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Monthly Archives: March 2019

Ever dream about working for The Walt Disney Company?

March 31, 2019 No Comments

16 new jobs have been posted to PPC Hero’s Job Board, including new positions open at The Walt Disney Company, The Shade Store, and Workshop Digital. Here’s a brief look at just a few of the newly posted positions: The Walt Disney Company New York, NY Role: Paid Media Strategy Manager (Onsite Only) Disney Streaming […]

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Five ways to improve your website’s bounce rate (and why you should)

March 30, 2019 No Comments

Bounce rate is the percentage of site visitors that land on your website and leave before viewing a second page. You can easily determine your website’s bounce rate by setting up Google Analytics.

Now, if you’re thinking this isn’t such a big deal and that as long as they visit your website, irrespective of how long they spend on it or how many pages they view, they at least know your business exists, that’s not good enough. The longer visitors stay on your site, the more time you have to turn them into subscribers and customers. But how can you convince users to stick around longer and visit more pages?

Luckily, there are a number of easy and free ways to improve your website’s bounce rate and grow your business.

Here are five ways to improve your website’s bounce rate

1. Create content consistently

Creating content consistently is one of the best ways to keep users around longer and get them to view multiple pages. Useful, engaging content will drive traffic to your website. Once that traffic is there, they’ll stick around, keep reading, and eventually become a subscriber or customer if you have a wide array of informative blog posts for them to read. In fact, according to HubSpot, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5 times more leads than companies that published zero to four monthly posts.

So, create a content plan that’s consistent and offers something for everyone. Not everyone prefers written content, so include a mixture of formats such as written, video, infographics, audio recordings, and more.

Another important tip for your content: Practice effective internal linking. Relevant and useful internal links sprinkled throughout your content can guide users to more of your awesome content and keep them reading.

2. Add images and videos

Speaking of a mixture of formats, to improve your website’s bounce rate, be sure you add eye-catching images and videos to your website. Many users won’t spend a lot of time reading your website content, so you need to grab their attention with images and videos.

Add a large high-quality image or video to your homepage to grab the attention of viewers as soon as they see your site. Most websites do this while keeping everything else on the page simple, like the Panera website for example.

Example of images and video for website content

 

Image Source

If you don’t have the means to hire a photographer, you can find a ton of stunning, free stock images on a site like Unsplash.

3. Speed up your site

You may not have realized it before but your website speed is important for improving your website’s bounce rate. In fact, according to Google, 53 percent of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. And for every extra second that your page takes to load, the probability of users bouncing dramatically increases. So, don’t make your website visitors wait.

You can use a site like GTmetrix to test the speed of your site. Not only will it tell you what your site speed is, but it’ll also give you advice for improving it. If you’re running your website on WordPress, it would also be wise to download and install some free plugins like WP Smush and W3 Total Cache to help boost the speediness of your site.

4. A/B test

As you’re attempting to improve your website’s bounce rate, don’t leave it up to chance. You should be A/B testing everything in order to determine what’s working and what’s not. You might be surprised by the small things that can cause users to abandon your website. It might even be something as simple as the color of your call-to-action button.

So, perform A/B tests, or split tests, of every aspect of your website. Does your bounce rate improve with a popup on your homepage or does it get a bigger boost on another page? Does one font convert more visitors over another? Does showing or hiding a progress bar help or hurt your bounce rate? When we say A/B test everything, we mean everything.

5. Target abandoning visitors

Did you know that over 70% of people who leave your website will never return? If you don’t start to improve your bounce rate now, that’s a lot of potential leads and customers your business is missing out on. One effective way to stop those users in their tracks and get them to stay on your website longer, and eventually convert them into subscribers or customers is by utilizing exit-intent popups.

Example of utilizing exit-intent popups to improve site bounce rate

Image Source

Exit-intent popups are able to track when a user is about to leave your website and send them a targeted message at exactly the right time. Your popup can encourage website visitors to subscribe to your email list, download your lead magnet, or even offer a discount if they purchase. So, not only can exit-intent popups improve your bounce rate, but they can also boost your sales in an instant.

