While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Yesterday we got our first look at some defensive depth chart projections when we looked at the defensive line and what role Glenn Spencer’s group will play on the whole this year. Today, linebackers.LinebackersLB/Star – Kenneth Edison-Mcgruder – Jr. | Calvin Bundage – So. | Kirk Tucker – Sr.MLB – Chad Whitener – RS-Sr. | Gyasi Akem – Sr. | Devin Harper/Patrick MaconWLB – Justin Phillips – RS-Jr. | Kevin Henry – RS-So.AdChoices广告Pretty exciting group here. I’m not as high as most on Whitener, but he’s the guy in the middle who should be the leader. It’s kind of a boom or bust group in my opinion, I would expect some really incredble plays and some bone-headed mistakes and growing pains. This isn’t a great run stopping group, but I do think they will be better in pass coverage than past LB corps.Glenn Spencer mentioned this in the PFB video at Karsten Creek, but he certainly plans on getting Edison-McGruder and Bundage on the field at the same time even if they’re slotted for the same position.You can see the strategy playing out, picture it 3rd and 10 and you have KEM and Bundage at LB and Darius Curry, Ramon Richards and Tre Flowers at safety. That is a really strong pass defensive group right there, and you absolutely have to be able to defend the pass in the Big 12.I would expect this more and more if you see four-LB looks, especially when both guys have ability to drop into deep zone coverage. Those two (KEM/Bundage) have the biggest play-making ability of the entire group. Bundage is my favorite player on the defense, he is extremely physical and can make plays with his length. He needs to cut down on mistakes but he is a player to watch moving forward.Justin Phillips has a lot of ability, he was able to get some valuable experience last year and looked awesome at times.Nice recognition by Justin Phillips here in zone coverage. Sees first WR through zone, feels square in and makes the play. pic.twitter.com/6x4khwGpZE— Adam Lunt (@AdamLunt817) July 29, 2017 Has the athleticism to make plays in pass coverage. He isn’t overly physical at point of attack but is sufficient enough there. I’ve said it a few times on Twitter, but I think Phillips and Bundage have the best chance to make it to the next level at the linebacker spot. Kirk Tucker will play a big role on special teams and in 3rd down passing situations.Having a Senior like Gyasi Akem at backup MLB is a nice thing to have, he is someone that provides some solid depth so we can keep Whitener’s snap count to a reasonable number. In previous years he has been on the field way too much.Kevin Henry provides nice depth at Will Linebacker behind Phillips. He had some moments last year where he played well, but he’s still young.Overall I would expect Edison-McGruder and Bundage to set the tone for this group. If they take the next step and maximize their potential this could end up being a really solid LB unit. If not I think it could be a long year for the OSU defense.
Ed. note: This was a guest post submitted by a reader named Jon Jester. Sometimes, when we get post submissions or emails that are good enough, we like to run them just so it doesn’t feel like we’re exhibiting colonialism on the O-State faithful. This site was built for fans and by fans, and this post was a good reminder.Thursday nights for me are pick-up basketball nights at a local church in town. Like many recent grads, I’m starting to realize the importance of staying active because my routine of exercising or going to the gym four times a week two times a week is harder to fit into a 40-hour work week than into a 15-hour class load.I started up a conversation with a guy who I find out is a fellow OSU grad at basketball one night. We get to OSU sports as a topic of mutual interest, and naturally this year’s football season comes up. I admit to him that between the entire offense, both Rudolph’s and Sinor’s Heisman campaign, and Gundy’s unabashed optimism, I’m starting to drink the orange kool-aid a little bit.He replies that he knows that OSU is supposed to be good this year, but with the exception of 2011, he always ends up let down by the football team, so he’s not going to get too excited until OSU actually starts stringing together some wins.I understand where he’s coming from. Any OSU fan knows what he’s talking about. The routine of getting your hopes up to only be disappointed wears on a fan of any team. In 2009, there was Dez’s suspension. In 2015, Baylor’s 3rd string QB looked like Aaron Rodgers in BPS. Then take your pick between the 2012, 2013 and 2016 Bedlam games.These memories still sting a little. I still don’t like talking about Ames, to be honest.But, the heartbreak is only part of the story. Every team’s season save one ends somewhere other than under a barrage of confetti over a national championship trophy.College football is tailgating on the lawn of the Cordell. It’s Lee Corso putting on mascot heads every Saturday morning and either energizing or enraging an entire fan base. It’s the storming the field after winning a conference championship against your powerhouse in-state rival.The pokes have had their fair share of victories too. In 2008, there was the victory at No. 3-ranked Mizzou. In 2013, the then top-10 ranked Baylor Bears got a 30-point drubbing by the Chelf Train. In 2015, Trevone Boykin threw 4 picks and TCU was pummeled in BPS. And, of course, 2011’s Bedlam