Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hello, I’m Jake Gallagher. I suppose I’ve got a rather unique career path which started as I finished university in 2008 when the recession hit. I wanted to be a P.E teacher and was extremely passionate about pursuing a career in teaching, but there was not a wealth of opportunities in my area. Instead, I took a job in a local pub as a barman where I stayed for a few years after moving into the pub kitchen as a chef.
Around this time, I started a Twitter account (@Football__Tweet) as a hobby, which rapidly attracted advertising opportunities due to the audience size and started to make more money from one or two tweets a day than a 12-hour shift in a kitchen.
A light bulb went off and that’s how I got into social media. It’s was luck and timing to be honest punctuated by hard work and consistency of the content.
My roles in social have included Social Media Manager at Squawka, who provided football data to fans in real-time which was followed by a role at JOE Media as Head of Social. Now I’m at oddschecker, an odds comparison and betting firm heading up the social and content team.
What do you do in your current role?
I’m tasked with shaping the content strategy for the business and delivering on that strategy. We’ve got a couple of brilliantly talented teams who do a great job of creating content that speaks of who we are and what we stand for.
What does a normal week look like for you?
Since lockdown it’s been very different, as I’m sure it has for most of us, but currently I’m working from home in a converted attic which is actually quite cushty.
After my 15 second commute upstairs, the week starts with a reminder of the sporting calendar and looking at which events we’re going to preview within the various sections of our content, be it video, audio, written or social-first.
We’re currently working on a range of campaigns including the oddschecker Betting Podcast, a show that previews the biggest sporting events from a betting angle and Edge of the Box by WhoScored, which is a Premier League football preview show with statistics and data at its heart.
We also have our flagship content campaign called Studs Up with QPR’s Charlie Austin and ITV’s Oli Bell, a YouTube show and podcast that marries the worlds of football and horse racing. Here we’re telling the stories of footballers, current and retired, who’ve had careers in football and have a passion for horse racing.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
Growing up I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but I knew it would be sport related. I worked as a football coach in California and San Diego when I was 19 and that confirmed to me that I wanted to go into P.E teaching full-time. But alas, the chance didn’t come (as mentioned earlier) and I was fortunate to find other opportunities to pursue in social media.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I’m excited by sponsored content partnerships that work for both the content creator as well as the sponsor. Our focus for 2021 and 2022 is to commercialise our content output and the team have got a stream of ideas to pitch to partners as we come out of lockdown and sport returns fully with fans back in stadiums.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
To have passion for the projects we’re working on and to ensure the team are bought in. If you have buy-in from the team and everyone knows their role you’re already on the way to creating campaigns you can be proud of.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
It’s an overused cliché but be nice and be yourself. Just because you’re in business and you’re in a professional environment doesn’t mean you’ve got to turn into a knobhead who thinks they’re on The Apprentice. Just hard work, be honest, learn from the people around you and work hard again.
Also surround yourself with a good team and hire well. The rest will slot into place.
How to connect with Jake Gallagher
I used to care a lot about personal followings on Instagram and Twitter, but I’ve not got too much time for it these days. Probably a sign of my age! I’m on Twitter: @MatchoftheDave if you like fantasy football ramblings.
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