Content remains king

shutterstock_248890441Content. The little seven letter word that everyone is talking about. And you should be, too. In this age of marketing, content is paramount. What is content? Content is anything you put out that people engage with. Articles, blogs, social posts, radio, TV, online advertising, anything and everything.

When you begin to think about a new campaign, you have to think about the new campaign as an ecosystem. This ecosystem contains all the ways you plan to reach potential customers or clients. As the marketer, you must have a strong content ecosystem.

Today’s content ecosystems look vastly different than content ecosystems even just a few years ago. Today’s content ecosystems are filled with social media, blogs, sponsored posts, advertorials, print, broadcast and pretty much any other way you can put your advertising in front of people.

While content is important, it’s imperative to produce content that connects to your audience. This is how you secure your customers. It’s not always about creating content yourself, but curating the best content available.

With traditional advertising mediums like broadcast, print, etc., once you distribute the content, there’s nothing left to do but count impressions. With digital, there is a constant flow of content. If there is an article or blog written about your industry, leverage that and share it with your followers. If someone produced a fancy video of your product, leverage it. If someone wrote a great review, share it. Content curation will save you many hours of producing your own content and help you keep the cycle moving forward.

In this day, content is critical to driving brand awareness and giving your customers a reason for sticking with you. And at AcrobatAnt, we believe in great content. We are here to help your marketing department create and curate the best content that delivers results you can take to the CEO.

Insider Info: How the Ants celebrate the holidays

Everyone celebrates the holidays a little differently. Some families have certain traditions that others don’t partake in. For the Ant family, celebrating the holidays starts with our 12 days of Christmas.

Now in its fourth year, the 12 days of Christmas signals the start of the holiday season and also the start of dressing up, taking pictures and sharing on social media for all to see. From hat day and pajama day, to twins day and throw back Thursday, the Ants put everything on display for their clients and followers. It’s a way to show people who normally aren’t around the Ant Farm just how creative and fun we can be.

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We aren’t all fun and games. We also give back!

Women in Recovery is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. Women in Recovery is a program designed to help keep non-violent women out of prison and give them the tools they need to reunite with their children and break the cycle. Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any other state. Which is why this program is so important to our community. While in the program, women learn parenting and life skills, as well as learning what it takes to have a successful career and stay out of the prison system.

We support the Women in Recovery program in different ways each year. During Christmas, that means sponsoring graduates of the program and their children. This year, we sponsored 10 children and 50 women graduating from the Women in Recovery program. All from funds gathered from employees and matched by the AcrobatAnt partners.

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All these activities culminate in our Christmas party where we exchange handmade gifts to our Secret Santa recipients and have a fun and funny white elephant gift exchange. The Ants also enjoyed drinks, playing games and each other’s company at our holiday party.

From everyone at AcrobatAnt, we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

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User Experience: What is it good for?

shutterstock_177174377Since the advent of the Internet, people have always put their personal style into the websites they build. Now more than ever, user experience and how a user will interact with a website is in the forefront of designers’ minds. And recently, that also means taking into consideration how a website performs. Specifically how long it takes to load a page. In a recent study, data showed that if a page takes longer than three seconds to load, nearly 40 percent of users will leave the site. Let that sink in a minute. Your website has less than three seconds to grab the customer. If not, they’re on to your competitor. But if you have your site optimized and ready to handle a user’s request, they’ll proceed.

We asked our resident web developer and designer, Mattie McClain, what she had to say about user experience. “I have always believed user experience is the most important element of a design, and right now user experience is everything in the web space. Users want to find what they need, quickly. When we started seeing mobile devices of all shapes and sizes, suddenly a website that looked and functioned great on a large screen was no longer relevant — or even useful!”

And when talking about how to make a site that not only performs well, but also looks great on a phone, you need to make your site responsive or mobile-friendly. “Zooming in on a screen filled with tiny print and unnecessary links on a smartphone was not anyone’s idea of a great user experience. Responsive design corrected this and has become the key for producing a seamless user experience across all devices. It allows us to give users the effortless experience they now expect: what they need, only when they need it,” Mattie said.

She is right. In this day and age, consumers don’t like to wait. Period. The way we communicate and interact on the Internet has changed drastically. We communicate in less than 140 characters, and your website needs to load in less time than it takes to read a tweet.

As a full service agency, AcrobatAnt is here to help your business get on the right digital track. We pride ourselves on delivering results that work for our clients and their users. So the next time you are standing in line at Starbucks and are browsing the web on your phone, think about the experience a potential consumer would have on your site.

Ant’s Choice Blog: Tulsa’s The Best Place To Be in October

There are many great events that happen in Tulsa throughout the year, but in October, two very big events take place. One that even attracts international guests and performers alike.

