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China’s New Large Solar-Powered Drone Reaches 20,000 Meters in Altitude

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China’s first domestically designed large solar-powered unmanned plane reached above 20,000 meters in altitude on its test flight in the country’s northwest regions recently.

The drone was developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA), it’s developers kept the exact size of the drone as a secret, but it is believed to be about 14 meters long with a 45 meter wingspan according to earlier prototypes.

 





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Solar Trees Powering The Park Of South Florida

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Joining South Florida’s lush, green canopy of real trees are a new crop of solar trees. These “trees” have blue trunks and bear no fruit, but supply clean energy to whoever needs it.

If you’re at the beach and your phone starts to die, you can charge it right here using Solar Power.

Here’s how the solar trees work: Each solar tree comes with 2 solar powered panels up top. Some of that energy collected is powering the grid of the community, and to a nearby box that send electricity to plugs where phones or compuers can be charged.





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Solar Powered Lights For The Yard

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When you are lighting your patio the exact opposite thing you need to do is to be stumbling over electrical lines and attempting to put lights close to an outlet to connect them to. Assuming, notwithstanding, you ran with solar lights you wouldn’t have this issue.

Solar lights take their power from the sun, store it in inside batteries and afterward sparkle splendidly all through the dull night. With such a large number of choices, you can have solar lights for security and to decorate your home, all in the meantime and all with bring down power costs while being ecologically inviting. It’s a win.

On the off chance that you have ventures in the yard you might need to utilize lights that will enlighten those means when its dull. This will wipe out searching for the means and lessen mischances. They are pretty accents to your means as well and obviously arrive in an assortment of shapes and hues.

Similarly for a pathway. Enlightening it during the evening removes the mystery from the condition and takes into consideration a beautiful sparkle other than. Way lights can be low to the ground or can be on sticks to make a lovely emphasize to the sides of the way itself. They too arrive in an assortment of shapes and hues to be the ideal expansion to your arranging.

Did you realize that the banner code proposes that you light your banner around evening time? Never fear, there is a solar light only for that reason and now the banner will never look better against the dull sky.

You invest a great deal of energy and cash on your finishing so why not indicate it off around evening time too? There are a wide range of solar spotlights available that will consequently sparkle on your ideal arranging or delightful tree around evening time. You can likewise actualize arranging lights into the finishing itself for complements consistently, day or night.

Decks look so happy and summery when they have lights on them. Presently you can get solar string lights to give your deck that awesome light and comfortable feel, and they likewise come in all the prominent shapes and hues.





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Sono Motors Introduces The SION Solar Powered Car

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The fantasy of having the capacity to drive to work in a solar-powered car is at last turning into a reality. Sono Motors simply uncovered the SION solar-powered electric car gives you the ability to travel up to 18 miles utilizing only energy from the sun. Best of all, the SION isn’t only for the whealthy, since it just costs 16,000 Euros (around $18,600) in addition to the cost of the battery, and it is pressed with unbelievable components like built-in moss filtration, bi-directional charging and integrated solar panels.

Sono Motors Sion Solar Powered Car

A year ago, Sono Motors, a German startup raised over $200,000 create the SION. Utilizing 300 photovoltaic panels, the SION can store enough energy from the sun to give you the ability to travel up to 18 miles, however in the event that you have to travel further, the SION can likewise be energized utilizing a standard outlet, similar to a regular electric auto. Depending on the amount you want to spend, you can rent the battery month to month, or buy outright.





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New Solar Plant In Chile To Power 13,000 Homes Per Year

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Chile is building a brand new solar power plant that has some exciting outcome on the future. The plant is expected to provide energy on day and night as well as throughout inclement weather, to power up to 13,000 homes annually. This project will make Chile one of the top solar energy spots in the world.

It is a clear sign that energy storage on large scale projects is developing further with a range of large batteries networks being developed this year within California and Australia. Clean energy expects truly value the energy storage industry and expect it to become even more significant as further renewable energy sites are constructed worldwide.

 



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This Week in Content Marketing: Why Won’t CMOs Consider Buying Media Companies?

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Episode210-01PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher. If you enjoy our show, we would love it if you would rate it or post a review on iTunes.

In this week’s episode

In this final regular episode, Robert ponders the nature of doing nothing (and doing it well). We discuss which company we feel is most likely to buy Fox, and whether Apple will ever really buy Disney. We also examine an increasingly disturbing web content trend, and media companies’ rush into the agency services business. Our rants and raves include net neutrality and audio content; then we sign off with an example of the week that takes us back to our own humble roots.

