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Content Marketing Interview With Rachel Globus

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how fast media changes. Over the last five years specifically, technology has changed the way we consume and access content — whether it’s an article, video, or other interactive element or graphic. This evolution of media, the internet and gadgets like smartphones and tablets have made content more accessible and dynamic than ever before. As a writer, editor and content strategist, it’s been such a fun time to work in media. It’s my job to understand and get creative within these ever-changing mediums for a variety of audiences.

Anyway, this led me to write about the intersection of content and marketing. I wrote a blog post for social media company TINT, called, “Content Marketing: Don’t Sell Your Brand, Tell Your Story.” While researching this piece, I had the opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned during my career in digital media and think about the talented people I worked with over the years. I decided to tap their knowledge of content marketing for my post. And, their responses to my interviews were so great, I had to publish them.

First up, we have Rachel Globus, who is a Sr. Social Media Strategist at E.W. Scripps Co. She is a unique source because she’s worked in print, digital and social, and she takes a very academic approach to learning everything she can about each medium and then she creates practical applications of what she’s learned to engage readers, while also optimizing the content she develops and produces. She’s pretty much a rock star, but I’ll let her speak for herself below.

Q&A With Rachel Globus

Christa Fletcher: How has online content changed over the course of your career?

Rachel Globus: When I think about how content has changed, the term “web extra” comes to mind. That’s what we used to call content that would go on the website because it wasn’t good enough for the magazine, back when I was the editor of a national trade. The term encapsulates an entire worldview of online content: inferior, inconsequential, extraneous.

Now—to users’ great benefit—content producers develop it natively for the online experience, which means that the best content goes online first, produced for online formats, and with interactive elements. These days, when I get the Sunday New York Times, it’s a rehash of all the best articles I’ve already read over the week. The new “web extra” is the “[insert legacy medium here] extra”!

Another major change is in the meaning of the word content. Nobody used to use the word “content”—you created articles or stories. I’ve always had a great distaste for the word because it implies a false equivalency to all written text. A Facebook post is equivalent to a New Yorker profile is equivalent to a Wikipedia entry: It’s all content. I think it reflected a lack of true understanding of content on the part of engineers and ultimately online entrepreneurs and businesses. On the other hand, it reflects a democratization of content creation that has enriched all of us. Now, as users have gotten more discerning, all content providers have had to step up their game, and that’s a good thing.

Lastly, discovery mechanisms have completely changed along with the dominant mediums. You used to package content to grab eyes on covers and front pages. Then, producers moved to accommodate the search-driven content discovery model, so we wrote for Google. Next, we developed content and wrote for social discovery, which drives us both to cover different topics and package them in a different way. Now, we’re on the cusp of a sea change as users age out of Facebook and Twitter caps out its userbase. What we’ve learned is to be agile—the trick isn’t to be good at optimizing to drive readership via the platform du jour, it’s to be good at optimizing.

Fletcher: Have these changes affected how you write content? Or how you market it to readers? If so, how?

Globus: Absolutely! If you’re not writing with an eye out how your audience will discover your content, and the environment they will experience it in, you’re not in the game.

In terms of marketing content, it’s still all about optimizing for social discovery. Where I currently work in the TV industry, they used to reach the most people through on-air commercials for key content pieces. Now, it’s not uncommon for more people to see one Facebook post than some of our newscasts, so we produce mini-packages for social platforms that are specifically designed to drive engagement and reach on social media. Facebook is still a marketing juggernaut for publishers. No other platform has anywhere near the reach.

Fletcher: Has social media changed how you write content?

Globus: Social media changes how we produce content in two key ways. First, it changes the topics we cover. Second, it changes how we package it.

When I was at eHow.com, I analyzed tens of thousands of pieces of content to determine what resonated on social media, in order to inform content development. For example, we typically planned to produce food basics for eHow Food, such as “How to Cook a Turkey.” When I looked at the social data, I found that content associated with relaxation and partying, especially drinks and desserts, performed better socially (e.g. How to Make No-Bake Chocolate Oreo Ball Cookies), so we built that into our content strategy.

In terms of writing, people now use content to identify themselves in their digital life, the way they use clothes and accessories in real life. So give them a way to talk about themselves by talking about you. For example, five years ago this slideshow we did would have been called “10 gorgeous photos of San Diego.” Now it’s “10 holiday photos that could only happen in San Diego,” which I specifically wrote to allow our audience to humble-brag about their city! Buzzfeed has taken this type of content to a true art form.

Fletcher: Has technology changed your writing style?

Globus: You have to understand the environment you’re writing for. I once had an editor tell me to start each paragraph with an unusual word, to grab readers’ eyes as they’re scanning down the magazine page. Interestingly, I think the old swimsuit rule (make your story long enough to cover the subject, and short enough to be interesting) applies now more than ever—it’s just that, as with swimsuits, the hemline keeps rising.

