3 Ways to Give Startup CTOs the Support They Need

Coding is an early stage startup CTO’s bread and butter. Young companies run lean, which means CTOs end up shouldering the duties of three different roles as their startups grow.
The chief architect position is most closely related to coding because it has the final say on the technical approach. As the engineering manager, a CTO builds a team and then ensures it develops the processes and structure needed to deploy healthy code. And as a startup’s technical executive and the “face of technology,” CTOs articulate the company’s vision to investors, customers, partners, and the press.
The complicating factor that makes these responsibilities even more challenging is the lack of support CTOs feel they have. Their work and interactions are often limited to other individuals within the company, which means they don’t benefit from the support, ecosystem, and resources leveraged by CEOs and other externally facing executives.
CTOs sometimes don’t know where — or how — to seek the guidance they need. Making that support more readily available can help nurture them and provide the structure necessary to simplify day-to-day processes and help companies scale to their fullest potential.
Knowing What You Don’t Know
In a rapidly scaling organization, cluelessness carries a hefty price tag. For inexperienced CTOs, the hardest part is even knowing what questions to ask. Without the right guidance, breakdowns are inevitable.
Novice CTOs might not think to ask whether they can hire more team members, only to find themselves lacking enough qualified coders to complete the next launch. When failures rest at the feet of overburdened, unguided CTOs, it’s natural to feel a little helpless.
Support and outside advisory resources go a long way toward grounding a CTO and keeping a startup upright and ready to roll with the punches. Because startups sometimes operate at breakneck speeds, leaders need to be able to forecast potential bumps in the road. These setbacks look dramatically different as a team grows or shrinks, but early stage CTOs who have the resources and support to handle a variety of situations can build a solid foundation for any young company.
Normalize Support for CTOs
If CTOs are less likely to stop and ask for directions due to personality or role expectations, then their organizations must provide them the support they need. These three strategies can help provide CTOs counsel when they need it most:
1. Bring experienced minds to the table. Early stage startups likely don’t have the experience or in-house resources to advise their CTOs. For CTOs who need high-level advice from industry veterans, roundtable discussions with more seasoned CTOs can be incredibly beneficial.
Venwise, for example, specializes in setting up roundtable discussions among startup executives and tech leaders. These candid peer conversations allow attendees to raise pressing concerns and exchange ideas on strategies they can implement in their day-to-day operations. CTOs who regularly attend these discussions better position themselves to solve problems, adjust strategies, and avoid feeling overwhelmed by the myriad issues they encounter as their companies grow.
2. Keep close tabs on the industry. CTOs will almost assuredly continue to be involved in coding and product development. But if they want to continue to build a team’s technological vision, they must stay updated on relevant industry trends.
CTOs should attend conventions, read up on current research, and act as a sponge for anything new and relevant. When something unfamiliar emerges, CTOs can then bring that information back to company leadership and focus education and resources on the subject. Keeping up with industry trends isn’t just about what a CTO knows — it’s about discovering what he or she doesn’t know and becoming familiar with the previously unknown.
3. Participate in executive coaching and management training. Studies show that more companies are turning to coaching services to help their executives develop self-awareness. CTOs should proactively enroll in coaching and training courses to help hone their abilities to manage people and oversee projects.
These services also help leaders continue to improve vital interpersonal skills such as listening and empathizing with staff members. Reboot specializes in leadership development and coaching, providing counsel to individuals, departments, and entire companies. Through team-building exercises, reviews, and boot camp activities, attendees learn coping and management skills that allow them to stay afloat during lean times.
The presence of such solutions shows that team dynamics become increasingly crucial as startups scale. CTOs who embrace coaching and training will further develop the skills they need to manage those evolving dynamics.
From coding to team-building and everything between, CTOs need support — especially in the early days of startup life. With the right resources, CTOs can help guide their companies through lean beginnings and toward sustained success.

