COM0015 – Blog #4: Out of the Box

Companies withdrawing from social media, video pitching and ephemeral stories are three aspects of marketing and social media that surprised me.

  1. Withdrawing

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Image: Pixabay Free Stock

For all the access that social media and online marketing provides, they also expose to backlashes that can be even greater.

So I feel there is a growing awareness of “reserve” that is surprising to me given the potential that social media offers at an affordable cost.

On that front, Apple is a particularly telling example of a deliberate “shyness” on social media, which does not seem to weigh on the depth and breadth of the brand, judging by the lineups of people waiting for the next iPhone version for hours at a time to be the first ones to own it.

Going to the extreme, some brands like Lush simply gave up on social media.

  1. Video Pitching

Video is really touching every aspect of social media.

But where it surprises me the most is in media relations, with some PR specialist recommending pitching journalists by video.

As a former reporter, I have been pitched by a large variety of organizations. But never by video. I don’t think it is a convenient way because it requires the reporter to either open an app or go to YouTube or a website, not knowing whether there is a possibility of a security breach.

A basic email, on the other hand, creates less resistance in my view: it is convenient and doesn’t require to open anything but the email without clicking on a link.

  1. Stories

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Image: Pixabay Free Stock

Finally, while social media content already tends to be short-term oriented in my view, the rise of ephemeral  “stories” only accessible for 24 hours on Instagram or Facebook is very surprising to me.

It particularly surprises me coming from the younger generations since I thought the self-centered aspect of teens would drive them to want to be seen forever. Yet they like the “temporary” aspect of stories.

And experts seem to predict it will continue to develop, with marketers embracing stories ads.

What surprises you the most in social media and digital marketing?

COM0015 – Blog #3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future

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Image: Pexels free stock

The purpose of my professional networking

My main professional goal is to emerge as a strategic communicator, leveraging my two decades of experience as a financial journalist and honing new skills around internal and external communications.

Given that I have mostly worked as a journalist and only switched to a communication role six months ago, I still need to learn a lot.

Part of my learning is through classes such as Algonquin College social media courses.

But a lot of my skills will develop through mentoring and learning on the job. To be able to do that, and more broadly to grow professionally, I will need to develop the right networks.

What I bring to the table

Having studied economics and finance, having worked as a market economist, an economics and financial journalist, a translator of investment books, I am bringing a strong knowledge in the fields of economics and finance, as well as editing.

I can also help communicators anticipate how journalists think, or help discuss linguistic-related issues in French, while sharing my international experience.

Online networking

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Image: Pexels free stock

Reconnect by email

Among people I have known through my past experiences or as friends and fellow students, I have kept good relationships, although exchanges have been infrequent.

So over the next six to 12 months, I am planning to contact them by email to have direct insight into their jobs and how they do it, what their challenges are and how they overcome them. I know these contacts well enough to be relatively direct with the purpose of my reaching out.


I will also use LinkedIn to showcase some of the work I am currently doing as an external communications manager by sharing some of my company’s events, for instance.

I will also continue to post content related to economics and finance to show I remain engaged in these topics, while commenting on other people’s posts in a constructive way.

Most of my contacts are in the field of finance and journalism, and I will reach out to some of the closest ones for advice sharing.

I will also reach out to my current colleagues on LinkedIn to add them to my network and have a better chance at seeing information about potential events I could attend.

I will also join communications groups in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and contribute to online discussions.

In-person networking

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Image: Pexels free stock

In addition to joining communications networks on LinkedIn, I will attend their events and meet other communicators in the region.

I am currently a member of the International Association of Business Communicators, which I am mostly using for courses and webinars at the moment. It is a great source of information for trends in the communication sector.

However, they also organize events that are a great opportunity to not only meet experienced communicators but communicators interested in the field of business. I believe there is great potential to meet people and learn about best practices through this group.

Meeting people at my new job as much as I can is also beneficial to learn about best practices for internal and external communication.

