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old school typewriter

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, chances are you’re as much of a lover of the written word as I am. I am a professional writer and marketer by day, and my side hustle, blogging, also involves writing. While I have an editor for the writing that I do for my clients, when I write for my blogs I have to edit myself, which is not an easy task, and not something I ever recommend. When you have written something, it is nearly impossible to catch anything but those glaring errors in your own writing. But, thanks to technology, we have access to the tools that can help us to become better writers.

Today I got an email from a woman named Jennifer who has developed just such a tool, and it’s called, Grammar Check. It’s a free grammar checker. To use it, you paste your text into the editor and then click the ‘Free Check,’ button. The tool will return spelling, style and grammar suggestions. If you press the ‘Full Check,’ button, you’ll get to try the Grammarly online grammar checker program for a free 7-day trial.

If you sign up for their free email newsletter, you’ll get a copy of, The Ultimate Grammar Guide: 120 “Must Avoid” Grammar and Vocabulary Mistakes.

Regardless of the kind of writing you do, a grammar checker is a handy tool to have at your fingertips.

 

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My readers at the productive pen blog know that I’m not about hype, and if I promote something it’s because I have tried it myself and I know firsthand that it works. A little over a year ago, I discovered a website called paper.li, which has both a free and a paid option for creating a curated newsletter that you set once and then it runs on autopilot every day or every week.

Paper.li lets you tap into the power of the social web and pull relevant content from resources such as blogs, Google+ Facebook, RSS, Twitter, Youtube and Tumbler to pull in the news that applies to your niche. You have total control over the sources that your newsletter pulls from to get content.

You can customize the colors and the font for your publication, and they provide promotional tools to help you spread the word about your newsletter and your website. The cool thing about paper.li newsletters is that they look great on your laptop, tablet and smartphone.

I used paper.li to create the, Write the Vision Daily newsletter for online writers. Subscribe here to see what I’ve been raving about: http://paper.li/evelynwrites/1327263231

Anyone who has created a newsletter by hand knows how much time and effort it takes to pull each issue together. Imagine if you could just set it up once, and then it cranks out a newsletter every day or every week like clockwork? You can always go in and make adjustments to it as you go along. I’ve gotten some really positive feedback from my readers who find my newsletter useful.

Keep on writing and be sure to share your tips and suggestions for what you’d like to see more of on this blog.

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Please enjoy this guest post by Ruth Hinds from All The Top Bananas:

 

For budding writers, the internet has opened up a whole world of new opportunities. With writing gigs becoming much more publicized and accessible to just about anyone with some skill and a broadband connection, there’s never been a better time to make a living online as a writer.

Here, we look at some tips for getting work and forging a successful career.

1. Build a diverse portfolio of your work

Before anyone considers taking you on for writing jobs, they’ll want to see what you can do. As such, you should have a portfolio of your work that you can show to any potential clients. Depending on the nature of your expertise, this might include articles, blog posts, website copy and product descriptions. If you’re just starting out, you need to make up for your lack of experience. Try writing articles and uploading them to free sites. It’s a great way to get your work published quickly and easily.

2. Sign up for freelancing sites

There are dozens of freelancing sites out there where people are looking for talent just like you. Popular ones include People Per Hour, oDesk and Freelancer. Sign up and sell your skills on your profile. You’ll be able to pitch your ideas for available contracts, and you could even be headhunted by those looking for writers with your particular skill set.

3. Develop a strong social media presence

You’d be amazed at just how many opportunities you come across when you start networking on social media. Set up your profiles and take a little time each day to schedule updates and chat about your work. Of course, you should remain professional at all time, and bear in mind that the whole world, including potential clients, can see what you’re saying. Make sure that you upload a head shot so people know who they’re talking to, and make it crystal clear in your bios what you do.

4. Network with prolific writers in your field

It makes sense that you should learn from the top writers in your field, and many will have newsletters that you can sign up for to see what they’re up to and receive their top tips for success. Wherever possible reach out to them and strike up conversation. They might even have a few trainee jobs coming up that they’re looking for up and coming talent to fill.

