Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Erin Hodges, Digital Marketing Coordinator for MLB team, the Tampa Bay Rays!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
My name is Erin Hodges, I’m 25, and I currently live in Tampa, Florida. I’m obsessed with all things social media and sports. I also love working out and just so happen to potentially be addicted to caffeine/coffee haha! In terms of my job, I am the Digital Marketing Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Rays. I have been here for almost a year now. Previously I worked in the health/wellness industry for supplement companies and prior to that I had multiple internships across the sports industry while studying at NYU and earning my Bachelor’s of Sports Management.
What do you do in your current role?
In my role, I assist in over-seeing our social media platforms and all digital content. From posting to help creating the content, we do it all and work with an incredible team of videographers and graphic designers to make everything you see come to life. I also help with maintaining our website as well as our email marketing. No day is ever the same that is for sure!
What does a normal week look like for you?
Since we do over see a lot of different things it’s always changing! In season though, a normal week would have games on most days which we cover for social and then of course doing anything for email and the website on top of that. Pre-game, in-game, and post-game content is all covered by myself and my boss. We coordinate with our creative team as needed to ensure the best content possible. From highlights to long form content to sponsor activations and more, anything you see goes through us. We put out content across Twitter, IG/Stories, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Medium. Like I said, we also have any emails and website changes to handle as well. We do also work with our Community department on different activations and events too. o In the off-season we recap and take a look at everything we did previously, stay connected with our fans, and begin plans for the following season. Safe to say we stay busy!
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I personally always knew I wanted to work in sports media from the beginning, at least once I realized I wanted to work in business. I originally had the goal of doing sports medicine and to be a doctor, but in my junior year of high school I took a marketing class and was hooked. After that I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I just had to figure out how to then mix it with sports and thus the idea pf working in sports marketing was born. I was so passionate about marketing and social media that I knew that was the right path. I went to NYU and studied Sports Management with an emphasis in digital media. This is obviously a very focused path and I did that purely because I knew what I wanted. I was able to do plenty of internships to help gain experience across different areas of marketing and sports media. Internships were absolutely vital. I wanted to get as many “tools in my toolbelt” as I could while in college. Things I did included college athletics marketing, social media, ecommerce, media relations, business development, and more. Some of the brands/teams I worked for included Creighton University, NWHL, the USOC, Colorado Avalanche, and VaynerMedia/VaynerSports. Different levels of sport, different areas of concentration. I am grateful I had each of those opportunities and I also got to meet so many brilliant minds as well who helped inspire me to get me where I am. After college, I went a different way in “sports” in the health/wellness industry when I ran social media for Bodybuilding.com. I still got to work with athletes, influencers, and sports but it just from a different angle. It helped me gain so much experience and an outside looking in perspective that I could bring back into the typical “sports world” we think of when I did make that move back in this past year to the Rays.
What’s been your favourite moment whilst working in sports?
My favorite moment was probably this past season and working the World Series. It was an absolute incredible experience, even though it was a bit different due to the changes with COVID. As a rookie season in MLB goes… it was special to say the least. Being a part of it, creating the content, engaging with fans, and telling the stories we did is something I won’t forget. Our team worked incredibly hard to do what we could to bring our fans everything we could to remember such a huge moment for the franchise and the players. It will always be something I remember and the things we learned this year, the creativity we had to have, all of that I hope we can bring into next season to keep being one of the top social accounts in MLB.
What do you think is next for your industry?
I think anything along the lines of content being “athlete driven” is next. People want to get closer to the athletes not just the team itself. I think that anything that allows fans close and more access is next. From the apps you actually get on, to the content teams come up with, to what you see during broadcasts and beyond… access, access, ACCESS will change everything. This year with the pandemic, teams had to get creative with how to connect fans with the team and players. We are just scratching the surface in my opinion and looking forward to how teams and organizations bring fans closer than ever in the coming years. I also think that the athletes’ themselves are seeing the power they have on social and building their brands so I expect a lot of growth in handling that area too.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Nothing in this industry comes fast or easy. You are going to have to put in so much work, time, and energy into it. You will want things to happen fast but the best thing to do is keep going, stay patient, and don’t give up even in the hardest of times and the times when you want to throw in the towel or don’t feel noticed or you may get so many no’s when applying for internships/jobs. You are SO young. Stay the course, work hard, and in time the things you want will come. I realize that is easier said than done in many cases but give yourself the grace you need and allow yourself the space to be patient. It will be worth it.
How can people follow Erin Hodges on social media?
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Erin Hodges! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.