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Top 5 Ways to Improve Declining Content Marketing ROI

Most marketers don’t take the ROI from content marketing seriously. They assume the content marketing ROI to be good. If you fall in the same category then you might be making a huge mistake. Successful marketers always measure the ROI from content marketing and also take appropriate steps to boost it.
Let’s understand what is content marketing ROI? how to calculate it? and learn some tips to boost the ROI percentage from content marketing.
What is Content Marketing ROI And How To Measure It?
The Content Marketing ROI measures the revenue gained from your content marketing efforts when compared to the actual spent.
Follow the below ways to find out your content marketing ROI:

Calculate the amount of money spent on producing each and every piece of content like articles, infographics, videos, images or even content editing.
Identify the amount of money spent on the promotion of articles like PPC Ads, SEO, Press Release, etc.
Add the money spent on any content marketing tools like Buzzsumo, Grammarly, Trello, etc.
Figure out the number of leads you are able to generate from your content pieces.
Calculate the actual ROI by subtracting the lead amount from the money spent and then dividing the result by the amount of money spent. The result should be multiplied by 100. You will get your ROI. For example, if the lead amount is $5000 and the money spent on content writing + promotion is $2000 then the difference comes to $3000. The result $3000 is divided by $2000. It equals to 1.5. The final result is multiplied by 100. It equals to 150%.

Top Ways To Boost Your Content Marketing ROI
Here are the top 5 ways to boost your content marketing ROI by leveraging the power of analytics and several other tools:
1- Keep Vanity Metrics Away and Focus on Real Metrics
In order to measure the content marketing ROI properly, you need to ignore vanity metrics like number of registered users, number of downloads or number of page views. These metrics do not necessarily help to measure the number of leads.

Instead, real metrics like the number of leads generated from every webpage, traffic generated on the site via specific high intent keywords and the total number of conversions happening on the site are metrics that directly impact your bottom line.
2- Improve The Quality of Traffic To Your Site
The quality of traffic is a great indicator that your website is getting hits from real users instead of bots. You can use the power of specialized analytics software like Finteza to measure the quality of traffic on your site and take appropriate steps to improve it.
Simply click on the Quality tab after logging into FInteza analytics and you will see a dashboard as shown in the below screenshot:

The green bar indicates pure traffic which includes live users, the yellow indicates traffic coming via proxy servers and VPN, red indicates traffic generated via spam IP addresses and grey indicates traffic coming from social networks/bots.
Finteza provides a metric known as Traffic Quality Level that directly indicates the percentage of pure traffic on your website.

The higher the percentage, the better is the quality of traffic on your website. Quality traffic always leads to better ROI.
3- Prepare Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is the content that always remains relevant and never loses its value. This is opposed to seasonal content like news stories.
Choose keywords that quality for evergreen content and apply strategies like the Skyscraper content strategy to make the content stand apart in the search results. This will help you to easily defeat your competitors in the search results and gain more traction.
You can make use of tools like BuzzSumo to find the top content generated by your competitors and produce content on a similar style but even better than them.

4- Repurpose Your Content
Instead of using your content just once, repurpose your content pieces and distribute them across several channels in order to boost the overall ROI generated from them. Here are some ways to repurpose your content:

Turn your content into Podcasts or videos.
Republish the same content on a different platform.
Combine your top articles as roundup posts.
Create an infographic out of your old blog post.
Turn a Quora Q&A into a blog post.

5- Take The Help of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is an extremely effective way of reaching a wide range of audiences. You can tie up with micro influencers and ask them to promote your content on their social media channels.
Micro influencers often have a lot of loyal followers who always take action on the shared content. Mention is a great platform to find influencers in your niche.
Besides, tying up with micro influencers is easy and doesn’t cost a fortune. This way you can boost your existing content marketing ROI without disturbing your content marketing budget.
Final Thoughts
Content marketing still remains one of the top digital marketing channels but we are living in an age called the ‘Content Overload’. This essentially means ‘less is more’. Marketers must understand the importance of improved ROI in their marketing strategy. Make use of the above strategies to improve your content marketing ROI and generate more leads for your business.

