Time 3:00-5:30pm Forum Fodder Location: Brogan Room at HubSpot HQ http://hubspotbook.eventbrite.com/ HuSpot TV Guest: Tim Hayden! Brian Halligan’s article: Is PR dead? Think about using in person events to enhance the online communications you are using for inbound marketing. in Austin, TX Announcement! First 50 people get a free book! FTC Regulates Endorsements and Reviews We Are Better Than This Closing Make great content, get more links, don’t sweat meta keywords. Date: October 16 Justin Goodman @electricmice: How to interact on Twitter: @ Originally published Oct 11, 2009 7:49:00 PM, updated July 04 2013 : Set your employees free! Encourage them to be content creators. Death to Meta Keywords! Doors open at 3:00pm. The show goes live at 4:00pm. Come meet Brian andDharmesh at the end of the show during the book signing. – Make sure your PR firm is doing more than SPAMing reporters with press releases. Yahoo Search No Longer Uses Meta Keywords Tag Technology, in which 54% of thesample of 1,400 CIOs of companies with 100 or more employees blockemployees from accessing any social media at work” Intro Inbound Marketing Book Launch Party at HubSpot TV : Be upfront and honest, and encourage your fans to do the same. “astudy released yesterday by Robert Half Perks: CEO of Marketing Takeaway: Subscribe in iTunes: Why the 54% of companies blocking access to social media should knock it off http://www.ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005endorsementguidesfnnotice.pdf IMU includes The Role of PR Firms in Social Media and Inbound Marketing in your tweet. Free Inbound Marketing University Online Training Program 54% of companies BLOCK social media If I have hundreds of landing pages, how should you incorporate them into your navigation? 11 free webinar classes and notesheets GamePlan Marketing Takeaway 2 Marketing Takewaway karenrubin “So,is pr dead? Well, the bad news is that as the game has beentraditionally played, it is probably dead or near dead. The good newsis that there is a major opportunity for new entrants and forwardthinking existing agencies to re-invent the industry and provide awhole new set of valuable businesses for their customers.” . The program drills into each component of inbound marketing and prepares you for the Inbound Marketing certification exam. Marketing Tip of the Week: FTC Cracks Down on Blogger Payola, Celebrity Tweets Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Identifying the influencers Building relationships with them Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack In a way, PR is one of the original forms of content marketing. Public relations professionals do plenty of things, of course: publicity, reputation management, and media relations, to name but a few. But the heart and soul of PR has always been planting stories in the media: in newspapers, magazines, on television and radio. With the exception of “the exclusive,” the primary tool in the arsenal for planting stories has traditionally been the press release, a brief, persuasive, one or two page document intended to persuade its journalist recipients that a certain topic is worth their time, attention, and coverage. An This lays out a new set of challenges: That’s a real game changer. our free webinar Content Marketing . Influencers can be bloggers or others with a significant social media following who are talking online about the issues, products, or services that fit with whatever a PR professional is working to publicize. And unlike the mainstream media, these essential targets are not necessarily versed or experienced in dealing with PR pros. . They’re no longer a private, one-to-one communications channel (once upon a time, releases were mailed, and later faxed, to newsrooms). In today’s age, press releases are distributed via wire services — wire services that are immediately picked up by all the major news services including Google, Yahoo, AOL News, and Bing. In other words, the second a press release is actually released content marketing How are you adapting to the changing nature of isn’t dead in the context of content marketing. Instead, it’s optimized for a variety of different target audiences as well as for search engines. Given that once a release crosses the wire, it’s “out there” for anyone to find (not just journalists), keyword research has become an essential component of optimizing press releases for search. Once you decide on two or three relevant search terms, these terms should be incorporated into the headline and opening paragraph of the release. It’s become increasingly important for press releases to contain links to video, photos, executive bios, a company or product web site — anything that will expand upon and enrich the story. influencers End-users, potential buyers, or clients can now be the target of your press release. In bygone days, that target was limited to the press. Where PR pros used to jealously maintain, guard, and update media lists, their who’s-covering-what-beat Rolodex of who to reach out to place stories, the challenge now is to target on Thursday, July 28, when we’ll discuss these concepts in greater details, as well as flesh them out with case studies. Finding the online communities where relevant discussions occur press releases don’t work that way anymore Yet, fundamentals remain the same. PR professionals are good at helping to shape and to spread stories, and , will be published by Pearson in September. Find the Influencers (Not Necessarily the Journalists) themselves effective press release , a digital marketing consultant specializing in content marketing and SEO as well as a sought-after speaker, writer, and author. Her next book, . I hope you’ll join us for Creating awareness and enough enthusiasm to encourage these people and groups to discuss the product/service/story. Enter the Optimized Press Release the media. Moreover, they interface and target a media landscape that’s grown far beyond traditional press and broadcasts outlets. But ? public relations Public relations just plain doesn’t work the way it used to is, as we’ve seen, very much about stories. In a digital landscape, this necessitates not only finding and shaping stories, but also determining how they are told, through which channels, and to whom. Rebecca Lieb Topics: This is a guest blog post by Originally published Jul 19, 2011 5:05:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 , the PR practitioner has broken his or her own story. It’s hard to persuade people in the news business to pick up “news” once the story is already “out there.” Public Relations So while PR practitioners were once exclusively in the business of influencing the media (and they still are), they (like all other content marketers) are
1. Create an Optimized Page Title on-page search engine optimization (SEO) best practices . Failing to do so is a simple yet costly mistake that many websites make. Making this mistake, especially if most of your business comes from a local geographic radius, means you are instead competing for keywords that are much more difficult to rank for because of the increased competition around these more broad-based keywords. Originally published Aug 10, 2011 8:01:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 competing against other local businesses Each individual page of your website offers an opportunity for you to Many local franchisee websites fail to optimize their page titles around for your franchise. . Here are three on-page SEO tips for franchisees to help get found by more people looking for their products and services. improving your on-page SEO What should franchisees do? As a franchisee, how does your website’s on-page SEO stack up? If you’re making any of these three mistakes, it might make sense to spend some more time 2. Optimize Your Page Titles Around Geographically Specific Keywords To see this in action, perform a Google search for “George Washington.” Notice that the first result that pops up is the Wikipedia page where the based on its authority from inbound links, which is another contributing factor that helps this page rank so well in search engines. If your page title reads “Home” or “X Company,” we suggest changing it to something that contains your top one or two keywords. For example, imagine that you own a leather furniture store in Jacksonville. The page title on the home page of your website should not be “Rick’s Furniture Store” unless that’s what you want to get found for. Rather, your page title should be something like “Leather Furniture Store Jacksonville | Leather Sofas Jacksonville” because those are likely keywords that searchers who have never heard of Rick’s Furniture Store will be typing into search engines. For example, a Google keyword search for “leather furniture” shows 18.8 million website pages in the Google index. A Google search for the keyword “leather furniture Jacksonville” instead has only has 299K website pages indexed in Google. This means there is a lot less competition, and therefore, it is a lot less difficult to rank organically for “leather furniture Jacksonville” compared to plain old “leather furniture.” In other words, instead of competing with everyone in the country who is vying for that general keyword, you are only Your page title or title tag is the most important piece of real estate on your website. Why? The page title is the first thing search engines read when crawling your site. Page titles are crucial because they tell search engines what you want to get found for. Many franchisee websites experience difficulty getting found by prospects in organic search because they haven’t optimized their page title with the What should franchisees do? On-page SEO . geographically-focused keywords rank for a new keyword in search engines for specific keywords you want to target. Make sure you weave that keyword into as many on-page SEO ranking factors as you can without sacrificing readability for your site visitors. Take the time to Many franchisees either do not have a website or do not have access to their website to make geographically-focused SEO improvements. First, if you do not have a website for your locally owned and operated franchise, we recommend getting one set up ASAP! 3. Use Each Web Page as an Opportunity to Rank for a New Keyword most important on-page SEO elements Another common mistake is setting your company name as your page title. Making sure you are not making these two simple — yet powerful — mistakes will go a long way toward helping Second, it’s also important that your website has an easy-to-use CMS, or content management system. A CMS will allow you to easily update and edit your website when necessary instead of paying a webmaster $100 or more each time you need to make an update. Topics: appropriate keywords carefully search engine optimize each page on your website in your geographic area. . In fact, a common mistake many companies make is having a generic page title that reads “Home.” Having “Home” as your page title tells search engines that you want to get found each time a searcher types in “Home.” Not ideal. improve on-page SEO off-page SEO What should franchisees do? In the United States, the franchise industry accounts for almost 40% of all retail sales. Unfortunately, many franchise companies with large networks of franchisees spread throughout the country are not taking advantage of . Your search engine rankings will thank you. (page title, URL, H1 tag, alt text) are all optimized around the keyword “George Washington.” This is not an accident. One of the reasons Google has indexed this page as the most relevant and authoritative website on “George Washington” is because its on-page SEO structure is perfectly optimized. Wikipedia also has strong Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Back in November, I set out to write a post to highlight businesses that were using LinkedIn’s company page features effectively. Needless to say, I couldn’t find enough examples to create a compelling post, so in my dismay, what I actually ended up writing was, “11 Reasons Your LinkedIn Company Page Sucks.”What can I say? I was a little bitter and, frankly, slightly disappointed in the social media marketers of the world. We recently reported that, in a study of the over 5,000 inbound marketers where we pitted LinkedIn against Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn proved to be the most effective social media channel for lead generation — 277% more effective, in fact. As a marketer, particularly if you’re in the B2B game, how could you not leverage that awesome lead generation potential?Well, it’s been several months now, and I wanted to give you LinkedIn marketers out there another chance. While it was still difficult to find examples of businesses effectively using all of the company page features at their disposal, it was a bit easier to find some great examples of individual feature use. Looks like some of you may have gotten the hint! Let’s take a look at some of the admirable use cases of the main LinkedIn company page features to inspire you to give your LinkedIn company page a little more love. You want to leverage LinkedIn’s lead gen potential for your business as much as possible, right?Blog RSS FeedLet’s get a few low-hanging fruit features out of the way first. There’s a very simple way to populate your LinkedIn company page with your business’ content, and it’s called your blog’s RSS feed. While simply including your blog’s feed won’t broadcast its content to your LinkedIn page followers via the updates feed on their homepage (unlike Company Status Updates, which we’ll cover later), it’s a really easy way to promote your blog content to the visitors on your page.See the example above, which is a screenshot from Kuno Creative’s company page. If you’re going to add your blog’s RSS feed to your page, just be sure you’re regularly updating your blog with content. A stale feed of outdated posts that shows you haven’t updated your blog in months will likely do you more harm than good. Kuno Creative, for example, maintains an active blog, so the blog RSS feature is a welcome addition to its LinkedIn company page. To add your blog’s RSS feed to your LinkedIn page, click the dropdown menu next to Admin Tools for your page’s ‘Overview’ tab, scroll to the bottom of the page, and enter your blog’s RSS feed.News ModuleThe next low-hanging fruit feature you should enable on your LinkedIn company page is the news module. This pulls in any news mentions of your company that LinkedIn finds on the web and features them in the right-hand column of the Overview tab on your LinkedIn company page, as seen on Red Shoes PR’s company page (pictured here). Adding this module is a great way to highlight the media coverage your company has earned, adding third-party credibility and validation to your page.The option to enable news mentions to be displayed on your page is right below the option to add your blog’s RSS feed while you’re in edit mode of the Overview tab.Company Status UpdatesLinkedIn’s rollout of company status updates in October was a big win for marketers everywhere, but not many have been leveraging it. Just as marketers can post updates to their Google+ page and Facebook page timeline, they can also do so on LinkedIn. This gives marketers the opportunity to expose more of their content directly to their LinkedIn followers, who see status update content in their LinkedIn updates feed on their LinkedIn homepage.PR 20/20’s Company Page is a great example of one that is effectively making use of company status updates, regularly sharing blog posts and reports they’ve created as well as third-party coverage of their brand. This drives traffic from LinkedIn back to PR 20/20’s website and positions them as a thought leader within the LinkedIn community.Overdrive Interactive is another great example of a company using company status updates well, sharing helpful content from themselves as well as others to ensure they keep their LinkedIn company page regularly updated with content for their followers.Keeping a frequently updated and engaging page is the best way to organically attract new followers and expand your LinkedIn reach. Don’t have company status updates enabled for your page yet? Check out our quick tutorial here to start getting more out of your LinkedIn company presence.Products/Services TabAs a LinkedIn company page admin, marketers can also highlight their product/service offerings on a separate ‘Products & Services’ tab. Building out this tab is a great way to highlight and promote … why yes, your products and services!Voices.com’s company page provides a great example of a robust Products & Services tab, highlighting 11 of its services and utilizing some of the other great features available for this tab, including a Products & Services Spotlight as well as a video (we’ll get to these features later).But are your products and services the only thing you should highlight on this tab? No way, Jose! You can also (and you should) leverage this valuable LinkedIn real estate to feature your marketing offers such as webinars, ebooks, free trials or other content to support lead generation, as we’ve done on HubSpot’s LinkedIn company page.The other awesome capability offered through the product tab is audience targeting. LinkedIn enables you to create up to 30 distinct landing pages for specific audience segments. This means you can show visitors to your products tab different variations depending on the targeting options you set up based on that user’s company size, job function, industry, seniority, and/or geography. So if you have various segments of products or offers suitable for different audiences, you can only surface the ones that are applicable to those users. To learn how to set up targeted product tabs for your LinkedIn company page, check out this handy guide.Videos on Products TabWhile you’re editing your Products & Services tab, don’t miss out on the opportunity to add a video! Use this space to explain your products, services, and value proposition in a video format, and if you’re leveraging product tab targeting, you can add a different video for each tab variation you create. The only caveat is that any video content you use must already be hosted on YouTube; the video feature requires you to include a YouTube link for your video in order to display it.Both OPTIO Solutions and ClearRisk are leveraging the video feature nicely on their LinkedIn pages’ products and services tab to capture the attention of any LinkedIn page visitors who’d prefer a more visual overview of what these businesses offer. Topics: LinkedIn Company Pages Just as Taproot has done, treat your Product and Service Spotlight as call-to-action buttons. Depending on your current goals and promotions in progress, you can use them to feature your lead gen marketing offers, promote registration for an upcoming event you’re hosting, increase subscribers to your blog, highlight your presence on other social networks, etc. The possibilities are endless! RecommendationsSocial proof is a real thing. According to a CompUSA and iPerceptions study, 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. Lucky for you, LinkedIn provides users with the opportunity to recommend your business’ products and services. This is also one of the reasons why it’s important to add your products and services to your products tab. Without products and services, your LinkedIn page visitors would have nothing to recommend! And without recommendations, page visitors are left with some very underwhelming social proof. When a LinkedIn user recommends one of your products or services, it’s displayed on the individual detailed page for that product. The total number of recommendations across all of your products/services is also displayed on the main products tab on your page.Check out Salesforce’s Products Tab, for example, which boasts 821 recommendations across its 10 products and makes for a very compelling LinkedIn page.While it’s up to LinkedIn users to recommend your products, making sure your products tab is complete as well as boosting your LinkedIn following (here are some tips!) can help your page accumulate recommendations since A) users will have something to recommend, and B) your page followers are more likely to leave you recommendations than LinkedIn users who aren’t following you. For a deeper dive into how you can generate more online reviews for your business, read this helpful guide.Careers TabThe final LinkedIn company page feature at your disposal is the ‘Careers’ tab. And while LinkedIn can serve as a valuable marketing and lead generation tool, one of its most powerful benefits is in its professional networking potential. And what better tool to help you recruit top talent for your business than a social network populated by professionals? According to an internal LinkedIn survey, LinkedIn beats the major job boards 3 to 1 on applicant quality. Use the basic careers tab (albeit not free) to advertise your current job openings, as GE Energy does in the following example. Want to take it one step further? Get more robust capabilities by upgrading your account to a Silver or Gold Career Page, which gives you access to a “full suite of features for promoting careers at your company, including a clickable banner, customizable modules, analytics on who is viewing the page, direct links to recruiters, video content, and more.” If you choose the Gold Career Page, you can even customize up to five different versions of the page to display different content and job opportunities based on the viewer’s LinkedIn profile. Think of it like targeted product tab variations, but for careers! Deloitte’s ‘Careers’ tab is an example of an upgraded careers tab: Zipcar: Rocking All LinkedIn Page FeaturesLooking for a great example of a company that is leveraging many of LinkedIn’s company page features well? Check out Zipcar’s page.Zipcar leverages every feature we highlighted in this post, and while we do think they could be sharing more compelling content via their company status updates, Zipcar provides a solid example of a business that ‘gets’ the value of LinkedIn company pages.How well are you taking advantage of the features available to you on your LinkedIn company page? Product and Service SpotlightAnother products tab feature worth mentioning separately is the ‘Product and Service Spotlight,’ which enables you to feature three scrolling, clickable banner images (640×220 pixels) near the top of your products tab. Again, if you’re leveraging targeted product tab landing pages, you can choose different spotlight images for each variation.Check out how the Taproot Foundation, a nonprofit organization that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society, leverages its Product and Service Spotlight using the three images below. Each image includes a call-to-action for visitors to perform a few different actions: ‘Apply Now,’ ‘Visit Our Facebook Page,’ and ‘Learn More.’ You can visit the products tab on Taproot Foundation’s company page for the full scrolling, interactive experience of how this works. Originally published Mar 20, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016
