South Africa’s child rights hero

first_imgProf Ann Skelton’s job as a prosecutor was a turning point in her career. It got her interested in children and she realised that she wanted to change the law. (Image: worldschildrensprize.org) HM Queen Silvia of Sweden with Prof Ann Skelton, the World’s Children’s Prize Honorary Laureate 2012. (Image: Christine Olsson/World’s Children’s Prize) The Centre for Child Law pioneered separate legal representation of children in South Africa. Prof Ann Skelton was a legal representative in the centre’s first judgement on this subject, which became a landmark case. (Image: worldschildrensprize.org) MEDIA CONTACTS • Carmilla Floyd  The World’s Children’s Prize  +46 159 12900 RELATED ARTICLES • “The excitement never left us” • More women engineers for SA • SA’s fashion gold medallist • SA academic gets top science awardWilma den HartighSouth Africa’s children have a powerful ally fighting for their rights. In and out of the court room South African advocate Prof Ann Skelton is doing ground-breaking work to advance the rights of children and bring about changes to the country’s juvenile justice system.In honour of Skelton’s work over the past 25 years to protect the rights of children affected by the South African justice system, she was recently named one of three laureates of the prestigious 2012 World’s Children’s Prize.The award recognises people who have done outstanding work for children whose rights have been violated. It’s also the world’s largest annual programme in the field of educating young people about the rights of children, democracy, the environment, and global friendship.Through her work Skelton, who is the director of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria, continues to put issues affecting children under the spotlight.When Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, Skelton was asked to chair the writing of the new legislation to protect children in trouble with the law. She was involved in drafting the Children’s Act and the Child Justice Act, and she’s still leading the way in setting legal precedents and changing laws affecting children.An early turning pointEarly in her career Skelton reached a turning point. While working as a young prosecutor in the Pietermaritzburg juvenile court, her first job after completing her studies, she realised that she didn’t want to practise law in the conventional way.For her, working in the legal field was about more than taking on a case and representing a client.“I’ve always been interested in law to bring about change,” she says.She grew up under the apartheid regime in South Africa and when she was 15 years old, young black protestors of her own age were being shot and jailed.In the juvenile court she was put in the hot seat and regularly saw children who were beaten by police, bitten by police dogs, and sentenced to whipping.“I was so appalled by this and I thought this must change,” she says.“It was 1986, the middle of apartheid and the children were small – some were as young as seven or eight and could hardly see over the bench. It was pretty harsh.”She worked as a prosecutor for only 18 months, but the experience changed the course of her career.“It forged me into a person who wanted to change the law and it got me interested in children,” she says. “Work experience is important because even if you don’t like what you do, you learn something about yourself.”A challenging jobOne of the difficulties of her job is dealing with an emotional subject, but she says it is important to maintain a professional distance from cases, yet still be compassionate.“I do get angry about children suffering, but through my work I am giving people hope and this is a great reward,” she says.She emphasises that it doesn’t help to become sentimental. “I’m not soppy about children. I see children as people who need extra help,” she says. “I go to court to fight for children and this is why we can’t afford to be too emotional about them.”Landmark rulingsThese days Skelton’s work is not only about helping children in prison, but also taking to court those cases that involve issues such as access to education, socio-economic rights, health and nutrition.She says although South Africa’s laws to protect children are much better now, these laws are not always implemented and children still suffer.Whether she is representing one child or a case that can help many children in the same situation, her work brings about positive change to the lives of South Africa’s younger citizens.  The Centre for Child Law, through its children’s litigation project, has been involved in cases that have been heard in the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of Appeal, as well as the High, Children’s and Magistrates Courts.Many judgements have set precedents that have brought about changes in the law, government activities and broader society.Skelton recalls the centre’s first case in the Constitutional Court, involving a 35-year-old single mother of three children convicted of fraud and sentenced to a fine and four years in prison.This case was important as it called into question whether the mother’s sentence was in the best interests of the children, who would be left without a primary care giver if she was imprisoned.Now world famous, it has become one of the centre’s most cited cases. It was the first Constitutional Court case to examine the meaning and content of the constitutional right that ‘a child’s best interests are of paramount importance’.The precedent set by this judgement requires that when sentencing primary care givers, a judge should give preference to non-custodial sentences as far as possible.If imprisonment is the only appropriate sentence, the court must ensure the safety of children during the absence of the primary care giver.Another important aspect of Skelton’s job is protecting the autonomy of children.“It is important to cater for children at different levels of development,” she says. “Childhood is a process and children need more autonomy as they get older.”The centre has pioneered separate legal representation of children in South Africa, based on the idea that children of a certain age and maturity have a right to participate in decisions made about them.This issue becomes particularly important when children get caught up in family disputes or legal battles.Skelton was a legal representative in the centre’s first judgement on this subject, which became a landmark case.Leaving it to the kids to decideWhen she found out that the University of Pretoria nominated her for the World’s Children’s Prize, she didn’t pay much attention to it. “I wasn’t expecting to win,” she says.Skelton didn’t think she stood a good chance, considering that prominent South Africans who have received the accolade include former president Nelson Mandela. The prize was also posthumously awarded to 13-year-old Hector Pieterson who died in the 1976 Soweto uprising and Nkosi Johnson, an HIV-positive child who died at the age of 12 but who made a major impact on public perceptions of the pandemic.But Skelton underestimated herself – her work did make a significant impact on the jury.What is interesting about this award is that the winners are selected entirely by children.The candidates for the prize are selected by a child jury, who are all child rights experts through their own life experiences. Some of them have been child soldiers, debt slaves and even homeless. Voting then opens to 2.5-million children worldwide to select a winner.One of the jury children, 17-year-old Gabatshwane Gumede, comes from South Africa.When she heard the news that she was a winner, Skelton was overwhelmed. She emphasises that her work isn’t a solitary pursuit, but a team effort. “You are always working as a team. It is never just one person that writes a law,” she says.What’s next?She believes the protection and care of unaccompanied foreign children that find their way into South Africa needs more attention. “This is a very interesting group of children that don’t receive much attention,” she says.According to a Unicef article, Children on the Move. Unaccompanied migrant children in South Africa, the government has a legislative responsibility to extend the same protective measures to foreign children as it would to any South African child.Such children, of whom there are several thousand in the country, come from as far as Somalia. “They walk here, or hitch a ride on the back of trucks,” she says.She adds that South Africa’s laws on unaccompanied foreign children are not very clear.“I would like to see more attention paid to this.”Changing perceptions about lawWhen Skelton is not in court, she lectures in the university’s Department of Law. “I draw a lot from my own work. I try to make the law come alive,” she says.When she’s lecturing, she most enjoys changing the way students think about law. “I feel I play a role in helping students see there are other ways to do law,” she says.“I always tell my students that it is important to like your job, because I do.”She says the protection of children’s rights isn’t just up to lawyers and the court, but ordinary South Africans also have a role. “The public can do a lot to help children. You might know a child is being abused and you can bring that to the attention of the law. Don’t turn a blind eye.”last_img read more

