SARE Outreach is Hiring
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is a USDA-funded program that offers grants and educational opportunities to farmers, ranchers, researchers and ag educators to promote the advancement of sustainable innovations in U.S. agriculture. This job opening is for a content development specialist with SARE Outreach, the program's national communications office. SARE Outreach's primary objective is to translate the results of SARE-funded grant projects into practical, how-to information for diverse agricultural audiences. The position is based at our College Park, Md., office.
The content development specialist is involved in all aspects of content development and dissemination to a wide variety of audiences using many different communications formats and strategies. (S)he contributes significantly to the production of all print projects (e.g., books, bulletins, promotional materials), including writing content, editing/proofreading and graphic design, or interfacing with contractors accomplishing these tasks. (S)he also manages the print production process, including developing specifications, soliciting bids, proofing and conducting press checks. (S)he assists in the production of some multimedia projects, such as videos.
The content development specialist leads the program's social media efforts, including researching and identifying best avenues for communications and outreach, managing all social media activities, advising staff on social media strategies, and analyzing the results of social media efforts.
(S)he is a primary web content team member, including implementing search engine optimization projects, identifying strategies using Google Analytics and Google Keywords, managing content on the website, trouble-shooting, testing new web functionality, and writing and managing web content.
The content development specialist contributes to communications and outreach efforts by developing promotion plans, writing press releases, researching and identifying best channels for outreach to targeted audiences based on content to promote, exploring innovative communications strategies, and using media and other contact databases to design and send promotional mailings.
The content development specialist manages event logistics for one annual meeting of approximately 25 participants.
Through the activities described above, the content development specialist identifies successful research from SARE's portfolio of 6,000 projects, synthesizes that research into clear, targeted messages, and implements promotional strategies to get the message out to a wide variety of audiences in the agricultural sector.
Bachelor's degree in communications/journalism, agricultural communications and/or in a field related to agricultural or environmental sciences, or equivalent work experience. Excellent written and oral communication skills; excellent computer skills, including web-based information management, database management and design programs; copy editing experience a plus; and the ability to work in a team-based environment with both in-person and remote colleagues. Two to three years of work experience in agricultural communications (writing/editing, media outreach, publishing, multimedia, design, etc.).
Master's degree in communications/journalism, agricultural communications and/or in a field related to agricultural or environmental sciences, or equivalent work experience. Five years of work experience in agricultural communications (writing/editing, media outreach, publishing, multimedia, design, etc.).
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
- Excellent written and oral communications skills are required, particularly a demonstrated ability to translate complex scientific information into clear writing for a wide range of audiences and purposes.
- Excellent copy editing and proofreading skills, and an eye for detail, are required. Familiarity with AP style preferred.
- A demonstrated commitment to SARE's mission—to advance sustainable innovations to the whole of American agriculture—is desirable. Knowledge of agriculture, particularly sustainable agriculture principles, and scientific research methods is also desirable.
- Ability to use a content management system (CMS) is highly desirable.
- Experience contributing to an organization's social media presence is highly desirable.
- Experience implementing search engine optimization strategies is highly desirable.
- Intermediate skill with Adobe graphic software such as Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign is highly desirable.
- Experience creating and packaging information across multiple formats, such as text, video, audio, photos, graphics and interactivity, is desirable.
- Must have basic skills using Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Google Drive. Basic experience with HTML is also preferred.
- Photography and video skills are a plus.
- Knowledge of media relations strategies—how to identify and pitch stories based on key trends, how to structure and message news releases, etc.—is desirable. Knowledge of the agricultural media landscape is a plus. Familiarity with Cision or another media relations service is also a plus.
- Experience with Google Analytics and Google Keywords is a plus.
- Knowledge of the publication printing process is a plus.
- Must be able to work simultaneously on several projects by appropriately managing priorities and time. Must be able to work in a team-based environment with both in-person and remote colleagues.
How to Apply
SARE Outreach is hosted at the University of Maryland. Apply through the official job announcement at the university's job bank:
To be considered for this position all applicants must apply online through the University of Maryland job bank by submitting a cover letter, resume, and a listing of at least three reference providers.
Applicants must also provide three short writing samples that demonstrate an ability to communicate technical information in clear, simple language, preferably on agricultural subjects. Samples may include, but are not limited to: print or online articles, blog posts, journal articles, news stories, press releases, or a series of posts that were part of a social media campaign.