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How to Adapt Your Communication Style to Every Type of Colleague

Growing up, you most likely didn’t talk to your parents the same way you talked to your friends. If you casually slipped in some of your teen lingo during a conversation, it wouldn’t register with them and they wouldn’t be able to understand what you were trying to express. They probably would’ve grounded you, too.

In the working world, a variation of the teen-parent communication dynamic still exists. All your colleagues have different personalities, and different personalities require different communication styles.

Fortunately, according to Mark Murphy, a best-selling author and expert on organizational leadership and employee engagement, most personality differences can be categorized into four fundamental personality types: analytical, intuitive, functional, and personal. 

And if you learn how to communicate the way each personality type prefers, your colleagues will be able to understand your ideas better and collaborate with you more effectively.Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.

To learn how to effectively communicate with each one, check out the insights below.

How to Adapt Your Communication Style to Every Type of Colleague

Analytical Types

People with analytical personalities tend to think in terms of facts, data, and numbers. Any claim with no hard evidence upholding it always seems suspect to them.

To prove their own points, analytical types primarily rely on data and rarely try to appeal to people’s emotions. They also tend to be extremely logical, so they’re often able to detach their emotions from most decisions and make, what they see as, the most objective, rational choice.

Analytical types usually have a high level of competence, but they can also seem aloof and clash with colleagues who have warmer personalities or rely more on emotional resonance to green light their projects.

To effectively communicate with analytical professionals, don’t lead with small talk, just start with the logic behind your conversation. When pitching an idea to them, grab their attention with the facts, and support all your arguments with compelling data.

The most effective persuasion tactic for winning over analytical types is the scientific method. If you can run an experiment or regression that proves your team has a pressing problem, they’ll more willing to support you. 

Personal Types

Personal types value connection and relationships with their colleagues more than anything else. They’re skilled at reading people’s emotions and would rather learn about how their colleagues feel at work rather than how they’re maximizing their performance.

As generally friendly, outgoing, and upbeat people, they like to listen to their colleagues, mediate conflict, and maintain the health of all their relationships.

Personal types also tend to command a lot of influence on their team — they can develop deep, personal relationships and collaborate with almost everyone. But, sometimes, they can seem overly sensitive, caring, and optimistic — especially to analytical types.

Naturally, they don’t always get along with people who solely focus on a project’s rationale and results without considering the human factors at play.

To effectively communicate with personal types, build some rapport with them, especially at the beginning of your interaction. The more inviting and personable you are, the more comfortable they’ll be.

During your interaction, you should also let the conversation naturally flow — personal types love expressing their ideas and emotions, regardless of the topic.

Emotions tend to drive personal types’ decision making too. So if you want to pitch an idea to them, illuminate your project’s purpose or tell them a story about how your project will solve a pressing problem.

Intuitive Types

Intuitive professionals focus on the big picture over everything else. They tend to think concentrating on a project’s granular details will slow them down and make it more difficult to reach their larger goals.

They’re also generally results-driven and prefer to cut to the chase. So presenting broad overviews and overarching visions will appeal to them a lot better than addressing each detail of a project. The latter will quickly exhaust their patience and frustrate them.

Since intuitive types are usually obsessed with pursuing big ideas, they love tackling challenges. But intuitive types can also be impatient, so they don’t like working on projects that progress at a slow rate or require a lot of attention to detail.

Unsurprisingly, working with people who prefer to focus on the process and meticulously work on projects step-by-step is their worst nightmare.

To effectively communicate with intuitive types, don’t beat around the bush with small talk or constantly veer off into tangential topics. Cut right to chase and stay laser-focused on the subject of discussion.

You should also be able to immediately answer their questions about your ideas — intuitive types will most likely be blunt, curious, and decisive during your interaction. To effectively answer their follow-up questions and increase the odds that they’ll approve your project, try to anticipate and prepare for them the day before your meeting.

And if you do successfully pitch a project to them, don’t promise them overly ambitious results just to please them. Intuitive professionals are incredibly results-driven. Anything short of their expectations will disappoint them and make them lose trust in you.

Functional Types

Functional types are usually all about the process. They thoroughly plan projects with precise details, so there’s no chance of anything going wrong. Their colleagues also rely on them to implement most projects because they’re confident they won’t miss a single detail.

Since functional types are so detail-oriented, though, they can lose their colleagues’ attention when they explain their plan or vision. They can also clash with people who gloss over a project’s details to focus on its overarching strategy and results.

To effectively communicate with functional types, you need to prove that you’re organized — or else they won’t want to work with you. Actively listen to functional types describe all the project’s details and understand how each moving part works together to produce an outcome. This is what will earn their respect.

When pitching an idea to them, provide as many details as possible, give them a clear goal, and don’t rush their decision-making. They prioritize accuracy over speed and will gladly triple-check things.

Be a Chameleon

Whether its data, emotions, the nitty-gritty details, or an overarching strategy, knowing what appeals to your colleagues — and what doesn’t — will help you effectively communicate with your team and command more influence at work.

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Flat Design: Everything You Need to Know in 5 Minutes (+ Examples)

Flat design is a user interface style that uses simple two-dimensional elements, minimal textures, and bright colors.

There are plenty of benefits to flat design — the simple elements allow for faster load time and easier user navigation.New Call-to-actionPlus, it looks modern and clean.

Windows 8 is a good example of flat design:

As you can see from the Windows 8 interface, the large, colorful blocks are effective elements for easy usability. Plus, the flat design ensures optimal user experience on various devices, since the simple shapes and lack of texture easily scale for different devices’ screen sizes.

If you think flat design is just a short-term trend, think again — Usabilla surveyed 100 professionals and found 68 percent believe flat design will affect how we design for the web, long-term.

Here are the major elements of flat design:

  • Illustrations
  • Bright colors
  • Uncomplicated shapes
  • Functional
  • Simple typography
  • Minimalist
  • Intuitive
  • More use of negative space
  • Absence of three-dimensional depth

Here, we’ll take a look at the top websites using flat design, so you can decide whether flat design is the right style for your business.

Top Websites Using Flat Design

1. Wistia

2. The Hype Agency

3. Intercom

4. Stripe

5. Apple iOS 7

6. Taasky

7. Operativnik Website Design by Felix Baky

download 195+ free design templates

 
195 free visual design templates

How to Use Custom Facebook Frames for Facebook Dynamic Ads

Want to add branding to your Facebook dynamic ad campaigns? Did you know you can use Facebook frames in your ads? In this article, you’ll learn how to add a custom Facebook frame to your Facebook dynamic ad campaigns. Why Customize the Appearance of Your Facebook Dynamic Ads? When it comes to Facebook dynamic ads, […]

The post How to Use Custom Facebook Frames for Facebook Dynamic Ads appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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29 Office Costume Ideas for Marketing Nerds & Tech Geeks

Halloween is a fun holiday, and it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It doesn’t have recognizable songs or vacation days associated with it, and it falls on a busy time of year for most people in the workforce.

But that doesn’t mean you should skip the festivities at your office Halloween celebration.

Click here to download our free guide to hiring and training a team of  all-stars.How many days of the year are you encouraged to dress up and goof around at work? Probably just one — Halloween — and even then, it can be hard to know what’s office-appropriate.

 

We want you to have fun this Halloween, so we’re taking the work out if it for you. We’ve compiled a list of DIY Halloween costume ideas that are easy to put together, inexpensive, and perfect for the digital marketer or tech professional.

If your family and friends don’t get your costume, your colleagues definitely will.

25 Office Costume Ideas for Marketing Nerds & Tech Geeks

Computer Costumes

1. Alt Text

Alt text isn’t just the metadata of an image published on the web — you could also say it’s an “alternative” fashion statement with the text to describe the era. This was HubSpot Director of Content Corey Wainwright’s office Halloween costume a few years ago. It’s great because you don’t even look dressed up if you have a casual office dress code, so you can just blend in.

To dress as alt text this halloween, break out your best 90s alternative garb — our coworker Corey went with black jeans, combat boots, and a flannel. Then, tape hyphenated text that best describes what you’re wearing, much like an image of your outfit would do online to help search engines read the file.

We edited a sash of alt text on to the alternatively dressed girl below, just to help you picture your awesome costume.

Computer costume of girl in 90s alternative outfit with alt text written across her shirtSource: That’s Life

2. SEO Ninja

Speaking of dorking out on SEO, you could be everyone’s favorite LinkedIn title — the SEO ninja. Dress in all black, buy a black ski mask, and tape keywords all over yourself. Voila … you’re an actual ninja — just one much more concerned with search engine optimization than lurking in the darkness.

seo-ninja-costumeSource: Pinterest

3. Mobile App

Wander around holding an appetizer — candy, cheese and crackers, chips and dip … whatever you have on hand. Boom. You’re a mobile “app.”

This costume also doubles as a great way to introduce yourself and make friends at a party.

mobile-app-costume.pngSource: Opportunity Max

4. Instagrammer

Want another way to turn handing out food into a costume? Dress up like a hipster and hand out graham crackers. You’re an “instant” “gram” cracker server — or, for short, an Instagrammer. Pun absolutely intended.

5. Ghostwriter

Have you ever written something for somebody else’s byline? Such is the life of a “ghostwriter.” Turn your author-less accomplishment into this year’s office Halloween costume.

To dress up as a ghostwriter, grab a white sheet and cut a hole for your head and arms. Dob some black ink spots on the sheet, get a book and one of those feather quills (or just get a feather, I suppose), and boo — you’re a ghostwriter.

ghostwriter-costume

6. Whitespace

Whitespace on the internet might just denote all the blank space you use to help your design stand out, but on Halloween, “whitespace” isn’t just the absence of space.

Dress in all white — add white face paint and a white wig if you’re ultra-committed. Then add a hint of color somewhere on the outfit, like a colored tie or scarf, or even a paint splotch. That color splotch will make the white space more prominent, transforming you into “whitespace.”

7. Error 404 Code

You’ve most likely encountered a funny error 404 page before, and you can make it a funny costume, too. Grab a sheet of paper, write “Error 404: Costume Not Found,” and tape it to your outfit.

 

A photo posted by RachAel Klopfenstein (@theklopf) on Sep 5, 2015 at 12:33pm PDT

8. (Monty) Python

If you’re into programming code, British comedy, and low-effort costumes, being (Monty) Python is perfect. Dress up in anything remotely snakelike in your closet: olive green clothing, snakeskin accessories, and fake vampire teeth that can serve as your fangs.

