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Are you a podcast listener? If you answered no, then you are part of a shrinking group. Listeners in developed countries and the majority of Americans listen to podcasts at most once a week, while many listeners tune into their favorite shows daily.

Millions of smart marketers have tapped the podcasting channel to tap into marketing opportunities due to its popularity. They may start a podcast for their company, interviewing industry professionals and discussing new products. Sometimes they use it to promote their brand’s content library and increase its popularity.

Income potential is incredible, no matter what. You could also get millions of more visitors to your website if you have a large podcast listening audience. This will allow you to gain new fans and attract new customers.

Here’s the problem: Podcasting is already saturated with content creators and hosts. Podcasting is not going to stop growing in the same way it has over the past decade.

Also read: 7 Best Woocommerce Plugins to boost your Store you must know

Why Podcasting?

Why podcasting? Why is this strategy so special and appealing?

Potential audience size. Podcasts are listened to by hundreds of millions of people daily. You will have a strong listenership that you can use to market your business if you can tap even a fraction of this audience.

Flexibility in topic selection. There is no set of rules for what podcasts you can or cannot do. You are not restricted by any platform regulations (for most of the time). This means that you can speak and do what you want.

Scale potential. With a podcast that is popular and has a loyal following, it’s possible to quickly scale up without spending more money. Without having to change your core operations, you have the potential to increase your audience’s size. This means that you can continue making more money without spending more.

Content diversification benefits. Podcasting can be used to diversify content. Although content marketing strategies tend to focus on writing, this is not necessarily a problem. However, if you want to achieve better results and reach more people it’s important to include audio streams such as podcasting, video marketing, image creation, and other media like audio streaming.

Podcast interviews and networking. You might be able to interview other podcasters within your niche if your show is getting more attention. The cross-marketing potential for your podcast is virtually limitless.

Also read: How to Calculate Your Body Temperature with an iPhone Using Smart Thermometer

Why is it “too late” to raise concerns?

Why are people so concerned about podcasting? These benefits are going to disappear.

It’s not exactly true, but there are serious threats.

Podcasts are a fad. Podcasts are gaining popularity rapidly, becoming a common part of modern life. Is this trend going to continue? Will it continue to grow? Is this a temporary phenomenon or was the explosive growth a temporary fad? Podcasts may be on the verge of losing popularity in the short term if this is the case.

The early risers. Some podcasts benefited from being ahead. Today’s most popular podcasts are those that began before podcasts became a popular medium. It could be difficult to reach enough people without the initial popularity wave.

Competitors established. There are millions upon millions of podcasts that have been successful, but many more that have failed or are in decline. You’ll need to build trust with customers and create new businesses. You’ll also be competing against people around the world, many of whom have more experience and larger audiences. This view suggests that podcasting is not a viable marketing option.

Uniquely Defining Your Podcast

Also read: Top 6 Tips to Stay Focused on Your Financial Goals

These are just a few of the many ways you can achieve it.

Topic novelty. You can choose to write about a topic no one else has written about or a topic that is not being covered by most authorities. Although it can be difficult to find something new, you will have an easy way of standing out if you do.

Targeting niche demographics. You could also cover a topic that isn’t being covered by other podcasters. You could, for example, target teenagers and retirees rather than adults of middle age.

Entertainment value. A distinctive tone of voice, or adopting a sarcastic tone could make your podcast both entertaining and informative. You’ll attract more listeners if you have a distinctive personality or something truly entertaining.

Innovation in the genre. You might also consider podcasting as an option. Podcasting can be done with monologues, interviews, or dramatic readings. You might try something different – tap into a market that has yet to be discovered.

Is it too late?

What’s the bottom line? Is it too late to start your podcast?

Know what you’re getting into. Podcasting is a new and exciting medium that has been growing in popularity. There is nothing you can do to change that. It’s not too late to use podcasting as a marketing channel.

Be aware of what you are getting yourself into. Be aware of what you are about to face. What are your biggest competitors in this market? What are the most important things to your target audience? What is the cost of running your podcast? Can you make enough to pay for it?

Be different. It can be difficult to make your podcast unique and valuable, especially with so many competitors. You have to find a different way.

Reduce your dependence and spending. It shouldn’t take long to reduce your expenses in the beginning stages of developing your podcast. You can easily create remote setups for voice records. Diversifying your marketing strategies is a smart idea. This will ensure that you are not too dependent on anyone’s channel or approach.

Also read: The Five Best Free Cattle Record Keeping Apps & Software For Farmers/Ranchers/Cattle Owners

Is it too late?

What’s the bottom line? Is it too late to start your podcast?

