Infographic: How to write irresistible headlines, from A-Z

Read on for an alphabet’s worth of tips to craft zippy, snappy, satisfying story-toppers.

An online writer’s primary job is to get the reader to click or scroll down the page.

The best way to clear this attention-grabbing hurdle is to cook up a headline so spicy, scintillating, intriguing or alluring that it compels your audience to continue. Of course, you might never concoct a classic such as “Headless body in topless bar” or “Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious,” but there is a plethora of proven methods to grab your reader.

Feldman Creative shares an alphabet’s worth of headline-writing tips, from A-Z, in a helpful infographic. The guidance includes the following tactics:

  • “Posing a question … remains one of the best ways to engage the reader,” the piece posits. For instance, if you’re writing about bran muffins, you might try “Would you like to banish constipation forever?” instead of “Why bran muffins are good” to create a sense of urgency. (Hopefully, you’ll avoid the bran muffin assignment, but you get the idea.)
  • What’s in it for your audience? What does she or he have to gain if they carry on reading? In the headline, tout a substantial benefit that a reader can pluck from your piece.
  • The infographic recommends: “A proven headline approach is to begin with a topical keyword phrase, followed by a colon—or dash—followed by a statement or question.” (Alternatively, to increase your pageviews, you might also try slipping in a reference to beloved baseball big boy Bartolo Colón.) Image result for bartolo colon belly gif(Image via)
  • Do’s and don’ts. Right at the top, declare your intention to share what works and what will flop regarding a relevant topic for your audience. For example, “Do’s and don’ts of turning your ferret into a competitive racer” would probably compel clicks.
  • “Decisions are based on emotions,” as the infographic states, so hit your readers directly in their pain points. Use visceral language that stirs emotions, and let your passion for your subject shine through in the headline.

There are many more good headline-writing tips in this infographic, so peruse the whole thing.

The post Infographic: How to write irresistible headlines, from A-Z appeared first on PR Daily.

via PR Daily

Photos of damaged MacBook Pro highlight the need to respond to Apple’s recall

macbook pro fire may be linked to apples recent laptop recall 1
macbook pro fire may be linked to apples recent laptop recall 3
macbook pro fire may be linked to apples recent laptop recall 2
macbook pro fire may be linked to apples recent laptop recall 4

If your MacBook Pro is part of the recall issued by Apple last month, best you get it taken care of sooner rather than later if you haven’t already done so.

The seriousness of the situation has been highlighted by an alarming set of images (above) posted by Florida resident Steve Gagne.

Apple issued the recall on June 20 over concerns that the battery in some older MacBook Pros could overheat and pose a safety risk. A few days earlier, the Pro owned by Gagne — a machine that he later learned was part of the recall — apparently caught fire without warning.

Gagne posted the photos shortly after the recall was announced, though they came to wider attention this week after being surfaced by PetaPixel. They show a badly damaged machine, partially blackened by the fire.

Recounting what happened, Gagne wrote in a Facebook post that he was settling down for the night when “the battery in my MacBook Pro blew and a small fire filled my house with smoke.”

He went on: “You can imagine how quickly I jumped out of bed. The sound of it was what first threw me for a loop; but then the smell of a strong chemical/burning smell is what got me.”

Gagne said that he usually kept the laptop “on my couch or in a basket with notebooks [and] journals,” but that thankfully, on this occasion, he’d left it on his coffee table, reducing the chances of a more catastrophic blaze.

He added that when the battery caught fire, his MacBook Pro had been in sleep mode, with the display closed and the machine unplugged.

Affected machines

Apple said the recall notice affects 15-inch, Retina display MacBook Pros “sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017,” and does not include any other MacBook Pro units or any other Apple laptop.

To find out if your MacBook Pro needs to have its battery replaced, hit this Apple website and enter the machine’s serial number.

The tech giant is advising anyone with an affected computer to stop using it until the battery has been replaced.

There are three ways to receive the free repair — via an Apple authorized provider, by making an appointment at an Apple retail store, or by contacting Apple Support for instructions on how to mail it to the company’s repair center.

