Sabah

Who in the World is our Content Manager Leah Franklin?

In Interviews on January 21, 2008 at 7:00 am

leahShe may be ranking, rating, and making offers on articles over at AC headquarters, but this CM is also an avid traveler, creative writer, and book lover. She also enjoys learning about all sorts of subjects from the talented pool of writers right under her nose.

Leah Franklin is one of the many Content Managers for AC, a Colorado native who spends her days reviewing submissions and building the AC library of content as we know it.

I took my private jet over to Denver (well, not quite…I got lost in Arkansas and had to turn around. Where’s a Google map when you need it?) to snag an interview with this CM.

I learned what what makes the CMs tick, what it takes to be a great CP, and most importantly, find out what in the world Leah Franklin does at AC:

S: How long have you been with AC, and how did you find the opportunity?

L: I have been with AC for a little more than two and a half years. I started with the company as an intern during my final semester in journalism school, at a point when I was completely disenchanted with newspaper journalism. I found the posting on the school’s bulletin board. Though I was completely technologically ignorant at the time (I thought the sole purpose of the Internet was shopping), the idea of The People’s Media Company intrigued and inspired me.

S: How often do you read AC content just for fun?

L: Everyday. My home page is www.AssociatedContent.com. I like to see which pieces are being featured on the front page and now, with our new design, I can see a sampling of the latest content being added to the site. With hundreds of thousands of pieces of content in the AC library, I know there’s so much that I have yet to view, so I often search the site just to uncover the depth we have on any subject. Of course, I usually come across AC content when using search engines to research various topics, too.

S: What’s your all-time favorite article published on AC?

L: I’ve always thought AC was a special publication platform because it allows people to tell their own stories. Any story told through someone else, such as a journalist, is inevitably going to distance the subject from the reader. “My Son’s Inoperable Brain Tumor” by CP Emma S. is a perfect example of the power that first person accounts can have. In this content, Emma takes the reader through her son’s diagnosis, the thoughts that raced through her mind as a mother and how their lives have changed since. There’s an intimacy in reading content like this that simply cannot be achieved with a third person retelling. I have lots of favorites on AC, but this content is certainly at the top of that list.

S: Describe the ideal Content Producer in four sentences or less…

L: That’s a difficult question because as The People’s Media Company we really want to publish everyone’s work, but I’d say a key characteristic of ideal CPs is writing in the first person about their own knowledge and experiences. Experts and those with a passion always make good Content Producers, and those with the ability to submit high quality content – be it text, video, audio or images – are always appreciated as well.

S: Name four qualities of a GREAT article:

L: A great article for AC should:

1) Be written in the first person

2) Contain a searchable title (no one will ever end up reading the content if they can’t find it)

3) Display clean copy that’s grammatically correct

4) Give the reader new, useful information (i.e. it should not repeat what’s already been covered elsewhere online, or on AC).

S: Besides running articles through the ‘Google checker’ at AC headquarters, what’s your favorite hobby?

L: I love to read (luckily). I alternate between informative non-fiction (for my brain) and frivolous mysteries (for my heart and imagination). I also enjoy creative writing.

S: Name a content category/topic you would rather not see on AC:

L: There’s not really a specific category or topic that I don’t want to see content on, but the other Content Managers and I would definitely rather not see redundant content. We each see at least a few articles a day on general topics – such as “Guide to Online Dating,” “How to Budget,” “Getting Organized This Year,” etc. – that have already been extensively covered on AC. We’d be very appreciative if CPs would search the site before submitting to make sure their content will be a unique addition. CPs might also uncover pockets in content subject matter this way, providing them with new topic ideas.

S: Your biggest pet peeve on content submissions?

L: I have two:

1) CPs writing articles that are more suited for a daily newspaper or magazine. On AC, we want to see “I’s” throughout the content. We want CPs to tell their own stories. There’s already an abundance of third person journalism both online and off. AC is the place to tell your story, not someone else’s.

2) Misspellings and major grammatical errors. As The People’s Media Company we don’t believe someone needs to be a professional writer to share their story with others, but everyone should be able to run a simple spell check on their work…

S: Besides copyright infringement, what’s the biggest mistake a Content Producer can make?

L: Trying to submit too much content too quickly, and letting it affect the quality of their work. On AC, the quality of your work speaks for you. It can open you up to many more opportunities on our site, or it can close doors. This is especially true with Calls for Content submissions, which should be everyone’s best work.

S: Your dream location for AC Headquarters is ____?

L: Boulder, Colorado. I live in Boulder and would rather not commute to Denver every day. However, it only takes me 45 minutes on a good day, and that’s shorter than the national average, so I really can’t complain.

S: Your favorite form of caffeine/fuel to get through piles of content submissions?

L: I used to rely on soy chais but for the last four months I’ve been drinking green tea throughout the day. It has just enough caffeine to keep me going and it’s loaded with lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

S: The most important item on your desk?

L: My Post-it notepad. I use sticky notes and my Outlook calendar to keep track of everything on my to-do list.

S: The content category you read most frequently?

L: Since most of our content falls under more than one category, I more often search the site for specific topics that I’m curious about. I love viewing content about crafts (especially those relating to home décor and antiques), travel, books, writing, pets (cats and dogs specifically) and any other topic that comes up in my daily life.

S: One CP/article that really made you go ‘hmmm’

L: Timothy Sexton, who was our CP of the Year in 2007, is the king of controversy on AC. He’s an extraordinary opinion writer and I can’t help but marvel at some of his submissions, such as Did the Republican Party Replace George W. Bush with Ted Bundy? This is the beauty of AC: what other publication would allow for such Freedom of Speech

S: One pearl of wisdom for both new and veteran CPs in 2008?

L: There’s a lot happening on AC and we have huge plans for 2008. The best way to make sure you are included in new opportunities that arise is to remember that your work speaks for you: always submit your best content!

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  1. Great interview, Sabah! Thanks!

  2. Leah rocks! I recall a couple times last year (or was it 2006?) she pointed out when I had something in the AC newsletter, I really appreciated the extra effort she went through to do that. It’s great seeing another dimension to the CMs.

  3. Leah was the first CM to review my work. In all of my dealings with her, she has demonstrated great communication skills and it is always a pleasure to work with her.

  4. AC just got a whole lot sexier.

  5. I thought this was a great interview and insight into how CM’s feel about our work.

  6. I love Leah. She always helps people and gives them advice rather than cut and paste rejections. I miss seeing her name next to my submissions. 🙂

  7. Great interview- nice to get a glimpse inside AC! Great job!

  8. It’s great to hear about what a CM thinks/ how AC works for her. We get so little direct info about the CMs.

  9. Excellent interview Sabah! It’s very interesting to learn what CM’s may be looking for. 🙂

  10. Hmm…so that’s Leah. Good interview from both sides of the coin-interviewer and interviewee.

  11. What an interesting interview. It is great to learn more about Leah!

  12. Great tips for all of us. I’m glad to finally “see” the CM who made me an offer and gave advice to me on my very first article for AC way back in April 2006. Thanks for the confidence boosters, Leah.

  13. It’s reassuring to have a pleasant face put on those anonymous CM’s. Great story, thanks.

  14. I loved this interview. It is filled with informative tips to help me improve my writing style for AC. Great article Sabah.

  15. Really enjoyed “meeting” a CM and the questions were great. Thanks for the interview.

  16. Awesome insight! So great to get a look behind the scenes.

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