Know what you’re getting into. Podcasting is a new and exciting medium that has been growing in popularity. There is nothing you can do to change that. It’s not too late to use podcasting as a marketing channel.

Be aware of what you are getting yourself into. Be aware of what you are about to face. What are your biggest competitors in this market? What are the most important things to your target audience? What is the cost of running your podcast? Can you make enough to pay for it?

Be different. It can be difficult to make your podcast unique and valuable, especially with so many competitors. You have to find a different way.

Reduce your dependence and spending. It shouldn’t take long to reduce your expenses in the beginning stages of developing your podcast. You can easily create remote setups for voice records. Diversifying your marketing strategies is a smart idea. This will ensure that you are not too dependent on anyone’s channel or approach.

Podcasting is still one of the most cost-effective and accessible content marketing strategies. You should be able to get your brand to succeed as long as you have a plan and a flexible mind.

You're reading Why Podcasting And Is It Too Late To Start Podcasting As A Marketing Strategy?

How Does Nft Marketing Work And Why Is It Important?

blog / Digital Marketing How to Create an Appropriate NFT Marketing Strategy for a Business [Checklist Included]

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In the digital age, the task of selling virtual and intangible products and services are keeping marketers on their toes, bringing NFT marketing to forefront. An NFT, or non-fungible token, is a digitized form of actual objects such as art, music, in-game items and videos. These are transacted online, typically with cryptocurrency. Many global brands have tokenized their products and services as virtual assets. 

NFT marketing focuses on promoting the NFTs in certain markets, blockchain groups, and social media platforms to attract potential purchasers interested in the crypto art.  As NFT collectibles are unique digital assets, a unique marketing approach is critical to attracting buyers. One reason why marketers need to sharpen their skills in this area is that the market for NFTs is predicted to reach $60 billion by 2031, with a CAGR of more than 19%. Hence, understanding the aspects linked to such marketing is essential for aspiring marketers.

This blog will discuss the concept of NFT marketing, highlight its importance and explore how to create an effective strategy.

What is NFT Marketing?

This marketing entails developing a strong brand identity for the NFTs, reaching out to potential purchasers via social media platforms, and engaging with influencers and artists to generate discussion. 

A popular example of NFT marketing is that of Taco Bell which offered five NFTs showcasing digital artwork of its tacos on the NFT marketplace in March 2023. These were sold out in less than 30 minutes, with one selling for more than $200,000. The NFT sale helped in increasing brand recognition and engagement for Taco Bell.

Why are NFTs Important in Marketing?

NFTs are important from a marketing perspective for several reasons and the most significant ones are mentioned below.

1. Unique and Scarce

As NFTs are unique digital assets, these cannot be copied or duplicated. This makes them a valuable commodity that proves to be appealing to collectors and investors, opening up a new avenue for marketers to explore.

2. Creative Expression 3. Blockchain Technology

Collectors and investors show interest in investing in NFTs because NFTs are kept on a blockchain, which maintains a secure and transparent record of ownership and provenance. The open and secure nature of NFTs attracts many individuals in the market.

4. Ownership of Digital Assets

NFTs enable people to own and collect digital assets in the same way that they do physical goods. This makes NFTs an appealing option to a new generation of digital natives.

5. Secondary Market Potential

NFTs can be purchased and sold on secondary markets, allowing investors and collectors to gain profit from the value appreciation of unique digital commodities. This opens up a new cash stream for creators and marketers to investigate.

How are Brands Using NFTs For Marketing?

To gain the interest of prospective customers, brands are using NFTs for marketing in several ways. These include:

1. Limited-Edition NFTs

Many brands are introducing limited-edition NFTs, particularly with the intent to honor their most loyal customers. Frequently, companies associate these NFTs with special events or promotions, and they use them to grant access to unique discounts or experiences. 

2. Collectibles

Companies are developing collectibles that are linked to their products or services. They can trade these collectibles on secondary markets, which provides the company with a new revenue source.

3. Social Media Campaigns

Companies are also incorporating them into social media campaigns to increase the buzz and engagement. For instance, a brand can hold a contest in which customers can win an NFT by posting their favorite product on social media.

4. Charity Auctions

Companies are using NFTs to collect funds for charities. They make limited-edition NFTs and auction them to the highest bidder, with the money benefiting a charity of their choice.

ALSO READ: Is Inbound Marketing the Strategy You Need to Boost Sales?

How Can Businesses Start With NFT Marketing?

For those who want to foray into NFT marketing, here are some tips you can follow:

1. Learn About NFTs

As a beginner, a person needs to gain a basic understanding of NFTs, how they work, and their possible applications in marketing.

