Tag Archives: content

Social Media: More than just a résumé skill

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“Social media spark a revelation that we, the people, have a voice, and through the
democratization of content and ideas we can once again unite around common passions,
inspire movements, and ignite change.”Brian Solis, Author of Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web

Anyone who knows me, whether you’re a follower of my blog, twitter account, or a close friend, will tell you that I am a huge advocate of social media. This is for several reasons. I’m not just
referring to my general love for tweeting, or pinning my latest quote. This love for an online
community goes far beyond just the use of the platform.

Without any knowledge or background on how social media can assist in building your brand, or increase engagement with your followers, it seems unfair to deem social media as something that millennials just like to play on. Social media has the incredible power to build the
reputation of a brand, and connect audiences on a larger scale. If not carefully used, there
is also the looming threat of destroying a brand quicker than you can say tweet.

So when someone says they’re a social media maven, or a social media strategist, what do they really mean? Since social media extends far beyond just proficiency of the platform, it means this so-called expert can translate social media efforts into a return on investment (ROI).
In order for this to happen, the social media strategist has to be able to connect these efforts to higher level goals and business objectives – see Deirdre Breakenridge’s Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional. This is a great resource for any
PR professional, whether aspiring or experienced, seeking to develop their social
media skills and understand how to effectively manage a brand on various platforms.

One reason I’m so passionate about digital PR is because it gives an audience the ability to
communicate and connect with a brand that goes beyond the purchasing power. A company that can effectively manage a two-way conversation between their audience
and the brand puts a human connection behind their products or services. This enables
audience members to become brand ambassadors on social platforms.

It’s important to understand that including social media specialist under the skills section of your résumé extends far past your recreational use of Facebook. In order to
effectively use sites like Twitter, Facebook, WordPress or Instagram, you need to have
an understanding of the metrics and analytics behind the platform. This means being able to provide the C-Suite with visible changes in brand sentiment, share of voice, or even website traffic.

An efficient use of these social media tools will show some form of profit growth, contributing to the company’s bottom-line. Any social media strategist that can use these tools to provide growth in a company is a valuable resource. These skills will continue to be an asset as new
platforms continue to develop. It’s a social media strategist’s job to stay up-to-date on the latest technology to ensure they’re optimizing the use of platforms for their respective companies.

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Content Strategies: Creating Quality Material

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“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
- Maya Angelou

It goes without saying that everyone loves an easy and enjoyable read. Connecting with your
audience is a pivotal part of brand building and engagement. One area of struggle individuals, companies, and/or organizations run into is creating good content. More specifically, there is
always difficulty in conjuring up new and refreshing content that makes your audience want to act on. Whether it’s an article for your company blog, or a Facebook post promoting a new
product line, being strategic about your material can help boost interaction. But, how?

First, it’s important to research and understand your audience. Sometimes companies can make the mistake of assuming they know who their audience is without really taking the time to look into the demographic breakdown. A simple error made in promoting aspects of a company is reaching out to individuals who aren’t necessarily your largest audience. Take time to create
surveys, focus groups, and scan your platforms to see what ages are interacting with your
services. If you understand your audience, messages and content can be tailored towards them.

As well, it’s important to monitor and track what content is drawing in the most engagement. When you first begin producing content, take note of which articles and posts get the most
interaction. If topics that focus on social media monitoring get more attention than say, topics on employee management, perhaps your audiences want more messages tailored towards
social media usage. Also, be sure to use your analytic tools and metrics. These are a valuable
resource for determining which posts get the most interaction from users.

Another suggestion is to think outside the box. This means producing content that is creative and fun. In order to encourage your audience to participate with your content, you need to make sure that its worthy of engagement. If your company isn’t the type to usually make videos, perhaps it’s time to vary up the method of content production. To measure what your audience engages with, you need to vary up the methods for producing the content. Sometimes the least expected methods draw the most interaction. Creativity also means changing things up. Maybe have guest posts, interviews or Q&A sessions with industry professionals. The goal of your
content is to give your audience more reasons for interacting with your brand.

What are some of your suggestions for creating good content?

