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June 29, 2019

PPC Copywriting Mistakes to Avoid, Pride Month Marketing Lessons, & What Happens When You Don't Have Buy-In ...This Is THE LATEST! 

As I write this, it's stretching into the final afternoon hours on Friday, and I am so ready for the weekend. Slack has been wonky all day and just now went offline completely (cue the panic tweets). I think that means we're all ready for the weekend  Slack included.

But before our team heads out for the weekend, we're frantically wrapping up some new design assets, promo materials, and email content because, first thing on Monday, we are making a very exciting IMPACT Live 2019 speaker announcement!

Two days ago, when I found out who our final spotlight speaker is going to be, this was my reaction on Slack:

Screen Shot 2019-06-28 at 4.02.35 PM

CAN YOU TELL I AM EXCITED?!

We'll be making the big announcement first thing on Monday but, until then, I'm really enjoying all the guesses people are sharing with me as to who the speaker is. In fact, I decided to toss something up on our IMPACT Live Facebook page so you can all submit your best guesses!

Secret_Speaker

In honor of this big announcement, we extended the promo code to be good through Monday. The code is LATEST100 and it's good for $100 off your ticket! Grab your ticket now because once we announce this speaker, they're going to go quickly!

Beyond amazing speakers, one thing I've learned people really value at conferences and events is getting actionable tips and tricks they can implement right away.

Fortunately, you don't have to wait until IMPACT Live to get some tips you can put into action today (or...you know, Monday). I've rounded up our most actionable recent articles for you in today's edition of THE LATEST

⚠️ Top 3 PPC Copywriting Mistakes to Avoid (Expert Tips & Advice)

I consider myself a decent writer. I took writing-intensive courses in college and can modify my writing style as needed for landing pages, emails, and articles. But it turns out many things that work for these traditional copywriting projects do not work in the paid media advertising space. My teammate and fellow author of THE LATEST, Liz Murphy, sat down with Jason Linde, Paid Media Specialist at IMPACT, to discuss the most common mistakes people make with Google ads and PPC copywriting.

🌈 Marketing with Pride vs. Rainbow Washing: Marketing Lessons from Pride Month 2019

The end of Pride month has me reflecting on all the great events I attended but also has me contemplating all of the Pride-related marketing campaigns I’ve come across. Find out why while I have loved seeing rainbows everywhere, I am conflicted, knowing many organizations aren’t doing much beyond simply flying the rainbow flag. Plus, get specific tips on how your organization can do Pride month marketing the right way.

⛔ What Happens When You Don't Have Buy-in for Inbound & Content?

One of the biggest challenges facing marketers and sales people I talk to is a lack of buy-in for inbound and content at their organization. By this I mean their whole organization is not on board with the philosophy, which leads to a bunch of roadblocks. IMPACT Account Executive Jolie Higazi outlined how a lack of buy-in results in pushback, missed content deadlines, and tons of wasted time.

🎧  Our Latest Shows & Podcasts 

⚡ IMPACTers at #INBOUND19

If you're also going to HubSpot's annual INBOUND event, keep an eye out for three of our very own who will be taking the stage and delivering game-changing talks this year -- all on Wednesday, September 4:

You can't register for individual INBOUND sessions yet, but you can start favoriting those you want to attend by clicking on the individual session links above. 

🎉  Weekend Nonsense

As we plan IMPACT Live 2019, look at the lineup for INBOUND 2019, and stay up to date with digital sales and marketing in general, I consistently hear about how what we're doing really is a "movement."

Meanwhile, I'm part of a very small but truly passionate group of fans (including IMPACTers Ramona and Jen) who love a little show called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. On the show, one of the characters sings a song about her movement and, well, watch for yourself and see why this song plays in my head during many of our planning meetings!

this is my movement

#SorryNotSorry

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I'll see you in Elite! 👋
June 27, 2019

Behind the Scenes of They Ask, You Answer; "Above the Fold" Web Design; and How to Not Work While Attending Conferences ...This Is THE LATEST! 

Most of my nonmarketing friends like to joke that I just attend meetings for a living. Part of me wants to say that this isn't technically wrong, depending on what day of the week it is.  

But in reality, most days, I feel like the luckiest content nerd in the world. 

For example, it wasn't until last week that I was able to let the cat out of the bag about a big "hush hush" project I had been working on. A project that, for the better part of two months, dominated every evening hour, weekend afternoon, and any other spare moment I might have otherwise had available...

they-ask-you-answer-marcus-sheridan-2nd-edition

That's right, folks! As you might have already seen on Amazon -- or heard about during the most recent episode of The Hubcast -- a second edition of Marcus Sheridan's They Ask, You Answer will be released later this summer, just in time for IMPACT Live 2019

And I was utterly humbled when Marcus and IMPACT CEO Bob Ruffolo asked me to help out as the internal editor and project manager for it. (Psst! Check out the first article below to learn more about my experience.) 

It was a surreal project to be a part of, in my own tiny way. 

Leaving aside the fact that I was getting to help out with an honest-to-goodness book, I was going to be a supporting player in revising a book that fundamentally changed my perspective on what I do for a living when I first read it in 2017

I know I'm not alone in feeling that way, and it's been exciting to see companies around the world, across a wide range of industries, transform their own businesses through the philosophy of They Ask, You Answer

Granted, I became closer to baristas at my local Starbucks than is probably healthy -- although those who keep us wayward editors caffeinated are doing sacred work that should not be undervalued -- but it was totally worth it to play a small part in this movement. 

ALERT: Every IMPACT Live 2019 attendee will receive a copy of They Ask, You Answer (2nd Edition) -- and you can get $100 off your ticket through tomorrow ONLY with the code LATEST100.

📚 I Learned 4 Very Surprising Lessons as the Internal Editor of Marcus Sheridan's They Ask, You Answer (2nd Edition) 

On the one hand, I was smart enough to recognize that I was about to embark upon a content adventure far outside the boundaries of what I considered, at that time, to be my comfort zone. On the other hand, I still had no idea how much of a learning experience it would be. There were late nights. There was dry-heaving. I also scared my dogs a couple of times. Without further ado, here is the "Real True Hollywood Story" of my experience as the internal editor of They Ask, You Answer (2nd edition).