2. Define Your Goals

Whether a business wants to raise brand awareness or engage customers or earn revenue with NFT sales, define the goals related to NFT marketing as this will assist you in developing a focused and effective plan.

3. Determine Your Target Audience

Identify the target audience and their interests. This proves helpful in developing NFTs that are relevant and appealing to them.

4. Create a Strategy for Your NFTs

Create a plan for generating your NFTs. Ensure that they are original, compelling, and in line with the brand values. Consider collaborating with a blockchain developer or platform to assure the security and transparency of the NFTs.

5. Market Your NFTs 6. Monitor and Optimize

Keep an eye on the results of the NFT marketing campaign and make adjustments to the plan accordingly. To optimize NFT marketing activities, analyze statistics such as engagement rates, sales, and consumer feedback.

A Quick NFT Marketing Checklist

Following are some of the essentials to keep in mind while marketing an NFT:

Define the audience first, then learn about their demographics, hobbies, behaviors, and purchasing habits

Create a unique and intriguing story to go with your NFT by concentrating on the features, benefits, and value it offers to your target audience

Choose the best NFT marketplace or platform for your NFT and audience

Make an optimal NFT listing with high-quality photographs, a thorough description, and precise metadata

Using analytic tools, monitor the success of the NFT marketing activities and discover areas for improvement

Is NFT Marketing Investment Worth it?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors such as individual business objectives, target demographic, budget, and so on. Following are some factors to think about when deciding whether NFT marketing is worthwhile or not:

NFTs have the ability to produce revenue via sales, auctions, and secondary markets. If a business believes there is a high demand for its NFTs among the target audience, then NFT marketing can be a good investment

This approach effectively promotes brand awareness and engagement to the target audience that is interested in collectibles or digital art

If a business wants to promote a brand and engage with customers in new and exciting ways, NFT marketing is an option

NFT marketing can be costly, particularly if a business develops high-quality digital products or collaborates with influencers or blockchain engineers. It is critical to examine whether the potential ROI or brand benefits outweigh the investment costs

Understand the World of Marketing with Emeritus

By Mikhil Pathak

Write to us at [email protected]

Using Rubrics As A Metacognitive Strategy

Teachers in grades K to 2 can use rubrics to guide students to plan, monitor, and evaluate their learning.

Research from the Education Endowment Foundation finds that if students develop and apply metacognitive strategies, there’s potential for a large positive impact on learning. Planning, monitoring, and evaluating are metacognitive strategies that guide students to think about what they need to do for their learning, check how well they’re doing, and then evaluate the results.

How can teachers harness the learning power of metacognition in younger learners, ages 5 to 7? We can collaborate with students to guide them to develop awareness of metacognition strategies and their impact on learning and apply these strategies throughout their learning careers. Using a rubric, often confined to the assessment part of learning, can support the metacognitive strategy of planning, monitoring, and evaluating.

We can use rubrics before, during, and after a learning experience. When we utilize this common classroom tool more effectively and more extensively, the metacognitive strategy of planning, monitoring, and evaluating will become embedded in the learning process.

In the first example below, we guide young learners to plan for learning. Imagine, for a unit on buildings, that children have been learning about traditional homes from around the world, thinking about why they’re the shape they are and why certain materials were used. To develop design technology skills, they’re tasked with designing and creating a model, selecting from a range of construction materials. The criterion for success of the model (task specific) is that the real-life materials can be identified from the model. The rubric supports skills development—in this instance, being able to explore ways of constructing a design.

To help make the rubric accessible and promote planning for learning, the teacher displays the rubric and poses questions related to skills development at the mastery level. Together the teacher and students can find the answers in the rubric.

Mastery level indicators

I can:

Try out different tools and materials for making parts of a design

Keep on trying when I am making parts for a design in different ways

Think about how well things went with the planning and making of my design

Talk about how one way of making the design might be better than another

(The above rubric text is reproduced by permission from the International Curriculum Association.)

Teacher questions

To master this skill:

Will you just try one way of making your model? (No)

Will you test different materials/media to see which is best? (Yes)

Will you demonstrate resilience and keep trying when things don’t work out how you want? (Yes)

Will you talk to other learners to further develop your ideas? (Yes)

The children then share with a partner how they’ll approach designing and making their model. In this way, they’re verbalizing their plan for learning and applying a metacognitive strategy.

The teacher can also guide monitoring by pausing learners partway through the activity and asking the same questions but in the past tense. Here are some examples:

Have you tried more than one way of making your model?  

Have you tested different materials?

