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What Makes a Story Newsworthy

What Makes a Story Newsworthy?

Similar to journalists, public relations professionals need to be well versed in the elements that make a story newsworthy. Part of our skillset is identifying story angles in client announcements that would appeal to mass media and the public. Determining a strong story angle increases our changes of earning media coverage and having readers interact with your news. The following six elements are common themes that journalists and editors look for to create an appealing news story. Timeliness Timeliness is possibly the most common news element because the media aims to deliver the latest news as soon as possible in

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Part III: Developing a Content Marketing Strategy For Your Manufacturing Business

Good content marketing practices start with a sound strategy. A content marketing strategy defines the purpose and goals of content marketing efforts. It also takes into account all channels of your marketing efforts – from your website and digital marketing campaigns to public relations, social media and advertising. The following process is a proven method to help you define your company’s content marketing strategy and measure success. The 11 steps of content marketing strategy: Prioritize audience goals. What is the audience trying to achieve? Which of these goals is most important? Define the desired action. Map the buyer’s journey. What’s

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Part II: The Buzz Around Manufacturing Content Marketing

It’s hard to have a conversation about marketing without hearing about content marketing. It has become an essential strategy for manufacturers and industrial marketers as they seek new customers and connect with existing ones. The ideas are well established, even if the term itself is growing. As early as 1895, John Deere was marketing content through a customer magazine that today is available in 12 languages and 40 countries. Michelin Guide, the current gold standard for restaurant ratings, started as a way to help drivers maintain their cars – and find lodging and restaurants as they traveled the country in

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Risdall Anniversaries

Celebrating 3 Risdallians’ Work Anniversaries This April

Each month we celebrate several Risdallians’ work anniversaries to thank everyone on our team for the hard work they have put in over the years. As a special congratulations, CEO Ted Risdall presents honorees with a rose for every year they have worked at Risdall. This month we’re congratulating Gabe Shackle, Carin Leonard-Gorrill and a special congrats to Ted Risdall. (Don’t worry, Ted didn’t present himself with roses!) “I want to give a big congratulations to the honorees this month,” said Ted. “Gabe and Carin represent the diverse skills we are known for at Risdall; Gabe in web development and

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5 Ways to Boost the Power of Your Networking

Forging professional connections is as important as your knowledge, drive and expertise. By taking the initiative to reach out and meet new people, you can expand your network and create chances for future professional opportunities. 1. Getting Started with the Small Talk We’re living in a time where it is socially acceptable to not acknowledge people in public. When you’re in line at Starbucks, or waiting alone at a table for your friend, you seek refuge in your cell phone to pass the time. People also wear headphones, even when shopping. Common practices like these create communication barriers between others,

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Harness content marketing

Part I: An Understanding of Harnessing the Power of Content Marketing to Reach New Audiences

Sales processes are constantly evolving, motivating manufacturers to discover fresh approaches to market and sell on new platforms. Content marketing has become the go-to communications strategy of organizations to reach customers at all stages of the buyer’s journey. The Content Marketing Institute offers the most complete definition of this strategy: “Content marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.”  In a 2016 Enterprise Minnesota survey, manufacturers identified new customers and new products as critical growth drivers

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Minnesota PRSA Classics Awards

Risdall Wins Best Marketing Services Award at Minnesota PRSA Classics

Every year, the PR professionals of Minnesota assemble under one roof to celebrate their work and clients at the Minnesota Public Relations Society of America’s Classics Award Banquet. The Minnesota PRSA Classics is a peer-judged award competition that honors public relations practitioners in Minnesota who demonstrate the highest level of skill and creativity when solving communication challenges. This year, the banquet was hosted in downtown Minneapolis at the Muse Event Center. Our clients, Meridian Behavioral Health, Beauterre Recovery Institute, and VITAL WorkLife accompanied us to celebrate our award nominations. Risdall PR and our clients were excited to be nominated for six

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Why Your Company Should Consider Pro Bono Work

Offering pro bono services facilitates positive symbiotic relationships between companies and local communities. In order to keep their mission possible, local organizations and people may be in need of certain skills, but are unable to afford the professionals and resources required. By taking the initiative to offer a service pro bono, companies can lend their catered expertise at a discount, or without payment to give back to their local community and causes. Doing pro bono work for an organization can open up unimaginable doors personally and professionally. Take the lead and read more below. Pro bono vs. Volunteering Although pro

