content creation

Does Your Business Need a Pinterest? We Think Yes.

Pinterest…really? Okay, we get it.

However, according to Pinterest’s blog back in September 2015, the site has over 100 million monthly active Pinners. “But Pinterest is just for women,” you might say. Not true, folks! According to Ahalogy, the monthly active male population that joined Pinterest grew 120% in the year of 2015.  Check out this article on Business for Pinterest’s blog to see more statistics and facts. 

Bianca Bosker of The Huffington Post wrote back in 2012 that the secret to Pinterest’s success is that we are all sick of each other

What sets Pinterest apart and makes it so appealing is its focus on who we want to be—not on what we’re doing, where we’ve gone, how important we are or how beloved.” Indeed, the site is unique because the goal of its users is not to get more and more followers; rather, Pinterest users seem to be content with sharing ideas—not about themselves—with smaller pools of people.

So why is this good for your business, and how do you most effectively use it? Wouldn't you know, we’ve got three tips for you

1. Pinterest drives traffic to your site. 

Let’s face it: Pinterest may be one of the best ways to showcase your business’ products. Not only does Pinterest integrate your entire web presence—bringing together your website, Twitter, and Facebook—it can help you discover what your buyers want to have. 

This also means that you’ll want your site to be Pinterest-friendly. Adding the Pin It button to your website will allow your viewers to easily pin your pictures and products to their Pinterest pages, which will only continue the traffic you receive from Pinterest. 

Furthermore, you can go to Pinterest’s Business page and get more information on adverting with Promoted Pins. 

2.  Link, add descriptions, and use correct keywords.

Some of the biggest marketing mistakes made on Pinterest come when businesses forget to add descriptions or use the incorrect keywords. 

Paige Velasquez, social media strategist and Pinterest specialist at Shelton Interactive says this:

The biggest mistake brands and businesses can make on Pinterest is not utilizing the Guided Search tool to their advantage. When creating descriptions for pins, it's important to understand exactly what the user might be searching [for] when looking for a specific pin. The Guided Search tool allows brands to discover what specific terms a user will most likely search for based on a keyword. Creatively using the key terms that come up on the Guided Search in your pin description will most likely make your pin more discoverable when users are searching for specific pins.

Incorporating these details can take a little extra time, but they will help you gain the most traffic! 

3. Once you get that traffic, don’t forget to engage. 

Once everything is correct and in its place, you’ll have to make sure to post engaging content. The more you pin, like, and share, the more visibility you will gain. However, it’s a two-way street, and you do not want to post too much of your own content. You also don’t want to leave up outdated content. A good mix of diverse, fresh posts is the key to winning over your Pinterest followers. By engaging properly, you will create a subtext that says, “this company cares.”

While it is good to just have a presence, it is even better when you create a call to action. Your followers are always looking for more, more, more, and you must give it to them! Don’t be afraid to caption your posts and pins in such a way as to create the response you are seeking. “Tell them to visit the website for ore information, order, re-pin, etc.,” says Tim Lavelle, director of SEO and social media at U.S. Interactive Media. 

We couldn't agree more.

Do you use Pinterest in your business? If so, what kind of ROI have you seen?

Five Content Marketing Resources for Newbies

Content marketing, a word thrown around in the business world yet rarely defined. At High Five, we like to make sure everyone is on the same page and the same planet so let’s quickly break it down:

Content- consistent, valuable information through various mediums: articles, blogs, videos, pictures, social media posts, info graphics, etc. 

Marketing- the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service

In simplest terms, content marketing delivers valuable information to buyers in hopes that it will promote and sell a product or service

But, here’s the trick. 

Society is over feeling like they are constantly being sold something. They don’t trust you. I mean honestly who enjoys listening to that car dealer’s sales pitch, or furthermore, who actually trusts him or her? 

For content marketing to be successful, a business must master the art of intentional, genuine communication between their customer and themselves. Content marketing says, “Hey look at these DIY projects you and your honey can do this weekend.” Instead of,  “Come to Lowes, we are a warehouse full of building stuff.”

