Charlotte Zoller: Pitchfork Social Media Editor
Charlotte Zoller is the Social Media Editor of Pitchfork, an online and print independent music publication and news resource. Zoller went to college for communications because the major included a wide spectrum of topics, including graphic design, social media, graphic motions, etc. Before working in social media, she managed tours for bands. She would frequently go on tour and carry various roles in merch, tour photography, and production.
Zoller got into social media as a career unintentionally, but she was delighted to accidentally find this opportunity. Before Pitchfork, Zoller worked for the social media department at VH1. Zoller found this opportunity at a concert through a mutual friend. “I met a girl backstage there and ended up making friends and her and learned how she worked at VH1 doing social. We kind of hit it off and a whole month later there was an opening. I got hired pretty much just off of my personal voice on Twitter and my knowledge of social media and it was an entry level position so I figured I’d do it,” said Zoller. Zoller stayed at VH1 for a year and a half, until she learned about the position in social media at Pitchfork. Zoller had done some photography work with Pitchfork in the past and had friends that worked there.
Zoller has always had a personal obsession with social media. She used to joke with her mom that someday she would get paid to Tweet, and her mother provide a disbelieving “uh-huh” in response. Zoller’s love of music and social media lead her to her current position. “ I always loved music, and music and social media just kind of meet together. I never really considered it to be a career but it kind of happened,” said Zoller.
Pitchfork social media is split into different verticals. For Pitchfork’s main account, Zoller uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Snapchat (username: PitchforkMedia), Soundcloud, Apple Music, and Spotify. Zoller is in charge of these accounts and the other veriticals. Pitchfork’s quarterly print publication, Pitchfork Review, has separate Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. Pitchfork TV and Pitchfork Festival also have separate accounts, although the Pitchfork Festival Facebook and Twitter accounts are not used frequently.
Zoller uses these different platforms and verticals so that they compliment each other. “I like to think of it as a little ecosystem. For instance our editorial voice is very straightforward and our Pitchfork social network is kind of a funnel for our editorial,” said Zoller on how she uses the multiple different platforms and accounts. Zoller tries to avoid overlap with the various verticals. “ I’ll retweet for our own account, our Twitter, and I think of it like if you’re following all of the accounts they don’t really overlap and they respect each other, they don’t feed off each other. So if I’m referencing a review I won’t necessarily retweet the main digital account to the Pitchfork Review account because I assume if you’re following the Pitchfork Review you’re following Pitchfork and I don’t want overlap.”
An average day for Zoller at Pitchfork varies with the same basic structure. “The first half of my day I’ll be actively posting on our network. We’ll have a set amount of posts that go live every morning so I’ll organize our album reviews and schedule them out for Twitter and I’ll schedule them once per hour and usually there are some track reviews and I’ll post on The Pitch, which is a blog, and then a combination of the Pitch for TV videos and usually I’m at full force just posting like nonstop,” said Zoller. The second half of her day consists of various tasks like writing copy, socializing any old posts that may have relevance that day, and strategizing.
Zoller posts according to the platform and the vertical. For example, the Pitchfork Festival vertical will be updated only during the lead up to the festival and a bit after the festival takes place. The Pitchfork Review will be updated sporadically, whenever there is time. Zoller needs to prioritize the main traffic driver, which includes all of Pitchfork’s main accounts. Pitchfork’s main Twitter will be updated 30–50 times daily. Their main Instagram is updated around five times throughout the day, and the main Facebook is updated 25–40 times. Zoller uses Vine for promotional content, and will use this platform when Pitchfork TV videos have gone live and she wants an added visual.
While Zoller is currently the only person on Pitchfork’s staff with a job specifically in social media, she is not the only one responsible for posting content on the various platforms. Zoller has trained the news staff in social media, so they will Tweet time-sensitive news items as soon as an article goes live. This saves time because the writer and/or editor of the article knows the content and knows it best, whereas Zoller would have to read the article first and that may mean a competitor would have the opportunity to break news before Pitchfork. Zoller keeps in contact with the news team throughout the day to ensure a balance of news posts. She likes posts to be posted minimum five minutes apart, unless the the topics are related. Pitchfork is currently hiring a social media manager that would work under Zoller’s direction.
Zoller is picky about who she follows both on the Pitchfork accounts and her personal accounts. Pitchfork will follow artists on Instagram that the publication has a good relationship with. Twitter is used mostly as a news source, so Zoller will follow any artist Pitchfork is trying to get news from. On her personal Twitter account, Zoller follows 334 people, most of whom she actively knows in person, with a few bigger names. Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo just followed her and she decided to follow him back. Zoller will not follow you on Instagram or Twitter if she finds you boring. “I curate my personal feed in a way that I only follow people I actually want to see posts from. I think it’s important not to feel like you’re obligated to follow anyone just because. I am reading every tweet in my Twitter feed every day, I’m not going to follow anybody willy nilly. Same with Instagram. If you bore me with your posts, bye. I feel like there should be no shame in that. Like I can just like you but if you really suck at Instagram I’m not so sure I’ll follow you.”
Zoller owes her social media personality and brand to getting her foot in the door with a social media job at VH1. “ I have a very clear and strong sense of what I want my personal brand on my social accounts just from who I follow and what I like. Like if my friend’s band puts out an LP, unless it’s really really fucking good I’m not going to tweet about it. I try to keep my personal tweets kind of funny and I just try to keep it fun, lighthearted, and that’s why I think that I was hired at VH1,” said Zoller. A career in social media was ideal for Zoller because she never goes offline, and is perfectly happy with that. “ Our executive editor (at Pitchfork) asked a couple times, ‘Do you ever go offline?’ And I’m like, ‘No.’ And he’s like, ‘Do you ever want to?’ And I’m like, ‘No not really.’ I know a lot of people talk about how they’re overwhelmed by the amount of things on the internet but as long as you curate your feed you’re fine.”
Zoller advises anyone who is considering a career in social media to know the ins and outs of each platform and to keep up with new developments. She suggests to know as much as possible about social media, to become knowledgable, to work as much as possible, and to engage with others on the internet.
Charlotte Zoller’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/cz77