and the Fiesta Bowl.Those adrenaline-packed Saturday highs are what college football is about. Where every week, we spend hours before the game with friends and family (and maybe a couple of cold Coop F5s). Then collectively, for that 3-hour span of game time, we come back and ride that emotional roller coaster.Here’s the thing about this year, though: Bob Stoops retired It’s not looking like an ordinary OSU football season.The Pokes are ranked the highest they have been ranked in the AP preseason poll since the 2011 season. They have a Heisman candidate quarterback who doubles as one of the top three quarterbacks to ever put on an Oklahoma State jersey. They have the most potent offense in the country according to ESPN’s Trevor Matich. They have NFL talent on defense. They have a tenured, relaxed coach on a lifetime contract who’s won 68 games in the past 7 years.As much as I wish it was true, these things can’t be said of OSU every year.This year, 124 teams won’t make the playoff, and 127 won’t win the national championship. Every team’s ultimate goal is that lipstick-looking trophy, but few realistically have a shot. We are one of those teams. This season has the ingredients to be a season where the Pokes reach the unchartered waters of the CFP. Could OSU have the next Vince Young in Jelani Woods and become a powerhouse for the next three years? Sure, but who knows. What we do know, is that this year, we’re going to be really, really good.No one can promise things will go perfectly, and making the College Football Playoff is still going to be difficult to make even if more things go right than wrong. But, one thing we know for sure though: it’s going to be a joyride each and every Saturday this fall.Buy in to Oklahoma State football this year. Even if it ends without a Big 12 title and College Football Playoff this year, it’s still going to be a wondrous four months. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Starting last season, it was apparent how much Mike Gundy loved Dillon Stoner.It culminated with a fourth quarter touchdown pass to James Washington against Central Michigan. It was stunning and confusing and beautiful.AdChoices广告Then he suffered a season-ending injury and had surgery. He made his return Thursday against Tulsa and showed out in Oklahoma State’s 59-24 victory against Tulsa at Boone Pickens Stadium. During the postgame show, Carson Cunningham dubbed him “Sergeant Stoner” to replace General Walsh as the guy most likely to get his troops on the same page before, during and after a game.Stoner took 29 snaps while Mason Rudolph was in at quarterback. That was more than Tyron Johnson and Chris Lacy and almost as many as Marcell Ateman. And he wasn’t just out there to be out there. Rudolph targeted Stoner four times, which was more than anyone except James Washington and Ateman. And he caught all four balls that went his direction, which tied him for second on the team. He thrived (and will continue to thrive) in this offense.It was unclear the role freshman Tylan Wallace will play in dividing Jalen McCleskey and Stoner’s reps, but Wallace didn’t take a single snap while Rudolph was in.The rest of the reps at receiver fell into place as expected with Washington and McCleskey taking the most, Ateman and Lacy splitting, and Johnson making the most of his chances behind The President. OSU Receiver Reps Tyron Johnson13 Tylan Wallace0 James Washington37 Marcell Ateman31 Jalen McCleskey37 ReceiverPlays While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Chris Lacy21 Stoner came in mostly as a replacement for the Cowboy Back, when used, and spread the field nicely. He was effective in the short screen game, catching and blocking, and was fairly solid working the middle of the field, catching one and drawing a pass interference call on another.McCleskey had a rough night in all facets. He fudged a punt return that turned into a Tulsa touchdown and caught only one ball for a negative total yardage on the night.Otherwise, the production mostly followed the number of reps each receiver got. Johnson might have only had one catch in those 13 snaps, but he made it worth it for a 44-yard score. And Washington was just flat-out phenomenal, per every other time he has played the sport of American football.Lost in the mix, as I honestly suspected, was Lacy. McCleskey just had an off night, but Lacy’s performance was quiet enough to make you realize that there’s always going to be at least one odd man out this year: He had one catch for 13 yards. His 21 reps were obviously 10 fewer than Ateman received, but for some reason, they felt like 15-20 less. Lacy was targeted three times, but one of the incompletions was a weak underthrow as Rudolph tried to throw across his momentum, and the other was an early drop on a screen pass.None of that matters, most likely, as almost everyone has classified this group of receivers as “selfless.” Still, it must sting at times, and Gundy said he knows how it is.“We’re gonna have a lot of good players that don’t get to touch the ball a lot because we don’t have enough footballs to go around,” Gundy said in the postgame.I suspect Gundy’s allocation of reps Thursday night was a template for what to expect. Wallace won’t redshirt. He is too talented to be forced to sit, but as long as everyone is healthy, he likely won’t see more than 20 reps in any meaningful action this season.It will be interesting to follow the progression here at WR as the season wears on and all of these guys vie to be on the field in big spots for big games. It’s a good problem to have if you’re the Cowboys, and one I’m sure will not be easy to solve for opposing defenses. Dillon Stoner29
