Posts tagged need

7 Popular Content Marketing Myths You Need to Stop Following by @neilpatel

As content marketing gets more popular, people are coming up with their own notions of what everyone should be doing. A lot of these notions are myths, and if you keep following them, you will hurt your traffic. What are the 7 myths you should be avoiding? In this post, not only will I break each one down, but I’ll also tell you what you should be doing instead. Here it goes: Myth #1: Everyone Should Have a Blog Having a blog isn’t for everyone. Sure, it can help drive more traffic to your business, but the big problem with creating one […]

The post 7 Popular Content Marketing Myths You Need to Stop Following by @neilpatel appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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What Do I Need To Do a Podcast? by @albertcostill

Several years ago, most people wrote off podcasts as a fad – and with good reason. While podcast usage stayed stagnant for years, a majority of marketers focused on producing content for social media outlets. Then, an interesting thing happened. Podcasting became the next big thing. Again.  Edison Research found podcasting reached an all-time high in 2014. In fact, there are an estimated 39 million podcast listeners in February 2014, right here in the US. But, does that justify you jumping on the bandwagon? Jeff Bullas suggests that “podcasting is worth checking out” because is can help you get noticed in an ever-more […]

The post What Do I Need To Do a Podcast? by @albertcostill appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Open-Source Projects Need More Than Good Code—They Need Marketing

Most open source developers focus on writing great code and don’t bother marketing their project. Which is why most open-source projects fail. Utterly.

While it’s a convenient fiction to believe that open source is a meritocracy where the best code wins, it’s just that: fiction. As Apache Storm founder Nathan Marz writes in a recent blog post, solving an important project with useful code is only half the battle. It’s equally important—and sometimes more so—”to convince a significant number of people that your project is the best solution to their problem.”

See also: How To Get Started In Open Source

That’s called marketing, and most developers are terrible at it.

Telling Stories

I’ve written before that every technology company needs at least one English major. It’s easy to believe that the world will beat a path to your project’s door, Field of Dreams style (“If you build it, they will come”). But the world doesn’t work that way.

People—and developers are people, too—have a finite amount of attention. That’s why we’re seeing the fading of the polyglot programmer. As former Googler Tim Bray notes, “There is a re­al cost to this con­tin­u­ous widen­ing of the base of knowl­edge a de­vel­op­er has to have to re­main rel­e­van­t.”  

See also: Why Every Tech Company Needs An English Major

As the number of open source projects booms, getting developers interested in your particular project is non-trivial. By marketing a project well, developers can cut through the noise and help their project to stand out. As former Facebook and Google engineering executive Santosh Jayaram articulates, English majors are critical for helping companies “tell stories” about their projects. 

And while no developer really wants to read some Randomly capitalized Blurb on GitHub about a Project!, as the worst marketing “professionals” are prone to do, project leads who can tell a compelling story around their project, English-major style, are more likely to find developers that want to use and/or contribute to a project.

The Accidental Marketing Of Storm

This is what Nathan Marz discovered as he sought to increase adoption of Storm, a real-time computation system. In 2011, I joined Dave Rosenberg to build a company (Nodeable) focused on delivering Storm as a service. The company was a bit ahead of its time and ended up getting acquired by Appcelerator.

Storm, on the other hand, really took off. 

Twitter started acquisition talks with Marz in May 2011 to acquire his company, Backtype. To help increase the valuation Marz wrote this blog post, touting the potential of Storm, which was at the heart of Backtype’s technology stack. 

In the process he stumbled on the value of marketing the project:

The post had some surprising other effects. In the post I casually referred to Storm as “the Hadoop of realtime,” and this phrase really caught on. To this day people still use it, and it even gets butchered into “realtime Hadoop” by many people. This accidental branding was really powerful and helped with adoption later on.

From then on, Marz spent a great deal of time both developing the technology and (in his words) hyping it, bolstering that marketing hype with documentation because “people cannot use your software if they don’t understand it.” 

But it wasn’t just code. Marz also hit the campaign trail, blitzing conferences:

Over the next year I did a ton of talks on Storm at conferences, meetups, and companies. I believe I did over 25 Storm talks. It got to a point where I could present Storm with my eyes closed. All this speaking got Storm more and more exposure.