🔥 Only 1 More Day to Save $100 on Your Ticket to IMPACT Live 2019 -- Use Code "LATEST100" to Save! 

There are only 40 days left before hundreds of business leaders, digital marketers, and sales pros descend upon Hartford, Connecticut, for IMPACT Live 2019 to learn the answer to the following question:

"What are the most important things I need to be doing right now with my digital sales and marketing to have the most bottom-line impact on my business?"

If you want to know the answer to that question, IMPACT Live is where you need to be. Over the course of two packed days, you'll learn the exact framework you need to apply at your company to get real results fast

Join the movement. Use code LATEST100 to get $100 off your ticket to IMPACT Live today.

🎨 Is Staying "Above the Fold" Still Relevant in Modern Business Website Design?

If you're wondering what the business web design equivalent of talking about politics or religion at the dinner table is, it's how important (or not) "above the fold" real estate is for websites. For many, it's still considered the most important space on a site -- it's the first thing most of your visitors will see, right? Well, not so fast. IMPACT Senior Designer Joe Rinaldi shares this convention-challenging take all businesses need to read about designing "above the fold" for websites.

🤓 Here's How to Stop Being a Slave to Work While Trying to Be Present at Industry Conferences

IMPACT Live, INBOUND, and countless other industry events are just around the corner. If you're like me, you're slowly wrapping your brain around how you're going to balance attending these conferences without completely turning your world upside down, work-wise. Unfortunately, the usual solution is to work through a conference, "as needed." But we need to have a talk about that. If you want to make the most of your investment in attending a conference -- instead of working through it -- here is exactly what you need to do.

🎧  Our Latest Shows & Podcasts 

📆  Upcoming Digital Sales & Marketing Events

OK, you know you need to be in Hartford, Connecticut, August 6th & 7th at IMPACT Live 2019, but we've got a special message to you from one of our speakers -- the legendary and passionate Brian Fanzo -- you need to hear: 

⚡ IMPACTers at #INBOUND19

If you're also going HubSpot's annual INBOUND event, keep an eye out for three of our very own who will be taking the stage and delivering game-changing talks this year -- all on Wednesday, September 4:

While you can't register just yet for your INBOUND sessions, you can start favoriting those you want to attend (and adding them to your calendar!) by clicking on the individual session links above. 

⏰ Throwback Thursday

In a recent article, IMPACT CEO Bob Ruffolo shared why we created our Digital Sales & Marketing Scorecard, and I think this was my favorite passage: 

Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 1.59.50 PM

Teams from more than 280 companies have gotten their own Digital Sales & Marketing Scorecard -- now it's your turn.

🗞️ What I'm Reading

Finally, as always, without preamble or context, here is what I'm reading this week: 

⚠️ Breaking News

I kid you not, as I was just writing this, a NEW IMPACT LIVE 2019 KEYNOTE SPEAKER was just added to our lineup -- and our team as bursting with excitement in our internal Slack company updates channel. 

While I can't tell you WHO yet, what I can say is that it's going to be BIG!

So, get your tickets now (don't forget to use code LATEST100 for $100 off!), and then look for major announcement will be coming next week! 

Ta-ta for now! 👋
June 25, 2019

The Challenging Transition to Leadership, 25% Month-Over-Month Growth, & So Long, Amazon Spark...This Is THE LATEST! 

Growth is a funny thing -- we seek it out as a positive in our personal lives, our individual careers, and for our organizations.

Heck, we've watched our own team at IMPACT Live, grow year...

impact-live-2017

IMPACT Live '17

...over year:

impact-live-2018-1

IMPACT Live '18

And yet, positive as it may be, growth is (virtually) always challenging.

We're challenged to go outside of our comfort zones as we climb up the organizational ladder. We're challenged to get creative and stay agile when structural changes need to occur with our teams. We're challenged to know when to pivot away from a business initiative that ultimately didn't pan out as we had hoped.

Is it sometimes painful? Yes. There's a reason why "growing pains" has stuck as a turn of phrase. 

But is it worth it to push through those growing pains to the other side? Absolutely.

Big risks can offer a big reward to those who are willing to sacrifice a little comfort to achieve something they never thought possible. So, how will you grow next?

(Psst! IMPACT Live is right around the corner on August 6-7 in Hartford, CT, and there will be hundreds of business leaders, and marketers and sales professionals just like you sharing, connecting, and learning how to grow the right way with digital marketing and sales. I'd love to see you there! Use the code LATEST100 to save $100 on your ticket before it expires on Friday!)

🤕  You Can't Become a Leader Without Going Through These 4 (Sometimes Challenging) Stages

Anyone who advances in their career goes through growing pains -- mastering new skills, making peace with losing others. It's not easy. In fact, it can be pretty uncomfortable for most. Having gone through many of these struggles in the past few years herself, IMPACT's VP of Client Services, Brie Rangel, breaks down her experience into four stages all new managers and leaders face (and many aspiring leaders worry about.)

📈  Planable Sees 25% Growth Every Month Thanks to Its "Marketing Team of the Future" 

It's not enough to just have a marketing team, you need to have one structured for success with the right tools, processes, and of course, people. Social media collaboration and approval software startup Planable has been growing at a rate of 25% month over month. In this week's episode of The Inbound Success Podcast, the company's co-founder, Vlad Calus, shared why he attributes this greatly to its marketing team structure and why he believes this is the key to fast growth.

💥  Amazon Spark Barely Got Off The Ground And Now It's No More 

Back in 2017, Amazon released Amazon Spark in hopes of competing with Instagram. Haven't heard of it? You're most certainly not the only one, which makes last week's news that the app would be shutting down, not a huge surprise. IMPACT Account Executive Karisa Egan shares what went wrong with Spark and how Amazon plans to pivot. 


👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🚨 Save Your Seat

  • TONIGHT! New Haven HUG Hosts Live In-Person Website Throwdowns: Our panel of experts will be critiquing websites from our audience and offering valuable tips and tricks to improve your site right away. Make sure to register -- and, we'll see you there!
  • Catch Ryan Deiss at IMPACT Live: Last week, we announced Ryan Deiss, Founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer, as the newest Spotlight Speaker in the IMPACT Live 2019 agenda! Ryan’s joining a packed lineup of marketing superstars, including Marcus Sheridan, Mari Smith, David Cancel, David Meerman Scott, and Brian Fanzo.

    What could be better than seeing Ryan at IMPACT Live? Answer: Seeing Ryan and saving some $$$! Last Chance to use the code LATEST100 to knock $100 off your ticket to IMPACT Live!

    Hurry--the code expires in just 3 days!

🗞️ What I'm Reading

What's on my reading radar this week? Let's take a look: 

Talk soon!

June 22, 2019

Spotify's New Targeting, Website Design Mistakes, & They Ask, You Answer...This Is THE LATEST! 

Friends, when was the last time you did something with your team that wasn't work? And I'm not talking about that lunch or dinner meeting last week -- come on, now. 

Earlier this week, a bunch of us in the New Haven office took a little time after work to do a Paint Nite together, and my only complaint is more that more of the team wasn't there!

impact-paint-nite
Not only was it a great time checking out each other's brush skills and cracking some terrible marketing jokes ("You want your trees to look organic -- like my search traffic"), but it was awesome seeing how supportive and helpful everyone was of each other, even outside of the office. 

Supporting a teammate may mean picking up an extra task while they're out on vacation or, in some weird instances, it may mean offering some encouraging words when their trees look a little less than perfect. Regardless of what form it takes, what matters is that you have each other's backs. 

That being said, we may not officially be teammates, but you know I've got your back with the latest insights...

🎧  Advertising On Spotify Is Starting to Sound Even Better (See What I Did There?)

Gosh, that was punderful, but anyway -- With podcast listening ever on the rise, advertising with them is becoming more and more attractive as well. Trying to cash in on the trend, Spotify is now offering the ability to target your ads there based on the types of podcasts listen. This promises a more relevant listening experience for users and a more refined, engaged audiences for marketers. Music to our ears... We dove into the details of the changes and why you should be excited.

👎  Designers & Marketers Are Inadvertently Making People Hate Their Sites

It's crazy, but a whopping 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive or confusing (Part of the reason why I've never taken a liking to Reddit), and there are a lot of factors that can influence this. IMPACT Design Supervisor Jessie-Lee Nichols recently sat down to ponder what things designers might be doing that make users hate their websites. She came up these ten.

🌎  They Ask, You Answer Has Transformed Thousands of Companies All Over the World… But What Is it?

Digital sales and marketing teams that have embraced They Ask, You Answer -- a business philosophy that begins with an obsession to answer the question: “What are my customers thinking?” -- have successfully doubled (or even tripled) their annual revenue in this new digital age. Here is your primer from our Director of Web & Interactive Content, Liz Murphy, on where They Ask, You Answer came from and exactly how it works.


👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🎉  Weekend Nonsense

For those of you not familiar, back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Bud Light ran a now legendary campaign called “Real Men of Genius.”

Each 60-second TV or radio ad was a hilarious tribute to men in often-overlooked accomplishments like Mr. Pro Sports Heckler and Mr. Really Bad Toupee Wearer. This summer, the beer brand resurrected the beloved campaign as "Internet Heroes of Genius" highlighting things like Social Media Manager, Person Who Accidentally Went Viral, and Person Still Using Their Middle School Email.

They're all GOLD and need to be watched, but this one for a Snapchat Lens Creator may be my favorite:

Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 2.47.36 PM

Talk soon!

June 20, 2019

Takeaways from the 2019 Internet Trends Report, Google Calendar Outage Tweets, & the Value of Industry Outsiders ...This Is THE LATEST! 

Everybody! Rock your body! Liz is back! (Alright!)

bsb

As expected, I missed you guys last week. But Stephanie's takeover of THE LATEST in my absence was spectacular.

Also, I had a lot of fun teaching Maryland breweries about effective brand storytelling strategies at the Brewers Association of Maryland Technical Summit at Mt. Hood College...

IMG-0172

...and a post-event happy hour at one of my favorite local breweries is certainly a nice perk! 

Lucky for me, as a (somewhat) reformed high school theater nerd and avid teacher of all things content, my outing with Maryland brewers won't be the only time I'm taking the stage this year.

In fact, if you're one of the business leaders and marketing pros who will be attending IMPACT Live this August, you'll see me there. On stage.

My goals as an IMPACT Live '19 speaker are pretty simple -- first, I intend to wow you with all of the content goodness in my brain. Second, I will not fall down. (Last year went pretty well in both categories, so I'm feeling pretty good!) 

I've got a lot of time to prepare, so I can meet both of those goals at IMPACT Live -- but I have a sneaking suspicion August will also be here before I know it, so I better hop to it. 

In the meantime, here's what you need to do -- get your tickets to IMPACT Live, which is an unforgettable two-day immersive event for digital marketing and sales rockstars who want to grow their business and their careers. And don't forget to use code LATEST100 to get $100 off your ticket!

Then, dive into all of the juicy articles below. They'll make you smarter. (Or, in the case of the first one, you'll at least laugh a little.) 

🔥 Google Calendar Went Down & Here Are 19 Hysterical Tweets About It Being the End of Days

On Tuesday morning, my professional world came to a screeching halt -- as it did for hundreds of thousands of other Google Calendar users around the world. Why? Google Calendar, the unsinkable Titanic of the internet, actually went down for three hours. So, since I had no idea where I was supposed to be, who I was supposed to talk to, or at what time I needed to meet anyone, I went to Twitter and gathered 19 of the funniest tweets I could find about the Google Calendar outage -- because misery loves company

🤓 Hiring an Industry Outsider for Your Content Marketing Team Might Be the Best Decision You Make  

Some of the best content management hires we've seen are those who come from outside of the industry they're hired into. Now, we can reinforce this point to you, because we recently did the same when we hired John Becker, our newest editorial content associate. Prior to IMPACT, John never worked in marketing -- in fact, he's from the world of academia, with nary a buyer persona in sight. And in his first-ever article for us, John shares what content marketing value an industry outsider can bring to the table for organizations and his experience with learning about an entirely new industry

📊 [New Data] The Top 5 Takeaways from Mary Meeker's 333-Page Internet Trends Report for 2019

One of the most anticipated digital marketing trends reports has dropped -- Mary Meeker's 2019 Internet Trends Report! However, your time is limited... and let's face it, reports of this magnitude are dense. (Seriously, this bad boy clocks in at 333 pages.) So, our digital sales and marketing beat reporter, Iris Hearn, has the top five key takeaways you need to know from Mary Meeker's industry powerhouse 2019 Internet Trends Report.

👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🚨 Save Your Seat

  • You don't want to miss the New Haven HUG on June 25! We're hosting TOTALLY LIVE, IN-PERSON website throwdowns! Our panel of experts will be critiquing websites from our audience and offering valuable tips and tricks to improve your site right away. Make sure to register -- and, if you dare, throw your site into the ring!
  • DigitalMarketer founder and CEO Ryan Deiss is speaking at IMPACT Live and yes, you should get excited! Ryan will be talking about the five triggers you need to add to your marketing to create more brand authority. Ryan’s joining a packed lineup of marketing superstars, including Marcus Sheridan, Mari Smith, David Cancel, David Meerman Scott, and Brian Fanzo. And don't forget to use code LATEST100 to get $100 off your ticket

⏰ Throwback Thursday

OK, all of this talk about IMPACT Live '19 has me a little too excited. But my only outlet right now is to relive the magic of last year's event. 

For example, Narrative SEO founder Franco Valentino's talk on the simple, yet powerful SEO strategies you can start using right now was probably one of my favorite talks of the event:

I'm telling you, this 13-minute talk radically changed how I think about SEO and integrate it into our content strategies at IMPACT. 

🗞️ What I'm Reading

Finally, as always, without preamble or context, here is what I'm reading this week: 

OK, time to go practice not falling down. Later, squares! 

June 18, 2019

The QR Comeback, Inside Parse.ly's Success, & Facebook's Key Moments...This Is THE LATEST! 

Brace yourself: We're already halfway through 2019.

aparna-what

I know; It's crazy right? This is a critical crossroads for many of us.

We need to reflect on the first half of the year and see what went well with our marketing, start thinking about where we want to be in 2020, and in some cases, smash the reset button on things that just aren't working. 

It can and will be stressful, but it can also be an amazing opportunity for a fresh strategy.

Take a look at your website and sales data. Perhaps even get out of the office to explore what other businesses are doing.

(Just sayin' IMPACT Live may be the perfect place to do that! Our biggest annual event is quickly approaching on August 6-7 in Hartford, CT, and there will be hundreds of marketers and sales professionals just like you learning, sharing, and connecting. Plus, we've just announced a ton of exciting new speakers, including DigitalMarketer's Ryan Deiss. I'd love to see you there! Use the code LATEST100 to save $100 on your ticket -- Code expires next week!)

If things are going well with your marketing, great! Keep going.

But if they're not, don't get discouraged. This could be your chance to make a comeback.

Kind of like my friends, QR codes...

📱  Are QR Codes Poised For A Mainstream Comeback? 

You see QR codes (the little square barcodes-that-could) on concert tickets, movie tickets, and in apps, but they hadn't really seemed to have caught on in marketing in the U.S since their first major appearance in 2011. However, with their incorporation into the native iPhone camera, and more prominent uses in the past few months, we have reason to believe, they could be poised for a more mainstream marketing presence.

📊  Parse.ly Cut Its Marketing Staff, PR, & Content Creation and Still Increased Traffic & Leads 

Truly great products sell themselves -- and Parse.ly's success story definitely proves that. In this episode of The Inbound Success Podcast, Kathleen Booth sits down with the analytics platform's VP of Marketing, Clare Carr, to hear how the company cut its marketing staff, reduced PR spending and content creation by half, and still managed to increase website traffic and leads. (It's witchcraft, I say!)

📚  Facebook Shares Insights On How to Capitalize on Moments

Great marketing isn't just about good copy or visuals; it's about hitting the right person with the right message at just the right time. Facebook's new moments guide will help marketers do this more skillfully with their content by identifying these times (i.e. morning commutes, holidays, etc.) and sharing what kind of messaging will strike the right chord during them.

👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🚨 Save Your Seat

  • New Haven HUG gets in on the Website Throwdown fun (IN PERSON!) on June 25: The New Haven HUG will be hosting totally live website throwdowns! Our panel of experts will be critiquing websites from our audience and offering valuable tips and tricks to improve your site right away. Make sure to register -- and, if you dare, throw your site into the ring!
  • Catch Ryan Deiss at IMPACT Live! Ryan Deiss, Founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer, is the newest Spotlight Speaker in the IMPACT Live 2019 agenda! As a leading speaker on digital marketing, Ryan will be talking about the five triggers you need to add to your marketing to create more brand authority. Ryan’s joining a packed lineup of marketing superstars, including Marcus Sheridan, Mari Smith, David Cancel, David Meerman Scott, and Brian Fanzo.

    What could be better than seeing Ryan at IMPACT Live? Answer: Seeing Ryan and saving some $$$! Use the code LATEST100 to knock $100 off your ticket to IMPACT Live! Hurry--the offer expires next week!

🗞️ What I'm Reading

What's on my reading radar this week? Let's take a look: 

Talk soon!

June 15, 2019

A Father's Marketing Lessons, Diversity in Stock Photos, & Marketing Self-Reflection...This Is THE LATEST! 

Not to be stereotypical, but the majority of my friends are doctors.

Medical doctors, doctors of physical therapy, pharmacy, psychology, dentistry -- you name it and I likely have a friend with a doctorate in it.

Aside from making it hard not to drown in biology terms during brunch, this also often leaves the token business friend (yours truly) feeling a bit self-conscious.

Marketers don't have the greatest reputation. To some, our jobs seem manipulative and greedy. We're not really known for being helpful like the hoard of doctors surrounding me (unless you ask Allison Janney...)

doctorsI don't agree with this for the record.

