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  • feedwordpress 16:11:48 on 2015/09/28 Permalink
    Tags: , Guest Post,   

    11 Ways You Can Learn Data Science for Free 

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    According to a report from McKinsey & Company, “by 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.” When you combine that figure with the expectations of big data increasing the annual GDP in retailing and manufacturing by up to $325 billion by 2020, you can easily see why learning data science should become a top priority.

    Surprisingly, when faced with a free choice over something that costs a penny, many times we opt for the penny thinking that the free option must not be worth as much (and sometimes that’s true!). But thankfully with information on data science, there are a number of free and convenient ways for almost anyone to learn about it. Here are 11 options to jumpstart your education in this quickly expanding field.

    1. The Data Incubator

    If you’re just one year from earning either your masters or PhD from any math, science, engineering, or social science field, then you can apply to become a fellow with the Data Incubator.

    The Data Incubator hosts a free 7-week fellowship in New York, Washington D.C. or the San Francisco Bay area where students can learn both the technical and non-technical way to achieve success as a data scientist. Students also learn programming skills from some of the leading data scientists in the world.

    2. DataOnFocus

    DataOnFocus is a website that was started by two men who are “fascinated with all issues related to IT” and want to share their knowledge. For example, they provide resources like “27 Free Data Mining Books” that anyone interested in learning data science should read if they want to get started in this field.

    3. Introduction to Data Science, University of Washington

    If you want to introduce yourself to data science then you should consider enrolling in this free online course provided by Coursera. Throughout the 8-weeks of study, students will learn the basic techniques of data,  algorithms for data mining, and basic statistical modeling through video lectures and projects.

    4. Reddit

    Believe it or not, you can learn data science through the “front door of the internet”. The reddit community shares a number of valuable resources where anyone looking to learn data science can find instructional sites, links to free workshops, and even the ability to ask for advice from fellow redditors.

    5. Harvard CS109 Data Science  

    While this course was originally taught during the fall of 2013, it remains an excellent course for those interested in data science. Not only is this ivy league course informative, most of the resources, such as videos and slides, can be found easily online.

    Once you’ve reviewed the course, you should understand data mining aspects like data wrangling, cleaning, and sampling, data management, exploratory data analysis, prediction, and communication of results.

    6. Five Data Science Projects to Get Your Started

    In this post Kunal Jain states “the best way to learn Data Science is to do Data Science.” Because of this fact, he’s presented five different projects in a variety of fields, such as Titanic dataset from Kaggle, learning to mine twitter on a topic, human activity recognition using smartphone dataset, Hubway Visualization challenge, and Movielens data, to help get you started in data science.

    7. Insight Data Engineering & Data Science Fellows

    If you have a background in either math, computer science, or software engineering fundamentals, you can apply to partake in this 7-week professional training fellowship in New York City of Silicon Valley. During either program you’ll have an opportunity to learn from data science and engineers who work with companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Airbnb, Bloomberg, and reddit.

    8. DataScience@Berkeley

    You don’t have to attend or enroll in any UC Berkeley classes to educate yourself in data science. This blog, which is run by the school’s School of Information, posts frequent interviews and articles with students who share their advice and experiences. For example, 40 different though leaders were asked to define big data. The blog also keeps followers up-to-date on events and the latest new surrounding data science startups.

    9. Github

    This offers an extensive list of resource ranging from blogs, online courses, books, and face-to-face educational programs from Github contributors- where you can learn everything from the basics of data science to machine learning to data analysis.

    10. Dataquest

    Here you take free courses that focus on topics involving python, mining, statistics, data visualization, and analysis. The courses rely on short instructional videos and interactive learning so you can begin to work on solving real-world problems.

    11. Kaggle

    Kaggle describes itself as the “the world’s largest community of data scientists.” Not only are there a number of tutorials and projects to help better understand the various fields of data science, there’s also a large community of data science professionals where you can network and collaborate with. There’s also competitions and a job board if you’re seeking a career in this area.

    Get started today!

