Monthly Archives: June 2016

Square Enix, gumi Launch Final Fantasy Brave Exvius on Mobile


Square Enix and gumi announced the release of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius on mobile. The turn-based RPG follows Rain and Lasswell, two knights from Grandshelt, on a quest to save the world.

In Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, players complete level-based missions, which cost energy to enter (new users can enter missions for free until they reach rank five). Energy recharges automatically over time, or players can purchase additional energy instantly using Lapis, the game’s premium currency.

During battles, players can tap their heroes’ names at the bottom of the screen to trigger their basic attacks. Users also have the option to cast spells, trigger their characters’ special abilities, guard against oncoming attacks or use items (like healing items) on each turn. Gamers can also toggle auto-battle.

As players complete battles, their heroes will earn experience points, and they will become stronger as they level up over time. Users will also collect crafting materials as they defeat enemies. Gamers can use these materials to create new equipment and abilities for their heroes.

Finally, users can summon new heroes for their teams over time, and they can customize their teams between missions. As players collect unwanted or excess heroes, they can fuse these extra units into those they’d like to keep to increase their stats.

Outside of main story missions, users can complete special dungeons, including event dungeons, to earn rewards.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

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Want a Bigger Marketing Budget? Optimize Your LTV to CAC Ratio


Almost every head of marketing, whether they be a CMO, VP, or Director of Marketing is thirsty for a larger marketing budget. With more money to spend, marketing can (theoretically) drive more growth.

But all too often marketing budgets are set without much rhyme or reason — there tends to be a huge correlation to how many sales were made in the previous month or quarter, or worse yet they are set as a percentage of the company’s revenue. This is particularly common in product driven SaaS organizations. But for growth oriented companies, these means of setting marketing budgets are simply not serving your growth agenda appropriately.

How much do SaaS Companies invest sales and marketing?

Take the chart below as an example. Based on a sampling of 300+ SaaS companies with greater than $2.5mm in revenue, the median sales and marketing spending as a percentage of revenue is 32%.

Does this mean all SaaS companies should simply set their sales and marketing budgets at 32% of their revenue? Absolutely not. There are a number of companies spending as much as 43% of their revenues on sales and marketing, with these companies achieving growth rates of 80%+.

While some of these companies may be spending so aggressively because they are heavily funded and are looking to capture market share, the companies that are the true darlings of the SaaS space are those that have such a strong ratio between the Lifetime Value (LTV) of their customers and their Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) that they’ve built a compelling case to pour more dollars into their customer acquisition engines. They’ve built Ferraris and have a valid reason to believe that additional sales and marketing spending will keep their growth rates accelerating.

In your quest to obtain access to more financial resources, it’s the marketing leader’s job to educate the rest of the organization. And simply put, the idea of a “marketing budget” is outdated if growth is truly what you are after.

The Formulas Your SaaS Company Needs

Instead, you have two levers at your disposal — both of which can be optimized, and both of which are not typically considered areas of your business that marketing alone should own. The Lifetime Value (LTV) of your customer is impacted by many factors, including but not limited to:

  • Sales selling to buyer personas that have the best chance of being successful with your product
  • Product organizations delivering truly valuable features that make the product “sticky”
  • Customer success teams working with your clients to make them successful after purchase
  • Marketing developing pricing and packaging that pushes longer term contracts over month to month agreements.

The formulas:

Lifetime Value (LTV) = Average Customer Lifetime X Average Revenue Per Account

Average Customer Lifetime = 1/churn rate (expressed in months or years)
Ex: 1 / 5% monthly churn = 20 month average customer lifetime

Average Revenue Per Account (in a given period) = Total revenue /total customers added

So for example, if last month you made $200,000 in revenue from 25 customers, your calculation would be $200,000/25 = $8,000.

And if customers stay with you for an average of 20 months, you multiply 20 x $8,000 and reach the lifetime value of $160,000. So the cost to acquire a customer (CAC) should be no more than $53k. ARPA = $200,000/25 = $8,000

In this example 20 months X $8,000 = $160,000 LTV

Just as there are many ways to extend your customers’ LTV, there are also a number of different strategies that you can employ to lower your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). Marketing can focus on more cost effective lead generation strategies like organic search, conversion optimization, and developing customer advocates. Sales teams can learn to more efficiently move prospects through the customer acquisition funnel and can do away with expensive events and client dinners in lieu of more cost effective inside sales techniques.

To calculate the cost it takes to acquire a customer, you simply divide the total sales & marketing spend by the number of customers added in a given period. So if you spent $100,000 in a year and acquired 10 customers during that time frame, your CAC would be $10,000.

As a general rule of thumb, a SaaS business with a LTV:CAC ratio of 3:1 is considered healthy — meaning you get $3 in customer revenue for every $1 you spend to acquire them. If you have this ratio or better, you have a customer acquisition engine that is performing well. It is important to mention that this is simply a benchmark — not a magic bullet. This ratio had held up well and provided a valid target at a number of companies I’ve worked with, but every company’s unique situation in terms of funding, growth rate, burn rate, and business goals should be considered. Never put all of your eggs in one basket by looking at any SaaS metric in isolation.

3:1 Ratio is Your Benchmark for a Higher Marketing Budget

With a ratio of better than 3:1, you have a strong argument for investing more money in customer acquisition programs if maxing out your growth potential is your objective. You can make a simple argument to the CEO by saying, “we know that for every $1 we spend to acquire a customer, we get $3 back in revenue.”

So it’s the job of the marketing leader to relentlessly look for ways, across the organization, to lower customer acquisition costs and extended the lifetime value of the customer. If you’re able to do so, you’re making a compelling case for marketing to be given access to whatever financial resources are available, whether you’re a funded or bootstrapped company.

In fact, a strong LTV:CAC ratio is one of the most important metrics you can show if you are trying to raise funding. In my opinion, perhaps the most valid reason a SaaS company should raise funding is if they have a very healthy LTV:CAC ratio and their growth is only limited by access to capital.

Gone are the days of marketing leaders waiting until after a big sales month to nervously ask for an increase in marketing budget. And gone are the days of the marketing leader advocating for marketing spending to represent a larger percentage of the company’s revenues. Relentless focus on increasing customer lifetime value and decreasing customer acquisition costs will blow the top off or your marketing budget (as it should!) indefinitely.

About the Author: Geoff Roberts is the Vice President of Marketing at Bizness Apps. Bizness apps is an app building platform used by small marketing and design agencies to build mobile apps for small business clients.

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New Facebook Tool Will Allow Users to Fundraise for Nonprofits


Facebook is releasing a tool allowing users to fundraise on behalf of U.S.-based 501(c)3 nonprofits.

This follows the social network’s debut last August of “Donate Now” call-to-action buttons on page posts and link ads from nonprofit pages, as well as improvements to the donate button and a fundraisers tool, which were rolled out last November.