But that's part of the reason I love Inbound. Inbound aimed to change this perception. 

It's not focused on the hard sell, but on helping people; on building trust by giving people things they need even if at no cost; about "delighting" them.

Content, in particular, gives us, in Inbound, the opportunity to not only educate, but to connect on a deeper level.

So today, rather than focus on just the hard, cold insights of the past few days, here are some pieces that go beyond the numbers and share a bit of the heart and caring sides of marketing. 

👨 The Only Thing Better Than Dad Jokes Are Dad Marketing Lessons

Father's Day is tomorrow in the U.S., and while we conventionally focus on how dads can teach us things like how to ride a bike or maybe how to shave, they can also teach us a lot about marketing, sales, business, and life and general. IMPACT Account Executive Christi Wharton shares what her beloved father unexpectedly taught her in this touching tribute. 

📸  How Diverse & Inclusive Are Your Stock Photos?

Many of us know to keep an eye out for stock photos that are just a bit too "stocky," but how many of you are paying attention to how diverse and inclusion the stock photos you use are? Representation Matters is a new stock photo resource that aims to tackle the lack of inclusivity on major sites head-on. I talk all about it, why diversity in your marketing is important, and share other resources in this piece.

🤔  Why We Want Brands to Take a Hard Look in the Mirror

You can't know where you need to go unless you know where you are. As a marketer, this isn't about a GPS, but self-assessment. It's about data audits, taking a hard look at your principles and practices as a company, and understanding how you measure up against your competitors. This, friends, is part of the reason why we created the Digital Sales & Marketing Scorecard to help marketers and sales professionals like yourself learn where they stand with their strategies and how they can improve. Our CEO, Bob Ruffolo explains. 

👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🎉  Weekend Nonsense

So there you have it -- some of the more emotional side of our content this week. You know what's also emotional? Anything Queen.

This video of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," which Mashable called "a wonderfully absurd," illustrates every word of the iconic song with a random (and I mean random) Google image result. It's strange -- and phenomenal. Enjoy!

bohemian-rhapsody

Talk soon!

June 13, 2019

Accessible SEO Conferences, Working with Social Media Interns, & Helping Your Community Share the Love...This Is THE LATEST! 

Hi friends! 👋 Me, again. I'm Stephanie, the Director of Audience Engagement and Community at IMPACT, and I'm taking over today's edition of THE LATEST while Liz is off in her happy place: the intersection of beer and marketing.

It wouldn't be my style to do this without a video and as you can see from the thumbnail, I had fun with this one:

As I mentioned in my video, my happy place is my community. Which community that is depends on the day as I'm part of many great communities. I shared in my guide to online community management how being part of the LGBTQ+ community has provided me with guidance and support. Since June is Pride Month, this community is extra special to me at the moment. 

Of course, I also run our Facebook community, IMPACT Elite!

Everyone needs a community. Humans have a desire to be part of something. To belong. From tech user groups and networking events to online learning communities, there's something for every professional. What do you love about your community? Reply and let me know. 😀

And to you, my community of smart inbound professionals looking for relevant and actionable marketing insights, I've got you covered:

🔎  Google Introduces Local "Webmaster Conferences" to Make SEO Success More Accessible

Google is making expert advice about SEO much more accessible. The new, 100% free Google Webmaster Conferences aim to take the exclusivity out of SEO conferences. These smaller, international events will be hosted in regions where people typically can't travel to larger SEO conferences and talks will be presented in the local language. Say hello to your new, local SEO community! This initiative is a step in the right direction to level the playing field and make actionable SEO insights more accessible to everyone.  

✍️  The Good, Bad, & Ugly Approaches to Working With a Social Media Intern

Like many marketing professionals my age, my first job was as a social media intern. Because, well, I'm a millennial. Since then, social media has evolved from a trendy new tool to a central part of a good brand and customer care strategy. In 2019, should something so vital really be left to an intern? Take this Twitter response from AXE:

AXE tweet

Boom! For smaller brands though, an intern can actually be great for your social strategy as long as you set them up for success. Fortunately, IMPACT Account Executive Jessica Palmeri is here for us with tips for how to best work with a social media intern -- and what to avoid.

❤️  How to Help Your Community Members Show Their Love

Fun fact: my laptop case is absolutely plastered with vinyl stickers from tools and tech I love. 

Stephanie's laptopMy laptop today ^

It's one of the many ways that the brands I love have empowered me to share my loyalty. I'm not the only one, either. People who love your brand want you to succeed -- which makes them one of your most powerful marketing assets. Here are my five favorite ways to help your community show their love along with examples from brands doing this well.

👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🚨 Save Your Seat

  • New Haven HUG gets in on the Website Throwdown fun (IN PERSON!) on June 25: The New Haven HUG will be hosting totally live website throwdowns! Our panel of experts will be critiquing websites from our audience and offering valuable tips and tricks to improve your site right away. Make sure to register -- and, if you dare, throw your site into the ring!
  • BIG speaker news for IMPACT Live! 📣 August is just around the corner, which means so is IMPACT Live 2019. Ryan Deiss, Founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer, is joining an already packed lineup of sales and marketing superstars who will grace our stage. Check out this video from Ryan to hear what he'll be talking about. Don't wait -- get your ticket now! Save 15% using code SPEAKERRYAN

⏰ Throwback Thursday

This isn't a very far throwback but a few weeks ago we released our new digital sales and marketing scorecard. You can now score your company in the six core areas of your business that will have the most impact on your digital sales and marketing success. Yesterday, Founder and CEO of IMPACT, Bob Ruffolo, shared why we created the digital sales and marketing scorecard and how exactly it came to be the tool it is today. 

Have you scored your company yet? Share your results in our community of 5,000+ inbound professionals. It's called IMPACT Elite and it's where I hang out. Come join us!

See you in Elite!

June 11, 2019

Tripling Your Landing Page Conversions, Creating Content Like a Thought Leader, & Maximizing Your Facebook Giveaways...This Is THE LATEST! 

Friends, it's wonderful to be a trail blazer and do something that's never been done before -- especially as a brand -- but that doesn't mean we should disregard tried-and-true ideas.

