Less, But Better: 4 Practical Ways to Create Enough Engaging Content

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create better content, not more content

Author: Josh Ritchie

“Brands need to be pushing out new content all the time.

That’s what marketers have been hearing for the past few years—and many of us have bought into this thinking.

In response to this, and to fill the need of an “always on” content operation, there’s been a push for content teams to function as publishersThat push for more content is so intense that some brands are using the 24-hour newsroom approach to create more and more content in an attempt to be relevant.

This is understandable, but it’s not always the most efficient approach. Maintaining high-quality production without a break is hard. And, if the quality of your content starts slipping to the point where it’s not engaging, it’s not worth it. Weaker content brings down the quality of your overall content efforts. According to a 2016 Content Marketing Institute report, 60% of marketers say “creating enough engaging content” is their biggest challenge.

More Content Is Not the Answer

It seems, for some, that “creating enough engaging content” has been wrongly interpreted as “creating tons of content.” This is the core problem: many marketers are overly focused on the word “enough.” Instead, marketers should put a greater emphasis on the word “engaging.

Good content means creating better and more engaging content. Simply put: Quality > Quantity.

Here are four ways to focus on creating engaging content and not just pumping out content to fill your editorial calendar:

1. Put More of Your Eggs in Fewer Baskets

This may sound counter-intuitive, but I’ve learned over the years that putting more of your eggs in fewer baskets often makes the most sense—at least for our team. Why is that, you may ask?

Well, say you had a plan to produce and buy media for 12 three-minute videos over the course of the year. That’s a lot of videos, and it will be hard to maintain momentum and quality. And this route may not make the most sense.

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Instead, consider doing four videos throughout the year—and making each one the best possible video you can produce. Better yet, make each one you put out better than the one before. And then, after the release of each video, make sure that it makes sense to keep producing videos. If it does, then keep making them, and keep making them better. If it doesn’t, then consider stopping or reducing the volume of work you’re planning. Most brands have limited time and resources, and it’s better to allocate these things where they make the most sense.

Also, consider this: people will remember one beautiful video that you spent a lot of time fine-tuning and perfecting. People won’t remember a bunch of video pieces you rushed through production because the editorial calendar ruled supreme, and if they do remember them, it’ll likely be for the wrong reasons.

If, however, producing a lot of video content is a non-negotiable priority for your marketing team, consider the idea of scaling up gradually over time. It’s smarter to increase your investment gradually, and to develop momentum over time, than it is to come out of the gates at a pace that’s difficult to sustain.

Content marketing is a marathon not a sprint. And, there’s no finish line. That can sound daunting, but I personally prefer to be realistic so that I can plan accordingly.

2. Constantly Sanity Check Why You’re Creating the Content You Planned

Are you creating content because you have reason to believe that it will work (based on previous successes)? Or are you creating something simply because you decided to do so months ago?

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Content strategy is iterative (everyone’s figuring it out as they go), and you need to make sure that you are always making room for changes in plans that are based on what’s working and not working.

How do you determine whether your content is working? You measure it, regularly. One of the ways that we sanity check our content plan is to talk about it, a lot. We have bi-weekly brainstorms to come up with new ideas and kill ideas that we don’t love (if we can’t make them better). Search plays a big role in our marketing efforts, so we do a comprehensive KPI check-in on a monthly basis. This enables us, on a rolling basis, to determine what type of content works and what doesn’t. This intel then shapes our brainstorming sessions and helps us to determine what to create in the future.

Then, at the end of each quarter, we do a debrief and we discuss a) what worked, b) what didn’t work, and c) what could work if we did things better/differently. This helps us ensure that we’re not spinning our wheels and just creating content because it sounded like a good idea months ago and we have the people and time to do it.

3. Slow Down and Iterate Until You Get Things “Just Right”

There’s a saying that I love: “Doing something right is better than doing something fast.”

