LATEST STORIES Ateneo chalked up its sixth straight win in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference after cutting down La Salle, 25-15, 25-20, 25-22, Saturday at Filoil Flying V Centre.The Blue Eagles, who are on their way to the quarterfinals, hiked their record 6-0 record while the Green Spikers hold the fourth spot with a 3-3 card.ADVERTISEMENT BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Chooks-to-go Pilipinas yields to Palestine in Fiba Asia Champions Cup Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View comments Bryan Bagunas unloaded 27 points on the sorry defense of UP while Madzlan Gampong and James Natividad combined for 26 points.Wendel Miguel led the Fighting Maroons with 17 points. E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City MOST READ Read Next LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Marck Espejo led Ateneo with 16 points while Gian Carlo Glorioso added 11.Arjay Onia and Raymark Woo had eight points apiece to lead La Salle.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 shutoutIn the first game, National University tripped University of the Philippines in four sets, 25-13, 24-26, 25-15, 25-17.The Bulldogs improved to 3-2 to stay at third place while the seventh-seeded Fighting Maroons slipped to 1-4. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:37Protesters 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
Originally published Jan 18, 2007 1:27:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 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 Presentations I have recently come across some interesting Powerpoint best practices that I thought I would share with you. Steve JobsThe first best practice was from watching Steve Jobs’ presentation at MacWorld this year. What was fascinating about his slides is that they were either just a picture or just a picture with a couple of words in extremely large font. It turns out that Steve wants the audience to listen to him tell the story, rather than read the slides. Here’s a picture of one of Steve’s slides:In contrast to Steve’s slide show, here’s a picture of a slide from Michael Dell. Michael’s would work well if it were designed to be sent to someone who would not have the benefit of hearing the story live, but next to Steve’s slides, they just seem cluttered.Guy KawasakiI recently read Guy Kawasaki’s “Art of The Start.” In addition to being a good author/blogger, Guy was one of the very early Apple employees and more recently has been a venture/angel investor type where he has listened to countless Powerpoint presentations. Presumably because he is tired of seeing poor Powerpoint presentations, he spends many pages in his book talking about Powerpoint best practices. There were a few nuggets of Powerpoint wisdom among a lot of content about it that stuck with me a few days after finishing the book.His mantra is that Powerpoint should follow a 10/20/30 Rule. There should be no more than 10 slides in the presentation — very few people take away much more than one concept from a presentation, so all that other stuff is extra. The slide presentation should be designed to last 20 minutes, leaving room for ample questions/discussion between slides or after the presentation. Guy points out that the point of the presentation is typically to initiate a discussion. He says the font should be size should be no smaller than 30 (Arial font). Guy says that audiences read faster than you can talk, so that while you are up there talking, they are trying to read your slides and not listening to what you are saying.He says that there are something like 60 animation features within Powerpoint and he recommends the less use of it the better. His advice is to use your voice/body to emphasize when a point is important, not some fancy Powerpoint trick. The only place he recommends using any of this is in going through bullet points on a slide, presumably to avoid having people read ahead. Speaking of bullets, Guy suggests that bulleted slides should have one point with bullets and only one layer of bullets (lest you violate the 30 part of 10/20/30).If you have some great Powerpoint tips, please do share them with us…– Brian Halligan.
. Here’s an example of how you can do research to work out link strategy using HubSpot. how to go about building links – directories, networking and creating remarkable content that people will link to – you may not know what sites to target for inbound links. SEOMoz’s LinkScape First, A Quick Refresher on Inbound Links Originally published Nov 30, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 That little “spying” activity gave us a lot of insight into how the concrete business is doing and where there might be some opportunities to seek additional inbound links. Next steps would be to do a little research about each interesting source of links and determine what they want for a link. Links that you don’t have to share. Third, What Do You Do With That Research? Or, is it a business that you may already be networking with and you can find out if there are any opportunities to share content or promotions to help each other out with relevant links. Search engines give a page only a certain amount of credibility. This credibility or “link juice” is split up among the links coming from that page. That means you get a lot more value from an inbound link that is a story just about your products or services than an inbound link that lists you as one of ten hyperlinked companies. Links with relevant text descriptions. and In this example, you see the inbound links for a concrete countertop company. 67 total links with an average of a “low” link grade. Logically, you should start with what and who you know. Make a short list of trade publications, blogs and contacts in your network who might be good candidates. Now, don’t stop there. Links from high authority sites. Link Building Now that you know what you are looking for in an attractive inbound link, you need to figure out WHO you’d like to link to your site. That means some combination of industry relevance, high authority and the ease with which you can get in touch to share content that is link-worthy. Wow, comparatively speaking, our concrete countertop guy is doing great – he has a lot more links (60+ vs. 10). But maybe there are still some ideas for him here. Looks like the Better Business Bureau link could be of value, as could concreteideas.com and thebluebook.com which look like listing services. Add these to the list to investigate. integrated marketing software Let’s check out the competition to find out. Here’s another local competitor. Next, let’s pick a more ambitious competitor. Looking at someone in the concrete business that has national exposure, we can see what Cheng Concrete Exchange is up to. Turns out there are a few tools on the market to help you even further. Tools like Search engines recognize which words are hyperlinked and give value to those words. Therefore, if someone hyperlinks to your golf school and they hyperlink the text “the program” instead of “golf academy,” you are missing out and you should politely ask the linker if they wouldn’t mind shifting the link to the more SEO-friendly text. Most of the time they are happy to help. Second, How Do You Research Inbound Links? both provide this functionality. HubSpot also provides link research tools as a part of our If you’ve read a bit about search engine optimization (SEO), then you know that attracting lots of high quality inbound links is one of the most effective ways to build authority and improve your rank online. Even if you know An inbound link is a hyperlink on someone else’s web site that includes the URL for a page on your domain. Inbound links vary in quality and usefulness based on the originating site’s own authority, how many other links originate from that page and the actual text that is hyperlinked. What you want most are: Prioritize that list and start working away at it one link at a time. You’ll find that online authority and the resulting search results improve over time and the best benefit – the more people find you, the more they link to you, creating a virtuous cycle of link building that will be really hard for your competition to beat! Is it a member directory that you pay for? Is it a content centric site that might let you post a guest article? Topics: Yahoo Site Explorer Wow. They are a national outfit and it shows – they have hundreds of inbound links, many of high quality. This is a treasure trove of link opportunities to research further, looking for either personal connections or maybe sites that love to link to award-winning products, great content or customer stories. What does that really mean? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Getting a link from the New York Times has much more value than a link from my personal blog. Just like a personal introduction from your dearest friend has more value than an introduction from a distant acquaintance.
