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8 Resources to Use to Ensure You’re Using Inclusive Language

8 Resources to Use to Ensure You’re Using Inclusive Language

We’ve talked about it before, but diversity, inclusion, and belonging shouldn’t be about filling a quota. Instead, the goal should be to foster a true sense of belonging among your team, which is likely filled with people from all backgrounds.

One way to do this is by using inclusive language.

Whether it’s intentional or not, we all carry implicit biases in our everyday language. However, it’s important to make a conscious effort to avoid this.

This isn’t just the right thing to do. It also makes good business sense.

In fact, over 70% of students said they prefer a company that is diverse, inclusive and makes them feel included regardless of race, geographic location, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, and appearance.

Additionally, creating a sense of belonging can lead to greater retention rates and even result in higher customer satisfaction.

So, how can you use more inclusive language?

Below, we’ll review the top tools that can automate this process for you and resources that can help you use more inclusive language.

1. Better Allies

During an allyship meeting at HubSpot, we discussed tools that help people use more inclusive language.

A colleague brought up a Slackbot, Better Allies. This Slackbot can help you shift your language to be more inclusive.

The tool was inspired by the book Better Allies by Karen Catlin. This book can help you spot situations where you can create more inclusive culture.

The Slackbot will automatically flag non-inclusive language and make alternate suggestions. You can even customize the tool by adding your own words to avoid and alternate suggestions.

For example, I want to remove the words “guys” and “crazy” from my vocabulary. With this tool, I can put those words in the Slackbot and then include suggestions for myself to use instead.

2. Inclusive Language Guides

An inclusive language guide is a document that will advise you on terms to avoid and alternative terms to use. The goal is to use more inclusive language that doesn’t have biases, slang, or discriminatory terms.

While an inclusive language guide won’t help you automate this process, you can use this resource to inform your automation process. For example, you can add terms from an inclusive language guide to your Better Allies Slackbot.

If your team doesn’t have an inclusive language guide, we suggest you create one. Our inclusive language guides at HubSpot have sections on Gender, LGBTQIA+, Race, Ethnicity, Culture, and Accessibility.

Here are some great examples to get you started:

3. Company Bots

To automate your inclusive language, you can create a bot that will alert you when you use exclusionary terms.

As you saw above, Better Allies created one to help you on Slack. However, you might want a bot when you’re using Google docs or other platforms.

In that case, you can create your own. At HubSpot, we have a bot that HubSpotters can download on Chrome that will review content for HubSpot’s style guide.

4. Textio

As a company, you produce a lot of content. Your employees have to write a lot. To automate your process, you can use Textio.

Textio is an augmented writing platform that can give your team a score on the content they write. Plus, it provides suggestions on how to improve.

This includes bias interruption, expanded language insights, and team analytics. The whole point is to help you write more insightful, inclusive content.

You can use this for recruiting purposes or just to review your company blogs.

5. Gender Decoder

A quick way to check your language for gender bias is to use this gender decoder. You can just copy and paste your content in it and get quick results.

While this was created to analyze job ads to ensure you use inclusive language, you can put any content in there.

I even put this blog content in to see the results. The tool told me, “This uses more words that are subtly coded as feminine than words that are subtly coded as masculine (according to the research). Fortunately, the research suggests this will have only a slight effect on how appealing this is to men, and will encourage women.”

6. TEDTalk with Kimberlé Crenshaw

While using tools to help automate your inclusive language process is important, it’s also necessary to focus efforts on continued learning.

That’s why we recommend watching this short (only 18 minutes) TEDTalk on the urgency of intersectionality. This talk discusses the reality of race and gender bias so we can understand how the two combine and create more harm.

Ultimately, the goal is to broaden your understanding of intersectionality and implicit bias so you can recognize it when it occurs and speak up for victims of prejudice.

7. MTV Decoded

For an even shorter way to continue your education (5 minutes), you can watch this great video from MTV on phrases that have a racist origin.

Again, this is an easy and quick way to continue learning about implicit bias so you can adjust your language to be more inclusive.

You can consider sending these types of short videos to your employees to encourage them to use more inclusive language and continue learning.

8. Implicit Bias Test

A great way to see if you’re using inclusive language is to test yourself on implicit biases. This test will measure unconscious bias.

