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Self-Driving Cars Will Hit the Road in a Few Weeks. Are We Ready?

A recent Bloomberg report says that self-driving car maker Waymo is planning to launch a driverless car-hailing service imminently.

In as little as a few weeks, the story says, Waymo — which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet Inc. — will debut a commercial, self-driving car service that some have likened to ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft.

The launch, if the rumors prove to be true, is said to be small, consisting of anywhere between “dozens or hundreds of authorized riders in the suburbs around Phoenix, covering about 100 square miles,” according to the Bloomberg story.

But it raises a question. Are we ready for self-driving cars to hit the road?

To find out, we asked 3,325 people across the U.S., UK, and Canada about their experiences with and expectations of autonomous vehicles. Here’s what they had to say.

Most People Have Not Ridden in a Self-Driving Car

Despite much of the excitement around them, autonomous vehicles remain a highly emerging technology.

Have you ever ridden in a self-driving car_ (2)

Within our survey, over 88% of respondents indicated that they had not yet experienced riding in a self-driving car. 

People Want to Try the Self-Driving Car Experience

However, despite most people not having ever ridden in a driverless car, many of them are curious to try. 

Would you ever ride in a self-driving car_ (2)

Nearly half of our respondents indicated that while they haven’t ever been in an autonomous vehicle, they’d like to try riding in one — suggesting that, once these cars do hit the road, the interest in experiencing them could help them go mainstream.

Self-Driving Cars Will Be a Dominant Form of Transportation, but Not for a While

We found that over three-quarters of respondents indicated that they believe autonomous vehicles will make up the majority of cars on roads — some day. 

Do you think self-driving vehicles will eventually make up the majority of the cars on most roads_ (1)

However, most believe that it might be a while before that happens, with the highest number of respondents saying that they believe it will be a decade or two until self-driving cars take over.

Safety Concerns Abound

Despite the enthusiasm among respondents to experience riding in a self-driving car, few of them (about 17%) would describe autonomous vehicles as “very safe.”

Do you think self-driving cars are safe_ (1)

At the same time, most people agree that while there are still some safety issues to be worked out with self-driving technology, these vehicles are generally safe enough to be on roads.

Safety has been a significant part of Waymo’s message throughout its autonomous-vehicle-building journey. According to the Bloomberg story, for instance, the company said in a statement that “safety [is] at the core of everything we do.”

Approaching with caution can delay launches and slow the process of such a new technology going mainstream. Waymo’s own CEO, for instance, has remarked himself that he believes it will be “decades” before self-driving cars comprise the majority of vehicles on the road.

However, Waymo’s “safety-first” mindset gives the company what some believe a positive, competitive advantage — especially when compared to some other autonomous vehicle makers.

But until this fleet of self-driving cars hits the road, and you’re curious to know what riding in one is like in the meantime — check out the story of our experience here.

Featured image credit: Waymo

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: What’s the Difference?

Year after year, WordPress ranks as one of the top website building tools available. This easy-to-use CMS (content management system) software is beginner-friendly, offers a variety of plans, and allows you to quickly create and manage a unique and functional website for your visitors.

If you’re looking to build a site on WordPress, one of the first questions you may find yourself asking is, “What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?”

 

WordPress.org is a self-hosted, free platform in which you purchase and manage all aspects of your website including your domain name, add-ons, security, and code. WordPress.com hosts your website for you, offers multiple payment plans, gives you access to a domain name, and a variety of default features.

Below is a useful table that compares the key differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

Feature WordPress.org WordPress.com
Cost Free. Free, $4 per month, $8 per month, or $25 per month.

Hosting Provider and

Additional Features

Need to purchase hosting provider, create a custom domain name, purchase plugins, themes, and all other add-ons. Must manage your entire website, code, and security. WordPress offers a hosting service, domain name, security, and backups. You can upgrade your account and create a custom domain name and choose a third-party hosting provider as well.
Customization Must purchase and install your own themes to customize your website. Customize your website with any WordPress-compatible theme of your choice. If you upgrade your account, you can also use premium themes, third-party themes, or custom themes.

Integration with Social

Networks

Must install plugins to enable all social media sharing on your website. Your website can integrate with social media networks. If you upgrade your account, sharing functionality with social media accounts is included.
Plugins Find and install plugins to enhance your website’s functionality. Features such as sharing, stats, comments, and polls are included. You can also add plugins to your website for other features.
Support WordPress.org support forums.   WordPress.com support forums and personal support are available. With an upgraded account, you have access to live chat and email support.
Link to Download Get started here. Get started here.

Let’s dive into each of these features and review the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com in more depth.

Cost of WordPress

There are a number of different WordPress plans to choose from that range in price. No matter your budget, you can find an option that meets your needs without breaking the bank.

Cost of WordPress.org

WordPress.org is always free. However, because it’s only a publishing platform, you’ll have to purchase every other element of your website including your third-party hosting provider, domain name, as well as your themes and templates, plugins, and add-ons. You’ll also have to find a way to manage your website’s security and maintain and edit your site’s code.

Cost of WordPress.com

WordPress.com has four different plans that range in price.

wordpress-payment-plans

Source

There is a basic plan that is always free, a plan ideal for personal use that costs $4 per month, a premium plan that costs $8 per month, and a business plan that costs $25 per month. As you work your way up through the more expensive plans, the more features and levels of customization you will be able to take advantage of on your website.

If you choose the free option, you will be offered WordPress hosting, a domain name, and minimal access to WordPress support. If you choose one of the three paid options, you’ll be able to add a hosting provider of your choosing and a custom domain name. You will also be offered extensive support and customization options.

WordPress Hosting Providers

A hosting provider gives your website a place to “live” on the internet. Choosing the right hosting provider for WordPress is crucial because it will impact your site’s functionality, speed, reliability, security, and more. Let’s review the differences between website hosting with WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com.

Hosting for WordPress.org

If you choose WordPress.org you’ll have to self-host your website, meaning you’ll have to purchase a third-party provider, such as WP Engine or InMotion Hosting. There are hundreds of hosting providers available, so we’ve created a guide to 19 of the best WordPress hosting providers of 2018 for you to review.

Hosting for WordPress.com

WordPress.com offers different hosting packages for you to use. If you pick a paid version of WordPress.com, you can decide whether or not you want to use WordPress’ hosting service or if you want to use a third-party provider — as you would with a WordPress.org plan — you already feel strongly about or have prior experience using.

Pros and Cons of Self-Hosting

There are plenty of benefits that come from self-hosting your WordPress website, as you would with a WordPress.org site. However, there are also a lot of challenges to be aware of that often make WordPress.com plans preferable.

The pros of self-hosting include having complete control over everything that goes into the creation of your website, and the ability to manage your website’s security and edit your website’s code. You also have the opportunity to find, buy, and install a third-party hosting provider of your choosing, create a custom domain name, and find different themes, plugins, and add-ons that work for your site and needs. If you choose the self-hosting route, you use the WordPress platform for free.

The cons to self-hosting include having to actually spend the time to find, purchase, and install an ideal third-party hosting provider for your site, learn how to create a domain name, and identify the themes, plugins, and add-ons that make the most sense for your website. You also need to have some type of knowledge in web development as you’ll be the one managing your website’s code and updates.

WordPress Customization

WordPress is a completely customizable CMS. With the help of the hundreds WordPress themes and templates available today, you can achieve virtually any look imaginable by customizing every element of your website.

WordPress.org Customization

With WordPress.org, you are required to find and install your desired third-party themes, such as StudioPress, Pixelgrade, and Stylemix Themes, on your own. WordPress does not offer you access to their free themes the way WordPress.com does, so the level of customization you want to achieve is dependent on your own theme research and the options you decide to implement on your website.

WordPress.com Customization

The free version of WordPress.com comes with dozens of free themes that you can choose from and implement on your website. The free plan does not let you add any third-party or premium themes to your website.

However, with a paid plan, you can use premium, third-party themes as you would with a WordPress.org website. If you choose this route, WordPress.com allows you to easily install your third-party or premium theme so you can get started customizing your website in just minutes.

WordPress Website and Social Media Integration

It’s no secret that social media marketing has become a powerful tactic to promote brands, products, and websites today. Integrating your WordPress website with your social media channels is an easy way to manage all of your interactions in one place, broaden your impact, and increase conversions. It’s also a great way to simply ensure your website visitors know about your social media channels and vice versa.

WordPress.org Social Media Integration

WordPress.org does not come with any social media channel integration. You’ll need to install plugins on your website to enable social media sharing and integration. There are a number of social media plugins available in the plugin library, such as Social Media Widget by Acurax and Jetpack, to help you with tasks such as social media posting from your website and creating beautiful sidebars with links to all of your social accounts for your site.

WordPress.com Social Media Integration

With a free WordPress.com account, you can integrate your own website with social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. This will just require a bit of work on your end. By publicizing your website, or connecting it to your multiple different social accounts, you can integrate your accounts and access them from your WordPress dashboard.

If you have a paid WordPress account, all social media integration comes included and ready-to-use so you can access all of your social accounts from WordPress with the click of a button.

WordPress Plugins

If you’re looking to add to the array of features you have on your WordPress website, you’ll need to install plugins. Plugins are how you enhance your website’s functionality by adding capabilities that don’t come standard with the software. Since there are over 56,000 options available, we created a list of 25 of the best WordPress plugins to help get you started.

WordPress.org Plugins

You’ll need to find and install plugins yourself with a WordPress.org website. Since WordPress.org is simply a platform and there aren’t any features that come standard with the plan, you’ll want to install some plugins on your own. You can search for specific topics or things you need in the WordPress plugin library to narrow down the thousands of search results and find an option suited to your specific needs.

WordPress.com Plugins

With WordPress.com plans, some social media, customer interaction, and analytics-related features (that do not come standard with a WordPress.org plan) such as sharing, statistics, comments, and polls, are automatically included. To add to these default features, you can install WordPress-compatible plugins of your choosing. If you pay for the most expensive WordPress.com plan, you can also install custom plugins.

WordPress Support

While building your website, you may run into a roadblock here or there, or have a question about how to complete a task. WordPress has varying levels of support based on the plan you choose.

