Anheuser-Busch InBev adds Citi, BAML to banks working on $5 billion Asian IPO: sources

Anheuser-Busch InBev adds Citi, BAML to banks working on $5 billion Asian IPO: sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The world’s biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, has added Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to the team of banks working on the sale of its Asia-Pacific business, three people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Anheuser-Busch InBev is pictured outside the brewer’s headquarters in Leuven, Belgium February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

The two join Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan, both of which are the sponsors, or leads, for the planned Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) which could raise up to $5 billion for the heavily indebted brewer, the people said, declining to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

With main markets China and Australia, the region last year made up 18 percent of group volume and 14 percent of underlying operating profit, which in turn rose 13 percent to $3.1 billion. It was not clear how much of the business was up for sale.

AB InBev and BAML did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Citi declined to comment.

The Leuven, Belgium-based maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois brands aims to spin-off its Asia-Pacific business to reduce leverage, the people said.

AB InBev’s net debt stood at $102.5 billion at the end of December, a figure inflated by its late 2016 purchase of nearest rival SABMiller for around $100 billion. AB InBev wants to bring its net debt/EBITDA ratio to around two times from a multiple of 4.6 at the end of last year. With that goal, it has halved its proposed dividend and said payouts will only grow slowly.

While AB InBev’s shares have risen 19 percent since reporting forecast-beating earnings in February, the brewer is battling to reverse a longer share price decline. Over the past two years, its shares have fallen 24 percent, in contrast to rivals Heineken and Carlsberg, which have gained 15 and 28 percent respectively.

The IPO would not be the first time AB InBev has sold Asia-Pacific assets to reduce debt. After InBev bought Anheuser-Busch in 2008, AB InBev sold South Korean unit Oriental Brewery to private equity firm KKR – only to buy it back in 2014.

The IPO is slated for the second half of the year and the brewer expects to file with the Hong Kong stock exchange in the first half, the people said. One of the people said the filing would happen either later this month or early May.

At $5 billion, the IPO could be the largest in Hong Kong this year, where the flood of companies looking to go public has slowed to a trickle.

Companies have raised $2.9 billion through Hong Kong listings so far this year, lagging the $6.4 billion raised on New York’s Nasdaq, showed Refinitiv data as of Friday.

Hong Kong topped all other exchanges globally last year with stock market listings raising $36.3 billion. This year, however, is widely expected to be slower due to thinning numbers of Chinese companies looking to go public, particularly in tech.

Reporting by Julie Zhu and Julia Fioretti; Additional reporting by Kane Wu in HONG KONG and Philip Blenkinsop in BRUSSELS; Editing by Jennifer Hughes and Christopher Cushing

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Better ROI on B2B Webinars: 4 Basic Steps for Success

Better ROI on B2B Webinars: 4 Basic Steps for Success

Webinars are a great tool for any stage of the buyer’s journey, but if you’re trying to use webinars to blast cold leads with boastful information about your product or company, you’re probably not going to get the level of attention and engagement you’re after.

B2B webinars don’t have to be a lengthy sales presentation in disguise, and they don’t have to be boring or single-use content. To achieve a better return on investment, there’s plenty of low-hanging fruit to consider when you’re planning and putting together your webinar.

Avoid visual missteps

You need visuals that will entertain your audience, keep and hold their attention, and prevent early dropping off. That can and should (where applicable and appropriate) mean gifs, videos, graphs, charts, and infographics.


But, take care to avoid some of these common missteps, all of which will severely limit the replay potential of your webinar:

  • If you’re going to include a product demo, recording the walkthrough in advance can help ensure it goes off without a hitch.
  • If you play a video (demo recording or otherwise), make sure it either doesn’t need sound or it will successfully play with sound audible to all attendees, not just the presenter.
  • Don’t steal images. If you’re getting your visuals from something like a Google image search, then stop now and look to a reputable site to legally acquire stock images.
  • Clean it up and be consistent. Seeing sloppy pasting, inconsistent fonts, or pixelated images stretched too far hurts your credibility by making you look like an amateur. Instead of having the webinar host create the presentation, have him/her/them write the script and note any relevant visuals to include. From there, designers can create the presentation.

Having a clean, professional presentation that’s within branding guidelines will provide the most value to your company and will have a significantly longer lifespan than a one-off, hand-made presentation filled with A/V flops.

See your webinar as part of something bigger

Webinars can take a lot of time to put together and execute. It’s best to create additional, supporting pieces of content either simultaneously or just after the webinar—while the topic is fresh on your mind.