This is an excellent step to take so you can examine, understand, and recognize your own biases and when you’re using exclusionary language.

We recommend sending this to people on your team as well. This will help your whole team begin to understand and use more inclusive language as a whole.

Taking active steps to use inclusive language is an important part of allyship. Additionally, it’s important for your employees and customers to see that you participate in and encourage others to continue learning about other people’s experiences.

3 Types of Blog Posts That Earn the Most Backlinks, According to HubSpot’s Link-Building Expert

3 Types of Blog Posts That Earn the Most Backlinks, According to HubSpot’s Link-Building Expert

As the HubSpot Blog’s Audience Growth Manager, one of my duties involves developing highly shareable blog posts that pull in non-organic traffic from sources like email, social media, and other websites.

Through building non-organic traffic tactics for my team, I’ve learned that referral traffic — which comes from other sites backlinking to our content — can majorly benefit the overall blog site.

It goes without saying that having another site highlight your content is great for brand awareness. But, additionally, backlinks can also increase your search engine authority.

When high-authority sites link to your content, search engine algorithms take this into account when ranking your content on result pages. This means that the more backlinks you get from credible websites, the higher your search rankings could get.

However, although referral traffic can be vital for your blog’s success, it’s also the hardest to earn.

Here’s why:

When a HubSpot Blog post gets a backlink, this typically means that a person has found our content, valued it, and shared the post’s URL on their own website. Then, when others find and click this shared URL, it results in referral traffic.

In short, a person working for a website or online publication has to find our content and determine that it’s valuable, credible, or engaging enough to share with their site’s audiences.

Because getting referrals can be challenging and complex, I’ve worked closely with Irina Nica, a Sr. Marketing Manager of Product Awareness — and HubSpot’s resident backlink expert — to develop the blog’s link-building playbook.

Although it takes time and solid research to create posts that earn quality backlinks, Nica and I find that the traffic returns are worth the effort.

To help other bloggers in their quest for referrals, search authority, and non-organic traffic, here are three types of blog posts that get the most backlinks, according to Nica.

3 Types of Blog Posts That Earn the Most Backlinks

Tell Stories Backed By Original Data

“The blog posts that typically get the most backlinks are backed by original research and data,” says Nica. “If these blog post angles speak to wide audiences, they can even increase the chance of press mentions.”

Why? People use data to make decisions, inspire their own content, and learn more about their industry. So, when you publish original data, it’s not shocking to think that other sites might be interested in sharing your research by citing, quoting, or directly linking to it.

But, while it might be tempting to just throw a handful of original stats into a blog post’s body and hit “publish”, Nica says the backlinks for a post will be even stronger if you tell a story about how those stats impact your readers.

“The key is to help readers find meaning in the data you present by telling a compelling story,” Nica says. “Stories make data appealing and memorable. A good story is often one that’s related to recent events that made the headlines, or provides context on an issue that affects a wide range of readers in your industry.”

“We recently launched a data-driven piece that’s relevant to recent news: How COVID-19 Is Impacting Sales and Marketing Performance,” Nica says. “Because it’s timely and it provides useful information for marketers and business owners around the world, this article earned more than 500 backlinks from over 200 referring domains,” Nica explains.

The HubSpot Blog also publishes informative, data-driven posts that relate to industry trends, common strategies, or topics related to our subject matter expertise, rather than just news or events. These types of posts are also very linkable because they aim to help readers with day-to-day tasks, tactics, or decisions.

For example, I recently wrote a post called, Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat: Which Stories Are People Actually Watching? In the post, I shared results from s survey of more than 300 consumers about their social media Story preferences.

“Pam’s article answers a relevant question for social media marketers — which are a major part of the HubSpot Blog audience,” Nica says. “To create this piece, Pam used a survey tool called Lucid to gather data. Then she used internal expertise to dig deeper into these results and explain how this impacts our work as marketers.”

Nica says that the post received more than 960 social shares in the past six months and over 500 backlinks from 100 Referring Domains. It was also mentioned in a post from another marketing blog, Buffer.

blog post with data that received referrals and backlinks

 

Molding Dull Data Sets into Intriguing Stories

Even if your data doesn’t relate to an event or viral social media trend, it can still be compelling to readers if your post clearly explains why it’s valuable.