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What is SEO-Friendly Site Structure and How to Create It

Good site structure is essential for your overall website success, including its rankings in search. It’s about organizing the pages the way it’s easy for users to find what they need. Search engines’ requirements have lots to do with user’s interests, so when we say SEO-friendly website structure, we also mean user-friendly.
This post explains how to plan a website structure so it could enhance your site’s SEO. But first, let’s see what real benefits a well-planned website gets.
Magic effects of the good website structure

A clear structure helps websites to get indexed faster, especially if the website is big with several levels of page hierarchy. For examples, e-commerce websites or business catalogs.
Well-thought-out structure helps to avoid duplicated pages and, thus, duplicated content.
SEO works better when the keywords are properly distributed throughout the website pages when different groups of keywords with different intents are put on relevant landing pages. This is what well-planned structure provides.
If Google lands a user to a wrong page of a well-structured website, the user can easily find the needed page anyway.
Thus, the structure serves great user experience, boosting a website’s behavioral signals.
Finally, it enhances conversion. If users feel confident on a website, finding everything they need, they are happy. And happy users are the ones who become buyers.

To feel the advantages of all the mentioned effects, let’s figure out what a good site structure means and how to build it.
What website structure includes
Website structure is the way your website’s pages are organized. But what are the elements of this structure?
Home page — the main landing of your website gathering the key information about your business.
Main sections — landing pages that represent your services/instruments, product category, special content sections on the media websites (news, stories, interviews, etc.).
Subsections — transitory pages leading to a more specific description of the products. If your website is not that big, you’ll most likely skip this level at all. If it’s huge, there will be several levels of subsections.
Pages are the lowest level of the hierarchy that includes item descriptions, blog articles, “contact us” page, i.e. the most concrete kind of information describing a particular product or answering a specific question.
Subdomains. Sometimes when your website is big and it makes sense to separate part of its content (blog, help section, store), the site can include subdomains. Technically, subdomains are different websites but they are still a part of your website as your business project. So you should consider them as elements of your website structure and pay attention to how to treat subdomains to make sure it’s not damaging your SEO.
Your task is to organize all these elements in a hierarchical manner.

To prioritize and build up a logical hierarchy of these elements, you need to collect a semantic core. Based on your keyword research, you are outlining your future sections and their subordination. It is not necessary to create all the pages at once — you only need to understand the approximate number of pages and their order of priority.
Semantic Core: Collecting keywords as the first step for structuring a website
Keyword research includes three main stages: collecting queries, filtering out the list, grouping the keywords that left.
Collecting queries. Ask yourself questions: What is your business? What are you selling? Brainstorm main words that describe as concise as possible what you are doing or selling. For example, if you are marketing rugs and carpets your basic keywords will be “buy rug” and “buy carpet”. Then via keyword suggestion tools such as Google Keyword Planner or its alternatives, gather as many keywords as you can. These tools will give you a list of queries that people use to find a carpet store. For example: “best place to buy carpet”, “buy carpet online”, “carpet store near me”, “how to choose a rug” and many others. For more keywords browse Google Trends or Q&A services (e.g. Quora). While collecting keywords prioritize those that describe specifically your niche and your product.
Filtering irrelevant keywords. Having a massive list, cross out the following queries:

that don’t correspond with your business. Let’s say, you are selling rugs but don’t provide cleaning services, so you need to cut off all the keywords mentioning this.
that include wrong location markers. If you are having a local business — a store in a particular city — cross out the queries mentioning other cities.
that include competitor’s brand names.

