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?

By: Ryan Ching

A career fair can be a recruiter’s dreamland or worst nightmare. You’re surrounded by top talent but your competition is out to poach them from your pipeline. In order to recruit the best of the best and stand out from your competition be sure to utilize these four easy tips.

1. Catch Their Attention

Don’t be afraid to get creative, especially if you’re recruiting for a creative minded position. Make sure that your company’s booth stands out with colorful graphics and intriguing copy. If your booth looks like it was made by a middle school student for the science fair it’ll be hard to catch the eye of your ideal candidate. Be sure to convey your brand’s values and employee value proposition clearly at your booth in order to give a sense of your company culture. Another way to attract people to your booth is to have small giveaways such as pens, sunglasses or other creatively branded items. While these may cost a bit of money, it can attract talent to your booth and, at the very least, increase your brand recognition around the fair.

                               MichaelScottSwag

2. Be Genuine and Conversational

Don’t try and sell your company too hard to a prospective employee. Don’t get me wrong, you want to explain why your company is a great place to work and why they should choose you but do it in a conversational manner. If you’re giving top talent a sales pitch, odds are that they can see through the smoke and mirrors and may be turned off by the idea of a hard sell. It can also raise questions about why you are working so hard to sell your company experience. Let the conversation flow naturally and see if they’re a good fit at the end.

3. Respect Your Candidates

It’s important to treat prospective employees with the respect that they deserve and remain professional at all times. If a candidate fails to meet your expectations for the position, simply thank them for their time and tell them in a polite manner that they do not meet the requirements for the position. If you need to get the person to stop talking in order to meet with another potential employee, let them know that it was great talking to them but out of respect for others they must move on to the next person. Remember to be professional and respectful because after all you are representing your company and potential employees can spread the word quickly if they feel they were mistreated.

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4. Make a Lasting Impression

As a recruiter you need to have an outgoing personality at career fairs to attract top talent. For example, I had a recruiter from a major company that simply stared me down as I attempted to talk to him and would not answer any questions that I had. Not only was this awkward in the moment, but it also killed my interest in the company. Prospective employees are trying to make a good first impression to you but at the same time they’re also judging the company based on your interaction with them. Be excited about your company and talk about what makes it special to you to give recruits something to remember when they leave the fair.

Next time you attend a career fair use these tips to lure top talent away from your competitors and build your talent pipeline. If there are any tips that we missed be sure to let us know at our Facebook or Twitter page!

4 Easy Recruiting Tips To Career Fair Success

Content Writing Expert Tips—How to Survive in the Social Media Age

by Alyssa Stahr

23 August, 2013

They say content is king. How can you rule your own destiny as a content writer/marketer/social media expert? The fact that there are multiple titles to describe what we do proves that versatility is key to success as a content marketing guru.

One of the biggest questions in our market today is, “Is print media dead?” Whether the final nail is in the coffin remains to be seen, however, the important part is that writers are well-rounded enough to be good at it all. Today’s ideal writer must know how to craft appropriate content for every medium imaginable. Print, digital, social media, white papers, ad copy, press releases, blogs, newsletters—each has its own form, nuances and subsets, and being the type of writer who can adapt to it all will be king (or queen).

The first rule is to know your audience. Whom are you writing for? Perhaps it’s a client who wants a younger voice on a career brochure for college students. Maybe you are crafting social media posts for a small demographic of bakers, or you’ve been called upon to write a series of white papers outlining trends in the food and beverage industry. Clients, genres, subjects and audience will change. We at The Arland Group strive to be content chameleons daily, and switching gears at a moment’s notice is a huge aspect of our lives.

Another point to remember is to pick a style and stick to it. Whether your company has a house style, AP style, Chicago Manual of Style, each is there to provide consistency in your writing. And never, ever double space after a period. It’s wrong and very old school. And, the point is to become a better, fresher, newer writer looking forward to the bright future of the pen, pencil, typewriter, laptop, tablet, or whatever you choose to create your content on today.

The biggest piece of advice was saved for last because it usually becomes the last piece in the writing puzzle, but it is by far the most important—editing and proofing. You may have just written something to rival Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost, however if there is a typo or grammatical error, all that genius goes down the tubes and the focus shifts to the mistake.

 

 

 

TAG Takeaways From The State of the News Media Report

by Emily Pirraglia

22 April, 2013

The Arland Group attended the 2013 State of the News Media Report at the UMSL at Grand Center last Thursday to hear the latest reports on newspaper and broadcast media trends. Besides highlighting the details of the continuing decline of the newspaper industry, the report also reminded us of relevant topics in media.

