Skimlinks now adds AMP traffic to its network

Skimlinks, which matches eCommerce content marketers with publishers seeking to monetize links on their platforms, is now enabling links through Accelerated Mobile Pages. The feature opens up a new revenue opportunity for publishers looking to monetize Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) traffic. Skimlinks reports 33 percent of revenue in its mobile network comes from mobile content.

From the release: “Our AMP solution is inspired by AMP’s own mission to improve the mobile experience: It will enable publishers to bring their quality product advice to more readers and be fairly rewarded for the role they play in inspiring purchases at retailers,” Said Skimlinks CEO Sebastien Blanc. “AMP now powers over 4 billion web pages around the world and with this solution we’re confident we can give commerce content a place on the smartphones where more and more readers engage with editorial publishers’ content.”

Link: Skimlinks Blog

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Use zombies to keep your marketing team on track

Marketer, you’re not alone.

We know you’re drawing up marketing plans you need your team to use. You’re pretty sure they haven’t read it yet.

You have written documentation to get people using the link between email and a CRM so all the data gets coded correctly. And you’re sure no one is reading that based on the questions you’re getting.

Worst of all? The script for your boss is left on her desk and in her email and you know that’s not being read.

How do you get them to read?


Personal story: I had to create a messaging bible for the Red Cross. I needed folks to use it if disaster struck. In the back of the book and in the table of contents I had clearly labeled “Crisis…Zombie Attack.” How did I know the book was at least acknowledged as to the contents? Those who looked asked if I had hit my head for writing about zombies.

This is the Brown M&M theory. When the band Van Halen was at its height, it had huge productions being staged in far-flung venues that were not used to having to have that many plugs for that many amps, or supports to hold a lead singer who would fly over the crowd.

In the middle of the technical contract was a rule there could be no brown M&Ms. If the band walked in and saw one brown M&M, they knew someone didn’t read the contract, and to keep everyone safe, they needed to review all the scaffolding and other works that had been set up by contractors at the venue.

If you have a lot of technical stuff you need people to actually read, throw in something notable that they would remark upon.

You too can include zombies in your instructions on how to use marketing technology tools, or your drafts of event calendars, or your lists of responsibilities the team needs to take on. Embed it in your work and you’ll know for sure, for everyone else’s sake, who has to be walked through the work to make sure everything gets done. After a while your team will play “spot the zombie” to prove they’re not the weakest link.

Not sure about it? Spot the zombie in this marketing glossary.

It worked, didn’t it?


Kat Powers is the editorial director at CabinetM. This piece was previously published at CabinetM in 2016. 

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Sovrn acquires affiliate marketing company VigLink

Sovrn, a platform for publishers looking to engage audiences, is acquiring VigLink, which supports content-driven-commerce with leverage, insight, and automation. Sovrn operates a platform of products and services across more than 25,000 websites, and the acquisition of VigLink will bring the entire Sovrn portfolio to more than 50,000 sites with a reach of more than 250M daily active consumers.

From the release: “Sovrn Commerce will allow publishers of all shapes and sizes to tap into the entire customer journey, rewarding them for the interest and intent they’ve created. This means more insights, more opportunities—and ultimately more revenue for the publishers that deserve it,” wrote Walter Knapp, Sovrn CEO in the announcement.

Link: Sovrn

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Skyword, TrackMaven merge

Skyword, the content marketing platform and content services company, is merging with TrackMaven, maker of marketing insights tools. The combined company, going forward as Skyword, is expected to integrate industry benchmarking and insight into the content planning, creation, and activation process.

From the release: “We’re incredibly excited to join forces with the TrackMaven team,” said Tom Gerace, Skyword founder and CEO. “In January of this year, Skyword raised $30 million to execute on our growth strategy and product vision. In June, we announced the next generation of our content marketing platform—Skyword360, which powers a unified model for creating extraordinary content experiences. TrackMaven shares this vision. Combining our organizations accelerates our growth and product strategies and gives customers a solution that no other company can match.”

Link: Skyword

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BlogMutt rebrands as Verblio

BlogMutt, the Colorado-based talent-matching platform for content marketers, has rebranded as Verblio and will now provided agency-style services to its clients. The talent-matching platform remains the same. Verblio will offer services helping with everything from content strategy to providing a HubSpot-certified manager to service client accounts.

