What is Yammer, and Is It Right For Your Team?

There are many ways to keep in touch with your team at work: text, email, collaboration tools, a paper airplane to the head. As a project manager, you need to be up on all of them.

Ideally, you’ll find one place where your entire team can connect and share their knowledge while working on projects.

While social media has the potential to distract, there’s no denying its commensurate (at least) power to connect.

If your team is already using channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram outside of work, why not borrow some of their best features to build a social network for the workplace?
mi
That’s the idea behind Microsoft’s Yammer.

As founder David Sacks wrote on the Yammer blog, “We were looking for a tool to keep our company connected. Something like an enterprise version of Twitter would have been ideal, but it didn’t exist. So we built our own.”

Below, we’ll dive into how Yammer became a part of the Microsoft family and gained hundreds of millions of users, as well as how it could be useful (or not) for your team.

What is Yammer?

Despite its name—defined as talking persistently and loudly—Yammer is, at its heart, a collaboration tool and social network meant to bring teams together, especially if your team is remote.

An introduction to Yammer

Unlike traditional project management software—which includes features such as budget management, task management, and time tracking—Yammer is all about collaboration and networking.

Though some project management tools include collaboration features like chat or file sharing, they are built around project management features first. Yammer is meant to be used alongside project management software.

Yammer has an interesting background. Now a Microsoft product, it started as an in-house communication tool for genealogy website Geni.com. Sacks and co-founder Adam Pisoni eventually realized that Yammer was unique and useful enough to become a mass-distributed business tool on its own. Once it was opened up to the public, the software attracted about 5 million users in only four years.

That got Microsoft’s attention, and the software giant purchased Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012. Yammer is now integrated with Microsoft’s Office 365 suite, meaning that if your company uses Office 365, you already have it tucked in with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and all the other apps included in the suite.

According to Microsoft, 85% of Fortune 500 companies collaborate via Yammer. That number isn’t surprising when you consider that Office 365 is the most widely used enterprise cloud service in the world.

You don’t need an Office 365 membership to use Yammer—anyone can log in for free with their work email address and find their coworkers—but an active Office 365 subscription does give you Enterprise access, which basically means that your company gains administrative rights.

Why use Yammer?

What is Yammer?

The Yammer homescreen

If you’re familiar with Office 365, you may be asking why (and if) the suite needed another collaboration tool when it already includes Delve, SharePoint, and Teams. And that’s not even counting the wealth of non-Microsoft alternatives out there.

More choices can be better when we’re talking about lunch spots or vacation destinations, but when it comes to getting your team to buy into a new communication tool, too many choices can be counterproductive.

Think about trying to navigate a conversation happening concurrently across email, chat, and whatever other collaboration tools you’re already using. It’s a nightmare of miscommunication.

As Gartner analysts Jeffrey Mann and Mike Gotta wrote in their report, “Help Employees Select the Right Office 365 Productivity Tools” (full report available to Garner clients):

  • Microsoft continues to add tools with communication and collaboration capabilities to Office 365 without making it clear how they relate to each other. Making effective use of them is challenging for organizations.
  • Overlapping capabilities between tools—exemplified notably by Microsoft Teams—cause confusion as employees are left trying to decide which tool to use for a particular activity.
  • IT organizations are being asked to provide greater levels of guidance on tool selection, but are themselves struggling to identify clear-cut application scenarios to help business areas.

In response to these challenges, Gartner suggests that change managers determine what context their teams will be using these tools in and provide guidance, rather than “make all the tools in Office 365 available and hope for the best.”

In other words: learn about the options, compare them against the way your employees communicate, and figure out the best fit for your team.

If the bulk of your team is comfortable using Facebook, Yammer is a great fit because of the interface similarities.

However, if you manage a group of software engineers who want nothing to do with Facebook, a tool designed for programmers—like GitHub or SourceForge—would be better.

Who should use Yammer, and who shouldn’t?

What sets Yammer apart is its ability to seamlessly integrate with the rest of your business operations in Office 365. From within a Yammer conversation, you can schedule a meeting in Outlook, open a Skype video conversation, pull documents out of OneDrive, and work on a Power Point presentation.

The question “to use or not to use” really comes down to this: if your teams are part of the Office 365 ecosystem, Yammer is a great and seamless way to collaborate, and the product will likely continue to see new innovations.

If your team uses an alternative business suite (like G Suite or Apple iWork), there are a myriad of other cross-platform internal social network tools to choose from, such as Podio, Wrike, or Slack.

Do you Yammer?

If you’ve used Yammer at your work, please leave a review!

I’d also love to hear what you think about Yammer. How is it helpful? What would you change about it if you could? What are your tips and tricks for getting the most out of Yammer? Let me know in the comments below!

What is Yammer, and Is It Right For Your Team? Capterra Blog.

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4 Free or Affordable Grant Management Software Products

UPDATE 1/5/2018: This piece has been updated to reflect more current information for the software options listed.

Last year, I purchased an iPad Mini to aid my general task management and other aspects of my work life, such as note taking in meetings. I chose a slightly older version, recognizing that I didn’t need the highest-end model to accomplish what I purchased it for. This decision may seem small, but at the time it saved me $500!

If you are running a small nonprofit seeking grants for projects, or are a small organization dealing in awarding grants to worthy recipients, you don’t always need the top-of-the-line grant management software.

There are free or affordable software options out there that can help you accomplish the essentials without sending you into the red.

free grant management software

To help you find software that works for you, I’ve rounded up four free or affordable grant management software products and identified a few key features of each. Presented in alphabetical order and broken out into free and affordable groupings, these options will help you streamline your awards processes.

Free grant management software

Effective grant management software is no small request, meaning that the list of quality free systems is a short one. I identified two options that offer all of the necessary, fundamental features without attaching a price tag.

1. Fluxx Grantseeker

Screenshot of Fluxx's free grant management sotware's home page

Grantseeker home page (via Fluxx)

Fluxx got its start with Grantmaker, a paid, cloud-based grants management solution aimed at grant-making organizations of all sizes. The company’s free offering, Grantseeker, is a cloud-based solution targeting the other end of things: grant recipients.

Grantseeker lets you manage proposals and reports, keep track of tasks and deadlines, and measure success through a dedicated dashboard. For support, Grantseeker includes access to Fluxx’s knowledge base (a searchable guide to the software), as well as email support during business hours.

