From brand futurists and food innovators to the camera company that changed the face of user-generated content, our next wave of SMWLA speakers represent some of the most forward-thinking players in lifestyle media, technology, and consumer insights.
Here are the newest additions to the lineup:
- World-renowned youth marketing expert and Crowdtap CEO Matt Britton will discuss the evolution of brand marketing and provide insights on how brands can tap into the voice of consumers in real-time to inform their marketing, product, and business decisions.
- Katie Babineau, Senior Manager of Global Social & Influencer Marketing at GoPro, joins SMWLA to share actionable learnings from partnering with some of the most authentic and adventurous influencers in the world.
- Kaitlin Bray, Director of Social Media at Food52, will explore best practices learned from growing an Instagram following from 0 to nearly 2 million, including how to create breakthrough visual content that creates community around your brand.
Join us at The Broad Stage from June 12-14 to see these speakers and dozens more, including:
- Rosette Pambakian, Head of Marketing, Tinder
- Joel Flory, CEO & Founder, VSCO
- Dea Lawrence, Chief Marketing Officer, Variety
- Josh Rose Chief Creative Officer, Weber Shandwick
- Bing Chen, Creator, Investor & Entrepreneur (formerly YouTube/Google)
- Jean Freeman, Principal & CEO, Zambezi
- Marcus Collins, Head of Social Engagement, Doner
- TL Stanley, Senior Contributor, Adweek
- Lars Bastholm, Chief Creative Officer, The Exploratory at Google
- Tom Jauncey, CEO, Beautiful Destinations
Secure your pass by Feb. 16 to take advantage of our early bird pricing, which saves you 40%!
P.S. Want to join us on stage? Our Call for Speakers closes in less than one month.
5 Questions With Emmy Favilla, Global Copy Chief, BuzzFeed
The digital age has afforded us with a slew of new ways to communicate, from emails and texts to social media messages and visual content. Given all of these new tools, symbols, abbreviations, and linguistic styles, publishers like BuzzFeed must find ways to tell stories in a way that resonates with culture in a consistent fashion.
At SMWNYC, Emmy Favilla, Global Copy Chief and creator of the company’s style guide, will disclose how BuzzFeed streamlines its editorial style to maintain a coherent tone of voice across all of its content and channels. She will also share how the copy guide was produced and why certain decisions were made along the way.
We recently sat down with Favilla to learn about what it means to “write for the internet” and gather tips for brands and publishers looking to create their own guides.
SMW: What is the biggest myth people hold about writing for the internet?
EF: A big misconception is that it requires a much different skill set than writing for print does. Journalism is journalism, essays are essays, humor is humor, and we’re all speaking the same language regardless of the medium. Sure, strategy comes into play when you’re promoting content on social media—working for a digital company, you learn pretty early on what sorts of headlines and thumbnail images are more conducive to sharing, for instance—but for the most part, when it comes to the stories or posts themselves, writing is a skill that is transferable.
We’re seeing hashtags and emojis in the pages of magazines now too, after all! Coming from a print background, I’d barely had any experience editing digital media before joining BuzzFeed. Making the transition to copyediting for a website didn’t require a very steep learning curve beyond the technical elements, like learning how to use our CMS.
SMW: What are some of the key language differences when it comes to writing for social audiences vs. writing for more traditional audiences?
EF: I don’t think it’s so much social vs. traditional as it is what the genre of the content itself is. If we’re talking about a 10,000-word investigative piece or a breaking-news story, there’s not going to be much difference in the language used, whether it lives on the BuzzFeed website or inside a print edition of the The New York Times.
Headlines are the one exception because the name of the game on the internet is shareability. You want people to click on a post and retweet it, to share it on their own pages and with friends. So, being mindful of headlines that don’t sound stilted or overly formal and instead using plain language, perhaps in the way you’d synopsize a story casually to a friend, is always going to be beneficial for that purpose.