Oh, and be sure to back up all your data before handing over your MacBook Pro.

via Digital Trends

Better security means access is not a simple yes/no question

It seems simple: to keep data secure, you need to make sure that the person requesting access is who they say they are, and they have the right to access the data they are requesting.

But, as with everything else, it shouldn’t be so simple—not if you want to get security right. Not all data is equal. Some data should be protected with the strongest security, while other documents are far less critical. And proving identity is also not quite so straightforward—it’s far easier to trust an employee using a company-owned device in the office than one working remotely using an unsecured device.

So as an IT service provider or managed service provider (MSP), how do you strike a balance?

One approach is to make everything highly secure and ensure that every employee requesting access proves who they are without room for doubt. But not only is this time consuming and inefficient, this is how employees end up circumventing security—posing an even bigger danger. Instead, a new approach is needed—one that assesses the risk of each request and demands the appropriate response.

The risk presented

With the lines between work and play blurring, and employees using their work devices for personal use—and vice versa—attempting to protect a business by declaring that particular devices are safe is no longer sufficient.

The level of access that is granted to each individual needs to be based on the level of confidence, or risk, they present to a business, and the level of resource access they require. So, if an employee is accessing the company network using a corporate device that is trusted, we know that that individual is secure—this person presents less risk.

But if this same person was accessing the network from a different device, say a personal one, that the network had never seen before, and from an unfamiliar place—then this person’s level of risk would go up.

The material that an individual is also trying to access needs to be considered. If the material is particularly sensitive, or is outside the regular level of access, then again, the risk increases.

When we think of risk, it’s about assessing whether the individual is who they say they are, and how likely it is that a compromised device is trying to gain access to the network.

Adding pressure

This does mean that when increased risk is present, there is some extra work for the user. Instead of granting automatic access, and potentially allowing an infected machine or unauthorised user to come onto the network, the user could be asked for additional authentication, to prove they are who they say they are.

This approach is something most people see on a day-to-day basis. When you collect a parcel or a package, although you may have an order number, you will be asked to prove your identity with photo ID or a bank card.

It’s an approach that’s widely embraced in the world of mobile banking. While minimal security is needed to look at a bank balance—usually a four or a six-digit code—if a person wants to transfer funds, then an added level of authentication is needed, to ensure protection against fraudulent behaviour.

But while adding pressure may seem like an added inconvenience, it doesn’t need to be if MSPs and IT service providers follow the 80/20 rule—treating 80 per cent of their employees in a similar fashion and treating the ‘risky’ 20 per cent with higher levels of security.

Most employees and users (the 80 per cent) will have the same needs—they will require regular access to certain materials, and restricted access to more sensitive information. The ‘risky’ characters (the 20 per cent) can also be easily identified, as they will be employees that require access to more sensitive information—such as IT administrators, HR and finance staff, and C-level executives.

Applying the 80/20 rule

With this in mind, how do MSPs and IT service providers apply the 80/20 rule, and in which scenarios is more pressure needed? How does an MSP know where their responsibilities end?

Ultimately, there will be certain users where an MSP will need to go further than it has done before, to ensure that they are fully secure. If there is a person within the organisation that can access the crown jewels, then it’s the MSPs responsibility to ensure that anyone trying to get their hands on the jewels isn’t doing it from a device that is dirty, from a network that is compromised, and that a close eye is being kept on their activity.

Let’s put this into practice. The head of HR for an organisation will be able to access data on every single employee within their organisation—and accessing this information from an untrusted, insecure device presents a huge risk. In this instance, an MSP will want to ensure that the device is controlled and that it hasn’t been compromised. It may be that security trumps convenience here, and that the user needs to use a trusted device to access the most sensitive information.

The MSP’s responsibility is to understand the most important and sensitive data about the businesses it serves: the data it holds, the data that needs protecting, the systems that are used to access this data, and the individuals that have access to it. The MSP also needs to create a division between the 80 per cent and 20 per cent staff, as well as identify the crown jewels that need special protection.

Better security, better access

With the rise of remote working, and the increase in cybersecurity threats, businesses today can’t afford to simply grant broad access to every employee in the same way. They need to use the 80/20 rule to appropriately balance risk and security.

