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Shuffle wants to be the TikTok for podcasts and help you find your next favorite listen

This may be of some interest.

Shuffle allows users to edit audio clips from podcasts, add visual elements, and share on social as a way to make your episodes stand out.

Podcast fans have long bemoaned the issue of discoverability on major platforms—and for good reason.

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11 Ad Design Tips to Help Your Brand Cut Through the Noise

This may be of some interest.

Before your copy can persuade an audience to buy your product, your design must persuade them to buy your copy. In advertising, your design catches your audience’s eye and points their attention to your copy. Then, it’s your copy’s job to hold your audience’s attention.

To help grab people’s attention in your advertisements, we’ve put together a list of seven ad tips, supported by examples, that’ll help give you ad design ideas to your brand cut through the noise. 

Advertisement Design Tips

Read on to learn how to craft creatively refreshing ads that will convert your audience into customers.

1. Stand out from the crowd.

In a world where countless brands fight for a limited amount of attention, the only way your advertisement can grab people’s attention is by being original.

As a marketer, though, it can be tempting to leap onto the latest trend that all your competitors have already pounced on. If everyone else is implementing the latest tip or trick, it must work, right? To captivate an audience, though, you must resist this urge.

Cliches repel attention. They sap your advertisement’s creativity and can’t activate the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for experiencing emotions. But how exactly do you create an original advertisement? Consider one of Estée Lauder’s print campaigns from the 1960s.

Back then, Estée Lauder’s main competitors like L’Oréal, Revlon, and Helena Rubinstein all ran vibrant, colorful ads in magazines. Every makeup ad was beautiful and rich. But even though they seemed eye-popping at first glance, audiences became accustomed to these types of ads — they all looked the same. They started blending in with each other.

Realizing that no one could differentiate between the brands running full-color makeup ads flooding magazines during that time period anymore, Estée Lauder did something so controversial it was deemed “radical”, “stupid”, and even “ugly”: they ran their ads in sepia.

Estée Lauder’s print advertising move received its fair share of criticism, but they’re ability to be original helped them immediately stand out from the crowd and rake in 25% more responses than their previous color print campaigns.

2. Focus on benefits and not just features.

A feature is an attribute or aspect of your business that distinguishes it from others in the space. Features are important for consumers as they compare providers and make purchasing decisions. However, in advertising, you are often marketing to a wide audience, many of whom may not be familiar with your organization or know they have need for your goods or services.

For this reason, advertising features can be ineffective and overly salesy. The benefits of a product, on the other hand, can be far more persuasive and impressionable to a wide audience.

Tide exhibits this idea well with their Superbowl commercial.

They could have demonstrated the features of their product by showing a dirty shirt becoming clean again.

Instead, they focus on the advantage: clean and crisp shirts.

They even use a bit of humor while calling out this approach as #NotaTideAd.

3. Use humor.

Speaking of humor, it is an effective tool in advertising because it evokes positive emotion.

The best thing advertising can do is make your solutions memorable. The second best thing it can do is associate that memory with positive emotions.

Zola uses this in their wedding website ad. Weddings are already associated with love and happy times, but Zola differentiates their approach by flipping the script on audience expectation with a silly situation.

Instead of imagining somber heartfelt “I dos,” the couple talks through logistics, which Zola can help with.

4. Convey one message — and one message only.

Eco-Drive ad that reads "A watch that never needs a battery" alongside an image of a watchImage Source

Sometimes, marketers think the more benefits and features they include in their ads, the higher their conversion rate will be. But trying to read a jumbled ad requires a lot of thought and energy, so cramming an ad with a bricks of copy doesn’t actually grab people’s attention. It repels it.

To immediately hook people and persuade them to read the rest of your ad, consider conveying one message per ad. Spotlighting your product or service’s main benefit or feature will make it easy for your audience to understand its value and increase the likelihood of doing business with you because they’ll leave your ad remembering only one message: your product’s or service’s main feature will benefit their lives somehow, someway.

For example, in Citizen’s ad for their Eco-Drive watch, they only use a single line of copy and a simple image to convey their product’s value to their audience — a watch that never needs a battery.

5. Make it visual.

When we were babies, we relied on vision to associate objects with behaviors, like a ball meaning play time. Vision was the only way to learn about the world.

That’s why you can understand visual information in 250 milliseconds and why your visual system activates over 50% of your brain. Visual storytelling is the best way for people to grasp concepts and data easily.

