An Exclusive with Element’s New Public Relations Manager

With more than 15 years of experience in publicity and PR, Element’s new public relations manager, Kristen Schremp, is no stranger to the world of perfectly-crafted pitches and cutting-edge campaign strategies. We sat down to learn more about the Seattle-born caffeine junkie’s favorite destinations and what makes a great public relations campaign.

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The Content Marketer’s Dilemma: Educate, Entertain, or Sell?

Everyone in your company wants to get something different out of content creation.

  • SEO specialist: Better rankings, backlinks, and more traffic.
  • Social media marketer: More likes, shares, and comments.
  • Public relations director: Lots of press coverage and brand awareness.
  • Sales reps: More qualified leads with contact information.
  • The boss: Just wants to know how it’s going to affect the bottom line.

Meantime, the content marketer wishes she could just sit back at her computer and create cool stuff instead of worrying so much about trying to make everyone happy.

First, let’s get one thing straight. You should be creating content for your target audience, not for the people on your marketing team. However, there are still decisions to make concerning what kind of content you should develop.

So, does the best content marketing educate people who have questions, entertain an audience, or sell products and services to prospects? The answer … is yes.

Continue reading The Content Marketer’s Dilemma: Educate, Entertain, or Sell?

Content Marketing Specialist
Kasey Steinbrinck has been creating content since he was just a little kid, writing stories and making radio shows on his Fisher Price tape recorder. He went on to produce local television and wrote for an area newspaper before discovering the power of telling stories online. Kasey worked as a content marketer, blogger, and copywriter for two ecommerce companies before joining Element in 2015.

Moose-Tested Cabin Fever Cures on Instagram

Above: My cousin Elkhart, basking in sunshine on St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Follow him: @themeaderingmoose.

“Spring” in Wisconsin, am I right? The long winter and at-times frigid spring have taken a toll on the Element office, and we’re itching to travel to sunnier pastures.

We’re short on frequent-flyer miles, so we’re taking a trip to exotic locales via some awesome Instagram accounts! Destination Instagram accounts are the digital equivalent of a hot mug of Canuck’s Cocoa (patent pending) on a chilly spring day. So, the next time you’re down with a bout of cabin fever, cozy up to these accounts:

Continue reading Moose-Tested Cabin Fever Cures on Instagram

The Unofficial Element Spokes-Moose
Canuck is a surprisingly intelligent and humorous character that could talk your ear off. He loves life, learning new things and, most of all, sharing new insight with people. He’s adjusted well since emigrating to the U.S. from Canada and settling down at Element. In fact, he’s taken strongly to blogging about marketing, branding, social media, and the Element office happenings. He’s still very loyal to his homeland, insisting that hockey is the only real-man’s sport, pancakes are acceptable at any meal, and Canadian beer is superior to the swill made everywhere else.

Hit Your Target! Using the Right B2B Strategy to Reach an Audience

More Wisconsin businesses are starting to see the value in reaching their target audience through content marketing. That means creating articles, videos, graphics, and all sorts of media designed to draw attention to your company and establish your expertise on a given topic.

However, any company that jumps right into content marketing without a plan is making a huge mistake. There’s much more to it than setting up a blog and getting on social media.

Strategy is at the core of any marketing effort. Without the right strategy, it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s unlikely your efforts will grow your business in any significant way.

So, where do you start?

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Principal/Agency Director

We Made a Beer! { FINAL PROOF }

What does a blend of creative juices, fresh hops, and heart & soul taste like?

As a longtime supporter of Wisconsin’s craft beer industry, Element has always offered our clients fresh brew on tap as well as bottles from our well-stocked D.B.F. (Dedicated Beer Fridge). However, we’ve now upped our “beer geek” cred a few levels higher—we brewed a unique Element beer!

Final Proof is Element’s statement beverage; an experimental beer that uses uncommon ingredients to match how we push limits to help our clients succeed. Never known as an agency to create something expected, we envisioned a beer with lemongrass, ginger, and fresh hops grown on Element’s back deck.

Continue reading We Made a Beer! { FINAL PROOF }

Copywriter/Asst. Creative Director
Eric’s been doing this copy thing for a while; over 25 years now. He understands that proofreading, like any skill, requires focus and practice. Eric’s been knocking out creative copy with few errors (nobody’s perfect) at Element since 2009. And, he feels somewhat uncomfortable writing in the third person.

What Top Ten ’90s Songs Can Teach You About Google Adwords

Hey … remember the ’90s?

It’s hard to believe Google was nothing more than a big idea that founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had in 1998. I wonder what music they were listening to?

