Kayla Cota is a digital project manager for MSPC. Her current work includes managing projects for Dairy Queen, Zetaly, and Software AG.

Though she is relatively new to MSPC, Kayla brings several years of experience managing publishing projects. Kayla works with multiple teams to steward projects from start to finish, priding herself on her attention to detail and communication with stakeholders and clients each step of the way.

Get to know Kayla in today’s 5 Questions.

1. What has been your favorite MSPC project and why?

My favorite project with MSPC so far has been working on anything Dairy Queen related. The content is (of course) fun and relatable, and we are helping them with some really fun initiatives. Who doesn’t want to talk about ice cream and chicken strip baskets every week? The downside, however, is that I’m constantly craving a Blizzard.

2. What’s a cause that you are passionate about and why?

I never knew that dog training was a passion of mine until I ended up fostering a dog who opened my eyes to the fact that I was the one in desperate need of training. I worked with a professional trainer through the rescue, learning not only how to train dogs in a kind, effective way, but also how to communicate with them, and how to build a strong bond between human and doggo.

Since then, I’ve taken a real interest in dog training, and I’ve helped out a few friends and other fosters (oftentimes it’s harder to train the humans than their furry counterparts!). I’m currently using all my newfound knowledge to train my own puppy, and hopefully some more fosters in the near future!

3. What trends are you seeing in your discipline that you are excited to take advantage of or develop further?

Whether you’re a supporter or a hater, anything related to AI is a hot topic right now. There are so many different companies developing and utilizing AI in their products, and I’m really excited to see how I can best use it in project management. It’s a tricky field to implement it in, but I’m really curious to see how it revolutionizes the working world.

4. What skill, hobby, experience, etc., do you have that would surprise people?

Over the past few years I’ve discovered my love of backpacking. I started out doing a few long weekend trips on the Superior Hiking Trail, and my most recent “larger” trip was backpacking in the backcountry of the Grand Tetons in 2022 for 4 nights and 5 days. My goal in the next 5 years is to backpack in the Patagonia portion of the Andes Mountain range.

5. What piece of advice would you give your younger self or someone earlier in their career path considering a career in content marketing?

To someone early in their career who’s struggling to discover what they want to do or who they want to be, I’d say that, really, it’s okay to not know what you want to do, and it’s okay if it takes awhile to figure it out.

When I think about my career path thus far, it feels a bit like the “miscellaneous” card. Though I haven’t had a straightforward career, I have learned so much in the process of getting here. I wish I had been more compassionate with myself when I was obsessing over finding the right career path for me, instead of listening to myself and my skill set and seeing the career path that was unfolding in front of me.

Read next: Why Journalists Make the Best Content Marketers

Creating a Super Bowl ad is a lot like crafting B2B content. MSPC VP of B2B Content Evelyn Hoover explains why.

I’m a big NFL football fan. So when the Super Bowl comes around each year, even though the Minnesota Vikings aren’t there representing the NFC, I’m excited to sit down to several hours of watching great gridiron athletics as well as fun and engaging commercials. Super Bowl XVIII didn’t let me down when it came to the sport–Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs (my favorite AFC team) to an overtime victory.

The ads, on the other hand, were another story. A few were memorable: the NFL spot featuring the Eagles, Ravens and the Seahawks migrating at the end of their NFL season definitely hit the mark IMO. The State Farm ad making good fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent made me laugh. And the Budweiser Clydesdales always tug at the heart strings of this horse and dog lover.

Many of the rest of the ads tried too hard. They packed in too many celebrities and suffered from diluted messages that left the viewer wondering what they were supposed to take away.

The Uber Eats spot with Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer started strong with their “reunion” but the spot then moved on to feature Usher, the Beckhams and Jelly Roll, finally coming back to the “Friends” co-stars with a message about forgetting things.

I think they accomplished their mission because I quickly forgot about the ad until I was reading the best and worst ad recaps Monday morning. I am guessing that wasn’t the intent of the execs at Uber Eats when they laid out an estimated $14 million for the ad buy.

What B2B Content Marketers Can Learn From Super Bowl Ads

As I read through my second or third blog post about who won/lost in the Super Bowl ad race, it occurred to me that as a content marketer, I could learn something from the winners and the losers.

Before you begin developing a piece of B2B content, think about your audience. Ask yourself who the article/infographic/video/podcast is for. Think about the business challenges they are trying to solve.