Neymar ‘Neymar technically best in the world’ – Pele sees PSG forward, Messi & Ronaldo as only ‘superstars’ Chris Burton Last updated 1 year ago 17:18 24/2/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(6) Getty Neymar World Cup Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi PSG Real Madrid Barcelona Ligue 1 Primera División The Brazil legend is looking forward to seeing a countryman at this summer’s World Cup, with a star turn ready to prove himself among the elite Neymar is “technically the best player in the world”, says Pele, with the Paris Saint-Germain forward one of only three “superstars” in the global game.While Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have enjoyed a duopoly of Ballon d’Or honours over the last decade, the Real Madrid and Barcelona icons now face fierce competition for the crown.Brazil international Neymar is considered to be their closest challenger, with the 26-year-old now the most expensive player on the planet following a €222 million move to PSG. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp He has impressed in France, netting 26 times in 29 appearances, and will once again shoulder the expectations of a nation at this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.Pele believes Neymar is ready to deliver on such a stage and enhance his standing among the elite, with the Brazilian legend telling FIFA’s official website: “Neymar has changed the way he plays with the national team. He has had to.“At his club side, he was playing as a left-sided attacker, whereas for Brazil, he plays more centrally, as a more traditional No. 10. “He’s ready to lead this team, yes. He might find that the tactical switch from his club to the national team isn’t straightforward, but Neymar is Brazil’s key player.“He has to prepare himself for that. And I would go further: for me, technically, he is already the best player in the world. I’m absolutely sure of that.”There are plenty of other players ready to shine under the brightest of spotlights, such as PSG striker Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, but Pele does not consider them to be at the very highest level just yet.He added: “If you look around the world, the ones who stand out are Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. There are no other superstars.”Neymar needs to prove that he is deserving of such a standing, with PSG looking for him to spark a Champions League revival against Real Madrid and land the Ligue 1 title before Brazil call on him to help lead the charge for a sixth World Cup crown.
Arsène Wenger Arsenal apathy worse than ‘Wenger Out’ displays – Carragher Goal 17:32 2/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments() Getty Images Arsène Wenger Arsenal Arsenal v Manchester City Manchester City Premier League The empty seats at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday were more damning than the marches of a year ago, according to the ex-England man Arsene Wenger should be more embarrassed by the apathy coming from the Arsenal support than the demonstrations to get him sacked last year, according to former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher.It was evident how many empty seats there were at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night as the Gunners tackled champions elect Manchester City, and while some of these were doubtless caused by the inclement weather conditions, the Sky Sports pundit argued that it was indicative of the situation at the club.Arsenal, who lost the fixture 3-0, find themselves sixth in the Premier League standings, eight points from a Champions League spot next season, and having just been beaten by City in the League Cup final. The Europa League stands as their last chance of glory this term. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp While fans called for the head of Wenger this time last year, now they are voting with their feet, which Carragher finds even more damning.“Last season there was anger from supporters and marches against Arsene Wenger, which I thought were a disgrace,” Carragher told Sky Sports. “But I think tonight was worse. The Arsenal fans are not actually interested. They didn’t turn up.“There were a few boos at the end but it wasn’t the anger of last season. Now it’s almost like resignation, just waiting for the manager to go.“How sad is that? That very few, if any, Arsenal fans want Arsene Wenger as the manager next season.“This man is a legend in the English game. But they have to change it, it has to be done.“There’s no way the end of this season should be about this man being hounded out and going through that in empty stadiums.”Indeed, Carragher believes that an announcement should be made imminently to allow the veteran Frenchman to bow out in style.“Make the decision now and give this man the send-off he deserves for what he’s done over 20 years, not what he’s done over the last five, six, 10 years,” he said of the former Monaco boss, who has not lifted a Premier League title since 2003-04.On Thursday, Arsenal looked well off City’s pace, conceding three times in the first half then having a second-period penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saved.