  • feedwordpress 21:29:49 on 2015/05/11 Permalink
    Tags: , Guest Post, Mind Your Own Business, MYOB, , ,   

    Social Media and Why You Can’t MYOB 

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    When I was a kid, my mother was constantly hissing “MYOB” in my ear. I was a curious child, and very much enjoyed eavesdropping on adult conversations, and if my mother told me to go watch the Disney channel, I was sure to be found elsewhere trying to hear something I shouldn’t. In the day and age of social media, where it seems as though everyone wants everyone else to know their business, have we become a society of people that just can’t mind our own business?

    With people posting statuses about what is in their grocery cart, what’s on their dinner plate, and when their personal relationships are in jeopardy, social media has opened a door into everyone’s private life. The question is, how far is too far?   As more people are packing up their virtual bags and heading off the grid, is it because we’ve all become too involved in each other’s lives? Are we all too nosy?

    For the majority of social media professionals, the different mediums are a way to promote businesses, keep our clients involved, and potentially attract new clients. We also have a tendency to use our personal profiles to talk about how much we love our work or how much we’ve enjoyed meeting new people in our field, but rarely do we easily dispense overly personal information. We try to keep to ourselves, because we don’t want to risk alienating our audiences.

    For me, personally, I use Facebook and Twitter as a way to keep in touch with people that are far away, to post the occasional status when something important happens or something bothers me, and to look at the wide array of pictures my friends are posting. However, I walk the line every day between being an avid Facebook user, and wanting to deactivate my profile. Facebook has given an audience to people with horrific viewpoints, and for me, it’s disappointing and provides a dismal outlook for the future. Then there are the posts that bring a smile to my face or brighten my day and all is right with the world again.

    About three years ago, I deleted my relationship status from Facebook, as I was going through a rather painful separation. I made a point of not displaying it, on purpose. I got an influx of messages from people that had not messaged me or commented on anything in years. I was greeted with a ridiculous amount of people asking me what had happened and even some people that were so bold as to ask how my marriage failed. I did not answer, in fact, I did quite the opposite. I deleted those people from my friends list, and went off the grid for eight months. I didn’t post a status, a comment, or message anyone, and life was simpler. However, after those eight months, when my life stabilized, the siren song of Facebook called to me.

    I found that I needed Facebook to keep in touch with some people with whom I hadn’t exchanged phone numbers, but I was no longer hoarding friends. I’d gone from nearly seven hundred friends to 300 in a timespan of a couple months. This concerned me. Were the people messaging me actually concerned about my life and my well-being or was my story simply the latest train wreck? Was my life the carnage at which people stopped to stare?

    From this deep questioning, a greater question developed. Have we become so involved in other people’s lives that we truly don’t know how to mind our own business anymore? Have social media mediums destroyed our right to privacy or have we done that on our own. We’ve let people into our lives by telling them what we eat, when we go grocery shopping, what our children do during the day, and our every thought. Are we responsible to the destruction of social graces by the amount of personal information we share on a daily basis?

    Minding our own business has become a virtual impossibility in the day and age of social media. We are forced to be involved in almost every aspect of our friends’ lives. When we think about what we’re sharing with people, we don’t sit down to think about how it can be used against us. We don’t think about the gossip swirling around something we’ve posted, the haters discussing it off-line, or the amount of trouble it may cause. Why? Perhaps, we’re a generation of people that are optimistic about people’s intentions. Perhaps, we don’t care what other people think. Maybe, however, just maybe, we WANT to be the topic of relevance on people’s lips and fingertips.

    The world of social media is a complicated place, much more complicated than the real world, but that distinction is important. The social media world is not the real world. For a business, social media is the important link between complicated behind the scenes dealings and your human element to which people can relate. In your personal life, however, think before you post. While businesses want transparency, do you? How much is too much information?

  • feedwordpress 07:37:04 on 2014/12/07 Permalink
    Tags: , Guest Post, Holidays, , , ,   

    The Holidays and Social Media 

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    Hanukkah Candles

    For traditional marketers, the end of year holiday season marks a massive push in terms of advertisements. Unfortunately, when small businesses don’t realize the power they wield with social media, they miss out. The holidays can be a beneficial time to ramp up your social media efforts in order to attract new clients or customers.