Mobile Marketing Originally published Jan 4, 2012 3:45:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Located at the intersection of mobility and marketing, the “check in” is one of the latest iterations of social media marketing.Location-based social media, such as Foursquare , encourage consumers to “check in” at a business using their smartphone, allowing them to keep the people in their social network constantly apprised of their whereabouts.For example, friends meeting at a bar/club or family members gathering at a ballpark/stadium can check in to those locations using these social media tools. And in exchange for patronizing and promoting their venues via these tools, many businesses reward their customers. Foursquare, for example, bestows the title of “Mayor” on those frequenting a particular establishment the most often during a given period of time. In a nutshell, check-in promotions offer one more channel for marketers to engage consumers with their brands.Before you try running your own check-in campaign, check out these 7 tips for success: 1. Reward the Right Behaviors As with any other marketing initiative, it’s important to provide incentives that reinforce the behaviors you’re trying to induce. If in-store visits are the goal, your check-in promotion needs to reward that behavior. If your objective is creating awareness for a specific product or service, be sure your check-in promotion reflects that. 2. Get the Ball Rolling If you’ve ever been the first one to arrive at a party, you know that awkward feeling when it’s just you and the host until the other guests arrive. Seed the action by offering a special incentive for the first, or the first 10, checkins. 3. Stand Out From the Crowd Anybody can offer 10 or 20 percent off this or that. Where’s the excitement in that? Create check-in promotions that make customers feel special. Hold a monthly inauguration celebration for your “Mayor” during your busiest times, and do it up right. Hand them the proverbial keys to your business, or give them a one-of-a-kind T-shirt or baseball cap. It doesn’t have to be expensive; it just has to be memorable and fun. 4. Keep in Touch… With Your CRM While a standalone or one-off check-in campaign has some value, check-in promos tied into the rest of your inbound marketing programs are better still. Make sure you connect your check-in systems to the rest of your inbound marketing platform so you can analyze the results and leverage the social networks you’re working so hard to tap into. 5. Follow Through in Advance If check-in campaigns are new for you (and for about 98 percent of you, they are), be sure that everything needed to fulfill the rewards is in place before you roll out the campaign and that your staff understands how the campaign works. Almost nothing is worse for a business than setting up expectations and failing to deliver on them. 6. Spur Socialism Remember, this is social media . Use checkins to multiply the uptake on your campaign by reminding and rewarding people who bring a buddy—the more the merrier. Not everyone has to check in; they just have to show up with someone who does. 7. Metrics Still Matter Use your inbound marketing platform to measure and analyze the results of your check-in promotions. Keep an eye on total checkins, total spend, spend per checkin, social influence, and how many other online behaviors (such as email opt-ins, Likes, or tweets) customers engage in.Check-in mobile marketing is just getting off the ground. Every marketer is learning as they go, but here’s the key— learning . Apply solid marketing principles, and test and modify so you can improve with each campaign. Is mobile part of your 2012 marketing strategy? Join us for our free mobile marketing workshop on Thursday, January 12 at 12 PM ET to learn how to master mobile marketing in 2012. Reserve your seat for the webinar here . Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Facebook Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 13, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 People will go to all sorts of lengths to get attention from a small subset of Facebook’s 1.23 billion monthly active users. Sometimes it’s good — people focus on creating more compelling content or integrating Facebook with the rest of their marketing strategy. Though it takes more time, their Facebook Page grows steadily and actually delivers results. Other times people want to take the “easy” way out. They hear of some hack that got one company thousands of followers/page views/comments in a day and think they should start doing the same. They don’t have the time to build a Facebook following — they need eyeballs on their content now.But there’s little evidence to support that these “tips” work. They’re like ads claiming to lose 20 pounds in a week. Bonus: some of these “hacks” could end up decreasing your Facebook performance.Yikes.So if you’re going to spend time on Facebook to build your business, steer clear of the following “tips” that could do you more harm than good … or could just do nothing at all.1) Including a Link in the First CommentThis was a pretty popular myth going around about a year ago. Folks claimed that including a link to your content in the first comments instead of in the post itself would increase your chance of appearing in the News Feed because a photo-only or text-only post would perform better than those with links. Here’s what that looks like:But this isn’t exactly true. In fact, Facebook’s algorithm has been promoting posts with links in them more recently and in the past, has favored photo updates. Only a few people have seen anecdotal evidence that this works — and some haven’t seen anything affected at all. Maybe trying this “trick” on your page boosts numbers for a while, but it’s actually a pretty terrible user experience. In the long run, you won’t be serving your Fans and Followers — the folks that you need to impress if you want to build your page — because it takes much more effort to find your link than a normal Facebook post. If you have a large fan base, your link could even get buried (which is completely counterproductive). Don’t get sucked into a fad for the sake of engagement — solve for your Followers and all else will follow. 2) Auto-Posting Tweets to FacebookWhen you first start out on Facebook or Twitter, you may hear that it’s best to just sync up your Facebook and Twitter accounts to automatically cross-publish your content. Anytime you post to Twitter, it also gets posted to Facebook and vice versa. After all, this’ll help you save time and still have a successful social media presence, right?Well, this “trick” might help you with the first part, but definitely won’t help with the second for two reasons. First, people who follow you on Facebook aren’t the same as those who follow you on Twitter. Facebook Fans and Followers may prefer different content in different formats delivered to them at different times of the day than people on Twitter. If you want to grow your audience, you need to post content that they care about, when they care about it.Second, when you link up your Facebook and Twitter accounts, your posts end up with really weird, Twitter-specific formats for your Facebook posts (and vice versa). It’s very obvious that you just synced up your accounts — your Facebook Page will have lots posts from the past day and zero engagement.Why? Because they look like they’re tweets, not Facebook posts. They don’t display links and pictures the same way because they’re pulled from Twitter. Facebook had even come out to say that they devalue updates like these.So don’t rely on thoughtless automation to do this for you — instead, create tailored posts for each platform. The extra time you put into to creating custom content will pay off.3) Buying Fans and FollowersThis is probably one of top “tricks” people recommend to “build a following” on Facebook. If by “building a following”, you mean “increasing number of Likes and Followers,” this trick works. You buy followers and see that little number next to your page go up …… But if you’re on Facebook to do anything else besides getting people to Like you, this is definitely a trick to ignore. If you want to grow an engaged audience that might eventually convert, buying Fans and Followers will actually harm your brand. Facebook will see that your percentage of your Fans engaging with your posts is suddenly way lower … and might not include your next update in your Fans’ feed. Before you know it, this “trick” could end up shooting your marketing in its proverbial foot. 4) Tagging Irrelevant People in Your PhotosWhen someone gets tagged in a photo on Facebook, they get a notification … so some people suggest doing this to get random people to notice your brand.Don’t do it. This is a tactic that spammers have used in the past, and people are pretty wise to this trick now. Unless you are tagging someone in your photo that is actually in the photo, stay away. It’s spammy and probably won’t work, anyway.5) Tagging Other Brands Recently, Facebook updated its News Feed algorithm to reward brands tagging other brands in their posts — but that doesn’t mean that you should start tagging brands in every single post. Facebook will surface content to Fans of tagged pages if it’s performing well in general and/or you also like the other page. They’re pretty vague on the mathematics behind it all, but the takeaway is clear: This tactic should only be used when you have strategic and relevant content for both audiences. Here’s an example of a post that strategically tags another brand: 6) Trying Engagementbait I made up the word “engagementbait” but I know you’ve seen posts like these in your News Feed. Usually it’s a picture with a caption like “We’re offering two types of ice cream today: Vanilla and Chocolate. Like if you prefer vanilla, comment if you prefer chocolate, and share if you like them both!!!!!!” Even if that post example were on Friendly’s Facebook page and getting lots of Likes, comments, and shares, what do you think it’s doing for the brand? Not much.If you wanted to be generous, it could help you generate awareness of new products and potentially help you get your next post into the News Feed (because the engagementbait post was highly engaged with). But it’s really not doing much to help your bottom line. And that’s most likely why you’re on Facebook. Instead, try posting content that doesn’t try to game the Facebook system — content people like just … because. This short term play may work for you, but in the long run, you’re not going to be able to grow your following with it. 7) Hashtagging EverythingBack when Facebook first launched hashtags, people were pumped. Everyone started incorporating them into their Facebook content — and heck, we even encouraged it. But since then, Edgerank Checker found that posts with hashtags have less Viral Reach than posts without hashtags. So in the future, use hashtags sparingly on Facebook — a good use case would be if you’re trying to promote a cross-platform campaign that has a hashtag.The moral of this all is that you really shouldn’t be trying to “game” any part of building a presence on Facebook. What may work one day could be detrimental another, and you could end up hurting yourself in the name of “growth hacking” your Facebook page. What other myths have you heard about growing your Facebook Page? Debunk them with us in the comments below. Topics:
Manchester United registered an unlikely comeback victory over Juventus in Turin to stun the home fans on Wednesday, a turnaround that began with a sumptuous free kick from Juan Mata.Juventus missed an awful lot of chances to put the match to bed but Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brilliant volley in the 65th minute and it looked like the Portuguese star will come back to haunt his former club once again but Mourinho’s late substitutions worked wonders.Mourinho’s United looked absolutely toothless in attack till Mourinho brought on Mata, Marouane Fellaini and Marcus Rashford to inject fresh vigour into the side.It turned out to be a night of a famous and epic United comeback as Mata’s free kick in the 86th minute, coupled with a scrappy own goal off Alex Sandro boot kept United’s Champions League fate in their own hands.Competition organisers UEFA later credited Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci with the goal, which meant United became the first English team to beat Juventus away from home in 15 years, when a previous United team, inspired by Ryan Giggs, won 3-0 at the old Stadio dello Alpi in 2003.There’s just something about Turin! #MUFC #UCL pic.twitter.com/MM0TstEZpZManchester United (@ManUtd) November 7, 2018The win means United are second in Group H with seven points off four games while Juventus are still on top with nine points in as many game. However, Juventus failed to seal their place in the next round because of the loss. Valencia on the other hand are third with five points while Young Boys are all but out having bagged just a single point in four matches.advertisementDefeat on Wednesday would have likely obliged United to beat Young Boys at home and Valencia away to qualify. Now they can seal qualification for the last-16 with a victory against the Swiss side if Valencia fail to beat Juventus in their next fixture.”We thought we were going to have two finals to play. Now we have one final. A win against Young Boys could do it. Let’s hope we can qualify,” Mourinho told reporters.Despite the fact Juventus had squandered so many chances to score, the coach also insisted his side had played well.”I’m really proud of my boys because their performance was really good. Juventus had one opportunity in the first half, but everything was under control,” he said.”Even if we had not been handed victory in the end I would have been pleased, because we played very well.”Also read – Champions League: Group C wide open as Red Star shock Liverpool, Napoli and PSG draw 1-1Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri cursed his side’s inability to see out the game.”It’s a disappointing defeat, because the team played well. We need to improve our finishing, because we never manage to finish games off when we’re in control,” he said.Juve’s dominant performance at Old Trafford two weeks ago appeared to underline the current gulf in class between the two European greats, which was also reflected in their respective domestic results: Juve are riding high, six points clear at the top of Serie A, while United are seventh in the Premier League.Juve began strongly and almost went ahead when Sami Khedira side-footed a cross from Ronaldo against the far post.The Italian champions again struck the woodwork in the second half when Paulo Dybala clipped the crossbar from outside the area, and there was more than an air of inevitability about Ronaldo’s deadly volley, created by a classy chipped pass from Bonucci, which broke the deadlock.This time there was to be no muted celebration from the Portuguese who lifted his shirt to flex his chest muscles before high-fiving team mates. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first Champions League goal for Juventus on Wednesday. (AP Photo)He could hardly have envisaged the stirring comeback his old side would later conjure, which ended with Mourinho being booed off the pitch after appearing to taunt the home fans.Also read – Champions League: Barcelona through to knockouts despite draw with Inter MilanSOLER STARS AS VALENCIA BOOST LAST-16 HOPESValencia’s Carlos Soler had a hand in all three goals as they beat Young Boys 3-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday, boosting their last-16 hopes with their first home win of the season.The La Liga side have been struggling domestically and sit 15th in the league, but they gave their home fans some cheer with a comfortable Group H win over the Swiss, who finished with 10 men after Sekou Sanogo was sent off late on for a high tackle.advertisementValencia’s joy, however, was somewhat tempered by a surprising result in Turin where Manchester United came from behind to beat group leaders Juventus 2-1.Stronger together pic.twitter.com/r3axhSVNOKValencia CF English (@valenciacf_en) November 7, 2018Valencia, who briefly occupied second spot, are third on five points ahead of their own trip to Italy later this month.The Spaniards took the lead after 14 minutes at the Mestalla when Soler surged through on goal and saw his angled chip come back off the post to be put in by Santi Mina.Young Boys struck back in the 37th minute when Roger Assale took a quick, clever touch in the box to put the ball on his right foot and drove it into the far bottom corner.They were level for only four minutes, however, as Mina got his outstretched foot on to a cross from Soler, who finally got on the scoresheet to wrap up the win 10 minutes after halftime with a low strike from the right of the area.Marcelino’s side trail second-placed United by two points and travel to Juve knowing they must get something from that game as the Premier League side will be heavy favourites to beat the now eliminated Young Boys at home.(With Reuters inputs)
Topics: Freelancing Originally published Aug 6, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated September 14 2017 189Save Writing blog posts and other content takes time — time you and your team might not feel like you have to spare.And yet, you keep reading that companies regularly publishing quality content to their blogs are reaping the biggest rewards in terms of traffic and leads. Better yet for those companies, those results continue to pay out over time thanks to search engines.How can you maintain a great company blog when you and your team are juggling so many other marketing responsibilities? For many marketers, the answer is hiring freelance writers.The demand for freelance writers is high, and a lot’s been written about how to hire them, how to screen for quality, and how to build and manage a team of remote writers.Use the free HubSpot Invoice Template Generator to create professional invoices in minutes. But very rarely can you find data to help you answer tough questions. How much should you pay freelancers? Should they receive the byline — or not? What affects the quality of their work?CopyPress recently ran a survey with nearly 250 freelancers to figure this all out. Check out the infographic below of their findings.(P.S. Any freelancers reading? We’ve got something you might find helpful: Check out our brand new Invoice Template Generator here to ensure you get paid on time, every time.)189Save 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: Originally published Aug 25, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated August 27 2017 4K+Save Graphic Design “Could you take a look at the wireframe and let me know if I need to adjust the leading and the kerning so there’s enough white space? Thanks!”… Come again?Sometimes, designer-speak can seem like gibberish.Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. But marketers work so closely with designers on things like website design, infographics, and other visual content, it’s important that we speak and understand one another’s language.To help bridge the translation gap, the folks at Pagemodo sat down with professional graphic designers to come up with a list of the most important design terms marketers should know. Check out their list in the infographic below — and if you have terms to add, let us know in the comments section.4K+Save 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 Topics: Originally published Apr 5, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Nonprofit Fundraising Fundraisers are great opportunities to raise money, right? Wrong—well, sort of wrong.Often hosted just a few times a year, these races, picnics, galas, and more are great opportunities for nonprofit marketers to learn more about their communities, members, and donors. Rather than chasing down your website visitors to complete sample surveys or connect with your team over the phone, you can have a good old fashioned conversation.Rule #1 is to tone down the selling. Focus on getting to know your event-goers on a personal level so that you can empathize with them. Human connections are often difficult to replicate online, so it’s important to make the most out of all the face time that you have—it’s a treasure trove. And because your donors are often busy individuals, it’s rare that you’ll be able to wrangle them into a room together.Make sure that you have a good marketing and research plan in place for your next fundraising event.Here are a few tips to guide you: Organize Your DucksAs you spend time with members and donors at your fundraising events, you’ll collect immensely valuable information that can inform your marketing strategy. Where are you storing this information?The answer to this question is mission-critical. These days, companies are making huge investments in researching their audiences—something that you can do at no additional cost when you’re hosting a high-profile event.Weeks before your event, do a little due diligence on your marketing systems. Make sure that you have a unified database with comprehensive audience profiles. The information that you collect from your events will ultimately need rehoming from your notebooks and brain.Get PersonalPersonalization is one of the biggest opportunities—and biggest challenges—in marketing. The amount of data that you’ll collect at an event is unparalleled compared to what you’ll collect online and over time.Make sure that your database is flexible enough to organize this information. The best way to get started? Brainstorm a set of personalization elements that you think will make your core website experience better. Then, make sure that your database can accommodate this valuable information.At the event, focus on collecting the information that you’ve identified as ideal for your user experience.Get Feedback on Your Marketing CampaignsWhile you’ll want to keep the pitching to a minimum at your fundraiser, you should still feel comfortable ‘talking shop.’When mingling at your fundraiser, ask your members and donors to share feedback around your marketing campaigns. Are they reading your blog posts? Do they find your one-pagers valuable? What information do they wish they could have on hand?By answering these questions, you’ll be well-positioned to build upon your marketing campaigns. Instead of generating content and messaging that are off base, you can develop a more compelling value proposition.Since you’ll be talking to donors in person, you’ll have an especially valuable opportunity to collect feedback ‘between the lines.’ Pay attention to what people aren’t telling you during your conversations. A follow-up email with a survey or request for feedback is a great way to make sure no attendee information falls through the cracks. Be DelightfulIn a day and age when automated marketing campaigns are the norm, your company needs an extra edge to stand out. Why not follow up with the donors that you ended up meeting in person? Take initial steps to build a lasting, long-term relationship with each person: show that your organization cares.When it comes to marketing, never underestimate the value of a personal touch. When the people behind your organization are present and visible, your audiences will take notice.Plan for the FutureStuck on the messaging for your next ad campaign? Looking for case study ideas? Next time you host a fundraiser, make sure to identify these goals ahead of time. As you’re well-aware, marketing moves at a million miles per hour. If you want these same donors to come back next year, you’ll want to start your event planning process now.Look for in-depth stories. Pay attention to the conversations that elicit the most emotions from your donors. Figure out what you can do better next time.Final ThoughtsEffective marketing campaigns are getting tougher to develop—especially if your organization is budget-strapped and lacking a seven figure marketing budget. Stop trying to compete with more dollars: improve your value proposition instead. Make the most out of every donor touchpoint—build lasting, impactful relationships.