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Obviously, you don’t want to procrastinate so much that you never actually get anything done. On the contrary, the first draft or version of most things usually needs to be polished. Also, doing things right tends to take more time than you initially thought… this is just the nature of the beast; so, whenever possible, set more conservative timelines for the work that your team produces.

In an ideal scenario, this means giving yourself the time and space to create something great every time you set out to create a piece of content. Not doing this is counter-productive. Why kill yourself to hit a deadline, if what you ultimately put out is not something you’re proud of? You’re going to hate it, and it’ll dilute your brand.

While this can be difficult when you are on a limited timeline, it gets easier when you really pursue a quality over quantity approach with your content, whereby you’ve got more of your eggs in one basket, and you are constantly sanity checking what you’re working on.

4. Do You; Don’t Focus on the Competition

It’s good to be aware of what your competitors are doing, but you can’t let your marketing efforts devolve into a competition with other brands.

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IMO, the best brands are the ones that know who they are, what they stand for, and stay true to this. Conversely, weaker brands follow the crowd, constantly looking for the next novel thing to tinker around with.

While it can sometimes be difficult, and it always takes a lot of dedication, you need to do what is right for you and your audience. They are ultimately the most important consideration when it comes to what you’re doing with your content efforts. Also, it’s important that you stay true to your brand because, chances are, people (read: customers) were drawn into it and don’t want it to change.

The best way to know if what you’re doing is working for the people you’re trying to reach? Ask them. Conduct surveys. Email your customers. Take them out to dinner. Whatever feedback mechanism works best for your business, do that.

Focus on the Right Thing

If you remember one thing from this post, I hope that it’s that people don’t care about how often you post, they care about what you post; they crave content that is useful, relevant, and valuable. Keeping this in mind is key to developing a content approach that prioritizes quality over quantity.

What other tips do you have for creating better content, not just more content? Share them below!

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Less, But Better: 4 Practical Ways to Create Enough Engaging Content was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com

The post Less, But Better: 4 Practical Ways to Create Enough Engaging Content appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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April 13, 2017 at 05:42PM

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from Josh Ritchie

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19 Statistics About Millennials Marketers Should Know [Infographic]

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Millennials, or people between the ages of 18 and 34, make up the largest population group in the United States. There are more than 75 million millennials in total, and that number is projected to increased to more than 81 million by 2036. Additionally, this age group is the most active and engaged across social media platforms.

So it should come as no surprise that marketers are eager to learn more about how to capture millennials’ attention, time, and spending dollars.

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Buzz Marketing Group, an agency dedicated to marketing to this demographic, surveyed millennials to learn more about their content consumption, purchasing, and social media habits. Among other surprising statistics, 83% of respondents said they like when brands take a public stand on issues they feel strongly about, and 28% reported they went on “digital diets,” or breaks from technology, every month. Read more about millennial media and purchasing habits in this infographic from Adweek.

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April 13, 2017 at 05:10PM

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from sbernazzani@hubspot.com (Sophia Bernazzani)

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Cognitive Content Marketing: The Path to a More (Artificially) Intelligent Future

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In spring 2015 I launched an internal initiative named Project Copyscale to determine whether it was possible to automate content creation with artificial intelligence. Specifically, I wanted to figure out, could we use machines to write blog posts at scale?

The idea was inspired by a SXSW session I attended that year featuring the managing editor of the Associated Press and the CEO of Automated Insights, a company that uses a form of artificial intelligence called natural-language generation (NLG) to create content. The presenters shared how the AP went from publishing 300 earnings reports per quarter written by humans to 3,000 per quarter written 100% by machines using Automated Insights technology. The implications to content marketing, in my mind, were immense.

Since that time, my agency, PR 20/20, has implemented NLG to produce Google Analytics reports (reducing analysis and production time by more than 80%), and has begun building pilot programs to automate data-driven premium content. Along the way, we launched the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute to tell the story of AI through the technology leaders building the solutions and the marketers who are using AI to evolve their businesses and careers.

