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3 Steps To Succeed With A Side Hustle In Affiliate Marketing

1 in 3 Americans reported starting a side hustle in 2020, during a time when the Economic Outlook reported employment numbers wouldn’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. During most of 2020, people were forced inside, and one of our only outlets for social connection was the internet. The steady rise and interest in online side hustles prove that people want financial freedom, time freedom, and location freedom. As proof, this year, 24 percent of Americans from that same survey wish to start their side hustle. They say that it’s a way to earn passive income or diversify their income potential. 

One side hustle that’s thriving: affiliate marketing. “As long as you have a computer and an internet connection, affiliate marketing requires no money or experience to get started,” says Digistore24’s US VP of Sales, Meghan Damico. Digistore24 is an automated reseller and affiliate marketing platform where vendors can automate sales, sell products, and connect with an extensive, trusted affiliates network.

Damico’s business partner and the VP of Marketing at Digistore24, Ryan Alarid, believe affiliate marketing benefits both the affiliate and the online business. Together, they grew Digistore24’s revenue from $2 Million to $66 Million in less than a year.

“With affiliate marketing, it’s as simple as taking an established brand or product and promoting it to your audience,” says Alarid. “It’s less risk for the company, and the content is more authentic because the affiliate is motivated to create great posts that make their audience want to buy the product.”

Consumers spent $861 billion online in 2020, a 44 percent increase from 2019. With the rise of influencers and social media platforms, affiliate marketing has quickly become one of the largest online income sources right now. 
To succeed in affiliate marketing, Damico recommends three easy steps: choose the right social media platform, select a niche, and promote the products. 

Step 1: Choose the Right Social Media Platform
Start on a social media platform that best fits your audience and your content. Facebook has one of the largest breadth and depth across age groups, but if you promote products that would look more visually appealing in photos, you might want to choose Instagram. If the products you’re promoting are perfect for Gen-Z’ers, then TikTok may be your best avenue. 

Step 2: Select a Niche Authentic to Your Personal Brand
Damico advises that when deciding what type of products to promote, think about your passions. Affiliate marketing should fit naturally and authentically into the social media content you already create. 
“You want to be genuine to your followers, and that means you have to stay true to yourself with your social media content,” says Damico. “Your following will be more connected to you when you’re promoting products that would add value to their lives.”

Step 3: Promote Products and Earn Money
“Fringe” products or those off the beaten path are perfect to start. These products often come from smaller brands. With the businesses that Damico has worked with, they’ve told her that they prefer working with affiliates who authentically love their products and have a genuine following, even if it’s a smaller number.
Commissions for affiliate marketing can range from 5 to 100 percent, whereas influencers typically earn a fixed amount for each post and content must adhere to standards. According to Damico, affiliate marketers have more flexibility with their content and more creative freedom. 
And Damico says the opportunities are endless. “When you’re ready to level up, you can start capturing emails and use email marketing to earn even more as an affiliate marketer.”

Want to Improve the Customer Experience? Consider These Expert Tips

The customer experience can encompass tons of elements — from your website to the in-person sales process. Even though it can get complicated, putting yourself in your customers’ shoes is a must. And improving the experience may help you convert more leads and keep more customers. Here are tips from members of the online small business community for doing just that.Ask for Customer FeedbackYou can’t hope to improve the customer experience if you don’t first know where they stand. If you want helpful feedback to help you make improvements, you need to gather feedback. That means you have to ask for it. This GatherUp post by Holly Stanley includes tips and templates to help you do just that.Increase Your Revenue With Call TrackingThere are tons of ways for businesses to track customer interactions online. But there are fewer options when dealing with more traditional leads and communication methods. In this Marketing Land post, Cynthia Ramsaran details the benefits of call tracking for this purpose.Improve Your On-Page SEOSEO is often what brings new customers to your website. So choosing the right content and keywords is an early part of the customer experience. Guarav Belani shares a checklist and tips in this Search Engine Watch post.Optimize Conversions with Heatmap ToolsHeatmaps detail how customers interact with websites. And they go beyond simple clicks and keywords. Focusing on this part of the customer experience may help you increase conversions. Adeyemi Adisa of Onaplatterofgold.com dives into the practice in this post.Score More Sales AppointmentsIf you want to improve the in-person customer experience, you first need to get in front of more customers. That’s where sales appointments come in. If you’re not booking as many as you’d like, check out the tips in this Novocall post by Ishwar Singh.Utilize Your Instagram Account Throughout Your Sales FunnelA sales funnel is another way to manage the entire customer experience through the buying process. Since today’s customers are constantly on social media, it makes sense to manage this process on those platforms. In this Social Media Today post, Ann Smarty outlines how to utilize your Instagram account for this purpose.Create Social Media Contests with These ToolsContests are another way to improve the experience on social media. And there are many tools you can use to run these promotions directly on your favorite platforms. Lindsey Liedke goes over some of the top options in this Profit Blitz post.Get Your Blog Noticed Among MillionsNew blogs are popping up in every industry daily. So if you plan to use one as a marketing tool or revenue stream, you need to be able to stand out. Lisa Sicard of Inspire to Thrive elaborates in this post. And members of the BizSugar community discussed the concept further here.Write an About Page for Your BlogA strong about page is one way you can make a blog stand out among tons of competitors. In this Blogging Wizard post, Lyn Wildwood offers tips for creating an effective about page. And you can see more commentary from the BizSugar community here.Use Content Marketing to Improve Your BusinessContent marketing can help you bring in new customers and build trust. Those are both essential components of creating a positive customer experience. Learn more about why this concept is so important in this Miss Millennia Magazine post.If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.Image: Depositphotos