    All too often, small businesses don’t understand the importance of an active social media presence and suffer the consequences. Developing a strategy for your small business in terms of social media can be just as important as the right location. With the advent of social media, businesses have been allowed the freedom to reach customers and other businesses in new and inventive ways.

    While a presence is important for every month of the year, the holidays allow for increased visibility and better brand recognition.  Potential customers pore over internet sites looking for the next big deal, and social media is no different. If you don’t have a social media plan in place for the holidays, develop one now, it’s not too late.

    Simply having a Facebook page or a Twitter following is not enough, and neither is the sporadic posting of statuses. To have a well-rounded social media plan, consistency is key. For social media success, a business should post on a regular basis (3-4 times per week) with relevant, timely, and interesting content. For the holiday season, themed posts work brilliantly.

    Social media posting does not always have to be a sales push. Intersperse sales information with attention-grabbing facts about your business. Give your business a face, as consumers like to know there is a human involved in the businesses they frequent. An anecdote about holiday traditions, photos of your decorated business, or your charitable efforts are always great tips for posting during the biggest shopping season of the year.

    If you’re in a customer based business, get their attention and don’t just stick with the safe and traditional channels. Branch out to hot and fresh mediums like Snapchat, Instagram, or Pinterest.   There are a variety of techniques that are useful in utilizing social media during the holidays.

    Rewarding customers is a great way to get social media recognition. Offer $5 off of a sale for customers that “like” your page, follow you on Twitter, RT you, or re-pin some of your pins. A small discount can go a long way with attracting new customers and showing gratefulness to loyal customers. Plus, during the holiday season, consumers are always looking for any way to save.

    Establish a Snapchat account for your business and offer teases of new holiday merchandise. Have people flocking to your business in droves by offering a discount via Snapchat that they won’t discover until they are at the register. Once they open the message in your store, the customers find out what percentage of discount they’re being offered.

    Use Instagram to post photos of your decorating efforts in your store, ask for people’s opinions via comments, or award people that follow you and consistently like your photos. A well-timed photo can be extremely beneficial in attracting new people, especially if you’re offering a product only available in your business or offering a great discount on a hot product.

    Businesses that make charitable contributions during the holidays are often popular. As a consumer, knowing that a portion of sales will go to charity is pretty powerful motivation to buy from that location. Use your social media to get the word out that your business is accepting donations, or that a percentage of your proceeds will be donated. Pick a charity that means something to your business or to your client base, and assuredly people will line up to participate.

    If you’re a business that provides a service to consumers, offer an open house during the holidays, and use your social media accounts to publicize it. With a minimal amount spent, you offer customers the opportunity to meet the staff, experience the ambiance of your location, or simply socialize and network. A simple effort like an open house, backed by social media endorsement, can foster business relationships that will last long past the season.

    Using a medium like YouTube, you can thank loyal customers for their dedication. You can also film a staff holiday party or an event, as it will provide a personality for your business. People enjoy feeling like they’ve gotten a look at something they wouldn’t typically see, and this can directly translate to new customers or repeat visits from solid customers.

    The holidays can prove to be a powerful marketing tool via social media if utilized properly. Don’t allow your customers to feel that you’re capitalizing on their holiday spirit, however. There is a fine line between a holiday push and being overly aggressive. The number one recommendation for social media is to think about what you’d like to see as a consumer, and follow your own lead.

  • feedwordpress 04:06:21 on 2014/07/02 Permalink
    Tags: Emotions, , , Guest Post, , , , Spotlight,   

    Facebook Admits to News Feed Experiment Meant to Control Emotions 

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    Mind and Heart

    Recently, some social media users have been in an uproar after Facebook admitted to carrying out a secret experiment in which the news feeds of more than 600,000 users were filtered to see if those individuals would have differing emotions based upon what they saw on the screen. For example, it was determined if a person was exposed to more positive news from friends, he or she would be less likely to post something negative as a status update. The opposite was also found to be true.