Have you been resilient even when things didn’t work out?

Have you talked to other learners to further develop your ideas? 

To develop awareness of the metacognitive strategy, ask the children if seeing the rubric and discussing their plans helped them with their learning. This process of reflection promotes knowledge of metacognitive strategies and their impact on learning.

Using rubrics for assessing learning is a common classroom practice; using rubrics for evaluating shifts the focus from assessing the outcome to improving future learning. In the same unit of learning about buildings, children can develop their skills as historians. During a field trip around the local area looking at municipal, industrial, and commercial buildings, children can practice the skill of selecting and recording relevant information about the past.

This may involve taking notes and photographs, recording interviews, or interpreting maps and artifacts. Each child can then apply these skills to share the history of their own home with a peer. Children could record themselves talking about their home and the sources they used and then evaluate using a rubric like the one below—for example, highlighting what they’ve shown they can do. Evaluating will then feed into planning as learners consider what they could do more of or do differently next time they are being a historian.

Mastery level indicators

I can:

Talk about how one type of historical information is better or worse than another

List the information that has helped me with my history learning

Look carefully at an object from the past to help my research

Compare two sources to find what is the same or different

Match information to research questions and ignore anything that’s not useful

Developing level indicators

I can:

Explain why a picture is a helpful type of information or not

Decide which types of information will help me to find out about an aspect of the past

Find the answers to questions by carefully looking at the source

Write down or draw a picture of any helpful information about the past that I have found

Beginning level indicators

I can:

Decide which pictures will help me to find out about an aspect of the past

Choose sources that will help me to answer a question

Find information in a given source to answer a question

(The above rubric text is reproduced by permission from the International Curriculum Association.) 

The examples above are just one way to embed metacognition into learning while using rubrics in more diverse ways.

What Is Digital Marketing: A Detailed Study With Components & Strategy

What is Digital Marketing: A Detailed Study with Components & Strategy

Well, your customer is on the Internet today and that’s the right place to connect with them at the right time. Here, digital marketing is the solution you should opt for.

So, what is digital marketing?

Well, if you are marketing products or services using one or another electronic device or on the Internet, you are leveraging the benefits of digital marketing. Here, you can make good use of different digital channels such as search engines, email, social media, websites, and more to connect with your current or prospective customers.

Digital marketing is equally beneficial for local businesses or big industries as it gives freedom to connect with the end-user effortlessly where they are (on the Internet).

What is the difference between digital marketing and online marketing?

Well, digital marketing could be divided into two parts i.e. online and offline marketing.

Offline marketing includes platforms like radio, television, phone, billboards, or similar mediums.

What is the difference between digital marketing and inbound marketing?

In this context, inbound marketing is a process followed by marketers to use online content to attract target audiences/customers onto their websites. Here, marketers try to provide useful content that is helpful to solve customer’s queries and fulfill their needs. You can consider inbound marketing as a methodology that is used to attract, engage, and delight customers using different digital marketing assets.

While inbound marketers try to attract customers to their websites, outbound marketers try to send marketing messages to as many people as possible no matter whether they are relevant or welcomed.

On the other hand, digital marketing could be used as an umbrella term for all online marketing tactics no matter whether they are inbound or outbound.

What is the difference between digital marketing and Internet marketing?

As discussed, digital marketing could be separated into two major parts i.e. online marketing and offline marketing. Both consists of various tactics. Internet marketing solely relies on marketing products & services using Internet. Here, your sole idea is to attract, engage, and delight your customers by reaching them through Internet on their device.

Digital Marketing Components

As we have discussed digital marketing, it’s time to know about the key components of digital marketing. Digital marketing can be broadly categorized into two categories i.e. online marketing and offline marketing, that we have already discussed.

As we move further, we will cover key elements of digital marketing vis-à-vis online marketing.

Key Elements of Online Marketing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Content Marketing

Email Marketing

Affiliate Marketing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

We can elaborate “SEO as a process to optimize online content for search engines. All this is done to get better visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). Here, you may target specific keywords or bunch of keywords to rank.”

Let’s take this post as an example, here, this post can rank for multiple keywords like “what is digital marketing”, broad term “digital marketing”, “digital marketing components”, “digital marketing examples” “online marketing” and similar terms.

SEO could be divided into three important parts including on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. In addition to that, black hat and white hat SEO techniques are followed by different marketers. While white hat SEO techniques are highly recommended, black hat techniques may cause serious damage to your site reputation in the long-term.

We have discussed more about SEO in this beginner’s guide to SEO.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing or SMM could be described as a process to connect & communicate with people in social context on different digital platforms. It is done to create brand awareness, lead generation, and attract end-user in real-time.

