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How to Stay Organized

In any marketing department or advertising agency, staying organized is an important part of making sure everything’s running smoothly. From keeping track of invoices to managing social media, strong organizational skills are a must.

Unfortunately, organization doesn’t come easily for everyone. The problem is most people think being organized is harder than it actually is. Most people avoid it then, making it even harder to be organized.

The number one way you can be more organized is by doing a little bit everyday. Set aside five minutes during your day whether it be first thing in the morning or right before you walk out the door to clean stuff up. Even if you make the simple effort to clear your desk off once a day, it will be a lot easier and more manageable than trying to do it at the end of the week.

Another great way to stay organized is to keep and maintain a planner or schedule. Personally, if I don’t write it down, I will forget, and having one place to keep all your important dates and deadlines is a great way to keep your desk from being covered in unreadable sticky notes. Keeping a planner will also give you a main source to store important information like passwords and wifi codes for when you need them.

A simple way to avoid clutter and disorganization is trying not to eat at your desk. Nothing gets in your way more than food and trash, and if you you have a coffee cup or a drink, make sure you have a lid. Nothing says a mess like a spilt cup of coffee.

Finally, remember that organization is not cleaning, it is simply an intentionally effort to arrange, prepare, or structure things. You may make the argument you like messy and you work in chaos. It is okay to be messy, but you can be messy and organized at the same time.

If your five minutes every day of organizing makes more piles and more paper, that is great as long as you get to all of your meetings on time and don’t lose track of that password. Everyone has a different method, just make an effort to find the best way for you to stay organized.

What is SEO?

You may be wondering what does the acronym SEO mean. Turns out, those three letters stand for search engine optimization. While that phrase sounds nice, what does it actually mean? What is search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization or SEO for short is the process of using concentrated strategies and methods in order to obtain a high ranking page placement on search engines in order to enhance traffic to a website. This kind of direction of traffic to sites through search engines is called organic traffic, whereas typing the url of the website you want to go to directly in is direct traffic.

All too often the first thing people do when they have a problem is Google it, and sometimes the winner of who gets the business is simply the first person to come up as a search result. Since so many people use search engines then, optimizing search engines or optimizing your rank on these platforms is critical for businesses.

However, how do people affect their rank on search engines? The website Search Engine Land provides a great video explaining SEO in even more detail and also goes into the different factors that affect your page rank. The creative way they highlight these factors is in their “Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors, as can be seen below.

This table simply highlights the many different factors these search engine algorithms take into consideration when determining page rank. The overarching categories of factors are content, architecture, HTML, trust, links, personal, and social. From there, these categories look at all different types of things from speed of service and answers and quality of content to number of links and the trust associated with the website.

Controlling all of these variables may seem like an immense tasks. However, by increasing your rank in search engines, you can directly increase business with zero to small amounts of money spent. The goal should be to start with enhancing one or two of these aspects, and when you finish, simply move on to two more.

For more information about SEO, see our informative infographic on the new versus the old SEO that explains why SEO is so important.

Top Advertising Must-Reads of 2017

While so many of us prefer to pick up our laptop, tablet, or cell phone to get the latest in advertising and marketing news, there are some worthwhile books out there that can help big or small businesses to better understand their audience and to improve their advertising strategies. If these books aren’t on your list for 2017, they should be.

  1. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – This book may not be your typical advertising read. However, this non-fiction book uses illustrative examples and stories to explain human behavior in an engaging and dynamic way. Reading this book will change the way you think about ideas and marketing products.
  2. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon – A fun, short read, “Steal Like An Artist” is a step back to the basics. It is a reminder of how good, innovative ideas are born. An inspirational read this book is the perfect boost you need to keep your ideas fresh and exciting.
  3. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan – New to the business scene and looking for a starter guide to advertising, but you find all the other how to advertising books boring? Give “Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This” a try! In a fun and imaginative way, the author will bring you into the narrative while also teaching you useful information about advertising.
  4. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Ries and Trout – Straight-forward and all about advertising, this book will teach you the fundamentals on how to position your business, as well as your products or services. From learning to harness your competitive advantage to understanding how to forge ahead in the industry, this book is a basic.
  5. Caffeine for the Creative Mind by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield – A slightly different type of book, “Caffeine for the Creative Mind” is a practical workbook filled with exercises for you brain. Feeling sluggish and out of good ideas. Try these mental workouts. As a result, you will better be able to approach problems by considering new perspectives. Your advertising will improve as you reconsider your approach and strategies.

