ElementIQ Internship: Joseph’s First Week

Prologue – Life Before Tech

My career path has not been so linear. I’ve ventured many industries from sports, hospitality to the financial services industry before entering the tech industry. I’m a type of person if I’m curious about something, I do it right away and find out if it’s for me or not. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk said it the best: “Dwelling has zero return on investment.”

When I found out that a career in financial services wasn’t for me, I quit and enrolled in the UX Design program at RED Academy. It was an easy decision as I wanted a career that had the best interest for the people.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s input on dwelling. Warning: coarse language

The Introduction

StormBrain project at RED Academy

After finishing a client project at RED, my client Steve Kim was pleased with our work and he introduced me to Sam Araki, the founder of ElementIQ, who worked in the same co-working space as him. After I got in touch with Sam, we went for a coffee to get to know each other and talk about a potential placement at ElementIQ. After our second meeting, I was offered a 3-month internship.

At first, I had mixed feelings as ElementIQ is an inbound marketing agency and not a design agency. However, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to get a holistic understanding of the tech industry. I jumped at the opportunity to start my journey in the tech industry.

Day 1 THU – The First Day

Are you a reliable self-starter looking to kickstart your digital marketing career?

I was greeted by the ElementIQ team when I entered SpaceKraft, a shared workplace in Burnaby. I was joined with Katie, who was also starting her first day. Soon after the introduction, Ramesh gave us a tour of the co-working space.

Ramesh then gave us a walkthrough of the company’s culture and workflow. Some of the tools and resources that we installed were Google Apps, Quip, Teamwork, Slack, along with subscriptions to numerous marketing resources.

By end of the day, I was equipped with the tools and resources for success and had a better understanding of the company’s culture:

  • Autonomy. Employees have autonomy as we work remotely twice a week.
  • Semi-structured. We have daily huddles at 9:08 AM as well as weekly team meetings. It helps us to keep accountable and track our progress.
  • Communication. We utilize various tools to help our workflow. They all serve a purpose for us to work together as a team.

Day 2 FRI – First Remote Day

It felt a little weird at first as it’s my second day and that I was to work remotely. I joined the daily huddle at 9:08 AM on Google Hangouts. Sam invited us to Zoom, an alternative to Hangouts. It turns out that Zoom is much more stable even with the video share on! Everyone went around to discuss what they’re working on the day and added the tasks on Quip. It was also an opportunity to discuss any blockers that were keeping us from finishing a task.

After the huddle, Ramesh, Katie and I stayed in the conference to plan the day. We were given the resources to learn about the company as well as inbound marketing materials. Soon after, Sam assigned me to obtain the ‘Optimization & Testing Mastery’ Certificate on Digital Marketer. As a data-driven UX/UI Designer, Sam identified that it would complement my current skill set to learn conversion rate optimization (CRO).

We had the opportunity to utilize Quip, Teamwork, Slack, Google Apps, amongst other tools to get familiar with the ElementIQ workflow. I spent much of the day learning about inbound marketing and I was fascinated to learn how it closely parallels with many user experience (UX) methods. It further reinforced my decision to take on the opportunity at ElementIQ as it gave me new perspectives.

Day 3 MON – First Client Project!

We began our morning with a daily huddle. After discussing our daily tasks and our blockers, Sam shared a Harvard Business Review article on the benefit of daily self-reflection. Sam encouraged us to adopt this and practice reflection before ending our day.

For the rest of the morning, Ramesh introduced ElementIQ’s clients to Katie and I. I was intrigued at the company’s transparency and the personal connection that we have with our clients. After lunch, Ramesh gave us a digital marketing walkthrough. We learned about the elements of digital marketing and we had the opportunity to ask any questions that we had.

After the walkthrough, Lincoln gave me my first client project- to create an email campaign for a client. I was to come up with an email campaign strategy for a promotional offer with an email newsletter and a landing page. I asked many questions to understand the context and the target audience. After coming up with the objective, key performance indicators (KPIs) and the information about our audience, we gathered additional questions to send to our client.

Day 4 TUE – Blog Optimization And Pizza Mmm…

Today, we had a blog post walkthrough with Karmen. She showed us how to access our client’s websites with WordPress and how we create blog posts for our clients. By the end of the walkthrough, we had the opportunity to revise and optimize an older blog post.

