It’s fair to say that Australia is one of the best places in the world to start a business, boasting a thriving tech industry and an entrepreneurial edge. But starting your own business comes with a ton of expenses -- and one of the biggest is finding office space to work your magic in.
The good news is that you can vastly reduce this expense by opting to use one of Australia’s many coworking spaces, where you’ll also benefit from being in the midst of like-minded people who are willing to share ideas. (Not to mention, many of these spaces also offer free coffee!)
Sydney and Melbourne are two of the most active startup hubs in Australia, so we’ve put together a list of the best coworking spaces in each to help you find a space that works for you:
Sydney Coworking Spaces
The Best Coworking Spaces in Australia
Image Source: Fishburners
Fishburners have locations in Sydney, Melbourne and Shangai, with the Sydney office alone boasting almost 300 companies working out of their space, as well as 500 visitors entering the premises each week. Fishburners also offers some handy perks such as free coffee and Red Bull, as well as a thriving community environment.
Pricing varies depending on the type of membership you choose, but you can take a free tour of Fishburners to get a feel for what membership package would best suit your needs. A huge bonus of joining Fishburners is that you get access to all of their locations mentioned above, regardless of your membership type.
2. Tank Stream Labs
Image Source: Tank Stream Labs
Tank Stream Labs (or TSL to those who know it well) bills itself as a “tech-focused, coworking community for startups and scaleups, with a global focus”. And it’s safe to say that they live up to that billing, with two offices in Sydney that house companies like Buzzfeed, Ashop, and formerly, GoDaddy. TSL also has a large community, with over 400 startups on the books in total and more than $300m raised to date by its members.
Image Source: Spaces
Landing in Sydney’s Surry Hills from Amsterdam in 2016, Spaces offers 222 coworking desks to choose from, as well as three private meeting rooms. Spaces also provides a virtual office package that gives you access to a private office at Spaces locations for five days a month. If you’re not sure if Spaces is for you, they offer a free one-day trial so you can test their facilities out without dropping a cent.
Image Source: Startup Scene Australia
3. Hub Sydney
After originally opening a single office in Sydney’s William Street in 2013, Hub Sydney has now opened a second office located at Hyde Park in 2018. They offer day passes if you’re only passing through Sydney, or monthly memberships if you’d like a longer stay. Like Fishburners, you’ll get access to any of Hub Sydney’s other locations once you join the community. This means you can set up camp in places like Melbourne, London, Singapore, New York and Santa Monica.
Image Source: The Founder Lab
Based in Sydney’s Winyard Green, Stone and Chalk entered Australia as Asia’s largest Fintech coworking space, and it’s growing fast. It’s secured some impressive partners in Australia already, with the likes of NAB, HSBC and Suncorp amongst the many listed as corporate partners. Stone and Chalk also host regular in-office events with guest speakers from companies like Ernst and Young and Westpac.
Melbourne Coworking Spaces
Image Source: Creative Spaces
Framework is one of the smaller coworking spaces on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. They’re based on the edge of Melbourne’s CBD with a tight-knit community of designers, developers, videographers, copywriters, marketing professionals and everything in between. Framework’s aim is to foster a social, professional and collaborative environment to nurture small business growth -- you can even take the space for a test drive before making a decision.
Image Source: Creative Spaces
In business since 2011, Inspire9 is well known in the Melbourne startup community and has offices in both Richmond and Footscray. Like others on this list, Inspire9 holds regular in-office events and promote a strong focus on a collaborative environment between members. They’ve got packages to suit all needs, including daily and weekly passes, as well as a 24/7 residency package for the workaholics among us.
3. The Commons
Image Source: Creative Spaces
The Commons is one of the largest coworking spaces in Australia, with Eventbrite, Yeti and Almo among its members. The Commons has offices in Cremorne, South Melbourne and Collingwood, and offers a host of membership packages, including a customised private office. They’ve even got a photo studio and green screen if you need to get creative and save on the cost of a photo studio
Image Source: Hive Studio
4. Hive Studio
Located in Collingwood, Hive Studio offers a boutique workspace for small startup businesses, focusing on a community atmosphere and shared creative-minded environment. Depending on your needs, Hive Studio offers both desk space and office space, where you can rent up to seven desks in your own, lockable mini office. Pricing is also all-inclusive, so no hidden costs.
Image Source: Spacely
5. The Cluster
This is one of the best equipped coworking spaces on the list, with no less than six multimedia meeting rooms and 2,500m squared of high-tech office space that overlooks the Yarra River in Melbourne’s CBD. They offer a multitude of packages including flexi desks and private offices, while also providing a call answering service as part of their higher-end packages. Members of The Cluster include Amaysim, Mexia and Point Advisory.
Those are, in my opinion, some of the best coworking spaces you’re likely to find. But, there’s a plethora of others available if none of these suit your needs. If you’re in the process of starting your own business in Australia and aren’t quite sure what you have to do next, you can also take a look at this handy checklist to help you tick off the main items on your list.
via Blogger The Best Coworking Office Spaces in Australia
Perhaps the personal YouTube name you made when you were 14 isn’t cutting it anymore (I’m looking at you, SoccerLuvr4444). Or maybe you’re striving to create a new brand identity, and you’d like a new YouTube name to reflect that.
Whatever the reason, changing your name on YouTube is an easy three-step process. Before we jump in, it’s important to note that this guide will show you how to change the name displayed on your YouTube channel, and the one seen when you comment on people’s videos -- these steps won’t change your YouTube account’s actual URL.
Also important to mention, changing your YouTube name will change your Google account name, as well. If you’re hoping to create a harmonious brand identity across your YouTube account, email, and website, this might be a good thing.
However, if you only want to change your YouTube name, but don’t want to affect your entire Google account, you’ll need to link your YouTube account to a separate Brand Account -- here’s a tutorial for how to do that.
Now, let’s dive into the three easy steps you need to take to change your YouTube name.
How to Change Your YouTube Name
1. When you’re signed into YouTube, click on your user icon in the top right (I put a red rectangle around mine in the screenshot below). Then, click “Settings”.
2. In your Account Settings, click the “Edit on Google” link.
3. Here, you can change your First and Last name -- for instance, I deleted my last name and replaced it with “Consulting”. It’s important to note this will change your name on all Google accounts. When you’re done, click “OK”.
4. Now, my official YouTube name is “Caroline Consulting”. When I comment on a post, that’s the name that’ll show up, and when someone searches for my channel, they’ll need to search Caroline Consulting.
And that’s it -- you’ve changed your name. Remember, “first” and “last” refers to your first and last name, but you can certainly take creative liberties with those categories, as I did.
The only real challenge with the easiness of changing your YouTube name is the subsequent temptation to change it all the time (at least, that’s how it felt to me).
via Blogger How to Change Your YouTube Name
What could elicit such extreme feelings in complete opposite directions?
Bitcoin, of course.
The price of the popular cryptocurrency has been up and down, shedding about 50% of its value in the first three months of 2018 before a slight recovery in the last two months. It’s a volatile investment, to say the least.
But the real story of Bitcoin and other forms of digital money isn’t their investment potential -- it’s the technology behind them. Blockchain, as explained in a helpful post from Mimi An earlier this year, is a method of digital record-keeping that creates a ledger of transactions that is transparent and impossible to tamper with.