Chelsea Morata and Barkley must prove worth to Chelsea boss Conte Dom Farrell 00:39 3/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments() Getty Images Chelsea Premier League Antonio Conte Manchester City v Chelsea Manchester City Morata Two men short of form at Stamford Bridge have been charged with the task of working hard and showing that they deserve regular roles heading forward Antonio Conte has urged Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata to work hard and rediscover his best form.Spain international Morata became the Blues’ record signing when he joined from Real Madrid during the close season and has 10 Premier League goals to his name.However, the last of those came against Brighton & Hove Albion on Boxing Day, with the former Juventus man going scoreless across 10 appearances in all competitions while grappling with a back injury. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp “He has to work and to recover the best form after an injury in his back,” Conte told reporters ahead of Sunday’s trip to face league leaders Manchester City.”He has to work and have patience and we must have patience. But the only way is to work.”While the jury remains out on Morata, Ross Barkley has had little to celebrate in Chelsea colours since joining from Everton in January.He was substituted on his only start in three senior appearances, the shock 3-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth in January, while the 24-year-old’s hamstring injury curse has struck again.Even though Barkley is now back in training, Conte was in no mood to offer any guarantees ahead of facing Pep Guardiola’s in-form side.”Ross Barkley, in this week he trained with us. Now he has recovered from his injury and he will come with us for Manchester City,” the Italian added.”Then I don’t know if I decide to find a place on the bench for him or in the stand for another week.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Juventus Allegri promises Juventus will compete with Champions League ‘favourites’ Goal Last updated 1 year ago 09:47 8/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Juventus UEFA Champions League Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus Tottenham Hotspur Videos The Juventus manager praised his team for advancing to the tournament’s quarter-finals, though he acknowledged a difficult road ahead Massilmiliano Allegri is pleased Juventus have made the quarterfinals of the Champions League, but has cautioned his team have a tough road ahead.Juventus came back from a goal down in the second leg against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, behind a three-minute pair of goals by the Argentine duo Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala to advance past Spurs 4-3 on aggregate.The victory sends Juventus into the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the third time in four years. Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp And Allegri, who managed Juventus to the Champions League final last season, is pleased to have continued his success in the tournament.”First an foremost we’re really happy that we won tonight and that we made it to the last eight,” Allegri said. “I’ve always said since I first came to Juventus that our ambition is to go as far as possible.”However, Juventus now sit in a top-eight that features the likes of runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City, and Real Madrid, the latter of who have won the tournament the last two seasons. They may also be joined in the last-eight by Barcelona and Bayern Munich, meaning Juventus may well find themselves matched up against one of those sides in the next round.And Allegri is preaching caution, talking up the quality of the ‘favorites’ though promising his side will compete no matter the opposition.”But you just have to look around you,” Allegri added. “We’re in the last eight and there’s some really good teams. People talk about Real Madrid and Barcelona, who are perhaps up there with the favorites, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to compete.”Juventus has advanced to the Champions League final in two of the last four seasons. In each of those appearances, they dispatched one of Real Madrid or Barcelona in the knockout stages, only to lose to the other in the final.