In the afternoon, Lincoln showed Katie and I the world of web hosting. I thought I had an understanding of web hosting but I learned a lot from Lincoln hearing from the agency’s perspective. Towards the end of our web hosting walkthrough, we were interrupted by the smell of pizza…

It was time for quarterly Town Hall at SpaceKraft. It was an opportunity to meet the members and the staffs at the co-working space to discuss upcoming events and any concerns that we may have. It was a pleasant experience to meet people with a various background that work together to build a community.

Day 5 WED – Design And Code?!

On my second remote day, I received feedback from Ramesh on the blog post that I revised for optimization. The comments functionality on Google Docs worked perfectly as the feedback was clear for revision. After revising the blog post, I put together the content for the email campaign and sent it to Lincoln for review. I then sketched the wireframes and started to digitize the wireframes on Sketch.

At 3:00 PM, I had a Zoom meeting with Ramesh where he shared his screen and gave me a walkthrough of a client project. The client wanted to create a web page and Ramesh asked me if I could design AND build the page WordPress myself under the guidance of Lincoln. Although I don’t have much experience with WordPress, I happily accepted the challenge as it was an opportunity to further expand myself as a designer.

Day 6 THU – Intern To Strategist

Despite being an internship, Sam has given me the title UX/UI Strategist. I am ever grateful for this and the faith that his team has shown me in my ability. I want to take this opportunity to live up to the expectation and apply design thinking to solve problems for our users and our clients.

Closing Thoughts

When I was seeking employment in tech, I noticed many titles from: UX/UI Designer, Digital Designer, Product Designer, Web Designer, Interaction Designer amongst many others. I recently read a Medium article suggesting that there’s an unnecessary fragmentation of design jobs. Designers solve problems for the users and the clients by creating seamless user experience. They do everything: research, writing, visuals, code, project management, whatever it takes. I very much resonate with this and at ElementIQ, I wear all hats in order to get the job done. I am able to do this in a supportive team culture where each member has respect and trust for one another. I am grateful to be in this position and I look forward to the upcoming challenges.

ElementIQ Internship Program- Katie’s First Week

How Did I Get Here?

The Job Description

From the moment I read the job posting for ElementIQ, I knew it was the job for me. ElementIQ’s internship program is exactly what it says it is–a program. The program provides training on various aspects of digital marketing then assigns tasks related to the training. These tasks enable you to practice what you have learned. I was so excited to see this job posting because it is a job where I am actually going to learn skills that will better prepare me for a marketing career.

So, how has my first week measured up to my initial thoughts? Read on to find out!

The Internship Program

Are you a reliable self-starter looking to kickstart your digital marketing career?

Day 1 – Thursday – Orientation

The first day was a whirlwind of information. Ramesh is the main leader of the orientation program. He spent the day teaching me and Joseph, another intern who started on the same day as me, about the inner workings of ElementIQ.

ElementIQ is very up-to-date on innovative productivity applications. They use apps like Google Drive, Quip, Teamwork, and Slack to communicate and collaborate. These applications are awesome. They make staying focused and working efficiently much easier.

There are three important aspects in ElementIQ’s culture, their recipe for success is:

Huddle

Every morning at 9:08 the whole team gets together either in person or via video chat in the huddle. We talk about what needs to be accomplished that day and anything that may be blocking someone from accomplishing their tasks.

Weekly Meeting

Every Thursday from 4-5 Sam leads a meeting to go over what is happening with the agency. Part of the meeting is a deep dive in which someone leads a discussion on a topic that will better the agency.

Weekly Check-In

At ElementIQ a lot of effort is put into ensuring their employees are improving. But at the end of the day, our primary focus is the clients. Through years of experience, ElementIQ has learned that communication is key. So every Monday, we send weekly check-in emails to our clients. These emails overview what we did for the client last week, what we will be doing this week, anything we may need from them as well as any other relevant pieces of information.

Day 2 – Friday – First Remote Day

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from about 9 am to 5 pm are spent work at a coworking office in Burnaby called SpaceKraft.

SpaceKraft is a true modern office space with chalk walls, free coffee, bean bags and a stellar view of Vancouver. The remaining two days of the week, Wednesdays and Fridays, are spent working remotely.

The day starts with a team huddle at 9:08 am, even on the days when we are all working remotely. In the huddle, everyone talked about what they had in store for their days. There was still a lot for me to learn to get up to speed with what was happening with the agency, so I spent the day reading over information about ElementIQ and some of the different aspects of digital marketing.

After a long day of reading, watching informational videos, and video chatting with Ramesh to review the material I read, the weekend had arrived!

I still needed to complete a Search Engine Basics course administered by DistilledU that I didn’t have a chance to get to on Friday. So I did that over the weekend.

