Hillary Pemberton and How Her Career as a Student-Athlete Prepared Her For a Career in Content Marketing

A few weeks ago I was able to ask an old classmate some questions about her new life as a content marketer. Hilary Pemberton was a student-athlete for the University of Norther Colorado Women’s Tennis Team and marketing major at the Monfort College of Business. After graduating in 2016, she began her work as a freelance writer and blogger. Her tennis career highlight was winning 107 matches as a Division I athlete. Her experiences on the court and in the classroom prepared her for a career in content marketing. She now writes on her blog Love Is An Adventure about her biggest passion, love.

Athletics

Baile: Can you give me a summary of your tennis career?
Hilary: I started my tennis career 3 and I started at UNC as a freshman. I came to UNC not just for the tennis team but because I loved the business school. During my four years, I found my home at Kepner [Monfrot College of Business] and I really think that was one of the most enjoyable parts of my time at school.
Baile: How did the day-to-day schedule of a student-athlete prepare you for the business world?
Hilary: Being an athlete teaches you a lot about time management, prioritizing, and dealing with limited free time. After graduation, life doesn’t slow down. There’s always something to do and there are goals that You are constantly working for. Being an athlete helped me realize I can handle stress and succeed under pressure.
Baile: How did you balance your studies and practice schedule?
Hilary: I’m a big list-maker. I’m always writing down my schedule and the Things I need to get done. This helps me prioritize and plan out how I’ll spend my time each day. If you’re organized and have a plan, you can fit everything in!

Content Marketing

Baile: What is your favorite type of marketing?
Hilary: I love content marketing because it has allowed me to pursue my passion in writing. Blogging has taken over and I absolutely love it!
Baile: How did you get started doing content marketing?
Hilary: Thanks to Denny McCorkle [UNC Marketing Professor], I was connected with a guest speaker, Valerie Morris who owns a content marketing company named Tintero Creative. Because of my writing skills, she gave me a job as a freelance writer and editor. It’s been a great experience.
Baile: What is it like to be a freelance content writer?
Hilary: It’s great to do what I enjoy and have an income on the side.

Love is an Adventure

Baile: Where did you get the idea for Love Is An Adventure?
Hilary: I’m a hopeless romantic and I always have been. In fact, this past January, I married my boyfriend of 5 years. (Also a graduate of UNC.) In high school, I used to write about relationships on Tumblr. It was a way to express my feelings. As I’ve grown, learned more about myself and my relationship, I’ve become known as the advice giver among my peers. I felt it was time to write about what I knew and was passionate about. The final push was that in our vows, Jeff and I both talked about all of the adventures we had taken together and how that had been such a part of our love story. And the idea just grew from there.
Baile: How have your connections from being a student-athlete helped you promote your blog?
Hilary: Connections, whether they’re in sports or anything else, are always helpful. The more people you know and the bigger your network is, the more exposure your work has.

Baile: What are some of your favorite blogs?

Hilary: I love Beating 50 Percent by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff. They give marriage advice and are so committed to beating the statistic that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.

Final Thoughts

Baile: What advice would you give student-athletes for developing their careers?
Hilary: (Follow your passion, think outside the box, etc). Find your passion and find a way to work your passion into your career. I knew I wanted writing to be part of my career but before I could get paid, I had to take unpaid internships and put my stuff out there without incentive. But once I had a portfolio, people gave me a chance to be paid for what I loved.
Baile: If you had one thing to tell a student-athlete preparing for their future career what would it be?
Hilary: Being an athlete shows you that anything can be accomplished. If you can get through four years of competitive sports without breaking down, you’ve done something right. Sports are mentally and physically challenging. So far, that’s been the hardest four years of my life. But also the most rewarding.
The life of a student-athlete might not be glamourous, but it has clearly paid off for Hilary. Be sure to check out her blog Love Is An Adventure and Like her Facebook Page.

Top 5 Things I Learned in Social Media Marketing

This semester, I was enrolled in Social Media Marketing for one of my marketing elective courses. I never thought I would enjoy learning so much about SMM before taking this course. We covered a variety of social media platforms, created a personal blog, and nailed down our career focuses. I took away a lot of great things from the course, but the following are my favorite!

1. Become Hootsuite Certified

Not only will future employers be impressed by your desire to learn, they will be thrilled that you can come into the job with this valuable social media skill. The training is pretty simple to complete but packed full of tips, tricks, and insights on how to use this scheduler most effectively. Hootsuite makes the program self-paced and easy to understand. The final exam has a few tricky questions, so make sure you took good notes and are familiar with the platform.

