Katie joined iThinkMedia at the start of 2016 and has worked her way up to being head of the content team. We caught up with her to find out her story….
When I finished school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but had always liked geography and wanted to go to university – so the natural progression was a geography degree. When I got to Lancaster University I quickly realised I was more interested in the people side of my degree than the environmental aspects, so I also studied sociology alongside my human geography degree.
When I finished my degree with a 2:1 I worked as a marketing assistant in a small charity called The Joshua Tree. I hosted events, monitored social media channels and updated the website – I loved it and had found my passion through the charity. I decided to go and do a masters at Oxford Brookes university where I learnt more about marketing. This was definitely the right choice for me, finally I had found my calling! I got a distinction in MSc Marketing and knew this was what I was meant to be doing – I’d never taken to anything like this before and best of all, I knew I was good at it!
Looking back, studying human geography and sociology has massively benefited my marketing skills because a key part of creating engaging content is understanding people – they are your audience!
I was lucky to get a couple of internships after my masters that really helped my development and put my learning into practice. I started with a three month internship at Feeling Peaky, a design agency in Ealing. Following that I knew design wasn’t where my main interests lay, so I found a fantastic opportunity to get into an internship at We Are Social in 2012, a social media agency based in London that was fastly growing to become the world leaders.
It was here that my career really took off and I gained invaluable experience. Suddenly I was learning to manage social media channels for clients, time management, budgeting, campaign management, multi-tasking, taking responsibility for my work and having a big impact on creative ideas and campaigns. At We Are Social, you had to grab opportunities and run with them, and that’s exactly what I did. Over the next three years I worked hard to impress and worked my way up the career ladder pretty quickly from intern to account manager. My clients included Tesco, evian, Google and YouTube.
One of my greatest achievements was running the #summerSOS campaign for F&F which involved tapping into the online conversation and solving fashion dilemmas in a one – day Twitter live catwalk takeover. The campaign was a huge success winning best retail campaign at The Drum Social Buzz Awards and delivering a sales uplift of 108% on featured F&F products, with many lines selling out completely and over 4,500 consumer entries. That was one happy client and we went on to produce quarterly Twitter takeovers at key times in the year.
I started at iThinkMedia in January 2016 after taking three months off to achieve a lifelong goal to travel the world. Probably my biggest learning curve at iThinkMedia happened when Syed, our head of search joined in May 2016. Together we used our background knowledge of working in bigger agencies and made some changes to both the ways of working and team structures. iThinkMedia has always been a place you can do what you want as long as you’re making a positive impact to the agency, which meant my role quickly changed from strategist to manager within a short space of time.
Towards the end of 2016, CEO Chris asked me to head up the content team. With my management skills and a clear vision on where I wanted the content department to evolve to, this was an opportunity that really got me excited. In my team now I have a mix of fantastically skilled people from copywriters and editors, project managers to our digital PR specialist and we are producing high quality content for our clients, both one off and large-scale projects. I’m very proud of where my team have come so far and excited to see how we develop heading into 2018.
Ha! Thank you – at the very end of my 20’s I must admit! I think ultimately I’ve got to where I am with a hell of a lot of determination, passion and willingness to learn. These are the things you need to possess to get up the ladder quickly. Nothing in my career has been put on a plate, I’ve worked my socks off to get where I am and I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved in such a short space of time. From putting the hours in late at night or weekends to doing extra reading to stay ahead of the industry curves – if you want to get somewhere you need to show your drive to succeed. Have a vision and then put mini steps in place to help you to get there – break down the skills or knowledge you need to learn and make it really actionable. Nothing is impossible if you believe you can do it.
I believe anyone can do anything they wish as long as they are interested in it and have the willingness to learn, adapt and continue improving their skill set. For example, here at iThinkMedia we have a mix of people in our content team, but what’s important is that each and every one of these people we hire are truly committed to striving to be the best they can be and making a real positive impact to the clients they are working for. For everyone, no matter what your gender is, you’re going to come across career challenges or people who say ‘you can’t do something’. My advice is to not let that defeat you – take on the challenge and prove everyone wrong – after all, what’s the worse that can happen?!
Good content is built on insight and data. If you don’t have that initial data, you won’t know what your audiences are searching for and therefore won’t be able to deliver that information back to them. However, as the search landscape progresses, good content is also about being highly relevant and offering a fantastic user experience to your reader.
If you came to our Digital Day 2017 in June you’ll know all about the importance of making every piece of content your masterpiece. With that said, there is a HUGE amount of content being created on a daily basis globally, so content marketers now need to get clever with their content and really target it to their audiences if they are going to succeed. Producing viral content isn’t an easy task, but keep delivering great content and one of these days one of your ideas will take off, probably when you least expect it!
Everyday I read about different industry campaigns and pieces of content to gain ideas – I think outside the box and am quite creative in my approach. I find inspiration through visiting art exhibitions, talks, events, listening to podcasts to gain a well rounded set of concepts. Never just look in one place for your inspiration – for the best concepts you need to go wild and piece together different ideas from various things you’ve seen or heard about in order to get a well rounded campaign. The best things to do is to save all these inspirations you’ve seen and loved in one place, for example on Pinterest or a form of moodboard, to give you a whole host of inspiration when you get a new brief in.
Gosh, I’ve been a part of loads of fantastic campaigns. At iThinkMedia I’d probably have to say the CEWE Photoworld ‘Top 10 Instagrammed Places’ has been my favourite, particularly due to my love of travel and the successes it bought our client as a result. Working with an array of journalists and fabulous bloggers meant we could source real photography tips from the experts who have been there and taken the photos themselves. Then we pieced an animated infographic together covering the top 10 most instagrammed places, which we found out through the number of times people have used the location hashtag at each landmark. Seeding out through an array of channels, we got a digital PR circulation of over 241 million, the infographic was shared 1,500 times in the first week alone and we saw our client’s website authority improve as a result of both onsite efforts and the campaign. It was a huge achievement and we gained some amazing coverage from it on the likes of Daily Mail, Telegraph, Cosmopolitan and Hello magazine.
I’m heading off to Barbados for a relaxing week off in a few weeks time and a city break to Barcelona in the Autumn. I’m a bit of a foodie, many people shout at me for taking pictures of my food when it looks deliciously gorgeous, so I think Barcelona will be right up my street with all the tapas.