From the release: “Verblio provides a complete approach to content creation for digital SEO and content marketing,” said Chief Executive Officer Steve Pockross. “Our focus on SEO and digital marketing, an easy-to-use platform and engaged writers with deep subject-matter expertise produces highly engaging and effective content.”

Link: PR Newswire 

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Sitecore updates Experience Cloud, acquires Stylelabs

Sitecore has updated its digital experience management platforms and announced an acquisition it will leverage to offer more tools for the content lifecycle. The updates include an updated SDK for JavaScript Developers, Sitecore Omni, which allows marketers to build headless applications, Sitecore Cortex that leverages machine learning to automate high-value personalization tasks, and GDPR compliance tools. Sitecore also announced it will acquire Stylelabs, creator of the Marketing Content Hub platform.

From the release: “Sitecore is entirely focused on bringing power to marketers and developers so they can deliver the personalized customer experiences that are critical to differentiating their brands,” said Mark Frost, CEO of Sitecore. “The continuous development of world-class solutions in Sitecore Experience Cloud and the addition of Stylelabs shows that we’re building a marketing platform for today and for the future. We’re delivering the most exciting opportunities in the industry for marketers and developers to build compelling personalized experiences that develop lifelong customer relationships.”

Link: Sitecore Press Releases

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Linkfluence acquires Scoop.It, appoints new CEO

Linkfluence, European company providing social listening tools, has acquired Scoop.It, the San Francisco-based content monitoring vendor. As Linkfluence’s current CEO  is stepping down and Guillaume Decugis, CEO of Scoop.It, will be leading the new combined company. The acquisition changes the size of its combined R&D and engineering teams by 50%. The company will remain headquartered in London, but is expanding physically in the U.S.

From the release: “Scoop.It is sticking around and will keep offering its well-known simple and powerful content curation experience. At the team level, we’ll keep offering a high level of support to our valuable clients and users and continue to offer technology that enables you to research and publish the best content both for marketing and knowledge sharing purposes,” said Guillaume Decugis, Co-Founder and CEO of Scoop.It in a blog on the company site.

Link: Scoop.It Blog

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Ceros acquires responsive chart company ChartBlocks

Ceros, the experiential content design platform, announced it has acquired ChartBlocks. ChartBlocks enables the creation of online responsive charts without code that can be dynamically updated across the web. ChartBlocks will be directly integrated into the Ceros platform over the next several months but is available immediately for existing Ceros users who can now create ChartBlocks charts and easily import them into their Ceros canvas. The acquisition furthers Ceros’s goal to transform how content is created and experienced online.

From the release: “ChartBlocks is part of our mission to make Ceros the most powerful cloud-based professional creative suite for designers and marketers,” said Simon Berg, CEO of Ceros. “By continuously building new apps and features, integrating with key partners, and acquiring apps like ChartBlocks, we’re committed to helping brands to create the greatest content experiences.”

Link: BusinessWire

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Overcoming writer’s block with automatic transcription

If you’re a writer — of books, essays, scripts, blog posts, whatever — you’re familiar with the phenomenon: the blank screen, a looming deadline, and a sinking feeling in your gut that pairs poorly with the jug of coffee you drank earlier.

If you know that rumble all too well: this post is for you. Maybe it’ll help you get out of a rut; at the very least, it’s good for a few minutes of procrastination.

Here’s the core idea: thinking out loud is often less arduous than writing. And it’s now easier than ever to combine the two, thanks to recent advances in speech recognition technology.

Of course, dictation is nothing new — and plenty of writers have taken advantage of it. Carl Sagan’s voluminous output was facilitated by his process of speaking into an audio recorder, to be transcribed later by an assistant (you can listen to some of his dictations in the Library of Congress!) And software like Dragon’s Naturally Speakinghas offered automated transcription for people with the patience and budget to pursue it.

But it’s only in the last couple of years that automated transcription has reached a sweet spot  — of convenience, affordability and accuracy — that makes it practical to use it more casually. And I’ve found it increasingly useful for generating a sort of proto-first draft: an alternative approach to the painful process of converting the nebulous wisps inside your head into something you can actually work with.

I call this process idea extraction (though these ideas may be more accurately dubbed brain droppings).

Part I: Extraction

Here’s how my process works. Borrow what works for you and forget the rest.