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Meditate to the tax finish line

Meditate to the tax finish line

NEW YORK(Reuters) – Stressed out by the tax deadline on April 15?

FILE PHOTO: A tax sign is pictured on an H&R Block tax office in Los Angeles, California, April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Yes, of course, there is an app for that.

Some 52 percent of Americans find the filing process stressful, according to a survey by tax-prep firm TaxSlayer. That is why wellness app Headspace is trying to talk us through this difficult time with a new guided meditation collection called “Money on the Mind.”

The popular app Happify also features two different four-week programs, or “tracks,” on money: “Stop Singing the Financial Blues,” and “How Money Can Buy Happiness.”

Around tax time last year, users clicked on Headspace’s “Balance” collection five times more than usual. And for its “Money on the Mind” collection of meditations, usage of that content spiked by 60 percent.

This April, Headspace is making some of its money-related content free to all its 45 million members. More content is available to paying subscribers.

“These moments are triggers for stress, and so our users come to us for support about how to cope,” said Megan Jones Bell, Headspace’s chief science officer.

Some 20 to 25 percent of Americans wait until the final few weeks before the deadline to file their returns, according to a survey by tax-software firm TurboTax, a division of Intuit Inc.

And for those who are not able to sign on the dotted line in time, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is projecting almost 15 million extension requests this year.

If you are up against the deadline and need to clear your head, consider these tips:

* Carve out time.

Wellness apps like Headspace use a combination of guided meditation, advice and courses to help users free their minds. It can feel counterintuitive that just sitting and breathing is going to help you with the 100 different tasks that need to be accomplished to complete your tax return.

But carve some space for this into your day and build it into your routine or it will not get done.

Bell suggests logging on in the morning, when new habits have a better chance of taking root and being sustained. The best results in stress reduction and resilience come when you are going through these mental exercises multiple times a week.

* Keep at it.

A one-off meditation session probably is not going to do you a whole lot of good, especially if you have a whopping tax bill due. But continue the habit for a while.

Jacquette Timmons, a New York City-based financial behaviorist and author of “Financial Intimacy,” suggests giving yourself 30 days – and meditating more often than not – to see how your mind and body react to the practice.

Timmons herself meditates around five times per week.

Using tools like these for 10 days, for instance, results in a 14 percent decrease in stress, according to published Headspace studies. Make it to 60 days, and you are up to a 17 percent stress reduction.

* Confront, do not avoid.

Mindfulness tools are not meant as a form of escapism, to let you float away from all your worries. After all, taxes are still due on April 15, no matter how chill you are.

But they are meant to make your mind and emotions more resilient, so that you can address the root problem without freaking out about it.

Do not expect any magical outcomes for your tax worries, but the practice can get you in the right frame of mind to deal with Uncle Sam.

“I think this can help people,” Timmons said. “Not every meditation is going to bring you an ‘A-ha moment,’ but if you do it cumulatively, it will give you some clarity of mind.”

Editing by Beth Pinsker and G Crosse

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Content alone is not going to win the streaming war. Here’s why

Content alone is not going to win the streaming war. Here's why

Netflix will announce its Q1 ’19 earnings on Tuesday – when we’ll know for sure if its subscription price hike was a good business move in the short term. Meanwhile, Disney announced Disney+, its new streaming service platform, will only cost $6.99/month and its stock shot up over 11 percent overnight.

This further complicates the pricing model debate for streaming services as Disney overshadows Apple, who had dominated the tech news cycle for weeks after announcing its competing OTT streaming services to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, called AppleTV+. With big names like Steven Speilberg and Oprah in attendance helping to buttress Apple’s credibility in the increasingly crowded OTT market, Apple sent a clear message that they, in the words of one executive, would “define the commitment to storytelling, on every screen in your life.” While it may have been tempting to be distracted by the cavalcade of celebrities that took to the stage inside Steve Jobs Theatre, Apple’s silence on one topic became deafening on the Twittersphere as everyone began to ask the core underlying question left unanswered: How much will this cost? Disney shared, why can’t you?

CNBC media reporter Alex Sherman, who attended the unveiling in person, tweeted “we got a half hour of actors talking about their shows without clips and zero details on Apple original content pricing or if channels services will be bundled for a discount. The general mood here is shock and mild annoyance among the people sitting around me.” Vox’s critic at large Todd VanDerWerff opined “Apple’s new streaming service is still mostly defined by what we don’t know.”