Get Your Business Supplies on a Budget with $16 Off a Sam's Club Membership

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April
3, 2021

2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

When you’re building a company, you have to find ways to save money at every turn. When you’re putting together your office, shopping consignment for furniture and finding deals on everyday staples like office supplies, coffee, and snacks is crucial. The same goes for your home life. If your capital is tied up in your business, you need to save money on home goods and groceries.Where do you go to do all that? Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club is a membership warehouse club that offers members high-quality goods at discounted prices. It carries everything from groceries and kitchen supplies to electronics, furniture, clothing, and more—just about everything you need in your everyday life. (Yes, both professional and personal.)Sam’s Club’s limited-item business model allows them to source products at competitive prices, passing the savings on to you. Whether you’re putting together an office or you just need to tighten the belts for a bit while you navigate some slow business, Sam’s Club can help you get through it all unscathed.Right now, you can sign up for a one-year membership for just $28.88 (normally $45) and receive a free seasoned rotisserie chicken and a pack of gourmet cupcakes. Just go through checkout after redeeming your membership and they’ll process them as free. Plus, you’ll also get a complimentary household card for even more savings.Sign up for a Sam’s Club membership today and start saving on everything you need to run your business and live your life.Don’t forget to check out DiversyFund to start investing in private real estate in 2021. You don’t have to be in the 1% to get started. Invest today for as low as $500.Prices subject to change.

3 Stocks Under $30 for the Long-Term Investor

April
3, 2021

5 min read

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

This week the S&P 500 crossed the 4,000 mark for the first time ever capping a remarkable run. Just over a year ago, the index was flirting with the 2,000 level at the depths of its COVID-19 plunge.
With U.S. stocks trading at record levels there aren’t many low-priced large and mid-cap stocks left for investors. There are, however, still a few intriguing names out there that may fit the bill for long-term investors.
Is General Electric Stock Undervalued?
General Electric (NYSE:GE) stock has recovered nicely along with the broader market but at $13.35 per share remains well off its glory days of 2001 when it peaked above $50. Granted, GE is not the company it was 20 years ago, but it appears to be on track to restore its reputation as an American icon.
Since the onset of the pandemic, GE has been in cost-cutting and cash-preservation mode like most industrial companies. But after managing to be profitable in 2020, it can now focus on some of its key growth opportunities.
No longer simply a manufacturer of light bulbs and other electrical products, GE operates a well-diversified model these days. It’s health care business has benefitted from demand for COVID-19 products, but longer-term should continue to grow as the world’s population ages and its product set expands.
Another positive development is the turnaround in the troubled Power division. The business has turned profitable and exited the year with an $80 billion order backlog thanks to strong demand for gas turbines. The Renewable Energy division is not yet profitable but given the expected boom in clean energy spending, wind turbine sales should soon drive sustainable profit growth. The aircraft engine business may also be on the rise due to improving demand from commercial airliners and the military.
Still, the most compelling (and less talked about) aspect of the company’s transformation is that the GE of the future will derive about half of its revenue from services. General Electric is on the comeback trail. Patient investors willing to go along for the ride may be rewarded with some outsized returns over the next few years.
What is a Good Oil and Gas Stock?
The energy sector is out of the gates fast in 2021, but there is one name that may have plenty of gas in the tank. Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) is an oil and gas producer that used to trade above $100 per share. Now trading in the $20’s, the stock is a cheap way to play the turnaround in the energy cycle.
Devon Energy owns a portfolio of quality, onshore oil and gas assets in the U.S. and Canada. It operates on the lower cost end of the spectrum. This year the company plans to crank out as much as 300,000 barrels of oil per day as global demand returns. If the global supply side of the equation doesn’t weigh on pricing, higher oil prices should drive strong profitability relative to peers.
Looking past this year, Devon Energy should also derive growth from its recent acquisition of WPX Energy. Its Oklahoma-based neighbor owns attractive oil and gas assets in the Permian and Williston Basins and is expected to produce significant cost synergies.
Devon Energy’s low-cost production profile and solid balance sheet give it a competitive advantage over other E&P plays in the region. It now owns some of the most attractive acreages in the shale-rich Delaware Basin and has the scale to compete with the big dogs. The mid cap stock is on pace to return to the large-cap ranks so it probably won’t be trading below $30 for much longer.
Is Mattel Stock a Buy?
Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) is another low-priced stock that is worthy of a long-term buy and hold. The classic toy manufacturer’s shares go for about the price of a Hot Wheels action set at around $20. The stock has already doubled off its pandemic bottom but may have the wheels to double again and drive past its 2013 peak of $48.48.
As the company behind legendary toy brands like Fisher-Price, Barbie, and American Girl, Mattel also sells toys based on popular children’s movies like Cars and Toy Story. And speaking of movies, Mattel is in the filmmaking business these days. Rather than simply piggybacking off popular Disney films, the company is seizing an opportunity to generate higher toy sales by developing its own media offerings.
The subtle, but astute move may pay big dividends over time as Mattel’s original content gains traction with audiences and becomes more engrained in pop culture. Movies, tv shows, and digital games are powerful mediums these days and can drive complementary sales of all sorts of products. Just ask Disney.
Mattel is partnering with the likes of Sony, Paramount, and Warner Brother to produce its own films. It is also developing cartoon programs that can be viewed on Netflix. The company’s venture into the media space has been well received by the market so far but it still very much in the early stages.
No longer just a toy company, Mattel’s dolls, cars, action figures, and even board  games are coming to life on screens everywhere. As this storyboard plays out, the Mattel franchise could soar in value.