Keys to Designing a Killer Infographic

Don’t know what an infographic is, but you want to learn? Love infographics, but you’re running out of new and fresh ideas for your latest project? Never fear. Infographic help is here.

Infographics are fun creative ways to communicate information to an audience through images and graphics. The easiest way to think about the infographic creation process is as a process of data visualization. In other words, you are turning numbers and statistics into charts and pictures.

For example, instead of telling the reader that 80% of all of the people in the world love pepperoni pizza versus the 20% that love cheese more, you could put this information next to an image of pizza filled 80% with pepperonis and 20% with cheese. The visualization of this data is not only more fun, but also more engaging for the audience and thus it is more likely the audience will may attention and remember.

However, it is not always easy getting from A to B. It might feel like you are climbing a mountain without the proper equipment if you have never done this before. Don’t worry. Here are some quick tips to get you started or to ground you back in the basics if you are out of ideas.

Decide on the practical. In the stress of getting started, we are so excited to get going that we forget to start with the basics. Before you create an infographic, you need to remember to ask yourself three critical questions: Who is the audience being targeted? What do they need to know? How will this information be communicated to them?

These three questions will get you focused and help you throughout the rest of your project. You can’t start being creative until you know what you are saying and to whom. Plus, you need to know how this information will be delivered. This will determine the size, shape, and maybe even the color pallette. There is nothing like designing the perfect infographic only to realize the magazine you are printing it in has wider pages and the colors you used won’t print correctly. Make sure you figure out the quality and size qualifications and more before you start.

Less is more. Sometimes we are so stressed to be creative we over do it. Often, the most effective infographics only use two or three colors. Simplicity often allows your data to be communicated more clearly. If you are experienced with creating infographics, this is an important reminder for you. When I hit a creative block, I stop and clear the slate and start all over again from scratch focusing on the basics.

Scour the internet and world for ideas. Being creative may seem an overwhelming task, but great ideas are out there just waiting for you. The first thing I do before creating an infographic is seeing what has already been done. By doing this, I learn what I do and do not like. Then, I can come back to my work, incorporate ideas I do like, and be sure not to use the ideas I didn’t. Usually, starting by emulating others ideas gets you started, and from there, the good, pure creative ideas will come naturally as you play around with concepts.

Finally, find a program you like and learn it! At the end of the day, if you want to be successful at infographics, you are going to need to use some sort of program. Whether it is an online infographic program or Photoshop or Illustrator, you are going to need to pick one, and once you do, explore. Click buttons, try things, play around. Don’t be afraid to google and youTube how to videos.

The more you explore, the better and more creative your infographics will be. If you are familiar with infographics and out of ideas, try playing with a feature you have never used before or switching to a different type of program to freshen your perspective.

Whatever you do, the key to designing a killer infographic is just getting out there and playing around. The more experience you have and the more you have fun you have doing it, the closer you are to creating awesome infographics.

Are Social Media Scheduling Platforms Worth It?

As more and more businesses jump into social media advertising, the more work it seems needs to be done. While Facebook provides the great service of allowing you to schedule your posts, other social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, or even LinkedIn don’t. While it may seem simple enough to hire a social media manager or two to take on the extra workload and schedule posts throughout the day, the workload does not actually need to be as heavy as it seems.

Many different platforms have come out to allow you to schedule your posts through their application and it posts to social media for you. The major player is Hootsuite, but there is also other platforms such as Social Booster, Buffer, Sproutsocial, and more that are more or less similar to Hootsuite.

Some of the different services include management tools for managing several different social media accounts on one screen, post scheduling, detailed analytics reports, and help with social media campaigns and promotions. While it may seem easy enough to do it all yourself and not spend the money on a social media scheduling platform, here are three simple reasons we think it might be worth it for your business.

