One of the most common questions I get asked is how to get a job in "new media." For the record, I hate the term - if for no other reason than the abiguity; when do we decide that it is no longer new and just media?
When I say new media, I'm talking about online content creation companies - those brands whose product is primarily content. I used to manage a large new media team for one of Europe's largest banks, and then worked at a new media startup managing all of their community and social media efforts. Now I manage a much smaller team at my own company (Plum Deluxe). Other examples of fairly well-known new media brands: Buzzfeed, Internet Brands, Skift. I'll save the discussion on whether these are media companies or tech companies for another day - let's focus on getting you a job!
In addition to having a few employees of my own, I have also advised other startups and been involved in the hiring process. Here are four things I've noticed most new media hiring managers - myself included - are looking for.
When it comes to new media, it is all hands on deck. Photographers need to be able to do research and deliver copy. Writers need to be able to find extra stock photographs. Sales reps need to have a handle on creative editorial. There are no silos in this business.
Internet-based companies need employees who "get it." If you choose Instagram over Tumblr for your own personal life, that's great, but you need to understand how these different social spheres work and why one would/wouldn't use them. Oh, and the social media landscape seems to shift every 6 weeks, so keep your hands on the pulse, would ya?
Every industry on the planet is facing change and disruption - but new media companies? Well, that's change on a whole level of magnitude. Not only can the focus change from month to month, but the whole plan might change next week. That is in addition to the changes in the marketplace you're developing content for.
If you go by the traditional definition of a startup - "a business searching for a repeatable and scalable business model" (source) - then most new media companies are still startups, no matter how big or established.
I don't mean to sound dire - at the end of the day, life is short, so you should be in a job that you consider fun. If you aren't having any fun, then the company's customers and followers can tell; it shines through in your work. If your work puts a smile on your face, makes you laugh, or makes you feel proud, it will probably do the same for your audience -- and that is the name of the game.
If you are a new media hiring manager, what would you add to the list? Please share in the comments!
Image source: Jason A. Howie
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