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Aug 22, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2019 With 46% of marketers reporting that photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies, it should come as no surprise that quality photos are in high demand.Trouble is, most commercially available photos on the internet were taken to visualize broad overall concepts rather than concrete messages. That means they can be used in all sorts of campaigns … but also end up looking generic.Think of all the photos of smiling receptionists and perfectly suited business leaders you’ve come across. These images may compete for attention, but often fail to register, simply because your customers can’t identify with them.Download the free stock photos you’ve been searching for here, no attribution required.As a marketer, you can cut through the noise by using images that more closely relate to your audience. It’s what we call “real photography” here at EyeEm: Unique captures, delightful moments, and surprising perspectives. Images that are more concrete will resonate with audiences much more powerfully since they show real life rather than staged situations.To visualize what we mean, we put together a handful of generic images alongside a ‘real’ counterpart sourced from our community of photographers. The proof is in the pictures, but we’ll let you see for yourself …(HubSpot customers — get access to 60,000 totally free Shutterstock photos right within your portal by clicking here.)Free Download: How to Use Photos in Marketing8 Examples of Authentic Imagery For Your Campaigns1) BusinessWhen it comes to business-related photos, there’s no shortage of clichés. Rather than deciding on an overly clean, generic image like the one below of the woman holding an “open” sign, dig deeper for something more authentic — something that tells a story.You’ll notice that our suggestion ties in a more personal side of business by highlighting two people working together on a project. You can see the emotion in the woman’s face, as she uses her hands to explain something to her coworker in a seemingly authentic exchange. Do This:Source: Sebastian Kopp via EyeEmNot This:Source: Pexels2) TechnologyTechnology is notoriously hard to visualize, since a concept like “connectivity” is quite abstract. Old-school stock photography usually puts people next to the tech to achieve that connection, but the results are clumsy and constructed. Or worse, they add in a weird futuristic digital overlay like the image below.Our suggestion is inspired by contemporary social media culture — and it’s more recognizable. It also features soft focus, natural lighting, and it shows a person truly interacting with the technology.Do This:Source: Moritz Otto via EyeEmNot This:Source: 123rf.com3) TravelLet’s be honest: When we the last time you went on vacation hoping to come home with a suitcase full of sand? In many cases, travel photos are just plain corny, and they lack the excitement and sense of wonder that comes with exploring new places.These days, customers’ attention can much more effectively be captured by showing the actual experience of travel, as depicted by our suggestion below. The shot shows the view from a window on an airplane. It captures that thrilling feeling of embarking on a trip — a feeling that many people can easily relate to.Do This:Source: Dina Alfasi via EyeEmNot This:Souce: 123rf.com4) HappinessAccording to one study, pictures with smiling faces can positively impact conversions. Trouble is, while picturing happiness with a simple smile might have worked in the past, it has long become a tired cliché.While the image of the group of people smiling in brightly colored shirts feels forced, our suggestion reads more natural, as it radiates a positive emotion while including an interesting element of movement. The image looks like a snapshot, taken in a genuine moment of fun and togetherness.Do This:Source: Sasha Dudkina via EyeEmNot This:Source: 123rf.com5) OfficeRepresenting an office by the tools one might (or might not) use there looks incredibly staged. It’s better to show context.In this case, the image we suggested shows a creative space of a freelancer, with a pleasing color palette to underline the tranquility and focus of the workplace. Do This:Source: @dersash via EyeEmNot This:Source: Pexels6) PhoneMost images of phones show people awkwardly handling them, presenting their devices in a way nobody in real life would. Exhibit A: The image below of a young girl holding up her phone with a blank screen. Now, notice how our suggestion sets highlights the phone without feeling forced or cheesy. The person in the image is shown using the phone in a really natural way, and it’s easy to identify with — after all, who doesn’t love taking photos of their pets?Do This:Source: Markus Spiering via EyeEmNot This:Source: Pexels7) ProductivityBeing productive isn’t about doing many things at once, as the photo on the left suggests — but about focus and a clear sense of what matters. (Check out this free guide for tips on how to be more productive.)While the stock photo below is just plain creepy, our suggestion shows a woman at work, with her focus being underlined by the headphone she wears. It also uses much softer, natural light to remind the viewer how common this activity is.Do This:Source: @jedrzej via EyeEmNot This:Source: 123rf.com8) LeadershipLeadership is all about building trust and establishing credibility. Unfortunately, leadership-inspired photos often miss the mark.The photo below portrays an artificial and thereby very conventional idea of what leadership looks like. To combat that, we choose an image that while more loosely related to the idea, manages to demonstrate the emotive aspect of leading someone.Do This:Source: Kirk Tang via EyeEmNot This:Source: 123rf.com Topics: Images
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: Originally published Sep 22, 2016 1:30:00 PM, updated October 29 2019 Referral Marketing Most marketers have one goal in common: increasing the amount of traffic to their website. There are various tactics for accomplishing this goal including search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC), blogging, social media marketing, etc. The problem is that SEO takes times, PPC is expensive, Google is becoming oversaturated with blog content, and social media has always had a problem proving ROI.One often overlooked tactic that can potentially have the greatest impact is referral traffic. So, what is referral traffic and how can you use it to generate more leads?Access Now: 22 SEO Myths to Leave Behind This YearWhat Is Referral Traffic? Visitors that come to your website from sites other than the major search engines are considered referral traffic. When someone clicks a link on a website or social network and is then taken to another site, tracking software, such as Google Analytics or HubSpot, counts that visitor as referral traffic. The originating website is called the “referrer” since it refers traffic from one website to the other. Why Is Referral Traffic Important?Referral traffic is important to inbound marketers because it sends potentially qualified visitors to your website from trusted websites. This in turn gets your content in front of new people, giving your website the opportunity to convert that visitor into a lead and your sales team the opportunity to convert that lead into a new customer.But that’s not all! Referral traffic also has SEO benefits. When someone visits your website from another site they are usually clicking on a link or completing some type of social activity. Google and other search engines consider these links and social signals as positive ranking factors as long as they are coming from trusted websites.Sounds pretty good, right? Well, let’s get started on getting you some juicy referral traffic so you can brag about all the hot leads you have rolling in. 7 Steps To Generate More Referral Traffic1) Publish Your Website To Online DirectoriesSubmitting your website to online directories is one of the easiest ways to get referral traffic but you don’t want to publish your website to every directory out there. Instead, focus on the ones that are most relevant to your industry or generate the most traffic. Whether you’re a veterinarian in St. Louis or an assisted living facility in Daytona Beach, Moz has you covered. They offer a free resource for finding the top directories by category and city.Once you’ve submitted your website to the top directories for your city and industry, I’d focus on finding directories that can generate some serious traffic. How do you know which directories will accomplish this? It’s as simple as performing a Google search. The directories that appear at the top of the search results should, in theory, generate the most traffic. For example, if you do a search for “personal trainer in los angeles” there are 4 directories that show up on the first page of the search results: Yelp, YourTrainer, IdeaFit & Thumbtack. You can’t use SEO to pass up these directories in the search results overnight. What you can do, however, is list your website on these directories in order to generate quality traffic and get some free SEO juice. After all, if someone is looking for a personal trainer in Los Angeles and they find your website via Yelp, that referred visitor is just as valuable to you as them landing directly on your website. 2) Get Published On Review WebsitesReview websites are a great source for getting more referral traffic. These visitors have already gone through the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey. They’ve now reached the decision stage and are comparing vendors or products. What better time to get your product or service in front of them for consideration?Getting listed on a review website can vary depending on whether you are a B2B or B2C company. If you perform a search for “st louis roofing company reviews” there are 3 websites that you would want to be listed on if you were a roofer: HomeAdvisor, BBB & AngiesList.By adding your website to these 3 directories you are increasing the likelihood of your website being found during the decision phase of the buyer’s journey. If you are operating a respectable roofing company that treats customers fairly you should have no problem standing out from other roofers that have not so positive reviews.B2B businesses will find that it is more difficult to get featured on review websites. A lot of times you have to “pay to play,” meaning you will basically have to pay to be featured towards the top of the review listings. For example, if you do a Google search for “top mobile app developers” the first search result is Clutch.co. They showcase a list of mobile app development firms with reviews but if you look closely you’ll notice that they are “sorted by sponsor.” Essentially these companies are paying to have their website and reviews featured first. It’s a slick way for Clutch to make money but also maintain it’s reputation as a respectable source for reviews.3) Publish Guest Blog PostsGuess what? You’re currently looking at step 3 of the 7 steps for getting more referral traffic to your website. That’s right. You’re reading a guest blog post by Leap Clixx, a HubSpot Partner Agency. Guest blog posts create numerous opportunities to get referral traffic to your website. External links (like the two in this paragraph), author bios, and call-to-actions (like the one at the bottom of this post) are typically present on most blogs. If you can get a post featured on a well-know industry website you’ll benefit from the referral traffic and links coming to your site. It’s best to focus your efforts on websites that are considered thought leaders in your industry. Since we’re an Inbound Marketing Agency, HubSpot is the perfect place for us to post a guest blog post. Can you think of a more respected website when it comes to the topic of inbound marketing? I mean, HubSpot literally coined the term inbound marketing. Here are a couple tips to keep in mind when guest blogging:Focus on websites related to your industry – No one wants to read about Fall fashion trends on a blog about guns & ammo, unless you’re talking about camo. Keep the target audience in mind while writing – Most blogs have strict guidelines in place for guest bloggers. Write content under your own name – After all, you don’t want someone else getting credit for your work. Link to influencers – They will notice and might even help promote your guest blog post, which in return will increase the referral traffic it generates. 4) Leverage Social MediaAccording to Social Media Examiner, a whopping 89% of marketers indicated that social media generated more exposure for their business. Additionally, 75% found their website traffic increased as a result of their social media efforts. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest were the top 7 social media platforms used by marketers. Being active on social media isn’t just trendy anymore; it’s a tactic most marketers are using to get more traffic, leads, and sales.Everytime you tweet, share, like, or pin a piece of content you are creating an opportunity to drive referral traffic to your website. Plus, you’re increasing the likelihood of your content showing up at the top of Google. 58% of marketers using social media reported improved search rankings. Like I said before, referral traffic not only brings more potential customers to your website, it also helps with SEO. 5) Comment On BlogsA question that comes up a lot is “Does blog commenting help SEO?” It not only can help with SEO but it can also generate more referral traffic for your website. According to Neil Patel, his 240+ comments on blogs have generated close to 4,000 visitors to his website. Commenting on blogs will definitely increase your referral traffic; just make sure you’re not filling the interwebs with more spam. Here are a couple tips for the newbie blog commenters out there:Make sure your comments are valuable – No one likes a complainer or bragger. If your comments are negative or promotional in nature just keep them to yourself. Focus on blogs that allow links in the comments – Remember, you’re trying to get more traffic. In order to do that you need to add a link to your websiteIf you aren’t first, you’re last. – Just like search engines, if your link is at the top of the comments list you’re more likely to generate more clicks and traffic. 6) Be Active On Industry ForumsOnline forums are a great source of potential leads and customers but are often overlooked as a marketing tactic for generating traffic. Similar to blog comments, you should focus your efforts on forums in your niche and always be trying to add value without sounding too promotional. I’ve outlined a couple steps and tips below for getting the most out of forum marketing:Make sure the forum is active – Don’t waste your time on a forum that hasn’t had a new post for a month. Register using your brand name – You want to make sure people associate your comments with a memorable brand name. Create a signature with a call-to-action link – This is how you’re going to drive traffic to your website. It’s time to participate – You’ll want to participate in the areas of the forum where you have the most expertise. Use real life examples – Don’t just offer your advice. No one likes a know-it-all. Try to provide value using your personal experiences. Share your resources – Start a new thread with a link to resource you think could benefit the group. If you’re proud of a particular piece of content it’s likely others will enjoy it too. 7) Publish InfographicsWhen asked to select the single most important form of content for their business, 37% of marketers picked visuals. The reason is pretty simple. Humans have attention spans shorter than goldfish and it’s easier for the brain to consume an image than a bunch of text. Plus you’ve probably noticed that an image of a cute puppy gets liked and shared more than a 100+ page industry report.The great thing about infographics is they can help people understand complex data with simple visuals. The goal is to get your infographic shared, liked, and pinned on social networks and have others embed it in their articles (like I’ve done above), thus creating links to your website.In addition to your own website, there are several websites where you can post an infographic. One of my favorites is Pinterest. After all, Pinterest is responsible for around 5% of all referral traffic to websites, second only to Facebook. Pinterest gives you the option to link your infographic to your website and makes it easy for it be shared on other’s boards. Next StepsOnce you start receiving additional referral traffic, you’ll want to make sure your website is ready for these new visitors. In this FREE eBook “Turn Your Website Into A Lead Generation Machine,” we go over some best practices for ensuring your website is setup to convert visitors into leads for your business. Download it now by clicking on the link above or on the banner below.
