How to Use LinkedIn Showcase Pages

July 23rd, 2014

Showcasing your niche customers is easier then you think with LinkedIn

In today’s business world, not everything falls into a simple category. Product offerings have become more diverse, target audiences have increased and markets have gone global.

The problem – up until now – has been clearly displaying this variety of brand identities on social media sites, which typically ask businesses to choose a single category, limiting their abilities to reach diverse audiences.

However, LinkedIn’s Showcase Pages might be just the solution you need to show the complexity of your brand in one, single place.

What are LinkedIn Showcase Pages?


LinkedIn Showcase Pages are extensions of a standard brand page on LinkedIn. Your typical LinkedIn page stays in existence to provide background information on your company, to share contact information, and to release updates and other relevant information.  Showcase Pages provide supplementary information like a specific group of products or services your company offers.

Put simply, Showcase Pages allow brands that may have a diverse target market, multiple brand messages or various product lines to segment messaging and reach out to different audiences – without creating additional brand pages.

According to LinkedIn, Showcase Pages allow brands to drive engagement through product spotlights, to share specific content with the right audience members and to create more meaningful relationships with customers, contacts and potential clients.

Getting Started with LinkedIn Showcase Pages

Getting your Showcase page started is pretty simple. As such, it should be a top priority for any brand looking for ways to enhance their presence on LinkedIn.

First, be sure your main business page is up to date and relevant. If you have yet to create one, this is the time to do so. Without a central business page, Showcase Pages cannot be created. Plus, with the widespread presence LinkedIn has these days, it’s almost a crime to not have a LinkedIn account.

Consider which segments of your business or industry you’d like to showcase and click on the “edit” menu within your company page. Choose “Create a Showcase Page” from the dropdown menu. Lastly, start sharing content. It’s that easy.

How to Use Showcase Pages Effectively


The options for using Showcase Pages are limitless. However, to get started, consider adding a few of the following to your digital marketing campaign:

Share Product Announcements

Have a new line that’s launching or a new product that you’d like to focus on marketing? Showcase Pages offer an excellent launch pad.

Think about what market your new product or line would appeal to most. From there, choose the target market that the product should target. This allows search users to more easily find your product, allowing for a more targeted advertising campaign.

For example, if a precision machining shop wanted to reach out to a global market with a new product line, setting up a Showcase Page to highlight new machinery or special deals would allow the shop to share basic information, rates, client testimonials and videos that demonstrate the process.

If your brand has a product announcement of any kind, a Showcase Page could go a long way in helping your promote your news right off the bat.

Drive Website Traffic

If you’re interested in generating a new referral source for web traffic, LinkedIn Showcase Pages could provide a boost.

It all comes down to an effective call to action. As long as your Showcase Page is updated regularly with new content, helpful links and changes in contact info, you’ll receive some level of traffic from the network.

To drive this traffic to your website, though, you need to make sure that your message is clear. By taking the time to include “Click here to learn more,” “Order here” or something else that incites your LinkedIn viewer to visit your website, you’ll generate more site visits and, hopefully, more LinkedIn followers.

Share Special Offers and Events

By turning your Showcase Page into hubs of useful information, you’ll keep attraction levels high. By sharing information relating to live events, product offers, new sales, webinars and upcoming announcements, viewers will have a reason to return on a regular basis.

When a company provides measurable value while targeting a specific audience, there’s no limit to the potential for online success. LinkedIn’s Showcase Pages make this easier than ever before.

How do you like to use LinkedIn’s Showcase Pages? Tell me in the comments section below!

Image by Aleksi Tappura, Nan Palmero, Gavin Llewellyn

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Best Buy - Wii Fit U Activity Meter for $10 | GoNintendo - What are …

July 23rd, 2014

[Best Buy - Deal of the Day] Wii Fit Meter ($9.99)[US]— Reddit WiiU (@Reddi…

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ESRI UC 2014: Notes From The Floor

July 23rd, 2014

Screenshot_2014-07-16-16-51-27This ESRI Conference was just amazing, it was very difficult to slow down and look at the vendors closely, so many of them were so interesting, but for you dear reader, no effort is too great, so I took the time to smell the roses and see what the scope of this conference was. I thought since it was a GIS conference, I would clock how much I walked the vendor show in a day.