    “Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion”

    On a smaller scale, most of us are already familiar with this phenomenon. Spending time with a friend who is in an abundantly good mood probably makes you feel similar, even if you were previously feeling a little down in the dumps.

    For the purposes of this study, the changes in a person’s emotions were collectively called “massive-scale emotional contagion.” Put simply, scientists determined it was not necessary for a person to interact on a face-to-face basis, and that an individual only needed to read about an emotion being expressed in order to be potentially influenced.

    Fears About Future Data

    As soon as the study made it into the public realm, it was met with a great deal of concern. As quoted in a piece from The Guardian, a spokeswoman for Facebook clarified how the study took place in order “to improve our services and to make the content people see on Facebook as relevant and engaging as possible.”

    However, some people around the world have protested in earnest, especially considering the experiment took place without a user’s knowledge. Selection for the experiment was randomized and based on a person’s user ID. Some people worried future manipulation of news feeds could potentially be very powerful, especially if it occurs in conjunction with political campaigns.

    Attempts to Influence Emotions Are Not New

    It’s important to remember that ever since advertising has existed, there have been efforts made to create emotional responses in people who see the campaigns. Usually, the most memorable advertisements are ones that resonate with you on a deep level.

    Trying to tap into the emotions of a user base certainly doesn’t have to be connected with sinister goals. If you’re an athlete who’s thinking about using a therapy pool during a rehabilitation process, you’d probably really appreciate if the respective website had testimonials from fellow athletes who have depended on aquatic therapy to get back to top form.

    Reading about the experiences of people who might have been in similar situations to the one you’re now facing would almost certainly incite a sense of hope, especially if you’re already wrestling with a lot of doubt and are wondering if you’ll ever be able to perform well again.

    Carefully Read the Terms and Conditions

    Facebook, like other social media websites, has terms and conditions that users must agree with before getting permission to use the site. If news of Facebook’s experiment makes you feel uneasy, maybe that’s a good reminder that it’s time to revisit the user agreements for all the sites you frequent, and make sure you’re still OK with what’s stated there.

  • feedwordpress 19:40:10 on 2014/06/12 Permalink
    Tags: , Guest Post, , , Social Internet, Social Logins, , ,   

    How Social Login Helps You Get Better Customer Insights 

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    Social Logins

    Have you ever wondered how a particular brand knows so much about you that they keep sending relevant discount offers, including at times when you need them the most? It is not magic, nor is it luck. These offers are a result of the brand being able to obtain some solid customer insights that have helped it create a timely marketing message that is extremely relevant to your needs.

    While there are plenty of traditional data collection techniques, like web analytics and monitoring a particular customer’s purchase behavior, there is another wealth of consumer data that is just waiting to be tapped and this data is sitting on a consumer’s social profile across different networks, like Facebook and Twitter. The question is – how do you get access to this rich social data that is essentially the most credible first party data that you can get ahold of?

    The answer lies in social login.

    By integrating a social sign on, you get a ton of benefits, one of them being deep customer insights by capturing social data.

    Social Login and Social Data

    When you implement social login on your site, the overt benefit that you are offering your customers is seamless login with their preferred social media accounts. So, if a user wants to log in to your site with his Facebook account, he can. And when he does this, he bypasses the long, drawn-out new user registration process that leads to the creation of yet another user name and password that needs to be remembered.

    Offering users a frictionless sign on process improves login conversions. But there is another benefit that a social login plugin brings to the table – the ability to capture data that is highly accurate. We’re not talking ‘sentiment’ data here but ‘real’ data. Marketers no longer have to draw inferences about customer characteristics based on their purchase and/or website behavior. This social data helps you get more clarity about the individual, his/her needs and requirements, preferences and dislikes.

    Permission Based Access

    What you – the marketer with social login – are getting is the permission to access profile information from a particular user’s social network (the one which they used to log in to your site). The way it works is like this – say a user chooses to login with their Facebook identity, a permission screen will greet them asking to share their profile data with the website. The identity provider chosen by the user determines the kind of data you can capture. In this case, it’s Facebook, so you can access birth date, relationship status, interests, etc. If the user had logged in with their LinkedIn identity, you could have access to their work history, skills, and so on.

