Each week, I put together and distribute The Talking Points e-newsletter (sign up here). It’s full of stories and articles designed to help people like YOU do your job’s just a little bit better. And, it’s also full of jobs I think would be interesting to readers.
My process for identifying and curating those jobs isn’t all that complex, or difficult, for that matter. But, there is a process behind it–and resources I use on a consistent basis. And, since many of you will most likely be searching for a job in the next 2-3 years (stats prove it out, folks!), I thought I would share those resources today and how I use them. It total, I use seven different online resources when finding those job posting each week:
The longest-running PR blog in Minnesota–and, truth be told, one of the longest-running PR blogs in the entire country. Kudos to Ryan May for creating this resource so many of us use on a weekly basis. I don’t pull every job from this blog, but I definitely check it each week.
More focused on internships and beginner-level positions, but definitely a resource I look at each week. Tends to include more positions at mid-sized orgs, media enterprises and non-profits, but still worth checking. In particular, I look under “Communications-Public Relations”, “Advertising” and “Marketing and Brand/Product Management”.
Typically doesn’t have a ton of listings, and they do tend to overlap with the MN PR Blog, but worth a quick glance each week.
As you’ll see, I use LinkedIn in a dual-purpose when searching for jobs. In this case, I’m clicking on the “jobs” tab at the top of the page. Then, I’m typically searching for “public relations” and “social media” positions in Minneapolis. Over the last couple years, that typically brings up a decent amount of jobs each week. You’d be surprised.
The other way I use LinkedIn is to peruse my feed 2-3 times per day for people posting about local jobs here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. This usually yields 2-3 jobs a week–these are positions my friends, colleagues, clients and former clients are posting. And, these are typically the kinds of jobs that aren’t posted to some of the other resources listed here. I usually click through to the jobs and bookmark the sites (using Feedly and my friendly Feedly bookmarklet) for reference later.
This site was one of my biggest sources of jobs up until a few months ago when they redesigned the site. Now, it seems a little tougher to uncover jobs the way I did before. Regardless, a great site to visit weekly.
More focused on ad-related jobs, but I still check it each week.
If you live in the Twin Cities, chances are, by now you’ve probably heard 2017 is the Mall of America’s 25th birthday. They just had a huge celebration for the actual birthday a couple weeks ago–and the coverage was everywhere (nice work Sarah Grap!).
MOA has actually been a fairly big part of my life–especially for the last 13 years. When we moved to south Minneapolis in 2004, our new home was less than five miles from the mall. And, when we had our first child, MOA provided endless hours of “entertainment”–we spent many Saturday and Sunday mornings walking around the mall with our son and daughter and drinking our coffees.
So, the 25th anniversary piqued my curiousity. I wonder what MOA had been up to on the social front? Historically, they’ve been an enveloper-pusher, especially back when people like Lisa Grimm and Bridget Jewell were helping out.
Turns out, MOA is doing some interesting things with its (relatively newly revamped) blog, 55425.
So, I sat down with Timothy Pate, digital project manager at MOA and talked about the blog and how MOA is using it to drive awareness and interest for the popular international destination.
First, when did you change from the former blog format to the new version? Why?
Tim: My first project was relaunching the 55425 blog. With the former blog, the content was almost strictly promotional–it just wasn’t very engaging and featured mostly deals and events. So, we had a great opportunity to redesign and go in with a fresh approach to content. We chose to focus on three verticals for content: Culture, Entertainment, and Style.
Why the name 55425?
Tim: It’s the zip code the mall resides in. And, it highlights the impact the mall has in our own backyard. The mall is so large and has so much to offer that it often times is compared to a small city, so we thought it would be fun way to symbolize the vast majority of topics one can read about in our blog
Who is the team in charge of managing the blog?
Tim: I’m the primary editor of the blog, but we have a number of employees that contribute articles to the blog on a regular basis. We actually have a lot of good writers on staff, but writing isn’t their primary job. We ask everyone from interns to VPs to contribute. In total, we have 16 writers and we ask them to contribute one post a month. We give them a lot of rope to develop stories. For example, Amy Struve is our entertainment editor. But, she’s also a huge sports fan, so she’s written stories about sports as well. One of our previous interns, Lisa, has been dying to write something around plus-size fashion so we gave her that opportunity.
What’s been your content strategy to date?
We try to organize our content around our major campaigns throughout the year (back to school, holiday, spring break, etc.). We try to integrate our posts with these major themes. On the other hand, we are pretty nimble, too. For example, we wrote this post around Pokemon stops at the mall last year–it’s maybe our most popular post so far.
How do you go about brainstorming content ideas?
The editor for each section of the blog holds their own brainstorm meetings–usually monthly. At the same time, we also hold a larger brainstorming with everyone involved once a month.
