COMM0014 – Personal Reflection

After analyzing my skillset from beginning to end in this course, it became glaringly obvious that there were some gaps in my abilities to effectively convey a story to an audience. Using my newfound knowledge, I am able to quickly identify my target audience and implement an appropriate communication style that will reach them in the right way. To elaborate, using demographics and psychographics, I can make assumptions about those I am communicating to and will tweak my strategy of conveying message based on my findings.

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Why is storytelling crucial to creating great Digital content?

Whether it be in person, online and numerous other mechanisms of storytelling, you are always trying to sell people on an idea and have to implement the right strategy in order to get them interested. When approaching a story in person, there are many factors that differ compared to digital content. You can see peoples reaction, make judgement based on these findings, and therefore create your story based on what works. With digital content, you are making an assumption about those who you are telling a story to and have much less to work with. Often with digital content you must be overly cautious of the things you say in order to not offend any group you are trying to reach. For example, when creating great digital content that on the political spectrum, it is much to do prior research and analysis to determine if your target audience leans more left or right. Through this research, you can then tailor a story that will appeal to the group you are reaching and do not risk offending as many people. The creation of great content takes lots of trial and error but is certainly possible with the right amount of effort.

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How will your content be guided by story?

Content is guided by story no matter what approach you take. Think about companies who are selling a product and provide a backstory or use a tag such as “Established in 1942.” These are all part of telling the story in order to intrigue consumers into buying something you are selling. Whether it is a social media outlet, a business, a Facebook group, or any sort of digital platform, you ability to succeed and stand out from others depends on your ability to tell a story effectively. Look at Twitter as an example. Everyone has the same amount of characters per tweet to convey a message and get people interested in what they are selling. However, we can see that some people are able to thrive on this platform while others have issues with the restrictive threshold of words. I always despise the posts with 10+ “tweets”, assuming that I will ever take the time to read through all of them to understand a message they’re putting forward. I believe the restrictive nature of Twitter is one of the best aspects of the platform given it forces people to tell their story in a a very brief manner. Those who thrive are always the ones who grab their target audience’s attention quickly and get to their point immediately.

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What kind of stories do you want to tell?

After rambling on about people who do not tell stories quickly enough, I realized that I am already over the word count, so I will keep this brief. The types of stories I will tell depend entirely on the audience at hand and the message I am trying to convey. One of the most crucial parts of thriving online is adaptability and I believe that this is a skill we are always working on. Hopefully with more practice I am able to pinpoint my skillsets with online storytelling and will learn to cut down on unnecessary words. For now, I am simply trying to learn more about myself and tell my stories thus far on experiences I’ve had over my short lifetime. This course has been fantastic for self-introspection and I believe I learned a lot about who I am as a storyteller throughout it.

COM0015 – Blog #1: Tools and Sources

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Photo by Ada Love on uwmedicine.org

In today’s day and age where multitasking is the new norm it can be difficult to manage our time effectively. We can be consumed by having so much to do in such a little amount of time that any tools which can help us select and analyze the information we need most are extremely useful.

Whether it’s using these tools for your own personal brand or for social media strategies in a business, the main goal is to minimize stress.

Think of it like yoga for the body. We can stretch our muscles and sharpen out focus, self-reflect upon what’s working for us and what we could improve upon. Just like these tools help us organize our thoughts by scheduling posts, and seeing what can be done better through analytics, it’s important to use these tools properly to get the most out of them.

So what tools are most useful?

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is great. I can use it to monitor the web for topics that interest me, like keeping an eye on digital marketing and public relations key words as those are the career paths I am pursuing.

I like that I can tailor my search results and listen to what trends are changing to stay on top of social media trends related to business.

Buffer

I like Buffer because it’s simple. I know a lot of people who praise Hootsuite as the end-all for social media scheduling and monitoring, and I do find it great when managing multiple platforms at once, but I prefer the streamlined interface of Buffer more user-friendly for personal use of just my own accounts.

I found an interesting article comparing the two here, which points out the different features each has to offer in case anyone was curious.