3 Big-Time Biotech Stocks to Buy Now

It’s worth mentioning that the recent pullback in biotech stocks has created some attractive entry points for investors to consider. Let’s take a look at 3 big-time biotech stocks to buy now.

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April
3, 2021

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At the intersection of technology and healthcare lies the biotech sector, an area of the market with some truly fascinating opportunities. While investing in these companies can be challenging given that their valuations can change in the blink of an eye based on an FDA approval or clinical trial result, choosing wisely can often lead to huge gains. With the rapid pace of scientific advancements and plenty of demand for new vaccines and drugs that can improve the health of the world’s population, adding exposure to biotech companies at this time makes a lot of sense. We were reminded of the importance of biotech companies last year thanks to the global pandemic and their efforts to rapidly develop vaccines that combat the virus. The best companies in this sector offer a combination of established drugs along with a strong pipeline of potential growth opportunities. It’s worth mentioning that the recent pullback in biotech stocks has created some attractive entry points for investors to consider. Let’s take a look at 3 big-time biotech stocks to buy now. Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) Amgen is the type of biotech stock that is the gold standard in the sector and allows investors to rest easy knowing that they own one of the world’s leading companies. It’s a member of the S&P 500 and a stock that is worth buying thanks to its diverse product line, growth potential with new pipeline products, and continued R&D acquisitions. Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures, and delivers innovative human therapeutics that can help patients that are suffering from serious illnesses. By using fascinating technology and tools such as advanced human genetics, this company can better understand diseases and human biology. Some of Amgen’s flagship drugs include immune system boosters Neupogen and Neulasta, red blood cell boosters Epogen and Aranesp, and inflammatory disease drugs Enbrel and Otezla. Investors should be excited about the launch of the company’s potential blockbuster drug Sotorasib, which helps patients suffering from locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer and has received priority review from the FDA. Just imagine the positive impact this type of drug can make in the lives of cancer patients around the world. The company’s adjusted EPS rose 12% year-over-year in 2020 to $16.60 and recent acquisitions of clinical-stage biotech company Five Prime Therapeutics should further strengthen the company’s portfolio. Finally, Amgen stock offers investors a 2.83% dividend yield and has recently reclaimed its 200-day moving average, offering an attractive entry point at this time. Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) This biotech stock is a good reminder of just how volatile the share prices of companies in the sector can be. After rallying over 2400% in 2020, Novavax shares hit an all-time high of $331.68 in February of this year only to come crashing down over 40% since then. While this type of volatility might scare some investors off, when you stop to look at this company’s business prospects, adding it to your investment plans might be worth the risk. Novavax is a clinical-stage vaccine company that is primarily focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of recombinant vaccines to fight infectious diseases such as the Ebola virus, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus. The company’s eye-catching 2020 rally was the result of several bits of good news. First, Novavax reported very positive results from a late-stage study of its experimental flu vaccine called NanoFlu. It’s estimated that once this vaccine gains approval, Novavax could generate peak annual sales of up to $1.7 billion. There’s also the fact that the company has a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that is showing promising results including 96% efficacy against the original virus strain in phase 3 studies. Novavax already has supply agreements in place with the U.S. government and might even explore creating a combined COVID-19 and flu vaccine in the future. This is an innovative company with immense upside, especially if these two vaccines are approved by the FDA. AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) The final biotech stock on our list that investors should have their eyes on is AstraZeneca, a global pharmaceutical company based in the United Kingdom. The company sells branded drugs across several therapeutic classes including diabetes, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, immunology, and cancer. It’s a solid pick for your portfolio because it offers exposure to biopharmaceutical sales in major markets outside of the United States, as the U.S. only represents about a third of AstraZeneca’s sales. This includes China, which is an emerging market that offers very attractive growth potential. You’ve probably heard about this company’s COVID-19 vaccine that has been granted emergency use authorization in over 50 countries, and AstraZeneca has one of the strongest pipelines of new drugs in biotech. Q4 revenue for the company grew by 10% year-over-year and sales should remain strong throughout 2021. Investors should also be interested in AstraZeneca’s move to acquire Alexion Pharmaceuticals, as the move is a strategic master class that strengthens the company’s immunology presence.