Pro Tip: Try to get your school or company to pay for the exam!

2. Build a Personal Learning Network

If you think Twitter is dead, you aren’t using it correctly. Building Twitter Lists is the best way to find relevant content in your career focus. Following industry leaders is not only informative, but also inspiring. Engaging with them is even better. Check out my lists here.

Feedly is another great way to build your PLN. Subscribe to any blog in your career focus and monitor their activity in a user-friendly format.

Pro Tip: Add the Feedly extension to your Google Chrome.

3. Create a Personal Branding Strategy

Decide how you want to stand out from the crowd. Do you want to be well known in your industry? First, create a blog as your home base. Then, be present across all social channels. You don’t have to be active every day in all of them, pick three of your favorites and be consistent with your posting. Be sure to engage with others in your industry and even feature them on your channels, too.

Pro Tip: Keep a journal with you and jot down ideas for blog posts. Digital Marketer gives a great list of some ideas if you get stuck!

4. LinkedIn is Better Than Your Resume

I’m not the only one who thinks this! Denny McCorkle writes about LinkedIn being the place where your resume goes to die. I’ve found this to be true in the job search process.

In several interviews, I was asked questions directly off my LinkedIn profile. If this social channel isn’t up to date, I would recommend starting here. Create a headline that clearly defines who you are and what your career focus is. Then, tell your story on your extended profile. Be sure to add some personality here. Next, fill out all career-relevant experience, work history, education, and certifications. Don’t forget your skills! These should be professional skills you have listed on your resume. Ask people who have worked with to endorse you.

Pro Tip: Get someone to write a review about you on LinkedIn. This builds your reputation and reinforces your personal brand.

5. Be Authentic

People don’t want to follow a robot. Don’t just copy and paste URLs and Tweet them out. Find something valuable in every blog post and add a relevant comment.

Show your followers what you’re really up to. Some of my best posts were of my most sincere moments (see my LinkedIn post about studying in the hotel lobby). People love to see that you are capable of achieving success in your career while doing normal human things.

Pro Tip: Go the extra mile to find out who the author of the blog is and tag their @Name in your Tweet or social post.

Last Words

Overall, taking Social Media Marketing was not only helpful for understanding how to use social platforms but helpful in developing my personal brand. My biggest takeaway was to decide how  I wanted to be seen in my career focus. The most important brand you can work for is YOU.

How have you worked on your personal branding? What are your favorite social media platforms to use to build your PLN? I can’t wait to see what you have done in the comments below!

Why Golf Is Making Me A Great Businesswoman

 

Why golf is making me a great businesswomman1

In the Summer of 2016, I attended a Digital Marketing Summit in New York City. This was one of the most inspiring events I could’ve ever attended. At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do in my career, but the summit was able to give me perspective. I listened to several professionals in the industry speak about their careers. As they told their stories, I knew this was the path for me. Despite my newfound desire for a career in digital marketing, I left the summit discouraged. I was told by a recruiter that I lacked experience. She said, “I wouldn’t know if you could even behave in an office environment.”

I couldn’t believe my years as an athlete, growing up on a golf course, would be completely overlooked in an instant. Didn’t she know golf is about etiquette, respect, accountability, trust, honesty, and discipline? Didn’t she know I’ve played golf with managers, partners, business owner, CFO’s, and CEO’s (usually two, three, and four times my age)? I felt insulted. But then, I realized, if I wasn’t a golfer, would I know about the prestige of this sport? Now when someone says I lack experience, I don’t become defensive. Instead, I teach people why golf is making me a great businesswoman.

Let’s get started.

Etiquette

In Golf

It’s one of the first rules taught on the golf course. When you’re a kid it’s things like “Don’t talk when others are swinging” or “Fix your ball mark on the green” or “Make it look like you never even played the course”.  When you’re older it’s things like “Make eye contact when you’re talking to your competitor” or “Listen and ask good questions” or “Be courteous to those around you”.

Etiquette in golf is like good manners at the dining room table; when you have them, the food doesn’t taste better, it’s just more fun to eat with you.

In Marketing

Caroline Riley at Go Local Interactive writes about the 5 Lessons the Golf Course Taught Me About Working With Clients. She says “marketing also has best practices, and clients expect transparency throughout the whole process. Your job is not to cheat your way around results, but to pursue them wholeheartedly with “white-hat” tactics. Clients expect honest, respectful, and clear communication. Etiquette means keeping your clients up to date with accurate information, no matter the circumstances.”

Transparency is a trend we can all get behind.

