Watch this tiny robot do a backflip

first_imgRobots can go to Mars, but don’t ask them to jump. Our metal companions are clumsy and stiff. (Just watch them fall.) In a new study, scientists rectified this handicap by drawing inspiration from more than 20 animals, including fleas, mountain goats, and even humans, specifically parkour artists who basically perform improvised outdoor gymnastics. They drew most of their inspiration from a small nocturnal primate called a galago, or, more commonly, a bush baby. Bush babies have a unique adaptation called power modulation that allows them to quickly build up and store energy in their tendons then release it rapidly to launch off the ground in a leap 15 times more powerful than what their muscles could do alone. The robot the team designed is named Salto—a play on saltatorial locomotion, a fancy name for two-legged jumping movement, and the famous sled dog Balto, because the researchers hope agile bots like this can assist in search-and-rescue missions someday. Unlike the bush baby, the bot has a spring instead of tendons. It also has a tail that can move up and down to adjust its body midair, a trick borrowing from the leaping agama lizard. At 100 grams, Salto weighs as much as a regular-size Snickers bar, but it has a fully extended height of 26 centimeters. All the robot’s traits culminate in its signature trick: the wall jump. Just like a parkour artist, Salto leaps at a wall, reorients in midair, propels off the wall, and, finally, soars to new heights—sometimes ending in a backflip for added flair, the team reports today in Science Robotics. As cool as the wall jump is, though, the bot can’t quite best the jumping ability of the bush baby. Salto’s jumps are 22% less powerful than the cuddly creature’s. Even still, this is, quite literally, a giant leap for robot-kind.last_img read more


first_imgHe also knows that he may not get to bat at his preferred He also knows that he may not get to bat at his preferred opening position but he is not losing sleep over it. “I am not worried about that. I am just looking at preparing well for the series and trying to prepare myself in a way that I would be playing the first Test. Selection is up to the management. I am happy to be playing anywhere,” said the batsman, who made his forgettable debut in the middle order, only to come back and score a century at Sydney in the next Test match. Does he have any specific plans to tackle the serious pace of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and now the teams rising star Kagiso Rabada? “Their attack is pace heavy but I am not doing anything particular to be honest. I have just been working hard at the nets and in the gym. South Africa have bowlers who can clock good speeds. That will be there at the back of my mind. I will just stick to my gameplan and do what I do best,” he concluded. PTI BS KHS KHSlast_img read more

2018 World Cup: Russia’s Alexei Sorokin elected to FIFA Council

first_imgRussia, host of the 2018 World Cup, regained its place on the FIFA Council when Alexei Sorokin was elected as one of the decision-making panel’s European members on Wednesday.Sorokin, the chief executive of the organising committee for next year’s tournament, was elected by acclamation at an extraordinary UEFA Congress on Wednesday. He was the only candidate.Russia had been without a representative on the global governing body’s FIFA Council since May when Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was barred from standing for re-election.FIFA said that Mutko had failed an eligibility test by its review committee because his ministerial role contravened the organisation’s statutes over political neutrality.Mutko dismissed the decision at the time, saying FIFA had changed its criteria.last_img read more

Investing Tips for Newlyweds

first_imgOne of the biggest tests for investors — and, for savvy investors, one of the biggest opportunities — is how they behave when the market gets rocky. There are essentially two things every investor can do when the market suffers a… Full Story,There are a number of reasons why it might be tempting to cash out your hard-earned 401k savings before retirement. From hefty car or home repairs to emergency medical expenses, sometimes unexpected circumstances cause us to seek out extra cash…. Full Story,2018 was a roller coaster for the stock market. If you’re an investor, you were probably impacted more than once – for better or worse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), Nasdaq Composite, and S&P 500 each hit new all-time… Full Story,You’re bound to make a few rookie errors when trying out anything for the first time, whether it’s making homemade greek yogurt, growing heirloom tomatoes, or learning to drive. After all, learning is a process, and trial and error is… Full Story,It’s easy to think of investments as existing in a vacuum. You contribute money, wait a certain amount of time and watch your portfolio grow. Where that money goes – and how it grows – are questions most people would… Full Story,Out of the main pillars of financial wellness—earn, save, spend, invest, and protect—investing can oftentimes feel like the scary, unknown thing lurking in the closet. Being frugal, creating a spending plan, and buying insurance seem to operate within the warm,… Full Story,Getting ahead financially is a game of inches. It’s about finding every trick, tip, and loophole you can find to maximize the growth potential of your money. There’s no topic where the phrase “work smarter, not harder” is more relevant…. Full Story,When you make a mistake in daily life, you usually have the opportunity to immediately make things right. If you spill soda on the floor, you can mop it up. If you burn the chicken you’re roasting for dinner, you… Full Story,One of the precious, oh-so-sweet things you give up when you go freelance is an employer-sponsored 401(k)—along with any matching contributions. But on the flipside, freelancers have quite a few options when it comes to saving for a retirement nest… Full Story,As the VP of Investments at a fintech company, it’s my job to pay close attention to the ever-changing trends and progress within the world of money. Working at Fundrise also means I’m directly involved with the development of the… Full Storylast_img read more

Election Season Economics: What Does “The Economy” Mean to You?

first_imgMy birthday is on Halloween, so every year I get super excited. I plan what my costume will be, decide how I want to celebrate and text all my friends to let them know. Last year, I was finally able… Full Story,Technology has transformed the way we dine out in groups. Gone are the days when friends take turns treating each other to nights on the town. Now that apps make money accessible everywhere, tabs are paid down to the cent… Full Story,Occupation: Copywriter Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 29 Location: Indianapolis, IN Paycheck (BiWeekly): $2,100/mo after HSA and 401(k) removed Monthly Expenses: Rent: $462.50 Car lease: $300 Insurances: $85 All other expenses Utilities: $200/mo Pet supplies: $30/mo Phone: $50/mo Streaming services: $15/mo… Full Story,Occupation: Digital advertising Age: 30 Location: San Francisco Bay Area Income: $5,200 month net post 401K, health insurance / HSA, and taxes Total Debt: $0 Monthly Expenses: Rent and utilities: $1,800 Auto: $275 including car insurance Internet/mobile: $120 10:00 am:… Full Story,The holidays are time for family. Here are some fun ideas from our friends at Quotacy on how to make the most of this holiday season with your loved ones, with a bit of humor. ?   With the rise… Full Story,Occupation: Social Media Manager Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 26 Location: Indianapolis, IN Paycheck: $2,500/month after health/vision insurance deductions Monthly Expenses Rent: $700 Car Insurance: $65 Renters Insurance: $16 Utilities: $75 (Internet, Electric, Gas) Dental Insurance (not through work): $15 Hulu:… Full Story,On November 30th, The Financial Diet is kicking off their nationwide book tour for The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide To Getting Good With Money in New York.  Join us when the tour hits your city and don’t forget… Full Story,Occupation: Data Analyst Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 31 Location: Menlo Park, CA Paycheck (BiWeekly): $1,700 after auto-savings, 401k, ESPP purchase, renters & auto insurance and health care removed I have everything removed automatically as I have trouble with in-the-moment spending…. Full Story,Occupation: Account Services & Freelance Writer Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 39 Location: Longmont, CO Paycheck (3): $4,700/mo includes salary and three freelance clients (side hustles) Monthly Expenses Rent: $900 Car loan: $275 Credit card payment: $450 All other expenses… Full Story,If you’re still in college or a recent grad working with a limited budget, the idea of implementing a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming and very expensive. If you aren’t careful, you might find yourself shelling out lots of cash… Full Storylast_img read more