Cape Town named SA’s Earth Hour Capital

first_img7 February 2014Cape Town has been named South Africa’s Earth Hour Capital in recognition of the city’s actions to address climate change, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced on Tuesday.The title is awarded as part of the global Earth Hour City Challenge, a collaborative effort between WWF and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives which aims to highlight and reward cities that are prepared to make substantial long-term efforts to combat climate change.“We are exceptionally proud of Cape Town’s contribution to building a sustainable future that both protects the environment and improves the lives of citizens of South Africa,” WWF South Africa CEO Morne du Plessis said in a statement.Cape Town is one of 33 finalists competing for this year’s Global Earth Hour City title, from a total of 163 entrants, six of them South African.Once national Earth Hour Capitals have been chosen for each of the 14 participating countries, an expert jury will scrutinise the information supplied by finalist cities to identify the overall Earth Hour Capital.The grand title will be awarded at the Earth Hour City Challenge Conference and Awards Ceremony in Vancouver, Canada in March.Citizens of participating countries still have an opportunity to express their support for their favourite cities among the finalists through WWF’s “We Love Cities” social media campaign, which will run until 20 March.SAinfo reporter and World Wildlife Fund South Africalast_img read more

Today’s Medal Hunt

first_imgARCHERYMen’s: Compound teamWomen’s: Compound teamATHLETICSMen’s: Shot put; 100mWomen’s: Hammer throw; 100mCYCLING (Track)Men’s: Sprint; 4,000m team pursuitWomen’s: 210-km scratch race; sprintGYMNASTICS (Artistic)Men’s: Floor; pommel horse; rings.Women’s: Vault; uneven barsSHOOTINGCLAY TARGETMen’s: Double trap singlesPISTOL & SMALL BOREMen’s: 10m air pistol pairs; 25m rapid fire pistol pairsWomen’s: 50m rifle 3 positionsSWIMMINGMen’s: 100m freestyle; 400m individual medleyWomen’s: 100m butterfly; 800m freestyle; solo free routine; duet free routineWEIGHTLIFTINGMen’s 77kgWomen’s 63kgWRESTLINGWomen’s: Freestyle (48kg, 55kg, 63kg, 72kg – repechage)last_img

