Writing Company Blogs: Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

Access to the blogosphere means anyone can become a journalist. Unfortunately not everyone is a good one. The cost of traditional publishing prevents most hacks from inflicting their drivel on the public. Unfortunately there are no such restraints online. As a result, fact checking, grammar, and basic civility sometimes take a back seat to self-expression. Because blogging is such a personal activity, we’ll focus on using blogs to sell something. Keep in mind, writing for style and meaning are just as critical for blogs as with print. Maybe even more important, because once it’s on the Internet, it’s never going away. More people can see it, share it, comment on it and love it or hate it. Remember, once it’s posted it will last forever.

Here are some other purposes of blogs for business or pleasure;

Informational blogs:
Pick any topic but make sure you do your research. Make sure the facts can stand up if you’re making a claim. Cite your sources and be clear when you’re stating your personal opinion.

Company blogs:
These should reflect a more human side to a company or brand beyond a recitation of features and benefits. Perhaps personal stories, unusual facts or other information that makes the reader want to like the company as well as buy its products.

Cultural insights:
Maybe you have some expertise with certain ethnicities, age groups, neighborhoods, or hobbies that you’d like to share. Marketers may be able to use your information or it may just be entertaining to a general audience.

Technology updates:
Geeks read what other geeks write. Maybe you want to share what you saw at the Consumer Electronics Show. Or you tried the next killer app. A lot of people want to know what’s the next big thing.

Industry specific blogs:
You may have some information to share about what’s new in any given industry, including advertising. You can discuss what’s in and what’s out and look like an expert in your field. It’s amazing how many blogs start with “The 10 hottest trends for _______.” It works!

Creative rants:
It’s OK to vent, just do make it clever and entertaining. Give solid reasons for your criticism beyond, “That really sucked.”

Travel blogs:
Reveal hidden details the ordinary tourist never sees. Talk about the people you’re encountered and share their stories. You may encourage someone to explore the world or just entertain the armchair adventurer.

Writing: blogs:
These can range from random musings about anything and everything or they can be very focused about specific topics. More than any of the above, they must be well-written. Double and triple check everything before hitting that send button.

Here are a few tips to make your blogs more interesting, relevant and searchable.

Ask don’t tell:
Perhaps you lead with a provocative question to draw readers in (refer to chapter 8 discussion of headlines). Or you close with a thoughtful question that encourages comments.

Think visually:
Visuals attract readers. Review chapter 6 for basic design and web design trends and find something that’s compelling and relevant to your message.

Promote yourself:
Your blog may have it’s own Google+ or Facebook page. That’s a perfect place to promote your latest post. It will generate more comments and help your search rankings. Tweets can also encourage visits to your blog.

Support other bloggers:
Use social networks to comment on other blogs and retweet other blog posts occasionally. Your support will be reciprocated.

Study blogs you admire:
Find some blogs you really like and follow them for several weeks or months. Discover what makes them consistently interesting, well written and meaningful. Then interact. Let them know you value their effort. A lot of the motivation behind blogging is ego. We all seek validation.

Adapted from Advertising Creative: Strategy, Copy, Design, 4th edition, Tom Altstiel and Jean Grow

Watch for Advertising Creative,
4th edition–January 2016.

For more detailed information about how to maximize the impact of company blogs, contact Bill Elverman, Vice President/Public Relations Director at PKA Marketing.


Twitter: IndustrialPrGuy

Pigging Out for a Great Cause

It all started when a few guys gathered to watch a Packer game and passed the hat to help a friend in need. Seventeen years later that simple act of kindness has grown into a major fundraising enterprise that supports dozens of non-profit organizations in Ozaukee County. To date, over $480,000 has been given to human service, special needs and scholarship charities.

Mel’s famous Pig Roast has been the centerpiece from the start. Thousands of pork lovers wait all year to pig out with Mel at his famous outdoor feast. In addition, Mel’s Pig Roast Charities runs many other events throughout the year including a softball tournament, music festival, bowling tournament, golf outing, motorcycle rally and a 5K run/walk.

In the last few years, PKA has been the primary supplier for all the creative advertising materials including logo design, posters specialty advertising and many more creative pieces that have helped promote Mel’s Pig Roast in the community.

PKA created and printed a 48” X 96” banner with our Epson Stylus Pro 9800 printer, Left to right: Tanner Hahn, PKA digital media specialist, Tom Stanton, Mel’s Pig Roast Charities and George Wamser, PKA production art manager.

PKA created collateral and banners to promote the other fund raising events for Mel’s Pig Roast Charities.