Day 3 – Monday – Getting To Know The Clients

The first two days of the internship were spent learning about ElementIQ’s structure and the fundamentals of digital marketing.

Now that I understood the basics of digital marketing it was time to learn about ElementIQ’s clients! Ramesh spent the morning walking me and Joseph through each client and what we do for them. We then took some time to visit the clients’ websites and look over some work ElementIQ had previously done for them.

On Monday Ramesh also walked me and Joseph through the periodic table of SEO, a great resource that overviewed everything we had learned so far.

Day 4 – Tuesday – Blog Posts And Location Pages

On Tuesday, we put our knowledge into action and started working on projects for clients. Our first task was editing a blog post. Karmen, EIementIQ’s writing extraordinaire, showed us how to navigate WordPress. She also showed us where to find a blog post to edit which was our next task. I have used WordPress for school so I was familiar with the site. This previous experience made it easier to write my first blog post for ElementIQ.

Karmen and I were also tasked with creating some location pages for one of our clients. When I was first assigned this task I didn’t even know what a location page was! However, Ramesh provided us with some resources and Lincoln showed us a different company’s location pages so we knew what to do.

Day 5 – Wednesday – Always Learning

I absolutely love our office space, but the commute is about an hour for me so having Wednesday as a work at home day is nice and breaks up my week well.

One might be concerned that working from home makes us less efficient, but our collaborative productivity applications (such as quip and teamwork) helps us to stay on task.

Wednesday started off with the team huddle. Then, I spent the rest of the day working on a blog post, finalizing the location pages, and beginning to acquire a search engine optimization certification from Digital Marketer.

Day 6 – Thursday – Made It Through The First Week!

Thursday was officially one week after I started at ElementIQ. I was assigned the task of auditing one of our client’s websites that we had redesigned. Auditing was a fun task. It included editing for consistency, formatting, creating some images, and all the while learning a lot about dental work!

Thursday is also the day of our weekly meeting so we spent an hour going over what was happening with the agency. The deep dive topic for this meeting was about prospecting and closing. Sam shared with us some information about how to always be selling which was the main takeaway.

In the afternoon, Caleb, EIementIQ’s search engine optimization whiz, gave me, Karmen, and Joseph a lesson on SEO. This is a topic I had been learning about all week so it was incredibly beneficial to have a group discussion about it.

Day 7 – Friday – Great First Week

At the end of the first full week, I can officially say I am loving my summer internship! Everyone on the team is so kind and willing to help each other out which adds to the great workplace atmosphere.

My favorite thing about ElementIQ is their mindset for growth. Everyone at the agency is dedicated to self-improvement and we are provided with ample educational resources to help us with that process. This aligns perfectly with my summer goal to learn as much as possible about marketing.

There are so many different fields of marketing and as the world continues to digitize, digital marketing is going to become more and more important. I am so happy my summer is dedicated to becoming as proficient as possible in this up-and-coming field.

Best Practices For Recording Videos With Or Without Professional Equipment

film set and green screen

Recording videos for your brand or company is a great way to expand your reach, and influence a larger audience. It is currently easier than ever to film and post your own high-quality videos, without the help of professionals.

Before you pick up the camera, or even your phone to film, there are a few best practices that you should keep in mind. There are 8 best practices that you can follow to optimize your ability to film and produce videos. You will be well on your way to filming great content in no time!

We did not want to make a post that was boring, so we have attached example images to keep the post light!

To Take Record High-Quality Videos, Follow These Steps:

Step 1: Avoid Clutter

Step 2: Frame With Distance

Step 3: Use Angles to Your Advantage

Step 4: A Good Set Starts With Stability

Step 5: Watch Your Back…… -ground!

Step 6: Set Up Proper Lighting

Step 7: Think About Timing

Step 8: Be Sure We Can Hear You With Proper Sound!

Before You Film: Find A Space That Is:

  • Noise Free!
    • Do not be afraid to let people in your surroundings know that you are about to record a video so they will know not to be too loud!
  • a place that you can consistently use to record videos, this way you will be able to have videos looking consistent throughout
  • Make sure that there’s nobody else in the shot unless they are part of the video

Step 1: Avoid Clutter

There is nothing worse than appearing cluttered or disorganized in your videos. You want to convey a positive and clean image to your audience, you don’t want to be stumbling around in a pile of junk

    • When you are filming, be sure to have a clean and uncluttered workspace.
    • If you have props in the video, keep them neatly laid out and organized.
    • This keeps the focus on you!