76ers destroy Nets to advance in NBA playoffs

first_imgRaptors rout Magic to clinch series, set up showdown vs Sixers Nets: Joe Harris, the NBA’s top 3-point shooter, hit his first one since Game 1 with the score well out of hand. Harris was just 3 of 16 through the first four games. … Nets general manager Sean Marks was suspended for the game for entering the referees’ locker room after Brooklyn’s loss to Philadelphia in Game 4. … Simmons smothered Russell and the Nets star was held to eight points on 3 of 16 shooting.76ers: Their 29-point halftime lead was the largest in playoff franchise history. The 31 points allowed matched the lowest in the shot-clock era.UP NEXTThe Raptors went 3-1 vs. the Sixers this season.“You can credit it or you can discredit it,” Brown said. “I’m discrediting it. We have a new group. We have a new opportunity.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. The teams tangled again in the final two minutes, and the deep reserves had to be separated. Sixers mascot Franklin ran out wearing oversized gold boxing gloves to bring a dose of levity to the ruckus.Philadelphia’s Jonah Bolden and Greg Monroe, and Brooklyn’s Dzanan Musa and Radians Kurucs were ejected.“Our team was physical the whole time,” Simmons said. “I think we need to take that up to Toronto.”Embiid got the last laugh in the second quarter with a baseline dunk over Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and pointed at the hapless defender. Embiid was hit with a technical but by then, who cared? Embiid buried a 3 from the top of the arc that made it 41-17 and about blew the roof off the arena. Sixers general manager Elton Brand, who sits in the first row of the press seating, had his eyes locked on the scoreboard for each replay of the big man’s 3.Embiid had 23 points and 13 rebounds, Simmons had 13 points and no starter played more than 27 minutes in a game that could have been called off after the first quarter.Hollis-Jefferson scored 21 points for the Nets, who head into the offseason after their first playoff series since 2015.“We never made a push back,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I’m surprised we didn’t come out with more grit, more fight.”Brand is as much to credit for the Sixers’ success as anyone, using his rookie season as GM to orchestrate trades for Butler and Tobias Harris that kept Philly humming along in a 51-win season. But even before the trades, the Sixers were expected to make it this far in the playoffs. They did last season and were knocked out by Boston in the East semis in five games. The midseason trades for Harris and Butler were expected to push the Sixers to at least the conference final. Brown has said the goal is to play in the NBA Finals.“They’re going for big things. They can compete for a championship, quite honestly,” Atkinson said.TIP-INS LATEST STORIES Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Any late arrivals missed the defining moments of the game from a jovial Sixers team that enjoyed toying with the sickly Nets.The Sixers stunned the Nets with a 14-0 run in front of the loudest and rowdiest packed house of the season.Embiid again shook off a bad left knee and had six points and five rebounds in the first two minutes to chants of “MVP!” The Nets later trailed 20-2, and Simmons put an exclamation point on the stunning first quarter when he drove the paint and used a right-handed jam to make it 32-12 — with a thump of his chest for emphasis.“They did whatever they wanted before we could even get on the board,” Nets All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell said.Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley was soundly booed during pregame introductions and each time he touched the ball in the first. Dudley had stirred trouble when he said Simmons was “average” in the half-court. Dudley bumped Embiid in Game 4, triggering a skirmish with Jimmy Butler that spilled into the stands. Dudley heard “Dudley sucks!” chants from opening tipoff and got a view of this rout from the bench in the second half. He flashed a few smiles in the waning moments, his time as a playoff name over.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, of Cameroon, reacts to his basket during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)PHILADELPHIA— Joel Embiid showed no mercy. He buried a 3-pointer that gave the 76ers a 24-point lead and waved his arms like a boss, exhorting an already jacked crowd to get louder.Philly obeyed its most popular player and went wild — and the All-Star center believes the good times have only just started.ADVERTISEMENT “We think we can win it all,” Embiid said.Ben Simmons thumped his chest after a big dunk , Embiid pointed toward an overmatched defender on a slam of his own, and Philadelphia flexed its offensive muscle from the opening tip to beat the Brooklyn Nets 120-100 on Tuesday night and close out their Eastern Conference playoff series in five games.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsUp next, a second round series against the Toronto Raptors, who dropped their playoff opener before winning four straight against Orlando — the same thing the Sixers did to Brooklyn.“We still have more to do. A lot more to do,” coach Brett Brown said. Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles MOST READlast_img read more

