Today's featured PLANOLEADER has witnessed the immense evolution of content and its increasingly important role in modern-day business practices. From journalism to audience development, for the last ten years, Kiki Von Glinow has immersed herself in the world of media in both her personal and professional endeavors. Kiki currently holds the esteemed role as the Director of Growth and Analytics at The Huffington Post and has found herself at the forefront of conversations around new, world-class technologies. With her extensive experience and off-duty success (if you're in need of some major food and lifestyle inspiration follow Kiki over on Instagram @kikivonglinow!) we were excited to learn more from Kiki who shed some light on how she's helped shape HuffPost's overarching content strategy. While catching up over a delicious matcha latte at Cha Cha Matcha, Kiki chatted with us about her days at HuffPost, how she's learned to embrace data and analytics and how she's developed her own digital point of view outside of the office.
Please introduce yourself!
Hi there! I'm Kiki Von Glinow. I came to New York 10 years ago to live in Manhattan and be a journalist. Now I live in Brooklyn and haven't written anything professionally in a few years -- and I couldn't be happier! It's funny how your path changes. These days I'm the Director of Growth and Analytics at The Huffington Post by day and a foodie and Instagram nerd by night (and most weekends). I'm also the new mom to a puppy named Toast!
Walk us through your digital history. What are some highlights from your career so far and what role has digital/Instagram/social played at every stage of it?
When I started at HuffPost almost six years ago, social media as a way for publishers to distribute content was just becoming a thing. I reluctantly got my own Twitter account and started thinking about how HuffPost could be a force in this new social world. Luckily HuffPost's accounts were a little more successful than my own. We're definitely early adopters of new platforms and technologies at HuffPost and that really helped us to kind of skyrocket on the major platforms. Part of my job is to lead our relationships with all of these different platforms so it's been cool to talk to the folks at Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, etc to learn about the work they're doing and how HuffPost can be a part of it. It's also been fascinating to study our different audiences on each of these platforms and work to create an experience that is unique to each of them. For example, what works on Instagram for us is entirely different than what works on Snapchat or Facebook. One thing I'm most excited about right now is working on redefining HuffPost's presence on Instagram -- we really want to make it a space where the female solidarity that we saw pre-election has a place to continue to evolve and grow.
How would you describe your day to day at HuffPost and what role does planning play in your job?
It's sounds cliche but there's really no typical day for me. I head up all of our audience development teams which include social media, editorial analytics, platform relationships and an experimental labs team. We're always testing different hypotheses and letting our readers be the final decision makers. A lot of my day to day has to do with making sure all of our projects are continuing to move forward and pushing my teams to always be thinking a couple of steps ahead. The Internet moves so fast that we have to move even faster and anticipate the ways it will change and how user behavior will adapt. Because of that, organization and communication within the team is essential. That's where I come in. I try to make sure even though a lot of these teams have different day-to-day functions and responsibilities, we're all working toward a common goal each month. So I try to plan ahead and anticipate company goals and make sure my teams are key drivers in reaching them.
"The Internet moves so fast that we have to move even faster. Organization & communication within the team is essential."
For some data and analytics can be daunting. So when it comes to online media and content how have you learned to make this side of things creative, exciting and fun?
I would have never guessed my work would lead me to data and analytics. I was always fine when it came to math and science in school, but it was never something I was interested in pursuing professionally. I am by no means a data scientist now (I work with some incredibly talented analysts and data scientists who I'm constantly in awe of), for me it's more about storytelling in a different medium. Just like investigative journalism, you come up with a hunch, you do some digging and then you tell the story and hope the information has an impact. Where I generally come in is coming up with hypotheses -- and I have a lot of them! -- letting the experts do the digging and then translating our learnings to the newsroom in a way that they find compelling enough to implement into their workflows.
Outside of Huff Post you've developed a consistent, fun and popular Instagram presence - tell us more about that! From food to travel how have you found your digital voice and do you have any tips for those who are looking to streamline their own personal feed?
Yes! It really started as a hobby. I love taking photographs -- I actually studied photo journalism in college while studying abroad in Accra, Ghana. I really loved doing portraits but these days, finding time to do that is difficult. So when it came to my Instagram, I wanted to find a subject that I'd have a lot of material for. I eat every day! So food was a pretty easy choice. My boyfriend is a great home chef and we also love to eat out and try new restaurants so making my Instagram food-centered made sense. Over the past year or so I've really started to find my style. It started as a lot of basic overhead table shots and now I think it has evolved into a style that gets much more up close and personal with the dishes. Taking lighting and photo quality more seriously was also a major turning point for me -- no more dimly lit restaurant shots! The fact that I'm really deep into data and analytics in my job also doesn't hurt. I'm always digging into post-performance when it comes to the time of day, subject and people or places I tag -- there's definitely a formula to having a successful post. A little bit of luck doesn't hurt either.
"I'm always digging into post-performance when it comes to time of day, subject & people/places I tag
— there's definitely a formula to having a successful post."
In your opinion who are some brands/content creators that are ahead of the curve in terms of planning and sharing compelling/innovative lifestyle content?
When it comes to having an awesome social presence, I think Glossier really nails it. Their tone and voice are unmistakable and it permeates everything they do, which is really important if you want to stand out from the crowd. I think part of their success is also that they've supported their employees in becoming really positive extensions of their brand. Influencer marketing is huge when it comes to building authentic brands with loyal users and they've really been an example of that. And of course I may be biased, but I think HuffPost has been a total leader when it comes to lifestyle content that has a real impact. We are hugely dedicated to our work surrounding mental wellness and erasing the stigma around it and we very much gauge our success in that space by the impact we're having on that community. We actually just started a Facebook community specifically for introverts!