5 Must Read Blogs for St. Louis Locals and Visitors

By: Kourtney McKinney, Ryan Orio, William Scott, Raven Williams
Looking for a blog to keep you updated on all things #STL? We did the research for you with an easy to read top 5 list.
logolink #1 Explore St. Louis’ Events 101
This one is almost a little obvious. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend in St. Louis, Explore St. Louis has you covered with a weekly blog that drills down the top five events going on that weekend. Want to find coverage on last year’s Comic Con to see if it’s worth it? Explore St. Louis has the hookup with several different categories of blogs to search from and contributing writers from all over the city that cover all types of events. Much of the sites blogs are authored by contributing locals that write simply for the fun – adding to the authenticity of the site.
The blog is sponsored by The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (SLCVC), which is important because they execute the forces that drive the city’s $5 billion convention and tourism industry. Why does this matter? SLCVC pretty much has full range on what events and tourist attractions come to St. Louis. When trying to make plans for your weekend, Explore St. Louis is basically guaranteed to have any and all events that may be of interest. The posts are a must read for tourists and locals alike for its originality and variety of events all readers can appreciate.
#2 Purina’s Just Right Pet Food
Animal lover? Purina understands. This St. Louis based company has a successful and compelling blog. The first visual item you may notice is the abundance of pictures. Not only does Purina engage their bloggers, but they also give them the opportunity to share their blogs on other social media websites. At the top of the page are numerous icons of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube where bloggers can go to the company page or channel and share more information or see what others are posting about Purina. These tools enable a blogger who has a reason to share an easy way to share whatever they want.
One of the most important aspects of a blog is its readability – a mark in which Purina’s blog ranks highly. When viewing the page, the reader is not overloaded with a ton of information. All the posts are somewhat “chunked” together in equal size squares so one can easily differentiate between posts.  It was also easy to see which blog posts were the most recent because it was at the top with bigger font size and taking up more space than the older posts.
monsanto#3 Monsanto’s Beyond the Rows
Monsanto is more than just a Fortune 500 company. They are also actively engaged in the community with a blog that allows site users to ask questions and read posts about sustainability and balanced meals.  Each post ties the company into the community with informational pieces about various crops and how Monsanto is playing their part in saving and maintaining a thriving environment. The posts are often authored by Monsanto employees, but there are occasional posts from sources like the Huffington Post.
Not only does Monsanto include articles for viewers to read, but they also have an extensive user engagement section titled, “Be Part of the Conversation”. This section allows users to post questions about the company, GMOs, or any other topic related to Monsanto. Monsanto then answers these questions, sometimes with detailed responses, and sometimes with video content. This section of the blog allows users to actively engage with the company, creating an open dialogue, which provides for greater transparency in the company’s activities.
This is a must-read blog because it provides valuable information to consumers about Monsanto. It is easy to read with colorful illustrations, and the navigation amongst the various sections of the site is seamless. This blog is interesting and interactive – two reasons why you should check it out.
logo #4 Schnucks
Schnucks is one of the major grocery store chains in the St. Louis area with locations in five different states. Schnucks blog discusses various topics including different cooking techniques and specials in their stores. For example, one post in their blog, written by a nutrition intern, is entitled “7 Unexpected Ways to use your Waffle Iron” and talks about things you would never think a waffle iron is capable of doing. Did you know you can cook bacon on a waffle iron? It makes it a lot easier dealing with the grease. Another interesting post that Schnucks had was that they are now accepting Apple pay at all of their stores. The post talks about how easy it is and the advantages of using it.
The blog’s aesthetics could be improved to make the blog easier to read. Although all of their posts have a picture and a small introduction on the main blog page, they only have six blogs linked off of each pages so have to keep changing pages to view additional blogs. The posts are so great that I would love to also see their frequency increase so the content remains fresh.
#5 Emerson Electric
Emerson Electric realized one way to help their customers and employees was to start a blog written by other staff and employees in January 2014. When first looking at the blog page, Emerson has made a directory that can take viewers straight to a topic of interest. For example, if someone were interested in learning more about cyber security, there are several blog posts about that topic. The website is easy to navigate and use. The website uses vivid colors, allowing the website to be easy to read and keep the attention of readers.
Emerson has made it quick and easy to subscribe to their blog. All one has to do is enter in their email address and click subscribe. It is a big orange box that is hard to miss. Another attention grabber is the pictures posted on the website. Each picture has something to do with the blog, and will have a picture of the person who wrote the blog. This is nice because it gives readers a face to the post, so now it feels like more than a post. The reader can get a sense that the blogger was just giving his or her neighbor information.
Can you name more St. Louis company blogs we should check out?