The result, however, was worth it:

The marketing paid off and Storm acquired production users very quickly. I did a survey in January of 2012 and found out Storm had 10 production users, another 15 planning to have it in production soon, and another 30 companies experimenting with the technology. To have that many production users for a major piece of infrastructure in only 3 months since release was very significant.

Get Yourself A Story Teller

Storm has become an incredibly important project, but it never would have reached this stage without a lot of marketing along the way. As should be clear by now, I’m not talking about billboards along Highway 101 or pop-up ads on Hacker News (if those existed). 

Rather, I’m suggesting highly informative marketing like Marz did to raise awareness of and interest in Storm:

Building a successful project requires a lot more than just producing good code that solves an important problem. Documentation, marketing, and community development are just as important. Especially in the early days, you have to be creative and think of clever ways to get the project established. Examples of how I did that were making use of the Twitter brand, starting the mailing list a few months before release, and doing a big hyped up release to maximize exposure. Additionally, there’s a lot of tedious, time-consuming work involved in building a successful project, such as writing docs, answering the never-ending questions on the mailing list, and giving talks.

This isn’t the sexy work of a code jockey. But it’s this very marketing drudgery that often will make the difference between a great project that no one uses and a great project that changes the world. Linux, for example, didn’t hit its stride in the enterprise until IBM committed to spend $1 billion marketing and promoting it. 

Storm, for its part, didn’t require a $1 billion injection. But it did require a heck of a lot of Marz’s time spent marketing, not coding.

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Why SEOs Need To Stop Automating Email Outreach For Links

Link building is a time-consuming process, so it may be tempting to take shortcuts. But email outreach is one area where you should always invest the time.

The post Why SEOs Need To Stop Automating Email Outreach For Links appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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6 Lessons About Non-Linear Content That SEOs Need to Know by @garyshack

In a not so distant past, linear storytelling was the pervasive marketing communication tactic used to reach consumers. Brand storytellers and traditional marketing agencies built fortresses on 30-second stories expecting people to simply listen and sit until the end.  It worked, no doubt about it. We enjoyed it. We bought the idea, and their products, too. We had no choice. First off, let’s revisit what linear storytelling means. It can be visualized as a chronologically arranged plot of a story. It starts from A, goes to B, and ends at C. End of story. Most TVCs run this way. Linear Storytelling: Non-linear storytelling, […]

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Everything You Need To Know About The Shellshock Bug

Judging by how the past week has gone, it’ll be a while until we see the end of the Shellshock bug, an old but recently discovered flaw in Unix-like operating systems that’s widespread, difficult to patch and not too hard to exploit. It’s like the trifecta from hell.

Worried about what it is and how you can protect yourself? Here are some plain-English answers to your questions about this nasty bug.

What Is Shellshock?

The bug stems from coding mistakes in bash, a low-level computer program that’s been part of many, but not all, Unix-related systems for decades. That makes the bug mostly a problem for servers that run Unix, Linux or other similar operating-system variants, although Mac users might also have something to worry about.

The name “Shellshock” is a bit of wordplay based on the fact that bash is a “shell,” a type of program used to execute other programs. Bash, like many other shells, uses a text-based, command-line interface. (If you’re on a Mac, you can see this by opening your Terminal program.) Programmers can use bash to access another computer or computer system remotely and feed it commands.

Bash is short for “Bourne Again SHell,” a pun on Stephen Bourne, the computer-scientist author of an earlier Unix shell known simply as sh. It is compatible with every version of Unix, which made it an obvious choice for the default shell for Linux and Mac operating systems.

Bash is several decades old, and security researchers believe the Shellshock bug has lain undetected in bash for at least 22 years.

So Who’s Vulnerable?

Technically, any computer or system with bash installed is vulnerable. Since bash is installed by default on Unix systems, that includes a lot of computers. 

Windows computers are safe; they don’t use bash. But if you’re using a Mac or running Linux, Ubuntu, or some other Unix flavor where bash is the default interpreter, then you could be at risk.

Just because your computer is vulnerable to Shellshock, however, doesn’t mean hackers can target it. For them to do so, they’d have to be able to access your computer’s bash program via the Internet.

If your computer is connected to the Internet through a password-protected wireless network—or physically via an Ethernet cable—you’re still basically safe. If you’re using an open, untrusted Wi-Fi connect, though, you could theoretically be vulnerable to a Shellshock exploit. 