Oh, content marketing. How valuable you are to business when done correctly.

If you’re ready to dip your toe into content marketing, start with these five great resources

Search Engine Optimization: Want to make the first page of Google organically?  You first must understand the ins and outs of SEO.  

Blogs:  An easy way to create more content for your business is to enter the world of blogging. 

Video Content: If you read our blog post 3 Trendy Social Media Takeovers in 2016 , you know that video marketing is vital

Social Media: #Twitter #Facebook #Instagram #crucial

Content Marketing Plan: Even if you’re not Type A, having a content marketing plan ensures that your online presence will continue to build. 

What are resources you use for content marketing? 

The Intern Files: Put a Little Om in Your Heart

The holiday season brings with it joy, laughter, a few creeping pounds, family time, and yep...stress. November 4th, 2015 was National Stress Awareness Day which almost seems like it was in preparation for the turkey-and-Santa-filled drama that comes with the holiday territory. Being a college student, stress is no stranger to me. Sometimes I feel like stress is this guy who comes and checks into my mind, leaving his hat and coat at the door, staying indefinitely. And sometimes I think we like to glamorize our stress. It’s like we think that the more stressed we are, the more productive we are, which is actually quite the opposite of reality.

Sadly, whatever our season of life is, whatever the job or situation, we are most likely to be experiencing some type of stress. The unfortunate thing is that the human body doesn’t know the difference between our stresses. Whether we’re approaching impending doom or someone is mad at us, our body’s stress response is triggered no matter what the level or magnitude of stress. Fortunately, we also have a relaxation response trigger during which our bodies de-stress. 

The theme for 2015’s National Stress Awareness Day was “Employee Wellbeing as a Worthwhile Investment in Your Business”, so here are some ways to de-stress in your office (or wherever you find yourself):

1. Stretch out your body. 

Take a walk. Stand up. Do some office yoga. There’s a Huffington post article titled “5 Office Yoga Poses (That Won’t Freak Out Your Co-Workers)” with good poses to get your blood flowing. Obviously it’s not good to sit over your computer day in and day out like the Hunchback – stretch out your body.   

2. Stretch out your mind. 

Take a mental vacation. Breathe. Take some time to meditate. Look at pictures reflecting happy moments in your life. Going back to those memories and taking a few moments to quietly reminisce will help you switch out of functioning in the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight) and start functioning in the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation). 

3. Treat yo’ self. 

Eating (in moderation!) is really good for rejuvenation. Stress eating doesn’t have to be all bad. Eat a banana or potato (rich in potassium) to regulate your high-stress blood pressure – it will help with energy and recovery. Eating something sweet helps soothe the production of stress hormones; keep a bowl of Hershey’s kisses or peppermints on your desk to avoid binge eating while still reaping the benefits of the h-a-p-p-y feelings. “The connection between the gut and brain is huge and lots of interesting data supports the idea that the gut is a major mediator of the stress response,” says Dr. Drew Ramsey in a Huffington Post article. “Stress is a brain and immune system mediated phenomena, and your gut is the largest organ in your immune system.” 

4. Have a creative outlet (or two or three or ten). 

Doodle on your lunch napkin, listen to some music, keep crafty things like coloring books and knitting needles in your desk, and keep a journal and pen with you. There are studies that have been performed showing that an individual’s writing that is classified as emotional, valuable, and personal can help strengthen their immune system. A creative you is a healthy you – physically and mentally. 

Wherever you find yourself, and whatever stress you are experiencing, try one of these anti-stress triggers to calm down. They will help keep you from going postal on your co-workers or hiding under your desk and hyperventilating. Of course, there’s more de-stress techniques than the ones I’ve listed… how are you de-stressing? 

 

Peace,

The Intern

A Magazine Resurrection

We're pleased as punch that our Linked Magazine editor, Meg, decided to grace us with her blogging presence with this little entry on why magazines are still relevant. It's a resurrection just in time for Halloween. Enjoy!

Every writer is also an avid reader and a critical thinker.