While the majority of people are on social media platforms, it becomes necessary for businesses to contact their users on these platforms. Social media marketing (SMM) not only helps increase brand awareness, but it also boosts website traffic and generate more sales for you. Here, you need to post right content on the right platform at the right time to attract more users.

We have discussed more about social media marketing in this beginner’s guide to SMM.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The primary benefits of using search engine marketing are that you can use it to reach targeted audience, it delivers quick results, better for testing, accurate results tracking, and more.

We have discussed search engine marketing (SEM) in detail in this beginner’s guide to SEM.

Content Marketing

When you are generating brand awareness through content, it is content marketing.

Pretty simple, right?

Well, ahead of this quick definition, content marketing should be elaborated in two major parts.

Content Strategy

Content Marketing

Here, content strategy helps find answers to what, how, why, and when about content creation. Moreover, it also helps manage, update, and archive content when needed.

When it comes to content marketing, it simply focuses on tactics and execution of content strategy. Here, you need to create & curate content, edit it, and market it with all available means. You may find written content to educate, update, or entertain. You may also find different content types including blog posts, audio, video, podcasts, Infographics, and more. There are numerous benefits of content marketing as it helps add brand value, it is also cost-effective technique, it helps build relationship with user, it brings traffic & business, and more.

We have discussed more about content marketing in this beginner’s guide to content marketing.

Email Marketing

It is important to remember that subscribers you have chosen to send email have personally opted-in to receive an email from you. It should also have some value for them. To create an effective email marketing campaign a few things you should remember includes:

Personalize the email content

Use responsive designs

Interactive call-to-action, and more.

HubSpot has well-described email marketing in this guide.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is simply selling others products to earn quick commission. Here, you put your marketing efforts to help sell products of others on your blog, website, social media platform, or on other medium.

It includes four important parties including the merchant, the network, the publisher, and the customer. While two important parties’ seller and the affiliate marketer makes it possible to create & sell product other parties are also important to complete the process.

Neil Patel has well-discussed affiliate marketing in his blog.

How to create a digital marketing strategy?

Now that we know digital marketing plays a crucial role to help build your brand today. Let’s discuss how to create a digital marketing strategy that should deliver results.

Work on buyer persona

According to HubSpot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer”.

Here, you perform market research and gather real-data to create this buyer persona for your business. To build buyer persona important elements you should consider includes:

Customer’s demographics

Goals, motivations, and behavior patterns.

Here, you should perform detailed study to get better results.

Identify your goals

Identify existing marketing assets you have

Next is to evaluate your existing digital channels and assets you own. It will help streamline your efforts and get effective results. Here, you need to identify:

Owned media that your company or brand already owns like website, social media profiles, etc.

Earned media includes your brand mentions on third-party sites through PR, guest posts, reviews, etc.

Audit

In the next step, you will need to audit all your owned, earned, and paid media campaigns to get a clear picture of where you stand and how to go ahead. Here, you need to determine which media is working fine and which ones you should include in your digital marketing campaign.

Create well-informed digital marketing plan

Now that you know everything about your buyer persona, you have set goals, identified existing marketing assets, and audited them, it’s time to draw a well-informed digital marketing plan. To do this, you can use the best marketing tools to run different campaigns successfully.

Conclusion

Now that you know what digital marketing is and how important it is today to bring business, it’s time you should create a well-informed digital marketing strategy to get more business.

If you are a digital marketing company owner or even planning to run Google digital marketing campaign at a basic level, this guide could be of great use for you.

Remember, investing in digital marketing strategy today can help you grow business tomorrow.

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Dinesh Lakhwani

It’s Never Too Early To Start Protecting Your Hearing

The world is a noisy place. Traffic, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, music, industrial machines, jet planes, hairdryers—all are normal parts of life and all make an absolute racket. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur at levels as low as 85 decibels (dB), which is a little quieter than a lawnmower.

But normal doesn’t mean healthy. Exposure to higher sound levels increases your risk of hearing damage if your ears are unprotected. Being near a gunshot or a jet plane taking off can immediately damage your hearing and may even rupture an ear drum. A rock concert or emergency vehicle siren can cause problems in less than eight seconds. At 90 dB, the maximum safe exposure for unprotected ears is about four hours, according to a graphic from the Sight and Hearing Association.

The problem is, you may not be aware you have lost some of your hearing, even though the loss would show up on a hearing test, explains Si Chen, assistant professor in the University of Florida College of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology. The negative effect of noise may not be obvious until five to 20 years after exposure. Hearing damage is cumulative, so repeated exposure to loud sounds will continue to degrade your hearing.