When it comes to more lighthearted, entertainment pieces, the traditional journalism rules are a little more flexible. You can write with a voice that’s more conversational, using all capital letters and forgoing the use of punctuation if you want something to sound like it’s being bellowed into a black hole, or using made-up abbreviations (like “caj” for “casual”) or slang words for comical effect. We can be a little more forgiving of hyperbolic phrasing, like declaring something you love as “everything” or using an emoji to stand in for a word (e.g. “🔥”).
It’s also important to consider the fact that when you’re writing for the internet, whether intentionally or not, you’re also writing for a global audience. For this reason, it’s important to make things as universally digestible as possible: for instance, not using state abbreviations like Fla. and Mo., which may not be as immediately recognizable to audiences outside the U.S., and instead spell out the entire state name. You learn to be a little more aware of things like that.
It’s important to consider the fact that when you’re writing for the internet, whether intentionally or not, you’re also writing for a global audience.
SMW: BuzzFeed has hundreds of writers on its staff. How did you go about aligning all of them on a single style guide?
EF: The first iteration of the style guide was circulated among staff in early 2013 when the number of total employees at BuzzFeed was probably somewhere just above 200. We had only hired Ben Smith as editor-in-chief and started publishing news stories the year prior, and it was before the division of the editorial staff into news and what’s now the BuzzFeed Entertainment Group (or BFEG). That said, at that time the guide was just a fraction of the size it has grown to today!
As the first and only copy editor at BuzzFeed at the time, I basically poured through the site looking for inconsistencies that could benefit from standardization, as well as compiled FAQs from all of our staff writers and editors. I felt the best way to organize the guide was to start with a general word list, then follow that with specific sections, some of which referenced broad stylization topics (e.g. abbreviations and acronyms acceptable on first reference, numbers) and others that were associated with sections (or “verticals”) on our site at the time, like food, music, and LGBT.
The guide has since been regularly updated (I’d say on average at least four or five updates a month, whether that be with additions to the word list, revisions to outdated bits, or otherwise) based on feedback and questions from our staff as well as conversations among the copydesk as to what warrants an “official” guideline.
The BuzzFeed Style Guide has grown to a point that no matter what division of the company you work for or what you’re writing about, you’ll likely find the answer to your style questions in it. For example, we’ve published regional style guides for our UK and Australia bureaus. The copydesk also sends out regular reminder emails to staff with style tips for timely events (e.g. the Olympics, the Super Bowl, awards shows, etc.) and a list of any new updated to the guide.
SMW: BuzzFeed has been expanding its “hard news” reporting for the past few years. How do you all balance information with entertainment given some of the sensitivities inherent to the news cycle today?
EF: BuzzFeed News and BFEG are two disparate divisions under the BuzzFeed umbrella, each with their own goals and voice. When it comes to the specific language used in stories, regardless of which department they’re being produced by, the BuzzFeed Style Guide advises on best practices for writing about potentially sensitive subject matters (e.g., sexual assault, suicide, disease and disability, race and ethnicity) and the BuzzFeed News Standards and Ethics Guide is a resource specifically for our news editors.
SMW: Do you think all companies need style guides? Who should own this type of initiative and what are some pieces of advice you can share for getting started?
EF: I think all companies that create any sort of content produced for public consumption could certainly benefit from a style guide to help to ensure consistency and quality. Specifically, through spurring discussion and pooling thoughts about topics that may require input from an array of demographics. It also benefits employees to know there’s a resource they can turn to for answers, rather than having to send off emails or figure out who the appropriate person or team to resolve their questions may be.
At a typical media company, the copydesk owns this initiative. For media companies without a copydesks, the responsibility may also fall to the managing editor. At a non-media organization, I’d imagine that the appropriate team or person would be determined on a case-by-case basis, but I’d say someone at least in a mid-level managerial role who knows about the ins and outs of their industry would be ideal.
