Singer-Songwriter Night + Millennial Insight

The first (but certainly not last) KEEN Digital Summit is drawing nigh, and we hope you’ve been working on creating your personal agendas. We’ve added a couple new slots, such as Meghan Anderson from Hubspot who will be flying in from New York to wax poetic about SEO (and how you can keep up to snuff with all of Google’s algorithm changes) and the Song Team’s Jeff Jacob, who will use audience participation to discuss the importance of collaboration. Plus, we’ve nabbed a phenomenal new closing keynote, who we will tell you more about next week.But enough with business; let’s talk parties!

As previously noted, our Friday night closed event will take place at the Listening Room Café just around the block from the Omni. The Listening Room, brainchild of singer-songwriter Chris Blair, has been around since 2008 but recently relocated to the vibrant SoBro neighborhood. With regular entertainment, a large patio and a whole lot of delicious booze on tap, it’s definitely one of our favorite local spots!

And we’re thrilled that the live music venue is letting us take over for the evening for our KEEN Singer-Songwriter Night. This will be a closed event, only open to those with a full conference pass, so keep your Oct. 25 evening opening for even more late-night networking.

But what will be going down at this singer-songwriter soiree? Glad you asked. In typical Nashville fashion, performers will participate in what we like to call “a round” where they each play one of their songs—many of which you might have heard on the radio—and then rotate to the next artist.

The artists will come from our party sponsors: performing rights organizations SESAC and ASCAP. Doors open at 7pm with ASCAP taking the stage first at 7:30pm. Once their round is done, we’ll take a brief interlude at 9pm—during which you can top off your drinks and mingle—before SESAC’s artists take the stage from 9:30 to 11pm.

And spunky Southern belle—and CMT Radio host—Samantha Stephens will be on hand to emcee the whole shindig. (If you ask nicely, she might even play a song or two of her own.)

We’ll be featuring special deals from our sponsors Belle Meade Bourbon and Fat Bottom Brewing, so come thirsty! Food will also be available for purchase as well as a full cash bar.

Pack your cowboy boots and come jam with us on Oct. 25. We’ll be waiting by the bar.

Cheers,

Your KEEN Mates

FEATURED SPEAKER: Sarah Unger

Each newsletter, we like to highlight a speaker from a different industry, and this week’s spotlight is on Sarah Unger, VP and Creative Catalyst at Ketchum Public Relations in New York City. Sarah wears many hats but has carved a niche in the PR world as a “Millennial expert.” As such, she’ll be speaking on a panel on Oct. 26 about how to target those tricky Gen Yers. Take us on the journey that is your role at Ketchum. What is an average day like?

There’s no such thing as “average day” in my role—it’s constant variety, no such thing as boredom, and your mind doesn’t stop moving for a second. I work most often in trends and insights, but across many industries; adaptability is key. One hour I’ll be knee-deep in research about what Millennials want out of a fast food experience and then switch seamlessly to creating a creative brief for colleagues around the future of energy. What stays constant no matter the challenge is my psychology-driven approach to consumer insight and never-ending curiosity about the world. Take in relevant information and put out relevant insights. I always say in this role, one must be a “child of the universe.” Starry-eyed, but true.

How do you go about recruiting bloggers to participate in your campaigns?

Recruiting is not an accurate term for us. In public relations, we’re entirely relationship-based. It’s imperative to establish trust with our consumer, and the same goes for any of our media partners. Connections must be organic, and we work with bloggers genuinely inspired by our brands. FTC guidelines apply for any agency, and guide the nature of our interactions.

Where do you see bloggers fitting into a brand’s PR campaign?

Bloggers are one of the most authentic channels to guide consumer sentiment, often showcasing the consumer as editor, so-to-speak. In the current communications landscape, given that much news media either maintains affiliated blogs or looks to blogs for leads, we naturally treat them as we would other media: as compelling storytellers who share relevant messages to consumers the brand has a vested interest in.

Why is it important for marketers to look beyond print and target channels that Millennials pay attention to?

When asked about this, I love saying “Fish where the fish are swimming.” It’s not rocket science. Marketers clearly want to reach Millennials, so why ignore channels that capture Millennial attention? Some of these channels—even Facebook or Instagram—can feel risky, depending on the culture of the client, but there are ways to “swim” that appropriately mitigate risk while still being genuine. That’s where agency counsel comes in. We work with our clients to “speak Millennial” on a daily basis using tools like our own internal Ketchum Millennial Network and Mindfire to crowdsource insights, feedback, and creative ideas from some of the brightest university students around the world.

You like to “figure out Millennials” and discover what makes them tick. What are some surprising things you have learned about Generation Y?

