1. Before we dive into your role at the Australian Olympic Committee, what has your career journey looked like so far?
My career journey has just started. Almost out of university with a degree in Business (Marketing and Economics), my career has been mainly dictated by my interests and work experience.
In January of 2020, I volunteered in Court Services at the ATP Cup at Sydney Olympic Park. It was the first official sporting event I had worked at and while I had a passive operational role, I remember thinking that one day, I would be one of the staff that called the shots. That I’d be involved in all the behind the scenes, promotional, commercial aspects of the event. I told myself that one day, I’d be the ‘boss’.
Since then, I’ve interned as a Creative Writing and Marketing Intern at a startup called ‘trace’, which I found through my university’s careers portal. It was there that I also found the opportunity to intern with the Australian Olympic Committee’s Public Affairs and Communications Team during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. I’ve held this position as Social Media Coordinator at the AOC since late-November of 2021.
2. Transitioning into work, what the heck does a Social Media Coordinator @ the Australian Olympic Committee do?
What is the Australian Olympic Committee?
The Australian Olympic Committee is the NOC that governs the Olympic movement in Australia. We promote the spirit of the Games on a community level, as well preparing our Teams for Summer, Winter, Youth and Regional Olympic Games.
How is the marketing function structured?
The marketing branch of any National Olympic Committee functions differently to the same department in a conventional for-profit business. The entire country turns to us during Games-time, so our role isn’t so much to distinguish ourselves from any competitors. We essentially service our sponsors, partners, athletes and national federations. Since we don’t sell a physical product, our main commodity is promotion, recognition and impressions from the public. All in all, the more attention our campaigns with partners attract, the more valuable the relationship becomes for both parties. That attention also helps our athletes, as they are able to attain their own partners and sponsors.
What does your role entail?
As the AOC’s Social Media Coordinator, I oversee all of our social channels to share with the public organic content from our athletes and the public, as well as paid content to service our sponsors. I’m also responsible for executing our Games-time social media strategies, which combines our regular content schedule with coverage of our athletes during the Olympic Games. While I plan, execute, moderate and review all content across our six channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, TikTok), I also produce content for our website and assist in the promotion of events, such as uniform launches, team announcements, national federations’ news, etc.
3. What’s an example of a campaign that you’ve worked on and what was your role in bringing it to life?
While I interned at the AOC, I launched our TikTok page just before the beginning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. By the end of the Games, we had reached 145,000 followers and just over 2 million likes. Creating content that embodied the spirit of the Olympic Games and the Aussie personality, while not being allowed to use any official footage or create any footage from within an Olympic venue or the Athlete’s Village was tricky to work around, but the reception from our viewers was overwhelming. Our followers, both from Australia and around the world, were creating organic content for us, which made my job a whole lot easier.
4. What do the entry level pathways for aspiring sports marketers look like?
Students looking to get into the sports industry today are facing some mighty challenges. With much of the work in this industry being seasonal, as sporting events are often mobile, you have to be prepared for a highly competitive environment. Appropriate opportunities may be far and wide, so students need to be agile in their approach to the working world.
While you may think that hiring managers are looking for people studying the right degree, what they really want to see from you is passion and hard work. Experience is highly valuable, so volunteering, especially at a grass roots level is always a resume-booster. Volunteering positions are great to have, but an internship will always teach you more and make you a better candidate for any future opportunities.
5. What’s one thing you recommend an aspiring sports marketer do right now?
Network. Network, network, network. And once you’re done with that, network some more. With so many different aspects to working in sport, sharing experiences with like-minded others offers no cost to yourself. Building connections builds you as a sports marketer. There are some great networking groups for young graduates looking to get into the sports industry (Shoutout to SportsGrad), that helped people like me secure their dream roles in sport.