Fletcher: What do you think about content marketing? Has the shift from brands as publishers been positive or negative for digital publishing?

Globus: Since I’m a marketer who comes from content, I’m a huge believer in the power of content as marketing. I think the industry needs to get better at tracking how all touch points in the sales funnel lead to purchase, so we get away from a last-click attribution-only model.

Brand publishing is a positive for all content producers. More competition pushes us to be better.

Fletcher: Are there examples of brands who publish content you enjoy? Hate?

Globus: LOVE: Mic, Vox, Verge, Buzzfeed. Note that first three in particular all have great user experiences. Publishers forget that your digital presence is the club you’re inviting your audience to. If it doesn’t have a cool vibe, they’re going to leave.

HATE: Upworthy.

Fletcher: What are some best practices you’d share with a writer or marketer who wants to get eyes on good his/her content?

Globus: Don’t just take what you do and push it out on a channel. Create content that is authentic to that channel. The prototypical example I’ve seen working in the news business is the TV station that posts every car crash to their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc. account. If you can’t create content that makes sense for that channel, the channel doesn’t have your target audience.

Bake the discovery mechanism into the content development process. I.e., if you’re not thinking about how your piece of content is going to look and feel on Facebook or how you could play it out on Instagram, as you’re developing it, it’s going to fall flat.

Build your own list. Social media isn’t an audience—it’s a means to reach and convert an audience.

Test and learn. Respond to what your audience wants.

Don’t forget story.

InterviewHer.com

New Site for Women in Business

I recently contributed to a new publication dedicated to women entrepreneurs, called InterviewHer.com. The website features women who own their own businesses and provides tips to other ambitious women who want to pursue their own enterprise.

Many of the women featured run successful companies in publishing, beauty and health trades, while others launched fashion lines, run design firms and opened bakeries.

My first piece covers media expert and author Daisy Whitney who owns her own company and published her first book in a series titled, The Mockingbirds. The feature explains how Whitney started her business in media and includes a review of her debut novel. The author also donated a copy of her book, which readers can enter to win in a sweepstakes. In fact, every woman featured is offered the opportunity to share her products or services with readers as giveaways to readers.

InterviewHer.com covers business owners in major cities like Miami, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale and New York, among others. And, they are looking for new women to interview.

“We’re always interested in learning about exciting ventures and ideas but we can’t do it all on our own. If you are a fellow female business owner, or if you know of any trendy companies in your city that may not be on our radar, let us know!”

If you know a woman who founded and runs her own company, please help us support women in business and include your suggestion in the comments below, or contact InterviewHer.com directly.

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The Mockingbirds

A Novel Debut

A Remedy in Writing

Originally Published by InterviewHer.com on November 1, 2010

Author and Media Expert Daisy Whitney

“Talking about things is what helps us heal and recover from challenging times in life,” explains Daisy Whitney, host of New Media Minute and author of The Mockingbirds. Yet, many women feel silenced about sexual abuse – especially teens who have been date raped. Daisy Whitney just might change that with her new book. She knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles and finding the strength to speak out.

Daisy Whitney is a talented writer and media expert with a thriving personal business and family. She’s also releasing her debut novel, The Mockingbirds, on November 2, 2010, which has already received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. Yet, her journey to success and “masterfully” written novel began with a hardship — one that changed her life and inspired her to write about date rape, vigilantism and academic politics.

Daisy Whitney was date raped when she was 19-years-old and she understands firsthand what it means to find her voice and the strength to press charges against her attacker. “I was a freshman in college at the time and am definitely a big believer in the power of speaking up.”

With the support of her friends Whitney pressed charges in her school’s justice system at Brown University. “In the early nineties we were starting to understand date rape,” said Whitney in an interview. “Institutions now have disciplinary systems that recognize sexual assault as a violation of the

code.”

Thankfully, her school handled Whitney’s case and she healed from the incident by being able to talk about it and find closure for herself. After receiving her degree, Whitney started her career in journalism as a reporter and later founded her own business as a reporter and media expert.

The Mockingbirds is the first in a series about a secret society in a private high school called Themis Academy. The protagonist,Alex, is sexually assaulted after a night of drinking. She struggles to remember what happened that night as she copes with her fear of the classmate who raped her. Her friends provide guidance when she realizes that she has been violated and abused. In her quest to heal, she encounters the Mockingbirds, a student-run justice system and she decides to press charges against her attacker.

The Mockingbirds, by Daisy Whitney

In this exciting and evocative book, Whitney captures the complexity of date rape with her narrative about Alex, an exceptional concert pianist who wants to pursue music at Juilliard. Whitney creates a powerful scenario, filled with realistic characters that show teens the trials of coping and the importance of finding empowerment after assault.