Download this week’s PNR: This Old Marketing podcast

Show details

  • (00:01): An advertising blast from the past: “A show about nothing”
  • (01:00): Robert muses on this week’s theme: Are you doing nothing?
  • (08:31): Welcome to Episode 210: Recorded live on November 19, 2017 (Running time: 1:11:05)

Content love from our sponsor: Storyblocks (45:25)

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The quick hits – Notable news and trends

  • (12:30): Why Comcast, Verizon, and Disney should and shouldn’t try to acquire Fox. (Source: Adweek)
  • (23:40): Something is wrong on the internet. (Source: Medium)

The deep dive – Industry analysis

  • (35:42): Holiday cards and house ads: The role of publishers’ content studios is ever-expanding. (Source: Digiday)

Rants and raves

  • (47:55): Joe’s rave: Considering recent findings from Edison Research that audiobook revenue surged to more than $2.1 billion in 2016, it should come as little surprise that publishers in this sector are experimenting with new ways to meet the feverish demand for audio content. For instance, Hachette Audio is taking advantage of the tremendous opportunity by pursuing audio-first content deals, in which the company would either generate a print version after the audio version gains sufficient traction, or would bypass the print book entirely, as detailed in this fascinating article from the Chicago Tribune. 
  • (52:56): Robert’s call to action: Long-time PNR listeners have no doubt heard Robert’s take on the importance of net neutrality; and now, it’s time for supporters to take their last stand. The FCC vote to overturn earlier decisions to preserve net neutrality has been scheduled for December 14. If maintaining an open internet is something you are just as passionate about as Robert, please take a minute to educate yourself on the issue, call your state representatives and let them know how you feel, or donate to organizations that are helping to fight for our digital rights – including Fight for the future, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 
  • (55:28): Robert’s rave: Though it’s more of a content story than a content marketing story, Robert still highly recommends that everyone check out this Medium article, which examines, in detail, what might just be the greatest sales pitch ever. Delivered by Drift director of marketing, Dave Gerhardt, at an OpenView Venture Partners recent speaker event, the brilliant narrative describes how the live chat tool company transformed its content operations into a movement, of sorts, by including five specific attributes in every one of its storytelling efforts.

This Old Marketing example of the week

(57:30): This Old Marketing: As we close this current chapter of our podcast collaboration, Robert and I decided to bring things full circle by focusing on This Old Marketing as our final Example of the Week. In addition to fueling a tremendous amount of content for our site, the show has made some other significant contributions to the CMI brand: Since its launch in November of 2013, our podcast has generated 2 million downloads, from listeners in 200 countries. It has also generated approximately a half-million dollars in direct revenue from sponsorships. But, perhaps even more importantly, it has served as a powerful, community-building forum, where our true fans could get more informed about our industry, get inspired to improve their own content, and get involved – in everything from sharing their perspectives on the topics we discussed, to suggesting story ideas and source articles, to submitting their favorite content examples for us to highlight, and more. We are truly grateful for your support, your participation, and your encouragement, and we look forward to sharing our future endeavors with you all.

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For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The post This Week in Content Marketing: Why Won’t CMOs Consider Buying Media Companies? appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.



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In (partial) defense of Apple’s HomePod

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Apple’s HomePod is being hailed as the best speaker among the current smart speaker cohort, which includes Google Home, Amazon Echo, Alexa-enabled Sonos and others. But it’s also being heavily criticized for several flaws.

The consensus of the criticism basically focuses on two or three main areas:

  • It doesn’t natively support music services other than Apple Music (and iTunes Match).
  • Siri isn’t as “good” as Alexa or Google Home (and there are no “skills”).
  • It won’t work with Android devices (or as a conventional bluetooth speaker).

I own multiple Echo devices (Show, Dots, original Echo), two Google Home devices and a Home Mini. I don’t own the Google Max or the Cortana Harman Kardon speakers. I’ve placed the HomePod right beside Google Home and a Ninety7-enhanced Echo Dot in my living room.

In terms of sound quality, I agree: it’s not close. It’s hard to go back to listening to music on the other devices after the HomePod, although one could argue whether HomePod has too much bass (believe it or not). Again, I haven’t heard the Home Max.

But Apple’s decision not to support Spotify or Pandora natively on the device is regrettable and somewhat coercive. It’s a poor decision that the company hopefully will change later. You can, however, stream music from either of those services through your phone and AirPlay. I’ve been using Pandora, and it works perfectly well.

But after having read multiple criticisms of Siri’s capabilities and functionality, I was very pleasantly surprised by its performance. Siri isn’t integrated with calendaring, which is a disappointment. But that could change with a software update.

It also isn’t quite as good as Google for answering general knowledge questions. But it was much closer and a much better performer than one might imagine from all the criticism. Local recommendations were a major weakness, although nobody did a great job.

Side by side, I asked the Google Assistant, Alexa and HomePod/Siri lots of questions. Among them:

  • How long would it take me to get into San Francisco right now?
  • What’s the weather tomorrow?
  • What’s healthier: spinach or kale?
  • Set timer.
  • What’s the best Mexican restaurant near me?
  • How far is Earth from Mars?
  • Who was the 44th president?
  • Who discovered America?
  • Convert euros to dollars.
  • What’s the best-selling rock album of all time?
  • Who was Shakespeare?
  • What does dilly dilly mean?
  • What’s the oldest fast-food restaurant in the US?
  • Define (multiple words).
  • Did the Golden State Warriors win their last game?

