On An Island with Nathan Hursh, MOTIF

We headed out to the Island with Nathan from MOTIF. We first met way back when we were newbies at Ideas Inc. We love collaborating with these guys and we are so excited to see their continued growth as THE place to go for promotional marketing. So sit back, relax, and learn a little with Nathan from MOTIF.

Andrew Scott   |   August 14, 2019

On an Island with Jess Reimer, Paper Plane Communications

For the second instalment we headed out to the Island with Jess Reimer of Paper Plane Communications. We’re often collaborating with Jess on projects when clients are looking for in-depth content strategy and writing for their audience. So sit back, relax, and learn a little about content strategy for websites. And if you notice any grammatical errors…don’t hold that against Jess, that’s on us… 🙄

ISLAND: Tell us about Paper Plane?

Jess Reimer: Paper Plane is a communications consultancy based here in Saskatoon. Last December Paper Plane celebrated its 5th birthday, which was an exciting milestone to hit.

The “fancy” version of what I do is psychology-driven brand and content strategy. What that actually means is I do a lot of research, ask a lot of questions, and write a lot of words so my clients speak directly to their customers in a way that is honest, authentic, and delivers big impact. “Fluff” and “filler” are my least favourite F-words. I coach companies through the process of finding their voice, understanding their audiences, and communicating what they know and what they’ve learned. And I love it.

My training in developmental psychology, professional writing, and user experience helps me help organizations—particularly those in the arts, culture, and tourism sectors—do well by doing good. And while I work primarily with websites, I also help out with things like white papers, award applications, scripting… you name it, I’ve probably written it.

“A few years ago I was asked to draft letters of authenticity for a collection of didgeridoos in rural Australia, so… there’s that.”

I: Where does your website and digital presence fit within the success of your business?

JR: Confession: for too long I was the shoemaker without shoes. No website, no business cards… nada. Writing about yourself and your business is tough stuff, and I’m saying this as someone whose “thing” is words! But ultimately I had to take my own advice and remember that working without a website can cost you clients, cash, and credibility. No, thank you.

“When it comes to a digital presence, authenticity is a non-negotiable; people can spot a fraud from a mile away. Who I am online is who I am in person—for better or for worse.”

I: Copyediting versus copywriting. What’s the difference and what do you wish people knew?

JR: Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m going to share a homebuilding analogy I’ve heard (and used) many times before. A copywriter is the builder who takes you from an empty lot to a well-designed, well-constructed home. A copyeditor is the interior decorator you hire to apply finishing touches to a space—a place for everything, and everything in its place.

What do I wish people knew? How much time quality copywriting and copyediting take. Just like building a home, it’s not an overnight process. Living in a gig economy has its perks, but the whole “race to the bottom” when it comes to pricing has negatively affected expectations about the investment and effort necessary to produce content that is both usable and useful. You get what you pay for!

I: What is the biggest mistake you see businesses making when it comes to content strategy?

JR: Other than not having a content strategy? Forgetting to invite the most important people to the table: your customers. Designing a website without involving or at least considering the folks who will be accessing whatever it is that you offer is as much a disservice to you as it is to them.

“Your brand might be the bones of your business, but your customers are its heartbeat.”

I: How does a good content strategy set your website apart?

JR: It’s probably worth mentioning here that content is more than words (cue 90s banger ballad). Content is images, videos, and other multimedia, too. Sure, you can grab stock photos or fill your website with the same old, same old copy (please don’t), but with a content strategy you are showing up for yourself, your brand, and—most importantly— your customers by creating, structuring, and publishing with intention. From a psychological standpoint, acting with intention communicates purpose, which is both powerful and memorable.

I: If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about creating or revamping their website, what would it be?

JR: Know thyself well, thy brand better, and thy customers best. To go back to the homebuilding analogy, these three things provide the foundation from which to build or rebuild a home or, in this case, a website.

I: If you were stranded on an island, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

JR: This one’s a toss-up between books (I always have at least three on the go) and lip chap (I also always have at least three on the go).

Andrew Scott   |   July 3, 2019

Unplugging from Social Media

At Island, we like to do things differently. So although we preach the value of social media in the work that we do, we also recognize the impact it has on one’s mental health. Since today kicks off Canadian Mental Health Week we thought we would look a little closer at social media.

There are a ton of benefits of social media:

  • it allows us to stay connected with friends and family all over the world
  • Business can connect directly with customers and expand their reach in a cost-effective way
  • It’s a great way to find a support network for like-minded people

But there are just as many drawbacks:

  • Focusing on “likes” can lower one’s self-esteem when likes aren’t received
  • Only seeing other people’s social highlights can make people feel depressed that they are missing out or not living their own life so spectacularly
  • Social media is designed to be addictive, which can lead to less time spent on things that matter, like work, school, sleep, relationships, etc.

It’s that last point that has motivated us to get creative and design a series we like to call #socialdifferent. Island has partnered with artist Matthew Chrones Scott (@bleedingheartproductions) to create illustrations showing how we at Island intend to “unplug” over the weekend. For those of you who follow us on Instagram, you may have noticed the first illustration last week.