Got more points to share on improving bounce rates? Share them in the comments.

Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur, marketer, and CEO of Awesome Motive. He’s also the founder of WPBeginner, OptinMonster, WPForms, and MonsterInsights. Syed can be found on Twitter @syedbalkhi.

The post Five ways to improve your website’s bounce rate (and why you should) appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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ServiceNow teams with Workplace by Facebook on service chatbot

March 30, 2019 No Comments

One of the great things about enterprise chat applications, beyond giving employees a common channel to communicate, is the ability to integrate with other enterprise applications. Today, Workplace, Facebook’s enterprise collaboration and communication application, and ServiceNow announced a new chatbot to make it easier for employees to navigate a company’s help desks inside Workplace Chat.

The beauty of the chatbot is that employees can get answers to common questions whenever they want, wherever they happen to be. The Workplace-ServiceNow integration happens in Workplace Chat and can can involve IT or HR help desk scenarios. A chatbot can help companies save time and money, and employees can get answers to common problems much faster.

Previously, getting these kind of answers would have required navigating multiple systems, making a phone call or submitting a ticket to the appropriate help desk. This approach provides a level of convenience and immediacy.

Companies can brainstorm common questions and answers and build them in the ServiceNow Virtual Agent Designer. It comes with some standard templates, and doesn’t require any kind of advanced scripting or programming skills. Instead, non-technical end users can adapt pre-populated templates to meet the needs, language and workflows of an individual organization.

Screenshot: ServiceNow

This is all part of a strategy by Facebook to integrate more enterprise applications into the tool. In May at the F8 conference, Facebook announced 52 such integrations from companies like Atlassian, SurveyMonkey, HubSpot and Marketo (the company Adobe bought in September for $ 4.75 billion).

This is part of a broader enterprise chat application trend around making these applications the center of every employee’s work life, while reducing task switching, the act of moving from application to application. This kind of integration is something that Slack has done very well and has up until now provided it with a differentiator, but the other enterprise players are catching on and today’s announcement with ServiceNow is part of that.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Mark Zuckerberg actually calls for regulation of content, elections, privacy

March 30, 2019 No Comments

It’s been a busy day for Facebook exec op-eds. Earlier this morning, Sheryl Sandberg broke the site’s silence around the Christchurch massacre, and now Mark Zuckerberg is calling on governments and other bodies to increase regulation around the sorts of data Facebook traffics in. He’s hoping to get out in front of heavy-handed regulation and get a seat at the table shaping it.

The founder published a letter simultaneously on his own page and The Washington Post, the latter of which is an ideal way to get your sentiments on every desk inside the beltway. In the wake a couple of years that have come with black eyes and growing pains, Zuckerberg notes that if he had it to do over again, he’d ask for increased external scrutiny in four key areas:

  • Harmful content – He wants overarching rules and benchmarks social apps can be measured by
  • Election integrity – He wants clear government definitions of what constitutes a political or issue ad
  • Privacy – He wants GDPR-style regulations globally that can impose sanctions on violators
  • Data portability – He wants users to be able to bring their info from one app to another

The story of why the letter breaks down each doubles as kind of recent history of the social network. Struggles and missteps have defined much of Facebook’s last few years, with several controversies often swirling around the social network at once. Not every CEO gets asked to testify in front of Congress. Facebook houses and controls an incredible collection of data, playing a key role in everything from ad targeting and interpersonal relationships to news cycles and elections.

I’ve spent most of the past two years focusing on issues like harmful content, elections integrity and privacy. I think…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday, March 30, 2019

“Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree,” Zuckerberg writes, three days after issuing a blanket ban on “white nationalism” and “white separatism.” He goes on to describe the company’s work with various governments, along with its development of independent oversight committee, before anyone can accuse the company of completely passing the buck.

“One idea is for third-party bodies to set standards governing the distribution of harmful content and to measure companies against those standards,” Zuckerberg writes, “Regulation could set baselines for what’s prohibited and require companies to build systems for keeping harmful content to a bare minimum.”

Zuckerberg goes on to encourage increased legislation around election tampering and political advertisements. Notably, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development hit Facebook earlier this week with charges that its targeted ads violate the Fair Housing Act.