When HubSpot bloggers are tasked with telling an intriguing story around data sets, we first try to explain how each major stat could impact marketers, sales reps, or service reps, depending on the audience we’re trying to reach. In some posts, we also might give tips on how to adjust or embrace business tactics based on major facts or figures.

Here’s an example of how we draw out a full story from a few basic stats about Black Friday ads. Although this post relates to a newsier topic, you can use the format as inspiration for data-driven posts related to almost anything in your industry.

a high-perforrming data blog post that received high backlinks

To make the data given in this post easy to consume and interesting to the reader, we created a list item and intriguing subhead around three major Black Friday survey data points. Then, we took the time to explain exactly what each point means for advertisers and marketers. To add visuals to the story, we also created quick infographics for each section:

By expanding on what each stat means for your reader, you’ll supply your audience with interesting data, establish your brand’s expertise, and — most importantly — provide your valuable takeaways that readers can share with others or use in daily life.

Can’t access original data? Try this alternative.

There are a number of free or affordable tools online that can help blog teams gain data quickly. But, if you don’t have a survey or polling tool at easy access, or the time to conduct research, we’ve found that external research compilation posts also work well.

Here’s just one example of a high-performing post where I compiled and discussed a number of studies that compared millennials and Gen Z. In the post’s first six months, HubSpot data shows that it drove over 5,000 views from social media alone, and more than 900 views from referral sources.

Thought Leadership or Expert Interview Posts

Odds are, people within your industry want to get tips from experts with high achievements in their field. If you have access to an industry expert or thought leader, publishing their original thoughts on your blog could benefit you.

For example, if your thought leader says something bold, profound, or even slightly tactical, another publication or blog might quote them and link to the post on your site. Additionally, the thought leader and their followers might share the post via email, social media, or on their own website.

Planning Out Strategic Thought Leadership

While you could technically accept guest posts from whoever wants to write for you, Nica encourages bloggers to consider finding experts that can write about high-interest topics in their industry.

“If you’re not sure where to start, look for high search volume topics in your area of expertise,” Nica says. “Then, use this information to pick the topic for your thought leadership piece.”

Picking thought leadership angles that have high search volume might help you build content that’s SEO friendly. But, according to Nica, this tactic most importantly helps you “ensure that you’re publishing about topics readers are actually interested in.”

By conducting search volume research, our blog team has identified a number of topics that could be covered by industry experts. For example, the idea for the blog post, “How HubSpot Academy Grew YouTube Subscribers by 450% in 17 Months” came from researching keywords related to YouTube marketing.

Once we defined a few potential YouTube angles, the blog team asked HubSpot acquisition marketing manager Bella Valentini to write about how her team implemented SEO tactics on HubSpot Academy’s channel.

“The keyword ‘Youtube SEO’ has over 3,000 searches per month. This means a lot of people are eager to learn about tactics that work for this channel,” Nica explains. “Our thought leadership piece talks about Youtube SEO in a practical context by telling the story of how Valentini’s strategy increased our subscribers by 450% in just 17 months,” Nica says.

Due to the YouTube SEO post’s practical tips and original data, “this article earned 96 backlinks from 51 referring domains without any targeted outreach to promote it,” according to Nica.

Thought Leadership Alternatives

Sometimes, you can’t get a busy thought leader or expert to sit down with you for an interview. But, you might be able to create a helpful, highly-linkable post by asking a number of thought leaders a quick question via email and compiling their quotes into a roundup.

Since we have a huge team at HubSpot, we love creating roundups with our internal experts. They’re easy to create and pull in solid non-organic traffic similarly to full thought leadership pieces. Additionally, we’ve also seen similar results from rounding up quotes from external experts.

In a recent Marketing Blog post, we highlighted tips for working remotely directly sourced from seasoned members of our remote staff. This post has received over 17,000 total views with 204 referrals and more than 1,300 visits from social media platforms.

a blog post with expert quotes that earned many backlinks

Posts That Serve as Foundational “Ultimate Guides”

Once we’ve written heavily about a topic, such as Instagram Marketing, we’ll compile all the data, information, tips, and advice our writers have collected into Ultimate Guides.

a video-centered pillar post that earned backlinks

These long-form posts, which each include internal links to a handful of other blog posts on our website, aren’t just beneficial to SEO and direct traffic. They also can pull in solid backlinks, according to Nica.

