the sally sisson blog


August 22, 2013

Smart Content Marketing: Engaging kids with games + activities, not plastic toys

content writing games for kidsThe summer blockbuster movie season is coming to an end, and it’s time to switch out content marketing themes and characters for SubwayKids.com. I had a fun time copywriting and developing online content, games and activities for this project, and have even spotted kids using their eco-friendly reusable meal bags—the best part of this entire SUBWAY FRESH FIT FOR KIDS™ meal marketing campaign, in my opinion. Sure beats those plastic Happy Meals toys.

copywriting and content for kids

Copywriting Samples

Here’s a link to samples of downloadable activities I developed:
Monsters University: Content + copywriting for SUBWAY Kids™ + Disney/Pixar

copywriting for children


Blog posts: Web content + copywriting for kids, parents + teachers

For more on copywriting and content development programs I’ve worked on for SubwayKids.com (via the digital brand agency Jack Morton Worldwide), see these blog posts:

Cartoons and Content Marketing: All work and all play
SUBWAY® Restaurants + The Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb

Content Marketing + Cause Marketing: Public relations with a purpose
Random Acts of Fitness for Kids™:  SUBWAY® Restaurants + American Heart Association, Little League® Baseball and Softball, We Can!™ (a National Institutes of Health [NIH] program) and other national partners

Earth Day Interactives:
Copywriting with a conscience for corporate clients
SUBWAY® Restaurants + The Nature Conservancy

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February 3, 2013

PR and Social Media Marketing for Musicians: A local and organic approach with international reach

social media marketingThe good thing about being a communications generalist is that you rarely get stuck in a rut. Every now and then I take on projects outside my usual niche just because I feel like it…because I like the client or the cause or the content.

For the last couple of years I’ve done PR for Jon Durant, a local studio musician who’s made it pretty big as a composer and guitarist. We both played in our high school jazz/rock band way back when and now have kids doing the same at our hometown high school.

In 2011 I wrote a press release and bio for Jon for the release of his 7th album, Dance of the Shadow Planets. Last November I was hired again to help with his latest album: Burnt Belief, a progressive instrumental collaboration with legendary bassist Colin Edwin, best known for his role with the English band Porcupine Tree.

Going local: The benefits of local talent

With a record release date of 12-21-12, timed to coincide with the “end of days,” we had to do things in a hurry. So we divvied up the tasks and quickly formed a team. I contacted a local writer, Dave Bolton, who I’d met in our local pub and then later ran into at a farm stand buying pumpkins. He was wearing a PiL T-shirt (amongst a sea of suburban dads wearing crisp polos) and I had a hunch he’d be a good fit. Turns out he’d done work for a a couple metal bands back in England, amongst other things, and liked Porcupine Tree.

We met with Jon and talked music and brainstormed over coffee. Although the three of us have somewhat divergent tastes, we all share a disdain for Phil Collins — which seemed as good a reason as any to work together. Plus, Jon liked the idea of being able to meet face-t0-face with a local team in between trips to the West Coast and the UK.

The right press release for the right press

So we had Dave take on the writing of the main press release, which involved phone/Skype interviews with Colin (during which he was able to prove his cred, saying that he had stood in the pouring rain for hours at the Download festival in Leicestershire in 2010, listening to “wrist-slashingly cheerful music” while patiently waiting for him to take the stage with Porcupine Tree).

[Read Dave Bolton’s interview on Colin Edwin’s blog here.]

Meanwhile I wrote a second press release, specifically for audio and recording industry blogs and publications, focusing on the unique transatlantic recording process and other “gearhead” details.

Organic social media marketing

Simultaneously, I set up the social media marketing end of things. I created a Facebook page for Burnt Belief and a Facebook fan page for Jon Durant, set up Twitter accounts for both, and then synched the social networks for each. For the next two weeks I posted content and strategically followed artists, bands, labels, producers, publications, journalists and bloggers. I monitored all channels and watched the steady gains and impressive spikes in followers, plus degrees of reach and engagement. Then I trained Jon on how to manage the pages and feeds and keep up the momentum on his own.

Small-town to big-time publicity

With Porcupine Tree’s well-connected publicist in NYC handling press and media placement, the 12-21-12 release made a big splash. Prog Rock Magazine published an exclusive online premiere (see below), and other major publications followed that week. Meanwhile, Jon’s West Coast contact worked the college radio and ambient/post-rock radio circuits, so the album got serious air play. On Echoes Radio, it just reached #5 on the charts for January.