Really think about it as one person. Think about a client you know. Answer these questions:

Now you’re ready to begin. Don’t do what Uber Eats did and develop one ad that had so many messages (and celebrities) in it that it was instantly forgettable. Don’t take one piece of content and throw every bit of possible information into it. Home in on a singular message and stick with it.

For example, if your B2B content is meant to help solve one customer pain point follow these do’s and don’ts:

The chances are good that the undiluted message will resonate with them so the next time they have a challenge, they are likely to remember your company as their go-to source for information that is useful.

Read next: 11 Subject Matter Expert Content Creation Tips

Are you struggling to devise a winning strategy for the consideration phase of your sales process? Look no further than case studies—one of the most powerful tools in B2B tech content marketing.

Because we know a B2B case study program can seem daunting to stand up, we put together six best practices for launching a B2B case study strategy for your technology company. By following this well-defined process, you will outshine the competition and achieve exceptional results.

1. Executive buy-in

Securing support from the top brass is paramount. Ensure your CMO or marketing VP fully comprehends the impact and potential of a case study program for your company. Their endorsement will inspire the rest of your organization, particularly the sales team.

2. Collaborate with sales

The sales team is not only a major stakeholder in the case study development process but they are also a primary audience for the finished product. Involve the sales team from the outset. Not only will they share your case studies with potential clients, but they will also contribute to building a pipeline of prospective case study subjects. Keep them closely involved, and your case study content will remain fresh and relevant.

3. Legal approval

Don’t overlook the legal aspects. Confirm that your clients are willing to be featured in your case studies and obtain the green light from your legal team. Streamline the process with an agreement that outlines the roles and responsibilities of both parties.

4. Empower sales enablement

Equip your sales team with the tools they need to effectively communicate the benefits of your case study program. Develop a comprehensive guide that outlines the process, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

5. Benefits first, technology second

When crafting your case studies, emphasize the business benefits of your technology rather than simply showcasing your company’s achievements. Enlist professional writers who can strike the right chord.

6. Design and distribution

Your case studies must shine amidst the noise. Employ magazine-style design principles to make your content irresistible. Enhance the narrative with eye-catching visuals such as client photos, infographics, charts and graphs. Optimize your website case study hub for SEO and leverage email and social media to maximize the reach of your case studies.

A Deeper Dive Into Case Study Best Practices

Launching an exceptional B2B case study program for your technology company is no easy feat. It requires executive buy-in, seamless collaboration with your sales team, legal compliance, effective sales enablement and a steadfast focus on the business benefits of your technology. However, by mastering these elements, your case studies will not only resonate with your audience but also deliver remarkable results.

Bonus tip: Remember, a stellar case study isn’t about showcasing your company’s greatness; it’s about illustrating how your technology transformed a client’s business challenges.

If you need more help, reach out to us, we have ample experience launching case study programs for B2B brands.

Read next: B2B LinkedIn Marketing Tips: Balancing Brand Recognition and Direct Response

MSPC director of strategic growth Mindee Kastelic plays a central role in pursuing new business opportunities and deepening client relationships. Here, she shares 8 key DEI lessons we’re processing and striving toward together.

Because MSPC and our parent company, MSP Communications, believe strongly in fostering a workplace that is diverse and inclusive, we invite diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) experts to talk to our company. Most recently, we engaged with Seena Hodges, CEO of The Woke Coach.

Hodges helps people become better, more understanding and empathetic versions of themselves around issues of racism, bias and injustice. She also serves as editor-at-large of Forward, a newsletter by MSP Communications’ business publication, Twin Cities Business.

In today’s world, DEI is a necessity, integral to the fabric of our society. It represents an ethos that values the uniqueness of every individual, acknowledging and appreciating the strength that emerges from a tapestry of varied experiences, perspectives and backgrounds.

We cannot do this work as a performance for an audience. DEI is an ongoing commitment and a journey that involves continuous reflection, open dialogue and intentional actions. It’s about creating environments where every voice is heard and valued and where every individual has an equal opportunity to grow, contribute and thrive. This journey toward genuine DEI is not only socially responsible; it also unlocks unprecedented potential for innovation, creativity and progress.

The following is a recap of some of the most salient points Hodges raised when she spoke at MSP Communications’ offices.

Look in the Mirror

Self-awareness plays a crucial role in fostering inclusive environments. By understanding our own biases, privileges and power, we can actively work to neutralize these factors in our interactions. It involves recognizing that our experiences do not define the entirety of human experience, and there are multiple perspectives that are equally valid and deserving of consideration.