One of those events is the Tulsa State Fair. The fair technically started this year at the end of September, but ran through the beginning of October. Featuring all the rides, games and fun you would expect at any other county fair, but the Tulsa State Fair is massive. There are livestock and horse shows, competitive exhibitions (like home brewing, fine art, etc.) picking and fiddling championships and even the Miss Tulsa State Fair pageant.

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Besides the competitions going on and the rides and games on the Midway. A lot of people go for the food. And it’s just not any food. At the Tulsa State Fair, the selection of food vendors is second to none. You can find cereal-coated corndogs, maple bacon donut burgers and all the standard fair food you would expect.

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The Tulsa State Fair is a big enough event to satisfy most people for a whole month, but in Tulsa, we don’t stop with just a fair. At the end of the month, the adults have their own event. Enter, the Linde Oktoberfest. Ranked as one of the top Oktoberfest events in the world, the Linde Oktoberfest is not to be missed.

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The Linde Oktoberfest is more than just drinking beer. Yes, it is a big part, but the event also draws in some of the best entertainment from across the country, and in fact the world. With bands coming from as far away as Germany, you can expect to be as close to the real thing outside of Germany as possible. One of the best new additions to the entertainment lineup this year was Das Glockenspiel from Cleveland, OH. Providing the masses with some comic relief and great themed skits throughout the weekend.

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The other great addition this year was the Seigi’s brat eating challenge. Featuring world-renowned eater Joey Chestnut, this challenge was for real. In 10 minutes Chestnut managed to gobble down 66 brats. On top of that he celebrated his flawless victory with a couple liters of beer.

Not only is there great entertainment and beer, but also great food. From schnitzel and sausages to flakey and delicious strudel, you leave know your German food tooth was satisfied.

Both of these events are why Tulsa’s best month is October. No doubt about it. If you haven’t been to the Tulsa State Fair or the Linde Oktoberfest, you are definitely missing out on some great Tulsa traditions.

Ant’s Choice: Food Truck Wednesday

What started out as a small gathering of delicious food trucks on Wednesdays has turned into a weekly lunchtime ritual for many Tulsans. Trucks come from all over town and converge at Guthrie Green from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., once a week, and provide visitors a great mix of cuisine to choose from. IMG_7819

If venturing out to this event, be prepared to wait, as lines can stretch on. It’s worth it, believe us. The food offered is different than what you find at your typical lunch restaurant. You’ll see interesting combinations, dish options and pairings. There’s everything from gourmet grilled cheeses and French-Korean fusion bahn mis to delicious fish tacos and artisan mac and cheese. There are so many options, one trip isn’t enough. You’ll leave wanting to come back to try something new, or perhaps after one trip, you have a favorite food truck and will continually crave it on Wednesdays.

After asking around the office to see what food truck Ants crave, here are just a few of the answers:

Lale
Favorite truck: Lone Wolf
Favorite dish: Kimchi fries. “They’re just so good.” IMG_4087

Matt D.
Favorite truck: Mr. Nice Guys
Favorite dish: Jerk chicken tacos. “So much flavor your head explodes.” IMG_7822

Brooke
Favorite truck: Lola’s
Favorite dish: Gypsy tacos. “I wish I could eat Romesco sauce on everything.”  IMG_4086

David V.
Favorite truck: Andolini’s
Favorite dish: Pepperoni pizza. “Quality ingredients and big slices!” IMG_4090

By no way is this a definitive best of Food Truck Wednesday list; all the trucks aredelicious! As the weather starts to cool off, there’s no better time than now to go to Food Truck Wednesday for your first time. You won’t have to wait out in the heat and eating is a lot more comfortable, too.

Let us know what trucks you love most. Reach us through Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section.

Ant’s Choice: Boomtown Tees

IMG_5909This month, we checked out local T-shirt store, Boomtown Tees to see what they were all about. After talking with Cheryl Quetone, who is the store manager, we learned a lot about the place. Read our interview with Cheryl and let us know what you think in the comments.

How long have you worked at Boomtown Tees?
5 years. I was originally at Joe Momma’s and Blake (owner of Joe Momma’s) approached me with the idea of a T-shirt shop and I was 100 percent on board in helping him open the store.

When did the store open?
I think our official open date was May 18, 2010. I know for sure we were open Blue Dome Fest of 2010.

Why a T-shirt store?
Tulsa was growing and although we were proud, we also still loved the nostalgia of things like the Camelot, the Rose Bows and Bells.

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Are all of the T-shirt designs you sell from local artists?
Yes. Some are local artists’ recreations of old logos and some (i.e. rest in pizza, I’ve never been to Heaven but I’ve been to Oklahoma, etc.) are original designs celebrating Tulsa and Oklahoma in general.