25 TEDTalk Quotes to Inspire You

first_imgHave you ever attended live or viewed an online TEDTalk? You know, those inspiring, funny, or fascinating talks from industry leaders and amazing people that take place around the world? Today, the TED nonprofit, which began in 1984 as an annual conference that brought together people from the technology, entertainment, and design industries, has launched TED Quotes, a web page on the TED.com website dedicated to featuring some of the best quotes from its TEDTalks.It’s a brilliant move; who doesn’t love a good, insighful quote? We’ve been scouring the TED Quotes today and wanted to highlight some of our favorite ones from the technology, internet, management, and business categories. These quotes are easily tweetable and Facebook sharable via the TED website, and they can make great additions to your presentations and other marketing content. Enjoy!TED Technology Quotes1) Clay Shirky: Time Warner has called and they want us all back on the couch, just consuming — not producing, not sharing — and we should say, ‘No.’ Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)2) Ian Ritchie: [Tim Berners-Lee] told me about his proposed system called the ‘World Wide Web.’ And I thought, well, that’s got a pretentious name. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)3) Roger Ebert: Because of the rush of human knowledge, because of the digital revolution, I have a voice, and I do not need to scream. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)4) Evan Grant: Everything gives out some kind of data, whether it’s sound or smell or vibration. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)5) Aaron Koblin: An interface can be a powerful narrative device. And as we collect more and more personally and socially relevant data, we have an opportunity, and maybe even an obligation, to maintain [our] humanity and tell some amazing stories. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)6) Ze Frank: On street corners everywhere, people are looking at their cell phones, and it’s easy to dismiss this as some sort of bad trend in human culture. But the truth is life is being lived there. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)7) Nicholas Christakis: Social networks are these intricate things of beauty, and they’re so elaborate and so complex and so ubiquitous that one has to ask what purpose they serve. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)8) John Underkoffler: That’s the old way, that’s the old mantra: one machine, one human, one mouse, one screen. Well, that doesn’t really cut it anymore. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)9) David Agus Quoting Andy Grove: No technology will win. Technology itself will win. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)TED Internet Quotes10) Clay Shirky: We are in a world where most American citizens over the age of 12 share things with each other online. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)11) Joe Sabia: In 6,000 years of storytelling, [people have] gone from depicting hunting on cave walls to depicting Shakespeare on Facebook walls. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)12) Adam Ostrow: By the end of this year, there’ll be nearly a billion people on this planet that actively use social networking sites. The one thing that all of them have in common is that they’re going to die. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)13) Eli Pariser: Facebook was looking at which links I clicked on, and it was noticing that I was clicking more on my liberal friends’ links than on my conservative friends’ links. And without consulting me about it, it had edited them out. They disappeared. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)14) Eli Pariser: In a broadcast society, there were these gatekeepers, the editors, and they controlled the flows of information. Along came the Internet and it swept them out of the way, and it allowed all of us to connect together, and it was awesome. But that’s not actually what’s happening right now. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)15) Eli Pariser: Your filter bubble is your own personal, unique universe of information that you live in online. What’s in your filter bubble depends on who you are, and it depends on what you do. But you don’t decide what gets in — and more importantly, you don’t see what gets edited out. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)16) David McCandless: Data is the new soil, because for me, it feels like a fertile, creative medium. Over the years, online, we’ve laid down a huge amount of information and data, and we irrigate it with networks and connectivity, and it’s been worked and tilled by unpaid workers and governments. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)17) Stephen Lawler: We’re so constrained by browsing the Web, remembering URLs, saving favorites. As we move to search, we rely on the relevance rankings, the Web matching, the index crawling. But we want to use our brain! We want to navigate, explore, discover information. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)TED Management Quotes18) Stanley McChrystal: Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)19) Elizabeth Lesser: Don’t persuade, defend or interrupt. Be curious, be conversational, be real. And listen. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)20) Jason Fried: [Facebook and Twitter] aren’t the real problems in the office. The real problems are what I like to call the M&Ms, the Managers and the Meetings. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)21) R.A. Mashelkar: An innovator is one who does not know it cannot be done. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)22) Simon Sinek: If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)TED Business Quotes23) Jacek Utko: There is no reason — no practical reason — for newspapers to survive Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)24) Tim Harford: Ten percent of American businesses disappear every year. … It’s far higher than the failure rate of, say, Americans. Ten percent of Americans don’t disappear every year. Which leads us to conclude American businesses fail faster than Americans, and therefore American businesses are evolving faster than Americans. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)25) Lisa Gansky: A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir. Tweet This! (Watch the TEDTalk)Which TEDTalk quote inspires you the most? Topics: Marketing Experts Originally published Feb 14, 2012 5:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

The B2B Marketer’s Blind Spot and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jul 29, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Oh man, how good does that egg look?It got me thinking … you know what would make this Sunday round-up better? If I could somehow make this a Sunday marketing brunch. Got your two eggs sunny side up? Crispy bacon with a side of the most tantalizing marketing stories of the week? Alright then. Start sipping your mimosa and join me in reviewing the most interesting inbound marketing stories of the week! B2B Marketers Have a Blind Spot: The Buyer’s Journey From Forrester This story comes to us from Jeff Ernst’s Forrester blog. He discusses the transformation of the B2B marketer’s focus, saying the process is changing faster than marketers can keep up with; more and more marketers are being held to direct revenue growth goals, as opposed to less tangible analytics such as reach or awareness. This is a change that many marketers aren’t prepared for, and has resulted in a tendency to neglect an essential portion of the buying cycle: the middle of the funnel . He argues that the marketer’s role doesn’t end at just attracting leads, but that lead nurturing is just as essential to marketers’ success as things like public relations and event planning. We couldn’t agree more! Check out the full story here . Facebook Launches New & Improved Recommendations Plugin for Websites As usual, Facebook changed something this week. The latest update from the ever-evolving social network is a concept called the ‘Recommendation Bar’ for websites to install. But wait, didn’t they already have that? Why yes, they did. But this is a little bit different, in that the Recommendation Bar is more interactive and auto-publishes stories that users have read to their Timelines and newsfeeds in order to further bolster engagement and referral traffic . It’s the latest addition to Facebook’s Social Plugins Suite, which includes the external Like button, Subscribe button, and Facebook Comments section. Still confused as to what exactly changed? We break it down for you in the full story, so check it out here .  How to Pin with Purpose on Pinterest From MarketingProfs It’s been far too long since we’ve discussed Pinterest in the weekly round-up. Thankfully, MarketingProfs offered up this nice feature on pinning with purpose. The article offers tips for pinning marketers of all levels to make the most of their business Pinterest account . The tips cover both strategy and common mistakes, such as always remembering to label your visual content. The importance of scheduling pins in advance, instead of carelessly pinning everything from your website to Pinterest in one day, is also highlighted. Finally — and perhaps most importantly — the article emphasizes that your pinned content should contain links to optimized landing pages . After all, you do want to generate leads from Pinterest, right? Check out the full story here . Google “Reveals Index Secrets”: Charts Indexing of Your Site Over Time From Search Engine Land Our friends at Search Engine Land brought us the latest update from another company never short on changes — Google, of course. They’ve released a tool called Index Status that charts the number of pages on your site that have been indexed over time. The information shown is purported to be accurate, albeit on a lag time of several weeks. The tool shows the pages on your site that have been crawled and indexed, the total amount of pages on your website that have been crawled, and the pages that have been blocked from crawling. The full story contains a lot of in-depth analysis on exactly how this data can become actionable for you, so be sure to check it out here . 72 Fascinating Social Media Marketing Facts for 2012 From JeffBullas.com Our last feature comes from JeffBullas.com, and it’s a spectacular list of 72 facts about social media marketing and inbound marketing . The article cites one of our favorite statistics in its intro — that leads generated through social media and content cost half as much as leads acquired from outbound marketing. The post then launches into what essentially amounts to the state of social media marketing in 2012. For example, did you know that only 27% of B2B leads are sales-ready when first generated? Or that 52% of Facebook users have stopped following a company because its updates became too boring or repetitive? Needless to say, there’s some pretty useful information in the list. Check out the full story here . What was the best inbound marketing story you found this week? Share it with us in the comments! Image credit: stevendepolo Topics: Inbound Marketinglast_img read more

