The Shepherd Group | Digital Marketing,
Social Media, and PR for Growing Brands.

WomanSitting

The Shepherd Group is a digital marketing agency founded in Seattle more than 25 years ago. Our success working with major brands led to our 2010 expansion into Southern California, when we opened our Orange County office.

We know the power in every great story starts with the “why.” It's never been more true than the world in which we find ourselves today.

That’s the art of what we do. The science comes from our data. AI and machine learning technologies produce analytics that inform our social media management, public relations and content marketing strategy.

The C-suite doesn’t need more dashboards and junk data. It needs communicators with insights that deliver better business outcomes. That's how we roll. Want to know more?

Let's Connect!

Featured Work

We helped global packaging leader PAC Worldwide address that question in a subject matter expert article we researched, wrote and had published in Flexible Packaging magazine. Download a copy of the re-print here.

Fractional CMO Solutions

Need a flexible alternative to the fixed costs of hiring a full-time CMO during these difficult times? Click the image above for our Fractional CMO offering.

Why Your Brand Needs to Come Clean with a New Generation of Buyers

By Michael Shepherd | August 13, 2020 |

One of the things that makes us better problem solvers is the diversity of thought and perspectives that we bring to a challenge. In this edition of Brand Matters, we hear from Gen Z professional Cait McGinnis, as she weighs in on a once beloved brand whose behavior doesn’t pass the smell test.   Reputation…

Will Marketers Pass the COVID-19 Test?

By Michael Shepherd | July 16, 2020 |

Slash and burn is well underway in corporate marketing departments worldwide, as CMOs clear out old growth initiatives and replace them with makeshift fire lines in response to COVID-19. With few exceptions – sectors like e-commerce, telecoms, and utilities among them – the budget ax is falling and nobody seems quite sure when the clear…

Packing Your Brand Parachute

By Michael Shepherd | May 20, 2020 |

Now that all but the most contrarian or delusional have resigned themselves to the fact that business in 2020 looks nothing like it did in 2019, the question looms: What are you planning to do to survive the fall?  If your answer is something along the lines of cutting back and riding things out, I…

Why the Media Just Isn’t That Into You

By Michael Shepherd | May 6, 2020 |

Good press. Everybody in this post COVID-19 world wants it, from the president of the United States to CEOs, as well as nonprofit and government agency leaders. Even when the media coverage is bad, the exposure is good. You matter. You’re relevant. You’re trending.  So, why are so many brands struggling to find PR love…

Finding Your Way Through Today’s Newspaper Jungle

By Michael Shepherd | February 28, 2020 |

Perhaps lost amid the news that rolled across your electronic and office desktop last week was the announcement that 163-year-old family owned McClatchy Co., the second largest newspaper group in the United States, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  From the Sacramento Bee to the Miami Herald, the Charlotte Observerto the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, McClatchy…

How the Multiplier Effect Works in PR

By Michael Shepherd | February 14, 2020 |

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is finding out how our communications create customer value. At Shepherd we measure everything – or, at least we try to, and thanks to the wonders of Boolean search technology and digital cookies, we are more effective than ever in how we capture those data points.

Typography Tricks to Improve Content Engagement

By Cait McGinnis | February 7, 2020 |

Try out these typography tricks to improve engagement with your content! Grid It Out! Use a grid to organize your design! Start by creating your preferred type of grid and then plot out exactly where all of your type and graphics are. Using a grid organizes your content in a way that allows readers to…

Brand Value: Buy It or Earn It?

By Michael Shepherd | January 22, 2020 |

One of the most memorable advertising taglines ever delivered came nearly 40 years ago, when respected actor John Houseman, pitchman for a Wall Street investment firm, looked into the camera and told us, “They make money the old-fashioned way: They earn it.” There may never have been a more credible messenger or message. When something…

The Question That Makes Every Communicator Squirm

By Michael Shepherd | December 18, 2019 |

You’ve pulled your web analytics, downloaded social media dashboards, and generated detailed reports showing open, click-through, and conversion rates from your last campaign. Well done, data pro. So, in preparation for your meeting with the C-Suite, just one more question: How did you add value? In other words, can you explain the financial contributions your earned…

Hoops and the High Cost of Freedom

By Michael Shepherd | November 13, 2019 |

Turns out freedom really isn’t free. Professional basketball players and shoe companies who lost millions of dollars in China following a social media post (since deleted) from a National Basketball Association executive sympathizing with government protestors in Hong Kong are understanding just how costly it can be. While many might not be inclined to feel…

Is Your Brand Aging Beautifully or Badly?

