• Orlaith Nangle HRI Marketing Intern

    Growing up in Dublin, horses, let alone thoroughbreds, were a rare sighting. Fast forward to this summer and I find myself passing several stud farms on my daily commute into work and lucky enough some mornings to catch a glimpse of racehorses on their way to the gallops on the Curragh. It is certainly a change from the concrete and pavements I am used to in the city but there is no question which surroundings I prefer.

    I have no family background in horses yet I have always had an interest in them for as long as I can remember. I drifted in and out of riding as I grew up but I was always drawn back to them. It wasn’t until I heard about a course called Equine Business in Maynooth University that I realised there was the possibility of having a genuine career based around horses even for people who may not be lucky enough to have been born into the industry. 
    I started from scratch, learning the difference between Flat and National Hunt racing, researching famous racehorses and going to a racecourse for the first time. I read the Irish Field religiously and I would underline any phrase that I didn’t understand and later find out the meaning of it. My first experience of working in the industry was a very enjoyable summer in Kildangan Stud. I also worked at some racedays at Leopardstown Racecourse. I was always looking for opportunities to gain experience. When I heard about the HRI Student Internship I thought it sounded like a great way to learn more about the industry from some of the people who know it best.  I was therefore over the moon when I received the phone call to say that I had been given the position of the HRI Marketing Intern.

    I quickly settled into a routine in the office, helped by how welcoming everyone was. My main role revolves around helping maintain and update HRI’s website and the main social media channels.  My daily tasks include social media monitoring for date sensitive content, promoting upcoming racemeetings and festivals on social media, editing YouTube videos and uploading raceday photos to HRI’s main social media platforms. These photos used to be the closest thing I got to racehorses and I used to love looking through them on my way into college. I therefore get a kick out of the fact that I am now the person putting up these photos, hopefully for other people to appreciate them as much as I did. I also carry out social media research. This involves searching through other sporting organisations’ social media channels to see if there is anything interesting they are using that we can potentially adopt or recreate on our own social media. 

    Myself and my fellow intern Ger Mulvihill have also been working on some social media campaigns. We created a campaign to promote Father’s Day and another to promote the band Keywest playing at Bulmer’s Live at Leopardstown. The common focus of these campaigns is to create engaging and attractive content using emoji’s, gifs and videos.  This type of content seems to be the way forward in an increasingly tech savvy world where catching people’s attention is getting harder and harder and therefore our evaluation of the campaign - how it performed and any learnings/feedback - is also extremely important.

    Last week I was lucky enough to sit in on a meeting about HRI’s digital roadmap. A lot of different ideas and concepts were raised and it was interesting to see where HRI currently is in terms of its digital marketing, where it wants to be in the years to come and how the marketing team plans to get there. One of the focuses which I felt was important was ensuring that HRI’s marketing methods appeal to those who are currently not racing fans. These may include people who come to the big festivals for the social aspect alone and more importantly those who don’t attend race meetings. It is important to grow interest in the sport and help people fall in love with it. I am a classic case of someone who made that journey!

    I want to thank everyone in the marketing team in HRI, particularly Amina and Sophie, who have been very patient in helping me. I also want to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who may be considering applying for the internship next year. I have learnt a huge amount of information that will be very useful to bring back to my final year of studies. I have hugely enjoyed my time in HRI so far and I will spend the coming weeks trying to learn as much as I can before I go back to college.

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