Even some experts who are skeptical of Bitcoin itself believe that blockchain technology is here to stay. And that’s because despite its current volatile early stages, blockchain could fundamentally change the way that several massive industries operate – including digital marketing.
How could blockchain influence digital marketing?
Many facets of business and communication could be affected by blockchain, but much of the discussion to date has been about its impact on banking and financial transactions. While those two areas alone are significant, blockchain’s impact could go beyond currency and finance to affect marketers of all products and services:
1. Changing Data Collection
Anyone can access the internet, but they have to go through traditional gatekeepers: ISPs and web browsers. These companies can learn almost everything we do online, from the things we buy to the articles we read to the people we talk to.
It’s great to think that these gatekeepers will always provide fair access to the web and do the right thing by consumers, but um, have you seen the headlines recently? Mark Zuckerberg has become the fall guy for a problem that extends far beyond Facebook: our personal data can easily be bought and sold to advertisers.
Blockchain could be a solution to this. A good case study for the data privacy problem is Blockstack, a network built on blockchain that touts itself as “a new internet for decentralized apps.” Because Blockstack’s network is built on blockchain-verified signatures, your personal data remains with you instead of existing on servers owned by your application. Visiting a site or using an app is like inserting a key into a lock: You keep a personal copy with you at all times, and once you place it in the lock, you take it out when you are done. There’s no running log kept of who used the lock and when.
Blockstack is just one example -- there are several other projects in the crypto space aiming to achieve a similar goal, most notably Skycoin, touted by its creators as the fuel for a new decentralized internet. This P2P network that Skycoin miners power, known as Skywire, will be the foundation for messenger protocols, apps, and other common functions of the current internet, with one big exception: All user data will be encrypted and protected.
Consider how marketing would change if us marketers didn’t have access to all the user data we do currently - it could happen sooner than you think. Without a plethora of information about each individual browsing you or your clients’ websites, you’d have to rely on gathering data directly from prospects and customers to fill in the gaps.
You’d also need to customize your user experience on the specific things your audience is looking for (though the best marketers are already doing this). That’s because blockchain could soon allow users to voluntarily decide what type of content and ads they want to see.
2. Fixing Digital Display Advertising
While marketers are getting results from them, there are some serious flaws in online display ads. From the perspective of the advertiser, they can be expensive and complicated to understand and manage. Also, the inventory is almost completely controlled by two for-profit companies: Facebook and Google.
The issues with digital advertising from the user perspective are well-documented: Display ads are intrusive, annoying, and can drain your mobile device’s battery and waste bandwidth.
Brave and BAT, which is powered by blockchain technology, are aiming to break up the current monopoly on digital ads by allowing users, publishers, and advertisers to trade on the value of online attention.
It works like this:
1. Advertisers buy ads using BAT. These are usually private tabs in the Brave browser, but they can also be push notifications and landing pages. Brave’s dev team is aiming for fewer, but higher quality ads in the ecosystem.
It’s a win for all parties: Marketers get better ad performance data and targeting, publishers get more revenue and control over ads they display, and users get fewer, better-quality ads related to their interests - without compromising their personal data, thanks to blockchain encryption.
Most importantly, the value of attention is given back to its owner. Imagine buying a subscription to Harvard Business Review or The New Yorker simply by opting in to receive ads related to your interests.
It’s still far from an everyday reality, but this kind of digital advertising utopia could make marketers think more closely about their target audience when creating ads. Companies trying to gain attention from prospects will be forced to provide a valuable, or at least entertaining ad experience, since users would no longer have to receive them.
3. Ownership and Security of Digital Assets
Everyone knows the story: The rise of the MP3 and digital music led to widespread piracy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The music industry pushed back, and for a while both sides were at a standoff.
The modern solution to this situation is streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music. But it’s a very flawed model: Artists are compensated fractions of a penny per stream, and the complexity of licensing in the music business means streaming service payouts aren’t always made to the proper party.
Blockchain could be the next step in the evolution of the creative digital economy. Projects like Po.et, Tao, and Steem were designed with this intent. Imagine if musical artists, filmmakers, and photographers could offer their work to a massive audience without paying an intermediary like YouTube, Bandcamp, iTunes, or Shutterstock for exposure and security.
Tao, for example, envisions a world where artists create their own communities through what they call an Initial Artist Offering (IAO). Your band would create and sell a certain quantity of a crypto token, like the digital version of a baseball card or vinyl LP. Once you’ve sold a set amount to fans, you can then offer special releases, live experiences, even physical band memorabilia, in exchange for your token. The more popular you and your music get, the more value your token will have, and since blockchain also records transaction dates, length of token ownership could also be a consideration in offering content and access. Finally, your annoying friend who brags about liking a group before they got big can get rewarded for it!
In March, Young Dirty (Bar-Son James), the son of Wu-Tang rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard, became one of the first artists to actually create this type of community. His new Dirty Coin will be used for both his music and content owned by his father’s estate.
This blockchain-based entertainment economy could allow artists to market themselves directly to their audiences without ceding control of their work or a share of their revenue to a platform like Facebook or SoundCloud. It would allow artists and groups to get recognized based on the value of their work, not because they paid extra money to have their songs listed first on a music platform. This model would shift entertainment marketing even more towards P2P communities, since fans could conduct transactions themselves and earn special privileges for being holders of artist tokens.
Possibility vs. Reality
It’s important to remember that these scenarios are ideal cases, based on technology and projects still under development. No one knows whether the vision of a blockchain-based world will become reality, especially since cryptocurrency is still in its highly-unregulated infancy.
But if even one or two of the commercial blockchain uses come to fruition, it could dramatically alter the way that marketers go about attracting buyer attention. One thing is for sure: With some of the brightest minds at the biggest companies working feverishly on cryptocurrency projects, there is sure to be lots of movement in the space over the coming months and years.
via Blogger This is How Blockchain Could Change Digital Marketing Forever
To understand what human-centered design is, let’s start with what it isn’t.
Imagine you work at a gaming design company, and one day your boss comes to you and says, “Teenagers these days -- they need to get off their phones. Let’s design a crossword-puzzle board game for teenagers -- they’d welcome the opportunity to get offline.”
Your boss has good intentions, but his intentions don’t match your consumer’s reality. His idea isn’t empathetic towards a teenager’s actual passions, and it isn’t a solution that fits their actual wants and needs.
What is human-centered design?
Human-centered design is a problem-solving method that requires you to put your consumer’s needs first when tackling an issue. To use human-centered design for your creative process, you must know your consumer deeply, empathize with a real problem they face, and come up with solutions they’d embrace. Human-centered design means creating products to solve your consumer’s struggles and help them live better, easier lives.
Now, let’s look at a real example of human-centered design: meal subscription boxes.
Take HelloFresh, which was founded in 2011 by Dominik Richter, Thomas Griesel, and Jessica Nilsson. The company delivers a box of fresh food to your door, with easy recipes included. The founders recognized people have trouble finding time to shop for groceries, and they also struggle to create healthy, affordable meals -- they came up with a solution to both problems.
Unlike your boss in the first example, the HelloFresh founders didn’t come up with an idea unrelated to real consumer’s actual needs. Instead, they recognized a struggle someone was facing, and then worked to invent a solution. In this way, it’s arguable human-centered design is a safer and more trustworthy approach to problem-solving.