He’s right. The company chose to avoid addressing any specifics around pricing or the potential savings users could capture by bundling with other Apple services. What we do know is that Apple TV+ will be a subscription service free of advertising. This announcement kicked off an interesting debate about which revenue model – ad-supported or subscription – is most likely to attract large scale consumer audiences.

Apple and now Disney’s decision to forgo ads stands in stark contrast to recent reports from Google-owned YouTube, who instead is purported to be looking into expanding its ad-supported content while potentially deemphasizing subscription-based models as well as Viacom owned PlutoTV which is doubling down on its completely free ad-supported model. Google denies it will abandon its subscription model entirely as others later reported, but it is clear that the world’s largest advertising company sees significant opportunity in offering premium content for free in an ad-supported environment.

As the debate unfolds over ad-supported models vs. subscription-based revenue streams, the real question marketers and content platforms need to be asking is: “What do consumers want?” The answer is both.

To start, it’s important to level set by clarifying that OTT is now mainstream, and this is not a niche consumer audience. In partnership with the Harris Poll, OpenX conducted a nationwide study of OTT users released this week which found that the majority of US consumers now stream at least one OTT service, with most streamers subscribing to an average of three platforms. Within this growing group of streamers, there are very diverse opinions about preferred billing models that signal a broad opportunity for platforms to be creative with how they monetize their content.

The study found a nearly even split among those who want to pay a subscription fee in exchange for zero ads with a slight majority opting for some form of advertising to reduce or eliminate subscription fees. Forty-six percent of consumers prefer a service that costs $10/month with no ads. Interestingly, the survey also found that consumers would be willing to pay as much as $24/month for one primary subscription – nearly twice Netflix’s adjusted monthly rate of its most popular plan now $13/month (up from $12/month), showing there is clear upward pricing mobility for an ultra-premium provider in the subscription market. I expect the earnings call on Tuesday to report no significant hurt in sales because of this increase.

That said, there is a potentially missed opportunity by streaming providers, including Netflix and Apple, to be releasing a tiered pricing model that includes ad-supported, discounted and free subscription models.

Ofthe 2,002 U.S. consumers who answered The Harris Poll survey OpenX commissioned, 54 percent would opt for an ad-supported model; 29 percent of which prefer a service that costs around $5/month with 2-3 minutes of ads per hour, while the other 25 percent prefer a free service with up to 10 minutes of ads per hour. The clear message here is that there is room for multiple models, and a “one-size-fits-all approach” (or singular billing models) will likely be replaced by a menu of options tailored to consumer preferences. One guide to follow comes again from the nationwide survey of OTT users that uncovered the sweet spot of content and cost — what I would call the 15/100 rule of video. Consumers watch around 15 channels of cable TV today and if price weren’t an issue, they would be open to watching 15 different OTT services. For cost, whether it is OTT or cable/satellite, viewers are comfortable spending about $100/month to have access to the content they want to watch.

Consumers don’t want an unlimited number of choices and they don’t want to pay for channels they don’t watch. Just as demand for a variety of OTT providers increases, so too will the diversity of revenue models. Less than five percent of all television advertising dollars flow to OTT channels today. As the eyeballs continue to migrate to streaming platforms, OTT advertising dollars will quickly follow – and they are projected to outstrip the overall growth of all advertising by five times in 2019. Investments in content alone will not determine the winners from the losers in the OTT race. Whichever platforms get the pricing formula, content portfolio and user experience right will ultimately establish market leadership in the rapidly growing OTT market.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Dallas Lawrence is currently the chief communications and brand officer at OpenX, the largest independent advertising exchange. Prior to joining OpenX, Dallas Lawrence served as the chief communications officer for Rubicon Project, led global communications and government affairs for Mattel and served as the chief global digital strategist for Burson-Marsteller. During more than a decade in Washington, DC, Dallas served as a press secretary on Capitol Hill prior to joining President Bush’s communications team, leading outreach efforts for the President’s signature domestic policy initiative No Child Left Behind. Dallas would later deploy to Baghdad, Iraq, on behalf of the White House to serve as a spokesperson for the Coalition. Upon returning from Baghdad, Dallas joined the communications team of Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld where he served as the Pentagon’s director of public liaison for both Rumsfeld and his predecessor Secretary Gates. He has been named both the “Crisis Manager of the Year” by PR News and “Social Media Professional of the Year.” In 2013, PR Week named him one of the 40 most influential leaders in PR. Dallas was previously a commissioned officer in the United States Navy and earned a BA in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and an MA in government from The Johns Hopkins University.