As Element’s Director of Digital Marketing, it’s my job to stay up to date on digital advertising strategies, and Google AdWords is easily one of the most important platforms. Keeping up with best practices allows us to provide our clients with the expertise they need for success online.

I also happen to consider myself somewhat of an expert on ’90s music. So why not combine AdWords and ’90s pop songs?

Here’s what we can learn about Google AdWords from 10 hit songs.

Continue reading What Top Ten ’90s Songs Can Teach You About Google Adwords

Director of Digital Marketing
Officially, Derek is Element's Digital Marketing Director, specializing in search engine optimization, social media marketing, and website user experience design. However, outside the office, Derek cannot be pinned down to a single title, so let's go with "happy-hour-turned-late-nighter," "driveway fire-starter," "fins-up-Parrotheader," "world traveler," "Frisbee-throwing-dog-lover," and "up-to-the-minute digital dominator."

Trick or Traits – Match Your Favorite Halloween Candy to your Perfect Job at Element

October 31st is right around the corner, and the team at Element is gearing up for the big day. To help get our followers into the Halloween spirit, we compiled a list of some classic candy favorites and conducted some very in-depth Googling to determine what candy preferences say about your personality. Ready to find out whether you are salty or sweet? Take a look at the selections below, pick your favorite, and see with whom at Element you might pair with best ….

halloween infographic

Skittles- Colorful and fun, those who enjoy Skittles as their favorite Halloween treat are happy-go-lucky and optimistic. With a flair for all things vibrant, you relate best with our Designers who have an eye for just the right color, pattern, and design.

Smarties- Sweet and always a great treat, this candy was designed for the diehard Type A’s who can’t help being helpful. Around Element, that organization and dedication can be found in our Account Executives, Account Assistants, and Business Managers who give sweet a little extra kick.

Milky Way- As a jack-of-all-trades candy, Milky Way has it all. It’s a sweet filled center with caramel and comes in light and dark chocolate. It’s the multitasking madman of the candy jar and people who love it usually are too. Known for your knowledge in a variety of fields, you relate best to Element’s Digital Marketing Specialists who know their stuff when it comes to digital marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, and more.

Tootsie Roll- A beloved Halloween staple, trick-or-treating just wouldn’t be the same without this Halloween sweet. Those who enjoy this famous classic treat are trusted individuals who make a big difference every day. In Element, these individuals are our Agency Owners who have shaped Element’s path from the very beginning.

Gummy Bears- Gummy Bear enthusiasts are fun-loving individuals who make going to work (or any place for that matter) a barrel of laughs. These individuals aren’t all fun and games, however. They also have the drive to make things stick, much like Element’s Copywriter who can turn jumbles into jargon and scribbles into scripts.

Hershey’s Bar- If candy had nobility, this would be it! Much like a king, individuals who favor Hershey’s bars are stable, quiet, and able to solve complex problems with ease. With the ability to talk technical, you relate best to our Programmers who slay coding and programming like a dragon.

Cricket Lollipops- Those who favor the most unique Halloween candy selection are outside-of-the-box thinkers who often offer interesting and unique perspectives on solving problems. These individuals are often at the forefront of what’s new and trending. At Element, you can find our Director of Public Relations shedding light on interesting products and services while offering tips on the new and noteworthy.

The Unofficial Element Spokes-Moose
Canuck is a surprisingly intelligent and humorous character that could talk your ear off. He loves life, learning new things and, most of all, sharing new insight with people. He’s adjusted well since emigrating to the U.S. from Canada and settling down at Element. In fact, he’s taken strongly to blogging about marketing, branding, social media, and the Element office happenings. He’s still very loyal to his homeland, insisting that hockey is the only real-man’s sport, pancakes are acceptable at any meal, and Canadian beer is superior to the swill made everywhere else.

Speaking to Silence? Find Your Audience with LinkedIn’s Native Advertising

LinkedIn gives companies a reliable way to promote content and connect with potential leads, but being successful involves more than simply updating your company’s page.

By publishing consistent, quality content and sharing it with multiple networks, you can easily attract professionals to your company page to generate leads and position yourself as a thought leader.

But what if you’re no longer seeing a steady stream of new and engaged followers?

It’s time to try something new, but what?

Don’t be discouraged. With a niche platform like LinkedIn, your content may just need a boost to ensure it’s in front of the right audience.

Promote Your Content to the Right People
When organic distribution of your content doesn’t seem to be hitting the mark, it’s time to consider LinkedIn’s paid native advertising to reach relevant audiences. Native advertisements – also known as sponsored updates – read like an editorial and less like a display ad, which can lead to higher engagement.