[Related: Hidden hearing loss is hitting people of all ages]

“Generally speaking, rock concerts are too loud,” Chen says. “Many people come out of these concerts with their ears ringing, a sign the concert was too loud and damaging to the hearing. The main problem is most people don’t measure the loudness level and they may experience the consequences of hearing loss many years later.” Trust your instincts: If you feel tempted to put your fingers in your ears in any noisy place, like a football stadium, the noise level is probably too high to be safe.

You can also lose some hearing from listening to music through earbuds or headphones at too high a volume. If you’re hooked up to a smartphone, Chen says there are apps that will monitor the sound levels you are being exposed to. Apple, for example, has the Apple Watch Noise app, which syncs with the iOS Health app and can track environmental noise. Even if you don’t have a smartwatch, Apple’s built-in Health app will track headphone decibel output (find this data in the app, under Hearing). Other apps, like Sound Meter for Android, measure noise through your phone’s microphone. They can pick up environmental sounds, as well as headphone levels if you put your earbuds up to the mic.

For other devices, like portable radios, take cues from your environment. If you are walking outdoors, and you cannot hear the traffic or birds around you, the sound is likely too loud. You can also buy volume-limiting headphones that will do the job for you.

The risks you take by ignoring your ears

Even if the possibility of losing your hearing doesn’t seem like a big deal, you really should start thinking about it. “Hearing damage or hearing loss is not reversible in most people,” Chen says. “Subtle hearing loss can accumulate over time, so most people don’t realize they have significant hearing loss until it is too late.” Once hearing is impaired, there is no way to restore it to its original sharpness because the inner ear cells required for hearing cannot be regenerated or repaired. Using a hearing aid is the primary option for regaining hearing.

It’s not just older adults who have to worry about damaged ears, either. Hearing loss from noise exposure is becoming more common in children, with about 12 percent of kids having noise-induced hearing loss, Chen says. This can contribute to delays in speech and language development as well as learning difficulties.

The effects on older patients are similarly detrimental, Chen says. Those with significant hearing loss often begin to withdraw from social situations that require hearing for conversation and end up having less social interaction, she says, adding that research is underway to evaluate the impact of hearing loss on depression and dementia.

Easy ways to protect your hearing

There are two types of equipment that will protect your ears from loud sounds: ear plugs and earmuffs. Ear plugs fit inside the ear while earmuffs cover the entire outer ear. Chen says both provide good ear protection, so choose the one you prefer. Just know that plugs won’t work as well if they’re not inserted properly, so earmuffs might be easier to use. In a very loud environment, like a gun range, Chen recommends wearing both at the same time.

Another simple way to protect your hearing is to leave noisy places and go somewhere quieter. At nightclubs, sit far away from the band or the loudspeakers. If your car’s muffler is noisy, get it repaired. Yes, the world is noisy. You can enjoy living in it and hearing everything you desire if you take the right precautions.

Fedramp Certification: What Is It, Why It Matters, And Who Has It

FedRAMP stands for the “Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.” Find out if you need to become FedRAMP authorized.

Hacked celebrity camera rolls. State-based cyberespionage. And everything in between. Data security has a huge range of applications. And it’s a major concern for everyone who uses or supplies cloud-based services.

When government data is involved, those concerns can reach the level of national security. That’s why the U.S. government requires all cloud services used by federal agencies to meet a meticulous set of security standards known as FedRAMP.

So just what is FedRAMP, and what does it entail? You’re in the right place to find out.

Bonus: Read the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

What is FedRAMP?

FedRAMP stands for the “Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.” It standardizes security assessment and authorization for cloud products and services used by U.S. federal agencies.

The goal is to make sure federal data is consistently protected at a high level in the cloud.

Getting FedRAMP authorization is serious business. The level of security required is mandated by law. There are 14 applicable laws and regulations, along with 19 standards and guidance documents. It’s one of the most rigorous software-as-a-service certifications in the world.

Here’s a quick introduction:

FedRAMP has been around since 2012. That’s when cloud technologies really began to replace outdated tethered software solutions. It was born from the U.S. government’s “Cloud First” strategy. That strategy required agencies to look at cloud-based solutions as a first choice.

Before FedRAMP, cloud service providers had to prepare an authorization package for each agency they wanted to work with. The requirements were not consistent. And there was a lot of duplicate effort for both providers and agencies.

FedRAMP introduced consistency and streamlined the process.

Now, evaluations and requirements are standardized. Multiple government agencies can reuse the provider’s FedRAMP authorization security package.