If ESRI could make them cheaply enough, a pedometer would be a cool item to add to the conference bag, but I digress.  There is an unbelievable amount of things you can do with this GIS data. The thing to keep in mind going in, is that this isn’t like a static Google Map (although a lot of companies will overlay data on to Google Earth). This is GPS location coordinate data that you can then use to render a map. The military applications were the most fun to check out, although probably have the least amount of generic use.

One example I saw was from TouchShare, a leader in geospatial collaborative solutions. Their are multiple layers to their software stack.

The first thing you notice is that you can share a screen, so you have these giant touch tables that you can easily navigate and apply lenses to, or draw on, that will remind you of a show like 24. You could, in real time, have a command center going and people out in the field, on a map, where you are feeding data to it, like enemy deployments, and redraw the soldiers incursion map.

The “lenses” allow you to have a layer view that you can drag over an area, say for example a map of IED explosions, if you don’t care about the whole map, but a particular area, the lens will just show those IED marks in the area it is active. You can overlay different lenses to intersect datasets in a geographic region, so in the IED example, you could have a Poppy Field lens overlay it (or even just activate both for the entire map), and then look for a high frequency of IED attacks that is geographically close to a Poppy Field under the assumption that terrorists are protecting an income source. It can then pull up biographic data of known terrorists that are known to be in that area.

TouchShare_Attack Density vs. IED activity

In a similar vein was in the law enforcement community. I saw an example from Snaptrends that was almost scary. They provide real-time, location-based social intelligence.

Their SaaS software identifies relevant, open/public social media content within a specific geography to enable organizations to more effectively: Prevent, Identify, Respond to and Investigate crimes, threats and emergencies. you can see icons popping up on the map of people sending a Tweet or posting on Facebook (assuming geotagging is enabled), as well as cross reference in the police report data. So for example, suddenly you see a bunch of tweets popping up on a corner, you can click on them and see what they are, could be a bunch of people taking pictures of a fight or something.

That can tie in to the police report data to see what kind of incident is getting reported. You can start to know about events before they get reported, verging on Minority Report style crime divisions. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.stmapping

What I found most useful however, was the application within government infrastructure, especially in smaller to medium size cities that typically have smaller budgets and are more cost conscious (the larger ones should be, but don’t seem to be). The ability to track and monitor assets and predict maintenance schedules was sweet. You could also interface with the citizenry to report information back to you. Say there is a dead animal in the road that needs to be picked up, or you are walking at night and see massive overwatering or a broken sprinkler.

Speaking of watering, with all the various water shortages, especially here in California, we are constantly talking about conservation, but if you look at the waste in landscape watering, you can see huge potential for savings, but no one bothers to do it. The three main players I saw in this space were Trimble, Cityworks and Cartegraph, the latter seeming to be the most recent entry in this market and the former two have a co-opertition relationship.

There is a lot going on in this space and it all starts with getting an inventory of your city’s assets. This is streets, lights, sprinklers, parks, sidewalks, fire hydrants; what you have and where it is located. You need to inspect the condition of your assets, set their value, assess their performance, at what point do they fail, and at what point it makes more sense to repair or to replace the asset. Once you have everything in place, then you are able to really manage your work and do predictive analysis. If you’ve got an item that is failing now and it turns out the same item, like a fire hydrant, is due to be replaced around the corner in a month, you might as well consolidate the work and have it done at the same time. It is less expensive to make a single trip than multiple trips, so you start to reduce costs.

What I really like is tying this in with a service like SeeClickFix that allows citizens to report non-emergency items in a city, like broken sprinklers, a street light that is out, dangerous sidewalk cracks,dead animal in the street, that kind of thing. These should go in to the cities intake system where you could let some items get automatically routed to service tickets or maybe they are reviewed before they are routed.