Facebook told Megan Rose Dickey of TechCrunch that the new feature is initially available to only about 1 percent of U.S. users, and it is set to go countrywide “in the next few weeks,” adding that while only U.S. users will be able to create donation pages, donations can be accepted from more than 20 countries.

Facebook said in a post on the Nonprofits on Facebook page:

We’re introducing a new tool to enable people to raise money for U.S.-based 501(c)3 nonprofits directly on Facebook.

Fundraisers allow nonprofit supporters to set up a dedicated page to share their story, tell others about a nonprofit’s mission and rally around a fundraising goal.

We can’t wait to see how people support the causes they care about most. Learn more at

And vice president of product management for social good Naomi Gleit spoke with Matt Petronzio of Mashable, saying:

Before we actually disburse funds to (nonprofits), depending on how much money it is, we’ll do some more quality control. We just want to make sure there’s no fraud, so there’s an additional layer of vetting.

We want to open this up to everyone in the U.S. to create a fundraiser and donate to any nonprofit in the U.S. So, (this is) in order for that to be sustainable and safe. This is all at cost. We’re not trying to make money.

People are already using Facebook to fund for causes—it was already happening even before we built this tool. I just see this as making it even easier. I think people will continue using those other products, and this will just be additive.

Readers: What are your thoughts on this new fundraising tool?

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Snapchat and Tumblr: Platforms for Innovation in Social Media Marketing (Report)


Startups are usually the home of the most innovative outlooks in social media. Any startup with a different approach or technology, like Instagram and Periscope, is often bought up by the larger networks. But others, like Snapchat, choose to go it alone. The 2016 State of Social Marketing report from Simply Measured gives us an insight into how these services are leading the industry in different ways.

The report notes that Snapchat’s innovative approach has led it to a unique position in the market, making it:

[A] hub for robust brand content and discovery, event-based interaction and visual communication, Snapchat is an extension of many brands’ identities, and it is emerging as a core component of the social strategy for brands … Its most recent evolution came in March with what the network deemed “Chat 2.0,” including features like auto-advancing stories, instant video and audio chatting and sticker enhancements.

Snapchat recently crested 150 million daily active users, and it has a 100 percent mobile audience. Despite being relatively young, it has managed to tap into the market by offering an experience that no other network was offering at the time, and we’ve since seen most of the other networks scramble to catch up. To do well on Snapchat, your business must be like the service: open to change, agile and ready to move quickly with the demands of your audience.

Social blogging site Tumblr has been around since 2007, but it was acquired by Yahoo In 2013, and it has also been a testing ground for new marketing tactics. The site has 550 million active users and is one of the most trafficked websites online. Despite the quick amplification power and high engagement on Tumblr, only 54 percent of the Interbrand 100 use the site and only 30 percent post monthly. However, brand adoption on the network grew 15 percent since last year, partly because brands are starting to understand the platform better.

Tumblr’s strengths lie in its focus on highly visual, sharable content. Marketers that create GIFs, capitalize on Tumblr trends or just behave strangely enough to be intriguing can rally a very loyal user base that’s itching to share their latest content. Posting the same content to Tumblr as you do to all your other networks is a wasted opportunity on Tumblr, and it likely won’t have enough originality to see vital shares.

Each time one of these more agile services makes a change, we see others pivot in order to follow them. While it may seem like a risk to invest in less proven services, marketers that get it right early can really capture audiences and write the playbook for an emerging network.

For more insight, read the full 2016 State of Social Marketing report, or view our previous coverage.

Image courtesy of Wachiwit/Shutterstock.

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Reliance Games Launches The BFG Game on iOS, Android


Reliance Games and Amblin Partners announced the launch of The BFG Game on iOS and Android. The match-three puzzle game is based on the upcoming film The BFG, which hits theaters July 1. In the game, players join Sophie and the BFG as they travel through London, the Dream Country and more.

Each level of The BFG Game asks players to complete a different objective before running out of moves. For instance, one stage may ask players to earn a required number of points, while another stage may ask users to clear wooden tiles from the board by creating matches on top of them.

As players create matches with four or more symbols, or matches in special T, L or square shapes, they’ll create power-up symbols that can be used in future matches to trigger special effects on the board. For instance, one power-up may clear an entire row or column of symbols when activated, while another may clear every symbol of a single color from the board, and so on.

If users need help finishing objectives, they can purchase and activate special booster items during stages. The net booster, for instance, can be used to clear one chosen symbol from the board.

Users will lose lives if they fail to compete levels before running out of moves. These lives recharge automatically over time, or players can purchase lives instantly with premium currency. Users can also ask their Facebook friends to send them free lives.

The BFG Game is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

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What to Do if Someone Else Claimed Your Google My Business Listing


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High-Risk, High-Reward: Snapchat’s Advertising Revolution


Mobile advertising requires striking what can seem like an impossible balance: attracting users’ attention without interrupting whatever else they are doing. The trick is to be interruptive through engaging, well-placed advertising without interrupting.

Although mobile advertising has evolved over the past 10 years away from SMS messages and pop-ups to informative, relevant banners and native ads, media companies are still struggling to find the best balance of ads that resonate without disrupting the user experience.

Take The Next Web, which launched a new ad format that pushes articles out of the way and automatically starts playing a video ad that is nearly impossible to exit. One commenter called it “the most infuriating hide-the-content ad ploy I’ve ever seen.”

Or consider The Atlantic, which found itself embroiled in a controversy for publishing sponsored content in the form of an advertorial from the Church of Scientology.

Mistakes like these make consumers feel annoyed, deceived and unfavorable toward brands. This is especially true for millennials, and impactful advertisers and publishers are adapting their strategies in an effort to achieve more than simply the default “not annoying.”

Today, they are striving to deliver ads that are relevant, engaging and even interactive. In a world where advertisers hunger for millennial eyeballs and dollars, relevant and engaging means delivering ads that are “authentic.”

Snapchat realized that if ads are not authentic and sharable, they are unsuccessful, and it is ushering in a new era of advertising through a wealth of new ad formats that blur the lines between advertising and content.

In what some are calling a pre-initial public offering push, Snapchat has unveiled sponsored creation tools for brands to create ads with facial-recognition selfie lenses and geofilters. It is also offering the services of its creative partners to help brands build snap ads, including new formats like “expandable” snap ads.

The Snapchat advertising revolution underscores that advertising is becoming content and brands are creating content in the hope that it will get shared, maybe even go viral, which in turn makes the brand relevant by association.

Authenticity: Advertising’s secret sauce (and Achilles’ heel)

No segment of the population values authenticity more than millennials. This presents a challenge to brands because millennials perceive ads as unauthentic.

Forbes conducted a study with Elite Daily, which revealed that just 1 percent of millennials say a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more. They believe that advertising is all spin, so they ignore ads completely.

Some brands try to fabricate authenticity by paying “influencers” to feature their products in ways that seem natural.

Chiara Ferragni, the woman behind wildly popular fashion blog The Blonde Salad, formed partnerships with Burberry and Dior.

