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12 Oct 2021

Full-Time Communications Manager

Northrop, University of Minnesota – Posted by northrop Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Job Description

Position Type: Full time (40 hours per week) one-year temporary professional and administrative (P&A) position, with primary schedule arranged between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday – Friday. This position requires occasional weekend and/or evening hours as needed, based on the schedule of Northrop’s events.

The Organization:

Northrop shapes Minnesota’s rich cultural environment through arts presentations that celebrate excellence and innovation, community engagement, and creative exchange. Considered a Minneapolis architectural treasure, Northrop is an enduring symbol of the University of Minnesota, and the focal point of the Twin Cities campus and community.

Since opening in 1929, Northrop has served as the University’s primary gathering place for the performing arts, concerts, lectures, academic ceremonies, and major civic events. Our performances and engagement activities reach far beyond the student body and University community to citizens all across Minnesota. Programming has focused on bringing world-class artists and thinkers to Northrop, where the arts are incorporated into the student experience and shared with regional audiences. At the heart of our programming is the Northrop Dance Series. For nearly 50 years, Northrop has produced a season of extraordinary dance from all over the world. Approximately 8-12 dance companies are presented annually, with three to four large-scale classical ballet offerings (often with a full pit orchestra). Northrop has commissioned new works, and presented scores of premieres, ranging from state and regional to US and world premieres.

The newly revitalized Northrop has been in operation for over seven years since the grand reopening in April 2014.  Northrop has been host to more than 5000 different programs and has welcomed more than 1 million visitors. The theater revitalization included re-configuring the existing 4800 seat outmoded auditorium into a new theater of 2692 seats featuring state-of-the-art acoustics, excellent sightlines, cutting-edge technologies, and updated amenities. In addition, the building now boasts the Surdyk’s cafe, the 168-seat Best Buy Theater, expanded lobby areas, and newly incorporated space for three signature academic programs: The Institute for Advanced Study, the University Honors Program, and the College of Design’s Innovation Lab. Several lobby lounges provide spaces for student study and team learning activities.


Rooted in the belief that the arts are essential to the human experience, we are committed to cultivating intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.

Directly aligned with the teaching, research and service mission of the University, Northrop is a catalyst that uses the boundless power of arts and education to ignite transformation in each individual, inspiring positive change in our world.

Organizational Values:

INSPIRATION: We embrace a culture that ignites discovery, bold creativity and transformation.

EXCELLENCE: We deliver programs of the highest quality that advance arts, education and cultural enrichment.

CONNECTIVITY: We foster and illuminate connections that bring meaning and value to our lives.

INCLUSIVITY: We invite, welcome and respect everyone, honoring and celebrating the richness inherent in our differences.

COLLABORATION: We cultivate relationships that create unique opportunities for exponential impact.

Staff Values:

INTEGRITY: We each act according to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct and serve as positive advocates for Northrop.

RESPECT: We uphold a workplace culture that is collaborative, encouraging and fulfilling.

EMPOWERMENT: We value and trust the skills of our colleagues and empower each individual to do their job, while upholding the mission and furthering the goals of the organization.

ACCOUNTABILITY:  We are an outcome based, impact driven, data informed organization.  Goals are transparent and each individual has ownership in successes and challenges.

BALANCE: We recognize the ebb and flow of our workloads and are committed to helping one another find and maintain sustainable work / life balance. 

Position Overview:

The communications manager is Northrop’s primary writer, editor, and content manager with a focus on sales, fundraising, campus and community engagement, and K-12 arts education for Northrop programming, the rental of Northrop spaces, and U of M Tickets and Events. With a strong initiative to discover, create, and share content, the communications manager is an excellent storyteller and champion for Northrop, U of M Tickets and Events, and the University of Minnesota, strategically developing and matching content with appropriate channels and audiences, ensuring messaging aligns with Northrop’s brand and strategic plan. In partnership with and under the direction of the director of marketing and public relations, the communications manager is Northrop’s primary media liaison, and is responsible for spearheading all earned public relations strategies. In collaboration with other team members, the communications manager is responsible for all organic content on Northrop’s channels. This position supports Northrop’s vision as a vital multi-purpose center of academic distinction and a preeminent cultural and performing arts center, which establishes Northrop as a bustling, dynamic destination for collaboration and study, entertainment, exploration, and intellectual experiences.

This position currently supervises one student intern but can give direction to other part-time and full-time staff. The communications manager reports to the director of marketing and public relations.

Job Description:

Strategic Planning and Evaluation (25%)

  • Research, develop and maintain comprehensive strategic messaging, editorial content, and communications plans that align with and support Northrop’s mission, vision, values, initiatives, goals, and strategic plan that follow industry best practices.
  • Ensure that Northrop’s content finds expression on as many platforms as possible.
  • Plan and maintain annual editorial calendar in coordination with team members.
  • Seek out, evaluate, and implement emerging communications opportunities.
  • Plan, write, and oversee all organic social media content in partnership with other team members and departments to meet goals and objectives.
  • Engage with campus departments, community partners, and area arts organizations on communications strategies and tactics.
  • Measure and evaluate communications strategies using key metrics to ensure they are effective and efficient in supporting goals.