It is a great way for a city to make things easier for their citizens, they don’t need to know which entity manages which asset. Maybe there is an HOA for the landscape watering, or the county manages the traffic signals and the city does the street sweeping. If the city took it on themselves to do the routing, then the citizens can just make the reports.

The possibilities for automation, improving responsiveness and cutting costs are really very exciting, at least to me. ESRI has a huge array of developer options as well, pretty much any modern language and platform you care to name, even scripting languages like Python. The array of options is just massive. One thing that struck me is the responsiveness of all these vendors parsing through what has to be massive amounts of data.IMAG0777

I ran across one of the old product reviews I’d written about 25 years ago, and I was gushing at the amazing performance of *only* taking 15 minutes to churn through 20,000 lines of source code, just crazy. The “at a glance’ guide for the conference was over 80 pages. There were so many breakout sessions and tutorials that I had to just focus on the vendor floor. ESRI even went so far as to make the tables in some of the areas whiteboards, so you could brainstorm while you were sitting and chatting, I saw a good number of tables with ideas on them, I just had no idea what they were talking about.

To wrap up all too soon, you gotta check out this Twitter page I was ready to grab 20 pictures off of it for this story, but then I thought about it and the important take away is that just about all data that occurs is being stored, the challenge for these vendors is primarily finding interesting, useful and innovative ways to provide it to you. A little out of the box thinking and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.

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Super Smash Bros - Mushroom Kingdom U & Wii Fit Trainer Final …

July 22nd, 2014

Super Smash Bros - Mushroom Kingdom U & Wii Fit Trainer Final Smash. Jul 21, 2014 by RawmeatCowboy

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Joystiq Deals: PS4 Battlefield Bundle Giveaway, Wii Fit U | Joystiq

July 21st, 2014

For those looking to get in shape over the summer months, Best Buy is offering Wii Fit U, a Wii Balance Board, and a Fit Meter accessory for $59.99, saving you $30 off the bundle's regular retail price. The discount is available

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Best Buy - Wii Fit U with Balance Board and Fit Meter for $60 …

July 21st, 2014

Best Buy - Wii Fit U with Balance Board and Fit Meter for $60.

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10 steps to launching the worst membership site on the planet

July 21st, 2014

How to launch the worst membership site

Membership sites are kind of popular nowadays. Probably due to the fact that they are great money making machines (when done right).

Picture the following scenario. Let’s say you have an information product that you want to sell. You can either:

  1. Sell it right away (for $100, or perhaps better make it $97 – the go-to price mark for every digital product), or
  2. Offer it as a membership program, where you share one piece of the puzzle every week for $50 monthly. And the whole program takes four months to complete, for example.

The second approach will earn you $200 in total (unless your product is of poor quality and people will unsubscribe sooner), and you’ll also get a list of users to whom you can offer your future products.

This is just one benefit behind membership sites.

But hold on!

This post is not about the light side of the force at all.

On the contrary, I actually want to show you the 10 steps to launching the worst membership site on the planet.

Why? I’m doing it just as a way to warn you about making some more (or less) common mistakes.

1. Going with a standard WordPress site

Now, a quick disclaimer. I have nothing against WordPress sites, or using WordPress for everything possible.


So if you want to launch your membership site on WordPress, and you have some cool plugins to pull this off (likeWishList Member), a support solution implemented on the back end, a tested way of managing all your precious content, then fine, you’ll do a great job.

If your idea of a membership site is to just password protect some posts and then send the password to your subscribers through email then sorry, this doesn’t really cut it.

And it doesn’t cut it for one main reason. You’re probably pitching your membership site as the best thing ever, featuring some best content ever (which is a fine marketing method, by the way). But if what someone gets after signing up is just a simple WordPress site with a bunch of password protected posts, they won’t feel very special at all.

2. No one on the support team

The need to have some support mechanism in place is one of the main drawbacks of launching a membership site.