3 Oil Stocks to Buy Before the Reopening

The price of crude oil recently went back over $60 a barrel. The pent-up demand is beginning to gain momentum. As it does investors are beginning to realize that there’s an opportunity in oil and gas stocks. With that in mind, these three stocks look to be in growth mode for opportunistic investors.

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April
3, 2021

4 min read

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Investors wanted to stay far away from the oil patch in 2020. Millions of Americans sheltered in place in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Airlines were grounded. Cruise lines were under a no sail order. After that the law of supply and demand took over.
It’s not a new story. When the economy is going well, it’s been good news for oil stocks. And when the economy struggles, the opposite is true. But neither oil companies nor investors ever had to account for a global pandemic. And now investors have to decide what to do with oil stocks as they are in recovery mode.
The price of crude oil recently went back over $60 a barrel. And with millions of Americans getting vaccinated every week, the pent-up demand is beginning to gain momentum. As it does investors are beginning to realize that there’s an opportunity in oil and gas stocks.
There’s ample evidence to show that renewable energy sources are going to be a significant part of America’s future. However in the here and now, oil and gas companies still have a significant role to play. With that in mind, these three stocks look to be in growth mode for opportunistic investors.
Baker Hughes
There has been much written and discussed about the closing of the Keystone pipeline. Putting that aside, there is still drilling activity happening. That’s bullish for Baker Hughes (NYSE:BKR). The company provides oilfield products and services. And Baker Hughes is reporting increased activity in a number of oil fields, including in the Permian basin – the most prolific basin in the United States.
As long as oil companies are drilling, there will be a demand for the products that Baker Hughes provides. BKR stock is down 13.5% since closing above $25 on February 24. However, the stock is still up 109% in the last 12 months. Furthermore, the consensus opinion of analysts gives the stock a buy rating and recent price targets suggest that the stock has significant upside.
Plus, there is reason to believe that Baker Hughes has a future in the green energy economy. The company recently announced that it has entered into a global exclusive licensing agreement with SRI International to use SRI’s Mixed Salt Process for carbon capture.
Hess Corp.
Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) is an independent energy company that is involved in crude oil and natural gas exploration and production. HES stock remained fairly stable during 2020. In fact, there was a bullish surge in early summer as investors jumped the gun on a recovery.
However, since the initial EUA for a Covid-19 vaccine, HES stock has been pointing true north. The stock is up 100% since November 5. That just confirms that many investors understand that the country will still be driving internal combustion vehicles for at least a little while longer.
Hess also has a consensus buy rating from the 16 analysts that offer ratings. And while the consensus price target suggests a lower price, recent price targets are significantly higher. Investors can also take confidence from the fact that HES stock is well supported with 79% institutional ownership.
Valvoline Corp.
The last stock on the list is a play on the idea that millions of Americans may begin to start having a morning commute again. And that means that there are likely to be oil changes and other services that weren’t necessary when cars weren’t being driven.
That may be an oversimplification, but that’s part of the fundamental case for Valvoline (NYSE:VVV). In the first two quarters of the company’s 2021 fiscal year, Valvoline is already reporting 17% higher earnings per share and nearly 10% year-over-year revenue growth. That tracks nicely with the price of VVV stock that has climbed approximately 30% in that time.
Valvoline has 92% institutional ownership and also has a dividend that has grown for four consecutive years.