As you can see, increasing your chances of success isn’t rocket science. With a plan and some determination, you could quickly build up a portfolio of great contents and regular writing contracts.

Are you thinking about pursuing a career as an online writer? Which of these tips will you be putting into action?

This article was brought to you by Ruth Hinds on behalf of AllTheTopBananas. ATTB allows you to search for and browse through UK jobs in one place, from London engineer jobs to Liverpool receptionist jobs. You can also upload your CV to increase your chances of being headhunted. 

 

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Social media simply put allows a business to engage with customers instantly, it provides live market research and brand building. Social media is the new platform used to communicate a message to the consumers or the target audiences. The message could be communicated through different mediums such as social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube (which is becoming more popular), LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+; etc. Millions of people are active on these sites. Our world is becoming more digital and is easily accessible through our finger tips. Consumers are getting more engaged in creating and responding to likes, comments, tweets and posts. Consumers are using social media to communicate with each other. Nowadays consumers are using social media in replacement of traditional media such as newspaper, television, radio; etc. Social media is the new media platform of opportunities.

Social media sites can help a business to find new and creative ways to generate more sales, build relationships with potential customers and increase the customers responsiveness and effectiveness of the business service. Unfortunately, most of the businesses fail to understand the use of social media as a huge platform.

A business fails to understand social media when it cannot build trust and loyalty to its potential customers. The mistake occurs when the business uses social media to platform their own products and services and fail to connect with other business and their customers.

A business views social media solely based on the content of Facebook or Twitter, and fails to use PR or other social platforms as a tool to communicate. Just having a Facebook or Twitter account is not enough. There are other platforms like YouTube, Pinterest (to upload and share business pictures or blueprints), LinkedIn or having a corporate blog. Just doing social media well is not just about being everywhere. It’s all about selecting one or two of the most appropriate and constructive channels for your business and doing them really well.

For a business it is very important to develop a strategy for what you hope or want to achieve. What target market are you trying to engage with? Why are you using the social media platform? Do you really know why you want to use social media as your platform to reach your target group?

Social media is all about marketing. You can’t use a social media channel as a broadcasting platform. Social media is used for marketing and to get sales out of it. A business should invest time and effort into the conversation built up and service rendered to customers.

A business should focus on a social media platform to communicate the appropriate message, to make the audience aware that their brand exists. A business should have a thorough knowledge about the social media platform and how to reach out to its audiences. Businesses should know how to keep the audience engaged by using social media platforms. A business can use social networks to promote their businesses and to broadcast their messages.

A business should not only communicate to its customers through advertising, public relations or publicity is also needed. Publicity could be built through social media sites. Twitter could be the best platform for a company to talk about the business reputation and then hear people talking about your business. Give customers a reason why they should like you and connect with you on social networks.

Social media is about engaging your audience and having a good conversation it’s not just about promoting. People love to watch videos and images. You can use a smart phone to make short videos and take photos, to share for free. In order to find success with social media, you should understand your industry, your competitors, and begin to join and create conversations with your customers and colleagues on the various social media platforms.

About The Author: Brianne is a writer/blogger. She loves writing, travelling and blogging. She contributes to seomorpheus.com.

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When things are constantly changing around you it can feel a bit chaotic at times and leave you feeling dizzy and confused. With all of the changes to the Google search algorithm, content marketers can feel like they are not sure where to turn next. Well, today It is my intention to share some tips that will help you feel a bit more stable in spite of it all.

The good news is that there are some things that will never change, and that is the basic fact that Google will always reward you for creating consistently fresh, relevant and well-written content. If that’s the kind of content you produce then you can take a deep breath, wipe your brow and keep on writing.

If, on the other hand, you have been ascribing to the school of cranking out a ton of sub-standard, spun content that’s been written offshore then this blog post has some news for you.

Sekari Search & Social Optimization has come out with a spiffy new infographic that visually illustrates what you should be doing when it comes to content marketing. It covers SEO, conversion optimization, tips for creating highly shareable content and much more.

You’ll discover that Facebook & Twitter are still to most popular social media channels, with Google+, blogging, Youtube.com and LinkedIn following behind.

