Because strategy matters

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results.

Our background in business journalism, marketing and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st century marketers.
 

 
$1,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
Freelancer
 Founded
2008
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St. Paul, MN
headquarters
  • Strategic Communications, LLC St. Paul, MN
    United States
    715.723.2395

Portfolio

Key clients: 

ADP, Baird Group, BLR, Center for Business Intelligence - UW Extension,  Econtent, Hitchcock Marketing, InclusionINC, OurCorporateLife, SHRM, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Continuing Education, XpertHR, YGS Group

 

Reviews

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Digital Marketing for Healthcare Communications Company

“[Linda] is a phenomenal writer… She makes a cogent argument in my voice.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Oct. 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Strategic Communications writes weekly blog posts and content for use on LinkedIn and other web resources. They collaborate on all aspects of the process through email and regular meetings.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Woodstock, Maryland
Jean Hitchcock
President, Hitchcock Marketing & Communications
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Analytics show a favorable increase in views and customers, correlated to Strategic Communications’ contributions. Through a three-year relationship, they have consistently delivered quality work, often ahead of schedule.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the president of Hitchcock Marketing & Communications, a boutique healthcare marketing and communications firm in Woodstock, Maryland.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Strategic Communications?

As an opinion leader in healthcare, building upon 30 years in the field, I needed a national presence. I wanted a blog to complement my LinkedIn profile, and to enhance my website and digital marketing to improve our position in search results.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

I work with Strategic Communications on a weekly basis. They write blogs and posts for LinkedIn and our website, or anywhere I need a blog entry.

What is the team dynamic?

Linda Pophal [Owner/CEO, Strategic Communications] is our principal writer.

How did you come to work with Strategic Communications?

An acquaintance of mine worked with them and recommended Linda. Her postings have always impressed me, and we became friends. I've always used her. We’ve never worked with another agency.

How much have you invested with them?

Over three years we’ve spent about $25,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in October of 2014. Linda writes blogs for us on a weekly basis and our engagement is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We monitor our analytics online, including viewers and resultant customers for each post. Our results are similar to what we hoped to achieve.

How did Strategic Communications perform from a project management standpoint?

We email or have personal conversations. Each week, she sends the content she completed, and I sign off on it. She handles everything, including questions or requests from LinkedIn. She posts my responses, and makes the whole process beyond easy.

What did you find most impressive about them?

People assume that it’s too hard to copy voice, but she makes a cogent argument from my viewpoint. She is a phenomenal writer, and I rarely edit anything she's written. Among all the vendors and sub-contractors I work with, she is by far the best.

My participation is effortless; we come up with ideas and slant though our discussions. There have never been any issues with timeliness or quality of work, and she makes our company look really good.

5.0
Overall Score They are one of the best. I have nothing but praise for the product and the people. There's nothing I would suggest to change.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    That has never been an issue. We do weekly posts, and she sometimes works ahead of schedule.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It’s a straight deal that’s priced appropriately, which I appreciate as a small business owner.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Her content and grammar are excellent. She’s well written and very well researched.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have done so many times.

Digital Marketing for Telecommunications Services Company

"Linda is quick on the uptake, intelligent, and the best writer I’ve dealt with."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Jan. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Strategic Communications lends ongoing resources to rewrite landing pages, ghost write blog posts, and overall improve SEO for the website of a telecommunications services company.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Overland Park, Kansas
John Kinskey
President & Founder, AccessDirect, Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

As a small business, Strategic Communications understands how to communicate the benefits and needs of the small businesses they work with. Their lead writer, Linda Pophal, is highly communicative and does well with handling multiple projects at once, delivering work that rarely requires edits.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

AccessDirect provides telecommunications services to small businesses across the country that are looking for a better way to answer and route phone calls. Our website is MessagingService.com. I am the president and founder.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Strategic Communications?

The goal is to improve our website and overall quality of content. We have SEO and digital marketing and have used 3–4 firms, as well as a few writing entities, over the past 5–6 years, with limited success.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They've rewritten landing pages and created blog posts for us. We identify which page we need rewritten and send it to Linda [Owner/CEO, Strategic Communications], along with a few comments on its focus and the keywords we want to target. We have follow-up discussions with our own sales team to provide Strategic with tips on why people call for this type of service, what they’re looking for, and examples of how the service would work.

What is the team dynamic?

We directly communicate with Linda, who acts as my account manager. She is the person I email and is also the point of delivery. I assume she has staff that help with the writing and other parts of the projects.

How did you come to work with Strategic?

I posted a job on a freelancing site, and Linda was among those who replied. I asked her a few questions and had her do a few writing projects. We grew our relationship from there.