    Social login gives you access to this data; it also stores it in normalized format in your database. This allows you to pair this data with other third-party applications you might be using to draw a clearer picture of the customer.

    A Social Data Strategy

    A social login provider such as LoginRadius helps you capture more than 200+ data points from a user’s profile. As can be imagined, this is a lot of information and as a result, you have multiple options as to what to do with it. You could either enable as many permissions as possible or be selective about the data you capture. No prizes for guessing that the latter is a better choice. This is why you need to keep refining your social login strategy vis-à-vis access to permission based social data in order to leverage the maximum benefit from it. Rather than capturing an immense amount of data that you will need to sort through later, acquire only that information which is aligned with your marketing plan and you can put to good use.

    The idea is to deliver value back to the customer with the data you’ve accessed through relevant content. So, make sure you are very clear about what you’ll do with the data you gather and how it is aligned with your larger content marketing strategy.

    Customer Insights through Social Login

    A user’s profile information on a social network is usually current and accurate, because most of it is visible to their friends and family. This means that this data is more accurate than what you can get through a normal registration process. Social data has more accuracy and dependability, enabling you to segment customers and make highly personalized offers. The customer insights drawn from this data can help you create a better user experience and engage with the customers at a far more personal level than otherwise possible.

    This leads to your content being shared, re-shared and discussed, resulting in more social media referral traffic and ultimately higher sales.

    To Conclude

    Social login helps you socialize your web property and ensures that you do not have to look anywhere else other than easily accessible social networks to get rich customer insights. It acts as the bridge between your target market and your website. You don’t really have to try too hard to get critical customer insights if you’ve implemented social sign on correctly: A user logs in, you get his permission to access information he’s already entered, and you have access to some amazing numbers instantaneously.

    What you do with this data is completely your call. But make sure you use it well. The difference between success and failure for a business today depends on how well it has understood its customer and how it has put this understanding to use. The first part is taken care of by social login; it is the second part you need to excel at.

  • feedwordpress 05:41:35 on 2014/05/11 Permalink
    Tags: , Guest Post, , , , Staged Selfie, , traffic,   

    The Social Bump: How Social Media Boost Your Site’s Traffic 

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    Staged Selfie

    Just about every company, from age-old corporations that got going before the lightbulb was common to brand new organizations that are online-only, want to use social media to get more visitors to their websites. How exactly can these companies accomplish this, though? It takes more than just opening up a Facebook page and waiting for friends. Some companies have done an incredible job leveraging the power of social media to improve their traffic and make the new word-of-mouth work for them. Let’s look at a few of the most successful cases from the recent past to see what makes for a great social media strategy.

    Samsung and the Staged Selfie

    Mobile technology giant Samsung has to count its social media followers in the millions — or in some cases tens of millions. It’s not just because there’s practically a 50 percent chance that a smartphone user is going to have a Samsung phone in their hands. The South Korean company has always had a penchant for creative, even guerilla-style, marketing. When it’s not muscling in on Apple’s billboard territory, Samsung is taking the global pulse on how people use smartphone technology.

    Case in point, Samsung’s incredibly convincing but nonetheless staged “selfie” photographs. A number of high-profile, self-taken smartphone pics in the past year have actually been carefully orchestrated by Samsung as a quiet promotional effort. The company got Ellen DeGeneres to take a selfie with an impressive gaggle of Oscar-winning celebrities at the most recent Academy Awards, but even more stunning was the staged selfie Samsung snuck past the Secret Service. Baseball star David Ortiz took a selfie recently with none other than President Barack Obama at Samsung’s behest, giving the world something to share millions of times on multiple social media platforms and keeping Samsung in the spotlight.

    It doesn’t take a mega-corporation or the leader of the free world to make this strategy work. Giving people something fun, highly visual, and a little weird to share is a great way to covertly promote a brand. All it takes is sneaking the brand into the photo and waiting for the hashtags to do the heavy lifting.

