January 30, 2017 | Brittany VanMaele
There’s no point of creating a website or digital product if you haven’t considered the paths users will take and optimized the Information Architecture, or IA. AJi shares what IA encompasses and how to improve your product's IA.Read more
January 26, 2017 | John Alexander
I recently presented on "Designing For Mixed Reality with the Microsoft HoloLens" at UXPA-KC. Here's the resource sheet of items mentioned in the presentation.
December 14, 2016 | Brittany VanMaele
Too often, agencies or clients see SEO and website design and development as two distinct entities. Here’s why cross-departmental collaboration is a must when it comes to SEO and web development.
December 7, 2016 | Krista Poore
When a local agency takes it upon themselves to spread love and hometown pride for their city, the results are anything but dull.
November 28, 2016 | Jeff Julian
Just like most writers prefer the paper book versus digital, I really do prefer the paper task board when I am working through my content. I don’t mind the dual entry or the extra time spent clearing off cards and writing new ones.
November 22, 2016 | Krista Poore
When stuff hits the fan, how do you handle social communications? Check out our SMCKC recap full of real-life examples from big brands and how they managed, and mismanaged, their crisis communications.
November 14, 2016 | Brittany VanMaele
Better Processes, Data, & SEO Strategies: The Midwest’s Best & Brightest Search Minds Talk SEO & SEM
What happened when 50 or so search geeks gathered at the 2016 KC Search Marketing Conference to swap war stories? There were lots of laughs, plenty of GIFs, and countless insights into traditional and emerging PPC and SEO strategies.
July 8, 2016 | Jeff Julian
In this article I will tell a story, give a few examples of areas you can monitor, and list a few ways to use software to help provide better customer experiences in your content marketing efforts.
July 7, 2016 | Krista Poore
Rob Zaleski from MarketingProfs and Jeff sat down this past week in Austin, Texas to discuss the world of Marketing and upcoming events that allow all these diverse individuals to connect and share that breadth of knowledge with one another.
June 15, 2016 | Krista Poore
The sun was shining and the coffee was steaming; we couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off our Day of Marketing in Denver, Colorado. Thanks to Microsoft, and our guest speakers Carla Johnson, Andrea Fryrear and Jeff Julian, the day was full of relevant and applicable information about storytelling, content creation, and Agile marketing methodologies.
June 7, 2016 | Krista Poore
The Midwest Digital Marketing Conference was hosted in St. Louis at the Union Station. With over 1,300 people in attendance and 24 guest speakers, the day was full of education and networking among marketing students and professionals. Throughout the day AJi interviewed several of the speakers to better understand what they do and to gain advice for our listeners.
June 2, 2016 | Jeff Julian
We are just moments away from our first Day of Marketing event in Denver. During our day, Carla Johnson, Andrea Fryrear, and I will present a few ideas around how your team can become more focused on the customer in your marketing while gaining the benefits of agile planning for content.
May 26, 2016 | Jessi Bixler
In the fall of 2014, I made the decision to leave my position at a company I had spent the last 7+ years of my life. I had built a rapport with my colleagues, grew my network of industry contacts and crafted my trade. But, I had also become comfortable. I wasn’t challenged in the work that I was producing and I had lost sight of what was important to me professionally and personally.
May 18, 2016 | Krista Poore
Just a couple of weeks ago Jeff was asked to share his expertise on Agile Marketing with the hosts of the Agile Marketing Blog, Frank Days and Roland Smith. They frequently interview thought leaders in the world of Agile Marketing and Jeff was one of their most recent guests.
May 3, 2016 | Krista Poore
What do you get when you mix large archways, exposed ceilings, old brick, even older trains, a thousand chairs facing a stage, several goldfish, 54 thought leaders, and 1,300 bright-eyed, bushy-tailed attendees? An inspiring, informative, and impactful digital marketing conference held in the St. Louis Union Station!
