Do You Need Branded Content or a Content Brand?

Ever been to the website BabyCenter.com? If you’ve had a baby in the last few years there’s a good chance you used it while looking for answers to parenting questions.

Did you catch that Q&A with Daniel Craig about being James Bond? It was on The Red Bulletin. Are you taking the kids to see the Lego Ninjago movie that’s based on the building sets and TV show and has tons of other merchandise?

Branded content is a way to produce advertising and marketing material that provides appropriate value to a target audience while raising brand awareness and promoting a brand, product, or service at the same time.

Continue reading Do You Need Branded Content or a Content Brand?

Director of Content Marketing
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.

Boost Your Business with Smarter B2B Social Media Marketing

Element believes in supporting the local business community and developing actionable strategies that impact companies’ bottom lines. That’s why we were thrilled when asked to share ways Wisconsin manufacturers can strategize for success at the Manufacturing First Expo & Conference. The two-day event provided local companies with insights and trends on how to grow their businesses.

Continue reading Boost Your Business with Smarter B2B Social Media Marketing

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."

9 Tips to Create Brilliant Infographics for Content Marketing

That Your Customers Find Valuable

Infographics are great tools for top- or middle-of-the-funnel content. In other words, information that helps to compel or educate decision makers. They are an efficient way of sharing a mix of content, design, and data in an easily consumable piece. They are simple to scan, and with the brain processing images 60,000 times faster than it does text, it makes sense why they can be wildly effective.

We like to think of them as “tools to help buyers buy” (not sellers sell). Your infographics could be shared throughout the internet, posted to social channels, and exist as evergreen content on your company’s website. With 57 percent of purchase decisions occurring before a customer even contacts your company, it’s the perfect piece for your customers to discover.

Continue reading 9 Tips to Create Brilliant Infographics for Content Marketing

Content Marketing Specialist
Bree is a content creator with unbounded enthusiasm for mingling process and creativity. With a background in the worlds of marketing and communications, Bree is well-versed in content marketing, branding, and corporate event planning. When she's not writing, strategizing, or ideating, you’ll find her snooping in a snack cupboard or with a mouth full of food. And, while it wasn’t intentional, she has always been proud that she shares a homonym-name with the gooey queen of cheeses, Brie.

The Journey to an Ideal Hire – How to Wow Like a Contestant on The Bachelor

ABC recently announced that Arie Luyendyk will anchor the next season of The Bachelor, a choice that sparked some deep water-cooler talk here at Element. We determined that the world’s most dramatic reality show offers much more than yearlong entertainment and guilty pleasures.*

The Bachelor is a veritable treasure trove of professional development resources for HR professionals – and we’re about to prove it. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll understand how years of watching The Bachelor have subconsciously prepared you to recruit ideal candidates. It’s almost as if Chris Harrison has been the Mr. Miyagi to your Daniel-san all along [Millennial explanation here]. 

Continue reading The Journey to an Ideal Hire – How to Wow Like a Contestant on The Bachelor

Mike Dockum is an Account Strategist with a passion for bringing the left and right brain together to form creative ideas that make logical sense. He has more than 15 years’ experience conducting market research, developing marketing plans, and creating integrated campaigns. A reformed Illinoisan who never even learned how to correctly pronounce “Illinoisan,” Mike and his family now make their home in Wrightstown.

7 Moments of Clarity from Content Marketing World 2017

I know it’s been done, and probably pretty cliché, but I originally wanted to call this blog post Fear and Loathing in Cleveland. I was so in love with the idea that I started writing the lede while standing in line to board my plane in Green Bay.

“I was somewhere in the air over Chicago when the antihistamine finally kicked in … “

My trip did start in a Hunter S. Thompson-esque fashion. Nursing a mild hangover from Labor Day weekend, running late after oversleeping, un-showered with bloodshot eyeballs thanks to the ragweed in the late summer air, I was leaving Wisconsin in a fog.

That wouldn’t last long.

Continue reading 7 Moments of Clarity from Content Marketing World 2017

Director of Content Marketing
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.

