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Published by Chris Hlubb , February 12th, 2019
 
For those of you who didn't know me before my time here at OffWhite, I was known as the guy from the Fitness Center at the local YMCA. Even to this day, more people recognize me for my time there than my time here. Maybe it's because I worked with such a wonderful, knowledgeable staff that really made the Fitness Center a welcoming environment. It's definitely one of those times I'll always look back on in my life with a smile.

The reason I was thinking about this on a random Tuesday is that I recently saw an article that was shared on LinkedIn, and you can read it here: https://www.linkedin.com/comm/feed/news/4616588. It links to a BBC article entitled "How to exercise during the workday (and why it's important)."

We've all been told the benefits of exercise including having a better mood/positive outlook, reduction in disease, and better sleep among many other things. But sometimes I think it gets lost on people that exercise has a very significant benefit to how productive you are at work.  And I'm not talking in terms of physical labor. According to the article, a 2013 study showed that regardless of age, people experience "immediate benefits" for cognition following "a single bout of moderate exercise", such as 15 minutes of moderately intense cycling on a stationary bike.

On a personal note, I can vouch for this. Virtually every Monday through Friday on my lunch hour, I've ventured over to the Y to get a workout in. I cannot tell you how many times I've been working on a problem at work, only to walk away from it for a bit, and then have an "Ah ha!" moment in the middle of my workout for something to try when I got back to the office. And funny enough, more often than not my thought worked! On the other side of this, how many of you have been at work looking at the clock realizing you still have a couple of hours left to go in the day and find that you're groggy? A mid-day workout can also help you get some of your energy back. I have had days in which I stayed in the office from 8 to 5 without taking a break. And those are very long days, even if I'm busy. When that happens, I'm absolutely burned out when it's time to go home. It makes a huge difference to me when I don't get to leave the office for some physical activity.

Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking at this point – I need my lunch break for various things and/or I don't have time because of my work or I only have a small window for my lunch break. There are also some of you out there that just utterly don't want to do anything physical during the day and/or want to get all hot and sweaty to come back to the office. I understand that sometimes life gets in the way, but I've heard all of the excuses. If you truly want to make any kind of difference in your life, you'll make it a point to make it part of your daily routine. And you don't need to be in the gym for hours on end. Take small steps, like going for a 10 – 15 minute walk around the block, or even around the office.  You don't even have to do this on your lunch break. Find a few minutes each hour, or block off of five or ten minutes in the morning to just move, especially if you have a desk job. You'll find that as you do this over and over, it will become part of your daily routine. As I learned when I was a trainer at the Y, it takes 3 weeks to develop a habit, so stick with it! A healthier you, and a healthier work environment is just around the corner.  
 
And hey, if your office doesn't offer the benefit of a longer lunch hour so you can partake in a healthier routine, suggest it to your boss. I'm sure if you can pitch it as healthier employees making for a more efficient work environment, that would be music to everyone's ears.
 
 
 
 
 
Published by Stephanie Johnson , December 13th, 2017
Social Media Users 2018
 
Most of us get excited about a new year. We ponder what things we did well the year before and what we need to improve upon….in both our personal lives and in our business lives. I personally like a new year because it means a fresh start. I love the hunt for the best planner/calendar to keep me organized (no, I don’t rely completely on Siri) and finding the perfect one ignites a fire in me to stay on track.
 
As 2017 comes to a close, we are thinking progressively about what we will be doing in 2018. Which trends from 2017 will continue on to next year? Which ones were so cringe worthy we hope we never, ever see them again? In the social media world, 2017 brought us trends like the fight against fake news, live video streaming and selfie filters.
 
What will we see in 2018? Now is the time to plan for what will be trending in the coming year. So, without further ado…
 
Social Video
Facebook Video for 2018I use YouTube for practically everything… recipe ideas for dinner, conditioning and workout plans, how to change the filter in my furnace. In 2018, we will most likely see Facebook becoming a dominant competitor to YouTube. In 2017, Facebook launched Facebook Watch, a tv-like option within the Facebook application, to select creators. 2018 will open the doors of this new video feature to all users and will change the ways in which we watch videos.
 
Presumably, we will also see more video features on Facebook geared towards creators that will increase exposure. And there’s a chance 2018 will bring the launch of a dedicated Facebook video application.
 
Voice Search
“Siri, remind me on Monday at 6 p.m. to take Kendyl to basketball practice.” “Alexa, turn off the lights in the hallway bathroom.” 2018 might just be the year we become even lazier now that we have technology like Siri, Alexa and Google and all we have to do is give them commands with our voice and they will deliver what we need. I no longer have to write things on my calendar or get up to turn off the lights that one of my children left on. What does this mean for your business? Paid search and the goal of being in the top three organic spots in search results will have to be part of your overall marketing plan.
 