The op-ed rings somewhat hollow, though, because there’s plenty that Facebook could do to improve in these four areas without help from the government.

Facebook’s harmful content policies have long been confusing, inconsistent, and isolated. For example, Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was removed from Facebook but not from Instagram. Meanwhile, bad actors can just hop between social networks to spread problematic posts. Facebook should apply enforcement of its policies across its whole family of apps, publicly work through its logic for why it does or doesn’t remove things instead of having those discussions leak, and cooperate better with fellow social networks to coordinate blanket takedowns of the worst offenders.

As for election integrity, Facebook made a big advance this week by placing all active and old inactive political ad campaigns into keyword-searchable Ad Library. But after pressure from news publishers who didn’t want their ads promoting politicized articles to be included beside traditional campaign ads, Facebook exempted them. Those ads can still influence the electorate, and while they should be classified separately, they should still be archived for research.

On privacy, well, there’s a ton to be done. One major area where it could improve is allowing people to more completely opt out of search, including by their phone number, to avoid stalkers. And better controls should be available for how Facebook uses your contact info when uploaded in the address books of other users.

Finally, with data portability, Facebook has been dragging its feet. A year ago, we published a deep dive into how Facebook only lets you export your social graph as a list of friends’ names which can’t be easily used to find them on other social networks. Facebook must make its social graph truely interoperable so users don’t lose their community if they switch apps. That would coerce Facebook to treat users better since leaving would actually be a viable option.

Taking these steps would show regulators that Zuckerberg isn’t just paying lip service in hopes of getting a more lenient sentence. It would demonstrate he’s ready to make change that serves society.


Social – TechCrunch


Space Photos of the Week: Keep Space Weird

March 30, 2019 No Comments

From pulsars to asteroids, the dark nothingness is full of surprises.
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Debunked: Nine link building myths you should ignore in 2019

March 29, 2019 No Comments

Almost anyone running a B2B or B2C business knows that Google and other search engines like quality links, and could consider them as one of the top ranking factors.

So, if you want your website to rank higher than your competition on search engines, a proper link building strategy is not debatable.

However, if you’re going to implement link building in your 2019 digital marketing strategy, you have to do it the right way.

Search engines shroud their algorithms in secrecy, so the SEO and link building industry is flooded with many myths that will never get you results but can get you into a lot of trouble.

To avoid investing resources into wasted link building efforts, pay attention to these nine link building myths that won’t get you anywhere in 2019.

1. Guest posting is dead

This myth started to get really popular in 2014 when Google’s Matt Cutt said,

“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company. So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”

Because of how direct and stern this warning by Cutt was, it’s understandable that many people believe that guest blogging is genuinely dead.

However, Cutt later clarified this statement by saying that what he meant was spammy blog posts for the sake of SEO purposes was dead.

This means that publishing relevant and resourceful blog posts on authoritative sites for building links, exposure, branding, increased reach, and building a community is still very relevant in 2019.

2. Links not relevant to your niche are low-quality links

This is a prevalent myth that contradicts the fundamental idea of link building in 2019. To rank high, you need to get top authority sites to link back to your site. To get these sites to feature your link, you need to provide relevant content for them. Moreover, whether or not that content is related to your niche or not, it still improves your ranking.

So, when your site receives a non-relevant backlink from a non-relevant niche, Google will not frown upon these links.

3. Building tons of links to a single piece of content is spammy

Many people still think that building tons of links to a single piece of content could negatively impact their keyword rank. Again, this link building myth contradicts itself because it goes against the idea of organic link building.

If search engines do not penalize highly original and valuable webpage that other websites link to because of how helpful and informative their content is, why would they consider a piece of content with tonnes of backlinks spammy?

However, if your links are low quality (from spammy content networks and directories), you could be slapped with a manual penalty or significant link profile devaluation.