“Usually, the most recommended blog types for getting backlinks have original research and data at their core. But this isn’t always the case,” Nica reveals. “For some blog sites, the blog types that get the most backlinks are actually ultimate guides.”

“If they are visible and easy to find on your website, these guides can easily serve as a supporting piece for other articles. This makes them a great link-magnet,” Nica explains.

Tips for Creating Highly Linkable Content

Along with testing out the content types above on your blog, you should also keep these tips in mind as you create web content:

Original content is key.

Web writers and journalists are more likely to link to original quotes and data that they can’t repeat or create on their own.

Even though you’re a blogger, your goal should be to publish content that no one can get anywhere else. This type of content could include original research, quotes, expert-written posts, images, and videos. Ask yourself, what will make journalists type, “According to [your brand]”?

Visibility is vital.

“One of the most frequent mistakes marketers make when creating linkable content is that they invest 90% of their resources in production and only 10% on promotion,” Nica warns. “Links need to be earned naturally to support the business’ SEO performance long-term, but no links can be earned if the target audience doesn’t know that content exists in the first place.”

“Whatever you publish, make sure it’s visible. You can start by promoting content on your company’s social media channels or through targeted outreach. Either way, your audience needs to find out about your content before they can link back to it,” Nica advises.

Nica says you’ll also want to optimize your posts for search engines. Here’s why:

If a blogger from another company is covering a topic like “email marketing trends,” they’ll need to find data to support the trends they list. They might begin their research by Googling, “email marketing statistics.” If your original email data post is one of the first results, there’s a strong chance that this writer will click it, find your data valuable, and share it in their own piece

Don’t forget about web design.

“Every time I stumble upon an old looking website, I don’t think it’s up to date. So, I don’t trust it enough to mention it in my article and link back to it,” Nica admits.

Although Nica can’t confirm or deny if web design can impact backlinks, many of us can relate to the experience of bouncing off of a poorly designed website. And, when we do this, we’re likely not sharing the content we saw or helping the blog’s search rankings.

“Whether it’s thought leadership or a research report, make sure you invest in the aesthetic ‘packaging’ of your content with a solid design. This will pay off.”

For example, Nextiva’s Customer Service Statistics and Trends in 2020 is not unique. However, it’s design and packaging guides the audience through a nice reading experience.

“What sets Nextiva’s guide apart from similar online content is its carefully crafted design and the experience they provide the reader. It’s no surprise they have over 700 backlinks to this page, from over 370 referring domains,” Nica notes, using data pulled from Ahrefs.

To learn more about why you should embrace a backlink strategy in 2020, check out these promising link-building stats.

The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Livestreaming From Home

The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Livestreaming From Home

This post is written by Kerry Shearer, “The Livestream Expert”. Kerry is a conference speaker, workshop presenter, online course creator and smartphone video trainer based in Sacramento, California. 

In 2020, the way we work, shop and entertain ourselves has been completely up-ended.

Work and school transitioned online, placing many people in unfamiliar situations with frustrating technical challenges as they livestream from home.

The results have sometimes been cringe-worthy.

On live webinar meetings, for example, we’ve been treated to up-the-nose camera angles, inadvertently-shared bathroom breaks, echo-y audio and dark, grainy webcam video.

Not the best way to make an impression!

The good news is that it’s actually pretty easy to give your viewers an outstanding experience, whether you’re participating in an online meeting on Zoom or livestreaming on popular platforms like Facebook Live, Twitter Live, Periscope or Instagram Live.

When you have the right mindset, the right approach, and the right accessories, you can absolutely look and sound like a pro.

Here, I’ll share my best practices when it comes to live streaming, including the platform(s) you should consider when livestreaming, and all the equipment you need to get started.

But first — let’s dive into the benefits of livestreaming for businesses.

Benefits of Livestreaming

I’ve spoken with many entrepreneur and communications colleagues, and months of lockdown have definitely taken an emotional toll.

Staying motivated when your lifestyle and habits have been disrupted means it’s more important than ever to get exercise, eat well, and practice self-care so you can be your best self in these trying circumstances.

