Buffer Slack Community’s AMA with Courtney Seiter, Content Crafter at Buffer

Hello here, we’re starting our AMA with Courtney (@courtneyseiter) Content Crafter at Buffer!

Courtney is very involved in the marketing side of Buffer — crushing out amazing Open blog posts, reaching out to press, and scheduling posts for all our social media platform. Outside Buffer, she is a co-founder of Girls to the Moon, a social enterprise that launches Nashville girls to a brighter future with education and truth.

If you have any questions about blogging, social media or media outreach, she’s the person to ask!

Courtney, up for introducing more about yourself? We will start the AMA after your introduction :)

Everyone, if you see a question that interests you, give it a thumbs up to make it more visible!

Hi everyone! So happy to be here! So I’m Courtney, a Content Crafter at Buffer since early 2014, based in Nashville, Tennessee.

I focus on a few different things at Buffer: managing social media; writing and editing on the Open blog (the spot where we share resources about workplace culture and how we do things at Buffer); working on our content syndication efforts with cool partners like Time, Inc., Fast Company and more; and leading our efforts toward team-wide diversity and inclusivity.

Between blog posts, I’m probably petting a dog, working with awesome kids, reading a book or working on my amateur DJ skills :)

Dogs! Here is mine! He is 108 in people years.

Cecil

How do you stay on top of all the different tools and apps Buffer uses? Also, of the tools/apps you use, which one do you find the most helpful? — Jason Rajock (@JasonDRajcok)

We do use a lot of tools at Buffer! I think I might have been a tiny bit overwhelmed at first, but now they all feel like second nature. Approaching each new tool with positivity helps. I know my teammates would not want to add anything difficult or unneeded into my life, so I can check new tools out knowing that they must solve a challenge for us!

What is your process for researching bigger articles that involve external data — the internet holds so much information, have you got any tips for making sure you’re not wasting time on research that turns out not to be relevant? — Ria Blagburn (@riaface)

When it comes to research, I’m not sure I’m the best example of efficiency. I often let myself go down all the rabbit holes during the research process before weeding the extraneous out. I figure it can all be another blog post! I’m a bit of an idea hoarder. Here are some details on how we research (older post but still relevant):

I’m really curious as to how you work as a remote worker. Do you work a steady 9–5? Do you have a routine? Work from home or a co-working space? I’d love to know about your day-to-day operations at Buffer :) — Mick Mahady (@mickmahady)

I work from home probably 80% of the time and coffee shops the other 20%. I’m mostly an introvert, so I feel pretty productive at home and like to listen to music without headphones. :) Generally it’s a Soulection radio show (https://soundcloud.com/soulection).

I am still a bit of a “9 to 5-er” — haven’t quite been able to shake that mentality, and I generally like to work when other teammates are on for at least a few hours.

I’m on Hipchat, Discourse and Zoom for chatting with teammates, and I tend to turn off all our team communication tools when I want focused writing time.

Would love to hear what a day for you looks like and tools you use personally for productivity — Chelsea Wallace (@ms_w_chels)

The main tool I use is time blocking! Pomodoros have been really effective for me, and we just had a GREAT post on them on the Open blog that got me re-inspired:

It’s amazing what a difference it can make! Especially working from home, I find I can lack urgency sometimes. Pomodoro brings that element back in.

What do you like best about working at Buffer? — Moritz Lampkemeyer (@lampkemeyer)

The thing I like best is the focus on self-improvement and the support of the amazing team. Those things together make you feel like anything you want to do is possible :) While at Buffer, I’ve done things that would have seemed crazy to me before Buffer: started a side business, made really audacious goals for myself, taken more risks than ever before. It’s all due to Buffer.

My side biz:

What are your thoughts on Snapchat for those marketers whose target audience are the millennials? — Tara-Tamiko (@TaraTamiko)

Would love to hear what y’all think about Snapchat! I think Snapchat has soooooo much potential! I went to a concert a few weeks ago and literally everyone around me was sharing photos and video to Snapchat and I was like, “Something has changed about social media.”

What I really like about it is that it almost forces authenticity in that you can’t share a stored photo; it has to be off the cuff. That, I think, is pretty cool.

That’s true, but something inside me just grates against the idea of losing content so quickly! I guess it is more about that timely connection than lasting content value. — Helen Hayward (@HelenHayward)

I feel the same way, Helen! You can download snaps now, so you could repurpose on Instagram or FB.

