COM0014 – Blog #3 – Food, Glorious Food

Personally, I am a foodie. I love anything to do with food, cooking, and nutrition. I follow a variety of healthy nutrition and food blogs, and I love to read their ideas, and recipes, and see pictures of food. Nothing (well, almost nothing) excites me more than a colourful, balanced plate. I love to imagine what the cook has used to put their gorgeous creations together.

It makes sense then, that professionally, I am a personal chef. I love to bring my passion for food and cooking to my clients. I help them eat in a nutritious and healthy way, which saves them time so they can focus on things they like to do more than cooking.

With regards to social media, this puts me on both sides of the screen. I am both a member of the audience, and a creator. Because of this, I feel that I am pretty typical of my target audience and the type of people that I want to attract to my blog and social media presence.

My target audience is people who like to learn about food, nutrition, and cooking. They like to learn tips to make their lives easier, and to get ideas for new recipes. They are predominately female, and between the ages of 30 and 55, with a family to feed. They are middle to upper class, with an expendable income.

My target audience is already on Facebook, so this is a great spot to communicate with them. With food being visual, pictures of food, and recipes posted to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, works well with this group.

Some people who are doing it right (in my opinion) are: http://www.foodheavenmadeeasy.com, http://www.mynewroots.org, http://www.paleomg.com. I love their clean and colourful pictures, great writing and inspiration.

COM0014 – Blog #1: Sun, Sand, Surf

This past Christmas my husband surprised us with a special envelope in the tree.  Inside was details about a beautiful house he had rented for us for a week in March.  It was in one of our favourite places; Melbourne Beach, Florida.  I have to admit the control-freak in me initially thought, “What? He planned this without me?”.  Then I embraced the generous gesture for the true gift that it was, and we began planning for our trip.

The deal was that we would drive South. I loved the idea.  We’ve done it a few times before when the kids were younger.  I love the drive, and seeing new scenery, people and places.  I also enjoy (for the most part) being in the car with my family.  With the speed that life goes these days, actually having the four of us in one spot for a duration of time, is rare.  Except now, the kids are older, less patient, used to being attached to their phones and ipads, and used to spending more time with friends than their boring parents.

To help pass the time of the 24 hour drive, my daughter came up with a ‘game’. Here is what we did.  A few weeks before the trip, the four of us drew names.  This alone took some time. Two of us drew our own name, then somehow we all forgot who we had drawn, and the whole process had to happen again.  Each of us were to purchase six little items for “our person”.  In the end there were 24 little items to open, each hour during the 24 hour car ride.   Regardless of whether it was ‘our turn’, it was fun to look forward to each hour and the little gift that someone had chosen for someone else.  March 28-16 297

Once we got to our home away from home all we truly wanted to do was unwind. Our days were spent on the beach, in the pool, fishing (my husband and son love to fish in the ocean surf), taking walks, reading, cooking, and eating good food.  March 28-16 314

Before we knew it, our last day arrived and we were packing up our things to start for home early the next morning.  To cap off our time away, we decided to find a nice place along the beach to go for supper.  I had heard of a place up the beach from where we were called Lou’s Blues.  All I knew about it was that it was on the beach and when I called they said it wasn’t too busy.  If we arrived soon there should be a table for us.

Eager, hungry, and a little sad to be leaving, we piled in the car and arrived at Lou’s Blues.  Through the dark and smoky room we assessed it was actually a bar.  Over the loud, heavy metal music we realized a band was tuning up, getting ready to play.  By the amount of leather we saw, we determined we were in a hard-core biker bar.  With two kids.  Two very tired, hungry, and slightly frightened kids.  Luckily we found a table outside on a patio, which was a little less smoky, brighter, and over the sea of motorcycles we could almost see the ocean.  Perhaps, a little more research is needed to pick a restaurant next time.

How about you? Where do you like to vacation?

Do you have any ideas for making a long drive seem shorter?

COM0014 Growing up on the 3rd Line

Blog 6  – COM0014

What about your childhood shaped you for this moment?