MintFamily with Beth Kobliner: Allowance, ‘Modern Family’ and My Family

first_imgDid you know Giving USA reported that in 2018, Americans donated over $410 billion dollars?! It’s around this time of year especiailly that giving back becomes top of mind for many. Whether it’s for a particular occasion or we’re looking… Full Story,Dressing up for Halloween is one of the best parts of the holiday, especially if you’re a creative person. But buying a Halloween costume can get expensive, with many costing more than $50 a pop. And unless you plan to… Full Story,Open enrollment season is here!   We’re expecting to receive a big packet from human resources with all the options and benefits that our employers’ offer. While I won’t say that this is an exciting thing, we are eager to go over… Full Story,What are some of the biggest lessons you received about money growing up? For me, a few things stand out. We didn’t get too many formal lectures about money, but from time to time, I’d get a lesson sprinkled in here… Full Story,As the year winds down, you may find your spending picks up. With holidays approaching, families may be preparing for trips to see their loved ones or they’re buying gifts. However, if you haven’t been saving beforehand, it can mean… Full Story,While Raleigh is not exactly super close to the beach (we used to have a tiny apartment right across the street from the Chesapeake Bay when we were first married), it’s pretty easy to hop in our car and have… Full Story,How much money are you planning on spending this year during the holidays? For the average American family, it’s a good chunk of change. During the 2017 holiday season, Bank of America found that of those surveyed, they spent on… Full Story,It’s amazing how things change when you have kids. Before kids, weekend getaways and trips were fairly easy. When we needed to take a break, I remember we could look at the calendar and twenty minutes later, have a few… Full Story,How much does your family spend on food? If you’re like most, food is one of your top three expenses (the other two being housing and transportation). While it’s an essential expense for sure, but when digging around those receipts,… Full Story,If you’re a parent, helping your kids avoid or minimize college debt is a goal you’d like to help them tackle. Right now the average price for a public four-year college is $25,290 in-state ($40,940 out of state) while a… Full Storylast_img read more

What to Expect When Refinancing

first_imgHow much do you pay for heating? Depending on where you live, it’s a good chunk of money during the wintertime. Even though we live in the South (in lovely Raleigh!), we’re not immune to getting some cold weather.   With winter coming… Full Story,Tips to help turn those homebuying dreams into reality. From outstanding credit card debt to massive student loans, financial difficulties are barring more and more millennials from becoming homeowners. While the vision of buying a first home may seem hopelessly… Full Story,When most people imagine buying a house, they think about how many bedrooms they need or what kind of porch they want. When they think about homebuying costs, they decide how much to put down and what their maximum home… Full Story,One of my favorite shows is Sex and the City. Those women lived glamorous lives I could only dream about. And, Carrie, a writer, was living my dream life as a famous writer in Manhattan. One of the storylines that… Full Story,Last year, my husband and I were packing up our Denver apartment to prepare for our move back to his home state of Indiana. We’d put an offer in on a house and had only given ourselves a couple of… Full Story,A few years ago Dave Munson and his family decided to move from their 5,600-square-feet, 8-bedroom house in the city of San Antonio, Texas, to a smaller, unique living situation: tents. Well, fancy, upscale tents that total 2,000 square feet… Full Story,It’s a well-known fact that your personal environment affects your mental health. If you live in a beautifully decorated home with plenty of plants and green space nearby, your risk for anxiety and depression is lower. If you spend your… Full Story,My husband and I were so excited to buy our house. We’d been renting since college and were eager to have our own place. Finally, no one could tell us how many dogs we could have or how many posters… Full Story,Last summer, I was forced to relocate out of my cozy, bungalow-style apartment in West L.A. Living in one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the U.S., I was resigned to the fact that, to enjoy my ideal setup… Full Story,When you buy a home, you’re making an investment in yourself and your future. You’re building  financial stability, equity, and experience. You have a place to call your own and you can customize the space just how you want. As… Full Storylast_img read more

Why May is the Perfect Month to Buy Your New Refrigerator

first_imgYour beautiful, food-bearing refrigerator, sad to say, will not last forever.They certainly last longer than, say, a light bulb, but expect to go fridge shopping every dozen years or so.Before that time comes, you’ll want to start saving up, so you don’t wake up one day to a warm fridge full of rapidly-rotting food, and no money to replace the thing.As with most things in life, there’s a best time to buy your refrigerator, and it turns out that might well be the month of May.Semi-scientific analysis (like the kind Beakman used to do, only with better hair) has shown that refrigerators, unlike pretty much every other appliance on the planet, regards May as its Happy New year.That’s the month when manufacturers will roll out the latest models, meaning the old ones need to go, and FAST.So you’re far more likely to get a nice, steep discount on last year’s perfectly good fridge models during the month of flowers than any other time of year.This might be surprising to you, since general knowledge states that most appliances are cheapest in September and October, when the latest models come out to play.Why Big Fridge decided to do it in May, we have no idea.Maybe they knew with the warmer months, we’d need something good and sturdy to store all those cold, refreshing drinks that’ll keep us going through the hot summer?Or maybe they just chose the month out of a hat and ran with it. You never know with those faceless industry leader types.OK, so you’ve committed to making a new refrigerator the perfect Mother’s Day gift.Here are some other money-saving tips to keep in mind, so as to drive that price down as far as possible:Go Shopping on a WeekdayAs anybody who’s braved claustrophobic parking lots on the weekends knows, that tends to be the time most people do their shopping.You, though, should be different.Pick a random Wednesday, use a personal day at work (or hack mightily into the phone and complain of the Plague, that works too), and hit the local appliance store.Prices may not be advertised as cheaper, but there’ll be much less rush, less competition to buy the best model on the sales floor, if you catch the right salesperson at the right time, you might just get yourself a bit of an “I like you” discount.Memorial Day Super SaleMemorial Day is a special time of year, when we celebrate our veterans by hitting the mall and drooling over anything with a 50% off tag attached to it.This goes for major appliances like refrigerators as well, especially since the sale already occurs in a month where the old models are on semi-liquidation.That one-two punch could net you hundreds, and possibly thousands of dollars in savings.The End of the MonthIf you can’t get away from your barbecue long enough to take advantage of a great Memorial Day sale, at least try to get to the store sometime at the end of May.That’s when appliance dealers will be at their most desperate, because those shiny new models are coming in just days from then, and the last thing they want is to write off the old stuff as a 100% loss.If they can get at least SOME money from you in exchange for them, that’s infinitely preferable than getting none.Time it just right, and you could be walking about with a $1500 fridge for under $500. Now that’s how you save.For those last two suggestions, by the idea, just hand Mom on IOU on her special day, and deliver the fridge later.She’ll understand, especially if you stick flowers in the crisper drawer.Mary Hiers is a personal finance writer who helps people earn more and spend less.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related Post navigationlast_img read more