We inhabit a space that's hard to describe unless you've been there - in which case, no explanation is needed. We always set out to keep ourselves out of a story, and we inevitably either draw on some personal experience to give depth to a piece, or become so personally touched by the subject of our writing that we leave a bit of ourselves in it. Writing is hard. It’s a constant state of self-examination and self-evaluation. Every comma becomes personal; every line as much art to us as the stroke of a brush to the painter or the contouring of a shape to a sculptor. Fortunately, professional writers (a category I find myself in, incidentally) have thick skins. So after we craft our art, we cut and edit it. We try to surgically remove our bias from our writing. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes you really think that last sentence shouldn't have been cut, but you hit publish (or send to the printers) and hope for the best.

Years ago, if you had told me that I would be at the helm of six magazines by the age of 24, I would have laughed. Magazines were declared a “dying” form of journalism so long ago, it's hard to see how they aren't already dead. Except, they aren't dying. That’s never been the case. They’re changing and adapting, and technology has allowed writers to connect with audiences on a much more intimate level than ever before. We can reach more people and get feedback in real-time after our magazines hit doorsteps. 

Dying? No. Evolving? Absolutely.

So before you discount long-form journalism, remember everything is cyclical. We live in an age where more young people choose to scroll through pictures on instagram than read the words in Facebook statuses, and where folks get their news in 140-character snippets from Twitter. But even now, it looks like that 140-character limit may increase. Buzzfeed has reinvested in longform journalism, and most comprehensive journalistic work in the world is being done for newspapers and magazines - articles measured in pages, not characters. Magazines matter just like stories matter. They connect us; they remind us why we cared in the first place. Linked Magazines are hyper-local. Our goal is to connect people by telling stories about the people and places around them. By covering stories in communities around the metro that aren’t being told elsewhere and by highlighting people and groups doing good—real good for people you know (or should know, if you’re new), we’re helping communities connect and grow.  

Magazines do a better job at this than any other form of media out there. They have staying power and allow us to spend more time with our subjects. When I’m writing a story, I don’t have to worry about hashtags or SEO. I’m focused on you, the reader. I’m focused on delivering you beautiful photos and stories to match. I’m I'm focused on sending you a magazine you'll pick up and read. I’m focused on your community, your story and your world.

What do you think about magazines? Do you enjoy long-form journalism? 

The Intern Files: What Happens When You Don’t Like PSL? *gasp*

So because we're really weird and love our Intern, we've decided to dedicate a few posts to asking (read making) her try out new, hip thangs because she's a new, hip gal.  Her musings and thoughts combine to form (dun, dun, DUN) The Intern Files. 

Hello, Kennedy the intern here, enjoying a great day of fall weather. I’m a college kid, so hours spent at Starubucks are not foreign to me. On a study session a couple of nights ago, I got to drink Starbucks’ newest drink, the Toasted Graham Latte (#TGL). I’m a lover of all things fall, but one thing I’ve never been able to get behind is the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I prefer my sweet drinks to be in cold, Frappuccino form. So when I walked into Starbs last night, I was surprised to see a poster for a brand new drink in the emerging #PSL season. 

Our Intern getting her #TGL on.

I must admit, my mind went straight to skepticism. I consulted my barista, Hannah (yes, we are on a first-name basis), and asked her opinion. “It’s really subtle,” she warned. “I’ll make one for you and then you can add a syrup to it if you want.” Ladies and gents, this latte needed no extra syrup.

What I found in that drink was the best tasting flavored latte I’d ever tasted.

Perfectly subtle, in-between the black, vital coffee we find ourselves drinking and the sweet, frivolous coffee drinks we enjoy with our friends. 

There’s an article on Eater.com that refers to the TGL as “graham crackers and milk all grown up”. I think perhaps in our world of extra-shots and fancy syrup combos, the simplistic nature of the TGL gets wrongly categorized as too simple—a drink for reminiscing about simpler days. I think that it could be intended for invoking nostalgic feelings, but not so we can sit around and wish for simpler days. Instead, we should use it as a time to simply have a pleasurable moment in the midst of our busy days. When we embrace the here and now, we get the best of both worlds: a simple pleasure that recognizes and appreciates both joyous childhood memories and the life we currently live. 