What we’ve learned has altered my view of what’s possible today and in the years ahead.

What is artificial intelligence?

Consider how much time your team spends discovering keywords; planning blog post topics; writing, optimizing, personalizing, and automating content; testing landing pages; scheduling social shares; reviewing analytics; and defining content strategies.

Now imagine if a machine performed the majority of those activities and a marketer’s primary role was to enhance rather than create. Machines are not going to replace content marketers in the near term, but artificial intelligence is accelerating us toward a more intelligently automated future.


#ArtificialIntelligence is accelerating us toward a more intelligently automated future, says @paulroetzer.
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Artificial intelligence is a broad term that refers to the technologies and processes of making machines smart, which in turn augments human knowledge and capabilities. This includes increasingly popular terms such as machine learning, deep learning, image recognition, natural-language processing, and cognitive computing.

Artificial intelligence may seem like a futuristic concept, but its use is widespread among companies we interact with daily. Netflix employs AI to recommend shows. Amazon uses it to power Alexa and create personalized online experiences for shoppers. UPS applies it to determine optimal delivery paths for its 55,000 daily routes around the world. Tesla powers its Autopilot autonomous-driving feature with deep learning. Facebook uses image recognition to identify faces in photos and machine learning to filter newsfeeds. Google’s RankBrain algorithm drives search results. And, Apple uses natural-language processing to recognize questions and provide answers with Siri.

At its core, AI is powered by data and algorithms that enable machines to learn and evolve on their own. In traditional software, humans write algorithms or sets of instructions that tell a machine what to do. For example, in marketing automation software, a marketer may instruct the machine to send a three-part email campaign once someone downloads an e-book. In isolation, this is a relatively simple task for a human to plan and perform.

But, what if there are 10,000 e-book downloads, across five personas, originating from multiple channels (social, paid, organic, direct) that require personalized emails and website experiences based on user history? No human brain is wired to solve that challenge and no existing software is optimized to visualize all the possibilities. This is where AI excels. It takes specific and complex data-driven problems, then devises and executes solutions.

Think about all the data flooding in from social media, CRM, sales, advertising, remarketing, e-commerce, and mobile. Every source offers valuable information, but humans have a finite ability to process that data, build intelligent strategies, create content at scale, and achieve performance potential. Artificial intelligence, in contrast, has an infinite ability to discover insights, deliver predictions, make strategic recommendations, and create content better, faster, and cheaper.

While the content marketing AI space is in its infancy, there are dozens of emerging AI-powered tools built to help marketers plan, create, optimize, personalize, promote, and measure content more effectively and efficiently.

How to get started

The key thing to know about AI is that it is largely intended to augment human knowledge and capabilities, not replace them. What can content marketers do?


AI is intended to augment human knowledge & capabilities, not replace them, says @paulroetzer.
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First, evaluate repetitive, manual marketing tasks that could be intelligently automated. Research the AI capabilities of your existing marketing technology stack, such as your automation and CRM platforms, and explore the potential of AI solutions dedicated to specific content marketing needs through a technology marketplace like G2 Crowd.

Second, assess opportunities to get more out of your data – discover insights, predict outcomes, devise strategies, personalize content across channels, and tell stories at scale. Consider the free version of IBM Watson Analytics as a gateway to begin exploring data in new ways.

And, finally, gain a competitive advantage through constant learning. You are not alone if you feel overwhelmed and confused by AI and all its related terms. Be deliberate in your efforts to consume articles, blog posts, podcasts, presentations, reports, and books on the topic.

Now is the time to begin learning about the present and future potential of artificial intelligence, and connect with AI-powered technologies that can drive marketing performance and transform your career.

How AI tech is working today

As the applications for AI in marketing become more compelling, technology companies are racing in to meet the need. Below are some of the top tech companies in the marketing AI space, as well as some examples of their work.

