Occupational information

Spartan Insights: Event/Convention/Meeting Planner & Digital Media Specialist w/ Background as a Set Production Assistant in the Film Industry, Kristen Miller.

This past week’s Featured Spartan in Linkedin was Kristen Miller, Event/Convention/Meeting Planner & Digital Media Specialist with a background as a Set Production Assistant in the Film Industry. (See her LI profile to view some of the projects she has worked on.) Kristen has agreed to answer questions about her industry, career background, and projects. This discussion was open from 03/23/15 until 04/08/2015.

Spartan Insights is a regularly scheduled Linkedin discussion thread inside of the MSUALUMNI Linkedin group. Each discussion is meant to give you the opportunity to ask questions regarding one Spartan’s experience within a specific company, industry, or occupation. Answers will be given at the convenience and discretion of the featured Spartan and will be answered from the Spartan’s own personal experiences and opinions which are not meant to be representative of his/her company’s official position. Questions regarding a person’s applicant status at the featured Spartan’s place of business will not be answered in this forum. Interested in being a helpful Spartan? Contact me at isbelld@msu.edu.

 Kristen Miller

Hello fellow alums!! Thank you Dave for having me; I am very excited to be the Featured Spartan of the week!

A little about me to get things kicked off –
I graduated with a BA in Film (Digital Media Arts & Technologies) in 2008. I moved to LA and lived there for about 4 years working in the television and film industry until the glitz and glam wore off. I have been living in Charlotte and working in the marketing world for about two years now. I currently am the President of the MSU Spartans of Charlotte Alumni Club and have tremendously enjoyed this past weekend meeting so many new Spartans while visiting for the NCAA Tournament!!

I look forward to the questions and conversations from my Spartan Family! Go Green!!

Kara – Hi Kristen! Reading over your LI profile was unreal! I can’t imagine how amazing it must have been to be a part of so many Hollywood productions. Did you enjoy living in LA? It must have been a pretty high-stress environment being at the mercy of Hollywood directors. Could you give some advice on how you managed to stay organized and keep your cool?

Kristen Miller

Hi Kara! I did enjoy LA for the first few years I lived there – I was so excited that anyone would even let me near a real stage or actors. I lived in quite a few locations while out there, but after a while I wanted to be able to visit home more often and was looking for a more structured work life. The environment of a set can be high-stress, especially if you are doing any kind of stunts that involve a ton of safety instructions! However, for the most part, as long as you have good communication between the team and your crew things were straight forward.

As for advice, I would say keep your calendar handy! I am a huge fan of lists and being able to cross things off when completed. I pretty much write everything down and own every color of post-it note : ) Just find a system that works for you!!

Also, network as much as possible, it’s always about who you know. I came out of LA with so many more contacts than I ever imagined. It might be scary at first, but go up to people, put out your hand, smile and introduce yourself. No one is ever that important that they have to be on their phone at all times – they are just as scared as you to meet someone new!

Hope this helps – feel free to ask more! Thanks Kara!!

Dave Isbell

Kristen, Thanks for being here to help Spartans! Can you share a bit about your event planning work? How did you get into this field? Can you give any tips to people about systems/strategies that you find helpful in planning a successful event? What skills are absolutely critical to have to do this work? Are there trainings, conferences, professional groups, etc. that can help an Event Planner to develop professionally?

Kristen Miller

Event planning is hard work, but extremely rewarding when it all comes together and you see everyone enjoying your efforts!

After I decided I no longer wanted to work in film, I read and completed the entire book titled, What Color Is Your Parachute. This book helped me to understand what aspects I truly enjoyed in a career, coordinating and planning – especially in events, marketing and social media.

Excel and checklists will be your best friend in this industry! There are quite a few tools online too – especially working in a group, but my favorites are Basecamp for calendars and collaboration, Eventbrite for registrations/check-in/tickets and Hootsuite to publicize and get the word out about your event. Adobe forms is another wonderful tool for checklists and gathering information.

Major skills that are absolutely critical for an Event Planner to posses are organization and attention to detail; coordinating and directing others (this is a team style career), social – you must be able to talk to strangers with ease, motivation and anticipation. Surprisingly, I learned many of these early on while waitressing at restaurants in High School and College.

Any one can learn the industry, but keeping up is a major part of the trade. I would recommend following BizBash.com and joining the International Special Events Society (ISES) at your local chapter.