How much have you invested with them?

The total cost of their work since the beginning has been around $15,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Strategic Communications in January 2015. We work on a project-by-project basis. Linda initially created 2 blog posts and other content per month, which went on for around a year. We transitioned to an SEO firm that took on the blog writing, along with analysis and strategic planning. Linda transitioned to just writing projects.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We’re publishing their most recent writing and waiting to see how quickly it will impact our organic search rankings and clicks for those pages. We'll get a substantial return from their work if we can get the page to perform with Google and Bing search. A 10X return on investment would be my ideal target.

How did Strategic perform from a project management standpoint?

Linda is communicative and lets us know what her timeline is. Based on her workload, she estimates how long it will take to deliver a set number of pieces. As a result, we can queue more projects instead of just throwing them at her. I'm more proactive in giving her tasks so we can have regular deliveries.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Being a small business themselves, Strategic Communications understands how to communicate benefits and small business needs, including that of our own service, which is a black box for many people: a virtual, cloud-based telephone service with toll-free and local numbers. I worked with other writers for a year and realized they still didn’t understand the field. Linda is quick on the uptake, intelligent, and the best writer I’ve dealt with in terms of being able to take a topic and turn it into high-quality content, with little instruction. She will send me project outlines ahead of time, at my request, and then deliver the writing. The best writers on our team have been impressed with her content, as we can take it and publish it with very few edits.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We are transitioning to landing pages, and I want to focus more on conversion, communicating the benefits above the fold and making it less research oriented. It’s a matter of us working together to refocus the tone.

5.0
Overall Score They are easy to work with, communicate well, and the writing quality is outstanding.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They communicate delivery dates well and early.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They have a good balance of price and quality.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The writing is extraordinary and well-targeted. They meet their delivery deadlines.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already done so three times.

Social Media Marketing for Management Consulting Company

“They pick the right kind of content for the people that we’re talking to.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
May 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Strategic Communications provides social media services for a company that previously had a minimal presence. They analyzed their website to determine the strategy, and now manage their accounts. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York City, New York
Amanda Mitchell
Founder, Our Corporate Life
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The project’s yearly goals are always met, with Twitter increasing from 400 to 13,500 high-quality followers who engage with the shared content. The team is knowledgeable and contributes extensive expertise to the project while also being transparent and incredibly responsive.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Our Corporate Life works with corporations as an external partner to help them deal with the drama of dysfunctional teams. I’m the founder.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Strategic Communications?

We didn’t have much of a social media profile. We needed someone to help us maintain a consistent presence and build the right kind of follower base and connections to help us with our position as thought leaders. We have a lot of content but we didn’t have the expertise or time to sort through and figure out what the best things were to highlight.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

First, they did an assessment. They analyzed our site to see what backlinks and content we had, and to find out if they were serving the purpose we needed them to serve. They then gave us recommendations for moving forward. They looked at the different social media channels, prioritized them, and told us where we should focus our attention and what they could do for us.

What is the team dynamic? 

My main contact is Linda [Owner and CEO, Strategic Communications] and she has different people who work with her. Working with her is seamless. 

How did you come to work with Strategic Communications?

I had worked with PR and social media agencies before and found that a lot don’t know what they think they know. They don't take time to understand our business so they couldn’t be as successful as we needed them to be. They replicate what has worked with one client, rather than customizing it for other companies and that wasn’t what we needed.

Strategic Communications, however, was recommended by a colleague. Talking to Linda, it was clear she knew what she was talking about. She was very open to crafting a proposal that would work for us and was flexible in being able to ramp up when needed.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent around $40,000 so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in May 2014 and the engagement is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They always meet their yearly goals. Month to month the results vary, but that’s the way a marketplace is. Our Twitter presence grew from 400 to 13,500, and they’re 13,500 of the right kind of followers. They helped us get rid of the wrong types of businesses that were following us and that we were following. They pick the right kind of content for the people that we’re talking to. We get a lot of retweets and likes on our content.

How did Strategic Communications perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re really good. I’ve never had them not respond unless there was a technical problem. They provide us monthly analytics which are always on time. They highlight things that are problematic when they see them. I don’t feel that I need to double check everything or chase them to do their job. Whenever I have questions, Linda addresses them.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re honest. When I ask for specific things, they give me options tailored to my request. When they don’t know something, they tell me that and then research it. They don’t just tell us what we want to hear. I would rather hear the truth than having someone try to act like they know more than they do. No one can know everything, especially when things move so fast.

Overall, they care about quality and they do a great job. Good client service isn’t as common as it should be.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I can’t think of anything.