  1. Increased and more engaged viewership. The time of day that you post can have a big effect on how many people see your post and how many people are actually paying attention to the post. There have been many studies done on exactly what is the best time and day of the week to post on the different social media outlets. Through platforms such as Hootsuite, you not only can schedule the post to make sure you hit the perfect time for your audience, but also the Hootsuite software can actually autoschedule the post for you in order to reach the most people.
  2. Time is money. As the old saying says, your time might be worth the money. How much time are you spending making sure you’re staying up to date on social media that you could rather be using to improve another area of your business or even to have more time with your family? Do you have a big project you keep pushing to the backburner? If this is the case, the money might be worth it. Honestly, with the help of platforms such as Hootsuite you can cut your time about in half just by not having to log in to each account before you use it and constantly flipping back and forth.
  3. Other features actually make your social media better. Many of these platforms provide additional auxiliary services that will actually make your social media better. For example, social boosters providers 24/7 customer support. Hootsuite provides education videos and assistance in launching a social media campaign. In fact, simply having a platform I have found encourages me to do more with social media, to be creative, and to see how I can improve my posts day by day. Not only will the programs teach you, they will force you to grow and grow your business.

At the same time, social media platforms are not for everyone, and different platforms are right for different business. The best thing you can do is to take a look at the various plans and consider what effect it would have on the daily operations of your business and the effect it would have on your personal life.

Over the last few months, Adventure AD Agency has decided to try out Hootsuite to assist in managing all of our clients social media accounts, and thus far, it has been an exciting and rewarding process. If you don’t want an advertising agency managing your social media, perhaps consider a social media platform instead.

Hootsuite: Top 3 tools to take advantage of this year

The most recent development in social media advertising is to use social media platforms such as Hootsuite, Social Booster, Buffer, Sproutsocial, and more to help manage the social media workload placed on business and to better schedule posts. For 2017, Adventure AD Agency has decided to try out Hootsuite to assist in managing all of our clients social media accounts.

From scheduling posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and beyond to providing  management tools such as the ability to examine several different social media accounts on one screen or to providing detailed analytics reports and help with social media campaigns, Hootsuite has provided us with some exciting new capabilities as a business. While we are still learning about all of the different services Hootsuite provides, here are some quick tips and tricks we have already found helpful.

  1. Use the autoschedule feature. When you are going to publish a post, you can either publish it immediately, schedule it to be posted later, or let Hootsuite determine the best time that day to schedule your post. Many studies have been done to show the best times and days of the week to post on different social media outlets. Unless you plan to dive deep into this research, you should probably let Hootsuite take over that job for you. Using the autoschedule feature should not only get your post seen by more people, but also it should target viewers that are more engaged with your content.
  2. Explore Hootsuite Campaigns. One of Hootsuite’s services is a campaign function. In a few simple steps, you can set up a contest, galleries, or sweepstakes for your social media channels in this section of Hootsuite. Even if you have never done one of these before, check it out. It might give you some great new content ideas for you social media accounts and push you to be better online.
  3. Watch the educational videos. Another great part of Hootsuite is the multitude of educational videos and resources it provides. In the tools section, there is an entire section dedicated to education and improving your social media savvy. These resources include free online training videos and other certifications. The website also has a blog full of helpful ideas and guides for how to better make use of the Hootsuite software for your business. You can get even better tips and tricks from them then you can get from us.

If you are considering using a social media scheduling platform, you should consider all of the different pros and cons, as well as how it would personally affect your life and business. Most important though is that once you decide to pay for this service make sure you are getting the most out of it. These three tips are just the beginning.

Find The Best, Copyright Free Pictures

If you are a small business, often finding good inexpensive pictures to use in advertising or on your blog can be a challenge. Even if you find a good picture, the copyright may keep you from being able to publish it or alter the content in the way you need to for your purposes. As a result, finding pictures becomes hard and you end up with a product that is either not what you want or expensive.

