On Marketing

The role of Marketing Editor for Élan Literary Magazine comes with an obligation to understand the evolution of the magazine. It is more than seeking out ways to publicize Élan. It is sharing the continuous legacy of the publication according to the foundation that has been laid over the past three decades. At the same time, the role asks each individual to search for the spaces where there is room for expansion.

What people often don’t see about this role is the paper shuffling and calendar conniving that happens beyond the scenes. I create content for the website and all platforms of social media, which requires a lot of collaboration with the layout and design team.

This role has forced me to live in multiple worlds at once. I have to have one foot in our many community outreach engagements, another in our current publication, and another in the publication to come, all while juggling our past and our future. I have to be aware of each community engagement event Élan is a part of and plan ways in which to maximize the turn out of the event, and create opportunities in the community that fall in line with our precious legacy.

Though this role is the most hands off when it comes to the creation of the book, I have enjoyed the way this role has challenged my creativity. I always review how Élan has represented itself in the past, but brainstorming different approaches to marketing are key. When working with another organization I often have to research to understand the way the other organization has branded themselves, and activate my own strength for pattern recognition to see how the bigger messages and themes of Élan relate. It is important to understand the connections Élan already has in the community and the audience it seeks to reach. Élan has foundational marketing plans, which include Élan posters that highlight an event in detail, video content of staff members preparing for events, and a social media posting schedule which highlights Élan events as well as book content. However, the world moves fast and is constantly evolving, and Élan must keep up so the search for new ways to market is never ending. There is a constant battle to feel fresh yet familiar.

Apart from the objective of publicizing the many events Élan takes part in is actually hosting and attending them. This is by far the best part of my job. At its heart attending events is an opportunity for Élan to gain exposure and reach new crowds of people. It is true we are always considering how it could easily turn into a book selling opportunity, but even more than that, each event is an opportunity to advocate for teen artists worldwide. Each sale is their work reaching more hearts. That is why I joined Élan, and it’s the reason you’ll see me at any event with a smile on my face.

Ashley Chatmon, Senior Marketing Editor

Talking to the Manager

This year is full of excitement for me because, as opposed to last year’s steep learning curve, I actually know what I am doing this year. I half-expected to feel just as lost and confused reentering the staff this year as I was last year; I had never been a member of anything close to the size of Élan, nor had I ever worked on anything so important. Simple questions—what would my job entail? What does “managing” mean?—didn’t have an immediate answer. The pressure of those unknowns was unspeakable.

Having had those questions answered by the trials and tribulations of last year, I am excited to take the lead as this year’s senior managing editor. “Managing” is a deceptive title because it does not quite mean what it appears to denote at first glance. The managing editor does not hover above the other members of Élan; nor do I “puppeteer” the inner workings of the magazine. My job is much simpler (and less nefarious) than that: communication. I am responsible for making sure the machinations of the editor-in-chief are delegated to the respective members of the staff, turning the large-scale goals of the magazine’s head into small-scale, achievable tasks.

Beyond communication within the team, my role handles communication between the magazine and our contributors. When Élan opens up the submission period, I am the one who reaches out to teachers throughout the nation (and internationally) to call for submissions. Furthermore, anytime a teen writer sends a piece to the staff during the submission period, I am the one who receives the written work and files it away for our reading process down the line. With such a complicated body like Élan, it needs a bridge between our valued writers and our staff, and I seek to reinforce and streamline that connection.

Needless to say, being the managing editor is difficult. It takes a detail-centered mind to ensure everything slides into its correct placement. The filing system must remain organized. The emails must be sent and responded to. It is a lot to keep track of. However, the difficulty just means that there is still growth to be done—for myself and for Élan. I want this year to be the year in which the intricacies of the magazine are made just a little simpler. Ideally, the work I do this year will never be necessary again in the future of Élan.

It is impossible to predict exactly the difficulties of this year, but half the excitement this year will be simply figuring it out! My junior submissions editor this year is very capable, but surely the new staff members are just as lost as I was when I joined last year. I am excited to prove yet again the potential of our magazine.

Noland Blain, Senior Managing Editor

Growing as a Digital Media Editor

The hardest part about my role in Élan is figuring out the right things to say and the right ways to portray Élan on both our social media and our website. As someone who did not use social media very often when I was assigned the role of being a digital media editor, stepping into the social media part of my role was more difficult. I wasn’t allowed to slack off or hope someone else could do my job, because as a part of Élan overall, the digital media team is how the world sees us as a magazine, especially as a student ran and published magazine, which makes the job even more important and special. When Élan has events and those who attend want to find out more about us, they are either directed to the website or our social media. I felt a lot of pressure at first, sometimes I still do when we have several events going on in such a short amount of time. When it was time for me to take over as the junior digital media editor in the second semester of the last school year, that is when I really got more confident in my role and what I was doing. I took more responsibility for what I had to do, and I did it with pride in the fact that I was helping spread what Élan meant to me and the rest of the staff.

My triumph in my role came from learning how to do my job as a digital media editor and knowing I was doing the job right. Taking on the digital media editor role, for me, was a lot of change, but looking at how much I have grown since I have gotten my role and actually stepped into my job as something I wanted to do, I am so thankful for it and I wouldn’t want to trade my position with anyone else. When I took on the job, I kept a lot to myself and I was not very good at communicating with others, but in the same time period that I took over the digital media team as a junior and took responsibility for what I was doing, I also learned to communicate better, have more control with what I wanted instead of standing back and having others tell me what to do. Learning to do that in my experience as an Élan member is very important because without this job, I wouldn’t have learned that, and it was something essential for me to know so I could grow as a person.

On our social media and website, the digital media team constantly will update when submissions are for all of our book editions, for both art and writing, as well as update for the events we will be doing in future months. Élan has at least two submissions period, one in the Fall, for the Online Fall Edition, and the second in Spring, for the Online Spring Edition. Near the end of the year the team chooses work from both books, as well as new submissions to be in our print book. All three books are highlighted on our social media and our website, along with our past books. Even if you are someone who submits, but does not get a piece into the actual books, it is still special to read through the books and see the beautiful art or pieces of writing others your age can create.

Catriona Keel, Senior Digital Media Editor