Website Redesign Now imagine the same situation as before, but when you get into the shop you can’t see the cake you saw in the window and you have to search high and low for it. When you eventually find the cake, hidden at the back of the shop, there’s no information about how much it costs and what it’s made out of; you have to ask a shop assistant for that information. You’re ready to pay, but you don’t know where to go as there’s no “Pay Here” sign, so you have to search for the till (cash-register) and can’t find it. You decide to leave the shop and vow to try the cake shop over the road. You have had a frustrating experience that results in a shorter visit than you intended. 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 May 31, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated August 25 2017 There are two marketing initiatives I hear about all the time: 1) Adopting more inbound strategies, and 2) planning a website redesign.And both are great! But the big question most people face when both initiatives come up at the same time is … which do I do first?Redesigning your site first and then implementing inbound seems like the most logical approach. Why would you want to adopt inbound marketing strategies when your website is “not ready” for the public? Or you might flip-flop it so the redesign comes after you nail your inbound marketing strategy. Learn from the metrics and data first and then develop the site accordingly, right?Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignSo … which way is better? Inbound marketing before a website redesign, or after? It’s a trick question, actually. In my opinion, neither is better.Why? To me, both “staggered” approaches have their own share of missed opportunities. I’m an advocate of the simultaneous execution of a website redesign and implementation of an inbound marketing strategy. Let’s talk about why.The Common Arguments Against Simultaneous ImplementationA very common objection that I hear for separating a website redesign from inbound adoption is resource allocation. Designers, coders, webmasters, and the marketing team are all involved with the finished product during a website redesign. The last thing someone would want to do is shove more work on the entire team’s plate.But thinking of it as additional work is actually looking at it in the wrong way. Why? First, a lot of the assets built through inbound — a business blog, calls-to-action, landing pages — are actually components that should be developed to align with the redesign.I also hear the wonderfully vague “marketing strategy” objection, which when I drill down, can typically mean a number of things. These are the most common:“We don’t want to introduce inbound marketing until the website is complete.”“The web designers don’t need to be involved with our inbound marketing strategy—it might distract them.”“We want to see how the website performs before launching any inbound initiatives.”All are valid reasons. But the solution is simple, and it applies to all three above examples: introducing inbound marketing at this stage helps foster team alignment with the inbound strategy. The designers, marketers, coders, webmasters, you name it, will all be involved with the adoption of inbound marketing, and in understanding of the overall vision. Rather than playing a giant game of telephone after the redesign, everyone will be on the same page from the get-go.Luke Doran over at marketing agency Southerly explained this phenomenon really well with a cake shop analogy. (Yum.)”You’re walking down the high street, pass a cake shop, and you stop because something in the window display has caught your eye. You walk into the shop because the cake looks delicious and you want it. When you get into the shop, you see the cake immediately, a sign with a price, and an eager shop assistant with a large “Pay Here” sign. You leave the shop cake in hand, ready to indulge, and vowing to return again soon.Now imagine the same situation, but when you walk in you can’t find the cake you saw in the window. When you eventually find it there’s no information about how much it costs; you have to ask a shop assistant for that information. And when you’re ready to pay, you can’t find a register or shop assistant. So you just leave and go to the shop down the road. The first shop has been built with a clear goal in mind – to get the customer to buy the cake in the window and as such that’s exactly what the customer does. It’s inbound in action and working like a dream. The second shop clearly hasn’t been built with a specific goal in mind and it shows; the customer leaves before they buy a cake. It’s inbound gone awry. Topics: We all want a website like the first cake shop, what inbound marketer wouldn’t? So when we redesign a website for a client, we ensure that we fully understand their goals right from the start so we can build those goals into the redesign. This ensures our clients (and their customers) get a website that mimics the first cake shop. If we tried to bolt those goals onto the website after it was redesigned, we’d end up with cake shop number two. And who would want that? I know our clients wouldn’t! The goal of the first shop was to get cake out the door and into customers’ bellies. And they did it. We all want a website like the first cake shop. So when we redesign a website for a client, we ensure that we fully understand their goals right from the start so we can build those goals into the redesign. This ensures our clients (and their customers) get a website that mimics the first cake shop. If we tried to bolt those goals onto the website after it was redesigned, we’d end up with cake shop number two.” Don’t end up with cake shop number two.Website Redesigns and Inbound Marketing: Friends With BenefitsWebsite redesigns and inbound marketing having a sort of symbiotic relationship. For the non-science nerds out there, a symbiotic relationship is an occurrence in nature when two organisms rely on each other for survival. For example, a clown fish will clean a sea anemone of harmful bacteria in exchange for protection from predators.The same type of relationship exists between a website redesign and an inbound marketing strategy — a shiny new website redesign makes inbound marketing look good and in return, inbound marketing helps a website become a functional, lead generation machine. The key to a successful symbiosis (and ultimately, marketing success) is to understand the different ways that each mutually assist the other.What follows are three key areas where a symbiotic relationship between inbound marketing and a website redesign is absolutely necessary — and ultimately beneficial — when executing on both activities.1) Website StructureHave you ever been cooking something, only to realize you forgot to add a crucial ingredient to the mix after your culinary delight has been in the oven for a half hour? I have. It’s a huge bummer.The same type of disheartening situation can emerge when you don’t incorporate inbound marketing assets in a website redesign. Deciding how you’ll integrate key elements of inbound marketing into the site structure is critical in the first iteration of the new website — it saves money and time, prevents wasted resources, cuts down on iterations, and most importantly, tees up the site for success upon launch.All too often, I’ve seen marketers bring on a slick new website that’s built for design — not functionality — before adopting inbound tactics. Suffice to say, we end up making a lot of changes (all for the better) that could have been avoided if we strategized before, and integrated during, the website’s facelift — like CTA placement, landing page creation, and lead capture form integration.Instead of waiting to add inbound marketing best practices to the website after launch, do it throughout the process. Do it right. The results of your redesign will be much more satisfying.2) Content AlignmentContent creation is obviously a cornerstone of any company’s inbound marketing shift, and most companies start (smartly) with a business blog. And anyone who has started business blogging knows there’s no time like the present to begin. Search engines take a while to index website pages, so the sooner you can get pieces of content up, the less likely you’ll be starting from ground zero once the website redesign is complete.Don’t wait until the site launches to begin blogging — start yesterday.To hold up its end of the bargain in the symbiotic relationship, a website redesign will provide the opportunity for a keyword- and topic-focused inbound strategy. Old copy can be rehashed, new keywords and topics can be researched and integrated, and additional pages can be created to support opportunistic keywords. The redesign is the blank slate and inbound marketing is the chisel.3) User ExperienceI can confidently say that the companies that utilize inbound marketing most effectively are ones that develop unique buyer personas, define the customer buying process, and adapt the website’s user experience to best suit both variables.Structuring a website to suit buyer personas is no easy task — it takes research, planning, and careful consideration to create web pages that are suited to different audiences. As you can probably assume, this is the hardest piece to put in place retroactively after a website redesign.And if buyer personas weren’t enough to consider, it’s also important to structure the website to facilitate the buying process of a target customer. Not everyone is ready to buy when they land on a website’s homepage, so tailoring the content here (and other key places) is imperative to fostering a high visitor-to-lead conversion rate.If buyer personas and the customer buying process are clearly defined and implemented throughout the website’s redesign, it saves a lot of headaches once the site goes live. No one needs more headaches.Website redesigns and inbound marketing have a lot more in common than you might think — and each commonality holds the opportunity to benefit both as a whole. So if you’re considering both but are unsure how to scope them out, I strongly recommend executing simultaneously, so you avoid any missed opportunities and wasted resources later on.It may seem like more work up front, but it pays off. Trust me, I’ve been there.What other ways can a website redesign benefit from inbound marketing perspective? Or vice-versa?Image credit: tarale You’re walking down the high street, pass a cake shop and you stop because something delightful in the window display has caught your eye (a monstrous and very tasty looking chocolate cake). You decide to walk into the shop because the cake looks delicious and you want it (or any of its brothers and sisters). When you get into the shop, you immediately see a big display that features the cake you saw in the window. The display clearly tells you what the cake is made of and how much it costs. Immediately next to the display there is a large sign that says “Pay Here” under which stands an eager shop assistant ready to take your money and give you your cake. You leave the shop cake in hand – ready to indulge yourself, vowing to return again soon. You have had an enjoyable experience which clearly directs you down a linear path that results in a transaction
