On the menu: Social media for breakfast

Jenna Farrell (blog/Twitter) is a twenty-something PR girl who recently returned to Ottawa after two years in Toronto. Jenna is an avid blog reader/writer and you can learn more about her passion for fashion and eye for vintage finds at www.navyandgold.wordpress.com.

Yesterday morning, 5:45 am came early as I got out of bed and prepared for my day and the icy temperatures that awaited me outside. Notepad, check, cellphone, check, business cards, check.  Off I went on bus route 102 heading for Westboro’s Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC).

As I arrived at the GCTC I was greeted by a friendly group of people who gave me a name tag and welcomed me to what was my first Social Media Breakfast Ottawa, or for those social media junkies out there, #SMBOttawa.

Upstairs, Bridgehead coffee in one hand, parsnip-black pepper-cheese muffin in the other (yes this exists, and is delicious) I made my way around the room of people who were sharing stories and tweeting from their smart phones.

Glancing at the other name tags, I realized that I was not in a room full of complete strangers, but rather with people I hear from every day. Many of those I was rubbing shoulders with were people I follow on Twitter, writers of the blogs I read and creators of the content I share.  I had the pleasure of meeting some of these non-strangers for the first time, a rare and humbling experience.

Yesterday marked SMBOttawa’s 32nd edition (where had I been?!) Finding my seat in the buzzing presentation room for this sold-out event, I settled in as Katherine Fletcher, Senior Vice President and Senior Partner Digital, High Road Communications (@KathFletcher) and Darin Diehl, Assistant Vice President, Digital Communications at Sun Life Financial (@DarinDiehl) began to speak.

I was immediately intrigued by the subject of yesterday’s presentation: Content Marketing in Action: Using rich, interactive content to increase brand awareness, build community and generate ideas. Much of what was discussed about the model presented, Brighterlife.ca (@BrighterLifeCA), could be applied to many industries.

One of the points Darin made yesterday which, in my opinion, was the focal point of the presentation, was this: companies need to start thinking like publishers when it comes to their content marketing strategy. This could mean creating an internal editorial calendar, using style guides or having journalists contribute content that’s meaningful and relevant to your audience, without pushing a product on them.

Essentially, this is how to gain a loyal following.

Models like this remind me what I love about communications, the industry is so versatile but also unique depending on which organization/client you work with. To prove the industry’s versatility look to sites such as Nike+ or KraftRecipes.com which have built communities and loyal brand followers by thinking like publishers.

I left my first SMBOttawa with my head spinning, no not from the caffeine, but rather the ideas generated from the knowledge that was shared, the strategies that were introduced and being in a room full of talented, creative people from our community.  This, needless to say, leaves me excited for the next SMBOttawa and hopeful for the other similar events around the city.

I’d like to share my favourite moments from the presentation captured on Twitter:

For more tweets, search #SMBOttawa on Twitter

Full disclosure! LTO’s JBird helped plan this talk and worked on the featured project. This blog is unedited, and we thank Jenna for providing it!