Courtney’s Corner: The Importance of a Communications Coordinator
January 19, 2021

First stop for Courtney’s Corner: communications coordinator. A communications coordinator is someone who creates content, builds relationship with the public, and runs social media pages. They’re important for start-ups no matter what the product or idea is.

I talked to Portia Burch, an activist interested in prison abolition and transformative justice. She describes herself as a “local queer with a big voice who speaks up for her people.” Aside from all the amazing work she does in her personal life, Portia is also the communications coordinator for Black and Pink. Black and Pink is a nonprofit that works with people who are or have recently been incarcerated, specifically LGBTQIA2S+. They work to make sure those individuals have support they need inside and outside of prison.

Portia Burch, communications coordinator for Black & Pink

Black and Pink was a start-up created by Jason Lydon in 2005. He started the program after experiencing prison system issues firsthand and seeing the work that needed to be done. As time has passed, they’ve founded chapters all over the nation, become an official 501c3, and created a variety of programs. Black and Pink offers programs like TRANSitions, R.E.A.P., and a PenPal program.

With everything going on when a business is first starting out, things like social media might be pushed to the back burner. Communications coordinators make sure that doesn’t happen. Portia’s role specifically focuses on managing social media accounts, as well as assisting with grants.

But what all goes into running social media pages? Why would a startup need someone dedicated to only that? As Portia shared, it’s more than posting a few times a week. In her role she creates content calendars and schedules posts, looks at engagement and how to boost it, constantly keeps up with news, and researches trends in the industry (hashtags, posting times, etc.). She also produces videos for TikTok, which is a whole job in itself. Social media management is an around-the-clock job.

Portia said her favorite part of the job is also the biggest challenge: engagement. The success of social media depends on if the audience sees and interacts with posts. If engagement doesn’t meet the projected numbers, it can be disheartening. “It’s frustrating, especially if it’s information that really needs to be out there,” Portia said. But when engagement hits those numbers, it’s awesome. Portia said she loves it not only because it helps the accounts thrive, but because it brings a personal connection, too. “When you share a post with some sort of an opinion, people are going to reach out and talk to you about it and I love that connection that’s built,” she said.

Personally, I’ve looked most towards communications coordinator positions for my career. I enjoy being creative not only with writing, but design and photography as well. Communications includes research, whether it’s with social media trends or learning about other people or companies. That provides a little break from the creativity aspect if you’re having an off day, which is important for me. I’ve always been drawn to communications work because of the different tasks that come with it. I don’t want to feel stuck in a rut, doing the same thing every day. Communications allows me to do multiple jobs but stay within the realm of things I enjoy.

The work done by communication coordinators is vital to the success of a company. Social media and content creation can be utilized to reach new audiences and grow a loyal consumer base. For anyone looking to expand their business or idea, look into hiring a communications coordinator if you don’t already have one. Someone knowledgeable in social media and its trends can make a world of difference to a startup’s success.

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