Millennials are an over-analyzed generation—often discussed as a different species, rather than a large part of the population you are inevitably already interacting with on a daily basis. Constant contradicting reports on generational sentiment are (understandably) causing brands to spin their wheels about engagement approach. Personally, as an older millennial I take a more holistic, intuitive perspective and have a strong “BS” filter. Ketchum is very adept at cutting through the clutter. There are core traits that are undeniable: Millennials are more culturally and demographically diverse than any previous generations yet also more connected.

Coming of age as the digital revolution went en masse gave this cohort a louder, quicker microphone at an age when the spotlight and pressure is already strong. Every generation tends to get more scrutiny when they fall into the 18-34 range. Biggest “surprises” tend to be how pragmatic Millennials actually are, and that they are more open-minded than many give them credit for. Sure, they’re a tough crowd—there’s a lot of competition for their attention given the overwhelming speed and quantity of information and culture at their fingertips, but that just elevates the necessity of quality engagement on behalf of brands. Ketchum’s motto is “break through” and we recognize that Millennials are key in pushing the industry in that direction.

The Omni opens! + conference day passes

Hey, y’all! Less than three weeks from today, we’ll all be living it up and getting our digital on in Nashville. Where did summer go?

Omni Nashville

The biggest excitement of the week is that the Omni Nashville officially opened its doors on Monday, a whopping 27 months and 14 days after breaking ground. We were on site for the opening party—which featured addresses by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam—and got to test out all the fun features the hotel offers, such as the Biscuit Bar in Kitchen Notes restaurant (yes, indeed, that is a real thing) and the live music venue Barlines with the most delicious—and sinful—bourbon concoctions (we highly recommend sneaking away for a libation or two).

Omni Nashville

A few housekeeping things to address, and then next week we’ll give you the skinny on all the fun we have in store for our singer-songwriter night, which we’re just pleased as punch about.

  1. Many of you locals have asked about day passes because you weren’t available for all three days. Well, we listened and rolled out an option for Friday or Saturday that will admit you to all panels and presentations (but not to the nighttime events; you need the all-access pass for that).
  2. Our official Omni group rate expired earlier this week, but the hotel has been super considerate and extended the offer a little bit longer as long as there are rooms available. The hotel is already at 75% capacity for the nights of KEEN, so we don’t expect there to be many left for long. If you’ve procrastinated on booking, don’t wait much longer! Register here to receive our special $179 preferred rate.
  3. If you’re staying at the hotel, don’t forget to sign up for the free Omni Select Guest program, which entitles you to complimentary Wi-Fi, beverage service, daily newspapers, and more.
  4. There are still a few spaces left in our retail expo, which will take place in the lobby of the Omni’s second floor and will be open to the public. If you’re interested, email us at info@keendigitalsummit.com by Monday, as we’ll be locking down final numbers next week.

That about wraps it up for now.

Your KEEN mates

Images courtesy of Omni Hotels.

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FEATURED SPEAKER: JAIREK ROBBINS

Jairek RobbinsPerformance coach Jairek Robbins will be opening the weekend with a talk about getting the most out of your online relationships. Here, he gives us the lowdown on how digital media influences his own business, including his popular Rapid Results Retreats.

With your business model, how do you utilize digital media?

My current business model is built around digital media: staying consistently digitally connected to our community. We run a weekly YouTube show, publish an online newsletter, and stay actively associated to our community through a variety of social media channels.

Our core business is one-on-one personal performance coaching and keynote speaking, and we also have a couple different digital coaching programs online. Just last year we introduced our Rapid Results Retreat, which allows us to take people on the journey of a lifetime. We call it a “vacation with a purpose”—mixing a personal development course with a 16-day, seven-country voyage through Central and South America.

What’s your next personal goal, and what road map do you plan to follow to get there?

In my opinion, today’s entrepreneurs need to be able to tap into the old school and new school mind-set, tools, and style of starting and running a business.

Old school: Numbers can kill you, in business. If you do not master accounting and bookkeeping and keep a solid amount of o’ cash on hand, you can easily sink a company of any size. A few other “old school” characteristics that are still needed today: the love of hard work, persistence, passion, vision, consistency, the ability to stay focused, guts, and a powerful and positive mind-set.

New school: You must also be willing to let go of the office building with your name on it, tons of employees, and high overhead. In today’s digital world, we have the opportunity to run an international organization from a laptop on a small remote beach. You can lose all the overhead and run lean, giving you and your team the ability to invest the money saved into more ways to reach a broader audience and make even more of a difference. Some “new school” characteristics needed: flexibility, inner peace, and the ability to enjoy the entire journey (not just the results waiting for you at the end).