When we become more self-aware, we make decisions and communicate in ways that truly respect and value other people’s experiences and identities. This kind of conscious, empathetic interaction is the cornerstone of a truly inclusive environment.

Narrative Change

As DEI advocates, we have a powerful tool at our disposal: narrative change. Our responsibility is not just to tell stories, but to amplify the voices of those whose stories are often unheard or misunderstood.

We can shift the narrative by allowing those most impacted to be the narrators, dismantling the single-lens perspective that has historically dominated our culture.

Don’t Be a Scaredy Cat

Fear often holds us back from reaching our potential or stepping out of our comfort zones. However, it’s in these moments of challenge and uncertainty that we grow. No one is an expert to start with; even astronauts had to learn and hone their skills before they could work at NASA.

The Power of Diversity

A diverse workforce is a powerful driver of innovation. It combines varied perspectives, experiences and worldviews that can lead to groundbreaking problem-solving tactics, product development and business strategies. An organization enriched with employees from various cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds is better positioned to understand, cater to and resonate with a diverse customer base.

Equity: Ensuring Fairness for All

Equity is about leveling the playing field. It’s about treating each employee—regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender or other identity markers—fairly, encouraging equal access to opportunities for growth and advancement. By prioritizing equity, organizations can foster a culture where all employees have an equal shot at success.

Inclusion: Cultivating a Sense of Belonging

Inclusion fosters an environment where everyone feels valued, respected and included. It’s about creating a sense of belonging among employees of any identity. When employees feel included, they are more likely to be collaborative and innovative.

Antiracism: Actively Identify and Oppose Racism

Racism is not simply a series of individual acts or prejudices. Instead, it functions more like an operating system, running in the background, subtly influencing decisions, actions and interactions. It’s persistent, ubiquitous and often unacknowledged. But just as it has the power to harm, it has the capacity to be dismantled and replaced.

Every one of us has a role to play in this process. Choosing to do nothing, to ignore or deny its existence, only reinforces and perpetuates this system. We must commit to collective action, using our individual and shared power to challenge, disrupt and ultimately transform this harmful system.

In This Together

Creating a workplace culture that prioritizes DEI is an ongoing journey requiring intentional action and commitment. An inclusive culture not only benefits the bottom line, but also fosters an environment that nurtures employee well-being and personal growth.

So, let’s embrace our curiosity and immerse ourselves in learning by reading, listening, changing our routines and asking meaningful questions to deepen our understanding and to consciously choose DEI. Hodges’ book “From Ally to Accomplice: How to Lead as a Fierce Antiracist” is a great resource.

Recovering from the entrenched disparities that have plagued our society for centuries is not an overnight process. Let’s harness our own power and privilege to uplift others. This isn’t a call for saviorism, but rather a call for allyship and accompliceship.

Read next: You Belong Here: Creating Community at MSP Communications

In digital marketing, it’s often said that customers don’t buy from brands they don’t know. This notion holds especially true when diving into the dynamic waters of B2B marketing on LinkedIn. Establishing a strong brand presence can make all the difference in your quest to generate valuable sales leads.

Here, MSPC senior director of digital strategy Anthony Englund explains how a 60/40 split between branding and direct response tactics for B2B marketing has led to higher conversion rates on LinkedIn.

Finding the balance between brand-building and driving immediate customer action is what we’re all after. Research from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) presented in the LinkedIn Marketing Playbook reveals that a harmonious 60/40 split between branding and direct response is the ideal balance to make your mark in this competitive space.

The IPA says this is true of digital and traditional marketing. This research reinforces that successful marketing is a delicate dance between cultivating brand recognition and encouraging immediate customer action.

Synchronizing Brand and Demand on LinkedIn

But here’s where it gets even more intriguing—synchronizing your brand and demand objectives within a single campaign on LinkedIn Ad Solutions has proven to be a game-changer for us and our clients at MSPC by significantly increasing campaign conversion rates.

Recent findings underscore that this strategic fusion leads to significantly enhanced performance compared to keeping them separate.

The IPA’s Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era study revealed a remarkable insight: Campaigns focused solely on acquisition tend to have an average conversion rate of just 0.2%. However, when you simultaneously activate both brand and acquisition ads, that conversion rate experiences a substantial boost, jumping to 1.2%.