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Scrapping India’s trade privileges could hit U.S. consumers, senators say

Scrapping India's trade privileges could hit U.S. consumers, senators say

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A U.S. plan to end preferential duty-free imports of up to $5.6 billion from India could raise costs for American consumers, two U.S. senators have told their country’s trade office, urging a delay in adopting the plan, and seeking more negotiations.

FILE PHOTO: A man holds the flags of India and the U.S. while people take part in the 35th India Day Parade in New York August 16, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

If President Donald Trump presses ahead with his plan to end the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for India, it could lose the status in early May, Indian officials have said, raising the prospect of retaliatory tariffs.

India is the world’s largest beneficiary of the GSP, dating from the 1970s, but trade ties with the U.S. have widened over what Trump calls its high tariffs and concerns over New Delhi’s e-commerce policies.

“While we agree that there are a number of market access issues that can and should be addressed, we do remain concerned that the withdrawal of duty concessions will make Indian exports of eligible products to the United States costlier,” the senators, John Cornyn and Mark Warner, wrote.

“Some of these costs will likely be passed on to American consumers”.

In their Friday letter, the co-chairs of the Senate’s India caucus of more than 30 senators called for withdrawal to be delayed until the end of India’s 39-day general elections, which began on Thursday, with results expected on May 23.

Allowing for talks to continue beyond the elections would underscore the importance of the trade ties, presenting an opportunity to resolve market access issues and improve the overall U.S.-India relationship for years to come, they added.

If the United States scraps duty-free access for about 2,000 product lines, it will mostly hurt small and medium businesses in India, such as makers of engineering goods.

Despite close political ties, trade between India and the United States, which stood at $126 billion in 2017, is widely seen to be performing at nearly a quarter of its potential.

Trade relations suffered in the past few months after India adopted new rules on e-commerce reining in how companies such as Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc-backed Flipkart do business.

Last June, India said it would step up import duties varying from 20 percent to 120 percent on a slew of U.S. farm, steel and iron products, angered by Washington’s refusal to exempt it from new steel and aluminum tariffs.

But it has since repeatedly delayed adopting the higher duties.

Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Writing by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Krishna N. Das and Clarence Fernandez

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10 principles of digital accessibility for modern marketers

10 principles of digital accessibility for modern marketers

When we talk about digital accessibility as marketers, we’re talking about the intentional creation of an experience that can be accessed by as many people as possible.

Designing for digital accessibility means many things. It means designing for individuals with sensory or cognitive impairments. It means designing for people with physical limitations. It means designing for individuals who rely on adaptive and assistive technologies like screen readers or magnifiers to view digital content.

The key is building accessibility into your digital experience from the very start rather than bolting it on like an afterthought. Below, I’ve outlined some key accessibility principles to consider when creating your digital marketing materials.

Principles for developers

1.  Apply standard HTML semantics

Accessible design begins with standard HTML semantics. Standard HTML enables screen readers to announce elements on page so that the user will know how to interact with the contents. When HTML tags without semantical information are used–such as <div> and <span> for visual styling – the browser will display the elements as the developer intended, which unfortunately, may not be very helpful for the user.

Keep in mind that the user’s experience with a screen reader can vary greatly. For instance, using <div class=”h1”>Introduction to Semantics</div> or custom coding to override default browser styles will produce something that resembles a header. However, a screen reader will not understand or announce that the element as a header.

Key takeaways

  • Use standard HTML whenever possible so that screen readers will maintain the structure and content when reading aloud.
  • Use structural elements to group elements and to create separate regions on a page, such as header, navigation, main and footer. Screen readers recognize these structural elements and announce them to the user and allow for additional navigation between elements.

2. Enable keyboard navigation

All websites should be keyboard accessible because not all consumers can use a mouse or view a screen. In fact, according to WebAIM Low Vision, 60.4% of survey respondents always or often use a keyboard for web page navigation. Additionally, individuals with permanent or temporary loss of their hands or fine muscle control may also use a keyboard or modified keyboards for navigation.

For keyboard navigation to work, a user must be able to navigate through a page by moving from focus item to focus item. A user typically follows the visual flow, going from left to right and top to bottom, from headers to main navigation, to page navigation and lastly to the footer. When using a keyboard for navigation, enter activates a focused link, and the space bar activates a focused form element. Tab facilitates navigation between elements. Escape allows the user to close an element.

Knowing this, it’s important to consider the actions a user might take. The rule of thumb is that if you can interact with a focusable element using a mouse, make sure that you can interact using a keyboard. These elements might include links, buttons, form fields or a calendar date picker.

