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Student Work Placement

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Going With the Flow

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For the span of the past two weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of working at Manoverboard as a result of Red River College’s work placement program for graphic design students. I’ve met some amazing people, and have learned a great deal from them during my time here.

Most of my time was spent designing an identity for the Purpose Project. The Purpose Project is a service grant that non-profit organizations can apply for. The project’s concept is to bi-annually give pro-bono design work to a selected applicant, in order to advance a good cause through design. Due to my work on this project, I’ve learned to further consider the importance and nuances of creating a fluid, adaptable brand identity.

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One of the most important and overlooked phases of the content strategy cycle is evaluation. After all your hard work is done, how do you know if it worked?

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Here are a few ways you can evaluate your content:

  • Number of views – Views can be important to some brands, but there’s an argument to be made about whether or not those views mean anything. There’s merit to having a video with eight million views, but if there’s no engagement with the video, do those eight million views matter? If someone has taken the time out of their day to view your video and they don’t finish, like, comment, share, or click to your website, views mean very little. You should not determine the success of your content solely based on the number of views.

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If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? I’m sure it does make a sound, but no one hears it because no one knew the tree was going to fall. (I don’t think the tree has Facebook or Twitter.)

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The phrase “build it and they will come” is no longer true online. Sure there’s merit to having an unbelievably awesome product, but if no one knows about its awesomeness then the product won’t drive any sales.

The third phase of the content strategy cycle is promotion. Promotion can come in many forms. From advertisements and media buys to word of mouth and social media — it can be difficult to choose what is the best form of promotion.

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In preparing for this blog series, I wrote a one-page content strategy outline (how ironic). I asked myself, how could I make this blog post on content strategy more interesting?

The next phase of the content strategy cycle is the creation and formatting of your new content. How you create and format your content depends on what audience you’re targeting.

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On the web (specifically Google), when people are looking for information they do something called “pogo-sticking”. They go to Google, type in a few keywords in the search bar and then jump back and fourth from a website, back to search results, and to another website until they find the information they’re looking for.

Say you were on the hunt for a new recipe for dinner tonight. You have the choice to read a post that’s a big block of text or a post with equal amount of text but broken up with headings and step-by-step pictures. Which one would you read?

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It’s no mystery that we’re exposed to countless messages in one day (close to 5000). In a world full of meaningless ads, clutter, and fluff — it’s difficult for a socially responsible business to create a message that resonates with its audience.

Content strategy — what is it? Kristina Halvorson, founder of Brain Traffic, refers to it as the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content. To put her definition into perspective, an online business without content strategy is like going on a road trip without a destination.

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