This revelation is more than just a statistic; it’s a testament to the transformative power of combining brand recognition and direct response within your B2B LinkedIn marketing strategy. It’s a shift in perspective that demonstrates the importance of crafting a cohesive narrative that builds brand equity and compels prospects to take action.

Several of our clients have found success with brand plus demand on LinkedIn. One technology services provider, in particular, puts this concept into practice.

The client regularly runs brand campaigns to raise awareness of new services and to amplify existing products and offerings. They couple this with LinkedIn form-fill campaigns driving to strategy papers and other content that move prospects deeper into the buyer funnel. The client’s campaigns regularly perform 3-5 times the benchmark for LinkedIn campaigns.

End Result: Streamlined Conversions

When you can deliver thought leadership or subject matter expert content directly to the decision-makers who matter most, it significantly streamlines converting them.

We have helped many clients achieve strong results with LinkedIn campaigns. Try it to see if this strategy lifts engagement in your demand-generation activities. We think you’ll be glad you did.

To learn more, email Anthony Englund, senior director of digital strategy, at [email protected].

We are thrilled to announce that MSPC has once again been honored by the Content Marketing Institute as a finalist for Agency of the Year (agencies with less than 100 employees) for 2023.

The award, given annually at the CMI’s Content Marketing Awards, recognizes agencies that have distinguished themselves by creating content marketing that serves as a showcase for the entire industry.

According to CMI’s website, “The Agency of the Year recognition by the Content Marketing Institute is, perhaps, the greatest award honor a content marketing agency can achieve. The judges look at the agency’s projects and performance over the past year, as well as the innovation behind consistent multi-platform publishing.”

“We pride ourselves on the results we bring and relationships we share with our clients, but an honor from our peers is certainly worth celebrating,” says Deborah Hopp, agency president. “There’s no more talented team of marketers in the industry, and it would be a thrill to see them rewarded as Agency of the Year again.”

The winner of this year’s Agency of the Year award will be announced during Content Marketing World on Thursday, Sept. 28.

MSPC was named Agency of the Year in 2018 and was a finalist for the award in 2018, 2021 and 2022.

Read next: Why Journalists Make the Best Content Marketers

What does a pink butcher shop have to do with content marketing? Here, MSPC VP of B2B content Evelyn Hoover shares three surprising content marketing lessons from a small-town butcher shop.

As we pulled into the small town of Wanamingo, Minnesota, my husband and I were puzzled and intrigued by the small pink building standing near the grain elevators. The sign outside, complete with a cowgirl cutout, proclaimed, “Blondie’s Butcher Shop.” We looked at each other and thought, what exactly is this? We knew we had to check it out.

I grew up on a family farm about 120 miles west of Wanamingo, so my father took me to butcher shops from time to time. The butcher shops of my youth were run by older men wearing blood-stained white aprons. The smell of blood and cigarette smoke hung in the air.

None of them was anything like Blondie’s. Everything about the place announces that it’s not your typical butcher shop. Blondie’s, a woman-owned and -operated (and mostly staffed) butcher shop, goes whole hog (forgive the pun) on creating a niche.

Blondie’s sells great products, including aged steaks, store-made brats, homemade rolls and buns, and much more, but the shop’s owner, Lindsey Loken, doesn’t stop there. Her approach to the meat industry parallels the content marketing advice given by Joe Pulizzi and Brian Piper in their recent book, “Epic Content Marketing Second Edition.”