April 5, 2016 | Jeff Julian
So much is changing and at a pace that keeps getting faster. Who would have thought even 3 years ago that we would be considering the opportunities to produce amazing customer experiences using virtual reality?
March 10, 2016 | Jeff Julian
What a way to kick off the 2016 marketing conference season. Content Marketing Institute held the seventh annual Intelligent Content Conference in Las Vegas in early March, and they did an incredible job.
February 22, 2016 | Jeff Julian
So it would be me and the kids venturing on our first International trip together and Mom would catch up in a few days. What could go wrong?
February 15, 2016 | Jeff Julian
I often hear marketers say, “Video is so easy now, you can just take out your iPhone and start recording!” Yeah, about that… How do I put this nicely? Those videos look horrible. If you find yourself going on the cheap, and I mean super cheap and using a camera phone or webcam, you might reconsider your entry into the video landscape.
January 8, 2016 | Jessi Bixler
They have an experience, memory, a feeling wash over them too. James Royer and the rest of his Digital Media team at the Kansas City Chiefs recognized that too.
December 23, 2015 | Jeff Julian
“Nothing ever goes wrong inside the Sprint for an Agile Marketing Team, you are just doing it wrong!” – Voices in Your Head This is the internal monologue most Agile Teams have rolling in their heads when things just don’t fit together. I have had to force myself to stop this criticism inside and take a new look at the process.
December 17, 2015 | Jeff Julian
“We are different.” or “It didn’t work for us!” These are the two most prominent statements I hear when talking with teams who have tried Agile Marketing, and usually their point of failure is here, the end of the Sprint.
December 5, 2015 | Jeff Julian
When you kick off the Sprint, the christening event is the Standup Meeting. Named by the action the team takes, they are invited daily to stand up and report their status to each other and the ScrumMaster.
November 30, 2015 | Jeff Julian
? After a few years of being ticked off the morning of Black Friday, with over 100 emails in my inbox, I have dubbed the day my Annual Unsubscribe Day.
November 19, 2015 | Jeff Julian
So what is a task? Well, I am glad you asked. A task is a piece of defined work within a Content Item that can be completed by one of the Content Developers.
November 4, 2015 | Jeff Julian
One of my favorite aspects of Content Marketing is the flexibility to the term. The execution of the approach will look completely different from company to company, but the core rules are the same. Some folks like Ann Handley and Joe Pulizzi took some very deliberate steps into the practice by pulling from their background and applying best practices based on good historical data.
October 27, 2015 | Jeff Julian
Right now I am sitting in the lobby of the Westin Hotel in Boston on the last day of MarketingProfs B2B. Just in the past 15 minutes, I have seen Joe Pulizzi walk by with a smile on his face and of course, wearing some orange. Ann Handley has just commented on the video of her I posted on Facebook and shared a gorgeous photo of the sunrise. Several attendees just got up for a run and a yoga session so there was probably $20,000 worth of spandex and other stretchy articles of clothing in the lobby, and I am here to experience it all.
October 23, 2015 | Jeff Julian
The focus of this section is to talk about the team. We are building content assets but our team is also made up of assets to our organization. Each member brings their strengths and weaknesses to the table and those have to mesh well with the others that are already there. We will have alphas at our table who want to be heard, doers who want to be told what to do, visionaries that can predict what is to come and early adopters who want to move us places.
October 8, 2015 | Jeff Julian
We have a Content Backlog that has information on each Content Item that represents the work we are completing. Our tool needs the ability to capture the content story, title, how to demonstrate value and the estimate for each item. Then once you have the items defined, your tool will need the ability to sort those cards by priority.
October 2, 2015 | Jeff Julian
One of my favorite parts of teaching Agile Marketing to a team is the first Sprint Planning Session. I love the pressure release that occurs when the team commits to producing this particular set of content at a sustainable pace and they can get to the business of Content Marketing. I get excited when I witness the teamwork that goes into breaking Content Items down into Tasks and seeing how they work on them with more autonomous assignments. And I’ll admit that I get a little emotional when I see the team lead or Content Owner demonstrate their trust in the process and place faith in the team to deliver.
