The Arland Group is a boutique creative agency. We want to ask you an important question. Would you rather work with people who want to work with you? Or, would you rather work with people, who work for people, who make them work with you?

Why TAG Loves Engaged Users: Being Popular Never Gets Old

by Alyssa Stahr

11 April, 2013

Remember back in the days when you got a note slipped through your locker door or in your windshield wiper, or the feeling you got when your mom yelled that the phone was for you, or your art teacher acknowledged your amazing work for all to see? Even though we may live in a world of advanced technology, in many ways engagement hasn’t changed.

As a brand manager, recruiter, writer or content specialist, the best feeling one can get is acknowledgement that people are reading, engaging and caring about what is being posted out into cyberspace. It’s a human connection, and it’s what we plan on and strive for on a daily basis. But, we can’t rely on user engagement alone. We must provide an interesting way to grab attention.

So, let’s review five simple ways to boost user-generated content and get further in the world of popularity.

  1. Ask open-ended questions. If you ask “What’s Your Favorite Color?” You are going to get a one-word answer. In short, that’s really boring. Now, if you ask “What type of feeling do you get when you see your favorite color?” You’re going to get a more “colorful” response.
  2. Create polls. A poll is a great and easy way to get readers involved and to voice opinions. Make sure to have a write-in space for even more options.
  3. A picture always is worth a thousand words. You’ve got Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr and more to post, share and filter endless photos. How about a photo competition? Almost every topic under the sun can be shared via photo, and it’s a fun way to get people involved. Caption contests always are a bit hit as well.
  4. Know your audience. A car manufacturer who posts photos of weekly open houses won’t get much feedback. Know what your product is and whom you want to target. Sure, every once in a while, your age demographic may start off one way and surprise you once analytics pop up. Don’t ignore that. Tweak when necessary.
  5. Acknowledge engaged users. Always answer questions, thank people for following and take the time to recognize your “regulars.” After all, if you don’t respond to that note in your locker, chances are you won’t get another one.

The Real Secret to Mastering SEO

by The Arland Group

24 August, 2012

Time and time again we get asked what the secret to mastering SEO is. We find ourselves explaining that the key isn’t through clever tricks, maneuvering or figuring out some deep dark secret. It’s about reaching people. And the greatest way to do that is by providing great content and avenues for interaction on your site. This article pretty much sums up what we’ve been saying all along.

An Adaptable Lesson

by Erin Canetta

9 February, 2012

Being a mom of two daughters, I’m constantly wondering how I can improve my mothering skills so as to achieve putting two strong, confident and kind women into the world. Always keeping an ear open for mothering tips, I heard one of the most poignant pieces of advice when I was listening to an interview with Maya Angelou.

She was talking about being a young mom who was always in a hurry giving her kids one piece of direction or another. She realized she was so concerned with what they were doing that she lost her focus on them. She came up with the idea of making sure every time one of her children entered the room—first thing in the morning or coming home from school or some other place—to stop what she was doing, look them in eye, smile, call them by their name and tell them she was happy to see them. Before, long she noticed this small change was having a profoundly positive affect on their self-esteem. Ms. Angelou came to the simple but very important realization that what everyone wants most is to be acknowledged.

So of course, I implemented this approach immediately and I do have to say it’s not only had a positive effect on my children’s overall behavior but in their reaction towards me. They too have started to tell me they’re happy to see me every time I enter the room for the first time—even my 2 yr old.  And they’ve started saying it their dad and grandma, the woman behind the deli counter, teachers, etc. And the response back to them has been extraordinarily positive. What a valuable lesson for them as future mothers, wives, business women, and just people in the world to readily and easily acknowledge another’s presence with an inferred worth.

I contemplated this lesson a little further to figure out if it applied beyond my approach to my children and personal relationships. I started to ask myself, what do my clients want most from their agency? They want to be acknowledged and valued. What do they want most for their product or service? They want it to be acknowledged for its uniqueness in the market and welcomed into the hands of their customer.

It hit me, that this is exactly why our small agency is growing so quickly. Collectively, we are very good at acknowledging the value and worth that our clients hold in their markets. We have never met or talked to a client who wasn’t excited about what they do. So we come back to our offices and talk and we get excited. We’ve acknowledged them and they know it. With that established, we understand our direction on every account with clarity. It’s amazing that we were doing this without realizing it but that’s what makes us a solid team. We’ve learned this lesson together and we execute it everyday.

Three Things Every Exceptional Career Site Should Include

by Deb Andrychuk

22 August, 2011

I am a person with few pet peeves. I have very few because when things irritate me, I generally look the other way. But when it comes to a poorly designed career site, I cannot pretend that it doesn’t bother me. Why? It drives me nuts when companies are their own worst enemy in the war for talent!  It might sound silly, but it seems like any company who puts emphasis on their employees would want to the deliver the best first impression possible.  Especially when in this day and age, you might only get one shot at wooing a candidate.

The company career site is the first place I go when I scope out a client’s corporate URL.  What do I look for? In my opinion, there are three things every exceptional career site should include.

1. Great Employment Branding:

How do you tell your company’s story to potential job seekers? A good employment brand should first tie your consumer or corporate brand to hiring. It should also be unique, truthful, compelling and relevant to candidates visiting your corporate website. Be careful in believing it’s only about the verbiage and images on your site, because it goes well beyond this one possible interaction with seekers. It’s as much about how you are perceived by candidates in cyberspace and in your local community as it is what type of hiring experience you provide.  Do you thank your candidates for applying? Do you clearly define what happens next once they apply to one of your jobs? Are you professional, courteous and consistent with communications to job seekers? It’s all critical to building a great brand!

2. Sensible Navigation:

Is it easy for the job seeker to find the career site and apply for a job? How many hoops does your seeker have to jump through to find the opportunity they are interested in? Can they find it without direction?  In a perfect world, I believe candidates would only have to click ONE time from the home page to find your careers section. That one click would deliver the job seeker to an area that showcases all that makes you unique and hosts a simple way to search for a job. One of the biggest mistakes we see clients make is offering extremely confusing navigation on their site. It shouldn’t take 10 minutes to figure out where to go on your site to apply for a job. And, you shouldn’t ever drive candidates away from your site to a job site like Monster or Careerbuilder. You have paid big bucks on advertising to drive job seekers to your site, so keep them there and convert their interest into an application!

3. Killer Content:

What makes a candidate want to learn more about your opportunities or your company? It’s all about the information that you are sharing and the way that you share it. As my kids would say, “Keep it real” and stay away from content that looks as if it was written by legal counsel.  Do remember to include testimonials, examples of community involvement, charitable endeavors, cultural information, benefits overview and commitment to diversity recruiting efforts. Videos are a great way to highlight all that makes your company stand apart and have become a must have for companies looking to attract Gen-Y.

So, there you have my rant for the day!  I hope that I can help someone out there.

I am interested to hear what you think!