For marketers, Reddit has a lot of things going for it: most notably, an audience that’s both young and huge. Last month, Reddit drew 71 million unique visitors who viewed 4.8 billion pages. Their big challenge, however, is to find a way to make money from that audience without driving it away. Lately Reddit has been experimenting with a new sponsored content campaign in which Reddit creates original video content based on ideas generated by Reddit users. The program has won praise from Edelman content chief Steve Rubel, who writes in AdAge, “The internet isn’t TV, and Reddit knows that and has an approach to original content that might just work if it can stick to what made it a success. Reddit knows that the best way for marketers to get involved is not just through content, but conversation.”The first attempt in content creation is “Explain Like I’m Five,” a series of videos inspired by a subreddit of the same name. (A subreddit is what Reddit calls a topic-specific domain. There are about 5,000 active user-generated subreddits on Reddit.) The videos are sponsored by DonorsChoose, a charity that helps teachers get supplies for their classrooms.The video series, which takes complex topics and explains them to 5-year-olds, is hosted on Reddit’s YouTube channel, aggregated on the DonorsChoose website, and promoted on the ‘Explain Like I’m Five’ subreddit — in an effort to motivate Reddit users to donate to the charity. Reddit even asks its community to contribute ideas for scripts for new videos. Here’s one video:Reddit is trying to identify other subreddits that could lend themselves to being turned into original programming. Next up for a video treatment is a subreddit called “Crazy Ideas,” says Reddit General Manager Erik Martin. Martin says that, for now, Reddit sees the idea as experimental and isn’t selling it in a big way. “There are maybe a few brands we would work with. But it needs to be the right idea and the right sponsor,” he says.As Rubel points out, Reddit’s challenge will be to add mainstream advertisers to its mix without losing its edge and turning off its audience.To be sure, this is the same challenge most user-generated sites confront as they try to attract advertisers (e.g. concerns about porn on Tumblr, or the recent scandal where advertisers suspended Facebook campaigns because of offensive content). But even in the anything-goes world of user-generated content, Reddit pushes the limits. The site contains a huge amount of stuff that could be called “not safe for work.”The trick — for Reddit and for marketers — will be to reach the attractive parts of the Reddit universe and steer clear of the less savory elements. Whether it can be done remains to be seen. Martin points out that “the vast majority of content on Reddit is [safe for work],” and that advertisers can target content that’s safe and be sure that their ads will not run next to racy content.Also, keep in mind that getting in early will have an extra benefit — your brand could get pulled along in all the coverage about the Reddit program. DonorsChoose got mentioned in the Steve Rubel article in AdAge, and this one here on the HubSpot blog, as well as here on a teaching blog, here on Entertainment Weekly, and here on Mediabistro.Thoughts on Reddit’s new sponsored content program? Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jun 4, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Native Advertising
Originally published Aug 30, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Twitter Marketing A few months ago, we told you that Twitter was testing out Lead Generation Cards. The bad news was that it wasn’t rolled out to everyone … until now!Yesterday, Twitter opened up its Lead Generation Cards to everyone. You get a Twitter Lead Generation Card! And YOU get a Twitter Lead Generation Card! Leads for everybody!We wrote about the news in great detail back in May, but let’s go over it again real quick for those who missed it the first time.What Are Twitter Lead Generation Cards?Well first, what are Twitter Cards? Well, you know when you expand a tweet and you sometimes see some multimedia content sitting below it? That’s a Twitter Card. You’ll see it on Twitter.com, or in Android and iOS applications. The Lead Generation Card is a way to use Twitter Cards to generate leads directly within a tweet. (Bear in mind, these occur only within Promoted Tweets.) It’s a great way to generate new contacts because the user’s information — name, email address, and Twitter username — are all automatically pulled into the Card. All users have to do is click ‘Submit’ on the Twitter Card.Why Is This Cool?Well, because it makes generating leads on Twitter easier. Mashable shared some interesting data on how Twitter Lead Generation Cards are performing for some companies. “In a case study quoted on Twitter’s blog, outdoor gear and apparel company Rock/Creek saw a 4.6% engagement rate and generated more than 1,700 new email contacts in one week by using a Card within a Promoted Tweet.”Its offer? Win a free pair of sandals if you share your email address. See how this could apply to, ohhh I don’t know, a whitepaper? Yeah — me too. Twitter will also offer specific analytics that show you leads generated, your spend, and the cost per lead for any campaigns you run with Twitter Lead Generation Cards.How Do You Set Up Twitter Lead Generation Cards?If you’d like an in-depth, step-by-step tutorial, we’ve already written one out for you — you can access it here. Here’s the truncated explanation for those people in life who don’t like to read the instruction manual. ;-)Register your business with a Twitter ad account.Set up a CRM end point integration so you can keep track of your leads generated from Twitter Cards in your CRM. This is the list of CRMs Twitter integrates with — HubSpot is one of them.Create your Twitter Card by going into the Twitter Advertising Interface. Once logged in, you can find Cards under “Advertising” in the top left corner of your screen.Once you hit “Create New Card,” insert a Card image, a description of your offer, and a call-to-action.Then, you’ll need to submit a few URLs so Twitter knows where to send users that engage with your Cards.Then you’re done! Now … go get started with some Twitter lead generation, eh?Are you excited for Twitter Lead Generation Cards? Do you think they’ll help you generate more leads on Twitter?Image credit: Rosaura Ochoa Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
This post originally appeared on Up & to the Right, a new section of Inbound Hub. To read more from UATTR, subscribe here.You run marketing. What’s the most important part of your job? Qualified lead flow? Cost per lead? Cost per sale? Return on marketing investment? Likes? Bzzzzt. Game’s over. Your ball flew wide of the hoop. If you weren’t thinking “keeping the wolves at bay,” you might want to keep reading.Recently I was engaged to run marketing for a funded startup. My team was doing all the right things, and by that I mean putting inbound and outbound programs in place to earn the trust of a challenging prospect in a brand new space. As Seth Godin frequently reminds us, trust is and has always been marketing’s currency.The thing about trust, of course, is that it takes quite a while to earn — especially if you’re starting from a place where your prospects don’t know who you are.Everyone’s a Marketing ExpertWith every month that passed after the launch of our marketing program, the CEO would inform me that we weren’t doing enough to drive leads into the sales funnel. Sales was feeling the same way. As time progressed, everyone became an armchair (marketing) quarterback: “Let’s hire outbound telemarketers,” “We’re not running enough campaigns,” “We have to change the value proposition,” “If only we had better sales support material,” “Let’s do this tradeshow,” “Let’s do that tradeshow,” “Let’s change the website.”I didn’t feel particularly singled-out by this kind of attempted intervention. In an often-quoted study by the Fournaise Marketing Group, 80% of CEOs are not impressed by the work done by marketing and believe they are poor business performers. Ouch.It became clear to me that the most important job I had was to give my team enough time to put the marketing programs into place, build awareness, get prospect relationships to take root and, finally, start filling funnels — a process that commonly takes 6-8 months until momentum builds, and 12 months until reliable lead flow is established. That said, the startup immune system generally kicks in at around 2 months or when cash starts running out, whichever comes first.Startup ImmunologyI set out to get control of the jittery, slightly paranoid immune system using the following weapons of choice. Some of these are offered to you via the rear-view mirror.1) Set expectations up front.Set expectations that effective marketing takes patience – like 6-8 month’s worth. That’s not marketing’s timetable. That’s the prospect’s timetable. Build the business plan to accommodate this reality. 2) In the meantime, sell opportunistically.There will always be exceptions to the 6-8 month rule, and the entire organization needs to be selling to get those early sales in the door. For this to work, marketing needs to lower the bar for what constitutes a “qualified sales lead” in the early months. 3) You have to have a marketing operating system.A marketing operating system uses technology to create a repeatable, measureable process for engaging, nurturing, and converting prospects to sales-ready leads. Most marketers still miss the finer points of implementing a system, leading to CEO distrust, and often a general belief that the software that powers the marketing system isn’t fulfilling on its promise. 4) Metrics have to be sold early.Early on in the marketing system’s implementation, the number of qualified engagements matter (prospect engagement rate). At about 6 months in, you want to see progress in the depth of engagements (marketing conversion rate), and between 8 and 12 months in, you want to demonstrate repeatable conversion to sales (sales conversion rate).Management’s focus needs to be on different sets of metrics, depending on how long the marketing system has been running. What’s more, all team members have to believe that a certain percentage of engaged prospects will later become customers. If your team has never been through such a cycle, you will have to sell them on it. Given immune systems and human nature, it’s often not an easy thing to do.A Wolf in CEO’s ClothingSo what happened to my startup? I’m pleased to report that I was working with a very smart CEO who, in spite of his instinct to wade in and take control of marketing, didn’t. The company is now on its fourth round of financing and sales have increased 40-fold from when we started. Mission accomplished. The wolves got the hang of waiting for the dinner bell.Marketing is hard. Systems have to be put in place, expectations have to be managed, and the value of patience has to be sold and then supported by the right results at the right time. All of this, in the end, is your job as a marketing leader.Drew Williams is a serial marketing entrepreneur and co-author of Feed the Startup Beast: A 7 Step Guide to Big, Hairy, Outrageous Sales Growth (McGraw-Hill 2013). Drew shares his beast-building ideas at FeedTheBeast.biz/blog and @FeedYourBeast. Topics: Originally published Nov 12, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Inbound Marketing
