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Savvy Sisters - Wed Feb 15, 2012 @ 01:52AM
Comments: 48

Mark Schaefer of {grow} is already one of our favorite bloggers. So when he started a movement for Valentine's Day called "Have you hugged your blogger today?" we couldn't help but jump on the love train. Here are some of our favorite bloggers - who are yours?

 

TKS09_wendyhead.jpg

Wendy

Some of my favorites writers write about writing 

 

Jonathan Fields - 

Love his optimistic, you can do anything message. He gives readers tools and constant inspiration in order to fully participate in life on his blog. 

 

New Hampshire Writers' Network

Although I am a member of this group, it's the collective wisdom of seasoned writers that makes me love this blog. Don't have time to attend a writing program? Go over to that blog and learn a thing or two about the craft and business of writing. 

 

Storyfix 

As long as we're on writing blogs, Larry Brooks over at Storyfix has done more for my writing than anyone else. He proposes that all stories follow a certain formula (there are exceptions of course) and that if you follow that formula, your story will work.

 

Not only is it fascinating reading but after reading Storyfix, you will never read another book without also seeing the key components. 

 

 

 

Stephanie

Anyone who follows me on Twitter won't be surprised by the three names below -- these three bloggers consistently churn out posts exploring B2B marketing from every angle.

Jamie

This is too hard! 

I read a LOT of marketing blogs & I LOVE a lot of the bloggers behind those blogs - their insights, their sense of humor, their work ethic. To make me choose only a few is just plain mean, but I'll try to do my best. (Hopefully without sounding like a total groupie.)

Mark Schaefer of {grow} - the guy behind this love fest. I love Mark for his sense of adventure and experientation, his honesty, his ability to laugh at himself, and his habit of asking really good questions. I have a huge amount of admiration for the way he has built up his blog community. That's how you do it, people. @markwschaefer

James Chartrand of Men With Pens - James is not considered a B2B blog, per se, but her spot-on writing advice can help any business writer do a better job. I also love her story, her chutzpah, and the fact that she's a genuinely nice human being. Nice counts.  @MenWithPens

Marcus Sheridan at The Sales Lion - Marcus is another down-to-earth business blogger who isn't afraid to call it like he sees it. He has a great sense of humor, is very approachable, and takes the time to get into the nitty-gritty details of his topics. @TheSalesLion

The Team at Copyblogger - Though also not a hardcore B2B blog, this site is brimming with solid, instantly usable advice that any marketer can use. Sometimes, I think I ought to star every one of their posts in my Google Reader. It would save me time. @copyblogger @SoniaSimone @JonMorrow ... and many more!

 

Kate

The Savvy Sisters

Awww! Yes it's true. The other Savvy Sisters constantly impress me with their fabulous B2B insights, constant support and willingness to jump in when another sister is down (flu, childbirth, tornadoes, swim meets, you name it, we've been through it...)

Big hugs to all of you!

Heather

Some Group Hugs and Some Solo Hugs!

As a member of a Group Blog I know that it takes a special chemistry and effort to produce quality content week after week as a collaborative effort while still maintaining a single identity so for that I give hugs to:

Kuno Creative

Base One Beyond Blog

For solo bloggers who produce so much amazing content I almost can’t wrap my brain around how they manage it hugs go to:

Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang

The Brand Builder Blog by Oliver Blanchard

And I feel the need to share one fun blog started by my personal friend Jen.  I have known her for years and totally supported her last year when she decided to start putting her hilarious musings previously heard only by friends out into cyberspace.  She was recently picked up by the Huffington Post and BlogHer network! The title is self explanatory and not for the faint of heart!

People I Want to Punch In the Throat

 

Which bloggers do YOU love?

What makes them so special?

Be sure to show them some Tweet love this week!

Comments: 48
Comments: 31

LinkedIn.jpgI am guilty as many people are of neglecting LinkedIn.  Its lack of back and forth and snarky cartoons make it my 3rd favorite social media platform.  Whereas Facebook and Twitter live on my desktop, iPad and phone poor little LinkedIn only gets pulled up when I actually "need" information!  It is the reference desk of social media. 