Whether your role requires you to pitch ideas in marketing meetings, or design the products your company sells, it’s critical you know the process of human-centered design. By putting your consumer at the forefront of your creative process, you’re ensuring each product you create and distribute is a true, long-term solution to your consumer’s needs. If done correctly, you’ll gain a much more reliable and loyal customer-base.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of human-centered design, let’s dive into the various stages of a human-centered design process, and take a look at some examples, so you feel confident implementing the strategy for yourself.
Human-centered Design Process
IDEO -- the global design firm behind Apple’s first computer mouse, the Palm Pilot in 1998, and more -- came up with three phases for the human-centered design process, which has helped them create such successful and long-lasting products.
The three phases of the human-centered design process are inspiration, ideation, and implementation.
Phase One: Inspiration.
The inspiration stage requires true on-the-ground research. You’ll need to engage with your target audience directly to understand their biggest problems and pain points. It’s important to research your target audience. You want to find out: what makes your consumer happy? What makes them frustrated? What do they do first in the morning? How do they devour content? What takes up most of their time?
Essentially, you want to see from their point of view.
There are a few different methods you could use to research your audience. For instance, you might send out surveys to customers via email, or create a survey submission form on one of your web pages. If you find it difficult to get people to fill out the survey, you might offer incentives -- 10% off their next purchase, or a ticket for a raffle contest with a giveaway prize.
If you don’t feel comfortable with surveys, you could facilitate a focus group.
If you interact often with consumers on the phone or email, you might organically hear about issues they’re having.
If you’re still unsure of which direction to take, check out 17 Tools & Resources for Conducting Market Research for more ideas.
Once you’ve done your market research, make a list with your team of all the trivial and major problems with which your consumer struggles (within your skill set or products, of course). Consider the biggest hassles your consumer faces, and how your products could get better, to solve for those issues.
Phase Two: Ideation.
Like the HelloFresh founders, your team must envision a future that doesn’t exist yet. Now that you know what problems your consumer faces, what solutions could help them become better, happier, and more productive?
The ideation stage is your “no such thing as a bad idea” brainstorming session. It requires you and your colleagues to create a long list, and tweak it. Take good ideas, and make them better. Refine and tweak them. Imagine all the different ways you could solve a customer’s problem, big and small.
When you’re confident you have a realistic, human-centered idea to solve for a customer’s needs, you’ll need to envision how a product could solve that solution.
Let’s use our HelloFresh example to see this stage more clearly. In Phase Two, Ideation, you’ve already recognized people don’t have time to grocery shop and want healthy meals (that was Phase One). In this step, you’ve made a long list of potential solutions, i.e. “YouTube tutorials to create healthy meals? Write a cookbook? Pay for someone to come into your home and cook for you? Pay for a truck to deliver healthy food to your door?”
Ultimately, your team has decided -- aha! We’ll create a meal subscription service.
Now, you want to create a prototype of this product and test it on your ideal persona.
Remember, the whole premise behind human-centered design is digging into your consumer’s actual needs and providing a solution to those needs. If you receive feedback on limitations of your product, don’t get dejected -- get inspired. That feedback is exactly what you need to ensure your product will gain long-term traction with your target consumer-base.
Phase Three: Implementation.
So you’ve created and tested a prototype of your product, you’ve collected feedback, and the product seems ready for release to a wider audience.
Now, it’s time to market your product. Ultimately, you’ll want to imagine yourself in your consumer’s shoes, and then market to them from that point of view: How would I like to learn about this product if I were them?
Since your product revolves around your consumer’s struggles, you’ll want to come up with an effective marketing strategy to spread the word about your product as a long-term solution to a real struggle.
You also might want to consider partnering with other businesses who offer similar solutions or share an audience with similar problems. By partnering with a business, you’re able to offer the user more of an all-in-one solution.
Human-centered Design Examples
1. Colgate Toothbrush
Colgate-Palmolive’s toothbrush, Acti-Brush, was innovative in the 1990’s, but since then, competitor’s toothbrushes have surpassed Colgate’s on the market. Colgate-Palmolive hired Altitude, a design consulting firm focused on human-centered designs, to create a new toothbrush model.
The Altitude team extensively researched the audience, and then developed the Motion, a new, slimmer, high-powered toothbrush with oscillating heads and an arcing neck. The entire product, from superficial features to performance, centered around one critical question: will this serve our user’s needs? Ultimately, the Motion was successful by solving a user’s problem -- needing a slender toothbrush that could still deliver on performance -- the industry hadn’t previously addressed.
Image courtesy of Altitude Inc.
Remember the days of paying $1.99 for one song, or hanging around the aisles of Walmart, searching for your favorite album?
One of the most impressive displays of human-centered design, I’d argue, is Spotify -- a product that showed me my prior method for purchasing music was a problem, before I even recognized it as one.
Spotify succeeded by empathizing with their users’ struggle to pay for music from disparate sources, and created a solution we could all embrace. Thanks to Spotify, users are able to get all their music in one place, for one monthly fee. I’m willing to pay more for that kind of tailored, customized, helpful service.
Image courtesy of Spotify.
Before handy fitness trackers, we’d have to estimate how many calories we burned in a day, and find inherent motivation to be more active (which, as we all know, is an untrustworthy source).
The invention of products like Fitbit is undeniably human-centered. The inventors of fitness trackers recognized people’s challenges with tracking and maintaining fitness goals, and provided a useful long-term solution. The product works with the user in mind, by telling the user how many calories she burned, and urging her to get more exercise.
Image courtesy of FitBit.
Venmo is another example of a product which solved a problem before most people realized it was one. I personally didn’t see how cumbersome exchanging money was, until Venmo provided a solution.
In fact, the founders of Venmo, Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail, stumbled across the idea of Venmo only when they themselves encountered the problem. They took a trip to New York City, and Iqram forgot his wallet. Andrew paid for everything, and at the end of the trip, Iqram wrote him a check.
During that exchange of money, they thought to themselves, “Why is this still the best way of exchanging money? Why can’t we do this on our phones?”
The Venmo founders needed to solve a problem they encountered, and built a solution from which other people could also benefit.
Image courtesy of Venmo.
Hopefully, these examples confirm the usefulness of human-centered design for creating long-lasting and innovative products. You’re now ready to tackle your creative process from a new angle -- the human angle.
via Blogger Using Human-Centered Design to Create Better Products (with Examples)
Hemingway tried to warn us.
And bleed we shall.
You know what’s even scarier?
Almost everyone is doing content marketing. Yet, less than half of B2B marketers feel their efforts are performing better than “meh.”
We’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turn things around.
If what Seth Godin said about content marketing being the only marketing we have left is true, we’d better grab it.
Artificial intelligence is here, and it might pull content marketing back from the brink of destruction — if we’ll just let it.
When I say AI will save content marketing, you might jump at the thought of getting some of your most time-consuming tasks — like that whole writing thing — off your plate.
Not so fast.
Quality content isn’t something that can be completely automated just yet. But it can be augmented.
Some chatbots are already smart enough to put tons of relevant data at our fingertips as quickly as we’re able to make a query.
Take GrowthBot that is used by over +12K marketers today. It talks to over a dozen systems and APIs to bring some of these cool, useful features:
And yes, it is true that AI can write entire blogs. In fact, it already has. You might have read one without even knowing it.
Associated Press already uses AI to create stat-heavy sport and finance write-ups.
