Twine, the U.K. startup formerly known as Clowdy, originally launched with something akin to a LinkedIn for creatives combined with an IMDb-esque crediting system that enables musicians, filmmakers and other types of creatives to showcase not only their own productions but also contributions theyve made to other peoples work. The Seedcamp-backed startup also provides a way for creatives to connect and find new people to collaborate with.
However, having made headway in building out its creative community, Twine recently flicked the monetization switch by adding a marketplace to its wares. This lets businesses post creative briefs and the type of specialism they are looking for, from which Twines community can pitch for the advertised work.
Basically we saw two trends, explains Twine co-founder and CEO Stuart Logan. First SMEs are spending 32 percent of their marketing budget on content marketing, 400 billion in U.S. and Europe! Second, freelancing in the creative industry is booming.
That boom, Logan explained during a call, is seeing Twines marketplace already being used by games developers who are using the site to post jobs for graphic designers, animators and other creatives. Because they tend to be small companies so they make a lot of use of freelancers, he says.
Fashion brands are another early adopter of the site. Thats because, says Logan, they require lots of audio-visual content to help reach customers, either through social channels or via more traditional marketing materials.
And, of course, there are tech startups who are always willing to try new products. Here Twine is being used to find creatives who can help with logo design, pitch decks, UX design and marketing creative.
Content is really essential to the success of companies. They need audio-visual content to engage and delight their customers and ultimately grow, adds Logan.
On the other side creative freelancers struggle to build a network and find paid work. But more than this, being a creative solopreneur can be lonely. So weve added marketplace functionality so companies can be connected to our huge network for 175,000 plus creatives in design, music and film.
The end result is described by Twines CEO as a market network where he hopes that by building a community for creatives first it positions the startup differently to existing marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr.
As any man whos suffered from bedroom issues knows, erectile dysfunction (ED) can take a major toll on self-esteem and romantic relationships. In the absence of a cure, as many as 30 million American men suffer from ED, and 30 percent of those are age 70 and older.
While ED mostly impacts older men, age usually has nothing to do with it. Fox News went to the experts to identify six medical risk factors that are linked with ED. If you suffer from any of the conditions below, they may be at the root of your performance problems.
1. Heart disease For the majority of men with ED, cardiovascular problems such as arteriolosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and high cholesterol are at the root of the issue.
Thats because, to achieve an erection, the arteries must allow blood to flow throughout the body, not just in the penis. Anything that clogs up your arteries or narrows arteries is going to affect blood flow, Dr. Dudley Danoff, a urologist in Los Angeles and author of The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health, told Fox News.
In fact, studies suggest men diagnosed with ED can have a heart attack or stroke within three to five years.
To check blood flow, your doctor may order a penile doppler ultrasound study, which includes an injection to cause an erection, along with ultrasound imaging. If the rate of blood entering the penis is too low, we know thats usually do to arterial disease, Dr. Peter Stahl, assistant professor of urology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, told Fox News.
Your doctor will refer you to a cardiologist and you may be prescribed a PDE5 inhibitor medication like Viagra, which studies show can help ED and your heart.
In fact, men who had heart attacks and were prescribed PDE5 inhibitors or alprostadil, another type of medication for ED, were 40 percent less likely to be hospitalized for heart failure than men who were not using the drugs, according to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session in March.
2. Neurological problems Any medical condition that affects the brain, the spinal cord or the small autonomic nerve fibers that send nerve signals from the spinal cord to the penis and from the penis to the spinal cord can lead to ED.
Men who have multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries or a degenerative disc disease, or those who have had surgery or radiation for prostate, bladder or rectal cancer, can be affected. The most common neurological condition that leads to ED and the most difficult to treat is diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage that occurs with diabetes.
Although vasodilator medications can help, they will only work in men who have some nerve function, Stahl said.
3. A leak Veno–occlusive dysfunction, or venous leak, isa problem with the penis ability to trap blood. The penis has two erection chambers that expand and compress the veins that drain blood from the penis. Due to age, diabetes or other problems, the erection chambers can lose their elasticity and their ability to expand sufficiently.
No matter how fast blood rushes in, it leaves just as fast, so those patients can never achieve fully rigid erections, Stahl said.
Veno–occlusive dysfunction requires invasive treatment procedures or even a penile implant.