The thing about LinkedIn is, because it lacks videos of monkey's sneezing and rants about the short short dress your sister-in-law wore to Christmas Eve mass, it gets more credibility than Facebook and Twitter with your boss and other business professionals.  Once known only as the place where job seekers and the disgruntled went to begin mining for a future job search LinkedIn has become the Who's Who of the Corporate world.  The never ending on-line contact list indexed by company name and title!  Your company needs to be on that list or you risk getting scooped by the competition who is doing it bigger and better.

The folks at Hubspot have crowd-sourced an eBook on How to Build a Powerful Business Presence on LinkedIn.  It does require registration to download but its 55 pages of actionable content you will find well worth giving up your email address for!  

Comments: 31
Savvy Guest - Mon Feb 13, 2012 @ 05:05AM
Comments: 72

Social Media Manufacturing by Nan PalmeroBusiness-to-business (B2B) companies are starting to embrace social media to a greater extent these days. According to a report by Forrester, roughly 81 percent of B2B companies reported that they used social media in 2011. The increased adoption of social media among B2B companies indicates that companies are finding more value out of ramping up their social presence online.


One industry that’s been relatively slow to adopt social media, however, is manufacturing. The Forrester report found that only 30 percent of global manufacturers thought they would increase social media spending in 2012. To me, the fact that global manufacturers are gravitating to social media is an indication that small- to mid-sized manufacturers should consider creating an online presence and start utilizing the social tools available.


Why? While social media adoption is still in the early stage of adoption for the manufacturing industry, it will only grow in importance as buyers of every kind continue to flock to the Internet to research before buying. Creating a strong social media presence now can help manufacturers improve their brand visibility to win more business - now and in the future. Here are three things that manufacturers can do to get off on the right foot using social media tools.
                                   
1. Create a Blog to Tell Your Story
Blogs give manufacturers an opportunity to do more than just promote their brand. Blogs are a great forum for communicating with customers and prospects in a rich form of media that allows for stories to be told. When creating a blog and generating content, it’s important to mix up the content and alternate between providing company information and industry knowledge. No one wants to read a blog that’s simply about what the company does. Manufacturers can use the blog to share important company news, such as developing a new prototype or winning an award. However, sharing general industry news and trends goes a long way toward keeping the content balanced. In striking a balance between promotion and information sharing, manufacturers can gain a thought leadership position that will help win customers later.


2. Start a YouTube Channel to Enrich Content
Of course, videos are also a great way to communicate with customers and potential prospects. As technologies have matured, video equipment and the cost of production have decreased dramatically. In fact, you can shoot quality footage with a camera purchased for a few hundred dollars. Manufacturers should create a YouTube channel to showcase product demonstrations, give a tour of the factory, or provide testimonials from satisfied customers. I think one of the important notes here is keep the video fairly short and always include a call to action. On the web, attention spans are pretty short so you need to bring your point across quickly and make it clear how customers can contact you. One of my favorite YouTube videos produced by a manufacturer is this Carr Machine and Tool video. The video provides customers a walk-through of how their orders are handled while showing the company’s dedication to service.


3. Use LinkedIn to Help Fill the Sales Funnel
A final tool to consider is LinkedIn. In order to get the most out of LinkedIn, manufacturers need to do more than simply become a member of the social network. Manufacturers can use LinkedIn to prime the sales funnel if they leverage their connections. Considering that after you have a few hundred connections your network extends into the millions, LinkedIn can be a great way to get in touch with potential sales contacts. At the very least, you can usually find someone in your network who can help you strategize on how to get in touch with your prospect. Beyond using LinkedIn for networking, participating in Q&A forums and group discussions can help increase brand visibility. For instance, if you can answer a tough prototype design question, you could win a contract that you would have otherwise missed.

About the author: Derek Singleton is an ERP Analyst at Software Advice, which he joined after graduating from Occidental College with a degree in Political Science. He writes about various topics and trends in the manufacturing and distribution industries. To visit the Software Advice website, click here.

Photo by Nan Palmero via Flickr.

Comments: 72
Savvy Sisters @savvy_b2b - Fri Feb 10, 2012 @ 05:30AM
Comments: 200

Savvy Week in ReviewNext week is Valentine's Day. While we're sharing a little love for some of our favorite blog posts today, we're also sending out some virtual XO's to all our fellow B2B bloggers, our clients, and everyone else who brightens our days.