Initial FedRAMP uptake was slow. Only 20 cloud service offerings were authorized in the first four years. But the pace has really picked up since 2023, and there are now 204 FedRAMP authorized cloud products.

Source: FedRAMP

FedRAMP is controlled by a Joint Authorization Board (JAB). The board is made up of representatives from:

the Department of Homeland Security

the General Services Administration, and

the Department of Defense.

The program is endorsed by the U.S. government Federal Chief Information Officers Council.

Why is FedRAMP certification important?

All cloud services holding federal data require FedRAMP authorization. So, if you want to work with the federal government, FedRAMP authorization is an important part of your security plan.

FedRAMP is important because it ensures consistency in the security of the government’s cloud services—and because it ensures consistency in evaluating and monitoring that security. It provides one set of standards for all government agencies and all cloud providers.

Cloud service providers that are FedRAMP authorized are listed in the FedRAMP Marketplace. This marketplace is the first place government agencies look when they want to source a new cloud-based solution. It’s much easier and faster for an agency to use a product that’s already authorized than to start the authorization process with a new vendor.

So, a listing in the FedRAMP marketplace makes you much more likely to get additional business from government agencies. But it can also improve your profile in the private sector.

That’s because the FedRAMP marketplace is visible to the public. Any private sector company can scroll through the list of FedRAMP authorized solutions.

It’s a great resource when they’re looking to source a secure cloud product or service.

FedRAMP authorization can make any client more confident about the security protocols. It represents an ongoing commitment to meeting the highest security standards.

FedRAMP authorization significantly boosts your security credibility beyond the FedRAMP Marketplace, too. You can share your FedRAMP authorization on social media and on your website.

The truth is that most of your clients probably don’t know what FedRAMP is. They don’t care whether you’re authorized or not. But for those large clients who do understand FedRAMP – in both the public and private sectors – lack of authorization may be a deal-breaker.

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What does it take to be FedRAMP certified?

There are two different ways to become FedRAMP authorized.

1. Joint Authorization Board (JAB) Provisional Authority to Operate

In this process, the JAB issues a provisional authorization. That lets agencies know the risk has been reviewed.

It’s an important first approval. But any agency that wants to use the service still has to issue their own Authority to Operate.

This process is best suited for cloud services providers with high or moderate risk. (We’ll dive into risk levels in the next section.)

Here’s a visual overview of the JAB process:

Source: FedRAMP

2. Agency Authority to Operate

In this process, the cloud services provider establishes a relationship with a specific federal agency. That agency is involved throughout the process. If the process is successful, the agency issues an Authority to Operate letter.

Source: FedRAMP

Steps to FedRAMP authorization

No matter which type of authorization you pursue, FedRAMP authorization involves four main steps:

Package development. First, there’s an authorization kick-off meeting. Then the provider completes a System Security Plan. Next, a FedRAMP-approved third-party assessment organization develops a Security Assessment Plan.

Assessment. The assessment organization submits a Security Assessment report. The provider creates a Plan of Action & Milestones.

Authorization. The JAB or authorizing agency decides whether the risk as described is acceptable. If yes, they submit an Authority to Operate letter to the FedRAMP project management office. The provider is then listed in the FedRAMP Marketplace.

Monitoring. The provider sends monthly security monitoring deliverables to each agency using the service.

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FedRAMP authorization best practices

The process of achieving FedRAMP authorization can be tough. But it’s in the best interest of everyone involved for cloud service providers to succeed once they start the authorization process.

To help, FedRAMP interviewed several small businesses and start-ups about lessons learned during authorization. Here are their seven best tips for successfully navigating the authorization process:

Understand how your product maps to FedRAMP – including a gap analysis.

Get organizational buy-in and commitment – including from the executive team and technical teams.

Find an agency partner – one that is using your product or is committed to doing so.

Spend time accurately defining your boundary. That includes:

internal components

connections to external services, and

the flow of information and metadata.

Think of FedRAMP as a continuous program, rather than just a project with a start and end date. Services must be continuously monitored.

Carefully consider your authorization approach. Multiple products may require multiple authorizations.

The FedRAMP PMO is a valuable resource. They can answer technical questions and help you plan your strategy.

FedRAMP offers templates to help cloud service providers prepare for FedRAMP compliance.

What are the categories of FedRAMP compliance?

FedRAMP offers four impact levels for services with different kinds of risk. They’re based on the potential impacts of a security breach in three different areas.

Confidentiality: Protections for privacy and proprietary information.

Integrity: Protections against modification or destruction of information.

Availability: Timely and reliable access to data.