The novel comes at a crucial time. One in six women will become victims of sexual assault during their lifetime, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). Many of them are girls, ages 16-19. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault estimates nearly half of reported cases of sexual assault and attempted rape are teens. “According to a study conducted by The Northern Westchester Shelter, with Pace Women’s Justice Center, about 83% of 10th graders said they would sooner turn to a friend for help with dating abuse than a teacher, counselor, parent or other caring adult,” said Whitney in an email.

For Daisy Whitney, speaking up and increasing awareness are not only key elements of her novel, they are also part of her business plan, turning her tragedy to triumph, while helping teens on the way.

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Google Thinks I’m Gay

My Gmail account thinks I’m a lesbian.

You see, I’d be totally cool with a human mistaking my sexuality because it’s not a big deal, but the fact that Google gave me ads targeted to a presumed sexuality is disturbing. Since when is my sex life remotely relevant to the internet?

I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since Facebook has given me fertility and baby advertisements since I changed my status to “married.” And, since Gmail doesn’t know I’m married, but I have Google alerts for “sexism,” “feminism” and “women’s issues,” the email provider made a generalization that I have sex with women.

So being a feminist makes me a lesbian? Does that mean all lesbians are feminists? Wow.

You know, it’s too bad you can’t be a person concerned with issues that affect women without being forced into gender roles, sex and other labels. Why should anyone define themselves by their email usage or Facebook status? Targeted ads are another form of stereotyping.

Let’s be honest, these personalized ads are totally sexist. Why are my sexual habits even coming into play? When men change their status to married, do they get fertility and baby ads? I mean come on, as if my age, family and heterosexuality aren’t pressure enough to have kids, I have to deal with Facebook giving me tips on becoming pregnant, or Gmail encouraging me to come out of the closet?

So what if I have a Google alert for “sexism.” Yeah, people laugh when they hear that, but it’s informative and I need to know exactly what people are seeing, saying and hearing about the topic.

The truth is, both men and women should care about equality whether they read the news, set Google alerts, or pay attention to these subtle cultural niches, because in the end, it will affect them in the work place, at home, in public and in their families — if they are so inclined.

I understand ads are generated by calculated algorithms and these links pay for the free services I use, but there’s a big difference between sponsored ads based on my searches and ads that make assumptions about my personal life.

I don’t want anyone to be defined by their gender, where’s that preference in our Google account settings?

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Najahe Sherman, Image By Wikipedia.org

Flashing Forward: Women in Media

Recently, you may have noticed less posts on my blog. Sorry for the lack of writing, but I took an Adobe Flash animation and programming class and had some visitors that took up my free time. Since taking the course, I’ve learned how to animate graphics and create interactive content, but I also thought a lot about women’s  roles in media and technology.

It all began that morning in Flash class when I entered the computer lab at CUNY‘s Graduate School of Journalism. To my surprise, the class was filled with women editors, writers and publicists. In fact, everyone was a woman except for our instructor.

Given that this was “Flash for Journalists,” a course offered by Media Bistro that gives a basic knowledge of a technical skill, I felt proud that these women were defying the convention of two male-dominated industries: journalism and technology.

Even at lunch many of us commented on this unique situation that is contrary to what we know about the status of women in the U.S. workforce. We asked our instructor, the Director of Digital Media at Columbia University, if this was typical. He said men rarely take Media Bistro classes, no matter the topic.

Interesting.

Did you know that “women held only 25% of all new media jobs created from 1990 -2005,” but they made up 65% of all journalism and mass communications students?

And, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT): “In 2008 women earned only 18 percent of all Computer Science degrees.

Preposterous!

The fact that there are so many intelligent women out there, yet so few in journalism and computer technologies is insane.  While some may believe women aren’t interested in these fields, I think the problem lies in a lack of encouragement, not disinterest or a lack of talent.

The NCWIT supports women in technology because it will increase competition, innovation and create a more stable workforce with diversity. They promote outreach, retention, curriculum reform, research, and leadership programs among K-12 students and at various companies. And, the organization is partnered with Microsoft.

I completely agree with the organization’s sentiment and goals, connecting young women to new industries where they’ve historically been limited is the exact thing we should be doing.

The fact that we can put robots on Mars, but cannot achieve equality in the workforce is just silly — this isn’t rocket science. (Speaking of which, we should get more women engineers too!)

I get so tired of seeing men dominate as journalists, running media companies, or as the leading technology experts. I guess that’s why it was refreshing to meet talented women in my Flash class. Maybe, with women like Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder of the Huffington Post, and Jehmu Greene, the President of the Women’s Media Center, leading the way, we’re moving toward some progress.

For those of you interested in women tech bloggers, articles and other websites at the intersection of the two mediums, below is a list, please add more in the comments!

The journalist picture above is Najahe Sherman, a reporter for NBC Action News and member of The National Association of Black Journalists and the Native American Journalist Association.

