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June 23, 2017


This article originally appeared on Column Five.

Laura Winkenbach is VP of Product Marketing & Content for HR software company Zenefits. In an increasingly complicated industry, she’s tasked with educating and engaging customers to make their lives easier. Her tool? Content. We caught up with Laura to chat about how she uses content to make a great first impression, establish a relationship, and continue to provide value to Zenefit’s customers.

C5: Tell us a bit about your role. What do you do?

LW: I lead our product marketing and content efforts at Zenefits. We help educate and engage prospects in learning more about Zenefits and the HR space in general. With HR becoming a much more strategic and critical role at growing companies, it’s tough for HR leaders to stay on top of regulatory changes, business trends, and HCM in general.

C5: What role does content play in your overall branding and marketing efforts?

LW: Content is the tip of the spear in many of our efforts. We try to offer helpful and educational content to engage prospects. By offering valuable and exclusive research, thought leadership, articles, webinars, and more, we offer something to prospects before we ask them to learn about our products and solutions. The goal is to create a positive perception of Zenefits by offering value first.

C5: What does your team look like?

LW: We’re a lean team. We have two product marketers and two content marketers who work closely together on messaging, positioning, go-to-market, and demand generation.

C5: What is your team’s main focus right now?

LW: Right now we are focusing on increasing organic traffic and improving conversions of that traffic from visitors to leads. We’re putting a lot of effort into our blog and focusing on topical, editorial content.

C5: How do you measure results?

LW: We track our organic traffic patterns pretty closely, as well as how those visitors are engaging with content (time spent on page, visitors to form-fills, etc.).

C5: Which types of content yield the best quality leads for your brand?

LW: For us, leads who express interest in our products are clearly deepest in the funnel. For example, if someone downloads a product sheet or watches a demo video, they are more likely going to convert to a personalized demo or a free trial. But not all leads are ready to purchase just yet. That’s why we maintain a useful and thoughtful stream of content and communication to keep the relationship going.

C5: What role does your proprietary data play in your marketing?

LW: We actually just released one of our first research reports, the Benefits Benchmark report. We heard from countless customers that they were looking for benchmarks on what similar companies and businesses in their region were spending on employee benefits. We aggregated the data from our database and analyzed the findings into a number of key trends, all published in our report.

The great thing about this report is that it isn’t survey based, as many reports tend to be. It’s actual data. These types of reports are hugely valuable to current customers but also help drive leads from new prospects as well.

C5: In your opinion, which brands are doing content marketing and brand storytelling right?

LW: Salesforce always does a great job with going big and being consistent with a theme. They maintain the same theme throughout all their content, whether it’s their website, printed collateral, event signage, and more. Having this consistency makes them immediately recognizable even if you don’t see their logo. This type of brand and visual storytelling is tough to do, but they’ve aligned things well.

Personally, I’m kind of obsessed with Chubbies. Their stories and content truly bring to life their entire brand and mission. This resonates in the brand, their product, the messaging, and certainly in their content. They make me ready for the weekend. =)

C5: What’s the most rewarding part of what you do?

LW: Getting positive feedback from prospects and customers that our content was useful is the most rewarding thing. While we certainly want to acquire leads and convert them to customers, it’s my job to give prospects a positive first impression of Zenefits. And if we can do that by offering them useful research or information that helps them do their job better, we feel pretty good about ourselves.

C5: At work, what is the biggest pain in the ass?

LW: Content distribution! If you build it, they don’t always come. It’s tough to make sure content is discoverable, and this doesn’t happen on its own. We’ve augmented our strategy quite a bit to focus more on SEO and keywords that are in demand. But it’s hard to make sure that everyone who has a question can find the content you created to answer it.

C5: If you had an “easy” button, what would you have it do for you?

LW: It would pretty much take over Google’s algorithm. Just kidding.

C5: What would you tell/teach yourself 5 years ago that would have better prepared you for your work today?

LW: I spend a lot of time thinking about leadership and what makes a great leader. I’ve learned a ton over the years and have been lucky enough to work with some amazing leaders. One of the best things I’ve taken from these years is that every moment can be a coaching moment and a sharing moment.

Nothing has meant more to me than when my leader or mentor gave me feedback, a special tip or trick, or spent time offering more explanation. These moments have helped me be successful in all kinds of situations. I try to do the same with my team now, to empower them to make decisions in their own domain, take risks, and share wins and failures equally. So 5 years ago, I’d have to tell myself to “always be sharing.”

C5: What piece of advice would you give someone interested in getting into content marketing and brand storytelling?