  1. Know your audience. Loken, a native of the surrounding area, understands her buyers, many of whom live near the town of 1,100 people in southeastern Minnesota. From the “support your local farmer” type signage to the tongue-in-cheek “complaint department, press red button” (the red button is the center of a trap), to the country music streaming from the speakers, she knows what her buyers want.
    Understanding audience needs (often before they know it themselves) is a cornerstone of content marketing. In chapter 10 of the book, Pulizzi advises, “If you are not striving to be the go-to number one resource for your industry niche, you are settling for the comfortable, whatever that means to you in goal-setting terms.”
  2. Stand out from the crowd. Eleven years ago, Loken became the fourth person to own a butcher shop in that same location. When she took over, she could have painted the building brown or gray so it blended in with the other buildings nearby. Instead, she opted for pink accents that visually shout, “Look at me.” She could have left the walls bare inside (and outside). Instead, she chose to decorate with some playful signs that show her shop’s personality.
    Because Blondie’s is unique, it’s generated earned media, being featured on the National Geographic Channel as well as local TV news and newspapers. If the Wanamingo butcher shop, which has been in operation since 1937, closed tomorrow, it would leave a hole.
    What if your content was gone? Would anyone notice? “If the answer is no, then you’ve got a problem,” Pulizzi says. “You should have your customers and prospects needing–no, longing for–your content. It ought to be part of their lives and their jobs.”
  3. Become a trusted expert. Loken has big plans to expand her reach. She recently launched a website that will include e-commerce options as well as videos to help customers get the most from their purchases. She is also active on the local legislative scene and the shop uses several social media channels. To give back, Loken teaches classes to local high school students on butchering techniques, as well.
    It’s this same advice that Pulizzi offers content marketers: Become a trusted expert in your industry. It’s the way to sell more consistently. “Today it’s harder and harder to buy attention. You have to earn it. Earn it today, tomorrow and five years from now by delivering the most impactful information your customer could ever ask for,” he says.

As we drove away from Wanamingo that morning, I thought about Blondie’s and about content marketing. If you were to ask Loken, I think she would advise, “Don’t be afraid to try something that differentiates.” So go ahead and create content that truly stands out from your competition. Don’t get lost in the sea of sameness. Think pink. Think originality. Think like Blondie’s.

Read next: 11 Subject Matter Expert Content Creation Tips

We are thrilled to share the results of our submissions for the Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing Awards for 2023.

MSPC also submitted an entry for Agency of the Year. The finalists for that award category have not yet been announced.

Read next: Why Journalists Make the Best Content Marketers

I wear a lot of hats: mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, content director, manager, volunteer, giver, forever learner, UW-Madison alumna. But one of my new favorites is co-chair of two of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Parents and Professional Development.

One of our agency—and company—strengths is the collective talent, collaboration and energy of the employees who make great things together. Somehow, the pandemic didn’t take a hit at our enduring passion to ideate, create, write, design and publish great content for our clients and communities.
But as individuals, I wondered: What about each of us? Are we ok?

How It Started

Through our work with 3M Employee Communications, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing how employee groups bring people together and create safe spaces for fulfilling conversations and exchanging ideas. It was fascinating to see the inner workings of another company, its benefits and culture—as well as methods to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). These integral communities are self-run and make their company feel smaller and psychologically safer for employees.

When I returned from my second parental leave in October 2021, I introduced the idea of ERGs to our DEI Steering Committee. Call it new mom compassion or intuition, but I could feel uncertainty of the pandemic still lingering and our cultural connections lacking, especially for anyone new to our company.

Despite the thoughtful care of our leaders, that aspect was inevitable for a workforce that went from in-person interaction five days a week to completely remote. If I felt this way after being at the company for so long, how did new employees feel? I couldn’t shake feeling responsible for improving what we had to offer. I knew we could do more.

By this point, “belonging” was the new buzz word and our DEI Committee took that mantle very seriously. I’m so grateful the idea to explore ERGs was welcomed and executed. Through a company survey, we asked employees what groups would be of interest and landed on four to launch in September 2022.

How It’s Going

Nine months into our ERG pilot, I’m incredibly proud to say we have four dynamic groups that foster community and a sense of belonging for MSPers every day:

At the core, our ERGs aim to bring more of us together for conversations and connection, in person and virtually. Monthly meetings don’t focus on our day-to-day jobs, but they are some of the most valuable meetings on my calendar. Think: water cooler meets sage advice. An opportunity to learn and grow, personally and professionally. A friendly place to land after a crazy week. A warm hug when you return from parental leave—or prep for leave! We launched these groups as an exciting way to experience what makes MSP Communications truly great: our people.

The success of these groups is due to each member, as well as Kate Rogers (VP, digital strategy), Tim Dallum (senior production manager), Tina Gschlecht (senior project manager), Chapin Blanchard (senior content strategist), Tiffany Lukk (content strategist) and Rachel Hatcher (content specialist), who have valiantly spearheaded this initiative with me and are incredible culture leaders.

This is only the beginning and new groups will emerge as we continue to expand as a company. But know this: If you join MSP Communications, you will have a group to welcome you in and make you feel seen and heard from the jump. You belong here.