The best thing you can do is get up and get involved. Volunteer for anything! Ask for informational interviews with companies you like, find other professionals on LinkedIn and ask them for a coffee date, just jump in with both feet – even if you can only give a few hours a month. Look at companies that sponsored an event you liked and begin a dialogue as to why they choose to sponsor – if they are giving money, they obviously believe in the Event Planner running the show and it to be successful!

There are many different professional trainings, it just depends on what you are interested in. I did a smaller certification through Correlations LLC taught by Helena Paschal and then jumped into working in the industry full force.

For ISES, there is a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP); Convention Industry Council there is a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP); Virtual Edge Institute offers a Digital Event Strategist Certification; the Meeting Professional Institute has a Certificate in Meeting Management option; if you are looking for events abroad the International Association of Events & Exhibitions has a Certified Exhibition Management program (CEM) or the International Festivals & Events Association has a Certified Festival & Events Executive program at their school.

And lastly, follow-up! Keeping on top of everything all the way through the execution of an event is great, but most important part comes after. The thank you! A basic email or fb message is not enough. Showing those that helped your collaborate and pull it all together by donating their time, effort, money or connections is the biggest part of making an event successful. I always mail a hand-written note within a month of the event expressing my gratitude. (People love getting mail that’s not a bill!) I also like to give credit where credit is due by sharing the person or company’s information online (with their permission of course) so they gain more exposure and are able to extend their network. Like I said before it’s all about who you know – or who you know that can connect you to who you want to know.

Elizabeth – Thank you for sharing your inspirational journey, Kristen! I was wondering if you could talk a bit about your favorite parts and key components of rediscovering your passion (I need to get that book!), as well as how you balanced everything you did and established boundaries. Thanks again for discussing this with us.

Dave Isbell

Wow! Thanks Kristen for that answer full of resources. Your answer is going to be one of those resources I point people to who tell me they have an interest in event planning! Switching gears, can you talk about what it took to be a Set Production Assistant? What might a normal day/week look like for you? What skills are necessary to be in that role, and what did you learn in it that you have been able to transfer to your later career? A few weeks ago we featured Michael DeMeritt who is a veteran producer in the TV industry (Star Trek) and one of the things he talked about was that people really need to have a thick skin to be in that industry. (You can find his discussion on our blog: http://spartanshelpingspartans.com/2015/03/19/spartan-insights-entertainmentfilm-industry-professional-award-winning-producer-line-producer-and-copy-writer-michael-demeritt/) Can you talk from your experiences about the characteristics a person needs to have to be in the roles you played while in Hollywood?

Kristen Miller

No problem Elizabeth! From the book, my favorite parts about rediscovering my passions were asking my friends and family for help and taking personality tests. The personality tests were easy. They showed me multiple results and many overlapping skills or career options. Asking friends and family for help was a bit more scary – putting it out there, asking for their help to look at my interests and have them return what they thought matched with my knowledge and skills. Then again, it was the best thing for me! These were the people that knew me the longest, had many stories and understanding of who I was and not afraid to be blunt with me.

I was also fortunate enough to work with Dave Isbell a few years ago when trying to decide where my choices in life should take me. While living in LA, I had reached out asking for some career advisement and he gave me quite a few exercises to complete – such as self awareness, my vision, core competencies which really strung together some common themes helping me to better understand and get an idea of what I was looking at pursuing.

As for balancing and establishing boundaries… I’m still really working on that. I hate to say no to people and find myself pretty well involved in many different activities; but I very much enjoy meeting new people so even though it can be time consuming I’m pretty happy that I did it. I never like to miss out on things and hate the ‘what-if’ factor of not participating. (I don’t think I would survive without my iCal to keep me on track and remind me where I’m suppose to be or what I’m supposed to be doing – SO HELPFUL).

Nevertheless, I do establish some boundaries to give me that balance. When I was leaving the film industry, I had to stop saying yes to work opportunities or I knew I’d never get out. I spent a few months on unemployment and went full force in researching my abilities and options. I wanted to focus on my future, not on a career I had already ruled out.

Now that I’m in events and marketing, I make sure to balance what I enjoy. If it’s a topic/event that I’m interested in I’ll go and since I’m going, see if they need help. It’s the easiest way to meet people and everyone loves an extra set of hands when it comes to hosting events. I like to think if it were me – I’d appreciate some assistance – even if it’s just checking people in for an hour.