3 Big Problems Plaguing Enterprise Marketers (And How to Overcome Them)

first_img Lead Generation This blog post was inspired by and partially excerpted from our latest ebook, How to Execute Inbound: Three Lead Generation Success Stories. For deeper dives into the real-life applications of inbound marketing and how they can solve common problems faced by marketers — Enterprise marketers, in particular — download your free copy of the ebook.Remember the last marketing revolution? A clever tagline, a catchy song, or a funny commercial could make or break your brand. Sure, consumers still appreciate these light-hearted things, but they’re simply not compelling enough to have prospects reaching for their wallets.No one wants to be the dinosaur that gets left behind as industry standards change. But 2013 just might be the year of the mass dino exodus, as marketing executives everywhere are realizing the importance of delivering targeted, personalized content through inbound marketing.The climate for marketing in the Enterprise arena, specifically, is changing rapidly; and the slew of traditional tactics like television advertising and trade shows aren’t jiving with changing buyer behaviors. Today’s buyers crave trust, relationships, and an exceptional customer experience from their providers. So in this post, we’ll tackle three of the biggest problems Enterprise marketers face (but really, I think a lot of us feel these pains), and how marketing tools like list segmentation, marketing automation, and social media analytics can help solve them.Common Problem #1: Abandoned LeadsLet’s face it, we’ve all had one before: a graveyard of abandoned leads. We remember a better time when our leads were engaged, and it seemed like a relationship between our company and this lead could blossom into something magical … like an actual purchase. Unfortunately, something changed. They stopped opening our emails, and never converted on anything after the initial offer. Into the graveyard they go — a bunch of abandoned leads. What a shame.Even if inbound marketing didn’t bring them to your database in the first place, doesn’t mean it can’t help to revitalize their interest in your company. If your contacts database is integrated with your website and analytics, you’ll be able to segment these abandoned leads based on all the information you have about them, and reach out to them again with targeted communications that are appropriate based on the history of their interactions with your organization.Enterprise business Ektron, for instance, identifies leads who have visited a landing page and not converted on the offer. They follow up with an email containing an offer that’s relevant to the lead based on all the information they have about the lead.When all of your marketing tools are integrated, you can target those abandoned lead communications based on information from every marketing channel, including the types of pages they’ve looked at on your website. For example, if they’ve looked at your pricing page five times and have stopped reading blog posts about your product releases, they may be questioning the worth of your product against its price. You could use marketing automation to send this segment an email announcing all of the recent additions to your offerings, direct them to some of your latest blog posts that demonstrate value, and even include a call-to-action to talk to one of your sales reps about payment plans.What would be even more effective is taking a look at the behaviors of these people. Do you have lots of abandoned leads who have viewed your blog posts on how to choose, say, a healthcare provider in the past? If so, it would be worth creating a content offer specifically for that segment that educates your potential customers and justifies the cost of a healthcare provider like yours. Remember, inbound marketing isn’t just about acquiring leads; it’s about delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time. For this reason, it’s extremely valuable to provide these unique leads with the relevant information they need to justify their ongoing relationship with you.Common Problem #2: High Opportunity and Customer Acquisition CostsKeeping opportunity and customer acquisition costs low is extremely important for any business, but particularly so with Enterprise companies. With such a large customer base, it’s simply not sustainable to allow this metric to stay high — or worse — to grow over time. Inbound marketing, however, is an extremely cost-efficient way to acquire leads and customers. Here’s how inbound marketing, with a strong focus on content, could help alleviate the problem of high CAC and opportunity costs.Hire a Content CreatorBy producing educational content on your industry and offerings, you’re not only drawing people into your site, you’re helping to move customers along in their decision process to invest in your business. Instead of allocating your marketing budget toward tactics like ads and email list rentals (which stop being effective one you stop pumping money into them), you should be investing your money on a member of your team whose job description involves creating content (which continues to make money for you long after the initial investment to create it). Once you have a means of creating valuable content — blogs, ebooks, whitepapers, etc. — for your site visitors, marketing automation can help you drive them further down the funnel.Map Your Content to Personas and Lifecycle StagesYou can lower the cost of customer acquisition by making your content work harder for you — through segmentation, personalization, and targeting. Your content creation strategy should revolve around buyer personas and lifecycle stages.These personas are a sort of customer profile that outline exactly what a prospect’s pain points are, and developing them will help you create content that speaks to their needs. Lifecycle stages are just what they sound like — stages in the customer lifecycle that bring