To get started, I’d recommend consulting research style guides or style sheets used by similar organizations or media outlets to determine what yours should include and how to strategize with respect to how it’s formatted. Reading through material that’s already been published or created by the company to gauge what should be standardized would also be helpful. Consult colleagues to learn about the questions they most often struggle with when it comes to phrasing or grammar. Pool as many resources as you can!
SMW: One last bonus question. Do you have a favorite emoji or Internet slang term?
EF: I’m a fan of the upside-down smiley face. It conveys sarcasm or irony in a playful way, and you can also use it to express general disillusionment. It wears many hats.
Want more insights? You can pick up Favilla’s book, “A World Without ‘Whom’: The Essential Guide to Language in the BuzzFeed Age,” on Amazon.
Get ‘Closer’ to Social Media Week Austin
Powered by Best Practice Media, Social Media Week Austin (#SMWATX) is a three-day immersive content experience for industry thought leaders, experts, and practitioners to share practical insights and tactical advice in the fields of social media and digital marketing.
The 2018 event will take place in various downtown Austin venues during the week of February 26-28, 2018. We spoke with Ashland Viscosi about the upcoming event, what sessions her team is most excited about, and some of the topics they will discuss during the week.
What do you think will be the most important attendee takeaways from your city’s SMW conference?
We want to give our attendees as many hands-on opportunities as possible and decided to feature more workshops in our 2018 programming. Through these workshops, we feel our attendees will be able to take actionable steps during and immediately after the conference.
What are some sessions that your team is excited about?
It’s incredibly hard to play favorites with our programming as we’re really very excited about all of our sessions. We’re very thrilled that Camille Styles is joining us as our Day 1 Keynote. She’ll be in a moderated conversation with Lauren Smith Ford of Texas Monthly and the two of them are set to discuss the evolution of social media and how it relates to today’s publishers.
Claire Winslow, the Executive Director of Social Media Week Austin, is kicking off the conference with “The State of Social.” We’re excited to hear about the changes that have already occurred and her projections for what’s to come.
We are also really excited about the session, “How Brands Can Get AI Right” because rumor has it, there might be a robot…
How does your overall agenda tie into this year’s global theme?
Our agenda took the theme of “Closer” quite literally, we decided to have as many intimate, workshop-style sessions that we possibly could.
Which partners or brands are you most excited to be working with this year?
We’re thrilled to be working with General Assembly, Capital Factory, and The Refinery. General Assembly created a track with nine (9) master classes that we know attendees just can’t get enough of. Capital Factory and The Refinery are our venues and we’re so excited for what they contribute to the Austin media landscape and we can’t wait to bring Social Media Week bursting into their doors.
What are some local trends you are seeing in your market?
We’re seeing a lot of conversation brewing about AI, bots, automation, VR, and changes recently implemented by social media platforms.
What are some of the key questions that will be addressed during your edition of SMW?
We’re focusing largely on Facebook targeting and retargeting, bots and Facebook live, projections about the future of social media and digital marketing, e-commerce and affiliate marketing, and AI.
Where can potential attendees get news and updates about your conference?
Potential attendees can best stay up to date with all things SMWATX by following us on social media: Best Practice Media (FB – @bestpracticemedia, IG – @bestpracticemedia, Twitter – @BestPracticeSMM) or checking out the website – www.smwatx.com.
7 Ways to Master the Future of Marketing at SMWNYC
As a marketer, keeping up with the tides of innovation is no small feat. Just when we think we’re beginning to understand one emerging topic, another comes along and we again must face the unanswered questions and lingering uncertainties around buzzwords that only seem to grow in complexity.
That’s why we’ve programmed this year’s SMWNYC to help you navigate the nuances of topics spanning AI, AR, voice, blockchain, and more. Join us in April for actionable talks that are designed to educate you on the fundamentals of each topic, as well as what they mean for your business today and tomorrow.
