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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Spotlight INBOUND 2014: Best Practices for Building an Inbound Marketing Team

Mike Volpe, CMO at HubSpot shared some great ideas for creating an internal team of inbound marketers.  Below are some keys to hiring inbound marketers based on Mike’s presentation and my own industry experience.  

  1. Smart - Make sure the individuals you hire are intelligent.  Smart people figure things out.
  2. GSD Principle - You want people who can “Get Stuff Done”.  It’s not just about being smart. The people you hire also need to be able execute tasks.  I usually refer to this as does the person have an MBA - “Mop Bucket Attitude” a phrase my friend Troy Vlahos and I coined when we worked at Fresh Fields (now Whole Foods Market) to identify the employees who were willing to do anything needed, including mop the floor or clean up.
  3. DARC - Inbound marketers should exhibit as many of the “Digital, Analytical, Reach, Content” qualities as possible > Digital Citizens - Look to hire individuals who speak the digital language.  It’s important to hire “Digitals” whether they be a “Digital Native” or a “Digital Immigrant”.  Think about this in terms of a foreign language. If you’ve ever known anyone to learn a foreign language at a young age and witness how they can become fluent with ease, you’ll get this concept.  Being a Digital Native is not about age - it’s about the ease in which the individual gets digital ... do they understand digital intuitively. > Analytical - In the role of Inbound Marketer, an individual should be more analytical than the average person in their role elsewhere. > Reach - Good Inbound Marketers provide evidence that they have gravitational attraction - they have done something that attracted people to them or their work before.  I count my son, Bijan Peters, in this category, especially after his study abroad adventures in Europe with Virginia Tech.   > Content Creators - Find people who create content naturally - you don not want content to be a struggle.  Look for people who have the power to persuade.

Note that every person you hire doesn’t need to be strong in all four areas of DARC.  If you find individuals who are strong in two or three of the areas they may be a great fit for your organization.  You may find an individual who has not had the opportunity to create Reach but if they are Digital, Analytical and have great Content skills you can be sure the with the right direction they’ll achieve Reach.

Growing a Content Marketing / Inbound Marketing team can take time so it is important to network and keep your eyes out for top talent and always be recruiting. The Agency Post has a section dedicated to Talent & Recruitment which can be a great source for internal corporate teams or full service agencies.

Download HubSpot's eBook "Hiring in the DARC Ages", to assist you with selecting employees that will help make your organization successful. Click the image below to grab your copy today!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Age of the Webinar and Content Marketing

As a web solutions company, Fig Leaf Software’s mission is to help our clients communicate over the web.  We do this in many ways.  One way we help is with webinars.  Specifically, we help our clients use Adobe Connect to deliver engaging webinars.  Most of the time, companies are using webinars for marketing purposes, which makes a lot of sense because webinars are easy to produce and reach a large audience—and if you are a marketer to control the message. Fig Leaf Software is also a consulting company that provides Web Content Strategy, Management and Digital Marketing services, aka: Content Marketing.

How do Webinars and Content Marketing relate?  Well, glad you asked.  But first let’s define Webinars and Content Marketing:

  • A Webinar is a live, online informational presentation during which participants can ask questions and submit comments.
  • Content Marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers.

A Content Marketing Strategy Varies

A Content Marketing Strategy will include a number of different tactics, like email announcements, newsletters, white papers, website content and, of course, webinars.  This content marketing mix, also referred to as the Content Marketing Funnel, guides potential users down an “ideal” path to purchase by providing valuable information.

The key to effective content marketing is valuable, relevant content. That is, content that speaks to the intended audience.  Marketers will devise a Content Marketing strategy that is unique to whatever they are selling and who they are selling to.  With the rise of social media and all the various forms of communication, sky’s the limit on how marketers choose to disseminate this valuable content.  Metrics, statistics, reports and gut feelings also play a role in how and where marketers focus their content.

Whatever the strategy, the goal in any Content Marketing Strategy is to engage users.  This is where webinars relate to content marketing.