4. Link building is irrelevant if you already rank high in search queries

It’s sad, but many marketers still believe this. Link building, like other digital marketing strategies for social media marketing, blogging, and others should be consistent. Not only because it helps you maintain your position above your competition in search queries, but also because it helps you with the following:

  • Increase your brand’s visibility across the web
  • Increase traffic to your domain
  • Showcase your brand’s authority and value

Link building is not just about increasing the volume of links to your site; it also exposes your business to new customers.

5. Google will always prioritize sites with higher backlinks over others in search queries

The truth is there isn’t a “one size fits all” for search engine ranking. There are about 200 ranking factors related to UX, mobile usability, technical performance, query intent, and many more.

Google’s ranking factors are very dynamic. According to Google Webmaster John Mueller, the search engine focuses on a particular query intent to select its ranking factors.

So, while link building is a valuable ranking factor, Google algorithms find a balance between its 200 ranking factors before displaying results to a search query.

6. All pages/posts/links on your site have an equal ranking value

When people talk about this myth, they usually mean either of these two things:

  • Every post on your site has the same authority or
  • All links on a page are of equal ranking value

Both statements are wrong. In the first instance, a post that has been linked back to by high authority sites will rank higher than others which have not. There are tools like website auditor which can be used to check the individual ranking value of your site’s posts.

As for the second statement, Google’s John Muller confirmed that their search algorithms take into account the position of a link on a webpage it appears.

So take advantage of link positioning. SEO experts like Bill Slawski and Rand Fishkin recommend positioning your links higher on the page because the higher a link is placed on the page, the more it weighs, and the more value it passes to the pages it links to.

7. Internal links don’t help you rank higher

While high-quality external links are one of the most important ranking factors, internal links also play a huge roll in helping you rank higher. This is because linking from higher to lower ranking pages can give a massive boost to weak pages. Interlinking related content on your website also creates what search engine experts call a “topic cluster”.

In 2019, topic clusters are significant because when a search query is made for a particular topic and search engines find relevant topic clusters on your website, your site will be considered an authority in this field and will automatically rank higher than other sites with relevant single pages.

8. Stuffing your image alt texts with relevant keywords helps you rank higher

Image links are not bad for SEO. However, too much of anything is never a good idea. And this applies to image link building. While there are no penalties for using image links, stuffing your image alt tags with keywords to manipulate rankings is against Google’s guidelines.

Before Google started using AI and machine learning to understand images, people had to stuff their alt tags with text to ensure the pictures appeared in relevant search queries. However, in 2019, both text and image are translated into the same language in coding.

9. Wikipedia and Wiki-like pages are the Gods of domain authority building

Many people are convinced that getting a link back from pages like Wikipedia will automatically give them a higher ranking authority because of the exceptionally high domain authority Wikipedia has. But sadly, digital marketing has as many facts as it does fallacies.

Information directly from Google’s Garry Illyes tells us that Google ranks Wikipedia just like any other website.

In conclusion

Don’t allow the fear of spamming keep you from harnessing the many fantastic benefits of implementing a link building strategy.

Also, although Google’s dynamic algorithms are usually hidden, SEO and link building agencies like seopow study them every day to let you know what’s a fact and what’s a fable.

Segun Onibalusi is the Founder and CEO at SEO POW, an organic link building agency. He can be found on Twitter @iamsegun_oni.

The post Debunked: Nine link building myths you should ignore in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Vizion.ai launches its managed Elasticsearch service

March 29, 2019 No Comments

Setting up Elasticsearch, the open-source system that many companies large and small use to power their distributed search and analytics engines, isn’t the hardest thing. What is very hard, though, is to provision the right amount of resources to run the service, especially when your users’ demand comes in spikes, without overpaying for unused capacity. Vizion.ai’s new Elasticsearch Service does away with all of this by essentially offering Elasticsearch as a service and only charging its customers for the infrastructure they use.

Vizion.ai’s service automatically scales up and down as needed. It’s a managed service and delivered as a SaaS platform that can support deployments on both private and public clouds, with full API compatibility with the standard Elastic stack that typically includes tools like Kibana for visualizing data, Beats for sending data to the service and Logstash for transforming the incoming data and setting up data pipelines. Users can easily create several stacks for testing and development, too, for example.