someone from a stranger, to your customer.By mapping content to these personas and stages, you can better guide your leads to the point of becoming a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and ultimately, a customer.Enterprise business Mimio, a Rubbermaid company, uses closed-loop marketing software to execute their marketing automation — without the spammy side effects many marketers worry about. To ensure that leads are only receiving relevant content, they’ve revolved their lead nurturing strategy around lifecycle stages, and followed up with a custom lead scoring setup. That means they classify leads based on where they are in the buying cycle as a subscriber, lead, MQL, SQL, opportunity, or customer. Depending on which of these stages leads fall into, they’ll only receive communications from Mimio that are relevant to that stage.Segmenting your lists based on their personas and lifecycle stages means that you’re able to target content to these leads in a way that guides them toward making a decision. Think of your content as the gas that powers your marketing vehicle, and segmentation as the map that will get them to their destination — the end of your marketing funnel.Align Marketing and SalesThe last step to lowered opportunity and customer acquisition costs is ensuring Marketing and Sales are well aligned — and the best way to do this is to simply open the line of communication between your Sales and Marketing teams. When you’re using closed-loop software to track all of your marketing efforts, your sales reps have all the information they need to intelligently qualify leads.The first step is to have a conversation between Sales and Marketing to agree on what a qualified lead looks like. From there, communications can be easily streamlined by integrating your marketing channels with your CRM. This makes scoring leads simple, because the process can be customized to specifications laid out and agreed upon by the sales and marketing teams. The sales team can then view every action a lead has taken with any of their various marketing channels, along with that lead score, to ensure they’re working the hottest leads at all times.Common Problem #3: Developing a Social Media “Strategy”Some Enterprise businesses, especially those with lengthy sales cycles, assume that their target customer just isn’t using social media to consume information. But if the past five or so years have taught us anything, it’s that buyer behavior is changing. Not only do consumers expect an exceptional customer experience, they’re changing the mediums through which they expect to engage in this experience. Consumers have also become more vocal about their experiences with businesses, even before they’ve become actual customers. People go to Twitter to voice their opinions on pretty much anything, for instance — and that includes aggressive sales reps, annoying marketing communications, and poor customer service and support.That means to simply “do” social media isn’t enough. It’s great if your company is present on various social networks, but presence alone does not mean you’ve got a solid social media strategy.Social media analytics are essential for determining whether or not your efforts are actually working. You should be looking at the sources through which people are navigating to your site — are they actually coming to you through social media? If so, which networks are they finding you through? Let’s say that 70% of your social media traffic is coming to you through Twitter, 20% through Facebook, and 10% through LinkedIn. This information gives you clear, data-backed evidence on what social media efforts are actually working for you, and where you should be focusing your efforts.For instance, the Chromatography Division at Thermo Fisher Scientific used to think that social media would be a waste of time for their business. There was a common belief in their industry that scientists weren’t participating in social media. But using social media analytics, they were able to find that after posting their blogs to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, there was a huge bump in traffic coming to their site from social media — and that most of it was coming from Twitter and LinkedIn. They decided to take a step back, reevaluate their strategy, and focus efforts on those networks. As a result, they were able to grow their Twitter following by 154%.As marketers, we also know that we shouldn’t take everything at face value. It’s valuable to dig a little deeper into these social media analytics and see exactly what kind of traffic is coming to your site through these networks. You should be able to see not only which networks drive traffic, but which drive actual conversions and customers. For instance, it’s great that Twitter is driving 70% of your social media traffic, but if you know that LinkedIn visitors are converting into leads at a higher rate than your Twitter traffic, those analytics give you insight as to where your most qualified traffic is coming from. You should adjust your strategy accordingly to optimize LinkedIn for lead generation, and Twitter for reach and content evangelism.Finally, if all of your marketing tools are integrated, you can use your analytics to help you determine which of your offers are performing better on social media versus other mediums — like email, for instance. You can check out your landing page analytics to do this, and compare the various types of offers to see which topics hit home with social media contacts versus other channels. This allows a company to adjust their social media strategy to promote the offers where they perform best, instead of bombarding social media audiences with communications they’re just not interested in.What other marketing problems are plaguing Enterprise businesses out there?Image credit: Rhys Asplundh Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published Mar 13, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013last_img read more

