How to Create an Influencer-Generated "Bite-Sized Tips" Article that Gets Shared Like Crazy

By Ann Smarty An article full of bite-sized tips always goes well because readers always find something to take home, and if you make those bite-sized tips tweetable right from the page, it goes even better.

Source: Social Media Today


Dennis Publishing’s Paul Lomax on adblocking and ‘anti-ad zealots’

By Graham Charlton

buy car

The growth of adblocker usage is one of the major problems affecting publishers today, as it has the potential to cut into ad revenues which many rely on.

Paul Lomax is CTO and Head of Product Development at Dennis Publishing (founded by the great Felix Dennis), an independent group which publishes many different titles, online and offline.

We caught up with Paul to ask his views on the growth of adblocking and how Dennis Publishing will look to deal with this issue.

How much of an issue is adblocking for Dennis Publishing?

Not insignificant but still very much in the minority. It varies hugely by market, with tech and younger brands affected more than say our automotive brands.

We have a fairly diverse portfolio, thankfully. Obviously we’re concerned the numbers may grow, so we’re not resting on our laurels.

Will adblocking force some publishers to abandon ad revenue models in favour of other revenue streams, such as ecommerce?

I think if other revenue models were viable enough to be a primary revenue stream, they’d already be in wider use. Ecommerce is far from being a new thing. There’s clearly opportunity to further diversify revenue steams, but that doesn’t mean abandoning ad revenue models which are still very strong.

Also, ecommerce (in the publishing sense, usually affiliate based) is not immune from ad-blocking in so far as many ad blockers stop affiliate cookies being dropped, which means the publisher won’t get paid for referrals.

Some publishers may diversify more drastically into real ecommerce, ie shipping products themselves rather than via partners. Dennis, for example, now sells cars and finance online having acquired in November 2014.

It could be argued that poor usability (intrusive ads etc) from publishers has driven the rise of adblocking. Is it too late now to change tack on ad formats?

There’s an argument that Pandora’s Box has been opened and can never be closed – even if publishers clean up their sites, there will be enough bad sites out there for users to leave ad blockers on, and there are other concerns too (malware, privacy). There’ll always be an element of ‘I ad block because I can’.

Remember though that publishers don’t create the adverts – advertisers, agencies and ad-tech companies have all played their part in this. There’s a drive towards good ‘acceptable ad’ formats, although the fact it sometimes requires payment is of course controversial, but there’s an element of user backlash about ad blockers letting any ads through. Some blockers that allow no ads are springing up. There will always be anti-ad zealots, but they’re in the minority.

The problem is when this filters over to mainstream users who have more legitimate concerns and would be happy for some value exchange to take place. At the moment ad blockers are mostly indiscriminate. I think we need to improve ad formats, but that alone isn’t enough.

You have been experimenting with ways to deal with adblocking. What do those experiments look like?

Like other publishers, we want to see whether our readers are happy to white list our sites, or if they’re more aggressively anti-advertising. There are also many questions about ad blockers’ ability to circumvent measures. And we want to look at discrepancies between various tracking and measurement methods.

We think solutions may vary depending on the brand and its market – for example a B2B IT website with pretty unique content might be in a better position to block users than say a news or more mass-market website.

And some of our brands may do a ‘data wall’, where we could ask for their contact details rather than require them to view advertising. More mass-market brands such as Coach might have more of a soft message, or an ad recovery solution. We’re open minded.

What have you learnt from other publishers’ attempts at combating the negative impact of adblocking? Did you use them as a reference when designing your experiments?

I don’t think we’ve seen studies long enough to draw any conclusions. For example, the much publicised Forbes trial data ends the day before the Adblock Plus community added rules to circumvent their message.

This resulted in ad block users seeing the ‘thank you for whitelisting’ message but not actually seeing any ads. If you have an absolute ‘whitelist to view this site’ wall, then ad block developers are going to try and circumvent it – it becomes, to quote Sourcepoint, a knife fight.

Do you think that adblocking could be a blessing in disguise for publishers, who will be encouraged to consider their sites’ user experiences?

For users, maybe, for publishers, no, because of the largely indiscriminate nature of ad blockers. Let’s be clear, ad blockers aren’t all about users either – there are companies involved in ad blocking who are and will be making millions from the protection racket of pay to display.

It’s also a massive threat to net neutrality, if ISPs and mobile networks starting using technology like Shine, as has happened in Trinidad.

I’ve heard of examples where mobile and other adblockers are blocking even native posts. Many imagine that adblockers target only popups and banners, but are there other consequences?

People also think they only block third party content, eg ad-served, but they can block anything that can be pinned down via it’s HTML pattern (eg a CSS class name). All it takes is a user to right click on something they think is an ad for it to be reported to the community developers, who then figure out how to block it. And those creating the block lists tend to be anti-ad zealots.