Bailing Out Mom and Dad: A How-To

first_imgLoop in Your Sibling(s)If you have siblings, even if they’re not financially stable, it’s important to engage them in the conversation and let them know that mom and dad need financial help. While siblings may not be able to offer money, they may know of solutions and provide other meaningful resources such as their time. For example, they may be able to move in with your parents and substitute as a home health aide for a time frame to eliminate the added expense.If you can, as a family unity, pool together money to help your parents, all the better and less stressful for you. But a serious conversation must be had, one that doesn’t create misunderstandings between you and your brother or sister down the road. Does each sibling understand that the money is a gift (not a loan)? Is each sibling fine with how their parents will use their money?Discuss With your S.O.If married or in a serious relationship, discuss the implications that supporting your parents may have on your finances as a couple.How might this challenge your savings goals now and in the future? What if your significant other’s parents will need financial help down the road, too? Will there be enough money to go around? It may be helpful to start a savings account just for the chance that you’ll need to help out a parent (on either side) again down the road.For Repeat Requesters, Discuss Permanent SolutionsIf this isn’t the first time your parents have turned to your financial help – and you feel this could become a habit – have a conversation about expectations (yours and theirs) and rather than just give money the next time, talk about ways to end the cycle once and for all.Can you find ways to significantly pare down their expenses? Should they consider selling their home and live in a more affordable place? Would it be possible to have them live with you for a time period? If their debt is really dire and credit counseling hasn’t quite worked, perhaps it’s time to speak with a bankruptcy attorney.You may also want to can identify a necessary expense that you can affordably take over indefinitely for them -– like utilities or food costs -– to help lighten their financial load.  A friend of mine helped her mom pay her rent for a year until she was able to find a cheaper place to live with a roommate.  In a case like this, I suggest paying for these expenses directly, as opposed to just handing over cash or a check, to ensure that need is definitely met. And be sure to check in with your parents weekly to review their cash flow and be sure they’re committed to saving, too. You read that headline right.Sometimes parents ask their adult children for money, as they struggle with the financial stress of debt, a job loss or the rising cost of retirement living. A 2015 survey by TD Ameritrade found that one in five Millennials and Gen X’ers are supporting their parents.And for those with elderly parents, 76% of adult children say they are providing them with financial assistance, according to Pew Research.Even if we’re struggling with our own finances, it can feel impossible to refuse. Our parents likely sacrificed and provided for us in many ways, so, naturally, we can feel obligated to return the favor.That said, as adult children, the overarching guidelines to follow here aren’t dissimilar to when you may approach your parents for money. It’s important to show respect, ask questions and set forth clear expectations, especially if you feel this could turn into a sticky – or repeat – situation.And if money is tight for you, don’t hesitate to be honest about your financial limitations and suggest alternatives to giving cash.Here’s a closer look at how to help a struggling parent in financial need.Offer AdvocacyMore than money, what parents sometimes need is someone to help them find more affordable solutions and maybe even act on their behalf in dealing with creditors and their various financial accounts.With rapid advances in financial technology and so much information (and misinformation) to consume it can be jarring to master your finances alone – whether you’re trying to find a lower home insurance premium, refinance your mortgage or negotiate medical expenses.If it’s more money that they truly need, can you…Help them downsize and throw a big old yard sale or sell valuables they no longer need online?Walk them through websites offering passive income streams via the “sharing economy” (e.g. renting out their tools or an extra bedroom) or help them find local side gigs like running errands for neighbors?Update their resume and source specific hiring managers online that they can directly engage with, rather than blindly adding their resumeIf you consider yourself a savvy consumer (and I know you do) some ways to help them reduce expenses to shore up cash include:Calling lenders on their behalf to negotiate and refinance their debt.Helping them shop around for better insurance rates online.Reviewing their monthly expenses and identifying various money leaks they can plug. (Do they really need cable?)Serving as an advocate for them – which costs nothing more than time and thought and taking advantage of modern tools – could be life-changing for your parents.Suggest Third-Party HelpIf your parents’ finances are too complex, consider tapping professional help. As their advocate, suggest credit and debt counseling resources like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or Money Management International if they’re behind on paying bills and grappling debt (with what seems like no end in sight.)  The first meeting is free.For help understanding medical bills and even disputing health care costs, visit the Medical Billing Advocates of America.Lastly, the government offers subsidies and programs for those needing financial assistance. At, you and your parents can find and apply for a list of support programs related to housing, insurance, living assistance and more. Have a question for Farnoosh? You can submit your questions via Twitter @Farnoosh, Facebook or email at (please note “Mint Blog” in the subject line).Farnoosh Torabi is America’s leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, she’s become our favorite go-to money expert and friend.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Relatedcenter_img Post navigationlast_img read more

Credit Card Reviews: The Best Credit Cards for Restaurants

first_img Post navigation From the Mint team: Mint may be compensated if you click on the links to our issuer partners’ offers that appear in this article, including Chase. Our partners do not endorse, review or approve the content. Any links to Mint Partners were added after the creation of the posting.  Mint Partners had no influence on the creation, direction or focus of this article unless otherwise specifically stated. This article was updated on March 27, 2019.  Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedCredit Card Reviews: Best Travel Rewards Credit CardsApril 3, 2019In “Credit Info”Credit Card Reviews: Best Home Improvement Rewards Credit CardsMay 1, 2019In “Credit Info”Credit Card Top Picks: Based on Your Life StageMarch 14, 2019In “Credit Info” center_img If diving into a meal at a hot new restaurant is a highlight of your week, or you just frequent eat at restaurants of any kind, a credit card with bonus dining rewards may be perfect for you. While some cards offer rotating bonuses of up to 5% on restaurants and dining, other cards may give you even better value with everyday bonuses on restaurant purchases. Whether you value cash back or travel rewards, there is a great dining credit card out there for you. The next time you grab sushi, a burrito, a quick coffee on the run, or sink your teeth into a gourmet burger, you’ll want to swipe one of these top cards to get the best value back on every dollar you spend. Capital One Savor The best credit card for restaurants is the Savor card from Capital One. This cash back Mastercard offers an unlimited 4% cash back on the dining and entertainment categories. You’ll still earn 2% at the grocery store when you cook for yourself. The card offers a 1% reward everywhere else. The card is packed with valuable benefits for Millennials and other frequent diners. This includes no foreign transaction fee, exclusive access to Capital One events and ticket sales, and useful travel and purchase protections. New cardholders can start with a $300 cash back bonus after spending $3,000 on new purchases in the first 3 months after opening a new account. The card charges a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. But the bonus alone is enough to cover 6 years of annual fees, so that shouldn’t be a big turnoff when considering this top cashback credit card. American Express Gold The Gold Card from American Express got a refresh in 2018, and the new benefits and rewards program is competitive and lucrative. Cardholders earn an unlimited 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants worldwide, 4x points per dollar at US grocery stores up to $25,000 in annual purchases, 3x on flights booked directly through airlines or at Amex Travel, and 1x everywhere else. American Express cards are known for luxury features, and the Gold card doesn’t disappoint. Travel and purchase protections are standard with most American Express premium cards, this one included. It also offers up to $120 per year in statement credits when you shop at certain restaurants and food services, and a $100 fee credit on airline incidental charges. The card currently offers a big 35,000-point welcome offer after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. That’s enough for two round-trip domestic flights if you book well. This card charges a $250 annual fee (click here for rates & fees), but it’s easy to see how you can get more than that back in value from benefits and rewards.Chase Sapphire Reserve Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the top premium travel credit cards overall, and it works great for regular dining. It offers 3x points per dollar on restaurant and travel purchases worldwide and a heap of other massive benefits. However, it does carry a sizable $450 annual fee.This card has so many benefits it is hard to fit them in a short summary! They include an annual $300 travel credit each year that covers things like flights and hotels. It includes airport lounge access through a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. Cardholders get 1.5 cents per dollar redeeming for travel through Chase or can transfer to a long list of partners at a 1:1 point ratio to book awards directly. The card currently offers a 50,000-point signup bonus worth at least $750 toward free travel after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. If you love international travel and restaurants, this card is one of the best out there. Chase Sapphire Preferred If the $450 annual fee from the Chase Sapphire Reserve is too much to stomach, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is a great alternative. This premium card offers 2x points per dollar on travel and dining and charges a $95 annual fee. This card offers many purchase and travel protections, no foreign transaction fee, and 1.25 cents per dollar when redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal for travel. You can also transfer to the same list of 1:1 transfer partners as the Sapphire Reserve card offers, which includes United, Southwest, Marriott, and many other popular brands. The card currently offers a 60,000-point signup bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. That’s worth at least $750 when booking through Ultimate Rewards. But if you transfer to a travel partner like United or Southwest, that could easily net you two free round-trip domestic flights. Barclays Uber Visa This card does offer rewards for riding on Uber, but you get even bigger rewards at restaurants. Earn 4% back on restaurants, takeout, and bars including Uber Eats. Get 3% back on flights, hotels, and vacation home rentals. Earn 2% back on Uber, online shopping, and video and music streaming services. Cardholders earn 1% everywhere else. Depending on your shopping habits, those rewards can add up fast. While the benefits are not the strongest out there, the rewards are great for a card with no annual fee. Cardholders get a bonus $50 statement credit for online subscription services after spending $5,000 per year and up to $600 in cell phone damage protection if you pay for your bill with the card. New cardholders can earn a $100 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days after opening a new account. For dining cards with no annual fee, this one is the winner! Spend and pay off your cards with care Credit cards are a great way to earn rewards for purchases you already make, but use them with caution. Never spend on the card if you can’t afford to pay it off in full by the monthly due date. If you pay the card off in full each month, you can avoid interest costs completely! Also, don’t use credit card rewards as an excuse to overspend. Always stick to the budget you set up in Mint. Interest and overspending can easily cost more than the rewards you get from a card, so use it wisely to get the best results in your own personal finances. Make sure to use your rewards card for every possible purchase to maximize what you earn.  You might have a big pile of cash back or a free flight before you know it. last_img read more