You also mentioned you share a “Blog Handbook” with authors before they contribute content–can you talk more about that?
The blog handbook simply introduces authors to the certain types of content we write about. It also touches on our voice, the MOA style guide, the process for requesting photos, and story ideas. Basically, it’s our reference menu for people who want to write for the blog. The 10-page handbook also includes a post template–title, subhead, how to link to stories, how to use WordPress.
What has worked so far, and what hasn’t?
Our more “in the moment” posts have worked well so far. Any posts that focus on food at the mall usually perform pretty well, too (like this recent post discussing chocolates at MOA).
On the other hand, the Q&A posts with celebrities that are visiting the mall have performed decent, but they just haven’t been worth the effort (and they require a lot of time, as you might imagine). Also, our “this month on Instagram” posts have been a lot of work, too. Not sure those have been worth the time either.
Then, we have one series we’re still evaluating: Our partnership with MSP Communications. We contracted with MSP to write one post a week for 25-weeks–25 stories approaching the lead up to our actual birthday (August 11). The idea? To get an outsider’s perspective and voice on the mall. So far, it’s worked pretty well, but we’ll explore guest posting more in the months ahead.
What’s been the one post that’s surprised you, in terms of audience reaction?
Our 25th anniversary stories–those talking about how people have connected with the mall over the years (like this post about people who have been married at MOA over the years)–surprised us. People have such an emotional and nostalgic connection with the mall. And, a lot of times, they want to share those memories on social media. We didn’t necessarily anticipate that.
How do you measure results? How often do you measure/share?
Traffic has increased month over month since we relaunched the blog two years ago. We also look at where traffic comes from. We’re an international destination, so what people from Germany and China are reading on the blog matters a lot to us. We also review how long people are staying on the blog.
Anything to add?
A big part of the purpose of the blog is to bring the human part of the mall to life. As has been widely reported, malls are dying. But we’re thriving! That’s because we’re more than just a mall–we’re a destination and a culmination of the best in retail, food, and entertainment.
GIFs aren’t a new thing on the internet. In fact, they’ve almost been around as long as the internet itself.
But, when it comes to brands and GIFs–that’s a whole different story.
Some brands have jumped right in, and are using GIFs somewhat frequently in their posts–Wendy’s, and Denny’s come to mind (here’s a few more courtesy of the folks at Hootsuite).
In fact, I would say GIF adoption when it comes to original social content is fairly widespread at this point.
However, when it comes to using GIFs in the comments section on Facebook, well, that’s a totally different proposition.
Now, I know some brands have legal concerns when it comes to using GIFs from sites like Giphy. But, I continue to believe using GIFs in the comments sections of Facebook posts gives brands a nice opportunity to have a little fun and show a little personality.
So, I thought today I’d curate a few favorites in a number of areas where brands would typically use GIFs.
Like responding to a customer with the Kramer GIF below when they’re wanting to say “Yep, I agree with that”. Or, using the Amy Poehler GIF below to simply say “thank you.” Or, oh, you get the idea.
A few weeks ago, I shared a post featuring 10 local Minneapolis influencers I’d be connecting with if I were a Minnesota-based brand. As a result of that post, I heard from a number of people with influencers to add to such a list.
So, I thought I’d share a few of those folks with you today. Here are 17 more local influencers to consider as part of your influencer strategy from local PR/social media pros around town. And a big thanks to Nicole Klang, Bridget Nelson Monroe, Hyedi Nelson, Andrew Miller and Keegan Shoutz for contributing!
Submitted by Nicole Klang, Sigma Beauty
www.instagram.com/lindseykateco – 19,400 followers
www.instagram.com/woolandwhiskey_ – 13,100 followers
Submitted by Andrew Miller, Fast Horse
Josef Harris and Liz Gardner
www.instagram.com/josefharris – 5,117 followers
www.instagram.com/lizgrdnr – 13,500 followers
Why they would make great brand ambassadors: Fast Horse counts Harris and Gardner of the creative firm Bodega Ltd. among its neighbors. Both have incredible taste, and in addition to posting work samples, they offer a glimpse of their work-life immersion as a couple and co-owners of their business. It’s kind of like if the HBO series “How To Make It In America” was told through a pair of Instagram accounts. Josef’s #rapquotesinsriracha posts — which are exactly what the hashtag suggests — deserve their own Instagram account.
www.instagram.com.wa.deen – 3,439 followers
Why he would make a good brand ambassador: Wale Agboola is my favorite photographer in the Twin Cities. The best Instagram accounts offers a look into how someone perceives the world around them. (When an Instagram account is nothing but selfies…yeah, that says something, too.) Wale’s optimism, constant search for beauty and way of showing the good in humanity makes his account a must-follow. His portraits have a tendency to pull the light out of his subject, and he has the ability to find the best moments between the moments one would normally capture and post.