When someone is looking at your snap, you have their 100% attention, and that is powerful! — Gary Harrower (@GaryHarrower)

^^^ Yes! that’s it! Full engagement is hard to come by these days.

What tools and resources do you use to research (and I mean research deeply)? Or most importantly, how do you research topics for brands or about content marketing. — Emily Steck (@emilyesteck)

Hey Emily! I’m thinking this one might be about topics to create content about? I’d say subscribe to all the blogs or sites for anyone in your space, as well as those who do things that are complementary or tangential to what you do. From here, you can discover what other companies are doing and what you can do different/better or build on top of.

Lots of reading in your space can help a ton too! We keep any tiny fragment of an idea in Hipchat so we can always come back to it or build on it. Whoops, Trello! Not hip chat. That would be weird. If you can subscribe to newsletters or Twitter lists, those are great too!

How do you decide which idea to write about first? Do you find yourself researching for multiple ideas at the same time? :) — Juliet Chen (@julietchen)

Oooh, that’s a good one, Juliet! It can be hard to prioritize! I often will research multiple posts at the same time cause that’s the really fun part for me. And then it’s easier to go back and write them

Could you share about how one can write some great (engaging) copy like you and Kevan do? I understand that it takes time & practice… Some tips on how someone like me (who has written 5 posts so far) could improve copywriting? :) — Vikash Koushik (@svikashk)

What an awesome question! Deep research has been the key for us. It takes away the need to be an expert in everything, which can be intimidating.

Plus it is really fun and helps you develop your skills in a non-threatening way. Just keep going; you’re your own worst critic, generally. As far as engaging, this list helps me out a lot:

Who do you think is the better writer…you or Kevan?! — Matt Aunger (@Matt_Aunger)

Hmm, it is tough to judge one’s own writing. Kevan is definitely more prolific than me; I admire his discipline a lot!

I’ve been following the method of telling a story on my posts and in the process trying to make my post compelling. Your thoughts on that? — Vikash Koushik (@svikashk)

I love storytelling as a blogging/content technique. It’s how we remember content best, and also how to engage the emotional elements that help us feel content on a deeper level. Big thumbs up for that!

Storytelling post:

To your background, how did you get to Buffer? Would love to hear (a brief version) your story! — Chelsea Wallace (@ms_w_chels)

Great Q! I have a magazine and newspaper journalism background, and I started before social media existed. When Twitter and Facebook came about, it was amazing how huge they were for telling stories and connecting with others. So I started doing more in social and training journalists on using social effectively. Until I thought, I wanna work in social media ALL the time! I started using Buffer when it was for Twitter only, have loved it from Day 1.

Fun fact: I applied as a Community Champion and got hired as a Crafter :) It turned out to be a great fit! I am extremely grateful.

What’s one of your favorite article on the Buffer blog that has personally helped you? :) — Sandrine Sahakians (@sosandrine)

I go back to Kevan’s headlines article ALL the time:

I would love to hear your thought on Medium as a platform for blogging. We hear so much about Twitter & Facebook linking through to your own blog, but does Medium provide any advantages over having to create your own blog (Wordpress for example)? — Gary Harrower (@GaryHarrower)

We are loving Medium! Sandrine is doing most of the word in that area; she may have some insights for you. So far we’ve seen a lot of early success in our experiments there!

Your thoughts on shifting a blog on Medium? — Vikash Koushik (@svikashk)

We have not done that before so I’m not quite sure. We have only tried syndicating our content there or vice versa. The new Happiness blog, I think, will be on the Ghost platform with a custom domain, so maybe we can tell you a little more then!

I really enjoyed your posts about inclusivity & learning about the diversity dashboard — could you talk more about your efforts toward team-wide diversity and inclusivity? Such important work! — Bonnie Porter Huggins (@Bonnie_Hugs)

YESSS I love talking about our diversity efforts; that’s a hugely important area to me. So we created the diversity dashboard in order to understand whether our challenge was in recruiting or hiring:

And we discovered that it’s a bit of both. So we are working on things like bias training for those who interview as well as reaching out to underrepresented groups with our job openings. There is a lot to do, and a lot we’re excited to try. With our ability to experiment and add teammates from anywhere in the world, I believe we can be the leaders here that I’d like for us to be.