Best for: Grant seekers

Software type: Web-based

Features:

  • Compliance management
  • Contract management
  • Grant award tracking
  • Grant opportunity search
  • Online applications
  • Self-registration

Capterra user rating4.5/5 Stars

Have you used Fluxx Grantseeker before? Be sure to leave a review!

2. Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise Grants Management

Screenshot of Oracle's PeopleSoft Grant Management software dashboard

Oracle’s grant management dashboard (via Oracle)

Oracle is a solid open source alternative for most of your software needs. The company’s PeopleSoft system—first and foremost an enterprise project management system—offers an enterprise grants management add-on. If your nonprofit isn’t seeking specialized grant software, this is a great option to consider.

Best for: Grant seekers

Software type: Web-based

Features:

  • Asset tracking
  • Audit management
  • Compliance management
  • Contract management
  • Cost tracking
  • Depreciation management
  • Project costing

Capterra user rating4/5 Stars

Have you used Oracle Peoplesoft before? Be sure to leave a review!

Affordable grant management software

In this context, affordable means any software offered for $100/month or less, making it a feasible option for small to midsized nonprofits, pending on budget.

The two options listed below are full grant management systems, not smaller add-ons to larger software. If you’re going to pay for grant management software, you ought to receive a system fully dedicated to the task in return.

1. Award Force for Grants Starter

Screenshot of Award Force's grant entries page

Award Force’s grant entries page (via Award Force)

Award Force is a unique grant management software offering with a visually appealing user interface and exclusive focus on grant makers. The software helps organizations draft, market, and process grants for individuals and groups to ensure that the funds are spent on projects that matter.

The starter package comes in at $99/month and offers all of the basic, necessary grant management tools, such as moderating submissions, email integration, and application landing pages.

Best for: Grant issuers

Software type: Web-based

Features:

  • Compliance management
  • Grant award tracking
  • Online applications
  • Self-registration
  • Social sharing
  • Video applications

Pricing:

  • Starter: $1,188/year ($99/month)
  • Plus: $2,748/year ($229/month)

Capterra user rating5/5 Stars

Have you used Award Force before? Be sure to leave a review!

2. GrantHubScreenshot of GrantHub's dashboard

GrantHub’s dashboard (via GrantHub)

GrantHub is a comprehensive grant management system, covering the acquisitions process from proposal to award. The software streamlines your grant proposal process with application cloud storage, letting you quickly refer back to previous applications and proposals instead of starting from scratch each time.

GrantHub seamlessly integrates with programs such as Google Docs and Microsoft Excel in order to make your transition from a manual system to their specialized program as easy as possible.

Best for: Grant seekers

Software type: Web-based

Features:

  • Compliance management
  • Contract management
  • Grant award tracking
  • Grant opportunity search
  • Self-registration

Pricing: $900/year ($75/month)

Capterra user rating5/5 Stars

Have you used GrantHub before? Be sure to leave a review!

So, what now?

It’s time to get to work on those grant proposals! Check out these helpful blog posts covering grant proposals, management, and even fundraising!

  • The 5 Ways to Improve Your Grant Writing
  • 7 Benefits of Grant Management Software
  • 5 Donor Retention Strategies to Supercharge your Fundraising
  • 6 Free and Open Source Fundraising Software Options to Kick Off Your Donation Campaign

Have you tried any of the software options listed above? Do you use another free or affordable solution for managing either end of the grant proposal process? Let me know in the comment section below!

4 Free or Affordable Grant Management Software Products Capterra Blog.

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The Customer Experience in 2018: 5 Trends to Watch For

I think it’s safe to say that 2017 was the year of the bot.

In early 2017, robots taking customer service jobs seemed far off. But today, “more and more, chatbots are being employed to customize the user experience,” Richard Shapiro writes. “Today’s chatbot delivers a direct, easy channel for communicating with a brand while making logical guesses about what a customer wants to do.”

Bots now tell customers what flights are available and what’s on sale at the grocery store. American Express customers can ask its Facebook Messenger chatbot for receipts, to track charges, and to help them redeem reward points. And it’s all at a lower cost per contact than human labor.

So what’s on deck for customer experience in 2018? Here are five trends that I see on the horizon, and some tips on how to prepare.

1. CX analytics

You’ve likely heard of the 80/20 rule.

Pareto principle chart

Source

Well, Macy’s recently reported that 46% of their sales came from just 9% of their customers.

In his 2018 CX predictions, Richard Shapiro writes: “Companies need to review their analytics to determine how to ensure retention of large volume customers. Loyalty programs aren’t the answer. These customers are already loyal.”

So how do you review your analytics to determine how to ensure you keep your highest-volume customers?

Look for signs of churn so you can stop it before it happens. Harsh Vardhan suggests tracking the following potential churn indicators:

  • Interactions are decreasing. How often are your customers logging in or coming to your store? Tracking usage lets you know when interactions drop off, which is a hint that your customer isn’t feeling you as much as they did before.
  • The newness is not getting adopted. Whether it’s a new product, feature, or program, if a customer who used to spend big with you isn’t interested, that’s a sign they may be looking elsewhere.
  • Customers need way more, or way less, support. A sudden increase in support tickets obviously hints at dissatisfaction with your product or service. That’s a good indication that you may have some potential churn on your hands. But a drop-off isn’t a good sign either. It may indicate reduced interactions.

It’s also a good idea to regularly ask customers for feedback through surveys, phone calls, or emails.

Expect customer experience to shift “from the problem-solving crises mode seen over the past ten years to a proactive process,” Mark Smith, president of customer journey company Kitewheel, tells MarTechToday. “There’s already growth here, which will continue into 2018.”

For Kitewheel, customers in the growth stage interacted with brands 400% more in 2017 than 2016. The majority (75%) of these touches were with customer service, customer satisfaction, or customer loyalty teams.

If you haven’t already, look into customer experience software, which makes collecting and analyzing customer feedback much easier. Also check out “7 Steps for Getting Actionable Customer Feedback” for more advice on the topic.

2. The chief customer officer

Entrepreneur suggests three ways businesses can incorporate customer service teams into their brand strategy. The first suggestion? “Hire a chief customer officer.”

“While it’s tempting to take good individual contributors and promote them to a managerial role, they aren’t always the ideal choice,” according to Weir. He suggests looking for candidates who have demonstrated that they’re able to lead, motivate, and engage a team.

Weir cites a Nasdaq survey showing that the CCO role is becoming both more prevalent and more important.

Do you need a CCO? According to the survey, CCOs are responsible for KPIs that once belonged to marketing.

