This is a guest post from Teresa Dankowski, Community Manager of Seek Or Shout.
In the two months that Seek Or Shout has been building a community in public beta, I’ve seen my share of collaboration and communication success stories—brands sending fashion and beauty products to bloggers for review, students getting advice for careers in public relations and marketing, freelancers finding paid writing opportunities in the travel, lifestyle and technology sectors—and meaningful connections mentioned via site messages, e-mails and tweets to the @SeekOrShout handle.
But perhaps the greatest credit to our community is when members find new ways to use Seek Or Shout and engage in levels of participation we don’t necessarily anticipate. Here are three unique stories from three Seek Or Shout trailblazers:
Meeting IRL. I realized Seek Or Shout would have the potential to bring people together “in real life” wherever conferences, trade shows or social media meet-ups were concerned, but it didn’t occur to me that someone could use the online community to network publicly with another user, cover the event for her online magazine and reunite with contacts in her industry… all in the same day. This was the case for Jennifer Gilbert of South Shore Parent. “I was invited to attend a luncheon with the director of Bully, which led to an article for my website and to introductions with parent bloggers in the Chicago area,” Gilbert says. She was also able to “reconnect with a colleague from a previous job” and recognized a fellow attendee as someone she had met at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair. Amazingly, the global community of Seek Or Shout bridged cyberspace to solidify connections in a real and hyperlocal setting.
Polling for preferences. What’s the best way for a PR professional to figure out what journalists like or dislike, and what gets an editor’s attention? Ask. That’s what Seek Or Shout user Spencer Belkofer did when trying to break the Sphinx-like riddle of effective press releases and turned to the community-at-large to learn exactly what journalists think about HTML e-mails, attachments and infographics. Belkofer’s questions created a lively forum for PR professionals and journalists to discuss pitching preferences and the nuances of content collaboration. His Seeks were particularly well-received by users who wear multiple hats in PR, journalism, marketing, blogging, freelancing, and consulting circles, and could thus answer candidly from more than one perspective and experience.
Going niche. I knew Seek Or Shout would prove a resource for those seeking expert opinions and research, but what about writers looking to interview everyday people about a niche topic? Elizabeth Hanes, a paid ambassador for Seek Or Shout, posted a highly specific request to speak with collectors of Civil War memorabilia who have visited at least one historic Civil War site. By virtue of someone-knowing-someone, Hanes was able to land an interview with individuals fitting the description within two days. “This interview will help me learn about the perspective of these collectors, which will help add authenticity and vibrancy to the piece,” says Hanes. This turnaround lends its own perspective as to how Seek Or Shout can help writers surface opinions and sources from even outside of the community.