After you’ve collected and filtered your keyword list, you need to categorize them and split them into groups.
Keyword grouping. When distributing the keywords among the pages, keep in mind that the higher a page in this hierarchy — the more likely it will rank better for competitive keywords. But still, keywords should be placed where they really fit — don’t stuff your category page with popular keywords just because the page is high in the hierarchy. So you are grouping keywords depending on their meaning, search volume (how popular the word is) and intents (what users expect to find with these queries). You optimize the main page for high-volume keywords, category pages — for mid-volume keywords, and low-volume queries you place on the third level pages like articles or tags.
It’s important to rely not only on the semantic you’ve gathered while building up your site structure. First of all, you need to understand your business — what users are looking for in your niche. And second, look up your competitors. Check their websites and analyze the structure they use. Do you like it as a user? Can you find what you need within three clicks? Use your competitors’ solutions to check whether you are moving the right way.
Visualize. When you have your keywords grouped by pages, you need to organize and prioritize your pages according to the hierarchical model. It’s easier to do when you have a map of your site visualized. For this, you can use any instrument for building mind maps (Mindmaster, XMind, Mindmup, etc). Put your home page into the center and build up other pages and sections from it.

Your main task is to make the structure as clear as possible both for users and for search engines. Let’s discuss what exactly you can do to provide such clearness.
Navigation: URLs, internal linking, breadcrumbs, and other ways to simplify surfing your site
URLsPlain structure of the website needs to be reflected in the URLs of your pages. The address should demonstrate the place of the page in the hierarchy of the site. For this, follow these tips:
Avoid an unreadable set of signs in your URLs. Instead, use keywords reflecting the content of the page.
+ www.website.com/home
– www.website.com/home?id=1mlABrzdiZEIxiLgpobOs
To separate words in a collocation use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_).
+ www.website.com/blog/how-to-plan-a-website
– www.website.com/blog/how_to_plan_a_website
Avoid super long URLs — reduce them to the essence.
+ www.website.com/keywords-research
– www.website.com/how-to-conduct-an-effective-keyword-research-using-only-free-tools
Google prepared a set of tips for shaping URLs, you’ll find it here.
That’s how your URLs look in the SERP:
Internal linking
An essential part of building a good website structure is the system of links between your pages.
The main rule here is not to have dead-end pages. Every page should have a link from another page and to another page.
Why it’s important? First, Google bot scans your website page by page following the links. The better interlinking you have the sooner search engines find your new pages and index them. Besides, it helps spread a link juice around the web pages which helps grow the authority of not only one page but of the whole website.
How to provide it?
First, with navigation elements such as breadcrumbs and a menu. They will help a user to find their way back to the section or a home page from any page of the website. We’ll talk more about them in the next paragraphs.
Second, having a block of “related materials” or “you may also like” or “this item matches with” helps users to decide where to proceed and not just leave a website, because there is nothing else to see.

Third, by having a system of tags you create subcategories of your items or posts that also serves as another kind of filter and navigator, helping to group the website content.

Breadcrumbs and menu
After you provided well-thought-out interlinking on your website, you can enhance navigation by using breadcrumbs or a menu.
If your pages are logically connected to each other, it’s easy to show the path from any page of your website to the home page with breadcrumbs. Breadcrumb is a graphic element that shows a user where they are now within the website

It serves UX purposes and thus is highly valued by search engines. Google can even feature your snippet with breadcrumbs instead of an URL:

A menu works the same way but allows to track not only the way back to the home page but also to see the hierarchy of pages. Look how DHL uses both menu and breadcrumbs to make it apparent for the users where they are now and how to find related information:
Sitemap
A sitemap is an XML-file listing all the pages on a website just like a list of content in a book. It shows both users and search engines what pages a website has and how you prioritize them for scanning.
An XML sitemap is your chance to show search bots which pages you want to get indexed and what pages are more important than others. Also, it helps search engines to keep track of the new pages on your website. This means that search bots can index new pages faster and won’t miss out any of the new valuable content. Besides, for search machines, a sitemap serves as a reference for determining canonical URLs if you have several pages with the same content. Finally, when any legal issue occurs, a sitemap is a proof of your rights for your content.
For a new website having a sitemap is crucial because in a way it’s an invitation list for search engines to come and scan the site.
All the mentioned things — URLs, a sitemap, interlinking, navigation tools — aims to enhance the simplicity of your website structure. All of them serve the main goal — to make your site easily scannable for search engines and intuitive for users.
Conclusion
The first person to understand the logic of your website is you. Draw and redraw your website plan until it gets totally clear to you or to any other person looking at this plan.
Bits of advice to conclude:

