Digital Media Editor
World Literature Today
Age: 28

Takeaway: Rickard has been instrumental in growing World Literature Today’s Facebook and Twitter followers by about 6,000 percent, and has increased web traffic by almost 33 percent.

For Jen Rickard, being first is a key word in her job description. Rickard is the first digital media editor for World Literature Today, and because of that, she says, “a lot of what I have been doing is building the foundations of our structure.” Thus far the foundation is strong—social media engagement has grown around 6,000 percent, and web traffic has nearly tripled since Rickard became digital media editor.

“It is so much bigger than I thought it was going to be,” Rickard says when asked about stepping into her role. She adds that “it’s one thing to create content that people find appealing, it’s another thing to create that content for a webpage.” Rickard says that finding the right approach to digital media requires a “perfect recipe.” Meaning that it is important to find a content balance that is attractive to both online readers and social media users.

Rickard has created her digital strategy from scratch. “I spent my first three months restructuring by changing the design of the website to make it more clean and simple” she says. Trial and error often yield the best results, and Rickard found this to be true with social media practices. “I started by posting things on Facebook and Twitter to see what people responded to.”

Establishing a social media presence was a new endeavor, and as impressive as the growth in numbers is, what satisfies Rickard is that the audience is active and engaged. World Literature Today also launched its first blog under Rickard’s guidance. And an online shopping cart that has spurred subscription and single-issue sales that previously did not exist on the site.

Rickard isn’t finished cooking up more firsts. Some of her future plans include building a pipeline of blog content that will provide the audience with increasingly more content, adapting World Literature Today’s content for mobile products, and developing a series of consistent online campaigns that aim to boost subscriptions.