5 Steps to Starting a Career in Digital Media
By Brittany Stephens
Cox Media Digital Media Analyst
I had a pretty unconventional start to my career path. After graduating from high school, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. I ended up getting a job as a reservationist with a vacation rental company in Gulf Shores, AL. The owner at the time was always helping people and giving us a space to grow. That’s when I realized Marketing was my true passion. Below are five of the key steps I took to pursue that passion and launch my career in digital media.
- Find a Mentor Who Believes in You
I attended the University of West Florida to gain a bachelor’s degree in Advertising with a minor in Marketing Applications. I was blessed to have an amazing college mentor, Sabrina McLaughlin, who gave me real-life marketing experience and never let me turn in subpar work. I remember showing her a personal branding project that I thought was complete, the day before it was due, she looked at me and said, “This is one hundred percent not you and you know it. Start over.” I was so frustrated, but I started over. I worked on it all night long and eventually came to a finished project that I used to help craft my resume for my application with Cox Media years later.
- Don’t Second Guess Your Talent
Just after my graduation, the company I had worked for a few years as a vacation reservationist was sold to new owners and sadly I was laid off. My college mentor Sabrina was aware of a position at Cox Media and immediately called me. I felt as though I was under-qualified for a Digital Media position, but I applied anyway and my current boss, Steve Allen, hired me as a Digital Media Specialist.
- Take Time to Learn the Business and Client Needs
I put all my effort into learning the digital business and processes and quickly added duties to my role with each new thing that I learned. What started as a fulfillment-only position quickly turned to an analyst role where I helped tell stories of success to our digital clients. With this transition, I was promoted to Digital Media Analyst. Cox Media gave me space and flexibility to develop my role by leveraging my strengths and growth areas. A typical day in my life as a Digital Media Analyst is WILD! It’s super fast-paced and I never live the same day twice. Every day I am responsible for monitoring campaigns, building campaign strategies, training Media Consultants (MC’s), and helping clients set up Google Analytics. I find true joy in assisting Media Consultants with anything that pops up during the day and helping them find success for their clients through digital strategies. I also meet virtually or in-person with clients and the Media Consultants to review their campaigns.
- Use Your Resources to Help You Grow
I was able to take part in the tuition assistance plan through Cox Media which was a huge help and was a weight lifted off my shoulders as I started the journey to achieve my master’s degree in Digital Media through Full Sail University. This was an accelerated program where everything you would typically learn in two years, I learned in a one-year program. The tuition assistance at Cox was much appreciated, but I would say what helped me the most through grad school was the Cox Media mentorship program. Once again in my life, I was lucky to be teamed up with one of the best mentors, Julie Fielding from the Omaha market. From day one of the mentorship program, Julie helped me grow. She’s helped me build a career path and has supported me in all areas of my life from juggling school to working 40 + hours a week.
- Make Relationships and Have Fun
Our Pensacola office truly embodies the culture of family and coming together to help each other out. Before I was in grad school, I was studying to take a certification test and I was so nervous that one of my coworkers used her lunch break to work through flashcards with me to make sure I was ready. We are always there for each other and it’s been so inspiring to see our “family” grow through this COVID-19 experience. We are all finding ways to help each other. You never hear the words, “that’s not my job,” instead you hear, “How can I help?” or “We’re all in this together!” That is the culture that I love, and it makes me want to always stay at Cox (see pictures of us celebrating together at holiday-themed parties).
Finally, to have my leaders and my peers give value to my work has been an experience like no other. Last year, I was recognized as the 2019 Unsung Hero for my market and I also received the Torch award. It meant everything to me because this is a company that cares, and they see the hard work and dedication I give to the company every day. It makes everything I’ve done in the past two years’ worth it. All the emails calls and texts I received from coworkers in my market and across the country had me in tears. I love to serve my market and help people out in any way I can.
Special thanks to Brittany for letting us get a glimpse into her day-in-the-life at Cox Media. If you want to read more stories like this one, view our open jobs, or experience #LifeAtCox, visit our website.