September 27, 2015 | Jeff Julian
For me, becoming a marketer myself is what allowed me to have the compassion and the empathy required to help solve problems. This is an amazing approach to understanding a persona but it is not an option for everyone. In fact, in our work with marketing teams, I am required daily to understand several personas that I can never become.
September 9, 2015 | Jeff Julian
How much content is enough? This is the question most content marketing strategist are asked and one of the most difficult to answer. For Robert Rose, his answer is “the minimal amount of content for the maximum impact.”
September 2, 2015 | Jeff Julian
So now we are coming to the end of the initial honeymoon phase of Agile Marketing and people are starting to use the term more and more. The exact same patterns are developing, people are writing content about the term Agile Marketing that is not entirely accurate.
August 25, 2015 | Jeff Julian
As you have probably found out by now, the role of the marketer in a small business is crucial in the digital era of business we live in. Purchasing habits are changing far more rapidly due to digital disruptions. When people are easier to reach, that means more and more companies will be trying to reach them and the shields will go up.
August 21, 2015 | Jeff Julian
There has been one lingering question I have about the practice. How do we expect our audience to trust us enough to give us their email through the use of popups and gated content? At the same time I ask, if the audience consumes the content and is satisfied, how can we be sure they connect with us without a blocking Call-to-Action?
August 3, 2015 | Jeff Julian
If you are like a large number of marketers I have discussed this meeting with, you might not see having a regular meeting as a good use of your time.
July 27, 2015 | Jeff Julian
This update also has several of us wondering if they will start adding more features we need to have the platform be an effective channel for distribution of our other content types.
July 24, 2015 | Jeff Julian
I love the saying, “You are only as good as the company you keep.” It says so much in many different areas of your life. Whether it is pointing to your actions when you are around your friends, the business ethics you hold at work, or the way you handle conflict online. The people you have around you matters.
July 16, 2015 | Jeff Julian
If you are creating content today, you probably have experienced some fatigue while trying to get the final product out the door. Maybe you adopted a tool like an editorial calendar and after several months, you are tired of seeing red from missing your deadlines.
July 10, 2015 | Jeff Julian
In this post I outline the Agile Marketing timeline in the prospective of the meetings we hold. After the first round of these meetings occur, they are repeated on different intervals based on the rate of change and the required agenda.
July 6, 2015 | Jeff Julian
As I sit here getting ready to present this topic to an audience of developers, I am quickly becoming aware that I am not as passionate about development as I once was.
June 19, 2015 | Jeff Julian
In past articles, I have discussed why it is important to find a sustainable pace and why it is one of the key tenants to Content Marketing. This requirement of long haul efforts is one of the reasons Content Marketing pairs so nicely with Agile.
June 11, 2015 | Jeff Julian
First, Mountain Goat Software is a wild and unusual name for a company that has grown on me over the years. Pair this with a weightlifter named Mike, who could snap me like a twig, telling me I need to use poker cards to estimate my work was just a little out of place. I remember thinking, “Playing cards with particular numbers on them to hide our estimates from others? There has to be a better way.”
June 8, 2015 | Jeff Julian
Whatever the case may be, we need to understand the reasons we pick the file formats we do to ensure we do not abandon our audiences.
June 2, 2015 | Jeff Julian
The question is asked, “Can we get this done by Friday?” and the framing applies the assumption it can and should be done by Friday. Aren’t you amazed at how easy others think creating content must be?
May 14, 2015 | Jeff Julian
When forming an agile team, there are three roles your team members can play: ScrumMaster, Content Developer, or Content Owner. Each role is critical to the process, but my favorite role on the team is the Content Owner.
May 6, 2015 | Jeff Julian
There is something about the suggestion of an editorial calendar in context to content marketing that has bugged me ever since I was first aware to the idea years ago. The fact that it does not account for the size of the items that live on it made me wonder how you can plan to get something done without knowing what is possible.