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on October 1, 2009August 17, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)During the past month, I’ve been reading Half the Sky, a new book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn that features stories of women who have overcome extreme adversity—sexual violence, poverty, illness, and fistula—not only surviving, but charting a new course for themselves and their communities.It’s a testament to the power of every individual to make a difference in the world—and at the same time, a reminder of how far we have to go to achieve equality. As we all know, one of the most telling examples is the stubbornly high rate of maternal mortality in many parts of the world. Maternal health features prominently in the book and is highlighted as one of the crucial areas needing concerted action.Expanding on this and other central themes of Half the Sky, EngenderHealth has created a Reader’s Companion. Chapter-by-chapter, the Companion offers diverse perspectives, interviews, stories, and facts, drawing on our expertise and experience around the world. In it, you can hear the voices of those working on the front lines of global health and development, and of the women and men who are beating impossible odds and improving lives in their communities. Check it out and spread the word…Share this:
World Cup ‘I was told they would shoot my dad’ – Nigeria captain Mikel’s father kidnapped during World Cup Tolu Olasoji Deputy Editor Nigeria Last updated 1 year ago 18:45 7/3/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Getty Images World Cup Nigeria African All Stars The former Chelsea midfielder was told of his father’s abduction while playing in Russia but remained in the Super Eagles line up The father of Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel has been rescued from kidnappers by the police, with the player revealing that he was aware of the incident during the World Cup.According to reports, Micheal Obi and his driver, Ishaya John were abducted along the Makurdi-Enugu road on their way from Jos, last week.The abductors were reported to have demanded N10 million (£21,000/$28,000) as ransom, but the Enugu State Police were on hand to rescue the former Chelsea midfielder’s father, his driver and the Toyota Prado jeep they rode in.A statement via the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu, said: “It was gathered that Pa Michael Obi and his driver were abducted along Makurdi-Enugu Road on his way from Jos in his grey-coloured Toyota Prado jeep with registration number: MUS 604 CG and taken to an unknown destination through the thick forest part of the area. Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar “It was further gathered that the abductors started calling to demand a ransom of N10m before police operatives acted on intelligence information and swooped on them.“In the process of the rescue, a gun duel ensued between police operatives and the kidnappers, which forced the hoodlums to abandon their victims inside the forest and they were promptly rescued.”The police spokesman also confirmed that Obi is ‘hale and hearty’ after a team of doctors from the force’s medical unit conducted a checkup.His son, Mikel, led the Super Eagles in Russia where they knocked out after losing to Argentina in their final Group D match.And the Tianjin TEDA midfielder has revealed that he was aware of his father’s kidnap ahead of the clash with the South American side but insisted he took part in the game.”I was confused. I did not know what to do, but in the end I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down,” Mikel told ESPN.”I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first. I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody.”And I did not want to discuss it with the coach because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to the coach or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game. So as much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not do it.”Mikel has represented his country at the last two World Cups and has won 85 caps in total, scoring six goals.
Chelsea are looking for Eden Hazard to take in a “long” stay with the club, with Gianfranco Zola hoping to see an end to long-running transfer talk.Speculation continues to suggest that the Belgian forward’s days at Stamford Bridge may be numbered.Real Madrid have made no secret of their admiration for the 27-year-old, while Hazard has dropped regular hints suggesting that his future will lie in Spain. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Chelsea are, however, refusing to accept that a move is inevitable, as they seek to agree fresh terms with a key man, and Zola is looking for a talismanic presence to cement a standing as an all-time great in west London.The Blues legend, who is now assistant to Maurizio Sarri, told reporters in the wake of Hazard’s match-winning showing in a Carabao Cup clash with Bournemouth: “He’s certainly one of the players who has given this club a lot of satisfaction.”He is 27, and hopefully he will stay long with us and become even bigger.”Chelsea had been hoping to avoid giving Hazard another run out against the Cherries, as he nursed a foot complaint.He was, however, required to step off the bench.Having been introduced, Hazard proceeded to register the only goal of the game and book a semi-final showdown with capital rivals Tottenham.”The difference was the changes we made. When Pedro and Eden came on, they gave us an extra gear,” Zola said.”Eden is the type of player who can make a big difference when he comes on, even for 20 minutes.”Hazard has now netted in back-to-back matches, having previously gone 12 games without a goal for club and country.He is into double figures for the season and is just one effort short of reaching 100 for Chelsea.Another opportunity to hit that landmark will present itself on Saturday when Sarri’s side, who sit fourth in the Premier League table, play host to Leicester.