Overall, as mentioned, Siri didn’t do quite as well as Google Home. But it did about as well as Alexa. There were isolated questions Google Home fumbled, but it got the most correct. Siri and Alexa were a couple of questions behind, at parity.

However, one might have expected Siri to underperform the others; the opposite was true. In addition, Siri is more responsive than Google Home or Echo/Alexa when music is playing loudly. I never had to say “Hey Siri” multiple times to get its attention, as I sometimes have to with the others.

The fact that HomePod doesn’t connect to third-party apps (other than through HomeKit) is not a big deal, in my view. There are two major problems with Alexa skills right now: The vast majority are worthless, and they’re difficult to discover.

I suspect that Apple will ultimately enable third-party apps on HomePod, as it has with iMessage, Maps and Siri on the phone. We can probably also expect that Siri’s full capabilities (e.g., calendaring) will come to HomePod. And Apple should make HomePod accessible to Android users.

Given the negative (or ambivalent) coverage and its relatively high price ($349), it’s unlikely that HomePod will gain significant adoption versus its rivals. But price would be much less of an issue if the other complaints were addressed.


About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.



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The Art of Being Stupid – Why Testing Matters More Than Everything Else

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Note: This is a guest article written by Tyler Hakes, the strategy director at Optimist, a full-service content marketing agency. He’s spent nearly 10 years helping agencies, startups, and corporate clients achieve sustainable growth through strategic content marketing and SEO. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Tyler’s.

Almost 10 years ago, I got my first job in marketing.

I was right out of college, and I was eager to prove myself and light the world on fire.

Like most people in their early 20s, I was convinced that I knew everything. I thought I had all of the solutions to every problem. I was a marketing mastermind, of course, because I had managed to get a few hundred people to follow me on Twitter.

It didn’t take me long to learn that I didn’t quite have all of the answers. In fact, I had a lot to learn. And it became more important for me to understand what I don’t know and to learn rather than to feel like I already had the answers.

Since then, I’ve worked for agencies, corporations, and startups. As a freelancer and agency owner, I’ve done marketing for every kind of company imaginable—from custom hats to apartment rentals. I’ve put together dozens of content marketing strategies and written/published thousands of articles, ebooks, and landing pages.

In all that time, I’ve come to realize something really, really important.

I don’t know anything.

Sure, I have accumulated a lot of knowledge and skills in the digital marketing space. I understand, at a high level, how things work. And I know, directionally, what the best practices are for achieving results.

But when it comes to executing any particular tactic, writing a particular type of content, or advertising to a particular market, each scenario is a little different. What I think will work best is usually wrong.

With this realization in mind, I’ve developed a kind of manifesto. It’s a way to remind myself that it’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to be wrong, as long as you commit to finding the right answer eventually. Embrace a testing mentality.

Assume You’re Wrong

The biggest challenge with having a testing mentality is accepting that you are almost always wrong.

Let me say this again: You’re wrong.

It can be difficult to swallow. But don’t take it personally. Don’t link your personal worth to your ability to guess which messaging will get the most clicks or which blog post will drive the most social engagement. That’s just silly.

This isn’t Mad Men. You’re not Don Draper. So, don’t spend a million bucks trying to come up with the best idea. We live in a digital age of data. We’re able to track, measure, and test anything and everything that we do in business. There should be no more guesswork.

And what we generally consider to be “conventional wisdom” about best practices when it comes to optimization is also generally wrong. (That’s why it’s called “conventional wisdom,” after all.)

So, just assume that whatever you think is “best” is probably wrong and that you’ll need to validate any idea you have against cold, hard data.

Rather than fight this, I’ve come to embrace it.

It’s become a driving force for my work and my business. I assume that I know nothing and that everything—anything—is open for testing. Test, fail and learn. In that order.

And instead of taking it personally, I just accept that it’s impossible for someone to know the right answer 100% of the time.

As such, it makes way more sense to defer to the data whenever possible.

Steal Shamelessly

Unfortunately, you can’t possibly test every single variable to determine the single best approach, messaging, targeting, or design.

But you can get a head start.

Begin any testing cycle by looking at companies that test and optimize regularly. Then, steal their findings. Rather than starting from square one, begin your own testing with their current best case—the design, ad, or content that they’ve found to be most successful.

You can do this in a number of ways.

  1. Look at crowd-sourced A/B or multivariate test communities like Behave.org.
  2. Find and read case studies on testing outcomes.
  3. Visit competitors websites and emulate what they’ve done.
  4. Use social media to uncover specific messaging/positioning/CTAs used by competitors.