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Image: Pexels free stock

I am also a member of InterNations Ottawa Networking Group and will more actively participate in their events to meet people from different countries, some of them working in areas that could be of interest, such as communications or finance.

Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn!

COMM015 – Blog Post #2  – Paris Opera and Nike Shine on social media


Image: Screenshot of Paris Opera Website

Because I love ballet and regularly follow the top companies in the world, I took a closer look at their social media and websites. The Paris Opera particularly stood out in the performing arts world.

I have also selected Nike, a reference in social media strategy, for its immense success on Instagram.

On the other hand, Freestyle Canada is missing out on social media opportunities.

1. Paris Opera playing up the video card

The Paris Opera underwent an overhaul of its digital strategy in 2016 to develop sales and gain more awareness in the public, both in France and abroad. What strikes me the most is its much heavier reliance on video, in line with the objective of reaching out to a broader audience, including the younger public.

Here are some highlights:

  • YouTube

The institution clearly stepped up its digital communication via video, leveraging a medium that is increasingly used by younger audiences, which had traditionally escaped the Paris Opera that until recently had been more focused on older wealthier dance and Opera aficionados. The YouTube channel proposes interviews with artists, previews of performances. But it added something I have not really seen at other comparable institutions: background information on some performances in the way of very short humoristic animations such as the “recipe” of Don Carlo. The channel has 48,300 subscribers.

op2Image: Screenshot of Paris Opera’s YouTube channel

  • Podcasts

Even better, the Paris Opera seized on the Podcast trend in a big way, partnering with French music radio station France Musique to create “Dance! Sing! 7 minutes at the Paris Opera,” which it describes as “original incursions into the season.”

  • The Third Scene

What is unique about the Paris Opera is that it is the only ballet and opera institution in the world to have two theaters: Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille. The digital transformation leveraged this unique feature to add a “Third Scene”, with its own Facebook page. Every month, this digital stage offers a new creation from artists across different genres (fiction, performance, documentary), provided their creation is related to dance or music.

2. How Nike Just Does It on Instagram

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  • Following the audience and trends

Nike goes where its audience is and speaks their language. In a social media world increasingly dominated by imagery and videos, Nike seems to be stepping up efforts on Instagram (IG), and for good reasons: according to Sprout Social, 80% of IG users follow a brand. Users are right in Nike’s alley when it comes to demographics: while the brand generally targets the 15-40 age range, 72% of IG users are 13-17 years old and 64% are 18 to 29.

Image: Pixabay free stock

  • Speaking the audience’s language

Nike takes each post very seriously, judging by their quality. When looking at Nike’s IG, the pictures and videos are a mix of emotions, real-life situations and high performance experiences, all with one thing in common: inspiration and high quality. Not only does Nike meet its audience where it is, but it shows them pictures and videos of what they like, speaking their own language. Its approach is paying off: Nike’ main IG channel has 96.1 million followers, making it the brand with the most followers on IG.


Image: Screenshot of Nike’s Instagram

3. Freestyle Canada missing out on opportunities

Freestyle Canada is the country’s freestyle ski association governing all aspects of the sport, including its development, and would benefit from higher memberships and awareness.

Granted, resources are not those of Nike. But even the website, to which social media platforms link back to is not up to date. In fact, it does not provide a link to IG, the second most active social media platform for the organization, while listing Google+, which no longer exists. Some other information, such as competition results, is not updated in a timely fashion.


Image: Screenshot of Freestyle Canada’s website

The organization is also literally absent from YouTube, with few posts and 211 subscribers, while most freestylers are the young demographics influencing the growing video trend on social media.

The organization could encourage the freestyle community to share videos as a way to get around the lack of resources or leverage influencers’ posts.

Overall, Freestyle Canada would benefit from a strategy that would help promote awareness of the sport on social media by better leveraging platforms’ automation capabilities, introducing an editorial calendar covering platforms where the audience is having its conversations, or broadening the types of stories to share, including more lifestyle stories.

What is the best social media strategy you have seen?