4. Hormones Hormonal problems, such as thyroid dysfunction or pituitary tumors or malfunction, can lead to ED.
Although testosterone deficiency plays a part, those hormone levels affect libido, not erectile function. If a mans libido is low, that certainly can affect his erections, but it does it indirectly, Dudley said.
Whats more, it can be hard to tell whether ED is related to low testosterone, as men with low T can also have symptoms like fatigue, and weaker erections. Whether or not that is related to testosterone deficiency or usual things like not sleeping enough, poor lifestyle and lack of exercise, is very difficult to discern, Stahl said.
Although testosterone replacement therapy isnt a standard treatment for ED, studies suggest it improves erectile function in men with both ED and testosterone deficiency, Stahl said.
5. Anxiety When men have performance anxiety, the sympathetic nervous system gets activated, adrenaline is produced, and blood flow gets diverted away from the penis, which can result in a mild loss of rigidity, albeit initially, Stahl said.
Yet the anxiety can lead to more anxiety, lessening blood flow to the penis and affecting a mans ability to get an erection. It can happen to anybody, and it can be very difficult to break cycle, Stahl said.
One way to tell whether ED is related to anxiety or another medical condition is to have a nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) test. Using a device similar to a blood pressure cuff, the test will measure your ability to get an erection during sleep, when psychological barriers are absent.
If you get erections, its likely not related to a physical problem. In that case, talk to your doctor or a therapist about things you can do to prevent ED.
6. Medications Finasteride, used to treat prostate enlargement and male pattern baldness, can cause ED and, in a small subset of patients, permanent sexual dysfunction.
Drugs for high blood pressure like beta blockers, thiazide diuretics and calcium channel blockers may cause mild ED. SSRIs and SNRIs for depression and anxiety can also affect arousal, desire and orgasmic function. Yet trying a different type of medication is usually all thats necessary to reverse the effect.
Julie Revelant is a health journalist and a consultant who provides content marketing and copywriting services for the healthcare industry. She’s also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at revelantwriting.com.
Report: Social media bolstered investigation of shark video Fox News TAMPA, Fla. â Authorities say social media posts bolstered their investigation into a video of a shark being dragged behind a speeding boat in Florida. Three men were charged Tuesday with third-degree felony animal cruelty charges in connection with …
10 Ways You're Wasting Your Content Marketing Budget Forbes You haven't explored your options. If you haven't changed your strategy since you came up with it, you're probably wasting your budget. There are many channels and tactics in content marketing, and odds are, the first ones you pick aren't going to be …
Whether personal or professional, change is hard. And the cumulative data is not on our side.
Take something obviously detrimental, like smoking. A mere 4% to 7% of people successfully quit without the aid of medication or outside help. Even experiencing a traumatic event like the death of a loved one or being diagnosed with cancer only leads to a 20% success rate.
Not to be a killjoy, but as the found, roughly 25% of New Year resolutions fall apart within the first two weeks. And even when it comes to our work where moneys on the line
So why is change such a struggle?
, best-selling author of Predictably Irrational and professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, explains it like this:
Usually when people approach solving problems, they think, Lets just give people some information and then theyll make the right decision, he said.
As natural as this educational approach feels, it doesnt work. For example, posting caloric facts on the side of a Snickers bar does little to deter us when its 10 pm and the craving hits. Equally fruitless are traditional applications of so-called willpower.
Change, in Arielys words, comes not from the inside, but the outside. If you want people to lose weight, give them a smaller plate. You have to change the environment.
Today, our dominant environment is digital, which is why Arielys foundation The Center for Advanced Hindsight teamed up with Chris Ferguson, CEO of the Ontario-based design firm , and convened a three-day workshop last October with thirty different financial institutions from all parts of North America.
Their goal was to explore how technology could play a role in transforming borrowers into savers (i.e., positive social and personal change). However, dont let the financial scope fool you.
People are people and changing your own habits as well as designing apps and workflows for the good demand understanding how humans make decisions. So before digging into Ariely and Fergusons answer the one theyre banking on lets take a look at six psychological triggers that give us a fighting chance in the war on change.
Human decision making: 6 triggers for change
In his modern-day classic Influence, Robert B. Cialdini describes two models of human decision making. The first he calls controlled responding, a thorough analysis of all of the information. The second is known as “judgmental heuristics,” essentially “mental shortcuts,” also known as cognitive biases or “triggers” that allow for “simplified thinking.”
As much as we like to envision ourselves as controlled responders, human beings are far more prone to the second mode. In fact, prone is probably too light a word. The reality is, mental shortcuts run our lives: From the routes we drive, to the foods we eat, right down to the jobs and mates we choose.