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Risdall Anniversaries

Risdall Celebrated 3 Work Anniversaries This March

Each month several Risdallians celebrate their work anniversaries. To make these celebrations even more special, CEO Ted Risdall presents each person with a rose for every year he or she has worked at Risdall. This month we’re honoring Tracy Henry,  Nikki Hafften and Glenna Dibrell. “Tracy, Nikki and Glenna add 16 years of combined experience to Risdall, making our running total 400 years of service,” Ted said. “That doesn’t even count the years of experience everyone gained before joining Risdall! Needless to say, these three Risdallians add to our team of experts, with Tracy in digital marketing, Nikki in web development and

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Tips For Recognizing Email Scams


It was recently brought to our attention that someone posing as a member of the Risdall Advertising Agency sent an email to a contact list offering to pay $400 weekly for anyone who agrees to place advertisement stickers on their vehicles.  Thank you to individuals who helped us discover this activity. We’re honored that recipients of this email were able to recognize the Risdall agency as an organization that does not market in this way.

In today’s world, our inboxes are inundated with messages, and it’s up to us to recognize when a message doesn’t seem quite right. Today we’d like to use this event to offer some tips on how to recognize when an email offer could be a scam.

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Risdall First Quarter 2016 Highlights

As an integrated marketing agency, Risdall always has a lot going whether it’s client partnerships to drive growth or news from our public relations, digital marketing, strategy, ad or web development teams. The first quarter of 2016 is no different. Dave Folkens was promoted to SVP and will join the leadership team at Risdall. Since joining the agency in 2014, Dave has played a key role in the ongoing development and growth of the communications and public relations function at Risdall. He will continue to lead day-to-day management of client accounts focusing on integrating online and traditional communications and media

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PR Follow Up Calls

4 Pitching Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for PR Follow-Up Calls

Follow-up calls are an essential public relations tactic to earn media coverage for your company or your clients. Although the majority of reporters prefer email, connecting with them via phone is the best way to sell your story idea and determine whether a journalist is interested in covering it. Follow these four tips to get the most out of your time on the phone with the media. Never ask if the reporter got your news release Chances are likely they received your release, read it and took an appropriate action for whether or not they want to cover the story.

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Media Relations

3 Takeaways from IABC’s Media Relations Panel

IABC brought together three of the brightest minds in Minnesota’s PR market for a panel discussion about media relations. Michael Walsh, Tammy Nienaber and Roman Blahoski discussed best practices for media outreach in today’s news world. Here are three key takeaways from their discussions. Embrace the digital age, but know that print is not dead. News teams are smaller than ever, and they’re still facing the challenge of feeding a 24-hour news cycle. The opportunity for traditional media coverage is bigger than ever, especially if you know how to sell your story. It’s a pet peeve of reporters when they

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Risdall Anniversaries

Two Risdallians Celebrated Anniversaries in February

Each month, we celebrate the anniversaries of Risdallians who have put in another year at the agency. Ted Risdall, our CEO and Chairman, gifts each person with as many roses as they have years at Risdall. Congratulations to Jon Hanson and Erik Hinds for adventuring through another year of hard work and candy! “I’d like to thank Jon and Erik for their continued work to make Risdall one of the top 10 advertising agencies in the Twin Cities,” said Ted. “Together, these two Risdallians add 9 years of experience within our agency.” Meet the Honorees Erik Hinds, VP, Solutions Architect Celebrating 8 years at Risdall. Erik

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FTC featured image

The Federal Trade Commission Updates Guidelines for Native Advertising

Native advertising is a tactic that is gaining popularity for marketers and publishers in response to ad blockers and changing consumer behavior online. Publishers like the New York Times, Fast Company, Buzzfeed and many others have adopted native advertising techniques and continue to benefit from running ads while the user experience is minimally affected. A native advertisement is an ad that blends in with the look and feel of the platform that it appears on. This is one of the reasons why it is so appealing to marketers. However, one of the main concerns over native ads is that some users may not be able

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Featured Image for Organic Rankings Misconceptions Blog

SEO Misconceptions: Getting #1 Organic Rankings

For the uninitiated, this phrase may seem perfectly reasonable: Do what you have to do to get us to rank #1 on Google. The intention behind this sentence is pure enough; however, it needs to be unpacked a bit and should be much more specific. Without doing so it could cost you more than you’re willing to spend this year, a lot of time lost to frustration and confusion and may even lead to tactics you didn’t mean to use. For example, if you really want to be the top result for a particular keyword you could start a sponsored