Key takeaways

  • Ensure users can navigate with the keyboard to all interaction components of the website. List all your site’s focusable elements and create easy-to-use focus indicators.
  • Structure underlying source code to correctly order the content and navigation. Use CSS to control visual aspects of the elements.
  • Allow users to bypass navigation windows if there are too many links in drop downs.

3. Use attributes

When it comes to linking text and descriptions for URLs, screen readers can skip from link to link within an article. If vague link text like “Click Here” or “Read More” is used, it provides very little context or meaning for someone to interpret on a screen reader.

Be specific and descriptive with your link text and include meaningful phrases that describe the content that the link is connecting to. Instead of “Contact us” use more specific language like “Contact our sales team.” For images and videos, assign ALT attributes and use descriptive file names.

Key takeaways

  • Banish extraneous and non-descriptive words in your links like “Click Here,” “Here,” and “Read More.” “10 Principles of Accessibility” reads better than “Click here to read the 10 principles of accessibility.”
  • Optimize file names and URL names and use both open and closed captioning for video content. Consider adding accurate video transcripts.

4. Use the ARIA label attribute

In some cases, the buttons or other interactive elements on your website may not include all the information needed for assistive technology. The ARIA label attribute enables assistive technology to override the HTML labels to allow the website owner to provide additional context to the element on a page.

In the following link example, a screen reader will announce “Bing Ads. Link.”

<a href=”…”> Bing Ads </a>

However, if the button itself is a call-to-action button, the site owner can use the ARIA label to allow the screen reader to speak the call-to-action text visible on the button. In this example, the screen reader will announce, “Sign Up for a Bing Ads Account. Link.”

<a href=”…” aria-label=”Sign Up for a Bing Ads Account”>Bing Ads</A>

Key takeaway

  • Use the ARIA label attribute within elements like forms and call-to-action buttons to define the visible text that a screen reader should read aloud.

5. Properly label and format forms

Make sure forms are intuitive and logically organized, with clearly identified instructions and labels. To ensure that users load the right keyboard format for all forms, use labels that are always visible and avoid putting placeholder text within form prompts.

From a formatting perspective, take advantage of borders for text fields and drop-down menus, and put forms in a single-column format. Also, use HTML input types, so users do not have to switch across types of virtual keyboards. For example, fields for phone numbers should pull up the numeric keyboard vs. a regular keyboard format.

Key takeaways

  • Be careful when using JavaScript in forms, which can make the form difficult to complete using a keyboard.

6. Use tables for data

There are two basic uses for tables online: data tables with row and column headers that display tabular data and tables for page layout. The intended use of HTML tables is for tabular data. Layout tables don’t typically have logical headers or information that can be mapped to cells within the table, so screen readers must guess the purpose of the table. For this reason, it’s important to use CSS for layout and reserve tables for data. Using CSS results in cleaner and more simplified HTML code.

Key takeaways

  • Use the appropriate mark-up for data tables and always include table headers. Always choose CSS over tables for page layout.

Principles for writers and graphic designers

7. Write content in a structured way

The structure and flow of your content are especially important for individuals who have a visual impairment and rely on screen readers. It’s also important for folks with cognitive and learning disabilities, as well as anyone scanning through content on a mobile screen. When writing for accessibility, summon your inner high-school English teacher and organize content clearly with descriptive headings for each section.

Key takeaways

  • Make text easy to read and logically structured. Be sure to use semantic markup for headings paragraphs, lists, and quotes.

8. Align to the left

Text alignment impacts readability, according to UX Movement. Centered text makes the viewer work harder because without the left straight edge, there is no consistent path for the eyes to follow when continuing to the next line of text. Use left-aligned text for a straight edge that makes it easier for the eyes to scan content and find breaks in the writing structure.

Key takeaways

  • Only use centered text headlines and short lines of text such as quotes and call outs. Avoid mixing text alignment.

9. Choose fonts judiciously

I love beautiful, artistic fonts. But the fact is that some fonts are easier to read than others. Which is why it’s important to use basic fonts. Sans-serif fonts are easier to read for people with visual or cognitive disabilities – even temporary, visual disabilities like reading a screen in bright sunlight.

Size also matters. Avoid font sizes smaller than 12 and choose absolute units (pixels or points) vs relative units (%) to define font size. Limit the number of fonts to make content easier to read. Don’t rely on the appearance of fonts (color, shape or placement) to convey the meaning of the text. Finally, avoid blinking or moving text – no user wants to chase a message around a screen.

Key takeaways

  • Choose simple fonts with plain, sans-serif endings, which make it easier for eyes to recognize letters.
  • Limit the use of font variations and sizes.