Then, to amp up the dork factor on this costume, add two coconuts or a gold chalice to embody Monty Python on his quest for the Holy Grail.

9. Facebook

Grab face paint or eyeliner and write “book” across your cheeks. Just like that, you’re the world’s biggest social network for Halloween.

And for your sake, we hope your colleagues actually get it:

Halloween-Jim_Bookface-Jim.jpgSource: AndPop

10. Unicorn

Here’s another tech-friendly, double-entendre costume: Be your own version of a tech unicorn. Here at HubSpot, we love this tech icon, and you can easily make your own version of a unicorn horn with help from this article.

aid2617087-v4-900px-Make-a-Unicorn-Horn-Step-10-Version-3.jpgSource: WikiHow

11. Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are nothing to joke about — they can seriously threaten your technology and data security. But on Halloween, you can dress up as a play on phishing emails for an easy DIY costume. All you need are a stick, a piece of string, and an envelope. Bonus points if you own a bucket hat and vest to complete the ensemble. Check out an amusing version of this costume below.

Email phishing Halloween costume with fishing rod with Passwords label as baitSource: Car and Driver

12. Copycat

“CNTRL + C” is the popular keyboard macro allowing you to copy items from one place to another on your computer. Well, here’s a technology spin on a classic Halloween costume. All you’ll need are cat ears, eyeliner-drawn whiskers, and a sheet of paper. Write “CNTRL + C” on the paper, tape it to your outfit, and you’re a “copycat.”

Girl in copycat Halloween costume with black cat makeup and CNTRL + C labeled necklaceSource: BuzzFeed

13. The Blue Screen of Death

You know the screen, even if you don’t know the morbid nickname the tech world has given it. This classic error screen is known for signaling the end of a computer’s useful life, and you know it when you see it. It causes so much stress on site, in fact, that the color alone is scary enough for October 31.

Believe it or not, there are official T-shirts you can get with the blue screen of death copy printed on them. Want to make your own? All you need is a royal blue t-shirt and a printed version of this horrifying error message to pin to it.

T-shirt with Blue Screen of Death error message printed on itSource: Spreadshirt

Emoji Costumes

14. Information Desk Girl

This genius professional found a golden (or, rather, purple) opportunity to be the “information desk emoji, the many gestures of whom we’ve all come to know, love, and use at some point in a text conversation.

The best part about this awesome tech reference is that you don’t need to alter your regular attire to make it work. As Naomi shows us below, it’s all in the hand gestures.

15. Dancing Girls Emoji

If you’re the owner of one of the nearly more than 1 billion Apple iPhones sold worldwide, you’re probably familiar with the dancing girls emoji, shown below.

The easiest version of this costume is to find a buddy and dress all in black together. If you’re committed to emoji authenticity, buy black bunny ears to complete the look.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 2.13.14 PM.pngSource: Brit + Co

16. Heart Eyes

Are you just in love with Halloween? Prove it with this passionate emoji face. You don’t have to paint your entire face, chin to hairline, to get the Heart Eyes Emoji just right, but it certainly helps. It’ll also disguise your stress when you’re at your most focused during the day.

“This employee just seems to love her job, I can’t put my finger on why,” your manager will think … See how to paint this emoji onto your face below (you’ll need some help for this one).

Topical Office Costumes

17. Fully Vested

At work, “fully vested” usually refers to one’s ability to earn all matching funds of a 401(k) retirement plan. But for some, you just can’t help but picture someone wearing lots of sleeveless jackets at the same time. Now’s the time to personify that image.

If you work in a company where people would get the joke, put on a bunch of vests (at least three, but even more is encouraged), and that’s about it. You’re fully vested.

18. Nerd

What I love about the nerd costume is that it’s effortless and always unique — there are many ways to be a nerd in this day and age. Are you a tech nerd, a video game nerd, or a book nerd? The sky is the limit with this costume. Show up wearing glasses with your favorite accessories, such as a magic wand, book, or lightsaber, to complete the effect.

19. A Solar Eclipse

Last year, the solar eclipse took over the internet — and the country. As millions of people flocked to the path of totality to (hopefully) catch a glimpse of this rare event without burning their corneas, millions more made jokes about it on social media.

To dress up as a solar eclipse for Halloween, you’ll need a work pal to dress up as the sun and the moon with you. One of you wears black, the other wears yellow, and you both wear dark sunglasses. Then, at the Halloween party, the one dressed in black spends the whole time standing in front of the one in yellow.

Two girls dressed in solar eclipse costume at an officeSource: Pinterest

20. The ‘Evil Kermit’ Meme

If you haven’t heard of this mega-popular meme this year, you’ve probably seen it somewhere: It features Kermit the Frog, face-to-face with his evil twin, Evil Kermit. Evil Kermit looks identical, except for the black cloak.

For this costume, you and a coworker can keep it simple: You both wear green shirts, and one of you wears a black hoodie or jacket on top. If you really want to commit to the costume, you’ll spring for some green face paint to complete the ensemble. Walk around the party together, facing one another, for maximum effect.

evil kermit halloween.png

21. Eleven from Stranger Things

Eleven from Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things is universally beloved, and it’s a bonus that her signature look is a comfortable and easy-to-assemble costume. Rock your best Eleven with a dress, a denim jacket, and a box of Eggo Waffles.

the-stranger-things-actress-behind-eleven-doesnt-love-eating-tons-of-eggo-waffles.pngSource: Business Insider

22. Pokémon GO Trainer

Pokémon GO had roughly 45 million people walking around in cities glued to their phones last summer (I, among them). To pay homage to the explosion of this tech trend, you’ll need a t-shirt that’s red, yellow, or blue. Using fabric paint or permanent marker, write Valor (for red), Instinct (for yellow), or Mystic (for blue) on your shirt.

Spend Halloween walking around pointing your phone at objects, and you’re the spitting image of a Pokémon GO trainer. Gotta catch ’em all, right?

 

A photo posted by Odinia (@marshmallowsie) on Aug 9, 2016 at 4:44pm PDT

Group Office Costumes

23. Google Algorithm Update

Find a couple of office buddies for this one — one panda, one penguin, and one pigeon. You might be thinking, “what the heck is the pigeon algorithm update?” 1) It’s a thing, and 2) we checked Amazon for hummingbird costumes and there aren’t any cheap ones available.

google-algorithm-update-halloween-costumes.jpgSource: Opportunity Max

24. Black Hat and White Hat SEO

This is another SEO-related costume, and I think you can figure this one out on your own. I recommend wearing a black hat for one, and a white hat for the other, and having “SEO” embroidered on each one — which you can easily custom order.

Black hat with SEO label on topSource: SEO-Hacker

25. Series A Round of Funding

Get a bunch of people together, write the letter “A” on your shirt, and line up. (You could do subsequent funding rounds using the same principle, too.)

26. Snapchat Filters

Here’s another group costume idea that pays tribute to Snapchat’s filters feature.

There are numerous options that you and your team can choose from to embody this costume. You could dress up as vomiting rainbows, cat and dog ears, a flower crown, or a face swap, and this could be as DIY or store-bought as you’re interested in pursuing. For example, here’s some inspiration for a couple of the dog filters:

snapchatfilter.jpgSource: PopSugar

27. Snapchat Ghosts

Put a marketing spin on a classic Halloween costume by arriving as a Snapchat ghost. You’ll all need a white sheet and to pick which ghost you like the most.

maxresdefault-24.jpgSource: YouTube

28. PAC-MAN and Company

Here’s yet another awesome ghostly costume idea your whole team at work can get in on. Have your team lead wear the yellow pie-shaped garb of PAC-MAN, with each team member dressed as the multi-colored ghosts that roam the screen in this vintage arcade game.

Just make sure the team lead doesn’t actually try to eat the ghosts — you’re in an office, and you’re all technically on the same team.

Group costume with PAC-MAN, four ghosts and fruit from the vintage arcade gameSource: Meningrey

29. Instagram Filters

For this group costume, you’ll need white t-shirts and fabric markers. Draw an Instagram photo frame on the front of your shirts, and each team member can write a different Instagram filter‘s name inside the photo frame. Or, create frame props with different filters on them like the group did below:

M-nahalloween-1.jpgSource: Nails Magazine

The clothes don’t make the marketer, but the costume can certainly make the culture at your company. Find out what it takes to hire and train the best fits for your open roles in the free ebook, available below.

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Is Facebook Long-Form Video Dead?

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, join us as we discuss Social Media Examiner’s reasons for pulling three shows from Facebook with Michael Stelzner. Plus […]

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“The Robin Hood of Algorithms”: Why LinkedIn’s New Feed Could Be a Game Changer for Marketers

LinkedIn announced today that it plans to overhaul its feed ranking system to help more creators get better engagement on the content they share.

The changes were spurred when the professional networking site discovered that the top 1% of content creators — also known as “power users,” or perhaps influencers — were receiving the vast majority of engagement with their posts.

Meanwhile, the remaining 98%, the site says, was “receiving less [engagement] than ever.”

Here’s how that skew in engagement happened — and how LinkedIn has changed its algorithm to address the problem.

Why LinkedIn Changed Its Feed Ranking Algorithm

Year over year, LinkedIn has experienced noticeable growth in overal engagement with posts appearing in its feed — an average increase of over 50%, the company says. 

Much of the time, that engagement results in a post going viral — that is, LinkedIn members engage with certain posts to the point where the content earns “tens of millions” of likes, comments, and reshares.

On the surface, that seems like a positive development. But, LinkedIn says, there was a problem: The engagement was not evenly distributed, and the site was “in danger of creating an economy where all the gains in viral actions accrued to the top 1% power users.”

Typically, the most popular posts on any social network tend to gain more visibility, which is what was happening to content shared by top influencers.

Emerging brands and content creators, meanwhile, were actually receiving less and less engagement on their posts.

creatoroptimization2

Source: LinkedIn

Besides the obvious issue of this uneven distribution of causing the “richest” content creators on the site — the influencers who already have a large following — to become “richer,” the lack of engagement with the remaining 98% of followers was actually discouraging them from posting again in the future.

That only exacerbated the virality gap, as less content-sharing altogether from the bottom 98% would lead to more eyes on posts from top influencers.

So, LinkedIn formulated a solution.

Why Linkedin’s New Algorithm Could Be a Game-Changer for Marketers

The changes to LinkedIn’s new ranking criteria is multi-fold.

Prior to this overhaul, the feed would prioritize posts according to how likely a given viewer was to engage with it — to like, comment on, or reshare it. That model also took into account the given viewer’s network, and how likely it was to respond to this content in kind.

