Kristin Dyak, digital marketing director, shares her COVID-19 experience with bizwomen

Cyphers Digital Marketing Director Kristin Dyak was selected to contribute a submission to In Her Own Words, a bizwomen/The Business Journals series highlighting how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the professional and personal lives of leading businesswomen throughout the country.

In In Her Own Words: Digital marketer Kristin Dyak’s pandemic challenge is to amplify messages and not seem tone deaf, Kristin discussed how she was able to continue the agency’s daily trending topic meetings; assess, adjust, and implement new strategic messaging for clients such as the Grain Foods Foundation; and virtually onboard not only new clients but also a new employee. She also discussed the many ways in which the pandemic affected her very social personal life.

“The bottom line is that Digital Marketing 101 still applies — ‘it’s not always what you say, but how you say it’ — so our M.O. has become carefully examining each client to see how they can best adjust their content per platform, while also taking a look at our own blog and social media presence as an agency.”

Here’s Kristin’s full contribution:

As our communities reopen, women across America see their lives becoming more complicated as they juggle responsibilities at home and at work (which is often still at home), caring for coworkers, customers and family. For Kristin Dyak and her colleagues at Cyphers Agency, the digital pivot involves internal communications as they tailor timely messages for their clients.

“Social media platforms have transformed their reach from earshot to megaphones that promote unity, provide essential information, and cultivate much-needed conversations during the coronavirus pandemic.

As a digital marketer, helping our clients and our agency navigate this unprecedented time has been a (hopefully) once in a lifetime challenge.

For starters, as it did for most, it meant an immediate transition from our office to working remotely. One of my biggest goals was continuing our digital department’s ‘trending topic meetings’ — company-wide brainstorms in which we discuss trending topics and advertising news over coffee to see if there are opportunities for real-time content for the agency and our clients. Fortunately, advances in virtual capabilities (I’m looking at you Zoom!) allowed us to keep this habitual meeting going, and it’s served to not only help us stay in the know but also start each day with familiar camaraderie.

But remote internal meetings aren’t the only virtual adjustments we’ve had to make. We’ve been fortunate to both onboard new clients and team members during the pandemic, and while no silver lining I’ve embraced learning new technology, from screen sharing to the nuances of the various video conference platforms. As a manager, I’ve also enjoyed seeing how well our entire staff has been able to maintain, or in fact amplify, our reputation for both stellar professionalism and productivity (whether we’re in the office or at home).

Speaking of reputation, the second major challenge of Covid-19 was what I’d call the ‘pandemic pivot,’ that is, taking stock of, and in most cases replacing, whatever regularly scheduled content we had planned so that our agency and our clients don’t appear tone-deaf but still present their brand to the public. Part of this has involved taking advantage of every resource, webinar, and virtual opportunity that we can in order to see how the digital marketing industry is reacting and adapting to the state of the world. The bottom line is that Digital Marketing 101 still applies — ‘it’s not always what you say, but how you say it’ — so our M.O. has become carefully examining each client to see how they can best adjust their content per platform, while also taking a look at our own blog and social media presence as an agency. In fact, we’ve leveraged our blogs to share what we are learning through our experiences, from proper Zoom etiquette to how restaurants can best promote safe takeout and delivery on social media.

Of course some of our clients have required a more niche approach. The Grain Foods Foundation (GFF), for instance, needed to strategically decide how to engage in the multiple trending topics related to the country’s food supply. On one hand, more people were both baking and buying bread, which is always a plus for our gluten-friendly client, but that led to panic-inducing grocery store shelves in many areas of the country. As other food industries struggled with potential shortages, the grain industry had to convey to their consumers that there was no need to worry — ‘wheat is plentiful, just on backorder’ — and we’ve been able to distribute and support a clear and accurate message about the current state of the grain industry through both GFF’s social channels and its engagement with their industry partners.

Beyond these challenges that have made every day in the life of this digital marketer even more unpredictable than normal, which is pretty darn unpredictable, my life outside of work has faced some major changes as well — yet, I’m thankful to report, has found its new normal. Travel plans were canceled, exercise routines were adjusted, and brushing up on cooking skills became a must, but I’ve made the most of my homebound free time by checking off those movies that live on “the list” and achieving closets that would get a gold star from Marie Kondo. And similar to the way technology has kept our agency connected, my friends and I are putting the social in social distancing with regularly scheduled virtual hangouts thanks to FaceTime and NetflixParty.

So overall, the pandemic has made clearer than ever just how powerful social media and virtual communication are, both professionally and personally. And though it will never fully replace the in-person communication and interactions that humans need, it’s gratifying to see how we’ve adapted, and will surely continue to adapt, always listening and keeping our audience’s best interests at heart.”

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