Sound off below, or tweet me @Sam__Dickson

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Cocktails, Careers & Cosmopolitan

image-64“I hope I have convinced you — the only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is the willingness to work very, very hard.” – Helen Gurley Brown

Last night Gorkana US held their first consumer brand event by hosting a media-briefing with the magazine that inspires all women to be “fun and fearless” – Cosmopolitan. The event panel featured Louise Court, editor of Cosmopolitan UK, Sara Austin, deputy editor of Cosmopolitan US, as well as Jeni-Lee Chapman, US Managing Director of Gorkana. Held at the gorgeous Hearst Tower, the media event focused on how Cosmopolitan reaches out to their main audience and maintains a consistent brand image.

With 64 international editions, Cosmopolitan has discussed the topics every girl wants to know, but might not always ask. Sara Austin spoke on the brand’s image by saying that Cosmo desires to have an “intimate relationship with its readers.” She elaborated by saying, “We want our readership to be like an intoxicating cocktail of what every woman wants in life — it should be about having fun, friends, a career… and fabulous shoes.”  Austin went on to say that the Cosmo brand places itself at the forefront of providing women with relevant, trendy news, as well as topics that might not get discussed otherwise. Austin states, “We’re Cosmo, modesty is not what we do.” The overall brand message led into a discussion about who the editors believed to be Cosmo’s biggest competition in the market.

In order to attract readership, Cosmo UK editor Court says their biggest competition is fighting for a share of voice in the lives of young women. Court states, “Young women are busy. It can’t just be a nice feature, it has to be fit for purpose.” Both editors agreed that Cosmo takes the approach that content has to be tailored to “what she wants out of life.”

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How is Cosmo adapting to the age of technology and digital?
Discussing the traditional versus digital approaches to content, Court suggests that twitter gives readers the chance to react to the content, and perhaps amplify the messages. Austin agreed by suggesting that digital offers Cosmo the opportunity to expand across multiple platforms and gain more exposure. The discussion narrowed in on the different ways that content can be presented online. Austin stated that online media can be displayed “more visually, viral and with more attitude.” However, both editors mentioned the importance of maintaining the essence and niche of the in-store magazine. “We don’t want our magazine to look like a website – we want to keep the beauty of the magazine. It also enables longer stories.” Both Austin and Court seemed to agree that there was a prominent audience for both traditional and digital media, the importance being to keep those audiences, as well as the beauty of both outlets.

How do you successfully pitch to Cosmo?
When asked about making pitches to Cosmo, both editors stressed the importance of due diligence, and making connections. Court and Austin contended that part of making a successful pitch is to build a relevant strategy of how to connect, while having an interesting topic to discuss. This includes doing research on recent Cosmo topics, and what the magazine covers.

Quick tips from the editors included:

  • Avoid Monday morning and Friday afternoon pitches. Companies tend to hold office meetings to discuss weekly events early morning on Mondays, while Friday afternoon pitches tend to get lost in weekend emails.
  • Know your deadlines. When you’re reaching out for digital content, understand that there is always a longer lead-time.
  • Be Timely. The editors stressed the importance of understanding timeliness, and knowing the best time frames for getting your content to the right person.
  • Research. Avoid pitching a topic that might have been covered in last month’s issue. Make sure you do your research before you pitch.

Building the Cosmo Community
The Cosmo brand is also built on bridging the gap between its international editions. Cosmo offers consumers the chance to participate in global surveys in order to create a sense of community among women. Court states, “It’s about the community of women who have something in common with you. Cosmo wants to encourage being fun and fearless, for all people, in all aspects of life.” She also went on to say that you must “always believe in yourself, and don’t listen to the naysayers.” The continuity of these messages across all the Cosmo editions is what ultimately unites the readership. This discussion provided valuable insight into developing a brand identity.

Thanks to Gorkana US for hosting this incredible event! As well, a large thank you to the panelists Louise Court of Cosmopolitan UK, and Sara Austin from Cosmopolitan US, for their terrific insight into the Cosmo brand and the future of media.

- S.

image-62Gorgeous waterfall inside Hearst Tower