Content Therapy is Managing Editor’s monthly advice column, where Paul Chaney responds to your questions about the messy dilemmas content marketers face in their work. We are (obviously) not licensed therapists.
Could My Social Media Fame Get Me Fired?!
Dear Content Therapist: I’m a content marketer who’s been in the industry for almost two years, and I’m also a content creator/influencer with a decent following on social media. I started my influencer path about six months into my current job and typically stick to content about my life, fashion and funny moments. It’s been exciting to watch both of my passions grow. However, I’ve recently seen stories of people being fired from their jobs because of incidents (some accidental, others not so much) on their social channels. I’ve tried to be cautious about the content I share, but I also know that mistakes can happen, especially for people who are beginning their content creator/influencer journey. How can I effectively navigate my online presence so it doesn’t interfere or disrupt my current and future jobs? — CONTENT FOR THE MASSES
Paul Chaney: It’s good that you are mindful of being cautious about the content you create to ensure it doesn’t jeopardize your career. However, you are taking a risk. As you said, accidents happen. You can’t guarantee that your audience won’t find fault with you for some reason that could also “throw shade” on your employer. Not only that, but it’s also possible that growing your personal brand could interfere with your day job (That happened to me.)
Understanding that your content influencer/content marketer roles could come into conflict, I suggest taking the following steps to protect both your personal and professional interests:
Determine what topics and content are safe to share online and what should be kept private.
Manage Your Online Reputation
Regularly monitor your online presence and be mindful of what others say about you. Respond professionally to any negative comments or criticism.
Watch Your Tone
Avoid posting inflammatory or controversial content that could reflect negatively on you or your employer.
Respect Your Employer’s Brand
Avoid posting anything that could conflict with your employer’s values or reputation.
Separate Your Personal and Professional Content
Don’t let your influencer content bleed into any content you create for your company, and avoid mixing personal and professional.
Research How Other Influencers Manage Their Careers
Many influencers find themselves in similar situations. Reach out to a few and ask how they manage both and the challenges they face when walking the personal and professional tightrope.
Talk to Your Boss
Let your boss know how your personal passion has led to influencer status. Assure them that you won’t let it interfere with your work. Depending on your relationship, that conversation may be a little scary, but it’s much better that they hear it from you rather than finding out from a third party.
Your influencer status doesn’t have to interfere with your content marketing career, but it does require careful management with good judgment, common sense, and discretion.
It’s Time to Diversify Our Events!
Dear Content Therapist: The company I work for hosts many webinars, conferences and small gatherings to connect with other professionals, talk about trends, exchange ideas and recognize innovators in the space. Before working for the company, I used to watch these events virtually and valued the advice that the experts gave. However, as time went on, I noticed how homogenous the webinars were. There was a lack of diversity in the experts that participated in these events, and it cheated the audience out of an objective experience. Now that I am working with the company, the diversity of the events isn’t where it should be. How can I broach the need for diversity at our events and explain how this can help grow our audience even more? — THE EVENTS FOR ALL MARKETER
Paul Chaney: There’s been a lot of talk about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the events industry lately, so your question is certainly valid and timely. DEI in events fosters an experience that represents and supports everyone in attendance, regardless of age, sex, race or other distinguishing characteristics. It also reflects the reality of the business world, where people of different backgrounds and perspectives interact and work together.
Since your question centers on increasing event attendance as a motivating factor, here are some thoughts you may want to discuss with your boss and company as reasons to diversify.
A diverse lineup of speakers and attendees can attract a broader range of people, including those from different backgrounds, cultures and perspectives. You could wind up attracting larger audiences.
Not only that, but a diverse lineup can also bring new and unique perspectives to the event, making it more exciting and informative for attendees, which can spur growth.
A diverse business event creates a more welcoming environment and a sense of belonging, building stronger connections between attendees. Invariably, they’ll want to come back. As your company gains a reputation for hosting diverse events, you set yourself up for long-term growth.
When sharing, accentuate the positive aspects of diversity and not criticize how things were done in the past, especially if speakers were members of a “boys’ club” network.
With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to diversify your events:
- Invite speakers from different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences to share their insights and knowledge.
- Actively encourage participation from underrepresented groups, such as women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Ensure that conference venues and virtual platforms are accessible for individuals with disabilities and provide accommodations as needed.
- Offer sessions on topics that have a more diverse appeal.
- For in-person events, plan menus that relate to varying dietary needs and ethnic backgrounds.
- After events, seek feedback from speakers and participants on how to improve.
- Seek out companies that have led diverse events and talk to the organizers to learn more about the challenges and results.
Here’s one more idea you could share to convince the company to embrace diversity: Remind them that what makes a rainbow so attractive and awe-inspiring is its panoply of colors, each of which holds its own special allure. A monochromatic palette couldn’t have quite the same effect. The same is true of a business event.
Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for advice from a licensed mental health provider, health care provider or legal professional.