Maybe it's because I'm 30 now and I'm realizing I shouldn't have rolled my eyes at my parents' advice growing up...

eye-roll

But there's something to be said about learning from other people's work and experience.

Sure, just because it worked for someone else doesn't mean it'll work for you -- all brands and organizations are different -- but the strategies and tips that have seen success can, at the very least, act as inspiration or even jumping off points for some experiments.

Take these insights for example...

📈  This is How Rev.com Tripled Its Landing Page Conversions [Podcast]

When I first started working in inbound marketing, few things were more satisfying than achieving a high landing page conversion rate. It meant the copy hit all the right notes and people were entering our funnel -- every marketer's goal! But with savvier and more skeptical audiences, it can be harder to hit those high marks. In this week's episode of The Inbound Success Podcast, Rev.com Director Growth Barron Caster sits down with our very own Kathleen Booth to discuss how the company uses consumer research and insights to 3x its landing page conversion rates.

✍️  The Thought Leader's Secrets to Unforgettable Content

Anyone can create content, but creating truly great content is no easy feat.  As a content manager, editor, writer, and notoriously tough critic of all things, few know this better than yours truly. Great content is a perfect blend of skillful phrasing and wise, thought-provoking insight -- but it doesn't have to be intimidating. IMPACT's Director of Web & Interactive Content and my fellow LATEST-writing partner, Liz Murphy, candidly shares what it really takes to create unforgettable content like a thought leader.

🎁  Running a Facebook Giveaway? These 7 Ad Tips Will Help You Maximize Its Performance

Organic Facebook success is just about as elusive as truly great content, but luckily Facebook's comprehensive advertising platform and, of course, everyone's love of free stuff, still puts it within our reach. In a guest piece for our friends at Instapage, IMPACT's Facebook Ad Strategist, Ali Parmelee, shares seven musts to running Facebook Giveaways that guarantee conversions.

👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🚨 Save Your Seat

  • Don't Miss the Hartford HubSpot User Group (HUG) TONIGHT! Starting at 5:30 ET, IMPACT's own HubSpot expert, Carina Duffy, will spill all the secrets behind HubSpot’s "Choose Your Own Adventure" lead nurturing strategy. There will also be free food, drinks, & plenty of time to network. Just make sure to register here!
  • Website Throwdown Returns TOMORROW! Real business websites will be critiqued during this live broadcast by our hosts and this month's special guest, Drift VP of Content & Community (and HubSpot alumni) Mark Kilens! While site submissions have closed, you can still save your seat to watch!
  • New Haven HUG gets in on the Website Throwdown fun (IN PERSON!) on June 25: The New Haven HUG will be hosting totally live website throwdowns! Our panel of experts will be critiquing websites from our audience and offering valuable tips and tricks to improve your site right away. Make sure to register -- and, if you dare, throw your site into the ring!
  • Finally, IMPACT Live is ONLY 8 WEEKS AWAY! August is just around the corner, which means so is IMPACT Live 2019. This unforgettable, immersive, two-day event is where the best in marketing and sales come together to learn proven tactics for breakthrough results. Don't wait -- get your ticket now!

🌎 IMPACTERS on the Move

👉 Learn more about having someone from IMPACT speak at your event.

🗞️ What I'm Reading

What's on my reading radar this week? Let's take a look: 

Talk soon!

June 8, 2019

The Power of Podcast Ads, Being Nice at Work, & Facebook's "Backyard BBQ"...This Is THE LATEST!

I'm going to be real with you guys.

Friday's work day began with a tutu-clad pink gorilla entering our office with balloons to wish our CEO, Bob, a happy birthday -- and I'm still processing.

pink-gorillaTrue story: It happened.

This sort thing may seem random to most of you, but in many ways, it's just another day at IMPACT and I couldn't be more grateful.

That's a little bit of what's going on with us. Here's what's happening around the industry: 

🎧  The Numbers Don't Lie: Podcast Advertising Grew By 53% Last Year and With Good Reason

This week, it was revealed that marketers spent $479 million advertising on podcasts in the US in 2018. That's a 53% increase from the year prior and, get this, 78% of podcast listeners don't mind hearing sponsorships/ads at all. IMPACT's Head of Strategic Partnerships & Sponsorships, Vin Gaeta, dives into why this is big news for marketers. 

📊  Data Duplication & HubSpot: Dealing With It and the Effect It Has On Your Business [Sponsored by Insycle]

Are you dealing with duplicate data in HubSpot and aren’t sure how to fix it, let alone stop it from happening again? In this guide from Insycle, you’ll learn why duplicate data is harmful, what data de-duplication is, and how you can solve the duplicate issue in HubSpot with just a few clicks -- and in just a few minutes. Get insight into how duplicate data can be hurting your marketing results.

😊  The Nice Guy Doesn't Finish Last -- Not Even in Business

As long as I can remember, I've always been bothered by the saying, "nice guys finish last." It's so pessimistic, so belittling of the kind. It essentially tells us that being mean is the way to "win" and unfortunately, this idea seems most popular in the professional world. Frankly, I don't buy it and in this article, our Chief Operating Officer, Chris Duprey, candidly shares why he doesn't subscribe to this idea either. 

🌭  Treating Your Facebook Group Like a Backyard BBQ Just May Give You the Engagement Boost You Need

Your Facebook Page is like your front yard. It's the first thing people see when they arrive at your home and is usually well-manicured -- but let's be real, it's not where people are going to want to hang out. In this article, Facebook Group expert (and IMPACT Elite Member) Bella Vasta shares why Facebook Group engagement is so valuable to marketers today and how you can boost yours with 11 clever tactics.

👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🎉  Weekend Nonsense

This video has been making its rounds on Facebook all week, but even if you've seen it already, I know you won't mind seeing it again. In this clip posted by Shanieke Pryor, Baby Kingston is seen having a very animated conversation with his dad in "baby talk." The result is adorable internet gold. 

Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 2.57.41 PM

Catch you next week! 

June 6, 2019

Google's Big Algorithm Update, Instagram Stories vs. Facebook Stories in Marketing, & Facebook to Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency ...This Is THE LATEST!