    Starbucks Does Promotions Right

    Seattle’s hometown coffee heroes know a thing or two about social media. No one does promotions better and the company does it by being conscious of how people interact with their product. First and foremost, Starbucks has a great and deceptively simple method for using Facebook to get people to their stores. Coffee is an everyday product, an essential for people at the start and middle of the workday, a staple on dates and at business meetings, and the second most important fuel on a road trip. That’s why Starbucks sends promotional offers to its Facebook friends and gives them access to the discounts by ‘Liking’ the message, ensuring that it goes out to everyone else on that user’s news feed.

    Beyond online coupons, Starbucks also maintains partner pages for its other brands, like Tazo Tea, and even platforms for people to interact with Starbucks employees. In short, the company keeps a human face on their brand and always listens to its customers, giving them something valuable and always offering a good reason to stay connected. Even if you’re not slinging coffee, making your social media connections feel valued and even part of a special club is the latest, greatest way to ensure brand loyalty.

    Video Variety with VICE

    If you even dip a toe in news media today, you’ve probably noticed that VICE has expanded far beyond its roots as a magazine. These days, VICE has a highly trafficked website, an HBO documentary show, and a growing online empire that shows off the investigative reporting chops of CEO Shane Smith and his global staff of reporters. Smith and VICE have jumped into some of most hard-to-access places in the world, from notoriously closed-off North Korea to the radically shifting streets of contested territory in Ukraine. All the while, VICE is doing it with Web-ready video.

    VICE has done a great job of mixing highly sharable short-form video content with more meaty, long-form videos. Both varieties are valuable to any organization that thrives on content, using the short-form videos to get people interested in today’s attention-deficient atmosphere and then giving them something to really sink their teeth into with the long-form videos.

    Not everyone has to go to the other side of the world into the shadowy regimes to make this model work for their company. The key to making video that’ll drive site traffic is to aim for quality over quantity and use the short-and-long combination to grab viewers, keep them interested, and give them a reason to share your content with others.

    Content Curation Care of HuffPo

    How did one woman’s blog evolve into one of the biggest sources of news and opinion on the Internet? Selecting the right stories and making sure the headlines pop. The Huffington Post practically invented this particular game. The publication goes for a highly effective mix of great guest bloggers, conversation-starting topics, and provocative headlines to give social media users something they can’t help sharing. The right names combined with topics that get people riled up ensure that HuffPo stays popular in an age when more and more people are getting their news entirely online.

    Even outside the news world, proper content curation drives traffic better than any ad can hope. By knowing what your audience finds interesting and giving them quick, concise content to learn from and share, you’ll bring something of value to the table and associate your organization’s brand with being in the know.

    As every example above demonstrates, content continues to be king on the Internet. People use social media to connect with one another, but they also use it as a streamlined way to find interesting content without having to dig around too much on their own. Using a content-based strategy for social media engagement will bring users to your virtual doorstep and keep them coming back because they trust your organization to give them something worthwhile without necessarily asking anything in return.

    Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.

  • feedwordpress 22:59:51 on 2014/04/15 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Guest Post, guest posts, , , , ,   

    How to Guest Blog in Light of Google’s Restrictions 

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    You Shall Not Pass

    At the beginning of 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts made headlines by stating that guest blogging was dead. This caused a lot of stir in the online community. People naturally got defensive and protested this as unfair. After all, hasn’t almost everyone used guest blogging to help with SEO at some point or another?

    In late March, Cutts followed through on his statement and shut down a popular guest blogging website called MyBlogGuest. This proved he was serious about his campaign against guest blogging for SEO. At the same time, though, it’s worth noting that many businesses have continued to guest blog and have benefitted from it.

    Many report that their guest blogging yields more traffic and higher page rankings. This is because they write high quality, informative posts that are of interest to readers. These posts enhance the reader experience, so they’re in line with Google’s goal of making the internet better for the end user.