Your agency cannot survive on referrals alone.Don’t get me wrong — referrals are great (really great), but your agency’s new business program needs to span a more diverse range of new lead sources in case your referral pipeline ever hits a dry spell.According to The Agency Pricing & Financials Report conducted by HubSpot Research, a whopping 90% of agencies cite referrals as their top source for new leads.Download The Agency Pricing & Financials Report todayData from The Agency Pricing & Financials ReportBut while it’s clear referrals represent a big portion of agency new business, it’s not necessarily a safe bet to rely on referrals as the default new business option.Lee McKnight, vice president of sales at RSW/US, warns that referrals aren’t always as scalable, reliable, or targeted as other new lead sources, and agencies that ignore other inbound and outbound sources do so at their own peril.”There’s a reason insurance exists,” McKnight writes in The Agency Pricing & Financials Report. “If you’re crushing it on the referral front, look at the outbound/inbound component as your insurance policy; it’s not the easiest part, but it’s absolutely necessary to your success.”To help your agency start exploring new lead sources, we’ve examined a few underutilized new business channels and explained how agencies can better use them to their advantage. Read on to learn how your agency can start tapping these new lead sources and building up a more sustainable new business program.6 New Lead Sources Your Agency Should Tap1) Blogging”Oh great — Another article with blogging as a marketing tip.”Look, I hear you. Marketers love to talk about blogging, and it often gets thrown around as a default inbound marketing strategy. But with only 12% of agencies reporting blogging as a top lead source, it seems like agencies still aren’t fully taking advantage of this powerful channel for new business. The reason blogging doesn’t work is usually a bandwidth issue, not a talent gap. And we get it: You’re busy, your client work comes first, and everyone on your team is already juggling roughly 10,000 responsibilities on a daily basis.But many agencies fail to see results from blogging simply because they don’t devote the time and patience to cultivating a meaningful blog presence. They just whip up a few generic posts every now and then, post them to social media, and then decide it isn’t worthwhile. If your agency wants to start seriously using blogging as a new business channel, it can’t be seen as a sometimes project. It needs to be a core part of your marketing strategy.Even if you don’t have a dedicated new business employee, designate a member of your team to manage the blog and produce content that target’s your agency’s desired niche (click here for a free guide on creating an ideal client profile).Blogging doesn’t have to be their core responsibility (and others can and should help out), but there needs to be someone held accountable for your blog’s performance. Otherwise, you can’t reasonably expect buy-in from the rest of your team.2) Guest BloggingAgencies put guest blogging at the very bottom of their priority list, with just 1% of agencies surveyed reporting the tactic as a valuable new business source. But this overlooked marketing strategy can actually be a great way to build authority, get important eyes on your content, and start generating some targeted buzz for your agency.Start by finding industry publications and media outlets that share the kind of content your ideal prospects are interested in. You want to target the websites where your prospects are most likely to come across your content.Next, sit down and develop a list of topics you think would bring value to your prospects. Examine the previously published content on the publications you plan to submit to, and try to locate content gaps: topics that haven’t been covered yet, or new angles on topics that you can offer a fresh perspective on.Once you know what you want to write about, read up on how to pitch your story idea to the editors. Make sure you read up on your desired publication’s guidelines and rules. You can find HubSpot’s agency content submission guidelines here.3) WebinarsWebinars are an opportunity to offer potential prospects a glimpse at your expertise, and help them get an idea of what you can bring to the table. Only 2% of agencies currently say that webinars serve as a valuable new lead source, but when done right, this tactic can be a powerful component of your lead generation program.Many agencies balk at the idea of putting on a webinar at first. And while it can seem like a massive undertaking with an uncertain chance of return, hosting a webinar doesn’t have to be complicated or overly time-consuming. In fact, with the right tools, it can be an easy way to start building an online reputation and cultivating meaningful relationships in your industry.Services like GoToWebinar and WebEx make it simple to plan, broadcast, and record webinars. And if your agency doesn’t currently have the budget for a paid service, consider recording your webinar with Google Hangouts or another free service like Join.me.4) Paid Online MarketingAdding a budget for paid or sponsored media to your new business development plan can give your content a much-needed boost with some targeted amplification. Most agencies ignore paid marketing altogether, with only 7% reporting it as a valuable lead generation channel.But if your agency has gone through the time and effort to produce valuable content offers, introducing paid content can dramatically increase your impressions and ensure your content gets noticed by the right people.Figure out where your potential clients are most likely to spot you on the web, and devote your funds to these channels. To promote your agency on social media, consider LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, Promoted Tweets on Twitter, and Facebook Ads.5) Public Relations and Earned MediaIt’s pretty simple: If you don’t pitch stories, they won’t get covered. Only 7% of agencies report public relations as a top lead source. To make earned media part of your agency’s new business plan, you’ll need to focus on finding the right journalists to cover your story.So how do you craft the perfect pitch? It’s all about targeting the right publications with the right stories, and differentiating yourself. Journalists see 26,000 pitches a year, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. But don’t fret — despite what you might think, journalists actually want to find a great story in their inbox. They don’t enjoy sifting through a mass of irrelevant pitches. Targeting is key. Don’t pitch anything you think is a stretch. Set up news alerts for topics in your industry and use them to find journalists who are already writing the kind of stories you want to share. If you aren’t sure how to write a stellar pitch, click here for a few free email pitch templates tailored to agencies.6) Networking Events and ConferencesOld school face-to-face networking isn’t dead yet. In fact, 37% of agencies reported that networking at events and conferences brings in new leads. But that means the majority of agencies still aren’t fully taking advantage of networking and the new business potential it can bring in.I’ll be the first to tell you that networking in person can be hard, and it doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. But that doesn’t mean your agency can afford to shy away from the conference and event scene altogether.You shouldn’t feel foolish if you need to brush up on some networking skills and ice breakers. With INBOUND 2016 right around the corner, you can bet that all of us here at HubSpot have been practicing our small talk skills. Unsure where to begin? Try browsing this list of 100 conversation starters for virtually any situation.What under-utilized lead sources is your agency planning on trying out? Topics: Originally published Oct 6, 2016 5:00:00 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 Agency New Business