Support is not something mandatory if you just have a one-off product on your offer. Especially if it’s an information product. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen with it? The only scenario possible is that someone might think the product is of low quality and request a refund.

But a membership site can experience some more problems. For instance: people will lose their login info, won’t be able to access your data using their 1990s’ mobile phone, will want to change their billing information, their email, or anything else.

What's my Pottermore Login again?…J.K. Rowling Just Posted A New Harry Potter Short Story via @flashboy

— Ashlea (@AKobukowski) July 8, 2014

This makes it clear that a good membership site needs some kind of a support platform, otherwiseyour reputation will suffer. Period.

3. Automatic content

The point of a membership site is to deliver top quality content that can’t be seen elsewhere. That’s why someone needs to become a member in order to get it, and why they have to pay a fee to do so.

Some people, however, decide to make their membership site content mainly blog-driven. This means that the majority of the content comes from a blog that’s available for free to everyone, and only like 1/3 or 1/4 of the content is the actual exclusive premium content.

Image credit:

This is a trick used mainly by people who desperately want to launch a membership site, yet don’t have enough premium content to do it properly, so they turn tosending updates automatically.

In a nutshell: Don’t do this. It’s not cool. Focus on exclusive content instead.

4. Filler content

Automatic content is publishing stuff that can be found elsewhere for free. Filler content is publishing stuff that can’t be found anywhere else, but it’s as useful as a stab in the kidney.

@bcaudill I think lots of people do it bc they're lacking content and need filler. And filler becomes so painfully obvious.

— Alex (@northstoryCA) July 8, 2014

It’s just meant to fill out the schedule and make it seem like there’s much going on. If you think that no one will ever notice, you will be surprised when your subscribers decide to vote with their wallets and simply leave. The nature of the problem is the same as with automatic content – not enough real premium content.

5. Mainly promotion-driven content

Yet another example of bad content practices.

This is something commonly seen in various email newsletters. You know, the case when someone sends you one content email, and nine promotional ones just after that. Don’t do the same thing with your membership site.


A much better balance to opt for is nine content-heavy updates for every promotional update. After all, your membership site can be a great marketing tool, which you can use to launch other projects. Which brings me to:

6. Not using your membership as a launchpad for other things

Membership sites can be great on multiple levels. Obviously, the membership itself makes you money and grows your business, but there’s so much more you can do apart from that.

For example, no matter what price point you’re offering, be it $35 a month or $100 a month, there will always be people willing to pay more in order to get more.

You can capitalize on this in multiple ways. Just to list some of the more popular ideas out there (used by membership site owners):

  • Offering higher-price membership levels. For example, if your standard entry point is $X, make the next level up two times this amount. In it, include some extra exclusive content or even information coming from your own resources or your own studies. In short, make it easily two or three times as valuable as the standard membership.
  • Offering couching calls or other mentoring services. When people start seeing you as an authority figure in your niche, some of them will want to work with you up close or even want you to mentor them. You can charge good dollar per hour for such Skype calls.member7
  • Offering direct consulting services. The idea is kind of similar to the one above, but this time you’re providing services geared at delivering a specific result to your client. It can be anything from teaching them how to do interior design, optimize their social media presence,tweak their SEO, and etc. The idea is to make your rate per hour high enough so it makes you happy to do this work and not treat it like a chore.
  • Offering other freelance services. There’s a lot more things besides consulting that you can do directly with a client. Depending on your niche, the nature of your main membership program and your area of expertise, you can offer things like: writing services, web design, AdWords management, blog management, online promotion, and so on. Of course, the difficult part is finding the right way to structure your funnel and pitch the right services to the right people. Should you need any help with that, feel free tovisit the guys over at Bidsketch and check their proposal resources (there are templates, guides, and e-books that will get you up to speed).


  • Launching live events. This is an idea that’s a bit far down the road, but hey, why not? Once you have a big following in certain areas of the country, you can try organizing an event with live workshops, presentations, group consultations and even Saturday night parties.

7. Not using different types of media

For me, and feel free to disagree, launching a simple membership program (offering just some text content) is not enough to make the project successful.