Copywriting, Editing, and Proofing (25%)  

  • Be the lead copywriter and editor for Northrop.
  • Update and maintain Northrop editorial style guide in conjunction with U of M and industry guidelines.
  • Ensure that digital content is optimized for search engines, accessibility, user experience, and other platform specific guidelines and engagement strategies.
  • Manage all content and project management for Northrop performance programs.

Communications (10%)

  • Act as lead communications contact with artists, agents, partners, and team for content gathering, editing, and approval.
  • Advise on internal communications.
  • Determine criteria for and direct appropriate response to patron feedback.
  • Maintain consistent voice and branding for Northrop with accurate details and customized messages crafted for various audiences.
  • Create and maintain emergency communications plan.
  • Consult and advise on sensitive, controversial, or high impact topics, in consultation with University Relations.

Media/Public Relations (20%)

  • Be Northrop’s primary media liaison, responsible for spearheading all earned public relations strategies.
  • Maintain high visibility for Northrop by identifying and securing campus, local, regional, national, and international media opportunities and coverage.
  • Develop and implement annual strategic media relations plan in conjunction with director of marketing and public relations.
  • Effectively build and cultivate relationships with journalists and editors.
  • Work in cooperation with university partners to maximize media exposure.
  • Write and distribute press releases, media advisories, and briefings/talking points.
  • Develop and regularly update targeted media distribution lists.
  • Determine when and how to respond to media.
  • Maintain archive of media coverage and share with key stakeholders.

Supervision (10%)

  • Supervise communications intern and collaborate with other intern supervisors on cross-training and backups.

Other/Miscellaneous (10%)

  • Build and track marketing projects on Team Gantt project management system.
  • Work with the director of marketing and public relations and other team members to implement a patron journey and evaluate necessity for a membership program.
  • Respond to public questions, comments, and requests for information through Northrop email and social media accounts, providing excellent customer service.
  • Assist Northrop team at events and/or monitoring social media on or off-site during weekend and/or evening hours as needed.
  • Provide exemplary customer service focused on creating positive and memorable experiences for all Northrop patron touchpoints.
  • Assist with market research and patron feedback.
  • Backup Communications Manager, Creative Director, Digital Marketing Manager, and Director of Marketing and Public Relations as needed.
  • Administrative support and various office tasks. Other duties as assigned.
  • This position requires that essential functions are performed during weekend and/or evening hours as needed, based on the schedule of Northrop’s events.


  • Bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism, Communications, Public Relations, Marketing, Arts Management, or related field and a minimum of four years of relevant professional experience. Or a non-communication related bachelor’s degree and six years of professional communications experience.
  • Proven track record in planning, developing, implementing, and measuring strategic communications plans and content across various channels for a program, product, or service, preferably in performing arts or entertainment industry requiring ticket sales, fundraising, and meeting various goals.
  • Excellent strategic experience in high-level segmented message formulation and positioning; proven editing and proofreading ability following a style guide.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills that engages the reader/listener.
  • A natural storyteller who has a keen eye for spotting story opportunities that meet organizational goals and objectives and brings them to life across platforms.
  • Experience and success with developing media strategy, pitching targeted stories, building relationships with the media, and landing earned editorial coverage.
  • Experience creating and posting organic content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube platforms for a business, organization, or club.
  • Experience with search engine optimization strategies.
  • Investigative, well-organized, deductive, and critical thinker with excellent attention to detail. Experience in data and trend analysis and using data to inform strategy.
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
  • Proficient with Google suite of products including Google Analytics, Microsoft Office, and social media platforms.
  • Demonstrated work ethic with ability to handle and organize multiple projects simultaneously with varied timelines and duties.
  • Appetite for spotting, assessing, and taking advantage of related applicable trends.
  • Experience working both as a team and independently.
  • Creative.
  • History of seeing projects through to completion and generating new ideas.
  • Upbeat and positive personality; build and maintain professional and positive relationships; excellent and intuitive customer service skills and philosophy.
  • Comfortable in a fast-paced, goal-oriented, multi-faceted environment.
  • Able to learn new areas quickly, take ownership of issues/projects, and develop recommendations.
  • Supervisory experience.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • High level of knowledge of the performing arts (especially dance and music), current artists, and the entertainment industry.
  • Experience with any project management platform.
  • Experience with Agility PR.
  • Experience with Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Studio.
  • Experience with Drupal or similar.
  • Knowledge of and relationships with Twin Cities local and national digital and print media outlets.

The employer reserves the right to change or add job duties to this position if consistent with the job classification.

Salary: $65,000 per year, depending on qualifications.

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How to Apply

Application instructions: To apply, visit https://z.umn.edu/73lh (Job ID: 343884). Please submit a cover letter, resume, three professional writing samples, and three references. Final applicants will be asked to complete a writing exercise. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

Job Categories: Equal Opportunities. Job Types: Full-Time. Job Tags: arts, communications, Education, and Marketing. Salaries: 60,000 - 80,000.

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