The Master Mixologist’s Guide to Inbound and Outbound Marketing

If the internet is that crowded downtown bar, the chatter that fills it is often about marketing best practices. Frequently, it’s dedicated to defining the difference between inbound and outbound efforts. This hubbub applies opposing descriptors to inbound and outbound: old vs. new, imminent vs. fading. Unlike other sources, we believe that both inbound and outbound marketing have a rightful place in effective strategy, with two caveats: they must be well-balanced, and work together toward your brand’s objectives.

In other words, inbound is gin and outbound is dry vermouth. Apart they’re fine, but when they’re shaken or stirred? You craft the perfect mix.

Continue reading The Master Mixologist’s Guide to Inbound and Outbound Marketing

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."

How to Create Content that Cuts Through Clutter and Crushes the Competition

Ten years ago, Bridget opened a yoga studio in her small, Midwestern hometown. Back then, yoga’s popularity was on the rise and she was among the first to introduce it to her community. Before long, she had a waiting list of students.

Flash forward to today …

There are dozens of yoga studios and other places to attend classes. Moms in yoga pants are everywhere you look, and Bridget is far from the only yogi in town. Lots of people saw the same opportunity, and even though the potential customer base for yoga has grown, her market is oversaturated. Bridget needs a way to differentiate her business from the competition.

I bet you think we’re about to suggest content marketing as the solution? Nope. In fact, digital content creators have the exact same problem as Bridget.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a coffee shop, commercial construction, or your content marketing plan, when you’re not the only player in the game, you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Digital marketing strategies often fall flat because companies fail to analyze the competition’s efforts before jumping in. You must look for ways to add value and break through the noise. But how?

Continue reading How to Create Content that Cuts Through Clutter and Crushes the Competition

Director of Content Marketing
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.

Online Brand Reputation Management: The Good, The Bad, and the Trolls

Picture this: you live in a small town where everyone knows everyone and nothing’s a secret. One day, Nancy has a bad experience with a clerk at the grocery store. Tales of the rogue clerk spread through book club and golf league like wildfire, and the grocer soon sees his sales plummet.

In this digital age, the web is much like that small town. Rumors take root on sites like Google Places, Yelp, and Angie’s List, and, if left unmanaged, spread and endure, damaging sales like Negative Nancy’s comment did to our poor grocer.

What to do? Some may tell you to ignore the haters and focus on what you do well. We’ll argue the opposite. The first step to effective online reputation management is embracing the negativity that comes with a digital presence.

Continue reading Online Brand Reputation Management: The Good, The Bad, and the Trolls

Social Media Specialist
Shelby Bake is a social media copywriter with a background in web writing, email marketing, and digital content strategy. She has worked with clients in various industries, including insurance, health, and food.

Are You Following The Three Rules of Buyer Education?

Today’s buyers don’t want to hear from you until they say so. That’s why, at Element, we preach the gospel of permission-based marketing. The content marketing programs we run on behalf of our clients aim to ease buyers along the journey to purchase with the right materials at the right time. We’re successful when customers get what they need to inform themselves, decide our client is the solution, and, only then, initiate contact. Information is the oil that keeps the modern buying process running. And, make no mistake: buyers are in charge, not you. If you aren’t providing a great buyer education experience, someone else will.

To help your customers learn about your brand, culture, products and services, follow the three rules of buyer education: Continue reading Are You Following The Three Rules of Buyer Education?

Content Marketing Analyst
Marcus Sanford has worked in marketing and communications for 17+ years, driving success for hundreds of clients in the financial services, small business, healthcare, manufacturing and non-profit/advocacy spaces.

Six Ways to Accelerate Your Content Marketing Approval Workflow

When you think about what makes up an effective content marketing program, a lot of moving pieces come to mind:

  • Blog posts
  • Video and animation
  • Branded graphics
  • Social media
  • eBooks, case studies, and other premium content

…And so on. The workflow goes like this: get a great idea, create content around it, and publish. You get your content finished and you’re good to go, right? Not so much.

There’s a very important step missing above that can slow down even the most incredible content marketing: Continue reading Six Ways to Accelerate Your Content Marketing Approval Workflow

Content Marketing Analyst
Marcus Sanford has worked in marketing and communications for 17+ years, driving success for hundreds of clients in the financial services, small business, healthcare, manufacturing and non-profit/advocacy spaces.