April 24, 2015 | Jeff Julian
Have you recently read a headline of a post from a reputable source, but once you started to consume the information it failed to deliver on the promise? Maybe it was too brief and you knew they just wanted to hit keywords or it used a click bait headline. I know I have and it is frustrating.
April 15, 2015 | Jeff Julian
Content Items are more than the hours a team plans to contribute to the production. They are more than just words on a page, video clips put together, or a graphic describing the outcomes of a study. They have the ability to educate the audience, solve problems, and can be the missing piece to someone else’s work. Ideas will be formed, goosebumps will be had, and emotions will be stirred when you invest when you invest not only your time but your best efforts into your content. Content Items will be our compass to ensure we know what audiences and goals we are investing in.
April 9, 2015 | Jeff Julian
First is Content Marketing, if you don’t know your audience, you will never be able to produce assets tailored for them. These audience members will hopefully find great joy is consuming the content you produce, share it with their friends and co-workers, and moving through your outlined Customer Journey.
April 3, 2015 | Jeff Julian
A persona in marketing terms, is a person you create to represent a specific audience you would like to reach. The persona has characteristics that allow you to zero them into this audience type. Personas also contain the goals and values of the audience and ways you plan to reach the real people the persona represents.
March 25, 2015 | Chris Pauley
At AJi we’re big advocates of content with purpose. Having a content mission statement is the first step in developing focused, successful content. The next step is taking that same intentional approach down to the ground level. Attention to detail during content development is the next step to being a great content marketer.
March 24, 2015 | Jeff Julian
In the modern era of Customer Experience focused businesses, our internal processes for managing workloads needs to be continually evolving. Our teams are more frustrated and less satisfied in their work. Just look on nearly every applicant’s LinkedIn profile and if they are not directly out of school, look at all the places they have worked and how quickly they move.
March 11, 2015 | Jeff Julian
We all know the marketing tactic “spray and pray” doesn’t work, but a lot of us still use it as our first strategy. We know you need to make a plan and execute it over time. We get that identifying your audience, understanding what they need, and knowing how you are going to meet those needs are the beginning steps. Maybe it is time we stop working and take time to start planning it instead.
February 27, 2015 | Chris Pauley
In digital marketing, one of the most important topics that comes up is user experience. We use the term to define the validity of various solutions to problems, everything from the color of buttons on the front end to the speed at which calls to the API return. However, we can never forget that user experience, in general, is nothing without context. Context is what gives meaning to the ‘good’ in good user experience.
February 18, 2015 | Jeff Julian
Let’s face it, creating an estimate is hard. If we are moving into an agile environment for the first time, it can be downright impossible to get everyone on the same page. The way I see the solution through my eyes, is completely different than how someone on my team may see it. Being on the same page as early as possible will help us not waste time and more importantly, keep the peace.
February 11, 2015 | Jeff Julian
This may seem like a self-explanatory statement, make sure your stakeholders know what your content mission is, but I am surprised by the amount of folks who skip this step. Content Marketing is a long term move, playing chess with the world and making several correct moves consistently to set yourself apart, build an audience, and attract new customers.
January 30, 2015 | Dakota Smith
My first impression about the differences of Sitecore 8 starts with the login screen. Since I started working with Sitecore, it has always look somewhat similar, with very small changes you would not notice. Now it has a red background, with a large login form and looks completely different. Also, you no longer have to choose what application you would like launch.
January 29, 2015 | Jeff Julian
Have you ever sat down to build a persona and struggled with finding the right occupation for the person? Or maybe you were struggling with their age or location. You sit and scratch you head thinking, “Well maybe Dallas, TX.” When you start to research personas, it is very difficult to determine what data makes sense to your organization or initiative. The problem is amplified by the fact that sales, marketing, user experience, project management, and development teams all use personas and each have their own take on what is important.