And for those of you not following us, what are you waiting for: https://www.instagram.com/weareisland/

We’ll be posting a new illustration at the end of the day every Friday. This post wraps up our week in the office and kicks us into weekend mode. Our hope is that they can serve as a reminder to put your phone away and connect with people, pets, nature, awesome local events happening in Saskatoon, or just some good old fashioned ME time. Plugging back in on Monday morning will be a whole lot easier when you have a weekend off doing all of the other things you like to do.

Andrew Scott   |   May 7, 2019

Newest addition to Island, Caitlin.

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Hey, I’m Caitlin, I am the newest addition to team Island! I don’t really have a title, because we sort of do a bit of everything, but I guess you could say, developer, designer, photographer?! Or you know, “Floater”.

I grew up playing Steel Tip Darts, but after years of practice and tournaments, I got 3rd in provincials. It wasn’t a high enough placement to go to Nationals, so I decided I better choose a new career path. I started getting an interest for design and photography in 2008 and was hooked! I went to SBC but decided I needed to learn more. I then moved to San Francisco, California with my Aunt and that’s where my interest in development started! There I spent 4 years studying and working as a designer and developer.

I recently moved back to Saskatoon, just in time for this awful winter! To force myself to socialize and step away from my computer, I spend my spare time playing dodgeball and slo-pitch. I am a huge sports fan which includes Hockey, Baseball, and Football but I haven’t cracked the roster on any of those sports yet.

I am excited to be on the Island team and can’t wait to put my skills to use! Hope to create for you soon!

Caitlin McRae   |   March 1, 2019

Job Opportunity: Digital Content Producer

Deadline: December 14, 2018

Are you a wizard when it comes to making gifs? Are your tweets so elegantly written they’d make 2Pac blush (he’s still alive and in Malaysia)? If so, you’re perfect for the position of Digital Content Producer with Island. We offer a creative work environment, flexible hours, and a job you’ll never want to leave.

WHAT YOU GET OUT OF THE DEAL

  • Competitive salary
  • Health and Dental benefits
  • Health spending account
  • Flexible work environment
  • Unlimited vacation
  • Access to the beer fridge and cappuccino machine

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Create copy for client websites, social media, and other messaging streams
  • Work with clients to provide content strategy, editorial calendars, and other guidance as it relates to their content marketing
  • Take photographs and edit as required for websites, or other media

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Experience as a copywriter
  • Proven photography skills
  • Photoshop skills
  • Experience with SEO and SEM
  • Fluent in social media
  • Ability to work independently and make this position their own

WHAT WILL REALLY IMPRESS US

  • Demonstrate a good eye for design
  • Experience with Videography, 3D, and VR
  • Good sense of humour
  • A pink dog

To Apply

Please email a resumé and portfolio to careers@weareisland.com. Posting closes December 14, 2018. Apply early, as the position may be filled before the deadline.

Andrew Scott   |   November 20, 2018

New Website Launch! Darkside Donuts

 

We’re super pumped to announce our TASTIEST website we have ever designed. Saskatoon is lucky to have the newly opened Darkside Donuts for all your donuts needs.

 

 

Andrew Scott   |   October 13, 2018

Job Opportunity: Website Developer

Now Hiring: Website Developer

Deadline: August 31, 2018

Island is looking for a web developer to join our team. If you’re a self-starter with experience in both front-end and back-end website development, then you’re the perfect fit for this position. We offer a creative work environment, flexible hours, and a job you’ll never want to leave.

Andrew Scott   |   July 30, 2018

Win a ticket for tonight’s Prairie Investment Forum!

We’re all going to the 1st Annual Prairie Investment Forum hosted by Co.Labs, and we want you to come!

Just comment on our Instagram post for a chance to win a free ticket, and we’ll message the lucky winner this afternoon.

The Prairie investment forum will showcase startups from each Prairie Province, investors from North America, and Sask expats working in tech.

See you at 7pm at the Delta Bessborough!

 

Jill Ferron   |   February 21, 2018

Maker Meet-up – Feb. 21

The Saskatoon mini maker faire is happening this year on May 26th, and calls for makers are open! If you’re not exactly sure what Maker Faire is, are unsure about your application, or simply want to get a glimpse of what makers in Saskatoon are doing, then head out to the Mana Bar this Wednesday, Feb. 21st from 6pm to 10:30pm for a chance to fight remote-controlled robots and meet the producer team for this event.

RSVP on the Facebook event page!

 

Jill Ferron   |   February 20, 2018

Island Treasures – February 20th

Welcome back to work, school, or whatever you find yourself doing after the long weekend! Hopefully you were able to enjoy some time off, and if not maybe it’s time to tell your boss where to go and how to get there! We’re super happy you decided to spend your first slack off of the short week with us and we hopefully the following does not disappoint!

Cody Schumacher   |