Q&A: Christa Cassata
- Name: Christa Cassata
- Age: 23
- Hometown: Houston, Texas
- Position: Digital Copywriter
- Company:Stage Stores
Christa Cassata graduated in 2010 from The College of Media & Communication with a bachelor's degree in public relations. Christa is now a digital media copywriter for Stage Stores, where she creates e-mail marketing initiatives for companies such as Palais Royal and Bealls. Her previous work experience includes working for the Houston Rockets and Houston Press. Christa worked as a marketing associate for the Houston Rockets handling promotions, marketing and event coordinating. During her time at the Houston Press, Christa managed social media, e-marketing and events as the digital marketing coordinator. Prior to graduating, Christa interned for multiple companies that include ExpressJet Airlines, Texas Tech Athletics and the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra.
Can you describe your first internship experience?
My first internship experience was with ExpressJet Airlines as their public relations intern. I was super eager and excited to learn what it took to head the PR department of an actual airline. I took on every task my supervisor gave me and then some. I learned a lot about corporate communications, press releases and even headed the company blog.
What was it like to be the digital marketing coordinator for the Houston Press?
Busy and fast-paced. The job not only encompassed every facet of digital marketing and advertising for the Press, but it also encompassed all of the social media, event planning and event marketing. Needless to say, it was a great position where I gained a wealth of experience in many different areas – and the perks weren't so bad either.
While working for the Houston Press, what types of tools were used to manage social media?
Surprisingly, we didn't use any obscure or fancy software. I used HootSuite to monitor the social conversation and schedule updates. I also used bit.ly quite a bit, which came in handy when measuring the effectiveness of QR codes, which I mainly used to increase social engagement at events. I also used Twibes to scope out new followers based on their interests.
Describe a day in the life of a marketing associate for the Houston Rockets?
There was no typical day as a marketing associate. Marketing is involved in almost every department of the Rockets organization – from community involvement to season ticket sales. I did everything from planning a city-wide 5k to orchestrating a city-wide Twitter scavenger hunt for fans. We planned and executed autograph sessions with the players, in-game marketing and volunteer events. It was a fast-paced environment that yielded experience in a ton of different areas.
How did the public relations program at the College of Media & Communication prepare you for the real world?
It gave me an outlet to discover exactly which parts of public relations I enjoyed and wanted to pursue. If it weren't for the College of Media & Communication, I probably wouldn't have followed my career path to sports or digital media. While I was in school, social media was just emerging as this new, valuable marketing/PR tool, and if it weren't for a few select professors, I would have never became so intrigued/excited with it - same goes for the sports world.
What advice would you give to students who want to pursue a career in new media?
Stick with it and keep current and be the best – you're going to have people who tell you that you can't make a career out of it, but if you're passionate and excel at what you love, you will succeed no matter what anyone tells you.