Engadget mixed a million words and a few rules to create a “Blogbot” that spit out a complete, though drab, tech announcement.
Can you believe a robot wrote that? Probably.
As far as coherence and creativity, this is the outer limit for AI.
These current limitations might actually be a good thing, considering that a deluge of content isn’t exactly working.
What is working is quality. Quality content gives the reader a unique experience. Quality content meets both your objectives and theirs.
Quality content is epic.
Can AI create epic content? Not yet.
But it can go a long way in helping you research, edit, and maintain extremely valuable content marketing.
Remember Clippy, the paper clip the world loved to hate?
While that dream isn’t yet fully realized, a shape is starting to form that looks a lot like a life raft rescuing us from drowning in content.
AI-enabled tools can examine trends to tell you what content each and every one of your readers wants to read. And they can tell them what to read based on their behavior and tons of other data.
But can they help develop that epic reading material from scratch?
Take for example Atomic AI.
Once given enough data about the target audience for your story (or email, or whatever), the smart program will calculate readability to give you customized, predictive recommendations in real time.
That, of course, is only the first step.
If there’s one thing AI excels in over humankind, it’s making sense of data.
AI-enabled platforms deduce behavioral patterns from a number of inputs that would take us years to organize, much less understand.
Better yet, they can tell you how to act on this knowledge.
Once you have the perfectly-personalized content in hand; an intelligent system can tell you when, where, and how often you should be publishing and sharing it for maximum impact.
Then the whole cycle starts over again with smart recommendations on which topics your audience is interested in based on how they’ve interacted with your content.
The implications go well beyond simply crafting epic blog posts.
Evergage and Researchscape International found that 70 percent of organizations surveyed said email was the most important marketing channel to personalize.
Luckily for those respondents, AI makes it easier than ever to actually personalize email content based on the stuff subscribers care about.
No more yelling into the void.
User experience and conversion rate optimization can also benefit from intelligent personalization.
An AI-enabled platform allows you to serve the perfect content and products throughout a user’s experience, increasing the likelihood of a conversion while keeping the churn rate low.
AI will deliver us from crappy copy by making it obsolete.
Too much content with too little intelligence is crushing us under its weight.
They want epic content marketing.
We need a little help cutting through the chatter. The most powerful tool we have to reach epic status is AI that augments our natural skills.
Artificial intelligence isn’t replacing content marketers, it’s working alongside us.
Afterall, Hemingway told us “There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Let’s see a machine do that.
via Blogger Here's How AI Will Pull Content Marketing Back From the Brink of Destruction
You did it.
You’ve been spearheading your organization’s content marketing efforts for a while now, and your team’s performance has convinced your boss to fully adopt content marketing.
There’s one small problem, though: your boss wants you to write and present a content marketing plan to her, but you’ve never done something like that before. You don’t even know where to start.
Fortunately, we’ve curated the best content marketing plans to help you write a concrete marketing plan that’s rooted in data and produces real results.
Read on to get inspired by some of marketing’s top content strategies.
5 Marketing Plan Examples to Help You Write Your Own
A successful book launch is a prime example of data-driven content marketing. Using data to optimize your content strategy spreads more awareness for your book, gets more people to subscribe to your content, converts more subscribers into buyers, and encourages more buyers to recommend your book to their friends.
When Shane Snow started promoting his new book Dream Team, he knew he had to leverage a data-driven content strategy framework. So he chose his favorite one: the content strategy waterfall, which is defined by Economic Times as a model used to create a system with a linear and sequential approach. To get a better idea of what this means, take a look at the diagram below:
Snow wrote a blog post about how the content strategy waterfall helped him successfully launch his new book. After reading it, you can use his tactics to inform your own marketing plan. More specifically, you’ll learn how he:
You can use Snow’s marketing plan to cultivate a better content strategy plan, know your audience better, and think outside the box when it comes to content promotion and distribution.
Writing a content plan is challenging, especially if you’ve never written one before. Since only 55% of marketing teams have a documented content strategy, Buffer decided to help out the content marketing community.
By sifting through countless content marketing strategy templates and testing the best, they crafted a content marketing plan template with instructions and examples for marketers who’ve never documented their content strategy.
After reading Buffer’s marketing plan template, you’ll learn how to:
Buffer's template is an incredibly thorough step-by-step guide, with examples for each section. The audience persona section, for example, has case studies of real potential audience personas like "Blogger Brian". If you're feeling overwhelmed by the process of creating a marketing guide, this can help ease you into it.
Contently’s content methodology works like a flywheel. Instead of applying an entirely new strategy to each new marketing campaign, they leverage the strategy of their previous marketing campaign to drive the next one. Similar to a flywheel, their content methodology needs an initial push of energy to get the gears in motion.
What supplies this energy? Their content plan.
Contently fleshed out their entire content plan in a blog post to help marketers develop a self-sustaining marketing process. After reading it, you’ll learn how to:
By applying a flywheel-like strategy to your own marketing efforts, you essentially take away the burden of applying new strategies to each individual marketing campaign. Instead, your prior efforts gain momentum over time, and dispel continual energy into whatever you publish next.
An oldie, but a goodie -- Forbes published a marketing plan template that has amassed almost four million views since late 2013. To help you sculpt a marketing roadmap with true vision, their template teaches you how to fill out the 15 key sections of a marketing plan, which are:
If you’re truly lost on where to start with a marketing plan, this guide can help you define your target audience, figure out how to reach them, and ensure that audience becomes loyal customers.
At HubSpot, we’ve built our marketing team from two business school graduates working from a coffee table to a powerhouse of over 200 employees. Along the way, we’ve learned countless lessons that’ve shaped our current content marketing strategy, so we decided to illustrate our insights in a blog post to teach marketers how to develop a successful content marketing strategy, regardless of their team’s size.
In this comprehensive guide for modern marketers, you’ll learn:
These marketing plans serve as initial resources to get your content marketing plan started -- but to truly deliver what your audience wants and needs, you’ll likely need to test some different ideas out, measure their success, and then refine your goals as you go.
via Blogger 5 Marketing Plan Examples to Help You Write Your Own
We understand the challenge. Social media scheduling can be a time-consuming process.
So we would love to help!
In this post, I’ll be sharing some ways you can save time while scheduling content for social media using Buffer.
6 ways to save time scheduling content for social media
1. Create a posting schedule
Instead of selecting a time for every single post you’re scheduling, Buffer (and several other social media management tools) allow you to create a posting schedule that can help take all that hassle away.
Your Buffer posting schedule is a schedule of your preferred posting times. Whenever you schedule a post (i.e. “Add to Queue”), the post will fill up the next available time slot on your posting schedule.
For example, for the screenshot above, imagine that we have posts scheduled until Sunday. The next post we schedule or “Add to Queue” will fill up the Monday 7:47 AM slot and be posted on that day and time.
So rather than having to select a time every time you schedule a post (which can be quite troublesome), you can simply hit “Add to Queue”. Hassle-free.
You can find your posting schedule in Buffer by going to Settings > Posting Schedule.
2. Use a browser extension
With our browser extension (available on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera), you can easily schedule any great content you come across online.
The browser extension will enable you to do three powerful ways of scheduling. (There’s a fourth way for advanced users. See pro tip below!)