MSPs and IT service providers have an important role to play as a trusted partner to businesses, ensuring they are keeping data secure, and giving users the access they need to be able to do their jobs. In order to do this, MSPs need to ensure they fully understand their customers’ businesses and their most precious data. They also need to put processes in place to ensure that trusted employees can access this data and apply pressure in circumstances that could be considered risky.

An MSP ultimately needs to ensure that only royalty can have access to the crown jewels.

Tim Brown, VP Security, SolarWinds MSP

via IT ProPortal

Techdirt settles suit by Shiva Ayyadurai, who claimed to invent email; no money exchanges hands; Techdirt to link to an Ayyadurai statement on related articles (Mike Masnick/Techdirt)

Mediagazer presents the day’s must-read media news on a single page.

The media business is in tumult: from the production side to the distribution side, new technologies are upending the industry. Keeping up with these changes is time-consuming, as essential media coverage is scattered across numerous web sites at any given moment.

Mediagazer simplifies this task by organizing the key coverage in one place. We’ve combined sophisticated automated aggregation technologies with direct editorial input from knowledgeable human editors to present the one indispensable narrative of an industry in transition.

via Mediagazer

Data breaches spark increased interest in password managers

Stealing password from code

People have been predicting the death of the password for some time, but it’s still the case that most online accounts rely on them, even if supplemented by another feature like 2FA.

A new report from Avira to coincide with World Password Day shows that so far in 2019, there have been at least four major data breaches, each impacting more than 200 million records.

This has led to many sets of credentials and passwords like Collection #1 being made available on the dark web. The more accounts you have the greater your chance of being hacked. Those with six to 10 accounts have a nine percent chance of a breach — a probability that jumps up to 30 percent when the number of accounts increases to over 100.

Part of the problem is poor security habits. These include weak passwords, recycled passwords across various accounts, repeated user names, and poorly secured databases.

The good news is that high profile breaches are driving more people to investigate password managers, including Avira’s. “News of these breaches led to up to 60 percent more installations and up to 20 percent higher user registrations compared to a normal day,” says Tim Gaiser, director identity protection at Avira.

However, it seems ease of use is often a greater motivating factor than security for adopting a password manager. “Password management is often practiced on a ‘pain avoidance’ principle. People pick the shortest, simplest password possible and then reuse it or variations of it across multiple sites. This strategy does reduce the pain and effort involved for hackers. It gives them a clear motivation to try out known passwords across a targeted user’s full range of accounts,” says Gaiser. “Our research shows that three out of the four major reasons for people to use a password manager were connected to convenience and speed, not security. It’s a paradox: use a password manager, have more fun and incidentally, keep your online life much, much more secure.”

The full report is available on the Avira site where you can also get the company’s Password Manager.

Image credit: Maddas / Shutterstock

via Betanews

Marco Rubio said Russian hackers infiltrated Florida county elections and ‘were in a position’ to change voter data

Marco RubioChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told The New York Times that Russian hackers had infiltrated Florida’s county-level election systems in 2016. 
  • Though hackers "were in a position" to alter voter roll data, Rubio said they didn’t appear to do so. 
  • Rubio’s comment comes after special counsel Robert Mueller’s report said the FBI believed Russian intelligence unit GRU had successfully gained access to data in "at least one Florida county government."
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said in a New York Times article published Friday that Russian hackers had infiltrated Florida’s county-level election systems in 2016. 

Rubio detailed the attack to the Times, which included malicious viruses sent by the GRU, a Russian military intelligence unit, to government officials who were handling 2016 county elections. 

Though the hackers "were in a position" to alter voter roll data, Rubio said, they didn’t appear to do so.

The Republican senator’s comments come after special counsel Robert Mueller’s report said the FBI believed the GRU had successfully gained access to the "network of at least one Florida county government."

Florida has been at the center of Russian hacking concerns for years, but Mueller’s report furthered official conclusions on the hacking. The Tampa Bay Times reported last week that the agency would meet with state officials weeks after the election hacking report. 

This is the latest development in the state’s concerns over hacking since tensions boiled over during the race for November’s midterms last year. 