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter users no longer use social media to simply keep in touch with friends and family. Instead, people are now using these sites to discover local and national news and entertainment. By engaging on Facebook and Twitter, users can easily find news and connect with companies that their friends share and like. Companies can reach these consumers by utilizing their online community; sponsored ads on Twitter and Facebook are most successful when they’re displayed to friends of fans and are helpful to the audience they reach.

Mobile: According to the report, many consumers do not access the Internet at home from a computer and instead rely on a mobile device to read information online. And, these consumers may be in the audience you want to reach. Understanding where your audience is and how they consume information is vital to the success of any marketing campaign. Examine your ads and creative content on all mediums to ensure that your message translates across different devices.

Television: Television may be struggling, but it is far from dead. Although we are experiencing dramatic changes in viewers’ media consumption habits, millions of people still consistently watch broadcast. To ignore them or act as though they’re no longer a valuable audience is not wise. However, in order for television media outlets to present a challenge to growing online media sources, they will need to develop innovative dissemination methods to reach and expand their viewership.

Writers’ Unblock: How to Keep Writing Fresh

by Alyssa Stahr

19 March, 2013

Vintage typewriter, writing quote

The Arland Group has ramped up its writing efforts lately, with more blog posts, content marketing writing and long-form copy than ever before. With numerous clients and so many demands for content, how do you keep writing fresh, unique and informative?

It’s a tough market, and whether you are acting as a consultant, writing for social media, providing marketing copy or writing long-form digital copy, one great thing is for certain—everyone has a voice. So, what’s the best way to convey it through the written word?

1. Network and market yourself both in person and on paper. Don’t pigeonhole yourself as a writer. Just because the social media club is meeting this week and you consider yourself “only” an investigative journalist, go anyway. You never know whom you will meet and what contacts you will make. Consider your writing portfolio a family tree of works. Having only one limb would be significantly boring.

2. Once clients are on board, you may have topics provided for you or you may be allowed to go out on your own. If this is the case, send a topic list to your client. This will help in the long run. You wouldn’t want to write a piece and not have it be what the client wanted.

3. When writing in long-form, don’t forget your outline. Just as when you wrote those awesome term papers in college, it helps to organize your thoughts in outline form. Once your thoughts are grouped, it may help to write the easiest parts of the project first. After all, the toughest part is getting started, right?

4. Don’t forget about SEO and distribution. Remember that 99.9% of what you write probably will turn out somewhere or another in digital form. Know where and how to distribute, and make your writing easily searchable.

5. Know what you do well and continue your education. Not everyone is a stellar technical writer, and some people thrive on writing human-interest pieces. Trying your best at a multitude of projects in today’s market will go a long way, and if you want to learn a new type or form of writing, just try it. Writing constantly evolves, just as you will. Love what you do, and expand your horizons.

 

 

Engaging the Next Generation of Great Marketers

by Keith Seiz

31 January, 2013

I just got back from visiting my old high school, where I was asked to speak about “what I do” to a class of juniors and seniors in a Sports and Entertainment Marketing class.

I love speaking in front of people. It’s one of the favorite parts of my job. I’m passionate about what I do, and I love telling clients and anyone who will listen about marketing and branding. But speaking in front of high school kids was a whole new ball game. They were engaged (at least most of them), and asked good questions, but it was difficult for me to get any read on if my message was effective. No one stuffed me in a locker on my way out, so I guess something of value was conveyed.

What I learned from the experience is how quickly the next generation of marketers will be ready to take my job. Social media is such a significant part of my job, and every kid I spoke to probably has just as much experience using these tools as I do. By the time they are primed for the workforce, they won’t need work experience because to them, the tools of content delivery are part of everyday life.

I’m not even sure if they need to go to college to realize a career as a successful marketer. I’m not selling my profession short, just coming to the realization that content is marketing, and high school kids consume an obscene amount of content on a daily basis. By the time they are ready to start their careers, they will already understand the tools needed to disseminate the message.

They may not know how to craft the message, and maybe that’s where us “dinosaurs” will maintain employment.

My Glass Isn’t Just Half Full, It’s Broken

by Deb Andrychuk

3 February, 2012

Years ago, I had a prospect that I had been pursuing for several months, with zero success.  I couldn’t sell them a thing. I had used all of my awesome sales training (Selling to VITO, Spin Selling, Give ‘Em the Pickle and more) to no avail. The client had expressed their pains, and I had listened attentively and then diligently worked alongside of them to fashion a solution that they agreed would solve their problems and certainly make their lives easier.  The stumbling block was neither my contact nor his boss would take the risk and pull the trigger.  Why? Because, in their eyes, change meant running the risk of making a huge mistake in front of peers or senior executives.  Their fear of failure paralyzed and wedded them forever to their existing solution which was an admitted failure.

