The Ultimate Guide To Being An Odyssey Creator

The Ultimate Guide To Being An Odyssey Creator

Step by step instructions to creating great content and sharing it with the world!
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Before becoming an Odyssey Creator, there's one important question you need to ask yourself:

What Is A Successful Odyssey Community?

By joining an Odyssey community, a content Creator becomes immersed in an ongoing conversation. You discover content from other Creators and brainstorm new article ideas about topics that interest you. You bring your hyperlocal point of view to Odyssey’s platform, and your unique voice resonates with thousands of readers.

A successful team creates these community dialogues on a weekly basis, covering topics that are relevant, timely and interesting. As leaders in your area, you spark unique conversations in the digital space and democratize the way in which stories are told online. Your content is shared through social media networks, and people start to recognize you. You’re an Odyssey content Creator. You’re developing a following, and because of your influence, others want to join the conversation, too.


So where do you fit in? How can you make an impact?

In order for an Odyssey Creator to actually effect change in the world with their stories, they first need to get their voices out there. This happens through sharing. While our CMS allows Creators to schedule Facebook and Twitter shares throughout the week, they shouldn't stop there. Each article should be shared on three or more platforms. Beyond Facebook and Twitter, this includes Instagram, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, email, and beyond. It is the job of an AME to give Creators the tools to tell their stories, and teaching them how to best promote their stories on social media is a huge part of this.

Additionally, each article should be shared on three or more platforms multiple times a week. Out of 1,000 potential stories you could see on your Facebook feed any given day, there are only 250 slots. If you log onto Facebook one time a day, you may only see 20 post. That means, if your friend shared an article only once, you could easily miss it. Sharing multiple times throughout the week on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram will help you get more and more readers.

For more information on best sharing practices, follow Odyssey Pro Tips.


Once you join a community, you'll need to know the ins and outs of creating content. Here's a step by step guide on how to do just that!

The Basics Of Our CMS:

CMS stands for “Content Management System,” and here at Odyssey, we have created our own system. It is extremely user-friendly, but here are some tips to help you get started. Your Managing Editor will also train you on the system via a Google Hangout.

To log in, go to theodysseyonline.com/admin and enter your username and password.

To log in, go to theodysseyonline.com and select “CREATE” and enter your username and password provided via email, or go directly to theodysseyonline.com/admin.

Before you begin, make sure that you update your biography, tagline, and link your social media profiles.

Do not, however, change your school/community name in your profile! If you joined a geographic community like “Austin, TX,” for example, do not change your school to “University of Texas.”

How To Set Up Auto Shares In MUSE:

1. Once signed in, click on your name in the top-right corner.

2. After your account information/profile is loaded, follow the “Click here to manage your social media account access” link located directly below the profile picture.

3. Once this page loads (Manage Account page), scroll to the bottom where it says “Use another service to log in,” with the Twitter and Facebook button below.

4. Select the Facebook button to open the prompt to enter your credentials to link your social media account. Repeat and do the same thing, this time selecting the Twitter button.

Tips For If You Run Into Trouble:

You hit a wall? It happens to all of us.

1. Make sure you are using Chrome as your browser as this is what we suggest using with our system. (Make sure you go to this sign-in page: http://theodysseyonline.com/admin without “www” in the URL.)

2. If you are using Chrome, clear your browsing history and cache (when you go to delete these, select the “from beginning of time” option from the drop-down menu. This will remove any saved passwords on other sites, so if you think that may be a problem, just go to #3).

3. Try opening a new window in “incognito” (Command+Shift+N) mode. Right-click on the Chrome icon and select “new incognito window” and then try signing on.

4. Remember to contact edithelp@theodysseyonline.com if you have questions!

Open your “Writer Dashboard.” From here, you can see a few things:

● All articles you’ve ever written and their links.

● The total social engagement each article has received.

● Your community’s “top article” of the week.

● Past “Top Article Winners”: Those that have received high engagement in past weeks.

● The “+New Article” button so you can submit your next piece.

After you click on “+New Article,” you will be able to begin creating your piece of content.

On this page, you want to make sure to:

  • Choose if you are writing an “Article” or “Listicle”
    • A “listicle” is a piece of content written in a list format. If your piece has 11+ more points, make sure to choose Listicle.” These get edited slightly differently.
    • If you are writing a list, make sure to go to the bottom of this document for more information on how to properly format it.
  • Choose your CMS Subject Line.
    • This is something that is only we can see internally. We recommend putting a description of what the piece is as well as when it should go live. For example: Donald Trump Article 2/15. (This way it is easy to keep track of in the ­system.)
  • Choose if you are writing a “Standard” or “News” piece.
    • If you are writing something on a current event, make sure that you click “News.” This will help to get the piece edited faster so that it is timely when it is posted. “News” to Odyssey actually is defined as ”Current Content.” This means it can be a reaction to a current event or a perspective relevant to an existing national conversation rather than an aggregated news piece.

Make sure as you write your piece of content that your piece is always longer than 500 words and includes an intro paragraph if it is a list. On the side, we have a “Comment” feature, so please make comments if you have questions for your Managing Editor/Editor-­in-­Chief about tips for your piece. They will see it in the final stages before post. If you have a pressing question, utilize email and connect your EIC and Managing Editor.

Write your headline. This is your space to hook Odyssey users with a clever, pithy title. How sad would it be if all your hard work went unappreciated because you didn’t focus enough on crafting your headline? Please make sure to capitalize the first letter of every word. That’s just Odyssey style.