My next personal goal is making sure my fiancée and I have an amazing year of travel and adventure leading up to our wedding in October 2014. We have decided to spend the year running our business from a laptop and traveling the world together and are in the process of moving from San Diego down to Costa Rica for a few months to kick off the journey.

Everyone has his or her own challenges. What is one of yours and how do you overcome it?

A big challenge I have consistently had to face is differentiating myself from my father, who is a mogul in the personal development industry. Growing up around him and his events is one of the greatest advantages I have had, yet it’s also one of the biggest challenges I face when trying to build a brand of my own.

There was an event produced by Oneness University that was the catalyst to helping me find my own voice and true, authentic self. They asked five simple questions that helped me learn so much about myself and why I was doing what I’m doing and helped create a crystal-clear road map to develop my own personal message and voice:

  1. Who did you want love from the most when you were a child?
  2. Who did you think you needed to be in order to receive their love?
  3. Who could you never be around them?
  4. Who are you today?
  5. What would you need to shift in who you are today…to be 100% authentically yourself?

What are some of the highlights of your new Rapid Results workshop?

Taking time for my students to find their true authentic self, identifying their “ideal day” vision, and creating a personal and professional game plan for the next five, ten, twenty years to turn that vision into reality.

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SOUTHERN LEXICON

“higher than a Georgia pine”

If you’re grooving haphazardly to the goth-rock tunes of Katelyn Epperly at KEEN’s opening party and someone tells you that you look “higher than a Georgia pine,” they’re not implying you’re tall or even that you’ve been partaking in certain illicit activities. Rather, they think—perhaps accurately—that you’ve had too much of that complimentary Absolut Tune we’re handing out at the bar and are feeling real nice. (In other words, you’re drunk. Watch yourself now.) Cheers!

The full schedule is up! + new keynote + opening party details

It’s fall in Tennessee, y’all, which means a significant drop in the mercury, fall foliage is just around the corner and football season has fully consumed the South.

Fall colors

It also means just five weeks and change until KEEN Digital Summit has its first ever conference! (Get excited; we certainly are.)

We’ve made some significant additions to the lineup, such as motivational speaker and performance coach Jairek Robbins—yes, as in the son of that other Robbins, Tony—who will be taking over our opening keynote spot to talk about getting the most out of your digital relationships. Jairek typically attracts crowds by the thousands to hear him speak, so we’re stoked for him to kick off our weekend’s content portion the morning of Friday, Oct. 25. (Make your plans accordingly!)

Jairek Robbins

Speaking of the schedule, did you notice it’s up in all its glory? The full agenda will live on a separate Sched platform so you can go in and have some fun creating a profile and building out what you want from KEEN, but we also will integrate into our main site later this week. We’ll still be tweaking exact time slots and making changes as the weeks progress, but for now, we hope you’ll start your own Sched profile, bookmark sessions that pique your interest and share it with friends so they can plan their own conference agendas. Be sure to click around a bit and see what all’s going on; we have a lot plan.

And now onto the (even more) fun stuff: parties! We’re happy to announce that our opening night kick-off party for all attendees will take place at aVenue, just three short, very walkable blocks from the Omni.

aVenue

Southern goth rocker Katelyn Epperly will be crooning a mix of soulful covers and bluesy originals. Katelyn, who first got “noticed” on season 9 of American Idol, has fully immersed herself in the social media and fashion worlds of Nashville, leveraging her digital presence via Twitter and Instagram to bring awareness to up-and-coming brands she partners with as a model, spokesperson, stylist and, of course, singer.

Kateyln Epperly

And our last bit of exciting news: The Omni Nashville has decided to extend the preferred rate—$179 for a single, $189 for a double and so forth—up until the conference date, subject to availability. That means as long as there are rooms open, you can book them. (Yay, Omni! KEEN salutes you and thanks you for your support.) Still, you should book ASAP as October is a busy month in Nashville, and you don’t want to be left out on the street to fend for yourselves.

 More info to come,

 Your KEEN Team

Crossover Agenda + Pinterest Expert + Hoagies

With KEEN kicking off eight weeks from today, it’s time to get the lowdown on content, is it not?

NashvilleUnlike other conferences that cater to very niche and specific topics—such as a summit that’s only geared toward mommy bloggers or a forum strictly for foodies—we wanted KEEN to be small enough for you to get value out of meeting the right people while also offering multiple tracks of specialty. Which is why you’ll see our speakers divvied up in four categories: Food & Spirits, Travel & Lifestyles, Family & Entertainment, and Technology. Those of you who work for web-based companies may be mostly interested in learning the ins and outs of e-commerce, affiliate programs, email marketing, and the like by attending all courses under the tech umbrella, while some of you who operate blogs might be interested in our lifestyles-based tracks.