For our work on content marketing, we begin any client engagement with an extensive research and competitive analysis process. It’s the foundation of our content marketing strategy—is what we already know working for competitors and other companies in the space?

We’re able to gain years (or decades) or knowledge in a matter of weeks. We avoid expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating trial and error by just stealing what works and iterating on it from there.

Prove Yourself Right (Or Wrong)

Once you have learned to not internalize the results and found a base to start with, it’s time to test.

Depending on what it is you’re testing, you’ll want to generate dozens—or hundreds—of variations. Try different colors, placements, layouts, or strategies.

Of course, a tool like VWO will help you execute these tests quickly and measure the results.

Create an experiment sheet that allows you to track each experiment and the outcome of that experiment. Remember to constantly challenge your own assumptions.assume you’re wrong and that you can come up with a variation that works better.

This kind of data-driven testing mentality applies not only to tactical tweaks or changes. You can assume a similar mentality for your entire strategy.

When we work with a new client on content marketing, we make a whole bunch of new assumptions.

Each piece of content that we create serves a strategic purpose within our larger framework. Because of this, we have a specific goal for that piece—to generate search traffic, to earn links, to generate social shares, and so on. And this is the benchmark that we use to measure our effectiveness.

So, we may begin with an idea about which kinds of content will best accomplish those goals.

But, in most cases, we have never created content in this particular market. We have never tried to build relationships within this particular community. We’re just guessing (per our past experience with other clients and other industries).

This means that what we really want to do is try what we think we will work, get the results, and then incorporate that data to help us improve in the future. A lot of times, we’re wrong. If we didn’t adopt a testing mentality, then we would just carry on being wrong.

Obviously, this is not ideal. It’s better to be wrong and to learn from that mistake than to be blind to your mistakes. This is why we apply a testing model to everything from our overall strategy to specific, tactical implementation—content flow, calls to action, outreach emails, and so on.

We want to achieve the best results we can, even if it means that we admit we were wrong.

Do It All Over Again

Think you’ve found the right answer? You’re probably wrong—again.

Any test is only as good as the variations that you’re considering. So, while you may have identified a clear winner of those that you’re considering, that doesn’t mean that you’ve objectively identified the best possible solution.

Whatever is working best now could only work half as well as the true best case. And it’s just a matter of time until you hit that particular variation.

It’s the pursuit of continuous improvement. It’s relentless.  

This is the foundational idea behind “growth hacking,” which is really just a data-driven, experimental approach to growth. It takes trial and error—over and over again—ad infinitum.

It’s why many software teams have embraced agile development because it allows for iterative progress and improvement rather than investing all of your time and resources into a single window or opportunity.

Testing isn’t just about making small tweaks. It’s about embracing a culture of continuous learning and improvement. It’s about the pursuit of truth, even when it makes you feel stupid.

And it all starts by admitting that you don’t have all the answers.

The post The Art of Being Stupid – Why Testing Matters More Than Everything Else appeared first on Blog.





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How to Develop and Grow a Successful Podcast

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develop-grow-successful-podcast

Robert Rose and I just completed four years and over 200 episodes of our podcast, This Old Marketing. While far from the most successful marketing podcast on the planet, our one hour of weekly shenanigans has done fairly well.

Since we launched in November 2013, the podcast has been downloaded nearly 2 million times from listeners in 200 countries, while generating approximately a half-million dollars in direct revenue in sponsorship support.

this-old-marketing-podcast

But the best part is what we know about our listeners. Those marketers who regularly listen to This Old Marketing are CMI’s true fans … they are more likely to come to Content Marketing World, attend one of our master classes, purchase training, attend our webinars, engage in our content, and talk about us on social media.

At our recent master class in Washington, D.C., one of the attendees asked me to write an article about creating a successful podcast. And so, Mike, here you go.

The podcast should not be first

This Old Marketing was successful from Episode 1 because we already had an audience of over 75,000 email subscribers who opted to receive CMI content. Once we notified this audience that a podcast was available, a good percentage listened to it.

Now, I’m not saying you can’t be successful by launching a podcast first. John Lee Dumas was incredibly successful with his Entrepreneur On Fire podcast. Pat Flynn also accomplished this feat. But it’s rare.

Most successful podcasts started with an audience already in place. Just look at the ones you listen to and do your research. They probably started with a blog or a video series, or maybe a network or print magazine, or the podcaster was a published author with a following. If I were starting a podcast today, I would work for 12 months to build a solid list of email subscribers first, and THEN diversify the platform with the podcast.


#Podcast Tip: Work for 12 months to build a list of email subscribers then launch the podcast. @JoePulizzi
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Identify the content gap in the marketplace

This Old Marketing started with a simple phone conversation between Robert and me. We chatted for over an hour, ranting and raving about the news of the day.


