Meet Illustrious Sir Rick Reyes, Potentate and Blogger
As Potentate of Alzafar Shriners in San Antonio, Texas, Rick Reyes understands how important it is for members to feel engaged, informed and included in temple life. From the beginning of his term as Potentate, Illustrious Sir Reyes has used his Potentate’s Blog as just one tool in his communications arsenal. From regular features like “Monday Morning Communication” and “Friday Noble Spotlight” to updates about temple events and units, the blog always has fresh content for the Alzafar community.
Reyes gives credit to a hard-working team of nobles for the success of not just the blog, but the overall communication strategy success at Alzafar.
“It’s important to me that our nobles and our ladies receive all the credit for the success of the blog and the other social media campaigns we’ve implemented. I just had a vision and some really amazing friends and family willing to help my vision come to fruition,” said Reyes.
Q&A With Rick Reyes
How did you decide to create a blog for your year as Potentate?
The decision came from many years of observing those who came before me and my own desire to keep our nobility abreast of all things Alzafar in an efficient and effective manner. In 2020, our then Potentate Imperial Sir Marty Bartlett started his version of a blog with an emphasis on social media due to COVID. He focused his efforts on YouTube stories and Facebook posts, which to me, was brilliant. In 2021, our then Potentate Robert Norman took it a step further by introducing a weekly email newsletter so that our nobility knew what was coming in the weeks ahead.
This year, I knew I wanted to somehow combine those two amazing ideas but wasn’t sure how I'd do it. I am lucky enough to surround myself with some amazing and brilliant individuals, one of them being Luis Cardenas. Luis is our Potentate’s Aide this year and happens to be an ace when it comes to computers, social media and webpage design. I basically told him what I was trying to accomplish, and he showed me how to implement an efficient and effective digital strategy utilizing the resources that Alzafar already had in place. I attribute the success of the blog and Alzafar's social media presence to Luis and many others who have paved the way for our online successes this year.
What are the benefits of a Potentate and/or temple having a regularly-updated blog?
Communication, communication, communication. The benefits are endless. In years past, as with many temples, one of the biggest complaints from the nobility is that they don’t know what's going on. In my experience, when an organization knows what's going on, you tend to have more participation and a happier membership base.
A recent example of this could be seen in a Circus planning meeting we held a few weeks back. We posted about the meeting in our blog the week before and the week of. We added an event to social media and then invited our nobility to it. We then utilized WebFez email to send out three blasts prior to the meeting. With each touchpoint, we made sure to mention date, time and place. We had standing room only for that meeting. For those that are in leadership roles, when you have a planning meeting with more than 50 people there, you're doing something right. Another benefit is the recognition of nobles for their hard work via the Friday Morning Noble Spotlight. They truly enjoy it, and I've learned so much about our nobility through the questions that I ask them. Finally, the unit/club spotlight provides insight to our newer nobles on what's out there for them to participate in.
What advice do you have for other Potentates and/or temples wanting to start a blog?
Start small and work from there. Check with your website host to see if you can add a blog page. Luis found that through Go Daddy, there was already a template for a blog. It made it incredibly easy to build what we wanted ours to look like from there. Most importantly, if you can find yourself a Luis, that would be a great start…. And no, you can't have ours. LOL!
What topics do you feature on your blog?
Every week I give a Monday Morning Blog post which goes over what's on the agenda for the week and what we have coming up for the next couple of weeks. I also showcase something great that happened the week before and give a quick update on major items we have in the works. On Friday, I alternate Blog posts with a Friday Morning Noble Spotlight and usually the next week, a Friday Morning Unit/Club/Event Spotlight. On occasion, when we have major events the weekend before, I will post a Wednesday blog to put emphasis on the success we had. Finally, we utilize WebFez email to sprinkle additional pieces of excellence to the nobility throughout the week. Sometimes those go in the blog and sometimes they don’t.
Do you create the content on your own or do you have anyone to help you?
I guess you could say I create the content verbiage on my own, but it’s a team effort on multiple levels. I simply report on what the nobility is doing. I try to be observant each week at the various events we are at. From there, I write what I see or what others have asked me to. The best resource we have is our calendar. That is where I gather info for the Monday morning blog, along with resources from our Divan members when they want info disseminated to the nobility. For the Friday blog post, I typically reach out to a Shriner during the week leading up to it and discuss the preset questions I have for them.
As for our social media page, we typically share anything we find on any one of the Shriners Children's or Shriners International social media pages. Lastly and most importantly, I’m blessed to have a father who is a Past Potentate himself and one amazing digital artist. Anytime I need an image for the blog or one of our events that will go in the blog, he puts it together in short order and with what appears to be ease, although, I know it’s not easy at all. He does an amazing job with our digital marketing and his efforts always make the blog so much better.
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