Thus, we’ve broken up the two learning days like so: On Friday morning, Travel & Lifestyles and Family & Entertainment will run parallel in two different ballrooms, with Food & Spirits and Technology taking over their rooms in the afternoon. On Saturday, Family & Entertainment and Food & Spirits will run at the same time in the morning, while Technology and Travel & Lifestyles occupy the afternoon sessions. This way, if you’re only interested in one particular track, you have an intensive few hours of learning and then some free time to explore the best Nashville has to offer.

But we also know that not every digital entrepreneur fits a one-size-fits-all model. For example, you may be a parenting blogger who Instagrams your meals and dabbles in travel writing. In that case, you might very well be interested in hopping between the Family, Food, and Travel courses, which we strongly encourage you to do. We want you to take advantage of the expertise our 50+ speakers are sharing, and get as much out of the conference as you can!

Your all-access pass to KEEN grants you admission to all content—which is broken up in 50-minute panels of two or three speakers and a moderator or 30-minute “snapshot sessions” with a single speaker (like author and former Virgin America CMO Porter Gale) or company (such as HGTV)—so you don’t have to decide now. Rather, sit back and see where the weekend takes you. You never know what synergies might arise after three days spent among like-minded creatives.

More to come on the content side, but in the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for our full-on schedule, which will be launching very soon!

Your KEEN Mates

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FEATURED SPEAKER: Daniel Bear Hunley

Daniel Bear HunleyThis week’s featured speaker, Daniel Bear Hunley, has made a name for himself as one of the top style Pinners on the Internet. Daniel, who will be talking at KEEN about placing your products and services on Pinterest, answered some questions concerning what exactly you need to know about social media’s most addictive platform.

You’ve made a name for yourself in the Pinterestverse. Why should individuals and digital marketers be paying attention to Pinterest?

There’s a significant opportunity for brands to be seen on Pinterest. The site excels in helping well-designed products gain brand awareness among an eclectic audience. It’s no secret: The site slants toward women. But that presents us with the opportunity to reach out to members of the family who typically have the largest purchasing power. Whether it’s recipes, fashion inspiration, travel destinations, or creatively designed products, people are seeking out inspiration for what will make their life better—and they’re using Pinterest to find it. And that opportunity doesn’t even account for the multitudes of style-savvy men who use the site.

How did you jump on board Pinterest in the first place and build such a captive audience?

I jumped onto Pinterest with every intention of pinning on the site like a normal user. I collected pictures of things that I thought looked good. Like most people in the beginning, I would spend chunks of time on the site, combing through picture after picture of industrial loft spaces and natty men’s clothing. I’ve got a unique aesthetic, a keen eye for what people would probably find interesting, and a background in digital marketing. All of the pieces came together without me realizing it and my page started to grow and grow.

Why do you think people are so interested to see what Daniel Bear Hunley is going to pin next? 

My style is pretty unique. There are plenty of more feminine-focused pins, but I bring in a man’s perspective. The recipes I share are what a red-blooded Southern-bred boy wants to cook (and drink). The men’s clothing I share are what I feel like a Southern man who balances a respect for the traditional and the trends would want (without going over the top). It isn’t high fashion. It’s what well-dressed men from Jackson, Tennessee wear, which is where I’m from. A “New South” perspective. People seem to like it, so I’m rolling with it.

Many social media platforms seem to have a shelf life before being overshadowed by the next big thing. What other platforms do you have your eye on now?

When I look onto the horizon for what we’ll see next in social platforms, I can’t help but feel that Google+ will work its way into prominence. As Google continues to invest in the next generation of tech, leading the field in consumer-ready wearable computers, we can expect that their social platform will be seamlessly integrated to create an online social experience that we haven’t had before. I don’t know if this is necessarily the next big thing, but my gut tells me that it will definitely be a big thing that will dramatically impact the social landscape for users and the brands that want to reach them.

What’s the craziest thing that’s resulted from your Pinterest celebritydom?

I was in Publix right after I moved to Nashville from Chattanooga. This was during the first round of media frenzy surrounding Pinterest, and I was then ranked as the second most followed dude on the site.  In the next aisle over, I heard a mom tell her teenage daughter, “Look! There’s Daniel Bear Hunley. You know he moved to Nashville?” It was surreal and, fortunately, it hasn’t happened again.

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FEATURED RECIPE: Steak and Avocado Hoagie

The dog days of summer may be but a fading memory, but with football season gearing up, there’s never been a more perfect time to fire up the grill. Our friends and KEEN speakers John Carruthers and Jesse Valenciana, cookbook authors and co-founders of virtual grilling club ManBQue, share their favorite game day feast.