Adgorithms

Adgorithms uses predictive analytics “to execute on data-driven actions, and deep learning technology to act effortlessly on unpredictable situations that would traditionally require decision-making and reasoning by a human marketer,” explains Or Shani, CEO of Adgorithms.

Harley-Davidson NYC uses Adgorithms to optimize its ad spend in New York City. The software helps the brand isolate and target a narrow audience in a crowded market across channels.

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Automated Insights

Automated Insights leveraged its success with the Associated Press and other enterprises to build the industry’s first do-it-yourself natural-language-generation platform.

Car shopping website Edmunds uses Automated Insights’ software to continuously update content on its website, where thousands of pages of detailed vehicle profiles are written based on manufacturer data.

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Real-estate website Homesnap publishes individual listings supplemented by AI-created community profiles – all automatically generated based on publicly available demographic, crime, and property value data.

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Boomtrain

Boomtrain uses machine learning and predictive algorithms to drive increased clicks, engagement, and revenue through customer communication. It helps companies serve content that’s most likely to engage an individual reader, and delivers it through multiple channels in real time. Its customers – including Forbes, CBS, Chow.com, The Onion – are primarily in the publishing, travel, and e-commerce verticals.

OneSpot

OneSpot personalizes content across digital channels for big brands like L’Oréal, IBM, Whole Foods Market, and Delta Faucet.

OneSpot helps Nestlé serve hyper-personalized content for readers in real time, plus it feeds intelligence back to Nestlé about how users interact with the content – all put to use in rapid-fire decision-making about marketing spend and editorial focus.

Narrative Science

Narrative Science’s natural-language-generation software, Quill, helps companies like Groupon, MasterCard, and Franklin Templeton Investments convert data into stories – these stories inform everything from decision-making to employee productivity and customer experience.

USAA uses Quill to drive member engagement through automated custom narratives.

Deloitte leverages natural-language generation to innovate anti-fraud, anti-money laundering, and anti-corruption practices.

Credit Suisse includes automated narratives in its investment-research platform to enhance visualizations with insights.

Persado

The company’s cognitive content platform “arms organizations and individuals with smart content that maximizes the efficacy of communication with any audience at scale, while delivering unique insight into the specific triggers that drive action.” In a sign of its success, Persado counts dozens of top companies among its roster, including Neiman Marcus, Angie’s List, Expedia, Zipcar, and Verizon.

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3 things to know about AI

Artificial intelligence can be intimidating, but it does not have to be. You do not need to understand how it works to comprehend what it is capable of achieving.

The reality is that AI possesses the ability to dramatically enhance content marketers’ capabilities and performance. As the technology advances, AI will become more accessible and prevalent in every software product that we use. Here are three quick insights to get you heading down the path to AI enlightenment:

  1. It is still early. Many of the rising AI tech companies have significant venture-capital funding but limited market success to prove that the products work and the models are scalable. While there have been tremendous advances in AI capabilities, most marketing solutions are narrow in application and require tremendous amounts of human time and guidance to deliver on the value promised.
  1. Artificial intelligence requires massive amounts of data (structured and unstructured) and customized solutions, so large enterprises are more likely to see short-term benefits from AI investments.
  1. There is a push to make AI technology more affordable and accessible. As companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM continue to open up their AI technology, more businesses will explore the possibilities. The challenge will be finding technical talent capable of building and executing AI solutions.

Finding technical talent capable of building & executing AI solutions will be a challenge. @paulroetzer
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A version of this article originally appeared in the April issue of Chief Content Officer. Sign up to receive your free subscription to our bimonthly, print magazine.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Please note:  All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

The post Cognitive Content Marketing: The Path to a More (Artificially) Intelligent Future appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

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April 13, 2017 at 03:52PM

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from Paul Roetzer

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New Report: Top Content Marketing Growing Pains for B2B Enterprise Marketers

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Every organization experiences growing pains when it comes to growing their content marketing program. Customer needs quickly evolve which means that brands need to be agile enough to meet consumer demand.