Here’s just a few of the sessions we’ve curated:
1. The Trust Protocol: How Blockchain will Revolutionize Social Media, Business and the World
Join Alex Tapscott, Co-Author of “The Blockchain Revolution,” as he helps you navigate the fundamentals of blockchain and why this transformative technology should be on marketers’ radars. In particular, he’ll offer his prediction of how blockchain can result in an entirely new internet than we see today; one that is decentralized, resistant to censorship, and offers enhanced security and privacy.
2. AI X Brands: Balancing the Promise with the Pitfalls
In this track, Clara de Soto, Co-Founder of Reply.ai; Andrea Isoni, Director, AI Technologies; Claire Mitchell, Director, Innovations at VaynerMedia; Adelyn Zhou, Founder & CMO of TopBots, will share their perspectives on how marketers can balance AI’s promise with its pitfalls.
To what extent should brands be integrating AI technology into their current strategies? What controls are appropriate so as the technology evolves it can be reasonably managed and responsibly used? What situations and scenarios warrant investment in AI and which don’t? Find out the answers to these important questions at more in April.
3. Building an Effective AR Campaign: Lessons Learned from Social Media
Brian Wong, Forbes’ 30 Under 30 honoree and CEO of Kiip, joins the SMWNYC lineup where he’ll breaks down the basics of building a successful AR campaign.
Using a variety of compelling case studies, he’ll demonstrate how to not only integrate the tech into your strategies and launch an AR campaign, but how to do so in a way that strengthens your brand’s story by resonating your audience and creating lasting impact.
4. The Future of Mobile Messaging: AI and Conversational Content
In this session, Travis Montaque, CEO & Founder of Emogi, shares his perspective on the future of intelligent messaging, which includes GIFs, emojis, and stickers.
Attend this session to understand the key trends shaping the mobile messaging landscape and how brands can tap into these to better engage with their audiences. Montaque will discuss how intelligent messaging plays a critical role in how consumers—predominately millennials and Gen Z-ers—express themselves and how this behavior is shaping the future of communication.
5. Welcome to the Age of the Digital Assistant
Victoria Fabiano, Strategic Partner Manager at Google, explores how connected devices and digital assistants will fundamentally change the ways in which people find information about brands and products.
First, she’ll define the term “digital assistant” and offer examples of some currently in existence. She’ll then discuss the integration of such technologies and the impact we can expect to see as adoption by the part of brands and consumers continues to increase. Perhaps most importantly, Fabiano will also walk through the ways in which how data is gathered and protected will shift and outline the responsibilities we need to take to ensure it is safeguarded responsibly.
6. Blockchain and The Decentralized Web
Decoded’s Product Lead Jeffrey Lancaster hosts a session during which he shares his thoughts on Web 3.0, the “decentralized web,” and where it fits into corporate data silos.
Specifically, Lancaster will shed light on the rise of popularity bitcoin has afforded blockchain and the demand for digital decentralization. He’ll also analyze the role of hacking in the context of the “decentralized web,” offering the argument that decentralization of digital data can deliver noticeable improvements with regards to privacy and security.
7. Why Chatbots are the Next Big Thing in Sales and Marketing: A Case Study Into National Geographic’s Albert Einstein Chatbot
In this session, Seth Greenfield, CEO & Founder of Imperson, shares the compelling story of how National Geographic and 360i used a chatbot to generate buzz for the show “Genius,” a celebration of the life and times of Albert Einstein.
Beyond the case study, Greenfield will walk attendees through general important trends in the chatbot space and the various ways brands are integrating them to fuel their marketing and sales efforts. In doing so, a more streamlined approach to setting and working towards chatbot goals will be offered. This is particularly important for brands as ensuring the chatbot is consistent and authentic with their story and voice is critical to ensure ideal reception and engagement by the part of the consumer.
Our 10th annual flagship conference returns this April 24-27 at the Sheraton Times Square. Claim your pass before this Friday, Feb. 16 to save 20%.
