Feb 20 2019

How to Simplify Your Social Media

Social media has done wonders for connection and exposure. It is easier than ever to reach out to folks you don’t know and stay in touch with those you do, and its ubiquity makes it an accessible tool to promote yourself and your business. Unlike you or your business, however, the threads of the world wide web never disconnect to rest. It’s easy to become overly attached to online happenings, and to neglect keeping a healthy distance from them. How does one balance the necessity of a social media presence with some semblance of sanity?

Choose Your “Why” Purposefully

Social media is, first and foremost, a set of digital tools. Just like a hammer has its purpose, so do all the websites and applications at your fingertips. Make sure you have clarity about your online purpose before establishing your platforms, to help keep you on task.

Let Authenticity Clear The Path

Once you’ve ironed out your “why,” the next step is dialing in how you’ll present yourself. I mentioned finding your authentic voice when discussing content overwhelm in our newsletter (hit us up here if you’re not already a subscriber). Authenticity is key to keeping your messaging and design focused and clear. When your message is clear, the means by which you share it stays clear as well. Focus time and energy on the appropriate platform(s) instead of spreading yourself thin on every one.

An aside, of sorts: specificity in your messaging can also bolster your confidence in what you deliver, and lessen (if not eliminate) the urge to compare yourself with others. The vast reach of the internet nearly guarantees your customers and peers are out there somewhere. Give them the real you, and they’ll find you!

Focus on What Fits Your Business

This leads right into my next suggestion: limit your platforms. You might have recoiled at that suggestion. Isn’t it better to be everywhere? Not necessarily. Each platform has its pros and cons; focus your attention on the ones that fits your business best. Keeping your presence simple and straightforward also keeps your stress level low.

Another way to keep stress at a minimum is with assistance. Social media management apps give you more bang for your proverbial buck by allowing you to collect and schedule your content in one place, even allowing you to share content across platforms. Having everything in one place saves both time and sanity. Like the platforms themselves, each app has pluses and minuses; we’re happy to discuss what apps can work best for you.

Set Boundaries… and Stick to Them

When it comes to your business presence, consider keeping your social media time within business hours. Yes, the internet never sleeps… but you need to! Just as you schedule time for meetings and events, consider scheduling time to follow and respond on social media. You might allot a large block of time (say, one hour), or schedule smaller check-ins throughout your work day. You can further loosen the web’s tug by turning off notifications, eliminating distractions and breaking the habit of immediate response.

Another swell aspect of scheduling your social media time: it frees you up to create! Do you tend to scroll mindlessly when you really should be dialed into your work? (It’s okay to admit it — I definitely distracted myself with Instagram and the NBA app at least three times while writing this post!) Note the places of resistance when it’s time to put nose to grindstone, and notice if you sabotage your own efforts with distractions.

Your social media should reflect who you are and what your business has to offer, but it doesn’t need to run (or ruin) your life. If you could use an assist in finding that perfect balance online, reach out and let’s talk (IRL even!).  

 

Feb 04 2019

Making Content that Connects

Kelley Gardiner headshot
Kelley’s smiling because she knows how to make your content smarter.

We spend our days designing dreamy websites, and we’ve learned that you shouldn’t trust just anyone with your content. Content is what makes you memorable, and it’s never a place to cut corners! That’s why, when we were looking to tune up our website copy a few months ago, we called in Kelley Gardiner Content & Copy to guide us to our happy place.

Kelley generously took some time to chat with us about diving head-first into self-employment, reaching your ideal clients, where to find some extremely tasty baked goods, and how to know when to call in some professional copywriting help.

UPSWEPT CREATIVE: According to your Instagram, you “quit your job to become a writer.” What were you doing before this? Have you encountered any noteworthy and/or mundane challenges in making that transition?

KELLEY GARDINER: In short, I was sitting at a desk with other people telling me what to do. Before that gig, I was creating programming for a continuing education program department at a community college in Indiana. (Then, we moved back to Portland in a recession.) Things I miss about working in an office: the food carts across the street. People hardly ever tell me if my outfit is cute. It’s hard to keep myself on track, as distractions are everywhere, and other than client deadlines, nothing really HAS to be done. That newsletter can go out a few days late, and no one but me will know, you know? 

It’s also a challenge going into a field that requires putting a lot of yourself on the line and dealing with rejection. Desk jobs might be soul-crushing, but they usually require little emotional energy. Running your own gig takes a lot.