10. Put color to work

The application of color also impacts accessibility. According to a 2018 survey of users with Low Vision by WebAIM, 75% of respondents report multiple types of visual impairment, including 61% with light or glare sensitivity and 46% with contrast sensitivity.

Think about your color scheme and the contrast of colors to ensure that text is easily discernable from the background color. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) recommend using a 4.5:1 contrast ratio for normal text. To put this into perspective, black text on a white background is 21:1 whereas gray text on a white background is 4.5:1.

Using color alone to convey information may not be accessible to those with visual impairments. For example, websites often use green to signal something positive and red to signal something negative, which can be difficult to discern for someone with a visual impairment. Instead, consider combining shapes or icons with color.

Key takeaways

  • Ensure your colors have ample contrast and combine color with graphics or symbols to help convey meaning.

Designing for accessibility does not need to be complex or costly. It just takes planning and the intentional application of accessibility principles to ensure a more inclusive experience for everyone.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

​Christi Olson is a Search Evangelist at Microsoft in Seattle, Washington. For over a decade Christi has been a student and practitioner of SEM. Prior to joining the Bing Ads team within Microsoft, Christi worked in marketing both in-house and at agencies at Point It, Expedia, Harry & David, and Microsoft (MSN, Bing, Windows). When she’s not geeking out about search and digital marketing she can be found with her husband at ACUO crossfit and running races across the PacificNW, brewing and trying to find the perfect beer, and going for lots of walks with their two schnauzers and pug.

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How to create connections at work in the age of isolation

How to create connections at work in the age of isolation

NEW YORK (Reuters) – If an overflowing inbox is killing your productivity at the office, you are not alone.

FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen in an office tower in the Canary Wharf financial district at dusk in London, Britain, November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Well, maybe you are, but not in the way you think.

A recent survey of more than 2,000 managers and employees in 10 different countries found that employees increasingly depend on technology to communicate with their colleagues, including email (45 percent), text messaging (15 percent) and instant messaging (12 percent).

Of those who cited email, more than 40 percent said they felt lonely always or often, were not engaged and had a high need for social connection.

Dan Schawbel, author of “Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation,” offered Reuters these tips on working remotely, managing technology and building a collaborative workplace.

Q. Is there a dark side of working remotely?

A. One-third of workers in the U.S. often work remotely. The number of remote workers is up 115 percent in the past decade. But just 5 percent of these workers see themselves staying at the same company for their entire career.

While we want flexibility so much, there is a tradeoff. Our research shows that remote workers are more likely to quit because of loneliness as well as low engagement. The reason why (co-working space) WeWork exists is because people want the human connection. Otherwise, people would just work from home.

Q. Is there a “right way” to work offsite and keep remote workers engaged?

A. These employees will work harder if they have a sense of connection. For managers, it is important to let a remote worker lead the meeting. It’s so simple and brilliant at the same time. It also makes sense to fly remote workers in once a year for an offsite or social event.

And be sure to use video conferencing often for meetings – you get to see and hear someone, which is much better than an email. It also forces you to dress like you are in the office. If you dress the part, you act the part.

Q. How can we maximize our time when we are in the office?

A. When you are working, you need time to focus, think deeply and pay attention to your words, thoughts and ideas. You also need collaborative time to share those ideas.

The actual work is important. But it’s also crucial to cultivate friendships. The workplace survey I led, which was conducted by my company Future Workplace, an HR advisory firm, and Virgin Pulse, a digital health company, found that 7 percent of all employees globally have no friends at work and over half have five or fewer total friends.

The majority of people (60 percent) said they would be more likely stay with their company longer if they had more friends.

This was especially true for younger employees. Gen Z (74 percent) and millennials (69 percent) say they would be inclined to stay with their company longer if they had more friends than Gen X (59 percent) and baby boomers (40 percent).

You will never be able to replace face-to-face interactions at work. Once you are in a room – at a meeting, event, or even celebrating a birthday at work – be present. Put down your phone and actually talk to people.

Q. People spend so much time at work. What is the best way to avoid burnout?

A. Even if you love your job, everyone needs a break. That is why some interesting things are happening around the world to combat burnout. For example, in Finland and in the United Kingdom, they are looking at a four-day work week. In France, you actually have the right to disconnect – workers there don’t have to answer email on the weekends or after work hours.

In Japan, every Japanese citizen gets the right to take Monday mornings off.

Overall, it is about what you do, and who you do it with. The people you choose to work with are more important than the work you do. Even if you love your work, and it gives you purpose, toxic co-workers will make it unbearable.