And it also means you need to put yourself in the place of your customer or client.

When livestreaming, it’s critical to remember that it’s not about you — it’s about the difference you’re going to make in the life of the person you’re impacting with the information you’re delivering!

Many of us are doing two types of livestreaming these days: online meetings or webinars with colleagues, and livestreams related to promoting our products or services.

For our purposes we’ll focus on the second type of livestreaming: promoting a product or service. 

Livestreaming is a powerful tool to help entrepreneurs and small businesses differentiate themselves and connect with customers (or potential ones).

And doing it well can make a huge difference in your impact — and your earnings.

Vancouver therapist Julia Kristina, who holds a Master’s degree in Psychology, used live video as a springboard to create a thriving online business to compliment her existing in-person clinical practice.

She told me, “I began showing up live on Periscope and Facebook, nearly every day at first, doing short talks about different mental wellness topics.”

“Doing all those unscripted livestreams, either from home or from my office downtown, made me an even better public speaker. At the same time, it grew a loyal audience whose lives were being impacted by what I was teaching.”

Kristina eventually began creating and selling live online group coaching and recorded video courses on topics such as having healthy boundaries, overcoming anxiety, and building confidence.

Last fall, Kristina launched her membership program, “The Shift Society,” which features both live video coaching and recorded video content for members.

“Livestreams don’t need to be perfect,” Kristina says. “You just need to show up, be yourself, and let your passion for the topic be the magnet that draws your ideal audience in.”

Particularly in 2020 when many brick-and-mortar shops needed to shift largely online, livestreaming can provide opportunities for small businesses to connect with their customers and prospects in real-time.

Miranda Pinto, owner of La Piccolina Baby Boutique in Lincoln, CA, turned to Facebook Live in an effort to keep sales afloat after having to close her doors to walk-in customers.

Initial livestream attempts were hampered by poor internet upload speeds at her store, so she and an assistant grabbed piles of clothing and headed to Pinto’s house to do their first big online sale.

“I felt totally out of my element as a video host, but I know my product, so I just kept talking and describing each item.”

Pinto says the sales just kept coming in. “We use a subscription-based tool called ‘Comment Sold’ to track sales and send invoices.” 

“I credit livestreaming with saving my business and giving homebound moms an easy and fun way to shop locally for baby clothing.”

Pinto says each sale she conducts on Facebook Live lasts 1-2 hours, and creates the income normally earned in 2-4 days of walk-in sales when the store is open.

Live Streaming Platforms 

So if these stories have inspired you, it’s time to choose a livestreaming platform to focus on. That involves figuring out where your potential audience is (or, upon which platform you want to build a presence). There are more choices than ever, but it’s better to get started with one. 

Next, let’s go over a brief overview of each popular livestreaming platform.

1. Facebook Live

Facebook is undeniably the most popular social platform worldwide, with more than 2.7 billion monthly active users.

Facebook Live allows you to broadcast to the world in real-time, and live video is more often prioritized by the algorithm and shown in your news feed.

Facebook Live is an effective way of providing training and information in Facebook Groups, and many Business Pages use it to reach out to followers with how-to demonstrations, product unboxings, trainings, and sales events.

It’s easy to go live via the Facebook app on your phone, or through Facebook Studio on a desktop or laptop.

2. Twitter and Periscope

Periscope is Twitter’s live broadcasting app, which launched in March 2015. When you go live, you broadcast to the app and your followers get a push notification that you’re live.

Your livestream is also shown in user’s Twitter feeds if your accounts are linked with the same username.

For this reason, use of hashtags in the broadcast title can result in a bigger audience.

You can also broadcast directly from the Twitter app using the “Live” button. Twitter is known as the place to go for “what’s happening now”, so livestreams involving timely events are popular.

3. Instagram Live

2020 marks Instagram’s 10th year of operation, and the service has about 1 billion active users.

That userbase could grow even more with Instagram’s recent release of Reels, its answer to Tik Tok for creating short videos that can go viral.

Instagram Live also offers a feature that lets you bring one guest at a time into the broadcast.

Instead of expiring after 24 hours, any Instagram Live broadcasts that you want to save can now be shared to your Instagram TV channel.

Best Livestreaming Equipment

Once you’ve chosen the right platform for your needs, you’ll need to ensure you have the equipment necessary to create high-quality live videos.