Simply scheduling my posts and having analytics which show me basic engagement is enough for now, though I would consider adding Hootsuite as a complementary feature.

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Aside from listening and monitoring tools, we also gather our precious news from many different sources that best suit our needs.

Facebook

I love Facebook because it not only acts as an access point for communicating with my friends and family, but also is a great feed of news updates depending on whom you follow.

I personally like to go to Facebook for my motivational updates. I follow pages like Inc. Magazine, which shows ways to better improve yourself and bring success to things you do, and Girls LOVE Travel®, which is a community of women from all over the world who talk about their adventures and ask for advice.

On top of motivational pages, I can get my daily news from places like CNN or the Ottawa Citizen, which keeps me informed on what’s happening in the world.

Instagram

In contrast to Facebook, I like to use Instagram for more creative purposes.

Since I am into fashion and would like to work with environmentally-conscious brands in the future, I follow many on Instagram to get a better understanding of international brands that maintain my interests.

A couple of the pages I regularly check on for news include Global Fashion Exchange, a page focused on news relating to sustainability in fashion, and LONDRĖ Bodywear, a Canadian brand that I love which makes swimwear out of recycled water bottles.

Having interests in photography also makes this an excellent source as it presents information largely through images which can sometimes be more powerful, and more concise, than articles themselves.

With all of the different news sources available today, it can be overwhelming to try to consume so much at once. What is your favourite news source or monitoring tool that keeps you sane? Please let me know!

Christina

COM0014: Post 7 – Personal Reflection

Storytelling is one of the key pieces of the pie to creating successful digital communication. Your storytelling must engage and draw your desired audience to want more. It is a major building block for starting a relationship with the targeted audience and also to gain more followers to spread your story throughout the social media world.

There are many factors to consider when storytelling. Demographics play a very important role whether it be gender, age, income or even personal interest. One key element is to match your type of transaction to your potential client. There are three basic classes, starting with B2C which is your business directly to the regular everyday consumer on the street. The other classes are B2B meaning business to another business along with B2G business to government. You must research continuously for your target audience in order to keep updated with changes.

When composing a story you must make your audience want to read more and to provide enthusiasm in order for them to ask questions, making them feel a part of your writing. Listening is another major component and is a necessity in order to have a story line that flows naturally along with the style and message you want to relay. Stories can be used for many purposes whether it be marketing your business or product to a personal story about what you did on your last vacation.

Consistency can make or break a terrific story but always remember, no two people relate exactly to the same story. Some view the glass as half empty while others see it as being half full!

 

 

COM0014 – Blog 7 – Personal Reflection

What makes great digital content?  It certainly isn’t page after page of marketing copy, full of buzzwords like “synergy” or “optimization”; nor is it the incoherent ramblings of Grandpa Simpson jumping from topic to topic, boring the life out of his audience.  That’s not to say that he is completely wrong with his approach; storytelling is a great technique for connecting with your audience, as long as you do it right.

To make sure that you are telling your audience the right stories, you need to know a little about them first. This doesn’t mean just finding out basic demographics like age, income, gender, etc., but also lifestyle choices, hobbies, and other preferences. From a business perspective, you also need to know what type of clients you have; are you targeting consumers directly, or business/government clients?  Knowing this will impact your approach.

Even after you have discovered some of our audiences’ unique traits, there are some general rules to follow when it comes to great storytelling; always speak/write in an active voice; it is clearer, and by nature is more engaging.  It’s also important to write how you speak – keep the flow natural, and don’t be afraid to use colloquialisms, as long as it is appropriate for your audience.

Ultimately the story you tell is yours, but it is up to you to figure out the best way to communicate it to your audience.  However it may look, make sure the style, formatting, and message is consistent across platforms, and over time – Make sure you have your own identity, and communicate it to your audience.  Be it a personal blog, or a marketing strategy research is your friend.  Once you’ve decided who your audience is, and the best approach for reaching them, the rest is up to you to let your creativity flow.

COM0014: Blog Post #7 – Personal Reflection

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the good, the bad, the less-than-stellar, the fugly…and every shade of colour under the sun.

