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21 Jul 2010

Getting to know you: Elise Redlin-Cook

In the next edition of our monthly VM interview series, I sat down with Vertical Measures’ content strategist Elise Redlin-Cook to discuss why she’s the glue guy that makes Vertical Measures tick, her baby girl Coya and her former life training tigers.

Elise Redlin-cookMichael Schwartz: You are now the first three-time winner of Vertical Measures’ Employee of the Month award. How does this three-peat compare to other life accomplishments?

Elise Redlin-Cook: Well, to be honest, it’s a little awkward…since in my opinion there are other team members who deserve it just as much if not more. Although, it IS really nice to be recognized by both my peers and superiors. EOM here at Vertical Measures is determined by the full office participating in an anonymous vote and it’s incredible to be recognized by a team of such talented people. I’m astounded by their creativity, ingenuity, and expertise on a daily basis and am so relieved that they haven’t voted me off the island yet.

Michael: How would you describe your job responsibilities at VM?

Elise: Ah, now THAT’s a tough one! My title is Content Strategist, and I struggle to effectively define that role every day. The best definition of the role that I’ve found thus far, was coined by Rachel Lovinger when she described content strategy as using “words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences.” I’d add that at its core, content strategy isn’t necessarily about content inventories, copywriting, publishing or editorial calendars, social media, marketing messaging or governance policies although admittedly these things often consume my day. To me, it’s more of a state of mind. One that has a direct impact on the way we at Vertical Measures do business. We know that we must clearly focus on how we create, deliver, and govern our content because more than ever before in history, content has become one of a business’s most valuable assets. Luckily, I get to do this with the help of an outstanding group of specialists with expertise ranging from search engine optimization, copywriting, public relations, conversion optimization, social media marketing, analytics, and so on. All these disciplines make up the pieces to the puzzle. I simply facilitate the act of putting it all together.

Michael: As a board member of the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA), what kind of things do you do to make that group tick?

Elise: At AZIMA, I’m the VP of Administration and my duties on a monthly basis range from managing the website content, including the AZIMA blog, to working the registration desk at the monthly social events. I’m also on the Marketing/PR committee so, I take part in creating and distributing the AZIMA marketing messaging such as the e-blasts, press releases, social media messaging, and so on. Oh and I better not forget, I order the food for the monthly Board of Director’s meeting each month, and I’m darn good at it…I might add!

Michael: Around the office you are known as VM’s glue guy, which kind of means you do all the little things to keep the office humming. What does that title mean to you?

Elise: Actually, I must admit after looking up who the “glue guy” is (I’m not terribly familiar with sports terminology) promptly after hearing it, I was totally flattered. I determined long ago, that for whatever reason, being the team “star” wasn’t in the cards. The spotlight just doesn’t suit me. Yet, I just love being a part of whatever I can and often it’s the little or seemingly menial tasks that others miss or avoid. To me it just feels natural to hop in and take care of them, if I can. I get real satisfaction out of seeing others, and projects in general meet success and it’s a good feeling to know that I’ve been assisted, in whatever way possible.

Michael: For a while you were widely known as ERC5K thanks to your voluminous 5,000-plus Twitter following. What’s your secret to building such a robust following?

Coya CookElise: First of all, I don’t know how WIDELY I was known for this but if I did have the opportunity to give some advice to someone just getting started on Twitter or in social media in general I would say one thing: just care. By that, I mean care about the people that you follow and who follow you, who you meet in real life and who you don’t because they are REAL, too. I think people can sense when someone actually cares, and ultimately that’s why people tweet to begin with… because they hope someone CARES about what they have to say. So, I care about their tweets and they seem to return the favor and care about mine. Law of attraction, I guess.

Michael: You are also known around the office as having the cuuuuuuuuuutest 3-year-old in the world. Tell the people a little about Coya Cook.

Elise: Ah, yes…she IS mighty cute, isn’t she? All I can really say about her is that she is the reason I wake up every morning. Since I was blessed with having her in my life I’ve found new drive to be a better person in general. I’m not sure that there are even words to describe my devotion to helping her succeed in life, and trying to make the world she lives in a little better.

Michael: When I first met you, you told me you were approaching your 10-year wedding anniversary. I’ve known you for over a year and you still haven’t been with your husband Jeremy for that long yet! How long exactly have you been married and why all the confusion?

Elise: I’m starting to feel that this more of a roast, than an interview! ;) The confusion is mainly related to the fact that I can’t do math properly in my head. We were married on New Year’s Eve, 2001. Though, I’ve been with my husband since we were 17 years old, so we don’t really pay too much attention to when we actually got married. We lived together for years prior and not too much changed after other than a few extra letters on my last name.

Elise Redlin-CookMichael: In your other life before VM you used to train tigers. What was that experience like?

Elise: It was both the most amazing, and one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done for a number of reasons. It was the realization of a long kept dream to work with exotic cats, and when I ended up actually having the opportunity to I found that it really wasn’t what I expected it to be. I realize that I was fortunate because it was an amazing experience, and not many people can say they raised a litter of baby tigers like they were her own. I’ll never forget that. But they grew so quickly that by the end of the six months they far outweighed me by 3-4 times. It was extremely physically and emotionally taxing work. Just on accident they’d come over to show me affection and brush against or snuggle me and I’d be pinned to a fence, bruised and a toe broken. Eventually the negatives began to simply outweigh the positives. So, I moved on.

Michael: Another one of your hobbies is photography. What is it about taking pictures that appeals to you?

Elise: I would love to be a better photographer, and hope that one day I can devote more time to honing that skill! I love taking portraits of people, and capturing honest moments in their lives. The opportunity to tell an entire story with one click just entrances me.

Michael: Finally, what makes you so passionate about Internet marketing?

Elise: I think, above all else is that there is so much opportunity to grow and learn. I’ve been involved in some aspect of technology for the internet or marketing since I returned from working with the big cats in ‘99, and having gotten my degree in business management and marketing it’s seems to be the perfect culmination of all of my interests and skills wrapped up in one big package. I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of the growing interactive marketing community here in Phoenix, that’s for sure!

1 Comment

  • bistro tables Jul 21, 2010

    Great article / Q & A , though I would have loved to see a few more step by step examples of exactly what elise does.