Regional note: People use “hoagie,” “grinder,” “hero,” and “sub” interchangeably in different areas of the country. We don’t care what you call it. Get a nice soft oblong roll, split it in half, and go to town. Use a spinach wrap or your two mitts if it makes you feel better—just nothing that’s going to take your beautifully cooked steak and make it taste like straight bread.

Steak Hoagies

The Setup

  • One 2-lb flank steak
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed or other oil
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp freshly crushed (not fine-ground) black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 3 avocados, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 red onions, sliced thick
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • ¼ c cider vinegar
  • 12 oz refried black beans, heated through and covered
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Cotija cheese, to top
  • 4 hoagie rolls, split

Cooking

1. Pat the steak dry and brush lightly with oil. Cut a cross-hatch of shallow diagonal slash marks in the steak on both sides, taking care not to cut through.

2. Mix the salt, paprika, pepper, and mustard powder. Rub evenly on the steak.

3. Mix the diced avocado with the salt and garlic. Squeeze over a wedge of lime, mix, and cover with plastic until you’re ready to use.

4. Place the sliced onions in a heatproof vessel large enough to fit the onions, packed loosely. Mix the water, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and pour over the onions, enough to cover. Cover and let sit at least 20 minutes while you prepare everything else.

5. Preheat the grill to high. Scrape and oil the grate.

6. Place the steak on the grill over direct heat. Cook 7 minutes per side, rotating each steak 90 degrees halfway through cooking each side.

7. Remove the steak to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Let sit at least five minutes while you spread the bottom of the hoagies with beans and avocado.

8. Slice the steak thinly against the grain and cut slices into bite-sized pieces. Throw the steak on the roll, give it a squeeze of lime, and top with onions, cotija, and any leftover avocado. (Wasting avocado makes California Baby Jesus cry.)

9. Slice in half and serve with a cold craft beer.

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SOUTHERN LEXICON:

the bee’s knees [adj]

A saying popular in the 1950s meant to convey that something is excellent or outstanding. Similar in meaning to “the cat’s pajamas.” While etymology suggests “the bee’s knees” might have originated in England and others say it started up north during the Roaring Twenties—the jury’s still out—you’ll find that Southerners claim it as their own and don’t use the expression sparingly.

Countdown to KEEN: Two months!

Can you believe fall is nearly upon us and KEEN kicks off in Nashville in just 58 days? We can’t either, and as the weeks tick by, we get more and more excited here at KEEN HQ.

Nashville, Tennessee

We have a ton of updates to share, but first things first. Here’s your sneak peek at the conference itinerary. (The full Cadillac version of the schedule will be published on our site in early September.)

The Content:

We will be covering a broad range of topics as they pertain to our four targeted tracks: Food & Drinks, Travel & Lifestyles, Family & Entertainment, and Technology. Our agenda will be published on the website at the end of August, but for now, here are some sample panel topics we’ll be touching on:

  • Creating a Dynamite Affiliate Program
  • Social for Good: Crowdsourcing for a Cause
  • Blogger Bookies: The Evolution of Travel Collaboratives
  • Foreign Correspondency in the Digital Age
  • Watch Your Back: Preventing Brand Thievery
  • PR & Writers: Make Your Magazine Pitch Heard
  • Is Pinterest the Right Marketing Model for You?
  • Millennial Marketing: How to Get Your Message Heard
  • Shucking Reality + Following Your Passion
  • Native Advertising: The New Ad Model
  • Sifting through the Clutter: What Agencies Look for in Influencers
  • The Skinny on Targeted LinkedIn + Facebook Ads
  • All Things Foodie: Styling, Photography, Pairings + Recipe Development
  • Disrupting the Term Blogger: You’re More than That

We know what you’re thinking: Lots of parties, lots of time for networking. Just the way we like it!

At a later date, we will be sending out some pre- and post-KEEN activities for you to take advantage of around town should you want to arrive early or stay late. For now, book your room at the Omni Nashville at our special discounted rate of $179 per night. That rate is good only through Sept. 30, so book today! If you have any trouble with bookings whatsoever, please shoot us a note at travel@keendigitalsummit.com, and we’ll get you all sorted.

Signing off,

Your KEEN Mates

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FEATURED SPEAKER: Shannon Smith

SHANNON SMITHBeautySmith founder Shannon Smith is a top beauty expert focusing on education and services as well as consulting for spas, celebrities and skincare professionals around the country. Her clientele includes high-profile actors, models, musicians, athletes, and politicians, but we’re most impressed by her philosophy: “Your face is your business card.” How KEEN-appropriate is that?

You walked in Virgin Group founder Richard Branson’s shoes—literally—for a social good campaign to help the homeless. How did that come about?