Live Streaming
Back in August, when we had the once in a lifetime experience of the total solar eclipse, I was able to see a completely different perspective of the event from my college roommate, who was live streaming as she and her family watched from Death Valley in California. We saw a rise in live video streaming in 2017, and 2018 will produce an even bigger jump in this trend. Large corporations and small businesses will be streaming live during sales and events to catch the attention of their followers. It’s free, it’s powerful and it needs to be part of your content marketing plan.
 
Chatboxes
I was recently placing an order online for a steering wheel for my son to use with his Xbox (don’t ask me why this makes a video game more fun, ask my son). I had a coupon code to get a discount but during the checkout process I kept getting an error. What did I do? I clicked on the button that said, “Want to chat?” and the “person” on the other end was able to easily solve the problem. There’s something about not having to pick up the phone when you have a question and being able to get an answer easily and efficiently. 2018 will see a large increase in the number of e-commerce and business-to-business use of Chatboxes. Why? Because it allows businesses to communicate with customers in the way they prefer to communicate.
 
Ephemeral Content
Ephemeral Social Content 2018I’ve had multiple conversations with my children regarding ephemeral content – content that goes away after the viewer sees it or after a maximum time period of 24 hours. These conversations are usually centered around the negative aspects of ephemeral content, but with the target of 2018 being the younger millennials and generation Z, we need to focus on why it is becoming so popular.
 
What are the advantages of ephemeral content? Content that is short-lived is considered more authentic – longer ads lose focus and tend to push customers to purchase. It also ignites a FOMO (fear of missing out) which results in quick decision making and impulse purchasing, which is an advantage when marketing your products.
 
As we say goodbye to another year and spend the next few weeks analyzing, crunching numbers and planning for what is to come, don’t overlook many of the things you may not think you are ready for yet.
 
To learn more about how we can help prepare you for the social trends of 2018, contact Jane Cirigiliano at 800-606-1610.
 
 
 
 
Published by Elizabeth Godfrey, October 31st, 2017
Original Content Marketing
 
Good copy is many things. It is clear, concise, purposeful and well researched. Above all, however, good copy is original.
For many, the fear of plagiarism left their head soon after they left school. That is, of course, if it was something they had considered at all. As a sometimes-adjunct teacher of college composition courses I have often encountered students who believe they will never need to know basic writing skills, let alone research methodologies and note taking. While it is true the majority of people will not need to be experts in citation styles (after all, there are style guides for a reason), greater reliance on internet sources has only increased the importance of attribution.
 
Crediting source materials is important inside and outside the classroom.
 
Most often, I have found my students plagiarize when they are simply up against the due date for their paper. Anyone who has sat down in front of a blank page has experienced the beast at some point in their life. Trying to meet the deadline of a paper or content marketing piece, especially if a word count minimum is involved, makes it easy to accidently include unoriginal work.
 
Nearly every college course has a plagiarism clause, often under academic dishonesty, denoting it will not be tolerated. But proper attribution of sources is just as, if not more, important in the real world. While college plagiarism might result in a lower grade or even expulsion from the school, passing off someone else's work, which includes their thoughts as well as their words, as your own outside of an academic setting can have much larger consequences. Unoriginal work degrades your brand, whether personal or professional. It can also lead to copyright infringement.
 
Whether you use an existing citation style or create or adapt your own the goal is to make it easy for anyone reading your piece to find your source materials. This not only protects you against copyright infringement, it also helps build your brand’s credibility as a thought leader.
While the internet has expedited the research process in a number of ways it, somewhat unfortunately, can also lead to sloppy note taking through copying and pasting. When your outline or comprehensive source list does not clearly indicate the text is copied and provide the origin you can easily forget it is not something you wrote. This is especially true if you have the benefit of time between researching, writing and editing. If you are part of a company where the draft is then handed off to someone else there is often no way for your coworker to know citations are even needed.
 
Taking good notes during the research process is a vital skill for any writer.
 
Unintentional plagiarism can come from incomplete citations or poor note taking. If you find a perfect chunk of text in your outline you may feel relieved that you clearly wrote something else earlier and simply drop the text into your piece. Just as words should be carefully selected in your writing, your notes and outlines should be carefully crafted to distinguish between your own original ideas and the knowledge you have gained from outside sources.
 
Ebooks and white papers in particular are great content marketing pieces that should provide useful educational information to your audience. They help you acquire leads while establishing you as a subject matter expert. If you have written an ebook or white paper there’s a very good chance you need to include citations in the piece as they often require outside research or supporting facts and statistics.
 
Just as your reader should be able to locate your sources in a variety of ways, you should also be able to find your source. If you only include a title or an author in your note taking you might have difficulty relocating the source when the time comes to make your reference list. This makes attribution of your sources difficult and complicates fact checking that should be an essential component of your copyediting process.
 