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Words are forever on the lips and hearts of the future…

My story *is* my brand. My words illustrating the made-for-tv-movie kind’o’life that is being a chronic disease patient in the throes of the managing my own little part in the Cosmos. Readers come for the coffee, stay for the story. The challenge has been to stifle the “societal norms of blogging” that tell me to write clean and proper. I’ve undertaken to write my journey, my stories, as real, raw and authentic as they are, because that is a true to form reflection of what life is all about.

Transparency has been key, and, to be honest, is really, *really*, nerve-wracking. I’ve written about my journey through mental health issues, some very significant. I’ve written about a recent physical assault in order to provide a voice to those who may not find their own. I’ve ALSO written about one of my twin boys having pooped in a floor vent when he was four years old, about my healing through art projects and about my passion for playing video games and how I totally suck, but enjoy the escapism nonetheless. It has been this very transparency upon which I’ve built and solidified my brand. Lupus Interrupted IS “Me.” on every level. It’s how I am viewed not only as a blog, but as a person. I have never split up my personalities in order to conform to one view of norms over another dependent on location. I believe this is the fodder for becoming legendary.

The deep, wide angled view of my world.

This is what resonates with people. How one crafts their story within the context of their journey. This particular course has been a validation that what I endeavour to craft is, in fact, on the right track in making those connections with people and of inter-personal engagement. My use of my own personally crafted catch-isms (like #gladitude) and phrases are validated when I see my friends post them on their own walls and tweets.

Stories live forever. Digital communication is merely one medium of recording what it is that we’re trying to say. I want to say it all by living the way I write, and writing the way I live.

COMM0014- Blog 7 : Personal Reflection

As I begin to reflect from the past two or three months from taking Digital Communication, as part of Algonquin College’s Social Media certificate online program, I have to say, I have learned a lot about many key elements in communicating within the digital realm.

In today’s age, it’s not just about pitching products, and hope that people will buy them. Rather there is many levels.

One important level, is understanding oneself as a personal brand. A personal brand is important. Whether it’s looking for a job, or being a solopreneur (starting a sole proprietorship by yourself), you are the face of everything!! How will people know you? Will they know you as the nice person? Will they know as the determined person? A smart and shy person, or outgoing and brash? Without a recognizable personal brand, it becomes literally hard to stand out from the crowd in the sea of the World Wide Web.

On the flip side, understanding demographics, trends, and respecting other cultures in the age of the global village was the other key lesson from this course. While developing your personal brand is critical, understanding diversity of demographics is critical. Understanding different cultures from different countries, respecting gender equality from both sides, and promoting environmental sustainability are critical ways of influencing yourself as a leader in the age of globalization

Thomas Friedman, author of the 2005 book The World is Flat had this to say regarding globalization:

“Culture is nested in context, not genes.”

Thus in this day in age, everything is about context. We live in a global, digitized culture, where at one end, personal branding is critical in surviving today’s sea, while at the same time, understanding different cultures, and collaborating is equally important in this ubiquitous world.

Personal Reflection – COM0014 Post #7

Why is story telling important for creating great digital content?

Story telling is the life blood of any company or personal identity. Without it and without it done right others will never get a true picture of who you are. By engaging others creatively and consistently you are setting up for a great relationship between you and them. Without this you run the risk of others not knowing you and your true story which can lead to misconceptions and inappropriate judgement’s.

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But how will your content be guided by your story?

I think it is important to begin at the beginning of your story, where it all began. As you continue with your story it is a very good idea to keep aware of what others are saying who are like you and what your audience is drawn to when you right. If you get more comments and shares on emotionally hitting articles than historical facts, keep writing in the same style. Remember your story doesn’t have to change rather you just need to adapt to what works for your audience. Through in a photo or two as well to keep it fresh and inviting.

What kind of stories do I want to tell?

I hope to tell stories that people are so drawn to they feel inspired to keep the conversation going. Stories should engage you and make you think. The best stories should connect with you in some sort of way. I hope to write stories that will make people feel emotional about any situation I write about by making them empathize or sympathize with the story they are reading.

