Friday, 14 August 2015

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Tara Brach: A Heart That Is Ready for Anything

Tara Brach: A Heart That Is Ready for Anything: Photo by: Shell Fischer When the Buddha was dying, he gave a final message to his beloved attendant Ananda, and to generations to come:...

Tara Brach: Taking Your Hands Off the Controls

Tara Brach: Taking Your Hands Off the Controls: Photo Credit: Kalliope Kokolis As living organisms anxious about our existence, we’re all naturally rigged to want to manage our lives ...

Tara Brach: Taking Your Hands Off the Controls

Tara Brach: Taking Your Hands Off the Controls: Photo Credit: Kalliope Kokolis As living organisms anxious about our existence, we’re all naturally rigged to want to manage our lives ...

Tara Brach: Inviting Mara to Tea

Tara Brach: Inviting Mara to Tea: This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.  A joy, a depression, a meanness, Some momentary aware...

Meditazione con Tara Brach: Imparare a rispondere invece che reagire

Meditazione con Tara Brach: Imparare a rispondere invece che reagire: Un elemento chiave per svegliarci dalla trance in cui viviamo e’ quello di fermarci, riconoscere i nostri sentimenti e aprirci ad uno sp...

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Monday, 16 February 2015

Marika Gerika : February 16, 2015 // 8:00 AM7 Ways to Speed Up You...

Marika Gerika : February 16, 2015 // 8:00 AM7 Ways to Speed Up You...: February 16, 2015 // 8:00 AM 7 Ways to Speed Up Your Content Creation Written by   Aaron Agius  | @ IAmAaronAgius SHARE 84 in ...
February 16, 2015 // 8:00 AM

7 Ways to Speed Up Your Content Creation

Written by Aaron Agius | @
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These days, you can’t throw a rock without hitting an industry blog talking about how content marketing is 2015’s “must-do” strategy. In fact, the practice is so widespread that as many as93% of marketing professionals already include it in their promotional campaigns.
But the trick with content marketing is that it's a long game. Successful content marketing teams don't just write a couple of blog posts and expect their traffic to skyrocket -- it can take months to build a backlog of great, search-friendly content.The great thing is, once that content's written, it'll work for you over time by accumulating traffic and generating leads.
It just takes time to get there. If you find yourself feeling discouraged about how long it takes your content to work its way through your audience, don’t give up! You don’t need to change tactics, but you can certainly find ways to speed up your content execution process to get the ball rolling at a faster pace.
In my work at Louder Online, I’ve been inspired by BuzzFeed and other popular online content platforms, whose lessons have shown me different ways to streamline my content marketing strategies and generate results more quickly.  And if I can do it, so can you.
To help you get started, here are seven techniques I use every day.

1) Start with a detailed content strategy.

Want to experience content marketing success more quickly? Then you’ve got to have a plan. According to a 2013 survey from the Content Marketing Instituteonly 44% of content marketers have a clear strategy -- one of the many reasons these marketers struggle to gain traction.
Think about it: If you don’t know who you’re writing for or how to best reach them, how are you going to nail your content execution efforts on the first try? Simply put, you’re not. You’re going to release content with broad appeal that speaks meaningfully to no one, and you’re going to waste time creating content piece after content piece that never really connects with your audience.
That’s why I don’t start by brainstorming blog post topics or throwing around ideas for possible ebooks or whitepapers. Instead, I create a document with a complete content marketing strategy that goes into detail on the following elements:
  • The brand image I want to convey through content;
  • The type of content that'll resonate with the target audience;
  • The ideal way to deliver content to that target audience.
Without answering these and other questions about your target audience in advance, you risk wasting time.

2) Outline a month's worth of ideas in advance.

Can you guess what most marketers find to be the most difficult part of content marketing? Here’s a hint: It isn’t creating the content itself!
In fact, many of the marketers I've worked with tell me that coming up with new ideas for content pieces is the most challenging part of their strategy. Fortunately, it’s an issue that can be easily resolved if you take the time to develop an efficient system for generating ideas.
In my experience, the best thing you can do is to come up with at least a month’s worth of content ideas in advance. Not only will your content be more consistent if your ideas are outlined ahead of time, you’ll be able to redirect the time you would have spent on individual brainstorming sessions to actually creating your content.
Of course, having a plan ahead of time doesn’t mean you have to follow your predetermined strategy to the letter. If hot topics or breaking news items come up in your industry, you can always bump your other ideas down your editorial calendar to accommodate new trends.
Basically, your content plan shouldn’t be a straightjacket that locks you into a predefined content plan -- it should be one of many tools in your arsenal that helps minimize the amount of time needed to create your content pieces. And while it may sound extreme, I’m willing to bet that planning at least a month’s worth of topics in advance will enable you to cut your content marketing prep time needs by as much as 50% or more.
(Use HubSpot's blog topic generator to come up with topics quickly.)