Submitted by Hyedi Nelson, Bellmont Partners
What does she post about? Lots of gorgeous GoPro shots documenting her adventures in Ironman and triathlon training and competing. Also, her beloved vizsla, family and food.
Why she would be a great brand ambassador: Erin is a fantastic writer and has a great eye for creative and stylistic shots. Also, she’s a phenomenal athlete and does her research so there’s a credibility factor. She engages with everyone who comments on her posts and has a very specific following that trusts her.
What does she post about? Images of her delicious-looking healthy recipes, fashion, fitness
Why she would be a great brand ambassador: Because she doesn’t have frequent sponsored content, and when she does, it seems genuine. She’s funny and real — someone you want to be friends with and her followers are loyal and engaged.
What does she post about? Food and travel, family.
Why she would be a great brand ambassador: Her content is well thought out and her feed always either makes me really happy or hungry – or both.
Submitted by Bridget Nelson Monroe, Bellmont Partners
Twin Cities Mom Blog
11.5K followers; 60+ engagements per post
What do they post about? Family activities around town, musings on parenting
Why they would be great brand ambassadors: With a large, local following, a big focus on content about kid-friendly activities and products, and several events throughout the year, they’re a no-brainer if you want to reach Twin Cities moms, especially those of young kids.
1,575 followers; 50+ engagements per post
What do they post about? “Living Modern Life Well” – plenty of healthy lifestyle posts (recipes, being present, yoga, etc.), plus posts from events and businesses around town and her two kids
Why they would be great brand ambassadors: Kate’s posts have a great aesthetic and are authentic and thoughtful. It caught my eye that she partnered with 3M recently on back-to-school content, creating a cute, easy clock sign to help kids tell what time they need to do certain tasks to get themselves out the door on schedule in the morning. Simple, practical tips and projects – yes, please!
1,054 followers; 40+ engagements per post
What do they post about? A little bit of everything – a very real look at life as a professional, a mom and a dog owner (not to mention an awesome home makeover documented in Insta Stories and posts!)
Why they would be great brand ambassadors: Missy leads a busy life and captures a huge variety of pics and videos that represent that very well, from the office, to her super cute dog, to home projects and kids’ sports practices, and everything in between. She has a knack for finding and sharing interesting products, whether it’s drool-worthy home items or a neat tracking device for her wandering-prone dog.
694 followers; 40+ engagements per post
What do they post about? Equal parts running/fitness/healthy eating and delicious-looking meals from across the Twin Cities, with a dose of funny life-with-a-toddler moments
Why they would be great brand ambassadors: Any brand in the fitness or healthy eating space should take a look at Hyedi. She’s the everywoman of running, with plenty of authentic posts about the highs and lows of being a runner – injuries and all. She also highlights the big community of runners here in the Twin Cities. (Full disclosure: Hyedi is a colleague of mine at Bellmont Partners.)
Submitted by Keegan Shoutz, Lola Red
48.5k instagram followers
What do they post about/Why would she make a great brand ambassador? Great range of lifestyle content, not just set to one industry (i.e. food or fashion).
6.9k instagram followers
What do they post about/Why would she make a great brand ambassador? Can hire her to actually capture content for your brand as well. as a photographer has a great eye and takes GREAT content for your brand.
11.2k instagram followers
What do they post about/Why would she make a great brand ambassador? Outdoor based photography. Not your typical “fashion” instagrammer and has a unique perspective.
34.8k instagram followers
What do they post about/Why would she make a great brand ambassador? Great fashion perspective if you’re a brand specifically looking for a fashion influencer in Mpls — she is a great person to work with.
What do they post about/Why would she make a great brand ambassador? Well-rounded beauty/fashion/lifestyle. Has worked with some pretty great brands in the past on a national level.
As many of you know, I’m a Winona State University grad. And while I have certain loyalties to the U of M, and my Kansas Jayhawks, I bleed purple and I’ll always think of Winona State as my college home. So, whenever I get the chance, I try to highlight the great people here in the Twin Cities who also call themselves Warriors. Zach Spanton is one of those people. Zach’s a recent grad (2017) who I met a couple years ago during one of my many visits to the WSU campus. Most recently, Zach earned the prestigious MN PRSA Willard Thompson Scholarship–a first for a WSU student! That was more than enough for me to feature him here today. Let’s hear from this rock star grad.
First and foremost, you’re a recent Winona State grad (go Warriors!). So, I always ask everyone I meet who’s attended WSU–why Winona?
Winona was the sweet spot for me. Growing up in a town of 3,500 in South Dakota, I wanted new experiences in a place that was a bit bigger, but not too big, and far away, but not too far. Once I visited, I fell in love with the place. After getting settled, the people and professors I met confirmed that WSU was the fit for me.