Should You Delete That? A Guide to Moderating Blog Comments

first_img Blogging Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you’re looking for a post that gives you the green light to delete those annoying comments you get on your blog, good news: This is the post for you.While some of the comments that make your blood boil will still be gracing your blog (see the section titled “Don’t Delete Even Though You Want To”), this post will explain which types of comments should be immediately deleted, and which ones you’re justified in deleting when you’re on the fence.Alright, ready to dive into the scary world of blog comments? Me too. Well, as ready as one can ever be.Definitely Delete1) Rude, Crude, and Offensive ContentEven if you didn’t write the rude, crude, or offensive content, you’re still responsible for ensuring it doesn’t live on your site. A couple years ago, we got an email from a blog reader who had stumbled upon an old post that was still receiving comments. She was writing to let us know that someone had left some unsavory content in the comments section, and that she thought we’d like to know — that was a truly appreciated email, because we didn’t want our site to harbor that kind of nastiness. Work hard to keep the filth off your site and rely on your community to help you monitor.Tip: You can try to pre-empt some of this by setting up commenter guidelines. Check out what the New York Times does — they go into a lot of detail on this page about how they deal with comments, and what they expect out of their commenters.2) Blatant SpamOf course, you should also get rid of obvious spam comments. You can use Akismet to block a lot of the spammy comments, but some will still get through. If you’re not sure what blatant spam looks like, here’s an example:And another:3) Secret SpamOoooh, what’s secret spam?!It’s a term I just made up to explain spam comments that, to the untrained eye, look like they might be legitimate. But they’re not. They’re spam written by someone with marginally more initiative than your garden-variety spam commenters. Here’s an example:Because the post on which the comment appeared was about brides, the comment kind of makes contextual sense. Except that it’s devoid of any actual content, and there’s anchor text pointing another website in a useless ploy to get inbound links. Other ways to identify secret spam include:Poor grammar (though this isn’t always an identifier … which you know if you’ve read any comments section, ever)Off-topic commentsOff-topic comments that find ways to weave in mentions of keywords that are only marginally related to the articleSometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between secret spam and someone who just doesn’t know how to leave coherent comments, though — so you’ll have to use good judgment here. Which leads us to our next section … the gray area! (Who doesn’t love some confusing gray area?)Maybe Delete4) TrollersTrollers are people who leave comments on posts to try to get a rise out of either the author, or other commenters. The best practice for dealing with trolls comes down to one easy-to-remember phrase: Don’t feed the trolls. This means the more you engage with trolls, the bigger and stronger they become — that’s what they want! To get a rise out of you.So while some people would say you should definitely delete troll comments, sometimes this can incite trolls to get more aggressive with their commenting. As such, the best thing you can do with trolls is to just ignore their comments, unless it ventures into the rude, crude, or offensive bucket we discussed earlier.5) Another LanguageIf you’re getting comments in other languages, it’s hard to tell whether you should keep or delete the comment … because you can’t read it. If the comment looks like spam — the biggest hallmark would be links — go ahead and delete it. But it’s a good idea to plop the text into Google Translate to see whether the comment does contribute to the conversation. Who knows — you may have more international readers than you suspected!6) The Sales PitchSome comments are clearly someone in Marketing or Sales trying to get either leads, or an inbound link. Now, you may think these should be deleted because they’re completely self-serving, but sometimes, it’s just a commenter that’s trying to contribute who doesn’t know commenting etiquette. Consider the difference between this hypothetical comment:Check out http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-long-should-your-blog-posts-be-faqAnd this real comment:You see how that second comment is actually helping someone out, and it doesn’t seem like a Sales or Marketing pitch? Well technically, that first hypothetical comment could have been doing the same thing. It just seemed really spammy-looking. If you’re about to delete a comment because it seems like someone’s simply shilling their own products or content, take a second to assess whether they’re just out of tune with commenting etiquette. They might actually have something helpful to contribute that simply isn’t presented properly.Don’t Delete Even Though You Want ToRemember earlier, when I talked about the comments that make your blood boil? Yeah, sometimes you have to keep those.I know, life’s unfair.When a commenter is argumentative — either with you or another commenter — it can make you feel a little tense or even infuriated. But healthy discussion (healthy is the operative word there) is what makes your blog an interesting place to comment. Don’t delete the dissenters, even if you think they’re wrong. Best-case scenario: They are wrong, and other commenters chime in to make it clear. Worst-case scenario: They’re right, and you now have a comments section where smart people can actually hang out and teach other things.Not too shabby either way, eh? Originally published Jan 3, 2014 11:32:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics:last_img read more

The Definition of Smart Content [In Under 100 Words]

first_img Originally published Mar 15, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Smart Content Topics: Smart content, also referred to as dynamic content, is website content that changes based on the interests or past behavior of the viewer.Smart content is designed to offer a more relevant and personalized experience to your website visitors — one that static content can’t provide.Using intel from your marketing software or CRM system, marketers can customize their site pages for every type of visitor. For instance, you could segment your pages to provide a different experience for your leads versus your customers, so you can deliver the most personalized and relevant experience possible to everyone who visits your site. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Why Business Blogging Works