UC: What are some strategies you use to reach your ideal clients?

KG: Talk to them. Show them what a catch I am. The right people will pick up what I’m laying down.

Right now, I’m using a bunch of strategies: blogging on kelleygardiner.com with relevant, fun stuff, guest blogging to boost my quote-unquote authority, having lots of coffees with people, networking events. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I kind of like networking, because I realized that it’s not sleazy. It’s about talking to people, learning about what they do, and seeing how you can help them. Sometimes, you can help people by writing words for them in exchange for money. That’s a valuable service, and no one has to buy unless they really want to.

UC: We love the updated website copy that you wrote with us — how the heck did you capture Upswept’s brand voice so authentically?

KG: Luckily for me, you have a strong brand voice that I was able to plug into! My biggest job was pulling out messages that needed to be coaxed a little further. Like about how awesome you are. That’s an important one.

Maybe I cheated a little bit by following Upswept over the course of several years, and knowing Sarah for a long time.  [ed. note: hey, it’s important to do the research, however it happens!]

UC: Let’s say I’ve got a website for my business and I know it needs a copy overhaul, but I don’t think I have the budget for it and I want to try to rewrite myself. Do you have any advice for me? Where do I start? How do I know when it’s time to call in a pro?

KG: Just write it! That’s always the easiest and hardest writing advice. Getting started is the hardest part. Remember the basics: what your customer wants, and why you are the best person to deliver it.

Write it. Leave it for two days. Edit it. Have a friend come look at it.

Are people confused about what you do after they read your website? Are you getting the wrong kind of leads? Are people not taking the actions you want? You might need help.

To be honest, most people don’t have the cash for professional copy when they’re first starting out. When you’re ready to go to the next level, give us a call. I also happen to have super affordable consulting packages to help people get their brains wrapped around projects like this. I’m here to help!

UC: Do you have a preferred coffee shop or similar for working away from home?

KG: More like a small rotation of coffee shops. I’ll shout out Jet Black, my walking-distance vegan coffee shop extraordinaire, with the friendliest staff and usually cute dogs on the patio. Then there’s Hungry Heart Bakery in Montavilla. Get the banana walnut muffin and/or the chocolate chunk cookie. No, seriously. They are both extremely good.

UC: Is this the right time for the story of your book about roller derby?

It’s extremely the right time! Somehow, it’s been six years since I played roller derby and the book is out of date/not being published. But, lately, I’ve been thinking about how it’s exactly the kind of writing I want to do more of. Taking something overwhelming and breaking it down to easy-to-follow steps. Encouraging people to do the thing. Writing that’s easy to read and keep reading. Helping people! I don’t want to literally hold your hand, because you know, sweaty, but I want to make hard things easier and more relatable.

If you’d like Kelley to make hard things easier for you, give her a holler via her website. We definitely recommend it!

Jan 15 2019

Why Your Website Doesn’t Keep Your Audience

OR: Why I Kind of Hate the Apple Store

We’re about honest design here at Upswept, so today I’m opening with an honest admission: as much as I enjoy and rely on my Mac, and my iPad, and my iPhone, I never enjoy going to the Apple Store.

A recent trip to the Apple Store also reminded me of critical things that go wrong with websites. That feeling I get walking through those Apple Store doors is what happens to droves of people who look at websites. Not only is it unpleasant, it also gets in the way of doing real business.

Much like some websites, the Apple Store looks active and appealing at first, but quickly becomes confusing and disorienting the further you go in.

Putting Looks First

Let’s start with what the Apple Store does well. The moment you walk into the store, it’s clear Apple made looks and atmosphere their top priority.

The space has the clean lines we’re accustomed to seeing in their products, and employees wear uniforms that look comfortable and fashionable. The store is spacious, with high ceilings and open tables that give a communal feel. They took a bold approach by making the store feel more like a coffee shop or gathering place, and they hit that mark!

Sadly, much like a number of websites I’ve seen, once the pretty first impression falls away, problems start bubbling up from underneath.

The Intimidation of “Too Much”

A common issue with website homepages is having cool visuals, but not enough focus. As a business owner, it’s easy to convince yourself that every single thing you do needs to be on your homepage. The trouble is, adding too many elements onto your homepage can go from informative to intimidating really, really quickly.