3) Create multiple headlines in advance.

Headlines have always played an incredibly important role in marketing, but they’re even more critical for content marketers given the amount of digital noise that exists today. It's your headlines that serve as your call to action in the SERPs, in your social media posts, in your emails, and in a variety of other channels.
Unfortunately, many people fail to find quick success with content marketing because their headlines aren’t properly optimized, leading them to create more content than they actually need to meet their marketing goals.
So once you’ve got your list of content piece topics put together, I’d recommend also using some of that time to brainstorm possible headline ideas as well to help find the one that’s most likely to gain traction. And I’m not alone in this recommendation: Content marketing strategists at BuzzFeed, Upworthy and some of the world’s leading marketing firms often create 25 or more headlines before selecting one for publication.
This all might seem unnecessarily time-consuming, but trust me. Setting aside a chunk of time to take care of your brainstorming and prep work before you actually sit down to create your content will save you huge amounts of time in the long run. (And check out this infographic for more headline-writing tips.)

4) Create original content more efficiently.

Content curation can be a touchy subject in the content marketing world. Although some experts find it to be an easy way to increase scalability, others argue that repurposing other people’s content makes it difficult to gain traction as a brand.
And it seems as if this latter camp might be winning out: A recent survey from Social Media Examiner found that 81% of content strategists are expected to focus more heavily on creating original content in the next year, rather than deploying curated or repurposed content.
Me, personally? I think there’s truth to be found in both positions. While curated content can be helpful in terms of filling out editorial calendars, original content is still where it’s at for brand building and driving social awareness.
Of course, creating original content doesn’t always have to mean slaving away over 2,000+ word blog posts or investing countless hours (and dollars) into infographic creation. Here are a few of the techniques I use to create original works as quickly as possible:
  • Conduct an expert interview. One quick way to generate content is to come up with a question (or series of questions) and send it out to several experts on the subject. They send you their responses, you paste them into a blog post ... and just like that, you’ve got a content piece that’s polished and appealing to your readers.
  • Gather user-generated content. Don’t want to create your own content? Have your users, fans, and followers do it for you! If you have an active user base, asking them to do things like submit pictures or them using your products -- perhaps as part of a contest with a reward for the best entry -- could result in tons of unique content you can re-package and call your own. (Just be wary of laws surrounding contests like these.)
  • Publish “behind-the-scenes” posts. I think a lot of us fall into the trap of assuming that original content must present totally new ideas, but a lot of your readers just want to get to know you better. Walk around your shop or office with a camera and document what happens on a day-to-day basis. Then, throw the images you’ve captured into a blog post. For a tiny amount of effort, you’ve now got a unique blog post that offers the added benefit of helping readers form stronger relationships with your business.

5) Optimize for different channels.

Sharing your content on social media is important, but there’s no doubt that it can take a substantial amount of time on your part. That’s why it’s a far better idea to encourage your customers to share your content for you.
Nearly half of millennial consumers use social media to discover new brands, which makes it all the more important to optimize your social media presence. But despite statistics like these, many brands still don’t have a way to make sure their content is shared on the leading social media platforms.
If you fall into this camp, consider the following tips that I share with all new clients at Louder Online:
  • Make sure your social sharing buttons are clearly visible on all of your content pages. If they aren’t accessible, readers won’t use them.
  • Use calls-to-action to encourage your website visitors to engage with your brand on social media. Great CTAs include phrases such as “Please share your thoughts on our Facebook page!” or “Help us spread the word about this by sharing with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.”
  • Create alternate headlines for different social media platforms to account for different social network audiences and the unique ways they engage with content. For example, if you’re packaging your content for Twitter, use “Click-to-Tweet” links to encourage readers to tweet your content with just a click of a mouse.

6) Pay attention to your personal productivity.