These days, the internet is chock full of different types of content and methods of delivering information.

For instance, a good membership site should utilize things like: videos, audios, webcasts, web-seminars, apps, software, templates (of something related to the content), infographics, interviews, forums, and so on. Text is simply not enough. Need a good example? Check outFizzle (probably the only honest online business training right now).


I know that it will take some time and dedication to produce all this, but it’s the only way you’re going to differentiate your content from all the other memberships available on the market.

8. No member’s area

Member’s area is probably the most common element of every quality membership site. The idea is to provideyour subscribers with a place that’s kind of like a dashboard for everything going on.

That’s why notifying people via email about some stuff and then sending them over to a standard WordPress post doesn’t make it a membership site.

One pretty clear reason why people decide not to offer a member’s area is that they don’t have enough diverse content to share. Let’s face it, if you only have text content, your member’s area won’t look very attractive.

By the way, every quality membership site solution will give you a member’s area you can use to communicate with your subscribers.

9. No semi-premium content

Semi-premium content is something that can be partially accessed by anybody (available publicly).

For instance, you can make every subpage of your membership site available openly to the public, but the trick is to display only the introductions, and to follow it up with a subscription link. (In other words, using teaser content.)

That way, you get the benefit of exposing your premium content, and at the same time you’re not really making it available. People who want to get the full pie still have to buy a subscription.

This is great for ranking your content on the search engines, and what follows, for getting additional subscribers who will visit you directly through your search engine listings.

10. No interaction helpers

The final item on this list. Interaction helpers are everything your subscribers can use to interact with each other and with the staff of the site – usually just you.


Having no interaction helpers is a common approach for scam membership sites – those that offer crappy overpriced content. If they enabled any sort of interaction helpers, people would simply blast them with negative reviews, complaints, and all sorts of other hateful yet honest comments. And it would all be publicly visible to every new subscriber.

So if you are in this business for real, you have to enable user interaction and make your site just a little vulnerable to the opinions people might have.

That’s it for my list of things on your way to launching the worst membership site on the planet. Feel free to share, have you stumbled upon any crappy membership sites lately?

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Why writing for your audience is the best SEO advice

July 21st, 2014

 Guest post by: Sarvesh Bagla, Founder and CEO of Techmagnate

SEO many be a three letter word, but it spells enough havoc to get the world dancing to its tunes! 2013 saw the face of SEO transform completely. From being a link building mechanism, to a content display tool; from being an “I have this to offer” approach to being a “How may I help you” mechanism.

It may sound cliché, but if we take a close look at all the three Google updates launched since last year (Penguin, Hummingbird and now the new Panda), each had one thing in common–content issues. But why is there such a ruckus surrounding content quality? As Julia Mc Coy of Business2Community puts forward, “Previously, keyword density was everything in SEO content writing. In fact, keyword density was so important that it was upheld over quality writing standards. Then, in 2013, the standards changed. Today, keyword density means practically nothing.”

The New Look of SEO

As Forbes puts forth, content marketing is now, the new “SEO.”  Niel Patel, the noted search engine influencer states, “Content marketing is the cheapest and most effective way to do SEO these days. Not only does writing high quality content produce links at a quicker pace than building them manually, but it’s also cheaper. Plus, your content will naturally get shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

Post-Hummingbird update, where the emphasis was laid on ‘conversational search’, the approach to writing for SEO has changed completely.  The focus is now on long tail keywords and natural use of them, which essentially means, writing for your audience, no matter how broad or niche.

But what does writing for your audience mean? Is writing for your audience search engine friendly too? Can it be leveraged to achieve my business goals?


Reid Bandremer of Lunametrics defines the best content writing strategy to follow is one that aligns your reader’s needs, your SEO needs and your business needs. He names it the “SEO writing Sweet Spot”. However, he mentions that the reader’s need should be given the prime importance since the rest of the needs are completely dependent on them.