What you can take from all of this is not really news rather it’s a reminder that best practices still work best despite and all of the changes–you should keep on creating quality content and sharing it in social media, on blogs and on quality content directories.

 

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With the growth and development of the Internet, almost every person shops for one thing or another online. The Internet has grown into a billion dollar platform for industries to sell their products and services. Moreover, it gives a global market to even small businesses who did not have the budget to expand and reach a wider audience. Ecommerce not only includes products, but also services which were earlier limited to only brick and mortar stores. People have started buying airplane tickets and tour packages from the Internet rather than visiting a broker and paying commission. The best part is that it is not only consumers who have gained benefits from Ecommerce. Even business organizations have made huge profits since Ecommerce came into existence. Online retail and wholesale is here for the long run and it is beneficial for a business organization to understand the various benefits of having an Ecommerce website.

In this article, we will tell you about some basic benefits of having an Ecommerce website. Most of the Ecommerce web designers UK believe that an Ecommerce website is vital for every business organization’s growth and development. Moreover, experts believe that in this cut throat competition, an Ecommerce website is needed for the survival of a business organization.

Four Benefits of Having An Ecommerce Website For Your Business:

1. Easy access – Almost every person who uses a computer has access to the Internet. Therefore, it is very easy to access a lot of different websites in a short period of time. Moreover, websites can be accessed from anywhere and everywhere. Your customers do not have to take time out to visit a physical location. They can check out number of different options for a product from the comforts of their homes and this results in a lot of potential customers looking at your products every day.

2. 24/7 accessesOnline shopping has been able to attract a lot of customers because of the fact that people can check out products according to their own convenience. There is no particular time frame in which you can check products and services. When you are shopping on the Internet, you can do so at any given point of time according to your needs and preferences. Moreover, this is also beneficial for business organizations as they do not have to work in standard business hours. Their products are online 24/7 and can be bought anytime.

3. Interaction with Customers – An Ecommerce website gives a wide range of options to your customers. They can look at all your products at the same time. Moreover, it is very easy to give feedback on the Internet. With an Ecommerce website, you will always be updated about the needs and wants of your customers. You can easily interact with your customers through your website. This will ensure better quality products and you will be able to provide your customers exactly what they want.

4. Cost Cutting – Most of the ecommerce web designers UK believe that you are able to cut down costs because you do not have to spend any money on store management or intermediaries. You can directly deal with your customers and provide them with high quality products at cheaper prices.

 

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photo credit: sxc.hu John Price

School is back in session, the summer is coming to an end, and this is the time of year when we kick off the flip-flops, slip on the pumps and get back to business. If you’re a writer and you still have school-aged children at home, summer can wreak havoc on your writing schedule. Your daily word-count goals eventually go out of the window as you become occupied with keeping your kids, fed, entertained and occupied.

If you are, like me, all ready to dive back in and make your writing a priority again, it’s time to set some new priorities and guidelines for your writing practice. Here are ten tips to inspire you to crank up your writing productivity and get back on track to achieving your goals:

1. Set Daily Goals
Whether you set a daily word count goal or a page count goal, decide what you can realistically accomplish at first and set this as your goal. Now, I’m all for stretch goals that make you sweat, but for now let’s just set a goal that you can keep consistently. After a few weeks you can revisit it and see if maybe it’s time to expand that goal a bit to challenge yourself.

2. Set aside a writing space
If you don’t already have a private writing space where you can go in and close the door when it’s time to write, set aside a space in your home where you can write every day. This is important in establishing the habit of writing to be able to go to the same spot each day and write. After awhile you’re going to want a change of scenery, and that is fine. Maybe there’s a coffee shop nearby that has wifi and good soy chai, or maybe there’s a spot in your local library where you can sit at a table near an electrical outlet and write uninterrupted. Regardless of those places that you get away to to write, you need your comfortable, inspiring home base writing spot.

3. Make an appointment with yourself every day to write
Open up the calendar on your phone and set a daily appointment with an alarm for your writing session. If you have a paper calendar on your wall, mark off the days you sit down to write and your word or page count. Draw an, “X” through those days when you don’t show up and write at all. If you start seeing too many X’s on your calendar, it might be time to re-visit your commitment to your writing practice.