From the survey:

  • 65% of CCOs are responsible for search rankings
  • 57% of CCOs are responsible for content marketing
  • 65% of CCOs are responsible for web traffic
  • 56% of CCOs are responsible for customer loyalty

This transfer of responsibility away from marketing to other departments is something I also noted in my “How to Get a Customer Service Job in 2018” post.

One great resource for thinking about whether your company could use a CCO, or whether it’s a job you should consider going for, is the Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show podcast.

The Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show

Source

Jeanne Bliss, one of my “9 Customer Experience Influencers to Start Following Now,” interviews high-ranking CCOs and other CX pros about how to, for example, sell CX initiatives to the rest of the C-suite.

3. Portable reviews of customer service agents

Another CX HR trend is portable customer reviews of agents. Servicelovers allows any customer to rate and recommend high-performing customer service associates. And the reviews are portable. Even if you leave your job, the reviews follow you to your next one on a LinkedIn-like dashboard. Great if you’re a superstar, not so awesome if the job wasn’t a good fit.

“Banking reviews is a great investment in the future for any service professional who consistently earns high marks from customers,” Richard Shapiro writes.

As good an idea as this is, whether this will take off is yet to be seen. Many people-rating apps have come and gone. Anyone remember Lulu?

To get your agents used to being reviewed, make sure your live chat software and help desk software make it easy for customers to rate their agents with the click of a mouse when the interaction wraps up.

Read more on this topic:

  • The Psychology of a Good Live Chat Conversation
  • 3 Live Chat Mistakes You’re Probably Making

4. Geofencing

Geofencing is, according to CIO, when a device does a particular thing when it enters a particular location according to preset parameters. That thing could be almost anything, but it generally happens on your phone. For example, when you enter a store, the store can push a notification with a coupon thanks to geofencing.

Carnival, Disney, and other hospitality brands are experimenting with ways to personalize their guests’ experiences. Guests can wear medallions that mean they never have to give their room number to get a drink, meal, or access to any part of the property again. The medallions connect with staffers’ phones, helping servers remember guests’ names, dietary restrictions, and of course their room and account numbers.

“Location-based technologies will soon allow any retailer, restaurant, or hotel to know who you are the moment you walk through the door,” Richard Shapiro writes. “Instantly knowing potential and current customers offers powerful opportunities for customizing service, but one caveat: this technology poses privacy and regulatory risks and can backfire if not handled with the utmost care.”

Recruiters are even using geofencing to try to poach candidates for hard-to-hire positions.

A press release from MarketsandMarkets predicts that the geofencing industry will grow by almost 30% by 2022.

Consider experimenting with geofencing in 2018. Here are some tips for looking for a vendor.

5. Long-term relationships

It’s time for companies and customers to have a DTR.

DTR: define the relationship

Source

Too many organizations are stuck in the “get them to purchase” mindset. But the purchase should be the beginning of the relationship, not the end.

“Imagine the receipt as an invitation to continue the relationship,” Shapiro advises. “Invite the customer to return, tell them you want to see them again, let them know about future events or specials—keep in touch. The relationship can be ongoing, in effect, never ending.”

“In 2017, the average customer journey length for customers that have already been acquired reached an average of 20 months, versus 10 for an acquisition journey,” Mark Smith tells MarTechToday. “This means that while a customer can be won or lost quickly, retaining and growing a customer relationship takes time and cross-channel effort. With the rise of new technologies and channels, 2018 will see even more complex journeys and longer journey times.”

To keep your relationship with your customers strong, make sure that when they contact customer support, your agents have all the relevant information in front of them. One way to do this is to integrate your CRM and help desk software. This way, all the information your CRM collects, such as contact information and demographic information, can connect with the information your help desk collects such as previous interactions with support and past purchases, to give you a more complete view of the customer.

Customers dislike repeating themselves, and when an agent knows a customer’s history and who the customer is, it builds a sense of community and helps cement the relationship.

What to watch for in customer experience going into 2018

Customer loyalty will continue to be key in 2018. CX analytics, when done right, offers insights that can help businesses get, and keep, loyal customers by identifying the customers who need attention and revealing what gets them to stick around.

Even if you can’t make room for a chief customer officer in your C-suite, it’s not a bad idea to make someone responsible for CX KPIs such as customer loyalty. And it might not be marketing.

To give your agents an incentive to offer great service with a review that moves with them throughout their careers, portable agent reviews might be an experiment worth running in 2018.

If your business has a geographic component, experimenting with geofencing may give you a leg up on the competition in 2018.

And back to customer loyalty, stop thinking of your job as being done when you get a customer to make a purchase. In 2018, CX will be all about the long-term relationship. Use CX analytics, a CCO or similar stakeholder, agent reviews, and perhaps even geofencing to get to know your customers and to let them know they matter to you long after the sale.

If you are in the market for CRM, help desk software, customer experience software, or live chat software, check out our software directories (linked) which let you narrow down your options by features and compare your options side-by-side.

The Customer Experience in 2018: 5 Trends to Watch For Capterra Blog.

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6 Key Elements to Assessing Technology Costs in Construction

One of the most important things you can do when picking out new construction management software (or hardware) for your business is to evaluate how much it’s going to cost—not just up front, but over time as well.

This is called “total cost of ownership” (TCO) and while it’s a tough calculation to make, it is absolutely critical to your business’ bottom line. After all, even free construction software has its costs. When it comes time to make an investment in new technology for your business, if you aren’t doing a complete TCO analysis, you’re putting yourself at major risk.

How do you measure TCO? There are six key elements, which we break down in greater detail below:

  • Infrastructure
  • License and/or subscription fees
  • Design, installation, and configuration
  • Maintenance and administration
  • Training and support
  • Efficiency and productivity gains

1. Infrastructure

What will you need to purchase in order to implement the solution? Are you buying software as a service (SaaS) or something that you’ll need a server for? If you’re buying SaaS, will you need additional bandwidth or networking capacity? Will you need to replace or upgrade any of your employees’ hardware?

These are all questions that you should be able to answer with relative ease—and your vendor will be able to give you the specific infrastructure requirements of their product.