COM0015 – Blog #1: How I Like To Monitor And Follow The News

1 – How I like monitoring

When it comes to monitoring, I have found Google Alerts to be very effective, along with Feedly, for RSS feeds.

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Images: Pixabay

After spending some time setting up alerts to ensure they will be relevant, once I start receiving them, I feel like an advisor is keeping me regularly informed about topics I want to follow.

Briefings on the go that save my time

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Image: Pixabay

I do not need to “chase” the content: it comes to me, even when I am on the go, sorted according to criteria I had carefully selected myself. As an individual or small business, I find these two tools very convenient for monitoring.

Google Alerts and the RSS feeds also allow me to save time. By having the information pushed to me by email or via screen notifications, I don’t have to spend as much time searching. As an individual, I feel I am able to keep on top of issues that matter to me most in a cost-effective way.

2 – My two best sources of news

I am particularly interested in economics and finance, both personally and professionally.

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Image: Pixabay


I like the Wall Street Journal’s application, including their podcasts and blogs. I trust their reporting and find it a reliable source of news. It is a must-have both personally and for my job.

I appreciate their notifications, especially when I wake up in the morning, allowing me to catch up with the most important developments in my field.

The downside is that it is limited to a single source of news.


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Image: Pixabay

For a broader view of the news, I also use Twitter, since most politicians, economic think tanks, banks, corporations and influencers in the field I am interested in have a Twitter account, including the WSJ.

This allows me to have a good overview of news from various sources. When I see something interesting, I actually open the link that takes me to the appropriate website where I can spend more time reading the story.

The downside is that “fake” news or unchecked sources make their way, requiring more vigilance.

There are many other sources I like, but I would be curious to hear about yours.

COM0014 – Blog #7 – The importance of storytelling for digital content

How good storytelling drives good digital content

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Listing product specifications, price discounts or service descriptions is not nearly enough to keep an existing or potential customer engaged.

The course taught me that people want an “experience” they can relate to. For instance, Red Bull is not selling its energy drinks on social media, but sharing an “extreme” experience through storytelling using words, videos and pictures that its young and dynamic audience identifies with.

Images: YND, Pixabay free stock

And while each story creates a unique experience, they all reflect the identity of the brand. This identity keeps consistency across all content and platforms.

Attracted by the brand’s identity or “personality”, the audience keeps coming back for more of these unique experiences that stimulate emotions. The audience remains engaged, enabling the brand to create a long-lasting connection.  This connection sets the foundation for a trustful relationship that will eventually evolve the reader into a customer.

This is why good storytelling is so important to impactful digital content.

My story

Images: Pixabay (left), Pexels (right) – free stocks

In my case, it is the story of a frustrated adult ballet dancer trying to change the adult ballet scene in Ottawa.

My blogs, videos and pictures will all share different experiences reflecting various situations. But my identity and values will transpire in all of them, even if the channels might evolve with the feedback I receive from the audience.

The audience, I hope, will recognize its own values, relate to the various experiences, and be enticed to share its own views and engage in ways that will move the needle in Ottawa’s adult ballet class scene.

It will be authentic unique content with shared purpose and values.

How will you use your newly acquired knowledge?

COM0014 – Blog #6: I’m an adult and I do ballet…or can I?


Photo: YND

A frustrated adult ballet dancer

Dance is what I do. Not as a school student, although I graduated in ballet from conservatory near Paris, France. Not as a job either, although I used to perform professionally in the U.S.

Ballet is my favourite hobby and has always been part of my life, in Paris, Washington, DC or NYC. In Ottawa, however, this part of my life has dramatically changed. Finding a decent advanced ballet class for adults has been quite a frustrating journey.

Adults are either considered as total beginners or as people looking for some exercise. This translates into adult classes that give a taste of ballet or ballet “workouts” such as ballet barres. As if no sane adult could enjoy ballet the way they would enjoy the gym.


Images: Pixabay (left) and Pexels (right)

On a mission to improve adult ballet offerings in Ottawa

But I want to change that.