19 Sure-Fire Subject Line Formulas for Link-Building Emails

When you need to write an outreach email, give these subject lines a try to increase the number of conversations with potential link targets.

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February
20, 2020

9 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from the Garrett French and Eric Ward’s book Ultimate Guide to Link Building, 2nd Edition. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunesor click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code MARKET2021 through 4/3/21.Next time you sit down to write an outreach email, give these subject lines a try, and you’ll increase the number of conversations with potential link targets.Guest posting Sites that accept guest writers will usually specify how they prefer new guest posts to be pitched. If the site you want to contribute to has a dedicated page (or section) about guest-posting opportunities, follow their guidelines. However, in those cases where there’s no clear guidelines for wannabe contributors to pitch their guest posts, use the following subject lines:I’d like to write for [site name]. Here are X article ideas. This is perfect for those cases where you’ve written a series of articles and you’re searching for the right home for them.Interested in article contributions about [topic]? I’d love to collaborate. This a great sub­ject line for when you prefer to discuss content ideas on a specific topic with the editor before submitting written articles.Contributing to [site name]: sharing my clip portfolio. If you’ve developed a strong port­folio of articles, you can let your previous work do the talking.Related: 15 Tips to Generate Great How-to ContentLink reclamation (brand mention) The formulas below will come in handy next time you need to reach out to a site that mentioned your company without linking to your website:Thanks for mentioning [brand] on your [topic] page (quick request). Always start link reclamation emails by showing your gratitude. After all, the person you’re reach­ing out to didn’t have to mention your company, yet they’ve done just that, so a thank you is in order. This particular subject line could be used when contact­ing a webmaster or site owner who’s dropped a brand mention within the core pages of their website (e.g., their About page).Thank you for mentioning us! ([title of their article]). This is a formula for those cases when you’re contacting a journalist who’s mentioned your brand within an article. In those cases, you want the recipient to spot the title of the article they’ve written to quickly engage them into opening your email.Quick question about your latest post (on behalf of [brand]). This is the formula I use when reaching out to a blogger who’s mentioned my company in a blog post. You can use tools, such as Ahrefs, BuzzSumo or Google Alerts to set up daily alerts for your brand name so you can reach out to bloggers as soon as the mention occurs.Much has been written about link reclamation as a link-building strategy. There’s less advice about the technique in combination with other off-page SEO efforts (a term that includes every SEO-related task or activity that happens off the site), such as content marketing for links. For marketers who build links with content, I always recommend adding a layer of link reclamation to their campaigns to maximize the number of links.Here are three tried-and-tested formulas to help you turn unlinked brand mentions into links back to your content:Attribution request: [title of their article]. This is my go-to formula for contacting journalists who’ve featured the content I produce for my clients and have mentioned the brand but have failed to credit the content with a link back to the original source (aka, my client’s website). It’s simple and to the point, including the title of the article in question to quickly get the writer’s attention.Credit to original source: [title of their article]. This is the subject-line formula my team uses when a journalist has picked up a piece of content after seeing it published by a media outlet and has credited them as the original source instead of linking back to our client. Start off by thanking the writer for sharing your content and include a link to the article they’ve written. Instead of simply asking for a link, ask for the credit to be fixed so it points to the original source of the content, and include the URL they should link out to.License infringement and attribution request: [title of their article]. If your content campaign includes images, make sure to license them under Creative Commons License 4.0 International, which states that publishers can share and/or adapt the material as long as they credit the creator with a link back to the material. Use this subject-line formula when doing link reclamation for images that are licensed under Creative Commons and have been used by other sites without linking back to your website as the source.Resource link building The subject lines for this