**UPDATE: Jim Kerr is now the Wildfire Information Officer for the Government of Alberta**
Publishers are running content on more platforms than ever, meaning social and digital strategies are integral to a media organization’s success. We spoke with Alberta Venture’s Jim Kerr to gain a better understanding of his role at a magazine immersed in the new media landscape.
Follow him @kerrzy
Tell us a bit about your role as Associate Director of Digital Initiatives.
One of the things I enjoy most about my role with Venture Publishing is that working in digital means you’re closely following an ever-changing segment of the publishing industry. I work with all of our different departments to create strategies online that will contribute to the company’s overall growth, whether that means brainstorming with our editorial teams about web-specific content or sitting down with our sales and marketing teams to help create sellable ideas or initiatives. I’m also responsible for growing the company’s various social media channels and e-newsletters and I lead the way in terms of the podcasting side of what we do.
How does being in publishing compare to working in radio?
When I began my career in publishing after about seven years in radio, it definitely took some time before I was totally comfortable. The move from daily news to monthly magazines meant a completely different set of timelines to get used to, for one. It was also quite different getting used to working what I’ll call ‘normal’ hours. Most of all though, it has given me an opportunity to use the skills I’ve developed in ways that just weren’t possible in radio and really advance my career.
How has social media changed the Canadian media landscape, specifically the publishing industry?
Social media’s impact on the Canadian media landscape has been nothing short of profound over the last decade or so. It’s been very interesting for me to watch social media go from essentially being entertainment for teenagers when I entered the industry in 2006, to an incredibly useful set of tools for journalists, all within years. The speed at which information is disseminated these days over Twitter, for example, is beyond belief at times and in some ways has really changed how news is gathered.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me usually starts with a quick look at our websites and social media channels, and from there, can really go in any direction. Some days I’m plugging away at my desk scheduling social media posts and building newsletters, other days I’m bouncing from meeting to meeting and at other points, I’m chest-deep in web analytics putting together reports. You may also catch me doing interviews, recording/editing podcasts, or researching the latest digital trends and how they fit our business.
What’s your number one tip for PR people?
My number one tip for a PR person would be: Do Your Homework. Many journalists get more news releases in a day than they can read, so the more you can do to make your pitch stand out, the better. You should be able to tell me why a particular story idea is newsworthy, and why it fits my publication.
First website you load in the morning?
I hate to admit it, but once the alarm clock goes off, I’ll probably pick up my phone and take a quick tour of Facebook and Twitter, before wrapping up with a glance at the latest sports news on TheScore.ca.
Coffee or beer?
A nice cold beer!