They can and do block logos from sponsored blocks, any content or links labelled sponsored or similar (which given the ASA are starting to crack down on native labelling in the UK will become easier), anything they consider ‘annoying’.

Also things like related content blocks (if some of the items are paid-for), or newsletter sign up promos, or paywall notices. Ironically some even block cookie privacy notices. Many also have privacy options, which can stop affiliate or attribution tracking, retargeting, personalisation, ad effectiveness measurement, analytics (eg GA), A/B testing. The latter could have an impact on web professionals being able to optimise user experience or improve conversion rates.

Source: Search Engine Watch


The 5-Step Process that Solves 3 Painful Writing Problems

By Brian Clark

I once asked the Copyblogger community to name their biggest writing challenges.

From the many responses, a pattern developed:

  • How to get started
  • How to cut the fluff
  • How to finish

These three issues are really symptoms of the same painful problem, which boils down to not clearly understanding what you’re trying to accomplish with your writing. Don’t worry … it’s a fairly common ailment.

There’s a five-step process you can work through that will help clarify your objectives, which leads to greater clarity in your writing.

This method also helps you kick-start any writing project (and finish it) with only the necessary elements, because you’ll know exactly what you’re after and how to make it happen.

Step #1: Begin with the end in mind

The most important step in the process happens before you even write a word.

You must understand your objective for the content.

You have an idea, but what’s the goal? From a content marketing standpoint, you’re usually seeking to educate or persuade (often both, and as we’ll see in the next step, they’re actually the same thing even when intentions vary).

Having a “great idea” and sitting down to write can often lead to a half-finished train wreck.

What’s the “why” behind the idea? Figure this out first, or move on to another idea.

Step #2: Identify questions

Okay, so now you have a goal in mind — a mission, if you will.

What’s standing in the way of your mission?

The obstacles you face are the concepts your audience does not understand yet, but must accept by the time they’re finished reading. These are the questions you must answer before you can achieve the goal you’ve identified in Step #1.

In copywriting circles, we say an unanswered question (an objection) is a barrier to buying.

With education, an unanswered question is a barrier to learning. Education is persuasion (and vice versa) when you realize this fundamental truth.

Step #3: Write the headline and subheads

With your goal in mind and the questions you must answer identified, now you start to put things down on virtual paper.

Some people open a word processor during Step #2; I do everything up until now in my head. Do what works for you.

What promise are you making to your audience with this piece of content? What will you teach them? And why should they care? That’s your working headline.

Then, each of the major questions you must answer to achieve your mission (and the promise your headline makes) becomes a subhead. Your subheads don’t ultimately have to be phrased as questions, but this technique helps you compose a focused draft.

Take some time to decide if a particular question is its own subhead or part of the content below a subhead. It’s simply outlining at this point.

Step #4: Fill in the blanks

Want to write lean copy?

Answer the questions designated by each subhead, and answer only that question.

Do not digress. Do not go off on a tangent.

Just answer the question. Do it as simply and clearly as possible.

Step #5: Now … edit

If you’ve followed these steps, you’re not likely suffering from fluff.

Rather, you might find that you need to add more details or rephrase for clarity.

This is also the time to refine your language. Experienced writers can often pull the perfect turn of phrase in some places of a first draft, while in other places there are opportunities for better, more precise word choices.

Finally, review how the piece of content turned out:

  • Does your working headline still reflect the fulfilled promise?
  • Does your opening keep the momentum going?
  • Can you revise the headline, opening, and subheads so that they are even more compelling?

Over to you …

Everyone’s approach to the writing process is different. This process works for me, and I wrote this article fairly quickly using the process as a demonstration.

What works for you?

Any tips you can pass along that might help your fellow content marketers?

Let us know in the comments.

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Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on October 6, 2011.

The post The 5-Step Process that Solves 3 Painful Writing Problems appeared first on Copyblogger.

Source: Copy Blogger


My codeignitor php script is not processing on sub-domain apache server?

By Moeid Saleem Khan

I am trying to add a codeignitor script on my sub-domain of apache server. The script works fine on root folder. but, doesn’t work on sub-domain properly. I haven’t made any changes to my Base_url. i.e. $config[‘base_url’] = ”;

I want it to run properly on my subdomain!
This is the sub folder where my script is located. My site does show up but script doesnot save any data or process! I have tried messing with base_url but nothing helps.

Source: Stack Overflow


C# SQL) additional encryption of connectionstring is needed? if ‘’ is included in connectionstring to Azure SQL database?

By Kay Lee

According to my knowledge, new feature like ‘’ can be included recently in connectionstring to Azure SQL database..

So, I’ve changed the connectionstring of my application as included the ‘secure’ in connectionstring as above and through this I can access to Azure SQL database without any problem as before.

However, I couldn’t have found how this ‘’ feature help us to protect our Azure SQL database more secure.

Can somebody explain about this in detail also for other people’s comprehensive understanding?