Waking up to the smell of my Mothers French Toast and Sunny Side UP Eggs, dressing in warm clothes from the laundry, and outside I would go to help my Father early in the morning. Gardening, tending to all the flower and vegetable gardens, planting weeding, cleaning out the rabbit hutches, and helping to clear the forest paths. These were my tasks on the 3rd Line, smiling and loving being outside with my Dad.

Each day in the early summer my Father would tend to the Fruit Trees, large vegetable gardens, repairing, fixing, creBunniesating, enjoying. We would have the most delicious food all summer, and in fall lots of pumpkins and squash to last until Christmas. So much happiness is generated from these memories. Simple, Connections, in our Home.

These memories helped create the foundation of my passion to teach people the appreciation and fulfilling qualities simple outdoor activities can have on our overall well being. Furthermore, these outdoor activities are usually very cost effective on our wallet. Many outdoor activities that I encourage my clients to start again for their well being are:

  1. Walking and Hiking, start with a simple neighbourhood walk, then start planning in other nature trails
  2. Gardening, can be as simple as 5 pots of herbs or flowers
  3. Biking, find new areas and trails to explore
  4. Plan a picnic at a Grandriver Conservation area or local Arboretum
  5. Plan to attend an outdoor Festival, fresh air, food, entertainment, artisans, funky jewelry, new perspectivesArt in the Yard

Simple activities can been planned at home, in your neighbourhood, in you community, with home cooked food, uplifting activities, and gatherings outside. You will build a wealth of happiness and memories that will always enrich your life no matter how dark the path can get. Simple -Connections – from my childhood created my foundation for my Credit Counselling Platform, Simple – Connections – @Home.

Time to make some plans!

 

Speak Beautiful, Be Beautiful

Dove has been very active across social media over the past few years.

It launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004 to help “make women feel comfortable in the skin they are in, to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence and not anxiety.” Initially, billboards featuring images of regular women instead of models were used to market their message. After the campaign received a significant amount of attention and positive feedback, it moved into other areas like magazines and television.

Two years later, the campaign kicked off a series of viral videos like Legacy, Evolution, Love Your Curls, Little Girls, and Real Beauty Sketches. The videos all received a huge response, both negative and positive.

In early 2014, Dove launched the #speakbeautiful campaign in partnership with Twitter in response to the barrage of negative comments women were making about their looks on the social media site. Dove encourages women and girls to tweet positive things about themselves and the way they look.

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Dove’s Instagram account does not have many followers (only about 75,000), but the company does respond personally to what their followers comment about. They do the same on Twitter, replying to their followers and thanking them for being part of the community that they are trying to build with their customers.

Dove has taken some flack for their campaigns. But that is to be expected, especially with a huge company that makes huge waves in marketing. There will always be some level of criticism.

But, overall, I think the campaigns are very positive. I’m the mom of a toddler girl and I really have some concerns about how she will be affected by the media’s portrayal of women and girls. I respect the Dove campaigns because I think they are powerful and honest. And I’m not gonna lie – they make me tear up a bit.

Click on some of the links above and check out Dove’s video campaigns. What do you think?

 

Target Audiences

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My former workplace, The Canada Retirement Information Centre, provides financial services, tax services and estate planning services. People 50 or older, living the Ottawa area is the main target audience of CRIC.

The target audiences of CRIC share many demographic and psychographic traits. They are 50 or older, usually married or widowed, are educated, have grown children and come from a middle or upper income bracket. They have money and want to financially plan to make it last or make it continue to grow. Many of them like to travel, and a large portion of their clientele spend some time in warmer climates to avoid Canadian winters. Canada Retirement clients are also typically conservative.

A social media strategy could be developed taking these traits into consideration. A blog has be set up by Canada Retirement to give advice on not only their services, but on travel safety and other topics related to being a retiree.  They need to populate it more frequently. The blog could be used to create a community and forum for discussion amongst retirees in Ottawa. A Facebook page could also be used as the forum for discussion, as baby-boomers are joining social media in record numbers. This generation prefers stories and pictures to products being pushed to them, so this needs to be considered when creating content.