LW: I’d say the most important is to be purposeful. There is SO much content created because “someone thought it was a good idea,” because a competitor did it, or because it “feels like we should do something about X.” Without a clear goal, purpose, distribution plan, and success metric defined in advance, you run the risk of creating content that no one will read. And, worse yet, you won’t know if it was successful or not. My strong advice is to be purposeful in everything you build.

C5: Any last parting words or nuggets of wisdom?

LW: Umm, we’re marketers. Have fun! Avoid the jargon and just act as if you’re having a conversation with someone walking down the street. Too much writing has become so technical and formal. Even if you’re writing about technical subject matter, you can still be conversational.

Many thanks to Laura for sharing her thoughts. Follow Laura’s posts on the Zenefits blog and keep up with her on Twitter @llbrooks44. For more wisdom from game-changers in content marketing and content strategy, check out these Q&As:

Source: Visual News

June 23, 2017

Tips to Book Your Hotel for SXSW 2018

Housing - Better Hotel Rates

There are a few things you need to know about booking your hotel when Housing and Registration go live on August 1, but the most important thing to remember is that the SXSW Housing & Travel team is here to help. Here are some tips and policies to keep in mind to help you prepare to book your hotel for SXSW 2018:

Booking for an Individual

To ensure SXSW Housing & Travel hotel rooms go to SXSW attendees, each registrant is limited to one hotel reservation. Each reservation must be made separately through your SXSW shopping cart or SXsocial account.

Booking for Large Groups

To register and book hotels for multiple people in your organization, SXSW Housing & Travel recommends you purchase all your registrations in one SXSW shopping cart. After purchasing your registrations, book hotel rooms by clicking the link to “request hotel” next to each registration located in your purchase history or using the SXSW Housing link in the SXSW drop down.

Helpful Hint: If your organization needs more than 5 rooms, sometimes it’s helpful in the rush of our launch day to have more than one person in your organization purchasing registrations and booking rooms.

Large groups may request up to 15 rooms at any individual hotel. If you need more than 15 rooms at one hotel, contact SXSW Housing & Travel to help you find the accommodations you need. Our local team of travel proffessionals is available to help you with your large group housing needs throughout the season.

Payment Policies

Be sure you have a valid credit card handy when booking your reservation(s). Nothing is charged at the time of booking. The card is only used to guarantee your reservation. If your hotel requires a deposit, it is collected by the hotel in late February. Your reservation is paid in full, directly to the hotel, upon check-out.

Each hotel’s deposit requirements are located with their amenities information on the Hotel Availability page, in the “hotel overview” section of the booking process, and in your reservation confirmation under “reservation agreement.”

Credit Card Authorization

If you don’t intend to travel with the card you want to use to pay for your reservation, you must fill out a credit card authorization form and submit it to the hotel directly in advance of arrival. The hotel does not receive reservations made with SXSW Housing until the end of February.

When the hotel processes your reservation in late February, they send another confirmation that includes your hotel confirmation number. Once you receive your confirmation number you are able to provide the hotel with the Pre-Authorization form. Forms will be made available on our Reservation Policies page in early February.

Penalty Fees & Deadlines

SXSW Housing & Travel never charges attendees for our services, but there are some cancellation penalties you should keep in mind before making your reservation(s). Keep in mind that if you choose to book outside of SXSW Housing & Travel, many downtown hotels require a non-refundable payment up front. We know plans change and have negotiated more flexible cancellation policies with our hotels.

SXSW 28 Day Cancelation Penalty

If you do cancel or reduce your stay within 28 days of arrival SXSW Housing & Travel charges a $50 penalty for each cancellation.

Hotel Cancelation Policy

Individual hotels also charge a penalty for cancellations within 7-30 days of arrival, depending on your room type and hotel. You must agree to the hotel’s reservation policy before finalizing your reservation. We recommend you add your cancellation deadlines to your calendar when you book to avoid penalties. Be sure to read your reservation agreement carefully to familiarize yourself with the hotel’s policies.

Be sure to pay attention to:

  • Minimum Stay
  • Hotel Cancellation Penalties
  • Deposit Amount (usually equal to 1-2 nights stay)
  • Early Departure Fees

We also recommend that you save your reservation confirmation to reference later or to quickly reply to with questions.


Contact housing@sxsw.com or Visit our FAQs

Hotel Photo Courtesy of the Hilton Garden Inn

Helpful Resources:
Payment Policies
How to Book
Hotel Availability
SXSW shopping cart

The post Tips to Book Your Hotel for SXSW 2018 appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Interactive

June 23, 2017

Minimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas Levers

Minimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas Levers

We are sharing this cool minimal and architecture photographic series by Andreas Levers. He has definitely a style that I am going for through my pictures. I gotta admit that is quite hard to accomplish. This series is entitled: Colorful boxes and we are exploring his Lego-inspired theme and also a play on the light and shadow. What I like also about this style of photography is that you are trying to tell a story or sharing a concept of your vision of things. If you haven’t tried this type of photography, I would suggest you give it a try.