#ThisOldMarketing podcast originated after a phone conversation the creators wished they recorded. @JoePulizzi
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At the end of the conversation, we lamented that we didn’t record it.

The next day we talked seriously about the fact that no resource in the industry regularly covered the news around content marketing. Sure, Adweek, Ad Age, Digiday, and others covered it on occasion, but no resource took all the content marketing news from all the sources and distilled it for an audience.

After talking to the staff about it and doing more due diligence, we had enough data to tell us a podcast could be successful if we executed it correctly and delivered consistently.

We were lucky to identify a gap that was truly needed in the marketplace. If five or more competitors already were vying for that space, we probably would have passed on the opportunity or tilted in a different direction.

Format and frequency

In the marketing industry, most podcast formats revolve around one host with a new guest every week. We wanted to do something different. Plus, we didn’t think we could accomplish our goal of delivering the most important news each week with variable guests.

Add to that, we wanted to make sure CMI’s point of view on content marketing was delivered consistently each episode. It made sense that Robert and I serve as co-hosts with a no-guest format.

And, just like any news program, we wanted a consistent format for the show. We believed that ESPN’s PTI (Pardon the Interruption) format, where the two hosts bicker over the news of the day, worked best for Robert and me. We thought it would be entertaining, plus the format would make sure we could cover multiple news stories in one show.

One of the podcast’s goals was to make sure that the audience knew content marketing had been around for a long time, and we needed to learn from these older case studies. That’s where the idea of “This Old Marketing” came from. Every week we would include one “older” content marketing case study.

History

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Although we’ve edited the format on occasion, it hasn’t changed much from the first episode.

  • Opening thought (from Robert)
  • News of the day (generally three to five stories)
  • Rants and raves (something each of us loved or hated from the week)
  • This Old Marketing example of the week

Initially the podcasts lasted around 45 minutes. Over the first few months, we added more to the introductions and more news coverage to go for 60 minutes every week.

As for the consistency, we didn’t feel we could be great by delivering a daily podcast. We simply couldn’t make the time with our travel schedules and other assignments. Plus, there wasn’t enough content marketing news for a daily show, and we were certain our audience couldn’t handle us on a daily basis.

We settled on a weekly schedule, delivering every Monday night via iTunes and Sticher.com.

Production

Robert and I quickly worked out who would do what for the show. He managed the content for the program. He created an Evernote email address where we would send all news stories and then select the stories for the show.

Later, as we gained popularity, listeners began to send stories and This Old Marketing examples through a Twitter hashtag (#ThisOldMarketing) and directly through email. We asked for this at the end of every show. Ian’s Maxwell House Haggadah example was used in Episode 209.

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Robert also put together the introduction. At first, he read the introduction as we recorded the podcast, but, after about 100 episodes, Robert started to pre-record these five-minute introductions, adding music and clips. Frankly, the introductions might be the best part of the show.

All in all, Robert spends about two to four hours producing his part of each episode.

I handled the post-production. Robert recorded directly to his laptop wherever he was in the world, while I did the same. We both used professional microphones, which is about the most important thing you can do. I use an Audio-Technica AT2020USB and cannot recommend it highly enough. It plugs directly into the computer and can be taken anywhere (I travel a lot with it, often recording from hotel rooms). My recommendation is not to spend time building a studio and just find a quiet room and get a great microphone.


#Podcast Tip: Forgo building a studio. Find a quiet room & a great mic like @USAudioTechnica. @JoePulizzi
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While Robert uses GarageBand (Mac user), I use Audacity for PC. Audacity is a free and easy-to-use program. Robert and I talk via Skype to record the show, but we record our individual tracks separately.

Once completed, Robert sends me his MP3 file and I merge the two in Audacity. It’s really easy – just import the MP3 file into Audacity and make sure it’s synced. I almost never need to adjust the timing since we use a vocal countdown to hit record for each episode.

After the episode is recorded, I paste each of our files into the template (that includes the up-front and back-end music), save the file, and then export the file as a WAV file.

I take the WAV file of the episode and run it through another free program called Levalator. This makes sure that all the audio levels are even so Robert isn’t louder than me or vice versa.


Use a free tool like @levelator to make sure all audio levels are even, says @JoePulizzi. #ThisOldMarketing
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levalator-program

Then I import the WAV.OUTPUT file into Audacity, add Robert’s new intro and output as a final MP3 file. The process takes 60 to 90 minutes.

Distribution and integration

Once the podcast’s MP3 file is complete, it is published using Liberated Syndication (Libsyn). In this program, we add tags such as the episode title and metatags, and then publish on iTunes and Stitcher.com. (We later added distribution on Soundcloud and Google Play, but this needs to be done separately.) Libsyn starts at about $10 per month, depending on usage.

Libsyn also provides the download stats and a dashboard, much like you find in Google Analytics (iTunes doesn’t provide any data).