Vizion.ai GM and VP Geoff Tudor

“When you go into the AWS Elasticsearch service, you’re going to be looking at dozens or hundreds of permutations for trying to build your own cluster,” Vision.ai’s VP and GM Geoff Tudor told me. “Which instance size? How many instances? Do I want geographical redundancy? What’s my networking? What’s my security? And if you choose wrong, then that’s going to impact the overall performance. […] We do balancing dynamically behind that infrastructure layer.” To do this, the service looks at the utilization patterns of a given user and then allocates resources to optimize for the specific use case.

What VVizion.ai hasdone here is take some of the work from its parent company Panzura, a multi-cloud storage service for enterprises that has plenty of patents around data caching, and applied it to this new Elasticsearch service.

There are obviously other companies that offer commercial Elasticsearch platforms already. Tudor acknowledges this, but argues that his company’s platform is different. With other products, he argues, you have to decide on the size of your block storage for your metadata upfront, for example, and you typically want SSDs for better performance, which can quickly get expensive. Thanks to Panzura’s IP, Vizion.ai is able to bring down the cost by caching recent data on SSDs and keeping the rest in cheaper object storage pools.

He also noted that the company is positioning the overall Vizion.ai service, with the Elasticsearch service as one of the earliest components, as a platform for running AI and ML workloads. Support for TensorFlow, PredictionIO (which plays nicely with Elasticsearch) and other tools is also in the works. “We want to make this an easy serverless ML/AI consumption in a multi-cloud fashion, where not only can you leverage the compute, but you can also have your storage of record at a very cost-effective price point.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Facebook’s handling of Alex Jones is a microcosm of its content policy problem

March 29, 2019 No Comments

A revealing cluster of emails reviewed by Business Insider and Channel 4 News offers a glimpse at the fairly chaotic process of how Facebook decides what content crosses the line. In this instance, a group of executives at Facebook went hands-on in determining if an Instagram post by the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones violated the platform’s community standards.

To make that determination, 20 Facebook and Instagram executives hashed it out over the Jones post, which depicted a mural known as “False Profits” by the artist Mear One. Facebook began debating the post after it was flagged by Business Insider for kicking up anti semitic comments on Wednesday.

The company removed 23 of 500 comments on the post that it interpreted to be in clear violation of Facebook policy. Later in the conversation, some of the UK-based Instagram and Facebook executives on the email provided more context for their US-based peers.

Last year, a controversy over the same painting erupted when British politician Jeremy Corbyn argued in support of the mural’s creator after the art was removed from a wall in East London due what many believed to be antisemitic overtones. Because of that, the image and its context are likely better known in the UK, a fact that came up in Facebook’s discussion over how to handle the Jones post.

“This image is widely acknowledged to be anti-Semitic and is a famous image in the UK due to public controversy around it,” one executive said. “If we go back and say it does not violate we will be in for a lot criticism.”

Ultimately, after some back and forth, the post was removed.

According to the emails, Alex Jones’ Instagram account “does not currently violate [the rules]” as “an IG account has to have at least 30% of content violating at any given time as per our regular guidelines.” That fact might prove puzzling once you know that Alex Jones got his main account booted off Facebook itself in 2018 — and the company did another sweep for Jones-linked pages last month.

Whether you agree with Facebook’s content moderation decisions or not, it’s impossible to argue that they are consistently enforced. In the latest example, the company argued over a single depiction of a controversial image even as the same image is literally for sale by the artist elsewhere on both on Instagram and Facebook. (As any Facebook reporter can attest, these inconsistencies will probably be resolved shortly after this story goes live.)

The artist himself sells its likeness on a t-shirt on both Instagram and Facebook and numerous depictions of the same image appear on various hashtags. And even after the post was taken down, Jones displayed it prominently in his Instagram story, declaring that the image “is just about monopoly men and the class struggle” and decrying Facebook’s “crazy-level censorship.”

It’s clear that even as Facebook attempts to make strides, its approach to content moderation remains reactive, haphazard and probably too deeply preoccupied with public perception. Some cases of controversial content are escalated all the way to the top while others languish, undetected. Where the line is drawn isn’t particularly clear. And even when high profile violations are determined, it’s not apparent that those case studies meaningfully trickle down clarify smaller, everyday decisions by content moderators on Facebook’s lower rungs.

