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So far Katie Schrader has created 12 blog entries.

Breaking Down the Importance of Strong SEO

Header-SEO-2

Nowadays, having a strong web presence is crucial to driving people to your business. Here at Wendt, we love designing and redesigning high-quality websites for our clients to improve their web presence and make sure they are putting their best foot forward daily.

When developing websites for our clients, we make sure that from start to finish, we are intentional about the design, content, and overall user experience.

Our solid search engine optimization (SEO) foundation enables us to not only design and develop a strong website to fit our clients’ wants and needs, but it also ensures that they won’t get lost in search results, which helps drive traffic to their site.

Like with most technology, the art of strong SEO is constantly changing and developing.

This makes the job all the more challenging and exciting. We strive to provide our clients with the most up-to-date SEO strategies.

Some of our focus areas when designing and optimizing a site for SEO are:

  • Developing a site structure that helps both Google and site visitors navigate the websites we create.
  • Writing copy for websites that both readers and Google love.
  • Researching keywords to help the site show up in relevant search results.
  • Building a strong, holistic SEO foundation on the site to ensure that the website is at its maximum capacity for serving the content to users and Google.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

SEO doesn’t stop with the launch of a website – it is something that requires constant work to make sure traffic is being driven effectively and ensure your site continues to grow in rank. Strategies for this include:

  • Linking to your site often from various social media platforms.
  • Frequently pushing out new content (ex. blog posts).
  • Making sure that your site and plug-ins are always up to date (a bogged-down and slow website isn’t user or Google friendly).
“Being able to provide our clients with expert SEO will allow us to give them the complete website package — a beautiful, custom-designed website that is optimized for the best exposure.”

Meghan Shaulis, Art & Digital Director

2018-03-01T09:25:19-07:00February 28th, 2018|Industry Trends|0 Comments

Wendt Wins Two W³ Awards

The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the web and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award-winning websites, web video, and online marketing programs.

Wendt was honored with two Silver W³ Awards, a great accomplishment especially considering there were over 5,000 competitive entries in this year’s awards! Our strong partnerships with the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce and the River’s Edge Trail Foundation provided the groundwork to produce these cutting-edge, award-winning websites.

For more information on each project, click links below.

2017-12-20T09:30:22-07:00December 11th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

6 Photography Tips for Beginners

Jessica Billings

6 Photography Tips for Beginners

by Jessica Billings

The best thing about art is that there’s always room for growth. At the beginning of the year, I challenged myself to become a better photographer, and here’s what I discovered.

Bighorn sheep at Logan Pass – due to the low light I had to have my ISO pretty high.

1. Manual mode is a must.

My photography improved immensely as soon as I left the comforts of auto and aperture priority mode on my DSLR. Take the time to learn ISO, shutter speed, and aperture and how they work together. This will take your camera from essentially being the same as a point-and-shoot or an iPhone to a tool that helps you create amazing images.

2. Golden hour is your friend.

Shooting in the middle of the day? Not so much. Golden hour, the hour after sunrise and before sunset, yields photos with softer shadows and more dynamic skies. It also allows for longer exposures, which are perfect for waterfalls and can help smooth out lakes. When taking photos of people during this time, I put the sun behind them for a beautiful glow. It’s a great time to get photos of alpenglow, the rosy light of the setting or rising sun seen on mountains.

Swiftcurrent Lake and Many Glacier Hotel at sunrise.

Beargrass off Going-to-the-Sun Road.

3. Patience is a virtue.

My tendency initially was to get to a location, quickly snap some pictures, and head onto the next place. I’ve found that quality photos require much more intention. Now I’ll arrive at a location and do some exploring. I’ll look for things I want to be present in the shot and things I’d like to avoid. Sometimes a better angle is only 10 yards away. I like to arrive before sunrise so I can give myself time to take in a location and find my vision.