The group that maybe has it toughest of all is B2B enterprise marketers. The added complexities of supplying content for multiple business units and product sets, geographical locations and therefore, multiple customer groups is no easy undertaking.

While many B2B enterprise marketers have managed to crack the code for successful content marketing, others are still struggling to manage expectations with reality. The new 2017 B2B Enterprise Content Marketing report from Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and Knowledge Vision helps to uncover some of the top opportunities that exist for B2B enterprise marketers.

Below, I’ve pulled out four of the top opportunities uncovered by the report as well as some helpful tips for overcoming these common hurdles.

#1 – Content Programs Need to Mature

Only 2% of B2B enterprise marketers surveyed would describe their content marketing maturity as sophisticated. Eek! One of the biggest opportunities that seems to exist with this group is the ability to integrate content across the organization.

QuickTip: The complexities of organizational structure at enterprise brands should not to be taken lightly. While there may be completely separate business units that exist, it’s important to find a way for department heads to collaborate on some level. Even just knowing what another team is working on or has seen success with can help guide the content strategy for the other departments.

#2 – Content Results Aren’t Improving Significantly Year-Over-Year

One of the biggest factors to the success of anything is life is your commitment. So it comes as no surprise that 40% of B2B enterprise marketers would rate the success of their content about the same as the previous year when, 35% of these same marketers would rate themselves as only somewhat committed to content marketing.  

QuickTip: All of the data points to the fact that content marketing is an essential part of today’s digital marketing landscape. In order to make content marketing a priority, it’s imperative that leadership is on-board with content initiatives.

#3 – A Documented Content Strategy is a Marketing Must-Have

According to the results, only 38% of B2B enterprise marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. That means over 50% of marketers surveyed do not have a strategy to guide their efforts.

QuickTip: Knowing where to begin developing a content strategy can be a daunting task but here are a couple steps to get you started:

  • Document any goals (especially revenue goals) that your marketing department is responsible for.
  • Create a brief synopsis of what has (and hasn’t) worked in the past to help guide your approach.
  • Since it’s impossible to identify all steps right away, select some key areas of focus for the year to help keep your team on track.

#4 – Content Marketing Budgets Are Low

On average, only 22% of total marketing budgets (not including staff) are spent on content marketing. And a whopping 38% are unsure of the total percentage spent on content efforts. It’s unclear as to where exactly the rest of these funds are allocated, but there is an opportunity to put more behind content marketing.

QuickTip: Whether it means implementing new tools to increase effectiveness or working with a content marketing agency, an investment in content is an investment in your customers. Content has the ability to impact every stage of the buying cycle and is a much cheaper alternative to pumping all of your funds in paid tactics. Additionally, content builds authority and credibility over time while other tactics abruptly stop adding value once they’re turned off.

Download the Full Report for Even More Insights

In the full report, you’ll gain additional insights into what is and isn’t working for B2B enterprise content marketers. The future for marketers isn’t bleak, but there is clearly an opportunity to mature, document and invest in content marketing.

If you’d like to see all of the results, download the 2017 B2B Enterprise Content Marketing report.


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April 13, 2017 at 03:32PM

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from Ashley Zeckman

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What Do Snapchat Emojis Mean?

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There are hundreds of emojis available on iOS and Android mobile device keyboards. Everything from tacos to national flags to artists is represented in cartoon emoji form.

But let’s be real here: Most of us just use the same few emojis over and over.

Download our free Snapchat guide to learn how to use it for your business. 

If you know me, you know I love two things more than anything: cats and sleeping. So it’s fitting that the two emojis I use most often in my texting keyboard are:

                                                       cat_emoji sleep_emoji

Another thing you may already know about me is that I love using Snapchat. So when emojis started popping up in my list of chats with friends in the app, I needed to get to the bottom of it.

In this post, we’ll dive into the history of Snapchat emojis and what they all mean. Bear in mind that these emojis vary slightly across iOS and Android devices, so we’ve written out what the faces look like, too.