Schedule from the web
Whenever you come across an article that you think your audience might like, click on the Buffer extension button on your browser. You’ll see a Buffer composer appear in the middle of your browser. From there, you can select the social media accounts you want to share to and customize the post for each social media platform.
Schedule from within an article
Here’s an even faster way to schedule a post once you find an article worth sharing.
If you want to attach an image to your post, hover over the image and you’ll see a button appear on the image. When you click on the “Share image” button, the same Buffer composer will appear. But this time, the image will already be attached to your post.
If you want to share a quote from the article instead, highlight the quote, right-click, and select Buffer > Buffer Selected Text.
This time, the text will appear in the Buffer composer in quotation marks, with the link appended to the post.
Schedule retweets from Twitter
Finally, you can even schedule Twitter retweets from the platform directly.
When you have the Buffer browser extension installed, you’ll see an additional button at the bottom of tweets.
When you click on it, you’ll see the Buffer composer again but this time with the tweet you want to retweet. You can add a comment (optional) or the retweet will appear as a native retweet on Twitter.
You can also click on the retweet button on Twitter and select “Buffer Retweet”.
3. Select a suggested media
Here’s one of our unique and most-loved features: Suggested media.
Whenever you drop a link into the Buffer composer (or whenever you use the Buffer browser extension), we’ll automatically pick up the images on that website and suggest them to you.
There’s no need to download an image from a website and upload it to your post again.
For scheduling to Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you’ll see some suggested media below the message box. Simply click on any to attach it to your post. You can include up to four images for Twitter and one for Instagram and Pinterest.
For Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, you’ll see a link preview instead — how your post will look like when you share the link on the social media platform directly. If the website has multiple images, you can choose an alternative image by using the arrows on the image.
4. Schedule on the go
What if, while you’re commuting or taking a lunch break, you find a great content that you want to share to your brand’s social media profiles?
If this happens to you often, you might find a social media management app handy.
For iOS, you’ll first have to turn on the share extension. You can do so under “Settings” > “Set up Extension”, where you’ll see a set of short instructions.
P.s. Our iOS app just won the Webby Awards for best practices for mobile sites and apps!
5. Have a list of your favorite websites
A big part of scheduling content for social media is finding and curating the content. It can be challenging to “simply” find content whenever you want to.
Where do you go to find content?
One of my favorite tips is to create a list of your favorite websites that you know produce great content. If you’re not sure where to start, here are 70+ websites for topics such as business, marketing, education, design, and more.
Your Content Inbox can be found under the “Content” tab > “Content Inbox”. Here, you can add up 15 RSS feeds to your Content Inbox and have new content from your favorite websites delivered to you whenever they are published.
Whenever you find an article that you want to add to your Buffer queue, hit “Add” and customize the message. (The title of the article will be pre-populated but just having the title alone isn’t the best for engagement and, in turn, reach.) Otherwise, you can hit “Dismiss” or ignore the article in your Content Inbox.
6. Reshare your top content (with a twist)
The last way to minimize the time it takes to schedule content is to re-share your top content (with a twist!)
Because of the algorithmic timelines, not all of your followers would have seen all your posts. So it makes sense to reshare some of your best posts for those who might have missed them. And since those posts have done well recently, they would likely do well again.
With our Pro and Business plans, you can easily find your top posts in last seven, 30, 90, or more days in your Buffer dashboard > Analytics > Posts Report. Click on “Most Popular” to find your recent top posts, and click on “Re-Buffer” to add that posts to your Buffer queue.
It’s best to write a new message for your posts to keep things fresh and engaging. You could even change the media (though sometimes it’s the media that helps a post do well). This is especially important for Twitter since they have tightened their rules on sharing similar content.
Over to you: How do you save time while scheduling for social media?
While scheduling content for social media is a fun task for social media managers, it can get quite time-consuming at times. I hope the tips I’ve shared in this post can help you speed things up a little.
It’ll be great to learn from you, too. What tips and tricks do you use to minimize the time it takes to schedule content for your brand’s social media accounts?
via Blogger 6 Shortcuts to Speed Up Your Social Media Scheduling Process
Presiding over a 10+ year old blog has a lot of unique challenges. There are some days when it seems like we've covered all there is to cover, and others when it doesn't seem like we can possibly keep up with changing trends and technologies fast enough.
From where you sit, it might seem like we've figured it all out -- we're one of the largest and most visited B2B blogs on the internet, we have a team of extremely talented and motivated staff writers, and we still manage to find new stories you want to read on a daily basis.
There isn't one magical strategy that will keep your blog growing forever. Your approach needs to constantly evolve to fit your changing needs as a property.
When I joined the HubSpot Blog team in 2016, our editorial strategy looked drastically different than it does now.
About once a month, our entire team would gather in a conference room for a brainstorm session. Armed with coffee and spreadsheets full of topic pitches, we'd spend a few hours going around the room, discussing what we wanted to cover for the month. At the end of the meeting, we'd leave with a solid list of articles to get started on.
For a long time, this process served our interests well. Our team developed a keen sense of what our audience wanted to read, and an extensive knowledge of what we'd already covered. But as our property grew and our audience expanded, it became clear that something was missing.
We could no longer manage our archives and identify topic gaps (areas we haven't yet covered on the blog) by gut feeling alone. Although we had some processes in place to pinpoint gaps and select pieces for historical optimization on an article-by-article basis, none of these methods were scalable or precise enough to keep up with what our readers were searching for -- and those issues starting catching up with us.
Rediscovering our momentum meant completely changing the way we plan, write, and optimize content. In March 2018, we started to see the impact of these changes: a new all-time traffic record across our three blogs -- Marketing, Sales, and Service -- and a renewed sense of purpose for the future. After months of traffic plateaus and uncertainty, we know where we're headed now -- and we're ready to share our new strategy with you.
The Blog Traffic Plateau of 2017
I won't sugarcoat it: 2017 was a tough year to be a blogger. Between 2014 and 2016, we'd become accustomed to seeing month-over-month traffic growth without regularly switching up our strategy. When 2017 hit, that line started to flatten out, and then -- even more alarming -- decline. And it wasn’t just us -- Unbounce, Wordstream, and WordPress all saw some form of traffic decrease in 2017.
Traffic to the HubSpot Blog 2014 - 2017
To say we were confused would be an understatement. Up to this point, we thought we'd perfected the formula for sustainable traffic growth: Traffic from existing posts in organic search + new traffic from new posts = steadily increasing traffic, forever … right?
It turns out it wasn't nearly that simple. Our usual protocol for fixing a slump -- changing publishing volume, leaning into more clickable topics, historically optimizing a handful of our heavy-hitting posts -- wasn't having a significant impact. This downward trend wasn't just a temporary dip in our numbers -- it was starting to look like the new normal.
So we did what any good content marketing team would do, and cracked open our reporting dashboards to take a deeper look. Unfortunately, what we discovered after many hours of analysis and many coffees consumed wasn't comforting. Much like the factors behind the mysterious decline of the bee population, there seemed to be multiple culprits converging to create a disaster.
We'd gone looking for a single root cause, and found several macro trends instead:
1. Social algorithms (and users) love native content.
Social media has long been a (relatively) dependable distribution channel for digital publishers, but recent algorithm changes across multiple social networks increasingly favor native content over links that take users off site. The shift makes perfect sense from the social networks' perspectives -- they want users to spend as much time as possible on their network -- but it hurts publishers who depend on social traffic.