Do you have any advice for potential clients?

Be clear on what you want to achieve so you don’t have any misunderstandings. If you don’t know what you want, be clear about that up front so they can help you figure it out. 

You can trust them. They’re not out to overcharge or build their business through bad practices.

5.0
Overall Score It’s been a good experience and we’re meeting our goals.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They’ve never missed a deadline.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I’m satisfied that I’m getting my money’s worth.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They provide relevant and timely deliverables.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

PR & Social Media for Global Consulting Organization

"They're timely, self-sufficient, high quality, and clients are impressed."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2011 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

The team took over a PR campaign when another company failed to deliver. Ghostwriters create social media content (LinkedIn articles, tweets, etc.) and monthly reports, resulting in increased clientele.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Shirley Engelmeier
CEO & Owner, InclusionINC
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Strategic Communications not only meets PR needs, but also seamlessly ties all the content together to create a coherent brand. The team expertly self-manages, and all reports are completed. Fast work and superior customer satisfaction have led to a continued relationship.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the CEO, founder, and owner of InclusionINC, a global learning and consulting organization that works with Fortune 500 companies to create a culture of inclusion. We do strategic work to ensure that the differences in the workplace drive innovation, retention, engagement, and productivity.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Strategic Communications?

Back in 2011, our company was a great little secret; people didn’t know who we were, and we needed to spread the word because being seen as a thought leader legitimizes our brand. Our previous PR company provided a ghostwriter, but he wasn’t good. I wanted someone who could capture my specific voice, who could be edgy, sassy, and maybe even slightly irreverent. I needed a ghostwriter whose content would tell our clients, “Hello, inclusion initiatives are about business!”

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

From 2012 to 2014, I was working with a formal PR company as well as Linda [Pophal, CEO, Strategic Communicaitons], but I let the PR company go because Linda was making more traction. She captured my voice much better, and now she writes weekly blogs and manages several groups as me on LinkedIn. She also leads inclusive leader groups, runs my Twitter, and finds PR opportunities. I give her a comment or my opinion on something and she writes a whole post about it, including editing.

She’s incredible at linking everything back to InclusionINC’s core message: inclusion as a business strategy. Right now, we’re focusing on helping clients develop inclusive leader competencies, and nearly all her content is related to that. She understands that our company is about HR; not just checking off boxes for diversity’s sake, but using inclusion as a business-centric model.

What is the team dynamic?

Linda is always my contact, but I know she has a number of people working for her.

How did you come to work with Strategic Communications?

I found them through our previous PR company. Linda was the ghost writer for both my books, and then Strategic Communications became my social media team right after.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent around $175,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

I started working with them in spring of 2011, and it's still ongoing. I'll work with her forever, if I can.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Every month I get a report and analysis of how we did against last month, including followers, web site visits, etc. We have a brief dialogue about it to clarify why some things increased or decreased, and she always initiates those meetings.

Just to give some examples of some of the metrics achieved are:

  • Web traffic has increased by nearly 2000% since the beginning.
  • Bounce rate has decreased from around 60% to between 10% and 30%.
  • New website visitors are consistently at 90% or above.
  • 58% of the referral traffic is from shortened social media links.
  • Our LinkedIn group has grown from 548 members to 1625, an increase of 196%.
  • Our Twitter followers have grown by more than 2700% since the beginning and 37% since January.

What’s really telling, though, is that we’ve gotten more calls for business in the last 12 months than we did in the other 15 years of being open.

How did Strategic Communications perform from a project management standpoint?

They're spectacular. Linda always does what's supposed to be done, so I don't have to manage anything.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The team expertly captures my voice, and they’re completely self-sufficient. Working with them is a totally different experience from what I had in the past. One ghostwriter was arrogant and rude; he made me feel like I didn’t know anything. I started working with Linda on the same exact content and it was a night-and-day difference. She creates high-quality work and needs minimal oversight to do it. Her self-management makes all our work stronger, and it’s created a stellar relationship. She’s also lightning fast. It’ll take her 30 minutes to do what might take me three hours.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, it’s exceeded my expectations in all areas.

Do you have any advice for potential clients of Strategic Communications?

This kind of project is a long-term engagement. Go in with a plan, be ready to work hard, and Strategic Communications will help with the rest. We’re just now bearing the fruit from six years of intense work, and it’s been a great investment.

5.0
Overall Score I'm not easy to please, and they meet all my expectations.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I’d give more than a five, if I could. The reports come in before I realize they’re even due.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I haven't done much cost comparison, but they're terrific and reasonable.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They're timely, self-sufficient, high quality, and clients are impressed.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I already have.