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FARM Illinois: A powerful background industry steps into the light

The state of Illinois—along with much of the Midwest—is built on a foundation of food and agriculture. Illinois is the number-one state in the country for soybean production and second for corn production—two of the most versatile staple crops in the world—as well as fourth for hog inventory and sales. Those are impressive numbers. And […]

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How to ensure your city’s self-image—and the policies that come from it—go beyond skin deep

When it comes to getting the facts to back up your opinions, who do you trust? How confidently do you repeat information you learned secondhand? How much do others trust you? There was a time, in the not too distant past, when the American public trusted that the news provided by the Fourth Estate was […]

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Seven ways to give better feedback to your graphic designers

Graphic design is visual, but it’s not artwork. It’s used to achieve a specific business goal or solution. Each graphic design request is a collaboration, a problem-solving effort. Since it is a visual craft—one designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and to serve a purpose—graphic designers are constantly getting feedback. We’re used to it. However, there’s a […]

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Want to create distinctive content? Even geniuses need to put in the time

This past November, I went to see Stevie Wonder play his epic double album (and four-song EP) Songs in the Key of Life in its entirety. As you would expect, the show was transcendent and reinforced the mind-blowing sweep of styles and influences that helped to produce this indelible record. Before “If It’s Magic,” a meditation […]

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Content marketing, social media, and painless dentistry

For many business executives considering how they’ll communicate with customers or other businesses, there are two words that strike terror into their very hearts: social media. Some companies have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so forth, but post only occasionally or fail to tie those communications in to the company’s overall communications strategy. An […]

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Content marketing best practices: Custom imagery (part 2 of 2)

In my previous post, I offered suggestions on stock imagery best practices from the perspective of a veteran designer. In this follow-up post, I offer tips and artist recommendations for companies and individuals considering commissioning a custom illustration, as well as a few thoughts on original photography. When should I commission a custom illustration? If you […]

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Content marketing best practices: Stock imagery (part 1 of 2)

Let’s be honest: people do judge books by their covers. In content marketing, often it’s the overarching visual that grabs your attention and makes you read a headline or title. And since most social media sites are devoted to the sharing of photographs and visuals, this has become the norm. According to statistics compiled by a […]

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So you want to include video in your content marketing strategy?

We spoke with our favorite video producer about how to mitigate sticker shock and get the most bang for your buck when creating any kind of corporate video, for internal or external audiences. Here’s what you should keep in mind. A video by Leff Communications and Mike Russell. A recent report on content marketing trends among B2B companies […]

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Build a business identity

So what’s your story? You know what you do, but do you know who you are? We’ve written several times in this space about the importance of the strategy component of thought leadership—among other things the need to consider why you’re creating content, the audience, and the most effective manner of distributing the content to […]

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From B2B content marketing to science fiction: The first rule of writing in every genre

Has your company struggled to engage your audience through content marketing? You’re not alone—and the solution involves getting back to the basics of good writing in any genre. This past fall, a survey by The Economist Group and Peppercomm found a persistent disconnect between business executives and the brand marketers who are trying to reach […]

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