Learn more about best practices for researching and source attribution in content marketing. Contact Bill White or Abby Spung at 800.606.1610.
 
Think you have what it takes to provide clear, concise and original content? Take steps to join our team.
 
 
 
 
Published by Chris Hlubb , September 30th, 2017
Ok Google, why are my keyword rankings so low
 
Have you ever found yourself wondering about a particular subject and when the decision is made to look it up, you find yourself picking up your smart phone and uttering words like “Hey Siri, what is…” or “Ok, Google, find me…” instead of typing in your query?

In this day and age of the microwave society, everybody wants things five minutes ago and nothing is simpler than speaking to your device of choice, whether it’s a phone or something like Amazon’s Alexa. Research is showing that even as early as 2014, 55% of teens and 41% of adults are using voice technology on a daily basis. Even though the same task can be completed by booting up your laptop (or trying to use those tiny keypads on your phone), it’s just so much faster to speak than to type. In fact, according to a 2016 Internet Trends Report by KPCB, the average human can speak 150 words per minute vs. 40 typed words per minute. That’s almost four times faster – no wonder this method of searching has become increasingly popular.

The whole goal of a voice search, as opposed to a search that you type into your favorite search engine, is to get an immediate answer. While some typed search engines are getting better at giving “instant” answers, typically these will net you a return of a listing of links that pertain to what you’ve asked in which you need to decipher the information you want. And it’s this main difference that is very impactful on how SEO will be handled as this technology continues to move forward.

apple watch voice search seo Having a casual conversation with a computer may have felt like science fiction years ago, but now, computer voice recognition software is getting much better at understanding what it is we want. In an article written earlier this year by Xuendong Huang, Microsoft announced that they were successful in their efforts to reduce errors in speech recognition to 5.1%, which happens to be the same error rate as a human. And it’s not just Microsoft – Google and other companies are getting much, much closer to understanding your commands as if you were conversing with another person.

And here why this is important with SEO. While keywords are an important part of a search, voice commands are geared more towards a natural speech pattern. One thought is that when building your SEO program, you might want to think about using speech patterns to help boost your rankings. People don’t use voice commands the way they type.

For example, if I want to know what movies will be playing this weekend in my city, I’ll typically type in something like “movies” and enter in a date and/or location, but with voice commands I can say something like “what movies are playing this weekend?” My mobile device is smart enough to know my location and is able to pull in the desired information. Questions are very common with voice searches, so you might want to think what could be asked about the information on your pages/products and integrate them into your SEO program.

I'm not saying that the age of the keyboard has gone the same way as the dinosaurs, but with voice recognition becoming much more widely used (and it is only expected to grow) people will need to start changing the way they think of how customers are searching for their products and act accordingly. It’s just the next natural step in an ever-changing technology world.

To learn more about the latest trends in SEO, contact Jane Cirigliano or Abby Spung at 800-606-1610.
 
 
 
 
Published by Jane Cirigliano, August 31st, 2017
Google AdWords New Features
Millions of businesses use Google AdWords to promote their products and services on the world's most used search engine. As Google usage grows, you don’t have to simply increase your ad spend to keep up with the competition.

Google is constantly adding new features and interfaces based on user feedback, search trends and automation. These features often help companies of any size stay competitive.
 
Ad Variations
In September 2017, Google AdWords will be adding new features geared toward improving campaign performance. Google will add new variations of your existing ads so you can test the performance of Google’s suggested improvements. You can edit or remove these ads at any point, and you can opt out of the service.
 
Google's machine learning will help advertisers display high performance ads automatically. The Smart Bidding feature helps advertisers who choose to optimize for conversions.
 
Maximizing Your Daily Budget
More changes are coming at the beginning of October. Have you ever noticed that your ads never seem to hit their daily budgets? Google has added new features to ensure that advertisers meet their click and conversion goals. Campaigns will be allowed to spend up to double their allotted daily budgets.
 
While on the surface, this sounds like your online spending could get out of hand quickly, it is set up to balance out. Google plans to take budgets from days where you don't meet your daily budget, like weekends in the B2B sector, and reallocate those funds to your busier days. Google has stated that spending will not exceed your monthly charging limit. Starting October 4, you'll want to make sure to adjust your monthly budgets accordingly.
 
New Google AdWords Interface
Finally, Google has been in the process of rolling out the beta of its new AdWords interface over the past few months. The new (and faster) Google AdWords will offer more insights into what is driving your best advertising results, as well as a more intuitive user experience.
 
Look for the new AdWords interface to be available to all AdWords customers in October 2017.
 
If you need help optimizing your pay-per-click account to take advantage of the latest AdWords features, contact Bill White or Abby Spung at 800-606-1610.
 
 
 
 
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