Images: YND (left), Pexels (right)

So now I am on a mission to try ballet studios in Ottawa and share my experiences with an audience of adult ballet dancers ranging from beginners to advanced and professionals. I will raise the issue with each ballet studio I go to. I will gather momentum through my blog and, hopefully, encourage many adult ballet dancers to return to dance studios and request more advanced classes.

Eventually, I hope to form a group big enough to encourage the opening of new adult ballet classes for all levels, especially advanced dancers whose momentum was stopped by a lack of opportunities.

Are you ready to go back to dance?

COM0014 – Blog #5: YND Inc: A world of passion and dedication

This is how my brand would be summarized in a picture:


Image: YND

Values: Passion and dedication

Passion and dedication are present in everything I do. More precisely, passion has allowed me to be dedicated in all areas of my life. That’s how fortunate I have been.

It all started with a passion for ballet and writing, which led me from France, to the U.S., and Canada.

The professional side



Writing has always been a passion. So once I graduated with a master’s in international banking and finance, I was thrilled to be able to write about a topic I had always found fascinating: economics and finance. When I started as a journalist for an American financial newswire in Paris, I understood the opportunity wouldn’t come twice.

As a French native speaker, my English needed tremendous work to reach American journalistic standards. But when passion is there, learning becomes a privilege. I put in a lot of work and this dedication paid off when I was trusted to move to Washington, DC, and then Ottawa, Canada.

Now, as a business communicator, writing is one of the favourite parts of my job. But learning the strategic aspect of communication is truly fascinating. Here too, dedication is my saviour.

The personal side


Images: YND

When work took me to Washington, DC, where I immediately joined a dance studio, I was fortunate to be spotted by a director who asked me to join her dance company, doing neoclassical work.

Getting offered the opportunity, however, didn’t come by pure chance. I started dancing at the age of 5 and trained extensively at the conservatory near Paris, France, reaching a level that took me beyond just hobby. A lot of tears and dedication went into this training. But today, I am very proud of what I have accomplished. It is part of my identity.

Understanding the importance of having a passion, I have also been dedicated to my son’s ski training, such an important part of his own identity. Being a dedicated mom has yielded the greatest satisfaction of all.

COM0014 – Blog Post #4 – Red Bull Speaks Its Audience Language


Image: Pixabay free stock

My 13-year old son is an avid freestyle skier who is just as active in real life as on social media. I saw him ask questions to Full Tilt Boots (outdoor sporting goods) on Instagram, which answered pretty quickly. Full Tilt Boots and Lines, a ski brand, both liked some of my son’s ski videos, which made him feel really proud. In fact, for this season, my son asked if he could be equipped by these 2 brands.

Clearly, social media interactions worked. But my son is also one of Red Bull’s 12 million Instagram followers worldwide, while he never asks to buy these energy drinks. So I decided to study this brand to better understand why it would benefit from my son following it without selling its drink.

Focus on the experience: Young and furious



Images: Pixabay free stock

According to Pew Research Center, 85% of teens use YouTube, 72% use Instagram, 69% Snapchat, 51% Facebook, and only 32% use Twitter.

Red Bull is active on all these platforms and even offers specialized channels on YouTube by type of sport, including Red Bull Snow.

The content is about the adrenaline experience in various forms: on snow, in the water, in the air, dancing. It is never about selling the drink. The young crowd can identify to their favourite athletes, skiers, sports, attend Red Bull events in their real world knowing it will be exciting and fun, transferring the fun from social media to their own reality.

The strategy is successful: Red Bull has 48 million followers on Facebook, 12 million followers on IG, nearly 9 million subscribers on YouTube, with thousands of views, likes and shares, providing outstanding brand awareness in the target audience: 16- to 30-year olds. This translates into dollars, with revenues up 8% in 2018 to USD6.5 billion, making the Austrian brand that “gives you wings” the 71st most valuable in the world.

Do you interact with brands on social media?