Editing by Beth Pinkser and Bernadette Baum

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How to perfectly balance affiliate marketing and SEO Search Engine Watch

How to perfectly balance affiliate marketing and SEO

How to perfectly balance affiliate marketing and SEO

In all my years as an SEO consultant, I can’t begin to count the number of times I saw clients who were struggling to make both SEO and affiliate marketing work for them.

When their site rankings dropped, they immediately started blaming it on the affiliate links. Yet what they really needed to do was review their search marketing efforts and make them align with their affiliate marketing efforts.

Both SEO and affiliate marketing have the same goal of driving relevant, high-quality traffic to a site so that those visits eventually turn into sales. So there’s absolutely no reason for them to compete against each other. Instead, they should work together in perfect balance so that the site generates more revenue. SEO done right can prove to be the biggest boon for your affiliate marketing efforts.

It’s crucial that you take a strategic approach to align these two efforts.

Four ways to balance your affiliate marketing and SEO efforts

1. Find a niche that’s profitable for you

One of the reasons why affiliate marketing may clash with SEO is because you’re trying to sell too many different things from different product categories. So it’s extremely challenging to align your SEO efforts with your affiliate marketing because it’s all over the place.

This means that you’ll have a harder time driving a targeted audience to your website. While your search rankings may be high for a certain product keyword, you may be struggling to attract visitors and customers for other products.

Instead of trying to promote everything and anything, pick one or two profitable niches to focus on. This is where it gets tricky. While you may naturally want to focus on niches in which you have a high level of interest and knowledge, they may not always be profitable. So I suggest you conduct some research about the profitability of potential niches.

To conduct research, you can check resources that list the most profitable affiliate programs. You can also use platforms like ClickBank to conduct this research. While you can use other affiliate platforms for your research, this is a great place to start. First, click on the “Affiliate Marketplace” button at the top of the ClickBank homepage.

Snapshot of ClickBank

You’ll see a page that gives you the option to search for products. On your left, you can see the various affiliate product categories available. Click on any of the categories that pique your interest.

Snapshot of affiliate program categories available on ClickBank

On the search results page, you’ll see some of the affiliate marketing programs available on the platform. The page also displays various details about the program including the average earning per sale.

Then filter the search results by “Gravity,” which is a metric that measures how well a product sells in that niche.

snapshot of the search results page and filters

You should ideally look for products with a Gravity score of 50 or higher. Compare the top Gravity scores of each category to see which is the most profitable. You can additionally compare the average earnings per sale for products in different categories.

2. Revise your keyword strategy

Since you’re already familiar with search marketing, I don’t need to tell you about the importance of keyword planning. That being said, I would recommend that you revise your existing keyword strategy after you’ve decided on a niche to focus on and the products you want to sell.

The same keyword selection rules apply even in this process. You would want to work with keywords that have a significant search volume yet aren’t too competitive. And you will need to focus on long-tail keywords for more accuracy. While you should still use the Google Keyword Planner, I suggest you try out other tools as well for fresh keyword ideas.

Among the free tools, Google Trends is an excellent option. It gives you a clear look at the changes in interest for your chosen search term. You can filter the result by category, time frame, and region. It also gives you a breakdown of how the interest changes according to the sub-region.

Snapshot of tracking users' changing interest in a particular search

The best part about this tool is that if you scroll down, you can also see some of the related queries. This will give you insights into some of the other terms related to your original search term with rising popularity. So you can get some quick ideas for trending and relevant keywords to target.

Snapshot of related queries in Google Trends

AnswerThePublic is another great tool for discovering long-tail keyword ideas. This tool gives you insights into some of the popular search queries related to your search term. So you’ll be able to come up with ideas for keywords to target as well as topic ideas for fresh content.

Getting long-tail keywords and topic ideas on AnswerThePublic

3. Optimize your website content

High-quality content is the essence of a successful SEO strategy. It also serves the purpose of educating and converting visitors for affiliate websites. So it’s only natural that you will need to optimize the content on your website. You can either create fresh content or update your existing content, or you can do both.

Use your shortlisted keywords to come up with content ideas. These keywords have a high search volume, so you know that people are searching for content related to them. So when you create content optimized with those keywords, you’ll gain some visibility in their search results. And since you’re providing them with the content they need, you will be driving them to your site.

You can also update your existing content with new and relevant keywords. Perhaps to add more value, you can even include new information such as tips, stats, updates, and more. Whatever you decide to do, make sure the content is useful for your visitors. It shouldn’t be too promotional but instead, it needs to be informative.

