Reader and customer engagement is one of the most important things for any publication or social media page. Engagement goes beyond the newspaper, website and social media to actual interactions. And you should treat all engagement with the same candor as a face-to-face interaction.
Here are some of my favorite projects I have worked on:
In 2014, I helped lead a year-long project honoring living World War II veterans in Michigan. Called “Michigan Honors,” the project was threefold: veterans and their families submitted information online and I created a searchable database that included the names, photos and stories of more than 3,600 veterans in Michigan. These lists were published in our print newspapers. We also wrote dozens of profiles on their stories, based on interviews. Also, we had several open houses across the state, where the veterans came together, shared stories, met each other and had their picture taken. This concluded in an event at the Michigan State Capitol with more than a 100 veterans who gathered together. This was a really moving project that combined technology, stories and in person engagement.
I came up with five valentines and contacted our designers to help make them. After publishing the initial set, readers submitted their own ideas and I made my own cards based on them. Ultimately, we had 28 valentines, which were shared throughout the day. The project capitalized on people’s love for Michigan and the holiday. It allowed a fun and creative way for readers to interact with us.
Michigan Capitol Trivia
MLive was a major sponsor of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce annual dinner. Instead of having a booth set up to tell people about the company, we thought it would be better if we had some fun. I created MLive Capitol Trivia, a set of 10 questions on Michigan history. It was a great way to have fun and break the ice with lawmakers and other people in attendance. We tallied up the results and when people left the event, the winners were listed and they could pick up a gift bag.
Michigan citizenship quiz
Earlier this year, a state lawmaker introduced a bill that would require high schoolers to pass a civics exam, much like immigrants take to become citizens, in order to graduate. The questions on U.S. history are somewhat tricky, and would be even more so if they were applied to Michigan. So we created a Michigan civics quiz, asking the same questions on the national quiz but for just the state.