It all started with my Tweet that said I’d like to spend the day in Richard Branson’s shoes…to my surprise he responded, “sending shoes!” It wasn’t long before the shoes found their way to me from Sir Richard’s private island, Necker. I wore them during the holidays while volunteering at a California homeless shelter, which later triggered the #Shoeathon fundraising on Twitter. Virgin donated money for each Tweet, and we were able to raise $2,000 for the shelter. It’s pretty amazing what one little Tweet was able to achieve!

You used digital media and social avenues to create your BeautySmith brand. Aside from the big players like Twitter and Facebook, are you using any new applications or platforms to expand your business?

I enjoy photography, and therefore Instagram was a natural platform for me. I was an early user, having signed up just a week after the app was released. My Instagram feed includes everything about beauty, travel and living. [Editor’s note: Shannon is being incredibly modest here; check out her posts from various Ritz-Carlton stays!] read more here

KEEN attendees will be able to take advantage of one of your products, HydraFacial, in our Refresh + Recharge Lounge. What makes this product different than others that are currently on the market?

The Refresh + Recharge Lounge is genius! I look forward to sharing the news about the HydraFacial technology. This machine, in the hands of a trained and certified technician, can resurface and hydrate skin in a very short amount of time. It’s an internationally known brand/treatment that both celebrities and people like you and me can use.

In terms of leveraging social media to mold a career, what’s the one tip you would pass on to young job-seekers looking to enter the marketplace?

Like anything in life, you should first set up your goals, and from that point all you really need to do is to make sure your actions are helping you to get closer to that goal. In the same way that what an athlete eats the day before a game affects their game day performance, your actions, words and posts will affect your ability to achieve your goals. Have in mind that what you post out there on the social sphere will probably stay out there for a long time, sometimes way longer than you might want. At all times be thinking about your goals while creating content, whether it’s a Facebook post, a Tweet, or an Instagram photo. Don’t forget that you are your own brand and your content is your marketing. The same way the name Ritz-Carlton creates an image of luxury and first-class service or Harley-Davidson renders a picture of a bad boy living on the edge, you want your name to reflect the image you need to achieve your goals. So decide what that image is and project it.

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FEATURED RECIPE: Parmesan Cilantro Skillet Corn

KEEN speaker Beth Sachan lives, eats and breathes all things delicious. She’s a talent in the kitchen, one of the most well-known names in Nashville’s food industry, and the marketing director for beloved Tennessee candy brand Goo Goo Cluster. She shared with us one of her favorite summer recipes, the perfect side for a Labor Day feast.

CORN

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp butter

1 garlic clove, minced

4 cups fresh corn kernels (approx. 6 large ears)

1 Tbsp lime juice

1 tsp cumin

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

⅓ cup heavy cream

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

½ cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. When butter is foamy, add the garlic and corn, stirring to coat with the butter. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add lime juice, cumin and cayenne pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cheese, and then add heavy cream. Continue to stir so corn won’t stick to pan. Add salt and pepper. Cook corn until almost all of the cream has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and serve hot.

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SOUTHERN LEXICON:

fixin’ to [verb]

Slang, exercised particularly in the Deep South, for “about to [go do something].” In everyday, informal settings, nearly every Southerner you meet is fixin’ to do something, whether it’s till the land, drink some Bulleit or get his Tweet on. You may have heard it before and thought your ears deceived you, but you’re fixin’ to be in for a shock, linguistically speaking, when you dip below the Mason-Dixon line this fall.

Listen up designers and developers!

Are you an independent designer or developer looking to market your awesome services to a fresh, untapped crowd? Then we’ve got a can’t-miss deal for you.

Reach a new demo of bloggers, publicists, small businesses and others who regularly require stellar web talent by booking one of our web developer/designer tables at the KEEN Digital Summit Expo. For two days, you’ll be able to show off your skills and network with KEEN attendees, as well as the Nashville public, who will be invited to check out the expo on Saturday, October 26.

And all for barely more than the price of a pass.

That’s right: We’re offering developers, designers and other webby types a two-top table (10 available), including one all-access conference ticket, for just $500 (or $700 for a table and a pair of passes).

The all-access ticket gets you admission to the conference content as well as to the after-parties. Here’s your chance to go, learn, network and market all at the same time (while writing it off as a business expense, of course). Think of it as the ultimate targeted marketing tool to meet and mingle with people from all corners of the country who need your expertise.

Survey after survey finds employers and small business owners lamenting the lack of skilled, viable talent in the fields of graphic design and coding, so take this opportunity to make yourself known on the digital scene. Contact us at sponsor@keendigitalsummit.com, and act fast: There is a limited quantity of tables available.