Famed food blogger Joy Wilson (a.k.a. Joy the Baker) published a post on how to make buttermilk biscuits in conjunction with Land O Lakes European Style Super Premium Butter, using the product in her recipe.

While this strategy may seem to work out well for brands and influencers, many consumers see through it. They are the latest incarnation of celebrity endorsements, and their luster is beginning to fade. In fact, according to a recent survey by Collective Bias, 70 percent of 18- through-34-year-olds prefer peer endorsements over celebrity endorsement, the former of which is perceived as true and valid versus fake and manufactured. It is clear that Joy the Baker is being paid to feature Land O Lakes, which makes the reader doubt whether the butter, is in fact, “fantastic.”

Fabricating authenticity?

Advertisers face a Catch-22: Authenticity is clearly driving millennials’ purchases and loyalty to brands, but it’s not exactly something that can be manufactured. When brands try, there’s a high chance that it will come off forced and inauthentic, which drives millennials away for good.

Take Mountain Dew’s “twerking” commercial. Twerking may have emerged as a viral internet phenomenon, but Mountain Dew didn’t win any points for its bizarre ads with inanimate objects twerking in a basement. Or Dunkin Donuts’ attempt to leverage the hashtag and Generation Z slang with #BreakfastWhenevs”–not only are consumers unlikely to share these ads, but they can have a negative impact on the brand.

The key to creating a successful ad campaign in today’s world lies in a brand’s ability to offer an experience that users genuinely want to engage with and share. This content is not heavy-handed or overtly promotional, and many of the best, most successful examples are emerging in mobile ad campaigns on Snapchat, which has pioneered what has been called “crowd-distributed advertising.”

Gatorade created an interactive Snapchat filter during the Super Bowl that let users take a “Gatorade shower” by pouring a virtual Gatorade cooler over other people’s snaps. The campaign generated an astounding 160 million impressions, more than the 115 million people who tuned into the game.

Why? Because users chose to share the brand instead of being paid to do it. The filter was, quite simply, fun and social. It reflected an understanding of who the users are and what they like, and in the process showcased Snapchat as a platform for brands to reach new audiences. It also enabled users to participate in an iconic Super Bowl moment using their mobile device.

The World Wildlife Fund is another example. The nonprofit waged the #LastSelife campaign in order to raise awareness about animal populations at risk of extinction. The idea was to leverage the ephemerality of Snapchats as a way to emphasize the fact that species are disappearing. Moreover, the animal images tugged at the heartstrings, an effect that was heightened when the image disappeared. The combination of emotion and millennials’ interest in social causes packed a powerful punch.

Brands are also using Snapchat in innovative ways to engage users with exclusive content. Heineken sponsored a stage at Coachella and used Snapchat to send people clues about surprise shows during the festival. Users who responded quickly with the right band or artist got an early confirmation of the act on their smartphones. Again, this campaign was not overtly promotional and imparted real value to users. Festival goers were motivated to engage with Heineken because they got something they cared about in return.

All of the examples of successes and failures outlined above demonstrate the importance of authenticity, as well as of providing value. If you are going to interrupt someone as they browse on social media or read a news article, then it better be for good reason.

Millennials are not going to engage with content for the sake of engaging with content. There has to be a point. They have to find the content funny or poignant, or gain something from interacting with it. They are less interested in being passive consumers than they are in being active participants, and Snapchat provides an invaluable opportunity for brands to begin building a two-way relationship

If you are able to create something people love, like Gatorade did, you’ll knock it out of the park. If not, your ad campaign may end up being unwelcome and invisible.

Ragnar Kruse is the founder and CEO of mobile ad platform Smaato.

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Zynga Launches CSR Racing 2 on iOS, Android


Zynga announced the launch of CSR Racing 2 (CSR2) on mobile. Developed by Zynga’s NaturalMotion studio, the drag-racing game is the sequel to the original CSR Racing. In CSR2, players can compete against the computer or other players in multiple race modes, including ladder and regulation races, crew battles, live multiplayer races and more.

Before each race, players can tap a gas pedal button to rev their engines. This causes the needle to move across the tachometer at the bottom of the screen. Players have the goal of keeping the needle in the green area on the tachometer to achieve “perfect starts” in races. Once races begin, users are challenged to tap the plus button to shift gears as the needle reaches the green area on the tachometer for each gear.

Users receive money as they complete races, which can be spent on car upgrades. Users can purchase upgrades in multiple categories (tires, transmission, engine, nitrous, etc.), with each upgrade affecting a car’s stats (power, grip, shift time and weight). Once users reach certain upgrade levels for specific categories in their cars, they’ll unlock tuning, which allows them to further modify their cars’ stats without spending additional money.

In addition to performance upgrades, users can spend free and premium currency on visual changes for their vehicles. NaturalMotion worked with every car manufacturer featured in CSR2, including Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren, to ensure that each car was accurately re-created in the game.

Users can interact with their vehicles in between races to view each car’s details. This includes the ability to open a vehicle’s hood or doors, as examples. Users can take pictures or videos of their vehicles and share them with others on social media. Gamers can purchase additional cars from the store using free or premium currency, or they can win them through the game’s story mode.

Finally, in addition to live multiplayer matches, the game includes a multiplayer crew feature, which allows users to join crews, or clubs, with other players. Gamers can chat with other users in their crews, and they can also unlock boosts and other content via crew perks. Crews can compete against one another to earn respect points.

In a statement, Torsten Reil, CEO of NaturalMotion, commented:

CSR Racing has a passionate fan base that lives and breathes the world of cars. With more than 190 million downloads by auto enthusiasts around the world, the original CSR Racing and CSR Classics brought never-before-seen levels of visual fidelity and vehicle authenticity to the racing genre on mobile. In CSR2, we’ve built on this legacy by amplifying the drag racing experience and introducing new social elements, higher-fidelity graphics and enhanced levels of customization to create the most immersive and realistic mobile racing experience for our players.

CSR2 is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

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SEO Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]


How do people find what they’re looking for on the web?

Search engines.

And in order for business owners to ensure that their content appears as the most relevant resource for prospective customers, they must optimize web pages to show up in search engine results for specific keywords.

But let’s say you’re a beginner when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).

What exactly is SEO?

Watch our short, fun video about SEO

With help from our friends at The Draw Shop, we whipped up 12 definitions from our new Content Marketing Glossary into short, fun whiteboard animated videos.

Check out our video for the definition of SEO:

Animation by The Draw Shop

And for those of you who would prefer to read, here’s the transcript:

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s a process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” or “natural” search results generated by search engines.

Google and Bing are the biggest search engines, and they use algorithms to examine the content on a given page in order to decide what that page is about. Then, based upon more than 200 factors, they decide how relevant that page is to certain keywords.

The job of a search engine, like Google, is to find content that matches your query — or, the basic question you’re asking, like:

  • How far is the earth from the sun?
  • Who is the lead singer of Led Zeppelin?
  • What is a freemason?