These updates allow you to specifically target professionals through their newsfeed. It’ll help you attract new followers to your company page and increase engagement. Plus, it’s optimized for any device!

Element-Creative-LinkedIn-Native-Advertising-Sponsored-Post-Preview-Desktop
Create Valuable Professional Content
To get the most out of these campaigns, choose a piece of content that has “showcaseability” – meaning a great piece of professional content that makes your target audience pause and say, I want to know more about that!

This could be a new project or service announcement video, a smart infographic detailing findings from a recent study, or even a fun post that highlights your company’s culture which can attract potential employees to your page.

When you put forth the effort in making your content stand out – whether that’s adding a compelling image, a captivating title, or a clear call-to-action – people will want to share it, which will expand your total reach.

Set Campaign Goals
Once you have selected your message, define your target audience to build a paid campaign.

You will first need to pick between two paid options: cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM).

To help you decide, you need to understand your end goal. CPC is best for lead generation while CPM should be reserved for brand awareness initiatives.

Next, think about who your target audience should be. LinkedIn lets you focus your efforts on either location, industry, or job titles.

Element-Creative-LinkedIn-Native-Advertising-Find-Your-Target-Audience
Also, keep in mind that on LinkedIn, keeping target audiences specific and including more than 300,000 members, usually gets better results. In 2015, Pew Research Center reported only 25% of online adults say they use LinkedIn regularly compared to 72% who use Facebook, so a targeted approach will help ensure your content is seen by professionals not checking their LinkedIn daily.

In order to get the most out of your paid campaign, make sure you also have measured goals set before you start.

If you’re new to LinkedIn, focus on building organic campaigns emphasizing your content and distribution plans. By analyzing your organic reach, you can estimate what you’d like to see from a paid campaign.

You can also do a trial run of a sponsored campaign that lasts a few days to record some initial data. The best feature about LinkedIn is that they provide built-in analytics so you can see your campaigns in action.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Experimenting is key to understanding what works and what doesn’t. Try to switch up your content every two weeks and once you get the hang of it, promote new content up to one or two times per week.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep everything in context. If you’re a smaller business, keep your goals reasonable. Use analytics to inform your next move and constantly review your current strategy.

Looking to start a more in-depth content marketing strategy? Learn more about Element’s content marketing programs here.

References
LinkedIn’s Native Advertising
Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015, Pew Research Center

Director of Public Relations
A self-decribed chatterbox, it’s rumored that Tara was born with a phone in her hand. It was only a natural that she ended up in the marketing communications industry. With more than 12 years of industry experience, Tara specializes in campaign strategy, planning, publicity, and content marketing. In addition to socializing with just about anyone, Tara enjoys running, yoga, and watching her beloved Wisconsin Badgers. She also appreciates the occasional quiet weekend at home cooking and relaxing with her husband Ryan and daughter Julia.

8 Ways to Tell It’s Time for a New Website

Clients often ask us how frequently they should redo their website. With design and functionality trends changing constantly, it can be a challenge to determine when a site should be redesigned and programmed to stay current.

Typically, I recommend businesses reevaluate their entire site annually to make minor revisions and updates. A complete overhaul should be considered every 3-4 years.

Not sure where you stand? Here are eight questions to help determine if now is the time for a new website:

  1. Is your website search engine optimized?
    I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but if nobody can find your site, what’s the point of having one? Your website should appear in relevant web searches and be working hard to attract new visitors.
  1. Has your business strategy, product, or target audience changed since your last site launch?
    Your site should reflect your current business plan and be an accurate representation of the products and services you offer. It’s not uncommon for businesses to expand product lines or add markets, so make sure your website matches the direction your company is headed.
  1. Is it easy to find things on your site?
    Ease of use is crucial for consumers. With new trends in design and functionality, navigating a website should be effortless.
  1. Is your content overwhelming and stale?
    Content on your site should be relevant and fresh. Plus, when possible, use visuals to communicate your information in an easy, consumable way.
  1. Is your site mobile-friendly or responsive?
    According to Smart Insights, 80% of users search the Internet on smartphones. Plus, as of April 2015, Google is using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal so determine if your site is mobile-friendly with this quick test.
  1. Do images date your site?
    Stock photography with dated fashion and hairstyles can age your business as well as people’s perception of your brand. Even if your site is not due for a complete overall, updating the photography alone can freshen up the appearance.
  1. Does your traditional marketing integrate with your digital strategy?
    For brand consistency, your traditional marketing should align with, and complement, your digital strategies. Messaging and imagery should be consistent from print to your website.
  1. Is your website working as hard as it can?
    Long gone are the days of static sites. It’s time to think about how your site can act as a virtual salesperson, generating leads. Or, maybe you can increase internal efficiencies by automating processes. And, let’s not forget about using your website to recruit new talent.