Even that’s extremely unlikely, though. The most likely targets, according to cyber security firm FireEye, are Internet servers and related large computer systems.

What About Me? Do I Have To Worry?

Eight versions of bash contain the vulnerability, from 1.13 up to the latest 4.3. To figure out which version you are using, you can open up your Terminal program and type the following:

$ bash --version

To search for the bug, type:

$ env X="() { :;} ; echo vulnerable" /bin/sh -c "echo stuff"

If your computer responds with “vulnerable stuff” then your version of bash is indeed executing variables like code, and therefore contains the vulnerability.

Even if your computer is vulnerable, it’s still extremely unlikely that you will be targeted through the Shellshock bug. It’s too much effort for hackers to bypass your password-protected Internet connection just to get to it. 

How Do Hackers Take Advantage Of The Bug?

Let’s take the simple test people are using to check for bash vulnerability, a command you’d issue to bash in this form:

$ env X="() { :;} ; echo vulnerable" /bin/sh -c "echo stuff"

If bash was working correctly, that command would assign the variable X a value—the string of characters “() { :;} ; echo vulnerable”—and would print this on the screen:


The bug, however, causes bash to interpret everything following that weird collection of parentheses, brackets, colons and semicolons as another command. In this case, that command just prints the word “vulnerable” on the screen:

$ env X="() { :;} ; echo vulnerable" /bin/sh -c "echo stuff"

But it could just as easily search for sensitive bank information, erase all your files, grant a new user untrammeled access to your computer or worse. Since bash is a key component for working on computers remotely, the hacker doesn’t even need to be anywhere near the system to do it.

See also: New Security Flaws Render Shellshock Patch Ineffective

This is only the first of at least six bugs associated with Shellshock that security researchers have found. The latest, known to researchers as CVE-2014-7186, assists with creating denial of service attacks in which hackers can disrupt a computer’s Internet service.

How Do I Protect Myself?

That’s the tricky part. Security experts keep issuing patches, but researchers are simultaneously finding new related vulnerabilities. So “protection” is a moving target here, at least so far.

If you’re using Linux or Unix, Red Hat developed a patch over the weekend, but you have to install it over the command line and it’s got a lot of steps. This is Red Hat’s second patch for the bug but definitely not the last—as researchers keep finding more vulnerabilities associated with Shellshock, they have to keep reinforcing the patch. This patch only offers partial protection, but you can get instructions for installing it on your machine here

See also: The Bash Bug Makes Every Mac Vulnerable; Here’s How To Patch It

Apple has maintained that the “vast majority of users” are not susceptible to the bug, only those who have customized their advanced Unix settings. To play it safe, Apple has released a patch, though security researchers have discovered new vulnerabilities associated with Shellshock that this patch doesn’t fix.

What’s The Real Danger?

Researchers have just discovered the first Shellshock botnet. (A botnet is a network of hacker-controlled computers operating maliciously as a group.) This botnet is called “wopbot” and seems to be targeting a content delivery network named Akamai as well as parts of the United States Department of Defense.

When the wopbot gets ahold of susceptible computers, it uses the aforementioned CVE-2014-7186 vulnerability to launch a denial of service attack. Akami and the DoD have managed to remove wopbot’s command and control center, but the server that runs the bot is still live and looking for targets. 

Is This As Bad As Heartbleed?

The Heartbleed bug let hackers exploit the way your browser talks to a website over an encrypted channel. An attacker could theoretically exploit the bug to unravel the secure channels used by banks, e-commerce sites and other sensitive locations to steal passwords and other sensitive information.

See also: What You Need To Know About Heartbleed, A Really Major Bug That Short-Circuits Web Security

Some security researchers say Shellshock will be “worse than Heartbleed” since bash allows hackers to explicitly inject code on remote computers, while Heartbleed only allowed them to passively listen in on server conversations they shouldn’t have had access to. 

Furthermore, it was possible to patch Heartbleed immediately once security experts disclosed its existence. (Though many sites weren’t exactly fast off the mark.) Shellshock has been a different story so far.

We’ll update this explainer as more information is available.