[blockquote text=”More than $80,000 was raised for local charities in 2014.” text_color=”#2b2b2b”]

Digital Tools for B2B

Many B2B clients adopted the Internet long before consumer brands. Email, banner ads and text links do the pushing to encourage customers to respond. Incentives, special offers, discounts and other sales promotion tools facilitate the pulling through the next stage of the pipeline. Whether it’s used strictly for information or for direct selling, the Internet provides B2B marketers with tremendous advantages over “traditional” media, including the following:

  • Provides more detailed information that you can’t fit into an ad.
  • Shows streaming video, animation, and interactive media.
  • When used as part of an integrated personalized direct mail program using PURLs, it can build customer relationships faster than with traditional methods.
  • Includes links to co-op partners and/or affiliated companies.
  • Provides updated product information such as spec sheets, catalogs, parts forms, and troubleshooting guides that can be downloaded.
  • Delivers company news; announces new promotions and special offers.
  • Sets up merchant accounts for direct sales.
  • Identifies dealers, shows their locations, and provides links to their sites.
  • Tracks inquiries, builds databases, and establishes customer relationship management (CRM) programs.

The following table, adapted from a presentation by B2B consultant Holger Schulze, shows the new world of B2B marketing communications.

Adapted from Advertising Creative: Strategy, Copy, Design, 4th edition, Tom Altstiel and Jean Grow


The above table shows a direction, not a destination for B2B marketers. While few companies embrace all the above trends, we are moving away from the old “spray and pray” approach–throw as much stuff out there as we can afford and hope someone gets the message. Marketers who take advantage of new technology will forge stronger, more personal relationships with customers with measureable results.

When building a B2B site, don’t forget the three things you need to accomplish—get them to come, get them to stay, and get them to come back. When you want to drive customers to your site, trade ads, direct mail, articles in trade publications, banner ads on other sites, and all the other tactics used in business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing apply. As far as keeping them there, the focus should be on education, motivation, and generating action, not entertainment. Even if viewers feel like playing games, watching videos, and reading blogs, chances are their bosses would rather see them downloading specs, comparing prices, and saving time on the web. When you want to get them to come back, it’s the same as with consumer sites—keep the content fresh and let them know you have a new product or service worth checking out. Businesspeople are looking for updated sites that offer a wide range of web-based tools for sales leads, direct mail marketing, telemarketing, and CRM.

Watch for Advertising Creative,
4th edition–
January 2016.

For more detailed information about digital design for B2B sites contact Temo Xopin, Digital Art Director, PKA Marketing (temo@pkamar.com); Twitter:@TemoXopin. For information about B2B marketing, contact Bill Elverman, Vice President/Public Relations Director at PKA Marketing (bill@pkamar.com); Twitter: @IndustrialPrGuy

5 Things to Consider When Hiring Photographers

[icon_text box_type=”normal” box_border=”no” icon=”icon-eye-open” icon_type=”normal” icon_size=”icon-4x” icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” icon_position=”left” title=”Sometimes you need a pro. Sometimes you don’t. ” text=”In many B2B applications you might be spending more than you need for the wrong type of photography. For example, doing a tabletop product shot might not require an expensive studio setup. A simple head and shoulder testimonial photo probably doesn’t need a portrait specialist. And sometimes, a stock photo will do. ” image=”4664″ title_color=”#e10503″]
[icon_text box_type=”normal” box_border=”no” icon_type=”normal” icon_size=”icon-4x” icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” icon_position=”left” title=”Stay flexible” text=”B2B applications sometimes involve location shoots with products in use, often in hard to control environments. In many cases, some of these photo opportunities can’t be planned. That’s why it makes sense to have a capable photographer from the client and agency on hand that can shoot at a moment’s notice.” title_color=”#e10503″ image=”4665″ icon_animation_delay=”20″]
[icon_text box_type=”normal” box_border=”no” icon_type=”normal” icon_size=”icon-4x” icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” icon_position=”left” title=”Consider the total cost” text=”Some photographers charge royalties. That’s a fair method of compensation when their work is reused. But before you hire a photographer be sure to ask about that. Perhaps you can arrange a fair buyout to retain the photos for your unlimited use and everybody wins. ” image=”4666″ title_color=”#e10503″]
[icon_text box_type=”normal” box_border=”no” icon_type=”normal” icon_size=”icon-4x” icon_position=”left” title=”Make sure the photographer understands how images will be used” text=”Some photographers handle all the archiving and do all the retouching. Others just hand over the images. Photographers who have a good understanding of how the images will be used might shoot things differently to make retouching simpler and less expensive. ” image=”4667″ title_color=”#e10503″ icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” icon_animation_delay=”15″]
[icon_text box_type=”normal” box_border=”no” icon_type=”normal” icon_size=”icon-4x” icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” icon_position=”left” title=”Understand your in-house limits” text=”Getting back to tip #1—when the project requires special skills, such as complicated lighting, aerial photography, enhanced portrait lighting or any other situation beyond in-house capability, don’t cut corners. Do it right and pay what it’s worth. ” image=”4668″ title_color=”#e10503″ icon_animation_delay=”10″]

PKA Marcom works with freelance/professional photographers and videographers for many projects. We also have professional in-house photographers, videographers and directors on hand for most of your needs.