COM0014 – Blog Post #3 – Audience Target: Ballet Isn’t Just For Little Girls


Photo: YND


My favourite hobby is ballet and I have danced my whole life. But in Ottawa, I have been discouraged by the low quality and high cost of ballet classes offered to adults, which are generally geared towards beginners, as suggested by the results of searches on Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Frustration around adult ballet is not just an Ottawa thing, as a recent article in Dance Magazine suggests. In Ottawa, however, it is aggravated by the lack of options relative to large cities like Toronto.

So I am creating a blog to raise awareness locally through relevant and engaging content, and eventually build up momentum for a better choice of adult ballet classes in Ottawa.

Audience demographics

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Image: Pexels Free Stock Photo

Given the purpose of the blog, adults are the primary audience, regardless of ethnicity.


The age range is between 25 and 80, based on my lifelong experience in ballet studios abroad and in Ottawa.

The audience is overwhelmingly composed of women, but should not exclude men.

Audience Psychographics

The blog is geared towards university students, working professionals, as well as retirees.

This is generally an active population, which would be interested in reviving their ballet skills, start their dream of learning ballet or practice ballet at an advanced level.

Communication tools and strategy


WordPress Blog

The main element of the strategy would be a blog with relevant content, such as the Adult Ballet Hub, and have it referenced on Facebook and

Facebook Group

I would create a Facebook (FB) Group for Ottawa adult ballet, as adults are particularly active on  (FB). Research indeed suggests this would be the best platform to reach my audience target, including older adults. It would be the primary platform linking to the blog. FB is a good place to compare experiences through comments and sharing relevant content seen elsewhere. Adult Ballet Diaries, with more than 3k followers, is a good example.

I would also create an Ottawa Adult Ballet Group on as another way to assess local interest and be proactive in the dance community in Ottawa. I would include links to the FB Group and the blog.


Success would be measured by the degree of engagement via post shares, likes and comments on FB.

The progression in the number of followers on FB and members on would also be a relevant measure of success, as would participation in meetings.

Would you have picked different platforms? I would love to her your suggestions!


COM0014 – Blog #2: Storytelling: Not Just About Telling



Image: Pixabay (free stock)

If there is one takeaway from course material, online reading and my own experience as a journalist, it is that there is more to storytelling than just telling the story. Whom you tell it to, how you tell it and what reaction you want to trigger are all important parts of the equation.

Here is my take on storytelling:

  • Listen first: audience matters
  • Tell your story: style matters
  • Engage: relevance matters
  1. Listen Before You Tell

Whatever message you want to share, however good your story is, if you fail to listen first and identify your audience, you risk sending the wrong information to the wrong people the wrong way. Intuitively, this isn’t the destination a story is aiming at.

When you miss your target – your audience – this is what you could get:

disengaged student PixabayImage: Pixabay (free stock)

  1. Tell your story


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Image: Pixabay (free stock)

Assuming you are sharing your message with the right audience, you need to present it in an attractive way. This starts with a proper communication style.

To take your readers from glancing through your content to inspiring them to form their own ideas, you need them to understand you.

The best way to help them understand is to guide them through your thoughts.

Clear thoughts alone are not enough, however.

Clarity of style is a must: you need the right words in the right place, spelled correctly in a grammatically correct sentence.

That leads you to the right story, the right audience, and the right style. This applies to podcasts or videos as well.

  1. Engage

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Image: Pixabay (free stock)

Because you know your audience, your story is relevant to them, making it more engaging.

Another way to engage your audience is to use your own authentic voice. It will be easier for them to relate to you.

Now, it would be nice to amplify your voice and share your story with an even bigger community.

You already have your audience’s attention.

If you want to spread your message, make it easy for them to share. Use available tools such as ShareThis.

Finally, adding a call to action like asking a well-thought question will encourage feedback and engagement from your audience.

So the storytelling equation is really not a one-way journey: you listen, you tell, you engage, your listeners share, they comment, and you keep current with their interests.

What are your best tips for storytelling?