MDB Climate Finance in 2016: The Good, the Bad and the Urgent

first_imgMultilateral development banks (MDBs) are key pistons in the climate finance engine, providing significant international financing for climate adaptation and mitigation and mobilizing private sector capital. Our analysis of the latest snapshot of MDB climate finance for 2016, issued this week, offered cause for celebration – and concern.Here’s a look at some of the main takeaways from the annual Joint Report on Multilateral Development Banks’ Climate Finance:The GoodClimate finance commitments from the six banks totaled $27.4 billion in 2016, compared with $25 billion the previous year, and the second-highest total since the annual reports were launched in 2011.Adaptation finance increased by 24 percent. This is noteworthy, given concerns that adaptation remains underfunded. The biggest increases in adaptation finance came from the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).On average, looking at the banks as a whole, climate finance grew by 9.3 percent, faster than the 7.6 percent growth in overall operations. This is good news, because the climate finance targets set by the MDBs are mostly expressed as the share of climate finance in overall operations. If the MDBs are to reach their targets, climate finance must consistently grow faster than their overall portfolios.The BadWhile climate finance grew faster than all finance on average, the picture was mixed from bank to bank. If this state of affairs persists, some institutions will badly miss their 2020 targets. There was a surprisingly large drop – nearly 38 percent – in the climate finance co-financing ratio, a measure of how much capital from other sources, including the private sector, each dollar of MDB financing pulls in. In 2016, on average, each MDB dollar of climate finance mobilized roughly $1.40 in co-finance, versus $2.20 in 2015. The report notes that the level of European Investment Bank co-financing was significantly higher in 2015 than in 2016 due to the cyclical nature of a number of large European Union structural program loans, but that doesn’t explain everything. At first we thought the rest could be related to the increase in adaptation finance, given that adaptation activities typically have lower co-financing ratios. But co-financing ratios did not suffer in one of the two banks responsible for the biggest increases in adaptation financing (IDB). This is worth closer scrutiny.Finally, we note that precious little MDB finance is flowing through equity and guarantees. Only 2 percent of climate finance went out in the form of guarantees and 3 percent as equity. This matters, because guarantees offer the banks a more efficient way to use their balance sheets to support climate projects, while equity offers a more powerful tool to limit transaction risk than lending does. If the banks are to do more with what they have, these equity and guarantee instruments have to be used more actively.See also: INSIDER: What Should President Macron’s Climate Summit Deliver on FinanceThe UrgentWhat’s not in the report is what needs to be done urgently. The MDBs have become good at reporting how much climate finance they provide. While this is useful, even more important is what they do with the rest of their portfolios; while in 2016 the MDBs provided $27 billion in climate finance, they provided $113 billion for everything else. Bank shareholders and stakeholders need to keep asking to what extent that $113 billion is also promoting the transition to a low-carbon, resilient future, and to what extent the MDBs’ entire portfolios are aligned with scenarios that will keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) over pre-industrial levels. We’ve started answering that question for some of the banks already and found that the majority of energy supply projects in our analysis are 2-degree aligned or could be aligned under the right conditions—but that’s a big if.The second urgent matter is ensuring that the MDBs have access to concessional (below market-rate) finance for climate activities. Concessional finance, when blended with the banks’ own market-rate financing, enables the institutions to support transformative transactions. Yet, concessional finance is hard to come by. As we’ve argued elsewhere, there are ways to boost the Clean Technology Fund’s concessional finance for mitigation without requiring new capital. And we strongly urge all MDBs to build strong partnerships with the Green Climate Fund, which will be the largest source of climate-dedicated concessional finance for the foreseeable future.The latest climate finance report suggests MDBs are innovating and working to keep climate finance flowing. But there’s still a long way to go, and the time to 2020 is short. Urgent action is needed to ensure that all the MDBs can meet their targets.Note: the second figure in this blogpost was updated on October 25, 2017 to reflect data that EIB provided directly to WRI.last_img read more

5 Things You Need to Know About the UN Emissions Gap Report

first_img4) Collectively, G20 countries are not yet on track to meet their climate commitments under the Paris Agreement.The report also zooms in on G20 member countries, most of which have pledged emissions-reduction targets for both 2020 and post-2020. These countries account for around three-quarters of global emissions, so their emissions trajectories drive global trends. Because several G20 members are also members of the EU, which makes a single emissions-reduction commitment, and because three G20 members did not make pledges for 2020, the report looks at a total of 13 2020 pledges and 16 post-2020 pledges.The report finds that seven countries are currently on track to achieve their 2020 pledges (Australia, Brazil, China, EU, India, Japan and Russia), two are not on track (Canada and Republic of Korea), and the remainder are subject to uncertainty (Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and the United States). However, because some countries are expected to over-deliver on their emissions-reduction pledges, collectively, the G20 is on track to achieve their 2020 commitments.For post-2020 pledges, the report finds that six countries are on track (Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia and Turkey), eight are not on track (Argentina, Australia, Canada, EU, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and United States), and two are uncertain (Indonesia and Mexico). G20 members would need to reduce emissions by an additional 2.5 GtCO2e by 2030 to achieve their collective target. (This takes into account only those pledges that are not conditional on financial support or other international actions.)5) Countries must step up implementation and strengthen their NDCs.Countries must increase their ambition immediately to close the emissions gap. The report outlines a few ways they can do this. For one, they can strengthen or add emissions-reduction targets, as well as sectoral targets such as those related to renewable energy. They can commit to implementing their NDCs in line with achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The report also notes the potential to make existing policies more stringent (for example, those related to renewable energy and industrial energy efficiency), and to explore promising policies that haven’t yet been widely adopted (for example, carbon pricing and reducing fossil fuel subsidies).Closing the Emissions GapCalls for enhanced climate action are getting louder and louder with every release of the Emissions Gap Report. This report—which comes on the heels of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1.5°C report and the U.S. National Climate Assessment—should be received with even greater urgency.The UN climate conference in Poland next week (COP24) offers the most immediate opportunity for countries to step up their ambition and strengthen their NDCs. With a narrowing window to peak emissions and a growing emissions gap, now is the time to put scientific findings into action. Each year, the UN’s Emissions Gap Report takes stock of where global greenhouse gas emissions are headed versus where they need to be if we are to avoid the worst climate impacts. This is our “emissions gap,” and it’s contributing to many of the escalating heat waves, droughts and extreme storms we’re seeing in communities around the world. Scientists and modelers have come together once again to measure the size of the emissions gap and explore what can be done about it.Here are five takeaways from this year’s report:1) The emissions gap is larger than previously estimated.To estimate the emissions gap, scientists first collect the latest information on countries’ climate commitments (known as nationally determined contributions, or NDCs) and their projected emissions pathway. They then compare this pathway with the latest models on limiting warming to 1.5°C-2°C (2.7°F-3.6°F), the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals and the limit scientists say is necessary for preventing some of the worst climate impacts.The emissions gap is large. While the NDCs will limit total global emissions in 2030 to 53-56 gigatonnes (GtCO2e), keeping warming below 2˚C requires reducing them to 40 GtCO2e on average. And to limit warming to 1.5˚C, we’d need to reduce them to 24 GtCO2e. Notably, the emissions gap has grown compared to past reports. This is in part because the new report groups pathways under three temperature scenarios (below 2˚C, below 1.8˚C and below 1.5˚C), resulting in different 2030 emissions ranges from the 2017 report. Also, the emissions gap is estimated to be larger than the previous report because there is more literature on emissions pathways consistent with the 1.5˚C and 2˚C goals. Some of the latest literature has been more cautious in relying upon large-scale carbon removal, and accordingly, greater emissions cuts are required to compensate.2) Emissions will not peak by 2030 even if countries fully implement their climate commitments.While global emissions from fossil fuels and industrial sources flatlined from 2014 to 2016, they increased again in 2017, reaching a record high of 54 GtCO2e.The latest science suggests that peaking emissions by 2020 is critical if we are to have a good chance of limiting warming to 1.5-2˚C. However, the report finds that even if countries honor their NDCs, emissions will continue to grow not only through 2020, but through 2030.The report for the first time documents trends in individual countries’ peaking of emissions based on WRI research. While there is an encouraging trend of countries peaking their emissions – growing from 19 countries in 1990 to 49 by 2010 and 57 by 2030– it is not enough to cause a global emissions peak in the next few years.3) Unless countries strengthen their 2030 climate commitments, we can’t limit warming to 1.5˚C, and it’s extremely unlikely we will limit warming below 2˚C.The report finds that if countries don’t strengthen their ambition and cut 2030 emissions beyond what the current NDCs require, exceeding 1.5˚C “can no longer be avoided.” And unless the emissions gap is closed by 2030, it is unlikely we will limit warming below 2˚C.To achieve the 1.5˚C target, emissions need to be slashed by more than half from today’s levels (from 54 GtCO2e in 2017 to 24 GtCO2e in 2030), or by 25 percent for 2˚C (to 40 GtCO2e in 2030).last_img read more