4. Write first thing in the morning every morning
For those people who can’t seem to find any room in their calendar to write, getting up an hour earlier in the morning solves that dilemma. Unless your work schedule doesn’t allow for it, writing first thing in the morning virtually guarantees that you will not be disturbed. An added bonus is that wonderful feeling of accomplishment that you get when you close the book on your daily word count. When you get your creative work done first thing in the morning it can energize and inspire the remainder of your day.

5. Find an Accountability Partner
Join a writing forum and make a connection with another writer who is willing to be an accountability partner for you. You don’t need this person to be your BFF, all you need is for them to agree to ask you about where you are on your writing goals, and you can do the same for them. If you are having trouble working with a peer and want to hire a coach instead, a writing coach will hold you accountable for the goals you have set for yourself, and reflect back to you when you start coming up with excuses about why you aren’t writing.

6. Get inspired & stay inspired
Do you ever feel blocked when you sit down to write? Most writers deal with writer’s block in one form or another. The best way to handle this is to prevent it. Take the time to give some thought to what inspires your creativity and keep yourself steeped in these things at all times. When you get down to the root of it, writer’s block is really just fear, or resistance, which you will have to let go of if you want to be a writer and get your work done.

Take out a piece of paper and make a list of the things that inspire you to write. Here are some of mine:

  • Attending poetry readings
  • Visiting art museums
  • Walking in the park
  • Reading poetry
  • Listening to interviews with authors
  • Painting
  • Free writing

Make your own list. Buy a book or two of writing prompts. I have one that’s got 365 days of writing prompts. There’s no rule that says you’ve got to use the prompt for that day. Just find a prompt and use it as a jumping-off point.

7. Gather your tools
Aside from your pen and notebook, or laptop, there are some other writer’s tools that might be helpful to you as you seek to establish and maintain a daily, productive writing practice:

  • Smart phone apps:

Evernote: I would not want to be without my evernote. It’s a website clipping utility that lets you store and categorize things you find online along with notes, photos and other bits of information from your daily life. Snap a photo with your phone and save it in Evernote. You can save clips of blog posts and other research. This is a great tool and it’s free.

Voice recorder
If you are walking along and a bit of inspiration strikes, pull out your phone and speak it into the voice recorder and listen to it later.

Dragon dictation
This handy app will transcribe what you say and then you can email the text to yourself.

8. Join a writing group
Writing is a solitary activity, so it’s good sometimes to interact with other writers who are on the same path. You can find an accountability partner, or just enjoy the support of being around other writers, getting their feedback and offering your expertise where you can.

9. Reward yourself at the milestones
Don’t just keep your nose to the grindstone, day in and day out. Every few weeks reward yourself when you achieve certain milestones. Buy that book everyone is talking about, or maybe a fancy pen, or a leather bound writing journal. Find small ways to encourage yourself and keep you motivated to stay on task. Of course, we know that at the heart of it, writing should be its own reward, but the promise of a fun prize can help you to push yourself towards your goals.

10. Encourage another writer
Encouragement is like food to the soul of a writer. Was it Mark Twain who said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” So often the negative, discouraging words that we have heard ring more loudly in our ears than the compliments we have received about our work. A solid, constructive compliment from another writer means more than you can imagine to someone who has been struggling to gain the confidence to write and put their work out there. Take the time to encourage someone else and you might be surprised how good it makes you feel. I can’t really say that this will directly boost your productivity as a writer, but it will make you feel good as a human being, which can only be helpful to your writing endeavors.

*Bonus Tip*
Try meditation before you sit down to write

If you don’t have a regular writing practice, this might sound a bit strange, but taking the time–five to twenty minutes or so in silent or guided meditation before you start writing can do wonders for your productivity–not just for your writing but for your whole day. Meditation quiets and calms the mind, it centers you and gives you precious moments of silence where you can connect to your Source, or just bask in the blissful, peaceful silence. Meditation has countless mental and physical health benefits, but for the writer, it can help create a lovely space in which to begin your writing each day. There’s a free, MeditationFest coming up next week where you can listen to and be inspired by some meditation masters and grab some free, guided meditation audios.