    Know the Difference Between Good and Bad Guest Posts

    Maybe the statement “guest blogging is dead” was a little too harsh. Cutts could just have easily said “spam blogging is dead,” but that may not have gotten everyone’s attention quite so well. What Google is really undercutting is the use of generic, shoddy blog posts with no value to readers that only exist to provide back links. These kinds of posts have become more and more popular in recent years, so much so that Google now considers them a black hat SEO practice.

    It is perfectly acceptable to guest blog if your posts provide real value to readers. That is, they don’t just provide spam links disguised with poorly written copy. Any links you include should be organic and not seem like overt marketing ploys.

    An endorsement is fine, as long as it makes sense given your post. If you regularly guest blog on topics you’re knowledgeable about, you could gain exposure and build your brand. Just keep in mind that you should only work with legitimate blogs and bloggers, ones that aren’t just in the business for back links. You don’t want to be penalized for any questionable practices, even if it’s inadvertent.


    Find the Right Places to Blog

    As mentioned above, you don’t want to be associated with any spammers. That means if you want to guest blog, you need to find legitimate places to publish your posts, and this involves a little research on your part. Sites like MyBlogGuest used to allow you to search for sites accepting blog posts, but given Google’s crackdown on spam blogs, you now have to dig a little deeper for opportunities.

    It’s a good idea to start by identifying important blogs in your industry. This will make it more likely that they’ll accept your content. For example, if you’re interested in environmental issues, you might consider writing for a blog covering oil scams. Next, find out which blogs accept guest posts, and reach out to the blog owner when you’re ready to pitch the story. You can also follow some important guest bloggers in your industry and find out where they’re publishing their posts.

    Pitching your idea first is better than writing an entire post and then hoping someone will accept it; this way you won’t waste your time if they’re not interested. Also, certain blogs may have specific length and other requirements. You can write the post with these requirements in mind if you get in touch with the blog owner first. Although it may seem like common sense, be sure you’re as professional as possible in your initial contact.

    Use the blog owner’s real name — it’s usually listed in the contact section. “Sir or madam” can sound distant and makes it look you were too lazy to find out the owner’s name. When writing, let the blog owner know who you are and explain why you’re qualified to write the post. Also, make sure your message is grammatically sound and makes sense. Finish with an e-mail signature including your contact information and position title (if appropriate).


    If You’re the Blog Owner

    Blog owners have to be just as careful about guest blogging as writers do. After flagging MyBlogGuest, Matt Cutts revealed he would also be coming after the publishers of spam guest blogs. That means you’re responsible and will take the hit if someone posts sub-par content on your blog.

    Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent penalties by reviewing guest posts before they’re published. You may also want to turn potential bloggers down if anything about them raises a red flag. For example, it’s not a good sign if there are numerous grammar or sentence structure errors in the initial contact message they send.

    With Google’s latest restrictions, guest blogging is more regulated than ever before. However, you can use guest blogging to your advantage if your content is high-quality, interesting and doesn’t use spam links.

  • feedwordpress 18:37:16 on 2014/04/14 Permalink
    Tags: Crowdsourcing, , Guest Post, Megafoot, , ,   

    Is “Megafoot” Crowdsourcing’s New Craze? 

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    If there is anything that can be said about nostalgia, it’s that its power is unlike anything else. It’s easy for anyone over a certain age to feel it, whether it’s due to hearing a song from his or her childhood mixed tape or recalling a familiar name from the Brat Pack. Whatever the case may be, it seems like nostalgia is among the many aspects associated with Project: MEGAFOOT, one of the latest Indiegogo products that is in the funding process.

    For those who do not know, “Megafoot” is an independent horror movie that has been seen as a throwback to movies of old within the horror genre. The star of the movie is a robotic beast of sorts known as Megafoot. While under the surveillance of a group of scientists, something goes terribly wrong. After that, Megafoot becomes, to put it simply, violent. Can the scientists put an end to this project turned awry or will it be the experiment that spells the end for the experimenters?

    By this summary, it’d be easy to assume that this film is nothing short of a portal to violence but the fact that there is a clear 80’s influence is hard to deny. By simply watching the trailer, it’s easy to see that while a sense of dread is present in the films, it’s not one that can be connected to horror movies in the mainstream today like “Oculus.” More often than not, even as someone who grew up during the 90’s, I felt like reaching for my Nintendo Entertainment System from the 80’s while watching said trailer.

