30 Jan

Pepper Talk with Katie Long

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re getting cozy with Katie L. Just a little background before we get started: Katie L is fairly new to Eleven Peppers Studio. She mostly works on projects for the government sector but occasionally contributes content for 11P blogs and social media posts. Read her Q&A below!


1: Do you have any nicknames?
KT, KTor, Cyber Mama, Buckaroo, Auntie Shark

 

 2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit the snooze button! Then I lay there either dozing until it goes off again or sleepily telling my cat I’ll feed him in a minute. I’m definitely not a morning person so I’m slow to wake up. I like to enjoy my coffee at home before I hit the road. That’s really for the safety of everyone.

 

 3: How would you describe your writing style?
When it comes to what I contribute to the 11P blogs and social media posts, I like things that come from my own personal experience and/or my heart. If I’m writing a blog post, I’m going to pull from something I’ve seen or dealt with even if it’s not directly talked about in my writing. In the work I do for the government, I’m all about creating content that is clear and concise. I write documentation for software so I have to make sure that the customers that will be using it can use what I’ve written to navigate through the software when they’re learning to use it instead of needing to call for help. I end up doing a lot of translating from developer speak to English.

 

4: How did you get started?
Wow… that’s a long story. I went to Towson University for Mass Communication with a focus in Public Relations. I really wanted to work for the Washington Capitals (back before they were the STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS) in their youth hockey outreach program, but I ended up as a front desk receptionist for the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. I moved from that Commission to an administrative position with the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves and when that wrapped up I got an administrative job at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (APL). This is where I really gained the experience for what I’m doing now.

 

The group I was working with developed software that was being used at military cyber exercises – think war games or capture the flag, but in cyber space. I started traveling with a large group of people (25+) from APL to logistically support the team on site. I had to fill my time somehow so I started getting familiar with the software and then I was helping run between teams to get information on issues they were having and moved on to troubleshooting issues. By the time I moved on from APL (9 years after I started there), I was going to smaller scale exercises as the only person on site from APL to help install and run the software and I was running software training for everyone at the larger exercises.

 

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Pen and paper. I take TONS of notes in meetings. Anything that I’ll share with my team is written on the lines, but the things I’m noting for myself (something I want to research more or something I need to do) goes in the margins.

 

The team I’m on now does agile software development so we use JIRA a lot. Before joining my current team I hated it, but I have to admit it’s growing on me.

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
Devour as much background information as I can get my hands on and then hit the ground running.

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, news articles… as previously mentioned, I like to devour as much information as possible and that Google search bar is my bff.

 

 8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Coffee coffee buzz buzz buzz
Sweet or Savory: Sweet… I’ve never met a dessert I didn’t like
Favorite Movie: Fried Green Tomatoes
Guilty Pleasure: Snarky memes, Downton Abbey (obviously the Dowager is my favorite character), true crime shows/podcasts
Hobbies: Genealogy, obstacle course racing, working out, reading (although lately it’s mostly audio books for me)


Thanks for meeting Katie L. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!

23 Jan

Insider’s Guide to Social Media: Tips for 2019

Social media platforms across the board faced many controversies in 2018 including multiple privacy and data issues. Per Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer Report, 60% of people no longer trust social media companies. So what does this mean for you and your social media marketing plans for 2019? There are several ways you can still connect with your audience to build or regain trust in the current climate. Here are some you can try in the New Year:

Building Trust

Audiences are looking for authenticity and do not want to be fooled by advertisers. It is, therefore, extremely important to properly label paid advertising posts and not go overboard with targeted ads. All of your content needs to be authentic. What does that mean? It means the voice of your organization needs to be genuine to reflect the values of your business. Find ways and avenues to connect with your audience and have meaningful conversations. Or, allow your audience to have those conversations with each other by creating a Facebook group outside of your business page. This encourages engagement about your brand without having to include heavy-handed advertising.

Human Connection

Another way to establish a good rapport with your audience is bringing in the human element. No one wants to interact with a generic automaton – your audience wants to know that there is a real human behind your brand. To add the personal touch to your social media feed, try a blog, podcast, or webinar series from your organization’s owner or another prominent leader in the business. This will give your business a face and a voice that people can relate to on a personal level as well as provide you with an opportunity for strengthening your brand’s reputation.

Storytelling

While not new to the social media scene, stories allow organizations to present a real, immediate, and personal look into their brand. Stories are also gaining momentum in recent years. Their creation and consumption is up 842 percent since early 2016, according to consulting firm Block Party. The best way to share stories is to keep them in their raw, unedited form which will lend to their authenticity. Stories also work most effectively when multiple medias are used within them including text, images, and video.

Now that you have some tips for social media in the New Year, go forth and post on.


WRITTEN BY
Cindy Madden
Contributor at 11P, Wordsmither, Lover of Foods Wrapped in Dough, Proud Cat Lady.

01 Jan

Year in Review: 2018

Instead of a boring list of all of our accomplishments in 2018, I thought it would be more fitting to SHOW what made this year (and every year) the best one yet… OUR PEOPLE. From engagements, weddings, graduations and pregnancy/birth announcements, to promotions and celebrating our 5 year anniversary with a HUGE trip to Disney World, to being named one of the Best Places to Work by Baltimore Business Journal, and growing our pepper family by more than a third with 100% retention… the faces in these photos are what make Eleven Peppers Studios so amazing.

2018 was one for the record books and we can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!


WRITTEN BY
Kristen Parks
Business Owner, Momma, Jazzercise Lover, List Maker.