From there, I notify the editorial team, so it can prepare the show notes for publishing on the CMI blog. We decided that Saturdays would be a good time to distribute the show notes because that gives the editorial team time to construct the textual content, verify the links and images, and allow for uploading and approving the content into our WordPress platform.


Publish your #podcast show notes on your blog for extra promotion, says @JoePulizzi. #ThisOldMarketing
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We found approximately half our audience subscribes to our podcast in iTunes and Stitcher. The other half waits until Saturday when the show posts on the CMI site. About half our overall audience subscribes to CMI’s daily email, which promotes the show notes on Saturday.

Summary

While there is never one way to execute a successful content initiative, I believe our success was tied to the following factors:

  • CMI had a fan base of followers who were open to checking out the initial podcast. It would have been much more challenging to build an audience from scratch.
  • Finding a content gap where we could offer something truly differentiated was critical. The news coverage worked. We were able to save our audience time every week and told them what we thought was the most important news of the week.
  • Audio quality is critical. Spend the money and get a microphone that emits a professional sound. Don’t skimp here.
  • Integrating the podcast into our weekly articles and email newsletter was essential for success. The podcast shouldn’t sit outside your other content marketing efforts. Find a way to weave in the content to everything you do.

For other great resources on how to start a podcast, check out this post from Pat Flynn and this amazing resource from John Lee Dumas. Good luck!

Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Want to be in the loop of CMI’s new content and activities? Subscribe to the daily email or weekly digest recapping the highlights from the blog and exclusive email-only content. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

 

The post How to Develop and Grow a Successful Podcast appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.



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SMX West is coming! Here’s everything you need to know

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Search Engine Land’s SMX® West is just five weeks away, and it’s shaping up to be an exceptional show. You can expect the quality content, speakers, networking activities and meals for which SMX events are famous.

SMX West features three packed days exploring the marketing topics that matter most to professionals like you — SEO, SEM, retail, analytics, social media marketing, local, mobile and much more. Each expert-led session dives deep, covering aspects of search marketing that many may not have considered. Our goal is to “wow” attendees, to go above and beyond the ordinary industry conference and to arm them with actionable tactics they can implement as soon as they return to the office.

If this sounds like it’s up your alley, continue reading my big show preview, and then register today to save $100 off on-site rates.

Stay sharp on the cutting edge of online marketing at SMX West

Anyone who’s tried to stay on the cutting edge of online marketing knows that from time to time, you get thrown by things like unexpected algorithm changes, newly introduced ad enhancements or formats, experimenting with seemingly benign tactics that go wrong or even doing nothing… and watch your hard-earned traffic slip away for no apparent reason.

This is why world-class marketers are on constant alert for solid, proven information and actionable tactics that keep them on the cutting edge of search marketing. And that’s why we designed SMX West to offer both full-scale preventative advice as well as state-of-the-art triage techniques for experienced marketers.

The art & science of SEO

In the early days of search marketing, Bruce Clay popularized the use of the phrase “search engine optimization” (SEO) as the term to describe the art and science of achieving good rankings in the dozen or so search engines that were popular at the time. A lot has changed in the nearly two decades since Google arrived on the scene; today, SEO pretty much means achieving success within Google.

Google has changed a lot in two decades as well. Rather than relying primarily on PageRank to evaluate the quality of webpages, Google now uses a vast array of techniques to suggest a wide range of content in response to queries, from simple, direct answers to multimedia audio and video files to spoken responses — and all this across a variety of devices.

With loads of guesswork and assumptions, the debate about Google’s ranking factors is never-ending and evolves with every algorithm update. What’s on the rise, what’s on the decline, and what still works? How does machine learning affect the tactics SEOs use to influence results? And what impact does voice search have on what works today?

At SMX West, we have SEO sessions dedicated to answering these questions. We’ll cover the ever-changing expanse of issues and tactics SEOs need to keep up with to maintain their edge and achieve exceptional search marketing results. Such sessions include:

  • All Google Manual Penalties Explained.
  • AMP: Do Or Die?
  • SEO For Google’s Mobile-First Index & Mobile-Friendly World.
  • SEO Ranking Factors In 2018: What’s Important, What’s Not.

Untangle yourself from crazy-complicated technical SEO issues

Even SEO veterans can run into serious challenges when they dive into website infrastructure and find that things are more complicated than they expected. URL parameter facets + pagination + canonicalization? Mobile + hreflang + international versions? AJAX multiget calls? And if you don’t solve these issues, the fantastic content you’ve created may never be indexed.

Need a life preserver? Our deep-dive sessions into technical SEO include:

  • Going All-In On AMP.
  • JavaScript & PWAs: What SEOs Need to Know.
  • Solving SEO Issues In A World Of Constant Change.
  • Successful SEO Using Markup & Structured Data.
  • The Latest In Advanced Technical SEO.

See the SEO track.