WordPress.org Support

With WordPress.org, you are pretty much on your own when it comes to customer support as this plan does not provide any access to one-on-one assistance. Instead, you can access the WordPress.org support page which contains a number of forums that you can use to problem solve. Other than that, you can always try searching for answers to your questions on the internet.

wordpress.org-support-page

Source

WordPress.com Support

Free WordPress.com plan users can take advantage of community support and forums available, which are similar to the support pages that WordPress.org users have access to. This is a very basic level of support that leaves you to do most of your own problem-solving.

If you are a paid WordPress.com user, you will have 24/7 access to live chat and email support with WordPress experts in addition to the community support and forums. 

Back To You

Understanding the key differences between WordPress.org and the various WordPress.com plans is key to determining which type of website best fits your needs. WordPress.org is a great option if you’re looking for complete control over every aspect of your site. WordPress.com is preferable if you need some assistance building your website and want more automation. 

Once you’ve reviewed and considered all of the plan options, you can get started by downloading your WordPress.org or WordPress.com account and utilizing the variety of features you have access to design a website perfect for your specific needs.

Six Cover Letter Greetings for Every Situation

When you’re trying to make a good first impression, a greeting is critical. Saying “Yo, what’s up” to your new employer will evoke a different, likely more negative reaction than, “Hello, sir, it’s nice to meet you.”

A cover letter greeting is just as important as your first in-person salutation. It’s a chance to demonstrate professionalism and even effort — for instance, addressing your hiring manager by first and last name shows you did your research.

Here, we’ll explore the best cover letter greetings you can use to ensure your cover letter is well-received.

Cover Letter Salutation Examples

1. Use “Hello” or “Dear” followed by first and last name.

If the job description includes the hiring manager’s name, or if you’ve managed to figure it out through research, an easy greeting uses a full name with a “Dear” or “Hello” before it. Additionally, this helps prevent any awkwardness that could arise from mistaking someone’s gender.

For instance, Carson could be the first name of a woman or man. To be safe, you’ll want to address your letter like this — “Dear Carson Kennedy” or “Hello Carson Kennedy”.

2. Include their title if possible.

If you’re writing to a hiring manager with a title like “Dr.” or “Professor”, include it in your greeting. It will demonstrate a level of respect, and since it’s non-gender specific, it won’t offend anyone.

For instance, you might start your cover letter like this — “Dear Dr. Grace”.

3. If you don’t know their name, you can still make it specific.

If you’ve done your research and can’t find a specific person hiring for the role, it’s likely because the company has a team assembled to delegate the hiring responsibilities. To address a letter to a team, figure out in which department or on which team the role falls. Then, follow this formula — “Dear [Department] Hiring Team”.

For instance, if you’re applying for a role within Customer Service, you might say, “Dear Customer Service Hiring Committee” or “Dear Customer Service Hiring Team”.

How to Address a Cover Letter Without a Name

You’ll want to make every possible effort to figure out the name of the hiring manager who will receive your cover letter if there is a particular person assigned to the role. A customized greeting goes a long way towards helping your cover letter stand out in a sea of “To whom it may concern”.

However, some companies don’t assign one hiring manager to read cover letters. Instead, they might ask their recruiting team to assess the letters, or delegate the responsibility to various team members within a department.

If you can’t find one hiring manager to address your letter to, there are some impressive, and less impressive, alternatives.

For instance, Saddleback College conducted a survey of more than 2,000 companies and found 40% of employers prefer “Dear Hiring Manager” as the number one greeting when you don’t have a hiring manager’s name. “Dear Hiring Manager” is an effective greeting because it doesn’t make assumptions about gender, and it clearly states who you’re trying to reach.

Alternatively, “To whom it may concern” is preferred by 27% of employers. If you’re writing a letter to inquire about positions not currently listed on the company’s careers page, this might be the most appropriate greeting.

It’s likely best to avoid “Sir” or “Madam”, since you don’t know the gender identity of the employer who will receive your letter.

LinkedIn Just Relaunched Company Pages. Here’s What You Need To Know.

Having a Company Page on LinkedIn is essential. It gives you the opportunity to take part in conversations important to your brand, engage with and grow your audience, and leverage your current employees to spread your mission. 

On November 13th, LinkedIn relaunched Company Pages as LinkedIn Pages, adding new features that customers value most. If you log into LinkedIn today, you’ll notice some obvious differences. The UI is cleaner and easier to navigate — additionally, look a little deeper and you’ll see there are a number of new features geared towards helping you leverage LinkedIn to grow your business.

Understanding these new LinkedIn updates will help you take advantage of all that LinkedIn Pages has to offer, and find success on their platform. Here’s what you need to know about the new LinkedIn Pages.

Join the conversations that matter.

Whatever you specialize in, you want your company to be part of the conversation. But conversations on LinkedIn don’t just happen during your nine-to-five work day. What if you want to make a post during your commute to work, or respond to a comment on your video as soon as it comes in? With mobile admin, you can now manage conversations important to your company while at your desk, or on your phone while you’re on the go.

More than half of LinkedIn’s traffic comes from their mobile app, but a number of the benefits that individual users enjoy in the mobile app have not been extended to LinkedIn Page admins. LinkedIn’s mobile app now lets you post, update, and respond to comments from anywhere — making it easier to manage the conversations in which your company is taking part. 

LinkedIn Mobile-1

LinkedIn Pages also now enable you to participate in conversations important to your success. For example, you can now associate up to three hashtags to your LinkedIn Page. This lets individuals dive into topics that you’ve associated with your company. With this update, you can now associate your brand with various trending topics, and more easily take part in that conversation.

Another update to LinkedIn Pages includes the ability to share different media types natively within LinkedIn. You can now upload PDFs or docs directly into a LinkedIn Page post, giving you a great opportunity to share brand stories that can be used to promote your overall brand. For example, here at HubSpot, we could share our Customer Code directly on our LinkedIn Page.

Going further than just PDFs and docs, video on LinkedIn allows you to share quick, authentic video messages with your followers. Video is growing quickly on LinkedIn, with 17% more marketers posting video on the platform in 2018 than the year before.

LinkedIn’s native video solution gives marketers even more reason to lean into video. These videos will auto-play in the LinkedIn newsfeed, and will stay there longer than just a video linked from another platform, like YouTube. Consider using video to tell a quick customer success story, or to authentically promote one of your products or services.

Know and grow your audience.

Your success is tied to your ability to understand your audience. The more keyed into the unique challenges and needs of your audience, the stronger your content will be, and the more it will resonate with your audience.

To help you understand exactly what content is resonating with your audience, LinkedIn Pages now offers “Content Suggestions.” With Content Suggestions, simply select your audience, and you’ll be presented with a list of topics and articles they are interested in. Create original content based around these topics, or share articles your audience is already interested. This update makes it easier than ever to stay active on LinkedIn — driving traffic to your page and increasing your follower count. 

Content Suggestions-1

Once you start creating and sharing content that interests your audience, you need to determine whether or not your content strategy is successful. LinkedIn Pages now give administrators stronger visual analytics that can be used to further understand your success on their platform. You can filter your dashboard by any time frame to determine how you are performing over time, and adjust your strategy accordingly. All admins will receive a monthly summary email, providing them with the demographics of people visiting the site and which content they are interacting with.

Engage with your people.

LinkedIn is often thought of as a platform where individuals can find their next job, and companies can attract new talent. Not enough attention is given to how you can leverage your current employees to grow your brand. Employees generally have ten times the reach of a company on LinkedIn, making them a great resource for expanding your brand’s reach.

Employee Engagement

With the updates to LinkedIn Pages, admins will now receive a notification every time their company is tagged in a post. These posts can easily be shared to your LinkedIn Page, making it easy to fill your page with content, expand your reach, and humanize your brand.

Modern Marketing: Wisdom From Seth Godin

Wondering how empathy can help your marketing stand out? Curious how trust and tension help marketers retain their customers? To explore what is and isn’t working for marketers today, I interview Seth Godin. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works […]

The post Modern Marketing: Wisdom From Seth Godin appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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19 Free Resume Templates You Can Customize in Microsoft Word

No matter what industry you work in (or your experience level in that industry), a plain, black-and-white resume written in Times New Roman font can actually weaken a job application.

But just because resumes have gotten more creative doesn’t mean you need special design software to make your application stand out. On the contrary, writing your resume in good old Microsoft Word is still the perfect way to develop your personal brand, while also communicating your experience and career goals.

Read on to find out how to make your resume in word, then download one of 19 amazing resume templates that open directly in Microsoft Word.

Use these marketing resume templates to create a killer resume. 

1. Open Microsoft Word on your computer.

If you have Microsoft Word installed on your computer, open the program and let it load for a moment. There will be a couple of helpful options waiting for you on the first screen, specifically for resume creation.

2. Select either “Basic Resume” or “Bold Resume” from the template menu.

Once you’ve launched MS Word, a window of templates will appear. Scroll down until you see the template options designed for resumes — there will be at least two of them. Double-click the one that suits your style and personal brand, but don’t be too particular about design just yet … you can customize these templates quite a bit.

3. Fill in your name and contact information at the top.

When your resume template opens, you’ll see placeholder text for each line of your resume, starting with your first and last name at the top. Delete this header text and enter your name, as well as any contact information by which you want the recruiter to contact you.

4. Draft a brief summary of your experience and goals.

Use the first line below your name and contact info to describe who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for in your career.

5. Enter your school and latest education.

List any relevant degrees or certificates you received through schooling. You can safely exclude secondary education if you’ve graduated from an accredited college.

6. Describe each job you’ve held using the lines prompted on the template.

Your professional experience is frequently the most important section of your resume, so feel free to rank this section above your skills and education, depending on how many jobs you previously held.

7. List all relevant skills.

If you have experience in certain software, exercises, problem-solving, or management techniques, use them to populate your skills. Your resume’s “Skills” section helps reveal what all of your previous jobs or related experiences have in common, based on what they taught you and what you provided them.

8. Describe any relevant accolades and accomplishments.

Finish out your resume with any personal accomplishments or accolades you think a hiring manager in your industry would appreciate. Although this section shouldn’t include a Most Improved recognition from little league, for example, it should definitely include your Marketer of the Month award from your last position.