Peru’s Indigenous Communities Manage Their Forests. Others Should Follow Their Lead

first_imgPeruvian indigenous communities have shown themselves to be exceptional environmental and conservation leaders. Their leaders have worked for a decade to ensure a government commitment to conserve 54 million hectares of forest, as a part of the REDD+ program.REDD+ includes country efforts to: reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; foster conservation and sustainable management of forests; and enhance forest carbon stocks. This program, first negotiated over a decade ago, encourages richer countries to pay developing countries to limit deforestation and forest degradation.Across the Amazon, indigenous people protect 200 million hectares, or 490 million acres, of forest. These leaders are bringing to life the commitment to include community management of forests into their government’s Nationally Determined Contribution climate action plans. At the 2018 UN climate conference in Poland (known as COP24), Peruvian indigenous leaders of the Coordinated Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) shared their progress and called for increased support on the Amazon Indigenous REDD+ (RIA) initiative. They also encouraged other Amazonian countries to protect forests within and outside of indigenous territories from deforestation.RIA is a private-public partnership that is developing protocols using carbon financing to support Life Plans, indigenous development plans. Indigenous people from the Amazon region have used Life Plans for over 20 years to manage their forests sustainably. As such, RIA is closely aligned to indigenous values and offers carbon financing.Despite this progress, however, REDD+ annual funding of about $1 billion annually, is insufficient to address the challenges that participating countries face, including competing with corporations keen to acquire land for agriculture or other commercial purposes. At COP24, the indigenous leaders called for increased funding of the program.RIA Provides a Template to Mobilize Indigenous Communities to Help Conserve ForestsStarted by a multi-ethnic coalition in 2010, RIA combines carbon accounting and indigenous agroforestry techniques with a focus on securing collective land rights.Through RIA, over 400,000 hectares (nearly a million acres) in the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve in the Peruvian state of Madre de Dios have been protected by the Amarakaeri community. This program was implemented in partnership with national and local governments as a part of Peru’s NDC.“By working together with the government on the project, we opened a dialogue that has led to us co-administering the territory on equal footing with the government. The Amarakaeri governing structure is now a regional government within Peru,” Fermín Chimatani Tayori, president of Peru’s National Association of Communal Reserve Leaders, told Ecosystem Marketplace.Peru’s successful inclusion of community forest management should encourage other countries and governments to employ similar approaches in their own NDCs.Indigenous Action Helps Countries Achieve their NDCsProtecting forests on indigenous lands stores carbon, sequesters carbon dioxide, protects 80 percent of global biodiversity, and provides other ecosystem services. The average annual deforestation rates in tenure-secure indigenous forestlands in Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia from 2000-2012 were two to three times lower than similar land that wasn’t managed by indigenous people. Community-based conservation is also a key factor in achieving land-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Indigenous and other rural communities inhabit more than 50 percent of the world’s land. Globally, national laws recognize only 10 percent of land as belonging to communities, with another 8 percent designated for their use. By failing to protect these ancestral land rights, governments are missing out on a low-cost, high-reward public policy investment.If governments were to secure their country’s indigenous and community land, they could accelerate progress on many SDGs and help limit Earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F).Secure Land Tenure to Ensure Development and Protect ForestsAs seen in Peru, communities with formal land rights are incentivized to protect areas from deforestation. These lands are essential to the well-being of indigenous people and other communities.Securing land rights for communities isn’t just equitable and fair; it’s necessary for development that benefits all people and the planet. Secure indigenous and community land also helps ensure governments actualize on their international climate commitments.To learn more about how securing land rights can help countries achieve the SDGs, read a recent WRI Commentary or report.last_img read more

How Social Media Is Impacting Search With Rand Fishkin [@InboundNow #22]