I’m a morning person. Through extensive trial-and-error experimentation, I've found that if I get up and sit right down at my desk, I slide into a hyper-focused state that allows me to knock out email messages, proposals, and content pieces before other people’s alarm clocks even begin going off. What works for me might not work for you, but you won’t know unless you do your own experimentation.
Since it’s nearly impossible to create quality content if you’re tired or stressed out, I’d recommend the following experiment: Over the next few weeks, pay attention to the way you feel at different times throughout the day. If you’re observant, you should be able to identify natural energy peaks and lulls. Use these to structure your workday so that your content creation sessions always coincide with the times when your mental focus is highest.
It can take time to find your ideal rhythm, but once you figure out when you’re able to concentrate most easily, you’ll find that you’re able to generate higher quality content, faster.

7) Don't self-censor.

All of us have critical inner voices that hound us with all the ways the content we create could be better. On the positive side, these voices help us find errors and make changes that help improve our content. But if left unchecked, these critics slow us down by requiring constant corrections and revisions.
If you’ve ever written a sentence in a blog post, deleted it, and then repeated the cycle over and over again until you were satisfied with the finished result, you know exactly what I mean. The best solution to this challenge is to take away the power of your inner critics.
How? What I do is set a timer for 20-30 minutes and just use that time to create, create, create. No pausing or self-censorship allowed. If I run into any issues that threaten to derail my progress, I simply include the mark “[TK]” -- an editing mark that roughly translates to "to come" and indicates that you'll revisit it later -- and carry on with my work. Once my time is up, I go back and make any necessary changes. (I also run a document search for “[TK]” so that any marks I missed don’t make their way to my clients.)
By saving my editing for a dedicated time and letting my mind free before that, I find that I’m able to create significantly more content than if I was to pause every time my inner critics spoke up.
Certainly, content execution speed should be a priority for every marketer who cares about results. But while the techniques above can help, they aren’t the only strategies out there. So now I want to hear from you! How do you plan to speed up your content marketing strategy in 2015? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
free download: content planning template
Topics: Blogging Content Creation

Monday, 9 February 2015

The Nomad Scrolls: I Can Cook: Light Lunches: A Children's Cookbook *...

The Nomad Scrolls: I Can Cook: Light Lunches: A Children's Cookbook *...: I Can Cook: Light Lunches:  A Children's Cookbook  **Blog Tour** Author Biography  Born in Zimbabwe, Africa I was for...

I Can Cook

February 8, 2015 // 8:00 AM

Who Actually Clicks on Banner Ads? [Infographic]

Written by Jami Oetting | @
click-banner-ad
This post originally appeared on Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.
Website visitors are banner blind. 
And if they do pay attention to the display ads cluttering their online experience, they can put a stop to irrelevant messaging by installing an ad blocker. Hey, it's tough for any brand to compete with plug-ins that can replace banner ads with pictures of puppies and kittens.
But this isn't to say banner ads are all bad. In fact, there have been some pretty creative uses of the display format. But overall, people are tired of being bombarded with ads that don't apply to them or are ill-timed. They lost trust, so they stopped clicking. 
But who are the ones actually clicking on banner ads out there? Prestige Marketing figured this out and created the below infographic. The information should make any brand commit to native advertising if they haven't already. Check it out.
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Topics: Advertising Media
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Friday, 6 February 2015

Marika Gerika : February 5, 2015 // 1:00 PM10 Sites for Free, Non-...

Marika Gerika : February 5, 2015 // 1:00 PM10 Sites for Free, Non-...: February 5, 2015 // 1:00 PM 10 Sites for Free, Non-Cheesy Stock Photos Written by   Carly Stec  | @ CarlyStec SHARE 215 in Sha...
February 5, 2015 // 1:00 PM

10 Sites for Free, Non-Cheesy Stock Photos

Written by Carly Stec | @
cheesy
We've all heard the mantra, "Don't settle for anything less than you deserve."
Yet for some strange reason, marketers continue to push out cheap stock photography to serve as a representation of their brand. 
They fall back on the excuse that they simply don't have the time to spend on figuring out copyrights and attribition rules, but fail to recognize the influence it has on a prospect's perception of them. 
The truth is, high-quality stock photos don't have to come hand-in-hand with a hassle or high price tag. To prove it, we've compiled a list of 10 awesome sites for free, non-cheesy stock photos. 