If you target a different audience at the same time, it makes sense to create different landing pages for each target group. Avoid publishing all the information on the same landing.
Don’t create categories with a few elements, like an item category with 3-5 items.
Look at your competitors’ websites structure.
Three-to-four level of the hierarchy is the best choice. If a user has to do more than 3-4 clicks to find the needed information, maybe your site plan needs another revision.
To reduce the number of categories on an e-commerce website, use tags, and filters.
Leave a room for scaling, so you could add new categories or pages without rebuilding the whole structure of the site.

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Trump announces new Mexican tariffs in response to migrants

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a surprise announcement that could derail a major trade deal, President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he is slapping a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports, effective June 10, to pressure the country to do more to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross the U.S. border.

He said the percentage will gradually increase — up to 25% — "until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.Read more on NewsOK.com

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Simple Tips to Build Your Business Credit

Boost your chances of getting approved for a small business loan and limit your liability by building up your business credit.
Are you still using personal accounts to run your small business? Separating your personal and business finances is a good idea for many reasons. For one, you don’t want your personal assets on the hook if your business falls on hard times (read: bankruptcy or a lawsuit).
Do You Need Business Credit?
While building business credit takes time, there are several benefits that are well worth the effort. Not only will you protect your personal credit and limit your risk, business credit can also help you get approved for a larger small business loan at a lower interest rate. With business credit, you’re also less likely to be asked for a personal guarantee.
If you’re applying for a small business loan from a commercial bank or an SBA loan, you’ll need business credit. Online lenders are often more lenient when it comes to credit scores, and pay closer attention to cash flow as an indicator of your creditworthiness.
Let’s not forget about personal credit. Most lenders will pull your personal credit — especially when they ask for a personal guarantee, or your business is new and you have yet to establish business credit. An excellent personal credit score will boost your chances of getting approved for a small business loan, while less-than-stellar credit can be a red flag for lenders.
How to Establish Business Credit
If you haven’t already done so, establishing a business entity that’s completely separate from your personal finances is the first step. If you’re currently operating as a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you’ll need to incorporate or form an LLC.
Corporations and LLCs file their own tax returns and have a credit score that’s completely separate from your own. To incorporate, you’ll need to apply for a Federal Tax Identification Number (EIN), which is essentially like a social security number for your business.
Be sure to open a business checking account in your legal business name and use it to pay a credit card that’s also in your business name — neither should be tied to your personal accounts. It’s also important to set up a business phone line in the name of your corporation, and get it listed in the 411 directory.
Not only will this allow suppliers and lenders to verify your business during underwriting, it gives you an opportunity to build your credit history and boost your rating by paying your phone bill on time. Put any utilities in your business name as well for the same reason.
You’ll also need to get registered with the business credit bureaus. Get a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet and register with business credit bureaus like Experian and Equifax.
How to Build Business Credit
Now that you’ve established your business credit, it’s time to build it up by applying for credit. Vendors and suppliers are an ideal place to start. Financing regular purchases, such as office supplies, coffee and marketing materials, is one of the most efficient ways to build your business credit.
Secure a line of credit or negotiate payment terms from net-30 to net-60 days, and always pay your invoices on time. While on-time payments seem obvious, it’s worth noting that a late payment can impact your business credit score for as long as seven years. Once you establish a good relationship with your vendors, you can work your way up to revolving credit lines.
Note that not all vendors report to credit bureaus, so check your credit reports and make sure to open accounts with a few vendors that report to a variety of commercial credit reporting agencies.
Keep an Eye on Your Credit Report
Errors on business credit reports are somewhat common, and can lower your credit rating. It pays to monitor your business credit reports with various agencies regularly so you can report any errors and have them corrected.
Remember to be patient. The longer your credit history, the higher your rating. What’s the fastest way to build your business credit? Once you’ve established accounts with vendors that report to the business credit bureaus, pay your bills on time, in full.
The reward is worth the wait: You’ll have greater access to funding and save money with lower interest rates.
This article was originally published on the author’s business financing blog and was reprinted with permission.