What was missing was how likely the creator or poster of that content was to “appreciate” the engagement. To put that discrepancy into context, LinkedIn’s Bonnie Barrilleaux and Dylan Wang — who authored the company’s announcement — explain that for major influencers within “the top 1% of creators, one more like or comment from an unknown follower may not mean much.”

For smaller or emerging content creators, however, these likes and comments go a long away. According to Barrilleaux and Wang’s findings, creators who receive 10 or more likes on their content are 17% more likely to post again in the following week. 

That’s why the feed algorithm has been modified to include signals that indicate how much value the creator will place on viewer feedback received on a post. 

“The effect is that we are redistributing a little bit of the attention in the system from the power users to the other creators, so that no one is left behind,” write Barrilleaux and Wang. “This helps ensure that the ‘small’ creators who create high-quality posts can reach out to the community that cares about them.”

creatoroptimization3

Source: LinkedIn

Additionally, LinkedIn’s algorithm changes appear to be moving in a similar direction as that of Facebook, when the social media giant overhauled its News Feed to prioritize content from family and friends over that from Pages.

We’ve already covered the three pillars that LinkedIn’s new model takes into account when ranking creator content:

  1. How likely a viewer is to engage with a creator’s post
  2. How much that viewer’s network will want to see it
  3. How much the original creator will appreciate the first 10 likes of that post

But there could be a fourth, according to the figure below — which is whether or not the content creator is within the viewer’s network. 

creatoroptimization5

Source: LinkedIn

It’s also possible that these moves from LinkedIn could serve as a subtle nod to the drop in Business Page engagement and reach experienced by brands on Facebook — for some, a decline of 50%. 

LinkedIn’s algorithm change — especially within the context of boosting engagement for smaller, emerging content creators — does spark the question: Is this the company’s way of giving smaller brands and figures a chance to shine on another network, where it may have lost reach on another one?

Perhaps. But more than that, says HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar, LinkedIn is also responding to a growing user demand for a relevant, personalized experience.

“LinkedIn’s core job is to great a valuable experience for all users. Once a news feed becomes dominated by a small subset of users, then it starts to become less valuable to the broader community,” Bodnar explains. “The company is trying to deliver more value through more personalization.”

So, what kind of impact will this have on the bigger influencers — the top 1% of content creators on LinkedIn?

According to Barrilleaux and Wang, it won’t be much, pointing back to the overall growth in engagement received by all posts in LinkedIn’s feed.

“Taking 8% of the likes away from the top 0.1% still leaves them better off than they were a year ago,” they write. “These changes just help ensure that the rising tide is lifting all the boats in a fair and equitable fashion.”

But should this trend continue, LinkedIn could move further in the direction of Facebook, and re-allocate a growing amount of post engagement from top creators to emerging ones.

“This might not be a huge impact on top creators today but I think that over time they will continue to push in this direction,” says Bodnar. “The audience for posts from top creators could continue to decrease.”

LinkedIn says it will continue to observe and optimize its algorithm as these changes take effect.

Why We Abandoned Facebook Video

Earlier this week, we made the decision to stop publishing three weekly shows on Facebook. I’d like to share some important marketing lessons we discovered and a resource I think you’ll enjoy. Here’s the video I released on Facebook, announcing the move: Why we are stopping Facebook video… We just canceled three of our weekly […]

The post Why We Abandoned Facebook Video appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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Facebook Wants You to Think False News Efforts Are Working, But 52% of People Aren’t So Sure

Facebook today announced that three independent studies have found that the company’s efforts to fight the spread of false news on its site might be working.

The three studies — conducted respectively by New York University and Stanford University researchers, the University of Michigan, and French fact-checking organization Les Décodeurs — each found that the volume of false news on Facebook has decreased. Some found that, amongthe false news content present on the site, engagement with it had also gone down.

We recently ran a survey to see if users were noticing less spam on the social network, and despite today’s announcement, it seems like misinformation might not be totally eradicated just yet.

Here’s what each study found, and how it compares to what users report seeing on their News Feeds.

Three Studies of Facebook’s Fight Against False News

“Trends in the Diffusion of Misinformation on Social Media”

The first study — conducted by New York University’s Hunt Allcott, along with Stanford University’s Matthew Gentzkow, and Chuan Yu — observed the amount of engagement on Facebook and Twitter with content from 570 publishers that had been labeled as “false news,” according to earlier studies and reports. And while the study cites where it obtained this list of 570 sites, it doesn’t actually indicate what they are.

The team them used content sharing and tracking platform BuzzSumo to measure how much engagement — shares, comments, and such reactions as Likes — was received by all stories published by these sites between January 2015 and July 2018 on Facebook and Twitter.

The results: Following November 2016, interactions with this content fell by over 50% on Facebook. The study also indicated, however that shares of this content on Twitter increased.

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 9.53.00 AM

Source: Alcott, Gentzkow and Yu

It’s important to note that a U.S. presidential election took place in November 2016, for which Facebook was weaponized by foreign actors in a misinformation campaign with the intention of influencing the election’s outcome. 

Since then, Facebook has widely publicized its fight against the spread of such misinformation — which includes false news — and points to this study as evidence of that fight’s success.

“Iffy Quotient: A Platform Health Metric for Misinformation”

The second study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, relied a measure of false news engagement referred to as the “Iffy Quotient” — which takes into account how much content from sites known for publishing misinformation is “amplified” on social media.

Why such a non-committal word, like “iffy”? According to the study, the name is a tribute to the often mixed, subjective definitions of what constitutes “false news.” In this case, it includes “sites that have frequently published misinformation and hoaxes in the past,” as measured by such fact-checking bodies as Media Bias/Fact Check and Open Sources.

This study largely utilized NewsWhip: a site that measures the most popular links shared on social, as well as the engagement — again, shares, comments, and such reactions as Likes — received by each link. 

The researchers then isolated the links from NewsWhip that were classified as “iffy,” examining how much engagement they received over time, between January 2016 and September 2018. 

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 10.17.51 AM

Source: University of Michigan

The results, according to the study’s authors, aligned with those of the first study, showing “a long-term decline in Facebook’s Iffy Quotient since March 2017.”

“False Information Circulates Less and Less on Facebook”

Finally, a study conducted by Les Décodeurs — a fact-checking division of  French newspaper Le Monde — concluded that Facebook engagement with content from publishers classified as “unreliable or dubious sites” has decreased by half within France since 2015. 

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 10.37.23 AM

Source: Les DécodeursTranslation: “The weight of unreliable and doubtful sites has decreased in three years. Share of different categories of sites in the commitment (shares, comments, “likes”) on Facebook. “Sites peu fiables” = “unreliable websites.” “Sites douteux” = “doubtful websites.

What Do Users Report Seeing on Facebook?

While the above three studies point to the possible success of Facebook’s efforts to curb the spread of false news and misinformation, the group of users we surveyed might not yet be seeing the impact of Facebook’s anti-spam measures.

We asked 831 internet users across the U.S., UK, and Canada: In the past six months, have you noticed more or less spam on your Facebook News Feed?

In the past six months, have you noticed more or less spam on your Facebook News Feed_

Over half of respondents report seeing more spam in their News Feeds over the past six months: a figure up from the 47% who reported seeing more spam in their feeds in July 2018, when we ran a preliminary survey.

During that same time, we ran another survey in which over 78% of respondents indicated that they would include “fake news” in spam content.

These combined findings raise a question: If independent research, which Facebook says it did not fund, points to such success in its efforts to curb the spread of false news, why does a growing number of users report seeing more of it in the News Feed?

There could be a number of explanations, one being heightened awareness. Since first discovering that it was weaponized for a coordinated misinformation campaign leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook has been more forthcoming about further evidence it finds of bad actors misusing its site for similar purposes.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported today that — according to its sources — the bad actors behind a September data attack that scraped the personal information of 30 million Facebook users were “spammers that present[ed] themselves as a digital marketing company … looking to make money through deceptive advertising.”

With such stories continuing to make headlines, it could be that Facebook users are more attuned and sensitive to the possible misleading or spammy nature of the content they see in their News Feeds, causing them to report seeing more misinformation.

That sensitivity could be compounded by the looming days remaining before the 2018 midterm elections in the U.S., where the highest percentage of respondents in our survey reported seeing more spam in their news feeds.

Responses by Region (2)-1

The imminent timing of such a pivotal event could also heighten user awareness, as the topic of the midterm elections continues to dominate headlines, national dialogue, and televised ads. Consider, too, that our research also shows that about a third of internet users don’t believe that Facebook’s efforts to prevent election meddling will work at all. 

But as Facebook’s various efforts — or, at the very least, the attention the company strives to draw to them — continue, so will our measuring of user sentiment be ongoing. Stay tuned.

Email Sign Up Forms: How to Increase Email Sign Ups With Better Forms

In 2017, there were 3.7 billion email users across the globe. That number is expected to reach 4.3 billion by 2022. With half of the world’s population on email, and the ability to reach people at any time of day, email marketing remains a crucial technique to build a customer base.

So how do you attract people to your email list? There are a few important steps, but it all starts with an email sign up forms.

What Is An Email Sign Up Form?

An email sign up form is used to collect email addresses from leads and potential customers. These forms are are embedded on a webpage where a visitor can enter their email address in a form field to be added to your email newsletter. 

A lead might provide their email address for any number of reasons — to receive details about sales, blog post notifications, a discount code or information about your business. Either way, that makes your email sign up form one of the most important things on your site. And while they’re simple to create with the help of a form builder, you’ll still need to put some time and thought into how you build, format and embed your form. 

Let’s go over some ways to create a sign up form that will get more leads on your email list.

5 Email Sign Up Form Best Practices

Whether you’re looking to reach ten people or ten million, you’ll need to create a sign up form that gets people excited to sign up.. Here are some best practices that will help you create a high-converting email sign up form

1. Make the Value Exchange Clear

Your leads should be able to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” when they complete your form. An email address is a valuable commodity and it should be worth their while to sign up. Add a short description to the top of your email sign up form that describes what your lead will get in return for signing up and make it good. For example, instead of saying, ”Sign up for our weekly newsletter” you should say, “sign up for our newsletter and receive exclusive deals and offers.” A strong incentive means your website visitors are more likely to convert.