19 Resume Templates You Can Customize in Microsoft Word

Of course, if you’re already employed full-time, it’s hard to find the time to apply to a new job opportunity, let alone update your resume to reflect your qualifications. Luckily, there are numerous publishers out there who’ve created incredible resume templates for quick editing and formatting in Word.

To keep you from hunting the internet for the resume templates that are both free and compatible with MS Word, we’ve listed 19 more options below for you to customize with your own information right now. Some of them come with variations so you can pick your favorite design. Four of them cater specifically to marketers.

They’re so nice, you won’t believe they open up in Microsoft Word once you download them.

1. Modern Chronological Resume Template

We’ll start with a simple one. This resume template is available from Microsoft itself, and it’s one of many free templates the company has prepared for those who depend on Microsoft Office tools to create content. Yes, it is written in Times New Roman — don’t freak out. Designs like this can borrow an old-school typeface and still impress recruiters with a clean layout and subtle use of color. You can also change the font if you wish (and the same goes for every template in our list).

Download this template here.

Modern chronological resume template for MS Word

2. Digital Marketing Resume Template

The digital marketing resume below comes from our own collection of resume templates, all of which open directly in MS Word. Coming with two pages total, this sheet holds a wealth of information and offers the perfect amount of style while maintaining professionalism. Mid-level marketers all the way up to CMOs can find this template valuable.

Download this template here.

Digital marketing resume template

3. Simple and Clean Resume Template

This template is the perfect balance of creative and modest — best for the professional who wants to seem casual, thoughtful, but not over the top. Not only does it feature a space for a headshot on the top-left, but you can customize the color of that entire panel. Created by Zoki Design, the resume template also comes with a matching cover letter template.

Download this template here.

Simple and clean resume template for MS Word

4. Black and White Resume Template

The Black and White resume template below suits professionals who prefer using color and shading to add structure to their resume. The black banner at the top contrasts the applicant’s name nicely to help make him/her more memorable to recruiters. The gray banner just below the header is perfect for a summary or career objective — it makes one’s goals known but doesn’t overpower the experience listed below it.

Download this template here.

Black and white resume template

5. Urban Development Resume Template

The illustration on the top-left of this template shows who the designers at Hloom had in mind for this resume: civil engineers. But because it’s a Word document, that graphic is easy to edit and replace with an image that represents your line of work. Are you an analytics buff? Design a clever bar or line graph icon and place it next to your name in blue (or whatever color you’d like!).

Download this template here.

Civil engineer's resume template for MS Word

6. Email Marketing Resume Template

Red color never fails to stick out on a sheet of paper, especially if it’s included in small amounts. The resume template for email marketers, below, captures that balance. In addition to the professional title in the top-righthand corner, this template also stands out with a thin sans-serif font, helping make a lot of text easier for a recruiter to digest and read through.

Download this template here.

Email marketing resume template with red header text

7. Info Pop Resume Template

This one, also from Hloom, gives you exactly what the name suggests: ample space for the info you need, with headers that pop just enough to get your employer’s attention. Although the template fits a ton of text, its soft color palate prevents the document from seeming overwhelming.

Download this template here.

Info Pop resume template for MS Word

8. Dark Resume Template

Ironically, a dark background could be just the thing to ensure your resume doesn’t fall into the black hole of resumes piled on the hiring manager’s desk. Using soft, yellow font, the resume template below inverts the usual color scheme of a resume without trying too hard to be creative.

Download this template here.

Dark resume template with black background and yellow font

9. Neat and Confident Resume Template

Similar to the Simple and Clean template in #2, this resume design by Nowpixelse communicates a truly professional tone. The template’s muted colors work very well with the side panel layered over the top header.

Download this template here.

Neat and Confident resume template for MS Word

10. Inbound Marketing Resume Template

Here’s another resume template dedicated to the digital marketer. This sheet offers all the inbound marketing language you need to express your values as a passionate, brand-loyal professional. Similar to a few other templates on this list, it also uses just a dash of vibrant color in the applicant’s name at the top (where it matters most).

Download this template here.

Inbound marketing template for interns and marketers

11. Smart and Professional Resume Template

This is another sharp template that offers a basic but confident design for any professional. The warm-colored panel on the right-hand side is pre-formatted for a written profile, where you can write a summary of your background or a form letter to each employer. Just be sure to personalize this messaging to each new recipient so it works for the job you’re applying to. This template is available on Freesumes, and is free to users once they share the page to Facebook or Twitter.

Download this template here.

Smart and Professional resume template for MS Word

12. Spick and Span Resume Template

There isn’t a better name for the template below. The Spick and Span resume might be the cleanest-looking sheet on this list. It uses boldface, all-caps, and gray typeface to structure various headers of the document differently and maximize the hiring manager’s reading experience. And all that minimalism makes the professional headshot at the top pop off the page.

Download this template here.

Spick and Span resume template with clean, bold typeface and professional headshot

13. Timeline-Style Resume Template

Hloom’s Timeline template is a super simple but creative way to tell your story. You can convey your progression through various jobs you’ve held on one side of the vertical line, and more static elements of your background — such as skills and education — on the other.

Download this template here.

Timeline-style resume template for MS Word

14. Content Production Resume Template

This basic resume template is suited for content producers at all stages in their career. By spreading out the header and “Skills” text horizontally, the resume below fits a lot of crucial information comfortably on one page (of course, it also comes with a second page if you need it).

Download this template here.

Content production resume template

15. Fresh Resume Template

This is perhaps the most imaginative of all the Word-based resume templates on this list — with both a skills meter and a comic headshot. The template was designed by Venkata Naresh and comes with 12 different versions of the design you see below. Have you created a Bitmoji of yourself? Do you think your employer would find it creative? Match the template and add it as your photo.

Download this template here.

Resume template for MS Word with space for comic headshot

16. CV Resume Template

The curriculum vitae-style resume below flips the typical two-column resume so the basic applicant information is listed across the right side, rather than the left. Feel free to change the color of this sidebar in Microsoft Word if dark-red isn’t your thing — the template can pull off any color you wish.

Download this template here.

Reverse two-column resume template in CV style with red sidebar

17. Goldenrod Resume Template

This template, also offered on Freesumes, dares to use yellow as the dominant color — but doesn’t sacrifice professionalism in the process. The document anchors the education section to a thick, bright banner across the bottom, but you can likely change this to a skills section with some simple editing in Microsoft Word.

Download this template here.

Goldenrod yellow resume template for MS Word

18. Resume Template With Personal Endorsements

This resume template has quite a flashy header — no photography pun intended — but it’s not just for photographers. What makes this resume unique is the space for references on the lower right-hand side. Does your field need others to vouch for your experience? This resume gives you room for three solid recommendations.

Download this template here.

Photographer's resume template for MS Word with space for recommendations and endorsements

19. Creative Resume Template

The last one on our list was designed by the stationery experts at MOO and is offered for download by Microsoft. Simple but vibrant, this template hugs the text with an artistic header and footer — great for recent graduates who need to fill empty space on the page.

Download this template here.

Resume template for MS Word with header and footer design

Remember, once you’ve finished personalizing your resume, you’re not ready to submit an application yet. To ensure your resume’s format stays the same for everyone who receives it, save the document as a PDF. Best case scenario? Even the hiring manager won’t believe your resume came from Word.

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Why the New Google My Business App Makes for a Pivotal Marketing Moment

Earlier today, I saw a tweet that impressively captured the space between a proverbial rock and hard place where many marketers and small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) might find themselves.

The tweet was part of an ongoing conversation in response to a recent New York Times investigation of never-before-reported events that led to Facebook’s high-profile crises and missteps over the past few years. 

One commenter suggested that advertisers — those who use Facebook’s ad targeting tools to build and promote their businesses — leave the network, effectively cutting off the company’s largest revenue stream.

To which another commenter essentially asked, “But where else is there for them to go?”

This story is not, however, about the pros and cons of advertisers leaving Facebook. Rather, it’s a story about moves made by other companies to create new platforms for businesses to establish a broader — or perhaps alternative — digital presence.

One such company is Google, who earlier this week announced its new Google My Business app. Here’s a look at the app — and why it represents a pivotal moment in marketing.

The Google My Business App

The road to this app began a few weeks ago, when Google introduced a new feature to Maps that allowed Android users to follow a business on that platform. 

On the consumer side, the development was positioned as a way for users to keep up with existing favorites and new establishments alike on Maps for Android and mobile search(When or if these features will be available for iOS users is unclear.)

agmm_follow

Image source: Google

On the flip side, the follow feature allowed these businesses to create a profile and — even if they weren’t going to open for another three months — become discoverable. 

These features were and are part of the broader suite of tools within Google My Business, which is what allows businesses to create and maintain these profiles that appear on Maps and mobile search results. Now, Google has released a mobile app for managing these profiles.

In a way, the Google My Business app could be likened to a hybrid of Yelp and Facebook Business Page tools — among its features are those that allow businesses to respond to reviews, send and receive messages from customers, and see who’s following them on a dedicated “Customers” tab.

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Image source: Apple

Otherwise, the Google My Business app offers similar tools to those of other social networks — namely, Facebook — that allow businesses to upload photos, promote offers, create events, and view engagement analytics.

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Image source: Apple

A Key Period in the History of Digital Marketing

What might be the most interesting aspect of Google’s announcement and launch of this app is its timing.

As we mentioned previously, the Google My Business app was officially unveiled on the same day the New York Times published a rather damning report on the inner workings of executive leadership within Facebook — which is one of the most commonly-used digital marketing tools among small businesses.

As one of the report’s authors, Sheera Frenkel, notes in the tweet above, it followed years of controversy faced by the company.

Facebook’s ongoing period of embroilment is somewhat compounded by diminishing user trust in the company among users, slowing growth in its two most lucrative markets (the U.S. and Canada), and a drop in Business Page engagement by as much as 50% over the past year.

When looking at all of these combined factors, it raises the question: Is this a catalyst for other networks and platforms, like Google, to build new platforms for businesses and advertisers to reach customers?

Possibly — but some say that these new platforms would build on a foundation of business tools that Facebook has been building and growing for a while.

“Facebook has really been the leader in solutions for very small businesses over the past eight years,” says HubSpot Principal Marketing Manager Marcus Andrews. “Its Business Pages and ad solutions have really resonated with the early entrepreneur.”