Cialdini wasnt the first to notice this. Moneyball author Michael Lewis recent book, The Undoing Project, chronicles the multi-decade shift in both economics and psychology away from the thesis that humans are essentially rational creatures in cognitive control of their decisions. In its place, a new understanding of decision making has emerged, one in which heuristics, hardwired mechanisms, and triggers stand out.
For Ariely and Ferguson, six of these triggers bear special attention.
In 2003, Eric J. Johnson and Daniel G. Goldstein discovered that the organ donation rate in two European countries Hungary and Denmark differed wildly. The first boasted 99.997% and the second, 4.25%. What explained this night and day difference?
Turns out, a box. Or rather, the language surrounding one box in particular. In Hungary, organ donation was the DMVs default option; its citizens had to opt out if they didnt want to participate. In Denmark, it was the opposite.
In other words, the easiest option is the automatic option and therefore whatever is framed as default usually wins.
People are easily deterred from taking action. We prefer the path of least resistance. And, of course, inertia doing nothing is always the easiest thing to do.
Friction costs refer to any obstacles or perceived speed bumps that complicate an action. Reducing friction costs has become a cornerstone of ecommerce giants like Amazon whove built empires around saving your payment and shipping information so that purchasing is as easy as one click.
But this also holds true interpersonally. One of the driving reasons people stay in unfulfilling relationships is that the cost of extricating themselves appears to outweigh the cost of one-off disturbances, despite the fact those one-off disturbances add up over time.
At the risk of stating the obvious, first impressions matter and not just in our personal lives.
When making decisions, people automatically elevate whatever information they encounter first, and anchoring means that this first impression isnt just more powerful than subsequent evidence, it also becomes the organizing principle (or, frame) thereafter.
For instance, if the first test in a job interview reveals an applicants strengths, then evaluators unthinkingly rate the applicant’s subsequent tests higher, even when they have little or nothing to do with the first. Humans latch onto first impressions, and letting go of them is harder than you think.
Consistency acting in accordance with our previous decisions and actions is a potent mental force. This is due partly to the fact that change is difficult (see Friction Costs). But it also stems from our desire to protect our egos as well as to simplify decision making.
In the 1960s, when two psychologists asked California homeowners to erect a public-service billboard on their front lawns reading, Drive Carefully, they were met with an average rejection rate of 83%. One subset, however, turned the tables on that average and complied to the request at 76%. Why? Because unbenounced to the two psychologists, one week earlier a separate organization had asked residents to place an unobtrusive Be a Safe Driver sign in their window.
Securing small, voluntary commitments is a cornerstone of any large and lasting change.
Humans are myopic creatures. We live in the moment. Its not that we dont worry about the future or dwell on the past; fear and loss are the two most powerful human emotions. Its more that were terrible at projecting our current reality into whats going to happen next, especially when that next is five, ten, or even twenty years in the future.
Hyperbolic discounting turning a future positive into a present negative is one way of dragging those inevitabilities into the here and now.
No man is an island, wrote John Donne. He was right. When it comes to making decisions especially decisions surrounded by high levels of mystery or insecurity we look to see what other people are doing.
The principle of social proof is why Yale University discovered that if you want people to reduce the amount of bottled water they consume, presenting facts about negative environmental impacts works best only when preceded by social proof that others have already started to behave pro-environmentally.
Each the above triggers, often called cognitive biases, work their way from outside in. Theyre extensions of Arielys basic contention that our best shot at change comes from our environment.
But can an app truly change human behavior?
Rigging the mind with an app
Naturally, the answer is yes.
As proof we need look no further than the plethora of examples Nir Eyal presented in . From social media platforms to free games like Candy Crush and Farmville, apps have the power to shape (and even reshape) our lives. In Eyals words: To build a habit-forming product, makers need to understand which user emotions may be tied to internal triggers and know how to leverage external triggers to drive the user to action.
The real question is: Can an app change human behavior for the good? After all, its one thing to hook someone with an app that delivers endorphins the way gambling or junk food does (neither of which Eyal argues for). Its another thing altogether to hook someone with an app aimed at changes we wat but struggle desperately to implement.
To answer that question, heres a sneak peek at Ariely and Fergusons current prototype and how theyre using the principles mentioned above.
Just remember: Each of these triggers are hardwired into the human mind. That means your own changes personal, professional, and technological should lean on them too.