4. You’re going to get messy. So is your camera bag. And your tripod.

Photography is an adventure. I climb over rocks, lay down in the dirt, walk in the water – all to get the shot I want. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that allow you to kneel, lay down, bend in odd ways, etc. But don’t get too crazy for the shot – always be aware and cautious of your surroundings.

5. Tripods are a girl’s best friend.

In the early morning/late evening light, a longer exposure is necessary in order to avoid having to bump up the ISO. Before a photography workshop I recently attended, I rarely touched a tripod – in fact, I didn’t even own one. Now I don’t go anywhere without it. My tripod has also served as a trekking pole of sorts on icy/snowy terrain – that’s my kind of multipurpose tool.

6. Never stop learning.

There’s always room for improvement and growth, no matter how long you’ve been taking photos. Follow your favorite photographers on social media, invest in workshops, and never stop challenging yourself. Every time you step outside with your camera is an opportunity to grow, learn, and create something new.

Sunset at Hidden Lake Overlook.

2017-10-13T09:58:10-06:00October 13th, 2017|Industry Trends|1 Comment

World Tourism Day 2017

Map of Montana

World Tourism Day 2017

This World Tourism Day, the Wendt staff wanted to take the time to showcase the wonderful places our state has to offer. Montana has seemingly limitless possibilities when it comes to sights to see, people to meet, and places to discover. So pull out your map and plan a road trip to somewhere new in Montana. No one ever regretted taking the time to be a tourist in their own state.

Glacier
Country

1. Glacier National Park
2. Apgar
3. St. Mary
4. Lookout Pass
5. Missoula

Southwest Montana

6. Helena
7. Butte
8. Bannack

Yellowstone Country

9. Bozeman
10. Yellowstone National Park

Southeast Montana

11. Billings
12. Ekalaka
13. Miles City
14. Glendive

Missouri River Country

15. Glasgow
16. Fort Peck
17. Zortman

Central Montana

18. Utica
19. Great Falls
20. Fort Benton
21. Conrad

2017-09-27T08:17:03-06:00September 27th, 2017|Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Social Media Day 2017

Can you believe we are already halfway through 2017? To say a lot has already happened is an understatement. From elections to celebrity news, social media has been an integral part in breaking this year’s biggest stories. Social Media Day is June 30—in celebration let’s take a look at some of the biggest social media stories that have happened in 2017.

Fake News

social media fake newsAs the dust settled from the presidential election, fake news, and especially its prolific rise on social media channels, came into the spotlight. Currently, more than half of U.S. adults say they get news from social media sources. While fake news sites aren’t new, they are now more dangerous because they completely model real news sites and often skew the truth to influence opinions. The influence they were able to wield during and after the election was vastly aided by headline scanning, comment sections, and mass sharing on social sites. In response, Facebook announced the launch of a new initiative, The Facebook Journalism Project, to combat the rise of fake news on its platform and develop a stronger relationship with journalists.

TBD if this will do anything to curb the problem.

Video

While video was the social media buzzword in 2016, it has been integrated into all social channels and continues to reign as king in order of engagement and ROI for users. In a recent Verge article, they talk about Facebook employees’ popular use of “the camera is the new keyboard” mantra. Snapchat has coined itself a camera company from the beginning and continues to move in a video-centric direction with this year’s launch of Spectacles.

Stay tuned for updates across all social media channels that focus on putting videos front and center, with text and images taking a backseat.

Everyone’s On board

people social mediaIt’s 2017, talking about social media and its influence on our lives doesn’t only pertain to our youngest generations anymore.  As mentioned above, more than half of U.S. adults get news from social channels. Social media users are getting older; 53% of U.S. users are over the age of 35. While there are still divisions with Facebook trending with an older audience and Snapchat and Instagram predominantly younger, the gap is quickly decreasing.

Look for social media channel user breakouts to become evenly spread across generations and for new innovations from Generation Z as they put their own mark on social media.