I’m currently in the CAMA, ISES, Charlotte City Chamber and run our MSU Alumni Club here in Charlotte. I also like to volunteer for some other groups for fun when they need help like Rockbottom Events and other city festivals. I usually volunteer for a few hours and then get into the event that I’m interested in for free – very helpful financially : ) Also, before attending an event I typically like to try to hunt down their attendee list, its usually somewhere online (most of the time people advertise this for them on social media – ie EventBrite & cross reference with LinkedIn) and just browse to see if there is anyone there I really want to seek out and meet. Not sure if that was quite what you were looking for… and it was super long winded. Hope it helps : )

Dave Isbell

Doh! Thanks for the “plug” Kristen. I really appreciate your kindness in mentioning our work together. Let me go on record saying that A.) I’m glad the work we did together helped, but it only worked because you worked it! B.) My role in my day job at MSU has shifted so that I can no longer provide direct services to individuals. But, with that said, my role now has me developing content/events/programs that help hundreds of people at a time (at their leisure, instead of waiting on an appointment) instead of spreading me thin and being only able to help less than 1% of our population. I do miss doing that work, because I really loved helping people to make break throughs. Yet, it is rewarding in a different way to be behind the scenes in putting together things that I know are going to limit access barriers to more people. Plus, for those people who need direct help, we are building a network of coaches, counselors, recruiters, and “mentors” (“Helpful Spartans) that people can talk to! Watch http://www.spartanshelpingspartans.com for this stuff to start popping up soon.

Kristen Miller

Dave, No problem – I only put two and two together when I starting pulling a bunch of this Career Planning Workbook & documents back out to speak on this discussion! Crazy what a small world it is!

Kristen Miller

Oh my!! PA Days!! I would completely agree with Michael DeMeritt about the EXTRA thick skin comment!! This is an industry that looks absolutely glamorous, but once you’re in it – it’s a long hall to recognition! Stress levels are high, money and time is on the line, attitudes from people who think they deserve better – thick skin is a must. Michael definitely has a much better overview of the industry and what it takes to succeed, so if truly interested, I strongly suggest those people read his discussion. I eventually realized I wanted the stability and reliable wages; however I have no regrets in trying it!

I was not one of the luck few (as in 8 people accepted out of 3,000+ applicants) to get into the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Trainee program like Michael; but was able to make some solid connections who mentored me throughout.

When I started it took about 400 Days (record of paycheck, call sheet, and production report= 1 day) to get into the DGA and when it had significantly increased from what I recall. Many more people trying to get into the union, so more and more rules and regulations were added for the high demand.

It’s true you have to actually move to Los Angeles before anyone will take you serious about getting into production out in California. If you are waiting to get a job first and then move out there, you’ll never get outta dodge.

As for a normal day/week there really is no such thing. When you first start out you “day-play,” meaning you book your own work from day to day, show to show, whatever will give you work for even a single day. When day-playing, you really are your own boss once you’ve collected enough contacts to keep you busy or fill your week – aka pay your bills and maybe have a few extra dollars for beer on the weekend. A day for shooting hours could last anywhere from 8 Hours (DREAMING) up to… my longest was 22 Hours. Plus you are jumping from show to show so the rules of “working conditions” don’t really apply to you. If your Monday show shoots until 1am in the morning and your Tuesday show has you down for a call-time of 5:30am – suck it up, because you’re going – that’s how you get more work : )

If you have finally gotten into the good graces of an AD team you most likely will be asked to be staff for a season – AWESOME!! “Guaranteed” work for more than a week at a time!! but you no longer are your own boss of deciding which days you want to work. Plus some shows will end up on nights for half the season (ie. 24) so your Friday call-time can be at 4:30pm which means (at best a 12 Hour shooting day – PAs are always there an hour before crew-call and an hour… or however long wrap-out and the production report take… after they call camera wrap); Thus you’re looking at leaving for your “weekend” at about 7:30am Saturday. Which means shower, sleep, laundry and oh look! There’s Monday at 5:30am crew-call again! Some shows or films even have a 6-Day shooting schedule, meaning Saturdays are a work day.

Kristen Miller

For skills, exactly what Michael said – do whatever they tell you they want you to do THEIR way first. Attitude goes a long, long, long, way! Be flexible, responsive, consistent, communicate everything (a Production Report details everything in writing that happens in a day EVERY 6 MINUTES!!). Show-up Early!! I use to go to work 3 hours early & sleep in my car until it was time to walk across the lot to my stage, just so I did not sit 2 hours in traffic and make sure I was not late – it was kind of like you just took a lot of naps at random times. Learn the rules, regulations, penalties of other unions so you know how much things will cost per decisions being made – ie. penalties going into lunch time, pay-bumps when background gets splashed or stands in fog, how much school must be completed before bringing a child actor to set, how long babies are even allowed on a set for “working time.”