Andreas Levers is a project manager by day and a photographer by night. Located in Potsdam, Germany; I love how Andreas explore different styles of photography. You should definitely check out this Behance.

Details found on facades

Minimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas LeversMinimal & Architecture Photography by Andreas Levers


  • Check out Andreas Lever’s site: 96dpi.de
  • Follow Andreas Levers on Behance

Jun 23, 2017

Source: Abduzeedo Photography

June 23, 2017

Editorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary Tricks

Editorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary Tricks

Happy Friday guys! We are sharing a culinary book that is everything except being conventional. Let me explain, the folks at Juicy Square did an incredible job at editorial design to express the passion for food through the pages of the book entitled: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary Tricks. The title says it all, the design is playful and does a play on the material too. Something we have rarely seen in this part of the industry. Mixing different mediums from sketching, typography, images and graphic design; this book is certainty a gem.

Juicy Square is a studio that works mainly in graphic design, editorial design and print. Located in Vilnius, Lithuania, a city of immense allure; I love their motto about an outstanding graphic design is not only lines and figures. It must be reasonable and thought-through in order not only to be aesthetic, but also to be functional. To be complete.

PLAY, COOK, KISS: CULINARY TRICKS What is the most important thing in food-making? Despite the quality products, time-tested recipes and cooking skills, it’s love. The passion. In other words – it’s courage. Being fearless leads one into the unknown areas of possibilities and sets the new plots of the future. That is the main message of the culinary book filled by wisdom and charisma of Alfas Ivanauskas, creative director and editor in chief of the Kitchen Mythbusters. It’s not just a culinary book. It’s an creative and inspirational guide in a form of diary and an album.

Editorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary TricksEditorial Design: Play, Cook, Kiss: Culinary Tricks


That is why features of it were adopted and incorporated into the creative process of the design concept. And it came crafty, detail and unique in every page – full various forms of drawings, blueprints of recipes, notes and so on. All this gives vitality to the book and makes it “alive”. Even the recipes were took out of it and places in a special extra issue to make more space for the sense of philosophical culinary quest. The task for design demanded a lot of unorthodox solutions. Therefore, the visual language is vivid in it: a few different concepts and ideas interact and strengthen each other here. Various composition techniques come hand-by-hand in this book.

Jun 23, 2017

Source: Abduzeedo Editorial Design

June 22, 2017

Announcing the Cities Summit at SXSW 2018

SXSW Gaming Dates Announced

We’re pleased to announce the Cities Summit, a new convergence program for SXSW 2018.

As the world grows increasingly complex, cities have emerged as innovators, testing and developing new solutions to problems ranging from climate change, migration, automation, and more. The term smart cities has become synonymous for cities implementing new technologies, but truly smart cities are more than tech savvy. Cities are reflections of the people who live, work, and play within them. Our cities and public spaces are integral to the arts, creativity, culture, and democracy itself.

The more people we have envisioning the future of our cities brings more promise of building solutions that work for everyone. We invite all urbanists from the SXSW community – the storytellers, the entrepreneurs, the designers, the musicians, the fans, industries, government officials, and more, to create a dialogue about the opportunity and potential cities hold.

“Cities are on the front lines of change in our society,” said City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “Cities are where the economic expansion, the new ideas, and the cultural advances happen, where we are making the necessary progress on climate change and where we show that inclusion and diversity are not burdens to tolerate but necessary ingredients for success and survival. Cities are not bubbles where we preserve the past. Cities are incubators of the future. There is nowhere this is more true than Austin, Texas, and that’s why I am so thrilled that SXSW will be hosting a Cities Summit.”

The Cities Summit will be accepting programming proposals through the SXSW PanelPicker, which opens Monday, June 26. We encourage you to be creative and think outside the box when entering your session idea. The Summit will include experimental programming formats and creative interventions that explore the cities of the future.

Learn more, get involved and plan your participation at sxsw.com/cities.

The post Announcing the Cities Summit at SXSW 2018 appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

June 22, 2017

Which Graduate Degree Gets You Out Of Debt The Fastest?

This article originally appeared on Priceonomics.

If you’re one of the 29% who feels their choice of major in college didn’t prepare them to secure the job they wanted after graduation, you may be considering graduate school as a shot at a do-over. Those seeking higher income may indeed find themselves better equipped after earning a graduate degree. But this second chance can come at a steep cost.