first_imgRand Fishkin Google Local Business Center social media and inbound marketing Podcast to learn about what predicts success on Twitter. Tell me about some of the toughest SEO experiences you’ve had and some of the easiest ones. , co-author of “One of my favorite things that people say is ‘I really want to get links from all these bloggers. How do I get links from all these bloggers?’ Here’s a great way. Email the bloggers, and The whole concept is simple. If you like a webpage, click the +1 button. Then Google will learn what you do and don’t like and show you better results and what your friends +1’d. No is the good answer here. No one can. Only Google controls the rankings. . They need to get their business address registered.” How to go about guest blogging Tips for hiring an SEO consultant/agency Local is a big area of investment. Businesses should be trying to get local citations ( go-to guy in the SEO industry. “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” by SEOmoz “The Panda update should be very good for authentic, small business marketers.” Earning links, the right way Make sure to ask the consultant/agency typical questions, like: , Facebook Answers, , and Formspring Leveraging User-Generated Content With YOUmoz Can you guarantee rankings and results? The Google +1 Button was released a couple of weeks ago. Grab a copy of Hubspot’s 9 Step On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide You can follow Rand on Twitter @randfishand connect with him at SEOmozand on his personal blog. Also check out his book, How Social Media Is Impacting Search “If lots of people start seeing those, lots of people are opting into that, we’re going to see just a ton more search rankings influenced by what our friends are sharing and saying.” Connect With Rand Online Watch the content that you produce. Great content is more than taking a long time to write something and thinking it’s good. Go find out — from your users, from bloggers in your industry, from people on Twitter, etc. — what they want and need, and how they want to consume it. Leveraging user-generated content with YOUmoz Google +1 Button “I actually think Google desperately needs this. Right now they’re relying on data from Facebook and Twitter. Those two networks could close off access to their information to Google.” , and More on it can be found here How social media is impacting search YOUmoz Where to start with link building Being connected to other people and networks has an impact on your search results. For example, if you’re logged into Google (and you’ve somehow connected your account with Twitter, Facebook, etc. — or even if you’re just logged into Facebook while you’re logged into Google) and you do a Google search, you’ll actually see results in terms of your network and who shared what. These results move up in the rankings. This is the latent social influence. While clicking “like” shows you’re sharing good stuff with your friends, there’s really no takeaway. With the Google +1 Button the takeaway is better, more useful search results. with SEO Best Practices & Link building strategies with Rand Fishkin .” , , You can do video mark-up through a video XML sitemap, so you don’t have to host the video. If you’re embedding YouTube videos on a web page, you can send a video XML sitemap to Google that tells them you’ve created this content and added a video. Then, if Google wants to, they can annotate the listing to show a piece of the video (a little image next to the listing). Click-through rates and time spent on the site goes way up. View the full transcript here: What Google did with the Panda update was take all the “content farm” sites out there and push down their rankings, which should expose more content from small, authentic business and other websites. Subscribe to Inbound Now, Click Here LinkedIn Answers “Local is absolutely huge. Every business that is locally focused that can drive most of their customers from local referrals needs to sign up for the Originally published May 26, 2011 12:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Social media is impacting search in two ways: direct impact and latent social influence. Facebook and Twitter both sell data to Google and Bing, and that data is then included in search algorithms. They use the number of times something has been shared on Facebook, who tweeted something, how many times something was tweeted, etc. to calculate content authority (How important is this article that was tweeted a ton of times?) and author authority (How important is this person who tweeted it?). This is the direct impact. is a good tool to use) and see where other people go. The Art of SEO The Art of SEO If you’re contributing online content and you’re authentic and doing well, you’ll be fine. You’ll run into issues if your site is filled with an overwhelming amount of advertising that is blocking the text, and if the writing reads like keyword-stuffed garbage. “You can do either/or, or both. But I think the thing about liking a page on Facebook is it does nothing for me.” Secondly, get on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and, at least, claim your name and participate a little bit. Check out SEOmoz Video is huge right now. Guest Blogging When you approach a blogger about doing a guest post, the way and attitude in which you approach them matters. A guest post isn’t article spinning or article marketing — it’s a unique piece written for one blog. Earning Links Quora Google’s SEO Starter Guide What you really need to know about the Panda update When just starting out, begin with the low-hanging fruit. The future of where SEO is heading Google +1 Button vs. Facebook “Likes” ! Rand is CEO and co-founder of Google is taking all the data they’ve received about what people find frustrating in sites like the “content farms,” and the sites people like (like blogs, small business websites, LinkedIn, etc.), and using it in their algorithm. Dan Zarrella Where to Start With Link Building ChaCha Connect with people on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Keep tabs on your keywords on those sites, and reply with a helpful comment. “It’s the difference between ‘I am going to go find an article spinning software and then do article spinning out on 500 sites’ and ‘I’m going to write a guest post for this great clothing blog in my industry that would really appreciate my writing style, and I’m going to get good enough, and I’m not going to spam anyone. But they’re really going to want to have me contributing.'” don’t ask them to please link to you It currently drives 10% of the site’s overall traffic and the YOUmoz feed is subscribed to by 5,000 people. Whitespark Local Citation Finder joins us for another exciting episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot’s . Tips for Hiring an SEO Consultant/Agency “I would say if you’re a tiny, local, small business all the way up to a medium-sized business, I would bias toward at least learning the basics yourself. It’s nearly impossible to judge how credible, accurate, high quality, and intelligent an SEO expert or a consultant or an agency is if you don’t have some underlying fundamental knowledge yourself.” And don’t forget to look beyond blogs when you’re earning links! There could be a store down the street with a website, and you could offer to put some high quality articles (with pictures from their store) on their site for them. Think of outside-the-box ways to earn those links. Getting bloggers to link to you Search Verticals Business-to-Business Companies Should Focus On “I think some of the easiest ways right now are social ways.” Yahoo! Answers “The Science of ReTweets” HubSpot webinar Who else have you worked with, and can I speak with them? Earn the trust, respect, and authority of people in your space and they will naturally want to share your business, product, service, message, etc. How do you measure your campaigns? Search verticals business-to-business companies should focus on Which methods do you consider white hat? Which methods do you consider black hat? Google +1 Button vs. Facebook “Likes” the Another place to start? In this episode, we chat about: Invest some time in learning the fundamentals before hiring a consultant or an agency. This will help you recognize when something isn’t right with who you hire. A good reference guide is is the way SEOmoz allows users to contribute content. People submit content and an editor reviews it. If an article gets a lot of good feedback and the community loves it, they’ll promote the article to the main blog. Then the post will be seen by 95,000 people who read the main blog every day. What You Really Need to Know About the Panda Update The Future of SEO . First and foremost, optimize your website to provide the best possible user experience. Instead, ask bloggers what really great resource they wish was created in their niche so they could share it with their audience. Then create whatever that is and, most likely, the bloggers will link to you and share it. Topics: “We’ve got to practice what we preach, right? If you’re telling people, ‘You should guest blog, and you should let people guest blog,’ we want to have that ability also.” . To Tell me about the strategy you designed for so-and-so. How did it work? How did it drive good content, good keywords, and good links? Why was it going to be successful for them? . While Bing will likely always have access to Facebook’s data because they own a piece of Facebook, Google is relying on data from Facebook and Twitter. The Google +1 Button is its own, Google-owned, social share data. Getting Bloggers to Link to You SEO and Social Media Leverage existing relationships. Offer to contribute testimonials for partners with a link back to your website. Give your customers easy ways to link back to you (e.g. website badges, social media buttons, etc). Follow the 3 steps below to grab your copy! Some businesses (interior design businesses, for example) do get some traffic from image searches. But the traffic is typically low quality. “Number one is, given this Panda update, I think they went a little light on what they can do from the user’s perspective. So make your website beautiful, make it usable, make it fast.” Answer relevant questions on Q&A sites like . Also check out Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