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Photos and video: OKC Mayor David Holt launches ‘City Hall Sessions’ with The Annie Oakley

By Brandy McDonnellOklahoma City Mayor David Holt this week launched a regular music series called the "City Hall Sessions," in which local bands will play a short set live from Holt's office in front of a small, exclusive audience."Oklahoma City has given the world many amazing voices in the world of music, people like Wanda Jackson, Charlie Christian, The Flaming Lips, Kings of Leon, Vince Gill.Read more on NewsOK.com

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Haney suspended from SiriusXM show for women’s golf comment

NEW YORK (AP) — Swing coach Hank Haney has been suspended from the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio channel because of saying on his show that a Korean would probably win the U.S. Women's Open and that he couldn't name six players on the LPGA Tour.

He then said he would go with "Lee" and if he didn't have to mention a first name, "I'd get a bunch of them right.Read more on NewsOK.com

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Why You Need Instagram Analytics for Insta-success

Instagram is huge. 1 billion users. The third largest social media platform in the world. And still one of the fastest growing. As a business, it should be an essential part of your marketing strategy.
But with so many consumers, there’s just as much competition. And the trick is making it work for you. What you need to do is empower your Instagram analytics, to drive real success for your brand.
How do you find Instagram analytics?
You have 2 options when it comes to arming yourself with the analytics you need. You can either use the insights you get direct from the platform, or invest in an Instagram analytics platform, to provide you with deeper and more comprehensive insights. If you’re not sure which one to choose, check out this handy list of the best Instagram analytics tools.
Either way, you get what you pay for. The insights you get from the Instagram platform may be free, but will only provide a skim of the data you need. While deeper instagram analytics will give you insights into:

Your consumer profile.
The sentiment behind your brand perception.
Your competitors’ strategy.
The topics and trends your users discuss.
The influencers driving brand conversations.

And these are the insights you need to drive Instagram success.
Your consumer profile
To ensure you’re targeting your messaging effectively, you need to know who your target audience really is. Detailed Instagram analytics will give you a better picture of your audience demographics. What age group are you reaching? Which countries are you engaging? What are your consumers’ interests?
This will help you monitor your messaging more effectively, and plan a more targeted campaign. Say you’re launching a cross-media campaign, aimed at the US. You can monitor your percentage of audience based in the US pre-campaign, and post. This allows you to see if there is an increase in engagement from the campaign, and you can adjust your messaging in realtime to maximize results.
Your brand sentiment
You could measure the number of times your brand is mentioned, but what does that mean? A peak in conversations could be a sign that your consumers love you. Or a major crisis.
The only way you can tell is by using sentiment analysis. This AI-based tech assesses conversations to see if they’re positive or negative, to show you how your messaging is being perceived. If it’s good, great. You can see the posts people love, and learn to replicate them. If it’s bad, you can counteract the negativity.

