Friday, 24 April 2015

Exclusive interview with Coronation Street Digital Editor

We are delighted to bring you an exclusive Coronation Street Blog interview with Dan Archibald, the man who manages Coronation Street's online presence.  Dan and his colleage Alan Toner at ITV Corrie have recently been nominated as Best Content Team in the Prolific North Awards. And with their achievements recognised in this way, what better way than to ask Dan to tell us all about his job tweeting and writing online about our favourite show!

Dan hard at work on #AskCorrie with Tina O'Brien (Sarah Platt)
Please introduce yourself and tell us your job title and how long you've been in the role.
My name is Dan Archibald and I’ve been the Coronation Street Digital Editor for a little over a year.
Basically, I look after as well as the social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. 

What's a typical day like as Digital Editor for Coronation Street?
That’s the joy of this job - there are very few typical days! I watch every episode of Coronation Street to pick out the key moments to highlight on the social platforms. This depends on story beats, funny one-liners etc. but also with half an eye on future storylines and where the characters or plots are heading. To do this, I do a lot of analysis around what people are responding too after every episode. Then, using a combination of sentiment and statistics I try and pre-empt what the fans are going to like or want to talk about!

That’s the fun part of the job, as I then get to sit and watch the episode again with the rest of the country and modify and change our focus, in real-time, as everyone else is watching and talking about it!
Rest assured, we see all your comments (the good and bad) and everything is taken on board.

Away from the socials, my main focus is writing and creating content for while working closely with the other departments at Corrie (including the cast!) to find little nuggets to share with our fans. The rest of my time is spent delving into statistics and providing feedback to the rest of the company about how we're performing, working up technical ideas such as the voting mechanics on Who Killed Tina? or the multiple endings on What Would Kirk Do? as well as dipping my toes into the commercial world, by helping to activate Online sponsorship deals etc.

Dan hard at work on #AskCorrie with Brooke Vincent

Were you a Corrie fan before you started the job? What was it like to meet some of the icons of the cast? Do you get a bit star struck?
I think the joy of Corrie is that everyone has been a fan at some point or another in their life. For me, Coronation Street always reminds of my Nan coming round for Sunday dinner when I was younger. We’d all sit around and watch it as a family and so I've always feel quite sentimental when I think back.

I haven’t been too starstruck when it comes to meeting the cast - I’ve been working in TV for a few years now and you do get used to it. Saying that I was a massive Red Dwarf fan and I did have to double take when I first saw Craig Charles in the canteen!

One of the fab behind-the-scenes pics of cast members regularly tweeted by @itvcorrie
What do you like most about your job at ITV?
The people. Every single person I’ve worked with has been genuinely lovely. You hear a lot of stories about working in TV before you start, but I’ve been nothing but impressed with everyone’s professionalism - and sense of fun!

And what would you change if you could?
I could do with a few more hours in the day.

What did you do before you started at Coronation Street?
I started off as a runner and researcher working freelance on everything from Big Brother to Blue Peter, but my first digital job was making behind-the-scenes videos and blogs for The One Show.  From there, I worked on shows like Strictly Come Dancing and EastEnders before moving over to ITV nearly 6 years ago.

I was initially brought into ITV to look after Emmerdale and the ITV Drama Premiers (Downton Abbey and Primeval were my first websites!) but I then moved into the Online Entertainment Department and produced shows like Saturday Night Takeaway and The X Factor before moving back up north to Manchester.

Is your job full of meetings about meetings or is it quite fun?
So much fun! I get to write and make up silly jokes for a living - plus the meetings are usually quite useful.

Cast members watching the Corrie Challenge online mime-off between Jack P Shepherd and Les Dennis
Watch it here, it's great!
You work closely with Alan Toner, the Corrie Digital Producer. Can you explain a little about what Alan does please?
The Coronation Street Digital Department is a two man team. Digital Producer Alan Toner is the other half of our merry little band. Every single video that you see online has in some way come from Alan's marvellous brain. Whereas my main focus is always on what is coming up in the next few weeks and reflecting what’s going on now, Alan is always looking ahead of time.

Alan works very closely with the writers and storyliners to strategise what our focus should be coming up. He’s the guy that’s out there on set filming behind-the-scenes and interviewing the cast. Alan is also the man who drags our amazing additional mini-dramas to life online. Directing the crew on the likes of Streetcar Stories and What Would Kirk Do?

And can you explain a little about the Prolific North Award that you and Alan Toner have been nominated for? When do you find out if you've won it? What will you do to celebrate if you do?
It’s amazing to be shortlist for Best Content Team in the Prolific North Awards. Alan and I really love what we’re doing and for that to be noticed is really very much appreciated. There is a real buzz and excitement around the media and creative industries in the North at the moment and to be included, in our small part, with that resurgence is very flattering.

We won’t find out if we’ve won until they read out the names on the night, but if we win I’m sure there will be some partying involved - it would be very rude not to.

What advice would you give anyone who is reading this who would like to get experience to enter the same type of career as you have?
Be friendly, work hard and don’t set yourself up to do just one thing. The more open (and brave) you can be to saying yes to jobs across all mediums, genres and platforms, the more well rounded you will be when you find the thing you want to do.

Social media didn’t even exist when I started working in TV - I remember working on a report about this new Twitter thing and thinking it would never catch on, and now I spend most of my week Tweeting for a living - it’s bonkers!

With our very best thanks to ITV and to Dan Archiband for this great interview. Cheers and good luck in the Prolific North Awards!

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