For instance, in LEGO’s ad, they only use two images, a simple lego creation and a shadow of a dinosaur, but you can instantly form a concrete understanding of its core idea — with Legos, you can create anything.

6. Know your market.

You can’t hope to capture your audience’s attention if you don’t know who they are.

Pop Fit is a leggings company that makes apparel for all sizes and body shapes. A good portion of their target audience is women who are rarely represented by models, particularly in the health and wellness space, and have difficulty finding athletic wear. For these women, an ad that shows people who look like them is a show stopper.

7. Leverage hyperbole.

Nikol Paper Towels Ad that shows dried grapes, implying it sucked the moisture out of them to turn them into raisins

Image Source

Exaggerating your product’s benefits, in a clever and obvious way, is one of the best methods for slipping some humor into your advertisement, which can capture your audience’s attention and trigger an emotional response from them.

For instance, Nikol’s paper towels obviously can’t turn grapes into raisins, but this ad highlights the product’s absorbent powers in such a clear and artful way, they didn’t need to write a single line of copy.

8. Show, don’t tell.

Showing your audience something is much more engaging and interesting than telling them it. Relying on implication to convey a message is mysterious, making it more fun for your audience to figure out.

For example, in Siemens’ creative ad, they show the benefits of their product by unexpectedly placing their washers and dryers in a library to show you that they’re so quiet, even a librarian wouldn’t need to shush them.

9. Swap connotations.

heinz ad that shows someone holding the ketchup bottle with an oven mittImage Source

In relation to food, the word “hot” has multiple meanings: having a high temperature and being spicy. Heinz brilliantly used the connotation of high temperature to highlight the spiciness of their ketchup, and their creative method of communicating the value of their product helped them instantly attract people’s attention.

10. Be authentic.

Planet Fitness is a brand that has long worked to make fitness less scary and more accessible to people, as evidenced by their “judgment-free zone” policies.

Part of that mission means encouraging people to be themselves. True to form, as many of their facilities open with new sanitizing procedures, they released this video ad announcing their policies. In it, Planet Fitness employees dance with inhibition. This fun and authentic ad supports who Planet Fitness is as a company.

11. Turn your ad into a game.

The brain is wired to predict things. It’s an evolutionary trait that allows us to anticipate what’s going to happen next and quickly react to it. That said, advertisements that are predictable only require a shred of thought to understand, so they’re too easy to grasp and, in turn, too boring to engage anyone.

With this in mind, if you can scrap predictability from your advertisements, you force your audience into a deeper level of thinking to digest your message, compelling them to pay more attention to it.

One of the best ways to ensnare your audience attention and get them to interact with your advertisement is by turning it into a game. By framing your advertisement like a game that can be beat, just like Mazda’s ad, above, your audience has the opportunity to earn an intellectual reward if they spend just the right amount of mental energy playing your brand’s game and grasping your advertisement’s message, which is something most people won’t ever pass up.

1. Canva

Canva is one of the premier free design platforms, available on both desktop and via a robust mobile app.

As an online ad maker, Canva provides a large library of pre-designed templates, 1 million stock images, and drag-and-drop design building. It can also integrate with HubSpot so that you can access Canva directly within the CMS.

2. DesignWizard

DesignWizard is another great option with integration capability. With pre-made templates across multiple sizes and dimensions, you’ll find attractive designs for any need — print and digital. Unlike other online ad makers, Design Wizard also offers free easy resizing so you can quickly create across multiple formats with less hassle.

3. Bannersnack

If you’re creating ads for PPC display campaigns, Bannersnack is a must. Since display ads come in so many shapes and sizes, Bannersnack allows you to create one ad and then generate several more based on the original design but with different dimensions, taking “resizing” features to another level. The only downside is that the free plan limits the number of designs you can create. However, the premium upgrade is reasonably priced.

4. Visme

Step up your social ads game by tapping into Visme’s library of templates for ads and posts for:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Linkedin

Pick from millions of free photos, icons, shapes, and animations to convey what your brand has to say.

5. Snappa

If you’ve ever struggled to remove a background from a brand photo in an expensive photo editor, you’ll be relieved to know that Snappa can do it in one click.

Add this capability to a library of templates, 3 million quality stock photos, 100,000 shapes, and over 200 fonts — you’re on your way to unhampered creativity.

6. Lucidpress

Lucidpress is one of the more versatile platforms on this list, with capabilities ranging from graphic ad design to asset management and direct mail. The free version does limit functionality and the number of designs, though, but Lucidpress’s design environment includes layouts for every type of print and digital use possible from social media ads to flyers and coupons.