Read more: A Democratic senator in a tight re-election race says Russians are interfering in his campaign — but some top officials say they don’t know what he’s talking about

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson set off concerns in August 2018 when he said, without offering evidence, that the Russians had penetrated state voting systems and were interfering in the state’s 2018 campaigns.

After the incumbent was pressed and produced no evidence, Nelson’s then-challenger Sen. Rick Scott publicly suggested he had made up the claim.

Rubio’s recent comment contradicts Scott’s hits against Nelson’s claim and is a confirmation of his previous warnings that state systems should be wary of hackers who could easily manipulate voter data. 

"If anyone tells you that Florida, or any state in the country is prepared to handle that, I don’t believe that’s true," Rubio said. "It almost feels like what they did in 2016 is probing those things in the future because…they wanted to create havoc around the world."

NOW WATCH: Here are 7 takeaways from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation

See Also:

SEE ALSO: NRA president Oliver North just resigned in a dramatic fashion as rumors of infighting, extortion, and financial impropriety swirl around the embattled gun lobby group


via Business Insider

How This One Font Took Over The World

When I close my eyes and think of a word, I picture that word in Gotham. I am cursed with the compulsive need to identify every typeface I come across, but even if you do not suffer this particular affliction — if your relationship to typography resembles your relationship to air, a constant interaction so seamless you hardly think about it unless something goes seriously awry — you know this font. If you’ve been online, seen a billboard, gone to a movie theater, or walked down the street with your eyes open, you’ve seen Gotham.

Gotham is a typeface first designed in 2000 for GQ and released for public use in 2002. An abbreviated list of where it has appeared includes: Coke bottles; Twitter; Spotify; Netflix; Saks; New York University; The Tribeca Film Festival; TV shows including CONAN and Saturday Night Live; movies including Inception, Moneyball, The Lovely Bones, and Moonlight. If the advertisements in the train stations and bus stops in your city don’t use Gotham, they probably use a Gotham look-alike.

Gotham is everywhere, as the name of one of the Tumblr accounts dedicated to tracking its prevalence suggests, but how did it become so ubiquitous? How does a typeface take over so thoroughly in such a short period of time — and what do advertisers across every industry like so much about it?

The simplest answers are the technical ones. Gotham is a geometric sans serif — sans serif meaning it lacks the little feet in the corners of letters you’d see in a typeface like Times New Roman, and geometric alluding to the influence of basic shapes in its design. It has a high x-height, meaning that lowercase letters like x and e are comparably large, and its different weights — bold, thin, medium, et cetera — are very distinct from one another. All of this is to say that Gotham can be easily read from a distance on a billboard or sign, making it a natural choice for print advertising.

In fact, Gotham finds its typographic roots in much of the 20th-century architectural signage commonly found in New York City. Oddly enough, the geometric signage on the front door of the Port Authority — not a place many people associate with hipness — served as an inspiration for Gotham’s creator, type-industry titan Tobias Frere-Jones.

“The goal was to find a straightforward voice — even stark,” Frere-Jones told me over email, “and the Port Authority Bus Terminal lettering was a promising example of that voice. I was also concerned about making a new geometric sans when there already so many…I hoped that this non-typographic source could yield something memorable in such a crowded field.”

There’s also the more nebulous and encompassing question of style. Gotham has been described by Frere-Jones as “fresh” and “masculine” (it was, after all, initially intended for GQ); Michael Beirut, who designed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 logo, once described it to Newsweek as a “sleek, purposefully not fancy, very straightforward, plainspoken font.”

It’s difficult to untangle what goes into the distinction of a typeface as “masculine” – is it the blockiness or the letters, for instance, or the straight and authoritative lines that prompt the association? In the context of GQ, Gotham’s unfussy directness and authority could certainly be read as masculine, especially in its heavier weights – but in the lighter weights, paired with the right color palette, it could easily read as an elegant, feminine typface. It’s a font that swings both ways!

Perhaps that combination of sleekness and plain-spokenness is the most crucial factor in its rise to prominence. Gotham is, in many ways, a blank slate, able to be used stylishly in a wide variety of contexts while imbuing its surroundings with a bit of down-to-earth, “plainspoken” elegance.