Those questions contain keywords. The more your content matches those questions, the better the experience for the user. When you make people happy, you make Google happy.

Share this video

Click here to check out this definition on YouTube and share it with your audience. You’ll also find 11 additional Content Marketing Glossary videos.

SEO resources

If you’d like additional information about SEO, visit these three resources:

Learn more from the Content Marketing Glossary

Ready to master content marketing essentials? Watch all of our animated whiteboard videos right now by going directly to the Content Marketing Glossary.

By the way, let us know if there are any definitions you’d like us to add to the glossary! Just drop your responses in the comments below.

The post SEO Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video] appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Video Is Becoming an Important Part of Social Engagement (Report)


Marketers still face significant challenges when it comes to measuring return on investment on social media. Still, each of the social networks analyzed in the Simply Measured State of Social 2016 report is experiencing some manner of growth and expansion. Let’s take a look at how the established players like Twitter and Facebook are changing, and how your marketing strategy should evolve.

It might seem that Facebook is the primary destination for marketers, but it doesn’t have complete saturation among the Interbrand 100. 97 percent of brands use the site and 93 percent post content monthly, down 1 percent compared with last year.

Brands seem to have missed the message from users that video is what they want. Facebook videos are generating more than 8 billion views per month, yet videos are the least-posted type of content among marketers. Facebook Live is one way to create rich video content that also lasts beyond its original broadcast while also jump-starting a video marketing campaign.

Twitter has managed to captivate marketers, with 100 percent of the Interbrand 100 represented and 99 percent posting monthly. Twitter’s current and future success largely relies on the short format and the one-to-one relationship between brand and user.

Given the relationships Twitter creates, influencers can become an important key for deep audience engagement. Twitter has stated that 47 percent of users make purchases because of influencer suggestions, and people trust influencers more than brands in general.

The real story of the last year in social marketing is the continued move to video as a core aspect of both networks and marketing campaigns. Twitter recently increased the time limit on Vines, and users have already proven that they’ll engage heavily with video content on the platform. Facebook has become the most preferred network for video sharing, and YouTube has increased watch time by 50 percent year-over-year for the past three years.

Established social platforms have shifted their attention to video because video is what users are engaging with most often, according to the report. However, newer, more agile, services like Snapchat are leading the way in innovation.

Stay tuned for more coverage on the current state of emerging networks like Snapchat and Instagram.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Kabam, Lightstorm Partner to Create Avatar Mobile Game


Mobile game developer Kabam partnered with Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox to create a mobile game set in the world of James Cameron‘s Avatar. The game will be designed to “re-immerse” fans into the Avatar universe before the release of Avatar 2 in theaters.

Few details were revealed about the game, although Kabam described it as a “AAA massively multiplayer mobile strategy game.” The experience will feature characters and environments from the Avatar films.

Once the game is launched, Kabam said it will update the title as each of the four planned Avatar film sequels are released. As of this writing, Avatar 2 is scheduled to be released in theaters in December 2018.

In a statement, Mike Verdu, president of studios and chief creative officer of Kabam, commented:

Much like the Avatar films, this mobile game will bring a brand new experience to players everywhere. Phones and tablets will become high-fidelity windows into a living, breathing, interactive world of stunning beauty. The company has put forward one of the largest development budgets in mobile gaming history and assigned some of its top talent. The final product is going to be amazing.

Readers: Are you excited to play Kabam’s Avatar mobile game?

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Is Snapchat Growing Faster Than Instagram? (Infographic)


Despite some rocky patches during its first few years, Snapchat has emerged as a fixture in social media, and it’s on the verge of going mainstream. While growth on more established network Instagram has slowed, Snapchat seems to be growing stronger every day. According to an infographic from analytics provider Jumpshot, the reduced use of the former might be connected to the growth of the latter.

Snapchat is already attracting 25 percent more new users worldwide than Instagram, and in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, France and Germany, Snapchat is growing between 63 percent and 76 percent. However, Instagram attracts more “tier two” countries–those that are a lower priority for advertisers–and outperforms Snapchat significantly in those countries.

Since a large update earlier this year, Snapchat seems to be on a level playing field with Instagram in the U.K., but the younger network now has a 3 percent growth advantage in the the U.S. Interestingly, this growth has been among non-millennial users, who seemed reluctant to join Snapchat until recently.

Both platforms are experiencing a demographic shift. In January, Instagram captured 59 percent and 68 percent of American and British women signups, respectively, and as of April, Snapchat had a 3 percent and 5 percent lead, respectively.

It seems like Snapchat’s strategies have paid off, and it looks like mainstream adoption has now been firmly cemented. If Snapchat can pass Twitter in daily active users and capture more growth than Instagram, then it may be unstoppable.

View the infographic below for more information.


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USO Creates Temporary Facebook Profile Picture Frame for July 4


Just in time for the Fourth of July, United Service Organizations created a temporary profile picture frame for Facebook users.

The USO created the frame in recognition of its 75 years of servicing active duty military with care packages, letters to military members and partnerships over the years with celebrities including Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno and Katy Perry.

Interested Facebook users can go to the USO Facebook page and click the “Try It” button on the post pinned to the top, or:

  1. Go to
  2. Click the drop-down box and select “Causes.”
  3. Click the “Happy 4th of July” frame with military service members.
  4. Adjust size and click button “Use as Profile Picture.”

The frame will remain on users’ profile pictures through July 5.

Readers: What do you think of the USO’s temporary profile picture frame?

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EA Mobile Launches Tetris Blitz: 2016 Edition on Mobile


EA Mobile launched a major content update in Tetris Blitz, transforming the game into Tetris Blitz: 2016 Edition. The redesigned application features an updated art style and user interface, as well as a new Daily Challenge system and more.

In Tetris Blitz, users are challenged to earn as many points as possible before time runs out in each game. While playing, users must drop Tetriminos into the proper positions to create lines, which clears them from the screen. A power-up system allows users to trigger special reactions as they play.

With this update, users can complete new Daily Challenges, which ask them to complete specific tasks each day. For instance, one challenge may ask players to clear 25 lines in a 60-second game. Each daily challenge can be played three times on three different difficulty levels. Users may receive coins as they successfully complete challenges, and these coins can be spent on power-ups before each game begins.

In addition, the game’s power-up system has been updated, so all power-ups can now be unlocked for free as players progress through the game’s experience point levels.

Finally, users can earn additional coins in the game’s Gold Rush bonus mode, which becomes available each time players reach new experience point levels. In this mode, users create lines with special Golden Minos, which turn into coins when they’re used in complete lines.

Tetris Blitz: 2016 Edition is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

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5 Steps to Recovering from Low Landing Page Conversions


Landing pages are intended to be simple and straightforward – a single page designed to get a specific audience to take an action.
Marketers use landing pages to get people to:

  • Make a product purchase
  • Opt-in to get a promotional product like an ebook or report
  • Request more information or a consult
  • Urge an audience to subscribe

You’d think that creating a page for such simple tasks would be easy, especially when you consider the wealth of tools at our disposal for building out landing pages.