2. Use a Double Opt-In

You don’t necessarily need more sign-ups as you need quality sign-ups. You need people who actually want to receive your emails — more is not always better. Ensuring quality sign-ups means less fake leads wasting your time and less chances that you’ll end up in the SPAM folder or blacklisted

To ensure quality sign-ups on your form, consider using a double opt-in. This is the type of email subscription that confirms your lead wants to be added to your email list twice. The first time is when the lead enters and submits their information using your web form, and the second time requires the lead to click an additional CTA (usually in their inbox) that confirms their submission. A double confirmation means a high-quality relationship with your leads.

3. Keep It Simple

A lead should be able to look at the form, enter their information, hit “submit” and carry on with their lives within a matter of seconds. Successful email sign up forms are straightforward and clear. If your form is too complex, you risk losing the interest of your website visitors.

Don’t get greedy and ask for too much information right away — if you do, there is a large chance you will turn people off and drive them away from your website. Keep your email sign up form as a way for visitors to sign up for emails.

4. Consider Place and Time

The placement of your email sign up form on your website matters. You should think about how you want your website visitors to find your form. For example, do you want your form to pop-up on the page the second someone lands on your website? Do you want them to scroll down to the bottom of your homepage to find your form? Or do they need to land on a specific page on your site?

Form placement isn’t one-size-fits-all. Think about where most visitors land on your site, how your buyer personas want to interact with your brand and the overall user experience.

Consider questions like, “Will my target audience get frustrated with a pop-up the second they enter our site, or will they find it helpful?”

5. Send a Kickback Email After Submission

Once someone completes your form, thank and welcome them. 

A kickback email is an email that gives your new lead something in return for their information. In the case of an email sign up form kickback email, you’ll want to welcome your new lead and perhaps offer them links to useful content. Thank them for their interest and get them excited about their decision to give you their personal information. This is also where you can provide your new leads with their discount codes, details on future sales, why you value their interest in your business, and how you will support them in the future.

Five Great Email Newsletter Signup Form Examples

Now that we’ve reviewed email sign up form best practices, let’s dive into some examples to provide you with some inspiration while creating your own form.

HubSpot’s Marketing Blog

hubspot-marketing-blog
SourceHubSpot
 
HubSpot’s marketing blog has an email sign up
form with clear benefit statement. Any website visitor could look at this subscription landing page and understand what they will get from signing up in a matter of seconds.

By using a separate landing page for this form, HubSpot is able to eliminate any confusion about what leads are signing up for.

There is also a feature on the form that requires leads to determine whether or not they want to sign up for a daily or weekly subscription. This provides clarity for the lead signing up and ensures a quality subscription for HubSpot.

theSkimm 

the-skimm-sign-up-form

Source: theSkimm

When you head to theSkimm’s website, the first thing you see is their email sign up form. That’s because their entire business revolves around a subscription. theSkimm is a daily email about the top news stories around the globe, so it would only make sense for their homepage to contain their sign up form. 

Above their email sign up, there is a short, straightforward description about how theSkimm works. They provide leads with social proof by mentioning the “millions” of other people who have subscribed to their emails. And lastly, they show a bit of personality and humor with a line beneath the form that says “Still on the fence?” and allows potential leads to read their latest newsletter as well as check out a few celebrity Tweets about how great theSkimm is. 

the-skimm-sign-up-form

Source: theSkimm

Anthropologie

anthropologie-sign-up-form

Source: Anthropologie

Anthropologie places their email sign up form towards the bottom of their homepage after users have had a chance to look around and become familiar with the site. Their signup form has a short description about what leads can expect once they sign up . Anthropologie also respects their visitors’ time by simply asking for an email address to sign up.

Lulus

lulus-sign-up-form

Source: Lulus

Lulus form is located towards the bottom of their homepage. Their email sign up form gets website visitors excited about converting with an offer: a 10% discount code upon sign up. The form is simple and only requires an email address. After form submission, new leads receive a kickback email that welcomes them and also provides them with the code, as promised.

Quest Nutrition 

quest-nutrition-sign-up-form
SourceQuest Nutrition

Quest Nutrition’s form is in a pop-up window that dims the background, eliminating any distractions. The form offers incentives like recipes, discounts and surprises for visitors to sign up. Only an email address is required to sign up. Website visitors have the option to bypass the pop-up and look around the site instead.

Conclusion

Email sign up forms are a simple, efficient and effective way to obtain leads, create more conversions, and increase your overall sales. You’ll reach your audience with email sign up forms that are straightforward and embedded on a convenient location on your website. So, take a few minutes to create your own email sign up form and get started broadening your customer base, developing relationships with your potential customers and increasing your number of leads today. 

What is an Early Adopter? A 3-Minute Rundown

In 2011, there were 150 marketing technology companies scrambling to convince the business world that digital was the future of marketing. Today, that number has exploded to nearly 7,000 companies. And they’re all battling each other to win a spot in the technology stack of almost every business in the world.

By now, digital marketing doesn’t need to be categorized. It’s just marketing. But what happened in the last seven years that took digital from fun, little side projects to most companies’ main form of marketing?

Obviously, the rising popularity of the internet, social media, and smartphones played a huge role in taking digital marketing mainstream. But there was also a pivotal group of companies who drove its momentum: the early adopters of marketing technology.

Acquiring early adopters is a crucial step in the development and potential of an early-stage product or technology. Early adopters can provide a lot of helpful feedback about a product’s or technology’s pros and cons. They also inject these companies with revenue that funds the research and development needed to enhance the product or technology enough to gain widespread adoption.

Early adopters’ experience with and pending endorsement of a new product or technology is vital for determining whether or not the majority of the population will accept the new product or technology. Their support and word-of-mouth marketing for a new product or technology can bolster its reputation and help the company acquire more customers.

But early adopters aren’t helping out ambitious start-ups for altruistic reasons — this partnership is mutually beneficial and produces synergy. For instance, by providing companies with the vital feedback and revenues that can refine their product or technology and take it mainstream, early adopters get unique access to a potentially advantageous new product or technology.

Early adopters also receive first-class customer support, like a dedicated employee to help implement and run the product or technology, or generous discounts and terms and conditions, in exchange for dealing with the bugs that most early-stage products and technology have.

This mutually beneficial relationship doesn’t offset the risk that early adopters face for adopting a new product or technology, though. Even though customers get generous discounts, the newly released product or technology is usually still expensive. It also might be incompatible with an early adopter’s products or the trend the technology is trying to leverage could die out.

For example, early adopters of content marketing software bet that content would be the future of marketing. Fortunately, they won that bet. But early adopters of artificial intelligence and virtual reality risk losing a lot of time and resources on a technology that could just be all hype.

Technology Adoption Curve

The term “early adopters” comes from the technology adoption curve, which was popularized by the 1962 book Diffusion of Innovations, written by Everett Rogers, a professor of communications at Ohio State University.

The technology adoption curve shows the acceptance process of a new product or technology, according to the demographics and psychographics of each group in a population. The curve has a normal distribution.

Image Credit: On Digital Marketing

As you can see from the graphic, early adopters are the second group to adopt a new technology or product. The first group is called innovators, and the ones who adopt the technology after the early adopters are the early majority, late majority, and laggards, respectively.

Each group has unique characteristics, which influences their decision to adopt new technologies before or after they became mainstream. Here’s a general description of each group:

Innovators

  • Youngest group of consumers or companies
  • Most prosperous
  • Most connected to outside sources and innovators
  • Most risk-taking
  • More educated
  • Respected in the community

Early Adopters

  • Younger groups of consumers or companies
  • More prosperous
  • Well connected with the community
  • More progressive
  • Most educated
  • Thought leaders of the community — opinions are held in high regard

Early Majority

  • Older group of consumers or companies
  • Above-average to average prosperity
  • Connected with early adopters
  • More conservative but open to new ideas
  • Above average to average education
  • Above average to average activity and influence in the community

Late Majority

  • Older group of consumers or companies
  • Average to below average prosperity
  • Connected with the early majority
  • Staunchly conservative — approach innovation with a lot of skepticism and will only adopt technologies if they’re proven and the majority of the community has adopted the technology
  • Average to below average education
  • Average to below average influence in the community

Laggards

  • Oldest group of consumers or companies
  • Least prosperous
  • Virtually no connection with the community
  • Extremely conservative and traditional — will adopt technology when its the only remaining option to complete a task
  • Least educated
  • Little to no influence in the community

From Hype to Reality

Early adopters played a key role in taking digital marketing technology from hype to reality. And if you’ve just developed a new product or technology, no matter what industry you’re trying to penetrate, recruiting a loyal group of early adopters could do the same for you too.

A Simple Explanation of Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees

There are two types of employees — “exempt” and “non-exempt”. You might’ve seen these terms on job postings, or heard them in conversation.

If you aren’t sure what they mean, don’t worry — here, we’re going to break them down.

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees

One of the biggest differences between exempt and non-exempt employees is overtime pay. An exempt employee is not entitled overtime pay by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Instead, exempt employees are given a salary, and they are expected to finish the tasks required of them, whether it takes 30 hours or 50. Exempt employees are also excluded from other FLSA protections afforded non-exempt employees.

To be exempt, an employee must earn a minimum of $455 per week, or $23,660 per year, in the form of a salary, instead of on an hourly basis.

The most common roles considered exempt include professional, executive, outside sales, and administrative.

On the flip side, non-exempt employees must be paid overtime — one-and-a-half times their hourly rate, for any hours worked beyond 40 each week. As the name implies, they are not exempt from FLSA regulations.

Most non-exempt employees must be paid federal minimum wage ($7.25 in 2018). Non-exempt employees can be paid either a salary or an hourly wage.

Let’s consider this example to demonstrate the difference between exempt and non-exempt:

Sarah, who is an exempt employee, is stressed because she hasn’t finished her proposal due Monday. She spends most of Friday night tweaking it and finishing it up, staying at the office until late. On Monday, she gets her paycheck — the same amount of money she would’ve gotten if she hadn’t stayed late.

Meanwhile, John, who is a non-exempt employee, chooses to take extra shifts and work overtime on Friday’s. He doesn’t have to — he could leave at 5 p.m. if he wanted to, but on Monday when he receives his paycheck, he knows he’ll receive extra money from the overtime hours worked.

How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Marketing

Wondering what artificial intelligence features are coming to social media and advertising platforms? Want to know how machine learning can improve your marketing? To explore how artificial intelligence will impact social media marketing, I interview Mike Rhodes. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and […]

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29 of the Best Office Pranks & Practical Jokes to Use at Work

If you’ve watched the TV show “The Office” as religiously as I have, the classic “stapler in Jell-O” trick surely sounds familiar. It’s pretty much what the name describes: Simply make a batch of Jell-O, but make sure your colleague’s stapler is hidden inside the mold.