The first three impact levels are based on Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 199 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The fourth is based on NIST Special Publication 800-37. The impact levels are:

Low-Impact Software-as-a-Service (LI-SaaS), based on 36 controls. For “systems that are low risk for uses like collaboration tools, project management applications, and tools that help develop open-source code.” This category is also known as FedRAMP Tailored.

Does the service operate in a cloud environment?

Is the cloud service fully operational?

Is the cloud service a Software as a Service (SaaS), as defined by NIST SP 800-145, The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing?

The cloud service does not contain personally identifiable information (PII), except as needed to provide a login capability (username, password and email address)?

Is the cloud service low-security-impact, as defined by FIPS PUB 199, Standards for Security Categorization of Federal Information and Information Systems?

Is the cloud service hosted within a FedRAMP-authorized Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), or is the CSP providing the underlying cloud infrastructure?

Keep in mind that achieving FedRAMP compliance is not a one-off task. Remember the Monitoring stage of FedRAMP authorization? That means you’ll need to submit regular security audits to ensure you stay FedRAMP compliant.

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Examples of FedRAMP-certified products

There are many types of FedRAMP-authorized products and services. Here are a few examples from cloud service providers you know and may already use yourself.

Hootsuite

As of March 2023, Hootsuite is an officially FedRAMP-authorized social media management dashboard. A number of major government agencies, including The US Department of the Interior, the Department of State, and FEMA use Hootsuite’s software to achieve a wide range of federally-related objectives.

Former CEO of Hootsuite, Tom Keiser, said of the official designation:

“With the world relying more heavily on social networks for communication, community, and global e-commerce, it’s more important than ever to ensure our security practices are constantly evolving to meet a rigorous set of standards. With our FedRAMP ATO, the US Federal Government, and all Hootsuite customers, can feel confident that we are constantly improving on our security practices.”

Read more about how Hootsuite is the #1 trusted social media management tool for government agencies or book a free demo (no commitments necessary).

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Amazon Web Services

There are two AWS listings in the FedRAMP Marketplace. AWS GovCloud is authorized at the High level. AWS US East/West is authorized at the Moderate level.

— AWS for Government (@AWS_Gov) October 18, 2023

AWS GovCloud has a whopping 292 authorizations. AWS US East/West has 250 authorizations. That’s far more than any other listing in the FedRAMP Marketplace.

Adobe Analytics

Adobe Analytics was authorized in 2023. It is used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s authorized at the LI-SaaS level.

Adobe actually has several products authorized at the LI-SaaS level. (Like Adobe Campaign and Adobe Document Cloud.) They also have a couple of products authorized at the Moderate level:

Adobe Connect Managed Services

Adobe Experience Manager Managed Services.

Adobe is currently in the process of moving from FedRAMP Tailored authorization to FedRAMP Moderate authorization for Adobe Sign.

— AdobeSecurity (@AdobeSecurity) August 12, 2023

Remember that it’s the service, not the service provider, that gets authorization. Like Adobe, you might have to pursue multiple authorizations if you offer more than one cloud-based solution.

Slack

Authorized in May of this year, Slack has 21 FedRAMP authorizations. The product is authorized at the Moderate level. It’s used by agencies including:

the Centers for Disease Control and Protection,

the Federal Communications Commission, and

the National Science Foundation.

— Slack (@SlackHQ) August 13, 2023

Slack originally received FedRAMP Tailored authorization. Then, they pursued Moderate authorization by partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Slack makes sure to call attention to the security benefits of this authorization for private sector clients on its website:

“This latest authorization translates to a more secure experience for Slack customers, including private-sector businesses that don’t require a FedRAMP-authorized environment. All customers using Slack’s commercial offerings can benefit from the heightened security measures required to achieve FedRAMP certification.”

Trello Enterprise Cloud

Trello was just granted Li-SaaS authorization in September. Trello is so far used only by the General Services Administration. But the company is looking to change that, as seen in their social posts about their new FedRAMP status:

— Trello by Atlassian (@trello) October 12, 2023

Zendesk

Also authorized in May, Zendesk is used by:

the Department of Energy,

the Federal Housing Finance Agency

the FHFA Office of the Inspector General, and

the General Services Administration.

The Zendesk Customer Support and Help Desk Platform has Li-Saas authorization.

— Mikkel Svane (@mikkelsvane) May 22, 2023

FedRAMP for social media management

Hootsuite is FedRAMP authorized. Government agencies can now easily work with the global leader in social media management to engage with citizens, manage crisis communications, and deliver services and information via social media.

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See why Hootsuite is the #1 social media tool for government. Engage citizens, manage crises, and reduce risk online.

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