Signing off,
Your KEEN Mates

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We’re KEEN on…Scott Johnson

Scott JohnsonAward-winning journalist and KEEN speaker Scott Johnson recently published his memoir, The Wolf and the Watchman, a painstakingly honest examination of his relationship with his CIA agent father and a chronicle of his time working in war zones—Mexico, Afghanistan and Iraq—as a bureau chief for Newsweek. Scott answered a few questions with us over email.


How has the field of foreign correspondency changed with the evolution of social media?
 


Well, it has and it hasn’t. On the one hand, technology has changed everything. You have rebel leaders in Syria, for instance, using Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to relate their latest exploits or even break news. That’s a huge change. And in a conflict like Syria, in which several Western reporters have already died and where the danger levels have surpassed what many western news organizations are willing to tolerate, that level of global presence by the victims and perpetrators themselves is indispensable, and altogether novel. Social media, in that sense, has become sort of a global forum where, as Ben Smith of BuzzFeed has pointed out, “news happens.” So that’s also a change.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood might announce its latest position via Twitter, a new artistic movement in Egypt might make its debut show via Facebook, and so on.As a foreign correspondent, you have to be tuned into technology and social media if you want to stay on top of things. That said, being a good foreign correspondent is still really about the basics: stories and people. And no matter how technology develops, nothing will ever come close to the real life human exchanges where stories take shape. There’s no replacement for being there.

You’ve spent the past two-and-a-half years exploring mental health issues in Northern California. Do you plan on diving back into the world of international journalism at some point?
 


Yes, I’d like to. I still keep a foot in the door whenever possible. Last year I went to Argentina to do a long story on a woman who’s fighting the scourge of human trafficking in Latin America. And the year before that, I spent a couple of weeks tracking Joseph Kony in the jungles of Central African Republic. I began my career doing international journalism, and it’s really where my heart lies, so if I can find ways to keep doing it, I will. The trick, of course, is finding the outlets that will send you overseas to do those stories. They’re still there, but there seem to be fewer of them, and they have fewer resources. The upside is that with the web, new outlets are emerging all the time, and one exciting recent development is a number of new sites that want to specialize in long-form digital journalism, which is a wonderful intersection between the old world and the new, and one I’d definitely like to be a part of.

You’re moving from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. Where will we find your writing now that you’re gone from Oakland Tribune?


I’m working on a new book, and I’m also exploring some options in Hollywood, which I guess is what you do in L.A. Joking aside, there are some real possibilities for turning some of the journalism I’ve done and continue to do into adaptations for TV or movies, which is pretty exciting. And I’m ramping up my efforts to do more freelance journalism. It’s an exciting time. I’m trying my hand at a lot of different things and seeing what works best.

A good amount of your work seems to rely on face-to-face communication. How important do you think real life networking (versus Internet contact) is to the success of your career?
 


In journalism, I’m a big believer in real, face-to-face interactions. Call me old-fashioned, but there’s nothing that beats it. When you’re sitting down with someone, you can take the time to explore his or her life in great detail. You can tease stories out that might not emerge in any other way. You can read body language, which as you know often says far more than words. You can get the context of a person’s story by the setting, by who they’re with and what they don’t say. And you have the great advantage of serendipity. When you’re with someone, you never know what might happen. A friend comes along and sheds some more light on the story, or gives you an even better one to work with. A mother, a father, a brother stops by and you flesh out a back story. You get the smells, the sounds, the flavors of the life you’re trying to understand. And you might get invited to dinner! So, that’s for journalism.
 
As far as career success more generally, I tend to think the same applies. It’s fine to introduce and meet someone over email or Twitter or whatever, but take it that one step further and get coffee and the interaction evolves to a new, and in my view much more rewarding level. You’re not just an anonymous digital imprint, you’re a flesh and bones human being with a story and a life, and that leaves a longer and more substantial impression than any email can.


Any other books in the works? It seems you have quite a few stories left to tell!
 


Yep, a novel. It’s a love story about a boy who goes to Iraq and comes back damaged and the girl he comes back to. There’s more to it than that—think war crimes and flight to Alaska—but that’s the general thrust. And I’m tinkering around with a couple of non-fiction ideas, as well.

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Featured Recipe: Mini Strawberry Shortcake Milkshakes

Courtney Dial Whitmore, the styling and entertaining expert behind the popular lifestyle blog Pizzazzerie (and KEEN speaker!) shared with us a recipe she concocted for one of her favorite summer treats.

Strawberry Shortcake Milkshakes

Yield: 4 mini milkshakes

Ingredients

•1½ cups vanilla ice cream

•1 cup strawberries, hulled

•½ cup pound cake pieces

•¼ cup crushed graham crackers

•2 tablespoons honey

•Whipped topping, for garnish

Instructions

1.Rim glasses in honey followed by crushed graham crackers.

