Flash back to 2005, when online communication was in its infancy. Facebook had been popular for about a year, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey was still an undergraduate student. Blogging had started picking up speed just a few years prior, and newspapers were beginning to realize the benefits of digital content.
In the midst of this quickly evolving digital landscape, Lauran Berta (CMN ’09) enrolled at DePaul to study Communication. When she secured an internship at the Chicago Sun-Times, she realized that the field was about to make a big shift. “Journalism was so different at the time, but I could see the direction we were headed,” she says. “I’ve been back to campus since graduating, and I love seeing all of the social media classes in the journalism department now. It’s fantastic.”
After interning for a year, Berta was offered a full-time digital media position at the Sun-Times, which she accepted, and completed her degree at night. After six years with the Sun-Times, Berta decided she was ready for a new challenge and took a position as digital content specialist for Wirtz Beverage Group, a liquor distributor headquartered in Chicago. “One of the really appealing things about the position at Wirtz was that the social media and digital division was new,” she says. “We were able to shape what digital would look like for the company, as well as what roles each of us would play.”
Berta’s responsibilities at Wirtz varied greatly, from managing corporate communications to writing press releases and blog posts to developing an e-commerce site. One of her favorite duties was helping with event activation, which are intended to help raise awareness of products or launch a brand into a new market. Berta worked at many of these events, including the Life is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas.
Prior to the festival, Berta wrote and distributed press releases, contacted media, and created blog posts and other digital content to help generate buzz. During the event, she live-tweeted and captured photo and video content to share with key partners. “Marketing in this way is extremely important to brands because it provides the opportunity to bring your online voice to life,” she says. “It’s amazing to experience all of your hard work at the event and to interact with your followers and get their reactions in real time.”
After she had spent almost a year and a half with Wirtz, Berta’s LinkedIn profile caught the eye of entrepreneur Marc Landsberg, the founder of socialdeviant, a boutique digital marketing firm in the West Loop. Landsberg was so impressed with Berta’s skills and experience that he reached out to her to discuss a job opening. “I just loved his vision,” Berta says. “His goal is to be the world’s kindest company. That’s where the focus is. It’s a wonderful atmosphere to work in.” Berta focuses primarily on the firm’s Leinenkugel account, shaping the creative content and identifying the best tone, voice and image for the brewing company’s brand.
Looking back on her career path so far, Berta asserts that her journalism background has been immensely helpful at every turn. “The background in the history of journalism that I received at DePaul—really understanding how we got to where we are today—has been a huge benefit in my career,” she says. “When you have that knowledge, you’re better able to write diverse copy and understand different audiences. It’s an invaluable tool to have in this fast-paced, ever-evolving field.”
Lauran Berta’s Top Four Tips for Recent Graduates