Top Ways to Use Webinars for Content Marketing:

Engage the audience: Webinars are ideal for engaging users.  During a live webinar, presenters can control the content and get instant feedback from participants. Using Adobe Connect, hosts can take it to a higher level by leveraging a variety of content, like PowerPoint, Video, interactive games and more.  At Fig Leaf Software, we highly suggest using polls during webinars to engage and learn more about your audience. Knowing your intended audience is also important to your overall Content Marketing Strategy.

Provide Value: Live webinars can provide tremendous value to participants.  The first question we ask a client when they are planning a webinar is WHY.  Why would a participant attend?  What are they going to learn or take away from the webinar?  We call this the Learning Goal.  A webinar must have a learning goal of some kind for the participants. (Marketers should also ask these questions when creating content too!)

Flexibility—Mix it up: As a tactic within an overall marketing strategy, a webinar can be introduced anywhere within the Marketing Mix or Content Funnell.  Some of our Adobe Connect clients use webinars at the beginning or top of the funnel--to introduce their company and solutions to prospective clients.  Alternatively, some marketers think a webinar should come after a client has consumed other forms of marketing content, (whitepapers, case studies, etc).

For savvy marketers, this ability to change, revise and hone when and where a webinar resides in the marketing mix is extremely valuable.  Our clients who use Adobe Connect have the flexibility and ease of use to mix-it-up and offer webinars in all stages of the marketing cycle.

Note: Adobe Connect users can also offer additional forms of content, (white papers, case studies,etc.), to participants during a live webinar.

Metrics and Reporting: For any content marketing strategy to be truly successful, there needs to be some level of metrics involved.  How do marketers know if their strategy is working or needs to be improved?  Is the content being consumed by the intended audience?  Which social media site should you focus on? These questions and more can be answered by incorporating webinars into the marketing funnel!  Our Adobe Connect clients know how many users register for webinars from Facebook, LinkedIn and other specific campaigns.  During a live webinar, Adobe Connect tracks the engagement level of each participant.  This type of reporting also helps marketers revise and improve their content marketing strategy.

Note: Adobe Connect clients can also easily record webinars and incorporate those recordings into their content marketing mix, and see reports on the number of views and hits.

Are Webinars are just for Sales and Marketing?

Nope!  Webinars are not just limited to sales and marketing.  Webinars can be used by anybody to broadcast to a wide audience.  At Fig Leaf Software, we also work with a lot of non-profit and associations that use Webinars to communicate with their members.  We work with government agencies that use webinars to communicate, engage and educate the public.  We have seen online conferences, consortiums, panel discussions, board meetings and much more delivered with Adobe Connect.

Webinars can also be used to provide value to both new and existing clients.  We have a number of clients who use Adobe Connect to on-board new customers and provide informational updates to existing clients.

In either case, the webinar is the communication medium that is providing some kind of information to someone who wants that information.  Users are engaged and immersed. Feedback and questions are asked and answered. Users are learning.  Is not this the whole idea behind Content Marketing?

Attend a webinar:


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Website Survey and a Chance to Win an iPad Mini!

In an effort to improve our website, we invite you to participate in a short survey. You will also have the opportunity to enter a raffle for an iPad Mini! Your input is very important to us and will be kept strictly confidential. 

The deadline for the survey is Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

For any questions about the survey or if you have trouble accessing the link, please email marketing@figleaf.com 

Complete the survey here: Fig Leaf Software Website Survey

We appreciate your input! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Update your Skillz with New Node.JS Courseware!

Fig Leaf Software is proud to announce that Steve Drucker just finished authoring our new 1-day Node.JS Fundamentals course – weighing in at 110 pages with 9 hands-on exercises! This class will get you up-to-speed quickly on creating Node apps using the Express framework, dynamically constructing html output with Jade templates, and interacting with popular databases (MySQL, MongoDB, and CouchDB). It also covers socket I/O, File system access, and other exciting topics!