Wishing each of you an early warm & fuzzy Valentine's Day.  Be good to your loved ones - and yourself!

  

The Savvy Sister

It’s Not What You Sell - It’s How You Sell It by @InboundSales

Find out why your ability to make a sale is increasingly about delivering a buying experience that woos and wows prospects and customers.

Expectations and Experience are the New Competition by @ardath421

Noticing a theme? Yep, more terrific insight into why the buying experience matters more than ever.

A Key Content Marketing Hire: Why You Need a Managing Editor and What to Look For by @kevinrcain of @OpenViewVenture

As marketers evolve to become publishers, they need to think and act like them. Here's how to properly staff for a key role.

4 Hidden Benefits of Content Marketing that Go Beyond ROI by @jchernov via @Junta42

Do you know ALL the ways your company can benefit from content marketing? I bet not, but this post by Joe Chernov will fix that.

Predictive Buyer Modeling Is Changing the Future of B2B by @TonyZambito

It's no longer sufficient to look in the rearview mirror. Today's marketing execs need to understand multiple buying scenarios and how they will shape the organization’s marketing, sales, product, content, and social strategies.

4 Problems Killing Thought Leadership Marketing by @wittlake

Somewhere along the line, the true meaning of thought leadership has gotten lost. Read Eric Wittlake's take on this and be sure to follow the thread to the post by Chris Koch that jump-started the conversation.

The 3 Biggest Shifts Needed for Successful B2B Content Marketing by @CopywriterTO via @b2community

Rachel Foster outlines three ways to get more from your content marketing.

Will Content Marketing Destroy Social Media? by @BrennerMichael

Michael Brenner challenges someone's notion that content marketing is being used for evil and not good.

How George Lucas Would Write a Blog Post by @pushing social

Want each of your blog posts to make an impression and inspire readers to take action? Tell them a story and make them the hero.

10 Tips on Writing From David Ogilvy via @brainpicker

Loved this list - especially "Never write more than two pages on any subject."

The Evolution of a Blogger by @skooloflife via @markwschaefer

How evolved is your business blog? 

 

Comments: 200
Wendy Thomas - Thu Feb 09, 2012 @ 01:37PM
Comments: 11

Trying to market yourself is kind of like being a mom. No matter what you do, you never think it's enough. And, when something goes wrong, you tend to blame yourself - first, last, and always. 

 

I should have paid more attention. I should have corrected that error before it went out. I should have - if I were on top of my game- I would have.

 

I read the story once of a woman who was a full-time working mom. Between her job and the kids, she was always running around getting things done at the last minute, even the laundry which she would always start late at night and finish early in the morning was a failure in her eyes. 

 

She constantly felt guilty about not doing enough, not having the laundry folded and put away, not anticipating the needs of her children, not having the supplies ready to do a knock-out science project. 

 

As marketers, just like moms, sometimes we are stretched too thin. We don't answer every comment on our blog, we don't tweet enough, we don't extend invitations to all the social media groups we think we should – in order to be great marketers, in order to always do the job right.

 

It never seems like we are able to do enough, no matter how hard we try.

 

But like a mom, there are times you need to just make peace with the fact that you're doing the best you can. You're doing what you are able to do right now. Sometimes, that's okay. It simply is what it is.

 

Just like moms, self-marketers tend to be our own worst enemies. We need to give ourselves a break at times. Not everything needs to get done right away. Sometimes it's okay to not be perfect, to not do it all.

 

Other people seem to understand this better then we do.

 

The rest of that woman's story is that one evening when she was able to drag herself off to her child's open house at school, she started reading the “I'm lucky because” pictures the young students had made and put on the bulletin board.

 

When she came to her son's picture, she stopped in her tracks. He had written that he was lucky because every morning he was able to put on a warm shirt straight from the dryer.

 

Sometimes, even when we think we're not doing the best job we can, we are.

 

***

 

Wendy Thomas is a writer, journalist, and blogger on subjects ranging from social networking and e-marketing to owning backyard chickens. She spent more than 20 years as a technical writer and has taught classes in technical writing and instructional design both at the graduate and undergraduate level. Through her business; Jackson and Thomas e-Writing, her work with marketingprofs.com, and as a Savvy Sister at savvyb2bmarekting.com, she regularly consults with companies advising on best practices to use when trying to effectively get their brand and platform recognized on the Internet.