As marketers, we all know that great writing can help our content stand out from the crowd. But in addition to crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s, we need to make sure that we’re balancing our equations and refining our formulas. Yes, my friends: Marketing requires a scientific approach. And the language of science? That’d be “mathematics” (Remember? From high school? It was the class with the numbers and stuff.)This past week on Inbound Hub, we had a statistically significant* number of posts that dealt with the scientific side of inbound. From understanding Facebook’s new algorithm, to putting together pivot tables in Excel, we’ve got the nerdiest of the nerdiest for you to learn about.So, bust out those protractors, adjust your bifocals, and dive into this past week’s worth of wonderful content from the blog.(*Author clearly doesn’t understand what that means)A Scientific Approach to Hitting Your Lead Gen Goals With ContentWhile creating amazing content that resonates with your visitors, leads, and customers alike certainly requires an artistic touch, a scientific approach is also needed to plan and execute that content effectively. In this new post, HubSpot Senior Blog Editor Corey Eridon walks you through the entire process and shows you how reviewing analytics — and measuring performance — can help you hit your lead generation goals.New Facebook Algorithm Update Dings Text Updates From BusinessesUsually, when we read the word “algorithm” in a headline, we brace ourselves for some earth-shattering SEO news from Google. But remember: Facebook has an algorithm too — one that controls what shows up in our News Feeds. The latest change to this algorithm means you’ll be seeing fewer text status updates from companies, as Facebook is putting a heavier emphasis on its “link-share” updates. Learn all about it here.Not Just for Data Geeks? Why Marketers Need to Know ExcelWe inbound marketers loooove our Google Docs … and our Microsoft Word … and our PowerPoint. But, there’s another tool in our inbound arsenal that many of us are guilty of neglecting: Excel. I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think! Mastering Excel will give you a whole new skill set and help you unlock insights that are crucial for your business’s success. 10 Stats About Inbound Marketing That Will Make Your Jaw DropDid you know that 75% of searchers never scroll past the first page of search results? Or that visitors only spend 10 seconds on a homepage before leaving if they don’t like what they see? Dive deeper into these intriguing stats and learn several more in this new post from our Insiders section.Should Your SEO Strategy Include Yahoo and Bing?Google has become so ubiquitous in the world of search that we regularly use it as a verb. And while many marketers focus solely on Google when crafting an SEO strategy, they shouldn’t forget that other search engines are out there, like Bing and Yahoo (heard of ’em?). So, should you be optimizing for other search engines in addition to Google? We explore all the angles in this new post.Who Needs Google? Mark Cuban Says He’s Using It Less and LessSpeaking of search engines, do we even need them? In a new post in our Opinion section, Dan Lyons dissects a recent comment from billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban. According to Cuban, Google (and other search engines) are failing to index the most important information: the information that’s being created and shared on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat. A Proven Framework for Prospecting Emails [+20 Free Email Examples]In a recent post in our Sales section, HubSpot Director of Marketing for Inbound Sales Brian Whalley lays out a three-part process for successful email prospecting. In the post, you’ll not only get to read a HubSpot-tested sales email, but also the opportunity to download 20 more.What was the most interesting thing you learned this week on Inbound Hub? What do you want to see more of? Leave your feedback in the comments! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Facebook Marketing Originally published Jan 26, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017
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 Feb 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated August 27 2017 Topics: Pinterest Marketing Did you know that Pinterest is turning four in March? I mean, where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday marketers were beginning to explore how Pinterest could fit into their marketing strategies. Now, the site has over 70 million active users, and marketers around the world have embraced it as a legitimate social media marketing channel.Though Pinterest is much more mainstream now, we’ve got to be careful. As my mother tells me every so often, sometimes you think you know it all — but you probably don’t.Free Resource: 12 Pinterest Templates for Business Not because there isn’t an answer to your question, but perhaps because you haven’t even asked the question yet. Maybe you think it’s a silly question. Embarrassing to ask, even.But we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve listed the answers to some of your most burning Pinterest questions in the best judgment-free zone to find answers: a blog post.11 Questions About Pinterest You’ve Wanted to Ask1) Okay, I’m on Pinterest. Now, how do I get followers?It’s intimidating to join Pinterest and see a big fat zero next to your number of followers, but don’t worry — they’re out there. Building your reach on social networks takes work and time, but can really turn the dial up on traffic and leads for your business.Because there are two options for people to engage with you on Pinterest — either follow an individual board or your account as a whole — there are quite a few ways you can get more people to follow you. A couple small things you can try include adding a Pinterest follow button to your website, pinning content throughout the day, letting your email subscribers and leads know that you’re on Pinterest, and even following a few other people on Pinterest in the hope they’ll return the favor.2) Um … what am I supposed to be pinning on Pinterest?There are many, many things you can pin on Pinterest. But, before you start pinning, you should to be thinking about your strategy for visual content.Marketers should invest in visual content as part of their overall marketing strategy, but when it comes to Pinterest, there are a few things that can help guide your decisions on what to pin.Beyond regular photos, marketers can post articles, experiment with infographics, and even pin videos. You’ve just got to make sure, though, you’ve got your Pinterest board strategy down first.3) So what’s the difference between a pin, a repin, and a favorite?Just like other social networks (especially Twitter), Pinterest has some lingo of its own you’ll want to understand as you navigate the site.A pin is essentially a bookmark, so when you find something on the web you want to keep or look at later, you can “pin” it to one of your boards.Meanwhile, a repin is when you take an image that’s already on someone else’s board and post it to one of your own. When you do this, notifications are sent to let the other person know you’ve repinned something of theirs.Same thing with anything you like: Pressing that “heart” button on a pin will send a notification to that person that you liked their pin.4) Will people actually use Pinterest in the long run or is it just a fad?Heck yeah they will. As mentioned, the site has millions of devoted followers. It’s also popular no matter what time of day it is. For example, 4.8% of American users check out Pinterest at the office during work hours.And just what are people doing on Pinterest? Well, they’re pinning pins, repinning pins (80% of pins are repins), creating boards, and following other boards of interest.Very Pinteresting, if you ask us. Evidence hints that the site isn’t dwindling in popularity anytime soon.5) Isn’t Pinterest just for women?Nope. While women account for 80% of registered Pinterest users, plenty of men use it as well. While it’s up to you to post content to the site and, in turn, find your core audience — men, women, Millennials, older generations, students, professionals, etc. — using Pinterest for business can help you drive traffic to your site, bring in leads, and even boost sales.I could go on, but instead, I’ll point you to more resources you can check out after this reading this post. Here’s our ultimate guide on mastering Pinterest for marketing.6) I’m scared to ask my manager: How do I decide if Pinterest is good for my business?Good for you for not jumping in with both feet on a popular social network just for the sake of having an account. Smart marketers know they need to evaluate if that new social network they’re considering is worth their company’s time.Here’s a good place to start: Are your buyer personas likely to frequent the site? What are your competitors doing on Pinterest? Once you’ve gathered that information, you’re better equipped to decide if Pinterest is a good social network for your company to have a presence on and if it’ll help with your overall marketing strategy.7) Are businesses actually successful with their Pinterest marketing? Which ones?Yes, and let’s get on the same page about one thing: You can do successful marketing on Pinterest whether you’re a B2C company selling cars or a B2B company selling software.For instance, Staples learned a lot by using Pinterest as a marketing channel. So has Chobani: Yes, the company sells yogurt, but it’s using Pinterest to teach people more about the Chobani brand and lifestyle through the use of different boards and relatable photos.8) Analytics. Data. Metrics. Do those even exist on Pinterest?Yes, there are ways to measure your success with Pinterest. When thinking about the success of your marketing on the site, there are two things to consider.One is how your account is performing on Pinterest itself. The second is the return on investment you’re getting by using Pinterest as a marketing channel.With those two concepts in mind, read our blog post on measuring success on Pinterest. And if you have a Pinterest business account, the platform offers free analytics for measuring this stuff.9) I assume there are some rules for Pinterest, right? What are they?There are definitely “rules,” but they’re not as hard and fast as you might think. Where Pinterest is concerned — and, actually, where social media at large is concerned — is that there’s proper social media marketing etiquette that you should always follow.For instance, it’s best not be too self-promotional, which can be tempting as a business that’s trying to bring traffic to their site. Pinterest actually has a webpage that discusses Pinterest etiquette in which they say, “We think authenticity — expressing who you really are and what you’re really like — is more important than getting lots of followers.” So be sure to take this to heart — otherwise, you’re at risk for being banned from the social site.10) What’s another way to show my pins to my audience without always linking to Pinterest?There’s a couple. Just like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and a slew of other social networks, you can showcase your account on other marketing collateral you have.For example, a quick win is embedding one of your boards right onto your website — and we’ve got instructions on how to do that. But that’s only one of the four ways to cross-pollinate your pins with the rest of your marketing.Pinterest also has a “Pin it” button, a “Follow” button, a “Profile” widget, and a “Board” widget that are all easy to integrate with your website. And the best part? We’ve got a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to use all of these social sharing buttons.11) My website is the cat’s meow. How can I get people to share it on Pinterest?It’s pretty easy to make it … well … easy for people to pin things from your website to their own Pinterest boards.Pinterest has a great Goodies page that shows you how to make a “Pin it” button to put on your website. This button helps your website visitors quickly share your work on their own Pinterest boards.