Livestreams don’t have to be perfect, but it is critical to have good lighting, great audio, and a steady shot. Here are some of the options I recommend regularly to clients who want to put on a great broadcast.

1. Lighting

Natural light on your face always looks great, so if your computer desk faces a window that lets in ambient outdoor light (rather than direct, harsh sunlight), it will provide a natural look.

If natural light isn’t available, you can add LED lighting. Dimmable LED ring lights are popular, and the better ones are bi-color.

That means they have control knobs to let you “warm” the color of the light to match the tone of the room, or “cool” the color to mimick the look of outdoor light.

Ring lights, such as the Dracast Halo 180, come in a popular 18″ size, which generally requires mounting on an aluminum light stand.

A smartphone or video camera can be mounted inside the ring and set at eye-level, giving your face a nice, even glow.

There are also smaller desktop ring lights available, such as the Neewer 10″ ring light, or GVM rectangular ring light, which can hold your smartphone or serve as a webcam light by peeking over the top of your computer monitor.

The Lume Cube company has created LED lighting specifically for video conferencing, including a rectangular light with a suction mount that sticks to the back of your computer monitor.

2. Audio

Viewers will often put up with less-than-perfect video quality, but if the audio is poor, don’t expect them to hang around your livestream for long.

Poor audio is an issue for either smartphone broadcasting — where the built-in microphone picks up lots of annoying background noise — or for streaming from a laptop computer, where the cheap internal mic often produces thin-sounding audio that’s hard to listen to for long periods of time.

One solution for smartphones is a simple wired lavaliere smartphone mic, such as the YouMic.

The mic clips onto your shirt, blouse or blazer, and the cord connects to the audio jack on your smartphone.

If you have an iPhone 7 or newer, you’ll also need the Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapter that came with your phone.

Connect your mic to the adapter, and the adapter to the Lightning port.

If you’d prefer to go wireless, a dependable lightweight system like the Rode Wireless Go is a great solution. The receiver and transmitter are very small and operate for seven hours on built-in rechargeable batteries.

Additionally, the transmitter has a built-in mic, so you can just clip it to your jacket.

Or, to be more discreet, Rode’s plug-in Lavaliere Go mic can be purchased separately so you can ditch the transmitter in a pocket and use the small clip-on microphone.

Another option is the similar Pixel wireless lavaliere microphone.

If you’ve had experiences sitting on a Zoom call for hours, you know how hard it can be on the brain to listen to tinny audio from participants speaking from echo-y home offices.

A solution for this is to use a plug-in USB microphone with your laptop or desktop computer so you can get your voice closer to a microphone.

One option is the Fifine wired clip-on lavaliere USB microphone. Simply plug the connector into any available USB port on your computer, and then change the audio selection in your webinar software or livestreaming app to the new audio source.

Another high-quality option would be a USB microphone typically used for recording podcasts.

The Audio-Technica ATR-2100X, the Fifine PC Microphone, and the Rode NT USB microphones are all examples of podcasting-style mics that connect quickly to your computer and will skyrocket the quality of your audio.

Note that although these microphones all come with small desktop stands, the best approach is to mount them to an articulating boom arm that clamps to the edge of your desk. That will prevent the mic stand from transmitting any thumps and bumps created by your hands or elbows tapping your desk surface.

3. Tripods

Shaky video can be incredibly distracting and frustrating when someone is watching a livestream.

Fortunately, there are lots of options to help you have a steady shot. If you already have a video or camera tripod and will be livestreaming from a smartphone, you can simply attach a smartphone mount.

My favorites are the Square Jellyfish metal smartphone mount, or the Arkon Road-Vise heavy duty smartphone mount.If you don’t have a tripod, one place to begin is with a mini-tripod that sits on a desk and has an extendable middle column.

The Benro BK-15, when placed on a desk, will extend to the equivalent of full standing height for standup presentations or interviews.

The advantage to a small tripod like this is that you can easily move it from room to room, walk with it while you talk, or throw it in your messenger bag so you’re always prepared to livestream.

For other uses, you might need a floorstanding tripod. The least expensive option is to buy a basic tripod like this Endurax aluminum tripod. It extends to 66 inches.