Walking into the Apple Store felt a lot like landing on an unfocused homepage: I walked in, and immediately felt overwhelmed by the options. I saw iPhones on my right, iPads on the left, desktop computers dead ahead, accessories across the way… the list goes on. There was too much to take in, so much so that I stood in the entryway, paralyzed and uncertain about where to go next.

Ultimately, I stuck it out, because I needed help with an Apple product, and this was my only option. But, if this had been a website, this is the moment where I, and a lot of other viewers, would give up and leave.

Guiding Your Customers… or Not

The other major place where the Apple Store and many websites fail, is laying a clear path for the people who visit. If you want a shopper to buy in on what you’re offering, it makes sense to guide them through, and make it easy for them to say Yes.

At the Apple Store, once you take in what’s around you, it becomes apparent that there is no clear path. There’s no front desk, no sign telling you where to go, and all of the employees are usually busy chatting with other customers. All I could do was wait by the door, hoping that someone in a trendy Apple-branded track jacket would notice how bewildered I looked and come talk to me. I didn’t even feel like I could explore the products near me, because then the employees wouldn’t see that I needed help.

On a website, you don’t want your visitors to feel that confusion–especially if they know what they’re looking for! Your website needs to connect them with what they want, and make the next steps clear. If they can’t figure out how to get what they want, they’ll end up going somewhere else to get it.

The Apple Store is a dreamy-looking place, but from a practical standpoint? I kind of hate it. I go there because I already know and enjoy using their products, but if I was trying them for the first time? I probably wouldn’t stick around.

The lesson here? Beauty should never get in the way of doing business. That’s the key to good design: it creates an experience that’s appealing and enjoyable, and breaks down the barriers between your audience and what you can offer them. If your website isn’t helping you connect with your ideal people, then it isn’t doing its job.

Dec 06 2018

Reflect + Refine: How We Wrote Better Creative Proposals in 2018

steps to write better creative proposalsThe end of the year is so often a time for reflection, and if you run your own business, it’s smart to make good use of that time! We’re no exception, either: at the end of last year, Team Upswept looked at some of our internal operations, set new goals, and began brainstorming on how we might reach them.

As one indicator of success, we zoomed in on our creative proposals. In 2017, we had an acceptance rate that we felt pretty good about. But, end-of-year goal setting isn’t about maintaining the status quo, and we wanted to put some of the same problem-solving tools that we use on client projects to work internally. So we wondered, what would it take to push that acceptance rate even higher? We made it our goal to have 25% more accepted proposals in 2018, and then took a deep dive into how our processes could better support that goal.

Process Improvement Process

    1. Reality Check! We asked ourselves: What’s going on here now? What’s working well? and What parts are sticky? We didn’t have any significant complaints with the proposal process, but saw that a fair number of those who didn’t sign with us opted out on the basis of budget alone. We also knew we wanted to feel more in control of the process once we shared proposals with prospective clients, rather than being at the mercy of others to give us an answer — or not.
    2. Define Success. It was important to note that we wanted more than to just increase our acceptance rate — our focus was also on meeting and signing more of the type of clients we want to work with, and who want to work with us. We also wanted a more efficient process overall, and one that was well-defined and consistently repeatable for all team members, current and future.
    3. Identify Opportunities to Refine Thoughtfully. Once we identified pain points and visualized our desired results, it was time to make a plan!  In addition to researching how other businesses handle initial consultations and proposals, we talked about what changes seemed appealing to make, what we could implement with relative ease, and how we thought those changes could impact the process and outcome. Having an open discussion helped us make the changes that served both our clients and our own core values.
    4. Run the Experiment. With an updated workflow in place that touched the entire proposal lifecycle, we tried it out, and logged data on each proposal we created and shared with potential clients.
    5. Iterate + Progress. Now that the proposal lifecycle felt more like a practice rather than an inflexible series of steps, we continued to refine our language, and took a more customized approach to the process for each client within the new framework.

write more effective creative proposals

The Fruits of Our Labors

Our new iterative strategy helped us provide more personalized communication and make deeper connections, which both felt good and helped reach our goal. In 2018, Team Upswept wrote fewer total proposals, but those proposals were overwhelmingly for all-good-fit prospective clients. Our project proposals were also more information-rich, visually-appealing and user-friendly.  Best of all, our acceptance rate increased by over 75%, smashing our original goal of 25%. This feels like an appropriate moment to toot our own horns just a little. 🎉

2019, Coming At You!