And, in fact, the act of producing landing pages is actually not complicated – at least, until you factor in the human component of your audience.

People, the ones you want to get to take a specific action, muck up the entire process and make landing pages much more difficult.

There’s no specific way to design or configure a landing page to ensure it’s going to perform a certain way or deliver favorable conversions.

All you have is your research and whatever knowledge you may have picked up about copy and landing page best practices, so you go on intuition.

You’re not alone in that. Over 60% of marketers optimize sites based on intuition alone.

Then the testing starts. And despite everything you feel you’ve done correctly, you go through what many others experience: lackluster conversion rates.

There are a lot of changes and tweaks you can make, but don’t approach your landing page like a master control panel where you start pulling levers and pushing buttons blindly.

There are 5 key areas where you can start making small challenges to positively influence your conversion rates.

1. Trust Signals

Simply put, if you don’t have trust, then you don’t have sales. You may have been funneling traffic to your landing pages as a result of lead nurturing, but chances are you’ve got some fresh landing page traffic made up of people who have no idea who you are.

Even if you’ve been nurturing your leads via email and building a relationship, you still need strong trust signals to boost the confidence of your audience and help tip them over into a conversion.

Social proof

Social proof tells your audience that you can be trusted because other people have trusted you and made an investment of time and/or money. If you’ve got the attention and business of these other people, then you must be credible to some degree.

Some of the most common ways of adding social proof to a landing page include highlighting social shares, number of purchases, subscriber counts, or social followers.

Supplier/manufacturer affiliation

If you partner with any brand, be it a major organization or an influencer, getting their name or logo on your landing page creates an affiliation in the mind of the audience.

The audience will perceive you as more trustworthy and credible because you’re working with X brand, which must mean that X brand trusts you.

You’ll see this a lot with brand mentions that include “As seen on” logo placements.

Third-party certifications

They may not seem like much, but certifications can put a lot of people at ease, especially if you’re asking them to give you money or personal information. Using third-party certifications such as the Better Business Bureau and VeriSign create a perception of authority around your landing page and brand.


Testimonials are another form of social proof, and are one of the strongest trust symbols. According to Nielsen, 83% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 66% trust consumer opinions posted online.

If you can, share the full details from customers, including their name and city if they’re comfortable with it. Because it’s easy to fake testimonials (and many online consumers know it) it pays to be as transparent as possible.

2. Fix Your Call to Action and Make it Obvious

Remember what I said above: your landing page has a single goal. The only way you’re going to get your audience to take action is if you make that goal 100% clear to the people landing on your page.

If you don’t have your call to action where it’s visible, above the fold, then it’s virtually impossible to direct people to take action.

The reason for this is because most people spend less than 15 seconds on any given web page, which means most won’t even bother scrolling. They’ll glance, their brain will decide whether you’re relevant or not, and they’ll bounce.

If you hide your call to action below the fold, bury it in clutter, or don’t make it stand out, then you’ll lose a considerable amount of conversions.

Eric Ries’ Lean Startup keeps the call to action above the fold and clearly visible.

Everything your audience needs to make a decision should be above the fold, but don’t necessarily try to put all of your content above the fold.

Likewise, it takes more than the placement of the call to action to make it effective. It also needs to be compelling.

Use power words

Avoid using corporate babble and industry jargon. Stick with practical language and power words that are proven to compel people to take action.

Use active language

Remember that your call to action is telling your audience to do something. Use verbs that inspire that action, such as “Join,” “Subscribe,” “Download,” etc.

Make it stand out

You want your call to action to stand out from everything else on the page, but you also want it to be consistent with the design and theme.

Tim Ferriss uses a great CTA design that clearly shows his audience where to begin.

I also want to point out the trust signals he uses on his landing page.

Use brevity

The best CTAs say the most in the fewest words, so limit them to around 90-150 characters. That’s about 5-7 words. If your call to action is too long, then you lose the hook, and if it’s too short, it may not clearly convey what step visitors should take (or why.)

Make it personal

Avoid using broad calls to action like “Start today.” Instead, personalize it to the user so it reads more like “Start your trial today.”

3. Remove the Ability to go Elsewhere

Clear navigation and links are great to use in your content marketing and on your website to help you expand on concepts and help the audience get to a destination, but they don’t belong on your landing page.

Your landing page is the destination.

You never want to give visitors the ability to click out of this endpoint in your funnel. Remove the navigation from your landing page, and avoid adding links to your content at all costs.

I also recommend adding in an exit pop-up that will appear based on user behavior, such as if the user moves their mouse toward the top of the browser. This pop-up should encourage them to stay and focus their attention on the main call to action.

4. Add Visual Engagement

If you’re getting great traffic but the conversions are low, try to incorporate visual elements as a way to improve engagement and keep the attention of your audience.

People who view video are almost 2x as likely to make a purchase, and, according to another study, the addition of video to a landing page can increase conversions by as much as 80%.

Even if you can’t create high-quality video content, you can still use relevant images to seal the deal with your audience. Include high-definition product photos, illustrations, or quality screenshots for digital services that show some behind-the-scenes product/service use.

Think like a shopper – people often want to pick up, look at, and handle a product before they purchase it. Visuals make the audience feel like they’re doing just that. This is why e-commerce sites rely on detailed and numerous product photos to help sell their goods.

5. Improve the Copy

Your copy consists of every written element on your page, especially the headlines. It should be compelling, free of errors, and written in a way that makes an emotional and psychological connection with your target audience.

It also needs to be presented in a way that’s easily scannable, with the most critical points standing out with formatting and design elements like bullets and callouts.

I can’t tell you what you should say – that’s going to be based entirely on your audience and what they need to hear, so that’s where your own research comes into play.

Test Everything You Do

Every change you make is going to have some kind of an impact on your conversions. Hopefully you’ll see a lift in conversions, but it’s possible for a change to cause them to drop.

That’s why testing is so important. There are two ways to test the work you’re doing.

A/B testing lets you pit two elements against each other so you can test one or two updates, such as a headline or call to action. Once you have a winner, you can test again or move on to another element.

Multivariate testing lets you evaluate a larger number of changes across your page at the same time, helping you find the best combination. It’s more complex to do, and many marketers prefer A/B testing over this method, but it can get you through testing a lot of changes more quickly.

If you’re getting low conversion rates, you don’t need to scrub it and start over. Make small, strategic changes to your copy and calls to action, and monitor your performance using the recommendations above. With the right approach, you should begin seeing substantial lifts in your conversion rates.

What kind of changes tend to bring you the best results with your landing pages? Share your success with me in the comments.

About the Author: Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, their Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Facebook Audience Network Block List Added to Business Manager


Brands and agencies using Facebook’s Business Manager now have the option of blocking their ads from running on specific applications or websites.