VR/AR

The growth of virtual reality and augmented reality is largely thanks to social media. According to an eMarketer forecast, 40 million people in the U.S. will engage with some form of AR this year. We’ve already seen innovations this year with Snapchat leading the charge on social media. But Facebook and Instagram are also rolling out more ways to include AR in their stories for users. VR adaptation has been slower due to costly hardware, but as these costs decrease, expect to see more headsets and glasses being incorporated into your favorite social channel.

Here’s a glimpse at VR’s future: Facebook Spaces

*Augmented reality is the blending of virtual reality and real life. A good example is Pokémon Go.
*Virtual reality is the creation of a virtual world. A good example is gaming or traveling with Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR.

Backlash media

United Airlines, Pepsi, who’s next? “Backlash media” will continue to grow as brands try to align themselves and their products with social causes.

Snap Map

This new feature allows users to share their location with friends and see snaps happening around them. This has many people worried about security, but this trend of location-based social media isn’t going away.

Mashable launched Social Media Day as a way to celebrate social media’s impact on global communication.  Get involved by following @MashSMDay #SMDay.

2017-08-10T14:45:48-06:00June 27th, 2017|Industry Trends, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Communications 101 – Show Time!

East Middle SchoolThere truly is no one-size-fits-all answer for communications outreach, and the 8th graders in Sarah Milling’s class at East Middle School demonstrated that when they created and implemented their own campaigns aimed at marketing a book to their peers in the 8th grade math class.

Regular readers of this blog might remember that Wendt got involved in this project last February, when Sarah reached out to us. Read all about it here.

With the school year coming to an end, it was time for the top two students in each class, 12 students in all, to bring their presentations to The Wendt Agency for a show and tell. And what a show it was; these young marketers had done their homework and then some!

East Middle SchoolWe watched animated videos, heard about scavenger hunts and special PA announcements, checked out customized websites, read peer reviews, took quizzes, and played online games based on book characters. These middle schoolers used any and every tactic they could to reach their target audience in an impactful way that would lead to action. Marketing at its simplest and finest.

In the end, East Middle School’s 8th grade math students learned about a lot of good books for their summer reading lists, the 8th grade English students developed their marketing muscles, and The Wendt Agency got to watch the next generation of communications specialists get their feet wet.

Win – win – win!

2017-06-09T10:59:47-06:00June 9th, 2017|Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Communications 101

Marketing PresentationIt all started with an unexpected email in February. Middle school teacher Sarah Milling wanted to encourage her students to become excited about reading, and also help them learn a bit about marketing. Her idea? In a nutshell, task her 8th graders with marketing a book to their peers. Her question? Would The Wendt Agency be willing to help? Why, of course we would!

The students got to choose any book they wanted, and that means there is a wide variety of types—biographies, fiction, sci-fi, even a graphic novel. But while the content might be different, the challenge is the same: convince other middle schoolers to read your book.

Three members of the Wendt team—Brenda Peterson, Jennifer Fritz, and Carol Kruger—spent a day at East Middle School, walking the 8th graders through a lot of marketing basics:

  • Defining a brand
  • Doing market research
  • Determining your target audience
  • Developing a marketing plan
  • Deciding on the right mix of communications outreach tactics

Marketing PresentationWe even had a little fun with it, testing their knowledge of logos and tag lines for brands like Pepsi, Beats by Dre, Amazon, and All State. The only one that stumped them? The Quicker Picker Upper, which is for Bounty paper towels. But to the 8th grader who thought “The Quicker Picker Upper” was, or should be, Uber’s tag line—call us when you graduate, because that is genius!

The students are hard at work with their marketing efforts now. We can’t wait to hear how things go and will be keeping all of you updated on the student’s progress as this project moves forward!

Update: Read all about the presentations given at The Wendt Agency!

2017-06-28T13:13:23-06:00April 13th, 2017|Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Wendt 2016 Telly Awards

telly award

2016 was an exciting year for broadcast work and even more exciting is the fact that we were honored with four Bronze Telly Awards! View the award-winning work for the Montana Lottery and Resolve Montana below.