Virtual Reality (VR) Originally published Nov 29, 2016 1:30:00 PM, updated September 28 2018 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! Virtual reality is the hot new video marketing tool disrupting business plans and budgets across the planet. Audiences are loving it and want more: a 2015 study found that 81% of consumers would tell their friends about their VR experience, and that 79% would seek out additional experiences. The demand is so huge Deloitte predicts that by 2020 the global market may be worth around $30 billion.Because of this growing demand everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and offering VR production as part of their services.Unlock tips, systems & recommended resources to stay ahead of the tech curve.I get it – as an integrated marketing agency with an in-house video production department, becoming a virtual reality agency was a natural next step for us, so we sent the team on training, hired in specialists and acquired the kit we needed. We’ve learned loads on our long VR journey; it truly is a different beast to 2D and takes some serious skills to tame. We’ve outlined 7 important differences to help you prepare for your own VR adventure – consider them carefully, they could save you buckets in tears and pennies.1. You need specialist equipmentVR production requires some specialist equipment that can seem incredibly intimidating, not to mention expensive. At the very least you will need a 360 camera rig and editing station (with an i5 processor or above), as well as a PC and headset to review the footage. In terms of camera gear, there is a range of options to suit different levels of budget and ambition. The Samsung Gear 360 is one great option at entry level that consists of two cameras with a 180-degree view. It’s priced at around US $460.If only the best will do, consider the 8K, waterproof, six-camera GoPro Omni. It captures everything – and its resolution is almost faultless with minimal stretching. The price for this fancy rig is around US $4600.If you want movement in your video, you need to budget for extra gear like drones and dollies. Now that you’ve got your camera gear sorted you need to think about your editing equipment. At TopLine Comms, we recently bought a beast of an editing machine to deal with the sheer amount of high-res footage that each camera rig produces. This machine can process footage with resolutions ranging from 720p to 8K and is completely customized for VR production.2. Avoid the danger zoneVR film sets have their very own ‘danger zone’ – usually a radius of 1.5 meters from the camera rig. Anything filmed in this zone will come out weird and blurry so your production team will need to keep it clear of any people or objects that could distort the shot.Stitch lines can have a monstrous effect on your VR content so make sure you’re working with a crew who pays attention to where they are and keeps focal points as far away from them as possible.But remember, even if the danger zone is kept clear, the different angles of footage will still have to be stitched together using specific software like Kolor Autopano Video Pro and Kolor Giga.While some VR equipment – like the Samsung Gear 360 on the Galaxy s7 smartphone – have an automatic onboard stitching function, there are some drawbacks you have to bear in mind: the footage you get will have a lower resolution and the processing time will take longer.If you want higher quality footage – Samsung Gear 360 can still do it, but then you have to use a computer and specialist stitching software. Ultimately, you need to decide what will work best for you and your budget.3. Think about people on setWe know that when you commission your first VR project, you will probably want to be on-location. With normal video production, this is fine. With VR video production, it’s not fine. Remember, these cameras are filming 360-degree content which means everything will be in the shot. Even if you stand behind a tree and don’t breathe, you’ll get picked up.This means that if you insist on being on set, the director will likely ask you to get in character, put on a costume and blend in. No joke. Crew on the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One, had to do it.So if dressing up is your thing, by all means attend the shoot. If not, you can’t be on set. Sorry.4. Give the voice over directionScripting voiceover for content that can literally go in any direction is tricky. Unlike 2D, your audience can look anywhere at any moment. So, if the VO is talking about something happening on the right, best the script directs them to look right. Rather than record the VO before filming, work with your production agency to do it afterwards.You also have to keep in mind that most cameras focus on visuals at the expense of audio quality. To fix this you can hire special recorders for 360-degree sound, like Core Sound’s TetraMic and Brahma Tetrahedron, for example. This will, of course, be an additional expense.5. Be patient with the editPost-production is where the true magic happens but be prepared for it to take time – much more time than editing 2D footage. Merging stitch lines will take at least a week, more if your production has used multiple cameras.The edit begins by uploading the footage into specialist software, like Kolor Autopano Video Pro and Kolor Giga. The content is sync’d and then the angles are stitched together.Once the videos have been stitched together, your editing team will often have to fix the horizon. During the stitching process the software will automatically merge the different angles to reduce the appearance of seams. However, sometimes this results in an image that is off centre or off axis. This can only be corrected by manipulating the video.What’s more, all objects directly above or below the camera (like tripods) will have to be ‘disappeared’ using skilful editing techniques such as superimposing a reference photo over it. Or, the editor can opt for the cruder method and stick a relevant graphic over it.We once attached one of our 360 camera rigs to the front of a skateboard, but the clamp holding the camera up was visible in the footage. To edit this out we had to manually lay another image of a skateboard over the actual skateboard in the shot.All of this makes VR editing a much lengthier process than traditional video editing.6. Prepare to pay moreVR is relatively expensive to produce. It costs more than 2D but not as much as a Spielberg blockbuster (unless you’re referencing one of his epic films from the last century). Truth is, it doesn’t pay to cut corners – ultra-low-cost equipment and crews often result in ultra-low quality.To put the costs in perspective it helps to look at the requirements in terms of time, people involved and post-production process. For a 2D filmed video you will usually need a producer or director, a camera operator and a sound recordist. Then the post-production process will involve and offline edit, motion graphics and colour grading. All of this will take about 5 weeks could cost between US$6 500 and US$10 000.With a 360-degree video, however, you’ll need more crew members, including a producer or director, a camera operator, a digital imaging technician a sound recordist and a runner. As mentioned above the post-production process is also more extensive with VR. It will typically include stitching, offline editing, plating, motion graphics and colour grade. This pushes the project timescale to around 7 weeks with costs ranging from US$ 9 000 to US$13 000. But remember, VR projects don’t all cost the same – productions with bigger kit, multiple days of filming and some basic graphics could be around US$13 000 to US$20 000. A high end VR experience with lots of animation could be upward of US$130 000.With VR it’s worth investing in an agency that won’t mess up the postproduction process, and that will be able to advise you on the best shots for your video. You might think that it’s a good idea to have a camera on the floor while people zip past on bikes. While this sounds dynamic in theory, the shot’s perspective will place your viewer on the floor too – which might not be the most comfortable experience. A good VR video agency will point these things out to you, so you can make better, more informed decisions.That said, your VR project also should not eat your entire marketing budget – what good is cool new content if you can’t afford to take it to market?7. Make it audience friendlyAlmost everyone wants to watch VR content but not everyone has the required headsets. If you’re producing an experience to showcase at an event or in the office then no problem, you’ll have the relevant equipment on-hand.If you’re assuming that your viewer has an Oculus Rift at home, your amazing VR experience will fall flat. The best you can do is make sure that your audiences can immerse themselves in your VR content through as many platforms as possible: from Google Cardboard to YouTube to Sulon Q.When producing content that has to be viewed with a headset, give some thought to motion sickness and make sure your viewers won’t feel too nauseous (remember Nintendo’s first attempt at VR that had people literally throwing up?). Relatively static shots are best as they allow viewers to move their heads freely and enjoy their immersive experience without unpleasant side-effects.If you’re still not sure if VR is right for you, consider what you want to use the video for. Will an engaging, immersive video experience get the job done better than a traditional video? If the answer is yes, then you should consider VR. However, you also have to keep your budget and project timeline into account. While VR videos create a great experience they do take longer and are more expensive to make.If you analyze your prospective project according to the 7 characteristics of VR videos listed above, you should get a good idea of whether what you want to achieve can be done through VR and whether you have the budget to make it work. The great thing is, should you decide to attempt VR you don’t have to go at it alone. You don’t have to be a VR expert if you work with an agency that is able to advise you on everything from shooting location to sound effects.If virtual insanity is getting you down and you need some expert guidance, download our Marketer’s Guide to Virtual Reality.