The social network said in its advertiser help center that the feature is rolling out gradually and may not be available to all Business Manager users yet, adding:

A block list lets you prevent your ads from running on specific sites or apps when you extend your Facebook ad campaigns to the Audience Network. You can select a block list when you choose the Audience Network placement during campaign creation.

Learn more about how to upload a block list.

Advertisers: What do you think of the new block list feature?

Thank you to Abs Elmaz of Social House Media and Chris Ruberg of OneCommand for the tips and the screenshots.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Facebook News Feed: Friends and Family First, Core Values


Friends and family come first in Facebook’s News Feed, as the social network detailed the latest tweak to its algorithm and detailed the values that guide that algorithm.

Engineering director Lars Backstrom announced the algorithm update in a Newsroom post, saying that posts from friends will be ranked higher in News Feed than posts from pages. He wrote:

Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to—starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why today, we’re announcing an upcoming change to News Feed ranking to help make sure you don’t miss stories from your friends.

We’ve heard from our community that people are still worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about. For people with many connections, this is particularly important, as there are a lot of stories for them to see each day. So we are updating News Feed over the coming weeks so that the things posted by the friends you care about are higher up in your News Feed.

As for the change’s impact on pages, Backstrom wrote:

Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some pages. The specific impact on your page’s distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through page posts. We encourage pages to post things that their audiences are likely to share with their friends.

In a separate Newsroom post, vice president of product management for News Feed Adam Mosseri explained the core values that help guide adjustments to the News Feed algorithm.

Mosseri stressed that friends and family remain the top priority, and he added that News Feed should inform and entertain, not favor specific sources or ideas and remain authentic and customizable by its users.

Highlights from Mosseri’s post follow:

People expect the stories in their feed to be meaningful to them—and we have learned over time that people value stories that they consider informative. Something that one person finds informative or interesting may be different from what another person finds informative or interesting—this could be a post about a current event, a story about your favorite celebrity, a piece of local news or a recipe. We’re always working to better understand what is interesting and informative to you personally, so those stories appear higher up in your feed.

We’ve also found that people enjoy their feeds as a source of entertainment. For some people, that’s following a celebrity or athlete; for others it’s watching Live videos and sharing funny photos with their friends. We work hard to try to understand and predict what posts on Facebook you find entertaining to make sure you don’t miss out on those.

We don’t favor specific kinds of sources—or ideas. Our aim is to deliver the types of stories we’ve gotten feedback that an individual person most wants to see. We do this not only because we believe it’s the right thing but also because it’s good for our business. When people see content they are interested in, they are more likely to spend time on News Feed and enjoy their experience.

It’s important to note that while we welcome a multitude of viewpoints, we also believe strongly that people should feel—and be—safe when they use Facebook, and we therefore have community standards that define the behavior that we think is out-of-bounds on the platform. We think it’s possible to be inclusive without making Facebook a place where people are subjected to attacks, hate or other harmful behavior.

The strength of our community depends on authentic communication. The feedback we’ve gotten tells us that authentic stories are the ones that resonate most. That’s why we work hard to understand what type of stories and posts people consider genuine so we can show more of them in News Feed. And we work to understand what kinds of stories people find misleading, sensational and spammy to make sure people see those less.

Ultimately, you know what’s most meaningful to you—and that’s why we’ve developed controls so you can customize what you see. Features such as “unfollow,” “hide” and “see first” help you design your own experience, and when you use them, we take your actions as feedback to help us better understand what content is most important to you. For example, if you hide a story from someone, that signals that you’re less interested in hearing from that person in the future. As News Feed evolves, we’ll continue building easy-to-use and powerful tools to give you the most personalized experience.

We view our work as only 1 percent finished — and are dedicated to improving along the way. As we look for ways to get better, we will continue soliciting feedback. We will be as open as we can — providing explanations in News Feed FYI wherever possible and looking for opportunities to share how we work.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Facebook’s latest News Feed algorithm change?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Twitter Adds Director of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality


Twitter is turning to a former Apple designer to spearhead its push into virtual reality and augmented reality.

Will Mason of UploadVR reported that Alessandro Sabatelli has joined Twitter as director of VR and AR, and Sabatelli said in his LinkedIn profile that his goal is to “empower us all in the spatial computing revolution.”

While at Apple, Sabatelli helped create the iTunes music visualizer and worked on the user interfaces for iOS, iOS X and Watch OS, Mason reported, adding that after Apple, he had been working on VR and AR with IXOMOXI, which was acquired by Twitter.

Twitter acquired machine learning company Magic Pony Technology earlier this month.

Readers: What do you think Twitter has in store in terms of VR and AR?

Photo courtesy of Alessandro Sabatelli Twitter account.

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LinkedIn Display Ads Now Available Via Programmatic Buying


LinkedIn announced Tuesday that its display ads are now available via programmatic buying, through both open and private auctions.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions head of products Russell Glass said in a blog post that the professional network launched programmatic buying to give advertisers more flexibility, adding that LinkedIn supports the majority of demand-side platforms and agency trading desks.

Glass told Marty Swant of SocialTimes parent Adweek:

We don’t want to reinvent the wheel. We want to build table stakes capabilities into our platform in a way that highlights our differences, but is kind of what marketers have come to expect.

He wrote in the blog post:

You have the option to purchase our display ads programmatically either through an open auction or via LinkedIn private auctions. Both give you the flexibility and control to reach your target audiences on LinkedIn. If you’re already buying programmatically, open auction is the fastest way to buy LinkedIn display ads programmatically. For advertisers looking for additional targeting capabilities, the private auction is a great option.

When using your own first- or third-party data like website visitors and CRM (customer relationship management) contacts, our private auction offers the ability to explicitly target as a placement. As another benefit, our private auction purchasing option allows advertisers to target select LinkedIn audience segments (e.g., target “IT decision makers”) if you don’t want to use your own first- or third-party data.

Readers: What are your thoughts on LinkedIn’s launch of programmatic buying for its display ads?

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Glu Mobile Launches Gordon Ramsay Dash on Mobile


Glu Mobile launched Gordon Ramsay Dash, its latest celebrity-themed mobile game. The time-management cooking game offers gameplay similar to that of Glu’s Cooking Dash 2016, as players will prepare and serve dishes to guests in each level.

In Gordon Ramsay Dash, players will progress through multiple seasons of a reality cooking show while being mentored by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. The game includes multiple themed restaurants, such as a burger joint and a pizza parlor. Each restaurant includes different recipes to create, with the levels in each restaurant becoming more complicated over time thanks to the addition of new recipes.

For instance, players will begin by serving things like basic burgers and turkey sandwiches in the burger joint, but this selection will expand over time to include dishes such as french fries, chili, blooming onions and more.

Each level is timed, and players will earn money as they serve guests. Users must collect the required amount of money in each stage before time runs out in order to move on to the next level. If users need help completing stages, they can craft special recipes in between levels, which each come with an associated power-up. For instance, one power may allow players to walk around restaurants faster. Each power-up lasts for a single level after they’re activated.

