Her Campus Media: An Interview with Maddie Hiatt

Her Campus is a media organization that stretches far beyond our chapter at the University of Maine. I previously had done some research on Her Campus from a national perspective, but I wanted to actually talk to someone involved to know what it is like outside of UMaine. I reached out to Maddie Hiatt, Social Media Editor of Her Campus Media. I was interested in getting to know about how she got her start, and what working for Her Campus is actually like. Fortunately, I had the privilege of interviewing her so I could learn more.

 Maddie Hiatt is the Social Media Editor of Her Campus Media nationally. She studied at Drake University, majoring in Graphic Design and Magazine Journalism, with big dreams of running her own magazine. When going on a trip her junior year, she met a worker from Instyle Magazine. He told her the best and worst advice she had ever gotten, which was, “By the time you graduate, you won’t be able to find a solely print job. You have to get digital experience.” She didn’t feel that digital design (technological visuals) suited her style as well as specifically layout design (arrangements of visual items on pages). Hiatt’s solution? She says, “That is when I figured out that social media is this perfect combination because you have to be able to write, and you also have to be able to be creative and use the visual part of your brain.” After graduating from Drake University in 2018, she got her start working for Martha Stewart Living, and then transitioned to House Beautiful. Her main goal was to work with the media surrounding women’s lifestyles. She went to multiple networking events, and eventually met Danielle Tullo, deputy editor for Her Campus. Once Danielle mentioned to Maddie that there was a position for Social Media Editor, she knew it was something she wanted. She took all of the edit tests, went through all of the interviews required for the position, and successfully acquired it. 

Along with managing the Her Campus social media, she also manages and curates content on Spoon University and College Fashionista. Spoon University is a parent company of Her Campus, having chapters on many campuses. It’s an organization that specializes in writing about food and recipes. College Fashionista is also a branch of Her Campus Media, focusing on edgier articles about beauty, trends, and fashion. “I get to play with a lot of different topics, which I am really really grateful for because I don’t know that you get to do that in other companies.” One of her favorite parts about working as a Social Media Editor is that she can communicate with her coworkers from every field. She is on the editing team, so she meets with her fellow members at the Headquarters to inquire about what they are posting and their strategies. They then discuss how that will specifically translate to a social media aspect. Along with the editing team, she also reaches out to the design team to discuss what content to post on the Her Campus feeds. She works frequently with Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, one of the Her Campus founders. Maddie often reports to her, and it allows her to see the business side of  Her Campus as well.

    When I asked her who the most influential woman in her life is, she confidently responded with her mom. “She’s always pushed me to be the best employee and the best human I can be, and I think that’s why I have the work ethic that I do and why I’ve been able to succeed.” 

She is very close with not just her mom, but her whole family. Before COVID-19, she would fly to her home state of Missouri to visit them once every few months. Another family member she is grateful for is her dog, Waffles. When I asked Maddie what her favorite type of article is to write about, she said she loves to write about pets. A part of the Her Campus Media that I asked her to elaborate on is “Fur Campus.” She explained that as a joke, the team put together a page on their website with everyone’s dogs as different Her Campus positions involving silly puns (Chief BARKeting Officer, for example). At the Her Campus Headquarters located in Boston, Massachusetts, staff would bring their dogs frequently to play and greet employees. 

    Maddie exclaimed that since she was 13 years old, she had wanted to live in New York City. Luckily, her position allows her to be able to live that dream. Even before COVID-19, she was working from home, so the transition wasn’t that impactful in her daily life. When she is not busy working for Her Campus, she is working on her fitness, playing with her dog, and doing “New York” things. She lives relatively close to Times Square, so she would walk around and shop. She said she loves to do as many activities related to New York as possible. Last year, she went to see The Rockettes and went ice-skating with her boyfriend at Rockefeller Center. While she is living in New York, other members of Her Campus are also working from home at locations such as Los Angeles, Georgia, Florida, and Utah. In fact, only around 60% of the team actually works at their headquarters.  

    Maddie made it clear from the beginning that being a part of Her Campus Media has benefited her in so many ways. “Her Campus invests in their employees. I feel like from day one I was asked what my goals are professionally, and then I was given opportunities to reach those goals.” One thing she was very determined to do was to create a cohesive schedule between managing all three of the social media brands. There also wasn’t a specific “Social Media Editor” title before she came along, so she was given the freedom to explore what worked best for her and the company. Maddie is very dedicated to reaching out to Gen Z, asking them what content they would like to see and what giveaways they want. Her Campus Media very much accommodates what Gen Z and even millennials are interested in, which truly sets them apart from other companies. “The fact that we have such a relationship with our audience, and we know who they are, is what truly sets Her Campus apart. Not only do we know our audience, but we genuinely care about you, and we want to give you the content that you want. We want to give you giveaways with products that you would genuinely buy.” She goes on to express that working specifically in social media gives her those opportunities to chat with college students through DMing, which gives her an idea of what students want for content and products. 

    I wanted to do this piece to show students who are interested in Her Campus what it is really about from a broader perspective. It was such an honor to have a conversation with Maddie Hiatt about her journey and contributions within Her Campus. I felt so enlightened after talking to her, and I hope you feel enlightened and inspired by Her Campus and the people involved with providing meaningful content to our generation.