Check out the course outline and register today at: http://training.figleaf.com/courses/nodejs100.cfm

For information about licensing this course or for a sample to evaluate, please contact Steve directly at sdrucker@figleaf.com!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Comparison of Google Search Appliance 7.2 and 7.0 Admin Consoles

The latest major version of Google Search Appliance software, GSA 7.2, was released on 12 February 2014, and introduced a ton of new features. One of those features was a significantly redesigned admin console, with restructured navigation menus. Prior to 7.2, the admin console hadn't changed in many years, so when I started working with 7.2 I had a bit of trouble remembering where to find specific menu items in the new admin console. I've heard GSA customers and students having the same problems finding things. In fact, one person I talked to actually backed out of a system upgrade because he couldn't find items in the new console! (The ability to back out of a system upgrade is itself a new 7.2 feature, by the way.)

So that's the motivation behind this blog post. Within the 7.2 release notes, there's actually a specific list that maps old menu item locations to new ones, but I thought that a little visual representation might help. This post will help you navigate from GSA 7.0 to GSA 7.2.

Basically, the new admin console has mostly the same functionality as the old one. There are a few completely new menu items, but pretty much everything in the old menu is also in the new one. So, this is largely a matter of mapping specific menu items into new menu categories in the new admin console.

GSA Admin Console home screens - 7.0 on the left, 7.2 on the right
GSA Admin Console home screens - 7.0 on the left, 7.2 on the right.
With a little bit of explanation, I think it's pretty easy to understand the new organization. On GSA 7.0, we have Crawl and IndexServing, and Status and ReportsCrawl and Index covers any setting that controls the acquisition and storage of content. Serving covers any setting that controls search interactions. Status and Reports contains Crawl Status, the list of everything in the index (Crawl Diagnostics), all logs, and anything that can generate reports or other output for you to examine.

On GSA 7.2, we now have Content SourcesIndexSearch and ReportsContent Sources only covers the acquisition of content. Index only covers the storage of that content. Search covers any setting that controls search interactions at serve time - this is slightly different from Serving on GSA 7.0, but most menu items that were under Serving are now under SearchReports only has a few items now: Serving Logs, Search Reports and Search Logs. Most of the items previously under Status and Reports have been moved to Content Sources (Crawl Status, Crawl Queue, some of Real-time Diagnostics), Index (Content Statistics, Export URLs, and Index Diagnostics - formerly known as Crawl Diagnostics), Search (the rest of Real-time Diagnostics) and even Administration (Event Log).

Mapping GSA 7.0 menu items to GSA 7.2 menus

In the following series of screenshots, GSA 7.0 menu items are mapped to the corresponding GSA 7.2 menu items. The items that don't have a match within the currently displayed menus are highlighted in yellow. These items do have a match under another menu. The items that don't have a match at all in the other version are highlighted in green. There's only one of these, and it's a new feature in GSA 7.2: Trusted Applications.

Many GSA 7.0 Crawl and Index menu items are found within Content Sources on GSA 7.2.

GSA 7.0 Crawl and Index - GSA 7.2 Content Sources
GSA 7.0 Crawl and Index - GSA 7.2 Content Sources
The remaining GSA 7.0 Crawl and Index menu items can all be found under the Index menu on GSA 7.2.

GSA 7.0 Crawl and Index - GSA 7.2 Index
GSA 7.0 Crawl and Index - GSA 7.2 Index
All of the GSA 7.0 Serving menu items are found in GSA 7.2 Search except for Alerts and OneBox Modules. Trusted Applications in 7.2, highlighted in green below, is a new feature.

GSA 7.0 Serving - GSA 7.2 Search
GSA 7.0 Serving - GSA 7.2 Search
OneBox Modules are now found under Content Sources in 7.2.

GSA 7.0 Serving - GSA 7.2 Content Sources
GSA 7.0 Serving - GSA 7.2 Content Sources
Alerts are now found under Index in 7.2.

GSA 7.0 Serving - GSA 7.2 Index
GSA 7.0 Serving - GSA 7.2 Index
The menu items in GSA 7.0 Status and Reports, as described above, have been distributed to several menus in 7.2. Crawl Status, some parts of Real-time Diagnostics, and Crawl Queue are now under Content Sources.