In addition, as players complete actions during each level, they’ll charge Gordon Ramsay’s special power bar at the bottom of the screen. When this bar is full, users can tap on Ramsay to instantly serve every guest currently waiting for a meal.

As users complete stages and earn money, they can spend this money on upgrades for their restaurants and ingredients. Restaurant upgrades may decrease prep or cooking timers, or may increase each customer’s patience so they’ll wait longer for food before they become angry and leave. Meanwhile, ingredient upgrades will make dishes worth more money when they’re served.

Some upgrades may require premium currency to purchase. Users can earn free premium currency by completing in-game achievements or by completing some stages with the maximum number of stars (the number of stars players earn on each stage is determined by the amount of money they’ve collected). Users may also be able to earn free premium currency by watching video ads.

Finally, players can compete against other users in Chef Duels to win prizes.

Niccolo de Masi, chairman and CEO of Glu Mobile, told SocialTimes:

Gordon Ramsay is a remarkably accomplished figure in both the culinary world and the entertainment industry. Having opened critically acclaimed restaurants worldwide while starring in several highly rated TV programs, we couldn’t be more excited that our partnership adds mobile gaming to his impressive business portfolio.

Gordon Ramsay Dash offers players the unique, high-stakes experience of building a restaurant empire while being mentored by chef Gordon Ramsay. I am confident that Gordon’s global and highly engaged fan base, coupled with Glu’s leadership in the time-management genre, is a recipe for success!

Gordon Ramsay Dash is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

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The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living


If you’re a writer, you might have heard this most of your life:

People don’t make a living writing. You should find something practical to do with your life.

Smart, capable writers grimly pass around war stories on Facebook. Penny-a-word assignments, clients who don’t pay, disdain for our craft, and disrespect for our profession.

And yet, look around at this digital world so many of us spend our lives in — it’s made of words. The technology to produce digital content exists because we create words worth sharing.

Text, video, audio — it all needs great writing if it’s going to be worth spending our time on.

If writing is your profession and your passion, you can accept crap assignments for crap money and crap treatment.

Or, you can choose something better. Because there is something better.

In the time I’ve been writing professionally, I’ve noticed some necessary traits, abilities, and strengths that make the difference between life as a well-paid writer and life as someone who likes to write but can’t seem to get paid for it.

Here are seven of the most important.

#1: Love

This might seem squishy, but if you’re meant to be a writer, you know what I mean.

There is no substitute for the love of writing. For the passion of getting the words right: the head-scratching and the pacing around the house and the endless drafts that aren’t quite right yet.

If you don’t love language and your topic and the act of putting words together, none of the rest of this really means anything.

I could have just as easily used Compulsion, Obsession, or Bullheadedness for this section. Whichever word you choose, it’s about refusing to settle for weak writing, because the words matter.

#2: An attitude of service

Writing for self-expression can be high art, pursued for the sake of your own experience of truth and beauty.

As soon as money changes hands, though, the audience — the reader, listener, or viewer — becomes the focus.

Professional writers work from an attitude of serving their audiences. Serving them with truthful, beautiful words, yes. But also with language that meets their needs, language that clarifies rather than prettifies.

Novelists, copywriters, and content marketers all live in service to our audiences. No matter how clever or perfectly poetic we may find a phrase, if it doesn’t serve the audience, it goes.

#3: Confidence

It’s always struck me as odd that many of the most capable writers are also some of the most insecure.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. Confidence comes from putting the work in to become a genuinely authoritative expert. It comes from research, craftsmanship, and seeing the difference you make to your audience.

Serious craftspeople are humble and proud at the same time.

The pride and confidence come from hours of deliberate practice — the kind of work that expands your abilities and challenges you to grow. The humility comes from the knowledge that a true pro is always improving, expanding, and refining.

#4: Training

Many writers imagine that if you have a good writing voice and a strong opinion about the serial comma, you’re qualified to work as a professional copywriter.

Not so fast.

Great copywriters and content marketers are fine wordsmiths, but they’re also strategists. They understand what types of content work to attract attention, to stand out amid the sea of content clutter, to motivate buying behavior, and to help the audience make the journey from interested bystander to loyal customer.

Solid content and copywriting strategy come from training (and practice). You can get a lot of that training right here at Copyblogger, of course.

And for writers who are serious about professionalism, we have a course designed to train you about the craft of professional content creation. (The “art” is up to your talent and abilities.)

#5: Discipline

You may be a brilliant wordsmith and master strategist, but if you don’t devote yourself to the butt-in-chair time needed to produce a significant quantity of work, you won’t get where you want to go.

To a great degree, discipline is a set of habits that can be cultivated. As a writer, you can string together rituals, create the right work environment, and adopt the behaviors of productive writers.

As a working writer, you also need to throw in a set of habits that will ensure that you meet your deadlines, keep clients updated, and invoice your clients promptly.

If you care enough, you’ll do it. The habits can be difficult to put into place, but fortunately, once they’re in place, they tend to keep you on the right track. (That’s the difference between habits and will power.)

#6: The willingness to become a marketer

There is some money in writing fiction. (For the lucky few, there’s a great deal of money. Emphasis on few.)

There’s also still a little bit of money in journalism and feature writing, especially if you have excellent contacts.

But for the most part, if you want to make a living as a writer, the fastest, most enjoyable way to do that is to write content for businesses that want to find more customers.

It’s interesting, lucrative, very much in demand, and it will get you researching and investigating as many different topics as you like.

You might think that this kind of writing is boring to do. Far from it. Creating really good content (as opposed to the mass of junk that makes up 95 percent of web copy) will call on your skills as a storyteller, investigator, wordsmith, and historian.

A well-qualified content marketer needs all the skills of a great feature or fiction writer — combined with solid marketing strategy.

You also, of course, need to get comfortable marketing yourself. This can be surprisingly tough even for writers who create superb marketing for their clients.

“Create a bunch of content and hope someone wants to do business with you” won’t work for your writing business any more than it will for your clients’. You need to apply the same strategies and frameworks to your own business that you do to theirs.

If this doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t let that worry you. It doesn’t come naturally to a lot of good writers. But it’s something that’s well within your ability to learn. And we have some resources that can help.

#7: Support

One of the tough things about living as a professional writer is that the path you walk is one you make yourself.

There’s no one to tell you which direction to go, no one to give you sign posts along the way, and no one to outline your day for you and tell you where you need to be and when.

That’s also one of the fantastic things about living as a professional writer. But sometimes Fantastic is also Difficult.

Writing is a lonely business. And it can be just a little lonelier when you don’t have colleagues to bounce questions off of or share your gripes and triumphs with.

When you do find a community of writers, though, it’s a lovely thing. They’re some of the most funny, smart, and quirky people you’ll ever meet. And it just feels good to hang out with people who get you.

(Because your friends and family actually do think you’re sort of a weirdo.)