Thank you, Starbucks, for capturing a more unconventional part of fall and for teaching us a lesson about enjoying life. 

Happy fall, 

The Intern

3 Ways to Be Less Corporate-y (It's a Word)

High fives are in, handshakes are out. 

Picture this being read in Heidi Klum’s chirpy Project Runway voice. 

Okay what do I mean by this? Is it a statement against everyone who’s ever shook my hand? Or maybe a stance against all those self-help articles that talk about the importance of a “nice, firm handshake”? 

Nah.  Not really.

High fives are in, handshakes are out is really more of a commentary on office culture than anything else. Today I want to dig into why I’m happy to work at a company that I (and many who step into my zany office space) would consider the anti-corporate workspace.  There are three main reasons I believe why, in today’s environment, the hard-nosed, beige cubicles of the past can’t deliver the same level of productivity that they may have before. 

When I say corporate, I’m referring to the lazy-eyed drone-like work for the man. I’m talking about the punch in, punch out mentality that so many Americans still subscribe to, or at the very least succumb to.  

I may be stepping on some toes here, but what progress ever happened without a few bruised toes? 

Before starting as a partner of High Five, I worked with people who operated in an uber conservative corporate environment.  I saw my friends clock in and play the rat race game…hard. Luckily, I was able to manage my team in a less strict manner, but we all still answered to the man.  Don't get me wrong, my past taught me some really valuable lessons like the importance of diligent work and how to manage people, and I value the opportunities working for a successful corporation afforded me. It allowed me to do my own thing eventually, which is such a blessing. However, when I had the opportunity to help start my own business, I found myself drifting from the corporate structure of my past.

So here are three ways to implement fun, engaging methods in your business, no matter what industry you manage. I believe a more open, dynamic office environment actually increases productivity in employees. If you can take away just one aspect of this post and apply it to your own employees, I believe you’ll see growth that may surprise you.

1.) Positivity breeds productivity

Have you ever noticed how little work you get done when you’re in a funk? You second guess yourself, you feel sluggish, and you can’t focus.  Now flip that around and think of a time when you felt really motivated and inspired. How did your productivity rank then?

In my business I go to great lengths to cultivate a positive, relaxed environment. I know, I know, when people hear the word relaxed they instantly freak out.  They think of the middle aged couch potato chomping away at cheese doodles while he channel surfs. But I’m not talking about lazy. I’m talking about providing your employees with an environment in which they feel comfortable. In this comfortable, positive environment, many employees generate their best work, because they don’t feel the extreme pressure that stricter environments generate. So this might mean the dress code is a little more casual than business casual, if you catch an employee shoelessly typing away you smile instead of grimace, you consider outdoor workspaces just as relevant as indoor desks, or you might even bring in donuts on a random Wednesday rather than just on National Donuts day. Whatever it is, make sure it’s intentional and allows your employees to know that you care about them and trust them to get their job done. This brings us to the next point. 

2.) Just Trust

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very fine place to start (Sound of Music, anyone?).  Trust starts during the hiring process. You have to hire people you feel you can trust to get the work done. This may seem simple, but it’s huge when it comes to cultivating a relaxed, positive environment. If you can trust people to get their work done, and done well, then you have time to tackle other bigger projects. Employees also want to feel trusted. Have you ever worked for a boss you felt didn’t trust your judgment? How did that work out for you? Chances are either your work suffered because you second-guessed everything (Maybe she’s right! Maybe I can’t finish this project in time.) or said boss managed his or her distrust by micromanaging your every move. Allowing your employees to feel truly trusted is almost like concocting a self-fulfilling prophecy. Obviously, you will need to address if they consistently underperform; however, chances are they will rise to the occasion, especially if you did the work on the font end and hired quality individuals. 