How do you go about collecting all that data? is there a spot your application? — Mavreen Smiel (@_graphei)

Yup, there is a voluntary form applicants can fill out when they have finished their application. many more details here:

How does Buffer keep the social, customer service, community teams talking since they can be so related? — Chris Mikulin (@caribou_chris)

We mostly talk in Hipchat and Discourse. There is so much communications between teams every day! Probably more than if we were all in the same place.

Can you talk about the hiring process at Buffer? I’m working toward one day working for ya’ll. — Emily Steck (@emilyesteck)

Great Q on the hiring process! I have just updated this post, which shares pretty much the whole process:

Is there a go-to book you reference for thinking about crafting perfect content, engaging with the Buffer audience, or just generally being as successful as you are? :) — Marc Anthony (@Marc_Rosa)

I feel like I missed a Q from Marc Anthony about books. I will say the most life-changing one I’ve read recently is The Confidence code http://theconfidencecode.com/. Free Kindle books from Buffer is pretty much the best thing ever!

With the introduction of Sandrine as a multimedia producer, where do you see the content for the Buffer blog going in general, and will we ever see a ‘Happiness’ section?! :) — Matt Aunger (@Matt_Aunger)

Hahah Matt, yes that Happiness section has been “coming soon” for a long time! But there is progress; I promise it really is coming soon! I see the Buffer blogs each growing stronger in their own identities and specializations, with each having the freedom to experiment, iterate and try crazy things :)

Is there an area of your work you’d like to dig deeper on if you had more time, or any new projects you’d love to start? — Helen Hayward (@HelenHayward)

Love that Q! Recently I have gotten really into workplace culture (I think it may be the emphasis on diversity I’ve had) and I’ve been lucky enough to switch my focus almost solely over to growing the Open blog, which is an incredible opportunity!

I notice the buffer blog uses a lot of external links within the writing. I both love and hate this. I love having quick access to other great, relative content, but it also seems to disrupt the reading process. What are your thoughts on this? — Chris Doner (@chrisd008)

Interesting one! I think this one may be personal preference. I love diving into a blog post and opening like a million links by the end of it, but I am a deep researched, which may not be everyone’s method. I think the blog probably reflects my own preferences in that way!

I’d like to know how you keep all of your subject matter, research, etc. organized. — Crissa Petrovic (@CrissaLovesCats)

We try to source absolutely every stat or detail we can in our posts, so this is a big one for me! As I read things, my process is to use Pocket + aggressive tagging for anything I might want to remember for the future. If it’s something I want to share with the team, I’ll tend to post it on our Trello board as an idea or addition to an existing idea. I use Pinterest boards (both public and private) to keep track of visuals I might want to reference.

In the recent days, I’ve recently noticed that most of my tweets receiving Favs & RTs but not many clicks. Is this something common? Any tips on how peeps like me could improve on this? — Vikash Koushik (@svikashk)

Oh, interesting! I have heard anecdotally a lot of people saying that clickthroughs from Twitter are not what they used to be. And I know Twitter is working internally on more ways to keep people engaged. We will often see this with a really viral image, that people would rather RT than click. Maybe the image is all they needed?

I guess the recent article from Kevan kinda talks about the same problem that you guys are facing? — Vikash Koushik

Yup, I think you’re right, Vikash! My take on that is that we kinda missed the boat on paid ads until just recently! Most of social seems to be moving toward a pay to play model, and we have kept going with organic. Also we have been a very small team in marketing (just me and Kevan) until very recently. Now that we’re growing a good bit we’re getting to dig in and specialize in a way that I think will help us see things like this coming a little quicker. Oh, I should mention that we’d like to add a social media manager to the Buffer team!

Oh, and this is the article about some of our recent challenges:

Could you share some of the ways Buffer shared its content during the very initial days? :) — Vikash Koushik (@svikashk)

Hmm Vikash, by the time I came on I think things were pretty much like they are now. I did write this about the early days:

What would you like to improve next? — Juliet Chen (@julietchen)

Great one, Juliet! Personally, I’m working on improving my meditation habit. ( Alfred is a huge inspiration!)

Oooookay folks! So sorry! We have come to the end of the hour! Thank you SO much, Courtney and everyone for the amazing AMA session today!! You all have been realllly amazing!! :) — Alfred Lua

Thanks to all of you for being so fun and interesting to hang out with!!!! This was a blast!


If you want to get better at social media — marketing, management, analytics, and more, sign up here to join us for AMAs and connect with other like-minded folks!