Making good change easier
Its true: as humans, were terrible at change. But that doesn’t mean the fight is in vain.
Instead, the implications of behavioral economics alongside the broader sciences of human decision making weve touched on should push us in two directions.
First, on the personal front, change works from the outside in. If you want to lose weight, buy a smaller plate. We set ourselves up for success or failure not because of internal factors like willpower, motivation, and drive, but because of external factors. Lasting change isnt as much about moral fortitude as it is about arranging our environment the world we interact with to either trigger or inhibit our behaviors.
Second, on the professional front, products and services, apps and tools must all likewise adhere to the very same lessons. This applies to design and UX as much as it applies to marketing and management.
Whatever change youre trying to create whatever product youre trying to hook your audience begin with how humans actually make decisions:
1. Default Bias: How can you make the opt-in process automatic? What can you pre-populate during onboarding or roll out
2. Friction Costs: What can you remove? In the words of Nir Eyal, innovation is nothing more than understanding a series of tasks from intention to outcome and then removing steps.
3. Anchoring: What do users, whether customers or employees, see first? How can you leverage that first impression at a meeting, in an email, or within an app to frame the rest of the process
4. Pre-Commitment: Are you building on small, voluntary commitments? Small yeses early on lead directly to big yeses later, especially as change gets tougher
5. Present Bias: How can you drag future results into present reality? What hell will your change save people from? What heaven will it deliver them unto?
6. Social Proof: Who do your users look to for making their decisions? How can you encourage those influencers, or even just fellow humans, to share their own commitment and actions? Unlocking human change is hard, but its not mysterious. Just be sure youre using all that power for the good.
Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. Connect with him about content marketing (and bunnies) on Facebook or Twitter.
Influencer marketing has become a powerful strategy for brands who want to reach their audience in a non-pushy, non-promotional way. Instead of pushing their own message, they can leverage online influencers to get their message out in a more palatable way.
Online influencers don’t just work to promote brands, however. According to this infographic fromSmart Insights, influencers can take many different forms, including celebrities, experts, agitators and connectors.
Whichever type of influencer you aspire to be, there are a number of strategies that can help you get there. This post will cover 25 things you can start doing today to becoming a more proficient online influencer.
1.Create tons of insightful content in your industry.
If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, you absolutely must be regularly creating useful, insightful content. Read, read, read – learn, learn, learn – dig, dig, dig – deep, to find new niche topics you can cover – simply rehashing the same old topics won’t be enough to help you gain influencer status.
2. Know what your audience wants, and give it to them.
Your audience has already told you what they want to know. Scour your social media comments and mentions, blog post comments and reader emails to find topics your audience actually wants and needs you to cover for them.
3. Don’t focus on your company or products.
I still find that many business owners believe content marketing is simply writing about their products or services and pointing out how great their product or service is – and how wonderfully helpfultheirproduct is above what the other guy is offering. This type of marketing should only be a very small part of what you do. A good rule of thumb is to provide useful industry-related content 80-90% of the time, and promotional content no more than 20%.
4. Be authentic….always.
In her book,Will The Real You Please Stand Up, social media guru Kim Garst talks about the importance of being authentic online. In a public medium like social media, inauthenticity – helping only for your own gains, saying the ‘”right” thing even if you don’t believe it, and being dishonest in your interactions –willcatch up with you. If you want to be an influencer, be true to yourself and others at all times…even when no one’s looking. Really, you can’t get away with anything these days – so don’t try to – be real, be honest.
Every brand trying to figure out how to be “authentic” should start with empowering employees and collaborating wit pic.twitter.com/eooSJ9ZbrD
5. Build up your audience (but quality matters more than quantity!).
In order to become an influencer, you need to have an audience of some sort. A high follower count is great, but the quality of your influence is even more important. Do your followers trust you? Do they read your posts? Do they value your opinions?
6. Express your opinions.
According to a survey conducted byAugure, 79% ofrespondents said an influencermustbe able to concisely express their opinions and create reactions when discussing a particular topic. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions, even if that opinion may not be the most popular one.
7. Listen to relevant conversations on social media.
Being an influencer means staying on top of rumblings in your industry. Track industry-related social media conversations using a tool likeSocial Mention. Know and follow what is being said on social media. Know what the information means. Form a concrete, well thought out opinion.
