Welcome to our Agency Spotlight series! Each article will feature pioneers of the #agencylife and how they run their businesses in the modern world.

Who are you? What is your background?

If you would have asked me on my college graduation day where I thought my career would take me, social media was the furthest thing from my mind. I received a print journalism degree in 2012 with a history minor — not exactly a winning combination for cutting-edge marketing strategies.

However, when I left school, news organizations were interested in hiring for digital and social media positions, not so much writing. This was how I found myself on NPR’s social media desk in January 2013 with a three-person staff testing platforms, audience engagement and the impact of a strong, consistent social presence. Social media was still new for brands and the Facebook algorithm wasn’t yet working against pages, so it was an exciting time to experiment.

I learned many lessons during that first year of my career – many on which I still reflect: If you want to learn more about how people feel about your brand, look through related social conversations, interact with your audience and talk to them as a human. It creates trust and a lasting relationship between individuals and companies.

I carried this through my next position at Oregon Public Broadcasting, where I covered breaking news and trending topics in the state. I covered legalization of same-sex marriage, Black Lives Matter protests and the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber, among other news events. After publishing a story and sharing it to social, I combed through comment threads and hashtags to see if there were any questions left unanswered. Was there anything the brand could reply to or develop a follow-up story to clarify? These tactics broke down barriers — they knew they could count on us.

I started with Sparkloft in 2015, where I’m currently a senior social media strategist. I began my stint in the Portland office and have been working full-time remote in Helena, Montana, since 2017, after my husband accepted a new job.

How would you describe Sparkloft Media?

Sparkloft Media is a social media-first creative agency, striving to create content worth sharing. We are headquartered in Portland, Oregon and have offices in Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and Miami. We work with many destination marketing organizations (DMOs) as well as clients in the entertainment and consumer-packaged goods verticals at the national and international level. We do all things social media: Community management and strategy, to day-to-day content creation, large-scale campaigns and media buying; the full social spectrum. By focusing on social media only, we’re able to work quickly to identify the latest trends for our clients, as they emerge, in real time.

What does Sparkloft do especially well? What is your speciality?

Shortly after I started at Sparkloft, VP of Client Services Arianna told me that Sparkloft is the best part of our clients’ day. It’s a mission that I know many of us take to heart. You can hear it on our client calls, you can see it in our work, and you can feel it when you step into our offices. We take pride and work diligently to ensure that every last client need is met. 

We champion our communities through content we produce and strategies we create to ensure they too have a place at the table with our clients. By considering both client goals and what our audiences are most excited about, we create a unique, custom social experience.

How would you describe your workplace/office culture?

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been remote for the past two and half years. I had my hesitations about being away from all the office happenings: When you walk into the Portland office, you’re greeted by a buzzing, busy office with music playing that lends itself to the creative space. The meeting rooms are filled with brainstorms, planning meetings, client calls or debriefs of concluded campaigns. It was difficult to leave this community; it wasn’t the smoothest transition going from being surrounded by so many inspiring and collaborative coworkers to working independently.

I’m happy to report that my colleagues have adjusted to my needs, like turning on cameras during conference calls so that it feels like I’m in the room. Some even schedule calls to catch up, like we used to when I was in the office. I also get IRL time with regular trips back to Portland and in-person client meetings. 

On the home office front, I’ve created my own culture: I have a strict hold in the middle of the day where I get away from my desk: Take a walk (or even a hike — the perks of living in Montana), go to a yoga class, grab a coffee or lunch out, read a book. When working remote, I know too well how easy it is to get sucked into a project and all of a sudden, I’ve been sitting at my desk all day and I didn’t take a break for something I enjoy. It’s been a daily reminder to reset, move and experience more of what my community has to offer.

What is the most rewarding part about the agency life?

There’s no better feeling than working tirelessly on a campaign, figuring out all the moving pieces and having both the client and the audience excited about the final product. Working in a fast-pace environment, we don’t always get the luxury to sit back and truly revel in a successful campaign, but when we do, it’s satisfying to reflect on everything that went well and how we can build on top of it. 

Want to showcase your agency? Email us at katie@heyorca.com to have your agency feature in our Agency Spotlight series!

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