Recently, a friend asked me at what point I had been the happiest and most fulfilled in my career. It didn't take long for my thoughts to drift back to Manly Beach, Australia in February of 2015 to the Australian Open of Surfing. Hurley was the title sponsor, but the event was being put on by IMG, so I was sent as the Hurley representative — the person in charge of making sure all content coming out of the event looked, sounded, and felt like Hurley.
I lead a team of interns to create daily recaps for the site, photo galleries and engaging Instagram content. And within ten days, @ausopenofsurf was up to 10K from the 5K that it was at before I logged in.
I did this by first and foremost elevating the visuals on the feed and then using storytelling tactics to make the event come to life, even for people who weren't there on the beach with us. Where in previous years, the Instagram merely provided event information, I used it as a vehicle to evoke emotion through exciting athlete storylines, romanticizing and celebrating Manly Beach itself, and building excitement around the event as a whole; effectively making people feel invested in the event.
When Carissa Moore, defending champ showed up, we let people know and helped set the scene. When young hopeful Isabella Nichols got ready for one of the most important heats of her life, we made sure to capture it. Manly Beach itself was easy and fun to celebrate, and this post remains one of my favorites of the whole event; not only did it celebrate the unique and magical Manly Beach community, it served as a way to let people know where they could watch the contest online.
With events like these, you have obligations to sponsors that you need to deliver on — and it takes a certain skillset to make sure you're honoring contractual obligations without sacrificing quality. That's what I'm most proud of when I look back at these ten days. Here's a post I directed for Pure Pops' sponsorship, a shoutout to the Sydney Zoo (I actually took this photo! One of the coolest moments of my life haha), making sure people knew about the Hurley H2O booth, this post for Canon Australia's giveaway fit seamlessly into the feed while still getting the information across, and then there's this post, which was about a contest put on by an Australian bank, and it's actually my pride and joy.
I bookmarked my time there with a sweet nod to the community of Manly Beach — and then wished I could do it all over again.