type of link building will highly depend on the type of resource you’ve built. That said, here are three subject line formulas that are suitable when reaching out to webmasters or editors who curate resources around a specific topic:Suggestion for [name of resource page]: [name of your resource]. Straightforward and to the point, the recipient of this email will quickly know what page on their site you’re referring to and what type of resource you’re pitching. If your email gets opened, then it’s very likely you’ll get a link — as long as your resource is of good quality, of course!Are you accepting new resources for [name of resource page]? This is a good choice when reaching out to a site editor or webmaster about a page that doesn’t seem to be updated on a regular basis.New resource for [name of resource page]: [name of your resource]. This is an alternative to the first formula on this list that incorporates one of the most powerful words in advertising. Everyone wants to have something new, because it’s an improved and nicer version of the old. In addition, research has found that our brains react to novelty by releasing dopamine, which makes us want to go exploring in search of a reward — a great start for a link outreach email!Round-up inclusion Many bloggers and journalists publish weekly and monthly round-up articles where they handpick resources and content connected to a specific topic. The subject lines below will come in handy next time you’re pitching content you think should be included as part of one of these round-up posts:Tip for [name of round-up]: [title of your article]. If the round-up has a name, you should use it to show that you’ve done your research. In many cases, the article will include a short blurb at the beginning or end of the post where the writer specifies an email address to pitch new stories for inclusion. Use this subject line when contacting the specified email address.Do you take suggestions for [name of round-up]? Unlike the previous case, this is a subject line for contacting a blogger or journalist who publishes a round-up but doesn’t make it explicit whether they’re open for suggestions. In case the answer is a yes, it’s better to approach the person with a question and mention the piece of content you’d like to suggest inside the email.Related: Why Your Best Move Might Be to Promote Other Websites’ ContentContent marketing for links One of the go-to link-building techniques today involves creating content that can be pitched to other sites in the hopes that they will reuse it and link back to your website. I call this “content marketing for links” because it’s not quite the same as resource link building. However, there are many people who refer to this technique as “digital PR,” because, more often than not, the main goal is to build hard-to-get media links.The content is usually a visual piece that can be easily shared: a simple static image (infographics, maps, charts, illustrations, photographs, etc.), an animated asset (videos or GIFs) or an interactive feature that uses an iframe or embed code (interactive data visualizations, quizzes, calculators, etc.).Next time you’re pitching this type of content with the goal of building links, try opening your emails with the following subject line formulas:Tip: [title of your content] ([format]). I always advise including the word “tip” to help journalists immediately identify your email as a pitch. This can be crucial if the topic of your content could be mistaken for a different type of message, such as a sales pitch or junk mail: “How to lose weight this summer” vs. “Tip: How to lose weight this summer (infographic)”Tip for [site name]: [title of your content]. When contacting someone who writes for multiple publications, include the name of the site you’re targeting into your sub­ject-line formula. Keep this formula in mind when your target site is a company blog and you’re unsure of who manages it, so you’re pitching the most suitable contact based on their position within the organization (e.g., content manager or digital marketing executive).Story idea: [title of your content]. When pitching content to an editor who assigns stories to journalists, you can use this as an alternative to the first subject-line formula on this list.Tip: This [format] will show you [brief description about the topic of your content]. Note that the subject line has been written in a click-bait tone. See the difference:Tip: The college degree of the top earning CEO in every US state (interactive)Tip: This interactive will show you what the top CEOs in America studied in collegeExclusive for [site name]: [title of your content] ([format]). Make sure to mention the word “exclusive” when you’re ready to offer exclusivity over your content to a spe­cific publication. This will give your email priority as media outlets love to break the news about a story before anyone else.Did you enjoy your book preview? Click here to grab a copy today—now 60% off when you use code MARKET2021 through 4/3/21.