Team Upswept is committed to solving problems and making things better — that means using an adaptive approach and continual refinement, not only in welcoming and working with new client partners, but also in our internal ops as well. With Anna’s arrival as our new Online Marketing Maven, we’re energized at the prospect of applying our Process Improvement Process to our social media and e-mail marketing services in 2019!

What are some of your business goals for 2019? We’d love to help you reach them with smart, beautiful design. There’s still time to get on our calendar for next year, so give us a shout!

Contact Us »

Nov 21 2018

Shopping Locally and Responsibly

Black Friday is almost upon us, and your inbox is probably full of big-box sale announcements and “doorbuster” deals! But, you don’t have to suffer through long lines or sidewalk campouts.  We talk often about shopping locally, but here’s a reminder that you have a choice: do your holiday shopping locally, and you’ll support small businesses, help your community, and have a better time doing it.

Take an Active Role In Building Your Community

You may have already heard the statistic that 68% of dollars spent at local businesses stay in the community, compared to 43% when you shop at a national chain. But, what exactly does that mean?

Money that stays in the community is used to support new jobs. When small businesses are growing, they need to create new jobs. That means hiring people in your community to do those jobs.

Image Content: pet store employee and customer and checkout.
Supporting small businesses also supports the communities those businesses live in.

When you spend locally, you support causes in your community. Local businesses have been shown to donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of big-box stores. So, shopping locally could also be help your favorite non-profit, too.

Shopping small creates more resources for your community. Taxes may not be our favorite thing to think about, but shopping locally also helps make sure that any sales taxes you pay get reinvested where you live. And, your local government will also be able to spend less on infrastructure and maintenance, and more on projects that improve your neighborhood.

Supporting small business creates opportunity for other small businesses. When you support small businesses in your neighborhood, that lets those businesses spend more locally, too. That means creating opportunities for new businesses to emerge and grow, and for people like you to pursue work and ideas that inspire you.

What if I Just Can’t Find What I Need Locally?

Small businesses choose what they carry based on what people in their communities are purchasing–so, if you’re new to the area, they may not be carrying your favorite thing just yet. If you can’t find what you need now, you can still work towards conscious shopping choices.

Get to know your local businesses–and ask for what you want! One of the great things about small business is that you can get to know the people who run them. And, when you know who you’re shopping with, you can often suggest new products that you’re interested in, or request something specific.

If you have to go big-box, look for ways to benefit your community. If you have to shop at a large retailer, look for chains that are donating to causes you care about. A lot of chain shops offer opportunities to give an extra $1 or $5 (or more) at checkout.

Or, if you’re shopping online, find out if a local non-profit can benefit from your purchases. For example: you can select a non-profit of your choice to receive donations through the Amazon Smile program, so even if you’re not buying locally, a charity in your community will receive a percentage of what you spend.

Some credit cards also allow you to spend your rewards points on donations to non-profits–take a look at your membership website and see what options you might have.

 

On any day of the year, shopping at small businesses is about making and strengthening connections in your community and investing where you live. We believe in investing in local business and local talent, and we know how much that can benefit the incredible people in our network of small businesses here in Portland. We hope you can start making community-minded choices when you shop this year, and carry that forward into the new year!

Nov 08 2018

It’s WordPress 5.0; Get Excited!

We depend on WordPress to provide an easy-to-use interface for our beloved (Do we love them? Yes, we do) clients. A big update to the WordPress editor is coming, and we wanted to share with you a couple of the things we’re excited about.

In 2019, developers plan to extend the changes in WordPress 5.0 well beyond posts and pages to sidebars, footers, menus, and more. The process will eventually make it possible to change different parts of your site within a common interface. But, for now, this change is just the post editor: WordPress developers are calling it “Gutenberg,” for the platform revolution it’s leading. Hold on to your mousepads!

WordPress Gutenberg update

Easy Preview, Revise, and Publish

A big benefit of the new editor is that there are fewer surprises when publishing posts, and it helps break the endless cycle of save-and-reload we do to preview our content before we publish it. This means you can expect the content in the editor to look more like your published work in the front-end.

With this release, you can look forward to a much more flexible and intuitive content creation experience, making it that much easier to create the content your audiences are hungry for.

Building With Blocks Boosts Creativity

Content in the new editor is built with blocks. Blocks can be textual elements — such as paragraphs, lists, blockquotes, and headings — and also galleries, buttons, social embeds, and more.

