For today's featured PLANOLEADER it's all about community. Meet Lauren Magenta - who is bridging the gap between content and cuisine (as you'll read more of below, Lauren believes that food brings people together - no arguments here!) which is evident in her work for world-renowned companies including Refinery29, Martha Stewart and currently Spoon University where she holds the position of Senior Content Video Strategist. In each of Lauren's respective roles, she's been able to call upon her authentic love for food and digital savvy to create truly delectable (and innovative) content around the clock. What's even more impressive has been watching Lauren's talents translate into the work posted on personal Instagram (@laurenmagenta) which features bite-sized snapshots into her life as a foodie in the digital age. To learn more, we recently visited Lauren at Spoon University's Midtown HQ to see the content creator in action and hear more about her thoughts on video content and the online food community.
Please introduce yourself!
Hi hi, I'm Lauren Paige Magenta a twenty-something living in Queens, NY and working full-time at Spoon University. I spend my nights and weekends busy working on freelance food projects. I do everything from video shoots, photo shoots and branding exercises for some of my favorite brands. At Spoon, I work on optimizing video content and strategy for all of the content we are producing -- so much content and so much fun!
Prior to Spoon University what were you up to professionally, what role did digital play in your job description and what have been some notable moments throughout your career so far?
I somehow landed in digital video right out of school - 3 days after I graduated I applied for an entry-level recipe testing job at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. They told me I did not have enough experience for that but there was a new role they thought I would be great for. I filled the role of Assistant Producer working on video syndication efforts and assisting with digital series production. I fell in love with storytelling in this format. I was working with influencers and content that I was so passionate about. After being promoted 3 times in 2.5 years, it was time to make a jump. I moved to a company with a younger mindset -- Refinery29. I started managing their YouTube channels and then was transferred to the video team to create and manage the lifestyle content. Taking on the voice of food for R29 was a major move and that is the job that landed me my current role at Spoon University.
From Spoon University to your previous experiences at Refinery29 and Martha Stewart when it comes to content what were your biggest takeaways from each of those respective jobs and how did each company shape your point of view with food's relationship to digital and vice-versa?
My relationship with food at Martha was incredibly traditional. I was a dry sponge soaking up every ounce (or lb) of information that passed me by. I shed blood, sweat and glittery tears for that place and I would still come home from work and try to make french macarons. I was so fulfilled by the content and all that I was learning. At Martha Stewart, I learned that traditional is cool and knowing the basics is necessary. I learned about the science of food and recipes and how things work. When I moved to Refinery29, I got an incredible opportunity to start developing my own recipes for video. It was like the stars have aligned. Martha Stewart had said I didn't have enough food experience for a kitchen role and then filled me with knowledge and experience. So at R29 that shined through and I went recipe-testing-rouge. It was like a brand new relationship. I was energized, empowered and passionate. I developed a matcha dutch baby pancake and a galaxy frosting and it didn't stop there. I was down to play with food, knowing what rules to follow and what rules to bend. My recipes at Refinery brought in over 60 million video views.
At Spoon though, the biggest takeaway thus far is the importance of innovation. No one is going to reinvent the new pancake. Think about it -- all new trends are innovations, the cronut is the perfect example that swept the nation. A mix of two of everybody's favorites, a croissant-doughnut pastry from Dominique Ansel Bakery. Being powered by innovation is a strength and a smart tactic when in the kitchen. Even today after all the crazy recipes I've made up I always think back to Martha and think back to the basics and tradition.
We love that you've primarily worked in video. How has the role of video on social media evolved over the course of your career and why is it an important medium in a successful content strategy?
Throughout my career, thus far, video is popping up in more and more places. There were no Instagram stories or Snapchat filters when I started making video content. It is necessary now though since it is a great way for brands to bring in ad dollars but is more expensive to produce. As a creative I prefer working in the medium, it is so much more empowering to create something visually stimulating. It is also imperative for brands to play within these new video-friendly spaces as they pop up since you never now which one will take off!
Between your role at Spoon University and your outside/freelance endeavors what would be your top three best practices/things to consider for those looking to plan and publish successful video content on IG?
For successful video content on social media, the three best practices I live and die by are:
1. Gut check: Before I work with a brand or make a recipe I always have to ask myself, would I want to watch or make this?
2. The $ shot: videos should start with the sexiest footage you have!
3. Consistency: do you want to keep people interested? Post regularly.
No matter what your 9-5 gigs have been, we love that food has always been top of mind when it comes to your own personal IG brand! While it's a popular market why do you love posting food and what are your tips for fellow content creators looking to break into the community?
My mother and father were in the kitchen all the time when I was growing up. My father was like a magician at the stove. He didn't need a recipe just food in the fridge to play with. My mother on the other hand was devoted to baking. She is so good at following all the recipe rules and landing with a delicious dessert every-single-time. So for me, food was a natural topic to start posting about. Food is what brings us together. I feel that if the content is authentic, it will break through the saturation. I will continue to make content within the food space that inspires me and entertains others.
With regard to trends and food what are you hoping to/excited to see more of on social this year?
I love that people are using this food content as inspiration and entertainment. With regards to food trends, I would like to see more international food trends popping up in the US. I was lucky enough to take a trip to India and Thailand around Thanksgiving this year and felt as though there were ingredients and recipes that I had never seem and would love to recipe test with! We all live in pretty tight bubbles and comfort zones and I feel that food inspires conversation and experiences that are rich!