Read next: The Value of Evergreen Content

As a small business owner, the key to success in today’s competitive marketplace is a solid online presence. You’ve probably heard about search engine optimization (SEO) being essential for businesses—and it’s true. But when it comes to small and local businesses, local SEO is the game-changer. Local SEO helps your business rank higher in search engine results for customers within your geography.

By optimizing your website and online presence, you can increase your visibility to potential customers in your area and grow your business. In this blog post, we’ll explore some simple yet effective tips that will help improve your local search visibility right away.

Optimize Your Google Business Listing

Google Business is a free business tool that enables you to manage your business’s online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. To get started, claim and verify your listing. Once verified, provide accurate and updated information about your business, such as your name, address, phone number, working hours and website.

Include high-quality photos of your business, FAQs, products or services. By optimizing your listing and keeping it up to date, you increase the chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack—the top three search results for local businesses.

Use Local Keywords on Your Website

Incorporate local keywords throughout your website’s content, title tags and meta descriptions. This will help search engines better understand what your business is about and where it’s located.

Use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to discover popular search terms for your company and location. Remember to use these keywords appropriately and avoid keyword stuffing. Incorporating localized content in your website, such as featuring local events, testimonials or news, can also boost your local SEO.

Make Your NAP Consistent

NAP (name, address, phone number) is crucial for local SEO. Ensuring that your NAP is consistent across your website and online business listings is essential. Inconsistent information can confuse search engines and potential customers alike, which can negatively impact your rankings. Audit and update your online listings—including social media profiles, directories and review sites—to ensure your NAP is consistent across the board.

Grow and Manage Online Reviews

Online reviews are an essential component of local SEO because they build trust with customers and improve your search rankings. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on Google, Yelp and other relevant platforms. Respond to both positive and negative reviews professionally and courteously. This not only demonstrates that you value customer feedback, but it also helps to mitigate potential damage from negative reviews. Moreover, showcasing testimonials or reviews on your website can further build trust and credibility with potential customers.

The Google iFrame Map

Integrating the Google iFrame map on your location page is not only a crucial element for enhancing user experience, but it also plays a significant role in boosting local SEO for your website. By embedding this highly interactive and user-friendly map feature, you provide your audience with a convenient tool to pinpoint your business’s precise location and get quick access to directions, thereby increasing the likelihood of them visiting your physical location.

Additionally, search engines like Google emphasize content that offers valuable information and improved functionality. As a result, incorporating the Google iFrame map can enhance your website’s visibility in local search results, attracting more potential customers and ultimately driving higher traffic to your site. Connecting the signal of your Google Business Page and website can have an immediate impact on increasing your rank.

How to Implement the Google iFrame Map

  1. Google your business name
  2. Click “Maps”
  3. Click the “Share” button Share button icon screenshot
  4. Click “Embed a Map”
  5. Copy HTML, then add to your CMS where appropriate Google iFrame Map screenshotGoogle iFrame Map

To give your small business the visibility it needs, local SEO is a must in today’s digital world. From crafting an optimized Google My Business listing to embedding a map of your location and earning online reviews, these tactics can work together to boost rankings in local search results—resulting in higher foot traffic for you. With such simple steps taken now, there will be more potential customers discovering what makes you so special—meaning loyal clientele won’t be far away with consistent effort on leveling up those local optimization skills.

To learn more, download our guide to unlock your local SEO potential, or email Anthony Englund, senior director of digital strategy, at [email protected].

Chapin Blanchard is a senior content strategist who originally started at MSPC as an editorial intern in 2015. During an MSPC interlude, she attended graduate school at the University of Edinburgh Business School and tested out east coast living in Washington, D.C., before moving back to the Twin Cities in 2021.

Today, Chapin works across all of MSPC’s 3M clients, helping to plan and create awesome content and tell stories that matter.

Learn more about Chapin in today’s 5 Questions.

What skill, hobby, experience, etc., do you have that would surprise people?

A decade after I wrapped my high school downhill ski racing career, I began crashing gates again in 2022. Now each winter, I once again sidestep my way to the top of the starting house at Buck Hill and race giant slalom alongside my fellow Hill People (I didn’t pick the team name).

Recommend a book, movie, album, etc.—a favorite or something you’ve consumed recently.

In the podcast “Home Cooking,” chef extraordinaire Samin Nosrat and podcast whiz Hrishikesh Hirway share their latest ventures in the kitchen, solve listeners’ cooking conundrums and engage in delightful banter. While the podcast now only comes out once a year around Thanksgiving, the multitude of episodes recorded during its 2020 heyday are worth a listen.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I loved school and wanted to be a teacher, mainly because that meant I could write on the whiteboard and decorate my own classroom.