After disclosing in a tense pipeline review that another month would pass without this account closing, my manager sat me down.  He had disappointment in his eyes and said these words I will never forget:  ”It’s time you change up your approach- you’re growing stale.  You need to get serious and break some glass or you will never get your customers to break it!”  I was super frustrated and confused (break the glass?  What in the world was he talking about?!)  I wondered if my manager could tell that I wanted to throw everything in my cubicle including him.  Then being sensitive to criticism, I felt my neck grow hot, embarrassed and shocked that someone actually thought my approach had gotten old.  I mean, seriously, who the heck was he talking to?  I had been told by clients that I was like an entire cheer squad, or a cute puppy with a severe case of ADD, but never had I been called stale.  It took me a long time to get over that horrible moment in my cube…Looking back now; I understand what he was trying to do.  He was giving me the big shove I needed to take a different approach and ruffle some feathers to get my point across.

Today, I speak to talent acquisition leaders daily and some of them are managing recruiting programs that are seriously flat lining. Sadly, some are incorporating recruiting methodologies and processes that were used 10-15 years ago and they are genuinely disturbed and saddened that the old “post and pray” isn’t effective anymore.  Unfortunately, this is what happens when no one questions “the method behind your madness” or no one cares to challenge the status quo or when HR can’t get support from the rest of the business and they are relegated to being just a huge cost center.  And, let’s face it, recruiting is not an easy gig right now and there is certainly no silver bullet.  It is much easier to just sit back and keep riding the same old recruiting train.  We can kick back and make stops here and there to lay blame:  job boards don’t work, social media is unsafe and unproven, we lack resources or budget, or our website sucks, the economy blows, my recruiters are lazy, and the list goes on and on and on…

Personally, I made a vow to myself at the beginning of the year to find ways to start chipping away at the legacy glassware that has become the accepted and the norm.  I am pushing myself to have frank, honest and sometimes uncomfortable discussions with my clients and hope that they don’t get their feelings hurt or throw me out of their offices.  The questions aren’t that crazy, but you never know when you are knocking someone’s baby.  ”Do you know who you are and why anyone would want to work for you?”, “Do you believe that your (fill in the blank with-process/job postings/ careersite/ branding) is effective?” or “Why do your current employees stay/leave?” Oh, and by the way, if you do know the answers to these questions, then why in the heck aren’t you sharing your story and/or fixing the issues?   It might be a little uncomfortable, but not asking would be a disservice to our clients.  I am going to help who I can that will listen and divert my attention from those that continue to don their 1999 recruiting earmuffs.  I know that I might emerge at the end of 2012 with a few cuts and bruises, but I’m sticking to the plan because I can’t let myself or my customers get stale.

Final thought:  I don’t recommend going in Rambo style and shattering everything in sight, but my mantra is “Take out your velvet hammer and start tapping, kids!”  Life is better when the glass is half full and a bit broken.

Strategizing Makes Success a Piece of Cake

by Sharon Lynch

15 September, 2011

Here at The Arland Group, we pride ourselves on applying successes from one area to another, sharing ideas from consumer marketing to recruitment marketing, vice versa, and on over to business-to-business. Similarly, I like to borrow work strategies that can extend to my personal life. For one, pro-active planning, creativity, detailed project management and research are just some of the things we do here to ensure success and I’m hoping to carry that forward to a large undertaking at home . . . I am already thinking ahead to my son’s 4-yr birthday party and it’s 2 months away – I just can’t help it. I enjoy planning and love being pro-active, so that makes for a great fit when planning client strategies . . . I am hoping this will also help me make a Treasure Chest Birthday Cake – not your average 3-step box cake or store-bought cake (one step: pickup). It has so many steps it needs a VIDEO to go with the recipe! http://familyfun.go.com/parties/parties-by-theme/pirate-parties/treasure-chest-cake-686531/ Yikes!

So as a first step to my “planning and strategy” while I’m considering this I decide to draw on my business world acumen. Network. Use social media. I post the idea on Facebook only to get an immediate reply from someone who actually already made the cake! (How’s that for personal research?) And she got huge applause for it. Well then, I guess I’m “in”: decision made. And I will use my business strategies: project management, pro-active planning, and prioritizing to get this done. I will enjoy every step of it as I do working with my customers and just as I experience the success of a Target Mail with a very creative message and high open rate, I will love to see the happy face of my 4-yr-old and his friends.

Business Tips from the Dogs

by Deb Andrychuk

3 March, 2011

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that outside of my husband and kids, my dogs are the loves of my life.  I didn’t have a dog until I was an adult so I had to be taught how to interact with them.   In thinking about my relationship with my pooches, I realize that so much of what I do with them can be applied to my everyday dealings at Arland.  So, here are my top business tips as learned from my Malte-poo, Rocco, and my Shi-a-poo, Arnie.

