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Top Social Media Tactics – public media style

Over the past six years I’ve worked on social media for various public media outlets.
Here are my favorite campaigns:

1. Launch and Sustained Growth – Oakland Local, community news site for Oakland, CA

KLOUT_OL post Launched in 2009, Oakland Local’s campaign to build a dedicated readership was simple — set up a stable stream of interesting local content and ask everyone involved to share the content with their lists. For every article or community voices blog entry published we set a Twitter and a facebook post. We then asked funders, bloggers, journalists, community partners and featured Oakland Locals to spread the news. We made this easy for them by inviting them via email to share the twitter posts we created. And we didn’t stop. We repeated this formula over and over.

In addition to making sharing a central part of the OL culture, we connected with local nonprofits and community groups at an early stage. We did this by asking groups to submit their content as community voices blog entries. And we did this by partnering with various groups on short-term news projects, capacity building workshops (where we provided tech expertise on their social media accounts) and community development initiatives. At every point we shared our mission and our knowledge and asked our partners to help share our content.

OL_23ThingsFBpost

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Started with funding from J-Lab at American University, Oakland Local reaches 76,000 unique visitors a month, all from the Oakland/East Bay. The site now has 6,700+ facebook followers and 5,500+ Twitter followers. Although Oakland Local is fairly new, it is a model for the future of news and community engagement. As a member of both The Investigative News Network and The Society of Professional Journalists, OL is committed to quality work; we’ve had stories funded by The Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Public Integrity, among others. Our stories are distributed through Yahoo! News, SFGate, New America Media and others.

2. Friend and Fund Raising – Making Contact, National Radio Project, in-depth public affairs weekly radio show
MC Klout Score

To connect Making Contact’s broadcast radio streaming listenership and its non-listening donating audience with its website, facebook and Twitter, we’ve integrated additional media into every blog post. For instance, short videos, audio web extras, photography, Thinglink images and webified versions of the audio are now included on every show page. We’ve also focused on search via AdWords and via cross linking with related news outlets. And we seek friends willing to share our content via one-to-one communications. This has led to campaigns like our 2012 MayDay public media online fundraising collaboration, MayDayMedia99, and our 2012 Valentine’s day campaign, Love Your Media Day. Both campaigns focused on friend and fund raising. To do this, both campaigns featured an AdWords Ad, a SoundCloud audio set and targeted mailings in addition to addition to our weekly radio show offering.

Our MayDayMedia campaign, a Media 99 Razoo collaboration with Media Consortium members, led to roughly 20,000 people visiting the Media 99 website. Our site, RadioProject.org also benefited from focused MayDay work. If you visited our site that day you would have seen not only our weekly show but also Free Speech TV’s player, which we used for live MayDay coverage, and buttons that led to the Media99 event map and the Storify content. This added content and marketing via social media, phone calls and emails raised site traffic that day. Our Tuesday average is roughly 600 visits/day. On MayDay nearly 1,000 visited our site. And, time spent on our site doubled. Even better, many of these were first time visitors to our site. To note, most of those who came to our site on MayDay via referrals came from facebook. And we added 39 new online donors to our donor base during our MayDay collaboration.

Our Valentine’s Day AdWords ad garnered 1,350 clicks. And our facebook posts and tweets were shared among various key supporters. Throughout this Valentine’s Day campaign we used the #supportyrmedia day hashtag.

Here’s some of what we tweeted and some of what we heard on MayDay and on Valentine’s Day:

AdWords ad:
Spiced Valentines Day
Celebrate by fighting for
access to reproductive services.
radioproject.org

SoundCloud set list:

Email Headline:
Show some love

Email Video Link:

Making Contact struggles with many challenges faced by public radio: a) a large portion of listeners tune in via their radio while driving or at home while away from the screen b) the audience is dispersed geographically c) the audience is dispersed thematically. But Making Contact is also a beacon in the nonprofit world with a funding pool composed mostly of small individual, recurring donations. Online, Making Contact reaches 6,000 unique web visitors a month. This is in addition to the 5,000+ who download the MC podcast via RSS feeds. An even larger group listen via radio stations nationwide and internationally. The site now has 2,350 facebook followers and 700+ Twitter followers.