7. BannerBoo

BannerBoo is unique in that you can make animated banner ads with their easy-to-use HTML5 ad builder. All ads are responsive, and you can choose from their library of animation effects and transitions. The free plan does contain a watermark, however.

With the inspiration from this list and tools that can help you create amazing ads, there’s nothing stopping you from creating an advertising plan that will help you drive brand awareness and generate revenue for your business.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Thank you for reading.

20+ apps and websites to help you live a more sustainable life

This may be of some interest.

20+ apps and websites to help you live a more sustainable life

So you want to live a cleaner, greener, more sustainable life? 

OK, let’s do this! 

NEXT STORY:

But suddenly giving up meat completely, or never buying single-use plastic again, is easier said than done. To make aspects of your life more sustainable, it’s best to start small and build on those changes until you’ve incorporated healthier habits (for the planet and yourself) into everyday choices. And it’s important to note that while you can lessen your personal impact, meaningful change will only come with widespread adoption by large companies.

You can embark on your sustainable journey in many different ways, and accessible, mostly free technology is there to help you do that. Here are some things you can do paired with apps (and a few websites) to jumpstart your greener lifestyle, no matter where you choose to start. Read more…

More about Social Good, Vegetarian, Apps And Software, Sustainability, and Carbon Offsets

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Creatively, a new job platform, launches to help designers and other creatives find work

This may be of some interest.

Creatively, a new job platform, launches to help designers and other creatives find work

For designers, illustrators, and photographers, LinkedIn just doesn’t cut it. That’s why Creatively was built. 

Co-founded by Stacey Bendet, the CEO and founder of fashion brand alice + olivia, the start-up, which launched Tuesday, bills itself as a job platform for creatives.

There are other sites that promise the same thing, including Dribbble and Behance. Many visual artists also depend on Instagram to showcase their work and make connections. But Creatively thinks it can stand out from the crowd.

Creatively, a new job platform, launches to help designers and other creatives find work

Image: Creatively

“If you’re a creative person or if you’ve ever hired a creative team, you know the truth is other professional networking sites don’t properly serve the community and don’t allow you to easily discover talent or see their work. Creatively solves that,” said Creatively CEO Greg Gittrich.  Read more…

More about Social Media, Job Search, Designers, Tech, and Consumer Tech

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Bad at phone calls? This simple tool can help

This may be of some interest.

In this era of self-isolation, business calls are a necessity. Here’s a template that can help.

The best way to build business relationships is to communicate in person. But that has become impossible in this era of self-isolation and remote work. So do the next best thing: schedule a phone call, rather than sending an email or text. Calls are far better ways for you to connect on an interpersonal level. That’s the good news.

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Do High DA Backlinks From Blog Comments Help Rankings?

This may be of some interest.

If you have ever left a comment on NeilPatel.com, you’ll notice that there is no URL field.

Why?

Well, a few years ago, blog commenting exploded. I was literally getting thousands of spam comments a day from people just leaving a comment for the purpose of link building instead of providing value to the community.

Sure, there are spam plugins like Akismet, but it doesn’t catch everything.

Now, most blog comments contain the nofollow attribute in which they tell Google not to follow the link or drive any “SEO value” to that URL.

But still, people still leave blog comments for the purpose of link building.

So, over the past 7 months, I’ve been running an interesting experiment to answer the age-old question…

Do backlinks from blog comments actually help rankings?

Experiment rules

First off, for this experiment, we used “domain score,” which is similar to domain authority.

If you want to know your domain score, the backlinks report in Ubersuggest will tell you what it is.

With this experiment, I sent out an email to a part of my list looking for participants and had 794 websites apply.

From there, I set the following criteria:

  1. English-only sites – It’s easier to rank on many of Google’s international search engines even without building links. I removed non-English speaking sites as I didn’t want to skew the results.
  2. Low-authority sites – I removed any website with a domain score greater than 20 and any site with more than 20 backlinks. The reason being is when a site has a lot of authority, they tend to rank easily for new keywords, even if they don’t build any new links.
  3. No subdomains – I didn’t want a WordPress.com site, a Blogspot site, or even a Tumblr site. Again, this would skew the results so I removed them.

After eliminating the sites that didn’t meet the above criteria, I was left with 314 sites.

Of those 314 sites, many dropped off because they didn’t complete the required work on their part (which was to write a blog post), so I was left with 183 sites at the end that participated.