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Blog Content Audit Feature Image

Auditing Your Blog Content

How to Know Whether to Keep, Delete, or Repurpose Old Blogs One activity that’s important to do every so often, but is easily ignored, is to audit previously created blog content. This can be a big undertaking if you’ve never done it, but can provide fantastic insights into what’s working and where opportunities for SEO and additional content are. It’s important that you don’t just read and delete posts you no longer like. In order to get the best results, you’ll have to combine the qualitative assessment of the content – readability, getting the main point across, SEO – with

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Risdall Anniversaries

Celebrating 3 Risdallians’ Anniversaries with Roses the Risdall Way

With 26 years of collective work at Risdall between Jim, Mariann and Zoe, these Risdallians embody the passion and loyal personalities that Risdall is known for. That’s 26 years of bringing our clients Growth Powered by Risdall, 26 years of neon lights and 26 years of making the donuts. In celebration of their anniversaries, CEO Ted Risdall presented these five Risdallians with a rose for each year they’ve spent with our team. “The anniversaries of Zoe, Mariann and Jim range from three years all the way to 18 years, and it’s exciting to watch these talented folks grow with the company. I’m happy that we have

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How to Manage Blogs Strategically

Strategically Managing Blog Content

Why Risdall Deleted 390 Blogs and Why You Should Consider the Same Content marketers and bloggers are often told to focus on generating new content for their blog. It’s easy to forget about the pre-existing content on the website and how it could be impacting the organization. While the focus is on the freshest content, old blogs on the website are still generating traffic and creating impressions of your organization. Recently, Risdall went through over seven years of blogs. We deleted nearly 400 posts. Why would we do this if content is king? What are the benefits of deleting a

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Design Trends for 2016 Business-to-Business Websites

Successful B2B Web Design Strategies for 2016

The internet is a titanic mass of boundless information. Upload content and it can easily get lost if it isn’t noteworthy. Making a website stand out among waves of information is important for B2B companies. By taking a look at these modern and effective web fashions, B2B companies can model their websites to appeal to their customers and facilitate positive business experiences. Content First Design Early website design used to be like the lunch trays from elementary school. Content would be placed into a predetermined template, limiting the personality of a site and standardizing the place of content. Today’s web design

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Risdall Anniversaries

5 Risdallians Celebrated Work Anniversaries in December

This December Risdall honored 5 Risdall employees on their work anniversaries. Maggie Thompkins, Beth Anderson, Michelle Peterson, Pete Fabian and Lauren Westling have scootered through another year of yummy homemade cookies, Risdall BINGO and of course, candy! To celebrate the anniversaries, CEO Ted Risdall gave these  Risdallians a rose for each year they’ve spent with our team. “We are lucky to have an incredible and dedicated batch of people who work here. I’d like to think of  Risdall as a place where people can grow and have a meaningful career. Both Michelle and Lauren started here as interns before becoming

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Constant Variables

Using Constant Variables in Tag Manager to Save Time

Did you know that Google Tag Manager can remember your Google Analytics Tracking ID for you? Doing this saves time, energy and value. Your Google Analytics tracking ID is that number that looks like UA-1234567-1 that needs to be entered over and over again into tags put into Tag Manager. Create a Constant Variable in the Tag Manager to Remember Your Google Analytics Tracking ID Here is a tip on how to instruct the Tag Manager to remember this for you: Navigate to the Variables section of Tag Manager. Scroll down and click the red “New” button near the bottom

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Here’s to a SWEET 2016! New Year’s Tidings from CEO Ted Risdall

With SWEET ‘2016’ as our new theme, we are busy refilling our hundreds of candy jars to power our brains for another year of Growth. Powered by Risdall! We go into this year continuing to help organizations figure out how marketing, communication and reputation can help them grow. As we navigate the biggest communication revolution ever, we love applying the digital tools of today along with tried and true marketing strategies.           Our Expertise as Great Gifts to Share It’s a privilege to hear our clients share their gratitude when Risdall solves their business challenges. Each task requires

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3 Public Relations Resolutions to Make This New Year’s Eve

No matter where you are in your public relations career, there is always room for improvement. Take a few minutes this New Year’s to decide what you will do to build on your PR skills to pave the path for a productive 2016. Step up your PR game next year with these three ideas: 1. Interact with journalists on social media Social media’s role in media relations is quickly increasing. To build and maintain relationships with journalists, we need to join the conversations where they are taking place. Twitter is one of the social media platforms that journalists use most frequently. If