10 Common Graphic Design Mistakes to Avoid

April
15, 2020

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s The Content Marketing Handbook. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code MARKET2021 through 4/3/21.Design plays an important role in the success of your content. Long before they read your words, readers will begin judging the value of your content by its appearance.Here, according to desktop design guru Roger C. Parker, are 10 of the most common graphic design mistakes and how to avoid them:1. Overuse of Color The overuse of color does a disservice to readers who print white papers on inkjet printers. Avoid solid-colored backgrounds behind the text. Such pages can cost several dollars each in ink supplies. In addition, bright colors can create distractions that make adjacent text hard to read. Finally, text set in color is often harder to read than black text against a plain white background.2. Missing Page Numbers Many white papers lack page numbers. But readers depend on page numbers to track their progress through a publication. They also rely on page numbers to refer back to previously read information.3. Long Lines of Type Many white papers are hard to read because the text extends in an unbroken line across the page, from the left-hand margin to the right-hand margin. But long lines of type are difficult and tiresome to read. In addition, the resulting left and right margins are very narrow. White space along the edges of pages provides a resting spot for readers’ eyes and emphasizes the adjacent text.4. Inappropriate Typeface There are three main classifications of font: decorative, serif, and sans serif.Decorative fonts like Constantia or Broadway are heavily stylized and great for attracting attention or projecting an atmosphere or image. The use of these typefaces should be restricted to logos and packag­ing, however, where image is more important than readability.Serif fonts like Times New Roman and Garamond are ideal for extended reading. The serifs, or finishing strokes at the edges of each character, help define the unique shape of each letter and lead the reader’s eyes from letter to letter.Sans serif fonts like Arial and Verdana are very legible. Their clean, simple design helps readers recognize words from a long distance away, which is why they are used for highway signage. Sans serif typefaces are often used for headlines and subheads combined with serif body copy.5. Wrong Type Size When type is set too large, at 14 points, for instance, you can’t fit enough words on each line for readers to comfortably skim the text. Conversely, the details that help readers identify each character become lost when type is set too small. Type set too small also requires too many left-to-right eye movements on each line, which causes eye strain over time. The most popular and readable type size is 12 points.6. Difficult-to-Read Headlines Headlines should form a strong contrast with the text they introduce. Readers should have no trouble locating or reading them. And never set headlines entirely in all capital letters—it makes them harder to read than headlines set in a combination of uppercase and lowercase type.7. Failure to Chunk Content Chunking refers to making text easier to read by breaking it into manageable, bite-size pieces. The best way to chunk content is to insert frequent subheads throughout the text. Subheads convert skimmers into readers by “advertising” the text that follows. Each subhead thus provides an entry point into the text. They also avoid the visual boredom created by page after page of nearly identical paragraphs.8. Poor Subhead Formatting To work, subheads must form a strong visual contrast with the text. It’s not enough to simply italicize the subhead text. They should be noticeably larger and/or bolder than the adjacent body copy. Never underline subheads to “make them more notice­able.” Underlining makes them harder to read because it interferes with the descenders—the portions of lowercase letters like g, p, and y that extend below the invisible line the subheads rest on. Also, limit subheads to a few key words, and avoid using full sentences. Subheads work best when limited to a single line.9. Distracting Headers, Footers, and Borders Headers and footers refer to text or graphic accents repeated at the top or bottom of each page. Page numbers, copyright information, and the publisher’s address should be smaller and less noticeable than the main text. Large, colored logos on each page can also be very distracting, without adding meaningful information.As for borders, pages are often boxed, with lines of equal thickness at the top, bottom, and sides. Boxed pages project a conservative, old-fashioned look. A more contemporary image can be created using rules, or lines, of different thickness at just the top and bottom of each page.10. Widows and Orphans Widows and orphans occur when a word, a portion of a word, or a partial line of text is isolated at the bottom of a page or column (an orphan) or at the top of the next page or column (a widow). The worst-case scenario occurs when a subhead appears by itself at the bottom of a page, isolated from the paragraph it introduces, which appears at the top of the next page. Some software allows you to automatically “lock” subheads to the text they introduce—make sure you use this feature.When someone downloads a white paper from you, within seconds they will either feel a glow of pleasure or a sense of disappointment. Readers check out the cover and glance at the text, and then either say, “Aw, just another hard-to-read, look-alike white paper” or “Wow! This looks really great!” Whether your white paper receives the attention it deserves and paves the way for future sales or (worst-case scenario) is instantly deleted or round-filed depends to a great extent on its design.Did you enjoy your book preview? Click here to grab a copy today—now 60% off when you use code MARKET2021 through 4/3/21.

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Help Relieve Stress and Alleviate Pain With This Compact Neck and Shoulder Massager

This neck massager uses heat to restore blood circulation and relieve muscle spasms, knots, and headaches.

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April
3, 2021

2 min read

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Stress manifests in many ways. From exhaustion and panic to physical manifestations like blemishes or actual muscle pain, it’s no fun being really stressed out. When the weight of the world starts to overwhelm you, take a deep breath, sit back, and relax with the Rylaxo Multifunctional Remote Control Neck Massager.As the name suggests, Rylaxo acts as a personal massage therapist designed to help you take a beat and relieve muscle pain whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. With three different massage modes and up to 15 intensity adjustments, Rylaxo offers a personalized experience. It can help reduce pain and muscle spasms caused not only by stress but by poor posture and knots in your neck and shoulders. It can even help you cope with headaches.Rylaxo says it uses Microcirculation Low-Frequency Electrical Pulse technology that helps restore blood circulation in your neck and offers a heated massage to relieve the stress from muscles and bones. Made from a skin-friendly, breathable soft silicone material, it makes no extra pressure on your carotid artery and is comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. It has a 15-minute automatic shut-off timer if you happen to fall asleep mid-massage, so you won’t have to worry about running it for too long.Treat yourself to a relaxing neck massage any time, anywhere. The Rylaxo Multifunctional Remote Control Neck Massager is currently 9 percent off $72 at just $64.95. Get it in pink, blue, or white. Alternatively, you can get two for 11 percent off $118 at just $104.95. Get two packs in pink and white, blue and pink, or blue and white.Looking to diversify your investments in 2021? Check out DiversyFund to start dipping your toes in private real estate for as low as $500.Prices subject to change.