Coca-Cola sentiment key drivers & share of emotions using Talkwalker analytics
You can also use analysis to find your sentiment key drivers. That’s the topics that people love, and the ones that they hate. This helps you drill deeper into how your consumers perceive your brand, and helps you shape your content more efficiently.
Your competitor analysis
No brand is an island. No matter what industry you’re in, you will always have a competitor. And you can always learn something from them, to see how they’re getting Insta-success.
You can use Instagram analytics to dig deeper into what your competitors are doing. Is there a type of content your competitors are using that’s gaining more engagement? Did a certain campaign suddenly increase your competitors’ follower count (or suddenly cause fans to unfollow?). This is the information you need, to replicate success for your brand.
Your topics and trends
How do you create content that resonates with your audience? Especially when you post regularly on Instagram. By focusing on topics and trends that you know they already engage with and share.
Topic and trend analysis, helps you understand the subjects that really matter to your consumers. Those can be long term (topics that come up in industry conversations, time and again), or short term (the new topics that could only be trending for a few days, or even hours). These subjects should be the lifeblood of your posting strategy, and help you create content that’s successful on Instagram.
Don’t forget general trends too. Look at what’s happening outside your industry, and see if you can be a part of that conversation. trendjacking demonstrates that you are a culturally relevant brand, and can lead to virality. Instagram analytics helps you see what the world is talking about, and lets you join in.
Your influencers
Who is working the hardest on Instagram to promote your brand? And who has your ideal audience to target with your brand messaging?
That’s what Instagram analytics can reveal. When it comes to influencers, it’s not about who has the best reach. But about who is most relevant. If you’re just going to throw money at people with large audiences, a lot of that reach will be wasted. You’ll be hitting an audience that just isn’t interested in your brand.
But if you aim for relevance, you’ll hit fewer people, but those people will be primed towards your messaging. You’ll get higher engagement and higher conversion, and probably save some money by targeting smaller influencers. That’s win-win.
It’s only Instagram analytics that will provide this relevancy information. That will give you an idea who has the best audience for you, who is discussing your brand more positively, and who will get you the best results. It takes a little more work, but will pay off in the long run.
Your Instagram Marketing Checklist
That’s just a brief overview of some of the benefits you can get from Instagram analytics. It’s data that’s ripe to be used to drive brand impact, and improve the engagement you get from your brand Instagram accounts.
To get more from your Instagram marketing you can download Talkwalker’s Ultimate Instagram Marketing Checklist below.

Header image: Constantin Stanciu / Shutterstock

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Product Design Terminology: 17 Terms To Know

Every industry has its own language, and product design is no exception. To succeed in this field, you have to learn the lingo—but of course that’s easier said than done. Product design terminology is difficult to understand without context, especially as it relates to designing software. With these key product design terms in your back pocket, you’ll be able to navigate more proficiently through industry complexities.
Product Design Terminology: 17 Definitions You Should Know
1. Design Thinking
Design thinking is essentially a framework for turning creativity into a process via a series of workshops and exercises. The five-step process consists of:

Empathizing with different users to gain insight;
Defining (and getting specific about) the problem(s);
Ideating different solutions to alleviate those problems;
Designing clickable prototypes to mirror the end product; and
Testing with users you empathized with from the initial group.