So I’m back from Mexico, where I went on vacation and hung out with Jimmy Buffett’s brand for several days. We’ve grown tight, because we got a lot of quality time together. Jimmy is in the airport, where you can buy Margaritaville t-shirts or the Perfect Margarita at the Jimmy Buffett restaurant. (I chose the drink over the t-shirt.) He’s singing about his lost shaker of salt on the TV screens in this photo I took in the restaurant in the airport. He’s on the beach, where airborne Cessna’s pull advertisements for a bar called Margaritaville. He’s in hotel bookstore, having apparently penned a bestseller about a pig (“Swine Not?”). In short, he’s ubiquitous, prolific and possessing of serious marketing genius.He has parlayed a hit song – and its drinking-on-the-beach kind of aesthetic – into a brand empire.How do I get me some of that?While sipping on my airport margarita awaiting my flight home, I snapped this photo and contemplated this question. And here’s what I concluded are the three cornerstones of Jimmy’s brilliance.1. Simplicity: He stands for one thing. To me, that thing is life as a margarita – carefree, hammock-lying, drink-sipping relaxed happiness with a little salt around the edges. From his music (Cheeseburgers in Paradise, anyone?) to his restaurants to his books. Which brings me to his…2. Consistency: It’s about the margaritas as life, folks. Always. Visit his website. The name? Of course it’s margaritaville.com. Note: excellent lead generation on the page with the email sign-up. Nice touch.3. Hopeful: The allure of something happy is strong. Remember that when you tell stories. If you go dire in the telling, remember that people want hope and happiness as the punchline.I can hear you now. You’re thinking, that girl had one too many margaritas in Mexico. I’m saving the world, not slinging drinks. Yes. I know. I am too. But while I know it’s easier to sell margaritas or pigs than it is to promote the end of poverty, the principles remain the same. Stand for something compelling and hopeful. And stand for it over and over, over time. It works.
Just wanted to let you know that I’m a guest advisor over at Ideablob this week. You can post your ideas there anytime and receive advice from folks with a lot of business savvy.Ideablob.com is an online community where small business owners and social entrepreneurs (including nonprofits!) are sharing business ideas in exchange for feedback, advice and votes from the community. Advanta, one of the nation’s largest credit card issuers (through Advanta Bank Corp.) in the small business market, awards a $10,000 monthly prize to the best eligible idea, as determined by the votes of the ideablob community.
If you’re not tracking, or not tracking well, here are some tips to get started: Build definition of measurable objectives into your marketing planReinforce your colleagues’ understanding of the value of marketing, and its support for your work by including them in your planning process. That’s the best way to ensure expectations are clear and establish a broad understanding of how marketing contributes to programmatic and organizational success. It’ll never work if you’re the only marketing cheerleader.Track on an ongoing basis, to enable quick course correction, rather than waiting till the end of a campaign.Harvest the low-hanging fruit — the tracking data that’s inexpensive and easy to get and understand. Analytics your Web site, blogs, e-newsletters and mobile phone campaigns is a great way to start. Dive into Google Analytics today if you’re not already analyzing these channels. Lots to learn, for free.But readers, whatever you do, don’t just give in to a proposed budget cut for your department. Consider the options with as much creativity as you bring to your marketing work. Then shape your strategy and come back with a creative solution that will let you and your colleagues continue to build the bottom line necessary to carry out your mission. Tracking should include: Direct Marketing (online and mail):Response rate.Dollars earned per dollar spent (return on investment, or ROI).Media relations:Development of media relationships.Coverage by media type (newspaper, magazine, Web, broadcast).Actions that result: Increase in donations, volunteers, new program participantsPublic Speaking:Number of speaking engagements and presentations (and audience count and feedback). About the AuthorNancy E. Schwartz helps nonprofits succeed through effective marketing and communications. As President of Nancy Schwartz & Company (http://www.nancyschwartz.com/), Nancy and her team provide marketing planning and implementation services to organizations as varied as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Center for Asian American Media, and Wake County (NC) Health Services.Subscribe to her free e-newsletter “Getting Attention”, (http://www.nancyschwartz.com/getting_attention.html) and read her blog at http://www.gettingattention.org/ for more insights, ideas and great tips on attracting the attention your organization deserves. Nothing’s more important now than ensuring your organization’s leaders get that cutting marketing back now is a BAD MOVE! No program succeeds without participants; no