SEM for fun & profit

Think you know everything about Google AdWords or Bing Ads? Have all the best practices nailed? Are you a master of extensions with encyclopedic knowledge about gaining the upper hand when sparring with the quirky idiosyncrasies of bidding, scheduling and conversion optimization?

Think again. As kung fu masters remind us, “The wise always remain humble, grasshopper.”

You’ll get plenty of unique insight, shared experiences and practical hands-on tips during the SEM sessions at SMX West, including:

  • Conversion Optimization: Turning Quick Wins Into Winning Streaks.
  • Faster & Smarter: Moving From Manual to Automated SEM Campaign Management.
  • How To Maximize & Measure Performance On The Google Display Network.
  • Must-Have Reports For Search Advertisers.
  • The Art & Science Of Crafting Successful Ads.
  • The Great SEM Toolbox Roundup.

See the SEM track.

One of the harsh realities of being a search marketer is that you can become incredibly skilled at your job, technically adept and masterful of all of the nuances of SEM… yet still struggle to get the kind of results you hope for. Why? Because your competitors are working just as hard, or they may be using tactics or techniques that you’re unaware of.

At SMX West, you’ll get content that’s specifically focused on how to do competitive research for SEM. You’ll also learn how to optimize and re-architect your campaigns for maximum effectiveness, taking advantage of new ad formats, extensions, enhanced campaigns and other changes. Our speakers will discuss everything needed to squeeze new levels of performance out of existing campaigns, from design and testing through execution and measurement. If you’re looking for practical tips or just a bit of inspiration to tackle a necessary job, you won’t want to miss these sessions:

  • Competitive Research For SEM.
  • Advanced Audience Targeting & Management Tactics.
  • B2B SEM: Meeting Specific Challenges With Really Smart Tactics.
  • Beyond Text: Mastering Other Ad Formats.
  • How To Develop Multichannel Attribution Models That Move The Needle.
  • Perfect Your SEM Testing: How & Why To Evaluate Everything.
  • Thinking Outside the SEM Box.

See the SEM track.

Focus on e-commerce & retail

Key for online merchant success is the ability to run effective marketing and advertising campaigns. Both Google and Bing have had shopping search options for ages. But both introduced big changes over the past few years that changed the experience for shoppers. You need to understand these changes to be a successful online vendor. And it’s not just Google and Bing. Amazon is racing to market with powerful e-commerce tools, as are Reddit, Pinterest, and of course, social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Each has its pros and cons, and all are all great channels to interact with and sell to customers in their own ways. At SMX West, you’ll get juicy insights into critical aspects of running profitable e-commerce efforts across these channels if you attend these retail sessions:

  • Driving Sales On Social Media.
  • Shopping Campaigns That Keep Paying Off.
  • Winning More Customers With E-commerce Offer Testing.
  • Your Mission: Increase Sales, Cut Costs, Maximize Profits.

See the retail track.

SMX Boot Camp gets you in shape

If you’re new to search marketing, our SMX Boot Camp will get you up to speed. Boot Camp runs during the first day of the show, Tuesday, March 13. Attend and you’ll learn the fundamentals you need to get in shape quickly. Sessions include:

  • Keyword Research & Copywriting For Search Success.
  • Link Building Fundamentals.
  • Paid Search Fundamentals.
  • Search Engine Friendly Web Design.

To encourage new people to learn about search marketing, we offer all of these sessions through a low-cost SMX Boot Camp ticket. Boot Camp includes admission on the first day to the Expo Hall, networking lunch and that evening’s Expo Hall reception. You can upgrade to a full pass if you want to attend more sessions on the second and third day of the show.

SMX Boot Camp is also open to anyone with a full All Access conference pass. Everyone who attends every Boot Camp session gets a Certificate of Completion.

Exploring important search marketing issues

We all love the art and science of search marketing, the tactical aspects of optimization or bid management and the thrill of seeing analytics demonstrate successful and improving campaigns. But there are other aspects of online marketing that are often overlooked and just as important.

Each of the sessions below features speakers who take deep dives into a topic, providing you with actionable, thought-provoking insights, often sharing the results of their own research. You won’t want to miss out on:

  • How Cisco Harnesses The Power Of SEO For Digital Transformation.
  • Local Search: Significant Changes On The Horizon.
  • Optimizing Content For Voice Search & Virtual Assistants.
  • Using Search Ads & Social To Deliver The Ultimate Knockout Punch.
  • Understanding Offline Targeting And Attribution.
  • Unleashing The Power Of Online Video Ads.

See the complete agenda.

The clinics are open!

Craving specific advice from experts about issues with your own sites or campaigns? The specialists will see you now! On the second and third days of the show, our popular clinics return, covering these areas:

  • SEO Site Clinic.
  • Social Media Clinic.
  • Link Building Clinic.
  • PPC Tune-Up Clinic With The SMX Mechanics.
  • Analytics Clinic.