By Michael Shepherd | October 17, 2019 |

The problem with being old is that you wake up one day and have no idea how you got there. Oh sure, there are a few signs along the way, but we pay about as much attention to those as we do to seeing cones suddenly appear on a freeway. What starts as a one-lane…

It’s Time for New Accounting Rules on Brand

By Michael Shepherd | September 6, 2019 |

The definition of brand is as diverse as the people who try to frame it. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos describes it as what people say about you when you’re not in the room. I like that because it’s memorable. My summation is a little shorter. Your brand is your bond.  You can interpret that in at…

Is Facebook Too Big to Care?

By Michael Shepherd | August 29, 2019 |

The folks at Facebook are finding Washington D.C. to be anti-social, if not openly hostile, these days. Regulators at the Federal Trade Commission recently tagged the social media network with a five billion dollar fine – and no, that’s not a misprint – for privacy lapses that allowed app developers to scrape data from some…

How Big is the Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing?

By Michael Shepherd | February 8, 2019 |

For some time a question has lingered in my mind: is there truly a difference between B2B and B2C marketing? Most articles on the topic are set on the idea that both types of marketing campaigns are fundamentally different – but considering the goals and strategies one sees in so many campaigns, there’s more overlap…

What Every Company Needs in its Digital Marketing Toolkit

By Michael Shepherd | January 31, 2019 |

In what we now recognize as a digital-first landscape, online communications platforms have shifted from a luxury to a necessity – and companies that don’t conform simply fall behind their competition. Here we’ll address a few ‘digital needs’ that all brands should have fastened down and optimized to increase their reach, engagement and conversion goals. Dynamic, Responsive…

How to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Agency

By Michael Shepherd | January 14, 2019 |

You’ve hired an external marketing agency to assist with your next campaign – now, what are you going to do to maximize the value they bring to the partnership? It’s often a million-dollar question. You know that you’ve secured a team of industry experts who are well-versed in strategic planning, execution, and analysis of marketing…

Giving Your Brand a Voice – Literally

By Michael Shepherd | November 21, 2018 |

Marketing has come a long way in recent years, from the takeover of social media and the heavy importance on ‘mobile-first’ marketing, to the looming horizon of augmented and virtual reality; you can see it before your eyes. One of the newest forms of marketing making waves, however, can’t be seen – rather, it’s heard.…

Metrics That Matter – Part III

By Michael Shepherd | November 1, 2018 |

As marketing professionals, we’re responsible for the creation and distribution of content across a variety of channels – along with the ever-changing and sometimes confusing analytics that attempt to quantify the impact of that content. For this installment of Metrics That Matter (see links to earlier posts below about Google Analytics and other Social Media…

Metrics That Matter – Part II

By Michael Shepherd | October 18, 2018 |

Social Media Analytics In part one of “Metrics That Matter,” we took a deeper dive into Google Analytics and helped clarify some of the more relevant, yet often overlooked, audience and behavior metrics available through the ubiquitous search platform. This knowledge will enable you to more effectively track website engagement and conversions. Now it’s time…

Metrics That Matter – Part I

By Michael Shepherd | September 13, 2018 |

For website analysis, Google Analytics has proven to be one of the best tools for tracking your progress. Available behavior metrics allow you to track where your audience is coming from, how many are interacting with your site, the pages they enter and exit from, and much more – all easily accessible, downloadable, and presentable.…

The 5 Spokes in the Content Marketing Wheel That Produce a Smoother Ride

By Michael Shepherd | August 17, 2018 |

Michael Corbett According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations have an effective content marketing strategy — a most disappointing statistic. It’s even more discouraging when you stop to consider the sheer volume of brands represented in the other 70 percent. If your company isn’t getting traction with its inbound marketing…

Working with Journalists – How to Get Your First Pitch Read

By Michael Shepherd | June 22, 2018 |

By Michael Corbett So, you’ve created a great story – now it’s time to distribute it to your list of contacts and create an earned media campaign. But how big is this list? Will everyone on it want to see this piece from you? Do they even know you? It can be tricky at times but targeting the right…

A PR Primer for Agency Rookies

By Michael Shepherd | October 8, 2017 |

Take it from an agency newbie: In order to be successful in this part of the PR world, you’re going to need more than the requisite writing and story telling skills upon which communicators rely. While these core competencies will serve you well, there are many others – many of which aren’t taught in the classroom…