Wendy has been a guest speaker, a columnist, and has been published in regional and national newspapers and magazines, as well as on many blogs. You can contact Wendy at Wethomas@gmail.com.

Photo credit: NJ Tech Teacher

Comments: 11
Savvy Sisters - Wed Feb 08, 2012 @ 04:54AM
Comments: 39

The rise of social media has made crowdsourcing all the rage. Why read the opinions of just one person when you can get the 4-1-1 from a whole host of experts all in one place? But wrangling all those opinions can be a bit tricky. This week the Savvy Sisters share their best tips for crowdsourcing the pros - like a pro!

 

Heather

Ask for a little - Get A Lot!

In my other job as Content Director for DemandCon I coordinate with all our conference speakers to contribute to the blog, resource section, webinars, Funnel Facts newsletter, etc.  The closer we get to conference time the less time each presenter has to balance their presentation prep and my content demands.  So crowdsourcing has helped give me the content I need along with balancing perspectives.  I have found that asking a presenter to write a 700 word article can be daunting but asking them to answer 5 questions with a few sentences to a paragraph each is more realistic.  Then I can take the answers of a few different people and create a post.  I have been doing this with the "Meet the Speakers" series on the DemandCon blog and it has been a lot of fun to get to know the conference participants not only by their body of work but also by their favorite TV character and sports team.

Wendy

The Great and Powerful Internet

 

Crowdsourcing is the new and improved surveys of days gone by. Where in the past, we used to hand out paper surveys with questions like “In what ways could our Customer Service be improved?” and then compile the results, we can now almost instantly tap into the collective mindset of that powerful man behind the curtain – internet users who represent our audience.

 

What to know hands down what the favorite Superbowl commercial was? Pitch that question on Twitter, Facebook, or on your blog – you'll soon find out.

 

Want to know possible topics for blog posts? Ask and you shall receive, you'll soon have enough topics for weeks worth of posts. And here's the neat thing, often the people who respond have a vested interest in the subject being discussed making them not only the ideal contributors, but part of your targeted audience as well.

 

Crowdsourcing is a unique and effective way to tap into the ongoing cocktail party conversation of the internet. When used effectively (appropriate questions that serve a purpose and are not just “asking about the weather,” you and your company can benefit greatly from this method of information collection  

 

Jamie

Manners Matter

When you're requesting contributions to a crowd-sourced piece it's important to remember that everyone is busy. Whether the group you're soliciting is the general public of a select list of individuals - respect their time:

  • Prepare well: Know what you're asking and why. Be clear about the purpose of your research so its easy for contributors to understand the assignment.
  • Do your homework: Research the people you're approaching and be sure that they are a good fit for your topic.
  • Keep it short: Time is of the essence. Don't ask for too much. Be concise in your communications and to-the-point in your requests. 
  • Be specific: Give clear and simple instructions so people can handle the request quickly (and so you don't have to go back and follow-up).
  • Be thankful: Say thank you. If you're compiling a report, offer contributors a free copy. If you're publishing quotes and such - make sure you attribute them properly, including links to people's sites and Twitter pages, etc.

 

Most of the time, people will want to help you. With some good manners, you will make a good impression and keep your pool of contributors squarely on your side and happy to be in the mix.   

 

Have you ever written a crowdsourced article?

How did you get folks interested?

Comments: 39
Heather Rubesch - Tue Feb 07, 2012 @ 08:01AM
Comments: 11

Big_5.pngThe Savvy Sisters are big fans of the guys at BaseOne in London.  They are frequently featured in our Friday Wrap Up and so when they put out this eBook on The Big 5 Mistakes that B2B Companies make on their website, I knew it would be good.  It was so good in fact that it was basically a stroll down memory lane for past client projects!  The first tech company I ever worked for back in the dot com boom bust era of the late 90's designed employee benefit enrollment portals.  Ironically the same challenges I had as a project manager for clients 15 years ago are highlighted in Paul Hatcher's brilliant little eBook.

Stop the insanity.  Widely share this eBook with everyone you know so we can raise the level of B2B websites and end this horror once and for all!

