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Savanah Peterson of Savvy Millennial
Savannah Peterson is truly of a Jac(queline?) of all trades. Writing. Teaching. Consulting. Speaking. Traveling. And more! She recently went to Henan through a campaign with us and came back with much to share! Here she discusses the importance of listening to create content, sneaking into Cuba, and just hitting ‘publish’ already.
I am a walking hyperbole. I love to speak in front of large audiences but need to edit/write in total isolation. I crave connection through group experience but am most restored in the quiet, intimate moments. I help entrepreneurs bring new products and experiences to market, yet shoot and edit on my content on my iPhone 6S. I bring a quirky authenticity to the table that lets me work with the likes of The Today Show, Air New Zealand, Ford, SCOTTeVEST, and NASA. I’m also fortunate enough to empower others as a guest teacher at Stanford, NYU, Xavier and others. I’ve been featured in the Wall Street Journal, BBC, NBC, The Verge, Gizmodo, Women’s JournaI. I believe that being a great creator starts with being a good listener. I learn the most from my students, readers and views.
On a more personal note, my mom raised me alone in a small seaside town. I learned to be independent, creative and comfortable talking to myself at an early age. I’m being cheeky, and the setting has changed, but the dogs and stuffed animals I often talk to behind the camera or while I’m writing haven’t changed a whole lot.
Q: How would you describe your blog to a person that has never visited it before?
I would say my personal blog and the posts I write on Medium are a multimedia array of technology, entrepreneurship and travel content tailored towards nerds, Millennials, their parents. I focus a lot on community storytelling, product innovation, and video. I seek to tell the story yet untold versus one you can find elsewhere on my blog and on stage. Lately I’ve been Vlogging much more, like I did visiting Henan, China as a North American Delegate for their tourism board thanks to Cooperatize.
Q: What made you decide to create a blog?
Growing up as a digital native (more on this in my Millennial Myth series), I think I always knew I needed to build a personal brand in addition to those that I represent. Reflecting more honestly, I finished college in December 2008- the best way to show I could create content without a job in the space was to do it for myself.
Q: Was there a moment when you thought, “I could do this professionally”? If so, what triggered that desire/realization?
I always loved to write, and I was lucky to receive a bit of local recognition as a youngster. I always thought the only way to do this was to write a book. It wasn’t until the bloom of social platforms while I was in college that I saw the opportunity for us all. The internet was the ultimate equalizer for content creators. I still think that there’s a lot of room for disruption in the platform-publisher-creator relationship. I hope more companies like Cooperatize catch on.
Q: What fuels your passion for creating content?
Everyone has a story. The more I listen, the more I learn, and the more compelled I am to share that information. When you’re authentic, you don’t have to worry about making the sale. The “sale” happens with the right audience connects to the content. I love discovering new niche communities and individuals who resonate with my words/videos.
Q: Are there any blogs or publications that you follow closely? What makes them successful in your opinion?
I would say I follow the curated feeds of select people versus consistent publications. I think that there is a palpable scramble for content in our 24 hour cycle, and my interest varies from imminent fix versus deep dive. I’m a bit of a generalist, and am lucky to touch a lot of different types of experiences and products. I look to my expert friends in each of those verticals for advice/ the latest and greatest.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge in maintaining a successful blog?
I think it’s challenging to keep your content up to date across platforms and medias. I publish a lot of different places and I need a more efficient way to populate them all (aka extra hands/interns.) I currently focus heavily on Facebook and YouTube, with Medium and my blog reserved for when I have time.
Q: What is your favorite post that you created? Why?
This is a tough one. I am passionate about many different topics, but I think my favorite piece was this reflection on sneaking into Cuba 11 years ago. I had to wait until the embargo was lifted or the statute of limitations ran out to talk about it. I thought about what I’d say for years, and when the time came it just poured out. I hope others enjoy it too. It’s part of why I’m eager to work with Cooperatize more.
Q: How much does social media influence your writing?
I am a perpetual crowdsourcer. I ask my audience and peer groups often for their thoughts, needs, ideas, and feedback on just about everything. I quote comments from Facebook and Twitter like I would a phone interview. I also ask people what they want to watch, and what they’ve liked best in the past. Listening is the first step to creating great content. Why make something no one is interested in? I think that’s why a lot of writing fails to get attention. When the reader doesn’t connect to the content it’s futile.
Q: What is your favorite social media channel? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, other? Why?
It’s hard because I love social deeply. It’s the platform I’ve built my career on. Twitter is my #1 favorite because I’ve met a lot of my best friends there. The pithy, short-winded tribe is one that resonates with me. I also appreciate the 5 minute longtail- it’s okay to mess up- just delete and tweet again! Facebook is a better crowdsourcing tool for me overall. I choose everything from what mattress to buy, where to travel and which guests to have on my shows on there. Facebook is also where I post my videos first, like the Chinese adventure I went on thanks to Cooperatize. LinkedIn is best for speaking opportunities and TV (I’d love to be a part of your event ;). Instagram is probably the most personal visual into my life, along with late-night tweets. I write more on Medium than I do on my website but I’m trying to get better about that.
Q: Do you have any last piece of advice for aspiring bloggers?
Done is better than perfect. We all fall victim to saying “when I write about x,” or “I’m working on a piece about x and when I’m finished…” just publish it! You can always republish or release a new version. Having work out there on subjects you want to be known for is better than having a few good writing samples no one has read.
Q: Lastly, what is something that you could share with us that we wouldn’t learn from reading your blog?
Remember that it’s a highlight reel. We all have down days, even when those days include Instagrams of palm trees. There are hours of prep work, nights of washing undies in hotel sinks, and nauseating jetlag. It’s great to be able to travel in exchange for content or speaking, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity, but it isn’t always glamorous. Most importantly- I’m accessible! Drop me a note/DM and let’s chat!
Thank you, dear reader, for stopping by! And stay tuned for next week’s Bloggers’ Corner feature!
-Blaire Massaroni, for Cooperatize Journal