Two Themes On Which Every Good Headline Writer Leans

By Michael Shepherd | October 1, 2017 |

A good copy editor in the newspaper business is worth his or weight in gold. Among their many talents: Headline writing that captivates and draws us into the stories that follow. It’s no different in the marketing and PR arena, where so much is riding on our ability to engage. Great headlines do 80% of…

Why Your Research May Be Deceiving You

By Michael Shepherd | July 5, 2016 |

The eyes don’t lie. Neither do the feet. If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out what your market wants, look at actions – not words. Madison Avenue employed an attitudinal research strategy for many years trying to better understand the thoughts and feelings of those using its brands. Marketers, armed by prevailing opinions…

B2B Digital Marketing Misses

By Michael Shepherd | May 8, 2016 |

Well over a decade ago I attended a marketing communications workshop in San Francisco that promised to educate all practitioners in the room – old school and otherwise – about new digital tools and technologies. The narrative, as it is today, is how those advances were re-shaping the way we did business. It was a…

How Your PR Skills Are Being Re-Packaged and Sold by Ad Pros

By Michael Shepherd | March 6, 2016 |

by Michael Shepherd, Managing Partner Your marketing people are probably wearing you out these days with their constant references to “content marketing,” whether it’s a social media post, website article or e-mailed coupon. The most vocal evangelists within the organization may even be re-branding themselves as content marketing specialists and going so far as to…

A Brand Worthy of Admiration

By Michael Shepherd | February 23, 2016 |

Would you rather be rich or famous? How about most admired? There’s a bank that can make a compelling case for being all three. For the fifth consecutive year, Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp has earned Fortune Magazine’s #1 Most Admired Company in its category (Superregional Banks). And before I go any further, let me answer the obvious…

How Kleiner Perkins Can Prevail in the Court of Public Opinion

By Michael Shepherd | March 8, 2015 |

As the dirty laundry piles up in the San Francisco courtroom where blue chip VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers defends itself from a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by former junior partner Ellen Pao, it’s become clear that both sides are going to need some highly concentrated PR to clean up the…

Anchor Away: A PR Prescription for NBC’s Brian Williams

By Michael Shepherd | February 19, 2015 |

One of the rules most parents instill in their children is to always tell the truth. Because nobody is perfect, however, most of us have tested this rule and discovered – painfully – what happens when it’s violated. Brian Williams, the now former managing editor for NBC News, apparently didn’t learn from such an experience. And…

WomanSitting

The Shepherd Group | Marketing
and PR Solutions for a New Era

The Shepherd Group is a marketing and PR firm founded in Seattle more than 25 years ago. Its success with major brands led to expansion in Southern California, where it opened its second office in Orange County.

We know the power in every great story starts with the “why.” It's never been more true than the world in which we find ourselves today.

That’s the art of what we do. The science comes from our data. AI and machine learning technologies produce analytics that inform public relations and reputation marketing strategy, social media communities, and content marketing initiatives.

The C-suite doesn’t need more dashboards and junk data. It needs communicators that know how to deliver better business outcomes. That's how we roll. Want to know more?

Let's Connect!

Why Your Brand Needs to Come Clean with a New Generation of Buyers

By Michael Shepherd | August 13, 2020 |

One of the things that makes us better problem solvers is the diversity of thought and perspectives that we bring to a challenge. In this edition of Brand Matters, we hear from Gen Z professional Cait McGinnis, as she weighs in on a once beloved brand whose behavior doesn’t pass the smell test.   Reputation…

Will Marketers Pass the COVID-19 Test?

By Michael Shepherd | July 16, 2020 |

Slash and burn is well underway in corporate marketing departments worldwide, as CMOs clear out old growth initiatives and replace them with makeshift fire lines in response to COVID-19. With few exceptions – sectors like e-commerce, telecoms, and utilities among them – the budget ax is falling and nobody seems quite sure when the clear…

Packing Your Brand Parachute

By Michael Shepherd | May 20, 2020 |

Now that all but the most contrarian or delusional have resigned themselves to the fact that business in 2020 looks nothing like it did in 2019, the question looms: What are you planning to do to survive the fall?  If your answer is something along the lines of cutting back and riding things out, I…

Why the Media Just Isn’t That Into You

By Michael Shepherd | May 6, 2020 |

Good press. Everybody in this post COVID-19 world wants it, from the president of the United States to CEOs, as well as nonprofit and government agency leaders. Even when the media coverage is bad, the exposure is good. You matter. You’re relevant. You’re trending.  So, why are so many brands struggling to find PR love…