January 14, 2015 | Jeff Julian
Whatever field you are in, your team has stories that your audience will find interesting and informative. The individuals with these stories might not be the most poetic authors and they might not even have access to a computer, but the story is there and it needs to be captured.
December 18, 2014 | Jeff Julian
Do you estimate your work? In the area of business I come from, software development, the answer was typically yes. If the next question was, “Are you good at it?” I would often hear no. Now that I have transitioned into a marketing role and our customer base has transitioned to the marketing department, I hear the question being asked far less. In fact, I have found most people just don’t estimate their work in marketing. If we are going to be good at marketing, or any career we pursue, we have to be good at estimating our work. The benefits go far beyond just our interactions with our boss; they can help streamline entire organizations.
December 15, 2014 | Jeff Julian
I love blogging! I founded one of the largest blogging communities back in the early 2000s on the principal that everyone had something to share, they just need a soapbox, megaphone, and a little help getting started. Unfortunately I have not always felt this way about writing. To me, blogging was the anti-writing of the world I came from.
November 18, 2014 | Jeff Julian
If the plan is not documented, then it is flexible and unintended changes will compound over time causing shift. Also my understanding of the un-document plan will be different than yours and my content will have a different reason for existence than yours. We should strive to document any plan we have in our team to ensure we are reaching the goals we set out in front of us.
November 10, 2014 | Jeff Julian
Have you ever sat down before developing a new blog post, sales brochure, or advertisement and really asked yourself who is our customer? Not who are we targeting, because that can get mistranslated quickly, but as an organization, who is our customer.
October 13, 2014 | Jeff Julian
As marketers, we produce more content than ever. In a recent study from the Content Marketing Institute, nearly half of the respondents of a B2B marketing study said they produce content daily or several times a week! That is a lot of content!
September 22, 2014 | AJi Marketing Team
In a more simple time, the outlets offering news and information of the world were limited and sometimes, scarce. The content landscape of today is vastly different.
September 10, 2014 | AJi Marketing Team
The content backlog is your team’s visual contract that states who is tackling what tasks at what priority. A task will not get done unless it is on the backlog, so the first step to creating a backlog is to get a solid understanding of what goes into making a great piece of content. You must be able to craft a descriptive statement of every task that needs attention before the completion of a good piece of content.
August 6, 2014 | Curtis Lauterbach and Michael Nelson
Organizations try to set themselves apart from their competition by creating products that meet user needs and offer a unique and enjoyable experience. To maximize the user experience, a given product should always undergo usability testing.
August 3, 2014 | Michael Nelson and Curtis Lauterbach
With the rise in use of mobile technology, software developers continue to push the limits of what we think is possible. When creating apps (or any product), it is critical to its success that end users are able to understand how to interact with it. One method for assisting users in understanding an app is to provide tutorials.
August 2, 2014 | Michael Nelson and Curtis Lauterbach
To learn more about designing for the user experience and working in teams, we read Lean UX-Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden. It discusses a new method of efficiently executing UX by collaborating with the whole team throughout the entire project. With the concepts learned from this book, we saw how we could better work with the team, quickly solve issues, and enhance product quality. In this article, we discuss the major points made in each chapter.
July 18, 2014 | Curtis Lauterbach and Michael Nelson
There are many tools on the market for usability testing. Axure allows your team to test a prototype throughout the iteration process. With Axure, project teams no longer needs to produce different designs for different stages of the project’s development cycle. We discuss the different features of Axure that make it a model tool for prototype usability testing.
July 15, 2014 | Curtis Lauterbach and Michael Nelson
We briefly discussed Axure’s use in project development. We now discuss how Axure can be used throughout the project’s entire development, and the benefits it brings your team.
July 10, 2014 | Michael Nelson and Curtis Lauterbach
In the third part of our series examining Axure we have listed our Pros and Cons about using Axure RP.
