How I Became a Social Media Editor

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During my undergraduate studies, I wanted to make sure I made the most of it with all the opportunities at my university. When I was a senior, I had done everything in my journalism department, so I figured I seek out the English department and see what publications I could possibly contribute to. When I heard of a publication called ZPlatt, I thought I’d check it out. It was a literary journal, and nobody really showed interest in taking on social media so I figured I’d take a wack at it. I had to take off my journalism hat and put on my public relations hat, so here’s how I did it and here’s some advice on navigating a job revolving around social media.

  1. Know the publication and then vamp it up: The publication we were making was formerly named after a slave owner. It was discovered by members of the English department, so I looked up the book that held this information and started forming a new voice for our publication. We decided to do away with ZPlatt and hold a contest to see who could come up with a new name. It was insane that we found it out when we did, but it was a great opportunity to create a platform. Make sure you know the publication you’re working for. Actually read it, and then figure out how you’re going to use the same voice to convey a new theme for whatever issue you’re working on. Bring fresh ideas will instantly make you more valuable than sticking with what was done previously.
  2. Use apps to your advantage: One word. Canva. Canva is the perfect app to use if you’re looking to make Instagram posts, posters, Facebook posts, or even invitations. You can create templates on your phone easily and the best part is that there are so many stylish templates that are absolutely free. I created all my promotional posts through Canva and even used it to redesign the website a little by inserting saved templates into WordPress. If you’re involved with marketing or PR, you’re going to want to check this app out. Additionally, our website was run by WordPress and when I was updating the website, I had a lot of editors and staff writers that wanted me to edit certain details of their posts. Downloading the app saved me a lot of time because I didn’t always have my computer at hand. Make sure all your apps are accessible.
  3. Network & use whatever connections you have: When we were putting the publication together, I used a lot of my personal connections to my advantage. One of my good friends took professional photos, and one thing I disliked about the old website was how all the bio pictures had different sizes and varied in lighting. Seeing an edited photo and a selfie next to each other is not professional looking. So I booked a photographer for my class. He brought proper lighting, and it seemed a little silly to some people, but it made the website that much more professional, and that wouldn’t have been possible without asking for a little favor from my friend.  Additionally, I knew a ton of people in my journalism department, so I asked an editor from the newspaper to write an article about how we were rebranding our publication. Just getting that little bit more of press definitely helped. These were all little favors I asked for, but it had a great payoff. Use connections if you have them, and if you don’t, then start networking. My adviser told me after we finished that she was so impressed by my professionalism even though in my head, it seemed like common sense.
  4. Be serious and don’t let time get away from you: Social media is something that can be done at anytime, which is exactly why it can get away from you. You can always say “I’ll do it later.” One thing I made sure of every week was that I set aside time to map out what I wanted to post for the week. I made sure there was a mix of FB posts with quotes and promotions and then there were staff photos and bio pics thrown in as well. Keep up with Instagram and Facebook. Tweet everyday. If there’s not much to say or do, check out what’s going on in the news. Find a quote relevant to your publication. Is it a national holiday? National waffle day? Maybe you can make a poll on Instagram story. Just be active and create a feed worth following because everything is at your disposal.
  5. Make it fun! Did I work for Glamour magazine? Nope. It wasn’t my dream, but I went into it with the enthusiasm as if it were, and it helped keep me motivated. Our publication was a lot of fun. We made videos. We brainstormed ideas. We planned our launch party. Being able to work for a job that you enjoy is awesome! Even though it was a student publication, the product came out beautifully, and now I can say I was a part of it, but more importantly, it’s something to put on my resume. I have experience now, and it’s all a learning experience I won’t forget.

Hope you like this post. I don’t usually post stuff like this, but I hope you like it!

 

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5 Apps Every Journalist Should Be Using

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  1. Lightroom: If Instagram isn’t cutting it with the filters, people should download the Lightroom app because it’s free if you have an iphone. You can change a photo drastically with changes in lighting, radiance and tinting. Additionally, you can edit photos professionally on your phone if you need to blog or edit quickly on the go.
  2. Hootsuite: I run a few accounts on Instagram for my major. If you have to manage social media for a business like I have to, this app allows you to schedule all your posts. Rather than having to remember throughout the week, you can load your posts up on a Sunday night once, and the posts will update automatically.
  3. Canva: Canva is perfect for making aesthetically pleasing promotional posters and graphics. Some designs are $1.99, but there are a ton that you can use for free. For a social media savvy app, it’s much easier and quicker than InDesign and Photoshop.
  4. TapeACall: As a journalist, I need to transcribe phone calls sometimes. TapeACall is perfect for recording your phone calls effortlessly. It does cost money to record your calls freely, but it’s so worth it if you’re constantly doing interviews. Definitely remind your sources they’re being recorded beforehand as well.
  5. WordPress: This might seem like an obvious one, but posting on the WordPress app is so much more convenient if you need to do a quick post. This is one of the best mobile apps I’ve seen that is just as good as the computerized website.

ALSO, I recently got an article written about me, and I linked it below. I’ve been the editor in chief for Cardinal Points, a staff writer for DoNorth magazine, an editorial assistant for Saranac Review, and a social media manager for the literary magazine ZPlatt. I also used to co-host a radio show and have been a teaching assistant for three different classes.

Here’s the link to check it out: http://cardinalpointsonline.com/singh-builds-confidence-through-leadership/