Finding Your Way Through Today’s Newspaper Jungle

By Michael Shepherd | February 28, 2020 |

Perhaps lost amid the news that rolled across your electronic and office desktop last week was the announcement that 163-year-old family owned McClatchy Co., the second largest newspaper group in the United States, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  From the Sacramento Bee to the Miami Herald, the Charlotte Observerto the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, McClatchy…

How the Multiplier Effect Works in PR

By Michael Shepherd | February 14, 2020 |

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is finding out how our communications create customer value. At Shepherd we measure everything – or, at least we try to, and thanks to the wonders of Boolean search technology and digital cookies, we are more effective than ever in how we capture those data points.

Typography Tricks to Improve Content Engagement

By Cait McGinnis | February 7, 2020 |

Try out these typography tricks to improve engagement with your content! Grid It Out! Use a grid to organize your design! Start by creating your preferred type of grid and then plot out exactly where all of your type and graphics are. Using a grid organizes your content in a way that allows readers to…

Brand Value: Buy It or Earn It?

By Michael Shepherd | January 22, 2020 |

One of the most memorable advertising taglines ever delivered came nearly 40 years ago, when respected actor John Houseman, pitchman for a Wall Street investment firm, looked into the camera and told us, “They make money the old-fashioned way: They earn it.” There may never have been a more credible messenger or message. When something…

The Question That Makes Every Communicator Squirm

By Michael Shepherd | December 18, 2019 |

You’ve pulled your web analytics, downloaded social media dashboards, and generated detailed reports showing open, click-through, and conversion rates from your last campaign. Well done, data pro. So, in preparation for your meeting with the C-Suite, just one more question: How did you add value? In other words, can you explain the financial contributions your earned…

Hoops and the High Cost of Freedom

By Michael Shepherd | November 13, 2019 |

Turns out freedom really isn’t free. Professional basketball players and shoe companies who lost millions of dollars in China following a social media post (since deleted) from a National Basketball Association executive sympathizing with government protestors in Hong Kong are understanding just how costly it can be. While many might not be inclined to feel…

Is Your Brand Aging Beautifully or Badly?

By Michael Shepherd | October 17, 2019 |

The problem with being old is that you wake up one day and have no idea how you got there. Oh sure, there are a few signs along the way, but we pay about as much attention to those as we do to seeing cones suddenly appear on a freeway. What starts as a one-lane…

It’s Time for New Accounting Rules on Brand

By Michael Shepherd | September 6, 2019 |

The definition of brand is as diverse as the people who try to frame it. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos describes it as what people say about you when you’re not in the room. I like that because it’s memorable. My summation is a little shorter. Your brand is your bond.  You can interpret that in at…

Is Facebook Too Big to Care?

By Michael Shepherd | August 29, 2019 |

The folks at Facebook are finding Washington D.C. to be anti-social, if not openly hostile, these days. Regulators at the Federal Trade Commission recently tagged the social media network with a five billion dollar fine – and no, that’s not a misprint – for privacy lapses that allowed app developers to scrape data from some…

How Big is the Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing?

By Michael Shepherd | February 8, 2019 |

For some time a question has lingered in my mind: is there truly a difference between B2B and B2C marketing? Most articles on the topic are set on the idea that both types of marketing campaigns are fundamentally different – but considering the goals and strategies one sees in so many campaigns, there’s more overlap…

What Every Company Needs in its Digital Marketing Toolkit

By Michael Shepherd | January 31, 2019 |

In what we now recognize as a digital-first landscape, online communications platforms have shifted from a luxury to a necessity – and companies that don’t conform simply fall behind their competition. Here we’ll address a few ‘digital needs’ that all brands should have fastened down and optimized to increase their reach, engagement and conversion goals. Dynamic, Responsive…

How to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Agency

By Michael Shepherd | January 14, 2019 |

You’ve hired an external marketing agency to assist with your next campaign – now, what are you going to do to maximize the value they bring to the partnership? It’s often a million-dollar question. You know that you’ve secured a team of industry experts who are well-versed in strategic planning, execution, and analysis of marketing…

Giving Your Brand a Voice – Literally

By Michael Shepherd | November 21, 2018 |

Marketing has come a long way in recent years, from the takeover of social media and the heavy importance on ‘mobile-first’ marketing, to the looming horizon of augmented and virtual reality; you can see it before your eyes. One of the newest forms of marketing making waves, however, can’t be seen – rather, it’s heard.…