Do artists come to you for shirt designs or do you approach local artists to create the t-shirts you sell?
We have some in-house artists who do many of the designs we sell, but we also hire freelance artists to help create art for custom orders.

Do you print the T-shirts in-house?
We do all printing in-house. And all of it is screen-printed. While a lot of places have a minimum order of 40+ shirts or so, we have no minimum order as long as it’s a one or two color print. We also print all of our Boomtown brand shirts in-house.

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What’s the price range for the T-shirts you sell?
Our shirts in the store all range between $15-$30 per shirt.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Boomtown?
I love our location. We are always getting to meet new people and hearing peoples stories about growing up in Tulsa, coming back to town after many years or bringing a loved one here for the first time. It’s a great way to start a conversation about Tulsa whether they’re a first time visitor, returning after a long time or just born and raised here.

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Do you offer custom T-shirts?
We do. Our custom order prices vary depending on the brand of t-shirt and the different ink colors. Email sales@boomtowntees.com or go to www.boomtowntees.com for a quote. Our turn around time for custom orders is one to two weeks.

Thanks to all of the folks at Boomtown Tees for letting us invade their space. If you haven’t checked out Boomtown Tees yet, you should. It is worth a visit. And after you visit Boomtown, check out the newly reopened White Flag and grab a great burger. We hear the Uma Thurman burger is amazing.

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Boomtown Tees
114 S. Elgin
Tulsa, OK 74120
918.938.6000
sales@boomtowntees.com
Store hours:
Tues.-Sat. 11:30 – 7:30
Sunday 12:00 – 6:00
www.facebook.com/boomtowntees
www.twitter.com/boomtowntees
www.instagram.com/boomtowntees

 

Ant’s Choice: Early person gets the produce

Saturday mornings are best spent at farmer’s markets. And one of the best Tulsa farmer’s market to spend your morning at is the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market off 15th and Peoria.

A couple weekends ago, a few intrepid Ants left the colony and ventured out our front door to marvel at all the amazing foodstuff and other products the various venders have to offer. From vegetables, flowers and grass-fed beef to herbs, breads and even clay goods, there is something for every food lover. And something even if you’re not interested in the food at all.

When it comes to selection, Cherry Street Farmers’ Market makes sure it’s all represented–if it’s in season. That’s one of the best perks to shopping at a farmer’s market, you get access to vegetables, fruits and other goods that literally just came off the farm. It’s about as fresh as you can find. We talked with a couple of venders and they all said that the majority of the foods they had for sale were picked within the last 24-48 hours. And you can definitely taste the difference.

One vendor, Blakely Family Farm, has some of the best eggs we’ve ever had. Hailing from northeastern Oklahoma, Rae and Lyle Blakely have been selling at the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market for the past 18 years. It takes over two hours to set up, but as the owner said, “My favorite thing about [selling at the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market] is meeting all the people that come.” image2

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Needless to say, for the next however long they are selling those eggs, the Ants will be buying them.

For the non-food goers, Fat City Clay offers a number of amazing handmade clay products. From coffee cups and pitchers, to bowls and plates, every product is unique and beautiful. We spoke with Joe Staskal, from Fat City Clay, who’s been selling at the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market for 15 years about what makes him keep coming back year after year. “The people are my favorite thing about doing [the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market] every weekend. It’s like another day off for me.”

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The common thread here is the goods are just as good as the people around the market.

If you want to get some fresh goods, and don’t mind waking up early, we highly suggest you check out the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market. Which happens every Saturday from now through October, starting at 7 a.m. and ending around 11 a.m.

What do you like about the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market? Let us know in the comments.

CONTACT INFO:
The Cherry Street Farmers’ Market
15th St. and Peoria Ave.
www.cherrystreetfarmersmarket.com
www.facebook.com/cherrystreetfarmersmarketassociation
www.instagram.com/tulsafarmersmarket
www.twitter.com/tulsafarmersmkt

Ant’s Choice: Breathing new life into vintage home goods.

Located off 12th and Harvard, Retro Den is a vintage home store not to miss. The outside is bright and vibrant and the inside is just the same. When you first step inside, you are surrounded by beautiful succulents and other plants, some of which have been growing for over 20 years. But when you look past them, you see what the Retro Den is really about: quality and reasonably priced vintage home goods that you can actually use.

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Retro Den does a nice job of arranging their items into different areas and rooms—just like IKEA. This gives you a sense of completeness. Looking for an entire dining or living room solution? They have it set out and ready to purchase. The wide-open interior makes it easy to survey all the goods and find the hidden gems.