    Speaking of which, did you know that the NES is linked to one of the perks of the project?

    Like many Indiegogo endeavors, the offered rewards for Project: MEGAFOOT are broken up into tiers. For example, anyone who pledges $25 to the project would be eligible for, amongst other things, a download for the Production Storyboards for the opening scene of “Megafoot.”  However, for those who pride themselves on being spendthrifts, pledging $150 would not only net a backer the rewards from the lower tiers but a limited-edition “Megafoot” video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System as well. To say that this would be a reason to dust off the NES would be an understatement.

    This is an impressive perk on so many levels. It’s clear that those who pride themselves on being NES enthusiasts would like to get their hands on this game, to further complete their NES game collections if for no other reason. It also shows that Project: MEGAFOOT is heavily influenced by the 80’s, not only in regards to horror movies but other types of media, too. Once again, it’s a matter of nostalgia and any online marketing firm can attest to the idea that this project has it in quantities that perhaps even the monster called Megafoot would be envious of.

    As of this writing, the Indiegogo for Project: MEGAFOOT has raised around $17,300 out of the goal of $35,000. With only four days left for funding, one has to wonder if the project will reach its goal. If it is able to make up the difference before the goal in question is reached, I would have reason to believe that “Megafoot” could become the latest crowdsourcing craze.

  • feedwordpress 00:17:17 on 2014/04/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , Guest Post, Header Images, , , SMO, ,   

    How to Choose the Best Social Media Cover Images 

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    Dealer Authority Facebook

    Stop right now before you settle for a pre-selected Google+ cover image just because it’s there, it’s easy, and it was hand-picked by Google so it has to be a winner, right? Wrong; picking from a limited assortment of cover photos shows that you’re either lazy or uncreative, both of which don’t bode well for you whether it’s a business or personal social media (SM) profile. Like it or not, your cover image is just as important as your profile image and it depends on what type of vibe you’re after to determine the direction you should head.

    In fact, since cover images are even bigger than profile pictures, they’re prime real estate space to showcase an area of your business or personality. Product photos are a great cover image source and can be changed on a regular basis depending on your inventory. This is a great choice for fashion designers, restaurants and other businesses that have appealing and constantly changing “inventory.” If a potential customer visits your page for the first time, draw them in immediately with a tempting cover display.

    Face, meet name

    A staff photo is a great choice for customer service oriented businesses, whether you’re an online doctor’s office or a local mechanic shop. People want to know who’s on the other end, especially if the business is all about service. Choose a professional image that shows your staff as the expert, friendly and smiling people they are. If you don’t have a good group image, get one and choose another image as a placeholder.

    How about a customer photo that showcases just how much other consumers enjoy your business? Solid sources might be from your last customer appreciation day or special event. You can also rally your fan base to send their own favorite photos from events, which is another avenue for customer engagement. People want two things in customer service: Friendly staff and satisfied customers (because they want to be those happy customers).

    Work + play

    A workplace photo can be an excellent choice assuming that the place of work is clean, exciting, friendly or a combination of all the above. This can be especially alluring if your place of business is one that welcomes customers so they can get a preview of what’s to come. Bonus points if you have an especially inviting reception, a resident pet that welcomes guests or a standout facility that deserves to be shown off.

    On the other hand, you can include an image from a recent event such as a fundraiser you participated in (or hosted). Event photos are a way to showcase involvement in community or the fun side of your business. If you’re a particularly busy company, a “weekly showcase” can be a constantly changing cover update that doesn’t just keep followers up to speed on what’s happening, but is also a subtle way to stay in newsfeeds on some SM sites without being obnoxious.

    Go ahead and show off

    Finally, don’t forget about a simple chart that shows off what your business does or a recent award. This is your profile and your time to shine. A little information on what you do, how you do it, or accolades for doing it great can go a long way. No matter, what, make sure the cover is quality, captures the eye and is never left blank. Why forego a blank canvas?

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