How Your Private School Can Get More Applicants With Inbound Marketing

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack The traditional forms of acquiring new applicants — direct mail, billboards, paid advertising, prints ads — are no longer working for many K-12 private schools. These methods are not measurable, very expensive, and the ROI is minimal — if not negative.Brendan Schneider, the director of admissions at Sewickley Academy (and a HubSpot all-star) put it perfectly, “It all came together that prospective families begin their search for schools at Google, and if you don’t show up on the first page, you might as well not exist.”Your potential applicants and their families are also doing much more of their research before they even reach out to your school, pushing inquiries down to the bottom of your marketing funnel. If your school isn’t providing educational content about your classes, references from other parents, and ways to communicate and engage with your admissions office before they’re ready to apply, another competitive school in your area that is will most likely acquire that applicant.But don’t worry. There’s recourse.Inbound Marketing and Your SchoolUsing inbound marketing at your private school is about creating content that is going to be found by your target parents and/or students on Google and in social media. This content lives on your school’s blog and website, and is targeted at solving the problems and answering the questions your target audiences — or personas — are searching for online.For example, if you’re a private school in the Cambridge area, you should be building up your content around the keyword phrases like “private schools in Cambridge.” Many schools are writing content that is brand focused, constantly talking about information that is only relevant to those that already know about the school. Those that don’t know about your school, but are looking for prospective private schools in their area, are searching for more general terms.Now, I can talk all day about how you can use inbound marketing to increase your inquiries and applicants, but why not talk about a private school that is doing it already?What You Can Learn From Sewickley Academy and Brendan SchneiderSewickley Academy adopted inbound marketing back in 2008 after the recession, when they started to see their inquiries decline month after month. They tried throwing more money at traditional marketing channels, including billboards and direct mail, which didn’t increase any of their “interest indicators” — inquiries, applicants and on-site visits — and also left a big hole in their pockets.Brendan was frustrated and started reading, a lot. He came across the inbound marketing book, and had his marketing “ah-ha” moment. He realized his school needed to stop talking about Sewickley, and start talking in general about private schools in the Pittsburgh area through online channels.And that’s exactly what he did.Content StrategyBrendan focused his content strategy by developing personas for different families in the area. He found that there were different personas based on where the family lived in relation to the school, i.e. North, South, closer to Pittsburgh, and right in the school’s neighborhood.Then he came up with targeted keywords to create content around, primarily for their blog. They started writing blog posts that were helpful and provided solutions to a family’s problems and questions. The posts were roughly 300-600 words, focused on one topic that keyword research showed families cared about. Brendan also realized he’s writing for people and even if the keywords don’t fit, he makes sure his content educates and entertains the audience. He also always provided a call-to-action at the end of the posts.Using these tactics, the school continued to see success after six years of inbound marketing, reaching their almost-seven-year-high in inquires this year.Brendan’s best piece of advice for content: Make sure you are active with your community online, answering questions and providing useful information they need before they apply.Paid Ads StrategySewickley took advantage of Google ads and Facebook ads. In the beginning, Brendan targeted keywords and phrases that he was writing about so they could attract traffic while building up authority on the topics with organic blog content.The key to Sewickley’s paid ads success is that instead of dropping visitors on their homepage and letting them fend for themselves, Brendan tailored their ads to specific content and dropped the visitors on landing pages that were directly related to the ads.On Facebook, Sewickley uses promoted and sponsored posts, avoiding the right sidebar of ads. In the ads, they promote their free content, including a simple top-of-the-funnel offer for “27 Questions to Help You Evaluate a School for Your Child.” This ad directs the visitor to a landing page where they download the piece of content and become a prospective applicant in Sewickley’s database. They also promote their events being held at the school, posting an engaging photo with the date and time of the event and using specific targeting to promote it locally.Social Media StrategySocial media really supports your content strategy and provides you with channels to promote it. It’s also serves as a retention tool, so you can easily engage with families and students.Brendan is the sole marketer at the school, so he has learned how to manage his social media effectively. His advice is to schedule time to check social media and only check it at that time, because you can spend all day on all the different channels.Brendan checks his social channels three times a day. In the morning, he schedules his posts for the day and responds to any messages, tweets, or comments he has. He then checks it during lunch, and then right before he leaves the office.His advice for social media is to treat every channel separately and differently. Not all content will work on all channels in the same format and length. For example, he uses Instagram — which has become more popular than Facebook for the teens since their parents are now saturating the channel — to share photos quickly. But tou have to understand which channels will work best for your school and manage what you can. Don’t try to be on every single channel; you won’t have enough time in your day and you’ll end up managing all the channels only somewhat effectively. Final Pieces of AdviceBased on Sewickley’s success with inbound marketing, the best first step for anyone looking to get started with inbound or increase their applicant pool is just to get the inbound marketing book and start reading.If you’re already getting started with inbound or would like to start soon, get ready to start measuring everything you do. This includes what you’re currently doing — like direct mail or other more traditional marketing tactics. It’ll make it far easier to make the case for inbound investment with comparative metrics. For instance, Brendan did one final direct main campaign to 3,000 potential applicants for an event, which resulted in two people visiting the event page and zero people registering. Sewickley no longer does direct mail.Finally, follow a lean business model. Cut the marketing tactics that don’t have a positive return on investment, and invest small and iterate on what works. Originally published Feb 28, 2014 5:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Education Marketing Topics:last_img read more

