Creating Content for Women: How The GIST is Breaking Ground in Sports Media

By BrainStation January 8, 2020
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From the start of her career, Carrie Oehm has lived and breathed sports and entertainment news. Having worked for Rogers TV, TSN, SportsNet, and BlogTO, it was only natural that she join The GIST as their Social Media Manager to master sports content that appealed to any gender. 

After her panel at Social Media Week, we spoke with Oehm on how she creates attention-grabbing content, the future of work for women, and what it’s like to be a Social Media Manager at The GIST. 

Carrie Oehm at the GIST

What does your role entail as a Social Media Manager at The GIST? 

I run The GIST’s social media accounts! Other than our Twitter page (shout-out to our AMAZING social content contributor, Alexis), I am in charge of producing, editing, hosting, interviewing, and posting the content that you see on our channels. 

With The GIST being a startup, it is important that I wear multiple hats in my role as well. Thankfully, I’ve always been into fashion and hats have always been crucial to my wardrobe, haha! All jokes aside, Ellen (one of our three co-founders & Head of Content) and I work very closely on social media planning, strategy, content distribution, paid acquisition, presentation decks, and brand identification. I’ve also been able to dabble in helping with website design and analytics. 

How do you create content that grabs attention?

It’s a lot of trial and error, constantly asking the audience what they want to see, and ultimately making content that people care about and that provokes emotion. At the end of the day, we interact with so much content, and the content that makes us feel some sort of way, whether that be a joy, sadness, or anger, is the content that we share and interact with. So, when I’m posting content I ask myself how that piece is going to make our audience feel, if it’s on-brand, and what our audience can take away from what I’m posting. 

I’m very fortunate to have the experience I do from working at television networks. For close to five years, I was in charge of packaging game highlights, news stories, and breaking news from the world of sports. Most nights I was watching an entire game and had to package a 30-45 second highlight pack of the game’s most epic points while still telling the story. I’ve now taken that ability and use it for social content. When I’m watching a game, I can watch a play happen and instantly know that it’s going to go viral, I can pick out which shot angle will be replayed the most, and I can tell what player reaction or fan reaction will be on SportsCentre tomorrow morning. I’m very grateful for the experience I gained from working with the best sports television producers in the country, it taught me a lot.

Why do you think The GIST has caught on so quickly?

There was, and is, a gap in the sports media market. The female audience and the casual sports fan are underserved in the sports media landscape. I truly believe that our three co-founders, Ellen, Jacie, & Roslyn, have been trailblazers in trying to find a solution to connect and empower women through sport. 

At the end of the day, sports are a social currency. It’s something that connects people at work, school, at dinner, etc., and we want everyone to be able to connect through sport, not just the hardcore sports fan. 

I also think that women are underrepresented in sports and sports media. For instance, when I left one of my past sports network jobs, out of 83 people in division (excluding hosts and reporters), there were three women. At the end of the day, it’s difficult for 80 men who are hardcore sports fans to create content for a female audience. We also cover women’s sports — a lot of other outlets don’t. For example, when the WNBA finals were being played on ESPN2, NBA preseason was being played on the main channel. Also, Canada’s leading sports network aired the top 100 plays from 2019, and there was ONE play from women’s sports. They’re being underrepresented, period. 

The Gist

We are trying to change that by giving them the coverage they deserve, we are trying to level the playing field, and I hope that it rubs off on others. Our success clearly shows there’s a market for it. 

How do you see women-centric companies (The Wing, The GIST, etc.) shaping the business/tech world?

I think that companies that are women-empowering are helping shape culture in general. I worked with Bumble briefly before joining The GIST, and it’s honestly super refreshing to have now worked with two groups that are so strong, independent, smart, driven, and focused on empowering women. It’s a game-changer. 

I’ve found that other companies have reached out to us because they don’t exactly know how to reach female audiences – that is HUGE. For companies to realize they are underserving an audience and they want to fix it? It’s 2020 and that should have been in the playbook long before now, but the fact that change is happening is so big. The fact that female athletes are advocating for equal pay on world stages (hats off to Megan Rapinoe) is huge. Yes, we still have an enormous amount to grow, but I’m seeing a shift in companies wanting to change, but most importantly realizing that they need to change. 

The Gist News

How much do you take social media algorithms into account when posting content?

I definitely take algorithms into account while posting content. From the way I construct my captions to the way I produce my videos, I play by the algorithm’s rules. The algorithm is also always changing, so I constantly keep up-to-date with the latest changes by watching YouTube videos, asking fellow creators, and listening to podcasts. I want to know what the best creators are doing to work with the algorithms so I can learn from their tips, tricks, and failures. 

How has your role at BlogTO contributed or prepared you for the kinds of content you select for your audience at The GIST?

BlogTO opened my eyes to digital content. Before, I only made broadcast journalism content, which is entirely different. I was making five-minute-long features with sit-down interviews and news pieces that were voiced over by anchors. The content that BlogTO produces is fast-paced, engaging, and it gives you “the gist” of a new restaurant or event in a one-to-two minute video. BlogTO has really helped me learn how to create content that caters to the Gen Z and Millennial audience and gave me a foundation for how to create content for our audience at The GIST.

How do you manage your screen time? Have you had to make adjustments to ensure you’re not on social media too often?

I’ll be honest, it’s very hard at times! My screen time is crazy-high, so I’ve been picking up hobbies that don’t involve screens. In the morning when I wake up, I don’t look at my phone until I’ve taken a few minutes to write in my journal, meditate (I used the Calm app), and have my coffee. I also try and workout for at least an hour a day, LOVE cooking, and I recently picked up painting! Like I mentioned before, I am into fashion, so I’ve been painting sneakers! I absolutely do not know what I’m doing, but it’s very therapeutic for me to put my phone away and pick up a paintbrush! 

What skills do you think are most important for today and tomorrow’s workforce in marketing and beyond.

You have to be adaptable, persistent, patient, passionate, and you have to work your ass off. It is so damn competitive today. We have more educated and skilled professionals than ever, so you have to find a way to stand out and you have to put the work in. 

I didn’t have a Saturday off for two years when I first started in broadcasting, I had four internships in school while also working on weekends. I’ve worked jobs that I’ve absolutely hated with bosses that treated me horribly just so I could get the experience I needed.

What’s next for The GIST?

2020 is going to be a big year for us! We are kicking off the year by expanding to Boston (our second American city) and are launching a new podcast at the end of January. That’s all I can say right now, but it’s going to be a very exciting year for our team. I’m very grateful to be part of such a badass team and can’t wait to see where we can grow the company!

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