5 Ways to Explore the Future of Commerce at SMWNYC
For years, consumer behavior has been steadily and fundamentally reshaping retail. From showrooming and social media to millennials’ Instagram-first mindset, which prioritizes unique in-person experiences that are ripe for a photo opp, traditional retailers are feeling the heat and disruptors are seizing the day.
At SMWNYC this April, we’re bringing together a new class of marketers and entrepreneurs who are rewriting the rules of retail. These speakers will teach you how to approach customer service in 2018, how to craft un-Amazonable in-store experiences, how to employ social to boost online and offline sales.
Here’s just a taste of what’s in store:
How Bulletin is Leading the Retail Resistance
Ali Kriegsman, COO and Co-Founder of Bulletin, joins SMWNYC to share how the mission-based pop-up retailer is empowering female-led brands that support women not just materialistically through physical products, but through providing a broader support system and a larger stage to voice their thoughts.
In our recent Q&A with Kriegsman, she underscored the in-store experiences as crucial to the growth of the Bulletin brand. These unique and immersive experiences reinforce Bulletin’s roots in social activism and help put the brand’s core values at the heart of the shopping experience.
Creating Products that Feed the Feed
Build it for the feed. In this session, Cedric Devitt, Chief Creative Officer, and Victor Pineiro, SVP of Social Media, at Big Spaceship will explore why it makes sense for brands to create “trendy” products—like a rainbow bagel, the raindrop cake, etc.—simply for the purpose of dominating social media platforms of millennials and Gen Z-ers.
Attendees will walk away having learned how to effectively build tailored products and experiences that tap into this widely popular social behavior and how to achieve a more well-rounded strategy that balances astuteness to trends and social data. Moreover, they’ll learn the key qualities of breakthrough products that translate into true cultural influence.
Why Brandless is Bucking the Brand Tax
Rachael Vegas, Chief Merchant at Brandless, shares how the direct-to-consumer startup is staking its claim in the e-commerce space through its simple, no BS approach to branding void of a “brand tax” and driven by transparency and community.
We recently sat down with Vegas for a Q&A, where she shared her insights on the differences between how Brandless is defining the term “brand,” how the company incorporates its customers’ values into the products and marketing strategy, and how they are identifying opportunities for product expansion.
Content to Commerce: How Social Grew Up to Drive What We Buy
Obele Brown-West, SVP, Digital Account and Engagement Lead at Weber-Shandwick, will host a session that outlines what marketers need to know about using social to drive commerce. In particular, she will explain how social has matured since its early days and highlight some of the more promising opportunities that have emerged when it comes to linking social to sales.
Brown-West will also analyze how platforms have evolved in order to successfully meet marketers’ objectives throughout the entire marketing funnel, highlighting case studies that demonstrate how to execute a social commerce effort to perfection.
Scroll, Click, Own: How to Power Up Social Commerce on Facebook
U.S. e-commerce sales are expected to reach approximately $500 million this year. How can brands ensure they’re prepared to capitalize on this opportunity by driving purchase via the world’s largest social network (Facebook, of course)?
Join Dan Lagani, President and Chief Revenue Officer of Diply, as he offers a crash course in how to employ Facebook to drive online sales efforts. Specifically, he’ll explore visual marketing tactics as well as share various principles that are guaranteed to maximize engagement, reach, and revenue.
Don’t miss your chance to attend these sessions and more at SMWNYC (April 24-27) at the Sheraton Times Square. Grab your pass today.
Facebook’s Controversial ‘Messenger Kids’ App Arrives On Android
'Stargate Origins' Brings Classic Sci-Fi Back Tonight
Pinterest Introduces New Tools for Keeping Pins and Projects Organized
Kepler Space Telescope Discovers 95 More Alien Planets
Mars Meteorite Will Return to the Red Planet with NASA Rover
GoPro, Food52, And Crowdtap Added To SMWLA Lineup
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