4. Build links to boost site authority and attract high-quality traffic

You already know that building high-quality backlinks can improve the authority of your site and therefore, your search rankings. So try to align your link-building efforts with your affiliate marketing by earning backlinks from sites that are relevant to the products you’re promoting.

Of course, you can generate more social signals by trying to drive more content shares. But those efforts aren’t always enough. Especially if you want to drive more revenue.

I suggest you try out guest posting, as it can help you tap into the established audience of a relevant, authoritative site. This helps you drive high-quality traffic to your site. It also boosts your page and domain authority since you’re getting a link back from a high authority site.

Although Matt Cutts said in 2014 that guest posting for SEO is dead, that’s not true if you plan your approach. The problem is when you try to submit guest posts just for the sake of getting backlinks. Most reputable sites don’t allow that anymore.

To get guest posting right, you need to make sure that you’re creating content that has value. So it needs to be relevant to the audience of your target site, and it should be helpful to them somehow. Your guest posts should be of exceptional quality in terms of writing, readability, and information.

Not only does this improve your chances of getting accepted, but it also helps you gain authority in the niche. Plus, you will get to reach an engaged and relevant audience and later direct them to your site depending on how compelling your post is.

Bottom line

SEO and affiliate marketing can work in perfect alignment if you strategically balance your efforts. These tips should help you get started with aligning the two aspects of your business. You will need some practice and experimentation before you can perfectly balance them. You can further explore more options and evolve your strategy as you get better at the essentials.

Shane Barker is a Digital Strategist, Brand and Influencer Consultant. He can be found on Twitter .

Related reading

Doing backlink building like a ninja
Luxury marketing search strategy series
Google Dataset Search How you can use it for SEO
Visual content creation tools for stunning social media campaigns

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Newmont shareholders OK $10 billion Goldcorp takeover, creating biggest gold producer

Newmont shareholders OK $10 billion Goldcorp takeover, creating biggest gold producer

TORONTO (Reuters) – Newmont Mining shareholders on Thursday approved the company’s $10 billion takeover of Goldcorp Inc which is set to create the world’s biggest gold producer with assets across the Americas, Africa and Australia.

FILE PHOTO: Visitors pass the Newmont Mining Corporation booth during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

About 98 percent of votes at a special meeting were in support of Newmont’s proposal to issue new stock to fund its takeover of Goldcorp, the Denver-based company said in a statement. Goldcorp’s investors voted to approve the acquisition last week.

The deal, the biggest takeover in the gold sector’s history according to Refinitiv data, faced some initial opposition from Newmont investors who said it overly favored Goldcorp shareholders. But they rallied behind the proposal on the promise of a special dividend.

The 88-cent-per-share special dividend will be paid on May 1 to those who hold Newmont shares as of April 17, according to the statement.

Newmont shares were 0.7 percent lower at $36.01 in morning trading in New York, in line with the benchmark S&P/TSX Global Gold Index. Goldcorp shares slipped 0.26 percent to C$15.41 in Toronto.

“We thank Newmont’s shareholders for their overwhelming support for this compelling value creation opportunity as we build the world’s leading gold company,” Newmont Chief Executive Gary Goldberg said in the statement.

The new company, to be called Newmont Goldcorp, will overtake current market leader Barrick Gold Corp in annual production, churning out 6 million to 7 million ounces of gold annually over the next 10 years, compared with Barrick’s forecast of 5.1 million to 5.6 million ounces for 2019.

Newmont Goldcorp expects to shed between $1 billion and $1.5 billion of assets to focus on its most promising operations. This, combined with mines Barrick plans to sell in the wake of its acquisition of Randgold Resources, is expected by analysts to fuel a flurry of deals in a sector that has been focused on cutting costs rather than pursuing growth for several years.

Newmont’s acquisition of Goldcorp had faced several hurdles, beginning with Barrick’s hostile takeover bid for Newmont in February, which required it to abandon its deal with Goldcorp.

That was resolved through the creation of a joint venture of Newmont and Barrick’s operations in Nevada, which was estimated to create $4.7 billion in synergies.

Reporting By Nichola Saminather; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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How to Use Infographics for Lead Generation

How to Use Infographics for Lead Generation

Content marketers know that infographics can drive website traffic, because they know that visual content tends to be good at engaging audiences marketers are trying to attract.

It stands to reason, then, that if a piece of content can attract and engage, it can also be used to drive conversions—generating leads from website visitors.

That’s exactly what an infographic from performance-marketing agency Spiralytics points out.

And it outlines a process for using infographics for lead generation.


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