In-House, Agency and
Side Marketing Projects
For me, working on an in-house team or at an agency is fun because I get to do the deep dive into specific subjects and really own them. No matter if I'm guarding the brand voice or writing up nuggets of content, I always want to deliver on the promise of established values, traits and goals. With that as a backdrop, connecting the dots among taglines, articles, downloads, videos and social content is a joy!
Saint Louis University: "Be a Billiken" Student Recruitment Branding
"Be a Billiken" was different from any of Saint Louis University's student recruitment campaigns that had come before it. For the first time ever, all stakeholders -- undergraduate admission, financial aid, academic leaders, alumni relations, student development and marketing -- united for one brand, one message, one look, one goal. As the creator and guardian of the brand voice, I was in charge of developing all messaging for signature publications, commercials, videos, radio spots, social media marketing, informative collateral and campus experiences as well as project-managing the new recruitment storytelling portal. The brand experienced steady growth since its introduction in 2008, and my efforts directly helped the university recruit its then-largest freshman class in history in 2011. It was fantastic to lead higher-ed marketing strategies that our competitors later emulated. See print, video and digital collateral in my old portfolio and read about a few more BaB projects on the blog.
Venture Cafe: Happen Magazine
Throughout 2018, I oversaw the launch of "Happen" Magazine, a new signature storytelling publication for Venture Cafe, which is a global innovation community for those in the startup, maker, science, arts, education, civic and social justice fields. As the editorial director, I teamed up with an art director to conceptualize, theme and create a 90-page print magazine celebrating category groundbreakers from Venture Cafe's worldwide locations and inspiring ecosystems. I was commissioned to bring "Happen" to life to generate global and local excitement for innovators and attract new funders and entrepreneurs. You can read "Happen" on Venture Cafe's website and read my blog to learn why the magazine was so meaningful to me.
Riverfront Times: Digital Engagement
The digital landscape for media outlets in 2014 was so different from what we have now: newsers didn't have much of a social media ad budget (if they had one at all), Facebook groups and Periscope weren't big things and decent organic reach still was attainable. 2014 also was when a (another) black teenager was fatally shot by a (another) white police officer here in St. Louis. That year, the social justice, social media and reporting worlds overlapped like never before.
As the digital editor for the Riverfront Times, the local weekly newspaper, my job was to package and share accurate, timely news and bring new readers to our archives via social -- something that became even more important during this game-changing year. I oversaw our photographer pool and led reader engagement efforts, liveblogged reporters and live-tweeted hours of news. These were early versions of what media orgs do today, and my actions dramatically increased both our follower count and our fan engagement -- all organically.
HLK/Monsanto: Multi-Platform Digital Series
While at HLK, a full-service digital agency, I was one of the lead digital brand stewards for a major Monsanto crop-management solution system. For the #CompeteForClean campaign, I contributed significantly to a content series that centered around videos highlighting how regional farmers tend their fields, what problems they face, how they use Monsanto products to combat issues and what tips they might have for other farmers. I prepared interview questions, researched products, made shotlists, directed the videographer and compiled scripts for our video editors. For the associated content, I also directed designers on images and quotes for digital use, wrote email copy highlighting the videos, and developed posts for Monsanto's many social media properties.
HLK/Monsanto: Deltapine Cotton Multi-Platform Content
For Deltapine, Monsanto's award-winning brand of cotton seed, I devised ways to share the brand's history with the public as well as provided cotton farmers with information they could use in their fields while appealing to their fierce pride in their crop quality. For this multi-platform project, I headed up Deltapine's twice-weekly, members-only blog that was geared towards the brand's most influential farmers, worked with videographers and designers on visual content and footage scripts for Deltapine's various digital properties and collaborated on tactics to celebrate Deltapine's storied 100-year history.
An Under Cover Weekend: Video Series
An Under Cover Weekend is a three-day music festival that showcases local bands paying hardcore tribute to their favorite national acts. We're talking note-for-note arrangements, costumes, stage presence, the works. For the event's sixth anniversary, one of the event's co-founders wanted to share the fest's origins and behind-the-scenes stories with audiences through video as a way to promote that year's concerts and gain new fans. Because of my reputation for digging deep during Q&As, he initially tapped me to simply interview him and his co-founder on camera, but I pushed the concept into overdrive and went into full producer mode. On limited time and budget, I quickly assembled a team of crack cinematographers, audio engineers and production assistants while I prepared interviews with nearly 20 musicians, photographers and others associated with the event. After an 11-hour shoot day at a local pinball joint, I helped select footage and photos for the final documentary-style videos while staying true to the AUCW brand. Videos? Multiple videos? Yep, I suggested that we cut five shorter topical videos instead of one long overarching video to hold viewer interest and provide an arsenal of content.
The five-part video series was released in daily installments during the week leading up to the festival. With calculated launches on the AUCW website and through social media channels, the videos brought record-breaking page hits and contributed to the event selling out all nights. Hail, hail, rock and roll.
American Heart Association: Facebook Activism
The American Heart Association fights for citizens' better health through a variety of methods: nutrition tips, government policy, doctor recommendations and more. In 2017, the St. Louis chapter of the AHA particularly was focused on the low nutritional value and decidedly non-heart-healthy value of typical foods within vending machines -- something that affects people stuck at offices, rest stops and transit stations. The AHA wanted to see what would happen if they talked directly with local folks who also were concerned about this.
Working with the AHA, local agency Bigwidesky developed the idea to create a small, secret, highly curated Facebook group of parents, school officials, nutritionists and activists that would discuss convenience foods' effects on health and the unfairness of vending machine contents. Why should a late-night worker in an office park be stuck with corn chips for dinner? Why should concession stands sell soda and sports drinks but not water?
Bigwidesky pulled me in to lead messaging and creative direction for meme-based activism within the group. I dug up important stats for our infographics and worked with an art director and other team members to develop images and copy that fueled group members' anger about the lack of healthy options in vending machines. Our rallying cry: "Take the snack back!" We deliberately kept a messy variety of graphics to maintain an authentic voice and capitalize on pop culture references. Once the group grew to 350 infuriated members, I trained AHA staff on how to maintain the momentum, turning over the keys just before an AHA push on local policy. Learn more.
Want more? I've got nearly 20 years worth of marketing and media projects under my belt.
You never know what or who might spark a great editorial idea! I'm available for short-term, long-term and one-off writing, editing and content-planning projects for media, in-house teams and agencies. I generally need at least two weeks' notice and a signed contract (or other mutually agreed-upon commitment) before beginning work, so please connect with me as soon as you anticipate a project. PR folks, feel free to pitch me as long as your story ideas are tied to the greater St. Louis region in some way.
One more thing: This site looks awful via mobile. View it on a laptop for best results.
A Note About Images
All photos and images are displayed as part of my portfolio packages and as commentary. They belong to their originators, which include periodicals, agencies, brands, individual photographers, stock resources and myself. Please obtain permission from original owners if you're interested in using these or similar images. Please do not steal items from my site.