But now, Andrews says, the landscape has shifted — and calls for both Facebook and other potential providers in the digital marketing space to approach thoughtfully.

“A lot of factors have helped Facebook achieve this leadership position, but seems like the company might have to slow down and start to be more deliberate about the choices it makes — for good reason,” Andrews explains. “At the end of the day, that does give some of its biggest competitors an opportunity, and I think entrepreneurs will go to wherever they see the most opportunity.”

Featured image credit: Google

Agency Growth Isn’t Just About Your Agency Anymore

There’s a common misbelief that business growth is only about increasing numbers. It’s a lie that businesses should only focus on increasing the number of email subscribers, qualified leads and revenue. It’s a lie that businesses have to be obsessed with metrics to solve for their bottom line.

For agencies, this ruthless mentality comes at the expense of your clients. Your clients are humans, after all, and no one wants to be treated like a number in a spreadsheet. Focusing only on increasing numbers lends itself to agencies who make short-term decisions that sacrifice long-term client relationships, trust, and success.

We believe there’s a better way to grow your agency.

The best agencies grow because of the success of their clients. They realize that their client’s success is inextricably linked with their own. Metrics-driven growth cannot be the only, ultimate goal. Chasing growth should not come at the cost of compromising your (or your client’s) values.

Fortunately, there’s a way for your agency to grow betterHere, we’ll cover a few of our biggest tips to ensure your agency is able to grow with your clients.

1. Focus on the big picture.

To ensure your agency is growing as your clients grow, it’s critical you focus on the big picture. For instance, how can you help train your client’s employees so they can become self-sufficient and independent in their own growth?

Additionally, perhaps your client needs guidance when it comes to re-imagining future goals. Rather than looking at goals as numbers on a graph, consider how you can help your client dream bigger — which will undoubtedly payoff for your own agency in the long run, as well. Agencies should become “growth partners” for their clients and build long-term marketing, sales, and customer service strategies to help their client’s business grow over time. 

2. Create a client-centric culture.

It’s time that agencies change the conversation with clients from simply delivering marketing projects, to being viewed as a long-term growth partner who solves for their client’s success. It’s time for agencies to center their businesses on the Customer Code.

The Customer Code is a shared set of principles about how to build an agency that clients love. It’s not about what marketing projects you deliver for clients, but how you get the job done. Growing better means removing any friction in your client’s business model to make client relationships as delightful as possible.

Additionally, a client-centric culture can help your employees’ workplace satisfaction. Agency life is hard. Scope creep is real, and employees get overworked, which can lead to low retention rates. High employee turnover makes delivering high quality services that much more challenging.

Hiring at agencies is a universal problem. According to the 2018 Agency Growth Report, almost 70% of agencies report having trouble finding the right talent.

If agencies are centered on their clients’ success, then clients are happier. And if clients are happier, your employees feel like their making an impact and are happier, too. 

Many agencies struggle with finding new clients. According to WordStream’s State of Internet Marketing Agency 2017 Report, 39% of agencies said their biggest challenge is obtaining new clients.

If marketing agencies reposition themselves as a long-term growth partner with their clients, those relationships (and deal size) will naturally increase. And, if existing client engagements are able to grow in size, your agency doesn’t have to consistently find new clients to maintain or grow revenue. A win, win. 

Growing better is about making your clients and employees more successful, building relationships by doing the right thing, and focusing on the long-term, even when it’s not the easiest path.

3. Ask for client feedback and act on it.

Agencies with a growth mindset are eager to ask for feedback from clients to make their clients even more successful. This can take many forms — client satisfaction surveys, one-on-one calls with the decision maker at your client’s company, or even team-wide feedback sessions after a big campaign launch.

To illustrate the importance of “Ask for feedback and act on it”, let’s take a look at an example. One Fire is a HubSpot Agency Partner based in Illinois, and has a client that sells compost turners.

One Fire won this client and went to work building out an inbound marketing strategy. When auditing the client’s current strategy, One Fire determined that their website didn’t have consistent branding or optimal conversion paths.

However, the client had recently worked with a different agency on their website, and wasn’t ready for a full redesign.

One Fire continued with the engagement, and delivered new content and campaigns to drive traffic to the site. After the engagement, One Fire held a feedback session to learn if the client was satisfied with their work. Unsurprisingly, the client felt their outdated and unorganized website didn’t allow them to fully leverage the content One Fire was creating for them.

So, what did One Fire do? They redesigned their website for free. That’s unheard of! Initially, One Fire knew the website had the potential to be a problem for their client, but they weren’t allowed the opportunity to fix it. Normally, a website redesign is a service for which they’d charge thousands of dollars. However, One Fire knew this was the right thing to do for their client. By generously offering a website redesign at no cost, One Fire was able to build long-term trust with their client.

Without the feedback session at the end of the engagement, One Fire could have lost this retainer client and never known why. Incorporating regular feedback loops with your clients is a simple, practical way to bring the Customer Code to your agency’s culture.

What does “growing better” look like for other agency owners?

Without a doubt, supporting your client’s success will help your agency grow. One Fire’s story is one featured in a new video series, launching today. Agency owners are sharing their stories about how they’ve embedded the Customer Code into their agency’s cultures.

Register now for the three-part video series. You’ll learn how these agencies owners are helping their clients grow better.

How to Help Your Clients Grow Better in 2019 (2)

Earn My Attention, Don’t Steal It [The Customer Code Series]

Editor’s note: This is the second post in an 11-part series on the HubSpot Customer Code. You can subscribe to the full series here.

Your time is precious. So is your customer’s.

We know this is true, but we still somehow feel okay about stealing another person’s time and attention when we’re in a business context.

Wait…stealing? Really? 

We don’t think of aggressive sales and marketing tactics as stealing. But, what’s the word for when someone takes something from you, that you value (like your time) without your permission and gives you nothing in return?

I think the word is “stealing.”

And the end result of all this attention theft is that customers don’t trust us. Globally, only 3% of people say they trust sales and marketing professionals. That’s two meager percentage points above politicians and car salesman — ouch!

When a company reaches out to people without permission, 85% of consumers say their opinion of that company goes down:

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The people who were on your “target” list of great potential customers are now less likely to buy from you in the future because you didn’t earn their attention, you stole it.

Evidence of this low opinion and lack of trust is everywhere. Salespeople and marketers have the dubious honor of spawning an entire cottage industry of technology designed to keep us out of our prospects’ lives:

  • Ad blockers
  • Mass unsubscribe tools
  • Companies that exist just to guard our time against robocallers
  • Apps to protect people from cookie gathering

It’s as if people are installing home security on their attention.

Earlier this year, the European Union introduced sweeping new legislation, GDPR, to protect consumers from aggressive sales and marketing tactics.

People want their governments to protect them from attention theft.

Now, I’m convinced that most salespeople and marketers know the difference. We know that:

  • Ads that are delightful and entertaining earn our attention. Ads that block and interrupt steal it.
  • Content that informs and helps earns our attention. Distracting clickbait steals it.
  • Forms that ask for information in exchange for high-value education earn our attention. Forms that ask for information in exchange for low-quality content steal it.
  • Emails that ask for permission earn our attention. Emails that show up unrequested (and with no unsubscribe link!) steal it.
  • Sales calls that seek to understand earn our attention. Sales calls that seek to close at all costs steal it.

Salespeople and marketers know these things, but the pressure from above to grow bigger, faster, and at all costs is often too intense to put customer needs ahead of business needs.

Our team feels this pressure too.

HubSpot has long been an advocate for earning attention. Brian and I founded this company on the idea that is it’s better, more effective, and more cost-efficient to attract people with an inbound approach like providing quality content vs. interrupting them with annoying ads.

But over the last year we sat down and really examined our practices throughout the customer experience and found some painful areas where we didn’t walk the inbound walk on earning attention.

We hired an MBA intern to figure out how frequently we were emailing prospects. In the end they told us it was impossible to tell the average number of emails, but in the process they discovered a few edge cases where some prospects were being emailed as often as 100 times in a week!

Yes, we-a-culpa too.

Sure, these people gave us permission to email them, but there’s no way they anticipated or were asking to get that many. Was anyone on our marketing team trying to be rude? Of course not! We have a team of marketers working hard to hit their goals, and help their colleagues in sales hit theirs. But, it turned out that even with the best intentions, we still weren’t living up to our commitment to solve for the customer.

Fixing the problem didn’t happen at the individual level. We didn’t just tell our marketing team to stop sending so many emails, that wouldn’t have fixed much. It took HubSpot leaders making an investment in a customer marketing team and centralizing all customer-facing email. This decision required our leadership team to allocate hours toward solving for the customer–even if it meant delaying lead-generating and revenue-generating work, and restructuring our team and processes.

But we didn’t stop there. After a lot of self-reflection we sat down and wrote The Customer Code. We believe that it’s not about what you sell, but how you sell, and The Customer Code holds us to the standard of building a company that customers love.

The first tenet of The Customer Code is: Earn my attention, don’t steal it.

We gave ourselves an 8 out of 10. We’re doing some things right here:

  • Creating valuable, search-friendly content
  • Teaching Academy classes that help people get better at their jobs and improve their career options
  • Hosting events like INBOUND that create opportunities for all of us to learn together

We should be good at these things. After all, they’re at the heart of inbound. But, as you saw with email example, we still have room for improvement. In addition to fixing that, we want to:

  • Make it easier to opt out or tells us how you want to engage
  • Make sure our ads are relevant and targeted
  • Publish less but higher quality content

By improving these things, we create trust with our audience. They like us more. They come back. We’ve earned their attention. And this reduces friction in the customer experience.

You can absolutely grow by stealing attention, companies have built massive businesses by doing so, but you grow better by earning it. That’s the kind of growth I’m interested in.