Start with a firm handshake. If you are meeting a new dog for the first time, carefully let him sniff you first then gently but firmly shake his paw.  This same rule applies in the business world (minus the sniffing part.)  For maximum impact, look your prospect squarely in the eyes and give him a nice and tightly gripped shake.  Please remember that no one, and I mean no one,  enjoys  a sticky or sweaty palm or worse yet,  a limp-wristed hand shake, so keep your hands clean & dry and practice your grasp with your spouse or friend.

Treats are a great reward. My dogs Rocco and Arnie are incredibly affectionate and I used to believe this was because they adored me and I was the center of their universe.  Now I know that their devotion is really based upon their love of cheese and chicken treats.  My dogs learned quickly that good behavior = yummy treats.    I think the same thinking applies to rewarding your customer’s behavior.  If you have a customer who has given you repeat business, referred you to a colleague or endorsed your work, return the favor!  It’s also nice to send a thank you card, take them to lunch or dinner occasionally or buy them some treats when visiting (cupcakes are always a hit!)  Everyone loves to feel special!

Walk your dog. Dogs are very much like children in that they crave routine.  They feel secure and loved and behave best when they are routinely walked, groomed, fed, etc.  Customers are looking for their partners to consistently take care of them.  It needs to be habitual that you regularly check in on your contacts preferably by person or by phone.  Make sure that you are proactively delivering reports or any other assets promptly.

Clean up messes ASAP! I am sure you have seen the clever but crude bumper sticker proclaiming that “Sh*t Happens!”  What I have learned is that when a puppy goes, you need to be on the scene immediately to do damage control, especially if it was on your neighbor’s front yard or driveway.  As long as you are timely and do a good job, your neighbor will be pleased but, whatever you do, don’t pretend like your doggie didn’t do the duty.  Own up to the poopie!  So many customers have told me that it’s not the flub-up that turned them off from a prior vendor; it was clearly the lack of skills or desire to clean up the disaster.

Guide your dog.  Okay, ever see an out of control dog, pulling his bewildered pet owner in one direction while the owner strained in the opposite direction on the leash?  Sometimes, as vendors, we think that our ideas are the only ideas, getting hung up on who is in charge.  When helping clients make choices, leave the choker chain at home.  Strangling them into a choice is hardly the way to build your partnership.  Further, if you are constantly trying to be the “alpha” dog, you are going to turn off your clients.  Customers want someone to take care of them who is confident, knowledgeable & able to make solid recommendations without being overbearing.

Don’t take in more dogs than you can handle. I have a friend who is constantly rescuing dogs that have not gotten the care they deserve.  Unfortunately, if she takes in too many dogs, her home becomes a disaster area and no dog gets the attention they need.  In the business world, you should strive to provide world class service.  This means monitoring your work load and being wise enough to know when to add head count to provide additional support.  Everyone should work hard, but not kill themselves on a daily basis to meet objectives.

Dogs need affection. If I ignore my pups, they quickly become despondent and then begin to seek out affection elsewhere, mainly from my husband or kids.  In the business world, when you don’t cuddle your clients, guess what happens?  They lose interest and can easily be wooed away by your competition.   Love your customers all the time and they will pay you back ten-fold.  Go the extra mile without being asked, be a good listener and give your customers the attention they deserve.

So, there you have it! Words to live by in our dog- eat- dog world!

Why We Hired a Content Marketing Manager

by Keith Seiz

22 February, 2011

It’s been a busy start to the year for The Arland Group. In January, we launched websites for industry leaders Nationwide Insurance and PSAV. In February, we welcomed our newest employee, Megan Gattung, as content marketing manager.

In six years, our firm’s growth has only been outpaced by the services we offer. When Jason, Jonathan and I started in 2005, content marketing wasn’t on our list of services. Nor was social media or video production. We were a creative house, and we did creative things on websites and print advertising campaigns.

Content was important, but content was viewed as a piece of a creative project, not the entirety. Content was words that fit on a website or brochure. Content’s sole purpose was to make an immediate connection. There was no content strategy beyond the immediate impact that the words would create when they were read.

Not anymore. Content is major player at The Arland Group, and an area we plan on dominating for years to come. Content is now offered throughout our services, from social media to webisodes to white papers to blogging and micro-blogging. Content is words, videos, books, articles, white papers, ideas, music and any other form of expression we generate on behalf of our clients for the sole purpose of making a connection with their audience. Content is a tool we use to promote our clients to their audience. Content is just like advertising, marketing or public relations. And, it is just as effective.

With Megan on board as content marketing manager, we will be able to expand our content services to all industries we serve, including consumer. B2B and employment branding. It is our job to get our client’s messages to the intended audience in the most effective way. Our content capabilities serve as the perfect complement to our creative capacities to accomplish this goal.