2.You can use your favorite pound cake recipe or a store-bought one. Combine the ice cream (I used a vanilla bean but any vanilla flavor is delicious) with strawberries and cake pieces. Blend until smooth.

3.Fill glasses, top with whipped cream, and enjoy!

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Southern Lexicon

y’all [pronoun]

First things first: If y’all are joining us in the South, y’all must start using our most fundamental term. And spell it correctly! It’s y’all, with the apostrophe between the “you” and “all.” Most commonly used to address two or more people, it’s meant to convey inclusion. Try it now, won’t y’all?

Calling all students and recent grads at half price!

When it comes to job-hunting, newly minted college grads are at a huge disadvantage. You’re young, you probably don’t have enough work experience to land higher than an entry-level position, and you’re likely carrying piles of both debt and used textbooks that make great doorstops because they’re only worth $2.

We get it.

But you should still be able to benefit from KEEN Digital Summit just as much as the established pros.

So we’re offering a discount to all college students and recent graduates. If you currently hold a valid university ID or proof that you graduated anytime in 2012, you’re eligible for the Student Savings Pass—a special offer of $149.

That’s half the cost of a regular ticket and gets you access to everything KEEN has to offer: networking, training, classes, tips & tricks, social media leverage, an incredible selection of speakers, and tons of opportunities to connect with major brands.

So buy your ticket now!

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Every edition, we will spotlight a speaker, sponsor or attendee who we think you should know about, and in keeping with this week’s student theme, it seemed obvious to feature our diligent intern coordinator, Alexa Rae Johnson, a social media power user who graduated from San Diego State University in May.

We’re KEEN on … Alexa Rae Johnson

Alexa Rae JohnsonHometown: La Verne, California

Major: Communication; International Studies minor

Tell us about you: I’m a recent graduate, currently looking for a position in writing and social media management. My passion for travel has taken me to 39 countries so far, with Sweden being my favorite. My blog, Zaagi Travel, will launch in August; Zaagi means “to love” or “to treasure” in Ojibwe—and I’m one-eighth Ojibwe from the Chippewa tribe up in the Great Lakes—which is how I live my life. I didn’t grow up directly in the Chippewa culture, so Zaagi will be a way for me to further explore it and feel more of a connection to my heritage. Through Zaagi, I want to inspire people to travel in general—and while the focus will be on travel, I’ll also talk about food and recipes and things here and there that are part of my own personal life, such as Southern California, where I’m from, or Semester at Sea, which gave me a global perspective in the first place.

Favorite social media network: I enjoy photography, so I find Instagram to be the most fun. I’m a really visual person, and in all social media, people tend to just show the good things about their lives—they try to market their best self—but I think Instagram is interesting because it gives a more in-depth look into a person’s actual life. It also allows a lot of creativity that the others don’t—like the filters or enhancing an image via other apps such as A Beautiful Mess and Snapseed. At the core, Instagram helps people tap into their own creativity.

You’re 22 and truly a child of the Digital Age. What was your first social media experience?

I joined MySpace back in middle school when I was just 13, and then I remember finding out about Facebook when I was visiting a friend in New Jersey—Facebook picked up on the East Coast long before the West—so I was one of the first people of my circle of friends in California to hop on board as soon as they allowed non-university users to join. I’ve always had an interest in social media. I like keeping track of the trends and being one of the first people to have it and check it out and see whether it’s something that has the capability of becoming popular.

You’ve the classic early adopter. What’s the next big thing—app or social media service—that’s on your radar?

A couple students from my voyage with Semester at Sea have been working on Fipeo, a video chat feature where you could find people all over the world and strike up a conversation with those that have other similar interests. As someone learning sign language, Fipeo could be a really cool way to connect with other signers around the world.

Why do you want to come to KEEN to network face-to-face rather than digitally?

Face-to-face networking is an awesome method for building connections. Going to KEEN will put me in front of experts and professionals who would be difficult to meet and collaborate with otherwise. I’ve always thought that one of the keys to success begins with active, intentional movement and getting out and doing things IRL is definitely one of these!

What’s been your most interesting IRL (In Real Life) experience that was born out of a digital connection?

I sailed on Semester at Sea’s Enrichment Voyage after connecting with KEEN co-founder Kristin Luna through a mutual Facebook friend. Taking Kristin’s travel writing and blogging workshop onboard the MV Explorer as we sailed through Northern Europe was an incredible experience that I will never forget—and we became close friends as a result, too.

You’re currently searching for full-time employment. What would be a dream position?

Something that allows me to travel a couple months out of the year, while also expanding my writing abilities. It’d be great if that job were also in social media. Or, in a dream world, I’d love to have a travel TV show like Samantha Brown!