Advice From the Pros

Dancer Turned Marketing Maven, Dana Johnson Discusses Finding Success in a New Career

Straight out of high school, Louisiana native Dana Johnson left the comfort of the Bayou to pursue her theater dreams in New York City, but it wasn’t until after a career-ending injury, that Johnson found her true calling in the media industry.

Now a successful freelance integrated marketer, Johnson works with brands to create unified consumer experience campaigns.

Johnson is now sharing her expertise with Mediabistro as a guest instructor for the new online training course Event Marketing.

Vital Stats

Name: Dana Johnson
Title: Freelance
Years with Company: 5yrs
Hometown/where are you from? Alexandria, Louisiana
Present hometown/where do you live and work? Los Angeles, CA


College: Adelphi University
Degree/Major: MBA/Marketing

Social Info

Instagram: JustDanaBlair
Twitter: JustDanaBlair
LinkedIn: Dana Johnson, MBA

What was your first real job? How did you get it?

My first real job was as a Sales Assistant at A&E Television Networks in their Ad Sales Department. I had placed my resume online, and received a call from HR. I did not think that resume sites worked until that very moment. This role opened my eyes up to the world of Ad Sales and Marketing/Integrated Marketing.

Please describe what you do in your job in 1-3 sentences.

I create integrated marketing campaigns for brands/advertisers in order to create a unified and seamless experience with consumers. I also work as a producer/ on-air correspondent in the pop culture/entertainment/news space.

Is this where you always thought you’d end up? Or has your career been a wild ride of curveballs and left turns?

I NEVER in a million years thought that I would end up in media, let alone marketing. I am originally from Alexandria, Louisiana. After graduating high school, I moved to New York City on a Performing Arts scholarship. I always thought my life/career would revolve around the theatre.

What inspired you to break into this role?

To make a long story short, I became injured while performing with a modern dance company. After a few months of physical therapy and contemplating what my life would look like as a non-dancer, I decided to go back to school and pursue my MBA. Fast forward to my cold call from A&E Television Networks and here I am….in MEDIA!

What about your job gets you excited to jump out of bed every morning? What makes you want to hide under the sheets?

I love creating. I love being presented with different challenges and no two campaigns are ever the same. The flexibility and “surprises” remind me of my days of performing; constantly needing to be on my toes and learning new material.

How do you stay on top of trends in your field?

Read, Read, READ! I pay attention to trades, LinkedIn, etc.

What do you want to get better at/skills you want to develop and why?

I want to be better with SEO. I also find it hard sometimes to keep up with the ever evolving landscape of social media. The best resource any marketer can have is a teenage relative. ?

What’s the biggest misconception people have about this field/role?

That it is all glitter and all the time. Event Marketing and strategy takes a lot of work before you get to the sparkle.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to break into this field?

Be malleable. Be patient. Be observant.

Why did you choose to become a Mediabistro instructor and why do you think it’s important for people to learn the skill you are teaching?

I have always wanted to teach in a more formal setting. Mediabistro has been a part of my career for many years now (job boards, articles, resources, etc), and it just made perfect sense to me. I am teaching the Event Marketing course, but it is not all about table linens and an eblast. There are many levels to engaging your target audience/consumer whether your brand is B2B or B2C. The skills in this course are applicable to various aspects of your career and business.

What tips do you have for students taking your course?

Breathe and be organized. Event Marketing has many moving parts and can feel overwhelming. Don’t let the list of “to-dos” take over.

What are you reading and/or watching right now?

I am obsessed with finding new documentaries on Netflix. I am also always in search of a good book.  Right now, I am reading “Once Upon A Time in Compton” by Lolita Files. Any recommendations?

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