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Katie Parkes

Content Coordinator for Grand Social

With a degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in English and Film Studies, Katie has gained hands-on experience working in the global film festival circuit and is currently the content coordinator at Waterloo Region’s own Creative Enterprise Initiative. She manages a few projects: grandsocial.ca, a growing arts and culture promotional portal, and a highly temperamental cat. Katie is also the co-creator of the Grand River Film Festival’s newest educational outreach program, Cin-E-merge, which links curious local students to leaders in the region’s filmmaking industry. On the side, she consults with independent filmmakers to determine their festival and content marketing strategies, and she is working towards directing and producing her own feature length film.

What do you do?

I am the content coordinator for the Creative Enterprise Initiative’s regional arts and culture promotional website, grandsocial.ca. I curate community content, as well as create new storytelling pieces about local people making big impact in our sector, and build resource blog posts that offer tips for working in the digital space as a creative or cultural worker. I also manage how our content gets pushed out through our various distribution channels and social media outlets.

How do you stay up to date with trends in your industry/field?

I am constantly curating my own social media feeds with organizations, companies, or online resources that offer thought leadership on online marketing tactics. I love websites like Contently that give awesome advice on how to build, revise, and assess digital content marketing strategies. And I’m always checking the Twitter and Instagram hashtag trends. They offer great insight on audience engagement: what is being talked about, looked at, or watched, and what kinds of people are part of each particular conversation.

Best way to stay on top of email?

I almost always spend the first half an hour of every morning attending to emails. Then I keep both my Outlook and Gmail accounts open all day, so that way when I’m using the web for other things I can quickly assess whether or not it’s urgent, and if it’s not, then I wait until my own allocated email time to respond. I find this helps me control my time at work and be more productive.

Top five applications or programs?

Couldn’t function day to day without Hootsuite.

We also use Piktochart to create graphics quite frequently.

Google Drive.

Google Trends.

Dropbox.

What is your best time-saving trick?

Best time saver: scheduling social postings. I can’t stress enough how important software like Hootsuite is to our workflow. Being able to plan online conversations ahead of time allows us more time to actually participate in them later. Plus, we have an entire community calendar of events we need to highlight each week, so scheduling our interactions help us keeps our promotional activity organized and fair.

One non-tech thing you can't live without?

Pizza.

Structure of your typical day? How do you divide your time?

As mentioned earlier, I usually catch up on emails for about the first half an hour of each day. Then I’ll spend one to two hours copy-editing and curating the content on the site. After that, I take a look at our social feed growth and engagement levels, spend some time getting caught up on our online conversations, and check out what’s trending that day. And then I fuel my brain with food that’s most likely pizza. My afternoons are typically spent writing draft posts or building graphics, which can take a few hours to create, edit, rewrite, layout, etc. but I don’t mind because creative time is my favourite time.

What is the greatest piece of career advice/wisdom you've ever received?

Go where the growth is and don’t be afraid to play on the corporate jungle gym, not the ladder.

Who would you like to see featured on Ways We Work?

I would like to see other content creators like Jennifer Pepper of Vidyard featured or local artist-entrepreneurs like Jennifer Gough!