5 Things you didn’t know about PKA Marcom

[icon_text box_type=”normal” box_border=”no” icon=”icon-eye-open” icon_type=”normal” icon_size=”icon-4x” icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” icon_position=”left” title=”PKA stands for Prom, Krog, and Altstiel. ” text=”We also stand for truth, justice and the American Way. But since everyone already called us PKA, and Steve Krog retired in 2007, it was just easier to shorten the name. By the way Prom and Altstiel are still here. ” image=”4664″ title_color=”#e10503″]
[icon_text box_type=”normal” box_border=”no” icon=”” icon_type=”normal” icon_size=”icon-4x” icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” icon_animation_delay=”20″ icon_position=”left” title=”We’ve got a lot of blue chip account experience.” text=”You may recognize these brands: Kraft Foods, Evinrude, Miller beer, Johnson Controls, Case, Eaton, Miller Electric, General Electric, 3M, Snap-on Tools, Starcraft, Cardinal Health, Milwaukee Brewers, Cartridge World…and about 150 more brands that are also well known in their markets.” title_color=”#e10503″ image=”4665″]
[icon_text box_type=”normal” box_border=”no” icon=”” icon_type=”normal” icon_size=”icon-4x” icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” icon_position=”left” title=”We make stuff. And don’t sell fluff. ” text=”We don’t peddle a lot of marketing jargon so someone else can do the hard work of making it real. We’re one of the few agencies that actually loves collateral and print, writes copy, designs, handles pre-press, shoots photography, retouches, shoots and edits video, manages print production and knows specialty advertising. Of course, we also provide creative and marketing strategy, research, public relations, web design, social media and a lot more.” image=”4666″ title_color=”#e10503″]
[icon_text box_type=”normal” box_border=”no” icon=”” icon_type=”normal” icon_size=”icon-4x” icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” icon_animation_delay=”15″ icon_position=”left” title=”We’re not afraid to get our boots muddy.” text=”The best research is done in the field, talking to real customers and comparing our clients’ products to their competitors. We could use terms like ethnographic research, but really it’s just getting out on the job site, riding with a salesperson, and walking the trade shows. It also helps to know how to press a fitting, install a water heater, run a skid steer loader or handle a welding torch. ” image=”4667″ title_color=”#e10503″]
[icon_text box_type=”normal” box_border=”no” icon=”” icon_type=”normal” icon_size=”icon-4x” icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” icon_animation_delay=”10″ icon_position=”left” title=”We have a very cool office (in winter).” text=”Or when George cranks up the AC. We’re not in the Third Ward. Or the Fifth. Or in a drafty old mansion, converted barn, or retrofitted warehouse. We’re in a nice, semi-modern office complex on the East Side (of Mequon), which gets a cool breeze almost every day from Lake Michigan. Comfortable. Affordable. Right sized. Sort of like PKA Marcom. ” image=”4668″ title_color=”#e10503″]

We teach an old dog some new tricks

Roydan Enterprises has a very successful software product called Bloodhound that helps collection agencies track down debtors, plus a lot more. The client developed significant improvements and wanted their industry to know there was more to Roydan than the Bloodhound brand.

Roydan challenged PKA to develop a strategy to promote the Bloodhound brand but also build the Roydan corporate identity. We started with a new robust website—www.roydan.com. To promote the new corporate direction, we not only developed a new logo but also created a short animated video. We also included online literature to promote three new enhancements to Bloodhound.

A new corporate identity

Roydan Enterprises wanted a fresh look to reflect the enhancements the company was making to their software. PKA created the logo and tagline.


Package design really pops

Popcorn fanatic Bruce Prom usually bypassed the Valley Popcorn display at this local Sendiks when he grabbed his weekly supply of Skinny Pop. But when he looked a little closer, he discovered Valley Popcorn was actually lower in calories than the market leader. The “Big Bag o’ Corn” label and movie theatre theme completely hid the benefits, including the fantastic taste that only comes from popping corn in small batches of pure coconut oil.

