In today’s world, it’s so difficult to stand out as an individual, especially online. Any spark of creativity or individuality you possess can often be snuffed out by over-saturation of people just like you, all posting online. This loss of identity and voice can make a person feel, at times, like they have nothing to offer; no story to tell.
This Digital Communications course has taught me that you need to find your own personal story and personal brand and be able to target that to your audience in a way that grasps attention and makes you stand out. You need to identify your target market and cater to their interests with your storytelling.
In order to tell a compelling story, you’ll have to stop editing yourself, and just be able to share your lived experiences, injecting your personality into every aspect. Your stories should be purposeful and relevant to your own personal brand.
Concern about being seen as ‘perfect’ or ‘well-liked’ has always caused me to over-edit myself in my writing. When I tell stories, I want my personality and my quirks to show through. I believe this is how my stories will have the most chance of being successful.
In a digital world, it’s hard to stand out; but when you know how to breathe magic into a story, you can set yourself apart.
I worked in a high school in the front office, and my ‘customers’ were teenagers. Some were happy to be at school, some were not. Some students were pleasant, and easy to get along with, while some were difficult and standoffish. I took all of their personalities and greetings (or non-greetings) in stride, because talking to them was the best part of my day.
As someone who initially set out to be a Social Worker working with young and troubled individuals, I had no issues with teenage attitudes and poor behaviours. I held no biases, and over time, many of the students came to know this.
There was one particular student who stood out as my ‘favourite customer’. She had a fiery attitude and was often in the office when her words got her into trouble, but that’s not really what I noticed about her.
She was always complimentary towards me and said some of the kindest words I’ve heard. She was wonderfully talented with make-up, something I am passionate about as well, and I would tell her so. She was smart, and got good grades, but school was not for her. I tried my best to always be the friendly face she could count on when things weren’t going so well, and she always returned that with kindness. Her visits were a highlight of my time in that job.
Sometime later, when I had left the job and she had finished school, I ran into her. She told me about how she had gotten a great job and was working on getting some licensing. She was so proud of herself and so was I. That experience will stick with me forever and reminds me of how connected we can be to others through our work.
I am an analytical-creative thinker. The two don’t often go hand-in-hand. I will both solve a problem and package the solution up nicely for presentation. I take pride in my ability to think inwardly and express outwardly with the same enthusiasm.
I harness my creativity by learning and acting only when I have mastered something to my fullest capabilities. It sounds cheesy, but continuous learning is a concept I live by. In both my personal and professional life, my goals are to be trusted, and respected, and well-liked by my peers. I feel this is achievable through confidence, knowledge, and mutual respect. This is why I consider it important to listen, learn, and act with pure intentions.
I learn by taking-in the world around me, and I love to give back by sharing my own knowledge with the world. I’m an open book to those who wish to listen; and a listening ear to those who need it. I firmly believe in open communication, and in using my voice to speak up when others cannot. I love to read stories, and I love to tell them.
These are just some of the pieces that make me whole. I don’t believe in compartmentalizing any parts of my life. I like the overlap between personal and professional, I like the overlap between logical thinking and free thinking. I am the sum of all of my unique parts.
One of the most recognizable brands in music streaming today is Spotify. They have an endless supply of music to choose from and the app is so user-friendly. Everyone loves something that makes their lives infinitely easier. But what else does Spotify do that sets them apart from other streaming services?
“By 2019, Spotify boasts 217 million monthly active listeners, which is approximately four times more than what its main competitor, Apple Music, has” (Alina Gorbatch for awario, October 2019).
Spotify goes beyond accumulating all of its listeners’ favourites into fun categorical playlists that are tailored to their every musical whim. They also have some subtle, and some not-so-subtle ways of drawing consumers to the app via social media influence.
First, let’s take a look at some of the important built-in features:
Users can share songs straight to Snapchat, Instant Messaging, Instagram, or Facebook with both a clip of the video, and a link to Spotify.
Users can also share entire playlists via the above platforms, and link potential listeners who can follow their playlists.
Next, we can look at some of their major social media campaigns:
2018 Wrapped Campaign: Spotify used data collected on what the public was listening to to release ‘fun facts’ about the listening habits of its users.
2019 Meme Campaign: Spotify used clever advertising with memes geared towards the Millennial generation and below – showing they were keeping abreast of what was popular with their target demographic.
2019 Year in Review Campaign: Possibly my favourite and my pick for most clever strategy was when Spotify showed a slideshow of all of your post played songs and artists for the year. This campaign blew up and had everyone sharing snapshots of their slideshow on their Instagram story.
Bottom line, Spotify is excellent at keeping up with trends and giving consumers the distinct feeling that if you don’t use Spotify, you’re missing out.
