Social Media Strategy
American City Business Journals
Creating a company-wide social media strategy
As the Director of Social Media at American City Business Journals, I was tasked with creating a strategy to increase social media engagements and referral traffic from the social media channels for the company's 43 news publications. This was a bit tricky because all of ACBJ's content is behind a paywall, which limits the audience. However, shortly after being hired, I:
spent two months auditing the social media accounts of all 43 publications. This included an in-depth look at each newsroom's social media analytics, interviewing the social media managers and publication editors about their social media practices and workflow, and creating comprehensive reports to capture the internal landscape for leadership.
created a detailed social media strategy document for all social media managers, both at the national and market levels, to follow.
led company-wide training on how to execute the new social media strategy.
traveled to newsrooms to help staff implement the strategy and tweak it for their audiences.
published detailed monthly reports showing company-wide and market-by-market progress.
Within the first year of implementing this strategy, ACBJ saw a 96.3% increase in social media referral traffic. The number of engagements on social media posts increased each year, and newsroom staff became much more invested in using social media for reporting and story promotion.
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Informing strategy using the Facebook Content Testing Tool
Content Types: In February 2019, I used Facebook's content testing tool to run a six-week test to determine what type of content the NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Facebook audience was consuming the most between midnight and 3 a.m. Every day, we scheduled sports, entertainment, opinion, crime, business, politics and education articles to run against one another during that time slot.
Over the course of six weeks, we saw that while the number of engagements on our page did not increase significantly when sharing posts during this time period, we did see a high number of link clicks when we shared opinion columns. We began scheduling opinion pieces to go out during those early morning hours, which in turn noticeably increased our Facebook referral traffic.
A/B Testing: After noticing many news outlets sharing graphics and videos in a square format, I decided to use Facebook's Content Testing Tool to A/B test social media videos and graphics in various formats. For two months, my team created two versions of each social graphic and video. In version A, the graphic/video was square. In version B, the graphic/video was horizontal. Every time we shared one of these pieces, we shared it through the Content Testing Tool.
At the end of the testing period, we determined that horizontal graphics and videos consistently outperformed the square versions, even though square graphics and videos were trendier among competitors. We shared our data and observations with the national social media team at Advance Local, our parent company, who then asked us to share it with the social media editors of the other Advance Local publications. This practice was largely adopted by the other publications.
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
A Fragile State: ‘Donna’s Law’ could save Louisiana families from heartache
When we published the series "A Fragile State," which details how Louisiana's health care system is failing its most vulnerable residents, I wanted to present it on social media in a way that made the stories relatable and easily digestible. The content is emotionally heavy, and the series is made up of 22 articles that discuss every part of the healthcare system and the people it affects.
I created a social media strategy for this series that highlighted key people and issues from the series. One piece that we focused on for social media was ‘Donna’s Law’ could save Louisiana families from heartache.
For this story, I:
pitched a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) with the story's main subject, Katrina Brees, about how she's advocated for a "no-guns" self-registry after her mentally ill mother killed herself with a gun. The AMA received 2,600 up-votes, generated 837 comments, was given Reddit Gold and Reddit Silver, and resulted in dozens of users direct messaging our account for more information and to share their own stories. The AMA also served to expose the story to a much larger audience outside of Louisiana, and increased the social media referral traffic back to series.
used our photographer's photos to create an Instagram story, which tells the story of Katrina Brees and asks viewers to swipe up to read more. The Instagram story had more than 40,000 impressions, a completion rate of 65.9%, a 4.9% reach rate, and more than 1,600 tap backs.
assigned social producers to create quote cards to share the story with on Facebook and Twitter.
created a detailed social sharing plan using an Excel sheet to keep track of when and where the story was being shared, and to ensure it got promotion both upon and after publication.
"The Children of Central City"
For nine months, two reporters, a photographer and a videographer from NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune followed a team of 9- and 10-year-old boys who play football at A.L. Davis Park, located in one of New Orleans’ most historic, culturally rich and crime-plagued neighborhoods. This team interviewed parents, coaches, families, teachers and healthcare providers as part of an examination into an often-overlooked public health crisis: chronic exposure to violence and its devastating effects on children.
The resulting series, “The Children of Central City,” launched in June and includes nine stories and a documentary. This project explores how the repeated exposure to violence alters a child’s health and behavior, and what – if anything – is being done to help heal the scars left from trauma.
I served as the project manager and digital strategist for “The Children of Central City,” and when we were dreaming up this project, I realized that we had one big problem: Our website wasn’t capable of giving this series the digital footprint it deserved. After much discussion with senior management, I pitched the idea of designing and building a website for the series using WordPress – something our newsroom has never done before.
I went on to design and build that website. As the project manager and digital strategist, I created the workflow and deadlines for the project, weighed in on editing choices and art selection, and made strategic decisions on how the project would roll out across print and digital platforms. The series rollout included an extensive social media strategy, including social-first artwork and video clips, outside promotion from local influencers, and strategic posting times over the course of one month.
First place in the 25th annual Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma
National Press Foundation’s Carolyn C. Mattingly Award for Mental Health Reporting
Documentary film accepted and screened at "Meet the Press" Film Festival
Third place in the public health reporting category in the Association of Health Care Journalists’ national excellence contest
Read my interview about the project in Poynter.
*Note: Due to the sale of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, the WordPress site is no longer visible. However, the content can still be found here.
An Award-Winning Parenting Column
As a new mom who was new to New Orleans, I found myself frustrated with the lack of local coverage of parenting issues and commentary in the city. I pitched a weekly parenting column to newsroom leadership, and the rest is history.
What started out as a pet project quickly grew into a popular feature, which won first place in general commentary portfolios at the 2019 Society of Features Journalism Awards and second place in the personal columns category at the 2019 Louisiana -Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors Awards.
Selection of Columns:
"New Orleans kids are catching the school bus before the sun rises. That's not OK."
"My kid is going to be a Saints fan, and there's nothing I can do about it."
"The best Mardi Gras parade was the one I didn't see coming"
"Why I may not have another child in New Orleans"
"Is Jazz Fest kid-friendly? It depends on the age of your kids."
Judge’s comments: "Correll takes a particular instance or event and puts it in universal context. The columns about school are well-reported and illuminate a larger issue affecting the community."
During my two years at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, I pitched, created and maintained three curated newsletters:
The Lunch Line: A weekday newsletter that's an easy, informative read and perfect for catching up on the news during your lunch break. Each newsletter is written by Greg LaRose, who brings a personal, often humorous voice to the publication. Less than one year in, and with very little marketing, the newsletter has 13,000 subscribers and a 30% open rate.
Sunday Thoughts: A weekly newsletter that gives readers a peek behind the newsroom curtain. Each week, readers hear from our editor or managing editor, and learns what we're excited about, what keeps us up at night, what we're hearing and what we're seeing. The audience for this newsletter is small, but loyal. Our editors regularly hear from subscribers who say Sunday Thoughts is the first thing they read every Sunday morning.
Where NOLA Eats: A weekly newsletter from our award-winning, thoughtful dining team. The newsletter features a personal note from one of our food writers, must-read articles, recipes to try, beautiful food photos from staff and readers, and popular conversations from the Where NOLA Eats Facebook group. Where NOLA Eats is our most read newsletter, with a 40% open rate.