Photo via Shutterstock

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Lessons From Google@Manchester: You Don’t Need To Be Big To Be Best

Two talks at the annual Google@Manchester conference in the UK this week revealed the light at the end of the tunnel for SMEs everywhere.

The post Lessons From Google@Manchester: You Don’t Need To Be Big To Be Best appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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5 Outdated SEO Tactics You Need To Stop – Business 2 Community

Business 2 Community
5 Outdated SEO Tactics You Need To Stop
Business 2 Community
But if you're duplicating content for SEO purposes, particularly content of a poor quality – this is what Google terms 'deceptive content' – then you're asking for trouble. Many websites require the use of duplicate content. This includes printer-only
6 Things Innovative Search Engine Marketers are Doing Right NowEntrepreneur
25 Link Building Tactics That Do Not WorkForbes

all 5 news articles »

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“Selfie” Is The Sitcom We Deserve, Not The One We Need

Karen Gillan is Eliza Dooley in ABC’s Selfie.

Selfie is a terrible name for a sitcom. On that, plenty of people on the Internet agree. But, like the show itself, it could be worse. 

The new ABC sitcom, premiering at 8 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 30), doesn’t have a laugh track, for example. (I’m looking at you, Big Bang Theory.) It does have Karen Gillan (Amelia Pond, Scots companion to the 11th Doctor, Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy). Listening to Gillan spew witty Urban Dictionary lingo at lightning speed with a more-entertaining-than-passable American accent never gets old. 

And if you’re a fan of John Cho, he’s there, too. Even the post-Pygmalion premise—in which a dude attempts to make a woman more fit for society, and in so doing embiggens himself—isn’t entirely offensive to women. (Comparatively speaking.) 

“Quit curating your life for appearances’ sake online and start curating your life for appearances’ sake OFFLINE, like the olds did,” is the message Selfie seems to be going for. “That’s better because … reasons!”

But Selfie isn’t exactly the indictment of tech-obsessed narcissism that it thinks it is. In fact, there’s an awful lot about social media fame and popular culture in general that Selfie doesn’t quite get. But if you wanted a document for our era, you should’ve watched The Shat in S*** My Dad Says. (Just kidding.)

Antisocial Media On TV

If ABC’s unavoidable multi-platform Selfie ad campaign hasn’t made this abundantly clear—or if you can’t be bothered to Wikipedia Pygmalion or My Fair Lady—this is what the show’s about. 

Social media obsessive Eliza Dooley turns to her company’s marketing guru Henry Higgs for some personal re-branding after a messy incident involving airline barf bags goes viral, revealing her husk of an existence. (Dooley and Higgs—see what they did there?)

And right there, you’ve got a problem. Eliza suffers mass humiliation following sexual relations with a married co-worker and spilling barf bags on her designer outfit in front of a jet-load of her co-workers, who thoughtfully Vine and Instagram the crap out of it. 

Obviously, Internet humiliation is an issue if you’re “Star Wars Kid” Ghyslain Razathe or the unpopular wallflower Eliza’s character once was. For adult Eliza however, or anyone who’s harnessed the power of social media, even the most unwanted or unflattering of viral imagery is easily finessed.

Can you imagine Kim Kardashian curling up into a catatonic ball in a similar situation? The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco turned her leaked topless beach pics into comedy gold. Cuoco can dine out on that story infinitely, if she so desires. 

Then there is Higgs’ vocal distaste for America’s very intimate relationship with our mobile devices. His character is right, of course. Our insistence on sharing every thought or food product on the Internet while ignoring the real humans around us is pretty gross. 

But a “marketing guru” who fails to recognize the advertising power of mobile devices and social media is, well, not much of a marketing guru these days. On the other hand, if you suspended your belief for Lost’s final seasons, this might not seem like much of a stretch.

Then there are Eliza’s hipster saviors, a group of tattooed ukulele-playing, book reading stereotypes meant to represent women who have real lives outside of technology. A quick look at the smartphone-focused hipster zombies roaming Greenpoint, Brooklyn, would be enough to see that social media obsession crosses all social subculture barriers. But you know, whatever. It’s TV.

That Isn’t All “Selfie” Gets Wrong

One big element that wouldn’t play well on the Internet or with Pygmalion’s feminist author George Bernard Shaw is the show’s portrayal of Eliza’s sexuality. The implication is both that she has a lot of sex and that this is part of her “problem.” We could talk until we’re blue in the face over that tired sitcom trope. And there’s probably a decent thesis in how Pygmalion is regressively de-feministed with each fresh iteration, if universities still ask for those sorts of things.