The logic he puts forth is simple: If readers are content with what they have to read, search engines would be happy with the apt results they were able to provide and as a result give you higher visibility in the search engine. This, in turn will help attract more visitors to your site and your business grows.

Writing For Your Audience– The Best SEO Advice

It is of utmost importance that each business first recognize, and establish its audience, before beginning writing for it.  There’s no point shooting arrows in the dark!


  • SERP prefer audience-driven Content:

Google’s prime aim is to get its searchers the best results that can provide its visitors help, information and value. It will always give higher priority to a content piece that is able to deliver all of the above mentioned criteria, than one that doesn’t. You may have the best of products or services that could send your competition scampering for survival. But what good is it worth, if you’re not able to communicate it’s value to your audience?

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, and you’ll understand that as customers, we’re always on the lookout for better products and services. If you think your products have the innate ability to satiate your consumer’s needs, you need to let them know! There’s no longer lasting way to communicate your product’s unique selling position, than in writing.

However, communicating your product’s scope is not enough anymore. Content should be written in a way that can win your audiences’ trust and convert them into buyers.

  • Algorithms embrace high-quality content

There is ample evidence to show that the biggest of websites have gone down the search rakings due to content quality, when the algorithm updates hit.

As per Brafton’s infographic, 92% of marketers have admitted that high quality content has been either very effective or somewhat effective for their SEO. The infographic also reveals noteworthy facts like:

  • 52 percent of consumers acknowledge blogs impacting their purchasing decisions
  • 57 percent of marketers admit acquiring new customers through their blogs
  • 42 percent of consumers search for blogs and articles to aid taking their purchase decisions

These figures speak for themselves on how important it is, to be writing for your audience.

  • Endless ways to get your Content across

Stagnant content or content that exist on an island is never really helpful. The more its shared, the more people know you.

There are innumerable ways to market your content and bring it to the eyes of your audience. The major facilitators are:

  • Social Media: It’s the best way to reach out and it’s growing by the day. Expand your content’s reach through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and others and encourage commenting, social sharing and other forms of engagement.
  • Public Relations: Sharing content through the conventional PR releases in general interest and trade publications still provide good results.
  • Outreach: This is by far, the best way to reach out to a bigger audience with established worth. Requesting eminent bloggers and influencers to write about your products and services not only helps you get eyeballs but also helps instil trust about your brand in the minds of your audience. To find out who are the influencers ho can write for your business; refer to help sources like BlogDash and Buzzstream.
  • Paid Ads: Investing money in paid advertisements can elicit great results at affordable prices. You could opt for Facebook and LinkedIn Ads, Paid Search, StumbleUpon Paid Discovery, Outbrain, Promoted Tweets or the widely used Paid Search.
  • It will always engage your readers

Henneke of Enchanting Marketing says “Stuffing bland text with a few extra keywords doesn’t work. You need to be engaging. You need to be human.” So how do you make an article or blog post engaging? Outbrain effectively illustrates the essentials of an engaging content where he highlights the following checkpoints:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Citing Concrete Examples
  • Give the piece a voice, funny or professional, without overdoing it
  • Assists in obtaining quality links

Undeniably, the quality of your content influences the kind of inbound links you receive. And yes; quality links still matter. Thanks to sites like Digg, Ma.gnolia, Reddit and, readers now have access to sharing your content on platforms that have millions of readers. That said, it’s only plausible to say that a good piece of well written content that is specifically targeted to a particular audience, has potentials beyond measure. It would only be foolish to compromise with quality here.

  • Uniqueness can be established

Kelsey Lundberg of EDUniverse writes, “When we get specific about what we offer that’s different than our competitors, we have a great opportunity to reach a right-fit audience. When we produce genuine content that serves the needs of our users, it becomes more valuable than nearly any other SEO strategy.” To facilitate writing for our audience, we have to first understand who are audience is. While for a Thai restaurant, the entire world could be the potential audience, writing for Thai cuisine lovers would help them connect better with the audience. For someone who hasn’t tasted Thai food, its recipes wouldn’t make much of a sense!