On the local front, our small-town newspaper ran a cover story, which created a lot of buzz:

Making Music in Cohasset MA: Jon Durant records in home studio

The only problem now is that supply can’t keep up with demand. Burning Shed, the UK distributor, has been sold out of the CD for weeks, as has Amazon.com. Good thing the musicians stockpiled some CDs along with those cases of Spam in their doomsday bunkers. For now the best way to get your hands on one is to go direct: through the online store at jondurant.com.

With plans underway for a European tour this summer, the duo should see more steady growth in their social media stats and online presence — all of which should drive up CD sales (if they can keep them in stock).

Burnt Belief: In the news

PROG Magazine: Exclusive Album Premiere: Colin Edwin and Jon Durant’s Burnt Belief

The Echoes Blog: Colin Edwin and Jon Durant’s Post-Apocalyptic Burnt Beliefs

StarsDie.com: Burnt Belief Review

“It is of little surprise to anyone that when you put two musical virtuosos in a studio they cannot escape from that they will, inevitably, conjure up a masterpiece….But if you put Colin Edwin and Jon Durant in the room – you can expect something incredible.”

StarsDie.com

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November 12, 2012

Online content and social media promote healthy school, community and corporate partnerships

The Energy Balance 101: Enrichment Zone web content I developed last spring for the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation is now live on TogetherCounts.com, and I’m excited to see kids already participating in these first weeks of September.

Developed to complement the existing standards-based Energy Balance 101 curriculum for grades K-5, the Enrichment Zone is a flexible program designed for after-school programs, clubs and community organizations across the country.

I’ve had a hard time explaining to people what it is, who it’s for and who’s behind it, so here’s the skinny:

HWCF + Together Counts!

What is the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation? It is a CEO-led coalition of over 200 organizations working together to help families and schools reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015. With corporate heads from General Mills, Inc., Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.; Kraft Foods and Kellogg’s; Anytime Fitness and Sports Authority;  Hershey, Nestlé and Mars at the table, the impact is significant.

How is Michelle Obama involved? In May 2010 the First Lady, founder of initiatives like Let’s Move! and Partnership for a Healthier America, announced with HWCF companies their pledge to reduce 1.5 trillion calories annually by the end of 2015. These changes are being made through new lower-calorie options, reduced calorie content of current products, and reduced portion sizes of existing single-serving products.

HWCF + Discovery Education

Next the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation set its sight on the nation’s elementary schools. Developed in partnership with Discovery Education, the Energy Balance 101 program provides schools with a free online K-5 curriculum and resources to help kids lead healthier, more active lifestyles.

Energy Balance 101 Discovery Education Building on the success of its program in the schools, EB 101 began extending its reach to the home and out in the community. Fueled by a successful brand and social media campaign, the TogetherCounts movement has a wide following (and 12,000 followers on Twitter!). Check out this cute and super-quick Together Counts! animation to get what the movement what it’s all about:

Together Counts

Watch: What is Together Counts?

The next phase is underway. HWCF is rolling out programs and activities for kids, parents, families and community groups outside of school. Here’s where I come in. The Energy Balance 101: Enrichment Zone is now being used by after-school teachers, Girl Scout leaders, parents… pretty much anyone interested. More flexible than the in-school curriculum, it is modular in format to suite a range of programs and schedules.

The lessons and activities incorporate and reinforce Energy Balance 101 concepts; promote physical activity after school and on weekends; and inspire students to make healthy choices and be mindful of their daily Energy Balance for life.

Organizations like the following have already signed on as Enrichment Zone partners:

    • Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.
    • U.S. Soccer Foundation
    • National Recreation and Park Association
    • K. Kellogg Foundation
    • Gen Youth Foundation
    • Paul Pierce’s The Truth onHealth
    • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Together Counts!

Although separated into different web sites last year, all of the above can now be found in one place: TogetherCounts.com.

Here you’ll find interactive features and active social media channels for schools, homes and community organizations. It’s a fun way to track who’s doing what in K-5 schools across the country.

Check out the blogs, tweets and posts from schools and organizations already actively participating. I’ll be helping out with a pilot after-school program at Inly School in Scituate, MA and will blogging about the experience along the way. I’ll keep you posted!

Links and Resources:

Michelle Obama’s speech at the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation partnership announcement

Mars Candy And Michelle Obama Are Making Candy Bars Smaller — And Twitter Is FREAKING Out

 

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