Stock construction image via Pixabay

via Pixabay

2. Licensing and subscription fees

There are a lot of different pricing models for software, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Per-seat licensing fee: This is for when you’re purchasing software to be installed locally. Per-seat licensing fees are a popular option because you know exactly what the software will cost you. The downside is that if you add employees, the cost can begin to skyrocket. Often the licensing fee repeats on an annual basis to cover support and upgrades.
  • Subscription fees: Most SaaS solutions charge either a monthly or annual fee, also based on number of users—although usually there is a cap on how much you will be charged, so you have some flexibility there. There are often different tiers of service, with many extra features you may need in the more expensive tiers.
  • One-and-done licensing: This is a model that is rapidly going out of style, in which you pay once for the license and you have the software for the life of the product, limited to one user per license. The disadvantage to this model is that the licenses can be extremely expensive—sometimes in the thousands of dollars—which means that you may not be able to afford to purchase as many licenses as you need. That’s not to mention the fact that upgrades and version changes also require additional purchases.

When looking at the licensing and subscription fees, you should also examine support and upgrades—are they included, or will you have to pay extra for those?

3. Design, installation, and configuration

If you’re having a custom piece of software designed for your business, how much will the design cost? How much will changes during the design phase cost? Nearly all software is going to have installation costs of some sort.

You also need to keep in mind that configuration can be a significant cost, even for SaaS, and a critical component of configuration is testing to ensure that the software works with your existing systems and workflows.

You may also need to build and test integrations with existing systems. Testing can take a significant amount of time from your employees (just ask anyone who has lived through an SAP implementation!) which will, in the short term, impact productivity.

Stock construction image via Pixabay

via Pixabay

4. Maintenance and administration

You’re going to have maintenance and administration costs—there’s no way around that. There are a number of questions to ask to determine how much those costs will be.

Who is going to provide the maintenance services? Will it be the vendor applying patches and upgrades, or will you need an employee trained to do that? Will an employee need to be assigned to maintain the data within the system or control access?

Do you have an employee available with the skills, inclination, and time to maintain and administer the system?

What is the cost if you choose to have these tasks done externally?

5. Training and support

If you don’t train your employees on how to use the software, you won’t see the efficiency and productivity gains you’re hoping for.

Does the vendor provide some sort of training for employees? Is it self-service or is there a trainer available? Is the documentation a scanty FAQ page that isn’t kept up to date? That last one, by the way, is a massive red flag—if the vendor isn’t documenting their product, how can you sure that it does what their salesperson is telling you that it does?

Ongoing training is also quite important, as you will have new employees join your organization who will need to be trained—is the training offered only for a period of time, after which it becomes self-service? Will that work for your employees? Keeping their skill levels with technology in mind is really important.

Support is also important. At some point it is pretty much guaranteed that one of your employees will do something unintentional in the system and you’ll require vendor support. Is that included in your licensing fees or is it an additional charge? Is there only a limited amount of support included and what are the costs if you exceed that amount?

Unless you have (well-trained) in-house support for the technology, you run the risk of having your business come to a standstill without vendor support.

Stock construction image via Pixabay

via Pixabay

6. Efficiency and productivity gains

These two criteria are a lot softer and more difficult to evaluate than the others, but they’re likely the entire reason behind your decision to look for new tools for your employees.

Will the tool actually create the efficiency you’re hoping for? Or will it create additional work that will reduce employee productivity?

This is where knowing what the workflows are is very important. This is also why your employees need to be involved in the decision-making process, as they are key stakeholders in whatever is chosen. You need to know if the tool is going to cause them to have to do double the work because an integration isn’t available or doesn’t work correctly, or if it’s missing a critical feature that is required.

You’ll also need to have the discernment to sift through the feedback: are the concerns truly issues that will impact productivity or are your employees expressing a resistance to change?

If the latter, you will need to develop a change management process that helps to ease employee worries on that front. In times of changes intended to boost efficiency and productivity, employees are often concerned about their job security, so they may need reassurance.

What other factors should you consider before purchasing technology?

All in all, there are a lot of factors that go into identifying the true cost of software or hardware for your business. But by considering all the key elements outlined above, you’ll be able to uncover any hidden or unexpected costs before you’ve committed to anything, and that’s a win no matter how you look at it.

Are there any factors we overlooked? What do you consider important when evaluating whether to make a big technology investment for your company? Please, let us know in the comments below.

6 Key Elements to Assessing Technology Costs in Construction Capterra Blog.

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Capterra’s 2017 Year in Review

2017 was an exciting year at Capterra! As we take a look back, we wanted to share some of our favorite milestones, and say a big thank you to all of our vendor partners. We look forward to celebrating the working relationships we’ve built together in the coming year!

2017 saw tremendous growth in terms of traffic, products, and category expansion across Capterra. This year we had more than 34.4 million users looking for software, 34,000 products listed on Capterra, and added 113 new categories. Additionally, our international presence saw over 34% growth in traffic outside the U.S. compared to 2016, and is rapidly increasing!

Software buyers trust reviews as valuable peer recommendations and actively seek out reviews while making buying decisions. So, it’s no surprise we saw a strong boost in online reviews this year! Capterra received over 140,000 new verified user reviews and had over 2,300 campaign sign-ups for our free review collection program, Review as a Service (RaaS).

Content stayed king in 2017. We took a look at our most engaging content pieces published this year that provided valuable insights to help your businesses grow.

Our highest viewing webinar, “How to Maximize Leads and Revenue from your PPC Campaigns“, helped marketers get more leads while still maintaining a profit. Readers loved learning about “The Best Social Media Channels for B2B Marketers in 2017” as one of our highest read blog posts. Yalla, a task management and team collaboration platform, shared their tips for a PPC campaign that led to 3x more marketing qualified leads and an industry-crushing conversion rate. Lastly, our research team published 68 branded reports from our Top 20 Most Popular, Most Affordable, and Most User-Friendly software report series to help buyers make informed decisions.

Not only did we see improvements in our business, we also had some exciting personal updates from our Capterra team. We were thrilled to expand our team exponentially, as well as celebrate 6 new pets, 3 new babies, and 4 new houses bought. Plus, we had 7 colleagues who worked abroad, and more than 37 countries visited. Capterrans clearly stayed busy in 2017!

2017 was a great year, but we can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store. If there’s anything we can do to help you grow your business in 2018, please email us at [email protected].

Capterra’s 2017 Year in Review Capterra Blog.

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Top 5 Free Tools to Live Stream Your Event Online

UPDATE 1/4/2018: This article has been updated to reflect feedback and updates to the original five software options, as well as add a sixth option.

Eager potential event attendees are often hindered by cost, distance, or lodging concerns. Despite their desire to attend, they just aren’t able to make the trip.

Luckily, technological advances mean that various types of event software let event planners broadcast events over the internet, helping you capture all attendees, both in-person and remote.