2. Design Sprint
A design sprint is a highly effective, structured process for companies to validate new ideas and uncover creative solutions to challenges with new or existing products. It’s the fastest way to unpack a difficult problem, align a brand team on the solution, and then rapidly test that solution with real users. This is done through a series of workshops and activities, which democratize the generation of ideas and solutions.
3. User Journey Map
At the beginning of the design sprint process—which typically takes five days—we create a user journey map, or a flow chart that shows how prospective users discover, learn about, purchase, and use new software. It ultimately serves as an end-to-end map of the buyer’s journey, from the initial Google search to day-to-day usage.
4. High-fidelity Prototype
A high-fidelity prototype is a clickable, interactive prototype of what a product will look and feel like when complete, including brand colors, icons, assets, and images.
5. Collaborative Design
Collaborative design occurs when multiple designers use a cloud-based design software like Figma to work on the same file at the same time. Because everyone is working from the same living design file, version control isn’t a problem—not to mention the process is much faster and more efficient.
6. Affinity Diagramming
Affinity diagramming is a way of collecting data and then contextualizing it visually. During this exercise, prospective users are asked to think aloud as they walk through the high-fidelity prototype. The facilitator jots down key observations on sticky notes to capture user feedback, then groups the sticky notes together via contextual relevance to draw common conclusions about the product.
7. User Feedback Loop
A user feedback loop occurs when a product designer takes the conclusions produced during user testing, makes the appropriate revisions to the prototype, and then tests the revised prototype again with the same group of users to gather feedback.
8. Lean UX
Lean UX is a way of compressing traditional design thinking exercises into shorter activities—without engaging in an official, structured process like a design sprint.
9. Information Architecture
Information architecture is a flow chart of the different paths inside a product. This is step one in the design process and is completed before wireframing prototypes.
10. Low-fidelity Prototype
A low-fidelity prototype is a black and white version of a product without any brand assets, typography, or other style elements.
11. Design Ethnography
Design ethnography is understanding the cultural background of your prospective users. How do they talk? What kind of language do they use? These elements should be considered in the product design to ensure the intended users are comfortable using the product, and feel it is reflective of their culture.
12. Focus Groups
Focus groups are when multiple users come together for the purpose of providing product feedback. However, group thinking can be skewed, inauthentic and often misleading. When designing digital products, user interviews are individualized rather than conducted in a group setting.
13. Usability
Usability is the ease of use or speed in which an application reaches its objective or desired end goal. In other words, how easy is it to start using and learning the software? Does it streamline user workflows, or further complicate them?
14. Prototype
A prototype is a digital simulation created by stitching together different screens to create the look of a functioning product.
15. Storyboard
A storyboard is a visual storytelling of the user’s journey inside the application, with key points and features highlighted along the way.
16. Moodboard
A moodboard is a collage of inspiration images for a particular brand or product that’s created before the design stage. Moodboards include everything from screenshots of similar products to examples of imagery that might be used in product design based on what is known about the brand.
17. Happy Path
A happy path is the route a designer intends for a user to follow inside the application, where everything goes as expected.
Over to You
Talking the talk isn’t easy—but a greater understanding of the more common product design terms is a great start. Now that you’re fluent in these key terms and core concepts, you can start your next software design project feeling more confident, knowledgeable, and prepared.

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4 Vital Strategies to Consider When Pricing Your Next Event

Setting a price point for an event is challenging, especially if it’s your first time. A good strategy is the key to not only turning a profit but also wowing customers.
You need to price tickets at a point the customer is willing to pay without shortchanging your overall profits. To set your event at a price that benefits your profits and the people who come, employ the following four strategies.
1. Look to a value-based model. A value-based pricing strategy combines perceived value, actual ticket price, and cost per ticket.
Perceived value is what your customer believes your event is worth. Actual ticket price is what the customer pays — this should be less than or equal to the perceived value. Lastly, the cost per ticket is what you pay to put on the event; it represents an event’s break-even point.
You need to account for each of those factors when determining a price. With value-based pricing as a guide, an event’s focus shifts from simply making money to delivering an event that garners a return and provides customers more long-term value.
2. Examine the playing field. Take a page from the competitive pricing playbook and look at how much the competition charges. A similar event may be priced widely different in a larger city — the cost of living and general event operational expenses might be higher.
Get in the habit of looking at events in cities similar to your target destination and evaluating their prices. Identify cities based on demographics like population, and then list out the key events in those cities. Consider the number of attendees, how long tickets are on sale, and how they’re priced.
3. Price with intent. Each event has a unique goal. Your ticket price should help drive you toward that goal.
If your goal is to create demand for a new company or product, for instance, generating awareness of the product or brand is likely more important than turning a profit from the event. In that case, pricing your event slightly lower to drive demand might be your best strategy. If an event is designed to supplement business costs, however, make sure your price allows you to recoup those expenses.
4. Offer multiple price points. For many events, a single ticket type (and price) doesn’t make sense. Offer general admission tickets to attract attendees who are looking for a one-size-fits-all experience, and offer other ticket types (like VIP passes) for attendees who want a more custom experience.
These two pricing levels are great both for your customers and your profitability. You don’t want your event to drain your budget, but you also have to consider your customers when pricing tickets. Keep those two ends of the spectrum — and these strategies — in mind when pricing tickets to your next event.
Eager to learn more about the art of pricing event tickets? Download this free whitepaper for more insights.

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