Knowing where to find good, inexpensive, and copyright free images is key. Also, knowing how to determine what the copyright rules are on an image is also important. To help make your job easier, we have compiled a list of great resources to look for general copyright and royalty free images and other media with some tips on copyright.

Generally, anything listed on any of these sites under Public Domain of Creative Commons are free for your use and alteration, commercially or non-commercially. Each site however will have its own specific guide with clear labels.

Pixabay – This is a great resource for copyright free images as all images are released into the public domain under “Creative Commons CC0.” This means that the images can be used in almost any manner including commercial and print use. While attribution is appreciated, it is not required as part of using the image. This service is also free.

Flickr – This is an awesome source for images that range in copyright restrictions. Like Pixabay, Flicker has some images that are released into the public domain. In addition however, they also have some images with some copyright restrictions that are clearly labeled. For example, some simply require attributions. What level of copyright can be clearly determined on each picture and the site provides a helpful outline of what is required of each level. While this site has some restrictions, they are reasonable and still allow for flexibility, and the slightly higher restrictions generally lead to better, higher quality images.

National Park Service – If you a looking for some awesome nature scenes, check out the National Park Service website. Any media credited to NPS that does not have a copyright symbol are public domain, and therefore, up for grabs.

SoundCloud – This is a great resource for finding sounds and music that are copyright free. From sounds effects to audio tracks, everything in the creative commons section is public domain and free for your use. Be careful to check to make sure the media is available for commercial use, as some may not be.

Again, keep in mind that with all of these sites there may be some exceptions, so be sure to check the copyright on each image that you use to make sure it is safe. However, generally these sites should be great resources for copyright and royalty free images and other media.

Finding An Engaging Blog Topic

Blogging can be fun, but often the hardest part is knowing where to start or possibly what to start with when writing a post. Finding a topic that is both new and interesting can be hard and stressful. Creativity doesn’t always strike in sync with deadlines. Since content marketing such as blogging is so important to a business, we have come up with some helpful suggestions to get you started.

The most important thing when trying to find a topic is remembering or deciding what the goal of your blog is. Is your blog meant to inform your audience about your products, industry, etc? Is it meant to help or educate your audience on options and alternatives? Is it to persuade your audience to act? Your blog can do all of these things or just a few of these things, but it is up to you. A good blog topic comes from having a good purpose for you blog. By taking a moment to remember why you a writing, you will produce better content for you audience.

Ask questions. The number one way to come up with topics is to think back to the questions you are most frequently asked by customers. Think about the information that could be added to your website to make your job easier. For instance, if you are a gardner frequently asked why hydrangeas can be different colors, write a blog post explaining why. If you have a new patient portal on your website, write a post with images showing them how to use it. You can answer these questions post by post. You can also do FAQ posts where perhaps you do the top ten FAQ about frost resistant plants.

Explain your business. As a business owner, you know more specialized information about your field that your audience. That knowledge that may seem mundane and obvious to you is interesting to others. A post explaining the difference between a cold sore and a canker sore is valuable information for your customers if you are a dentist. You may think it is boring, but they will find it informative and useful.

Try a How To Post. While this may seem overdone, when done right this can be extremely powerful. We live in a world where more and more we want a way to do it yourself. Instead of messing up and making it up along the way, we like to google our life advice from everything about how to buy your first home to how to get over that lousy ex-boyfriend. If you write about a topic that is relevant to your audience, it will be relatable and thus, powerful.

Look at your calendar. There are more holidays and special events out there than you can imagine. Even if you work in a dental office, you can find a fun way to post about christmas time with a fun list of dental stocking stuffers. If you think about it, there is plenty of content sitting out there waiting for you.

Make lists. People love lists, especially checklist or short bullet points. We don’t need lengthy blog posts. We want shot and to the point. If you can list out helpful tips or tricks for you audience they would love it. Imagine if I just gave you here a list of 45 blog ideas. You would love it. The only problem is you wouldn’t be learning how to come up with topics on your own, which is the goal of this post.

Finally, go explore other blogs. It is okay to take inspiration from other people or write a post that has already been written. If you have a unique perspective or information to add, your audience will find it engaging. Get out there and look at other blogs from businesses like yours. Which ones do you like? Which ones do you hate? The ones you like are probably the ones that you should try to emulate on your blog.