This post is part 2 of 11 in a series on HubSpot’s Customer Code. You can find more info on The Customer Code and how we score ourselves here, and watch my INBOUND talk on this topic here: 

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How to Maximize the Exposure of Your Videos: A Strategic Plan

Is video a key part of your social media strategy? Wondering how to get more visibility for the videos you create? In this article, you’ll discover a step-by-step plan to help you post, promote, and distribute your videos more effectively. Why Your Business Needs a Video Distribution and Promotion Strategy Right now, video is the […]

The post How to Maximize the Exposure of Your Videos: A Strategic Plan appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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Knowing When to Change: The Journey: Season 2, Episode 10

Ever have a moment where it becomes crystal clear that something needs to change? Then watch the Journey, Social Media Examiner’s episodic video documentary that shows you what really happens inside a growing business. Watch the Journey In episode 10, Michael Stelzner (founder of Social Media Examiner) realizes lots of things he’s doing must stop. […]

The post Knowing When to Change: The Journey: Season 2, Episode 10 appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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How to Mine Bitcoin: A Comprehensive Guide

When I first heard the term “Bitcoin mining”, I imagined a 49er dressed in tattered western garb, swinging a pickaxe at a huge data server and yelling “BOYS, I FOUND US SOME BITCOIN!”.

Needless to say, my initial understanding of Bitcoin mining was completely off the mark (although I secretly wish it was true). Bitcoin is entirely digital, so unlike other mineable materials such as gold or coal, swinging a pickaxe at the ground won’t dig up any bitcoins. You actually have to use a mining rig, which consists of mining software and hardware.

The term “mining” is also really just a clever metaphor for the intricate proof-of-work system that gives people bitcoins in exchange for validating the cryptocurrency’s transactions. In other words, the reason why people mine Bitcoin and how they actually do it is complicated. Fortunately for you, though, we wrote an in-depth explanation of what Bitcoin mining exactly is, why people do it, and how you can mine the cryptocurrency.

What is Bitcoin Mining?

To truly understand how Bitcoin mining works, you first need to know the basics of Blockchain, which is the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. The technology acts like a public, digital ledger of every single transaction made in Bitcoin, recording each transaction of the cryptocurrency into a database, copying the database, and sending copies to every computer, or node, in its network.

To make sure this ledger’s true state is verified and updated, each node in its network cross-references and communicates with each other to see if all the copies are the same. This publicizes and validates every single transaction of Bitcoin. It also decentralizes the cryptocurrency, removing the need for a financial middleman to verify its transactions, like a bank.

If a node notices one of the ledger’s copies isn’t the same, due to a manipulation of a transaction’s record after the fact, the network rejects the transaction. This security protocol halts people from altering the ledger to spend bitcoins more than once and prevents them from sending someone else’s digital funds to themselves.

To update a blockchain with these new, verified transactions, a new block, which is a bundle of these transactions, needs to be created and added to the chain, which is all the blocks linked together. But to create and add a block to the chain, the block needs to be validated by the answer to a complex cryptographic puzzle. So Bitcoin rewards the individuals, groups, or businesses who are first to solve the puzzle with a payout of the cryptocurrency.

These validators, who use mining software and hardware to earn Bitcoin payouts, are called miners. Once a miner figures out the correct answer to the cryptographic puzzle, which is verified by each node in the network, they earn the block reward and a new block is created and added to the blockchain. Each block has a unique code, called a “hash”, on one of its sides and the hash of the previous block in the chain on its other side, linking all the blocks together in a chronological and permanent fashion.

For Bitcoin miners, the block reward for validating one megabyte worth of Bitcoin transactions is currently 12.5 tokens. With one token’s value hovering at around $6,374 today, a successful miner could rake in approximately $79,675.

Validation methods like mining are called proof-of-work or PoW, and they’re one of the reasons why Bitcoin and Blockchain are considered so innovative. Incentivizing miners with payouts of Bitcoin to validate its transactions makes the cryptocurrency safe, secure, and trustworthy to use. Mining also releases bitcoins into circulation, which increases the odds that consumers and merchants will be more willing to adopt, accept, and trade it, boosting the cryptocurrency’s value.

But even though mining is economically beneficial to miners, consumers, merchants, and Bitcoin itself, digging for it can actually harm the environment — Bitcoin miners are predicted to consume more electricity than the entire country of Argentina by the end of the year.

Since there’s a limited supply of Bitcoin, they don’t want to issue the supply of the cryptocurrency too quickly, so they make the cryptographic puzzles that validate each block increasingly more difficult to solve. This allows them to cap the number of blocks that miners can package and link to the chain each day. As a result, the more challenging these cryptographic puzzles get, the more electricity miners have to use to mine Bitcoin.

Is Bitcoin Mining Worth It?

Despite the profit potential of mining Bitcoin, the energy costs associated with Bitcoin mining and your mining hardware’s upfront costs can actually do harm to your bank account. Picking the wrong hardware or not having access to a lot of cheap electricity could cost you more money to mine Bitcoin than the maximum number of funds you can earn.

So before you invest in a mining rig to mine Bitcoin by yourself, make sure to use a Bitcoin mining profitability calculator from websites like CryptoCompare, Buy Bitcoin Worldwide, or 99bitcoins to see if you can actually turn a profit.

If you find out you can’t make a profit mining Bitcoin by yourself, not all hope is lost. You can actually pay companies to mine the cryptocurrency for you. This service is called cloud mining and the companies who offer it own huge cryptocurrency mining facilities filled with stacks of mining rigs. All you have to do is rent a rig and they’ll start mining Bitcoin for you.

How to Mine Bitcoin

1. Hire a cloud mining company.

In the crypto community, Genesis Mining is considered the most reputable cloud mining company. Their data center is located in Iceland, so they use renewable energy sources, like geothermal energy and hydropower, to power their mining operation in a more cost-effective and cleaner way than their counterparts who solely rely on electricity.

If you want to check out other cloud mining companies, take a look at HashFlare or a cloud mining company review site, like CryptoCompare. They list most cloud mining companies’ contracts and include their length, the cryptocurrency they’ll mine, price, return on investment, profit ratio, user reviews, and ratings.

2. Pick a mining package.

After you pick a cloud mining company and sign up for a free account, you can choose between a selection of mining packages, which will all have different contract lengths, hashing power, and prices. Your package’s price depends on Bitcoin’s current market value, the cost and difficulty level to mine the cryptocurrency right now, and your preferred hash rate.

3. Select a mining pool.

Once you choose your contract, you can either mine Bitcoin on your own or mine the cryptocurrency with other Bitcoin miners in a group called a mining pool. Joining a mining pool allows you to combine your rigs together and boost your total hashing output.

You’ll have to split your block rewards with the other miners in your pool, but mining pools usually generate more block rewards for individuals than mining Bitcoin on your own. Most cloud mining companies will ask you to join a mining pool right after you choose your contract.

4. Choose a Bitcoin wallet.

To withdraw and store the bitcoins a cloud mining company has mined for you, you need to download a Bitcoin wallet, which is software that allows you to securely receive, store, and send bitcoins in the Bitcoin network.

To find the best-fit Bitcoin wallet for your specific situation, check out this blog post about the top Bitcoin wallets for 2018.

How Do People Really Feel About Amazon’s Big Announcement? Here’s What We Found Out.

In September 2017, Amazon released a public request for proposals from cities vying to become the location for its second headquarters — setting into motion over a year of events that have caused a range of emotions and responses.

By mid-October of that year, the company had received 238 bids. By January, the list of contenders had been narrowed to 20 finalists. And starting last week, rumors were swirling that Amazon had decided months ago that it would split its second quarters — commonly dubbed “HQ2” — among two cities.

Those cities, it was officially announced this week, are Crystal City, Virginia, and Long Island City, New York.

The response has been mixed. Some officials in both locations have lauded the selection.

“I’m really excited about the potential Amazon offers,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia in a statement.

“Welcome to Queens, #HQ2,” wrote New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a tweet — only to receive a range of replies, including “NOPE, NYC doesn’t want this.”

But in a sea of tweets, praise, and outrage, we wanted to know: How does the average internet user, perhaps representing those most likely to use Amazon, really feel about this announcement?

We had questions and set out to get as many answers as possible — so we ran a survey of over 2,500 people across the U.S., UK, and Canada. Here’s what we learned.

Many Are Unfamiliar With the Amazon HQ2 Journey

Location Awareness

For every survey question we ran, between 20-50% of respondents indicated that the question was the first they had heard of HQ2 at all.

For instance, when we posed the question — “Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters — a.k.a., ‘HQ2,’ between two cities. Without looking it up, do you know which two cities were selected?” — a quarter of respondents indicated that weren’t familiar with HQ2.

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters — a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Without looking it up, do you know which two cities were selected?

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Without looking it up, do you know which two cities were selected_ (1) 

Otherwise, the highest number of respondents said they were aware of which two cities were selected, though the split among responses was fairly even.

Shock Factor

We found similar results when asking respondents how surprised they were with the HQ2 city selections. Again, close to a quarter of respondents said they were previously unaware of the Amazon location saga.

“Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters — a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Did you find this news surprising?”

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Did you find this news surprising_ 

But out of those who were familiar with it, just under a third of respondents said that they were somewhat surprised by the news. Few people, it seemed, were caught completely off-guard by the cities selected for HQ2.

Location Expectations

For respondents who were surprised, we wanted to know which cities they previously thought might be chosen as the new home for HQ2. 

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters — a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Prior to this announcement, which location were you expecting Amazon to select?

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Prior to this announcement, which location were you expecting Amazon to select_ (2)

Adjusting for the percentage of respondents who said they were unfamiliar with HQ2 prior to seeing this question, we found that the highest number indicated they expected Toronto to be selected.

However, that could be due to the fact that a somewhat disproportionate number of respondents from Canada — nearly 40% — selected Toronto as their answer.

Responses by Region (5)-1

Otherwise, the second-highest number of respondents said they believed New York would be chosen, aligning with the general lack of surprise we saw among respondents in previous questions.

Overall Impact

Finally, we wanted to measure how people feel about what type of impact HQ2 might have on the locations where it’s slated to be located.

First, we asked people to measure how positive or negative the overall impact of the presence of HQ2 in the cities selected could be.

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters — a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Do you think that HQ2 will have a positive or negative impact on the locations selected?

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Do you think that HQ2 will have a positive or negative impact on the locations selected_ (1)

In general, respondents indicate a positive outlook for the cities where Amazon’s HQ2 will be located, with about half answering that the impact will be beneficial in some way.