Mixing these rich elements with written content used to require hard-to-decipher shortcodes, but the new editor will make it easier to arrange your page the way you want, and see where different elements will appear.

We’re especially stoked about the adjustable side-by-side Media & Text block, which provides an easy and flexible way to do something that can feel iffy and brittle in the old editor.

It’s ready when you’re ready.

This new editor has been heavily tested on hundreds of thousands of sites, so it’s set to be a reliable new tool. However, some sites may depend on plugins or themes that aren’t yet updated to be compatible with the new features of WordPress 5.0 — so, some of us may have to wait before diving in.

If your WordPress website is running on a customized theme, or you just aren’t ready for the WordPress Revolution of 2018, never fear!  WordPress developers have also created the Classic Editor plugin for those of us who like things just fine the way they are, thanks. Install and activate the Classic Editor plugin and you can continue to use the old editor a while longer; developers have committed to supporting it through 2021.

Need someone to talk to about WordPress 5.0? We’re still getting to know it better, too, but we’re here to go on this journey together with you.

Contact Us »

Pssst! The video clip above above was recorded on the Gutenberg live demo site, where you can try out the new editor right now.

Oct 26 2018

A Call to Small Businesses: Hire Trans People

It’s not often that I get political in this space, but after Wednesday’s directive from the Justice Department that businesses can discriminate against workers based on their gender identity, what I’m about to write feels both right and necessary.

Upswept Creative is now in its 7th year, and for the first few years, it was just me, working alone at a desk. Eventually, I was able to hire people to work with me, and start building what is now a 3-person team. I’ve always been happy to be able to offer jobs to people from underrepresented groups, but I don’t think I fully internalized how radical an act that was until Wednesday night.

We See You - We Support You - We Are Proud To Do Work Alongside You
We want to create safe and welcoming workplaces. We hope you’ll do the same.

In the time since my first employee hire, 1/3rd of the people I’ve hired have been trans or non-binary. Granted, a third of my very-small sample may not seem like much from a numbers perspective, but in terms of the effect it can have, it goes far beyond a small handful of people.

A job can change a life. It can mean having food in your mouth and a roof over your head, of course. But it can also mean opportunities to learn and grow, to hone expertise. It can be a chance to build a career that feeds your soul, and brings intrinsic rewards beyond just paying bills or buying a nice car. It can be a step towards becoming your best and most fully-realized self. It’s a chance that people of all gender identities deserve to have.

And, by choosing to not discriminate, we also have an opportunity to lead by example. Do we want to live in a world where everyone feels safe and welcome at work? Where women feel valued for their skills, where trans people feel at home and free to be themselves, where people of color feel respected? In our current political climate, it’s hard to know how we can begin to make this a reality.

But, as small business owners, we can begin to create that world. You and I may be doing that with, say, a small staff of 5, rather than a corporation of 500, but we have the opportunity to build safe spaces from the ground up. We can show other businesses how they can create better work environments. We can demonstrate through our hiring decisions and our treatment of our team that it is possible to build businesses on a foundation of empathy and equity.

As a small business owner whose work supports small businesses, I want to challenge you to take that step. Look at who you hire, consider why you’ve made those choices. Start making the changes in your business that will create safe work spaces for marginalized people. Are you interviewing a trans or non-binary person who’d be great at their job? Hire them.

And, to any trans, non-binary, and genderqueer folks who may be seeing this, please know: I see you, and I support you. I will hire you for your skills and your talent, and I will show respect for your expertise and your value as a human being. And everyone at Team Upswept will be proud to work alongside you.

Oct 11 2018

Local Business Profile: Lindsay Kandra, Three Peaks Wellness

Upswept client Lindsay Kandra believes that movement and mindfulness can transform your life. She created Three Peaks Wellness in Bend, Oregon with two goals: to work as a counselor with individuals who want to explore a more holistic approach to mental wellness, and to be a consultant with with movement and wellness professionals who want to better guide their clients who deal with mental illness or trauma.

Using movement to support mental health is a key part of Lindsay Kandra’s vision for Three Peaks Wellness.

Lindsay was generous enough to candidly answer some questions for us, so we could share a look into her experience as a midlife career-changer and new small business owner. The exchange that follows has been edited for clarity and length.

Upswept Creative: I’m curious about your process of deciding to make a career change, and then also the practical considerations to enact your decision.