Tags: Toolkit
Comments: 11
Savvy Sisters - Fri Feb 03, 2012 @ 08:45AM
Comments: 8

February is upon us, and the days are getting longer. If you're hungering for ways to fill your time productively, read on for our Savvy Week in Reviewfavorite posts from around the blogosphere.

The Savvy Sister

 

The Essential Guide to Meta Descriptions that Will Get You Found Online by @bradshorr via @Junta42

If you think meta descriptions are nerdy details left to your Web administrators, think again, B2B marketers. Here's why you need to craft them with care -- and some tips on how to do it.

Sharing Your Way to B2B Social Media Lead Generation by @jeffreylcohen via @MarketingProfs

Here's how you can boost the value of your blog and social media engagement. Plus, Jeffrey unveils a new sharing rule.

Why B2B Marketers Must Address Status Quo by @ardath421

The dangers of assuming your prospects are further along in the buying cycle than they truly are -- and ways to prompt movement.

6 Essential SEO Strategies for Bloggers by @DeniseWakeman

Some basic tips that will get you started on the right path to good SEO. 

The Art of Pulling the Trigger: Upselling Done Right by @DannyIny

Think you know what an "upsell" is. Are you sure? This post provides a great overview and a few examples that may spark ideas of your own. Don't leave money on the table.

7 Tips for a Successful PPC Landing Page by @HJSewell

You don't just want the click, you want the conversion. Here are some tips to make sure your landing page is pulling its weight.

10 Content Marketing Goals Worth Pursuing by @soniasimone via @copyblogger

This is powerful stuff - do you know what to do with it? 10 ways content marketing can make a huge impact on your business.  

 

 

Comments: 8
Heather Rubesch - Thu Feb 02, 2012 @ 08:54AM
Comments: 13

Guest_Name_Badge.jpgWe get a decent amount of Guest Post requests here at Savvy.  Early on we thought this was great!  The more guest posters the less work for us!  Well the joke is on us because managing guest post submissions has become at times more laborious than simply writing the posts!  We did all the things the experts suggested.  We created Guest Post Guidelines, we created an internal process by which to review and respond to the requests and finally we established an editorial calendar that allowed for one guest post per week on a predictable schedule.  We have featured now over 50 Guest Post and many of our submission have been fabulous.  The ones that weren’t didn’t ever make it to the blog!  How did those who got published differentiate themselves?

Suggestions to would be guest posters

  • Read a minimum of 10 posts on the blog you are asking to guest post on.  Make sure you fit the tone and topicality of that blog. If not move on.  Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole!
  • Once you are sure you have a topic that will fit in submit the idea to the blog first.  You never know one of the regular contributors might be writing about the same subject next week.  Before you write a whole article clear it or better yet submit three ideas and let them choose what fits their editorial calendar best.
  • If you are proposing to write a series, be prepared to submit all installments before the first one runs. 
  • Do not ask us to run a thinly veiled advertorial.  If there are links in the article they shouldn’t all be to your products and services.  You will be given an opportunity in your bio to link to your own products / services but the meet of the article should be spam free!
  • Speaking of links if you happen to find a relevant article on our site or on a site from our blog roll when you were doing your background reading it is a good idea to link to it. 
  • Get it proofread before you submit.  Ask your best friend or even your spouse to proofread it.  We believe just because it is on the web doesn’t mean grammar and spelling guidelines are optional.
  • Do not recycle literally!  We are willing to accept a topic you have written elsewhere about but not an entire cut and paste article you have written elsewhere.  This is in our guest post guidelines and if you try to pull a fast one over on us it will end up getting your blacklisted.

 

What happens to guest blogs once they are received?

I can’t say what happens everywhere but I can tell you what happens at both Savvy and DemandCon where I am the Content Director.

  • Once a potential guest poster has been identified they are assigned a point of contact within the editorial staff and they work with that person through submission.
  • Blind submissions are all reviewed by the same person for consistency.
  • A minimum of two people read every guest post and give feedback.  We strive for 3 readers and all 6 of us have an opportunity to weigh in but at a minimum 2.
  • Based on the feedback and notes the guest poster is often asked to add an example, statistic, supporting factoid to a particular assertion.  These suggestions are designed to make your piece and our blog better.  If you aren’t willing to accept basic criticism you probably have no business writing for others.

 

The curtain is up!

Once a guest post is up the work is not done!  Here are a few things that happen after the fact.