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Frustrations with Ad Blockers and Content Marketing

Frustrations with Ad Blockers and Content Marketing Share This Common Trait

Recently, there was a flood of articles and opinion posts on how ad blockers signaled the end of digital advertising. Digital ads won’t go anywhere. Around the same time, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) released its annual B2B Content Marketing 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America report. The report showed a decrease in how effective B2B marketers see content marketing. Because of this, many people are now writing drafts of their “content marketing is dead” posts. It’s not. Underneath the statistics and flood of opinions are real signals showing us what to focus on in our 2016 digital

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Big Data Analytics Image

How to Force Campaign Parameters to Lowercase

I recently read an excellent post by Krista Seiden titled Three Google Analytics Filters You Should Be Using Today. Her three basic filters include spam bot filtering, excluding traffic from internal IP addresses, and forcing URLs to lowercase. I couldn’t agree more, these three filters are simple to set-up, and make your data so much more valuable. In fact, if you’re a Risdall client and our digital marketing team manages your Google Analytics, you’ve got these filters and more in place already in at least one of your views. Three Additional Filters to Apply Krista’s post reminded me that there

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PR Jargon

20 PR Jargon Words that Turn Your Pitch into a #PRFail

If you’re on Twitter, you may be familiar with the #PRFail hashtag people use to share the worst public relations communications they find. If you’re not familiar with it, #PRFail is a hashtag that categorizes the worst public relations misfires that journalists and industry professionals come across. Take a look at the examples below: As a public relations professional, I find these tweets somewhat offensive, pretty hilarious and extremely helpful. Even though our journalist counterparts are poking fun at us, when they share these tweets, we learn what not to say or do when pitching. One practice to avoid when

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9 Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Press Releases

Press releases exist as a way to announce newsworthy information to media channels. As public relations professionals, it is important to construct clear, meaningful and direct releases that inform audiences about relevant information. News releases are subject to the mercy of an outside party, such as a journalist, in order to receive coverage. In order to increase the chances of earning coverage for your clients or company, consider the following during construction: First off, don’t forget the 5 basics: Who is the news release pertaining to? A company, an individual or a product? Who will the release affect directly or

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Risdall Celebrates 2 Risdallians’ Work Anniversaries This November

This November two people are celebrating another year of being apart the Risdallian team. Tina Karelson and Josh Dahmes have discoed through another year of neon lights and candy jars! In celebration of their anniversaries, CEO Ted Risdall presented both  Risdallians with a rose for each year they’ve spent with our team. Risdall “It’s always exciting to see people reach another year with the agency. Tina has been apart of our team since 1986, and Josh has been here since 2005. I’m happy that we have found individuals with expertise in their fields who share Risdall’s passion for building partnerships with our clients. Between these two Risdallians,

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Thanksgiving Cranberries

There Is Always Be Something To Be Thankful For

A very happy Thanksgiving to all! As I’ve said before, feeling thankful to so many and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. 2015 marks our 43rd year of being in business and I am thankful for the folks that have made this possible, especially our wonderful clients. I am thankful for the Risdallian team. Powered by our supreme work ethic – plus endless jars of candy and daredevil scooter laps around the building – we have worked tirelessly to make a difference for our clients and our community. I am also thankful that we

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Remembering Pat Fallon

Remembering Pat Fallon & His Advertising Legacy

Last week, the Twin Cities advertising community lost one of its icons, Pat Fallon. Fallon is one of only three Minnesotans to be inducted into the Advertising Hall-of-Fame and is one of the reasons Minneapolis was put on the map for remarkable advertising. Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a full-page ad featuring Risdall and 39 of our Twin Cities agency peers, to show the appreciation for the impact Pat Fallon has had across the community.   Pat Fallon’s Personal Connections with Risdall Like many of our peers, Risdall has personal and professional connections to Fallon. “Pat Fallon was one of my

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BlueSky Online Blog Banner

BlueSky Online School’s Growth. Powered by Risdall.

