Ryan Belmore, owner of What’s Up Newport spoke with Suzanne McDonald about his career path, what his company might look for in recent graduates, and what aspiring new media practitioners should focus on.
Who is Ryan Belmore and What’s Up Newp?
What’s Up Newp is a hyper-local company focused on supporting and spreading the word about local businesses, restaurants, and entertainment in Newport, Rhode Island.
“I always say that with hyper-local social media, it’s not enough to play. I want to be the voice of the community,”said Belmore, the owner of the one-man company.
Belmore majored in fire-science in college, “which is the furthest thing from what I’m doing now with my life that you could possibly do,” he laughed. He then worked in administration management for the New England Patriots for eight years. After which, he did social media work for nonprofit organizations until he bought What’s Up Newp in 2014. He now runs the website, social media and radio show on his own with some help from freelancers.
What should communications & marketing students focus on?
According to Belmore, the most important things for students to learn include:
- Strong writing skills
- Work ethic
- Communication skills
- Understanding your audience
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Basic coding skills
- Social platform analytics
- Website analytics
- Business management – sales, accounting, selling advertising
He said that a lot of the drive to succeed has to come from within the student, rather than being something that could be taught. Belmore said that when you own a company, “you know everything relies on you. Success and failure, it runs directly through you. […] You know to be successful, you have to push it.”
What new media does What’s Up Newp rely on?
What’s Up Newp has a website run on WordPress, as well as a radio show on every weekday. As for social media, followers can get updates on local news on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Belmore said he recently began a Youtube channel, as well, to showcase interviews, and Belmore is looking to expand on Google Plus.
What’s Up Newp could have a page on every platform, he said, “but as a one man company, I can’t possibly update and keep them all running. What I do, I want to do well.” He said as the company grows and he continues to learn about new platforms, the company’s sites will grow as well.
What would a company like What’s Up Newp look for in potential employees?
Belmore said it’s important for recent graduates and potential employees to really study the social media world that they want to work in. If they want to be in a hyper-local company like What’s Up Newp, then they should understand the community and what companies right now are doing well and could be doing better.
He recommended looking at sites like Street Fight or getting daily emails from places like Fanpage Karma to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the business. “You have to be open to always learning what’s going to be new,” he said.
Finally, while Belmore warned students to be careful what they post on social media while in college, he added that there’s great opportunity to use social media to their advantage before they graduate. “Start to connect with people in your area who are movers and shakers and tweet them,” he said. “Let them know you’re out there, and once you graduate, once you’re looking for a job, hopefully you have a little bit of a relationship started with them.”
What do you think students should learn now to get jobs?”