service lasts without users; few organizations stay healthy without a strong donor and volunteer base — and marketing is the way that these groups are reached, engaged, retained and motivated to act.Challenge your organization’s leaders NOW if they’re shying away from investing in marketing. If they do, your nonprofit will really suffer longterm. That’s what you have to point out — as diplomatically as possible. And far better than just talking about it, you have to prove it.Rather than taking a defensive position when faced with budget cuts, proactively respond to your leadership’s challenges with either or both of these proposals:Leave our budget untouched, and we will increase X by X in the next fiscal year. Even better, if you will increase our budget by X percent, we’ll increase X by an additional X percent.Let the marketing and communications team work with the current budget for the next two years, and we’ll deliver an X percent increase in revenues (donor and/or earned income) in that time.But to make good on your promise, you have to craft a plan tying marketing work directly your goals, and track the impact of every effort before, during and after the work to enable ongoing course correction. Otherwise, you might as well throw your marketing resources out the door.Arm yourself with as many hard stats and success stories as you can. Talk about what colleague and competitive organizations are doing, and what you’ll lose if your organization retreats now. Show your case, always more effective than telling it. But do it now, proactively. It’s the only way to prove the value your efforts contribute to your organization.
1. INSPIRATION: to touch people, help them envision the amazing possibilities they can be part of. It’s about what they can achieve, not what you need.2. IMPACT: to compel people to action, show them the tangible difference they can make in the real world.3. INTIMACY: to close the deal, make it personal. Or get a messager they know and love.
Be genuine. More than likely you’re pretty passionate about what you do. Make sure that’s imparted to supporters in your communications–your organization’s accomplishments are not just numbers; they’re stories. Think about how you can be authentic!Being genuine, authentic and transparent is unrivaled in importance. (Seth Godin lists it as one of the pillars of success!) Tell the whole story. Times are tough for all of us; be sure to recognize how important and appreciated their support has been. How have the times affected your constituents (those you’re working to help)? How have they affected your organization? Paint the full picture of what a difference your donor made. Show where the money goes. Sending a thank-you note? Composing your latest e-newsletter? Be sure to include information about where those donor dollars went! The last thing your supporters want is to feel that their money was sucked into a black hole of administrative costs. We’ve entered a Catch-22 of sorts these days: Constituents need our organizations’ programs, support and mission activities more than ever, but the nationwide belt-tightening is affecting our donors. (Don’t worry: They’re definitely still giving — especially online!)So how do you keep those donations flowing? What’s the one piece of the puzzle you need to remember to fit in to continue to cultivate those supporter relationships?Trust. Sounds a bit touchy-feely, right? But think about it: Your tax money that went into the first bailout package — where did it go? How are you feeling about Bernie Madoff? What about your trust in other financial institutions? And consider this: Over the past few years, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, NPR and the Association of Fundraising Professionals have all touted how little faith American donors have in U.S. charities specifically.Here are a few key ways to be transparent and build trust with your donors (so they continue to support you!): Get specific! How many scholarships did you fund? What dog found a home instead of a kill-shelter? Who’s the volunteer you affected by giving the opportunity to work with children? Sure, pie charts can be delicious… I mean, informative… But make sure you’re showing people real change–not just facts and figures.
Question: “John Kenyon mentioned using images in e-mail… What about Outlook automatically blocking those images? Is it worth including since the user has to take another step to download the image?” – JohnAnswer: An image is a compelling way to entice folks to click through to full stories and capture their attention quickly. Even the blocks of white space created when images are blocked draw the eye. This is where “Alt-text” comes in handy: In your email marketing tool (not Outlook!) you have the ability to decide what text is shown if the image itself it blocked. Here’s a chance to work your copy-writing skills and persuade folks that they’re missing out if images are blocked! Another way to combat image-blocking side effects is to encourage readers to view your full email in their Web browser where all images show up crystal clear. Let us know if you need an email marketing tool that lets you include images in a stylish, effective way!