I hope you found these tips useful. Please feel free to share your favorite productivity tips, your favorite writing tools, or some encouragement in the comments. Most of all, I hope that you find a way to commit to a regular, daily writing practice.

If you found these writing tips useful, please take a moment and subscribe to our newsletter where you’ll get lots of tips and valuable information about Freelance writing, online marketing and personal development.

 

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I’m getting geared up to join Denise Wakeman tomorrow on her Virtual Blog Writing Day. Although I’ll be out of the office for a morning meeting, I will do my best to keep up later in the day. I found this infographic on her blog, and I had to share it because I got some ideas from it so I figured you would too:

PerfectBlogPost
Like this? Learn how to use psychology to get more traffic and sales with Social Triggers.

Shared via, Denise Wakeman’s blog, Build a Better Blog. You can go there to find out more about Virtual Blog Day. Leave a comment here if you plan to participate.

 

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By Yvonne Bynoe

Self-confidence is a critical element to you being able to create a profitable business.
To be clear, self-confidence isn’t about being arrogant or cocky. It is however about BELIEVING that you are valuable as a woman and capable of achieving your goals. Even if you don’t have an answer, you’re sure that you can figure it out or find the necessary resources. Most important once the way is revealed to you, you take action…IMMEDIATELY.

The problem is that many women never take the time to do the inner work that would allow them to achieve new and bigger goals in their businesses. When each month you’re scrambling for clients and struggling financially, it only reinforces your self-doubts and fears that you may not have what it takes to succeed. It’s a vicious cycle: FEAR–INACTIVITY-FAILURE-FEAR. The only way out is to retrain your mind through new belief and new actions.

Here are my 9 Tips to Boost Your Self-Confidence

1. Stop comparing yourself with other people.
There will always be some people who knows more than you or who has
more success. If you play the comparison game, you’ll come up lacking.

2. Stop putting yourself down.
You create your life through your word and actions. You can’t develop high
self-confidence and a successful life and business if you repeatedly make negative comments about yourself and your abilities. Always speak positively about yourself, whether you’re talking about your appearances, your career, your relationships, your financial situation, or any other aspects of your life.
3. Accept all compliments with “thank you.”
When you reject a compliment, the message you give yourself is that you are
not worthy of praise. Respond to all compliments with a simple Thank You.”
4. Associate with positive, supportive people.
When you are surrounded by negative people who constantly put you and
your ideas down, your confidence is lowered. However, when you
are accepted and encouraged, you feel better about yourself and therefore
will be emboldened to take new actions that will bring you closer
to your dreams.

5. Make a list of your past successes.
This doesn’t necessarily have to consist of monumental accomplishments. It can include your “minor victories,” like learning to skate, graduating from college, receiving an award or promotion, reaching a business goal, etc. Read this list often. While reviewing it, close your eyes and recreate the feelings of satisfaction and joy you experienced when you first attained each success.
6. Make a list of your positive qualities.
Are you honest? Unselfish? Helpful? Creative? Be generous with yourself and
write down at least 20 positive qualities. Again, it’s important to review this list often. Most people dwell on their inadequacies and then wonder why their life isn’t working out. Start focusing on your positive traits and you’ll stand a much better chance of achieving what you wish to achieve.
7. Get involved in work and activities you love.
It’s hard to feel good about yourself if your days are spent in work you hat. Self-confidence flourishes when you are engaged in work and activities that you enjoy and make you feel valuable. This means eliminating tasks and obligations that drain you and replacing them with activities in your work and personal life that you are passionate about and that revitalize you.

8. Be true to yourself.
Live your own life – not the life others have decided is best for you. You’ll never gain your own respect and feel good about yourself if you aren’t leading the life you want to lead. If you’re making decisions based on getting approval from friends and relatives, you aren’t being true to yourself and your self-confidence is lowered.