  • Google loves Bloggers

Oh yes, it does. For a number of reasons which include:

  • They write frequently for their audience
  • They write useful and helpful stuff
  • They don’t run after keywords!
  • Their work is fresh and original

Kelly Exeter of Swish Design rightly says, “Your business blog is first and foremost about the reader. Every single blog post you write should have something in it for them be it information, entertainment, learning etc. Sure you can use your blog to beat your chest, but this should be the exception and not the rule.” So blog for your audience and blog your way to victory!

Lack of Knowledge about Your Audience: The Problem

Niel Patel has beautifully sketched out a problem-solution scenario of why its important to know your audience you’re writing for. Here’s the excerpt:

The problem: Failure to Know the Audience

The Period of Occurrence: Prior launch or during nascent stages of content marketing plan.

The Way Out: Think about a single kind of person rather than thousands. It will help make your planning process simpler. He also helped understand the thought better by using the example of a created persona and how writing around it, works the best.

For instance, the model below can help you find out the necessary details you need to write for your target audience.

Google Authorship


Image Courtesy:

One of the biggest considerations that businesses and marketers need to make is the Google Authorship feature. So what is Google Authorship? And why is it of such importance? Search Engine Land defines Google Authorships as “a way to link content you create with a Google+ profile“. It helps provide an insight into the popularity of the author along with a headshot image.

Google authorship helps in more ways than one. It:

  • Creates a verified content present on the web and its creators
  • gets the author noticed through the by-line
  • Adds value to content and search results
  • It helps small businesses gain its audiences’ trust
  • Google attributes more credit to content with authorship tags.

In fact, as per Google’s Eric Schmidt, Google Authorship is the new way of search. Here’s what he had said about it, a year back:

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

Schmidt: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification”

— Chris Ainsworth (@chrisains) February 4, 2013

Technorati and Forbes writer, Jayson DeMers, also mentioned that Google Authorship helps give content a professional touch making them more authentic expert advice. He quoted Google’s Matt Cutts, when he said, “If we could be able to tell, Danny Sullivan wrote this article, or Vanessa Fox wrote this article, that would help us understand, this is something where it’s an expert in this particular field.

In Conclusion

Search is evolving, and sooner than later we will be searching Google using our voice. Google is preparing for that day, and it’s ideal we try to keep up with the pace.

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The magic of ESRI’s spatial analysis automation features [#esriuc2014]

July 18th, 2014

I’m a spatial data scientist and, while I like many different brands of spatial data analysis applications, I particularly love ESRI for it’s automation and scripting capabilities. ESRI developed a special python library called ArcPy. With this library you can process, manipulate, analyze, and visualize spatial informatics en masse.

Esri to Offer Spatial Analysis MOOC | ArcNews #esriuc2014

— OSireland (@OrdnanceIreland) July 14, 2014

This automation capability can be used to save managers and advanced analysts innumerable hours that would otherwise be spent in manual application and repetition of spatial data analysis tasks.

For illustrative purposes, let me provide the following example. About a year ago I was presented with the following problem. A GIS manager had several GIS technicians digitizing stormwater infrastructure from as-built drawings. Each infrastructure type was being digitized in it’s own separate shapefile, so for manholes there was a layer, for gravity main there was a layer, and so forth.

After completing each subdivision, the technician would create a polygon around that area to mark it as complete and to acknowledge personal responsibility for that portion of the work product.

The problem with all of this was that the GIS manager could not tell how many features had been digitized in the polygon areas. Some subdivisions were sparse in infrastructure, while others were quite dense… so the amount of work performed was not truly represented by the areas covered by each technician. For project management purposes, the manager needed a way to track, compare, and contrast how much actual digitizing work was being carried out by each technician. He needed to be able to query any date range for this information and he needed to have some sort of data-at-a-glance graphics to give an immediate idea of what’s happening without any hassle on his part.