Caroline Forsey1 Hireme RoadBoston, MA, 20813Cell: 555-555-5555Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgApril 15, 2018 Your NameYour AddressYour City, State, Zip CodeCell: 555-555-5555Email: email@example.comDate (*leave four spaces for your signature, then type your name underneath the four spaces) Dear X, (try to find hiring manager’s name… if you can’t, you can put “Dear [Company A] Hiring Committee”) Option B) Sincerely, Event Planning Department — Internship ProgramCompany A35 Recruiting St.Boston, MA, 29174 Writing a cover letter can feel like a daunting task, particularly if you don’t have a lot of “real world” experience. Fortunately, a cover letter is actually an exceptional chance to explain how your extracurriculars or classes taught you leadership and time management skills.To really stand out, it’s important to personalize your cover letter for each internship application. You shouldn’t use your cover letter as a chance to reiterate your whole resume. This is your chance to pick out a few keywords from the position description, and dive into examples showing how you’ve exhibited these skills.Download Now: Free Cover Letter TemplatesWe’ve created an internship cover letter template to provide some initial structure and inspiration, but we don’t expect this template to be one-size-fits-all. Ideally, you’ll supplement our template with your own creativity and flair.FormattingThere are different formats you can use when writing cover letters, but you can’t go wrong with the following business letter format. Regardless of the format you choose to follow, it’s critical you proofread, use formal terms such as “Dear” and “Sincerely,” and lean towards a professional tone whenever possible. Dear Internship Coordinator,I am a passionate, creative, and driven Elon University student with leadership and event planning experience, as well as strong communication skills. I am seeking opportunities to showcase my writing abilities in a challenging and stimulating environment. My skills and experiences will enable me to deliver successful results as a digital marketing intern for Company B.Please allow me to highlight my key skills:Prior experience writing blog posts and press releases for marketing objectivesStrong communication skills and ability to adopt voice for diverse audiences and varying purposesEfficient in managing multiple projects with fast moving deadlines through organization and time-management skillsA firm understanding of grammar rules and how to write effectivelyExperience in leadership positions, both as Student Union Board executive leader and as an Elon Orientation LeaderProven ability to form positive relationships with people from around the globe, exhibited by my internship experience in China last summerExperience organizing, promoting, and implementing social eventsProficient in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, and Premiere), and social media platformsIn closing, I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how I can be an asset to Company B. I will call next week to see if you agree that my qualifications are a match for the position. Thank you for your time and consideration.Sincerely,(handwritten signature)Caroline Forsey Sample Cover LettersOption A) Originally published Apr 11, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated April 11 2018 Paragraph One:In the first paragraph, explain how you heard about the company or position, and if you know anyone at the company, mention them here. Next, express your own interest in the company or position and explain briefly how it relates to your own passions. Introduce yourself in this paragraph, writing your name, your education level, your major, and your interests.Paragraph Two and Three:Scan the internship position description and pick out a few qualities you think apply to you — just don’t choose all the descriptors mentioned (it will appear disingenuous and make your cover letter too long). For instance, if I see a company is looking for someone who’s “outgoing, organized, hardworking, and willing to take criticism,” I would pick those that describe me best and focus on providing examples in the body of my cover letter.Mentioning the traits directly in your cover letter shows you’ve read the position description, and makes your cover letter more scannable. If the hiring manager is looking for someone with content skills, she might scan your cover letter looking for the words that indicate experience with content.Finally, brainstorm a few compelling examples to show how you embody the most important characteristics. Don’t just write, “I have excellent customer service skills.” You need to prove it. Support your claim by writing, “Last summer, I worked at as an orientation leader at my college, serving as a resource for incoming students and their parents. This experience strengthened my customer service skills.”Even if you don’t have a lot of (or any) job experience, think about highlighting skills you’ve gained from extracurriculars, volunteer experience, or even passion projects (e.g.: “my passion for dance led me to becoming a volunteer dance teacher, which helped me develop as a leader”).Closing:If the internship application does not specify “please do not contact,” you might choose to conclude by specifying how you will follow up, such as, “I will call next week to see if my qualifications are a match,” or, “I am eager to meet with you to discuss this opportunity, and am available for an interview at a mutually convenient time.” Conclude by thanking the hiring manager for taking the time to consider you, and end on a positive, confident note, such as, “I look forward to speaking with you soon.” Dear Internship Coordinator,At the suggestion of John Smith, a senior marketer at Company A, I am submitting my resume for the Event Coordinator internship position. I am a junior at Elon University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Event Management, and am passionate about event planning. I am thrilled to hear about Company A’s Event Coordinator internship program, and feel my experiences and skills would be an excellent match for your organization.As an executive member of the Student Union Board at Elon, I am in charge of organizing, promoting, and implementing multiple school-related social activities per week, while being challenged to design new events. I work cohesively with a diverse team made up of students and faculty, and I also foster relationships with novelty companies.My experience as an Orientation Leader has further prepared me for this internship. It was essential that I remain positive, outgoing, and energized during move-in day and act as a liaison between new students, families, and faculty in a fast-paced and demanding environment. I was expected to maintain a highly professional customer service ethic while interacting with families and new students.My Elon University experiences, executive board membership, and orientation leadership role have prepared me to be successful in the Event Coordinator internship program. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how I can add value to Company A.Sincerely,(handwritten signature)Caroline Forsey Caroline Forsey Caroline Forsey1 Hireme RoadBoston, MA, 20813Cell: 555-555-5555Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgApril 15, 2018 Marketing Department — Internship ProgramCompany A35 Recruiting St.Boston, MA, 29174 Cover Letter DepartmentCompanyStreetCity, State Zip Topics: [Paragraph One][Body Paragraphs][Closing Paragraph] Don’t forget to share this post!
It’s Tuesday of Bedlam week, and I am already spent. I don’t know how we’re supposed to do this for four more days! There are so many different ways to think about, look at and write about this game, but I thought what Mike Gundy (and others) said on Monday was apropos.“I think what’s encouraging for the state of Oklahoma is that for a considerable number of times over the last six years, these two schools have gotten together to decide a conference championship,” said Gundy.“I don’t think we can ask for anything else.”Yes. The CFB Playoff dream has flown away and the college football world is focused on pretty much every other conference title game. So we get this largely to ourselves. And like Gundy said, what more could we want?Two teams having won a combined 15 straight games. Mason Rudolph (21-5 as a starter) and Baker Mayfield (20-4 as a starter). Mixon and Perine. Hill and Carson. Dede and The President. An array of pros all over the field. This is a big time game, no matter how much attention it is paid nationally.“We have four million people and we don’t have professional football in the state; although, of course everybody loves Dallas right now,” added Gundy. “As you watch over the last week and a half when they put up the College Football Playoff standings and you have Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in that top 10, that’s a tremendous financial and marketing advantage for those universities and the state of Oklahoma.”OU defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is from Texas, and even he is starting to realize the massive importance Bedlam holds for both OU and the Big 12.“It’s for who’s the best team in the state …” said Okoronkwo. “I feel like this is just as big of a rivalry as it is going to Dallas and the Cotton Bowl playing Texas. This is big, it’s for bragging rights.”Okoronkwo has been talking trash with former HS teammates on #OKState’s team. Says this game is just as big as OU/Texas to him. #Sooners— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) November 28, 2016“Just like Texas man, I don’t like em because my teammates don’t like em’,” added OU tackle Orlando Brown. “The guys from Oklahoma, they don’t like Oklahoma State normally and that’s just how it goes. And I go to OU so whoever y’all hate I hate.”Sports hate, of course (I think). Zac Veatch summed it up well, too.“It’s exciting,” said Cowboy Back Zac Veatch. “We wouldn’t want it any other way. We have prepared well. We are going to go down and play for the Big 12”Oklahoma State safety Jordan Sterns acknowledged the importance of Saturday, but he also said it hasn’t affected the way he is going about his week.“The game itself is huge,” said Sterns. “It’s for the state of Oklahoma, but for me it’s just a game. I prepare for OU the same way I prepare for everyone else. I don’t like to look at them any different than any other team so I’m going to go out there and play hard for my teammates regardless.“There’s going to be a lot of people there and it’s going to be loud. For us though, we’ve just got to go out there and keep doing what we’ve been doing all year and hopefully that will help lead us to a victory.”A victory.I don’t think we can ask for anything else. 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.
Mike Gundy, Mike Yurcich and QB1 Mason Rudolph chatted with us on Wednesday about the spring game and what the last month of spring ball has been like. 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.