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Salt, Sugar, Fat

Since the 1950s convenience foods have ignited the processed food industry. In his new book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Michael Moss says that the government has been the industry’s best friend and partner in encouraging Americans to become more dependent on processed foods. According to Moss, processed foods are engineered using addictive recipes and manipulated ingredients whose structures have been chemically-altered. He says processed foods are manipulated using weaponized salt sugar and fat ingredients including 40 varieties of restructured salt and with tobacco-industry like marketing campaigns aimed at various ethnic groups and children, products are poised to addict or as the industry prefers to say, appeal and allure.

This is the second in a three-part Big Food series for Letters & Politics, a syndicated public affairs radio show out of Pacifica’s west coast station, KPFA 94.1 FM. This series investigates how the processed food industry came to dominate the American plate to become a top industry earning over one trillion in annual sales. The series digs into America’s food labs, food habits and food policy to detail how America became hooked on processed food.


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Pandora’s Lunchbox

In her new book, Pandora’s Lunchbox, business journalist Melanie Warner talks about the often disturbing processes behind many of the foods on our grocery stores shelves. Some 5,000 food additives go into our food (Warner 106). Only half of these have been studied for toxicity (Warner 105-111). Companies, she says, are no longer selling food but engineered foostuffs. With ingredients such as Potassium Bromate known to cause tumors in rats, and systems that turn a 7 hour cooking process into 15 second ordeals, convenience, marketing and food safety concerns have turned our modern food system into a nutrient devoid money making machine.

This is the first in a three-part Big Food series for Letters & Politics, a syndicated public affairs radio show out of Pacifica’s west coast station, KPFA 94.1 FM. This series investigates how the processed food industry came to dominate the American plate to become a top industry earning over one trillion in annual sales. The series digs into America’s food labs, food habits and food policy to detail how America became hooked on processed food.


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Young & Determined: how a group of young men is reinventing Marin City



Read the story on KALW.

Lorenzo Bynum has the “baller” build you might see on the cover of GQ, without the swagger. He’s clean-cut, 5’10”, wears two small earrings and has a muscular frame. It’s a Wednesday afternoon in Marin City, and the 23-year-old is digging frantically through a 10’ by 10’ closet. He’s hunting for a parachute large enough for a game with 15 third graders.

Wednesdays are busy days for Bynum. He clocks in at three part-time jobs: two hours directing elementary school children, two hours coaching track and field, and two hours coaching middle school boys basketball.

One reason Bynum likes basketball is that he grew up shooting hoops around town—with the friends and family members who are now his business partners. In late 2011, Bynum, his cousin Louis, and his friends Marcus Mason, Maurice Jenkins, and Melvin Judson, launched a business designing and selling t-shirts.

With $365 pooled from their savings, they ordered 100 cardigans and 50 sweatshirts, and began screen printing original designs. So far they’ve sold over 200 shirts.

“If you don’t know us, and you just see us on the street, you think ‘oh these are just some bad guys from Marin City.’ And most people don’t see us. So we’re here to get that out in the streets,” says Bynum.

Like many living in Marin City, the young men have had a hard time finding work.

Two of them are working towards degrees. For both, it’s their second try. Mason lost his housing, and Bynum says he just wasn’t able to pay.

“They hiked the tuition to where it was $35k to go a year and I couldn’t afford that even with financial aid, grants and scholarships,” says Bynum.

Meanwhile, Judson and Jenkins work part-time. They see each other daily at Babies “R” Us. Judson has worked as a cashier and stocker there for four years. This year, he got a raise. Now he earns $10.51 per hour, just over the county minimum wage. At 17 years old, Louis Bynum is the youngest. He also used to work at Babies “R” Us.

“Right now working for me is a bigger priority, trying to start this business and also provide for myself,” said Jenkins.