During your time at Winona State, you had at least two internships, and it appears at least one part-time job. Can you talk a little about the value of those internships–and a part-time job–during your college career?
I found I was able to learn what I liked and didn’t like along with building valuable skills. During my internships, I was able to try my hand at many tasks including writing, research, design, photo/videography, and project management. Either there aren’t as many internships out there involving just getting coffee, or I lucked out. Even at a campus job unrelated to my field (I made a lot copies there) I had opportunities to practice certain skills, like designing posters and writing. Being able to transfer and grow those skill sets from each job built me a foundation that jumpstarted my career path.
Besides learning a lot at my internships, it kept me in the mindset that I was working toward something. It made me understand that everything wouldn’t magically fall into place once I graduated. I had to work for it and plan while I was finishing my studies so I wouldn’t be left high and dry on graduation day.
You’ve made the transition to full-time work pretty well. However, many students in the PR and marketing fields do not. Why do you think that is? And, to what do you credit your success in that transition?
It’s hard to say why that is. I have friends who weren’t as lucky as I was leaving school. Getting a good amount of experience before graduation likely gave me an edge though. I can also give credit to persistence, networking, and of course a bit of luck. I made an effort to follow up with people I met in the field and transferred skill sets from one experience to the next, ultimately leading to my internship at Metre, the ad agency I work at full-time now.
I should also stress the importance of confidence, or at least the fake-it-til-you-make-it version. Some people looking from the outside in might be surprised to hear I was pretty scared most of the time in my college journey. Being able to choke it down and keep pushing myself was key to helping me get to where I am.
So many people talk about finding that first job out of school and how hard that can be. But, fewer people talk about the life transition from college to full-time work and how that impacts your life. Talk about how you’ve made that transition and tips you might have for those who will make it in the years ahead.
It’s definitely a different environment! Transitioning from going between classes, clubs, and a part-time job to being in the office most of the day is a big change of pace. There are still a lot of deadlines, but with more serious consequences 😉 And there aren’t any clear guidelines of what you’re supposed to do. You kind of have to figure out a lot on your own.
So, I’ve tried to carry things into my career that helped me at school: I stay in touch with contacts and those I can learn from, I keep the mindset that I’m still learning and always will be, and I set deadlines and milestones for myself.
On top of work, there’s also life outside of work. To those who will be walking the same path I’m on, I would say to work hard and take the advice I listed above, but enjoy your free time, explore your new surroundings, and take time for interests and hobbies. Personal growth is as important as professional growth.
You recently made the decision to move from your job in LaCrosse, Wisc., to Minneapolis. That’a big shift! Why the move? And what are you looking forward to most about living in and working in Minneapolis?
Once I decided what field to go into, I knew I’d ultimately want to transition here after school. It’s a place not far from what I’m familiar with where a lot of talented and helpful people live who I can learn from. So, as I was nearing graduation, I talked to the owners of Metre, where I was interning, and expressed my interest in moving to Minneapolis. It just so happened they were wanting to build up the satellite office there. (Again, where a bit of that luck played out).
I’m most looking forward to getting into the local culture (I can’t say the beer and biking have disappointed), seeing what exciting new projects come up, and meeting more people. It’s only just begun!
You also recently earned the Dr. Willard Thompson Award as part of the annual MN PRSA Classics Banquet. Congratulations! Can you talk a little about what this honor means to you and how (if at all) it’s impacted your life in the last couple months?
Thank you 🙂
Receiving that honor was a huge boost to self-confidence right before graduating. It felt great to represent WSU when that honor is usually snatched up by UM students. It’s taught me to be confident in my abilities, and to always keep pushing myself.
At the Classics, I saw familiar faces and met many great people who were all willing to chat with me, share their experience, and offer advice. Since then, I’ve met with two of them again and have two more meetings in the works. One of the best parts was getting to have lunch with Heather Cmiel, MN PRSA President. She’s one of the kindest, most helpful, and personable professionals I’ve met. Overall, this honor really helped me build a support network that I plan to grow.
You were also very active with PRSSA at Winona State, serving on the board, leading tours and in general, volunteering a ton of time your sophomore-senior years. Why made you do that, initially? And, do you think all that time and effort was worth it? Why or why not?
Honestly, in high school I wasn’t involved in a lot of extracurricular activities, and I wanted to change that in college. Once I had chosen PR as a major my sophomore year, I figured it would be smart to join PRSSA and learn more about the field (because it still seemed like a total mystery). Once the opportunity to apply as an officer came up, I wrestled with the decision for about a week before finally sending the application off last minute.
The time and effort was absolutely worth it, because it forced me into a leadership position where I had to learn a lot. The responsibility of making sure the club was worthwhile for everyone helped drive us. Creating those opportunities to learn together as a group and to go off and meet professionals in the field was invaluable.
Note: Photo above courtesy of Minnesota PRSA.