Make-up artistry is one of my greatest passions in life. It’s also extremely popular in the online world. As a certified make-up artist, I have entertained the idea of becoming a freelance artist, but I don’t see myself doing that for work. It is more of a hobby to me than anything.
That being said, if I were to turn it into a profitable business, who would my target audience be? I believe my niche market area would be in the bridal makeup industry. I would target my services towards engaged women.
In my education, I learned that in the bridal business, the day of the wedding starts very early; make-up and hair especially. That means I wouldn’t want to have to make long trips early in the morning. Therefore, I would only market to brides within about 25 kilometers of my home.
A website with an updated portfolio and word-of-mouth would be my two main forms of advertising my services. Happy brides will have no problem passing information to other soon-to-be-brides. Having a website to direct them to would help to showcase my artwork all in one place and would also give them an opportunity to contact me. It is also important to note that this online portfolio should include a wide variety of ethnicities, as photos of work done only on extremely similar skin tones can show a lack of skills or lack of diversity in your kit.
Having a social media presence is also important in this line of work, so having an Instagram page would also be great marketing. Photos are one of the best ways to show make-up artistry skills and if they are memorable enough, people will remember them when their time of need for those services arises.
We all know the age-old issue with written communication: meaning and expression can get misconstrued by the reader. Conveying emotion and passion in writing is a mystery for many, and often causes budding bloggers to become disheartened and quit.
Have I Made Myself Clear?
In my opinion, two of the most valuable pieces of information to come from this week’s lesson were understanding the various levels of reading and being clear and concise when writing.
Skimming The Surface
As a self-confessed skimmer, I seek out the most important pieces of information to retain, while spending very little time actually reading entire blog posts and articles. The inverted pyramid style of writing is very useful to me in this respect. Having the most important information at the beginning of the written piece, or at the beginning of paragraphs, means us skimmers will absorb the information we need efficiently.
You’ve Lost Me
I particularly liked the emphasis put on not ‘burying the lead’ in this week’s lesson as well. Losing the reader before they’ve even reached the main point is obviously not beneficial to engagement.
The same level of reading will not be given to a blog post as it is to a book.
People reading articles or blog posts do not often sit down with the intention to read in an analytical matter. However, if someone has sat down with a book, chances are they have the intention to relax and comprehend every word.
Consider the audience. Who is the primary reader? How can you grab their attention? Have you engaged with your reader? All things to consider as an aspiring blogger or journalist.
In October of 2018, my sister and I were out with friends when she turned to me and said, “I want to go to Spain, do you want to go with me?”. Of course, I didn’t hesitate and told her I would absolutely love to go to Spain! Both of us had been to Europe previously, but had been eager to travel to a country we had yet to experience.
One month later, after the hurried booking of plane tickets and Airbnb stays, we landed in Madrid. We were early to our accommodations so, locked-out and exhausted, we settled with our bags at a nearby café for some egg sandwiches and coffee.
Madrid was wonderful. We initially saw it as a stop-over between our more touristy adventures, but our first night there was one of the most memorable ones from the entire trip.
After some afternoon sight-seeing, we sat on our small balcony in the warm evening air, watching the city below. We dined on wine, cheese, and a baguette from a local shop we had ventured into earlier that afternoon.
As the night went on, we strolled through the streets looking for a place to have some drinks. We settled on Restaurante el Pescador, where we enjoyed a few too many Limoncellos!
After a lovely breakfast at the adorable La Panera Rosa España, we boarded a train to Barcelona.
Barcelona was alive with sight and sound; a totally different atmosphere than either of the other cities we visited in Spain. It was a whirlwind of adventuring, shopping, and nightclubs.
On our first day we visited La Sagrada Familia and the Arc de Triomf. We then enjoyed a lovely dinner in a small, hidden, vegan bar called Cat Bar Cat while catching up with an old friend who was living in Barcelona at the time.
Perhaps the most memorable was our second day in Barcelona where we travelled to Monserrat. A trip by train and cable car took us to the most incredible and unforgettable mountain-top views.
After being invigorated by day of hiking and fresh mountain air, we spent the night in bars and nightclubs, experiencing the bustling nightlife of Barcelona.
To call our time in Barcelona exhilarating would be an understatement.
Following all of that excitement, we travelled to Valencia, where we relaxed and took in the beauty of this peaceful city. Valencia was colourful and calm; palm trees and coffee shops lining the streets. It’s important to note that all of Spain had amazing coffee, but Valencia had such variety and delicacy within its coffee shops.
Valencia was a perfect way to end our trip before we made our way back to Madrid for one last night before flying home.
Though planned quickly and without much thought, travelling to Spain was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. We felt ‘at home’ in Spain. I truly recommend travelling to this magical European destination, or at the very least, venturing on your own last-minute trip!