But hey! Karen Gillan! She’s great, and not just because she was on Doctor Who. Plus, as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy, she totally shaved her trademark ginger locks. So if Selfie makes it to a second season, at least we can talk about whether she’s wearing a passable weave. What’s not to “Like”?

Lead image from the Selfie trailer

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Four Things You Need To Know About Windows 10

Microsoft has finally shown the world its plans for its next major Windows release, the one that will succeed the much-maligned Windows 8. It’s not Windows 9 or Windows Threshold—not even Windows One, as Microsoft executive VP of operating systems Terry Myerson briefly teased at one point during a presentation in San Francisco.

Meet Windows 10. Why is Microsoft skipping Windows 9? Your guess is as good as mine. More on that below.

The Big 10

The new operating system, which Microsoft is targeting for release by mid-2015, aims to correct many of the most criticized features of the Windows 8 desktop mode—the one most business users are familiar with. The colorful touch-oriented interface, which Microsoft calls the Modern UI, still exists, but didn’t get much attention today. Microsoft promises more events at which it will talk about other Windows 10 features.

In general, one of Microsoft’s big goals is to make it easy for users to move to Windows 10. That was a big problem for Windows 8, whose new and unfamiliar interface threw a lot of users.

“Windows 10 will be familiar to end users, whether they’re coming from Windows 7 or Windows 8,” Myerson said.

Here are four big takeaways from today’s event.

The Start Menu Returns

In probably the biggest change from Windows 8, Windows 10 will bring back the Start Menu. That feature, a popup panel that gave access to installed programs and common features like the control panel, went missing in action in Windows 8. As long rumored, the new Start Menu will incorporate Modern-like tiles (see the above picture), some of which will display real-time information a la the current Modern interface.

Microsoft says the Start menu will be fully customizable. Users can change its shape and size, swap programs and other elements in and out, search for apps and even type in commands for which the operating system will then offer autocomplete options.

Desktops Go Virtual

Microsoft operating-system VP Joe Belfiore introduces virtual desktops

Windows 10 will also feature “virtual desktops,” which are collections of apps that users can rearrange for better multitasking. It’s a reasonably easy concept to learn by messing around, although it’s more difficult to describe.

In the photo above, Microsoft operating-system VP Joe Belfiore is pointing to four separate “desktops”—those little icons at the bottom of the screen. Each one features a distinct arrangement of different program windows, making it possible to group, say, various social-media apps in one, open files related to a particular project in another. Users will create, delete and switch between these desktops using a “task switcher” button next to the Start button.

Touch For Tablets, Keyboards For Desktops

Finally, Windows 10 is designed to switch between the desktop and the Modern touch interface depending on whether it detects an attached keyboard. This feature is apparently still under development, as Microsoft operating-system VP Joe Belfiore had to rely on a video instead of an actual product demo. He had previously warned that Windows 10 code is still early in development: “There will be rough spots, and things may go wrong,” he said.

No One Can Explain The Name “Windows 10″

So, why name the new OS Windows 10? Myerson stumbled a bit as he tried to explain it during a Q&A with reporters:

Really, y’know, this is a, this product, when you see the product in its fullness, it’s a more appropriate name for the breadth of the product family that’s coming…. We have tested it with many people, and it was a name that resonated best for what we’ll deliver.

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley offered this translation: “It’s going to be the last major version of Windows and Microsoft wanted to signify it will be a big and cross-platform release.” In other words, 10 was a nice big round number, so why not skip the inferior “9” and move on?

That bit about the “last major version” of Windows, by the way, refers to the rumor that Microsoft is moving away from big “tentpole” releases toward a steady flow of smaller updates that have the effect of updating the OS in a more continuous fashion. Near as I can tell, Microsoft hasn’t officially announced this plan yet, which might explain why Myerson was having trouble explaining the name.

Microsoft plans to release a technical preview build of Windows 10 to the public on Wednesday. You can start trying to download it at 9am PT at this link. I’ll be grabbing it as soon as I can get through and will let you know more once I get my hands on it.

Photos by David Hamilton for ReadWrite

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