Learn the channels of the walkie and attempt people’s names. No one really wants be called by their title (“Props” I need you to bring in such & such) but it’s pretty common since you work so many different shows and with so many people constantly. Learn the lingo – one of the better books I’ve read to get caught up with production lingo as well as other departments is titled, Strike The Baby and Kill The Blonde. It’s just a big dictionary of terms that you’ll hear. It’s a bogie, not a boogie! Gotta love those Lookie-Lous too!

It’s always a big joke that AD (Assistant Director) stands for Adult Daycare because you’re just managing people, politics and their emotions to get everyone to cooperate at the same time so you cannot go past having to call “grace” for lunch (meaning it will be served 12min late and you will not get paid extra because we took more of your time).

All of these are great experiences and transferable skills – how to manage people and organize/act as the central hub for all communications; I love how Michael put it “Choas Management.”

Michael put it best in his answer about how people are your “friends” for work, but not really… since you are both going for the same job most of the time. You really have to learn how to keep your elbows up and protect yourself first to so you can survive out there.

The biggest thing that this industry truly taught me is your word is your bond and it is ALWAYS about who you know and what they will say about you – ie. References!! Smiles on and play nice with others, you never know when you’ll need them.

Dave Isbell

Wow! If I could just piece yours and Michael’s discussion together and hand this to the kids who think they are going to go out to L.A. and be the next Spielberg without paying their dues I would do that. It is clear that it takes a special kind of person to work in that kind of atmosphere. I wonder if, in your case, your experiences have colored the way you see film projects now? Are there some that you participated in that you are particularly proud of? Are there any fun stories from those days that you want to share? Are there shows/films being made now that you appreciate, or have you sworn off the warm glow of the screen now that you know all the ugly parts that lie just behind the glamour?

Kristen Miller

Thanks Dave! I can still see how a show or film is broken down by production efforts, cost, and time. If the story can keep me occupied enough from thinking “oh there was 6 set-ups in that scene” or “how many times do you think it took for them to get that right” or “I wonder how long that amount of background took to get through the works” then it’s pretty enjoyable! It’s more often when I end up watching something that I had worked on that I start thinking back to the day we filmed it and remember “oh yea that was Ahi Tuna day for lunch” or “that was the day we were on the ‘martini’ fo-ev-er” or “that was the day we had a clothes-pin clipping war to keep us PAs entertained.” It’s funny how many days and productions seem to just blur together when you’re working, but then seeing one scene can snap you back to a specific workday story that happened.

I was particularly proud to have worked on Always Sunny in Philadelphia and 24: Season 8.

Always Sunny (AS) is the best show I have ever worked on! The three gentlemen, Charlie, Rob and Glen, are the producers, writers and actors. They oversee and run their own production. The entire cast of AS take care of their crew and are full supporters of a work-life balance. We never worked over a 12 hour shooting day unless it was unavoidable, same for nights. One day they just wanted to go home, so they wrapped at 3pm in the afternoon and said we’d pick it back up in the morning – RARE!! This only ever happened to me once in all my days on a set. They wanted to be home with family, the same as the rest of us and had a very mid-west attitude about how things should be handled and people be treated. Every morning Charlie and Rob would say hello to each crew member; Kaitlin would ask how your weekend was; Danny would tell you some cool new recipe he had tried recently; the entire cast and crew were one – no one was treated above anyone else. They made every person feel welcome and thankful that you were there to help them. They also are very green and environment-friendly. They got to the point where they demanded from the network and studio to have only bio-degradable water bottles and recycle-made silverware and plates on set. They always have healthy foods available – salads, fruits & veggies, almost always some kind of vegetarian or vegan option (often you just get pizza or something greasy and fried for 2nd meal… aka working dinner meal, no break).
They truly were the best people I ever worked for of any industry. The part that wasn’t cool was that they only shoot for 3-4months out of the year… so not long enough to keep paying your bills before the next season started haha!

24: Season 8 was amazing! We would always be blowing something up, shooting stuff or throwing cars off buildings. As soon as you walked into stage and there were “cans” (ear mufflers) lined up at the wall, you knew it was going be a great day with some kind of action-packed scene to film.

