This week’s spotlight: Allie Raymond, social media coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. Allie is a rarity in these parts as a non-native Northeast Ohioan. But in her relatively brief time in town, she’s made a name for herself and for the Browns on social media. You can follow Allie on Twitter at @allie_raymond.
WFNY: Where are you from originally and what led you to this position with the Browns?
Allie Raymond: Born and raised in San Diego. My dad is a Kansas grad and so I grew up being a Jayhawks fan and I loved Kansas basketball. When it came to my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to do journalism as my degree and Kansas happened to have a great journalism school. I applied, went on my visit and loved it. I decided to go KU and, while I was there, I randomly decided I wanted to take an intro to sports management class during my junior year of college.
In that class, I had an assignment to interview someone in a job that I would maybe want. So I interviewed the director of communications with the athletic department, and afterward, he offered me an assistant intern position. I was an intern there my senior year and really just threw myself into it and really enjoyed doing it.
When it came to the end of my senior year, I applied to a few different post-grad internship positions and I landed at the University of Arkansas athletics department. I was the secondary contact for the football team and also did swimming and diving. I really give Arkansas major props because social was always at the forefront of what we did. That’s what got me into social in the first place. I even put out press releases without any name in it, just a Twitter handle.
But at the end of it, I was kind of interested in getting out of PR, maybe even out of sports. I ultimately applied for a digital internship with the Denver Broncos, not really wanting another internship, but after interviewing, I felt it was worth trying out what it was like working in the NFL and trying it out. And I’m so thankful for taking the internship because it landed me where I am now. I really focused in on social during that time and by the end of that season, the Browns position opened up for a social media coordinator and I already had a lot of experience working in a similar role with the Broncos. It’s been awesome so far. This will be my third season in Cleveland.
WFNY: Growing up, did you always intend to work in sports?
Allie Raymond: No, definitely not. I really wanted to work for a magazine. I grew up as a kid who got all those magazines and was just totally in love with being a writer for Vanity Fair, living in New York. I didn’t even care what I would be writing about, but that was I what imagined what I would be doing.
But after I got to college, quickly I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do. Kansas had two different tracks in the department and ultimately, I just switched over the strategic communications side, doing more with PR and advertising.
The sports thing really came later. My sophomore year of college, I remember being really interested in the HBO 24/7 series Road to the Winter Classic. I loved those documentary-style series and for some reason, it got to my head that there’s got to be someone who does PR for a sports team. So I looked into and found that there were PR representatives for athletes and the same for sports teams and colleges. And that’s when I decided to take that elective sports management class to see what was out there. And it totally turned out a lot better than I ever thought.
WFNY: Obviously, there are game days and the like which must be quite hectic. But what is the average non-gameday work environment like for you?
Allie Raymond: There’s a lot of meetings, a lot of scheduling. I’m the only person who handles social for the Browns. So my day-to-day is working with our writers, our video department and our creative team, and determining what our day is going to look like.
We make a lot of content here, which I’m very fortunate to be a part of and our writers are really awesome. I schedule with them when their articles are going out, when the videos are going, looking at our Instagram posts and how many are going out per day and how do I want to space them out. And just randomly having conversations and meetings where we collaborate and talk about what we want to have for the day, for the week. That’s where the best stuff comes up, like “The Office” video, which was just a random side conversation where someone said it would be funny if we did this. It’s really a lot of shared collaboration throughout the day. A lot of meetings. And being involved in a lot of other initiatives throughout the organization, too, such as community work and corporate partnership.
The Office (2018) pic.twitter.com/1BCB97Lkuj
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 19, 2018
WFNY: You mentioned that you’re the only person who does social. So who manages the department overall?
Allie Raymond: Jeremy Zimmer is our senior director of digital media. He oversees all things digital for the website, our app and social. He also handles a lot of our paid and promotional Facebook posts which is a huge help for me. Keely McKenzie is our digital design coordinator and she makes a lot of the creative and runs our website. And Leah Archual is our digital manager and works with our corporate partnership team and makes sure that we hit all our partner obligations. Outside of that, we have a whole department that does everything written and a huge department that does all of the videos.
WFNY: What is your favorite thing about what you do? You mentioned there’s a lot of collaborating and meetings.
Allie Raymond: That really is awesome, like I bring up “The Office” video because it was so recent. That was my favorite thing that we’ve ever done from a fan perspective and from a collaboration side. That was a project that just about everybody in our marketing department had a chance to be involved in. To have a chance to tweet that out and everyone was so proud of it, and to see the fans react and see everyone really, really excited, that was so awesome.
I love seeing that feedback whenever I post something that I put a lot of work into. I genuinely say this, we really have some of the funniest funs. And just seeing their reactions and how people get so excited. Or how I have some random person who said I made their day better, to hear that is just crazy and I never would have that that I could evoke such reactions from people.
WFNY: Where do you live in Northeast Ohio? And how has your adjustment been to the area? What are some of your favorite things to do in town?
Allie Raymond: I live in Lakewood. And Cleveland was a total surprise. I had no idea what to expect when I came on my interview. It has totally blown me away in so many ways. I think Cleveland is amazing and I love my little neighborhood. I love that I can walk to get my coffee.
I have a lot of friends who live in different neighborhoods and I love that each one is so different. I have friends in Ohio City, in Tremont, where I just went to Taste of Tremont a little while ago, and more. I love how easy it can be to just pull up to a restaurant and eat good food and the people are just so very nice. I really like it here.