CONTENT | STRATEGY | MARKETING
TELEVISION : DIGITAL : SOCIAL MEDIA : GAMES
I'm a senior content strategist with extensive experience in social media, news reporting, technology, video games, and children's programing, across television, digital, and print.
Most recently, I served at Senior Director, Creative Strategy at Nickelodeon, crafting the big-picture plan for how to talk about the Nick brand, from special events to movies, and implementing those plans across all screens. I worked on the team responsible for the Kids' Choice Sports Awards and the Emmy-nominated Kids’ Pick the President. I also spearheaded a major brand affinity program called Nick Likes, and directed research into brand initiatives, from panels to analytics.
This follows a storied career across news, games, and animation, which took me from writing for mainstream newsstand magazines (from Blender to Seventeen) to running editorial sites for major publishers including AOL and Ziff Davis, to teaching as an adjunct instructor at NYU, and finally to making the leap into television and working on one of the media industry's biggest issues -- how to bridge the gap between on-air and digital.
You can reach me at libeackerman [at] gmail.com or on LinkedIn.
Here's a slightly deeper dive into what I've been up to:
>Senior Director, Creative Strategy, Nickelodeon (2016-2017)
My creative strategy goal for Nickelodeon was to enable conversations with our audience in a way Nick hadn't before, by creating content based on input from our fans as well as content that spoke to larger trending topics. This led to increased engagement across social, digital, and YouTube, compared to other Nick content.
As the strategic lead for Nick’s Kids Pick the President project, I increased its cross-platform presence, emphasizing digital and social, while keeping the content kid-friendly during an especially charged election cycle. The project was nominated for a Daytime Emmy and won a Promax Gold award.
The Kids' Choice Sports Awards was a special challenge, as we wanted to build awareness by catering to a multi-generational co-viewing audience. We did this by teaming Nick talent up with sports and music celebs (from Russell Wilson to Pitbull) for promotional appearances across digital, social and on-air. The July 2017 broadcast was watched live by more than 1.7 million viewers (even as it was up against the season premiere of Game of Thrones).
>Content Director, Animation, Nickelodeon (2014-2016)
Our high-pressure mission: Bring back Spongebob after a two-year break. During that time, the SpongeBob development team had shifted efforts to complete the Spongebob Squarepants theatrical movie. As soon as we knew Season 9 was coming back, it was time to reignite the fans.
We created a new promotional campaign, called "Where's the Square?" playing into rampant online rumors about the future of Spongebob Squarepants. The multi-platform six-week campaign got fans pumped, and resulted in much higher social and digital engagement than normal, and the new Spongebob episodes premiered to high ratings, reversing a major pre-hiatus decline.
Another success: the launch of the new animated series, Loud House. The stakes were high -- Nickelodeon needed a new hit animation series. We started a pre-launch campaign on digital and social media to introduce kids to this new family of 10 siblings and used the relatable sibling angle -- as well as creator Chris Savino’s (Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory) real-life stories about growing up with 9 sisters -- to drive a deeper, more personal interest in the show. It worked. Loud House became the number one children's animated series on television in its first month on the air.
One of my favorite projects was creating an entirely original piece of interactive digital-exclusive content. I conceived and produced the Nick Dance Machine, a browser-based interactive experience that lets kids craft their own animated dance party. The game was played millions of times, and the average kid made around 15 different dance parties. One major score was getting 2015's hot-song-of-summer artist Silento to record a new version of his hit song "Watch Me," (you know, "Watch me whip, watch me nae-nae...") with Nick lyrics. The game also included a submission feature, and we selected kids’ creations and aired them alongside their names and ages.
>Editorial Director, Games, Nickelodeon (2013-2014)
As the content lead for both Nick's own branded online games and its highly successful Addicting Games brand (for older kids), I drove decisions on what games the company developed, and introduced the concept of sports games to the lineup. Games like Nick Baseball Stars and Nick Basketball Stars became the most-played games on the platform, and were (and continue to be) top revenue drivers for Nick.com and the Nick app.
>Editor-in-Chief, Games.com and GameDaily, AOL (2005-2013)
Shortly after I was brought in to run the editorial side of AOL's Video Games section, the company bought a semi-moribund enthusiast video game site called GameDaily and dropped it in my lap with a mandate to turn it into a traffic and revenue machine. By pivoting our content strategy towards trend-driven visual storytelling, we grew traffic and engagement more than 50 percent YOY.
Following that success, I remade Games.com, AOL's category leading casual games platform, bringing in more metrics and audience research to inform content programming, helped shift the mix towards original exclusive online games created for AOL by top casual game developers.
As a major SEO play, we saw social gaming was on the rise and that we needed to create content to fill what was a white space for us. At nearly zero cost, I added a news blog to the Games.com site, covering news from the world of Farmville and other Facebook games, becoming one of the first editorial sites to do so. The project instantly started generating millions of pageviews per month, and helped AOL capitalize on this huge organic trend.
>Digital Editor, Sync Magazine, Ziff-Davis (2004-2005)
Launching a brand new magazine is never easy, especially when your job is to create an online companion website from scratch without cannibalizing print sales. For Sync, the ambitious but short-lived newsstand glossy that mixed technology with men's lifestyle, the answer was to take the magazine's smart, irreverent voice and create complementary content specifically tailored for online audiences. In the days before widespread social media (!), I gave the print start-up an important foothold on the internet, and my digital stewardship impressed the editorial leadership and I was brought onto the print side to write major features and the magazine's monthly video games column.
>Editor-at-Large, TheGlobe.com (2001)
At this infamous dotcom flameout, I worked on the company's video game editorial content, including its old-school fan-favorite Webby-nominated website, HappyPuppy.com, were I directed daily publishing, managed an extensive team of freelance writers and expanded live event coverage.
>Editor, Kozmo.com (1999-2001)
One of the most notorious crashes of the dotcom 1.0 era, Kozmo.com was also my entry point to the world of digital media. I wrote editorial copy for the Video Games and Magazine sections, graduated to celebrity interviews, and made buying decisions based on sales metrics and customer feedback. I joined the City Launch team, planning and executing a rapid expansion into 11 major US markets.
>Managing Editor, Adams Business Media (1997-1999)
Fresh from a Journalism degree at Texas A&M to the publisher's assistant at this prolific trade magazine publisher. Within months, I was promoted to Managing Editor of a group of three magazines covering the beverage and bar business. It was a crash course in the brutal world of trade magazine publishing, but I also learned a lot of great cocktail recipes.
I've also been a columnist for ZDNet covering gamification and business trends in the digital space and taught a popular class in online media as an adjunct instructor at NYU. For years, my video game reviews appeared in magazines including Blender and SPIN and I've appeared as an expert talking head on CNBC, CNN and other news outlets.
Working in the video game space has been tremendous fun over the years. A few highlights for me include being named one of the "50 Most Influential Games Journalists" by Next-Generation magazine, and serving as a judge for both Spike TV's VGA awards and the E3 Game Critics Awards. My interest in games goes back to the early days of the internet, when I founded one of the very first video game websites for women, GameGal.com, in 1998.