How the experiment worked

Similar to my previous link building experiment and my on-page SEO experiment,  I had these websites write a 1,800 to 2,000-word blog post on whatever subject that was relevant to their site.

The websites had 2 weeks to publish their content and then after 30 days, I looked up their URL in Ubersuggest to see how many keywords each URL ranked for in the top 100 spots, top 50, spots, and top 10 spots.

As I have mentioned in the past, Ubersuggest has a big database of keywords. We are currently tracking 1,459,103,429 keywords.

Now, most of these keywords are barely searched but a decent amount of them get hundreds, if not thousands, of searches per month. A much smaller percentage of keywords generate hundreds of thousands or even millions of searches per month.

In other words, the majority of the keywords people are searching for are long-tail phrases.

We then spent a month building links and then waited another 3 months to see what happened to each site’s rankings.

But here’s the thing: We didn’t build the same type of links to all sites. Instead, we broke the 183 sites into 4 groups (roughly 46 sites per group).

Here were the groups:

  1. Control – we didn’t build any links to these sites, we just wanted to see what happened to their rankings over time with no focus on link building.
  2. Nofollow high domain score blog comment links – with this group, we built 10 links through blog comments. The links pointed to the newly written post and they were from blogs that had a domain score of 50 or higher and they all contained a nofollow attribute.
  3. Dofollow high domain score blog comment links – with this group, we built 5 links through blog comments. The links pointed to the new post and were dofollow from blogs with a domain score of 40 or higher. (I reduced the domain score criteria for this category and the link quantity as we struggled to find a large number of high authority blogs that pass link juice in the comment section.)
  4. Dofollow low domain score blog comment links – with this group, we built 10 links through blog comments. Each link pointed back to the article and it was from a blog that contains a domain score of at least 20 but no higher than 39. (I was able to build more links here as there are many more low domain score blogs than high domain score ones.)

Keep in mind with the link building for groups 2, 3 and 4,
there was no specific anchor text agenda. Because the links were built through
blog comments, it was too hard to control the anchor text as we didn’t want to
be spammy.

And each comment left on the blog contained at least 75
words as we wanted to ensure that each comment provided value and the core
purpose wasn’t just link building.

Alright, so let’s dive into the results.

Control group

Do you really need links to rank on Google? Well, the chart below says a lot…

As you can see over time, you will naturally grow your search rankings even if you don’t build any links.

Of course, if your content is amazing and you do on-page SEO, you’ll rank higher, but still not growing your link count doesn’t mean you will rank for anything out there… instead, you will still rank for long-tail terms that aren’t too competitive.

Nofollow high domain score blog comment links

Now the results from this group were interesting…

As you can see, the sites in this group had better results than the control group even though the links were nofollowed.

Keep in mind, though, that it could be many variables that caused this, such as the content quality may have been better.

Overall, the sites did perform better than the control group but not by a substantial amount.

Dofollow high domain score blog comment links

Google is sophisticated, they are able to know if a link is from user-generated content (such as blog comments), so I assumed even though the links where dofollow they still wouldn’t have much (if any) impact.

But, shockingly, sites in this group had the largest gains.

As you can see from the chart above, links from high authority sites, even if it is through user-generated content, help with rankings. They just have to be dofollow.

Dofollow low domain score blog comment links

With this last group, we were able to build more dofollow links because we focused on sites with lower authority.

And as you can see from the chart above, it did help with rankings more than building nofollow links but it didn’t help nearly as much as getting links from blogs with higher domain scores.

We built 10 links instead of 5, but the quantity didn’t help
as much as having high domain score links. This group increased their rankings
by 337% versus 828% that group 3 experienced even though they had half the
links.

Again, we still saw gains, just not as large as the previous group.

Conclusion

Who would have thought that building links through blog
comments still helps?

Now, if you are going to use this tactic, you’ll want to focus on blogs that have dofollow comments.

If you aren’t sure how to find them, you can perform a Google search for the following:

  • “title=”CommentLuv Enabled”” KEYPHRASE – this will showcase blogs that have CommentLuv enabled which means they pass link juice.
  • “dofollow blogs” – you find a lot of blog articles listing out blogs that have dofollow links. Some of them look like this but you will have to double-check each site as many are nofollow even though bloggers claim they are dofollow.
  • Followlist – this is a directory of blogs that have dofollow links.

When building links, focus on higher domain scores as it has a bigger impact on rankings.

In addition to that, you’ll only want to leave a comment if you can provide value. Don’t stress the anchor text, focus on the quality of your comment as you don’t want to be a spammer.

