Kevin is our most recent managerial hire, heading up our content team and bringing years of experience. We sat down with him to find out more about his time as a sports journalist, his undying love for Aston Villa and what his ideal weekend looks like.
I guess there are two answers to this question. In terms of becoming a journalist in the first place, it was that old school route of landing a trainee reporter job at a local newspaper, straight from college. Learning the trade quickly, covering the usual news stories and so on until I managed to secure the sports editor position (in a sports team of one; me) and push on with my ambition of being a sports journalist.
A move into a more specific Content Manager role came in 2014. I was feeling pretty stale in a publisher-type of position at a magazine company – and certainly missing writing every day – when I heard about a new venture from a former colleague. He’d set up a digital marketing agency (SEO, Content) about a mile from where I live, and the company was growing rapidly. They were expanding their Content team, I got in touch, and that was that…
Most of the enjoyment still comes from writing and delivering work not only that I’m happy with, but that a client is happy with, too. It’s that simple. I find the writing process very satisfying, when you’re in full flow, and there’s little better than receiving positive feedback.
I also really enjoy managing a team and people. At my previous agency, I built a team of content writers and editors up over the five years I was there, and established them as one of the most important, high-performing teams in the group. I loved guiding and mentoring them; there’s a lot of pride in seeing people develop.
You obviously take pride in your work. What’s your favourite campaign or client you’ve worked on?
Tough question! I’ve got some fond memories of campaigns I was involved in for ao.com – which resulted in excellent coverage in the national media – and a large content writing project for Hertz, based around car hire and travel in cities around the world. That campaign won a couple of awards.
Again, I’m lucky enough to have had a lot of lovely moments and achievements throughout my career. I guess I was pretty fortunate in that, having wanted to be a sports/football journalist from the age of 15, I lived that life for 15 years or so. That took me to World Cups, European Championships, FA Cup Finals, numerous England fixtures at Wembley, Premier League club training grounds for interviews, and so on.
If I had to select a single achievement, I’d probably say being on the launch team of the UK version of Sport magazine (as Deputy Editor). From concept to launch in about six weeks, skeleton staff, total chaos… and then that first issue, with a 300k print run around London. It was a special moment stepping off the train, into the tube, and seeing dozens of commuters walking around with a magazine you’d helped to create in their hands. Not all of them threw it away immediately, either.
I’d say – just write. I’ve interviewed lots of young hopefuls wanting to get into a content role, and there’s a real difference between those who just say they want to write and those who actually want to write and can show some examples of their writing.
Anyone can get published these days. Set up a blog, write about stuff you love. It can be anything. Then, show off what you can do. If you’ve spent three years working in a coffee bar but can show me you’ve been writing in your spare time, I’m interested.
A couple of mornings when the dog doesn’t wake me up too early; dinner and/or drinks with friends; happy (teenage) kids; a 10k on a Sunday morning; a Villa win. I’m easily pleased.
Nothing out of the ordinary, sadly – I’m a Villa fan, but that’s not interesting, just more of a constant cry for help. I’m a reasonably regular runner and do a few events now and again, though I’m still sulking a bit after being on the start line of the 2019 Great Eastern half marathon when it was suddenly cancelled due to safety fears. I’ve been a football coach from time to time and may step back into that at some point.
Thanks for your time Kevin – we’ll let you get back to running the content team!
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