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Ryan Rothman: from architecture student to social media strategist

By Amanda Callaway
University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Ryan Rothman is a social media strategist for a local marketing agency, Hurrdat

Ryan Rothman started out at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, studying architecture. 

He changed his mind, pivoting into advertising and public relations.

And he hasn’t regretted it at all.

Rothman is a social media strategist working for Hurrdat, a digital marketing agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. He started at the company only seven months ago after graduating from the university in May.

Hurrdat was founded in 2010 by former Nebraska football players who wanted to do sports social media marketing. In 2014, the company was later bought by B2 Interactive and was turned into a full service social media marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization (SEO) and local search.

Even as a kid, Rothman had an affinity for advertising. He always remembered slogans and logos. But in middle school he decided to go into architecture. In his first six weeks in the program at UNL, he knew he’d made a mistake. His mother suggested advertising.

“I switched my major, took a couple classes and fell in love with it,” Rothman said, “and the rest is history.”

While at UNL, Rothman was a copywriter intern for the university. He also juggled freelance communication jobs as a video production assistant, a social media assistant and a photographer. And he was a member and director for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)

Although he juggled a lot, Rothman said the university job fit with his school schedule. And he’s a very organized person. He kept calendars for everything that he did and made sure not to procrastinate.

“I made sure I was focused while I was at work,” he said, “although I never had a problem juggling everything.”

Because of his organization skills he’s been able to handle the company’s multiple clientele. They are local and national including Hail Varsity online and magazine, Pinnacle Bank, Omaha Storm Chasers, Rimington Trophy, along with regional banks and other clients.

Every client is different in its social media scope, so some may have more audience on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. Rothman manages to keep track of all of his clients’ needs and their social media accounts.

He has worn many hats on the team — being a copy editor, copywriter and videographer. The team is small enough that he is able to take on roles.

His only regret coming into the job was that he didn’t have more graphic design experience. That would have been helpful to him working with social media.

His only complaint about his job? It’s not a 9-5 career. Sports doesn’t take time off and they certainly don’t get weekends off.  Rothman said that he’s only had one full weekend off in the seven months he’s worked with Hurrdat.

“Beyond that I absolutely love my job,” Rothman said.

He estimated that about 50 percent of his work is writing. Editing is a crucial skill and a lot of employers are looking for good writing skills,  Rothman said. 

Rothman has made small mistakes in his work, like once naming the wrong football conference. The lesson, he said, is to always double or triple-check names.

Editing should never be just a person looking at his or her own writing, he said. It needs to be collaborative. Everybody is going to make mistakes so it’s always good to have another set of eyes on your writing.

Another suggestion: If you’re going into advertising and public relations, don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility. Rothman had always asked for other tasks in other areas so that he could learn many different things about media. It’s paid off. In his job now, he works with both video and websites. 

And he suggested students should look for freelance work if they haven’t done an internship because many organizations need the help.

Even though architecture wasn’t for Rothman, he still appreciates it.

Still, he has no regrets. He’s loved the past seven months at Hurrdat.

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