As always, the squeaky wheel gets the grease — but two billion users and reactive rather than proactive policy enforcement means that there’s an endless sea of ungreased wheels drifting around. This problem isn’t unique to Facebook, but given its scope, it does make the biggest case study in what can go wrong when a platform scales wildly with little regard for the consequences.

Unfortunately for Facebook, it’s yet another lose-lose situation of its own making. During its intense, extended growth spurt, Facebook allowed all kinds of potentially controversial and dangerous content to flourish for years. Now, when the company abruptly cracks down on accounts that violate its longstanding policies forbidding hate speech, divisive figures like Alex Jones can cry censorship, roiling hundreds of thousands of followers in the process.

Like other tech companies, Facebook is now paying mightily for the worry-free years it enjoyed before coming under intense scrutiny for the toxic side effects of all that growth. And until Facebook develops a more uniform interpretation of its own community standards — one the company enforces from the bottom up rather than the top down — it’s going to keep taking heat on all sides.


Social – TechCrunch


Mars helicopter bound for the Red Planet takes to the air for the first time

March 29, 2019 No Comments

The Mars 2020 mission is on track for launch next year, and nesting inside the high-tech new rover heading that direction is a high-tech helicopter designed to fly in the planet’s nearly non-existent atmosphere. The actual aircraft that will fly on the Martian surface just took its first flight and its engineers are over the moon.

“The next time we fly, we fly on Mars,” said MiMi Aung, who manages the project at JPL, in a news release. An engineering model that was very close to final has over an hour of time in the air, but these two brief test flights were the first and last time the tiny craft will take flight until it does so on the distant planet (not counting its “flight” during launch).

“Watching our helicopter go through its paces in the chamber, I couldn’t help but think about the historic vehicles that have been in there in the past,” she continued. “The chamber hosted missions from the Ranger Moon probes to the Voyagers to Cassini, and every Mars rover ever flown. To see our helicopter in there reminded me we are on our way to making a little chunk of space history as well.”

Artist’s impression of how the helicopter will look when it’s flying on Mars

A helicopter flying on Mars is much like a helicopter flying on Earth, except of course for the slight differences that the other planet has a third less gravity and 99 percent less air. It’s more like flying at 100,000 feet, Aung suggested.

It has its own solar panel so it can explore more or less on its own

The test rig they set up not only produces a near-vacuum, replacing the air with a thin, Mars-esque CO2 mix, but a “gravity offload” system simulates lower gravity by giving the helicopter a slight lift via a cable.

It flew at a whopping two inches of altitude for a total of a minute in two tests, which was enough to show the team that the craft (with all its 1,500 parts and four pounds) was ready to package up and send to the Red Planet.

“It was a heck of a first flight,” said tester Teddy Tzanetos. “The gravity offload system performed perfectly, just like our helicopter. We only required a 2-inch hover to obtain all the data sets needed to confirm that our Mars helicopter flies autonomously as designed in a thin Mars-like atmosphere; there was no need to go higher.”

A few months after the Mars 2020 rover has landed, the helicopter will detach and do a few test flights of up to 90 seconds. Those will be the first heavier-than-air flights on another planet — powered flight, in other words, rather than, say, a balloon filled with gaseous hydrogen.

The craft will operate mostly autonomously, since the half-hour round trip for commands would be far too long for an Earth-based pilot to operate it. It has its own solar cells and batteries, plus little landing feet, and will attempt flights of increasing distance from the rover over a 30-day period. It should go about three meters in the air and may eventually get hundreds of meters away from its partner.

Mars 2020 is estimated to be ready to launch next summer, arriving at its destination early in 2021. Of course, in the meantime, we’ve still got Curiosity and Insight up there, so if you want the latest from Mars, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


4 Paid Media Lessons In Podcast Advertising

March 28, 2019 No Comments

It seems these days everyone has a podcast, learn how to make your podcast campaign stand out with these 4 lessons.

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