* clutter may be exaggerated for learning purposes

Step 2: Distance

Your audience needs to see you, but they don’t need to be squinting in order to locate you on the screen. Try not to stand too far away from the camera, or even worse, too close to the camera. A safe distance away makes the viewer feel comfortable like they are interacting with another person, rather than an up-close view of your nose-hairs.

  • Be aware of the distance between you and the camera. If you are too far away, you will appear smaller and viewers could get distracted by the background.
  • With that said, avoid filming with the camera too close to your face.
  • Just right! You want to be a medium distance away from the camera, as you see below.

Step 3: Angles

Unless you are filming at an odd angle for effect, try to maintain a frame that rests at eye level with your audience. A flat and level angle will keep your viewer focused on you, and it will not distort the proportions of your body. Your viewer wants to see you, not the ceiling.

  • Do not film from extreme angles. You want the camera to be level or slightly above and in front of you.
  • When you film from high above, it will make your head look larger.
  • When you film from below, your body will appear larger.

Try and stay level to appear in proportion by having the camera around EYE LEVEL.

  • Not too high! Not too low!

Step 4: Stability

Filming with a shaky, “home video” style worked well in horror films such as The Blair Witch Project. However, for the everyday vlogger, it is best to keep the camera still at all times. You don’t want to distract your viewer with an unsteady hand. Have your camera sit on a still surface, or prop it up on. a tripod.

  • You may want to invest in smartphone tripods. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for, so most of the time quality does come at a cost.
  • You want the camera to stay still and in place for the entire film. Eyes are trained to follow even the slightest movement, so any tilting or shaking will distract a viewer. It will also distort the shot.

Step 5: Background

It is a best practice to keep your background fresh and clean in appearance. Film against a wall, ideally white or lighter in colour. Even if your background is clean, your viewers can easily become distracted by household objects in their field of vision, or scenery when filming outdoors.

  • When filming, make sure your background is not too distracting.
  • Pick a spot you can consistently use to establish a consistent brand image. When people think of your videos, you don’t want them to think of a cluttered background.
  • A light, clean, clear background is best.

Step 6: Lighting

First thing’s first: Lighting > Camera

Lighting is the most important step in filming videos at home. Shadows and dim lighting can easily ruin a frame. Your viewer should be able to see you clearly, they should not see a poorly lit silhouette of you.

  • You do not need professional camera to get a professional video quality, you just need to know how light works
  • I know it’s hard to find perfect lighting when you do not own any lighting equipment, so treat this recommendation as a series of flexible principles rather than strict rules
  • To really upgrade the look of the video, buy 2 of these lights
    • LimoStudio Lights Price: $30 USD each
    • Watch the tutorial video here!
      • Video Credits to Think Media TV
      • Skip to the 30second mark to see the effect of the lights!
    • Place them like so
  • Avoid lighting that falls directly on top of you or lighting that is positioned slightly to the side of your face. This causes long and exaggerated shadows to fall on your face.
  • If you want to get affordable lighting equipment, that might be the fastest and easiest way to be sure you always have professional lighting.
  • You do not need a professional camera to get professional video quality

Step 7: Timing With Talking

If you are filming an informative video where you will be listing things or conveying a large amount of information to your viewers, speak slowly. Leave a few seconds in between your content, so that your viewer can process what you have said, or in some cases, so they can write it down.

  • Leave five seconds as a pause at the beginning and end of the video, so it’s easier to cut while editing
  • Pause briefly after if you are listing anything, so you can add any on-screen list in post-production while you speak.
  • Pause briefly after if you are listing anything, so the reader can read an on-screen list as you speak.
  • Pause after long sequences of spoken information, try to make the pauses seem natural as you transition in what you are saying.

Step 8: SOUND CHECK!

You will want to test how your voice sounds on camera before you post your video. If you are speaking into a microphone, keep it a reasonable distance away from the camera, to avoid a shrill, squeaking noise.

You want your audience to hear what you have to stay, and you do not want to fade in and out. Stay still and speak as you normally would in a conversation, to avoid sounding too close or too far away from the mic.

Make sure the mic is on please and thank you!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Now that you have read over the best practices for filming and posting videos, you should be confident in your new abilities and implement what you have learned. Remember, great videos aren’t made overnight, and it will take a lot of trial and error before you learn what works well for you and your audience.

If you still need help with videos or are looking for a more comprehensive plan for your business to expand your online reach through video updates or other forms of content creation, give ElementIQ a call at (604) 909-3750! We are a full-service digital marketing agency, and we would be happy to assist you with all of your online marketing goals.