Element understands all facets of marketing, including the digital world. We have an entire team dedicated to staying on top of trends, and our experts develop integrated marketing strategies blending both traditional and digital tactics.

When you’re looking for an honest opinion of your current site, call Element at 920-983-9700 for a complete evaluation and honest discussion.

Director of Account Services
Nikki Peroutka has handled account service duties at Element for more than a decade. She remembers pre-PDF days when every proof required a face-to-face client meeting, and the number of colors in an ad determined its price. This, of course, makes her feel like an old marketing-weary battle-ax. Yet, she brings a youthful, fresh perspective to overseeing all client relationships as well as managing her own accounts. When her daily Director of Account Services duties are done, she enjoys relaxing with a good magazine or book, chasing around her son Oakley, and doing DIY projects around the house.

Element Welcomes Three New Team Members

While it’s crunch time for the Green Bay Packers – they need to cut down their roster by tomorrow – we keep adding new talent to our team!

And instead of the usual office icebreaker, we emailed them a quick BuzzFeed quiz on social media habits. It’s basic knowledge these quirky quizzes tell us everything we need to know about new employees so we couldn’t resist.

Element-Creative-Receptionist-Molly-WentworthMolly Wentworth
Title: Receptionist/Account Assistant
Specialties: Customer service, account management and photography
Background: Originally from the UP, Molly is a Grand Valley State University graduate with a B.A. in photography and advertising PR. Before Element, she worked as an assistant photographer and retoucher at Evenson Photography.

element-new-employee-buzzfeed-quiz Are you truly “The Private Introvert”?
I’d say this is pretty accurate… I have friends who are constantly glued to their phones while we’re out to dinner, and it drives me crazy! I like to enjoy experiences while they’re happening instead of posting about them. But I must admit, I do love a good throwback Thursday.

What’s the one thing you can’t help but share on social media?
Pictures of my dog, Harvey. He’s just too cute! I can’t avoid the temptation when he’s decked out in Green Bay Packers apparel or helping me decorate my house for Christmas. Everyone loves him and photos of his latest adventures!

Rachel MuellerElement-Creative-Content-Marketing-Specialist-Rachel-Mueller
Title: Content Marketing Specialist
Specialties: Content marketing strategy, editorial and digital content management, and public relations
Background: A Chilton native, Rachel graduated from nearby St. Norbert College with a B.A. in communication and media studies. Her love of her alma mater turned into working for their communications office in three different roles: web and design intern, communications assistant, and interim web and social media specialist, before coming to Element.
element-new-employee-rachel-muellerSo, do you consider yourself “The Accomplished Achiever”?
Yes and no. I do tend to put more thought into big life updates when I share them with the social media world, but if I think something is culturally relevant, newsworthy or funny, I don’t hesitate to post it.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done on Facebook?
I’m very cautious when posting on social media, especially Facebook because of older family members. But, the most embarrassing thing I’ve done is the time I posted a Facebook status as if I was writing on my friend’s wall. It was up for over two hours before I noticed. I’m still a little horrified thinking about it…

Element-Creative-Art-Director-Aaron-GraffAaron Graff
Title: Art Director
Specialties: Brand and marketing design for print and digital communications
Background: Aaron is an alum of UW-Oshkosh with a B.F.A. in graphic communication. He’s worked for more than 12 years in agencies throughout Northeast Wisconsin, before landing at Element.
element-new-employee-buzzfeed-quiz-aaron-graff

Did this BuzzFeed quiz get it right?
Yup, it’s got me pegged. I primarily use Instagram and post edited, curated photos, never in-the-moment. I’ll use Facebook for big life announcements, but that’s about it.

What’s your favorite Instagram account to follow?
I follow a lot of artists, designers and makers, but my favorite would have to be @malimish_airstream. He’s a web developer with a family of five who works remotely as they travel the country in an Airstream trailer. Great photos, great locations, great captions.

Their lifestyle is kind of a retirement goal for me.

We’re ecstatic to have Molly, Rachel and Aaron on our team, and hope you’ll drop by to say hello!

Don’t forget! For more behind-the-scenes updates from Element, make sure you like us on Facebook.