I can't believe it, y'all. Today is my second anniversary at IMPACT. To many of you, two years may not seem like a big deal. (And, to be fair, I have petty internet grievances that are more than two years old -- I'm looking at you, Harlem Shake.)

Untitled design (4)

Still, I feel forever grateful to have found -- through dumb luck and circumstance -- a company that feels like a family. In fact, I can't imagine going back to a time where I didn't have so many of these passionate, insanely talented, and utterly wonderful people in my life. 

In my short time at IMPACT, I've been very lucky to have more than a few opportunities to do (what I consider to be) some of the best work of my career so far. 

Untitled design (6)

For example, I died and went to content nerd heaven when I saw my big dumb face sandwiched between Marcus Sheridan's and Ann Handley's, as a speaker of equal billing at IMPACT Live 2018. 

It's been a strange and unexpected little journey getting here. (In fact, I didn't even have a job title when I was given my offer letter. The line was left blank. Our CEO, Bob Ruffolo, said we'd figure it out together -- he just knew he wanted me on the team.)

And there have been more than a few late nights, a number of big hairy-scary projects that took me way outside my comfort zone, and a handful of "teachable" moments (see: "Liz screwed up"), but I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. 

I'm simply thankful to be an IMPACTer.

Now, if someone could ask Google to stop personally attacking me with their "critical updates,"that would make this day perfection. Seriously, other than making my life miserable, I don't understand what other purpose these algorithm changes serve.

💥 Yes, Google's Core Algorithm Update Went into Effect This Week, but Don't Panic

Normally, the folks at Google like to keep their updates all hush-hush when they roll out. This time, however, they decided to let the cat out of the bag. The search engine rolled out a broad core search update to their algorithm on June 3, but don't panic. It's not as scary as you might think. IMPACT Account Supervisor Justine Timoteo shares what exactly is included in this Google algorithm update and how it will affect your website content going forward.

⁉️ Do You Know When You Should Be Using Instagram Stories vs. Facebook Stories?

A sibling-esque rivalry exists between Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is the older first child currently languishing in the shadow of the baby of the family (Instagram), as the latter continues to rise in popularity. And when it comes to their shared Stories functionality (stolen from Snapchat, lest we forget), there's a lot of confusion among marketers about which we should be using. IMPACT Head of Editorial Content Ramona Sukhraj talks about the differences between Facebook and Instagram stories, and which you should be using when.

💰 In E-comm News, Facebook Plans to Launch Its Own Native Cryptocurrency

Yes, you read that correctly. Facebook will roll out "GlobalCoin" in approximately a dozen countries in early 2020. Why? Aside from their continued march toward digital world domination, the Facebook team aims to create a universal digital currency that closes the loop between sellers and buyers. IMPACT Client Accountability Partner Jennifer Howard breaks down this massive e-commerce news story and shares everything you need to know about Facebook's upcoming cryptocurrency.

👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🚨 Save Your Seat

  • The Hartford HubSpot User Group (HUG) is meeting on June 11 to talk about lead nurturing! Want to learn from HubSpot’s "Choose Your Own Adventure" lead nurturing strategy? HubSpot ninja Carina Duffy will spill all of her HubSpot secrets, and you should be there.
  • Next, our world famous Website Throwdown is returning on June 12! Real business websites will be critiqued during this live broadcast by our hosts and this month's special guest, Drift VP of Content & Community (and HubSpot alumni) Mark Kilens! While site submissions have closed, you can still save your seat to watch!
  • After that, the New Haven HUG gets in on the Website Throwdown fun (IN PERSON!) on June 25: The New Haven HUG will be hosting totally live website throwdowns! Our panel of experts will be critiquing websites from our audience and offering valuable tips and tricks to improve your site right away. Make sure to register -- and, if you dare, throw your site into the ring!
  • Finally, our marquee event -- IMPACT Live -- is ONLY 8 WEEKS AWAY! August is just around the corner, which means so is IMPACT Live 2019. This unforgettable, immersive, two-day event is where the best in marketing and sales come together to learn tried-and-true tactics for breakthrough results. Don't wait -- get your ticket now!

🌎 IMPACTERS on the Move

👉 Learn more about having someone from IMPACT speak at your event.

⏰ Throwback Thursday

Have you ever had a project you've simply been proud to be a part of? That's what Leadership in Real Life is to me:

Leadership Podcast-04

I've had the honor of working with IMPACT VP of Services Brie Rangel and IMPACT COO Chris Duprey for a little over a year, as they've refined their ideas around what leadership looks like in the modern workplace. 

As a result, they've published some of our most popular and honest content on the topic of inbound leadership:

So, when they came to me a few months ago with their idea to start a different kind of podcast about leadership, I was more than happy to jump right in as their cheerleader, sounding board, and designated facilitator. 

After months of plotting and planning, the first episode of Leadership in Real Life about the myth of fearless leadership went live last Friday.

Whether you're a business leader already or someone who aspires to take on a leadership role one day, I encourage to listen to this new monthly show from IMPACT -- and I don't say that because I am a supporting player. 

Brie and Chris are two of the most thoughtful people I know when it comes to having honest and challenging discussions about leadership -- and I think we all have a lot to learn from them.

So, check it out!

If you dig it, you can subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. (More platforms are coming soon.)

🗞️ What I'm Reading

Finally, as always, here's what I'm reading this week -- without preamble or context: 

Talk to you nerds in two weeks! (A special guest will be filling in for me, for next Thursday's issue, since I'll be giving a talk at the Brewers Association of Maryland Technical Summit.)  

June 4, 2019

Truths of Work-Life Balance, Going Digital With Direct Mail, & Finding a Great Content Interviewer...This Is THE LATEST!

It's complicated.

This phrase is more than just a frustrating relationship label forced upon us by Facebook and a far more delightful romantic comedy starring Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin -- it seems to be the motto of modern society.

facebook-relationship-status
As sophisticated human beings today, it feels like we tend to overcomplicate things that should be rather simple. For instance, the question "what should I have for dinner tonight?"

(Excuse me while I panic-search Pinterest for a hot minute.)

These decisions and situations are just everyday parts of life that are actually quite simple, yet we stress ourselves out trying to solve them. 