1) Death to the Stock Photo

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When Founders and photographers, Allie and David, noticed a how challenging it was for businesses, bloggers, and creatives to find free high-quality images that fit their "vibe and tribe", they stepped in. 
As a result, Death to the Stock Photo was born. 
Simply submit your email and enjoy a new batch of photos delivered to your inbox, monthly. 
As if that wasn't cool enough, this month Death to Stock Photo recently teamed up with Medium to deliver a free photo pack equipped with 10 writing prompts to help you get started on the publishing platform. Free photos and writing inspiration? We dig it.

2) Picjumbo

Picjumbo
Need high quality images for your next web design, sliders, blogs, etc?
Look no further than picjumbo. 
With new photos added daily, there is a wide selection of high quality images to fit a variety of different topics.
The photographer, Vicktor, even offers a paid membership ($6/month), that includes a premium pack of photos sent straight to your inbox every month. The packs include unpublished and upcoming images, as well as complete collections. 
While attribution isn't necessary, it's certainly appreciated (we encourage you to spread the love.)

3) Unsplash

Unsplash
Unsplash serves up 10 new "do whatever you want" photos every 10 days.
What we love most about this resource is the uniqueness of the photos. With pages upon pages to choose from, you can rest assure that you won't run into any cheesy "Smiling Boss Shaking Hands With Male Employee" shots. 
Not to mention, every photo published on Unsplash is licensed under Creative Commons Zero, which provides users with the freedom to copy, modify, distribute, and use all of the photos without permissions or attribution. 

4) StockSnap.io

StockSnap.io
StockSnap.io proudly claims that they're "not your typical crappy stock photo site."
We concur. 
In fact, they've won our marketing hearts by dishing out hundreds of high resolution images each week (I repeat, hundreds.)
Believe me when I say that their selection is so interesting and versatile that it's almost too easy to "fall down the rabbit hole" and come to fifty-something scrolls later.
What's even better is that all photos are free from copyright restrictions, and no attribution is required. To check out the full license description, click here

5) Startup Stock Photos

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"Take 'em, these things are free. Go. Make something." 
With a tag line like this, it's tough not to scoop up what Startup Stock Photos has to offer. 
While the name is startup specific, there are plenty of professional options to use no matter what industry you're operating within. 
From technology to professionals at work to office spaces, you'll surely have your hands full with free, permission-free imagery. 

6) SumAll

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Much like a drink from your favorite bartender, SumAll refers to their library of free visuals as "Images on the House."
While some are admittedly a little cheesy (forgive me), their collection of quirky, creative designs are unique enough to help your business stand out in a sea of button-up, over-used stock photos. 
With categories ranging from social media to data to growth, you're sure to find something that suits your next project. 

7) Life of Pix

Life-of-Pix
Brought to you by Leeroy Advertising Agency in Montreal (and their network of talented photographers), Life of Pix is home to some awesome high-resolution photos. 
All of the images are donated to the public domain, and are available for personal and commercial use. 
As if that wasn't enough, Life of Pix also has a counterpart, Life of Vid. 
According to their website, Life of Vid serves up free footage videos, clips, and loops, weekly. Like the images, the video content contains no copyright restrictions, and can be easily downloaded on their Vimeo account. 

8) Pexels

Pexels
Pexels is committed to adding at least 35 new photos each week. These photos are carefully hand-picked from a variety of free image sources to ensure that you're getting only the best of the best. 
All of the photos that make the cut are under the Creative Commons Zero license, meaning that they are free for personal and commercial use with not attribution required.
And thanks to their search functionality, turning up the right photo for your next project is made stupidly easy.

9) Gratisography

Gratisography
With new photos added weekly, Gratisography is another awesome website serving up high-resolution photos covered under the Creative Commons Zero license.
 All of the photos are taken by Ryan McGuire, a "whimsically creative visual artist, based in Ithaca, NY."
While these photos are a bit more quirky (we're talking everything from monster feet slippers to vespas to bananas), they are entirely usable for the right project. 

10) Jay Mantri

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Jay Mantri adds 7 new "do anything" photos every Thursday. 
As a result, he's built up an impressive gallery of professional, quality images just for you and me (...and everyone else.)
If I had to describe Mantri's photos in one word, it'd be "scenic."
But don't just take my word for it, go see for yourself...