Where to find professional writers and content marketers

If you need a talented, passionate, skilled writer with terrific knowledge of marketing strategy, our Copyblogger Certified Content Marketers are ready to help with your projects.

You can find a complete list of them here: Certified Content Marketers.

Or, are you a writer who wants to become a professional content marketer?

For you, we’d recommend participating in our Certified Content Marketer training program. It’s usually closed, but we’ll reopen it soon for a short time to invite a new group of students inside.

We’d love to see you there. Add your email below and we’ll let you know when we’re enrolling a new group of writers.

Find out when our Certified Content Marketer training program reopens:

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on August 30, 2014.

The post The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Pinterest Launches Shopping Bag, Buyable Pins for Desktop


Why go to the mall when you can just go on Pinterest? The social network Tuesday announced the launch of buyable pins on desktop, along with an all-platform shopping bag.

The new shopping bag is currently available via desktop and Android, with iOS to follow.

Pinterest also announced new partnerships for its Pinterest Shop.

Product manager Tim Weingarten provided more details in a blog post:

With your new shopping bag, you can throw in any buyable pin that catches your eye, whether you’re shopping on your Android or the web (iOS to come!). When you’re ready to check out, everything you’ve added to your bag will be right there waiting for you.

We’ve partnered with 20,000 merchants—big and small—to bring over 10 million unique products to Pinterest.

Our in-house and guest editors collect the very best of those pins in the Pinterest Shop. Stop by every day to shop the latest fashion and home trends—like Nate Berkus’ ideas for summer entertaining.

We’re also rolling out a new way to search within a pin to find products. Just tap the visual search icon at the top of any pin and explore the dots to see similar pins.

If you’re looking for something from a brand you love, head over to their profile and tap the new filtering options to find popular products, sale items and shipping deals.

Your new shopping bag lets you add items from as many different merchants as you’d like and check out whenever you’re ready.

On Pinterest, you only have to enter your checkout info once. The next time you shop, you’ll be just two taps away from placing your order.

We’ll be rolling out these new updates in the coming weeks.

Readers: What are your thoughts on these new shopping features from Pinterest?

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Twitter Dashboard App Launches for Businesses


Twitter Tuesday announced the launch of Twitter Dashboard, an iOS and desktop application aimed at helping businesses on the social network better connect with users.

Product and engineering manager Noah Pepper said in a blog post that Twitter Dashboard was created to help businesses engage with their audiences, schedule tweets and receive tips on how to foster engagement.

Pepper wrote:

  • Easily engage with your audience: Create a custom feed to find out what’s being said about your business. (Chances are there’s more than the mentions you’d normally be notified about!) Use your custom feed to get right to the tweets you want to see first and better engage with your community. For example, if you work at a cafe, you may see a tweet from a customer who has a question about your hours. Or if you’re a boutique owner, you might see a tweet from a potential customer talking about one of your products. The ability to see these tweets at a glance offers endless opportunities for you to connect with customers and potential customers with responses that add value.
  • Tweet when the time is right: Now you can schedule tweets to reach your audience when they’re online and you’re busy doing other things. If you want to edit your scheduled tweets while you’re on the go, you can use the iOS Dashboard app to update your tweet queue.
  • Get tweet ideas and inspiration: Kick-start your creative process with tweet tips geared just for businesses. They can help you start conversations and engage your audience in those moments when you’re not sure what to tweet. For example, if you work at a restaurant, a tip like, “Your team is as unique as your business. Tweet a surprising fact about one of your team members,” might remind you to share some recent recognition your chef received. Or, if you’re an interior designer, seeing, “Share the love. Like and retweet kind words from your customers,” might prompt you to retweet a customer’s excited reaction to one of your recent projects.

Readers: What are your initial impressions of Twitter Dashboard?

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Plarium, Skydance Partner for Terminator Genisys Mobile Game


Mobile and web-based game developer Plarium partnered with Skydance to create a mobile game based on Terminator Genisys, the latest film in the Terminator franchise, released in 2015. The “clan-based MMO strategy game” will feature content inspired by the film.

Plarium said players will begin the game as the machines “begin to wake up,” but these machines won’t have central command to control their actions. Each user will choose to become a Resistance Commander or the leader of a Skynet Command Node in the war between man and machines.

In a statement, Jesse Sisgold, chief operating officer at Skydance Media, commented:

Mobile games have incredible potential to expand the universe of characters and experiences we have created for a movie and provide audiences and fans with a brand-new perspective on our content. Plarium has had great success in creating state-of-the-art MMO titles and we look forward to working with them to bring our Terminator franchise to mobile devices in highly engaging new ways.

Plarium’s Terminator Genisys mobile game is expected to launch on iOS and Android in early 2017.

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Facebook Announces New, Improved Share and Save Options, Social Plugins


Sharing is caring, and Facebook Tuesday introduced several improved ways for developers of applications and websites to enable their users to share (and save) to the social network.

Facebook announced in a blog post that it released Save to Facebook and Share to Facebook buttons for Google Chrome; redesigned its social plugin buttons (like, share, send, follow, recommend, save); and will offer publishers the ability to add like, comment and share buttons to the bottom of Instant Articles “in the coming weeks.”

The new Chrome buttons are available to developers via the Chrome Web Store. The Save to Facebook button enables users to save web content to a private bookmark on Facebook and view that content later, while the Share to Facebook button enables them to share content to the social network, groups and Messenger while they are outside of Facebook.

Software engineer Yue Cai wrote in the blog post:

We want to help people connect with each other through sharing the things that matter to them. Share to Facebook will give people more options to share any link on the web with their friends to Facebook, groups and Messenger.

Today, more than 300 million people use the save on Facebook feature every month. We launched the save button at F8 this year to give people the ability to also save things they discover around the rest of the web and receive notification reminders to visit their save list. People can access the things they save any time, on any device in a private, dedicated bookmark on Facebook. The Save to Facebook Chrome extension offers another easy way for people to save articles, videos, products and other interesting items while browsing the web.

Facebook said in an email to SocialTimes that its social plugin buttons were redesigned with an eye toward color consistency, a flat design and including the content’s like and share counts within the button, and Cai added in the blog post:

The like and share buttons both use the Facebook “f” logo today. Our hypothesis was that more people would understand the thumbs-up icon on the like button, so we conducted qualitative and quantitative tests to measure them side-by-side. The results revealed an increase in engagement, so we are switching the like button from the Facebook “f” logo to the thumbs-up icon.

Additionally, new versions of all our social plugin buttons are now available with the following improvements:

Finally, when the like, comment and share buttons are made available for Instant Articles, interactions with those buttons will be included in that content’s aggregate like and share counts, and Facebook users’ comments will be mirrored between Instant Articles and websites if the comments plugin is enabled.

Readers: What do you think of the improved sharing and saving tools introduced by Facebook Tuesday?

ShareToFacebookChromeExtension from SocialTimes on Vimeo.

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