Over the last 30 years, Marin City residents battled poverty and drug abuse. Today, some things are better.

According to the 2010 census, Marin City is now a median-income community. But the stigma and the challenges remain. Marin City still has higher crime and poverty rates than the prosperous county surrounding it and more than a quarter of Marin City residents continue to live under the poverty line.

“Over the last few years, the city changed for the better,” says Andrew Abou Jaoude, Client Services Coordinator for the Marin City Community Development Corporation.

Bynum and his crew see themselves as part of Marin City’s renewal.

“Our clothing line is called RedEy3. It means ‘Real expressions determined through one’s eyes.’ And the image is a plane. It means being successful in anything and everything you do. Flight to success, it’s catchy. It rolls off the tongue,” he said.

The crew works out of two homes, both of which are in public housing. At the four-bedroom apartment that Maurice Jenkins shares with his parents and siblings, they receive equipment and clothing. They hold meetings at the two-bedroom apartment Lorenzo shares with his family. But soon, they will be working out of their own office, thanks to a local non-profit.

Along with joblessness, youth crime continues to plague Marin City. Kevin Lynch is the Director of Marin County Youth Probation Services. “Approximately 75 percent of youth in our system are youths of color, which is way out of proportion to what youths of color represent in Marin County,” says Lynch. “And when I see numbers going down for other youth, that frustrates me even more. I feel like we can do better.”

Walking around Marin City, it’s easy to see the things that make life harder. Outside Jenkin’s apartment, an older, frail woman is walking around in circles. She’s stoned. Within 45 seconds, a police car approaches, and officers step out to talk with her. Behind her, young men are joking and listening to music. They don’t seem to notice.

Outside of the Phoenix Project of Marin, John Allen, 26, and Derek Morgan, 17, both say living in Marin City is challenging.

“Marin City is what you make of it. It can be your heaven or it can be your hell,” says Allen.

“It’s kinda hard growing up here because we don’t have a lot of things. But, it takes you to rise up above the influence. Growing up here you can get caught up, or, you can rise,” says Morgan.

RedEy3 still faces some challenges. This year they contacted the Marin City Community Development Corporation for small business resources, but they have yet to sign up for any assistance programs. The bigger issue now is duration. Can they keep it fun long enough to push them through months of small business hardship?

The RedEy3 team is in the process of coming out with a new collection. This one will have 120 shirts and tank tops for sale. Until the collection comes out, they will be submitting grant applications as they prepare to buy a digital t-shirt printer machine, and they’ll keep the business going.

You can see RedEy3 designs at http://www.redey3flight.com.


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It’s an awards morning

In addition to notices that both Oakland Local and Making Contact won SPJ awards, the following award winning stories also ended up in my inbox. These are great inspiration for what I’m cooking up, and much more interesting than just an 800 word text story.

LA Times: Caught in the crossfire
Minnesota Public Radio: Youth Radio Series
Boston.com: The other welfare
Seattle Times: Invisible families


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What makes a great podcast?

As always with the subjective, I’d love to hear what you think.

Here are my thoughts:

* online script
* good photo(s) on the associated webpage
* the option of hearing a 5-30 min segment and of hearing the 30 sec – 3 min clips that make it up
* catchy, simple intro
* calm host with a clear voice
* resources – linked in the script and in the podcast
* conversational tone throughout

Here’s Paste Magazine’s list of 10 best podcasts. And then, there’s always NPR’s What Makes it Great series.

Indy favorites
Answer Me This, by Olly Mann
Kermode and Mayo, both by Spencer
The Fringe Podcast- Entertainment
UC Radio- Podsafe Music
The Audacity to Podcast- Technology
Christian Meets World- Religion Inspiration
Gamertag Radio- Gaming
Bend over and Take it- GLBT
Joe Rogan Experience- Best Video
Kid Friday- People’s Choice, Education
Inside the magic- Best Produced, Travel
Amateur Travel- Travel
File Under Horrible (FUHcast)- Comedy