2. Conversational search is constantly improving.
Google has gotten a lot better at understanding the intent behind a specific query, and as a result, they're able to serve up extremely relevant pieces of content to meet your exact query. This is great news if you regularly use a home assistant device, but bad news if you're a publisher looking to capture organic traffic from multiple long-tail keywords with a single, comprehensive piece of content.
Back in 2012, a post on "The Best Interview Questions" might have appeared as a top result in searches for "great interview questions," "interview questions to ask an interviewer," and "what questions to ask during an interview." But in 2018, those long-tail search queries are more likely to result in entirely different SERPs with entirely different top results. This means many of our "ultimate guides" started ranking for fewer long-tail keywords, resulting in organic traffic losses on some of our most highly-trafficked pieces.
3. Featured snippets and other on-page search features are taking a toll on CTR from SERPs.
You're probably familiar with Google's featured snippets: those short lists or paragraphs that appear at the top of a SERP and (usually) directly address your query. In addition to featured snippets, there are also a number of other on-page search features that push a piece of content ranking number one even further down your screen.
While these quick answers have certainly made the search experience faster for users, they're eating our organic traffic -- even on SERPs where we hold the number one organic result. People don't have any reason to click through to a blog post (even if it's ranking number one) if the answer they're seeking is already on the top of the SERP. As a result, fewer users are clicking on the number one organic result. Ahrefs found that on SERPs without a featured snippet, the top result received 26% of clicks. When a featured snippet appeared on the SERP, the top result received only 19.6% of clicks.
None of these were things we could fix with a band-aid solution. These shifts called for a massive overhaul of our editorial strategy, and a completely new way of approaching blogging in general.
Our New Editorial Strategy
While these trends were scary for the future of our blog, they weren't entirely surprising. We'd been aware for a while that future-proofing for Google algorithm changes meant restructuring our site architecture. Back in late 2016, Leslie Ye had begun the tedious and challenging work of transitioning the blog's internal linking system into a pillar-cluster model. This move was intended to give us an organized way to understand our content gaps, and a cleaner architecture to help posts rank faster and bring in more organic traffic.
Thanks to a blog redesign project (headed up by Carly Stec) that automated this pillar-clustering process across the entire blog, our 10,000+ posts were neatly sorted into the pillar-cluster model by mid-2017. But our process for planning and writing new content hadn't fully adjusted to work optimally within this new system. We had a much better understanding of where our content gaps were, but we weren't filling these gaps systematically -- we were still largely guessing when it came to the topics we should be writing about on a monthly basis.
We were also suffering from a lack of foresight: we weren't planning for the search terms that would be popular a few years or even a few months into the future. This left room for other blogs and publications to capture organic green space that would be essential to our sustained growth down the line.
With this in mind, we made the decision to focus all our efforts behind stabilizing and growing our organic traffic. If our existing content was slowly but surely losing clicks to featured snippets in search, and our new content wasn't consistently earning as much traffic from promotional channels like social, we needed to offset those losses. And that meant zeroing in on organic green space in a big way.
This led us to create three guidelines we now use to determine what net new content we create:
If no one is searching for a topic, and we don't anticipate the search demand to grow in the foreseeable future, there's no long-term benefit in covering it. At least for our blog, posts created without a clear keyword in mind tend not to produce sustainable traffic after their first month of publication.
To rank these days, your site usually needs both depth and breadth on a topic -- in other words, you need to cover a concept or subject at a high level, then dive deeper with specific, detailed posts. Using the pillar-cluster model (more on that here) makes our content much likelier to rank than if we published an individual post that targeted one or two keywords. If a blog post doesn't fit into an existing cluster, it's probably not worth our time and energy to write it.
As you can probably imagine, we've covered quite a bit of ground in our 10+ years as a blog. Some overlap is inevitable, but writing on the same exact topic more than once -- even if the takeaways are ultimately different -- can lead to self-competition in the SERPs. And if we’re already ranking highly for a topic, our efforts are better spent creating a piece of content for a SERP we’re not on at all instead of piling on where we already have valuable real estate.
If a topic doesn't meet these three guidelines, we won't create content around it. There are a few exceptions of course -- The Marketing Blog's news program (headed up by Amanda Zantal-Wiener) and thought leadership on topics we think our readers need to hear about -- but for the most part, this organic-first strategy represents an enormous shift in the way we plan our editorial calendar and create content. Posts created with an organic goal in mind don't always pay off immediately, but organic is the only type of traffic that can consistently pay off month over month.
The Editorial Process in Action
Adopting an aggressive organic-first approach required a serious mindset change for our team -- one that required us to put aside our obsession (some would even say addiction) with quick wins, and instead put our primary focus on sowing seeds for the future. We weren't going to publish a post with no strategic organic potential, even if we knew it would bring in a satisfying spike in traffic.
Ultimately, the temporary traffic from a quick-win post brought us nothing of value in the long run. To truly grow, we need to keep our eyes on the organic gaps in our pillar cluster model.
A big part of seeding for the future also means educating ourselves on emerging topics: subjects our readers aren't too concerned with right now but that will eventually become trending search terms, like the nuts and bolts of artificial intelligence, or practical applications for blockchain. These are the technologies people will likely be searching for in droves in the future, and we want to get out ahead of the competition and position our blog as a resource right now -- and earn the traffic when the search volume spikes.
So how exactly do we select which topics to cover? We've talked about the reasons behind our new strategy, now let's see what this process actually looks like on a quarterly basis.
Stage One: Planning
We've partnered internally with our SEO team to create a blog taskforce of sorts, headed up by our former Sales Blog Editor and current Sr. SEO Strategist Aja Frost. Each quarter, Aja conducts in-depth keyword research across our three onsite blog properties (Marketing, Sales, and Service), taking into account both gaps in our existing topic clusters, and emerging topics we haven't yet thoroughly constructed content clusters around.
The resulting quarterly report includes well over 100 post suggestions broken down by topic clusters for each blog. Here's what our completed "Advertising" cluster looks like on the report:
Stage Two: Execution
Our Multimedia Content Strategy team handles the creation of each cluster's pillar page (the long-form piece of content that serves as a broad, foundational resource on the subject), and the Blog team owns the production of the supporting blog articles that delve deeper into specific subtopics. Most of the articles need to be written from scratch, but in some cases, we already have a blog post in existence that just needs to be updated to include a fresher, more exhaustive take on the subject.
SEO optimization has always been a consideration for our team when writing posts, but under this new strategy, its become a top priority. Before a single word is typed on a first draft, our writers already have information from our SEO team on the keyword(s) to target, section titles (H2s) to include, and featured snippet sections to work into the copy.
Here's an example of a typical article assignment on our editorial calendar:
Targeting featured snippets with consistently formatted sections has removed some (but definitely not all) of the guesswork when it comes to ranking for featured snippets. Matthew Howells-Barby, HubSpot’s Director of Acquisition, has stressed that clean and consistent code is a significant factor in winning snippets.
His team created a simple code our writers can use when formatting sections of copy for paragraph or list snippets. Not only has our team started incorporating featured snippet sections into all our new posts, but we've also historically "snippetized" hundreds of posts from our archives to help Google surface them more frequently.