Respect

In Golf

Growing up on a golf course teaches you a lot about respect. (And it isn’t a coincidence that it is one of the First Tee’s 9 Core Values.) One of my favorite ways to teach junior golfers about respecting others is by thanking the pro-shop.

There is a lot that goes into making a great golf course (maintenance staff, cart barn staff, pro-shop staff, the head golf professional, swing coaches, and other members). Over time, you can begin to feel entitled to have whatever you want, whenever you want it. In reality, the people working to make the course better, aren’t  there just for you. A simple “thank you” and appreciation for all they have done for you goes a long way.

You are never better, above, or more important than the people making your experience great. That’s why the first thing I teach the junior golfer is to be thankful.

In Marketing

I was once assigned to a group for a project in class. The members of our team didn’t know each other and it was really hard for us to collaborate successfully on this assignment. About halfway through the semester, I began to realize that we weren’t working well with each other because there was a lack of respect. Some of the members felt that they better than the other members, and some members felt belittled and without work. I decided that we needed to have a meeting to discuss roles on the team. This meeting was very helpful because it gave each member a purpose.

By the end of the semester, we were getting along and enjoying working on the final presentation. When we were able to appreciate each member’s talent and contribution, it was easier to respect each other.

Respecting others isn’t just important because it makes people feel good, it can actually help your team reach its highest potential.

Accountability

In Golf

Golf is a unique sport because it is played individually, but in college, your team is evaluated based on four scores.

When I am in school, I am held accountable by my coach. He is constantly meeting with me to find out what I am working on, how I am trying to improve, and making suggestions for my improvements. Despite his desire to keep me accountable, my success is ultimately left up to me. I am the one who has to evaluate each round and find the places of my game to work on. I have to decide to stay late after practice to finish my drills.

Over the summer, it is up to me to continue to practice. My coach doesn’t check in on us every day to make sure we are improving. My work is evaluated when I come back to school each fall. If I want to succeed, it’s up to me.

In Marketing

In the office, I will have a boss checking in on me to make sure I am getting my work done correctly. He or she will not be hand-holding me making sure I do the work, I will be the one working independently and keeping myself on track each day. Using the skills I have learned from my days as a student-athlete have prepared me to work efficiently and independently.

Honesty and Trust

In Golf

The Webster Dictionary defines honesty as “the quality or state of being truthful; not deceptive”. Golf gives you a lot of opportunities, to be honest, and for other’s to trust your honesty. Whether that’s shooting your lowest score when you played by yourself or not cheating when nobody is watching you, honesty, trust, and integrity are the most important values of this game. Because at the end of the day, it’s only you and a little white ball.

In Marketing

In marketing, we do a lot of brainstorming activities. Many of which provide great ideas. It can be easy to try to pass an idea off as your own, especially if that person isn’t working on your project.

My rule of thumb is always to give more credit than necessary.

Discipline

In Golf

Goal setting is one of my least favorite, necessary activities. Don’t get me wrong, I love dreaming up new goals, but often times the process can feel daunting. Sometimes I’ll try to convince myself having them in my head is enough, or other times my approach has been to “just see how it goes”. Neither approaches have ever worked successfully.

Even though I don’t like taking time each month to set new goals, evaluate the old ones, and make a plan on how to improve, I’ve found forcing myself to write these things down has made a huge difference in my game.

In Marketing

How will I even know how to set work goals? S/O to my favorite career helping site for being on top of this tricky topic! Career Contessa breaks down How To Set Career Goals in a simple, step-by-step way.

I think the most important thing here is to remember to be realistic. It’s great to dream and have a goal to be a CEO one day, but maybe it won’t happen after one year on the job.

Keep dreaming but remember to give yourself something to achieve in the near future!

The 18th hole (We’re almost done here)

As you can see, golf has prepared me a lot for working in a marketing agency. I can’t wait to go back and speak at that digital marketing conference and say “golf is the reason why I am a great businesswoman!” Seriously, this sport has given me every opportunity to be the best, while maintaining a balance between being professional and fun.

What are some ways you’ve seen golf prepare you for the business world? Was it through meetings on the golf course? Or simply the benefits of networking at the club? Golf is one of the best ways to build relationships with clients while building your personal brand.

Marketing Motivation

I was recently talking in an interview about why I love marketing. To me, marketing is exciting because we get to bring people experiences they’ve never had before. We get to stimulate deep undiscovered desires. As marketers, we give people solutions they never knew they needed. Every day I am inspired to begin my career bettering our community.

Why do you love marketing? What have been some of the most inspirational projects you’ve worked on?