If your business’ event budget doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room to add an online component, don’t dismiss the livestreaming idea out of hand. There are multiple free tools available online as alternatives to paid options such as Livestream.

free live stream tools

To get you started on your quest to find an affordable event livestreaming option, we’ve collected six free tools that your business can use to host and broadcast your event online.

The below tools (presented in alphabetical order) were chosen based on their free tier offers, paired with their ability to work on multiple platforms, such as mobile and desktop.

1. Facebook Live

Facebook livestream screenshot

Facebook Live screenshot.

Facebook is great at finding new ways to keep us connected at all hours of the day. One such recent development is its livestream functionality. Using Facebook Live, you can share what is happening in front of you the moment it’s happening.

This feature allows not only host pages but also attendees and fans to go live at your event and broadcast their experience straight from their mobile devices. The tool lets you choose your audience, receive real-time feedback in the comments section of your stream, and track how many viewers your livestream brought in at various points.

Facebook Live is an easy to use livestreaming tool that is great for event planners looking to jump right into streaming without the complexities of traditional livestreaming platforms.

Have you used Facebook Live? Be sure to leave a review!

2. Live

Sample of Live's multiple camera streaming option

Multiple camera streaming (via Live)

Live is a livestreaming app that works on Windows and Mac computers, iOS devices, and internet-capable cameras (including GoPro). Live lets users run simultaneous streaming sessions; you can host a Facebook Live session and YouTube stream at the same time through a central dashboard, making it easier to reach multiple audiences concurrently.

So far, Facebook and YouTube livestreaming are offered for free. Live’s simultaneous streaming feature is offered for a one-time $9.99 payment.

This tool is great for businesses looking to broadcast their event over multiple channels through a single program, rather than managing multiple livestream services.

Have you used Live before? Be sure to leave a review!

3. Open Broadcaster Software

Breakdown of Open Broadcaster Software's platform offerings

OBS is available for multiple platforms

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is a free and open source option for live video streaming and recording. OBS markets itself to gamecasters and online webcam broadcasters. The software is available on Windows 7, 8, and 10, Mac OSX 10.8 and above, as well as Linux, if you’re still into that.

The one downside to OBS is its lack of formal tech support. In the open source software world, support often takes the form of asking for help on community forums.

This option is great for event planners that need software flexibility. The open-source nature of this software allows users to alter the source code to fit their needs so long as they have the programming know-how.

Have you used Open Broadcaster Software? Be sure to leave a review!

4. XSplit Free

Free live streaming tools - Xsplit

Two versions of XSplit

Marketed as broadcasting software for both livestreaming video and video gameplay, XSplit is a solid choice for broadcasting your next event.

Although XSplit offers several paid options (with enhanced features such as professional broadcasting tools and custom script plugins), the free option offers everything you need to set up a live HD broadcast in a pinch.

If you ever decide to upgrade, the personal package is $4.95 per month, while the premium package clocks in at $8.95/month.

XSplit is great for event professionals looking for tools and plugins to clean up the audio and video of their livestreams.

Have you used XSplit? Be sure to leave a review!

5. YouNow

YouNow's livestreaming dashboard

Livestreaming dashboard on YouNow

Marketed toward a younger, indie crowd, YouNow is a versatile, free app for your computer, Android, iPhone, iPad, and now-vintage iPod.

Going live on YouNow exposes your event to a younger crowd and lets you add a personal touch by using the handheld broadcasting capabilities on your smartphone or tablet.

Creating and hosting your event broadcast is as simple as creating a searchable hashtag, taking a snapshot, clicking to share, and hitting the “Go Live” button. Another way to think of the service is as video Twitter, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice!

This tool is great for event planners looking for easy search capabilities with the hashtag system as well as versatility with the amount of compatible devices.

Have you used YouNow? Be sure to leave a review!

6. YouTube Live

YouTube Live livestream screenshot

Broadcasting on YouTube Live

YouTube Live is a free tool offered to all Google and YouTube users that allows up to ten broadcasters to participate simultaneously. Once you go live, anyone with the link can view your livestream.

Other features include viewing invitations, chat room capability through live comments, and event scheduling.

This platform is perfect for livestream events looking for a simple setup with a massive audience potential thanks to YouTube’s video streaming market share.

Have you used YouTube Live? Be sure to leave a review!

Other free and open source event tools

Free and open source software is a great option for recently founded or cash-strapped event management firms. If you still aren’t sure where to start, dig around Capterra’s event management blog for other software tips and tricks to help you and your business be the best you can be.

I collected a few other free and open source software and tool lists to get you started:

  • 7 Free and Open Source Digital Signage Software Options for your Next Event
  • 8 Free and Open Source Event Registration Software
  • The Top 11 Free Event Management Software

Have you used any of the options listed here for your events? How did it go? Are there any free livestreaming tools that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

Top 5 Free Tools to Live Stream Your Event Online Capterra Blog.

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How to Handle Information Overwhelm (And Social Media)

“Living well is the best revenge.”
-George Herbert

After reading Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors, many of you have asked me how I process all of the information I receive.

This episode will help you manage information overwhelm, recommend techniques for dealing with social media, and answer a few questions that have been frequently asked about building a world-class network and writing books.

I hope this information strengthens the signal, discards the noise, and helps you make every piece of information that you choose to receive easier to process.

Enjoy!

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How to Handle Information Overwhelm (And Social Media)

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3 Smart Medical Devices That Are Changing Healthcare in 2018

According to Gartner analyst Tom Austin, we have finally entered the long-predicted “Smart Machine Age.”

Austin predicts that by 2021, smart machine revenues will reach $29 billion and 30% of large companies will use devices or pieces of software that use some form of cognitive computing, deep learning, or intelligent automation (Gartner research available to subscribers only).

But what does it mean for a device to be “smart?” If a device can teach itself how to do something new, it’s pretty smart. The ability for an inanimate object to learn is sometimes called “machine learning,” and is a subset of artificial intelligence. Smart machines are an example of robotic process automation (RPA).

But at this stage in the tech’s development, that ability is still limited to use cases such as robots in Japanese auto manufacturing facilities. For most of us, we’d consider toothbrushes with sensors to be smart. After all, they determine when, and for how long, we brush our teeth and whether we’re pressing too hard or spending too much time in one region of our mouth.

This graphic from Garter contains some features of smart machines:

features of smart machines (Gartner)

Features of smart machines (Source)

But it’s not just toothbrushes and car manufacturing robots that are getting smart. Healthcare is seeing previously unconnected devices get smart. Machine learning is impacting healthcare in a big way, from natural language processing automating medical billing and coding to AI making telehealth more effective and efficient to deep learning making diagnoses as well as doctors.

