Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. One of our first guests of 2021 is Helena Hicks, Social Media Manager for Airspeeder and founder of Females in Motorsport!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
My name is Helena Hicks and I am currently a Social Media Manager and Freelance PR and Content Creator, specialising in motorsport. My full-time position is with Airspeeder – the world’s first electric flying car racing series – and I have contracts alongside that including being a Digital Content Producer at Motorsport News and PR and Social Media at Wearegrip and Torque. On the writing side, I have recently been published on Eurosport after being commissioned by Ford Performance to produce articles looking at the future of motorsport. I am also the founder and editor of Females in Motorsport, which is a platform that shares stories and inspires that next generation of women in our sport.
What do you do in your current role?
Social media has a number of different sides to it – there’s the content creation, community management and digital media analytics. I begin the week ensuring that there’s a content plan for the next seven days and work with my team to gather all the assets needed – this could be video content or comments from the relevant people on articles. As I work for a new sport, we are growing our audience and emerging into new spaces. One of my tasks is to increase our engagement rate and subscriber count whilst building a list of content distribution partners. I also ensure that all of this is fed back to our CCO and CEO each month so they can see our wins and also areas that I’m working to improve. Away from this, I also write email campaigns, website articles and work on SEO across our site.
What does a normal week look like for you?
As with all sports, all weeks differ depending on calendar events and announcements. During the racing season which runs between March and November, I’ll often be on location for an event or I’ll be covering it from home (in terms of my freelance opportunities). This will require me to write press releases, interview the drivers and to live Tweet throughout the on-track sessions. I’ll also cover social media throughout that period and work with photographers to gather and use the best imagery. I’ll also be at the track until late on a Sunday night ensuring that everything has been distributed and signed off. Motorsport is by no means a 9-5 but that’s part of the reason why I love it!
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
Since a teenager, I very much knew that I wanted to work in motorsport. There was a press officer working at Red Bull Racing when Daniel Ricciardo was driving for the team and I discovered that role and what it entailed. That was when I was 16 and from there all of my work experience has been angled towards the media field. I have been very lucky to network and build my contacts which have led to some brilliant opportunities such as two work experiences at Mercedes Formula 1 team and writing a blog piece for what was Sauber F1. I actually told the person that inspired me late last year after she and her new company connected with Females in Motorsport. I think she was a bit surprised at the role she played in inspiring me!
What’s been your favourite moment whilst working in sports?
Last year was difficult as the sporting calendars were completely thrown upside down. At one point I really didn’t think that we were going to go racing at all. When I got the call to work with a client in the British GT championship I was delighted. I enjoyed the season from start to finish and it was just a joy to be at a race track after what seemed like such a long period away.
What do you think is next for your industry?
I would love to see the increase in diversity in motorsport. It’s a very white male-dominated sport and it has been since its creation. That has to change though and, hopefully through initiatives that the likes of Mercedes F1 team has founded and the FIA’s Women in Motorsport, I really do hope that we will begin to see that shift. It’s not a straightforward and easy fix, but action has to be taken now so the situation is better for the future generations.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Networking is key! I joined something called Dare To Be Different when I was 17 and have never looked back. I got connected with a group of likeminded people and industry experts who were happy to give advice. I used to be really nervous about approaching someone or messaging them but I’ve learnt that the worst they can do is say no or ignore you! Building up your contacts is really useful and even if they aren’t able to help you at that moment in time, you never know when they may come in useful.
How to follow Helena Hicks on social media…
We recently hit 10,000 subscribers across the Females in Motorsport platform which is a huge achievement for myself and the team. You can take a look at what we do here.
My website: www.helenahicks.com
My Twitter: www.twitter.com/_helenahicks
My Instagram: www.instagram.com/helenahicks_motorsport
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Helena Hicks! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.