If you're a regular reader of our blog, you've likely encountered these snippet boxes before:
In addition to optimizing our articles more intentionally for featured snippets, we've also adopted a more aggressive historical optimization approach in 2018. Our team has had a historical optimization strategy in place for several years now, but it’s been years since we’ve had a full-time human dedicated to making sure our existing content is performing optimally in search.
Braden Becker, a Senior Staff Writer on the Blog team, has taken on the task of monitoring the organic performance and optimization of our 10+ years worth of archives as a full-time responsibility. Each month, Braden works with our SEO team to develop an update strategy that works with the new content clusters we're producing. He selects posts for updating largely based on their individual monthly organic traffic -- "the better they're performing, the higher the potential benefit once I optimize them," he explains.
Stage Three: Analyze
Once a month, the Content and SEO teams meet to discuss our progress, dig into the numbers, and plan for the next few weeks. We examine organic traffic numbers across our three blog properties, report on featured snippet attainment and loss, and discuss new ways we can adapt to Google's ever-changing algorithm.
The biggest shift in our reporting method under our new organic-first strategy has been a mental (and, I'll say it, emotional) one. Although we still report at a monthly cadence, we've had to largely abandon our fixation with month-over-month growth, and instead focus on broader trends over longer periods of time.
When I first joined the Blog team, month-over-month growth was the ultimate goal. If the end-of-month traffic number beat out the previous month, we considered it a success; if that number was in the red -- a lost month. No matter what, the slate was wiped clean on the first day of the next month, and we started the race all over again. This short-term mentality led us to become so focused on hitting monthly numbers, we ended up neglecting the bigger picture: our blog's health and continued growth over time. Enter the traffic plateau of 2017.
Under our new editorial strategy, we're more focused on seeding for the future -- and that means letting go of our monthly traffic goals. An article we publish this month on "How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy for Virtual Reality" might not have a ton of search volume right now, but we're betting it will sometime in the future. It might be many months before we see the rewards reflected in our traffic numbers, and we have to be okay with waiting, knowing we're setting ourselves up well for the future.
Getting out in front of future search terms and filling gaps in our existing topic cluster structure will pay off more than watching the monthly traffic numbers rise over a few well-timed, clickable posts.
What challenges is your blog facing? How are you approaching growth in 2018? Talk to us @HubSpot.
via Blogger This Strategy Helped the HubSpot Blog Break a Year-Long Traffic Plateau
Here’s a hard truth: your cover letter might have almost no impact on whether or not you get hired. A hiring manager might gloss over it, or not bother reading it at all.
But under certain circumstances when a recruiter is unsure if she wants to move forward with you, it counts big-time.
Cover letters are important regardless of the size of the company, but can be used differently depending on the company’s recruitment goals.
Madeline Mann, Director of People Operations at Gem HQ, says cover letters are crucial if you’re applying for a position at a small-to-medium company: “For us little guys -- the companies who hire dozens instead of hundreds; the start-ups looking to change the world with team members who are equal parts talented and passionate; the tribes where each new person immediately sends ripples through the culture -- we read every cover letter, and make our interview decisions based on them.”
Even if you’re applying for a position at a larger corporation, writing a cover letter is still important. Our recruiters at HubSpot have said they often use cover letters when they’re on the fence about a candidate. They use the cover letter to decide if they’ll move forward.
Claire McCarthy, a recruiter at HubSpot, says a cover letter is, “your opportunity to showcase your business acumen and written communication skills. Cover letters can just as much disqualify you as a candidate as they can sway me to move you forward.”
At the very least, as Jodi Glickman, a communications expert and author of Great on the Job, points out: “Not sending a cover letter is a sign of laziness. It’s akin to making spelling and grammar mistakes in your resume. You just don’t do it.”
Ultimately, a cover letter differentiates you from other candidates beyond the content of your resume. It can prove your enthusiasm for a company, showcase how well you’ll fit into the culture, or explain gaps in your resume.
But that’s only if you write a good cover letter. Otherwise, the cover letter wastes your time, and the hiring manager’s time. To ensure your cover letter demonstrates exactly why you’re an exceptional fit, we’ve compiled powerful tips from experts in the recruiting and career development field.
1. Address the hiring manager personally.
Claire McCarthy, a recruiter at HubSpot, says, “Specificity is key. I can spot a generic ‘fill in the blank with company name’ cover letter from a mile away.” That specificity should start early, with an appropriately addressed letter, which says, “To [Hiring Manager’s Name].”
Here are a few ways to find out who is hiring for a certain position:
At the very least, you’ll want to address “The Hiring Team” instead of “To whom it may concern.”
These little touches go a long way towards proving you’ve put genuine effort into this cover letter, and aren’t simply sending out generic ones to every company you find online.
2. Stand out from the start, and don’t fall back on a generic introduction.
John Lees, a UK-based career strategist and author of Knockout CV, told Harvard Business Review: “People typically write themselves into the letter with ‘I’m applying for X job that I saw in Y place.’ That’s a waste of text.”
Your cover letter introduction is your one shot to capture the hiring manager’s attention and ensure they don’t throw it away. No pressure, right?
Claire McCarthy seconds Lees’ point, explaining that as a recruiter, she already knows you want the job -- it’s why you applied, isn’t it? She urges candidates to instead use the introduction as space to explain why you’re qualified.
Start off by saying something direct, dynamic, and persuasive. Lees suggests saying something like this: “Before you read any further, let me draw your attention to two reasons why you might want to hire me …” See? This sentence sets you up to share critical information the recruiter needs to read early on.
The exact contents of your introduction will vary depending on what you know of the company culture: a tech start-up, for instance, could invite a more candid or creative introduction, whereas a financial position probably deserves more stiff professionalism. You’ll need to do your research to ensure your tone fits their brand.
3. Address gaps in your resume -- or risk seeming suspicious.
No one has a completely linear career path. Most employers won't fault you for having career setbacks or gaps, but it’ll look suspicious if you’ve got a full six-months unemployment on your resume and can't explain it.
Bart Turczynski, a career expert and editor for Uptowork.com, suggests using your cover letter as a chance to fill in those gaps in your resume that could otherwise raise an eyebrow.
Turczynski says, “use the cover letter to share what you did during that gap time. Think of any courses, [or] workshops you might have attended in that period.”
It’s likely if you don’t address it, a recruiter is going to be skeptical of your work ethic. It’s important you explain what you learned or how you pursued professional growth during an unemployment period. If you took off time to travel after college, you don’t have to hide it -- own up to your own life story and explain how the opportunity to travel positioned you to be more successful, long-term.
4. Answer the three critical questions a hiring manager might ask herself.
Jenny Foss, Founder and CEO of JobJenny.com, writes three questions hiring managers will be looking to answer when they read cover letters:
Your resume partially answers the first question, but it doesn’t answer the second or third. When you’re up against plenty of people with similar skill sets, your cover letter needs to convince the hiring manager you’ll be the better fit than the rest of the pile.
First, do extensive research on the company's culture. In your cover letter, you want to try to match their tone -- do they come across as goofy, relaxed, fast-paced, or conservative?
For instance, if the company seems incredibly results-driven from their About Us page, you might adjust your tone to reflect how focused and disciplined you are, with points like, “Over the past year as digital marketing manager at Company A, I’ve generated $30k+ in revenue, increased organic traffic to our blog by 14% …”
However, if the company seems more playful and relaxed, you might use a tone that sounds similarly fun-loving (check out 8 Impressive Ways to Start a Cover Letter, with Examples for some ideas).