But is it worth it? And moreover, does it matter financially if you attend a prestigious graduate school or not?

One way of answering this question is to look at how much income you make after grad school compared to the amount of debt you’ve now accumulated. We decided to analyze data from Priceonomics customer Earnest, a financial services company, to see which advanced degrees produced graduates with the the most (and least) student debt and how that compared to their actual earnings after school. 

We looked at the following graduate degrees: MDs (medicine), DDS (dentistry), Pharm D (pharmacy), MBA (business administration), JDs (law), Masters in Science or Engineering, Masters in Arts, and other masters degrees.

We found that medical professionals take on the most debt – even when their high salaries are accounted for – while MBAs enjoy a low debt burden relative to their income.

We also looked at the question of does the prestige of the school matter.

We found graduate program prestige comes with tangible financial benefits: for all disciplines except medicine, graduates of top-100 programs enjoy lower debt relative to their income upon graduation. This trend continues after graduation, with the exception of engineering graduate students, where students from less prestigious schools have more favorable debt to income ratios six years after graduation than their counterparts from higher ranked schools.


We first asked how much debt the typical graduate degree holder carries. This data is supplied by respondents looking to refinance their debt, so while it is self-reported, users must be reasonably accurate if they wish to receive realistic rate estimates. Average student loan debt – which comprises debt accumulated in college and graduate school – is reported for each degree type below.

Data source: Earnest

Future medical professionals – a category that includes doctors, dentists, and pharmacists – can expect to take on the most debt to finance their degrees. Future lawyers, too, take on six-figure debt to finance their degrees. Masters programs of all stripes are the cheapest, though graduates’ debt still ranges from around $60,000 all the way up to nearly $90,000.

This ranking lines up with degree program duration: MD programs typically take 4 years to complete, JDs 3 years, and full-time masters programs 1 or 2 years. 

Even with a hefty price, a degree program may be worth it if it confers earning power to match. If we account for income, do doctors still have the highest debt compared to other graduate degree-holders?

To answer this question, we divided average debt by our respondents’ average self-reported income to calculate a debt-to-income ratio for each group of graduates. Debt-to-income ratios below 1 mean these degree-holders make more than they paid for their degree in one year. Values over 1 mean the degree cost more than what the typical graduate makes in a year.

Data source: Earnest

Even if we take income into account, medical professionals bear the greatest burden when it comes to paying for their degrees. These graduates make a solid income, but it’s not enough to balance out their formidable debt.

Graduates with Masters of Arts degrees take second place in our debt-to-income ranking despite paying the least for their credentials. These graduates can expect relatively low starting salaries that handicap their ability to pay down debt.

At the other end of the spectrum, MBAs enjoy the lowest debt-to-income ratio. These degrees are relatively affordable and confer high earning power. 

The relationship between income and debt changes over time as graduates climb the career ladder and pay down their loans. We wanted to see how debt-to-income ratio changes as graduates establish themselves in their careers, so we broke our sample down by years post-graduation to chart a debt-to-income trajectory for each degree type.

Data source: Earnest

Graduates with all degree types experience a decrease in debt-to-income ratio after graduation, but in some professions, those ratios come down faster than in others.

Medical professionals have the highest debt-to-income ratio immediately after graduation. This is likely because MDs begin their careers in residencies, which are essentially low-paid apprenticeships lasting 3 to 6 years. Once residents become practicing physicians, they can expect comfortable six-figure salaries and subsequently make fast progress on their debt. 

In contrast, MBAs have the flattest trajectories toward debt freedom. Though they have the lowest debt-to-income ratio across the entire post-graduation time period we considered, they make the least progress between years 1 and 11 after graduation.

The chart below zooms in on the last data point in our chart, ranking debt-to-income ratio for midcareer professionals 11 years removed from graduation.

Data source: Earnest

Even in the middle of their careers, graduates with Masters of Arts degrees earn relatively little compared to their debt. Costly law and medical degrees hold debt-to-income ratios near 1 for lawyers and doctors, as well. 

Professionals with degrees in business, science, or engineering fare comparatively better, making comfortably more than the cost of their degree in one midcareer year.

Of course, all degrees aren’t created equal. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, for example, grants its MBA recipients access to a higher-powered network than does the average public college. This advantage could translate to a real difference in earnings and, in turn, debt-to-income trajectory. 

To see the difference grad school reputation can make, we broke our sample down based on whether a graduate’s degree program landed in the top 100 for their field, then charted debt-to-income trajectory over 11 years post-graduation.