If we took a minute to slow down and take a deep breath, in most instances, we'd realize the answers lie in getting back to basics -- like the skills highlighted in today's latest insights:

🧘🏾 If You Want Work-Life Balance You Need to Come To Terms With 4 Things First [TED Talk Video]

In our last issue the big topic was burn-out and, like burn-out itself, it isn't just going away, my friend! In this timely TED Talk shared by our VP of Talent, Natalie Davis, you'll learn four stern, but important realizations any professional must have if they want to actually achieve work-life balance. Some may seem obvious, but they're worth repeating.

✉️  Here's How One Expert Earned 3300% ROI By Combining Direct Mail With Digital Tactics [Podcast]

Yes, I'm a digital marketer, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the analog world. For example, handwritten cards are my jam. Yes, I do draft them in my phone's notepad before writing them out, but that's besides the point. Old school mediums like handwritten cards and direct mail can still play an important role in today's digital world. In fact, in the latest episode of The Inbound Success Podcast, host Kathleen Booth sits down with marketing expert Adam Sand to learn how he has used Facebook ads, video marketing, and direct mail to generate 3300% ROI.

🕵🏽 How Can You Ensure Your Content Marketing Manager Is a Great Interviewer?

So, you know your content marketing manager needs to have a way with words, but that's not the only critical skill you should be looking for. Your content marketing manager also needs to be a skilled interviewer like all great journalists of the past. Now, you don't need to find the next Oprah (though that would be AMAZING), but they need to be able to draw important information out of your organization's subject matter experts to create quality content. Our favorite director of web & interactive content, Liz Murphy, explains how you can evaluate these interviewing skills during your hiring process. 

👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🚨 Save Your Seat

🌎 IMPACTERS on the Move

👉 Learn more about having someone from IMPACT speak at your event.

🗞️ What I'm Reading

I know you've been loving Liz's weekly inspiration so I thought I'd start sharing a bit of my own. Here's a taste of the eclectic things that have my creative juices flowing right now: 

That wasn't so complicated now, was it?

Talk soon!

June 1, 2019

The Reality of Burn Out, Dealing With Stress, & Why Even Leaders Get Scared...This Is THE LATEST!

The other day I got this Slack message: "I wanted to cry after our meeting the other day, so thanks!"

-- And, of course, I was totally confused.

The day prior, this teammate and I had a content coaching call that included a little bit of tough feedback. 

Despite this, I felt like I was understanding, offered good advice on how to pivot around an issue, and that it was well-received -- so why did I leave this person wanting to cry?

Already having a hard week myself, I felt terrible. Like I hadn't been helpful, but hurtful. It was just another thing that wasn't going right.

But it turns out, this wasn't the case at all.

They confided that it was overall a bad day, that they were really hard on themselves, and that our talk actually helped them get into the flow with their article. They then thanked me for "showing so much grace and kindness."

Then, I wanted to cry.

glass-case-of-emotion
This week, burn-out was a word that has been on everyone's lips, and this experience, along with many of the insights shared below, proves why. 

Everyone gets stressed at work. Everyone questions themselves and gets overwhelmed -- but we don't have to suffer, and we most definitely don't have to feel alone in this struggle... 

😓  You're Not Being Dramatic: Burn-Out Is Officially a Recognized Condition

The term gets thrown around a lot, but today, thanks to the World Health Organization, we finally have a more definitive definition of what burnt out means, as it will be officially recognized in The International Classification of Diseases (ICD 11) in 2022. So, what does this entail for you and your organization? IMPACT Controller Eric Choma shares his personal burn-out story and what you can do in response to this news.

🤷🏽‍♀️  How Do You Cope When Stress, Anxiety, & Burn-Out Arrive On Your Doorstep? 

So, people can no longer say burn-out is just in your head -- small win -- but that doesn't stop the greater issue of preventing it. Burn-out is the result of workplace stress and anxiety that has gone unresolved for too long. Like Eric, IMPACT Paid Media Specialist Dan Baum has experienced this stress. In this candid article, he opens up about what he went through and how he's learning to cope.

🆕  Even Leaders Get Scared -- And That's The Topic of the First Episode of The Leadership in Real Life Podcast 

Many of us are afraid to speak up about burn-out because we think it'll make us look weak or ill-equipped for our jobs. We're afraid. Here's a secret, though -- everyone's scared and worried about these things, even the leaders at your organization. That's the topic of the first-ever episode of Leadership in Real Life, a new podcast hosted by IMPACT's Chief Operating Officer, Chris Duprey, and VP of Client Service, Brie Rangel.

📊  Messy Data in HubSpot is Frustrating and Embarrassing: How IMPACT Solved It! [Sponsored by Insycle]

You have thousands of HubSpot contacts but nothing is standardized. Some names aren’t capitalized, you have three fields for the same thing, and text is randomly formatted. It’s a problem that’s in the back of every marketer's head because there isn’t an easy -- or fast -- way to fix it. In fact, trying to manually resolve this issue will almost certainly cause burn-out. IMPACT's Director of Audience Engagement and Community, Stephanie Baiocchi, felt this pain first-hand. Watch Stephanie's video to find out how Insycle helped her and how you too can free yourself from embarrassing HubSpot data.

👀 ... When You're All Ears (& Eyes) 

🎉  Weekend Nonsense

Personally, I'm not a fan of Ikea. I had my first and likely last shopping experience with them in March, but I have to put my personal feelings aside and give them kudos for this campaign.

As AdWeek explains, "A new ad campaign from Ikea in the United Arab Emirates had some fun with three of television’s most iconic living rooms by recreating each one solely with Ikea furniture and decorations..."

They recreated the living rooms from The Simpsons, Friends, and Stranger Things and can I just say, if they did this in their actual stores, they just might win me back. 

ikea-the-simpsons
Check out the rest on AdWeek!

That's all for today my friends, but before I leave you, remember: if you're feeling burnt out, stressed, or anxious, you're not alone. 

Many marketers, myself included, struggle with this on a daily basis. It's not easy, but you can get through it. 

Need a listening ear? Hit reply. 
❤️