As for what the specifics of those impacts look like, we also asked respondents what sort of outcomes they expect to see as a result of Amazon moving into these locations.

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters — a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. What sort of impact, both positive and negative, do you think HQ2 will have on the locations selected?

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. What sort of impact, both positive and negative, do you think HQ2 will have on the locations selected_ (Choose all (2)

Most respondents believe that job creation will be the highest (positive) impact area, with 49% indicating that they think the opening of HQ2 will create employment opportunities across a range of skill sets and career progress.

The Impact on the Marketing and SMB World

Amazon isn’t alone, however, in its wooing of east coast talent. Not long after the HQ2 locations were announced, Google CFO Ruth Porat said at a Wall Street Journal event that the search giant would double its workforce in New York City over the next decade.

It’s a move that prompts further questions — such as, “Why all the attention at the opposite end of the U.S. from Silicon Valley?” 

“Not everybody—big surprise—wants to live in Silicon Valley,” Porat said at the time, “so we want to make sure we have the opportunity to build vibrant centers across the country.”

But ask HubSpot VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson, and you’ll learn that tech talent on the east coast isn’t a new concept.

“There is a rising tide factor here. The east coast was already a magnet for tech talent,” Keaney Anderson explains. “Amazon moving here further solidifies that and could bring more people into the region.”

So how does that bode for the small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) in the areas where these tech giants will be growing, and the marketers often responsible for crafting their messages to this increasingly competitive talent pool?

Is it a positive development, in that there’s more talent to go around? Or will it become more challenging for SMBs to attract good talent when newly adjacent to Big Tech?

It all goes back to that messaging, Keaney Anderson says.

“If you’re in Amazon’s geographical shadow, you are going to need to put some thought into your culture and what you have to offer that is unique to talent,” she suggests. “Not everyone wants to work for a giant company, even a really interesting one like Amazon. You need to decide what your differentiation is, as an SMB, to offer recruits.”

HubSpot VP of Marketing Jon Dick agrees that SMBs should lean into that variation of talent.

“Having more jobs open, regardless of where they are, does create more competition. But that can be a good thing,” he explains. “Large tech companies and SMBs attract different people.”

Unriddled: Amazon Officially Selects HQ2, an Unsend Feature Coming to Messenger, and More Tech News You Need

“Unriddled” is HubSpot’s weekly digest of the tech headlines you need to know. We give you the top tech stories in a quick, scannable way and break it all down. It’s tech news: explained.

Unriddled: The Tech News You Need

1. Amazon Officially Announces HQ2 Locations

Confirming rumors that began swirling last week, Amazon officially announced yesterday that its second headquarters — better known as HQ2 — will be split between two locations: Crystal City, VA (considered by some to be a neighborhood of Washington, D.C.) and Long Island City in the Queens neighborhood of New York.

The announcement comes as no surprise to those who were saying for months that Amazon was likely to select the Washington, D.C. area as an HQ2 location — such as NYU Stern professor Scott Galloway, who earlier this year pointed out the proximity of Crystal City to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s home in the area, as well as his preexisting ownership of the Washington Post

U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia also commented on the Crystal City selection.

“As a former Governor, now Senator, but also as a former technology executive, I’m really excited about the potential Amazon offers not only to Northern Virginia,” Warner said in a statement, “but the whole capital region and the entire Commonwealth.”

As for the Long Island City location, Amazon notes that its selection is related to the area’s “diverse community with a unique blend of cultural institutions, arts organizations, new and converted housing, restaurants, bars, breweries, waterfront parks, hotels, academic institutions, and small and large tech sector and industrial businesses.” Read full story >>

2. An Unsend Feature Is Coming to Messenger

Facebook has confirmed, via an iOS app store description, that users will soon be able to “remove a message from a chat thread after it’s been sent.”

IMG_4181

“If you accidentally send the wrong photo, incorrect information, or message the wrong thread,” the description reads, “you can easily correct it by removing the message within 10 minutes of sending it.”

This teaser of the new feature — which is said to be “coming soon” — arrives after months of speculation, and follows Facebook’s admittance that CEO Mark Zuckerberg had the option to delete messages after sending them. Read full story >>

3. Twitter Follower Counts Drop (Again)

After alerting users that their follower counts might drop in July, Twitter has once again said that, thanks to a bug, these previously “locked” followers reappeared and have once again been removed.

According to Reuters, the bug caused these accounts to be “briefly added back [to] follower accounts” for a “few accounts.”

Twitter itself lost about 7.8 million followers in the initial July purge, got 2.36 million of them back by October, and lost another 2.4 million on Friday. Read full story >>

4. Google’s AI Is Getting to Work

Distinguished Speakers

Earlier this week, it was announced that Google would open source its artificial intelligence that plays a vital role in distinguishing one human voice from another.

The formal term for this distinction, “speaker diarization,” describes the process of being able to tell different voices apart in audio where many people might be speaking at once. It’s “an important part of speech recognition systems,” the company says, playing a vital role in “solving the problem of ‘who spoke when’.”

image2-1

Image source: Google

According to VentureBeat, the newly open-sourced AI can tell voices apart in this situations with up to 92% accuracy. Read full story >>

Smart Pictures

Also in the world of Google AI, The New York Times is using the company’s technology to help make its archive of photos (which date back to the 1870s) “smarter” — that is, to help recognize and translate text that describe the photos.

In other words, writes Stephen Shankland of CNET, the NYT is using Google AI to “turn a historic archive of more than 5 million photos into digital data that’ll appear in the newspaper’s features about history.” Also a future possibility, Shankland writes, is exploring AI technology for object recognition in the photos. Read full story >>

Help Me Finish That Thought

Think of it as a visual-content autofill. Google announced this week that its AI technology will also be applied to Android devices to suggest GIF images, emoji, and stickers that it believes fit into your conversation.

glowg_expression

Image source: Google

Starting yesterday, Google said, phones using the Android operating system and the company’s Gboard will use machine learning to know which of these visuals that best fit the specific context of a conversation.

“With thousands of emoji and stickers, and an endless number of GIFs, it can sometimes take awhile to find the perfect way to say ‘I love you,’ ‘hooray,’ or anything else you’re trying to communicate,” writes Gboard Product Lead Angana Ghosh. “This makes it faster and easier to share your #feelings and your glowing personality with whoever you’re chatting with.” Read full story >>

5. Apples to Amazon

Yes — there’s more Amazon news. Last week, it was revealed that Amazon reached an agreement with Apple to carry more of the latter’s products on its website, including the latest models of iPads, iPhones, and the Apple Watch. The product selection will not, however, include Apple’s HomePod smart speaker, perhaps due to its potential competition with Amazon’s own Echo smart speaker products.

But, there’s a catch. This new product expansion means that independent vendors selling refurbished Apple products on Amazon’s marketplace will now face high restrictions. Their listings, explains CNET‘s Ben Fox Rubin, will be removed after January 4 of next year, and they’ll “have to apply with Apple to become authorized resellers on Amazon.” Read full story >>

6. Marketers, Take Note: Samsung Is Going All-In on Voice and Now Is the Time to Prepare

At last week’s Samsung Developer Conference, the name of the game was connectivity — and voice assistant Bixby is what’s tying it all together. Here’s what marketers should know about it. Read full story >>

7. Meet the People Building the TV Controlled by Your Brain

Imagine a TV that’s controlled only by the brain. Meet the people developing that technology today — and discover the future they envision for it. Read full story >>

8. The Voice Search Barometer: Where Do Users Stand? [New Data]

Studies say that more and more online transactions are taking place via voice. But what do these transactions look like — and how many users are really adapting voice? Read full story >>

9. The What, Where, and How of Video Consumption [New Data]

With new online video products popping up with increased frequency, we wanted to know how people really prefer to watch. Read full story >>

Featured image source: Amazon

9 Easy Ways to Convert Webinar Leads into Sales

A jam-packed webinar is a beautiful thing. But you know what’s better than filling your funnel with webinar leads? Converting those leads into customers.

The key to turning webinar leads into sales is giving your prospects a clear path forward. Too often, we focus on creating great webinar content and hosting an engaging webinar, which are both important, but we don’t spend enough time on the next step.

According to research from InsideSales.com, 73% of marketing and sales leaders say webinars are one of the best ways to generate high-quality leads. With this in mind, you don’t want to let these valuable leads languish in post-webinar purgatory. Here are nine simple ways to convert more webinar leads into sales.

9 Easy Ways to Convert Webinar Leads into Sales

1. Poll your audience to see who’s ready to buy.

At GoToWebinar, we always use multiple polls during our webinars. They grab attendees’ attention and prompt them to take part in the action. Poll responses provide handy insights you can use to segment your audience by need, interest level, industry, and more, too.

Polling your attendees during the webinar will also help you find out if they’re interested in learning more about your company or talking to a sales representative. Bear in mind, this technique is not suited for top-of-the-funnel webinars that are unrelated to your product. You don’t want to hit attendees with a “buy now” message when they are still in the discovery phase.

Additionally, polling your attendees during the webinar — rather than polling them in a post-webinar email — will yield a much higher response rate. If attendees respond in the affirmative, pass them to your sales team for follow-up.

If you get a lot of positive poll responses, take time at the end of your webinar to demo your product or show your attendees how they can purchase it. Those who aren’t interested can hop off and those who are interested will appreciate the extra info.

2. Send a post-webinar survey.

Sending attendees a quick survey right after the webinar is a great way to see if your content resonated with them, capture additional attendee insights, and gauge attendee interest in your product.

If you didn’t ask them these questions during the webinar, ask them who’s ready to take the next step in a post-webinar survey. You can also use survey responses to segment your webinar attendees and tailor your follow up marketing messages.

3. Involve your sales team in the webinar.

Collaboration between marketing and sales sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to overlook. To involve the sales team in your webinars, make sure they know what webinars are on the calendar and what topic they’ll cover. This will help the sales team prepare more thorough follow-up communication with webinar leads and keep your marketing efforts aligned with your company’s sales goals.

At GoToWebinar, we recommend going a step further and having sales reps join the webinar. They can even help run the webinar, fielding and answering attendee questions.

By taking part in the webinar, sales reps will get familiar with the topic. They’ll also notice that most attendees are engaged, which will make them all the more motivated to follow-up. This sets the groundwork to seamlessly pass the top webinar leads from marketing to sales.

