Leading the way to exclusive content.
I began my journey as a graphic designer at ReminderMedia, publishers of American Lifestyle magazine, in 2007 with the task of generating and designing content for senders of ALM to select for use in their magazine. Some of this content was industry-driven while another type of content I developed was values or interest based.
I would often reach back into my memories and experiences, or pull from my values as inspiration for the non-industry related content. Ideas like "Rock Painting" and other crafts that I remember from my childhood would make their way onto Tear Out Card Designs. The image below shows some content that stemmed from my fitness instructor days at PSU, favorite childhood art projects, and past seasonal endeavors.
The success of these small-scale additions of seasonal, timely, and interest based content lead to something big—an opportunity to build an in-house Creative Content Team.
In January of 2014, the Creative Content Team launched, with me and five other creative group employees. My role as Art Director and Project Manager was leading the team to create and deliver exclusive content that was developed, photographed, and designed entirely in-house. The content would be exclusive to Platinum customer and for publication in American Lifestyle magazine's digital and print platforms.
The purpose of the content was two-fold. For ReminderMedia, the content was intended to engage customers, increase retention, and promote participation in ALM's platinum program (a status needed to take advantage of custom content). For our customers, the content was intended to create a stronger connection with their recipients, provide additional exposure, and allow customers to share ALM content with their network on multiple platforms.
A lot of planning went into the launch of the team. I selected and met with individual candidates to discuss the opportunity and gather insight. Each person I met with reflected my enthusiasm, and the potential and excitement continued to build. During the preparation phase, I built a foundation of processes, defined specific roles and developed calendars to prepare us for our first content project. The above image shows a compilation of materials created for the launch of the content team. Scroll down for more detailed previews of these materials and descriptions.
The above image shows the initial Creative Brief I developed prior to the team's kick-off meeting. It included an overview of why we want to offer exclusive content, explained the benefits of timely content, detailing roles/responsibilities, and defined goals, both for the team and for our customers.
I handled preparing annual and issue-specific content calendars, coordinating their alignment with the editorial calendar, promotion/delivery timing, and sales and marketing goals. The above image shows the 2014/2015 annual content calendar, and Issue 70s theme inspiration and deadline calendar.
To maintain calendar consistency, I developed a time formula built off of known (constant) deadlines and used it as the foundation for each issue's calendar. The formula enabled me to keep the timeframes allotted for each task balanced from one issue to the next. I also created a comprehensive task checklist necessary to complete prior to launch, which helped keep me and the team on track throughout the 3-4 month process.
The first major initiative of the Creative Content Team was Issue 64, Celebrate America. From here, I lead the team through 7-issues, all jam-packed with creative content produced completely in-house, by just a small team of 5.
Thanks to everyone who attended one of my 'Rock Sales' at the lake, which provided the inspiration and foundation for my future creative endeavors.