Hi, I’m Miki Johnson — thanks for stopping by! I hope the information below gives you an idea of what I do professionally, in case you or someone you know would be interested in working with me. Click here for more about why I do what I do.
So what is it you actually do?
I’m a Personal Publishing Strategist…
Wait, you’re a what?
Ok, so Personal Publishing Strategist is a term I invented, but hear me out. You might not realize it, but you are a publisher. From your emails to your Tweet Stream to the photos you share on Facebook, you are distributing a huge amount of content every day.
Like any publication worth subscribing to, it’s important that what you put out be valuable, genuine, and
coherent. That’s when people really pay attention to you — that’s when people you’ve always wanted to work with but have never met email you out of the blue. (Seriously, it happens.)
If you were starting your own magazine, you’d need to research the market, define your editorial mission, formulate a business plan, publicize, advertise … but you, you’re a “personal publisher,” you just want to continue to do the work you love. You just need a little bit of guidance, let’s call it “strategy.” That’s where I come in.
Hmm, I think I’m going to need an example.
How about one of my star clients, Heather Elder. Based in San Francisco, Heather represents nine commercial photographers around the country. She’s smart, savvy, fun and, no surprise, great at her job. She was already on Facebook and had a blog, but she knew she wasn’t using them to their full potential, so she hired me to help kick it up a notch.
I started by talking her through a set of questions to help her define why she wanted to grow her online presence, what kind of personality she wanted to share online, and how she could leverage her existing knowledge and network to reach her goals. After our private session, I sent her a To Do list recapping what we’d talked about.
At our check-in meeting a few months later, I helped her fine tune her strategy, but she was already doing great, with one of her blog posts drawing 40+ comments and lots of emails from colleagues.
That sounds pretty good, but what does Heather have to say about it?
Well, here’s the what she wrote on LinkedIn profile. I’ll let you be the judge :)
“Miki is amazing! She knows her stuff like no one else. When I first started my blog, I needed help coming up with a vision, understanding content and all the backend technology that makes it work. She was thorough, informative and very helpful. I left our first meeting armed with everything I needed to get up and running. In our second meeting she helped me get to the next level of where I wanted to be with the blog and social media. I can’t wait for our next meeting!
“I should also mention that after each meeting she followed up quickly and professionally with great insights and action items for me. I have since recommended her to my photographer clients as well as other advertising professionals who are trying to figure out how they fit into this new media world.”
So you do social media strategy. What else?
I love helping photographers and other creatives tell their own story and describe their work, possibly for an artist statement or an important grant proposal. I initially realized how helpful this could be after talking with the talented photojournalist Carl Bower:
“While at RESOLVE [the liveBooks photo blog], she interviewed me about a project I’d been working on for some time. I’d had countless discussions on the series before, but many of Miki’s questions were unexpected, sending our conversation in directions I hadn’t addressed. In the process, I began to see a different framework for the subject, helping me to articulate seemingly disparate information into a more cohesive whole. She will throw a wrench into the works, with unexpectedly positive results.”
I’ve also helped creative professionals tweak website content, increase the visibility of their work and build book proposals (check out the Future of Photobooks online discussion I organized with Andy Adams from FlakPhoto).
Who are you interested in working with?
Most of my work has been with photographers, but I’m also passionate about journalism and art in general, so I tend to get along with all kinds of creative professionals: filmmakers, designers, writers, and sound editors, to name a few.
My favorite kind of people are the ones who have trouble describing themselves a single word because they are constantly evolving and adapting (like me, RE: Personal Publishing Strategist). I also LOVE new projects that are still getting their sea legs but have the potential to revolutionize the way we think. If I’m not the right person to help them set sail, I bet I know someone who is.
I’m also developing a curriculum that will teach collaboration techniques to creative professionals. If you work for yourself doing creative things, I want to help you find other self-employed creatives and establish a flexible work relationship with them that helps you both get more jobs, have more free time, and feel more fulfilled. If that interests you and/or you’d like to share a creative collaboration story for my research, let me know!
Requisite background check: Can I see some credentials?
I worked previously as a senior editor at American Photo magazine in New York, after which I founded the RESOLVE Photo Blog and developed social media strategy for liveBooks, which supplies websites to the photography industry.
Recent projects: I helped document and publicize the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Istanbul, Turkey; I organized the discussion program for LOOKbetween, a symposium for emerging photographers; I created educational content for the NYCFotoWorks portfolio review; I participated in a panel on the Future of Photobooks at Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward Festival in Toronto and Boston.
If you have any other questions, I’d love to hear from you :)