4. Follow up within 24 hours.

While it’s still fresh in their minds, send out your first email follow-up to webinar attendees and no-shows within 24 hours of the webinar. Your audience expects to receive the webinar recording and presentation slides, regardless if they showed up or not.

Prospects also love when companies include a link to a follow-up blog post that summarizes the webinar content and answers some of the top attendee questions. Sure, it takes extra planning and a quick turnaround to do this, but you’re fostering a relationship with these prospects — this type of targeted content is key to converting your audience down the line.

5. Identify hot, warm, and cold leads.

You don’t have to use all three lead categories, but at the very least, divide your leads into hot leads that are ready for sales and ones that need to be nurtured.

We’ve already discussed two ways to identify hot leads — using a poll or survey — but you also have access to a lot of other data that can help you pinpoint where leads are in their buyer’s journey.

Look at data like:

  • Registration responses: go beyond only asking for name and email on your webinar registration form. Ask more probing questions that will help segment and personalize your marketing.
  • Attendee interest rating: if you’re using a solution like GoToWebinar or Zoom Video Webinar, you will have webinar reports that display your attendees’ engagement level over the course of the webinar.
  • Previous marketing engagement: this includes web behavior, content downloads, and prior webinar activity.

6. Send personalized follow-ups to hot leads.

Passing on your sales-ready webinar leads with specific instructions for how to follow up will increase the odds your sales team will close these prospects. You could also go a step further and provide your sales reps with a customizable email template. The easier you make their job, the more likely they’ll hit it out of the park.

This follow-up messaging should relate to the webinar content, provide value, and offer help. It’s also effective to personalize these messages as much as possible based on what you know about each prospect.

7. Nurture warm and cold leads.

Even if some of your webinar leads aren’t ready to buy today, you don’t want to waste the opportunity of closing them when they do become ready to buy. Putting warm and cold webinar leads into your existing nurture tracks based on your usual segmentation will boost the chances that they’ll contact your company when they’re thinking about purchasing your solution.

Alternatively, you can create a webinar-specific nurturing track for these leads, if you have the resources. As you develop your nurturing content, think about what stage of the buying cycle the various segments of your attendees are in and identify other key content assets you can offer in your nurturing stream that build on your webinar content.

The length of the nurturing stream will depend on your sales cycle, but four to six weeks is a good place to start.

8. Retarget your webinar leads.

Creating retargeting campaigns for your webinar leads will keep your brand top of mind. Again, you can segment these audiences based off their responses, interest level, and previous marketing engagement, but the point is to keep your leads warm and move them through each stage of the journey.

Remember, retargeting ads should complement your other marketing tactics. You don’t want to email webinar leads with a discount offer and retarget them with an awareness ad at the same time.

9. Always empower leads to take action.

It’s always better to make it easy for your prospects to take the next step in their buyer’s journey. Even if your leads aren’t quite ready to become customers, give them the ability to keep learning with additional resources and ways to engage. Whether it’s during the webinar or in your follow-up emails, including a clear call to action and highlighting its benefit will entice your audience to take the next step with your business.

Webinar leads are some of your best leads.

A recent GoToWebinar study on content engagement revealed that people are willing to spend more time with a webinar than any other type of content. These are some of your most engaged leads, so make sure you have a plan to convert them. If you’re not ready for all these tactics, just start with a couple and you could see your webinar conversions gradually take off.

The Simples Rules About How to Address a Letter

Nowadays, we communicate primarily through direct message and email, even in the workplace. In this era of fast-paced digital communication, letters often seem unnecessary and even antiquated.

But knowing how to address a business letter can go a long way when it counts — like when you’re trying to impress a hiring manager with your cover letter, or attempting to build a solid relationship with a new client. In these instances, a poorly addressed letter can signal a lack of professionalism, or even apathy.

To ensure you’re leaving the best first impression, take a look at the proper way to address a letter.

How to Address a Letter

First Name Last Name

Your Address

Your City, State Zip Code

Your Phone Number

Your Email

 

Date

 

Contact Name

Title

Company Name

Address

City, State Zip Code

 

How to Address Your Recipient

It’s critical you address your recipient professionally in the letter, even if you know them well. To do so, include a Ms., Mrs., Mr., Professor, or Dr. title before their first and last name. If you don’t know their gender identity, simply include their first and last name. Additionally, include a “Dear” before their name.

If you aren’t sure who will receive the letter, do your best to figure it out. If it’s a cover letter, perhaps you can email your recruiter and ask for the hiring manager’s name, or do some research on LinkedIn. However, if you truly can’t figure out who the recipient is, simply address the letter with one of these greetings:

  • To Whom It May Concern
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear Human Resources Manager

At the end of your letter, conclude with a “Sincerely”. If the letter is hard copy, leave a space for your handwritten signature, and then below that, type your first and last name.

6 Tips for Writing Social Media Ad Copy That Converts

social media how toDo you want to create more effective social media ads? Wondering how to write ad copy that produces conversions?

In this article, you’ll discover six tips for writing social media ad copy that converts.

6 Tips for Writing Social Media Ad Copy That Converts by Ashley Ward on Social Media Examiner.
6 Tips for Writing Social Media Ad Copy That Converts by Ashley Ward on Social Media Examiner.

#1: Extend Your Brand Voice to Your Ad Copy

Every business needs to have its own voice, one that mimics that of its followers. When users scroll the feed, they should be able to recognize your brand voice immediately.

If your brand is more of a cargo short and t-shirt vibe, avoid using words that reflect a suit and tie mentality. The wording in your ad copy needs to mimic your other posts and include the language your demographic uses. Incorporate local lingo, slang, and grammar to match. Yes, how you spell the words in your ad makes a huge difference here.

Example of social media copy that matches target audience

The same goes if you’re a B2B that uses more professional and business-like language when you speak and write. Mimic that style in your ad copy.

#2: Clearly Communicate the Who, What, When, Where, and Why

Your social media ads not only need to include a call to action but also answer the who, what, when, where, and why. Communicating these details helps ensure users have all of the information they need to know so when they do engage with the ad, they become a warm engagement and not just a casual liker who double-taps on everything they scroll through.

If you look at this WeWork ad, here’s how they answered each W:

  • Who: WeWork
  • What: Flexible workspace for any size company
  • When: Today
  • Where: WeWork offices
  • Why: Because they’re here to help my business grow

example of social media ad copy that answers who, what, when, where, and why

Go back to the social media ads you’re currently running. Does the ad copy answer the who, what, when, where, and why for the user? It should, and if it doesn’t, pause, edit, and republish those ads.

If you’re having a hard time trying to get an answer for all of the W’s above, think about your target demographic’s pain points. For WeWork, their target demographic is startups that need office floor plans from a business that can customize them. To make a great story out of your ad copy, you need to know your audience and understand not only what makes them tick but also what they need.

#3: Test Ad Copy Length for Performance

On some social media platforms, you have the option to use longer ad copy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should use all of that real estate. If you can communicate your call to action or primary point in three to five words, do so.

Some social media experts argue that shorter copy is more effective, while others say longer copy converts better; split testing will help you discover which copy length your audience prefers. What’s most important is getting to the point and ensuring users understand the message you’re conveying.

In the WeWork ad above, the point is crystal clear. The ad is both informative and provides an incentive for users to act. If you want to take a tour of the WeWork offices because you’re looking for a custom floor plan for your new startup office space, click Learn More and schedule a visit.

The imagery is an added bonus and harmonizes the text point perfectly by showing the interior of a WeWork custom office floor plan. The image helps paint the picture of what the text is describing.

About Split Testing

The more engagement your social media ads receive, the more those social platforms will want to show your ad—given budget restrictions, of course.

engagement, comments, and share for social media ad example

If you’re competing with businesses that have large ad budgets, focus on creating ads that followers naturally want to like, comment, share, or even click through. A/B test different ad copy, ad copy length, and jargon to better understand what makes people click.

Once you have that data, it’s time to amplify. Put a majority of your budget on those sweet spot ad copy ideas and set the rest aside to go back and A/B test even more. Remember, testing never ends. People’s preferences change as fast as technology changes. When photography gets better, and videography becomes more accessible, we only want to engage with the best.

#4: Combine Your Copy With Complementary Visuals and Targeting

One of the reasons users flock to social media platforms is to take a break and be entertained by what they read and see. They’re bored at the DMV, they’re waiting for their food to arrive at the table, or their attention span of 3 seconds has expired, and it’s time to look down at their phone again.

Whatever the reason, it’s important that both your text and content space are harmonious. Having creative to enhance your text is like adding extra-credit points on a quiz. Your text gets the call to action (the primary point) made, but the visual further communicates that point.

example of social media ad that effectively combines ad copy with visual

I’m a bride-to-be who’s also a business owner and entrepreneur, so Ringly’s targeted ad stopped my scrolling fingers in their tracks specifically because of how they combined the text with the image.

After looking at the ring and being impressed, I then gazed up to read the ad copy. Hmm, what’s a “smart ring”? Naturally, my eyes then scrolled down to the headline and then it made sense: It’s a personal assistant inside the ring. Now I’m intrigued to learn more.

Make sure all of the components of your ad (the description, headline, URL) all work together and deliver a story to users. This will make users more likely to want to learn more and not just “like” the ad.

#5: Align Your Ad Copy With Specific Sales Funnel Targeting

Ad copy is essentially sales copy. But with social media ads, it can’t look or feel like sales copy at all. There is no intent on social media platforms so you can’t come in with a hard sell like you can on AdWords. That’s a big reason why the conversion cycle for social media ads can take a bit longer than other marketing efforts and have more hurdles to jump through.

To help get around the anti-sales hurdle, think of the TOFU (top of the funnel) > MOFU (middle of the funnel) > BOFU (bottom of the funnel) strategy. While this entails creating lots of ads and custom audiences, the results will make it worth the effort.

TOFU

This ad is designed for the top of the funnel sales copy. It’s light, harmless, and a friendly neighborhood wave. Your ad copy should let users know that your brand or business exists and you’d just like to say hello. You’re not trying to sell or force users to take any action with this ad. I repeat, no selling!

example of top of the funnel social media ad

This is a very soft touchpoint. Each person who engages with this ad gets categorized into a new custom audience and is shown a MOFU ad.