9. Take action!
You won’t develop higher confidence if you sit on the sidelines and back away from challenges. When you take action – regardless of the ensuing result – you feel better about yourself. When you fail to move forward because of fear and anxiety, you’ll be frustrated and unhappy – and you will undoubtedly deal a damaging blow to your self-esteem.
Creating more success in your business is a sure fire way to increase your self-confidence. Here’s a way for you to take action and attract more clients and more cash into your business. Listen to my complimentary training on about how to attract more clients and earn more cash http://www.soulfulaffluence.com/clarity-clients-and-cash-intensive/

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Summer Fun |

photo credit: Just Jefa

Welcome to the dog days of summer. On the east coast of the U.S. it’s been a sizzlingly hot summer with heat wave after heat wave keeping people indoors to escape the 90 degrees plus temperatures. But writers must write everyday despite the distractions of the oppressive heat, kids coming in and out of the house, and vacation travel. I’m a writer, so I can tell you first hand that it can be challenging to stick to a daily writing schedule when everyone around me is in fun, vaction mode. I realized that if I’m going through these challenges, there must be other writers out there who are finding it hard to keep their butt in their chairs and write during summer break. To help both of us out, I’ve come up with a list of seven creative tips that you can try to see if they help you boost your writing production this summer:

1. Connect some fun rewards to your daily word count goals. It’s like a drinking game, but instead of doing shots you’ll be writing pages. Let’s say your daily writing goal is 2,000 words. Set up a small reward for every 500 words you write. You know yourself, so you know what rewards will motivate you to be as productive as possible. Make it fun and keep it light. (Avoid using food as a reward because then I’ll have to write an article about weight loss for writers. . .)

2. Keep your writer’s notebook handy wherever you go. Make it a point to take notes and make observations wherever you go. Capture snippets of dialogue that you heard when you were eavesdropping on a nearby conversation, take notes about historic places you visit, write about new foods that you try, or new people that you meet. Take it all in because you never know what will inspire your next story or article.

3. Participate in a writing challenge or contest
National Novel Writing Month is still a few months away, but there are many other opportunities to participate in a writing challenge or contest. Here’s a few links to some summer creative writing contests:

  • be-a-better-writer.com/creative-writing-contests.html
  • wow-womenonwriting.com/contest.php
  • bookrix.com/precontest.html

4. Find a writing partner
Having a writing partner can help both of you to boost your productivity. Enlist the support of a writing buddy and share your goals with each other. Not only will this inspire you to stick to your goals, you’ll feel good about helpin your friend reach her goals.

5. Scout out some new writing locations
Don’t stay in your house staring at the same wall all of the time. Get out and find some alternative spots to write. Find a park bench, sit on the grass and write, find a table in the library, a coffee shop that’s not too loud, or your car. I heard from another writer that she would take her laptop to her car to write in order to escape the chaos and noise in the house. Sometimes a new location will spark new energy and creativity to your work. At the very least it will keep you from getting bored with your writing desk at home.

6. Take a writing class
Take a writing class from your local university or community college. You can also take an online writing class or workshop. Either way, taking a class is a great way to force yourself to write, and you get the advantage of having the instructor’s feedback on your work.

7. Be accountable for your writing goals
How often do we set goals and then after a few days blow them off? What if you had someone who would hold your feet to the proverbial fire and expect that you are going to do what you said you would do? A writing coach can do that for you, or an accountability partner can also fulfill that role.

*Bonus Tip: Use the summer to inspire your writing
Whether it’s the wildfires in the west, drought in the midwest, the heatwaves, interesting news stories, a visit to a new, or exotic location for summer vacation, let the summer season inspire your work in some way.

If you think you might benefit from working with a writing coach, please feel free to contact me. I am putting together a writing productivity program that will kick off this fall. If you are interested in really accomplishing your writing goals, send me an email and we can make that happen.

Please leave a comment with your favorite tip for kick-starting a summer writing project.

Evelyn Bourne is a writer, blogger, spiritual coach and artist. Evelyn is a heart-centered writer who is passionate about her craft. She loves showing business people how fresh, relevant content can elevate their brand and increase sales. The proud mother of three daughters, Evelyn is also a vegetarian, fine chocolate loving Yogini.
Find her on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

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