LEARN MORE: How To Craft The Perfect Headline

When you click to add a Cover Photo, you will have to attribute your image. If you do not do this, your article will not be posted.

If it is your image, make sure to write your name under Attribution.

If it is not your image, make sure to insert the link from where the image is from under

“Attribution URL” as well as the photographer’s name under “Attribution.”

Don't use an image that you are not legally entitled to re-use. You wouldn't plagiarize somebody else's words, don't do the same with images.

LEARN MORE: Do Copyright RIGHT

Insert tags and choose your category.

Tags: These are extremely important as they help visitors to Odyssey find your content. They also help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Make sure to put all tags that are relevant to your content. For example, if you write on Donald Trump, some tags could be: Donald Trump, Trump 2016, Republicans, Apprentice, Nomination, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, etc.

Segments are used to categorize articles for users who do a refined content search. You should be as specific as possible when selecting categories.





Choose Your “Slug.”

Your slug is essentially your URL. It should feature the most essential words from your headline or the point of your article — the keywords somebody might type into Google to search for what your article is about. Once you like a slug, click on the part that is green until it says “Claimed.” From there, you can move to the next step.

Preview. This is so you can see exactly how your piece will appear on different devices. Make sure that your cover photo appears in the way you would like it to. If not, go back and make changes.

Choose Submission Deadline: Choose the next available deadline.


Choose Preferred Digital Post Date: Choose the Monday or Tuesday after the deadline. Our traditional posting schedule is on Mondays or Tuesdays, if you want something posted in a timely fashion, reach out to your Editor­-in-­Chief. For example, if you are submitting it for the deadline of 2/21, choose 2/22 as the digital post date as this is when editors will be editing it.

Write A Social Network Brief: This should be similar to your sub-headline and should tease what is being written about. Never write “Click here” or “Please share!” as your Social Network Brief or Blurb. Would you want to read an article where the writer posted, “Share this, please!!!!”? Nope, we wouldn’t either.

Example:

Schedule Shares. The most important part. Don’t you want to get your content seen?

Click on “Facebook” and “Twitter” to “Add a share.”

Include a short message with your piece. This is what will be shared on your social profiles. We recommend teasing to the article and explaining what the article is about to your followers.

When the article is posted on our platform, it will be shared on your social media platform at the time that you have set. Make sure to share your article on at least three other social networking platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc. And share more than once. Sharing multiple times on multiple platforms means your content will reach even more readers!






Still want more? Request a call with one of our Engagement Specialists through our CDP (Creator Development Program.) You'll get to meet one of our most qualified specialists and talk about things like content packaging and social sharing!

And there you have it! You've created a great piece of content and you're ready to share it with the world. How far your piece will travel is completely in your hands --- so get to creating!



Want to be a part of the exec team?

Why should you be a part of your local editorial executive team?


  • Creator experience outside the Odyssey bubble: Giving creators the opportunity to take on leadership and responsibility that they can carry onto future opportunities depending on their career trajectory
  • These positions don’t diminish the EIC role as it is now or what it could be in the future. Rather, these different leadership roles gives the EIC the opportunity to hold his/her executive team accountable. The EIC is partaking in all of the other leaders’ responsibilities, but has a direct person who knows everything about a particular EIC task [i.e., The EIC understands Facebook’s algorithm and can coach creators around packaging, but the social media director makes it a point to research best practices to present to EIC, do smart sharing hacks, etc.]
  • Giving creators these titles specifically presents new opportunities for them to interact with different counterparts across the country! There can also be opportunities for them to benefit from group calls with NYC’s best outreach specialists, audience development team, or culture queens

Here are the positions you can be screened for! If you're interested, contact your EIC:

1. Outreach Specialist

2. Social Media Director

3. Community Health Manager

4. Contributing Editor

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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13 Thoughts Broadcast Journalism Majors Have When Piecing Together Their First News Story

Quiet on the set.

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So you've decided that you want to be a Broadcast Journalist?

Many different thoughts go through you're while trying to first off figure out what story you want to pursue. After that, it's just a matter of getting everything that is needed for it and then putting it together.

For all clarity and purposes, I have already turned in my first news story, however as I was completing it, some (if not all) of these thoughts (or a variation of them) came across my mind at some point during the process.

1. Ok, so what are the important parts to my story?

book

And how do I convey those things to my viewers?

2. What b-roll should I get?

B-roll is supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot.

3. Do I have all the interviews I need?

interview

Who are the essential figures in this story?

4. What's my angle? How do I stick to it?

camera angle

Who do I need to interview for it?

5. What questions should I ask in my interview?

questions

And more importantly, What type of questions will get me the answers I want?

6. What are the important facts?

facts

Should they all be included?

7. Do my voice overs cover everything that my interviews don't?

interview

What else is needed for this story?

8. Agh, my video is over the 1 minute and 30 seconds allowed time.

ughh

Do I reduce it or do I leave it as is? I guess it depends on how much its over.

9. How should I say my tageline at the end of the video?

tag line

The tagline is when the reporter says their name and their station affiliation at the end of their story.

10. Should I include a standup? Where should it be?

news

What do I want to say?

11. Should I include a graphic?

news graphics

Is there something that can be said in a list form that the viewers need to see? Is it symptoms of a disease? Event details?

12. How do I make my interviews connect with my voice overs?

simple

Does what I am saying make sense?

13. What does my script need to look like?

script

Should I add a NAT pop here? What SOT (Sound on Tape) do I want to use?

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