Welcome to Ryley Writes, a collection of thoughts, stories, and work from deep in the heart of Texas.

Weekend Roundup

Weekend Roundup

"Find something you're passionate about and remain tremendously interested in it." Julia Child

What I'm working on:

Guys, I've officially been working the new job for over a month, and I figured it was high time to tell you all what I'm doing and how it's been.

I am the social media coordinator for RightNow Media, a non-profit organization that produces and curates a digital library of Bible study resources to churches and businesses to, in turn, provide to their members and employees.

You can learn more about the ins and outs of their ministry here, but I loved a couple things about the company right off the bat.

First of all, the Bible studies and other video material they produce are beautiful, straight up. Sadly, the "Christian" realm isn't exactly known for its artistic or media presence or innovation. Everything RightNow touches, though — website, app, emails, written resources and video content — is beautifully designed and of the highest quality. I was so impressed from the start.

Second, the fact that RightNow is committed to reinforcing and strengthening the local church resonated deeply with me. Unfortunately, there's been a huge shift — especially in my generation — to "loving Jesus, but not the church."

This is a soapbox for another time, but in the gentlest, kindest way possible, may I say — that's nonsense.

Jesus loves the church way too much for you to love Him without having a heart for it, too. The Bible is adamantly clear about how much God values the church. There is zero question in Scripture about its necessity to a rich faith. Just like anything comprised of people — because people are imperfect, amen? — the church will involve brokenness and the opportunity for hurt. But brokenness is not an excuse to abandon. Brokenness is a call to heal.

With that in mind, I adore the way RightNow has decided to only provide their content through the church. Rather than go straight to the individual, even if that could clearly be beneficial from a business standpoint, the organization has dug its heels in and committed to equipping the body of Christ to better do what it was always meant to do — disciple and mobilize its members. Could not be prouder of that mission.

I was honored, a little intimidated, and properly stoked — all at once — when I was given the chance to come on board and give RightNow's social presence the same attention and design thought as its other aspects.

Getting to craft a public brand and voice for an organization I really believe in is amazing enough; but add on top of that the fact that I work with designers, videographers, writers, and techies so skilled it makes my head hurt, and you've got an honest to goodness dream situation. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to dreaming up social media strategy and content ideas, and I'm just out here trying to do a worthy job leveraging all the talent that was already present when I arrived.

I started out just playing some initial catch-up on RightNow's social platforms and existing content and branding — observing our analytics for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; laying out some tentative voice guidelines, implementing a rough content calendar system and posting management platform, things like that.

We're currently working with an outside social media consulting company, as well, which has been invaluable — it gives me time to really absorb the company's culture before I'm setting their public strategy all for myself! — so they advised a schedule for increasing our content volume, and I've settled into a rhythm following that.

At the beginning of the week, I map out the content for the next, which takes more brainpower than you'd expect. It's like putting together a puzzle, but you have to craft all the pieces to fit together. You want, ideally, a wide variety of content type and topic — some focused on the RightNow Media brand, some on a particular study; some video and some text-heavy; some for the purpose of conversation and some for simply broadcasting important information. I usually just end up writing everything I want to include on individual post-it notes and rearranging them on my desk until it's all in the order I want.

Once that's settled, I go about writing the copy for it, getting any necessary media elements, and scheduling it all for release.

I work within the design team, so usually one of the designers makes the graphics; but as we increase our output volume, it's getting to be a lot, so I'm trying to quickly level up my graphic design game to the point where I can make most of them myself. (My team has been incredibly helpful in that, too — pretty sure I've learned more in a month of yelling Photoshop and Illustrator questions to them from my desk than I did in any graphic design class in college.)

By the second half of the week, I have time left to develop other ideas and tasks — revamping our YouTube channel, implementing Facebook advertising campaigns, exploring how other companies are marketing their social platforms, searching for patterns in our data, dreaming up new ideas, etc. It sounds ludicrous sometimes to do social media as a full-time job, but I promise, it more than fills the hours. (It helps that I hit the coworker jackpot, too, so even the most tedious workdays are guaranteed a lot of laughter.)

It's been fun and the best kind of challenging, and I'll try to do a better job of keeping you guys updated on what all I'm up to. (Better yet, you can keep up by liking RightNow Media on Facebook and following on Twitter and Instagram!) (Shameless plug. Shameless.)

Now, some randoms for your weekend:

Ode to the H

Ode to the H

The Texas Trifecta Part I: Driving

The Texas Trifecta Part I: Driving