What has been your favorite MSPC project and why?

Ahead of the 2016 holiday season—during my first stint at MSPC—we embarked on a major holiday crafting project for 3M’s Scotch™ Brand. To support the sales of their Expressions tape and inspire creativity using the product, we made 1,000 gift wrap samples that were later displayed in Target stores across the country. To accomplish this feat, we set up shop on the 52nd floor of Capella Tower in downtown Minneapolis and enjoyed visits from colleagues who came over to help craft in their spare time.

Recommend two or three accounts to follow on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or your platform of choice.

@coffeecupsoftheworld on Instagram: As someone who has planned a road trip from Minnesota to Cape Cod entirely around unique, local coffee shops, this account is a must-follow.

@visitfaroeislands on Instagram: The striking, moody landscape of the archipelago is a photographer’s paradise. I can’t wait to visit again one day.

@livefromsnacktime on Instagram: I rarely encounter kids in my day-to-day life, but from what I can tell, they’re hilarious.

Read next: The Value of Evergreen Content

Amy Armato is an award-winning art director for MSPC. Amy’s main focus is member magazines. Her current projects include Land & Life, a brand new lifestyle publication for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation; and Independent Banker, a business publication for the Independent Community Bankers of America.

Her design expertise lies in her ability to span various topics conceptually while offering a cohesive publication to members. Prior to her work at MSPC, she designed everything from packaging and sales materials to small business identities and wedding stationery.

Breakfast or dinner? Describe your ideal meal.

I am all about sweets. I love a good meal but I’m really only in it for the desserts.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I always drew and looked at art when I was younger. Bubble letters and rainbows when I was very young and then later more and more lettering. When I was in junior high, there was a program that had 7th and 8th graders go to elementary schools with large prints of famous artworks and ask students questions about the art, both visual and historical. I loved that!

I was an art history major in college and worked at the MIA and Weisman Art Museum as both intern and staff. Then I discovered graphic design, where I get to use my art history skills as well as my art skills. What I love most about my job now is being able to deeply research the work of my clients and then translate that into striking visuals that get people engaged and excited about an organization. For me that has been learning a lot about member associations, community banking and farming in Minnesota. Each has been interesting in its own way. Truly, I love my job.

Recommend a book, movie, album, etc.—a favorite or something you’ve consumed recently.

Book: “The Story of Art Without Men” by Katy Hessel. Once an art history nerd, always an art history nerd. This book is about women’s contributions to art history; something woefully ignored by most art history texts out there—most notably “The Story of Art” by E. H. Gombrich, which mentioned zero women in its first edition in 1950 and 16 editions later only mentions one. It makes me so happy that this is out in the world … finally.

Show: “Slow Horses” on Apple+. Gary Oldman slurping noodles in the first episode of the second season is some of the best TV I’ve seen all year. Bravo to the sound engineers on this one. So gross, SO funny.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self or someone earlier in their career path?

As a young woman, I had a major case of imposter syndrome. It caused me to not ask questions—whether that was about the job in front of me or wider questions about business or the people I was interacting with—for fear of sounding unintelligent or out of place. I don’t do that anymore. I would encourage people, especially young women, to ask the questions they have and not apologize or feel bad for asking them. I wish I would have had a mentor to guide me through that stuff. The soft skills.

I try my hardest now to encourage any and all questions no matter how big or small, to walk people through processes, to not judge questions and just answer them in a reassuring way. It’s something that needs constant attention. Imposter syndrome is real!

Recommend two or three accounts to follow on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or your platform of choice.

The Letterform Archive is a nonprofit center for all things typography. It’s a “curated collection of over 100,000 items related to lettering, typography, calligraphy and graphic design, spanning thousands of years of history.”

Gabriel Blair and her family moved to a small town in France and bought a very old house that was in need of major renovations. She has recorded it all on her Instagram (@designmom), and it’s fascinating.

Everytime I see what they’re up to at NYT Kids I say to myself, “Whoa, what amazing jobs Deb Bishop and her team have!” The illustration, design and editorial treats kids in a fun way that is not baby-ish. I think it does a great job of reflecting how late elementary and middle grade kids want to be seen. The Insta feed acknowledges the real feelings and concerns of kids while being super fun for adults and kids alike.
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