Metrics That Matter – Part III

By Michael Shepherd | November 1, 2018 |

As marketing professionals, we’re responsible for the creation and distribution of content across a variety of channels – along with the ever-changing and sometimes confusing analytics that attempt to quantify the impact of that content. For this installment of Metrics That Matter (see links to earlier posts below about Google Analytics and other Social Media…

Metrics That Matter – Part II

By Michael Shepherd | October 18, 2018 |

Social Media Analytics In part one of “Metrics That Matter,” we took a deeper dive into Google Analytics and helped clarify some of the more relevant, yet often overlooked, audience and behavior metrics available through the ubiquitous search platform. This knowledge will enable you to more effectively track website engagement and conversions. Now it’s time…

Metrics That Matter – Part I

By Michael Shepherd | September 13, 2018 |

For website analysis, Google Analytics has proven to be one of the best tools for tracking your progress. Available behavior metrics allow you to track where your audience is coming from, how many are interacting with your site, the pages they enter and exit from, and much more – all easily accessible, downloadable, and presentable.…

The 5 Spokes in the Content Marketing Wheel That Produce a Smoother Ride

By Michael Shepherd | August 17, 2018 |

Michael Corbett According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations have an effective content marketing strategy — a most disappointing statistic. It’s even more discouraging when you stop to consider the sheer volume of brands represented in the other 70 percent. If your company isn’t getting traction with its inbound marketing…

Working with Journalists – How to Get Your First Pitch Read

By Michael Shepherd | June 22, 2018 |

By Michael Corbett So, you’ve created a great story – now it’s time to distribute it to your list of contacts and create an earned media campaign. But how big is this list? Will everyone on it want to see this piece from you? Do they even know you? It can be tricky at times but targeting the right…

A PR Primer for Agency Rookies

By Michael Shepherd | October 8, 2017 |

Take it from an agency newbie: In order to be successful in this part of the PR world, you’re going to need more than the requisite writing and story telling skills upon which communicators rely. While these core competencies will serve you well, there are many others – many of which aren’t taught in the classroom…

Two Themes On Which Every Good Headline Writer Leans

By Michael Shepherd | October 1, 2017 |

A good copy editor in the newspaper business is worth his or weight in gold. Among their many talents: Headline writing that captivates and draws us into the stories that follow. It’s no different in the marketing and PR arena, where so much is riding on our ability to engage. Great headlines do 80% of…

Why Your Research May Be Deceiving You

By Michael Shepherd | July 5, 2016 |

The eyes don’t lie. Neither do the feet. If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out what your market wants, look at actions – not words. Madison Avenue employed an attitudinal research strategy for many years trying to better understand the thoughts and feelings of those using its brands. Marketers, armed by prevailing opinions…

B2B Digital Marketing Misses

By Michael Shepherd | May 8, 2016 |

Well over a decade ago I attended a marketing communications workshop in San Francisco that promised to educate all practitioners in the room – old school and otherwise – about new digital tools and technologies. The narrative, as it is today, is how those advances were re-shaping the way we did business. It was a…

How Your PR Skills Are Being Re-Packaged and Sold by Ad Pros

By Michael Shepherd | March 6, 2016 |

by Michael Shepherd, Managing Partner Your marketing people are probably wearing you out these days with their constant references to “content marketing,” whether it’s a social media post, website article or e-mailed coupon. The most vocal evangelists within the organization may even be re-branding themselves as content marketing specialists and going so far as to…

A Brand Worthy of Admiration

By Michael Shepherd | February 23, 2016 |

Would you rather be rich or famous? How about most admired? There’s a bank that can make a compelling case for being all three. For the fifth consecutive year, Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp has earned Fortune Magazine’s #1 Most Admired Company in its category (Superregional Banks). And before I go any further, let me answer the obvious…

How Kleiner Perkins Can Prevail in the Court of Public Opinion

By Michael Shepherd | March 8, 2015 |

As the dirty laundry piles up in the San Francisco courtroom where blue chip VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers defends itself from a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by former junior partner Ellen Pao, it’s become clear that both sides are going to need some highly concentrated PR to clean up the…

Anchor Away: A PR Prescription for NBC’s Brian Williams

By Michael Shepherd | February 19, 2015 |

One of the rules most parents instill in their children is to always tell the truth. Because nobody is perfect, however, most of us have tested this rule and discovered – painfully – what happens when it’s violated. Brian Williams, the now former managing editor for NBC News, apparently didn’t learn from such an experience. And…