This includes even the most somber contexts. In 2004, a 20-ton cornerstone was laid at the site of the restored Freedom Tower, bearing the inscription “To honor and remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and as a tribute to the enduring spirit of freedom.” The inscription was chiseled in Gotham, which had only been recently released by Hoefler & Co. for public use. (Incidentally, licensing a font like Gotham isn’t cheap – a basic package of Gotham in four weights with and without italics runs for $199 on

One of the most iconic and widely received messages ever laid out in Gotham consisted of a single word: “HOPE.” Initially, the Obama campaign used Perpetua, a serif typeface in line with Hillary Clinton’s use of New Baskerville, in its logo and brand materials. But with the addition of new designers on the team, the campaign took a very different visual direction, paving the way for a re-election campaign that would prominently feature Gotham in its original and custom slab serif forms.

The new branding — and most notably, the “HOPE” poster — made a lasting impression in the world of political design. At the time that Obama switched over to Gotham in 2008, more traditional serif typefaces dominated the political sphere; now, in the 2020 primary, geometric-leaning sans serifs are all the rage, along with bold colors well outside the traditional red and blue palette.

“I think the whole Obama design program changed the look of politics,” said Frere-Jones, “[and] Gotham happened to be a component of that. Campaigns are now very aware of their typography, across the political spectrum.”

Maybe its plain-spokenness allowed Gotham to pivot the look of Democratic politics into the 21st century; in that same Newsweek interview, Michael Beirut noted that “unlike other sans serif typefaces, it’s not German, it’s not French, it’s not Swiss. It’s very American.”

But what makes the Gotham phenomenon extraordinary is the way in which it has been used across countless industries for innumerable products and brands while transcending its association with any particular one. If I showed you a sentence typed in Jubilat or Myriad Set Pro, both of which have some letter-construction similarities to Gotham despite looking very different, you would likely recognize them as the typefaces used by Bernie Sanders and Apple, respectively.

But you likely wouldn’t immediately peg Gotham as “the Obama font,” or “the Saturday Night Live font,” or “The Spotify font,” would you? In its universality, Gotham resists being pigeon-holed, allowing it to be used by major brand after major brand without becoming stale.

In the nearly two decades since Gotham’s arrival, the already well-populated field of pared-down sans serifs has seen an explosion in the world of advertising. Gotham look-alikes including Raleway, Montserrat, and Gibson have taken up the mantle of clean, straightforward sans serifs, alongside Gotham progenitors like Avenir and Proxima Nova.

But it’s not just a matter of typefaces; the popularity of sans serif is part of a constellation of trends within a major shift toward minimalist design. Millennial-targeted fashion brands such as Glossier and Thinx and app-based companies such as Postmates, Lyft, and AirBNB are the most aggressive adoptees of this style, with flat photography, solid color backgrounds, copious white space, and geometric sans serifs characterizing the vast majority of their design schemes.

The minimalist moment has been characterized as a millennial phenomenon, and it’s not hard to see why; across the worlds of fashion, art, interior design, and social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, young people appear to prefer stripped-down aesthetics — or at the very least, stripped-down aesthetics are being thrust upon them.

There are some grim implications to the millennial minimalist trend: young people have inherited a world with far less to offer them that it did their parents, and for most, decadence is simply unattainable. If we’re finding elegance and sophistication in the plain, perhaps it’s out of little more than necessity, paired with the comfort of clean lines and legible boundaries in a world that is constantly, collectively losing its shit.

All trends fade eventually, and some have predicted that millennial minimalism is already headed out the door. What will follow depends, in large part, on what we will need in order to make sense of the world five or ten years down the line, and what new advertisers will create in order in order to satisfy for us.

The geometric sans serif may soon go the way of the now-lame Times New Roman. But I tend to believe that Gotham is here to stay. It’s stood understatedly in the background of iconic moment after iconic moment of the 21st century, like the Forrest Gump of fonts. Even as trends come and go, Gotham has continually proved its exceptional sticking power.

“The pendulum never stops,” said Frere-Jones. “The wave of stripped-down sans serifs is already starting to show its age, and some corporate identities are already turning away from it. But being clean and straightforward never really goes out of style, even if it needs a new expression.”

Rachel Hawley is a freelance writer and graphic designer based in Chicago.