We caught up with Aileen Rae Perez, the Social Media Manager for the Public Affairs section of GMA News and Public Affairs, on what makes a good video story and how her digital team is finding ways to thrive in a pandemic.
Let’s jump right in, what makes a good video story for social media?
Most people would say that a good video captures your followers’ attention in the first three seconds. However, all your efforts will go to waste if your audience does not watch the whole thing and engage. You know you have a gem if your video makes audiences feel something – laughter, compassion, anger, fear, or sadness. What is important is that your clip sparks conversation. Hopefully, the engagement leads to something tangible.
How did you overcome challenges in championing social media within a legacy broadcaster?
When I transitioned to digital promotions, I had to recalibrate my TV producer mindset to understand the science behind capturing your audience online. You must convince traditional producers about your strategy. Some people in production think that all we do is tweet and post promos. But what works on television may not be as effective online. If you want to convince them, show your data. The numbers will not lie. Once you prove to them that you are smart with your memes, they will listen to you.
How can smaller digital news teams can find success?
Smaller digital news teams should not be intimidated by mainstream players. Integrity is priceless. If they are not being purveyors of fake news, good journalism will always find the right community.
What is your team focusing on this year?
We have a couple of new blood in our team, so we’re focusing on training them. We are also looking forward to promoting our upcoming public affairs shows. Then, of course, there’s the 2022 Philippine national elections.
You've been with GMA Network since 2003. How did you start your career?
I got rejected the first time I applied. I don’t remember the name of my interviewer, but I won’t forget how he quickly dismissed my work and told me “I can’t hire you because you don’t have TV experience.” Well, I can’t have experience if he won’t hire me, right?
A year later my best friend at GMA asked if I could hang out with her during one of her research pieces for Jessica Soho Reports. While we were interviewing people, I realised that
was what I wanted to do –– even if it were for free. Later, one of her co-researchers resigned, and I got hired after an interview. Fresh grads should know that it’s easy to score a gig on TV. What’s hard is how to survive and excel in your craft.
You worked on award-winning Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho (KMJS). What makes the programme successful?
The showrunners of KMJS are some of the most talented and dedicated people in the industry. Since I’ve worked with Ma’am Jess, she always tells us to “never settle for mediocrity.” In every victory, she’s also the first to remind us that “When you’re getting lax, it means you’re starting to decline. Excellence is never comfortable.”
She is not the type to hog the spotlight. Even during her shining moments, she always shares her success with her staff. When you witness that kind of humility, it grounds you and pushes you to do your best. These are lessons I bring with me wherever I go.
Photo: Aileen (2nd screen from upper left) with her social media team in 2021.
Tell us about your proudest moment involving your team at GMA Network.
Oh wow, I asked my staff about this! I do not know why it’s hard to think of my proudest moment when all of us deserve a pat on the back just for surviving these dark times.
We’re fortunate because we already surpassed our targets this year. We even reached 10 million subscribers on YouTube in 2020. Aside from quantifiable accomplishments, most of my staff felt a sense of achievement because their content helped others power through. This is why it’s important to believe in the value of your work.
As a manager, I’m proud to work with young professionals who choose to hold the fort when it’s so much easier to just give up. There is much uncertainty in our lives these days. But I’m comforted by the fact that I was able to help build hard-working, creative, and resilient digital journalists who take pride in keeping #SerbisyongTotoo alive.
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