Benefits of Blogging

It seems every business these days has a blog on their company website. Even your local dentist is featuring a blog on his website with weekly tips and how to’s. The fact of the matter is that blogging has lots of benefits for businesses and content marketing such as this helps drive traffic and customers to businesses.

To start, content marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on creating and then publishing content online for consumers. The goal of this type of marketing is to engage your online audience in a new and exciting way. Blogging is one of the most effective and easiest ways to do this.

Think about it, if one business provides you blogs and resources that help you learn about all the different types of options related to their product or service, you will be more likely to want to do business with them. You will have helped them, and they in return will be more likely to want to use you and your business. This will also distinguish you among competitors.

Additionally, if you inform, amuse, or entertain with your blog, you will have the same effect. More consumers will want to do business with you. Plus, your brand awareness will not only increase, but so will the credibility and positivity associated with your brand. With each blog post, you are creating new ways for your audience to find you.

By opening up new channels through which consumers can find you, you may be able to both expand and broaden your audience. Your typical target audience or user base may grow, and you will find yourself naturally increasing sales revenue. Not to mention, you are creating deeper relationships with the online audience you have already created.

This development of relationships is the entire point of blogging and of content marketing. As we share information and ideas with our audience, we create and foster relationships. Through these relationships, business can increase brand, sales, relevance, and their target audience. As these relationships grow, your business will have an entire online community surrounding it.

Therefore, if you are thinking about starting a blog on your business website, it probably is a good idea. There are so many different ways it can benefit you, and numerous studies has been done to show how posting blogs directly affects your site visits and audience engagement. Don’t wait till later, get started now!

Purpose of Mass Media

Mass media is such a part of our everyday lives that much like air we easily forget about it. Yet, in the present day, mass media surrounds us everywhere we go, and researchers have gone as far as to determine that we spend thirty percent of our waking hours engaged in media related activities. This accounts for about five hours every single day. As a result, mass media and how we use it is extremely important.

Mass media can be defined as the various media vehicles used to transmit messages to large amounts of people. Some examples of mass media include television, newspapers, magazines, radio, film, email, and more.

The goal of advertising is to utilize mass media in order to spread a specific message about a certain business’s product or service. Consequently, understanding the purpose of mass media is the key to understanding the purpose of advertising. In general, four different objectives can be achieved from mass media.

First, one the most basic purposes of mass media is to inform an audience. When mass media is used in this way, mass media can be an extremely powerful. This is often the first step for advertisers. Before people will buy your product or service, people must understand what it is and how the product or service can improve their life. An example of a media informing an audience could be a newspaper when it breaks a news article or a television commercial explaining the menu options at a restaurant.

Second, another purpose of mass media is to persuade. This may mean to persuade a person to buy something, as in the case of advertising, or this may simply be to persuade a person to feel or think a certain way. Advertisers spend a lot of time trying to persuade mass audiences to feel a certain way about a business’s brand.

Third, mass media can simply be used to amuse or entertain and audience. Sometimes the best way to engage a large audience is through humor or an interesting story. Geico is a perfect example of a company that tries to entertain through their advertising. Radio stations are another example of a mass media that exists mostly to entertain listeners.

Finally fourth, mass media can be used to enlighten an audience. This is one of the least common forms, especially in advertising. This goal steps beyond simply informing or entertaining. The mass media forms that most often try to achieve this goal are books or poetry. The most applicable example of this to advertising is perhaps the use of satire or a documentary. A company could put on a documentary to not only inform, persuade, and entertain an audience, but also to enlighten them about a current situation.

For advertisers, a common problem is deciding which of these four goals to try to achieve. The advertisers who are most successful use a combination of all of them. Most importantly, they remember who their audience is. For instance, you most likely will have to inform an audience about something before you can persuade them to action.

However when looking at these four different purposes for mass media, you can see many different ways to engage and reach a large audience. At the end of the day, by better understanding the goals and purpose of mass media as well as your audience, you can better craft your advertising plan and better utilize mass media.