It’s a classic prank. But what other, less conventional pranks are out there to add some kicks to an otherwise average day at the office?

We asked our friends and combed the internet for more examples of some of the funniest office pranks, and pulled together this list to serve as inspiration for your own work pranks.Click here to unlock a free guide and template designed to help you create a  company culture code. 

Every company has a story about that funny office prank of yore. Whether you’re doing some early April Fool’s Day research, or just feeling a little tricksy, it’s time to get a prank of your own in the books. Here are some ideas.

Funny Office Pranks to Pull on Your Coworkers

1. Caramel Onions

When Halloween is around the corner, these caramel onions are no match for other tricks (or treats). Dip each onion in caramel — maybe some red food coloring first, if you need to further disguise them — and stick popsicle sticks down the center. Your colleagues won’t know the difference, but they will wonder why these caramel apples are making them cry so much …

Caramel onions office prank
Source: Rant Lifestyle

2. Nicolas Cage Toilet Seat

Speaking of Halloween, here’s what nightmares are truly made of. Nicolas Cage is easy to come by in the meme community these days. Print a picture of him at his most, well, enthusiastic — and allow him to greet everyone who takes a bathroom break.

Office prank with picture of Nicolas Cage on toilet seat
Source: Rant Lifestyle

3. Fish Drawer

There’s something fishy about this office prank … Just be sure to include fish food; experts suggest you should feed this prank twice a day.

Office prank with desk drawer filled with water and fish
Source: Reddit user jihadaze

4. Pants in the Stall

Usually, when you see feet underneath the stall, you just have to wait your turn. In this case, you might be waiting forever. Set this guy up in your office bathroom and see how long it takes for people to start talking. We just hope nobody called the paramedics on this poor, empty suit.

Office prank with empty pants and shoes in bathroom stall
Source: BuzzFeed

5. Febreze for Days

Tighten the zip-tie, throw it, and run for your life. Or, leave it in your coworker’s office when they’re on break. They’re sure to return to a potent workspace.

Febreze office prank
Source: Emlii

6. Vehicular Sticky Notes

This is the perfect use for those sticky notes that keep piling up — especially if they’re all for someone who just won’t finish his or her tasks. The prank below is a wonderful way to remind them before they take off for the day.

Office prank with sticky notes covering coworker's car
Source: Reddit, Bzbzbzbz

7. Misspelling Macro

Never ask your work buddy to unlock your iPhone for you, or they’ll make you look like the worst speller of all time when you go to type a text or email. Settings > General > Keyboard > Add new shortcut will make this prank a reality against your most detail-oriented colleague.

keyboard-shortcut-prank
Source: Gottabemobile

8. Foghorn Entrance

Haven’t you ever wanted to get a room’s attention the second you walk through the door? Well, the prank below will even get the person entering to stand up straight. This is certainly one way to make sure everyone’s alert before a meeting.

Office prank with foghorn on door bumper
Source: Reddit user JJ0EE

9. Ballooned Conference

Hey, at least it’s not glitter? This prank works two ways: You can either surprise the next team who reserves this room, or have a day-long meeting in here without anyone knowing your business. You will of course have some static electricity when you exit the room.

Office conference room filled with balloons
Source: Reddit, williebeth

10. Desk Trolls

For trolls, by trolls. Luckily, you can buy many of these trolls in bulk. Click here if you’re serious about trolling your coworker’s workstation — just keep in mind you will have to buy more than one pack of trolls to make this stunt worth it.

Office desk full of pink troll dolls
Source: Dose

11. Water Works

Oh look, a budget trip to the beach. This prank gives a whole new meeting to the term, “staycation.” Surprise your coworker when he/she comes back from a beach getaway with, well, another beach getaway. The downside is it’ll be nothing like where they were. The upside is they won’t need a towel.

Beach vacation prank
Source: Imgur user Sanjeev

12. Anti-Gravity Desk

“That’s it — you’re suspended.” Just make sure the person who arrives in the morning to a floating desk doesn’t try to sit down …

suspended-chair-prank.jpg
Source: Daily Mail

13. Nailed the Cake

Hey everyone, there’s cake up for grabs in the kitchen! The prank, however, is written in frosting. This is a good gesture to someone who loves the expression, “needle in a haystack.” Happy hunting.

find-the-toenail-prank.jpg
Source: Reddit user blinhorst

14. Psychedelic Supervision

“I don’t know, I feel like my boss is always watching me,” your coworker might say. Change their perception of micromanagement when this colorful prank. Suddenly a “quick checkin” doesn’t seem all that bad.

boss-pics.jpg
Source: Imgur user DecentLeaf

15. Voice Toast

Simple, yet brilliant. Change the terms of breakfast ever so slightly, and the kitchen becomes the most confusing room in the office. This little note pranks the entire office — a true masterpiece of prank-dom.

tumblr_mkpkuiO73X1r2svb2o1_500.jpg

Source: Tumblr

16. Work From Home

As Ron Burgundy from Anchorman says, “I’m not even mad. I’m just impressed.” Help your coworker who loves taking his/her work home, take their home to work instead. As you can tell, you might need to stay late the night before to get this prank just right.

cubicle-home
Source: Reddit user BOOMTimebomb

17. You’ve Been ‘Felined’

This could actually make your cat-loving coworker’s day. Or, it could make for the greatest prank of all time against the coworker who’s violently allergic to cats (that is, as long as they’re not allergic to photos of cats, too).

cat-lover-prank
Source: Reddit user cstyves

18. The Seedboard

Work with your IT department to fertilize this prank perfectly. Soon enough, its user will wonder why their keyboard is growing. We suggest targeting someone who sits close to the window — some pranks just need some sunlight. “You said you wanted to spend more time with nature,” you might say in your defense.

seeds-in-keyboard
weeds-in-keyboard-prank
Source: BoredPanda

19. Healthy Creme

Who said you couldn’t be helpful while also being a prankster? “The bad news is we’re out of donuts. The good news is you have all these nutritious alternatives to help your immune system cope with the lack of donuts.”

 

This is just cruel 😂 #officeprank #aprilfools #krispykreme #mean #notcool

A post shared by Free Humor (@scotchandsarcasm) on May 12, 2017 at 12:02pm PDT

20. The Ceilings Have Eyes

You could freak out just looking at the photo of this horrifying prank. It might be a little too much for your jumpiest colleague, but for the person who can’t stop talking about scary movies, it’s just the revenge you deserve. (Hint: paper mache, white paint, and a black wig. Done.)

tumblr_mo9kxw4mvd1soeifio1_500.png

Source: Tumblr

21. Chair Scare

Similar to the Entrance Foghorn (prank #8, above), this prank will probably scare more than just the person who sits down. Of course, it’ll be a lesson to anyone who, I suppose, tries to sit too low at their desk.

chair-foghorn-prank
Source: Reddit user 12q9et

Funny Pranks to Pull on Your Boss

22. No Stalling

For the man who never has enough time. Or, for the coworker who takes way too many bathroom breaks during the day. Prank them with their very own throne the next time nature calls.

23. No Stalling: Pt. 2

… Or anyone, really, who never has enough time to make a pit stop — especially if they have specific bathroom decor preferences.

bathroom-cubicle-prank.jpg
Source: 22words

24. Glitter Bomb

About that whole, “At least it’s not glitter” thing in prank #9? Well, this prank can’t make that promise. For the coworkers who don’t yet know the permanence of getting glitter on yourself, this prank is sure to set them straight.

25. Substitute Worker

Sometimes, you’re not sure how to ask for another day off. For those days where you simply can’t come into work, but don’t have the heart to call out again, the doll who looks just like you is the perfect substitute. Or, just put ’em at your colleague’s desk and give them a much-needed identity crisis.

26. Crushed It

When you finally learn about your colleague’s celebrity crush, make sure they know how much you care.

 

#officeprank

A post shared by Alice Lei (@alicerabbit1) on Aug 1, 2015 at 4:04pm PDT

27. World’s ‘Best’ Boss

When words just aren’t enough to express your sentiment, give your manager the perfect way to say “thank you” every time they go to take a sip of coffee.

28. Cup o’ Spiders

“Hey chief, I found a spider on your desk, but don’t worry, it’s been handled.” This prank doesn’t have to have an actual spider in it — the mystery, alone, is all you need to prank your employee.

29. That’s a Wrap

And finally, for the boss who has everything, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

giphy (9).gif

Source: Giphy

Want more? Read The HubSpot Culture Code: Creating a Company We Love.

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What Will It Take Us to Finally Leave Facebook?

Oh, Facebook. What are we going to do with you?

In the past two years alone, we’ve learned that the network was weaponized by foreign actors to spread misinformation in an effort to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We’ve learned that personal user information was improperly harvested by an voter profiling firm. And, last month, we learned that hackers used a site vulnerability to scrape the personal details of 30 million users.

That doesn’t even cover everything.

It’s true: These events, on the surface, most directly impact consumers, marketers and small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) are also feeling their overall impact.

And yet, many Facebook users, marketers, and SMBs have found it so very, very hard to leave the site.

This phenomenon has been measured before in some of our research, which month-over-month has reflected a general sentiment among users to stick with Facebook, despite its many issues. But we wanted to take a closer look — at the impact on marketers and SMBs, at a zoomed-in perspective of user sentiment, at the “why” behind the overall reluctance to quit Facebook altogether, and what it might take for people to finally leave.

To get to the bottom of these different pieces of one big, social puzzle, we ran some more surveys, and discussed the results with Likeable Media CEO Carrie Kerpen.

Here’s what we found.

The Impact on Marketers and SMBs

Facebook has made a number changes in response to the aforementioned issues its experienced over the past two years.

To help curtail the spread of misinformation, for example, it began this spring requiring labels for all political ads and content — like candidates running for an elected office, or issues that frequently arise during elections.

It began applying similar labels to news items, too, indicating where and how many times that story (from that publisher) has been shared on Facebook, as well as a “More From This Publisher” feature.

cover-image-1

Source: Facebook

While the company’s intended goal might be to regain or improve user trust, the outcome has arguably been felt the most by marketers and SMBs. That’s compounded by a major January News Feed algorithm change that prioritized content from users’ friends and family — leading to a drop of up to 50% in business Page engagement for certain categories.