JetBlue even helps customers do what needs to be done on Twitter when other customer support channels aren’t working properly:Why we like JetBlue: We scoured JetBlue’s Twitter and couldn’t find many instances of dissatisfied customers — which is a rare sight when it comes to airline dealings. Even in cases where they couldn’t give the customer exactly what they asked for, they provided supporting links and other solutions to help. Context is extremely helpful when reasoning with frustrated customers, and JetBlue always makes sure to provide it.9. HubSpotTwitter Handle: @HubSpotSupportLike other examples on this list, we have a dedicated customer support channel here at HubSpot. We make sure to communicate the hours we’re online and offline, and we personalize each and every message we get:We also make sure to refer customers to other helpful resources on our HubSpot Community page, which helps customers find answers to common questions and connect with other users, or our knowledge base: @glossier Apply Solution after cleansing, and feel free to follow up with serum > moisturizer > sunscreen 👍— Glossier (@glossier) March 10, 2018 Why we like ClassPass: ClassPass’s customer service tweets are prompt, helpful, and showcase the brand’s personality. They provide customers with resources and context when they have feedback to share, and they offer a variety of avenues to resolve the problem via DM, email, phone, or with individual fitness studios.2. AdobeTwitter Handle: @AdobeCareAdobe’s suite of creative tools are used by a variety of creatives and creators — so it’s no surprise that, in addition to providing customer service, Adobe uses Twitter to compliment and showcase the works of their loyal customers and followers, like this recent retweet that we absolutely love: Trying to order? Learn how to enable Tweet Ordering in your Pizza Profile: https://t.co/qTNEsvUu9t[12:24:58 EDT]— Domino’s Pizza (@dominos) March 12, 2018 No problem! I’ve looked up a couple that might work for you. Salon Plush https://t.co/Vcn3ANOZpy and Via Dolce Salon seem to have some good reviews https://t.co/ZDHHaKQoxS I hope this helps! *AU— Zappos.com (@Zappos) March 12, 2018 These classes will be higher priced since they are premium spots but these should only add to your membership. More info here: https://t.co/E9xkc3KF3y. If you don’t want to see these additional spots, feel free to filter by credits!— ClassPass (@classpass) March 1, 2018 ClassPass also makes sure to have fun responding to customer tweets — whether they’re compliments, complaints, or questions. We do! Check out and sign-up for Piece of the Pie Rewards here: https://t.co/zVKBWB64tT— Domino’s Pizza (@dominos) March 12, 2018 Why we like Adobe: Like other examples you’ll see on this list, Adobe has a dedicated customer support channel on Twitter that’s separate from its brand account, @Adobe. In many cases, a brand’s Twitter account is run by the marketing team, and creating a dedicated support channel helps Adobe quickly and efficiently reply to urgent requests.3. ZapposTwitter Handle: @ZapposOnline shoes and clothing store Zappos is famous for prioritizing and improving customer experience — and that shows when you review its Twitter account. Hi Rob,Sorry to hear about this. If I get it, you are not able to select PDF Presets while save PDF from Illustrator? Is it happening with all files or specific ones? Did you try resetting the preferences? If not, please do. Here’s how: https://t.co/gAC1eH9um6^OM— Adobe Customer Care (@AdobeCare) March 12, 2018 Homemade time machines and other hats. Drawings by me. #adobedraw #Drawing #illustration #timetravel #animals #Adobe #Illustrator #vectorart pic.twitter.com/zfE5MtTNvi— Oliver Mertz (@OliverMertz) March 7, 2018 While most of Zappos’ time on Twitter is spent accepting compliments, when they do get a customer query, Twitter replies are always clear, succinct, and personalized. They also help customers order pizza the way they want to — on Twitter, without having to talk to another person, of course: You’re too kind. I’m glad we can help! 😊 *AU— Zappos.com (@Zappos) March 12, 2018 That still counts as our workout though, right? 👩🍳 pic.twitter.com/9Ec1iAQPTR— ClassPass (@classpass) March 7, 2018 hehehe…… that is awesome! We’re replying to you there :)— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) March 12, 2018 Recently, ClassPass rolled out some changes users weren’t big fans of — and they got a lot of feedback on Twitter. But in the replies, ClassPass tweets offer an explanation, a solution, and additional resources to clear it up: They even go above and beyond — answering questions completely unrelated to their store sometimes. Guess the word has spread about how helpful and responsive Zappos is on social media: Why we like HubSpot: For one thing, self-esteem is important. And for another thing, if we may toot our own horn, it’s hard providing step-by-step instructions for using software via social media — we make sure to provide clear and concise instructions, or refer customers to a longer knowledge base article when we can, to solve the issue to the degree possible on the platform the customer is already using.Have you had a great customer service experience via Twitter? Share it with me and I may add it to the list. Why we like Domino’s: Domino’s gets a lot of Twitter flack for issues with pizza delivery, and they’re quick to apologize, own up, and offer a way to resolve it with the customer. The rules of customer service still apply on Twitter, so make sure you’re quick to apologize if the fault is yours and to offer a path to resolution.5. Taco BellTwitter Handle: @tacobellTaco Bell brings the funny across all of its social channels, and its Twitter customer service is a nice mix of funny, quirky, and still helpful: Originally published Mar 13, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 Hi Drew, sorry to hear about this. This is a known issue and our Engineers are working on it. Could you please take a look at the workaround mentioned in this discussion https://t.co/EfegMIkqhp and let us know if that help? Thanks, ^AK— Adobe Customer Care (@AdobeCare) March 12, 2018 Hi there! Miguel here from Mexico City office. It’s a nice sunny day today and I’m enjoying some coffee while checking Twitter. Hit me up with your Hootsuite questions. 🙂 ^MT https://t.co/4pTtmEIEYo pic.twitter.com/cp7ArkSVXu— Hootsuite Helpers (@Hootsuite_Help) March 10, 2018 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Hey there, Dan! There definitely is. If you’re using a desktop, right underneath the add to favorites, you’ll see it says, ” Customers who bought this also bought” and then there will be about 5 options. *DO— Zappos.com (@Zappos) March 8, 2018 Whether it’s responding to customer feedback, answering questions, or providing detailed skincare tips, Glossier makes sure to reply — every time: Why we like Zappos: Zappos answers every tweet, every time, with a funny, quirky, and helpful reply. They clearly go the extra mile for their customers offline, and that shows on Twitter too, where they offer surprise gifts, funny GIFs, and product suggestions whenever they can.4. Domino’s PizzaTwitter Handle: @dominosThe Domino’s Pizza Twitter account became legendary a few years ago with this earnest response to a hilarious customer predicament:But Domino’s replies helpfully to questions and problems they can actually solve, too. Why we like Glossier: They respond to every message, every time, no matter what. Make sure your customer service strategy doesn’t let any tweets slip through the cracks. Remember, your customers can give negative feedback on a very public platform, so make sure you’re not ignoring anybody.7. HootsuiteTwitter Handle: @Hootsuite_HelpSocial media management tool Hootsuite has a dedicated customer support channel on Twitter, and their tweets check off all of the boxes in our list of criteria above. But Hootsuite goes above and beyond by making even routine tweets fun and personalized: Topics: Steps like these make customers love a brand — which is important when it comes to providing customer service:Why we like Hootsuite: Hootsuite shares details about the support rep managing the Twitter account, along with fun GIFs and pictures, to help users get to know them if they need help. Don’t be afraid to get personal, not just when you’re signing off on tweets, but when building your brand as friendly, helpful support reps.8. JetBlue AirwaysTwitter Handle: @JetBlueJetBlue Airways is another brand made legendary for going the extra mile for customers (frequent flyer miles, of course), and that customer-first mindset is on full display on Twitter, too. @glossier Thank you for the thoughtful feedback. ‘Glossier Green’ sustainability committee is always working on ways to decrease waste. Our latest updates include a new recycling process and environmental education program for our team!