Can you think of anything else that should be taken into consideration when marketing to retirees?

COM014 – Blog #4 – B2C Case Study

Company: Coca-Cola

How is Coca-Cola engaging with its audience online 

As Coca-Cola is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, it only seems natural that its social media strategy is to engage, rather than a push-tactic to draw customers.

How is Coca-Cola using Social Media 

With the primary audience being women, Coca-Cola current has:

  • Over 93 million likes on its Facebook page. The page is generally used to ask questions and post polls.
  • Over 3.1 million followers on its Twitter page, with 143k tweets. Tweets are generally used to respond to @mentions. Twitter interactions are used for communicating, not for pushing out messages.
  • Over 8.3k followers on Pinterest. Coca-Cola ran a competition on Pinterest whereby individuals had to create a new board and pin four autumn fashion images using a hashtag (#TakeMeToNYC).
  • Over 2 million followers and over 59 million views on Google+. Coca-Cola is also experimenting with Hangouts.

Undoubtedly, with the number of followers per platform, along with company messaging, the Coca-Cola brand is still going strong. The “Share a Coke” campaign, where given names appear on cans/bottles is all the rage! Organically, individuals will post a picture of themselves to their social media pages illustrating themselves with their “name branded” product. It is clear that their approach to social media (and branding) is working.

Does your name appear on Coca-Cola bottles/cans?

This summer Coca-Cola is selling personalized bottles that feature 250 popular names. (Photo: shareacoke.com)                              Photo: Shareacoke.com

COMM0014, Blog #2- The Importance of Inverted Triangle Writing

Inverted Pyramid writing is when the most crucial information you want to convey to your readers is presented at the beginning of a post. Providing the most important information to your readers in the lead of your post is beneficial for both your readers and for your blog’s position in search engines. Inverted Pyramid writing is one of the most utilized styles in communications today.

Readers benefit from Inverted Pyramid style because it allows them to scan your article for the most important points without necessarily having to read the whole piece. Readers are able to read only a few sentences and get the main idea of your article. Also, they are able to decide if they want to read on further based on those first few sentences.

Using Inverted Pyramid can improve your blog’s SEO performance because one of the first things search engines take into consideration is the top text on your site. This is why it is advantageous to have the most important information presented first in your posts.

Here’s a great video by Internet Marketing Inc. that touches on much of what I have just told you.

Next time you’re reading through some blogs, take a look at the structure of the posts. Are they written using Inverted Pyramid style? If not, are they as effective as if they had been written using Inverted Pyramid structure?

ALG-COM0014 Digital Communication, Post 5 – Personal Brand by Karen Cooper

ALG-COM0014 Digital Communication
Post 5 – Personal Brand by Karen Cooper
Instructor: Nelly Leonidis

For my fifth blog post in the online course, “Digital Communication,”  in Algonquin College’s Social Media Certificate part-time online program the assigned topic centers around describing my personal brand by answering the following questions:

What are the personal qualities and characteristics that set me apart from my design and photography competitors?

My artistic ability and talent are applied through a plethora of software skills and techniques in print, web design, and multimedia projects that evoke emotion with powerful imagery. What I do that is remarkable, measurable, distinguished, and distinctive in value, is that I pass along my knowledge to inspire students through software training to create their own projects, in addition, to designing, developing, and delivering creative projects for my clients.

What have I done lately to make myself stand out?

I’ve enrolled in social media courses at Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology to learn how to enhance my online presence through the art of social media and to understand how best to stay up to date with technology.

What would your colleagues say is my best trait?

Listening skills: I listen well so I can fully grasp what clients want to see, being open to change, hearing all criticism with an open mind, willing to change designs or photographs based on the needs or wants of a client.

Technologically apt: I’m enthusiastic and quick to learn new software programs, to incorporate them into my work. One of my favourite things to do is to learn new software techniques on Adobe TV, my favourite channels are; Photoshop, LightRoom, InDesign, Premiere, Fireworks, and Illustrator.

