Think new channels:
Thought leadership opportunities, SEO revitalization, community building, social media campaigning
Bolder, stickier brand:
Identity, creative storytelling, content strategy, copywriting, logo design, promotional collateral
The real deal:
Beautifully honest photography targeted at your key audience, hero images that you deserve to hero
Experience is everything:
Understanding target audience, defining goals, smart userflow, information architecture, delighting users
The whole world's looking:
Websites and display ads with
on-brand tone, cohesive look & feel, visual infusion, cutting-edge styling
Customization, content management systems, web standards compliancy, mobile accessibility, maintenance
Schoening Digital leverages a diverse and solidly creative team to bring digital solutions to life – the kind of solutions that are custom visualized and uniquely crafted to fit your needs. Actually.
Whether it’s marketing revitalization in the form of a site re-design, creative strategy and execution around new digital marketing channels or introducing the world to a new digital expression of your brand’s story – we’re on it.
Check in with us about a la carte solutions – we’d love to work with your team – or bring us on board for the whole enchilada. We’re based in Seattle, but we like where you’re from too.
In the few days after David Carr passed away, I found myself reading multiple remembrances, old columns and synopses of his life. It reminded me of how much I have loved reading his column over the years. His interest in the growth of digital journalism, paired with his role as a writer for the vanguard of traditional journalism, the New York Times, gave him a unique perspective on the shift in the way that stories are told and shared today. In deference to him and because I’ve been diving back into his work quite a lot lately, I want to share a few things that stand out to me. I could list dozens, but I’ll stick with five and spare your time. 1. Good writers have a distinctive voice Part of the reason David Carr had such distinguished career was because he injected his voice so strongly into his work. It was funny, rough, sometimes harsh, but always honest, and used to support the fact-based reporting that strengthened his credibility as a journalist. It made his work fun to read and memorable, the way that a good teacher can make any subject interesting. 2. Be fascinated by the stories around you Carr excelled at getting to the heart of his subjects and bringing their stories to life. What I learned from him is that everyone has a story, and apart from having your own distinctive voice, it takes equal skill to bring out the voices of others. I think about this often when I represent the values and stories of the brands I write for, as a reminder that connecting with an audience means using my writing skill but also my listening skills, to get the fullest, richest experience to deliver to a wider audience. 3. Embrace new mediums I am inspired by Carr’s engagement with the constantly developing world of online publishing. I like the thoughtful ways he assesses the pros and cons of online blogging tools, and it’s always fun to read the columns in which new platforms deliver beyond his expectations. His column on Medium, expressed unrestrained joy in the elegant, simple design that make it easy for a writer to connect with an audience. New mediums push the boundaries of traditional journalism and I’m glad he was there to show me the way. 4. Media needs to balance traffic with quality of content This article offers a fascinating overview from the writer’s perspective of the intense competition in online publishing and the pursuit of page views above all else. As a writer, it’s easy to feel pressure to write whatever will generates clicks. As a reader, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content vying for my attention. Carr argues that the way to stay above the warring factions is simply to write high-quality work. It’s a good reminder to stay focused on writing well about interesting things, and people will respond accordingly. 5. Think critically about your own role as a writer To be clear, I don’t mean to be simply critical. Carr examined the role of journalists often, and didn’t shy away from seeing the bad side of a profession that is pressured to deliver “news” at any cost. But he also championed the efforts of writers seeking to share knowledge and unearth information in the interest of the public. I may not be a journalist, but it’s a reminder to me to think about my job as a writer, to reassess the larger objective: to share information with people in a way that’s meaningful and has a positive impact. Photos from therecoveryauthority.com/journalist-and-former-addict-david-carr-dies/
Schoening Digital prides itself on building and maintaining strong relationships. Whether working on a project for a friend or new connection, Schoening Digital’s team always strives to make the client’s experience awesome. One way of ensuring this is creating a bond with the client that not only makes the project run smoothly, but also so that it continues to flourish. Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone, approaches the over-examined topic of networking with a simple and fresh perspective. Ferrazzi’s idea of networking is not about becoming the alpha “networker” in the room, throwing business cards willy-nilly, or attending networking conferences. Ferrazzi’s philosophy is about building a network one relationship at a time. It may seem that building an entire network one relationship at a time is slow and time-consuming, but Ferrazzi's approach is extremely efficient. The title of his book illustrates how efficient he aims to be: never eating alone. Why not strive to constantly meet new faces, check in with employees, or combine engagements with people of similar interests. Instead of feeling burnt out and needing to "clone" himself to get all his work done, he "clones the event," by including others and effectively killing two birds with one stone. "You have to work hard to be successful at reaching out to others, but that doesn't mean you have to work long" Ferrazzi writes, "I'm constantly looking to include others in whatever I'm doing. It's good for them, good for me, and good for everyone to broaden their circle of friends."Ferrazzi has built his relationships over engagements such as these: Share a ride to the airport with an employee. Meet for fifteen minutes and a cup of coffee. Share a workout or hobby (golf, chess, book club). Have a quick early breakfast, lunch, or drinks after work. Invite someone to a special event (concert, book-signing party, or to the theater). Entertain at home and invite 1-2 people you don't know very well. Have them leave with a whole new set of friends. His methods have led him to bypass gatekeepers, rise above rejection, grow a robust network, and lead several successful businesses. One of the most refreshing ideas that stems from Ferrazzi’s book and philosophy is his emphasis on generosity. He acknowledges the amount of generosity that was given to him throughout his life and approaches each new relationship as an opportunity to give, not get. All of the sudden, networking is no longer about how many contacts you have in your phone book, but how many meaningful relationships you’ve made by giving your time, energy, and thought to others. The latter is guaranteed to yield more success and substance. Schoening Digital incorporates these values into our brand and relationships. Read more about our Founder's 9 Networking Tips to Skyrocket your network, and the importance Schoening Digital puts on relationships. Never Eat Alone is full of other inspirational and practical ideas and Ferrazzi’s site offers free resources too. Thank you Keith Ferrazzi for bringing a fresh and genuine perspective to networking!