Knowing ArcPy, the solution to this problem was very easy. We needed a python script that could clip all infrastructure according to the area polygon, and produce a tabular data table compiling information for each infrastructure feature created, date:time created, and the name of the technician responsible for the entry. Lastly, the script needed to create a basic visual analytic output to show the manager infrastructure counts and a visual comparison of work quantities performed by each GIS technician.

Using ArcPy, I had this script coded up by the next business day. Since then, the manager has used this script to quickly and easily query out, monitor, and compare the efficiency of each of his staff members at anytime interval he so chooses. This allows him to better manage his team and early-detect when intervention might be necessary. This was a critical need that was previously unmet because manual processing and analysis would have been time-prohibitive.

Now, with ESRI’s ArcPy package, a lasting solution could be coded up by the next business day without any additional costs to the hiring manager. That’s is the magic of ESRI!

Main image credit: “Hieronymus Bosch”

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The magic of ESRI’s spatial analysis automation features [#esriuc2014]

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Storytelling like a modern day Magellan at #esriuc2014

July 17th, 2014

A yogi, a truck driver and a realtor walk into a conference… 

So begins a recent blog post from Esri’s blog. The company is driving “a new kind of business intelligence is driving business success through happy people, health communities and a better bottom line.” The Esri User Conference has grown from 16 attendees in it’s first year, to over 16,000 today. This week, the San Diego Convention Center is bustling with users, workshops, competitions, and a collective love for everything GIS.

Esri announced the winners of its Storytelling with Maps Contest last night during the Special Achievement in GIS Awards. Bret Whiteley and Anne Reynolds’ Buy Fresh, Buy Local Story Map, which highlighted local farmers, restaurants, and markets, took home the Best Overall award. The pair will receive a one-year ArcGIS Online subscription for winning the grand prize.

Story Maps at the #EsriUC: Visit our booth in the ArcGIS Online area & we’ll put your #storymap up on our big screen!

— Esri Story Maps (@EsriStoryMaps) July 16, 2014

“Esri Story Maps harness the unique power of maps to tell exciting and engaging stories about the world,” said Allen Carroll, leader of Esri’s Story Map team. “The winners of our Storytelling with Maps competition represent the best of a new and rapidly growing community of geo-storytellers. We hope their examples will inspire thousands of storytellers to explore this rich new medium.”

The competition broke into four categories. Some of our favorites are below:

Travel and Destinations

Visit Turkey

User generated images, videos, and stories populate this interactive map where visitors can discover things like the Damlatas Cave, shaped by the amazing architecture of nature, is situated in one of the most beautiful cities in Southern Turkey.

Visit Turkey

Science / Technology / Health

Oil spill monitoring from spaceOil spill monitoring from space

The detection and monitoring of oil spills with Synthetic Aperture Radar images has been an established method for several years. Oil slicks look very dark on SAR imagery, as opposed to the ocean in the background. This makes it easy to distinguish the difference. SAR images are also not influenced by daylight or cloudy conditions, making it a useful source of information at any time of day or year. 

Culture / History / Events

Italian culture and history

This map allows users to discover the unique cultural landscapes of one region in Italy, and see how they will be protected by the country’s regional plan.

Repertorio dei Paesaggi

Conservation / Environment / Sustainability

Esri Storytelling with Maps Contest-1

Winter activities in Pennsylvania’s State Parks

Delight in a winter wonderland of recreational activities with this state agency produced story map that promotes the use and enjoyment of the parks and forests the agency maintains.

This story map takes users on a virtual tour to some of the Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests that offer winter activities. Users click on an activity to see which parks and forests offer the activity and to find out more information. Affording users a real-time winter activities report for snow and ice conditions before heading out to conquer the slopes.

Esri Grand Prize Winner

Buy Fresh, Buy Local; Cape Cod

Created by the Cape Cod Commission, in partnership with a regional development agency, this story map highlights businesses that support locally sourced fresh food. Including crowdsourced data from farmers markets, eco-friendly restaurants and retailers, and farms, this Cape Cod map creates an engaging navigation experience for visitors and denizens alike.

Buy Fresh  Buy Local  Cape Cod

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