Not too far off. Will 2017’s team take the same type of step forward that 2011’s did? If so, Washington will be a huge part of it.Here’s a look at the two receivers during their sophomore and junior seasons — when they were the primary target in each offense. Mason Rudolph and James Washington got the Cowboys’ offseason rolling before it had even started. Prior to their dismantling of Colorado’s defense in the Alamo Bowl, the duo made a quick 20-second video announcing their summer plans, which did not include the NFL Draft but did include offseason workouts in Stillwater. Oklahoma State was automatically a Big 12 contender for 2017.While OSU has launched a not-so-cryptic Heisman campaign for their record-setting quarterback, James Washington may be the most underrated player in college football. He’s also among the most underrated Cowboy receivers of all time.At Big 12 Media Days, Mike Gundy was asked about his returning senior and where he ranks among the greats.AdChoices广告“James Washington is up there with the Dez Bryants and the [Justin] Blackmons and the Rashaun Woods,” said Gundy. “The guys that have been terrific football players.“I think James is just scratching the surface.”So how does Washington compare to those great OSU receivers? Let’s take a look.James Washington leads all active Power 5 receivers with 26 career touchdowns and 2,923 receiving yards. His career average of 19.2 yards per reception is the best in OSU history and highest in the Big 12 since Quincy Morgan was lighting it up at Kansas State nearly 20 years ago.We all want the 2017 team to follow the course of 2011. Whispered “what if’s” have become press conference comparisons made by “Big Daddy” himself.If you’re looking to compare OSU’s current go-to deep threat to one of his predecessors, Blackmon is the best option. A better sample size than Dez — Blackmon played 38 games at OSU and Washington has played 39 — and the offenses are more comparable than those Rashuan Woods or Hart Lee Dykes played in. (How impressive does that make Rashaun’s numbers?!)So how does the No. 1 target of the 2017 offense compare to 2011’s?Both statistically and with the eye test, Blackmon is as dominant a receiver as we’ve seen. His 2010 and 2011 Biletnikoff seasons are tide marks for pass catchers in orange. He boasts the No. 1 and No. 3 highest receiving-yard seasons at Oklahoma State. Nos. 1 and 2 in receptions in a season. Nos. 1 and 3 in receiving touchdowns.Blackmon racked up 3,564 yards during his career, sitting behind only Rashaun Woods, the Cowboys’ all-time leader (4,414 yards). If No. 81 would have stuck around for his senior season, there is little doubt he would have claimed that crown too.So far, James Washington sits at 2,923 career receiving yards which is fourth all-time behind Hart Lee Dykes, Blackmon and Woods. In his fourth year, he has a chance to claim the all-time crown from Woods. Anything less than second place would be a disappointment. He could have 600 yards before October.When comparing the two, efficiency is key. Each was/is historically efficient. They just went about it in a different way.Let’s remember that while the two played in “more comparable” offenses, the current incarnation has not reached Weeden-to-Blackmon heights. If 2017 is to be the new 2011, how do 2010 and 2016 stack up? James WashingtonTargetsCatchesCatch RateYardsYDs Per CatchYDs Per TargetTDs 20102.961344.24496155.17 YearPoints Per DriveRankPoints AvgPassing YardsPasser Rating In 2010, Blackmon accounted for 31 percent of Oklahoma State’s total receptions. In 2011, he caught 28.3 percent of the teams completed passes.On the other end, Washington has never (!) led his team in receptions for a season. David Glidden led the team in 2015 and Jalen McCleskey had more last year. As a freshman, Washington caught 12.6 percent. His sophomore and junior seasons he caught 16.3 percent and 24 percent, respectively.Even more surprising, Washington has never recorded double-digit catches in a single game. He had nine twice and eight once — all in 2016. Justin Blackmon had seven double-digit games as a sophomore and six as a junior. Blackmon is the Cowboy leader in career catches per game (6.7 averaged). Washington is currently outside the top ten with his career average of 3.9.But that’s just part of the story. Blackmon had a much better catch rate (75%-plus) — which is just plain silly. Remember, this is raw data. We’re not even differentiating between “catchable” and “non-catchable” passes here. If the ball got flung in his direction, 81 came down with it.Washington’s catch rate numbers were lower than I expected but his aforementioned 19.2 yards per catch is equally unheard of. Blackmon’s career yards-per-catch average of 14.0 doesn’t even crack the top ten. Washington may already be the best “deep threat” to put on an OSU uniform.So Justin caught everything and if James catches it, he’s going to pay it off with extra yards. Check out Adam Lunt’s film study on Washington for a breakdown.The end result is that both players were pretty close in “yards per target”. Blackmon wins the scoring battle by a landslide but again that has a lot to do with receiver depth and, in turn, amount of targets/catches.The question of whether Washington can end his career as the all-time receiver at OSU comes down to touches. In 2016, his 71 receptions were a career high. At his career average of 19.2 yards per reception, Washington would need 78 catches to surpass Rashaun. And that’s not even allowing for any improvement in catch rate.Most will point to the talent-rich receiving corps the Cowboys are blessed with and predict decreased catches for Washington. I wouldn’t be so sure. He’s option No. 1 for Mason Rudolph and if the Cowboys “go four-wide” as Gundy sort of predicted, there could be more catches to go around.Whether Washington ends at No. 1 or No. 2 on the all-time receiving yards list, he’s already cemented himself as an all-time great at OSU. Looking at the numbers and his importance to the offense, you still have to give the nod to Blackmon but Washington’s got another year to build his case.Credit Bill Connelly and Football Study Hall for the advanced receiver stats. 201116012175.6%178216.09.520 201014811175.0%152212.612.018 20151035351.5%108720.59.510 Justin BlackmonTargetsCatchesCatch RateYardsYDs Per CatchYDs Per TargetTDs 20161317154.2%138019.410.410 20162.891738.64211158.37 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. 3. Players who stood outHere is how the player-media interaction works in the practice gym at GIA: We just walked around with an iPhone on a stick, shoved it in players’ faces and asked them all the questions we could think of based on our limited knowledge. It can be bizarre and awkward unless the player embraces the process for what it is.We didn’t get to talk to all 30ish players, but of the ones we talked to I was most impressed with Chris Lacy (duh), Vili Leveni, Jalen McCleskey and Jordan Brailford. They gave thoughtful, interesting answers to our sometimes-not-great questions. I was actually impressed with how locked in everybody was. That’s a really, really long day of practice, signing and talking, but pretty much everybody seemed up for it (and Ramon Richards looked like he could go another 3-4 hours as long as there was a microphone).Nobody won the day like this next guy, though.4. Tyron Johnson is a new faveHowever, as good as those guys were, Tyron Johnson is a new favorite for me. He dished on Louisiana food, how special teams are a second love, confirmed that he should get his own Twitter show this year a la Ramon Richards and walked me through what a bag year is (see tweet below). Video of all of that here.Bag year!!? #RTDC pic.twitter.com/2aJPyMs4lJ— 国王 (@_TBJXIII) March 7, 2017 But none of that is why he was the hit for me. He stood out on Saturday because he had fun with the questions and didn’t take it too seriously. He had that look Mike Gundy gets when he knows he’s about to flame the Big 12 with an all-time one-liner going for about five minutes, like he was telling the jokes but also in on them. I appreciated the self-awareness.Media members throwing jump balls in the gym. #okstate pic.twitter.com/td0XkoDW2V— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) August 5, 2017Also, at one point he took a photo with Chris Lacy, Marcell Ateman, James Washington, Jalen McCleskey and Mason Rudolph in the corner of the gym where the lights and cameras were set up. Somebody leaned over to me and said, “How many pros in that photo?”5. Mike Gundy is readyI observed Gundy at practice and signing his signature for a bit before the presser. It was interesting to see the animal on his head in its natural habitat him in his element. You can tell the rhythms of the job have changed him over 12 years, and that he’s never been more confident in the process OSU is going through.This weekend doubled as the Extreme Camp where folks pay a lot of money to come hang out with the team, see how practice works and go to Gundy’s house on Friday night. Needless to say, there was a lot going on for Mike Gundy this weekend, and yet the first thing he does at his presser is walk in with a little kid who crooned an Aaron Watson song. Gundy closed the song by calling him Big Daddy and asking for questions. On Saturday me, Kyle Boone, Thomas Fleming and Jackson Lavarnway headed up to Stillwater for Oklahoma State’s annual fan appreciation and media availability day. Things got kicked off early with a 9 a.m. practice (my first to attend in person) and continued with a 2:30-4:30 session in GIA with players and coaches signing for fans.Side note: The most bizarre things we saw getting signed included a fedora and a lamp shade that included an OSU helmet as the actual lamp. Also, the 2011 Texas A&M game helmet (the LEGO one) made an appearance. I saw one autograph on it. I think it was Mason Rudolph’s, but I’m going to pretend like it was Mike Yurcich’s.Mike Gundy spoke at 5 p.m. and players gathered in the practice gym in GIA after that to discuss the upcoming season. By the time I stumbled out of there at 7 p.m., I felt like I’d been thumped a few times by Chad Whitener, but the entire day was a blast and we loved getting to partake in it for the first time.AdChoices广告Five thoughts, let’s go.1. The optimism is flowing like an Arkansas WaterfallWhile fans roped around and through GIA waiting to meet their heroes (and in many cases, waiting so their kids could meet their heroes), we grabbed a couple dozen of them and asked them questions about the season (video coming this week). One of the questions we asked was what expectations are for what constitutes a successful year for OSU in 2017?The most common answer we got: Double-digit wins.I get the hype, and I know OSU is a top 11 team to start the year, but it’s still improbable (and a thrill) to me that this would be the expectation going into a year for OSU football. It’s not unwarranted, but it struck me that all of us are living out a sports fantasy as we talked to fan after fan who said, “Yeah, we expect OSU to win 10+ games, and if not, then I’m probably going to be bummed.”2. The ultimate fanThis woman is a national treasure and I hope Mike Gundy lets her be a captain for one of the games. Amazing. pic.twitter.com/gz3yA2vzsM— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) August 5, 2017If OSU seasons are a reflection of how good Mike Gundy is feeling heading into them, then we could be in for one of the best ever.Thanks to everyone who came up to us and said hello. We loved being there and look forward to coming back for many more years in the future.
Then on Friday, @CowboyFB tweeted out practice highlights, and Washington was spotted catching passes from No. 2. So he either sent a hologram or is in fact all right and playing through the hernia.Now it’s important to remember here that this doesn’t necessarily mean Washington is 100 percent. Maybe he will have surgery in the future. Who knows? But it wouldn’t appear as if he’s going to miss the first four games like @PardonMyTake reported originally.That #FridayFeeling… ??? #okstate #GoPokes pic.twitter.com/fwT6rSpCu6— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) August 11, 2017We followed up with multiple people and still haven’t heard anything more substantial than what Rew reported. The original tweet by @PardonMyTake was a pretty bold position to take, especially from a verified account that has one of the most popular podcasts going today. And especially given how they arrived at the news.They have Responded‼️‼️ Oklahoma State News after Midnight pic.twitter.com/eJuAd3nWvq— Boone Pickens State (@BP_State) August 11, 2017More like pardon my (fake) take. 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. Cowboy Nation had a collective heart attack when, on Thursday evening, the Twitter account @PardonMyTake tweeted out that James Washington would miss the first four games of the season with a hernia injury.For those wondering what all the James Washington chatter is about. The tweet has been deleted. pic.twitter.com/MbwxAJBmMB— Brian Gittings (@BrianHD79) August 11, 2017The tweet has since been deleted, but why was it sent out in the first place? On Friday, Lauren Rew reported that Washington was checked out and that a hernia was discovered, but it didn’t seem super serious (at least in the short term).AdChoices广告Re @PardonMyTake, source tells me James Washington had ab pain; ultrasound discovered old hernia. No surgery now, will try to play thru it.— Lauren Rew (@Lauren_Rew) August 11, 2017
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.