Answering Foss’s question two -- whether you’re likeable -- is harder to address. It’s often difficult to come across as likeable through digital correspondence, but you want to be authentic and use friendly and respectful phrases.
For instance, you could convey a general good-naturedness via email correspondence, with phrases such as, “At your earliest convenience,” “Have a great weekend” and, “I look forward to hearing from you,” etc. Stay clear of sounding pushy or frustrated, and remain humble by focusing on past achievements (“I’m a fast learner … I got two promotions in seven months”), rather than sounding boisterous (“I’ve always been smart.”).
5. Don’t waste time repeating the contents of your resume.
Wasting a recruiter’s time by repeating information already on your resume is an easy way to lose their interest -- plus, it’s depleting space you could be using to convince them you’re the most qualified candidate.
Vicki Salemi, a Monster career expert, says, “Recruiters are looking for a cover letter that highlights your professional achievements, like the fact that you got promoted two times in three years, you earned a coveted award within your industry and/or you possess a unique skill set. Think of it as a ‘best-of’ roundup of your career so far.”
Notice Salemi mentioned professional achievements such as promotions or awards: while those achievements might be listed on your resume, they aren’t explained or highlighted. Use your cover letter as a chance to explain more in-depth.
For instance, your resume might say “Event planner, Two years”. But your cover letter could take it a step further: “I dealt with the nuts and bolts of the event planning process, and I have increased my leadership skills and my teamwork skills exponentially. I increased event retention and was recognized as the ‘event planner of the year’ at my company.”
See? Your cover letter lets you provide critical background details about your experiences, showcasing how you’ve learned and grown from past roles.
6. Prove your values and passions align with the company’s.
Passion is a major indicator of success, as well as long-term company loyalty. It’s often challenging to display passion in the rigid format of a resume, so your cover letter is a good opportunity to show your excitement for the position.
Madeline Mann, Director of People Operations at Gem HQ, says: “The other important ‘why’ in the cover letter is, ‘Why this company?’ It is a huge bonus in the cover letter if there is any mention of geeking out on our technology, cultural tenets, or our mission. These candidates are the ones who understand, at least on a basic level, what we are building and why it is important, and are enthusiastic about it. This gives them an edge because our small start up runs on passion and thirst for knowledge -- if you don't get excited about complex bleeding edge technology then you won't have nearly as much fun as everyone else.”
The easiest way to prove your ability to do a good job, apart from writing a list of skills, is to show recruiters you understand the company’s bottom line and crave the opportunity to help drive success. This is more convincing if your values align with the company’s, or if you care deeply about the company’s overarching goals.
7. End with your elevator pitch.
To write your closing statement, Claire McCarthy recommends thinking of yourself as a lawyer: “You're making a case as to why you are a qualified candidate for this position, and why the recruiter should move you forward. What's your value prop? What will you bring to the table, and what's going to set you apart from the pack?”
This is your chance to dig into skills or experiences that might not be obvious from your resume. With your closing statement, you want to speak confidently about how you envision your future at the company and in the position to which you’re applying. This is an opportunity to paint a picture to show the recruiter the connection between your past success at Company Y and your likely future success at her company.
Be blunt. Claire recommends saying something like this: "As the most junior rep at my Boston-based company, I worked West Coast hours and hit 125% of my annual quota in 2017, and plan to take this track record of success, and commitment to my craft to Company X’s sales team."
Essentially, your closing statement should be your elevator pitch for why you’re best suited for the role. Take all your prior experiences and relate them in a convincing argument for how you’ll succeed next.
via Blogger 7 Expert Cover Letter Tips to Get the Job
Adobe Illustrator is a hugely popular tool for designing vector graphics, logos, icons, and more.
But when you’re a web or graphic designer with a small budget, you probably can’t afford Adobe Illustrator’s steep $239.88 pricing.
Luckily, there are plenty of top-notch free alternatives on the market, some of which even offer features unparalleled by Illustrator.
How to download Adobe Illustrator for free
If you’re interested in using Adobe Illustrator but hesitant to purchase the full version, you can try a free seven-day trial of the product first. To do this, simply go to the Adobe Illustrator product page and click “Start your free trial”.
If you’re shopping for a program that offers features comparable in quality to Adobe’s product, check out our list of the top free alternatives to Illustrator.
One of the most comparable substitutes to Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape has plenty of similar sketching, illustrating, and editing tools, including keys to move and rotate by screen pixels, bitmap tracing, color painting over objects, and edit gradients with handles. Inkscape is a quality product for pro- or semi-pro web designers working within SVG file format. It also offers an open source vector graphics package, so if you have the technical skills, you can incorporate Inkscape into your other software programs.
Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux
Image courtesy of Inkscape.
GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, has limited vector functions but has similar tools to Photoshop, making it an impressive image editor with powerful image manipulation options. Better still, GIMP provides options for customization and third party plug-ins, so if your image editing needs are somewhat unique, you might want to check this tool out.
Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux
Image courtesy of GIMP.
BoxySVG runs as an extension in Google Chrome, so it’s easy to store vector graphics including icons, charts, and illustrations on the web. It provides options for Google Fonts integration and has an Open Clip Art Library, as well as illustrator tools including pens, bezier curves, groups, shapes, text, and more. Ultimately, BoxySVG is simpler than Illustrator, and while this means less advanced tools, it also means a quicker and easier process for creating vector graphic files.
Platform: Mac app, Windows app, Chrome app, Web app
Image courtesy of BoxySVG.
Pixlr offers plenty of useful features for editing, creating, and sharing creative images -- while it’s less advanced in function than Illustrator, it’s cloud-based and supported on mobile, desktop, or the web. If your position requires you to work from different devices to create images, give Pixlr a try.
Platform: Windows, Mac, Web, Mobile
Image courtesy of Google Chrome.
You’ll find plenty of your basic vector-editing tools in Gravit, including pen, line, knife, slice, bezigon, gradient editor. It also has more advanced features, such as boolean operations, symbols, international text support, and more. Plus, it’s designed in a user-friendly interface and offers video tutorials. Gravit works from right within any browser, which means you can edit and export your files anywhere with wifi. It also supports cmyk rendering, so you can print quality images without downloading anything. You can also import and export files in a variety of formats including pdf, png, jpg, svg, and sketch -- which makes this option more flexible than Illustrator.
Platform: Mac, Linux, Windows, Chrome, Any Browser
Image courtesy of Gravit.
Affinity Designer is allegedly “built from the ground up over a five-year period ... with the needs of creative professionals at its core.” With rasterizing controls, infinite zooming, a precision-engineered pen tool, automatic snapping points, colors that pop, and an extensive array of vector editing tools, this system truly compares in design and function to Illustrator. The full version is $49.99, but the trial version is free and offers plenty of the full version tools.
Image courtesy of Affinity Designer.
While not the most aesthetically pleasing platform in the bunch, OpenOffice Draw still has plenty of high-quality tools for creating posters, charts, diagrams, or graphics, including a manipulate objects tool and 3D controller tool. The system also lets you create flash versions of your design. You can use OpenOffice Draw’s clipart gallery, or create images and add it to the gallery yourself for easy future access.
Image courtesy of OpenOffice Draw.
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac
via Blogger The Top 7 Free Alternatives to Adobe Illustrator of 2018