It’s that age-old interview question:
“What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your work experience and how have you overcome them?”
Below you’ll find examples of my decision making, creativity and perseverance in the face of a challenge.
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” ― Thomas Edison
Case No. 1
Serious Social Ambition
The challenge: Stasher’s Founder and CEO has a remarkable appetite for growth and disruption. We’re talkin’ Bezos-level ambition, here. The brand was in its second year when I joined the team as Social Media Director. I was tasked with earning 50k and then 100k Instagram followers as quickly as possible—organically.
My Plan: Luckily enough, Stasher’s Instagram account already had 15k engaged followers when I took the reins. The course of action I took to increase our following sevenfold at the expected break-neck pace included:
- an influencer program
- brand and non-profit partnerships
- partnered product giveaways
- strategic calls to action
- user-generated content
- our own distinctly authentic and compelling content created exclusively for social.
- an uncommon dedication to follower/customer support through comments and direct messages.
The next year, thankfully, we earned a small but increasing budget for social advertising, which also became and effective part of my growth strategy.
In two years and three months, Stasher’s Instagram following grew by 1,586%. While the ‘gram was my main focus, Facebook and other social network followings grew as well.
I built relationships with more than 325 influencers, 150 brand partner teams, and dozens of non-profits that helped Stasher reach millions of people across the internet, not just Instagram.
Brand recognition? Check. Instagram users would very often comment, “these are the bags I’ve been seeing all over Instagram!” as they @ their friends, making even more impressions.
Case No. 2
Climbing Content Mountain
The challenge: Stasher is a brand with infinite galaxies of content potential. I needed to create a compelling, distinctly authentic, and practically bottomless content strategy that would fuel the fire for social, email, video, partnerships, and embody the personality of the brand.
My Plan: When creating a content strategy, I start out by doing what excites me more than regular people: Research.
I identified Stasher’s essential audiences and messages, and discovered that there was enough going on to necessitate at least 4 different categories of brand content. Those categories were:
Product Promotion & Education
I used keyword research, customer reviews, customer service data, and countless
hours of product R&D to develop content that would both widen the top of our sales funnel and convert the bottom. This category would include how-to’s, recipes, and expanded answers to the more loaded FAQs.
This category of content would allow our readers to peek behind the curtain at Stasher and connect with the brand on a deeper level. In these posts, we would tell the brand story, brag about our achievements, share our culture, and feature our incredible team members.
Stasher’s leading mission is to encourage people everywhere to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics. Within this content category we would educate readers with in-depth reporting on plastic pollution, inform them of related global news, and guide them with tips for leading a plastic-free lifestyle. Content highlighting Stasher’s environmental non-profit beneficiaries would also fall in this category.
Stasher’s female founder and CEO is dedicated to supporting women and girls everywhere, especially those with entrepreneurial ambitions. Her zeal for this cause inspired a fourth content category where we would celebrate women within Stasher’s network who are making the world a better place. Content highlighting Stasher’s female-empowering non-profit partners would also fall in this category.
Next, I gathered our team to help brainstorm hundreds of blog and web content ideas to fill out these categories (and sub categories). From there, I shuffled these ideas into a detailed content calendar bearing in mind both seasonality and my own workload. My content calendar identified content topics, creative needs (and associated deadlines), when and were it would be published, how it would be shared, and which formats would be required for sharing.
When I realized I needed help with copywriting, recipe development, and photography, I was thankfully given permission to bring on a rotating team of freelancers and influencers to close the gaps. I vetted and selected the best content creators I could find with a very small budget, while giving special consideration to those whose social clout could elevate our own. I wrote their contracts, collected their tax forms and invoices, and regularly followed up with our accounting team to make sure they got paid.
200+ content pieces
I persisted in publishing at least two pieces per week, eventually resulting in a body of content that is robust, comprehensive, and favored by search engines. It supports an enriching user experience by expressing brand identity, and by allowing for relevant inter-linking and personalized paths to conversion.
Best landing page ever
I conceptualized, outlined and edited a piece titled “50 ways to use a Stasher bag.” It quickly became the website’s #2 landing page and remains in the top three each month. It captures loads of organic search traffic, generates above average CTRs through Google and social ads, leads to above average conversion rates, and inspires additional content to this day.
Fuel for the fire
These 200+ pieces of content blossomed into thousands of social posts, photos, videos, gifs and gif stickers. I worked closely with Stasher’s creative team to plan photoshoots; style, direct and shoot photos and videos; edit and re-format media; and design graphics for social media and and other content marketing initiatives.
The photos below are just a handful of those that I personally conceptualized, styled, shot, edited and published for Stasher.
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1818 NE 17th Ave. Portland, Oregon 97212