8. Engage in online networking.
Influencers need to do more than just build their own little online empire. They need to continually reach outside their current sphere of influence to build new connections. This will mean reading and commenting on other people’s blog posts, reaching out via social media, and being interested in and participating generously in other people’s Facebook and LinkedIn communities.
9. Engage in offline networking.
To achieve true influencer status, you’ll need to take yourself offline from time to time. Participate in local networking events, offer to speak at industry conferences and regularly meet up with other influencers in your field. Again, be generous in sharing your knowledge, be generous with your time.
You can’t expand without networking. You can’t do it alone. Get that thought out of your head.
One of the best ways to build your influence is to regularly contribute to authoritative sites. Not only does guest blogging help you expand your reach to new readers, it adds a ton of credibility to your name (e.g., “As seen on Forbes and Huffington Post”). See my postHow To Guest Blog Anywherefor tips on how to get started.
11. Practice makes perfect.
To be an influencer, you need to first excel in your field.In his bestselling book,Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell repeatedly refers to the 10,000 hour rule: that to achieve world-class success in any area you need 10,000 hours of practice. While you may not needquitethis much practice, (or you may need more), honing your skills is key to becoming a qualified expert in your field.
12. Stay on top of breaking news in your industry.
As an influencer, your audience will expect you to know exactly what’s going on in your industry at all times.Subscribe to industry blogs, and follow other influencers on social media. Perhaps most importantly, subscribe to or follow industry news sites so you’re the first to know what’s going on at all times.
13. Be the first to report breaking news in your industry.
Knowing what’s happening in your industry is great, but you also need to communicate what you know to your audience. Becoming a trusted source of timely industry news will go a long way to helping you achieve influencer status.
14. Define your niche.
It’s cliche, but so true: it’s so much easier being a big fish in a small pond. There will always be time to generalize later (if you want), but zeroing in on a specific niche that you keep track of, you know all about it, and a niche you love, will lead you to achieve influencer status much more quickly.
15. Read every day.
As an influencer, you should always be growing and evolving. One of the best ways to broaden your knowledge and perspective is through reading. Read books, blogs and magazines every day, both industry-related and general interest.
16. Optimize your content for high-profile keywords.
Ranking for industry-related keywords is not only important for driving traffic, but for building your influence. If you rank highly for coveted industry terms, it will boost your reputation as a leader in your field.
17. Connect with other influencers.
People tend to associate us and our reputation with the company we keep. So connecting with other influencers not only boosts your reputation as “someone to watch,” it potentially opens you up to new opportunities and relationships you would never have otherwise had. Here is myinfluencerguide and anotherinfluencer marketing guidethat will help you on connecting, becoming and working with influencers.
18. Focus on adding value before monetizing.
If you’re just getting started with building your online influence, focus on providing tons of excellent content before you start monetizing. You can’t put a price tag on your influence, and pushing a product or promotion too soon can jeopardize all your hard work.
19. Have a plan for promoting your content.
Keep in mind that it’s not enough to simplycreatecontent. Have a plan in place for distributing that content both through owned (email, blog) and earned (social media shares, PR) channels.
20. Promote other people’s content.
Promoting your own content is great, but you don’t have a monopoly on industry news and knowledge. Shareexcellent content that would be useful to your audience – even if it’s notyourcontent.
21. Write a book (or ebook).
Writing a book is one of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in your field. While a paper book may be preferable (if only as a vanity measure), an ebook can work well to share your knowledge with your audience.
22. Set up keyword alerts.
As mentioned, influencers should be the first to know what’s happening in the industry. Set upGoogle Alertsfor a variety of important keywords in your niche or industry so you’re always on top of new developments.
23. Hold webinars or seminars.
Offering free live events gives you a chance to share your knowledge in a more intimate setting. It’s also a great way to build up your email list – and that list will be invaluable as you work to build up your authority and influence.
24. Create industry surveys.
Sharing other people’s data is important, but sharing original data and stats is invaluable. Poll your readers or followers regularly to collect data that no one else has access to.
25. Empower others.
Bill Gates said, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Instead of solving people’s problems for them, find ways to encourage, educate and inspire your readers and followers so they’re equipped to succeed on their own.
What would you add to this list? Any tips you can share for becoming an online influencer?
John Rampton is a serial entrepreneur who now focuses on helping people to build amazing products and services that scale. He is founder of the online payments company Due. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine. Time Magazine recognized John as a motivations speaker that helps people find a “Sense of Meaning” in their lives. He currently advises several companies in the bay area.
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