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Gwyneth Paltrow, Image By Skins.be

Celebrity Mother Knows Best?

Gwyneth Paltrow, Image By Virgin Media

There are many celebrity moms who are taking the media by storm as “pregnancy pundits,” touting parenting tips, fitness advice and more. Stars like Angelina Jolie, Bryce Dallas Howard and celebrity bloggers Kourtney Kardashian and Bethenny Frankel, dazzle audiences with their openness and cute photos. And people are reading it.

Now, the list of pregnancy pundits continues to grow beyond the third trimester. Gisele Bundchen is a champion for breast-feeding and home births, while Gwyneth Paltrow is releasing her new cook book and revealing her struggles with postpartum depression. “I was confronted with one of the darkest and most painfully debilitating chapters of my life,” Paltrow wrote in her newsletter, GOOP.

Yet, these moms aren’t the only ones willing to share their family secrets and personal insights on motherhood. A number of celebrity mom and babe sites are filling the Google search engine, baby powdering the web with photos of  A-list babies and the products their famous mommies use, sometimes, without their permission. So, why all the interest in these leading ladies and their broods?

Gisele Bundchen in Vogue

Well, I think there are a few things at play, first, people are nosy and they want to know everything about these women’s personal lives. Second, pregnancy, birth and motherhood are no longer taboo to discuss. Over the last ten years the pregnancy bump has become a trophy, rather than a reason to stay out of the spot light (or off the red carpet) for a few months.  And, thanks to women like Angelina Jolie, women are can still land high-powered and interesting roles after mommy-dom.

Even in India, things are changing. Look at actress and former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai, she’s one of the few actresses to continue her successful career in film after getting married to actor Abhishek Bachchan. Often, after an Indian actress marries, in Bollywood it can mean bye-bye career. Hopefully after Aishwarya Rai has kids she’ll be able to continue acting if she wants too.

Anyway, back to the point, I think the paparazzi’s obsession with celebrity baby photographs is a little scary and potentially dangerous, but if the mothers are willing to give photos and speak about their experiences, I think that’s great. People obviously want to read about their lives as parents and who doesn’t want to see their cute babies?

I mean, truth be told, when they do comply and offer advice, I’d be willing to follow their tips if I were shopping for a friend’s baby. They have access to the best fashion, beauty and baby products — why wouldn’t I want to know what’s the best? In fact, when it comes to style these moms know best.

Not sure how to tap into all these celebrity parenting tips? Well, here are a some websites where these moms are featured:

Babble.com — Famecrawler blog

People Magazine — Moms and Babies

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Sugar, Spice and Made to Entice

Diesel Be Stupid Ad

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, young girls and women are wearing more revealing clothing in an attempt to look sexy at earlier ages than ever before.  Though the bellybutton-look from the nineties remains covered by longer, layered tops, preteens and teens are finding other ways to showcase their bodies with darker makeup, low-cut tops and shorter skirts.  Looking slutty, unfortunately, is officially in style.

With the media horror over the news that Miley Cyrus’ 9-year-old sister, Noah, was launching a lingerie line for kids (that turned out to be false) after she was seen wearing fishnets and patent leather platforms, we must look at how our society is encouraging young girls and women to dress this way — and why we are allowing it to happen.

Many feel that the pervasiveness of porn culture and sex slogans has led to an explosion of pressure on women and girls to be more overtly sexual — making femininity more of a performance with influences from the bedroom (Heidi Montag’s 10 plastic surgeries are an exaggerated example of this trend).  A new study by Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, a clinical psychologist at London Metropolitan University suggests that the problem lies in the availability of porn to preteens and teens, along with the overuse of sex slogans in advertisements.

Dr. Papadopoulos said: “It is a drip, drip effect. Look at porn stars, and look how an average girl now looks. It’s seeped into every day: fake breasts, fuck-me shoes … We are hypersexualising girls, telling them that their desirability relies on being desired. They want to please at any cost.”

This study was released about the same time as Diesel launched their new “Be Stupid” campaign that I’ve seen papered on the subway and walls of buildings across the city. Kids can see nipples on their way to school — and it’s not for the Nature Channel. One particular ad, (shown above) shocks and disgusts me every time I see it — not only does the ad promote exposing one’s self in public, it also suggests that women who look and act that way are hot.

If you look at every single ad in the campaign, women are made out to be sexual objects who should “Be Stupid,” to deserve attention and be considered beautiful. The slogan also says, “Be Stupid. Smart listens to the head. Stupid listens to the heart,” telling women that smarts do not equal with fun.  This overwhelming need for women to be sexy and pretty with less of an emphasis on intelligence, individuality, modesty and character also leads to men think this is how women should be, thus, perpetuating the cycle of women wanting to fulfill that role.

How does this affect young girls’ value of who they are as people?  The proof is in the lip plump.

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