  • We post guest submissions on Monday’s and then we tweet about them on our Savvy_B2B Twitter account as well as our individual Twitter accounts as we can.  I am always amazed and how little promotion is often done by the guest poster.  If you got published somewhere else tweet about it!!!!
  • Watch the comments.  It is always great when the author take the time to respond to comments that come in on their own post.  The blog editor will keep an eye out but only you can really answer the question the commenter has!
  • We allow guest posters to repurpose the post on their own blog as long as they mention in the intro of footer that it originally appeared on Savvy B2B and a link.  This is a great way to gain cross promotion but again very few guest posters seem to take advantage of this.
  • We run “best of” summary topics over the summer break.  Best of Guest Posts gives us a chance to showcase the guest posts that got the most traffic or comments.  You want to be in that club!

 

Think you might want to guest post for Savvy?  You can reach us at info@savvyb2bmarketing.com or on Twitter @Savvy_B2B.  I promise we won't bite!

Comments: 13
Savvy Sisters @savvy_b2b - Wed Feb 01, 2012 @ 08:25AM
Comments: 89

Our Savvy friend Mark Schaefer recently reported on his blog, {grow}, about a study done by the Center for Marketing Research that seems to indicate blogging is on the decline with America's fastest growing companies. In today's Savvy Speaks, we give our two cents on how we think blogging is stacking up against other B2B marketing tactics and where it's headed in 2012 and beyond.   

Heather

Don't stop believing (or blogging)

I am very bullish on B2B blogging.  I believe it is a critical way to provide prospects with a conversational introduction to your company when they are in research mode.  Hubspot's research  on the state of inbound marketing has shown that "Blogs remain the most important social media channel".  85% rated their blog as Useful (or higher) in business importance.  46% had acquired a customer through a blog generated lead. 

I believe the real reason blogging is on the decline is that blogging isn't easy!   My post on the Top Ten Rules for Blogging has never been more relevant.  There are some steps you can take to make your blog more effective and less painful to implement.  Techniques like this very post where we "crowdsource" answers to hot topics requires us not to write a full elaborate post but rather just a paragraph or two.  I would argue the information is even more relevant and valuable than a single post by only one of us because you can easily see multiple opinions and approaches.

Hang in there.  Blogging isn't dying.  In fact we are just getting starting to really see from companies the kind of conversational tone and transprancy that actually produces thought leadership. 

Wendy

 

Blog writers are going to be the new black 

 

I think that blogs are going to become more and more important as we all turn to the internet for our news. As a matter of natural selection, however, only those that stay on target and that constantly add value to the reader will survive. The other ones that, for lack of a better word, simply “pose” at being a blog will fall away.

 

This means that smart companies are going to have to hire blog writers. A well written post can get your company noticed much more than an expensive campaign sometimes can. Like the tech writers of yore, it's the blog writers who are going to understand how to write for the net, inject voice, and how to place the words on the page so that the reader can scan for the information she needs.

 

A good blog writer will be worth her weight in gold to any company.  

 

Stephanie

A Must-Have

As Ardath Albee said in a Focus roundtable last week, a blog is non-negotiable. In a world where B2B marketers are relying on prospective buyers to find them online -- and where fresh content ranks high -- a blog is critical to building and maintaining visiblity.

Just as with every other bit of content, marketers need to produce blogs that resonate with their prospects and customers. Going forward, I envision more B2B blogs being structured for easy navigation by role and stage in the buying process.

Jamie

 Not dead, but evolving

Blogging is far from dead. Although it may seem old hat to those of us who've been at it for a while, there is still massive untapped potential in the audiences who have yet to engage with the medium. However, I see blogging evolving at a pretty fast pace. Blogs now have to compete against a wide array of other social media. To be viable and stand out from the crowd, the B2B blog of today and tomorrow is going to have to step it up a notch or two. The same old-same old isn't going to cut it. Companies need to get focused on their strategy, understand the needs of their readers, set realistic goals, and get creative with their content. I think we'll also see more hybrids - combining blogs with other formats like micro-blogging, email, etc.

Things will evolve, but as long as there's a hunger for information, blogs will be stickin' around.

 

 Does your company blog? What are your goals for the blog? Do you think you'll continue blogging through 2012 and beyond?

 

Comments: 89
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