July 8, 2014 | Michael Nelson and Curtis Lauterbach
In the first part of this article, we discussed the purpose of Axure and how it is used. In part II, we will break down some of the core functions and features of Axure.
July 7, 2014 | Curtis Lauterbach and Michael Nelson
In user experience design, many tools allow designers to reach the same destination in a project. As user experience professionals, the tool we love is Axure. What is Axure? How easy is it to use? What are its pros and cons? In this series of articles, we discuss each question as it relates to Axure.
June 30, 2014 | Michael Nelson
In part one I discussed the UX design tools I like to use when drafting ideas, wire framing, and prototyping. As a UX designer however, sometimes one must dive into the world of image editing and manipulation to produce work for a project. Here I have provided a brief list of three wonderful tools I like to use for image editing and choosing colors.
June 27, 2014 | Michael Nelson
In user experience design, designers at some point generally perform the same few basic tasks: wire framing, prototyping, and the occasional image manipulation. For each task however, designers vary on the methods and tools they use to get the job done. As there are plenty of tools out there to perform each of these basic UX tasks, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, it can be confusing to know which tool or program to use. In an effort to alleviate the choices designers have when picking a tool, I have provided a list of eight great user experience design tools broken down into two parts: part one - wire framing/prototyping and part 2 - image editing.
June 26, 2014 | Curtis Lauterbach
The purpose of UX is to provide a great and enjoyable experience while allowing the user to efficiently accomplishing their goals. Usability testing provides feedback from users to meet UX’s goals and keep the project on track. I have posted six software programs that I’ve used with pros and cons so you can match a program to meet you individual needs.
June 20, 2014 | Michael Nelson
User experience is a broad field of design and development topics that center on the idea of making products easier to understand and use for consumers.
June 20, 2014 | Curtis Lauterbach
Let’s face it, designers and developers don’t always see eye to eye. Most conflict stems from a lack of understanding a professional’s point of view and how they do their work. Sometimes developers see designers as magicians that create elements from thin air but sometimes aren’t practical. Designers see developers as methodical; they commune in a language unknown to the rest of the world. Those views could be no further from the truth.
June 4, 2014 | Jeff Julian
Steve Hoober of 4ourth Mobile did an amazing job of presenting at the UXPA KC event this month, hosted by VML. His topic was titled Design for Fingers, Touch and People and you can watch the online version via SlideShare or his UXPA LA recording. Steve is a great presenter and kept the audience engaged with his wealth of information about how people use touch devices and the effects of design. Here is a list of key points I enjoyed during the presentation.
May 7, 2014 | Jeff Julian
Here are 12 Tools for iOS and Web Designers to help with your workflow and content creation based on Ryan Keairns' presentation at the UXPA KC meeting in May 2014.
April 15, 2014 | Jeff Julian
However with a presenter like Don Norman, these are challenges I am willing to overlook. To be able to sit at the feet and listen to someone who has been instrumental to the design field in the past four decades was a great honor...
February 24, 2014 | Jeff Julian
GeekLunch 2014.0 was a success! We had a great turn out, amazing food, and two great presentations from Cory House. We definitely want to thank all those who attended the event yesterday, Cory for speaking, and Microsoft for use of the facility...
February 12, 2014 | Jeff Julian
In this session, we invited Cory House to present on his two popular Pluralsight topics, Clean Code and Pragmatic Architecture. We are so very excited to have a member of our Kansas City developer community have such great success on a site like Pluralsight and hope you can join us for the event...
February 12, 2014 | Jeff Julian
We sit down with the Dave Hulsen and Stuart Ludlow of RFP365 to talk about the RFP process, how their company addresses that process, and what technologies they use...
January 25, 2014 | Jeff Julian
We have a new site, new logo, and new location in the River Market. As we continue to grow, our needs for a website have grown as well. As a practice, we have added a significant focus on the Sitecore Content Management System so how better to show our customers that we love this product than to implement it ourselves for our corporate website. We plan to continue to "dogfood" the Sitecore system by investing more and more...