Inside @Chargers: Building a New Voice in a New Market

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Megan Julian always knew she wanted to work in sports, but when she found out there was a chance to do it on the social side she made that her focus. A year after graduating college and working for a nonprofit, Julian landed her first social gig in sports with the San Antonio Spurs where she spent four years heading up the social accounts for the team.

This year, she made the transition to the NFL and joined the social team at the Los Angeles Chargers. In this episode, Julian speaks about achieving her dream of working in the NFL, the trials and tribulations of working in social media, and what the transition is like from the NBA to the NFL.

Edited highlights appear below:

On How She Got Her Start (15:25)

“So out of college, I knew I wanted to work in sports. I had a revelation my junior year that social media for a sports team was a job and I immediately knew that that’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t land a job right out of college and it took me about a year working in a nonprofit before the Spurs took a chance on me. Unfortunately, it was after they won the championship in 2014, so I missed all of that excitement, but that’s when they realized they really needed a full-time social person handling the accounts on a day to day basis. I came in around October of that season, I started right in the middle of the preseason, and I did that for four years.”

On The Importance of Leaning On Other Employees (19:24)

“I made it a point to go to PR meetings every week. I think the people that I texted the most during my time with the Spurs was our PR coordinator. I wanted to learn when I could push the boundaries and the limits and then know when to back off and when to say, ‘okay, that’s enough.’ I was really fortunate in that I was able to take the expertise of the Spurs PR team and the way that they do things and they took my expertise in what’s going to perform well on social. I knew I could always make a pitch and present my case. Not everything was going to get approved, but the biggest key was it was easier to operate within our parameters and do a good job than it was to burn a bridge with someone and then have the access that you do have revoked.”

Social on the Sidelines is Presented to You By:

On the Difference Between the Chargers and the Spurs (19:01)

“So it’s a completely different ballgame over here. I have a ton more access. Our players are a little bit younger, a little bit more in tune with kind of what I’m doing. Not to say that the Spurs players weren’t, there were guys there that were fantastic and into it, but it’s just a different. I mean we’re in LA now, it’s a different culture, different vibe. We’re really trying to embody who our team is and the messages they’re delivering to fans, and the messages that they’re delivering to each other. They’re a little bit hypey, a little bit out there, but that’s who we are and that’s the voice we’re doing.

At the Spurs, never in a million years would I have quoted Drake in an Instagram post. For the Chargers, it makes sense. One of our players actually texted me and was like, ‘this is amazing.’ I’m definitely trying to embody who they are and then embody who our fans are, which is a little bit tricky right now because we just moved. We’ve been in LA a year, so that’s still a work in progress, but definitely been a little more youthful and edgy. So not so many Tim Dunkin dad jokes and a lot more Drake lyrics.”

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On Why She Joined the Chargers (25:49)

“I wanted to be surrounded by peers who supported me and bosses who supported and believed in me and got what I was doing and bought into it. There’s a huge divide in the industry and social media managers and coordinators tell me all the time that they feel like they are restricted by their bosses for what they can and can’t do. From the Chargers, I really got the feel from my boss, our video team, our creative team, and our web manager that everyone understood and was bought into social and the importance of it, and that they were going to give me room to build a brand. If you don’t have the freedom to do that, you’re just checking boxes at the end of the day.”

On the Importance of Getting Better (35:55)

“In terms of me getting better, I wish I had done more After Effects. I wish I had done more motion graphics. All of those things in college when they were available to me and I had free services to them. That’s the one thing I kind of regret. I was focused more on the copy and the writing and that side of things. Something I started doing at the Spurs was photography, which was about just trying to grow my skill set. I don’t ever want to tell someone to do something that I don’t know how to do myself, or that I can’t guide them or help them in.”

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