Mindscape at Hanon McKendry, a Grand Rapids-based Internet marketing and Web development firm, has launched the Mindscape Content Division. The division brings branded online content development and management in-house, including keyword-focused Web page content writing, social media strategy and management, and video concepting and production.

“The appetite for online content is huge,” said Mindscape cofounder Pete Brand.“Every time someone conducts an online search, watches an online video or visits a
Web site, they’re consuming content. If businesses and nonprofits want to successfully compete, their content has to be fresh, engaging and relevant — and it has to be aligned with their brand. If it’s not, their competitors will offer something that is. It’s a challenge to keep up.”

Since joining forces with Hanon McKendry in 2008, Mindscape’s expansion has been focused on services that were not marketing priorities just five years ago, but are now in high demand.

“According to a recent survey, 59 percent of marketing professionals plan to increase spending on content initiatives,” Brand said. “That’s up from 42 percent in 2008. Content spending is expected to comprise 33 percent of the average total marketing budget in 2010– and that number jumps to 40 percent when you look at small businesses.”

A critical point of distinction among content service providers will be the ability to understand and express a client’s brand in the digital realm.

“Great branded content leads to great relationships with your brand,” said Mindscape Director of Branded Content Dawn Pick Benson. “Relationships lead to trust, and trust leads to success. Engaging content is critical, but the Web is a crowded space. The key to success is creating optimized content that will elevate and distinguish an organization’s brand voice and then work to engage their audience across a variety of platforms.”

Content Division staff draws on Hanon McKendry’s 16 years experience providing strategic brand counsel for nonprofit, educational and corporate clients, as well as Mindscape’s strong digital marketing expertise.

The division offers project-based content development and on-going monthly content services through a team of content writers and editors, search engine optimization and search engine marketing experts, social media strategists and a motion content director. The firm has added four staff members over the past few months to lead development of the new division:

* Dawn Pick Benson, director of branded content, joined the agency with 12 years experience in journalism and marketing. She’s an award-winning magazine editor and marketing director who has served in the non-profit, higher education and corporate worlds, most recently as director of marketing and communications at Cornerstone University. She oversees strategic direction and administration of the Content Division.
* Mike Schurr, creative director for motion content, provides creative direction and video production services for both Hanon McKendry and the Mindscape Content Division. He brings nearly 20 years experience in photography and videography, animation, and creative direction to the firm, including work for Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation Studios and West Michigan creative agencies.
* Christina Torri, social media coordinator, joined Mindscape in August and has partnered with the management team to build out and implement social media strategy and management services. Following marketing positions at Verizon Wireless and National City, Torri received an MBA from Grand Valley State University with a focus in Internet marketing and social media.
* Jonathan Michael, content client services, recently joined the agency from Zondervan, where he served in project management, content management and marketing positions for the international publisher’s Zonderkidz division. Michael serves as the lead contact for content clients as they go through the content review, direction, development and delivery process.

Mindscape is the interactive division for Hanon McKendry, a national brand consulting and advertising firm.

More at www.hanon-mckendry.com.

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