MOFU

All right, now they know you exist. They’ve heard your brand voice, seen imagery to match, and developed a light feel for who you are. Now let them know how you can help. In the ad copy, explain what you provide and what pain points you solve.

Again, you aren’t selling yet. You’ve waved to the user from across the street and are now knocking on their door with a plate of freshly baked cookies. All of your TOFU audiences that engage with this ad get placed into a separate custom audience, a warmer audience.

BOFU

Now’s the time to ask for the sale. Here’s where you include the discount code, the hard call to action, the immediacy, the full story. You already have a warm audience that knows your brand and understands what you offer. Now give them all you’ve got and convert those users.

example of bottom of the funnel social media ad

Anyone who engages with this ad is officially a hot lead and more likely to convert than the nice TOFU audience that waved back from across the street. You’ve officially been invited inside the house and you have a chance to talk business over coffee in the kitchen.

Conclusion

A good social media ad isn’t just a high-contrast image or a 45-second video. The ad copy itself can make or break engagement rates. It’s time to get past the idea that we’re all too busy to read.

Your ad copy needs to inform and entertain social media users to grab their attention in the news feed. If you’re going to interrupt them and stop them in their scrolling tracks, give them something worth their while.

What do you think? Do you use some of these tactics when writing copy for your social media ads? What tips would you add to this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

More articles about social media advertising:

The post 6 Tips for Writing Social Media Ad Copy That Converts appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

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How a Tiny Finance Startup Dethroned Fortune 500 Giants in Google Search

In 2009, most people would have called Tim Chen, the founder of Nerdwallet, crazy for even trying to take on the titans of the credit card industry. As the only employee at his company, that also had no funding, how could he possibly manage to garner the attention of consumers when his competition consisted of companies with billions of dollars at their disposal?

Within seven years, though, his company grew to be worth $500 million and his website, Nerdwallet.com, attracts millions of visitors per month who look for credit card information and personal finance-related content.

How was he able to accomplish such an incredible feat? The short answer? Data-driven content marketing.

This “David vs. Goliath” story may sound like a silicon valley fluke, but Nerdwallet’s content-first strategy has been replicated by other small companies in a variety of verticals, helping them achieve stunning success.

Whether it’s personal finance, home security, college admissions, student loans, travel, or any other industry, incumbents are slowly seeing one of their most valuable channels — organic search — getting taken over by these unexpected and new content players as they deliver valuable information through Google search and accumulate domain authority.

This article will investigate the specific content marketing strategy Nerdwallet used to take on the industry titans. Specifically, we’ll look at two aspects of this strategy:

  • First, we’ll look at how Nerdwallet leveraged content to attract press attention and, in turn, large volumes of authoritative links.
  • Second, we’ll look at how much content Nerdwallet produced and the strategies they used to make sure their content was actually valuable to searchers and prospects.

As a result, leveraging this strategy has allowed Nerdwallet to do something most would have predicted to be impossible.

Nerdwallet: From $0 to $500 million in 7 years

The credit card space has long been dominated by the major providers of credit cards themselves, like Capital One, Discover, Wells Fargo, Chase, and Bank of America.

However, in recent years, several new challengers have taken on these titans, snapping up the majority of the organic search market share of some of the world’s biggest brands.

For instance, if you search for nearly any credit card related query — especially high-intent searches — you’ll notice that more than half of the top 20 results are not credit card providers, Instead, they’re companies like, Nerdwallet.com, Wallethub.com, CreditCards.com, Credit.com, Valuepenguin.com, and Thepointsguy.com.

These sites are “information providers.” They make money as middlemen, leveraging affiliate marketing to earn a commission when people click through to their site and apply for credit cards with banks.

Nerdwallet is one of the best examples of an information provider who took over the organic search space in the credit card industry.

Founded in 2009 as a bootstrapped startup, Nerdwallet has grown at an exponential pace, from 283 users per month in 2009 to 2.2 million users per month in 2014, plus many more today.

Picture Credit: SlideShare

After some early struggles to get any traction for Nerdwallet, founder Tim Chen realized organic search was the only customer acquisition channel that had enough volume to boost his site’s awareness and eventually compete with the big players in the space. He also knew it was the only channel that could be bootstrapped and grow incrementally.

With this singular focus, Tim got to work. Below is a slide from a talk about his realization about organic search’s potential and how he became laser-focused on content as his vehicle for success.

As Tim outlines, Nerdwallet’s main strategy had a two-pronged approach.

  • Create large volumes of valuable content
  • Use content to attract large volumes of authoritative backlinks

Let’s take a look at how this strategy progressed.

Creating Quality Content

Attracting organic search traffic relies first and foremost on creating high-quality content that fits search queries. Generally, the more high-quality content you publish, the more opportunities there are to rank for keywords.

Tim knew this and made sure it was a core pillar of his strategy. So early on, he set a goal of creating 500 pieces of quality content per month. This was certainly a tall order, but it was necessary if he wanted to take on the entrenched behemoths in his industry.

By looking at the Archive.org view of Nerwallet’s pages over time, we can see that Tim stuck to his plan, producing up to 500 pieces of content per month between 2011-2012, and then ramping up his volume and peaking at as many as a few thousand new pieces of content per month in 2014 and 2015.

To drive organic growth, Tim needed to avoid Google’s algorithm penalties, so it’s important to note that quality was pivotal for his success. Each piece of content Tim created needed to provide as much or more value than the content currently ranking for the keywords and themes he was planning to cover.

As of today, Nerdwallet has more than 36,000 indexed pages, giving them the chance to rank for an enormous amount of longtail keywords and capture a disproportionate percentage of the search sphere for all things personal finance and credit cards. And it works.

Nerdwallet ranks for nearly three times as many keywords as their closest bank competitor. When you consider that 30-50% of these banks’ organic search traffic is brand-related keyword searches, you start to realize just how far ahead Nerdwallet has outpaced their competitors.

The number of keywords Nerdwallet and Big Banks rank for:

  • Nerdwallet: 1.7M
  • Bank of America: 621k
  • Wells Fargo: 594k
  • Chase: 428k
  • Capital One: 327k
  • Discover: 234k
  • Citibank: 44k

Building Quality Links

For Nerdwallet, creating a high volume of great content over the past seven years was only possible if they were sure the content they produced would eventually rank at the top of SERPs.

Surely, the vast amount of content they produced helped them build domain authority — a lot of it could be considered a resource, and they naturally earned links and authority over time.

But their success with organic search can mostly be attributed to creating and promoting quality content with a specific goal and mission in mind: earning a large number of links from high authority publishers and their syndication networks.

Data-Driven Stories + Good Design + High-Touch Outreach = Press, Links, and Improved Ranking Ability

To give you a solid understanding of just how important creating data-driven, newsworthy stories was for Nerdwallet, take a look at the chart below.

We used Media Cloud to log Nerdwallet’s brand mentions over time. Above, you can see that Nerdwallet’s data-driven content stories received more press mentions than Capital One did for a period of time.

This is an incredible feat, considering the number of resources Capital One has at their fingertips and the fact that any financial announcement from Capital One is virtually guaranteed to generate press.

What Types of Content Helped Nerdwallet Build So Many High-Authority Links?

The main reason why Nerdwallet’s content attracted a significant number of Unique Linking Domains or ULDs that had high-authority link equity is because their content was rooted in data. Specifically, data analyzed by Nerdwallet themselves or existing authoritative government data they synthesized.

Using this data, they created newsworthy content that fell into several categories. “State of” studies, location studies, and tools or calculators leveraging existing or new data sets have been their bread and butter.

Together, this content is responsible for a huge majority of their high authority backlinks. Some of the best examples of their newsworthy content are provided below:

Data-Driven Studies

Credit Card Household Debt
study — 448 ULDs

  • Links from: yahoo.com, cnn.com, forbes.com, washingtonpost.com, cbsnews.com, bloomberg.com, businessinsider.com, nbcnews.com, time.com, columbia.edu, cnbc.com, inc.com, fortune.com, marketwatch.com, lifehacker.com, entrepreneur.com, salon.com, fool.com.

New Grad Retirement Report — 31 ULDs

      • Links from: usatoday.com, investopedia.com, dailydot.com, time.com, cnbc.com.

Millenials and Home Buying study — 11 ULDs

  • Links from: theguardian.com, newsweek.com, nasdaq.com, philly.com, mic.com, brit.co.

Location Studies

America’s Most Innovative Tech Hubs — 21 ULDs

      • Links from: phys.org, theconversation.com, shroders.com, bigml.com, cityam.com.

Wage Gaps for Women In Different States — 5 ULDs

      • Links from: glamour.com, brit.com, hellogiggles.com, teamster.org.

Resource Tools and Calculators

Total Cost of Owning a Car — 104 ULDs

      • Links from: cbsnews.com, ycombinator.com, herokuapp.com, opendemocracy.net, bigthink.com, lifehacker.com.

Cost of Living Calculator — 47 ULDs

      • Links from: fool.com, mic.com, usatoday.com, bangordailynews.com, dozens of industry publications.

The chart below is a visualization of the backlinks that Nerdwallet earned over time. Their data-driven content strategy, paired with their digital public relations strategy, is the reason they were able to consistently attract a large number of backlinks.

What We Can Learn From Nerdwallet about Ranking on Google and Organic Search

With a dual approach of creating massive amounts of quality, data-driven content and attracting valuable press mentions, Nerdwallet was able to outpace and overtake all of the incumbents in their industry over a relatively short period of time.

The rapid rise of Nerdwallet is a testament to considering a new, guided approach to SEO. Through the process of creating high-quality, data-driven content and building links with this newsworthy content, Nerdwallet was able to scurry up the digital ranks.

Focusing on high volume and high quality, Nerdwallet set a new standard for digital marketers. Their results solidified the importance of creating high-quality content and intentional link-building to strengthen your brand and impact.

By committing to this strategy, Tim Chen discovered the key to his success was two-pronged: create large volumes of valuable content and leverage it to earn large volumes of authoritative links. This ultimately allowed his tiny startup, Nerwallet, to compete with and eventually overtake the credit card industry’s behemoths.