7 Metrics Every Marketer Should Check Weekly (And How to Improve Them)

first_img Originally published Mar 7, 2014 9:00:00 AM, updated May 09 2018 How to Improve Your Blog ViewsMeasure blog post views to figure out which blog content is performing the best. Knowing what content naturally got the most views can help you decide what topics and types of posts to write next.Now use this information to plan out your next few weeks of content. What types of blog posts should you write? What might your audience like to read? By looking at this information week over week, you can make adjustments to your content schedule to improve your results.2. CTA Click-through RatesAfter someone reads your content, you want that person to take the next step and click on your CTA, ideally to direct the visitor to a landing page. The metric you should most closely measure for CTAs is your click-through rate, or the percentage of folks who clicked on the CTA. Using HubSpot’s CTA tool, you can track the performance of different CTAs and see which ones are performing best.  HubSpot Professional and Enterprise customers can even take it a step further and show a Smart CTA based on a reader’s lifecycle stage or membership to a list. HubSpot Enterprise customers have the option to A/B test their CTAs.Below is an example of what the CTA dashboard will look like. For a deeper dive into each metric on the dashboard, visit our help documentation.How to Improve Your CTA Click-through RatesFirst, take a look at what CTAs are performing the best today. Then, decide if there are higher conversion rates on certain types of CTAs, as well as what might cause that better performance. Is it the design of the CTA? The positioning? Is the content that the CTA is promoting more intriguing than others? For example, if you have high conversion rates on CTAs that lead to a worksheet and lower conversion rates on CTAs that lead to a blog post, that may mean your audience prefers worksheets over other forms of content. Don’t be afraid to experiment to figure out why certain CTAs perform better.3. Social Media ReachTracking the performance of your social media is important to understanding its ROI. To help, all HubSpot customers have access to Social Inbox, which offers many ways to both use and measure social.A social media goal that many companies have is increasing the size of their social network, or their total number of fans and followers. Why is a large social reach valuable? So when you publish your blog posts and content, you can reach a larger number of people who might read and share it. In HubSpot’s Social Inbox, track your social reach growth. See a bump? What did you do differently last week that might have helped you grow your network? Important to note, even though this report gives monthly data, you can still drill into individual weeks to see the progress you’re making.How to Improve Your Social ReachIf you see an increase in your progress from a particular week, think about what you did to attract more followers or fans around that time. Was there a marketing campaign going on? Did a hashtag you used start trending? What type of content did you publish on these channels?Once you figure out the secret ingredient to your improvement on social media, try to replicate it. Maybe it was just a fluke that you had an increase in your fans or followers, but maybe there is actually a science to it!It is important to check these stats on a weekly basis so the strategy and the content you posted on social media is fresh in your mind. After you decipher what caused your social improvement, use it to form next week’s social media plan.4. Email Click-through RatesWhen you do email marketing, the most important metric is not how many people opened your email, but how many people clicked through to whatever the email was promoting. That could be the number of people who clicked a link in your email or clicked on the CTA. This metric is known as your email click-through rate. In HubSpot, you can get all of that data through the HubSpot email tool.Bonus: If you are a HubSpot Enterprise customer, you can A/B test your emails too. The CTR of each email variation will help you determine what email elements are most successful. When using HubSpot, your two A/B test variations will go to two small segments of your entire list, say 15% to version A and 15% to version B. Once there is a clear winner, HubSpot will send the rest of your list that winning variation! Not too shabby.  As a marketer, tracking and analyzing data is an important part of the gig. But there are so many different metrics you can track. Where do you begin? (And better, how do you ultimately improve your metrics once you understand them?)After you know what you want to track, you should consider how often you plan to review your metrics. And guess what – not all metrics should be treated equally. In fact, there are some things that make more sense to track on a weekly basis versus once per month. Want to take your marketing strategy inbound? Check out this lesson.Why is it important to check some metrics weekly? Because it can help you pivot and adjust your marketing campaigns more quickly, potentially leading to a more successful month. In this post, we’re going to cover some of the most important metrics you should track weekly. In other words, you should develop a healthy habit of checking the following metrics consistently throughout the month. Then we’ll go over how to improve them, as well as how to prepare for the following week. 7 Metrics Every Marketer Should Check Weekly1. Blog Post ViewsTracking the number of views you get per blog post is great way to get quick feedback on your blog articles. You’re more likely to get a higher view count if you picked a topic your audience liked and wanted to share.Using HubSpot’s Page Performance, you can see how many views you got on each post, as well as your total view count. To do this, sort the columns within the tool by number of views, and pick a time frame like one month. Now you can see how your recent posts have performed against each other. Want an extra tip? You can also compare your recent posts’ view counts to your overall average by exporting Page Performance and running an average of all your posts in Excel.   Once you are in the Sources report, you can look at a select time period or your entire history on HubSpot. You can drill into “Organic Search” to see what keywords are driving traffic to your website. You can click into “Social Media” and see what channels are performing best. Read more about using Sources and the information you can gather with this report. For COS customers, you can use this report to see the performance of individual pages.How to Grow Your TrafficSources is the perfect report to figure out your strongest marketing channels. In the example above, organic traffic is the biggest driver of traffic to the site, but social media has the highest conversion rate. By digging into the specifics and adjusting the date range, you can really understand how the different channels perform.Look at the Sources report on a week to week basis. Figure out what channel is performing the best, and think about what you did that past week to contribute to its success. (Seeing a theme in this article?) If you only used certain channels in a week, you can highlight just those channels to display on the graph. For your next week, plan on replicating your success by either focusing on those channels that performed well or creating similar content that led to the traffic bump. 7. Monthly Goal ProgressEven though you should be looking at certain metrics on a weekly basis, you should always keep your eye on the prize: your end of month goals. The adjustments you make throughout the month by looking at your data on a weekly basis can really contribute to whether or not you reach your monthly goals.A great place for HubSpot customers to track monthly progress is on your Dashboard. Using the Dashboard, you’re able to set goals month over month and watch your progress each week. You’re even able to see how your current monthly progress versus the previous month.How to Get Ahead of Your Monthly GoalThere isn’t one single way to improve your Dashboard metrics besides tracking and iterating on some of the metrics we covered earlier in this post. Drill into the data in your HubSpot account to discover how you are performing against your goals and what you can do to improve going forward. As you can imagine, keeping yourself up-to-date on a weekly basis will help you stay on track. At the end of the day, your metrics help you be a more informed and nimble marketer. Make a commitment to always be tuned into your metrics, and your marketing will thank you for it. Want to print this post for future reference?Click to download a PDF version. What other metrics do you check on a weekly basis? Which metric could you never live without? Let us know in the comments!center_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack How to Improve Your Email Click-through RatesBy measuring your email marketing, you will get a sense of what your audience wants to read by email. (Sometimes your content may perform well on email and not other channels, so it is worth experimenting.) Take a look at the performance of different emails and look closely at the ones that performed the best. Did you promote a particular piece of content? Did you use a certain tone? How clear were your calls-to-action? Based on what you discover, create similar emails that embody some of the tactics that made your emails successful in the past. To understand more about email CTR, visit this article from the HubSpot Marketing blog.5. Landing Page Conversion RatesArguably the most important metric for marketers to keep their eyes on is lead conversion, or the percentage of visitors who convert into contacts by filling out a form on a landing page. The conversion rates of your landing pages will then determine how many leads you are able to generate.Using HubSpot’s reporting tools, you can measure the success of individual landing pages. You can see how many people are visiting your landing pages, the conversion rate of those pages, and how well the leads generated from those pages become customers. These metrics will help you determine which content offers and landing pages to use when marketing through other channels. How to Improve Your Landing Page Conversion RatesTake a look at your landing page dashboard. Which pages have the highest conversion rates? Which pages have the most views? Look closely at your high-performing landing pages to see what made them successful. Was it the content piece on the page? Is the form optimized for your audience? Did you personalize the content on the page? Did you send the landing page to a particular segment? Identify what attributes made one landing page more successful than others, and then replicate it for future lead conversion success.6. Traffic SourcesThe Sources report is your best asset to figure out who’s coming to your website and how they found you. If you do anything, make a habit to check this report once week – at least! By using this Sources report, you’re able to understand what marketing campaigns have the highest ROI. This report displays data from eight different channels to give you a better understanding of where your traffic is coming from. For example, you could get traffic from any of the following sources: Organic Search: Visits from organic search results in search engines such as Google and YahooReferrals: Visits from inbound links on other websitesSocial Media: Visits from social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and moreEmail Marketing: Visits from emails you’ve sentPaid Search: Visits from paid search results from the search engines or other PPC providersDirect Traffic: Visits from people who type your website address directly into their browserOther Campaigns: Visits from people who came from a unique Tracking URLOffline Sources: Leads and sources for which there is no source setThe report takes it a step further to show you the number of visits, leads, and customers as a result of those channels, as well as each of their conversion rates.last_img read more

How Your Brain Processes Logos [Infographic]

first_img Slogans & Taglines Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 2K+Savecenter_img Take a second to sit back and think about your favorite brand.Perhaps it’s a consumables brand, like Ben & Jerry’s. Or maybe it’s a fitness brand, like Under Armour, or a car brand, like Mercedes or BMW.Now, think about that brand’s logo. When you’re out and about and you see that logo, how does it make you feel? Do you feel comforted, excited, motivated? Are the colors warm and fuzzy, sleek and sophisticated, colorful and energizing?How a brand’s logo makes you feel has an impact on the way we perceive brands and consume their products. A whole lot happens in the 400 milliseconds it takes for you to see a logo, process it, and react to it — and it all has to do with color, shape, meaning, prior experience with the brand, and so on.To help us understand what neuroscientists have discovered about how the human brain reacts to logos, Logomaker created this infographic from their research. Check it out and learn what scientists say about a logo’s affect on our thinking.2K+Save Originally published Oct 17, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

The Top Video Typography Trends of 2018 [Video]

first_img Originally published Mar 5, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated March 02 2018 This video was created by StudoBinder, and originally appeared in this article.  Topics: Video Marketing Don’t forget to share this post!last_img

Watch: Madhya Pradesh sports minister gets caught in traffic jam, helps clear it

first_imgMadhya Pradesh Sports Minister, Jitu Patwari, on Tuesday helped in managing the traffic after he got stuck in a jam.The Madhya Pradesh minister helped in clearing traffic in Indore late evening yesterday.Jitu Patwari stepped out of his vehicle and helped the police in managing the traffic.Reportedly, the traffic signal was not working which caused the traffic jam.In a video shared by ANI, the Madhya Pradesh Sports Minister can be seen instructing and guiding vehicles to clear the traffic.Eventually, the vehicles in the traffic jam started moving.Watch the video here:#WATCH: Madhya Pradesh Sports Minister, Jitu Patwari, helped in managing traffic after he got stuck in a traffic jam in Indore, yesterday. #MadhyaPradesh ANI (@ANI) September 10, 2019Also Read | Gurugram: Thousands stuck after light rains cause massive jam on Jaipur highwayAlso Watch | Heavy rains bring Mumbai, nearby areas to a standstilllast_img read more

Mike Gundy on the Kansas State Win: ‘The Crowd Was Tremendous’

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. The way Mike Gundy led his post-Kansas State press conference was pretty interesting. Coming off a game in which his defense and QB were unbelievable late, the head coach chose to praise out the Boone Pickens Stadium crowd first.“Great win for us,” said Gundy. “I was really proud of the way we rallied, came back and finished things off at the end there. The defense made a key stop. Our crowd was tremendous and so were the Paddle People.“From the start and all the way through, I thought our fans did a great job. Sometimes they didn’t do as well offensively with maintaining the play clock, and our fans definitely put them in a little funk. The crowd was tremendous.”Pretty cool stuff.AdChoices广告last_img read more