But consider another extension of Facebook’s content-labeling requirement that applies to media companies. In addition to labeling political or issue-based ads as such, the company also began requiring the same labels be placed on promoted news stories about political topics. In other words, a newspaper’s story about an election, if promoted or boosted, would be labeled as a political ad.

According to the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), these requirements have caused a number of smaller publishers to curb their use of Facebook’s publisher tools, or in some cases, stop promoting their content on the site completely. It shares the story of Pennsylvania newspaper the Observer-Reporter, which has had the promotion of many of its stories denied altogether from Facebook — due to their alleged “political” nature — much of the time without any explanation.

It begs the question: What’s the value tradeoff for marketers and SMBs? And furthermore, with all the costs involved with these changes — will they even work?

That’s where the public perception comes in.

The Facebook Trust Barometer: Where Do Users Stand?

Overall User Trust in and Allegiance to Facebook

First, we wanted to measure overall, recent trust levels in Facebook. So, earlier this week, we asked 828 internet users across the U.S., UK, and Canada: Over the past week, how would you measure your overall trust in Facebook?

Over the past week, how would you measure your overall trust in Facebook_ (1)

Nearly 40% of respondents indicated that their trust in the site hadn’t changed at all — even after Facebook had recently revealed the extent of the data obtained by hackers in the site’s recent data breach (which, it turns out, included recent search queries and check-in locations).

But we wanted to see what would happen if we added more context to the question — and see what actions people said they would take in response to that information. So, we asked another 848 internet users across the same region: Facebook disclosed that in a recent data breach, personal details of 14 million users — like their 15 most recent searches and the last 10 places they checked into or were tagged in — were scraped by hackers. Does this affect how you’ll use the site going forward?

Facebook disclosed that in a recent data breach, personal details of 14 million users -- like their 15 most recent searches and the last 10 places they checked into or were tagged in -- were scraped by hackers. Does this affect how you'll u

Looking at these results, the unwillingness to leave Facebook, even after all is said and done, could be chalked up to awareness. With the additional context, we saw slightly more respondents indicating a possible deterioration in trust in Facebook — with over a quarter saying that the data attack was enough to make them at least use the site less.

Still, most users — over a third — said that it wasn’t enough to make them leave the site.

Confidence in Efforts to Curb Election Meddling

Facebook has made a number of efforts to stop the weaponization of its site to influence elections — ranging from the aforementioned content labels, to new rules prohibiting posts that aim to suppress voters

The company has also publicized its efforts to squash election interference, perhaps with the intention of convincing users and lawmakers alike how seriously it’s taking the issue — and even recently invited journalists into its “election warm room” to see what that day-to-day work looks like.

But we wanted to know how confident the public is in Facebook’s efforts to stop election interference in its tracks, including some of the loopholes that have been found in them. A recent New York Times story found, for example, that political ads can still be somewhat anonymous, thanks to a technicality that allows ad buyers to write anything in the “paid for by” field.

We asked another 837 people across the U.S., UK, and Canada: Do you think the actions Facebook is taking to prevent efforts to influence the 2018 U.S. midterm elections will work?

Do you think the actions Facebook is taking to prevent efforts to influence the 2018 U.S. midterm elections will work_ (1)

The results didn’t indicate resounding user confidence in Facebook’s efforts to curb election meddling — while about 44% say that they might work to some extent, over a third don’t believe they’ll be effective at all.

The Perception of Spam and Misinformation on Facebook

Earlier this year, 

What Will It Take Us to Finally Leave Facebook?

To answer the above question, I needed to call in an expert: Likeable Media CEO Carrie Kerpen.

When it comes to the tendency of users to stick with Facebook in the face of ongoing controversy, it seems to be a combination of awareness and trade-offs. We’ve discussed the latter before, when HubSpot VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson pointed to the lack of a widespread replacement for Facebook’s ability to keep users connected to family, friends, and news. 

Kerpen agrees that this phenomenon of connectedness does underscore the unwillingness among users to delete their Facebook accounts for good.

“Your Grandma is likely not on Twitter, but she’s on Facebook now,” Kerpen says, pointed to Facebook’s diversified user base among different populations. “It’s easy to use Facebook, every one is on it, and it’s widely adopted.”

Then, there’s the awareness aspect. Even when people do know about Facebook’s various issues, and think they understand them, it’s difficult for most users to tangibly experience the consequences of them.

“Issues are talked about, but rarely felt. You hear about ‘the Russians,’ but have you ever [directly] felt the impact of that?” asks Kerpen. “Chances are, if you’ve been impacted, you don’t realize it. Until people feel tangible effects of privacy breaches, they won’t be bothered by them.”

What, then, will it take for people to leave the site? According to Kerpen, one of two things need to happen. 

In one scenario, “Facebook becomes less relevant and necessary to [users’] lives,” she says. “That’s unlikely, unless another network is able to have the widespread reach that Facebook has achieved.”

If that happens, the impacts and awareness among users will have to become more tangible. “The privacy breaches actually impact lives at an individual level. They may have impacted elections, for instance, but until a user has to call their credit card company and dispute charges, it really doesn’t feel like it impacts them on an individual level,” Kerpen explains. “These breaches may have given companies data — but until a user’s private data is exposed in a way that impacts them directly, they won’t care.”

That signals some of the impact of these issues on marketers and SMBs. Take the earlier CJR piece, for example, which shares the stories of publishers whose brand engagement — like visits to their sites — have dropped over the past year as a result of Facebook’s changes.

That’s the type of case where the impact of what’s taken place on Facebook over the past two years is tangibly experienced by — and at the expense of — those from whom Facebook earns the most revenue (read: advertisers).

And while the company has implied that it’s willing to sacrifice income from content promotions and ads from the marketers and businesses using these tools, one might wonder at what point more of these professional users — like some cited in the CJR story — might begin to reconsider or reshape their use of Facebook.

“I think you’ll see a temporary scale back from Facebook if these practices continue, but ultimately, brands follow what works,” Kerpen explains. “Television was the top medium for advertisers for years, and there was no actual way to prove a direct correlation to sales. Facebook has both the broad reach that television did for content consumption, and the ability to directly correlate to action the way search does.”

In any case, says Kerpen, the answer to the question of “what will it take?” comes down to palpable, sustainable effects felt by all users of Facebook.

“When and if people feel individual pain,” she says, “they’ll care.”

The Ultimate Guide to Publishing

It’s an incredibly exciting time to be an author.

People are open to new ideas, readers are consuming content through a variety of media, and traditional publishers no longer stand in the way of releasing a new title.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever considered publishing a book. (Mine is raised right now, too.) Now, keep your hand up if you know how to publish a book. * … slowly lowers hand*

Publishing a book has always been one of those mysterious, cryptic processes reserved for the uber-famous or uber-rich. Books just seem to appear on the bookstore shelves … but they’ve got to come from somewhere, right?

Right. Nowadays, they come from multiple sources, which is good news for those of us who aren’t uber-famous or uber-rich. Regardless of your status, income, hometown, or connections, you (yes, you!) can publish a book.

All you need is a great idea, an even better sense of perseverance and patience, and this guide. Keep reading to learn more about publishing or use the chapter links below to skip ahead.

The publishing industry hasn’t always been so diverse and accessible, though. From the very early days of cave walls, clay tablets and papyrus to the modern era of eBooks, the publishing industry has undergone many major changes.

Here are some highlights.

  • 1456: The Gutenberg Press publishes the first book ever: the Bible.
  • 1776: Common Sense is written and self-published by Thomas Paine. He sold over 100,000 copies within three months.
  • 1800s: The Penny Press arrives in the U.S., making newspapers and news accessible for a penny. Since more people can consume news for less (versus just the rich), letters to the editor increase.
  • 1940-1970: The first eBook is published, although historians disagree on which one was truly first.
  • 2000s: Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter emerge, as does blogging. Instead of sending letters to the editor, the masses take to blogging to share their voice and opinions.
  • 2007: Print on-demand gains traction. Amazon releases Kindle.
  • 2009: Self-published titles surge to double the amount of traditionally published titles.
  • 2011: eBook sales surpass printed books for the first time in history.

As for 2018, this year has seen an increase in traditional and indie bookstore sales. Audiobooks have also become the fastest growth area in self-publishing. Lastly, most authors are opting to become hybrid authors — meaning they make their books available in both traditional and electronic formats. How do they do this? Keep reading to find out.

What’s the Difference Between Traditional and Self-Publishing?

So, we’ve referenced traditional and self-publishing (or indie publishing) multiple times so far. What do these processes mean? How are they similar and different?

Traditional publishing refers to the process of working with an agent and/or publishing house to edit, release, and market a book. Despite the lack of creative control given to authors in the traditional publishing process, once a publisher purchases a manuscript, they assume all financial risk with selling your book. New authors with little to no audience or follower base might choose to publish traditionally.

On the other hand, self-publishing is when authors assume all creative and financial control of the publishing process. They choose which independent agents, editors, designers, and distributors to work with, and they assume all or most financial risk associated with putting their book out. Experienced authors or people with a large audience (from a blog or social media) might choose to self-publish.

In the next section, we’ll discuss how to publish books via these different processes. Before we dive in, though, let’s define a few other popular terms in the publishing world.

What Does a Literary Agent Do?

A literary agent is similar to a celebrity or sports agent. They act as a liaison between the talent (the author) and anyone who could profit from or work with the talent. Literary agents typically work with authors to pitch and secure contracts with publishers. They also represent authors if their book is sold to film producers or studios.

Traditionally, literary agents are paid a percentage of any book sales negotiated on behalf of their client. How do agents benefit authors? Outside of making sales, literary authors connect their client’s work to publishers, negotiate contracts, ensure royalty payments, mitigate problems, and provide invaluable guidance and mentorship throughout the publishing process. Agents can also help new authors gain recognition and traction in the publishing world.

Authors secure an agent through a process called querying. (We cover this below.)

What Does a Publisher Do?

Book publishers assume all responsibility of getting a book published. With a team of editors, designers, and marketers, publishers do everything (short of writing the book) in order to bring it to market.

Some publishers specialize in a certain type of writing, whether fiction, non-fiction, or a specific genre. Also, depending on its size, a publisher might employ editors to manage the manuscript within each of those categories, thus diversifying the books and authors they represent.

Authors typically secure a publisher through their agent, as most big publishing houses don’t accept unrepresented works. Some smaller publishers accept work directly from authors, though. (We discuss this next.)

Top Publishing Companies

The following publishing houses publish the most books (and control over 60% of U.S. book revenue) and require agent representation to be considered for publication.