There is a particular chapter in Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In titled "Will you be my mentor?" It is this chapter that has inspired me to invite you into a conversation about mentorship. Who are the first people you would call if you were fired? I keep a post-it note on my desk with seven names on it. It was written about half a year ago, after I read an article encouraging folks to keep in touch with who they consider to be their real life mentors. The author asks you, his reader, to jot down the names of the first people you would call if you were fired. As a business owner I don't happen to have a boss with that kind of power, but I sure as heck resonated with the idea of being in close touch with my support system. Either way this request is a wake up call: make sure you maintain a good relationship with the people you would rely on in a professional crisis (and in a personal crisis, for that matter). Schoening Digital is founded on informational interviews, otherwise known as networking On July 11th, 2012, when I sat down at my in-laws dining room table and wrote my first email as Schoening Digital's Founder, it was to a mentor of mine who had started his own business years earlier. I asked for five names from him. I thought I was embarking on a series of informational interviews in order to learn from seasoned business owners about the roadblocks, unexpected challenges, and lessons learned as I was setting out to start my own business. It turns out that that's called networking; I had never networked before (check out my learning on the subject in another post, 9 Networking Tips to Skyrocket Your Network). My question-asking hasn't slowed down in the least and of course, taking this approach when its come to challenges, unknown territory, and new opportunities has been hugely defining for Schoening Digital. Reaching out to mentors during business challenges; learn from those who've done it before you As of three days ago, I've now run into two more serious business challenges, the kind that feel importantly heavy on your chest. You can tell because you forget to eat breakfast and lunch the day they surface, and don't even reach for the chocolate that's waiting to be snacked on. I so badly wanted to manage them with extreme care, knowing that there would be a lot of learning from them. So what do I do? I pick up the phone and get short-notice coffees on the calendar with seasoned business owners, mentors, and peers who might have experienced something similar. I wrote more about this in a blog post called 5 Ways to Leave Work Fears at the Door. There are these people whom I've met along the way that actually care about me, who lean into conversations about what they'd do differently, who send knowing smiles across tables and share advice like they have all of the time in the world. It's incredible. No matter what how well Schoening Digital is doing, these people have made me rich. It turns out that you never go into 'battle' in business, it's about being on the same side When you're going into battle, you feel as though you have an army of like-minded, like-souled people behind you and instead of one person's short life experience, you have decades and decades of business experience and perspective backing you up. And then you also have the wealth that comes with your army telling you that it's not a war to fight after all. There's no battle. It's about aligning expectations from a view point of success for everyone involved. That's called conversation. This huge insight came in the form of a short-notice caramel latte conversation with a close friend and mentor of mine. After I finished explaining the challenge I was confronting, about which this short-notice counseling meeting was called, the first thing she said was that I needed to change my wording. I needed to approach this situation from the same side of the table as my client; we are never actually on opposite sides of the table from each other. If that concept hasn't sunk in yet, let it; that can change the entire way that a business is run (and it has). Go ahead, write down that list of mentors. And then treat them each to a meaningful Hello. Get your You're Fired mentor list written down. Call up those whom you haven't spoken with in six months or longer. Email those whom you haven't seen in a month. Care about them. Ask them questions. Make sure you follow-up with them with an update about the things you talked about. Set-up of coffee meetings and treat your valued teammates - because that's what they are - to something with caramel in it. And then follow-up again. Photo shared from our Xakary the Magician shoot.