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Their glassware selection is second to none. Having been there many times, there is always a new set ready to be taken home. Need new glasses? Check. A serving tray? Check. If glassware is your thing, you need to stop in and see the amazing and diverse collection they have.

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Retro Den isn’t only about selling vintage items. Owners Ashley and Ashley have done a great job of curating local craftsmen to supply them with amazing furniture and accessories. From handmade pillows and paintings, to custom bar carts and desks, they even have a reupholsterer in-house to make sure their items are in the best condition possible.

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If you’ve never been to Retro Den, you need to go. There’s no question about it, Retro Den is one of the best stores in town for vintage goods. Oh, and they have an interesting system for rewarding frequent shoppers. Buy an item, post it on Instagram and tag @retrodentulsa and you get 10 percent off your next purchase. Pretty cool, right?

About:
Retro Den Tulsa
1216 S. Harvard Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74112

918-794-7118
www.retrodentulsa.com

Hours:
Tues. – Sat., 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Clean your desk and start the year off organized

It’s National Clean Off Your Desk Day

The second Monday of each year is a day many dread: National Clean Off Your Desk Day. It’s not that our desks don’t warrant a cleaning, it’s that we just don’t want to do it.

This year, the Ants decided to challenge each other to clean our desks. And, many of us did.

Here’s some background from a recent press release as to why this day exists and is celebrated.

“This special day was originated by Anne Chase Moeller, the daughter of Mr. Chase of the Chase’s Annual Events—the very book where special events are listed. Anne often helped out in her father’s office and shared his incredibly cluttered desk. In order to create a place where she could work, she would spread a cloth over his chaos and then do her work. When she finished, she would put her things away, including the cloth and leave. The end of 1982 she declared that he would clean off his desk at least once each year. Naturally, being in the business, they entered National Clean Off Your Desk Day into the record book for the second Monday in January, and the rest is history. The record book has since been sold to a larger publisher, but the event is still celebrated each year. It is a great time to get a fresh start for the new year.”

So, whether your desk is closed off from others, out in the open, a cubicle, at home or a pop-up desk on the kitchen counter, keeping your workspace free of clutter, organized and clean will help you prepare for another year of work.

Here are some tips to help keep your desk in order this year:

Keep a clear space on your desk
The majority of us work on computers now, but it is important to have an area free of clutter for other tasks.

Put unnecessary supplies away
Staplers, tape, hole punches and other supplies you may use once a day or less should be put away in a drawer.

Have cleaning supplies near
It’s always nice to have cleaning supplies close by, but it also encourages you to keep your desk tidier.

So many cords, so little time
Cords tend to take over desks. Keep them organized and out of they way. There are many gadgets and gizmos out there that can help.

Continually clean
Making time in your schedule to clean weekly will help you stay on top of it and not feel as stressed out. Also, maybe you won’t have to participate in this event next year.

Here are some before and after pictures from around the office of desks that are now spotless:

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Ants sponsor Women In Recovery apartment and get valuable lessons in return.

WIR ApartmentOn the way back to the office from the Women In Recovery apartment, everyone was quiet. With our rowdy bunch that is a pretty rare occurrence; but as we left the little home that will soon house members of the program, we took with us a few lessons in gratitude.

Our group gusted up the stairs along with the cold front and into the modest two bedroom apartment where we were greeted by two program participants as well as Mimi Tarrasch and Diane Hughes from the Women In Recovery administration. After a quick tour of the apartment that we helped to stock, furnish and decorate, we all sat down to talk about what the apartment will mean to the women and/or children who live there.

First and foremost, this home is a safe place. It is a place where participants can rebuild their lives without fear of being assaulted, burgled, having to move without notice or otherwise not have any control over what happens inside those walls.WIR sign

It is a home to women who have been living in jail, under bridges, in a car if they were doing really well, squatting in abandoned buildings with no heat or running water or other such things to survive. As one participant said, she had reduced her life to living like an animal in a cage. Now that she has been inside the program for about a year, she is grateful that she no longer has to do that.

It is a step towards independence. The goal of Women In Recovery is to keep nonviolent female offenders out of prison by helping them learn to become self sufficient, productive citizens. Gradually they increase their work hours and take on the responsibility of paying their living expenses.

If you would have asked her a year ago as she was sitting in jail if any of this was possible, Melissa* says she wouldn’t have believed it.  While living in her addiction for the last nine years, she thought there were only two ways out—suicide by cop or suicide on her own. Now Melissa is living in an apartment, working and in talks with her supervisor about taking a management position.

When talking about the remarkable transformation of her life, she said simply, “I can find gratitude in anything now. In anything.

For more information or to donate to Women In Recovery, please call 918-991-6200

*Name changed for privacy