At Risdall, we’re lucky to have the opportunity to work with businesses that make a difference in people’s lives. As a full-service agency, our different departments team up together to work with clients in a variety of industries. To share our client’s stories, we started a blog series called “Growth. Powered by Risdall.” We highlight the accomplishments of a client, industry and marketing service to demonstrate how clients have bloomed with Risdall and achieved growth in their businesses. Last month we introduced our client, VISION EASE, a Minnesota-based company that is a leading manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses. Almost every department

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Tracking PDF Page View in Google Tag Manager Blog Feature Image

How to Track PDF Page Views Using Google Tag Manager

It seems intuitive that you should be able to log into Google Analytics, navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and find a page view count for your URLs ending in .pdf. However, Google Analytics page view tracking has to be applied a little differently than one may expect. This is because a PDF is a document that is hosted on your website. Not an actual page on your website built with html code or built using your website page templates. At Risdall, we like to provide our clients with event tracking, implemented through the Google Tag Manager,

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Video Recording Cameras on Tripods for Screen Capture Video Blog

How to Create A Screen Capture Video Using A MacBook Air and QuickTime

The first step is to open the QuickTime application along with which ever presentation platform—like PowerPoint for Prezi—you are using. When you have both of these applications open head over to the QuickTime Application, then up to the file tab in the menu bar and select new screen recording. Once you select a new screen recording a mini menu box will appear. In the center of it is the recording button. Immediately to the right of the recording button is a carrot. This is for your audio options make whether or not you’re using a microphone. The volume bar underneath

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Risdall Anniversaries

Celebrating 5 Risdallians’ Work Anniversaries This September and October

This month at Risdall, five people are celebrating another year of working at the agency. To recognize these achievements, CEO Ted Risdall presented each anniversary celebrant with as many roses as they have years with Risdall. Judy Becker, Beth Varela, Dave Dougherty, Melissa Holte and Rick Johnson have thrived with another year of candy, scooters and “Mad Men” parties! “In September and October we celebrated the old and the new with our Risdall anniversaries. Judy has been part of the Risdall team since we opened our doors in 1972, while Beth and Dave added their online marketing expertise to Risdall just last

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Higher Education Communications Strategy

How to Perfect Your Communications Strategy

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily to-do list of emails, social posts, meetings and even remembering to eat. During this frenzy, have you taken time to really get to know the people you’re communicating with? Our experience in marketing communications has taught us a few simple things that can help you develop a solid strategy and make it easy to implement. Your communications will be much more effective if you invest the time upfront. These include: Identifying your audience(s) Building audience personas Reaching your audience exactly where they are You Don’t Have A Communications Strategy If You

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Ad Blocking and Marketing

What Ad Blockers Teach Us About Marketing

A reporter recently contacted me to ask for thoughts about the rise of ad blocking technology and what it means for B2B firms. The publication was interested in how ads would need to be tailored differently in the future or what marketers can do to combat ad blocking. The inquiry itself goes against our general marketing philosophy here at Risdall. I thought I’d share a few thoughts today on this topic, as well as share with you an actionable step you can take to better understand the rise of ad blocking. Commit to Creating Useful, Engaging Content Many of us

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Brand Hierarchy Creative Commons

Building Higher Education Brand Strength With a Brand Hierarchy

In today’s perfect marketing storm of stiff competition and information overload, more colleges and universities recognize the critical need for strategic branding. Those who’ve already done the hard work of developing a strong, core-brand identity are ahead of the game. But they still have work to do. Most higher education institutions are, by necessity, complex organizations that serve many diverse and distinct communities and interests. That means a lot of communication is pouring out, and when multiple departments, programs, schools, sports teams and offices try to reach nuanced audiences through the same brand bullhorn, it can get murky fast. Problems

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Coffee Wine & Chocolate Analytics Blog

Set Up Cross-Domain Tracking with the Google Tag Manager in 3 Easy Steps

Our main business website is Most of the time, when we need to add information to our website on a new page, we put it in a subfolder page, which in turn churns out a URL such as (for example). When we do this, we make sure that our Google Tag Manager container is added to our page and analytics data is easily collected. In some instances, we need to track a sub-domain page as if it were a part of our regular domain. An example of a sub-domain URL is Because the word coffee comes before, it is considered a sub-domain. If we’d like

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Standing out with your higher education branding

Why Higher Education Needs Branding

What does your organization stand for? What is the reputation you currently hold in the eyes of your target consumer? These are critical questions to answer to form the basic foundation of your organization’s brand. There are many components of a brand and it is much more than a logo or tagline. A brand exists only in the mind of the consumer. A brand is the perception they have which determines what they think they know about your organization—driving an emotional reaction. When your audience believes in what you stand for, a loyal relationship is formed. Then it is in

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