— Glossier (@glossier) March 10, 2018 Social Media Customer Service Hi Ben, all systems normal on https://t.co/baa2AlKTxw. Can you try these troubleshooting steps and let me know if you’re still having trouble? https://t.co/PP9jZU35Zm -JC— HubSpot Support (@HubSpotSupport) March 12, 2018 😅While ClassPass only works as a recurring monthly membership, we’d be happy to let you know about our different plan options! We’re sure we can find one that works best for you. Send us a DM! https://t.co/FwCiioTGu3— ClassPass (@classpass) March 5, 2018 Who else here dreads picking up the phone and calling a customer service phone number?Sometimes, we just don’t want to talk on the phone — it’s as simple as that. And savvy customer support teams recognize that, and will offer support across a variety of channels, including social media.Twitter has become the de-facto channel for customer service, and lots of brands are leaning into people’s propensity for staying online (and avoiding the phone at all costs) by building channels and teams specifically dedicated to social media support on the platform.Whether you have a social media customer service strategy in place or not, read this blog post to learn how to deliver great Twitter customer service, and get inspired by these brands doing it well today.Click here to access a free Twitter for Businesses kit.What the Best Customer Service Tweets Have in CommonWe combed through the replies of different brands’ Twitter accounts, and we found a few things in common with the best of the best — the brands people love tweeting and interacting with, no matter what their concern.1. PromptThe best Twitter customer service strategies involve prompt replies to messages from customers. This one is kind of a no-brainer. Customers are reaching out on social media because it’s quick, easy, and they’re already online, so they’re trying to get help in the easiest way possible. Make it even easier for them by having a plan in place to triage and reply to incoming tweets and direct messages (DMs) as quickly as possible.In some cases, you won’t be able to answer a question or solve a problem via Twitter, so clearly spelling out how the customer can escalate their issue (via DM, phone, or email) is key here.Don’t worry — we get that sometimes you have to sleep. In a tweet or in your bio, share the hours when customers can access customer service via Twitter, and let them know how they can reach out during off hours with an urgent issue. 2. UniqueTo save time, you might consider writing up a list of FAQs for your team to reference when they get the same few questions and queries over and over again on Twitter. But every response shouldn’t be the same — customer service tweets should be personalized to show customers you value their time and patience.Uniqueness also helps showcase your brand’s personality and shows the customer that there’s a human typing. Personalized responses will make your customer feel good, make your brand lovable, and will buy you goodwill with the customer in case the issue escalates.It’s fine to use a template as a starting point when sending out customer service tweets, but make sure each one is adjusted to the specific issue and customer reaching out. Studies show that our brains are activated when we hear or read our own or others names, so tap into that effect to make customers feel special and valued.3. SignedTo the point above, signing customer service tweets with your name of initials helps in two ways: It helps customers to know that a real person is reviewing and responding to their issue, and it gives them a point of reference if they need to bring their concern to email or the phone to get it resolved.Customers don’t want to repeat their issue over and over again as they bounce from Twitter to email to the phone — they want customer support reps with the context in front of them so they can get the answer they need as quickly as possible.Signing tweets helps customers to identify who they’ve been working with if they have to escalate their issue to a different channel — and it helps you to find them so you can pick up the case where you left off.(HubSpot’s shared inbox tool will help you and your team to manage incoming requests from a variety of channels, including Twitter.)4. HelpfulThis might seem obvious, but some of the best customer service tweets we’ve seen go above and beyond — by sharing additional resources customers can use for help.Make sure your Twitter reply is helpful and resolves the customer’s issue to the degree possible — but make sure to go the extra step and share a blog post, a video, or another resource that could be helpful for them in the future. 5. ConversationalMirror the customers’ language and tone in your customer service tweets. You’re a human, and they’re a human, so the exchange should reflect that. Use emojis, GIFs, images, and hashtags to make the exchange fun and human — once you’ve solved the issue, of course. (The customer might not find your GIF amusing if you haven’t provided a solution first.)Customer Service Tweets from 9 Top Brands1. ClassPassTwitter Handle: @classpassFitness brand ClassPass helps users access a variety of different workout options, all in one place — so it’s no surprise that tweets from ClassPass are uplifting, motivating, and body-positive. When customer questions and complaints start rolling in, the replies are thorough — often asking questions and providing additional resources to walk customers through a fix on their own: What have you been waiting for? https://t.co/KSblQvfcSI— Taco Bell (@tacobell) March 5, 2018Why we like Taco Bell: Taco Bell maintains its brand identity — funny and delicious — while still delivering helpful customer service. It’s important to note that this approach doesn’t work for all brands, and Taco Bell matches its tone to the gravity of the customer situation so they aren’t laughing at a customer who’s seriously aggravated.6. GlossierTwitter Handle: @glossierSkincare and makeup brand Glossier, where most of our money is spent if we’re being truly honest, prides itself on creating a positive message around women’s beauty. It also built its customer service program around social media and responds to every message and comment it receives — the good, the bad, and the ugly.Glossier’s Twitter is no exception: If there isn’t an immediate resolution possible — as is the case when customers are offering product feedback or suggesting an update — Adobe is transparent about whether a suggestion will be possible or not, and how customers can work around it in the meantime.
Project Management Originally published Dec 20, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: The roots of project management date back thousands of years to the creation of mega projects such as the Giza Pyramids and the Colosseum.Although the term “project management” wasn’t coined until the 1950s, projects from more than 4,500 years ago were delivered with the same systematic approach that characterizes today’s projects.The introduction of the personal computer and the development of the information management sector in the 1990s revolutionized project management like never before.Modern project management is largely dependent on web-based project applications, as well as mobile applications and the cloud — enhancing agility, mobility, and collaboration.We decided to go back in time and compare the modern project management practices to the pre-millennium standards. What does the evolution of project management look like?Check out the infographic below to see how things have changed.Infographic via Scoro Don’t forget to share this post!