first_img Topics: Business Blogging Every month, I run a new hire training class on blogging. While many of the people in that class know why blogging is important for business growth, I’m supposed to teach it as if that’s not the case. That’s because we never want to assume everyone understands inbound marketing just because we live and breathe it every day, and this class is meant to equip everyone with the ability to explain a core tenet of inbound — business blogging — to anyone that asks.Fresh off the heels of last month’s training class, I realized it’s a little ridiculous that I’ve never written a post that explains business blogging in those terms on this very blog. If you search for the content we’ve published on blogging, it runs the gamut from thought leadership, to optimization tips, to practical tips, to nitty gritty advanced nuances. But I never simply wrote about why it works.So … here’s why it works.First, let’s get on the same page about what a blog is.Here’s my favorite definition of a blog, with the most important parts to understand in bold:A blog is a website with frequently updated content about a specific keyword- or topic-oriented topic.A blog must be updated frequently — so it’s not a static part of your website, like your homepage or your About page.And it’s about a specific topic — not anything/everything in the wide world. For example, this blog writes about inbound marketing, because we sell inbound marketing software. We don’t write about dog grooming, fashion, or securing a low rate for your home loan — because we don’t sell anything related to any of those things.Okay, so who reads blogs?Well, lots of people, but for the purposes of this post, let’s focus on the two important groups:Search Engines: Search engines like Google “read” blogs to learn what your website is about, so they know whether they can return any of your website pages to their users who perform searches. For example, Google reads our website, so it knows it can return this blog post if someone searches “Why does blogging work?”Potential Customers: Potential customers read blogs to find helpful industry content.Now you may be saying to yourself, “my potential customers don’t read blogs.” Au contraire, my friend. You might be right to say that your potential customers don’t subscribe to blogs. But that doesn’t mean they don’t stumble upon blog posts when they’re doing research online. For example, when I was looking to buy a new TV, I went to Google to perform some research to figure out what my best option would be. I learned from technology bloggers what my best options were, and then went to make a purchase based off their advice.I don’t subscribe to any of those tech blogs — and I may not always even realize what I’m reading is a “blog” — but I use blogs to figure out where I want to spend my money.Knowing all that … why does blogging work to grow your business?Because blogging helps you grow traffic and trust. Let me break down what I mean by each of those.Blogging helps you drive more traffic to your website.Every time you publish a blog post, it’s a new opportunity for someone to find your business’ website and learn who you are. Said another way, it’s an opportunity to drive traffic to your website.For example, every time I write a blog post on this very blog about inbound marketing, it creates an opportunity for someone that needs help with inbound marketing to find that post about inbound marketing, and learn who HubSpot is. The more blog posts I create, then, the more chances I have to introduce HubSpot to someone new. A business that has 100 blog posts is creating 100 new opportunities to get their website found online. A business that has 500 blog posts is creating 500 new opportunities to get their website found online.Blogging — as a format — provides those chances like no other part of your website allows, because every blog post you publish is a brand new URL. Think about how many new page URLs you can add to your website without a blog. Hmmm … an About page. A Jobs page. A Product/Service page. What else? After a while, you’re gonna start scraping the bottom of the barrel. But if you have a blog, you have endless opportunities to create new page URLs that can be ranked in search and discovered by people that didn’t know about your business yet. A blog gives you endless opportunities to get found online.Not only does blogging helps you get more traffic to your website — it helps you get really good traffic. How? Because you can write about things that will bring in the type of lead you want to sell to. That’s why we don’t blog about dog grooming and home loans. We blog about inbound marketing — because we have something to sell to people that are interested in doing inbound marketing. Blogging helps you tailor the audience you bring in to your website, so they’re people that would conceivably purchase your product or service.Blogging helps you establish trust.Who would you rather buy a car from … someone that’s taken the time to educate you about cars by providing free, unbiased, educational content, or someone that you’ve never met or spoken to before in your entire life?The former, right?Blogging helps put you in that camp. People buy from people they know and trust. (And hopefully, like.) By investing in creating content that helps answer questions for your target customer, you’re establishing a trusting relationship that makes them more comfortable investing in you as a business partner or solution provider.Look, traffic and trust are nice, but what I really want are leads.That’s what blogging helps you get!You know how we talked about blogging opening up opportunities to bring in new traffic? Every person that lands on your website represents an opportunity to generate a new lead, too. If you write a blog post that 100 people read, you have 100 opportunities to turn those readers into leads by putting a call-to-action on that blog post. That call-to-action is anything that asks the reader to exchange their contact information for something — like a free ebook, a free checklist, a free consultation, etc.So, after someone is done reading a blog post about inbound marketing on this blog, they might want to learn more about it. If they do, they can find the call-to-action at the end of the blog post that offers a free ebook about inbound marketing, and fill out a form to receive it. That person is now a lead, and they might end up becoming a customer one day.The cherry on top?Blogging is the gift that keeps on giving. Once you publish a blog post, it’s out there on the internet working to bring in new traffic and leads forever. So even if we published a post several years ago about inbound marketing, people can still find that post in search engines like Google, or on social media if people still share it after reading it themselves. In other words, blogging can literally help you generate leads for your business while you sleep. The work you put in today can generate results for years and years to come. (Compare that to PPC — when you turn off the money, the traffic and leads turn off, too.)It helps me to think of blogging as an annuity. If you publish one blog post today, it might drive, say, 50 visits. That’s great, but it’ll trickle off over time to say, 10 visits month-over-month — which can seem depressing after that initial traffic influx. That’s why you don’t look at individual blog post performance in a silo. If you look at the gains your blog posts make over time as you publish post after post after post, those visits will stack on top of each other as they rank in search. Now you have a diverse portfolio that’s driving consistent returns month after month — with no extra work on your part.So if you ever feel guilty about taking a vacation, just tell people not to worry — your blog posts will take care of things while you’re gone. Originally published May 28, 2014 10:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more