When it comes to smart medical devices, we’re just now on the cusp of big breakthroughs. They’re more on the toothbrush end of things at this point in time than the self-teaching, car-making robots. That said, they’re still pretty cool. And getting smarter by the day. As an introduction to what’s happening in the space, here are three smart medical devices that are changing healthcare in 2018:

1. Wearable smart asthma monitoring

ADAMM Intelligent Asthma Monitoring

ADAMM Intelligent Asthma Monitoring (Source)

Asthma is a chronic condition that afflicts 25 million Americans, who experience an estimated 44,000 asthma attacks every single day, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Most people with asthma don’t know they’re having an attack until it’s in a pretty advanced stage, which is unpleasant, not to mention dangerous. It makes interventions such as medication and stopping the triggering activity less effective.

ADAMM Intelligent Asthma Monitoring is a wearable technology from Health Care Originals that can identify an oncoming asthma attack before the wearer notices the symptoms.

“Right now a patient can only rely on when their coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath, physically affects them so much that they have to stop what they are doing to address it,” Health Care Originals co-founder Jared Dwarika tells R&D Magazine. “If they wait until it is affecting them that much, it means they are already in an advanced stage of an asthmatic attack.”

2. An AI-powered insulin pump

bigfoot insulin system

Bigfoot insulin system (Source)

In 2011, Bryan Mazlish’s 5-year-old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Unhappy with the insulin pumps on the market, in 2014 Mazlish hacked his own insulin delivery system. First he tweaked an off-the-shelf insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. Then he wrote an algorithm to control the insulin dosing, along with an app to display the results.

The algorithm is a metabolic simulation engine that predicts how much insulin the patient will need and when they’ll need it, rather than simply responding to spikes in blood sugar. Since spikes in glucose slowly wear down organs, preventing them rather than treating them is much better for the patient’s long-term health.

Later in 2014, Mazlish cofounded Bigfoot Biomedical. Within two years the company had assets from a diabetes equipment supplier and partnerships with glucose monitoring companies.

In 2017, Bigfoot presented data from a feasibility trial at the Annual Diabetes Technology Meeting that shows their system is effective for controlling Type 1 diabetes .

The company raised $37 million in Series B funding in December 2017 for their AI-driven insulin delivery system. They have two products in the works: an insulin pump called Bigfoot Loop and an insulin pen called Bigfoot Inject.

“We look forward to initiating our pivotal trial in 2018,” president and CEO Jeffrey Brewer says.

3. A smart drill

The SMARTdrill

The SMARTdrill (Source)

The SMARTdrill is kind of like the aforementioned smart toothbrush, but a lot more complicated. Basically, the drill recommends where and how to drill based on the resistance, bone density, and other factors it senses and its calculations.

Its screen offers surgeons real-time performance feedback as well. With it, surgeons can know with greater certainty that they’ve chosen the right depth to screw, for example. Or that they’ve used the right number of screws—too few screws, and whatever’s being screwed might can come out of place. Too many screws can slow healing.

Are you using any smart medical devices?

Welcome to the Age of the Smart Machine. Everywhere you look in 2018, you’ll see more devices that use some form of cognitive computing, deep learning, or intelligent automation. These three smart medical devices are just the tip of the iceberg.

Smart physicians should be aware of the state of the art when it comes to smart medical devices because they have the potential to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your care.

To learn more about smart machines and medical innovation, check out these posts next:

  • What Are Smart Machines?
  • 5 Healthcare AI Startups for SMBs to Know
  • How Businesses are Using Machine Learning and AI in 2017
  • How Deep Learning Is Changing Healthcare: Part 1: Diagnosis, Part 2: Prevention

3 Smart Medical Devices That Are Changing Healthcare in 2018 Capterra Blog.

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4 examples of herd mentality (and what to do about it)

You’ve probably had a parent or teacher ask you, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?”

Of course not! That’s insane. You’re a strong and independent free-thinker. Why would you do that?

jumping
Well, I guess that’s fine.

…but what if your friends weren’t jumping off a cliff?

Instead, what if they’re all buying the latest iPhone? Every day you see them playing with cool apps, taking great pictures, and talking about how great the phone is. After a while, it’s not so much a question of if you’re going to buy an iPhone but when.

This is herd mentality — and you’ve probably seen it before:

  • Investors rushing to buy a specific stock because it’s supposedly “hot.”
  • Parents frantically buying Tickle Me Elmos for their kids after they see every other parent doing it.
  • Fidget spinners. Dear god, so many fidget spinners…

When it comes to your personal finances, herd mentality could mean the difference between getting swept up by the panic of a recession and keeping your head.

Let’s take a closer look at herd mentality and see how exactly it can harm AND help us.

What is herd mentality?

Herd mentality describes a behavior in which people act the same way or adopt similar behaviors as the people around them — often ignoring their own feelings in the process.

Think of a sheep blindly following the flock no matter where they go just because that’s what the herd is doing.

And this isn’t just pseudoscience: There have been peer-reviewed psychological studies conducted on the subject.

In 2008, Professor Jens Krause and Dr. John Dyer of Leeds University conducted an experiment where groups of subjects were told to walk in a random path inside of a big hall while not communicating with the other subjects. However, the researchers told a few of the subjects exactly where they should walk.

Guess what happened? They discovered that the people who were told exactly where to walk started being followed by the subjects walking “randomly.”  

From Professor Krause:

We’ve all been in situations where we get swept along by the crowd. But what’s interesting about this research is that our participants ended up making a consensus decision despite the fact that they weren’t allowed to talk or gesture to one another. In most cases the participants didn’t realise they were being led by others.

In the end, they found that it took just 5% of people walking confidently to influence 95% of the other walkers to follow them.

And looking around, you’ll see examples of this type of behavior everywhere:

Herd mentality exhibit A: Black Friday madness

The day after Thanksgiving consistently reigns as one of the biggest shopping days of the year. It’s also the one day where you can count on completely sane and reasonable people to regress into wild-eyed, feral monkeys ready to step on each other’s neck for a flat screen TV.

Why? Why do people forgo spending a relaxing holiday with friends and family to get punched in the face so they can save 30% on a blender?

An Auburn University study found that the experience of shopping can actually be enhanced when there’s a large crowd around you, turning an otherwise bad experience into a fun one. What might seem objectively like a bad idea becomes a “good idea” with a few more people around us.

pasted image 0 427
Pictured: More fun than Disney World?