What do I do that I’m most proud of?

I’m most proud of my ability to relay what I see in my mind’s eye into digital imagery, thanks to my education in photography, journalism, multimedia design, and social media at Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology.

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COM0014 #6: Industry Flaws

Countless industries are flawed, and it only really became apparent in our lifetime – because of the worldwide web. Where experts in certain fields used to be revered for their individuality, the internet has unleashed armies of similar experts, each competing for the top spot and none of these industries really know how to deal with the influx.

I could write about how the journalism field is flawed because it doesn’t know how to deal with all the people who call themselves journalists. Countless people get articles published without any knowledge of the basic principles of Canadian Press style writing.

Or, I could write about how the art world is flawed because anyone with a smart phone can be called a photographer and display their work online without ever knowing what SLR stands for.

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Instead, this is about the music industry. An industry that does seem to have a good grasp on social media, but that hasn’t quite figured out the best approach with its transition to the online market.

Musicians readily give their music away in order to reach a broader audience, but then they face the disappointment of low income numbers because they give their music away.

I don’t work in the music industry myself, but half of my household income comes from it so I witness the ups and downs it can bring.

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While some would argue that the internet is helping the music industry by means of exposure, there is still something to be said about dwindling sales and the onslaught illegal downloads. In a way, you could say that the internet is debilitating traditional music sales, but in fact, the music industry – like the journalism industry and the art world – hasn’t established a happy medium that ensures a successful industry in the internet age.

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The world is still in the process of figuring itself out and it’s interesting to see more and more industries are adapting – from taxis to tourism and so many others, we’re all having to learn new ways of operating.

COM0014 #5: On my Personal Brand

In the age of social media, your personal brand is becoming more crucial than your resumé. We are in charge of curating our own digital portfolios and we need to remember this every day when we post online.

Throughout the years, I have aimed to follow a particular theme when posting to my blog, Twitter or Instagram:  “To continuously educate myself and others on writing and other crafts by remaining in tune with today’s events and trends online and in the real world.”  It’s quite general but it fits.

DSC_0870 copyMy area of expertise is in writing and journalism.

To begin, I am not a journalist but my job is to write, my hobby is to write and my whole life, I have been honing that skill. I work in media relations where I am tuned in to current events, which also happens to be one of my most common past times.

My whole life I have been fascinated by world events and journalism practices.

I am not just a news junkie – although you could ask me anything about news on the world stage and I will likely have an answer. I am an educated media fiend who reads and uses the news from major media outlets every day. When I read an article, I am not only learning about the event in question, I am seeing how that journalist obtained his or her information, and I am weeding out the bias and superfluous content.

I have a blog where I write on a number of topics including journalism and social media, as well as travel tips and stories, lifestyle subjects (such as cooking and thrift shopping) and I also showcase some of my photography..

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Although I don’t pay attention to the number of readers day to day, my blog still provides me with an outlet and the fulfillment of sharing ideas and digging into details on almost any topic.

The reason for my interest journalism is particular in because I once thought that I was “supposed” to be a journalist, but a few detours led me instead to where I am today.

I had plans for a coushy journalism job (they don’t exist, by the way), after I quit a directionless arts degree, traveled a few countries and returned home to complete my j-school education. Although I excelled in the classroom, no perfect grade could match the journalistic downturn that took shape in 2008 and 2009.

As newspapers and magazines folded, I attempted to make a name for myself as a freelance journalist. In the meantime, I landed a day job at a communications firm and, eventually, in a federal department’s media relations bureau.

By learning the ropes of media relations I accepted the fate of my journalism career and began blogging in my spare time, while dedicating myself to learning more about the media industry.

For the past six years, I have taken the tools I learned during my j-school training and melded them with the strategies I’ve learned in media relations and through my own analyses.

Despite the shift in Canada’s media landscape, I’ve still managed to establish myself as a professional in the field.