Tripods in this price range often have a plastic pan/tilt assembly, which is fine if your camera will be locked down and not moved, but often doesn’t allow for smooth camera movement.

If you’ll be panning and tilting and following the action during your livestream, go for a more expensive tripod that has a fluid head.

A fluid head mechanism gives very smooth camera movements which look professional. One of my personal favorites is the Manfrotto Be Free aluminum Lever Lock video tripod. It is only 16″ long when folded for transport.

And for livestreaming on the go, there’s nothing like a 3-axis electric smartphone gimbal. A gimbal holds your smartphone level and steady while you walk, giving you silky-smooth Steadicam-like results.

I use the Benro 3XS gimbal, and one of the main reasons I love it is because it does not block the Lightning port on a smartphone like many gimbals do — that’s important if you want to connect a microphone to the port do to a walk-and-talk narration during your livestream.

A single push of a button rotates the phone from horizontal to vertical, and the mounting arm also folds for compact storage.

New equipment is constantly coming out for smartphone video shooting and livestreaming, allowing you to ensure that your video will be wonderfully watchable.

On-Camera Confidence

Assuming you have selected your platform, have a smartphone mic, LED light and tripod, it’s time to curate your confidence so you come across well on video. Keep in mind the following tips:

  • No, you don’t look weird or sound weird on video, so stop judging yourself!
  • We usually need to ramp up our energy a bit for video. If it helps, before you go live play a favorite song from your playlist that gets you pumped up. Dance around like a crazy person for a couple of minutes. Anything to get the blood moving and get a dose of energy!
  • Remember, like I told you earlier, it’s not about you. Focus on the people you’re helping.
  • If you’re livestreaming from a laptop, do whatever you need to do to get the webcam lens at eye level. That may require propping your laptop up on a box or a stack of books if you’re using the unit’s internal webcam.
  • Be sure to smile (as appropriate). You want to appear open, approachable, and authentic.
  • If you normally gesture wildly as you talk, reel it in so your movements are appropriate for a tighter webcam image.
  • If you’re in charge of the livestream and are primarily the one presenting information, do whatever you can to keep people engaged. Ask questions and tell viewers to put their answers in the chat. You can also “flag” important points, by saying things like: “If you’re multi-tasking right now, come back to me because I’m about to give you some really important information.”

Remember, livestreaming is a mix of using your best presentation skills and some smart tech to make sure that you’re communicating clearly and effectively.

It is also a skill that you can develop over time. If you’re looking for more tips related to livestreaming, take a look at our checklist for getting started with your first livestream

20 Stats That Make the Case for Co-Marketing in 2020

20 Stats That Make the Case for Co-Marketing in 2020

As a billionaire inventor and CEO, the fictional Tony Stark, also known as Marvel’s Iron Man, worked his way to the top of the corporate ladder while repeatedly saving the world on the side.

Despite Stark’s impressive achievements, his career success and robotic super-suit weren’t what made him a legend.

In fact, Stark’s best Marvel Comics storylines began when he joined The Avengers to save the entire universe.

Although Stark was fully capable of saving Earth alone in his super-suit, he knew teaming up with other superheroes would allow him to save multiple planets.

Marketers can learn a lot from Tony Stark.

While our brands might be capable of reaching basic targets all on their own, pooling marketing resources, combining skill sets, and jointly creating campaigns with other non-competing companies could help us reach much broader audiences. This tactic is known as co-marketing.

Although co-marketing can be incredibly beneficial to you and your partner’s brands, it will still take time, planning, and coordination when it comes to finding a co-marketing partner and launching mutually beneficial campaigns.

Like any good marketer considering a new tactic, you’ll want to know that co-marketing can be effective before devoting resources to it. And yes, you’ll likely want to research more than just the superhero analogy I’ve made above.

To help you make the case for co-marketing, here’s a list of 20 statistics that prove why you should consider this strategy in 2020.