The Architecture of my software is,

WPF (Windows desktop application on users’ computers) – WCF web role(Windows Communication Foundation) on Azure Cloud Service (Here, the connectionstring to Azure SQL database exists)- Azure SQL Server(Azure SQL database).

If we configure our connectionstring with ‘’, does this mean that the connectionstring will be encrypted automatically when the application(web.config of WCF web role) is deployed(complied) to Azure Cloud Service?

I’m much worried if the connectionstring to Azure SQL database remains as plain text and stolen by bad people and attacked by the exposured connectionstring.

If we configure our connectionstring with ‘’, is there no need to worry about connectionstring to be exposured?

If still, we have to encrypt our connectionstring after configuring our connectionstring with ‘’, how can I implement this?

My major is not software-related but just bio-chemistry and I’ve been fighting with this matter almost 1 month…

Your help will be greatly appreciated ! Thank you so much !!!

Source: Stack Overflow


11 extraordinary uses of Augmented Reality (AR)

By Christopher Ratcliff


Jess Butcher, the director and co-founder of augmented reality app Blippar, is speaking at our Shift London event in May, so to prepare for this occasion, we thought we’d get fully immersed in the world of AR.

Put simply, AR is the technology that superimposes computer generated imagery onto the real world when looked at through a portable device. But, as marketers have discovered, AR can be so much more.

AR has not only succeeded where QR codes failed, but it has quickly shut down any opinion that its technology is gimmicky. No longer is AR the stuff of ‘oh look at this funny animation protruding out of a cola can’. Now genuinely useful experiences can be achieved to help your customers, clients and service providers in a real-life practical way.

Let’s take a look at some of these experiences…

The first three examples are taken from Blippar‘s own case studies:

Maybelline, L’Oreal

To promote a new line of nail polish, Maybelline ran print ads in several US magazines giving readers the unique opportunity to virtually try on the new range of colors.

The average reader engaged for more than four minutes, and more than 10% of users shared the campaign on social media. The campaign also helped Maybelline predict which colors were trending each week.


Argos made its holiday catalogue shoppable with the Blippar app by letting readers ‘blipp’ the pages to instantly buy items. This led to 21,000 customers sharing the campaign on social media, and more than 929,000 interactions were recorded over 10 weeks.


Coca-Cola & Spotify

Coca-Cola, turned its 250ml cans into portable interactive Spotify jukeboxes. Users could use their smartphone to listen to the top 50 UK songs at that moment on Spotify by holding a can up to the screen.



As TechRepublic reported in 2o15, AR is making itself incredibly useful in the healthcare industry. The following examples are taken from Brian Wassom’s talk at last year’s Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara:


To replace the giant, unwieldy anatomy text books that all medical students have to leanr, ARnatomy uses AR to pinpoint exactly the type of bone being studied, revealing all of its information on screen and lets allows users the ability to manipulate a tangible skeletal model.


Vipaar is a video support solution whereby a remote surgeon could project his hands onto the display of a surgeon on site wearing AR enabled glases and point and guide the hands of the surgeon.


AccuVein’s Vinny Luciano states that 40% of IVs miss on the first attempt at finding a vein, so they invented a scanner that projects over skin and shows nurses and doctors where various veins, valves and bifurcations are in a patient’s body. This has been used on more than 10 million patients so far, and made finding a vein on the first attempt 3.5x more likely.

VA-ST Visor

The winner of the 2014 Google Impact Challenge was the VA-ST visor. These ‘smart specs’ are intended for use by people who are legally blind or partially sighted to help with every day tasks.

The software can be taught to recognise 3D objects and then identify them within a scene, this can help with finding lost items, navigating environments or mapping out familiar faces to aid recognition.

Current Studios’ MRI game

Getting a child to remain still for the length of an MRI can be very difficult, so Current Studios developed a tablet game for kids to play before the procedure, that measures their ability to lay still for extended periods of time. Doctors can see the child’s stats, and then determine whether they would need a general anesthetic.

The British Museum

Ben Davis covered five AR lessons from The British Museum in 2013, and it still stands as an excellent use-case.

A Gift for Athena helps Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11) children engage with the museum’s Parthenon gallery. It’s a simple uncluttered experience, that nevertheless provides deep learning opportunities thanks to a focus on narrative and puzzle-solving.

American Apparel

The in-store experience can be brought to digital life with AR. Here American Apparel uses it app to reveal tonnes of information on its products as well as showing customer reviews and providing the ability to buy the product online if it’s out of stock and to see it in ever available colour.


Pepsi brought some magic (and terror) to the streets of London in 2014 with its AR enabled billboard. While waiting for a bus, unwitting people would be able to see flying saucers, tigers and asteroids approaching them through the advert. Proving that AR doesn’t just have to be contained on a wearable or smartphone.

With 7.5 million views, this video is one of YouTube’s most watched advertising campaigns.

For lots more information on the changing realities of marketing, come to Shift London in May.

Source: Search Engine Watch