GSA 7.0 Status and Reports - GSA 7.2 Content Sources
GSA 7.0 Status and Reports - GSA 7.2 Content Sources
Crawl Diagnostics, Content Statistics and Export URLs are now under Index in 7.2. Crawl Diagnostics is now known as Index Diagnostics.

GSA 7.0 Status and Reports - GSA 7.2 Index
GSA 7.0 Status and Reports - GSA 7.2 Index
Search Status and the remainder of Real-time Diagnostics are now under Search in GSA 7.2.

GSA 7.0 Status and Reports - GSA 7.2 Search
System Status and Event Log are now under Administration in GSA 7.2.

GSA 7.0 Status and Reports - GSA 7.2 Administration
GSA 7.0 Status and Reports - GSA 7.2 Administration
Serving Logs, Search Reports and Search Logs are under Reports in GSA 7.2.

GSA 7.0 Status and Reports - GSA 7.2 Reports
GSA 7.0 Status and Reports - GSA 7.2 Reports
Connector Managers and Connectors no longer have their own menu. In GSA 7.2, they're under Content Sources.

GSA 7.0 Connector Administration - GSA 7.2 Content Sources
Likewise, the Social Connect menu in GSA 7.0 is gone. User Results and Expert Search are now both under Search in GSA 7.2.

GSA 7.0 Social Connect - GSA 7.2 Search
GSA 7.0 Social Connect - GSA 7.2 Search
The Cloud Connect menu in GSA 7.0 has also been removed, and the single entry for Google Apps has been moved to Content Sources in GSA 7.2.

GSA 7.0 Cloud Connect - GSA 7.2 Content Sources
GSA 7.0 Cloud Connect - GSA 7.2 Content Sources
The GSA Unification and GSA^n menus haven't changed significantly across versions, although the design of some of the menu screens has changed a little bit. Still, everything's in the same place for these menus.

The Reset Index menu under Administration in GSA 7.0 is now under Index in GSA 7.2.

GSA 7.0 Administration - GSA 7.2 Index
GSA 7.0 Administration - GSA 7.2 Index

Menu behavior

The menus in GSA 7.2 behave a little differently. They're stored on the client, so they can be displayed as you click on them without a server-side page refresh. Clicking on a menu to expand it doesn't select the first menu item as it did in GSA 7.0, either. For example, in GSA 7.0, when you clicked on Crawl and Index, it would immediately show you the Start URLs page. In GSA 7.2, clicking on Content Sources just expands the menu, and you have to explicitly click on Start and Block URLs to view that. If you haven't actually clicked on a menu item in a while, your session may have expired. You can continue clicking on menus after your session has expired, but once you click on a menu item you'll be prompted to log in.

Another minor difference is that some menus have nested menus. For example, in the screenshot below, Content Sources and its submenus are highlighted in blue. Clicking on these submenus simply expands or collapses them, and it's pretty easy to inadvertently collapse one of these by accident.

GSA 7.2 Content Sources and submenus
GSA 7.2 Content Sources and submenus

Start and Block URLs page

The Start URLs page on GSA 7.0 was pretty simple: three HTML textareas for you to fill in. By default, in GSA 7.2 the Start and Block URLs page is quite a bit more complicated, in an attempt to make it easier to use. Each line item in each of the three sections (Start URLs, Follow Patterns, Do Not Follow Patterns) is a separate entry, and clicking on it opens a textarea containing just that item. 

GSA 7.2 - editing a single Start URL
GSA 7.2 - editing a single Start URL
Each line also has an Actions button and a Trash button. The Actions button lets you use that URL directly in Crawler Access, Index Diagnostics or a recrawl request!

GSA 7.2 - Start URL Actions options
GSA 7.2 - Start URL Actions options
However, you might find it's a lot harder to just type or edit URLs and patterns in this interface. In that case, click the Batch Edit radio button at the top right and you get the 7.0-style interface back. You can switch back and forth any time.


While the two admin consoles are pretty similar, enough things have been moved around and changed that you might get confused! This quick tour is intended to prevent that confusion, but if you have any questions, please feel free to send them to google@figleaf.com and we'll be happy to respond!

[Note: cross-posted on Dave Watts' personal blog]

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