Whether it’s Black Friday or a 21-year-old’s birthday party, though, fun things can quickly turn into a mess of screaming, hair pulling, and crying (or was that just me?) as we succumb to our animal instincts.

Herd mentality exhibit B: The dot-com bubble

Cast your mind back to a simpler time. A time of Starter jackets, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and ska music. I’m talking about the 90s.

Along with your dope Pog collection, the 90s also were the dawn of a new and exciting piece of technology called the internet. As soon as people realized you could monetize the internet, investors of all stripes began to pour millions upon millions of dollars into different “dot-com companies” (businesses that exist online).

However, many of these investments turned out to be pure speculation — resulting in the infamous dot-com bubble. So after years of investing in shady tech companies that often didn’t have a product to begin with, the bubble burst in the early-2000s. Scores of tech companies went belly up and even more investors lost their millions.

One prime example? Pets.com.

Some of you might be too young to remember this, but those who do probably recall seeing commercials featuring a certain sock-puppet dog talking to people. Pets.com — a company that sold pet supplies online.

Here it is in all its nightmare-inducing glory.

When the company went public in early 2000, they saw their shares rise to $14. However, the dot-com bubble soon burst and they saw their market value tank to a measly $1/share. Hundreds were laid off as the company buckled later that year. Now, their domain redirects to PetSmart’s website and the company exists as a sad example of herd mentality.

Herd mentality exhibit C: Disney Theme Parks’ firework shows

It’s the happiest place on Earth. A magical land where you can meet your favorite Disney princess, eat turkey legs the size of your own leg, and get songs stuck in your head for years.

Haunting.

It’s also a place where you can see mob mentality in action 365 days out of the year. Disney has been able to leverage mob mentality to draw people to their parks and keep them coming back year after year since they opened their first park in 1955.

One of their most clever usages of mob mentality comes in the form of their famous nightly firework shows.

Back in the early years of the park, Walt Disney had a problem: Families all over America were clamoring to get into Disneyland…but they left as soon as they hit up all the rides they planned to go to.

After all, this was the earliest days of theme parks in general. People had no frame of reference and no idea what to expect when they showed up to Disneyland. So when families started showing up, they followed the other families — staying for as long as they needed to go on certain rides and then leaving.

Walt needed to find a way to keep them there though, or else he took a hit in opportunity costs.

That’s when park planners came up with the idea of having a fireworks show so that families had something to look forward to at the end of the day. Soon families started staying in the park longer, as word-of-mouth spread the news of the fireworks show at the day’s end.

The plan worked. People stayed until the end of the day, and more than 50 years later you can still see that example of herd mentality in action at Disney parks all over the world.

Disney

Herd mentality exhibit D: The housing market crash

It’s been almost a decade since the housing market crashed in 2008 but in many ways, the effects of it are still being felt today. And though the reasons behind the crash are incredibly nuanced and complex, it all boils down to a bubble caused by a massive amount of homeowners being unable to pay their mortgages.

The result of the crash led to millions of people losing their jobs, scores of people losing their homes, and consumer spending dropping by 8%.

While there are many factors that caused the crash, I want to talk about how mob mentality ran rampant after it.

Because when the housing bubble burst, investors got nervous. They were so nervous they found themselves falling prey to a herd mentality behavior called “panic selling,” wherein people sell off their shares en masse due to paranoia and fear, resulting in stock prices plummeting. Investors got scared that if they kept their money in the market, they would lose it. This resulted in people pulling their money out of the market. Which resulted in prices going down and… well, you know how this ended.

Can herd mentality be good?

While many examples of herd mentality can seem downright scary, it’s not all doom and gloom. Herd mentality can actually be a GREAT thing if you let it be.

Michael Bond, author of The Power of Others: Peer Pressure, Groupthink, and How the People Around Us Shape Everything We Do, wrote that herd mentality can actually “change the course of history.”

From Bond:

The Egyptian revolution of late January and early February 2011 was a stunning example of cooperative power (even though its achievements have partly been squandered). What’s more, those who gathered in Tahrir Square to demand the fall of Hosni Mubarak had the time of their lives.

One retired businessman who traveled from Alexandria, Egypt, to join the protesters told me: “I found something lovely. There were all kinds of people. From universities, secondary schools, preparatory schools. Homeless people. People from every religion. All divisions disappeared. Everyone had one purpose. I was really crying, for this was the first time I saw the Egyptian people unafraid of anything.”

Aside from changing the landscape of politics, herd mentality can also be leveraged when it comes to your investments — or at least Warren Buffett thinks so. “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful,” he says.

What he means is that you should always be more than willing to go against the herd when it comes to your investments. The person who is going to come out on top of a bubble burst or market crash is the one who keeps their head and doesn’t immediately dump all their stock.

Which brings us to…

What YOU should do to use herd mentality to your advantage

By its nature, herd mentality is difficult to spot in the moment. After all, a snowflake doesn’t realize that it’s a part of the avalanche. Same goes for you when you’re swept up by market trends.

But if you do find yourself in the midst of a herd, keep in mind BOTH the dangers and benefits of herd mentality. And remember that Warren Buffett quote from before: “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

And if you’re new to investing, we want to show you exactly how to do that.

Simply by doing your research, you’re already ahead of 99.99% of people out there when it comes to planning for your financial future.

That’s why we want to offer you The Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance.

In it, you’ll learn how to:

  • Master your 401k: Take advantage of free money offered to you by your company … and get rich while doing it.
  • Manage Roth IRAs: Start saving for retirement in a worthwhile long-term investment account.
  • Spend the money you have — guilt-free: By leveraging the systems in this book, you’ll learn exactly how you’ll be able to save money to spend without the guilt.

Enter your info below and get on your way to living a Rich Life today.

4 examples of herd mentality (and what to do about it) is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

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7 Content Marketing Experts You Need to Follow Now

I’ve been in the content marketing game for three years now. I’ve been writing for… well, since I was taught how, really. And I still don’t know everything about content marketing. Not even close. That’s why I read people who know more than me!

Below, I’ve briefly profiled seven content marketing experts who influence me and who I think can benefit anyone who does content marketing. I’ve included a brief bio, a summary of why I think they’re worth following, and where you can find them.

1. Ramit Sethi

Ramit Sethi

Source

Claim to fame

I’ve been following Ramit since 2010. A content marketing pioneer, Ramit published “I Will Teach You to Be Rich,” his bestselling book, in 2009. He promoted it through extremely candid, detailed blog posts about his own challenges being a hustler/entrepreneur.