  • Pick a voice recorder. Start talking. Try it with a topic you’ve been chewing on for weeks — or when an idea flits your head. Don’t overthink it. Just start blabbing.
  • The goal is to tug on as many threads as you come across, and to follow them as far as they go. These threads may lead to meandering tangents— and you may discover new ideas along the way.
  • A lot of those new ideas will probably be embarrassingly bad. That’s fine. You’re already talking about the next thing! And unlike with text, your bad ideas aren’t staring you in the face.
  • Consider leaving comments to yourself as you go — e.g. “Maybe that’d work for the intro”. These will come in handy later.
  • For me, these recordings run anywhere from 20–80 minutes. Sometimes they’re much shorter, in quick succession. Whatever works.

Part II: Transcription

Once I’ve finished recording, it’s time to harness ⚡The Power of Technology

A little background: over the last couple of years there’s been an explosion of tools related to automatic speech recognition (ASR) thanks to huge steps forward in the underlying technologies.

Here’s how ASR works: you import your audio into the software, the software uses state-of-the-art machine learning to spit back a text transcript a few minutes later. That transcript won’t be perfect—the robots are currently in the ‘Write drunk’phase of their careers. But for our purposes that’s fine: you just need it to be accurate enough that you can recognize your ideas.

Once you have your text transcript, your next step is up to you: maybe you’re exporting your transcript as a Word doc and revising from there. Maybe you’re firing up your voice recorder again to dictate a more polished take. Maybe only a few words in your audio journey are worth keeping — but that’s fine too. It probably didn’t cost you much (and good news: the price for this tech will continue to fall in the years ahead).

A few more tips:

  • Use a recorder/app that you trust. Losing a recording is painful — and the anxiety of losing another can derail your most exciting creative moments (“I hope this recorder is working. Good, it is… @#*! where was I?”)
  • Audio quality matters when it comes to automatic transcription. If your recording has a lot of background noise or you’re speaking far away from the mic, the accuracy is going to drop. Consider using earbuds (better yet: Airpods) so you can worry less about where you’re holding the recorder.
  • Find a comfortable space. Eventually you may get used to having people overhear your musings, but it’s a lot easier to let your mind “go for a walk” when you’re comfortable in your environment.
  • Speaking of walking: why not go for a stroll? The pains of writing can have just as much to do with being stationary and hunched over. Walking gets your blood flowing — and your ideas too.
  • I have a lot of ideas, good and bad, while I’m thinking out loud and playing music at the same time (in my case, guitar — but I suspect it applies more broadly). There’s something about playing the same four-chord song on auto pilot for the thousandth time that keeps my hands busy and leaves my mind free to wander.

The old ways of doing things — whether it’s with a keyboard or pen — still have their advantages. Putting words to a page can force a sort of linear thinkingthat is otherwise difficult to maintain. And when it comes to editing, it’s no contest: QWERTY or bust.

But for getting those first crucial paragraphs down (and maybe a few keystone ideas to build towards)? Consider talking to yourself. Even if you wind up with a transcript full of nothing but profanity — well, have you ever seen a transcript full of profanity? You could do a lot worse.

This article was originally published by Descript.

Jason Kincaid is a writer who works at Descript. He previously was a reporter for TechCrunch and later authored a book based on that experience. He has also consulted for a variety of firms across Silicon Valley. 

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Postie launches direct mail automation platform

Postie has officially launched, calling its namesake product the only automation platform that makes direct mail behave like the best digital acquisition channels. Postie allows marketers to use real-time trigger campaigns or dedicated time-specific deployments for direct mail. Campaigns can be set up in minutes and mail out the next day. The platform provides prospecting and automated CRM together in one place, and its marketing automation tools enable targeting based on attributes, look-alike models and online behavior.

From the release: “Postie continues to create a resurgence in direct mail by helping advertisers overcome the many issues facing digital ad marketing and the over-reliance on limited platforms. Until now, the vast majority of a brand’s media spend has been allocated to digital, and we’ve cracked the code on what marketers can do to apply these same principles to direct mail,” said Dave Fink, CEO and co-founder of Postie. “A highly targeted physical piece of mail, especially in today’s ephemeral world, elicits an emotional response that goes above and beyond what is possible online. It’s now possible to open up a whole new scalable media channel by leveraging the same data driven insights and quantitative approach as digital.”

Link: Globe NewsWire

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