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Katie Rebekah Osborne: Capital FM Arena

April 2012

Katie Osborne, Digital Marketing Manager for the Capital FM Arena and National Ice Centre, talks about her experiences with social networking and visiting celebrities

I MOVED to Nottingham from Yorkshire when I was ten. I was scouted by a local model agency at 13 but myparents wouldn’t  let me sign with them until I finished school, so I started modelling at 16 when I was studying for my A Levels at Sixth Form. During this time, I had a part-time job at Kookai and the companyentered me for Miss Nottingham in 2000, which I won. I went on to Miss England, where I came second and represented Great Britain in Greece (Athens, Mykonos and Crete), Malta and Singapore. By the time I was 19, I had signed to an agency in Knightsbridge and did London Fashion Week which was incredible. I also did a further two A Levels and travelled to some amazing places around the world. Then I was offered a great contract to work in Japan, but at the same time I was offered a place at uni and decided to take the ‘career’ route instead… Uni was incredible- and I was even lucky enough to do work experience as a runner at the BBC and Sky TV. The day I found out I had got the job at the Arena was up there as one of the best feelings ever.

I was brought in to the Capital FM Arena and National Ice Centre two years ago to market and establish the brands online. At the same time they recruited a Web developer. When I started they had two websites, two Facebook friend pages, a Flickr page and a Twitter account. We now have four websites, four Twitteraccounts, four Facebook fanpages, two YouTube channels, two Flickr accounts and several Linked-In profiles and groups.
The first time I was shown around by my manager and saw the dressing rooms and star corridors backstage,it was a really exciting feeling. I remember seeing the racks of costumes for Strictly Come Dancing who were in at the time and all the flight cases and glitter backstage... and it occurred to me how we could pass on that excitement of being behind-the-scenes to our customers- offering outsiders the inside scoop!
Even now, I still get excited when I see a show being set up or even the artists who play here – show days are the best buzz ever - but for a different reason. I know that if we get exclusive video or pictures of wardrobe, make-up, or, better still, of the artist themselves, the social reaction and coverage we’ll get from it, along with the local (and sometimes National) media, will be amazing. When I got a snap of The Wanted, our Twitter and Facebook went crazy- especially when they tweeted us to say thanks!

But, it isn’t that easy getting this kind of content. Sometimes I can wait around for three hours at the end of a long show-day just to get one photo of an artist backstage! And backstage access isn’t guaranteed… I’m not always allowed backstage to take photos. I work closely with our brilliant Events team who introduce me to the promoters and tour managers of each show and then turn on the charm and take it from there! Nearly two years on from covering my first show backstage, we have built up a fantastic portfolio of backstage access for a variety of artists and shows, from Tinie Tempah to Justin Bieber and Strictly Come Dancing to Arctic Monkeys. And of course, the same promoters come back, so if I nail one shows backstage coverage, the likelihood of getting access again is high- particularly as our coverage can often result in last minute ticket sales!!

Sometimes you’ll get access to the dressing room, the stage, the tour bus and even the artist. That happened with JLS, who were all lovely guys- and even retweeted our coverage to our followers. That made me do a victory dance in the office! The guys I work with are used to me screaming every now and again when an artist interacts with us socially. It’s a standing joke in the office that I’m a nerd. I went on the tour bus for JLS, Britain’s Got talent and Iron Maiden – theirs was the best, with mirrored ceilings! I met Justin Bieber after he finished his soundcheck. And Willow and Jaden Smith who were supporting him. There was a rumour that Will Smith would attend the concert, which he did backstage with Jada - as you can imagine, I put that straight out on Twitter!! Vanilla Ice was amazing. I remember he let me update his Twitter on his phone. Tinie Tempah and Labrinth were pretty cool. Really nice guys. That show had a load of last minute ticket releases so I gave this show huge push socially on the day, tweeting out pics of his trainers, stage and basketball rings backstage – by show doors, we had just one standing ticket left over. The promoter was chuffed with the coverage and even gave me meet and greet passes for the gig. The security manager for The Saturdays took me round backstage to do some photos. I remember being in their dressing roomtaking pics of their outfits, when the door swung open and Marvin from JLS (dating the group’s Rochelle Wiseman) walked in! My immediate reaction was to tweet about it. Which I did a minute later after as soon as I left the room!! And later that night, Aston (Merrygold from JLS) turned up in his supercar backstage as well to watch the girls from the mixer. Again, we were given some meet and greet passes for the work on this show and I remember having my photo with Mollie from The Saturdays. She looked amazing, whereasafter working a crazy 12 hour day, I had definitely looked better!!
Hulk Hogan was wicked. He told me I reminded him of his daughter. I wasn’t quite sure how to take that one... Lady Gaga recorded part of her Born This Way album when she was here in 2010. She set up a studioin the star dressing room. Michael Buble played ice hockey with the Panthers when he was here. When Batman Live was here they brought the original Batmobile here as a treat for the cast, which I only found out about by keeping an eye on Twitter- so I retweeted the casts pictures out.
A lot of the time, for confidentially reasons, we can’t publicise a lot of what we see. One of our Events team passed a major rock singer coming out of his dressing room singing “I’m Every Woman” at the top of his voice, which was hilarious. The nicest artists I’ve met were probably Tinie Tempah and The Wanted. Stars of reality TV shows like Strictly and X Factor are always lovely too. Support acts are the best as they are always really up for coverage as we can help get them the right exposure.

I don’t really get starstruck – backstage coverage is just part of my job. And I like to think I do it well! I really do feel so lucky to have the job I have- it is amazing. But hard work! Yes, social marketing is fun and exciting, but it’s also a massively powerful platform which requires 24/7 monitoring and dedication- I’ve been known to update our social platforms from 7am, right up until to 11.30pm after a show. Or when I’m on holiday, Christmas Day, and even when I was off after having my wisdom teeth out because we had the One Direction on-sale, which was crazy online! As well as becoming another channel for customer service, I believe social networking also really adds to our customers show experience, before, during and after an event… And people expect it from us! I think perhaps, I’ve created a monster! My motto? Keep calm and carry on tweeting J

The Capital FM Arena Twitter account now has nearly 10,000 followers which is the second largest in the UK after the O2 Arena. Katie tweets from @KatieRebekah, @CapitalFMArena and @Nat_Ice_Centre. Links to all the Facebook, YouTube and Flickr accounts can be found at and

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