This was the show that truly taught me that organization and preparation are KEY to becoming a good AD. My very first day (day-playing) I had to stand on a roof with Camera C crew and 1 actor shooting a gun at a car coming down the street. They’d tell me when to roll, have the actor step into frame and when he needed to fire the gun and cut. This was the first scene on our shooting schedule that day and the 1stAD was already talking to the crew about logistics and setting up for the 2nd to last scene of the day – (8scenes later! They shot anywhere from 10 to 16 pages of script per day). They were a FAST working, well-oiled machine and most of the crew had been together for the better part of the past 7-seasons, so I was the new kid. However, by being put in this position it made the 1stAD learn my name and trust me. Before the day was over, I was asked to return the entire next week because my 1stAD liked my work and could rely on me. From there I ended up as staff and completed the season with them – another fun part is the wrap party! This happens at the end of every season or film, production throws a big party for the entire cast, crew and family/guests. But this one was even better because it was a show wrap – as in ALL seasons (1-8) were there to celebrate! I had never seen the show before (I actually had never even heard of it until I was asked to work it) but I had invited my friend who was a major 24 junkie and loved getting to meet all the past actors in real life. My AD team was solid; we knew when to be serious and when we could joke around. Listening, paying attention (even during the boring lock-up times – aka there’s no one around for miles, but you should stand behind this corner to make sure no one comes walking past anyways… and yes it’s going to be for the first 4 hours of the day), communication and trust are the absolutes of why an AD will bring you back to work for them.

Dave Isbell

My adult daughter is still obsessed with “the Office,” so I have to ask you about your season on that show. It just seems like it would have been a fun show to watch unfold behind the scenes! How much of a role did the PA’s get to have in setting up the pranks (such as encasing “Dwight’s” stapler in a Jello mold, or moving his office to the bathroom.) Did you ever see the actors do this stuff “off script” and then find it worked into the show? (It just seems like that show would lend itself to that kind of environment.) Are there any Office stories you are willing to share? I swear, one last geeky fanboy question, then I will change the subject. It is no secret that I’m a fan of Zooey Daschanel, so I’m wondering if you have any “New Girl” stories you want to share from your time on that show?

Kristen Miller

It was very fun! I only day-played on it for one episode, but it was the Jim & Pam wedding! The entire cast and crew were wonderful to work with, everyone got along and most actors were pretty well self-motivated and egos left at the door. We were shooting the scene for everyone dancing into the church and had to have everyone line up outside, practice their dance moves (with a choreographer of course) and then as we were filming they kept running around the outside of the building – so fun!

We also had to film quite a few exits to the church, as there were paparazzi across the street trying to get the scoop. We had grips set up flags and PAs with umbrellas trying to block the paparazzi from taking pictures as we filmed. Then had Jim & Pam run out (the real filming) and then Pam and Oscar run out, just Pam run out, Pam and the ex-fiancé run out – all as a “fake filming” but treated as if we hit record – just so the storyline was not ruined.

Unfortunately, the PAs are not involved in setting up any pranks – that is the Props and sometimes Special Effects or Stunts departments. Yes, they would go off script at times, but it just depended on the scene and what they felt was entertaining. (I had a lot more experience with actors and improv on Always Sunny – it was a constant and always hilarious! That’s why sometimes watching the show is not as funny as I remember it since I saw all the various options/out-takes.) The studio The Office filmed at looks just like the paper company building that they use on the show – it’s actually hard to spot off the street as it looks very similar to every other boring office building.

New Girl was my last show in LA. The guys and Hannah are wonderful to work with, very easy going, laid back and pretty well ready when you invite them. (Like Michael said, yes when you “invite” an actor to come to their job, haha!) I was there when we filmed the opener – took us 4 extra hours one day, but was pretty cool to see it filmed all in one take, one shot and with a live stage director. As for Zooey, I’d prefer not to comment, she was not one of my favorites to work with and I’ll leave it at that – sorry to disappoint!

Dave Isbell

Thanks for sharing all of that “insider” information! It’s always fun to hear about those kinds of things. Jim and Pam’s wedding episode is one of my favorites, and I know my daughter is going to love hearing that story! As far as Zooey goes, I’ve never met the woman, so I take no offense that she was not one of your favorites to work with. (Technically, since I’ve never met her, I can’t say I’m a fan of the woman; I’m a fan of her work, and I do enjoy her brand of “oddity.”) To change the subject, as promised earlier, can you talk a bit about your work in Digital Media? What knowledge and skills from your past have translated well into this space? What advice do you have for someone who wants to enter this kind of work?