Lindsay Kandra: I was a practicing lawyer for thirteen years and never felt a sense of purpose and satisfaction in my career. It was something that I was good at, and it brought in a good income. But I never could shake the feeling that I was an expendable cog in a dehumanizing system. I survived breast cancer 8 years ago and believe that years of physical and emotional stress contributed to being diagnosed at such a young age (32). I knew I needed to transition to a career [where] it was important that it was me, personally and uniquely, doing the work.

I was drawn to mental health because the impact that a therapist has on a client depends so much on relationship, and the connectedness of relationship depends on the unique qualities of therapist and client. In therapy, how you show up really matters.

This biggest practical issues I have faced throughout this process have been developing a new relationship with money, and developing an entrepreneur’s mindset. Six years ago, my annual income was six figures. Now, I am dealing with the financial stressors of being a newcomer in a profession not known for its income potential. The growth I’ve experienced has been painful, but I do feel like I’m living a life more congruent with my values.

UC: What are some challenges that have come up in creating Three Peaks Wellness?

LK: Overcoming the (often paralyzing) fear of being a solo business owner. I have a vision for how I want my business to look in five years, but the steps to fulfilling that vision seem overwhelming at times. I recently wrote a Nelson Mandela quote on the whiteboard in my kitchen: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” I want the development of my business to reflect my hopes for growth in myself and in my clients, not the fear of scarcity and struggle.

“I recently wrote a Nelson Mandela quote on the whiteboard in my kitchen: ‘May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.’ I want the development of my business to reflect my hopes for growth in myself and in my clients, not the fear of scarcity and struggle.”

I’m also learning to be better at asking for advice and for help. I have so much to learn about marketing and finding clients, but so many people willing to help out and make referrals–if I am willing to reach out.

UC: What are some goals you have for the future of Three Peaks Wellness?

LK: My ultimate goal is to have a thriving therapy business that isn’t bound by the constraints of the traditional therapeutic work environment. I work with clients on evenings and Saturdays and can do sessions through videoconferencing. I also offer sessions from 30 to 90 minutes, to fit the scheduling needs of individual clients.

I am developing crisis trainings for personal trainers, yoga teachers, and studio owners, and want to work with fitness businesses to develop trauma-informed business practices.

Over the next year, I will be developing a series of five-minute movement meditations that anyone can use when stress escalates, along with workbook for the client interested in learning about how to hack into their bodies natural resources for mental health.

UC: What else are you doing now, something related or totally not related?

LK: Totally not related: I raced cyclocross competitively for ten years prior taking a few years off to heal an injury and go back to graduate school. I am going to dip my toe back into bike racing this fall, but just for fun. I’m also looking forward to a lot of fall mountain bike riding and catching up on true crime podcasts.

Related: Over the winter, I will be getting certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and attend some additional trainings on body-centered therapies.

 

Thank you, Lindsay, for giving us more insight into Three Peaks Wellness! We enjoyed working with you to develop your logo, branding, and website, and we are excited to watch your business grow.

Oct 02 2018

Be Our Next Social Media Maven!

UPDATE: this position is now closed as of Oct 26th, 2018! Thank you for your interest!

We’re seeking someone who’s interested in social media management for small-to-medium-sized businesses. It’s currently a part-time, ongoing role, but it’s growing into a larger time commitment–-the more you bring to the role, the better it is for both of us!

we’d be a great fit for each other if…

  • you’re interested in creating engaging content that helps independent businesses grow and prosper
  • you understand the importance of brand voice and feel comfortable bringing it into social media
  • you’re comfy with analytics data and hashtag research, and use data to make smart choices for your clients’ social media feeds
  • you know how to advise, communicate with, and collaborate with entrepreneurs who want to take an active role in their social media presence
  • you’re laid-back and maybe even a little geeky, but always on top of important details
  • BONUS: if you have skills and experience in graphic design or video production, that can help us open doors for you to put these skills to work for our clients!

a taste of the things you’d be doing:

  • Collaborating with clients to design and implement social media strategy that fits their business goals
  • Create, edit, publish and share engaging content (e.g. original text, photos, videos and news)
  • Setting clear expectations and goals, and reporting on analytics data to show progress
  • Make sure social media accounts’ design looks top-notch (e.g. Facebook timeline cover, profile pictures and blog layout)</>
  • Recommending and implementing new features to boost brand awareness, such as promotions, boosted posts, etc.
  • Staying in-the-know with technologies and trends in social media, design tools and applications
  • Contributing to our blog presence — if you have opinions about design, marketing, and creative, we’d love to have you share them!