Beauty//Confidence//Thanksgiving

On March 4-5 our team competed in Sedona, Arizona to play at the Red Rocks Invitational. Sedona is one of my favorite places to play golf. I was so thankful to have the opportunity to play at Oak Creek Country Club.

Here’s what I took away from this past week:

Find the beauty

This was the easiest thing to do on our trip. We arrived in Sedona late Thursday night, so we didn’t see much of the beauty until Friday. I’m naturally an early riser, so I decided to do some morning exploring. Right outside our room was a short hike called “Scenic Vista”. I didn’t know that when I first decided to go on the hike I would find such a gorgeous place, but I took a chance to do something new on my own. When I got to the top I stood there for a moment thinking about how blessed I am to have this beauty right outside my door. I walked back down and later brought my teammates with me to check out this hidden gem.

When I get into my career in digital marketing, I know that some days, the results will be unknown, the opportunities unclear, and the choices impossible. But in the morning (or in days/weeks/months), the full picture will be revealed. I’ll just have to stay curious and walk outside my door to see the beauty.IMG_1655

It’s okay to be aggressive

The course we played this weekend was super getable, but I found myself wanting to play conservative. In the back of my mind I had a fear of doing something wrong. I wasn’t scoring the way I thought I should be and I was starting to get disappointed. My coach was noticing my defensive mentality and told me “it’s okay to be aggressive”. This one comment stuck with me the rest of the tournament. I was able to start playing without fear of failure, playing with confidence, and playing to play well. You may think “Well duh, Baile, you shouldn’t play afraid.” You’re right. Sometimes we get stuck in the status-quo. We think “I’m doing average and that’s okay”. The status-quo doesn’t work in golf, and it sure doesn’t work in marketing.

What if we played offensively in everything we did? We might be really strong at some things, but we would stand vulnerable in others. Golf has taught me balance. You can play golf worried about what could happen, but you should play confidently enough to allow good things to happen. We can’t market a product or brand afraid of what our competition might copy. We have to market our product or brand knowing we have the BEST campaign strategy, having a plan in mind if our competitor does copy our ideas.FullSizeRender

Be thankful for mentors

I am currently on the job search. I have been applying for a summer internship at various marketing firms in Denver and Kansas City. I am praying that I can land a sweet gig, work super hard all summer, and go full time by August. On Wednesday, before golf practice, I was able to get in touch with a woman at an innovative marketing firm. She talked with me on the phone for a half hour and genuinely cared about what I could get out of the conversation. Her job sounds AMAZING. I was so inspired by her, and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to mentor someone one day, too. Curious how to be a good mentor?  

I was most thankful for her

  1. Taking the time out of her day to talk to me
  2. Being happy to answer every question I asked
  3. Giving me usable advice

The last week has brought me a lot of insight. Every week I try to grow from my experiences. What have you done this week to grow? Do you have a routine you use to think back on your week? What is the best way you’ve found to evaluate your success? Comment below. I can’t wait to see what you have to say!

Qualifying + Marketing = Career Prep

This last week our team had to qualify for our upcoming tournament (March 3-4) in Sedona, Arizona. Qualifying is when we play multiple rounds of 18 holes and the lowest five players get to travel to the next tournament. I made it into the line-up for this next tournament. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it goes! But first, I want to talk about a few things I learned from keeping my spot on the team. I think you’ll find this experience relatable to the working world.

Stay ahead of the game (or market)

In qualifying, I am being directly compared to my teammates. It’s important for me to be working as hard as possible on my game, getting tips on what to improve, and staying focused in practice. It’s also important for me to know what my teammates are doing so I can push myself to new limits.

In marketing, we compare our company to our competitors. Knowing what our competition is up to helps us stay one-step ahead using these competitors as motivators to improvement. In Digital Marketing, we can use analytics to find out how far ahead/behind we are from our competition. Being in a constant state of evaluation, will help us reach out goals and surpass our competition.

Keep pushing

Even when I try to work harder than others, I can still be beat. It is important for me to continue to push myself. Hard work is not instant gratification. Hard work shows days, weeks, months, even a year from now. If I give up before I see results, I may have missed seeing the fruits of my labor.

In Digital Marketing its easy to get discouraged by getting outbid by a competitor in AdWords or lacking engagement after an extensive social media campaign. When this happens, evaluate what went right and what went wrong. Maybe you were on the right track and gave up before your company saw results. Maybe it was a bad idea and needed improvement. When we keep pushing towards our goals, results will come! Keep your head up.