  1. Hachette
  2. Simon & Schuster
  3. Penguin Random House
  4. HarperCollins
  5. Macmillan

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the publishing industry, let’s talk about how to get a book from the pages of your word processor to the shelf of your favorite bookstore.

How to Publish a Book

Because there are so many ways to publish a book nowadays, the “path to published” isn’t a straight line. There are many factors that can change the direction of that path — or put you on a new one entirely — such as book genre, literary agency (or lack thereof), traditional vs. self-publication, print vs. electronic publication … and the list goes on.

Preparing Your Book

The first step in publishing a book can be both the easiest and hardest step in the entire process — writing it. But before you dive in, you must ask yourself: What kind of book are you writing?

  • If you’re writing a novel or memoir, you should finish your manuscript before approaching agents or starting the self-publishing process. Regardless of which publishing route you’re taking, make your manuscript the best content you’ve ever written. Hire a proofreader. Attend writing critique groups. Complete a few extra drafts. This will make it 1) more likely to get picked up by an agent or 2) sell well if self-published.
  • If you’re writing a non-fiction book, a book proposal should suffice. Consider this a business plan for your book — a document that includes what you’d write about, why it would sell well, any competing manuscripts, and more. (If you’re self-publishing, follow the guidelines for a fiction book. In that case, you’d go straight to the press, so the manuscript would need to be complete.)

Publishing Your Book

This step is where the publishing process could take you in a few different directions. Below, we break it up into two main “paths”, per se.

Traditional Publishing

If you choose the traditional publishing route, you’ll need to either work with an agent or directly with a publisher. In today’s market, the vast majority of books acquired by the top publishing houses (mentioned above) are represented by agents. Imagine walking into a Hollywood audition without representation … that’s kind of like pitching a brand new book to a major publishing house. Literary agents help bridge that gap.

If you aren’t interested in agency, you can work directly with a publisher — albeit a smaller, lesser known one. Thankfully, in today’s publishing world, there’s a good fit for every author and his or her work. It just takes some research.

Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of where to find agents and publishers.

If you don’t feel like doing your own research, you can also hire help through services like Copy Write Consultants. For a fee, they’ll research agents and publishers and curate a customized, genre-specific list. They also review your queries and proposals.

Pitching an Agent or Publisher

Once you’ve found the agents and/or publishers you’re interested in, it’s time to compile a query letter and pitch your work. Querying is sending an unsolicited proposal for representation, typically including an outline, synopsis, or first few chapters of a new manuscript. From that point, the agent or publisher can either reject or accept the query.

Accepting the query involves requesting a full manuscript … which is why it’s handy to have your whole book completed before reaching out to agents or publishers.

Note: Beware of con-artists posing as agents. Reputable agents never ask for a fee to read your manuscript; they only make money if they sell your book. Visit Preditors & Editors to check agent ratings and reviews.

Signing and Working with an Agent or Publisher

Next, if an agent or publishing house extends a contract, it’s time to sign. Take a moment to research the agent or publishing house by reviewing their past clients and books. Overall, trust your gut. You’ll work closely with this person and/or publisher and share your most intimate ideas and thoughts with them (in the form of your book). Be comfortable with your choice.

Let’s say you sign with an agent. Here’s what that process would look like.

  1. You’ll work with him or her to review your manuscript, but at this point, you’ll likely only be making minor changes in preparation to pitch a publisher. These changes might include word count, book organization, or any big-picture plot holes. Remember, the book is still yours — you don’t have to change anything you don’t want to.
  2. Once you’re both happy with your manuscript, your agent will take it to various publishers. At this point, the fate of your book is out of your hands … which is why it’s important to sign with an agent you trust. If a publisher is interested, they’ll offer to purchase and publish your manuscript, and you’ll sign it over.
  3. Upon purchase, the publishing house will assign its own editor to your book. You’ll work alongside them to continue to tweak and revise the copy, as well as establish the book design, cover art, publishing date, and marketing strategy (which we’ll delve into next). The publisher will have its own team for these tasks, but you’ll likely still be involved.

Now, let’s rewind and say you sign directly with a publisher. This process looks pretty similar, except you’d simply skip to Step 3.

Self-Publishing

Okay. Let’s change directions and explore the self-publishing path. In the previous section, we discussed self-publishing and ePublishing, and we’ll expand more on these below.

First, here are the most common self-publishing methods:

  • Independently self-publishing, which means hiring freelance or consulting help as-needed and working directly with retailers and distributors
  • Hiring a self-publishing service company, which is akin to working with a publisher

For the sake of equipping you with everything you need to know about publishing, we’re going to dedicate this section to the first method. But before we move on, let’s explore the second … just in case you’re interested.

Hiring a company to self-publish your book is very similar to working with a publisher, except they typically charge an upfront fee, retain no rights to your work, and pass along 100% of your sales. While this method sounds like a great deal, it’s important to note that the best and most notable companies charge upwards of $20,000 … per manuscript. So, if you have a ton of money and no interest in being involved, this might be the move for you.

Here are a few reputable self-publishing service companies:

Now, let’s talk about the first method: self-publishing completely on your own.

This method gives you complete control over your book’s design, editorial process, and quality. Today that’s made easy by the myriad of freelance and independent editors, illustrators, book designers, and marketing professionals that work in this specific market.

The first thing to determine when self-publishing is whether you’d like to publish your manuscript as a print or digital book. This will determine how you prepare your manuscript and who you hire to help you.

Print Publishing

Print production can be done in one of two ways: print on-demand or traditional printing. Print on-demand is printing your book one at a time, as it’s ordered. Traditional printing is typically how major publishing houses produce their books, and to follow this method, you typically have to commit to (at least) 1,000 copies.

Which option is best for you? Ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I plan to sell my book?
  • Where will my audience discover and buy my book?
  • What is my budget like?

Print on-demand is a great option for authors who plan to sell primarily online, such as through a website or Amazon. Traditional printing might be a good fit for an author who has speaking engagements or plans to make in-person sales. If you’re looking to stock your book in bookstores, it’s best to wait for a purchase order or sales contract before investing in a traditional print run.

As for your budget, print on-demand can increase your per-unit cost (and retail price), but if you’re working with a small budget, print on-demand decreases the financial risk associated with publishing. On the other hand, if you’re confident you’ll be able to sell your printed books, traditional printing might be worth the bulk cost … with printing and shipping, it’ll likely be at least $2,000.

Preparing Your Print Manuscript

Traditional publishers have a slew of professionals who take your Microsoft Word manuscript and turn it into a gorgeous book. As a self-publisher, that process is on you.

Before taking your book to print, it must look like a traditional book. Tools like Book Design Templates can help you organize and design the inside of your manuscript. For the cover design, you can use tools like Canva (if you’re looking for a DIY approach) or hire a professional designer. At this stage, you should also consider your author biography and any positive reviews you’d like to put on the cover.

ePublishing

ePublishing isn’t a synonym for self-publishing, but rather one way self-published authors might distributetheir work. ePublishers aren’t publishers; they don’t assume responsibility for the quality or organization of your work, and they don’t assume any rights.

They’re merely distributors or retailers — such as an electronic bookstore or library — that take a portion of the proceeds from book sales. The below image is an example of the retailer fees by price point.

publishing-1

Source

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a popular ePublishing option offered through Amazon. KDP is considered an ePub retailer, on which authors can sell their books. KDP doesn’t work with authors beforehand; they simply provide a portal through which readers can find and purchase books.

Preparing Your eBook Manuscript

If you opt to self-publish digitally, you’ll need to tweak your manuscript. This process is similar to preparing your manuscript for print, except you’ll need to add another step: converting your file to an ePub format.

Here are the most common formats:

  • EPUB, a standard format for eBooks. You can’t export an EPUB file from a Word document, but you can save your Word document as a text (.txt) file and convert and format it using a special software.
  • MOBI, the ideal format for Amazon Kindle (although EPUB files work, too).

PDFs work, too, although they’re not recommended as they are difficult to convert.

If this process intimidates you, companies like Draft2Digital or eBookPartnership can help. But if your manuscript is mostly text, you should be able to handle conversion and formatting on your own.

In terms of cover art, eBook covers will likely be seen in black and white, grayscale, color, high-resolution, low-resolution, thumbnail size, or full size … just to name a few. Digital books sales can take place on desktops, mobile devices, and in all resolutions. Because of this, it may be best to hire a designer who specializes in these formats.

Distributing and Marketing Your Book

So, we’ve talked about how to prepare and publish your book, both traditionally and as a self-published author. At this stage, you’d likely have one of the following:

  • A printed book as produced by a traditional publisher (with or without an agent)
  • A printed book as produced by print on-demand or a traditional printer
  • A digital book manuscript

With the hard part behind you and one of these in-hand (or on your computer), you’re now ready to distribute, market, and sell your book.

Note: If you’re working with a traditional publishing house, they’ll handle most of the marketing and distribution. That’s what your contract entails, after all. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help promote your book, too. Apply some of the self-publishing tips below to maximize your book sales.

For self-published print books, the main success factors are your book quality and your cover. (That’s why the majority of this article is dedicated to preparing and publishing your book.) The main factors for eBooks include pricing (which should be similar to or a little less than your competition) and its positioning on Amazon or other digital bookstores. While you can’t quite control this, you can optimize your marketing description, author bio, cover design, and other components to ensure your book is seen by more people.

There’s one factor that drives success for both print and digital books: audience involvement and visibility. This includes giveaways, reviews, contests, and drumming up interest before the publish date. Authors — especially self-published authors — should have a website, a blog, and social media (for starters) through which they can attract followers and promote their book. Loyalty is an incredibly strong motivator for books sales.

Writer Jane Friedman shares this advice on her blog: “You’ll be far more attractive to a publisher if they believe you’ll be an active marketer and promoter of your book. If you come to the table with media savvy or an established platform (audience or readership), you’ll have an easier time getting that first deal. [Also,] don’t go looking for a publishing deal because you need the authority or platform that a book can give you. Rather, you must already have the platform and authority, and thus be qualified to write a book. YOU bring the audience to the publisher, not the reverse.”

The same goes for self-publishers. Your audience is critical for marketing and selling a book … which brings us to our next section: publishing tips in 2018.

Publishing a Book in 2018

The publishing world has changed drastically, especially in the last 20 years. Outside of self-publishing, ePublishing, and audiobooks, what else is new? What are some tips for modern-day publishing? Keep reading to find out.