We’d like you to be able to commit approximately 20 hours per week to the position to start–hours may vary depending on client needs. You’ll need to come to the studio for client meetings, so if you have a flexible schedule, that would be ideal! Outside of face-to-face meetings, this position is flexible, and much of the work can be done from your home or your favorite coffee shop, if you like. A fast internet connection is a must, however!

We believe strongly in working with local talent, and we want to grow and create opportunities in our own super-gifted Portland-y garden. With that in mind, we are only interested in candidates based in the Portland Metro area.

We’re a small-but-fierce company, and we have a lot of experience producing solid work, but our process is always evolving and improving. You’ll have the support of our Creative Director and Project Manager for whatever you need–talking through ideas, scheduling meetings, onboarding clients, and so forth. But, we recognize that you’re the expert in social, and we welcome any wisdom and ideas that you can bring to the table.

If you’re a good listener and communicator, and this sounds like something you could grow into, let’s talk about it! Or, if you can think of a trusted human who’d be a good fit, we’d love to hear from them, too.

Rate is $18-25/hr, depending on experience.

This position is now closed as of Oct 26th, 2018! Thank you for your interest!

Sep 27 2018

Website Case Study: Portland vocational school

We recently worked with a known leader in vocational training here in Portland, Oregon, and you’ll find many of their graduates building thriving careers here in town and beyond. In 2017, however, they decided to revamp their online experience, to better connect their audience with the details they don’t already know about their diverse programs.

We partnered with them and brought our skills in website design, custom web development for WordPress, and content strategy to create a website that entices new students, and connects current students and alumni with the information they need.

The Goal: Give Control Back to The User

When our client first contacted us, their previous website was failing them in a number of ways:

  • Prospective students couldn’t find what they needed–the information was often there, but buried beneath a confusing website structure. This led to frequent phone calls about basic questions, wasting both new students’ and and their staffers’ precious time.
  • The visual design was inconsistent with their established brand standards and print materials. There were bright, distracting colors and “quirky” icons that just didn’t make sense with their grounded, calm, and welcoming culture.
  • They felt a lack of control over their content. Their previous website was so difficult to update that they didn’t feel empowered to do so. This led to inconsistent updates, and information that was misleading or outdated.

Our goal was clear: dig down into the complex muck, zero in on the most important needs of both the school and its audience, and refine it into a design that more honestly communicates what it’s like to attend or receive their services.

The Process: Getting To Know You

Our new website design gives prospective students a closer look at what student life is like the school.

Our Content Audit and Content Map make a great starting point for websites like this one–this client had an embarrassment of riches in terms of written content! So, we started by digging in to establish goals and identify sought-after content, and reorganizing it all in a way that flows more naturally.

While content review was happening, our Grayscreen Prototype gave their team a visual frame of reference for the site structure–our grayscreen is like an interactive wireframe, so they could get a better understanding of how elements fit together, what goes where, and how they can keep their content up-to-date. We also got to present them with our ideas for customizations, such as custom Content Types and Templates to make it even easier to manage their own pages and blog posts beautifully.

Design Mockups were where we brought their visual brand back into the picture, but also where we put their content-driven goals into action. We moved away from the bright “clown car”  colors, introduced organic textures, and brought in new photos that showcase their Student Life experience. We also built in eye-catching and clear calls-to-action, so viewers can more easily find what they’re looking for and what the school wants them to see.

Finally, while we were putting the site through rigorous pre-launch testing, we also hooked up our client’s staff with Training and Documentation, to help them feel like empowered managers of their new website. We walked them through the Dashboard functions they’d need most often, answered their questions, and equipped them with a handy custom-written user guide to refer back to and share with new staff.

The Results: More Engagement, Less Headache

No longer struggling with an off-brand website that they can’t update themselves, this client now has more time and energy to expand and grow their marketing. We’re not only driving traffic to their website — we’re also authentically reflecting the student life experience they offer, and encouraging visitors to take the next step towards admission.

Is your outdated website holding back your growth? Upswept Creative can free you, too, from the struggles of intimidating Dashboards and confused branding. It all starts with a conversation.

Get in touch to begin! »