Kristen Miller

Of course! Digital Media is basically online marketing; handling email campaigns, social media platforms for client engagement and assisting in any kind of support or promotion items for the sales team. If you’re in a smaller company, you may be doing all of this, handling the events and creating the graphics and marketing materials to support the sales department too. In larger companies, you could be in charge of one social media platform alone, or even on a team of five to ten people dedicated to Pinterest only, for example. It just depends on the job.

As for knowledge and skills, being well versed in each social media platform and understanding how they function, the rules and regulations for a company and having a good grasp on the industry you are working in is very important. The big three are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – start with one and do it right and consistently for it to be successful, then add on other platforms (Google+, WordPress, Instagram, Pintrest, Yelp, Tumblr, etc.). Moreover, take your time and understand how to perform on them first before spreading yourself thin on every platform.

Having your own personal accounts for your own personal brand is a must. In addition, a group or club organization that you volunteer for comes in handy! Therefore, you can test out some of your ideas or talents with before testing them out on the company whose paying you. Running the MSU Charlotte Club is wonderful for me – I get a chance to try various things, like the new Twitter cards or the FB sign-up button, before I have to actually do it in the working world where my job and pay depend on it.

I’d also suggest any kind of free social media training online that is available – I completed the Google Analytics Academy and Hootsuite University. Google Analytics is a great analytical tool that will help you in understanding your audience, as well as when you get to the point of using Google Adwords (There is also Google: Webmaster tools, trends, alerts (so helpful), news, voice and feed burner – I’m still going through many of these to grasp how they can help me to function better and quicker online).

There are other tools that can help you to consolidate your platforms into one so managing is much easier – ie. Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial. I am a HUGE fan of Hootsuite because it’s free and the Hootsuite University only costs you per month that you use it – the entire certification can be done in one day if necessary), but I know they have added on more resources since I have completed it. Hubspot is another great one – it’s like Hootsuite, but on crack – it has much more capabilities and houses your social media, emails, website, contacts – sync with your company’s CRM, apps – basically it does everything. However, you have to pay to use it, but the training tools are free with a test account. So if you are interested in a job that you’ll need to know the skills, you can learn them and test the software.

I am currently working on Hubspot Academy & Hubspot certifications which, as mentioned, a very spendy tool in the marketing field, but the bigger companies have already implemented. If you’re lucky enough for your company to have Salesforce I would ask for them to sponsor you to go through training. That is still one on my bucket-list! Learning and testing how to create different sites is helpful too – Wix.com, Weebly.com, WordPress.com, etc. – just make some testing sites, like your family tree or various kinds of dogs – any topic you’d like just to go through the motions of using and understanding these tools. Then, add in some Google Analytics and see whose looking at your site.

Engage online in LinkedIn groups and Twitter conversations. Stay up to date on new trends and signup for e-newsletters. I probably get at least 15-20 of these a day – not that I read all of them, but at the very least I get the headers and if something strikes me as interesting or I’ve seen it in multiple newsletters or other platforms online – it’s a must read and I’ll click through to the article. If I don’t have time right then and there to read and schedule out a post about it I’ll use Pocket. It’s a great app that works like an online bookmark tool, but accessible from anywhere! Plus, you can use tags (like Gmail) to organize the content. I’ll read most of these articles later on a Sunday and the schedule my posts out for the week on my Hootsuite platform. If you are not ready to write your own blog, curating content is the best way to begin and ease into posting online – just be sure to give credit and link to the original!! Once you get this down there are tons of helpful tips and how-tos on writing and posting blogs.

Another great tool is Tagboard.com – it shows you what the internet understands hashtags to be online. For example, if you are trying to create a financial company’s hashtag (ie. Retirement Clearinghouse – RCH), you’ll want to research what is out there first before creating one and it happens to also be used for something completely different from your brand and is already taken (ie. RCH Racing – Nascar).

A few other great resources:
Buffer.com – Blog
Hootsuite.com – Blog
Hubspot.com – Blog
Your local Chamber of Commerce most likely has a blog/newsletter or even a Twitter account

Dave Isbell

Thank you Kristen for being willing to help Spartans in this way and for such detailed responses regarding digital media, event planning, and what it takes to work as a PA in the film industry. I know this will be a helpful resource for Spartans who have questions in the future!

This live discussion on LI is now closed, but all of our “Helpful Spartans” have made themselves available on the “Helpful Spartans” tab at http://www.spartanshelpingspartans.com and every week we feature a new Spartan Insights discussion inside of the MSU Alumni Linkedin Group. Currently, we are featuring an HR Manager (until 04/14/15) and have just opened up the discussion with a Writer/Communication Expert (until 04/20/15.)


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