Welcome back to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Social Media Officer at Derby County, Jordan Brown!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
My name is Jordan Brown and I am currently the Communications & Social Media Officer at Derby County, a role which I’ve had since December 2019. Prior to that, I was Media Executive at Lincoln City, a position which I held for two-and-a-half years, immediately after completing my Sports Journalism University degree.
During my time at University, I took on a lot of freelance/voluntary/work experience roles, which included; Sky Sports News, working for BBC Sport over the Rio Olympics, Setanta Ireland, Myprotein, UNILAD, and others.
What do you do in your current role?
My role is effectively to run Derby’s social channels on a day-to-day basis. It involves a lot of planning and working with an extremely talented team across numerous departments, to help execute exciting content for Derby’s supporters across a range of social channels.
The role is always evolving, and it’s probably more crucial than ever before to be able to adapt to current trends and execute engaging content, as for most sport supporters around the globe, social media is one of the only ways to remain interacted with your team and community.
What does a normal week look like for you?
Have we had a normal week since March 2020?! In a pre-COVID world, each day would either be spent at Pride Park Stadium or Moor Farm (Derby’s training ground) planning and executing content alongside various departments and stakeholders.
COVID has obviously affected that dramatically, and has seen most of the work planned, created, and shared from home.
I am in daily contact with RamsTV, Graphics, and Communications department to make sure we are aligned and sharing key messages together, as well as constantly looking at ways to improve our social output further.
As for matchdays, I lead on our social channels at home and away fixtures. The pre-game content is prepared throughout the week, but anything post 2pm (an hour before kick-off) is usually reactive, albeit partially planned alongside club photographers and the RamsTV team for video clips.
Post-game can be a long shift, but rewarding if/when it ends in a victory. It involves more close work alongside the talented RamsTV team for the delivery of certain in-game clips that can be made platform-relevant, and post-match interviews, and other clips that would be ‘good content’ across socials.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
To answer the second part of the question first, I always wanted to be a footballer when I was growing up, but probably knew before I was a teenager that I wasn’t ever going to be good enough to follow in my Dad’s footsteps in becoming a professional footballer.
Just as I was leaving school, the interest in sports journalism world dawned upon me. I remember going on placement at the Lincolnshire Echo with Leigh Curtis and John Pakey, and seeing my work printed with a byline and thinking ‘I want more of this!’
From there, I remember switching courses at Sixth Form and applied for University from there, which pretty much led me to where I am today via a few stops along the way.
I took on loads of experience opportunities at University, ones that I felt would help me depending on which route of journalism I wanted to head down.
I worked voluntarily as Press Officer for a Step Six Non-League side, and got my first Premier League accredited gig in early 2016 as Setanta Ireland essentially wanted a Production Assistant to be on hand for Newcastle United’s Premier League games.
It only last a few months as they lost the Premier League rights at that point, but it helped me land a job at BBC Sport in the summer of 2016 to work in their production team for the Rio Olympics, which was phenomenal experience to have at Media City.
A couple of months after that, I had my placement at Sky Sports News, which was a surreal experience to have as I just-turned 19-year-old. Growing up watching Deadline Day and all sorts to working next to Jamie Carragher, Dermot Gallagher, Jim White and others was pretty inspiring.
But, also having a clear understanding of how a 24/7 news channel works across departments, from the planning that’s put into place, to creating content and scripts, to the producers roles, it was a real eye-opener for me.
I remember Bryan Swanson taking time out of his day to have a coffee with me and advise me on breaking into the media world and answering all of my questions, which I still take on board to this day.
Varying experiences like this, as well as the ones at Myprotein and UNILAD put me in a good position as to whether I wanted to go down the ‘club media’ or ‘sports reporting’ route.
The following summer was when I landed my first full-time role. I was an extra pair of hands in the Ticket Office as the club had just won promotion from the National League after the crazy FA Cup run, and Season Ticket sales were through the roof, but the Managing Director at the time was discussing with the-then Commercial Manager about wanting to get another Media team member in, and my ears were burning.
The next day, I had my CV on his desk and my full-time journey started from there in June 2017, just a month after I’d finished my University course and before I’d graduated.
What’s been your favourite moment whilst working in sports?
There have been a few. Lincoln have always been a huge part of my family, so the opportunity to cover their first trip to Wembley Stadium, and see them lift the trophy was pretty special. Especially with it being less than a year into full-time work. The expectations were set quite high!
I’d probably say being able to produce the content around the open top bus tour after securing the league title was a special day.
Being on the bus itself and executing once-in-a-lifetime content was great to be able to be a part of, and it’s something that’ll live with me forever.
This couple with the fact that the bus tour ended at the club’s End of Season Awards dinner, which I had co-scripted alongside Sky Sports’ Johnny Phillips. It was an extremely long weekend, after the club had lifted the trophy the day before, but unbelievably rewarding looking back on it.
What do you think is next for your industry?
I think it’s forever changing with the world we’re in at the moment. The way audiences are taking in content now is different to how they took it in 12 months ago, but also expectations will probably have changed too.
Will we see that continue to change as the world looks to start to move safely to back to some form of normality with supporters returning? Time will tell on that one, but the way sport has come together during these times has been great to see, and I hope that continues.
One thing I certainly would like to see is the implementation of hate/abusive messages dealt with properly. I’d like to see social platforms implement the idea of ensuring all accounts are associated with a valid ID.
I do believe this will be a strong deterrent for these horrific messages of abuse, because, the structure in place now doesn’t seem to be helping much.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
I’m probably not qualified to give this advice, but I can speak from my position that I’d advise getting as much experience as possible. That may involve long hours, doing the less glamorous jobs or working for free, but it’ll be worth it in the long run as it shows how keen you are to get stuck in. There are plenty of local clubs across a variety of sports that would be grateful for the coverage, and it offers a great platform for you to learn on the job and showcase your talents.
How to follow Jordan Brown on social media…
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