Data source: Earnest

School reputation matters. Across a variety of disciplines, professionals who graduate from higher-ranked schools begin their careers with less debt relative to their income. And for the most part, this trend is still apparent a decade after graduation. 

There’s one exception: medical professionals have more or less the same debt-to-income trajectory regardless of their school’s reputation. With respect to student debt, all medical degrees are created equal.


So if you’re seeking an affordable graduate degree that will boost your earning power, what should you do?

The “rich doctor” stereotype makes medicine look appealing, but it doesn’t do justice to the burden of financing an MD. Medical professionals take on an average debt near $200,000 to finance their degrees, and early in their careers, their income does little to offset their debt. Attending a more prestigious school doesn’t mitigate their high debt-to-income ratio; graduates of top schools pay just as much relative to their salary as grads from lower-ranked programs.

In contrast, the average MBA makes six figures after spending one or two years in graduate school. They typically take on around $90,000 in debt, but consistently enjoy a low debt-to-income ratio. This is doubly true for graduates of top-100 business programs, who enjoy the high income that comes with access to a high-powered alumni network.

Source: Visual News

June 22, 2017

Interaction Design & Illustration: Domino’s PizzAPP

Interaction Design & Illustration: Domino’s PizzAPP

Domino’s PizzAPP is an app where you can order your pizza by reading the traditional menu, by selecting each ingredient to create your own pizza, by experiencing the most innovative ways to order: Pizza Match and Lucky Pizza. Currently available in Italy, this is the work from the folks over Alkemy. The interaction design is putting a delicate and characteristic touch to the micro-interactions meanwhile the addition of the illustrations adds an overall simple approach for a very friendly experience.

Alkemy is a studio based in Milano, Italy. Where they will work in the fields of Consulting, e-Commerce, Creativity & Brand Strategy, Social Media, Content, UX & Design, Media & Performance and Technology. Make sure to check out their site at alkemy.com.

An unexpected experience is not only a foreign brand making pizza with Italian ingredients but also a mix of experiences that people can live thanks to Domino’s Pizza. And thanks to this App.

Interaction Design & Illustration: Domino's PizzAPPInteraction Design & Illustration: Domino's PizzAPPInteraction Design & Illustration: Domino's PizzAPPInteraction Design & Illustration: Domino's PizzAPPInteraction Design & Illustration: Domino's PizzAPPInteraction Design & Illustration: Domino's PizzAPP


Jun 22, 2017

Source: Abduzeedo UI/UX

June 21, 2017

Improve Voice Recordings in Premiere Pro

Here’s how to get rid of unwanted background frequencies and improve your voice recordings.<p><i>Top image via Shutterstock.</i><p>Ensuring good, clean sound can …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed

June 21, 2017

Heartwarming Pictures of a Family and their Dog

Heartwarming Pictures of a Family and their Dog

Maddie is a well-known dog around this part of town. Back in 2013 we featured “Maddie the Coonhound Project” where she was seen doing all sorts of crazy things. Since then, her family kept posting beautiful pictures of their adventures in their Instagram.

She’s a well behaved and super loved dog, and goes around in all kinds of adventures with her family, which is amazing. These pictures are truly priceless. For more of them, please visit their Instagram and show Maddie some love! I hope you enjoy these! Cheers. 😉

Jun 21, 2017

Source: Abduzeedo Photography

June 21, 2017

Web Design & UI/UX for the God of War 4 game

Web Design & UI/UX for the God of War 4 game

Last week, they announced at E3, the very next instalment of the game God of War 4. It’s pretty exciting and stunned to witness their latest game to a newer console knowingly that the last game was dated from 2010! Aside from this release, we are looking at the work of Rolf Jensen on the web design and UI/UX (a year ago) in collaboration with Real Pie Media and Sony Interactive Entertainment. It’s quite a lovely overall design.

We are looking at the work from Rolf Jensen who is an independent design director based in New York, USA. Working mainly in art direction, web design and interaction, you should check out his Behance for more of his work.

These are some designs I created almost a year ago for Real Pie Media and Sony Interactive Entertainment. I wasnt allowed to put them on display publicly until now, so it’s been a while. I’ve tried to capture the essence of the hyper detailed in-game 3D renders instead of promoting pre-rendered stills with studio post production. Here it goes!

Web Design & UI/UX for the God of War 4 gameWeb Design & UI/UX for the God of War 4 gameWeb Design & UI/UX for the God of War 4 gameWeb Design & UI/UX for the God of War 4 gameWeb Design & UI/UX for the God of War 4 gameWeb Design & UI/UX for the God of War 4 game


Jun 21, 2017

Source: Abduzeedo UI/UX