COM0014 – Blog 7 – Personal Reflection

photo-1429637119272-20043840c013The time has come to reflect!

It’s been a blast! The ups, the downs, the studying and the reflection of this journey. This is the final piece I will write for the social media certificate program, so it is a perfect subject.

This course has got me thinking about whether I am truly connecting with the audience or talking at them. We all have a story to tell and in a digital age even those behind the computer are seeking a connection, a belonging or identifying. We all live a fast paced life when we are skimming through news articles, our children’s homework and work files. Story telling gives us a chance to build a connection and engage with the reader.

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The piece of the course that has truly resonated with me is the power of being you in your story telling. In the world of authentic content everyone has a place to be exactly who they are. We are “spoken to” so often in marketing, social media give opportunities to be exactly the people we are. Authenticity in content is what starts out in the crowd. Successful engagement involved content that tells a story, entertains, engages and promotes conversation. Everyone has a story and a journey and in a world of completive marketing messaging and story telling, readers are seeking something more.

My take away piece is to develop the brand of by business but also to develop my personal brand too. The two are interconnected in a way that my business is a reflection of me and vice versa. The way I tell my story and the voice of my story is a reflection of who I am. It will give insight to future clients if we are a right fit for business.

On a personal note, I would also like to start up my blog again. I started it sometime ago and life got in the way. As a military family that moves and has challenges that come with deployments, different school systems and international moves, I would like to create a connection with those who are in the same situation. Create an outlet and engagement where other military moms can see that what they are going through is normal and others do understand.

It’s been a journey and one that I have certainly grown from.

 

Comm014 – Post 7 – Personal Reflection

Storytelling – The Secret to Creating Effective Online Communication

As we all know, a story is a description of an event or series of events either fictitious or real and most often includes individuals whether human or otherwise. There are many famous examples of stories such as Aesop Fables, the parables in the Bible, much of literature, operas and movies, and even items on the nightly news are often formatted as stories.

A story is a good way to communicate because it talks about specific people in specific situations and brings to life the situations being experienced. As a Communications Specialist, I know that storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to convey ideas in today’s world.

Storytelling starts with knowing your audience in order to create compelling and tailor-made content that stroke interest. Relevant and meaningful content matters no matter the means, and storytelling creates a welcoming environment for audience engagement. I use storytelling techniques when developing videos, Power Point presentations, blogs, speeches, reports, to name a few. Stories that focus on emotive content appeal to readers and help connect people.

How will your content be guided by story?

When preparing a speech or Power Point Presentation for one of my bosses, I invariably recall him asking me what story he was telling and what messages would his audience take away. He would never entertain more than three main messages, no matter what! So stories need to be focused and ideas conveyed in a clear and concise manner, starting with the most important first. Normally one starts a story by introducing some of the key characters, followed by their situation in place or time. The “plot” and “ending” follow.

What kind of stories do you want to tell?

I want to tell stories about real people dealing with real situations and I try as much as possible to let their soul or mine shine through.

COM0014: Blog 7, Personal Reflection by Iliana Auverana

Why is storytelling important to creating great digital content? Through storytelling, we establish a connection with our audience. When we tell a story, we inject our personality into our writing and convey our emotions. If the story is well-weaved, people get involved and want to know more. They keep reading and after finishing one story, they want to hear another one. This is the way we keep our audience interested and wanting to come back to our website to read our content.

How will your content be guided by story?

Writing a story gives structure and coherence to our content. The story keep us focus on one single objective.  Every piece has to make sense.

What kind of stories do you want to tell?

Nowadays, to truly connect with an audience, we have to get personal. People want to see the human side of companies. They want to know who is behind the creation of the products they want to buy.

I would like to tell stories about the following topics:

– inspirational and motivating stories,

– employees achievements,

– practical advice (how we did it),

– lessons learned

– role models and how they had an impact in our company,

– company events and personal stories.

One important source to help me choose a topic to write about will be to listen to my audience’s questions, complains and problems. Responding to these concerns will catch their attention and engage them in a two-ways conversation.