What Do Snapchat Emojis Indicate?

Snapchat emojis track the activity and behaviors between Snapchat users and their friends. The frequency, timing, and pattern of your Snapchat interactions with other users will determine which emojis, if any, appear in your list of Snapchat chats.

Not sure what I mean? Check out my list of Snapchats, along with a few different emojis you might see in your own app. To access this page, open up your Snapchat app, and swipe right.

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When Snapchat was first created, the app used to show who users’ best friends were publicly (best friends are the users they sent the most Snaps back and forth with). You can imagine why users took issue with this. Can you imagine the awkwardness of finding your best friend or significant other was best friends on Snapchat with somebody else?

So in 2015, Snapchat (now Snap. Inc) axed this feature in the name of user privacy and hid the lists of other users’ best friends — to more outraged reactions. Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel has said that the app will bring back public best friends, but so far, that hasn’t happened.

In the meantime, the friend emojis we decode below have replaced the list of best friends — and provide greater detail. Now, there are more insights into how users interact with friends — you just need to know how these behaviors are represented in the app.

Let’s dive into understanding your Snapchat contacts list better. And remember: These emojis are only visible to you.

What Do Snapchat Emojis Mean?

1) Smiley Face Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: This user is one of your best friends on Snapchat. You frequently send Snaps back and forth to each other.

2) Yellow Heart Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: This user is your #1 best friend. You send the most Snaps to this user, and they send the most Snaps to you.

3) Smirking Face Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You’re one of this user’s best friends, but they aren’t one of your best friends. They send you more Snaps than you send them.

3) Grimacing Face Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: Your #1 best friend is their #1 best friend, too. You both send lots of Snaps to the same user.

4) Sunglasses Face Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: One of your best friends is one of their best friends. You send a lot of Snaps to someone they also send a lot of Snaps to. 

6) Red Heart Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You’ve been #1 best friends (yellow heart status) with this user for two weeks in a row.

7) Pink Hearts Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You’ve been #1 best friends with this user for two months in a row.

8) Fire Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You and this user are on a Snapstreak — you’ve been sending each other Snaps for several days in a row. The number of days you’ve been on a Snapstreak will appear next to the fire emoji.

9) 100 Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You’ve been on a Snapstreak with this user for 100 days in a row.

10) Hourglass Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: Your Snapstreak with this user will end if you don’t send them a Snap very soon. You can send them a Snap or a Chat to keep it going.

11) Baby Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You and this user have recently added each other as Snapchat friends.

12) Gold Star Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: Someone has replayed this user’s Snap within the past 24 hours.

13) Gold Sparkles Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: You’re in a Snapchat Group Chat with this user. Learn how to start a Snapchat Group in this article.

14) Birthday Cake Emoji on Snapchat

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What it means: Today is this user’s birthday. This emoji will only appear if the user indicated their date of birth in their Account information. Learn how to add your birthday to your account in this article.

How to Customize Snapchat Emojis

If these emojis aren’t speaking to you, you can change them within your Snapchat account. For example, your best friends could be represented by a pizza slice instead of a yellow heart if you really love pizza (and your friends, I suppose). Here’s how it’s done:

1) Open up your Snapchat app and swipe down. You’ll see your profile screen and Snapcode.

2) Tap the Settings gear in the upper right-hand corner.

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3) Select “Manage” under the “Additional Services” menu.

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4) Select “Friend Emojis.”

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5) From there, you can tap into each signifier and choose a new emoji to represent what it means.

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Source: Snapchat Support

And there you have it. We’ll keep this post updated with new developments in the world of Snapchat emojis. In the meantime, keep snapping to see how your emojis change, and let us know how long your longest snap streak is.

What’s your greatest Snapchat emoji achievement? Share with us in the comments below.