3.) Cultivating Creativity

Cultivating creativity is important no matter what industry you’re in. I know this may seem a little woo-woo, but follow me on this one. Creativity isn’t just writing, it isn’t just painting, and it isn’t just making art. Creativity isn’t reserved for the hipsters and the hippies.  Creativity happens every day, and if your business isn’t actively pursuing it, it’s going to suffer. Creativity is a different way of assessing the success or failure of a project. It’s figuring out random ways to engage with clients. It’s taking a chance on an idea that no one else in your industry has considered. Creativity isn’t based in logic, though, it’s based in your employees deepest strengths and passions. It can come out in a logical, analytical pattern; however, true creativity originates from an internal spark of genuine curiosity. 

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking” 

-Albert Einstein

In my office, I’m surrounded by people who openly call themselves “creatives”.  This is a little overwhelming at times, because as I’ve mentioned, I originally came from a pretty straight-laced corporate environment.  The first time I noticed when one of my employees walked outside and just stared at the trees for 15 minutes, I thought I was losing my grip. But the truth is, we are all wired for creativity. We all need little breaks in the day to reset and reestablish our goals. Yes, that might mean you allow your employees to make a coffee run mid-day, or you let them take some time to laugh at hilarious YouTube videos. Because there’s one thing we aren’t, and that’s a robot (talk about a compelling pull quote). 

In order to fuel creativity you have to allow people their own unique methods of inquiry. 

Remember the tree-staring guy? I watched him come back inside and edit a commercial that got us national recognition and is still used as an example of our business’ strengths.

Though these tips may feel a little loosey-goosey when it comes to running a business where you need to make money and meet deadlines, I promise you your employees will notice these changes and they will respond positively. In a world where it seems our attention spans are ever waning (140 characters anyone?), it’s important to get real with yourself about the type of work you expect of your employees. When Twitter and Facebook are a mere swipe away, do you honestly think placing a millennial in a beige cubicle, giving them a 30 minute lunch break, and never really engaging with them socially is going to produce high rates of success and growth for your company? Because remember you’re only as good as your worst employee. I think advocating for a trusting, relaxed, engaging environment is the answer. 

If you gain a little weight from all those donuts, then so be it. With all of that business growth, I bet you can afford a new pair of pants.

By: Earle Haggard, Parter at High Five

3 Reasons Engaging Content Still Matters

Hello there, today we're going to beat a dead horse, but it's going to be fun and completely hypothetical and non-violent. Today, we're talking content, how to use it, and why any of this even matters. Let's dive right in sans weapons, shall we?

What sets you apart from the rest? What makes your post have the most likes, the most views, or the most subscriptions? What makes content matter so much? 

Everything has become a tagline.

How do you get attention-grabbers, while still maintaining a sense of professionalism?  Why does this matter?  In this digital age, your content becomes synonymous with your name. Unfortunately, sometimes it is hard to get good quality materials for your content in the world of 140 characters. Some of those in the writing world turn their nose up at the thought of social media and online content replacing their beloved hard-copy pieces they grew up dreaming about writing. But we’re here to tell you that written content is still king in this age; it just shows up in different mediums.  

Here’s a few reasons why good content matters: 

  1. Content is the essence of every idea. A challenge companies could face in the age of endless scrolling is having a single, overriding message. Themed blog posts, catchy hashtags, or creative titles have ways of tying everything together nicely. It’s no different than serial publishing from years ago—it’s just taking a different form.
  2. Content’s form is make or break. Content reaches a much broader audience than in previous years, and with so many formats and layouts like Instagram, Twitter, and Google +, the format of a post could make or break it when it comes to views, likes, shares, and ultimately a reputation. 
  3. Content will live long. If content is well-crafted, the idea it presents will reflect well on every aspect of the company. Content will only last long in the reader’s mind if it is noteworthy.

Written content, in all its forms, is the same. If anything, this digital age challenges writers to be more on top of their game. In a world with a short attention span, writers are called to be even more relevant, clear, and creative. We are not all defined by our #hashtags. Content at its best is self-evident, self-affirming, and completely essential to today’s written world.

What are ways you use content to reach and engage with your audience? Do you think content matters to businesses?