Crowdsource Your Book

Crowdsourcing isn’t reserved for fancy backpacks or new technology. Self-published authors can thrive there, too. Not only does crowdsourcing provide you with an advance of cash that can help with upfront editorial or printing costs, but it can also create a unique audience of people who are both fiscally and emotionally invested in the creation of your book.

It also builds a sense of exclusivity as your supporters are the only ones who’d receive your book … at least in the beginning. Services like Kickstarter and Indiegogo can help host a “pre-book tour” that raises funds and a following.

Start With an eBook, Then Print

Is this your very first book? Well, maybe you should take this guide one step at a time. Given the lower financial and physical commitment of publishing an eBook, many first-time authors use that process as a springboard into the world of authorship.

Publishing an eBook allows you to get your work out there while building up a readership and garnering name recognition. Then, when you’re (hopefully) ready to publish your second book, your readers can anticipate a digital and hard copy.

Better Yet, Start With a Blog

Let’s take a step back. If this is your very first book, and you have yet to write a word much less attract an audience, it may be more realistic to start with a blog. Blogging is completely risk- and cost-free yet attracts a readership and following via email and social media. Once you drum up enough attention, then you can dive into writing a book … with the confidence that your audience will want to read that, too.

Look Local

Just like coffeeshops love supporting local farmers and art galleries love supporting local artists, indie and independent bookstores love supporting local authors. Selling books written by local authors attracts, well, local customers and celebrates the community that the shop is a part of.

Local bookstores (like coffeeshops) are community hotspots — they support the community, sponsor local programs, sell unique content (not found at national chains), and host events. When pitching to a local bookstore, consider how your book supports their mission as said hotspot and how selling your book might bring other locals there, too.

Over to You

From querying an agent to working with an indie book cover designer, there are a myriad of players in the wild world of publishing. No longer are book jacket biographies reserved for the rich, famous, or uber-successful. Anyone and everyone can publish their thoughts and ideas — including you — and this guide can help you do so.

What is Website Architecture? A 3-Minute Rundown

Getting lost sucks. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a city or a corn maze, the ambiguity of not knowing where you are and what could happen next can make you break out in a cold sweat. This stress intensifies even more when you’re lost and you actually have to be somewhere, which is similar to how website visitors feel when they land on a jumbled website.

In a society that’s addicted to instant gratification, people don’t like searching for things for a long time. We’re irrationally impatient, making us feel like we’re in a perpetual rush. That’s why over 55% of visitors only spend 15 seconds engaging with websites.

As a marketer, structuring your website in an intuitive and easy-to-navigate way is crucial for retaining your audience’s attention. If you don’t, they’ll bounce in seconds. And if people leave your website because your user experience is messy, search engines won’t think highly of you, either.

If you need help structuring a website that will engage an audience and rank on Google, we’ve got you covered. We’ll teach you what website architecture is, why it’s important for UX and SEO, and how you can develop a sound architecture for your own website.

Why is website architecture important?

A sound website architecture strengthens your website’s user experience — when you structure your website in an intuitive way, users can seamlessly find the information they’re looking for.

Plus, when your user experience is strong, your search engine rankings will be, too. Users will spend more time on your website and link to your web pages, which are both heavy indicators that your brand creates quality content. Furthermore, a solid website architecture helps search engines effectively crawl your website.

How to Develop a Sound Website Architecture

1. Don’t make your users think too hard.

A hard-to-navigate website will have a lofty bounce rate — users don’t want to waste time trying to find information on your site. If they do, they’ll just leave. So practice empathy and provide an intuitive web experience.

For instance, if your users click on the “Email Marketing” tab on your blog’s homepage, they expect to be directed to a list of email marketing posts. From this page, you also need to design a simple navigation path back to your blog’s homepage and your website’s homepage.

2. Model your website architecture after the top players in your industry.

Your customers are used to the website architecture of major brands in your industry, so if you run an eCommerce store, analyze how Amazon structures their website and emulate them. Your website will seem more familiar and, in turn, easier to navigate.

3. Keep your website consistent.

Your website’s navigation format, design principles, and link displays should all follow a consistent pattern. Keeping these elements the same will keep your users on your site longer because it’ll be easier for them to quickly navigate to new pages and click on links.

4. Your internal links must make sense.

Your internal links should direct users to other pieces of relevant and useful content. Also, when users come across an internal link on your website, they should immediately understand which piece of content the link will direct them to and why that content is linked to the web page they’re currently on.

Check out this video about the pillar cluster model to learn how to do effective internal linking.

One internal linking caution you should exercise, though, is not stuffing keywords into your link’s anchor text. Google has witnessed people stuff keywords into their internal links’ anchor text to try to beat their algorithm for years. But the search engine actually creates specific algorithms to punish this kind of behavior.

It’s also effective for your footer or top-level navigation to have a robust sitemap page. This helps search engines and users find pages on your website much faster and easier.

5. User should be able to access any of your website’s pages in 3-4 clicks.

Even if your website has a million pages, the architecture should allow users to start from the homepage and end up on any page within three to four clicks.

To do this, design a top-level navigation that can direct users to all your website’s main categories. Then, from each of your website’s main category pages, make sure they can click-through to all the sub-category pages.

5 Proven Strategies for Decreasing Employee Absenteeism

Employee absenteeism can have a major impact on your company’s bottom line — in fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports absenteeism costs U.S. employers $225.8 billion annually, or $1,685 per employee.

Along with revenue, employee absenteeism can negatively affect morale and productivity. Your team won’t perform its best without all its members present, and if the numbers dwindle too low, your employees might feel burdened by the extra work they need to take on.

While it’s not an easy problem to solve, it’s critical you determine the root causes and attempt to mitigate your employees’ absences — if you don’t, it could be detrimental to your workplace culture, and your company’s long-term success.

Here, we’ll explore five strategies you can implement to decrease employee absenteeism, while improving workplace satisfaction and engagement.

1. Implement a Wellness Program

A Towers Watson survey of about 900 employers in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia found that organizations with wellness initiatives experienced less unplanned absences — just 3.3 days, as opposed to four.

A wellness program can help you mitigate health-related absences, while simultaneously lowering health care costs and reducing employee stress. Additionally, a wellness program can help improve morale and workplace culture, and even increase productivity.

In 2018, 80% of workers report feeling stressed on the job, and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage that stress. Prolonged stress can lead to health issues including heart disease, obesity, and depression.

By taking steps to create a workplace culture that prioritizes health and wellness, you’re able to decrease unhealthy habits that lead to employee absenteeism. For instance, if an employee is able to mitigate stress during your office’s lunchtime yoga, she might be less likely to let that stress build up and lead to bigger problems down the road.

2. Offer Vacation Days and Paid-Time Off

At HubSpot, we have unlimited vacation days.

Oftentimes, friends will say, “So, why are you even working? Why not take vacation all the time?”

I tell them, “Because I love my job. And, also, because I’m dedicated to contributing to my team’s growth, and that can’t happen if I take months off.”

Times have changed. The traditional nine-to-five is no longer necessary — with modern technology, your employees can work where and whenever they want. If you hire exceptional talent who are dedicated to getting results, then you should trust them to manage their own time.

Employee absenteeism is often a result of burnout, or employees feeling they need to take days off for personal obligations. By offering a fair amount of paid-time off and vacation days (maybe even unlimited?), you can help employees feel happier about their work-life balance, and mentally recharge — a win-win for them, and for your team’s productivity.

3. Consider Flexible Hours

Numerous studies suggest working less hours correlates with higher levels of productivity. By offering employees the option to take breaks, leave early in the afternoon, or arrive later in the morning, you’re giving them the flexibility to work when they’re at their peak productivity levels — and take breaks when they’re not.

Additionally, offering a remote option could significantly decrease employee absenteeism, as ironic as it might sound. Working from home enables your employees to take care of sick kids, run errands, or let the electrician in without taking a full day off from work.

If you’re worried about a decrease in productivity as a result of remote workers, you shouldn’t be — two-thirds of managers who offer telecommuting flexibility report employees who work from home are more productive, not less.

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether flexible schedules work for you and your team, but it’s a viable option for decreasing employee absenteeism by giving employees the option to take care of themselves and still get their work done, on their own terms.

Take a look at “Flexible Schedules: The Good, Bad, & the Surprising” to learn more.

4. Improve Workplace Morale

If your employees aren’t excited to come to work and engage with coworkers, it could be contributing to employee absenteeism. Ultimately, humans are social creatures — a sense of belonging is critical for workplace satisfaction.

You can build morale through team-building exercises, friendly competition between departments, and community service trips. Facilitating opportunities for employees to engage with one another, while feeling proud and inspired by their team, is imperative for combating employee absenteeism. If an employee feels appreciated and recognized by coworkers, she’ll have a stronger sense of motivation to come to the office.

Additionally, your office ambiance can go a long way towards improving morale. For instance, studies suggest plants can help your employees concentrate. Scents like lavender can ease stress and promote relaxation, and small office snacks can keep your employees’ energy levels up.

Ultimately, a warm, friendly, and productive environment can help reduce employee absenteeism by creating a space in which your employees want to spend their time.

5. Encourage Employee Engagement

It’s a simple truth — disengaged employees are going to look for excuses to avoid the office.

Empowering your employees and increasing their workplace satisfaction isn’t just a matter of reducing absenteeism — it’s also critical for your company’s long-term success. The more engaged your employees are, the better they’ll perform.

So how can you increase employee engagement? The answer might be in your leadership skills. 

Ultimately, managers hold a lot of power over employees’ workplace happiness. In fact, a Gallup poll found 75% of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses, not the position itself.

To improve employee engagement, consider offering more autonomy and freedom for your employees to manage their own schedules and tasks.

Autonomy can be a major factor in workplace satisfaction — one meta-analysis involving over 400,000 people in 63 countries found autonomy and control over one’s life matters more to people than money.

By investing in genuine relationships with your employees, you’ll quickly find there are plenty of areas you can reduce stress and improve employee engagement. Perhaps your employee is frustrated that she hasn’t been given enough growth opportunities. By discussing her future goals, you can help her get on the right track and encourage engagement by giving her more tasks related to her interests.

Alternatively, maybe your employee is stressed from his morning commute. Simply granting him a flexible schedule to avoid rush hour could decrease his stress drastically.

Additionally, it’s imperative you continuously inspire your employees and acknowledge your employees’ through positive feedback when they perform well.

Put another way, what would get you out of bed faster in the morning — some early morning praise from your manager, or a long to-do list with no acknowledgement for yesterday’s job well done?