The boy who dreamed of being a pilot from a rooftop and today flies on American Airlines

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

This story originally appeared on Alto Nivel

A rooftop in the Tacuba neighborhood of Mexico City was the best clue to blow up a dream. Alejandro Escolá climbed along with his cousins and brothers to the roof of his house to watch the planes go by and imagine that he was the pilot, a steel bird. “The first time I saw a cockpit was when they took us to a plane, which they had made a restaurant, I remember being impressed with the panel and the instruments. I imagine it was a DC-6, but in my memory, it was a huge plane ”, remembers Alejandro Escolá, who now looks at the sky from a plane that he pilots in American Airlines. The Mexican now belongs to one of the world’s leading US airlines which, together with American Eagle , offers an average of 6,700 daily flights to 350 destinations in 50 countries. This April 7, the Mexican pilot celebrated World Aviation Pilot Day and recalled the story that precedes his path to the world of commercial aviation and the achievement of a dream that began on a rooftop in Mexico. Making tamales Alejandro Escolá was born in Mexico City during 1959. The Tacuba neighborhood was the area that sheltered his childhood with his parents and siblings. “I grew up making tamales in the tamalería of my parents, who since I was little taught me the meaning of what effort and sacrifice is,” says Escolá, who took his steps towards a university cerrera, but never forgot his dream of flying. At the age of 18, the young Mexican began to investigate what he needed to be a pilot. This is how he decided to go to the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) to talk with pilots he encountered. Aviation professionals recommended Alejandro study in the United States, since in the neighboring country to the north he would find the best aviation schools. However, there was a challenge ahead: Escola had to learn to speak English in order to leave his native country. “I would go to the US Embassy in Mexico at 4 in the morning to look for information and what requirements I needed to study. I spent all day filling out papers and forms to get a study visa, ”says the Mexican. Embassy employees sent the English student to the Benjamin Franklin Library to search for information on aviation studies. Thus began the admission process to various universities. “So I got to the University Tulsa, Oklahoma. I continued to take English classes and after a year, I began my aviation studies at the Spartan School of Aeronautics. There I not only flew an airplane for the first time, but also obtained several of my licenses. My main training as a pilot was there ”, says Alejandro Escolá. Image: American Airlines / Alejandro Escolá “I achieved my dream” In 1982, his 23 years old , Alejandro already had several flight licenses, but he lacked experience and flight hours. That would change shortly for the path that family life would follow. Escolá’s older sister moved to Puerto Rico , since her husband was originally from that region. When he finished his studies in the US, Alejandro decided to visit his family and shortly after he decided to stay and live on the island. “In Puerto Rico I raised my family and at the same time I continued working to be able to get to an airline,” says the Mexican pilot. In Puerto Rico, the Mexican obtained his instructor license and thus was able to accumulate flight hours. “When I was able to get the ATP license, I was able to enter an airline called Executive Air, they had CASA planes, only 19 passengers and no flight attendant, then that airline became American Eagle, which was a subsidiary of American Airlines , there I spent 23 years of my career flying the ATR plane throughout the Caribbean, ”he explains. The opportunity seemed not to be long. One program offered American Eagle pilots to upgrade to American Airlines. The only requirement was to fly an EMB 145 aircraft for at least two years. On September 11, 2001, the attack on the Twin Towers, in New York, and only 3 months after being part of American Airlines, the aviation industry completely changed before the terrorist events. “I saw my dream more and more distant,” says Alejandro. “It wasn’t until January 2011 that I had the opportunity to get to American Airlines. It was a lot of work and many hours of study, but I achieved my dream, I flew the 737 plane until 2016 and that year I went on to fly the 777 plane, where I have been for 3 years ”, he recalls. Alejandro Escolá believes that the aviation industry has progressed a lot and young people can access their dreams of flying. “Sometimes the hard work and experience needed to get to be in command of an airplane is not shared. You start by obtaining the private pilot license with approximately 40 hours, then instrument training, then the commercial pilot license and multi-engine training. It is recommended to obtain the instructor license, in order to reach the 1500 hours required ”, he says. Today, Alejandro Escolá, a native of the Tacuba neighborhood in Mexico City, is ready to help young people achieve their dreams. Today look at the roofs of other houses where perhaps there are other children who dream of occupying the cabin of their plane on American Airlines .