Hitting Content Strategy Out of the Park

By: Casey Kleekamp, UMSL MBA Student
I recently attended an UMSL Digital Marketing Seminar: “Blogs to Buzz” hosted by Danielle Smith – A digital correspondent, host, storyteller, speaker, media trainer, vlogger and author! The seminar was not only very insightful, but totally fun and engaging! I enjoyed her style (both teaching style and fashion style – ha!) so much that I immediately started following her on Twitter and Pinterest.
Danielle shared tons of information on Blogging – the history of blogging, how marketers should be leveraging blogging, how to get started, and how to go beyond just a blog utilizing it on all social media platforms.
The takeaway from the seminar that could be applied easily and quickly to your blog and our very own UMSL Digital Mindshare Blog is Jason Calacanis’ “5 Tenets of Content Perfection.” Calacanis is an entrepreneur, blogger and keynote speaker for the digital industry worldwide (so I’d say his advice is pretty solid!).
5tenHere are the 5 Tenets. Plus, I have included ideas on how the UMSL Digital Mindshare Blog could bring them to life.
1. Speak in Real-time: Talk about current events and show that you are “in the know.” There is so much going on in our world today and there is so much news every second of the day that UMSL Digital Students should definitely be “in the know” and most importantly, be able to connect it back to UMSL and our digital marketing program. An example shared in Danielle’s class is Evernote. On their blog they wrote about Fantasy Football. Evernote and Fantasy Football you ask? After reading the blog post, it all made sense. Evernote told their readers how to get the most out of Fantasy Football by using Evernote to stay organized.
2. Think Fact-Driven: Pretty self-explanatory.
3. Use Visuals: Blog posts with images = 94% better. Pretty simple right!? Even for this blog, since unfortunately I wasn’t able to take personal photos, I used visuals that hopefully have made reading this post a little more fun?! Danielle might have thought it a tad bit weird if I was snapping photos of her during the seminar – right?
4. Be Efficient: Resources. Let’s get smart with the important questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How? One thing that really stood out to me in the seminar was “micro-blogging.” I love the idea that we can create a blog and then pick “pieces” of it to share out across other social platforms. Or use “story-telling” where you can write several blogs all at once on one topic and then post one blog at a time over a period of time. Seems pretty efficient to me!
5. Curate: Discover and share the best. For UMSL, we could have someone focused on looking for fun, informational and engaging content to repurpose and connect with UMSL Digital.
After reading my own post, I realize it’s not rocket science what I’m talking about here, but it does take time to get organized and plan. I hope this was helpful and that UMSL’s Digital Blog can continue to be a source of great content for digital marketers and beyond.
And just in case I didn’t say it enough – take the Digital Marketing Class and Danielle Smith’s “Blogs to Buzz” seminar as soon as you can. You will NOT be disappointed!
All seminar course descriptions and dates are here: http://umsldigital.com/courses.

The UMSL Daily Blogs RoundUp

Have you checked out the UMSL Daily – UMSL’s very own blogs? The blogs feature lifestyle articles about student, faculty and staff, along with coverage of academic news and events. Here are a few recent articles to check out. Subscribe or find your favorite UMSL blog or topic at the UMSL Daily.

All business is global business: College of Business Administration realigns to better prepare students
“All students, especially business students need to understand and compete in the global economy. After consulting with the faculty, our advisory boards, the central administration and our students, this reorganization of the college will enable our students to think globally while they prepare for their careers,” said Charlie Hoffman, dean of the college. “This renewed global focus in the classroom and in the community will emphasize the skills and capabilities our students need to manage and lead global organizations.” More.

UMSL’s chief marketing officer earns rare Distinguished Toastmaster distinction
Toastmasters International recently bestowed the organization’s highest honor to Ron Gossen, UMSL’s chief marketing officer, senior associate vice chancellor for marketing and communications and the founding president of the Triton Toastmasters Club. Only about one in every 200 toastmasters has received the award in Toastmasters International’s history. More.

Businessman returns to school to earn MBA, mentor entrepreneurial scholars
“When I started in the 1980s, the entrepreneurial community wasn’t as strong as it is today,” he said. “The Small Business Administration was the only resource we had. Not like today, where there are so many resources and support. It was a different world. I was under capitalized. I didn’t know my market. You name it, I did it wrong.” More.

Young innovators compete in entrepreneurial program
Scott was among 30 high school students who participated in The Pitch, a summer entrepreneurial program organized by the University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Education. The program challenged teams of students to develop innovative business projects. They focused on solving real-world commercial and social problems, giving the students free range to test and refine their wildest ideas. More.

The Changing Content Marketing Landscape: An Interview With Matt Kamp

Matt Kamp

Matt KampAs every marketer knows, “Content is King”. This phrase continues to be more true each year as both search engines and consumer expectations of brands change. To help us take a deep dive into the importance and power of having a strong content strategy, we sat down with a St. Louis specialist, Matt Kamp.  Continue reading “The Changing Content Marketing Landscape: An Interview With Matt Kamp”