 

Montana Lottery – Big Sky Bonus

Montana Lottery – Grills Gone Wild

Resolve Montana – It Isn’t Easy

The Telly Awards were founded in 1979 and honor outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs; video and film productions; and online commercials, videos, and films.

2017-04-13T10:59:29-06:00April 10th, 2017|Wendt Buzz, Work|0 Comments

Central Montana and The Wendt Agency — A Partnership
Built to Last

We do more than just work in Central Montana. We live here; play here; explore here.

Central Montana is home in every sense of the word. So The Wendt Agency has always been thrilled to work with the Central Montana Tourism Region to promote the authentic and unforgettable adventures that surround us every day.

Wendt has been a partner with Central Montana since 1992, back when it was still called Russell Country after famed Western artist Charles M. Russell. We’ve traveled to every corner of the region, and we have the photos to prove it! Pics or it didn’t happen, right? And yes, we know that phrase is almost as old as this relationship!

Below is a glimpse of a Wendt road trip experiencing some of Central Montana’s gems.

Success can only occur when there is a deep agency-client partnership built on mutual respect and dedication to cutting-edge ideas and solutions.Wendt and Central Montana have built this together, and it shows in our work. Want to see an example? Check out our recent “Fun with Dick and Jane” campaign. It’s just one way Wendt has brought the Central Montana message to the target audience of potential visitors.

We look forward to many more years of sharing the Central Montana story. If you can’t wait for that, head on over to the Central Montana Facebook page or follow them on Twitter and Instagram. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

2017-04-06T15:21:46-06:00March 30th, 2017|Culture|0 Comments

holiday

We are proud to say that creativity is abundant here at The Wendt Agency, and not just in our professional work. Many of us like to exercise our unique talents to help create joy, especially during the holiday season.

Taking extra time to do something special this Christmas can go a long way, whether it’s for your family and friends, your customers, or for those you don’t know personally but are in need of help.

No matter what you do during this festive time, do so with a genuine heart. Your customers, social media followers, and—of course—those you love will appreciate your sincerity and generosity.

Click through our recipes and craft projects below to explore how some of us express our creativity and spread holiday cheer.

Katie’s Homemade Vanilla Extract

This is a great, easy project. This vanilla is perfect for baking (or flavoring holiday cocktails!). It may be a little late for gift giving this Christmas (it does take some time to turn into vanilla), but it would be a breeze to throw together now for an easy holiday present next year.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle bourbon or vodka
  • 7-8 vanilla beans
  • Small jars or bottles for gifting

Instructions

  1. Slice vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
  2. Place your vanilla beans in the bottle of alcohol (you may need to pour out drink a bit to make room).
  3. Cap tightly and shake gently.
  4. Store in a cool, dark place for at least 2-3 months, shaking occasionally.
  5. When ready to gift, pour into small jars (airplane liquor bottles work well).

Jessica’s Plaid Ornaments

I was inspired to make these after seeing plaid ornaments in stores and because I had some scrap fabric at home. Being from Virginia, I’m not used to such cold weather during Christmas time, so I knew I wanted my tree and house to feel very warm and cozy. I decided to use burnt red colored fabric to match the plaid scraps I already had. Any round plastic ornaments will do for this project; mine are about three inches in diameter. You will also need a pair of scissors, paper clips, and some jute twine.

Directions

  1. Cut your fabric
    I cut my fabric to be about 12” x 12” square-ish. The edges don’t need to be perfect as this will add character to the finished ornament. Just make sure when you bunch the fabric around the ornament that it covers the entire thing. The larger the piece of fabric, the more fabric you’ll have bunched at the top.
  2. Wrap your fabric around the ornament
    Place your ornament in the middle of your fabric and bring the ends up to create a nice bunch at the top.
  3. Tie your jute bow
    Take a piece of jute twine about 14-18 inches long. This will be your bow, so the longer the twine, the larger the bow. Tie it around the fabric bunch at the top of your ornament.
  4. Make your hook
    Now take a paper clip and open it to create an S shape. Hook the bottom loop on to your ornament, and then hang on your tree and enjoy!