Posting spammy links will just cause your comment to be
removed.

Lastly, don’t just leave a valuable comment for the sake of generating a link. Make sure it is on relevant blogs as well. And if that means the blog doesn’t have as high of a domain score that’s fine because the data above shows that even low domain score links still help (just not as much).

So, have you thought about leaving more comments on other blogs? It’s a great way to get your brand out there, generate referral traffic, and boost your rankings.

The post Do High DA Backlinks From Blog Comments Help Rankings? appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.

I Need Your Help With Ubersuggest

This may be of some interest.

It’s been more than a year since I launched the “new”
Ubersuggest.

And over the last 12 months, I have made a lot of progress.

Just as a quick recap: Ubersuggest went from a basic keyword research tool to now containing backlink data, rank tracking, content ideas, site audit reports, and many more features.

If you haven’t played with Ubersuggest in the past few months, give it a try. Type in a URL or a keyword and click around.

The reason I am asking you to give it a try is that I need your help to determine what I should develop next so I can help you improve your traffic and rankings even more.

But before we get into that, let me first tell you what I am releasing in the next few months.

Upcoming features

So, let’s break it down by section as I am making a lot of
small changes that should not only improve the data, but also the usability of
the product.

Funny enough, there will be changes to every section of the
tool.

Keyword research

Over the next month, the keyword overview is going to change in which I will start to tell you demographic data. You’ll see what percentage of the searches are done by males or females as well as the average age range of a searcher.

You’ll also see what portion of the clicks for any given keyword go to SEO results, ads, or result in no clicks.

I am also going to break searches down by mobile versus
desktop.

More accurate data

Another big change that is happening, and this one won’t be
visual, is all of the data will become much more accurate.

From traffic estimations for a domain, to even keywords,
you’ll start seeing a more accurate database.

For example, when I look at all of the keywords
neilpatel.com ranks for, a lot of them are junk keywords that don’t drive much
traffic.

Sure, the report still provides value as a lot of the keywords are good and can provide good SEO insights, but with more accurate data it should make your job easier.

New backlinking data

Another feature that I am excited about is the new backlink charts.

I’m adding historical link data over time as well as a
snapshot of daily new and lost links.

In addition to that, you’ll start seeing more data on anchor text or link distribution.

Alerts

A huge problem with Ubersuggest is that you have to continually come back to get value. In the next month or so, you will start seeing email alerts that will tell you what’s happening with your site and what you should fix.

The overall purpose is for you to not have to come to
Ubersuggest to figure out what you need to fix.

Usability fixes

The biggest problem with Ubersuggest is people don’t know
what to do with the data or how to improve their rankings.

This will be fixed in the upcoming months.

From an education center and demos to tutorials and more, we are creating a guided path so you can see better gains in your search traffic.

Alright, so now that you know what I am working on, I now need your help to figure out what I should do next.

Where do you want me to take Ubersuggest?

I have a few options for you, but I am not sure what you
want me to do with the tool.

Sure, I know you want more free features and I will do that,
but what’s going to provide you with the biggest gains?

Here are some options…

  1. Automated SEO – would you like me to focus my efforts on automating your SEO? All you would have to do is add a javascript to your site like Google Analytics and it would automate 40 to 50% of your SEO tasks. It would even adjust your code for you automatically no matter what CMS you use. Again, it would ONLY automate 50% or so of your tasks, I can’t automate all 100%… yet.
  2. Ad management – do you want an easy to use ad management system? From Facebook and Google to even smaller sites like Quora, there are tons of ad opportunities. I could create an easy to use system that helps you find all of the ad opportunities and optimize/manage them for you in an automated way.
  3. Free email marketing – I know there are tools like Mailchimp that are great, but what if I made it so you can send an unlimited amount of emails to an unlimited number of contacts for free?
  4. Chrome extension – what if I took extensions out there from tools like Moz, Ahrefs, Keywords Everywhere, and SEMrush and combined the best features and made it free?
  5. Or do you have any better ideas? I am open to anything.

Conclusion

I can take Ubersuggest in many different directions. There isn’t really a right or wrong approach and, wherever I take it, I will make sure that the product is still really easy to use.

The question is, what do you want me to focus on first?

That’s all that matters in the grand scheme of things because I am building this for you.

So, if you can, leave a comment below letting me know where you want me to take Ubersuggest. It can be one of the options above, or if you have a better idea, I am open to that as well.

The post I Need Your Help With Ubersuggest appeared first on Neil Patel.

Thank you for reading.