Originally published Sep 27, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated September 27 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Marketing Terms Topics:
The Reload is PFB’s recruiting recap, catching you up to speed with the latest surrounding Oklahoma State recruiting with an ear to the ground for what’s to come.Larry Joubert makes it officialNortheastern Oklahoma A&M offensive lineman Larry Joubert, an addition to the 2017 recruiting class who was added after national signing day, made it official on Tuesday in signing his financial aid agreement with the school. Joubert, originally from Douglass High School, is a 6-foot-4, 265 pound prospect listed as an offensive guard.It’s official! ???? pic.twitter.com/NH1GozL99w— Larry Joubert Jr (@The_Joubert) March 21, 2017Joubert is a bit undersized from a weight perspective, and I have general concerns about whether he will make an immediate impact in his first year. He no doubt has the talent, as Mike Gundy himself made the call to add him after Greg Adkins was released. But couple the fact that he won’t be on campus until the summer with him being undersized, I think that means Rob Glass will have his work cut out for him.OSU offers junior college lineman Badara TraoreThis is the second time Oklahoma State has extended an offer to Traore, a stud junior college prospect who is now with ASA College. OSU offered him last year under Adkins when he was a class of 2017 recruit — but it seems he has re-classified to the 2018 class after having been with Nassau Junior College a season ago.This is where Josh Henson’s feel for the recruiting base and connections with recruits might pay off. Although Adkins is gone, Henson was no doubt part of the process in some capacity, although as an analyst he wasn’t able to make contact. The big man out of Brooklyn has more than 25 offers that includes Arkansas, Maryland, Oregon, etc….I love Traore’s size. At 6-foot-8 and 315 pounds, he has a good frame that has been filled out nicely. And his weight will allow him to translate his talent into an offensive tackle at the next level. Generally when you get a prospect that size, they also weigh 350+. So he has some obvious upside that schools are obviously buying into. His first recruitment process never took (after now learning he re-classified, that makes a lot of sense.) So I’m curious to see if Henson can prove his chops getting to the junior college level as well. He’s already shown he can do it with high school prospects.Oklahoma State offers Texas A&M commitThe Cowboys have had a recent trend of losing verbal pledges to the Aggies, but it seems they are trying to give them a taste of their own medicine in this recruiting class. The OSU staff has offered 2018 wide receiver Montel Parker, a Dickinson (Texas) prospect who commited to A&M at the end of February.Parker also holds offer from Oklahoma and Mississippi State. Just a three-star prospect, Parker is an outside receiver with solid size and potential that he’s likely just scratching the surface of.Texas pass-rusher picks up OSU offerOak Ridge (Texas) pass rusher Joseph Ossai’s big month continued on Tuesday, picking up an OSU offer to go with offers from LSU and Mississippi State this month. Listed as a defensive end with close to 30 Division I offers, Oklahoma State joins the likes of Alabama, Texas A&M, yada yada … you get it. He’s a wanted man. And he is currently not committed to a school, although his in-state Aggies are getting 100 percent of the crystal ball votes according to 247sports. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. With the retirement of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, OSU’s head honcho Mike Gundy is now the longest, continuous tenured coach in the Big 12.Yes, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has coached longer, but even he took a break. TCU’s Gary Patterson has actually coached the Horned Frogs longer than Gundy has coached the Cowboys, but TCU didn’t join the Big 12 until 2012.While Gundy is the longest tenured, does Stoops’ retirement also make Gundy the best coach in the conference? That’s the question we posed on twitter.To be honest, the response was… as expected.AdChoices广告This week’s poll question: With Bob Stoops’ departure, is Mike Gundy now the best coach in the Big 12?— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) July 18, 2017An overwhelming 86%, or 1,490 of you who voted, said that yes, Gundy is now the best.While most of you voted Gundy, most of the comments were pro Bill Snyder.Here’s a sampling of some of the comments we received.“Still have to go with Snyder, but I would have done that before Stoops left too. One of the hardest places to win in the big 12.” – Zach Mauch“As much as I love Coach Gundy Coach Snider is still the best coach.” – Farmer“Not just because the other guy is gone…he always was!” – Kandice“Coach Gundy was already the best, before Bob left.” – Kirk WilliamsI, like most of you, am a diehard Oklahoma State fan. I bleed orange and have my own pair of orange-tinted glasses. However, I think this is a tricky question to answer. How do we quantify “the best”?Is it Big 12 titles? If that’s the case then it’s Bill Snyder who has two compared to Gundy’s one.Is it total wins? That goes to Snyder, too, who’s got 202.Or is it win percentage? The winner here goes to Gary Patterson with 73.4% compared to Gundy’s 67.5%.While Bill Snyder is a hall of fame coach for what he’s been able to do at Kansas State, he has been coaching longer as a whole than Gundy so he should have more wins. Plus, Kansas State hasn’t had a double-digit win season since 2012. Gundy has had three since then.Patterson may have a better winning percentage, but he won a lot of those games while coaching in Conference USA and the Mountain West. His winning percentage in the Big 12? 54.8%.If you want to claim that Gundy is the best coach in the league right now, I don’t think I can argue. Snyder is getting closer and closer to retirement every year. Outside of two seasons, TCU has been mediocre at best facing a non group-of-five schedule. Riley, Herman, and Rhule could be really good coaches, but they haven’t coached a single game at their schools yet.However, I don’t think I can completely disagree if you argue Snyder is still the best, even if he hasn’t been at his best the past couple of seasons.I think if Gundy wins the Big 12 this year, then the answer becomes undeniably yes, he is the best. Until then, the topic remains up for debate. Just not among OSU fans.
I think most Oklahoma State fans are in a tough position now, trying to balance hype and excitement with reality. I’ve gone back and forth with some things myself, thinking at times that this team has what it takes and then remembering that this is still Oklahoma State we are talking about. I figured I would hop on the bandwagon and give my five predictions for the 2017 football season.1. The offense will not meet your expectationsI will add some context here. This is more of a situation where the expectations are out of control vs any disappointment from the offense itself. OSU averaged 38 points/game last season. If you’re able to improve by let’s say 10 percent, that is a massive improvement. That’s around 41-42 points/game, the pulse I get from the fan base is they expect this offense to score 50+ every game, and that’s just not feasible.AdChoices广告OSU is one injury away from potentially being in trouble on the OL. I think they have some depth/talent behind the top five, but almost no one with any playing experience. Pair that with the fact that you don’t really have any all-stars on the OL to begin with, and I think you get some mild disappointment.Just because you have all-world receivers, doesn’t mean that the OL figured out magically how to pass block. This is a good, not great unit. If they can become great then this prediction will hopefully be 100 percent wrong. Josh Henson is the right guy to take it to the next level.2. The defense will exceed your expectationsThis is a sneaky talented group. I’ve been cautiously optimistic with them all summer. The addition of Kenneth Edison-McGruder paired with Justin Phillips (who is ready to dominate) and Bundage, is one of the most athletic LB units OSU has ever had. Add in Whitener’s experience and you have a pretty solid unit.This DL is about as deep as OSU has ever had, too. There aren’t any 1st team All-Conference guys more than likely, but overall the player quality and depth is there.The young CBs are talented and will be better than advertised, especially A.J. Green.3. The Cowboy Back will take a 1-year hiatusNot completely, but I feel that it will become more of a specialty player this season, instead of a staple of the offense as in past years. All of the indicators are pointing this way with a logjam within the depth chart at Cowboy Back and no one separating themselves. Add that to the fact that you have to find ways to get more WRs on the field, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see 11 personnel less than 10 percent of snaps in 2017.I still hope to see Keenan Brown involved in the offense in some capacity in the slot or out wide.4. OSU will be better with 3-and-outs but worse on 3rd down conversionsOSU went 3 and out on 18 percent of its possessions. A lot of Mike Yurcich’s offense is predicated on rhythm, and most importantly 1st down play success. Each play is a building block onto the next one and if you don’t have success on 1st down you lose options. I expect OSU to have a lot of success on 1st down and be able to snowball that success on future downs due to the pace and matchups we will impose.OSU was 43 percent on converting 3rd downs in 2016, on 179 attempts which is good for 41st in nation. I think we see less 3rd down opportunities due to more success on 1st and 2nd down. Although due to the loss of Victor Salako (excellent run blocker), Chris Carson (excellent power back) and no established Cowboy Back, I would expect that number to dip some.5. OSU will finish top 50 in the nation in 3rd down conversions on defenseFun fact (not really), in 2016 OSU gave up about as many first downs to their opponent as they converted themselves on offense – 308 first downs converted for OSU, 295 first downs given up from opponent. That should be surprising to you given the success the OSU offense had last year — 295 first downs given up was 110th in the nation, not great.There were a few reasons why OSU was able to overcome this – excellent red zone defense (no points given up 25 percent of red zone trips), turnovers forced (25 TOs forced for 24th in the nation), and Zach Sinor being able to pin people inside the 10 yard line.Expect OSU to be better on 3rd down defense because of better coverage from their safeties and LBs over the middle at the intermediate levels. This will contribute to the defense getting off the field on more 3rd and 6+ yards type situations. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.