Why you should follow him

Instead of acting like he’s got it all figured out, Ramit earns readers’ trust by admitting that he doesn’t know what he’s doing but is slowly figuring it out, and we’re invited to learn along with him. A blog post such as “How to talk to people (even if you don’t know what to say)” could easily be boring, basic, and condescending. But quotes like “I was so awkward I made Urkel look like Robert Downey Jr.” make it seem less like reading a blog post and more like reading an email from a particularly funny and self-aware friend.

Where he’s most active

Where is Ramit not publishing #content? He’s got a newsletter, a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, an Instagram account, a YouTube channel, and a series of podcasts.

2. Larry Kim

Larry Kim

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Claim to fame

I, like a great many other SEOs, found out about Larry Kim in the late aughts through the WordStream blog. Larry began the search engine marketing automation company in 2007. Today it’s worth millions and serves more than 10,000 clients in dozens of industries. The PPC Hero Blog voted Larry the most influential PPC expert in 2015, 2014, and 2013. He was also U.S. Search Awards and Search Engine Land’s 2015 “Search Marketer of the Year.”

Why you should follow him

A year after starting WordStream, Larry stepped down as CEO and focused exclusively on marketing and product management as the company’s chief technology officer. Since then, he’s been relentlessly trying and testing new approaches to increase engagement and results.

For instance, when he wanted to increase his Twitter engagement, he says, “I did a test with tweets that had emojis and ones that didn’t, and the ones with emojis were about 30% higher. I put those dumb pizza emojis in all my tweets and it dramatically increases my engagement rates.”

Where he’s most active

The WordStream blog gets more than 1 million visitors a month, though Larry isn’t writing for it as often since he stepped down from WordStream to start a marketing chatbot company. It’s still a good read though. He also has a column at Inc. and he’s active on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium.

3. Neil Patel

Neil Patel

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Claim to fame

Neil Patel is a New York Times best-selling author and co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and Kissmetrics. He consults for companies including Amazon, NBC, GM, HP, and Viacom. President Obama recognized Neil as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30. The United Nations named him a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35. He’s a top influencer on the web according to The Wall Street Journal, and a top ten marketer according to Forbes.

Why you should follow him

Neil is one of those people who tests marketing tactics relentlessly. Crazy Egg is a company aimed at making those tests easier to run and evaluate. He also freely shares the results. Blog posts such as “Why I’m Spending $144,000 on Video in 2018 (And Why You Should Too)” take you through split tests such as replacing lots of copy on a landing page with a video and tell you exactly how it worked out.

Where he’s most active

Follow Neil on Twitter and subscribe to his blog. He also posts and comments on LinkedIn. He’s got an active Facebook page, and, as you might have guessed from the aforementioned blog post, a YouTube channel. He also has a podcast.

4. Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi

Source

Claim to fame

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, which runs Content Marketing World, the world’s largest in-person content marketing event. In 2014 the Content Council chose Joe for the John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award. He’s written five books, the third of which, “Epic Content Marketing,” was named one of “Five Must-Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine.

Why you should follow him

You should follow Joe, if for no other reason, because so many of your content marketing colleagues follow him. He literally helped define content marketing, and wrote several books on the subject, which are widely read. If you want to get people’s references and speak the same language as your fellow content marketers, Joe is good source material.

Where he’s most active

It’s hard to say at this point. Joe announced in an Oct. 29, 2017 post that he was stepping down from CMI to “continue to raise money for children who desperately need speech therapy and technology equipment to help them communicate more effectively,” with the Orange Effect Foundation, which aims to ensure that “children with speech disorders receive the speech therapy and technology they need,” according to the nonprofit’s website. But in the meantime you can read the archives of Chief Content Officer, any of his five books, and find him on Twitter.

5. Eric Siu

Eric Siu

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Claim to fame

Eric Siu is the CEO at Single Grain, co-founded CrazyEgg with Neil Patel and Hiten Shah, and is co-host of the Marketing School podcast with Neil Patel.

Why you should follow him

Eric is a great source for trends in content marketing and how to prepare for them. He, like Neil and Hiten, likes to get into the nitty gritty, like how long you can expect to wait to see results from your content marketing efforts and how many followers you need to gain before you start getting network effects.

Where he’s most active

You should definitely check out the Marketing School podcast with Neil Patel. In addition, Eric writes for Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Forbes and more. He’s also active on Twitter.

6. Joe Lazauskas

Joe Lazauskas

Source

Claim to fame

Joe Lazauskas is head of content strategy for the content management platform Contently. He and Shane Snow, a New Yorker-published journalist, recently published a book on content marketing.

Why you should follow him

I’d highly recommend not just Joe’s posts but the entire Contently blog. One reason I like the blog is that it’s so much more than just content marketing advice such as “Show, Don’t Sell: How to Use Empathic Marketing to Win More Business in 2018.” Posts ask, and answer with actual data, interesting questions such as “Why are our major institutions losing our trust, and how can they get it back?” Contently has won some awards for their blog, including Best B2B Content Marketing—2015 Drum Awards, Best Brand Publication—2016 Digiday Content Marketing Awards, and it was a finalist for Best New Publisher—2015 Digiday Publishing Awards.

Where he’s most active

You can find Joe speaking at industry conferences including Content Marketing World, Web Summit, and Collision. He’s active on Twitter and posts occasionally to Medium. But really, just follow the blog.

7. Emma Brudner

Emma Brudner

Source

Claim to fame

Emma Brudner is the director of marketing, blog, and community at HubSpot. Before that she honed her skills as an HR tech journalist.

Why you should follow her

Under Emma’s leadership, the Hubspot blog (actually three blogs) have become must-reads in the marketing, sales, and customer support worlds.

Where she’s most active

Follow Emma’s posts on the Hubspot blog. From “26 Psychological Biases to Help You Sell Better and Faster” to “36 Apps Every Sales Rep Needs on Their Phone in 2018,” her posts are short but full of good research and sound advice. I especially liked “10 Hard Truths About Management No One Tells You.”

Tell me who I missed and learn more

Did I fail to include any amazing content marketing experts? Of course I did! I only listed seven! Let me know who you would have included in the comments below.

To learn more about content marketing, check out these posts:

6 Beginner Tips and YouTube Examples for Video Content Marketing

20+ Best Free Content Marketing Tools and Apps (and How to Use Them)

5 Writing Habits That Are Killing Your Content Marketing

7 Content Marketing Experts You Need to Follow Now Capterra Blog.

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