How to Create the Perfect Instagram Images to Sell Your Brand

Photographs are emotional time machines: they transport us to places of which we’ve only dreamed, remind us of past experiences we long to recreate, and spark inspiration for future adventures. It is not the photographs themselves that stir up these emotions, but rather the memories and aspirations we associate with them. Instagram is a visual platform, so the best brands on Instagram understand the images they share are essential components to building their brands. But beautiful images of their products aren’t enough. Instead, great brands use Instagram to share images that create genuine connections between their products, and the hopes and ambitions of their followers. Tell a Captivating Story Instagram is the perfect tool to create an emotional connection to your brand. Instead of posting images that merely showcase your products, share images to evoke the feelings, dreams, and ideals you want associated with your brand. Today, it’s fairly easy to compose and post beautiful images, but unfortunately, aesthetic beauty is not enough to be successfully marketable on Instagram. The key to establishing a loyal and enthusiastic following is to use your Instagram images to tell a story that captivates and engages your followers and allows them to be part of the adventure. Achieving both of these goals — composing beautiful images and sharing them in an engaging and emotional way —takes some work. But with preparation and attention, you have the potential to curate a dazzling feed that will keep your followers scrolling. Preparing Your Images for Instagram There are four main ways your images can help or engage your followers. They can: Educate your followers Entertain your...

How to Talk to Your Boss About a Side Hustle

In the fifth season of Mad Men, Ken Cosgrove, an account-executive at Sterling Cooper Draper Price, is called into Roger Sterling’s office, a founding partner of the agency. Roger tells Ken that he knows his secret: Ken’s an accomplished fiction author who writes under a pen name, so no one at the office will find out about his side job. Roger then tells Ken he has to stop writing immediately. He shouldn’t focus any attention away from his high-paying, full-time job. Ken is initially devastated, but he relents and adopts a new pen name to continue his pursuit of of fiction writing, risking his employment and financial stability for the fulfilment his passion gives him. He could never abandon his stories. Fortunately, the Mad Men work culture doesn’t really fly in today’s world, but the story of Ken Cosgrove’s secret side gig still resonates with people today. It’s incredibly nerve-racking to talk to your boss about your side hustle. What if she thinks you care about your side projects more than your regular job? And what if she thinks it will hinder your performance at work? Side hustles are not only beneficial to you, but they can also bring perks to your boss, team, and company. And we recommend spotlighting these benefits to get your boss on board with your own side hustle. But before we dive in … Eddie Shleyner, who runs a successful side hustle called VeryGoodCopy.com, knows how exciting it is to build something successful by yourself. But he warns against letting it become your first priority. “If you’re employed full-time, your side hustle must be...

This Simple Diagram Will Help You Tell Better Brand Stories

Tell someone to write a poem, and chances are, they’ll freeze up. Tell someone to write a haiku, however, and we bet they’ll bang one out in less than 10 minutes. The reason: constraints unleash our creativity. But how can you translate that to the complex world of content marketing? The below diagram will help you do just that. The Story Funnel-Matrix The funnel-matrix has two dimensions. The first maps loosely to the stages of a typical marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, and acquisition. What stories you tell will depend on your current relationship with your audience –where you are as a couple, to use the obligatory marketing-dating analogy. When you first meet someone, your conversations tend to be around things that you have in common — your shared interests and values. This is why so many people make small talk about the weather. It affects everyone, so it’s something we all have in common. You probably won’t dive into your health problems the first time you meet someone. You probably won’t share intimate details about the people in your life. But after you meet, you might start sharing some of those things, especially if the first date goes well. You might start to paint a picture of your dream life: where you want to live, your ideal career, where you want to travel. Though you shouldn’t hit them with a marriage proposal at this point, you’ll start to share more about yourself — what you care about and what you want. By the third or fourth date, you’ll naturally be sharing more personal stories than before. This is the...

How to Create Infographics in Under an Hour [15 Free Infographic Templates]

Wouldn’t it be great if creating infographics was as simple as writing regular ol’ text-based blog posts? Unfortunately, the reality is that making visual content like this usually takes a lot more time, effort, and let’s face it — skill — than the written word. Usually. But considering the popularity and effectiveness of visual content in marketing today, you can’t just afford to throw in the towel. That’s why we decided to take all the pain and suffering out of infographic creation. Seriously — don’t give up just yet. You, too, can create infographics that are totally free, professional-looking, high-quality, and completed in under an hour. I’m going to prove it. First things first: Download our 15 free infographic templates here. Then, all you have to do is provide the content to use inside them. Easy as that! In fact, I’m going to show you just how easy it is by taking one of our 15 infographic templates in PowerPoint (pictured above) and creating my own, customized infographic with it. Then, I’ll explain exactly what I did so you get a sense of how easy it really is.  Would you rather watch this tutorial instead of read it? Check out the video below: Click here to download your free infographic templates. How to Create Infographics for Free in Under an Hour Step 1: Collect Your Data/Content, and Choose Your Desired Template Your first step is to collect the data/content you’ll be using to populate your infographic, and choose an infographic template appropriate for representing that data. The important thing is to choose a template that specifically works for the type of data set/content you want to present. As you saw...

We Read 9 Self-Help Books So You Don’t Have To

This summer, I decided to really give the whole “be-present-in-the-moment” thing a shot. I wanted to take this seriously, so I decided to check out a couple self-help books dedicated to the idea of “living in the now.” And here’s the thing: some of the ideas, I could really, really get behind. But others didn’t resonate with me as deeply. And that’s okay. Self-help books aren’t meant to be mindlessly devoured and followed diligently, like a cookbook recipe for happiness. You can cherry pick the lessons that fit your life. Which is why we’ve gone ahead and done the hard work for you. Here, we’ve curated a list of nine self-help books to help you achieve professional and personal growth — along with our biggest takeaways from each. The Best Self-Help Books 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe the World The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence – And How You Can, Too How to Win Friends & Influence People Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life 1. 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier Youby Brett Blumenthal (2012) This year, my...

Why Every Public Speaker Should be Using Messenger Bots

A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at the Multifamily Social Media Summit in Napa, CA. It was my second consecutive year attending the event, and I wanted to give the audience something fresh  —  my talk was going to be about Facebook Messenger. A few days before the talk, a member of the HubSpot Academy team asked me if I would be using Messenger to educate the audience on Messenger (very meta — I know). I surprisingly hadn’t thought much about it, but since our Academy team is full of smart people who know a thing or two about teaching, I decided they were probably onto something. So, on the six hour plane ride from Boston to San Francisco, I built a Messenger bot to use during my presentation Setting Goals: Why Do I Need a Bot During My Presentation? I started by setting a few goals to ensure my bot would truly serve the objectives of my presentation. Here’s the list of things I decided my bot needed to accomplish: Teach the audience about Messenger: The core purpose of my presentation was to educate the audience about Messenger. If my bot wasn’t going to help reach this goal, then there was no reason it create it. Engage the audience during the presentation: The bot couldn’t make the presentation more complicated or challenging to follow. It had to contribute to a better audience experience overall. Collect NPS after the event: The bot needed to enable audience members to share feedback on the presentation in a fast, friendly, and ultimately simple way. Share slides with attendees after the...