Northland Community & Technical College
With two campuses in northwestern Minnesota, Northland Community & Technical College is a hidden gem of low-cost higher ed. In 2015, the college decided it no longer wanted to remain hidden and embarked on a content marketing initiative designed to highlight their academic programs and the unique characters that head them up. I was given the opportunity to help them tell their stories in long-form, feature articles.
Swanson Health Products
As a five-year, full-time employee of Swanson Health Products, I helped lead two complete redesigns of the Swanson Blog. The latest incarnation focused on highlighting the best content, as well as placing a big emphasis on engaging, pin-worthy images. Along with the new blog layout, we built a custom recipe site designed with sharing in mind. Bloggers and foodies can submit their own healthy creations directly to the site. Today, I get to focus on continuing to create that share-worthy content as a contributing writer.
Coler Hanson Therapy Professionals
I’ll admit, landing this job was easy. The owner of this downtown Fargo family therapy practice is the mother of my child—that combined with the fact that we had a $0 marketing budget made it an easy decision to hire me as web designer (and copywriter… and photographer). It was my first shot at building a legit business website, but it has become Coler Hanson Therapy Professionals’ leading driver of new business.
The Good Life Men’s Magazine
Shortly after I quit my full-time job to become a stay-at-home dad, The Good Life Men’s Magazine came calling. They discovered me and my habit of writing about fatherhood on my AreaVoices blog and wanted to know if I’d like to write for their local publication. They wanted an authentic voice from a local father, and when they discovered how photogenic Macklin is, I was a shoe-in. My first column appeared in the June/July 2016 edition, and the plan is for Mr. Full-Time Dad to become a regular contributor.
I’ve been getting my hair cut at Graver Barbers in downtown Fargo since I was 12 years old. It’s one of the longest relationships I have. Around Christmas of 2015, I was in the chair chatting with Joel while he cut my hair for the 167th time. The conversation bounced around until we got to talking about Graver’s website. Joel and his brother, Ryan, weren’t happy with the service they were getting from their current “web guy,” nor did they particularly care for their site’s outdated look. I volunteered my services and overhauled their site from top to bottom, giving them a simple, sleek look that reflected the newly renovated barbershop. It’s not fancy—it’s just exactly what they wanted.
When a friend and former coworker of mine decided to open up his own doggy daycare business, he asked me to write some copy for the website. A couple years later, he decided to add a new service to South Bark’s offering and came back to me for help telling this service’s unique story. It was one of those projects you immediately say yes to… I mean, dogs, right? But not just dogs in this case. Dogs nearing the end of their time here on earth. Angel Paws is a beautiful, completely free service and I am still grateful for the chance to help tell the story.
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
As an English major, I relished the opportunity to defend and promote a liberal arts education. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College recently launched a new two-year liberal arts program and wanted to boost interest and drive enrollment. I focused this sponsored content marketing piece on the continued need for liberal arts-trained thinkers and leaders in today’s tech-heavy world.
PrecisionCurbing.com is another simple website designed to give a new business an online presence. Owners Matt and Jamie wanted two main things: make it easy and obvious for customers to contact them and highlight their work with a photo gallery. Knowing most new business would be coming from mobile search traffic, I insisted on a fast, mobile-ready design.
The Delta Six FPS Gaming Controller
I’ll be honest. I’m no gamer. I own a PS3, but purely for its Blu-ray and streaming capabilities. So when presented with the chance to write some web copy for The Delta Six—made by the same company that developed the award-winning Avenger modded controller—I took it as a challenge. The item detail copy they had been running with was short, choppy and not at all optimized for search. After doing my due diligence (and lurking around gamer forums to pick up the right tone), I rewrote several existing pages and created a new landing page optimized for virtual reality gaming—a quickly growing segment for organic search.
The Salvation Army in Fargo, ND, needed a video that would serve multiple purposes. It needed to tell the over 150-year history of the global Salvation Army, highlight the work being done in the Fargo-Moorhead region and inspire would-be volunteers to sign up to share their time, talents and treasures with the non-profit organization. I was lucky enough to take part in the project, writing the script and helping conduct the on-camera interviews.
Smokey Hills Outdoor Store
The leading seller of Ice Castle fish houses in northern Minnesota, Smokey Hills needed to find a way to inspire summer shoppers to buy a “winter” toy. The fact is Ice Castles are more than just high-end ice shanties—they’re four-season travel trailers that can comfortably host everything from family camping trips in the summer to ice fishing expeditions in the extreme cold of winter. And, unlike traditional RVs and campers, Ice Castles are surprisingly cost-effective considering their versatility. It was a complete story, which made for an effective piece of sponsored content marketing.
Forum Content Studios
My last incarnation as a professional writer was with Forum Communications in Fargo, ND. I was hired onto a new team that would develop the company’s newly created content marketing division. As the veteran on the team, I was tapped to flesh out the concept for Forum Content Studios and develop the copy for the website. (Note: several of the above portfolio pieces came from my time with FCS.)