See the complete agenda.

Ask the experts who are obsessed with SEO & SEM

Got a puzzling issue? Wondering about emerging trends or tips and techniques? Ask the experts! During the “AMA (ask me anything) With Google Search” session, Webmaster Trends Analyst Nathan Johns will open up about how Google interacts with your site and content. And he’ll also answer your questions about algorithms, ranking factors and other components of Google’s “black box.”

And during the “Meet The SEOssession, it’s no-holds-barred as veteran practitioners take any and all questions.

We know you wish you could attend every session at the conference, but have no fear! SMX West wraps up with a perpetual favorite: “Best Of Show / Key SMX Takeaways.” In this session, speakers and fellow attendees will share their personal highlights from SMX West.

You’ll also be able to identify, document, share and take home key pieces of information, new tactics and ideas via our event hashtag: #SMXInsights. We’ve asked each speaker to include up to three key, actionable takeaways in their presentations. And best of all, we’ll discuss those insights during our Best of Show session, and we’ll share them on Twitter in real time. Follow along, add your own insights and share with your colleagues!

Quality programming & speakers

All of the 50+ sessions I’ve described above are editorial sessions. People are speaking on them because we feel they have great information to offer. No one bought their way onto a panel.

Each session is developed by a session coordinator who reviews speaking pitches and reaches out to knowledgeable people to assemble a panel. The coordinator works with speakers to create a session where presentations support each other, rather than overlap. Formats also vary. Sometimes we have panels with multiple people or only one or two speakers. Some panels are all Q&A. Some feature formal presentations. We use several formats because different topics require different approaches. This makes for the optimal SMX experience.

View all SMX speakers.

Expo Hall & Solutions Track

Our many SMX West sponsors and exhibitors also have great information to share with SMX attendees. That’s why we provide several ways for attendees to hear from them.

Solution Track sessions are part of the agenda; they are produced by sponsoring companies. These companies know they are competing for your attention with our educational sessions, so they’re highly motivated to deliver quality information and top value.

Google will conduct a full day of programming on its search advertising offerings we call “Learn With Google.” LwG will run all day Tuesday, March 13.

The Expo Hall is open Tuesday, March 13, and Wednesday, March 14. In the Expo Hall, you can get information from exhibitors and sponsors about the many products and services that can accelerate your business and performance.

Looking to exclusively network and explore the Expo Hall? An Expo+ Pass might be the right fit for you. Learn more.

Hands-on workshops

You deliver results daily, but keeping up is a challenge. And you know staying successful means identifying opportunities, implementing new technologies and processes, developing great people and preparing for the next big thing.

Agree? Then attend one of the SMX intensive workshops.

Invest a day learning from thought leaders in search and online marketing. Our experts will address topics that push your performance to the next level. You’ll benefit from their wisdom and meet them in an intimate, hands-on environment.

These small-group in-depth workshops and training classes take place a day before SMX West on Monday, March 12. The workshop topics include:

Want an even better deal? Save $200 off on-site rates when you register for an All Access + Workshop combo pass.

Networking with like-minded peers

SMX West brings together the most accomplished search marketers in the world, and we provide plenty of organized and social networking activities for you to connect with them.

If you’re new to SMX, be sure to attend the SMX Kick Off, where we’ll show you how to optimize your conference experience and give you the scoop on accessing presentations, WiFi, power food, networking and more great content.

Then we’ll go into high gear with a round of Speed Networking, where you’ll meet some of the SMX team and get to know other attendees with quick introductions. Share your reasons for attending, exchange business cards and make powerful connections before the show even starts.

The SMX Kick Off and Speed Networking are Monday, March 12, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Salon III on the second floor of the Marriott. It is open to All Access attendees and speakers.

Immediately after the SMX Kick Off, relax and enjoy the SMX Opening Reception, sponsored by Bruce Clay, Inc. Pick up your registration materials and join us on the second-floor Ballroom Foyer of the Marriott for an informal evening reception with fellow attendees, speakers and invited guests.

During lunch, sign up for a Meet & Eat/Obsessed With networking table, where you’ll network with other attendees and discuss specific topics over a delicious hot meal. Being grouped with people who share a common interest is a great icebreaker.

The SMX Expo Hall Reception, sponsored by Stone Temple Consulting, takes place on Tuesday, March 13, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The reception offers another great chance to mingle and check out the best-of-breed marketing solutions from our exhibitors and sponsors.

Our featured networking event is the always-popular SMX After Dark party, sponsored by WordStream. After Dark takes place Wednesday, March 14, from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the awesome Tech Museum of Innovation, just a block away from the convention center in downtown San Jose.

All of this information can be found on our SMX West networking page. We keep SMX West intentionally intimate, so you are guaranteed to meet plenty of amazing people!

I hope you’ve found this preview useful and that you’ll be joining us in San Jose. Register today!


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