Valley Popcorn cooks the finest hybrid kernels in small batches using pure coconut oil. At only 35 calories per cup, it tastes great and it’s easy on the waist.

The new design highlights the advantages and provides
a fresh, healthy image.

While popular with their core customers, the old bag design did not attract
consumers looking for a healthy snack.

PKA hits the road

PKA PR director Bill Elverman travels the country to publicize Dire States, an infrastructure advocacy effort created and supported by CASE Construction Equipment.

Dire States is an advocacy and awareness program enacted by CASE to champion local infrastructure investment and development. By highlighting successful funding initiatives, advocating for local measures that spur new projects, and showcasing the positive effects of infrastructure development (jobs, economic development and public safety), the initiative is laying the groundwork for states, counties and communities to better control their own infrastructure fate – and reap the rewards.

Bill Elverman, director of public relations at PKA, was part of the Dire States team that helped guide the program’s direction in conjunction with CASE leaders, arrange publicity for the tour, plan events, and create content for the media and for the Dire States web and social sites. The tour achieved notable national, local and trade media.


The tour helped establish CASE as a leader among the industry on the topic of infrastructure from core trade press.

[button type=”normal” target=”_blank” text=”Read Article” link=”http://pkamar.publishpath.com/Websites/pkamar/files/Content/4039154/2013.10_Construction_Equipment_CASE_Campaign_Highlights_Infrastructure.pdf “]

Op eds by senior CASE staff ran in industry publications to show support of infrastructure investment efforts. 

[button type=”normal” target=”_blank” text=”Read Article” link=”https://pkamar.publishpath.com/Websites/pkamar/files/Content/4742643/2014.10_ACP_TX_Contractor_Why_we_support_Texas_Prop_1.pdf”]

The first leg of the tour enlisted infrastructure expert Dan McNichol and his ’49 Hudson, which has become an icon for the cause and already has more than 12,000 miles and dozens of stops under its well-worn belt. Affectionately named “Mrs. Martin” after her first owner, the Hudson became a rolling billboard for the cause. Built at about the same time as America’s interstate system, the Hudson is as “old, rusty and energy deficient as much of America’s infrastructure”. But more importantly, she’s an eye-catching conversation starter that helps raise awareness about infrastructure needs in every community she rolls through.

CASE should be commended for engaging in this type of thought leadership and advocacy. Thought leadership campaigns like this are a long play – there aren’t many manufacturers out there dedicating significant time and resources to what is really a public affairs and public safety issue. CASE recognizes the importance of infrastructure to the economy, to jobs, and to the wellbeing and security of all – and has firmly planted its flag in the movement as a responsible corporate citizen.

The tour launched out of McNichol’s hometown of Boston in October 2013. PKA worked to document the tour as part of an ongoing web series.

[vc_parallax][vc_parallax_section title=”Section 1″ background_image=”4943″ position=”center” height=”650″][/vc_parallax_section][vc_parallax_section title=”Section 2″ background_image=”4942″ position=”js_composer” height=”600″]

Dan McNichol drove the ’49 Hudson from coast to coast to publicize the need for infrastructure improvements. PKA Marketing played a primary role in executing the tour and advocacy efforts. The tour was documented via the Dire States website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.


The tour helped raise awareness to pieces of infrastructure that were in need of repair. A settlement was reached to rebuild this bridge, in DeKalb, Ill shortly after the Dire States team visited.

As CASE’s Dire States efforts shifted towards advocacy, the Dire States team mobilized to support the passing of Prop 1 in Texas, which pumped an estimated $1.7 Billion into state transportation projects. Dire States efforts included live events, local and national media coverage, op eds and regional ad buys.

How we got in hot water

KD Navien is the global leader in tankless condensing technology. Simply put, they make the coolest looking, most energy efficient systems for residential and commercial applications.

Our strategy focused on commercial contractors since our research showed homeowners trusted professional recommendations more than consumer advertising.

Over a 12-month period, we took an integrated marketing communication approach to introduce two new tankless water heaters, a combination water heater/boiler and new tankless boiler.

The campaigns included

  • Public relations
  • Microsites
  • Testimonial videos
  • Product demonstration videos
  • Consumer brochures
  • Contractor brochures
  • Professional brochures for builders/architects
  • Trade advertising
  • Trade show support
  • Email blasts
  • Banner ads

Specialty Brochures

Specialty brochure outline the advantages of including Navien units in new construction.



PKA developed high-content microsites to showcase Navien features and benefits to professional contractors