Be positive 

If there is anything you take from this post it is to be positive. In qualifying I can get very nervous, I start thinking about all the bad shots I could hit or if I don’t play well I wont qualify for the tournament. Negativity can spiral out of control! Without keeping a positive mentality before, during and even after the round, there would be a very little chance of making the team. Whether it is positive quotes on my bathroom mirror or a listening to a guided meditation before the round, surrounding myself with a positive environment has made me successful.

What does your workplace do to implement a positive atmosphere? Do you have team meetings with cupcakes on Monday morning? Do you leave the office for a walk at lunchtime? Or are you actively pursuing a friendly working environment? If you feel like your workplace could use a bit of positivity, try adding a marker board in the lounge where employees can write a quote. Put a picture of your dog on your desk. Or open a window and get some fresh air flowing! Need more ideas? I love this article about bringing positivity into your workplace. Remember, a positive workplace begins with you. When you make the change, others will follow.

This week I challenge you to find out how you can stay ahead of your competition. Write down three of your best ideas right now (there’s no such thing as a bad idea), then over the next few days try to improve them. Ask for your trusted friends, co-workers, and even family members how they would improve them. Do some research and see if it’s been done before. At the end of the week look at your ideas and see how you could implement them into your work. Good luck!

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Give Marketing Personality

adobe-sparkI saw this quote and I just had to share! Sometimes it feels like Digital Marketers forget their marketing to REAL people. Relationships should be at the forefront of all the work we do. Don’t just build a link, build a relationship with customers that will stand the test of time.

3 Things Traveling Teaches You About Marketing

img_1303The UNC Women’s Golf Team began our spring season Monday February 13-14 in Boulder City, Nevada playing the Battle at Boulder Creek. Our team finished third overall, and I placed T10 individually. You can find out more information here.

Here’s what I took away

1.Always stay on brand

Whether you’re in the hotel or on the golf course, stay true to your brand. Our brand means acting on the mission and values of the University of Northern Colorado. This doesn’t just mean wearing the school’s gear, it includes how we act every step of the way. Represent your company’s brand in the best possible way; never give someone a reason to doubt the integrity of your brand. Also, it’s not so hard to thank the TSA security employees for doing a good job. 🙂

2. Never fly solo

Okay, so this one can be hard to avoid, but I think its important to marketing. It’s always nice to have a helping hand to lift a heavy bag into the overhead compartment. In marketing, don’t try to do it all on your own. With so many aspects of this industry, no one person will know it all. Stack your team with people who have talents that differ from your own. When they speak up with new ideas, let them give you a helping hand.

3. Read the signs

When you’re at the airport, it’s easy to pretend like you know where you’re going. Remember to stay humble enough to read the signs so you don’t end up in Terminal A when you’re trying to get to the baggage claim (yes, this has happened to real people). What are the signs your company looks to in marketing? Do you use Google Analytics, social media engagement, or profit/loss statements? Whatever it may be, make sure you know how to read the signs so you don’t end up with 154,000 Facebook likes but no product purchases.

Sometimes airports give you the best ideas; sometimes they provide you with a chance to nap. Wherever you may travel, stay observant. You never know what opportunities will give you new marketing insights.

Comment below with your favorite ways of staying observant. Do you spend time looking for ideas? Or do they just come to you throughout your day? Whatever it is, I would love to hear about it!

Hello!

My name is Baile Winslow and I am a student-athlete and marketing major at the University of Northern Colorado. I will graduate in a few months (May 2017) and I am looking forward to starting my career in Digital Marketing. I will be blogging about my experiences as a member of the Women’s Golf Team and how I find them to be relevant to marketing. So, stay tuned. This should get interesting.

I am a Kansas native and grew up in the great suburb of Overland Park. I took this picture of the sunflowers in the Crossroads art district of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. They remind me of my deep roots back in the midwest and the creativity found in that part of town. Although I love where I came from, I have fallen in love with the mountain air and am open to living in Kansas or Colorado.

I love golfing. My dad brought the sport to our family, after playing at Columbia University. I came a little late to the golfing party, starting when I was 14 (I thought, “gentlemen only ladies forbidden”..right?), nonetheless I picked up the game and earned myself a college scholarship. My older brother, Joseph, plays on PGA Tour Latino America. My younger brother, Michael, is in eighth grade and has the golfing bug as well. We make up a pretty killer four-some. My mom is the most devout spectator.

When I’m not working on advertising campaigns for class or playing golf you can find me practicing modern calligraphy, rolling out my yoga mat, or hiking in the mountains. I also enjoy a deep conversation and a glass of wine.