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April 13, 2017 at 03:07PM

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from sbernazzani@hubspot.com (Sophia Bernazzani)

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6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Freelance Graphic Designer

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Hiring the wrong freelance graphic designer can make or break your brand or marketing objectives. A designer that can’t complete projects on time, lacks the ability to adapt to your brand aesthetic, or has never taken on the type of work you’re doing could cause you to lose business.

Regardless of the type of project you’re hiring a designer for, it’s important to make sure you’re bringing in the right person for the job. Pose these six questions to each candidate before making a hire.

6 Freelance Designer Interview Questions

1) What motivated you to apply for this project?

This question can reveal a lot about whether the graphic designer you’re interviewing is genuinely interested in your company and what they’ll be working on. If they aren’t, it’ll show in the final product — and that’s a losing situation for everyone.

Ask questions that gauge their knowledge of your business and goals, and observe how well their skills and interests align. You want a graphic designer who fundamentally understands what you are building and why it’s important. Ideally, they’ll already be familiar with your company or will have interacted with you as a customer in the past.

2) What is your workload like?

There’s a big difference between the level of attention you’ll get from your freelance designer if you’re providing a significant portion of their income versus sending them a small project here and there.

Before committing to a contract, set clear expectations around your requirements. Will you need closer to five or 40 hours of their time each week? Find out how booked up they are with other clients and if it’s realistic for them to take on your project given your expectations and their other commitments.

3) Can you describe your design aesthetic?

A critical factor to consider when hiring a graphic designer is whether their work aligns with the overall design aesthetic you envision for your project.

If the designer you’re considering has a portfolio full of edgy, hand-illustrated black-and-white cartoon characters, they might not be the best fit to work with a mature brand that wants to appear authoritative. It’s a good idea to look through the designer’s work to get a sense of whether their aesthetic jibes with your vision before getting too far into the interview process, but be sure to ask this question regardless.

4) What is your design process like?

The graphic designer you’re considering should be able to articulate a clear path to achieving your desired results. An inability to do so could mean they don’t have enough experience to suit your needs.

For example, here’s how veteran graphic designer Ian Paget of Logo Geek kicks off a project with a new client: “I start my design process by creating a list of goals that can be used as a tick-list to refer to during the design phase and when selecting the best solution. We cover areas such as the brand’s story, values, competition and target audience.”

Having a well-defined, agreed upon design process like this is key to the success of the designer-client relationship.

5) How would your other clients describe working with you?

When a graphic designer has a page of their portfolio website dedicated to testimonials or keeps an offline copy of positive reviews they’ve received from past clients, it tells you their customers are happy with their results and willing to publicly vouch for them. If they don’t offer to share, just ask.

However, if they’re unable to produce a few positive testimonials, that’s might be an indication they are unable to sustain good client relationships or produce quality results. Tread lightly.

6) Do you have a blog?

Graphic designers who have a blog and actively take steps to showcase their domain expertise are more likely to bring additional value, advice, and experience to the table –beyond the deliverables you’ve agreed upon. The right graphic designer with an active social media following or established personal brand can help create more than just a new style for your company; they can become a worthy advocate, too.

As for who should be asking the questions: If your graphic designer will be working hand-in-hand with other members of your content team such as writers and marketers, it’s essential these stakeholders have a say during the interview process. Aside from being able to weigh in on whether they like the designer’s work or not, your other team members’ inputs are valuable for a few reasons: they will have a close pulse on anticipating the timing for upcoming projects, an understanding of the deliverables, and will likely be the ones interacting most with the designer on a day-to-day basis.

These six questions will ensure you come out of the interview with a clear sense of whether the graphic designer candidate is right for the job. When you and the person you hire are on the same page, you’ll cultivate a better rapport and get mutually beneficial results.

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April 13, 2017 at 02:09PM

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from Ryan Robinson

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Shrewd Burger King ad tries to hijack Google Home, delivers earned media home run

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Ad effect is short-lived but gets massive secondary exposure because of novelty.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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April 13, 2017 at 05:10AM

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from Greg Sterling

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