I heard a scary stat yesterday, cited by the social media guru Allison Fine on Twitter. Apparently one in ten arts organizations is on the brink of collapse. So I tweeted Allison to ask why. Movie attendance is up – why are the arts down? She answered with a whole blog post, bless her heart. And she wove in the issue of our dying newspaper industry. Read it here, along with the great comments.Then Beth Kanter, another social media guru you should be reading, weighed in here.How is your arts organization faring? What do you think of these posts?I really like Brian Reich’s take in the comments of Allison’s blog:To be successful today, you must focus on the content – the substance of what you do, and whether that provides something to the community, or audience, that is valued. Many of the arts organizations (and nonprofits) who I work with seem to believe that their offering is unique and that the audience thirsts for what they offer. But they don’t ask the audience what they want, or try to understand how to fit their work into the busy lives of the people who they seek attention from. They measure success by the amount of money raised or open rates on their email and not the inspiration they offer, people they feed, or happiness they bring. That simply won’t work. The audience is in charge (always has been, they just know it even more now). Arts groups don’t want to adapt to what the audience wants, they want the audience to come to them. And when that doesn’t happen, the arts groups often blame the media for not covering the arts or the economy for failing and leaving people without extra income to spend on things other than basics. Its not the audience’s fault. It’s not the media’s fault. It’s not the economy’s fault. Its your fault (arts groups, and everyone else). Its our fault (audience) for not demonstrating even more clearly what we want and expect from the arts and how we are willing to support it.
With direct mail and other fundraising channels hitting the skids, nonprofits are looking to boost online revenue in any way they can – trying out new tactics to get that all-important first donation from non-members.This one might have crossed your mind: “What if we lower the minimum cost of membership?” M+R and two economists from the University of Maryland partnered with a major nonprofit to run a test. In an email appeal to first-time and deeply lapsed donors, we reduced the minimum membership amount from $35 to $25.What did we find out? Framing is everything.Simply reducing the membership amount to $25 produced no increase in response rates.But reducing the membership to $25 and telling donors it was a special discount raised just a hair more overall, and from many more donors. This tactic reduced average gifts, but increased response rates, securing first-time gifts from more people.Discounts are a fundraising tool employed by many nonprofits (including M+R clients). More and more, they are being used in combination with membership offers.Want to try this at home? If you’re going to lower your membership, be sure to tell your supporters they’re getting a bargain!We found something else interesting when we broke the results down by past behavior. The discount language increased returns among supporters who had EITHER donated in the past OR taken action, but not among those who had done both (i.e., donor-activists).Therefore, to maximize revenue, consider suppressing donor-activists from the discount offer and giving them the regular membership ask instead.And if you’re still not fundraising from your activist file, chew on this – past activists were 3.6 times more likely to become members than those who had never taken action. (That doesn’t show causation, but it confirms that activist lists are fertile ground for appeals.)Here are a few top-line takeaways:If you’re offering a discount, say it’s a discount.When it comes to past donor-activists, run a test before you decide to offer them a discount membership.Fundraise from your activist-only list.Experiment! Just because you’ve asked for $20 from new donors for the past decade doesn’t mean it’s still the best amount to ask for today.To download the full study, Charitable Memberships, Volunteering, and Discounts: Evidence from a Large-Scale Online Field Experiment, by Andreas Lange and Andrew Stocking, visit http://www.nber.org/papers/w14941.ABOUT M+R STRATEGIC SERVICES M+R is dedicated to helping our clients advance their missions in order to bring about positive change. We do this by helping organizations and campaigns we believe in develop smart and effective strategies, hone their messages, mobilize their members, build grassroots support, raise money, and communicate effectively with the media, the public and decision-makers, both online and offline.Source: www.mrss.com
This is one of the most common questions I get asked: How do I build by email list? Here are 14 ways courtesy of Kivi Leroux Miller, queen of email knowledge, and Network for Good. Nonprofits marketing friends, this is a must-read!If you want more, please join our free training with Kivi this week. Register here for:7 Steps to Better Email Fundraising & CommunicationsDo you want to grow/build your email list? Do you know if anyone is reading your emails? Does your email outreach need a design or copywriting upgrade?Free TeleconferenceSpecial Day & Time:Thursday, June 25 at 4 p.m. (eastern)