20 Co-Marketing Stats to Know in 2020

The State of Co-Marketing in 2020

  • After seeing co-marketed campaigns, 68% of consumers are able to make buying decisions before even speaking to sales representatives. (PartnerPath, 2019)
  • Virtually all companies surveyed in 2018 were already active in internet marketing partnerships and affiliate programs. The few that weren’t were active planning to be in the next 12 months. (Partnerize, 2018)
  • 54% of companies say partnerships drive more than 20% of total company revenue. (Partnerize, 2018)
  • 34% of marketers say that co-marketing or brand partnerships are the most effective ways to increase an email subscriber list. (Ascend2, 2017)
  • 74% of companies say partnerships and affiliate marketing campaigns are a high or very high priority for their businesses. (Partnerize, 2018)
  • In 2018, just 5% of companies said they’d invested less in partnerships than in 2017. (Partnerize, 2018)
  • More than half of respondents in a 2018 partnership survey said partnerships were driving more customers and sales in that year than in 2017. (Partnerize, 2018)

Partnership and Co-Marketing Tactics

  • Brand partnerships that leverage digital channels see 4X the pipeline of non-digital partnerships. (Impact, 2019)
  • 84% of vendors with brand partners offer money to those partners for co-marketing expenses. (PartnerPath, 2019)
  • 30% of vendors will offer co-marketing reimbursement if their brand partner can prove ROI. (PartnerPath, 2019)
  • Roughly 11% of marketers say “partnership posts” are their brand’s most engaging type of social media content. (HubSpot, 2020)
  • Many brands prioritize large partnerships, versus thousands of smaller partnerships. Roughly 34% of leading brands have 50 to 99 partners, while 67% of brands have less than 100. (Partnerize, 2018)
  • Only 2% of brands surveyed by Partnerize in 2018 partner with more than 1,000 brands. (Partnerize, 2018)
  • In 2018, 33% of CEOs said they planned to prioritize strategic partnerships, which could involve co-marketing partnerships, in 2019. (KPMG, 2018)
  • The top brand leader priorities include finding more partners (27%) and strengthening relationships with existing partners (23%). (Partnerize, 2018)

Co-Marketing and Brand Partnership Success Stories

  • The Yeezy shoe line, a collaboration between Adidas and Kanye West, enabled Adidas’ net annual rose by 19.5% to $1.9 billion in 2019. (Bloomberg, 2019)
  • Buffer and Social Chain’s Brand 2019 Brand and Social Media Report resulted in 17,000 download page visits in just one week and more than 3,000 shares across social media. These results were higher than an average article shared on either of their sites. (Quuu, 2019)
  • When Estée Lauder and a top U.S. retailer created joint Google Ads that promoted the retailer and the brand’s fragrance products, the average ad click share rose by 70%. (Google, 2020)
  • In 2018, Coors Light teamed up with National Geographic to launch a series of video ads taking place in Iceland. The campaign reached 10.5 million people and resulted in a 6.8 percent lift in brand favorability. (Facebook, 2018)
  • In a recent case study, a gaming app company partnered with another brand in a cross-promotional campaign that was coordinated by Aarki — a mobile marketing agency. The gaming app received a 32% rise in downloads shortly after remarketing ads to the partnering brand’s contact list on social media. (Aarki, 2020)

The Benefits of Co-Marketing

Co-marketing can provide a long list of benefits, especially if you want to pool your resources to create a large-scale marketing campaign. Along with the statistical benefits seen above, there are a number of other qualitative perks such as:

  • Audience exposure: Through co-marketing and cross-promotion, your content or brand information will be shared with your audiences as well as your brand partner’s. This enables your brand to gain increased reach. For example, when local or online stores launch Google Ads showing that they carry Estée Lauder fragrances, fans of the perfume brand might visit or follow that store for the first time.
  • Increased trust and favorability: If a prospect trusts the brand you partner with, they might trust you when that brand promotes your name, logo, or content. For example, when Adidas teamed up with Kanye West to create the Yeezy line, people might have bought a pair of Yeezys because they trusted Adidas’ quality and West’s sense of style.
  • Cost-effective content: When you team up with another brand, you might be able to make an agreement where you split time or production costs, or you can trade one brand strength for another. For example, if you’re a small brand partnering with a larger brand, you might be able to utilize the bigger brand’s budget and gain more exposure on their channels. Meanwhile, the bigger brand might be able to leverage your niche social media audience..

Now that you’ve learned about the benefits and stats related to co-marketing, get inspiration from these successful real-world examples of the tactic. For more on how to find the right co-marketing partner, check out this handy guide.

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