A day in the life of a Creative Strategy Manager
What did you study at university?
I studied Journalism at Leeds Metropolitan University. The course gave me a real insight into modern journalism and how to create multimedia content for print, digital and broadcast platforms. It also offered practical tips on how to create compelling copy and gave me a clear understanding of PR and digital in general.
A course requirement was to complete relevant work experience, so I spent time at Trinity Mirror North West working in the newsroom. This helped me apply what I had learnt at university in a practical setting.
How did you land your first job in digital marketing?
When coming to the end of my university course, I had a real think about what areas of the industry I liked best and what I was good at. I realised the theory and psychology behind what people liked to read interested me the most, and my strongest area seemed to be the written word. So, I naturally gravitated towards content marketing.
While I was at university, I also worked part-time in a bank and had strong knowledge of the financial industry. I continued working in finance for about a year after studying, looking for writing jobs throughout that time. I had a few interviews and some knockbacks, and it seemed like all my friends from my course were landing really cool jobs in agencies and magazines. After months of hard work with nothing back, I was close to giving up.
However, I was lucky enough to come across a role that needed both a writing and a financial background. A savings and investment company were looking for a content executive, which I thought I would be perfect for, so I applied. Thankfully, I got the job. I finally had my foot in the door!
What was your path to creative strategy manager?
After about a year and a half in my first role, I realised I wanted to learn more about the different areas of marketing. To pursue that interest, I left the company to start working as a Content Executive at a content marketing agency.. Agency life was much more faced paced and challenging that my in-house role, but I absolutely loved it!
In working agency-side, I had the opportunity to learn more about content marketing, outreach, digital PR, paid and organic social media, and more. My favourite part of the job was how creative we were encouraged to be – our main focus was to create content that was relevant, interesting and fun, so we had a fantastic time in ideas sessions.
Over time, my management team realised my strengths lay in marketing strategy; I had a gift for coming up with the ideas for our content and PR campaigns, planning the time-frames, and making sure clients KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) were considered. I was promoted to Creative Strategist and was responsible for the part of marketing I loved – idea generation.
I then moved to my current agency, Bring Digital, as a Lead Content Strategist. With the help of a fantastic team, we conceptualised some fantastic campaigns for some incredible clients, and we were lucky enough to win a number of industry awards thanks to our creativity.
I also had the chance to work across multiple marketing areas on digital activation campaigns with big brands like Nike and Under Armour.
As I worked so closely with the PR team on ideas, I progressed to the role of Creative Strategy Manager after a year in the business. Now, I manage our talented PR team and oversee our outreach campaigns. I love this role as it’s the perfect combination of creativity and strategy. I’ve already learnt a lot and hope to continue working on award-winning campaigns!
What would be your advice to people starting out?
I never expected that my experience in finance would lead me to my first role in digital marketing. It’s worth keeping in mind that all your work experience can be relevant. If you currently work as a bar manager, take a look at marketing roles in the food and drink industry. If you work in retail, there are many different fashion brands looking for PR and content executives.
Try to keep writing, be it guest posting on sites that interest you, or on your own blog. We’ve hired staff members who don’t have any formal experience but have shown that they can write well thought-out blogs about comic books, fashion trends, festivals or restaurants. It also shows a passion that’s difficult to teach.
Don’t worry about the number of views or visitors you get either – see it as more of a personal portfolio to show at job interviews, with any social following as a happy coincidence (this will make you less likely to give up the blog as well).
Networking is also one of the best ways to get your face known. If you’re in a city, there is always free industry events and talks going on (just take a look on Eventbrite) where you can meet those key business decision makers and really make an impression. It can be nerve-wracking at first (especially when you’re very new to networking) but it’s more than worth it.
Keep trying and don’t give up. Digital marketing is a fantastic industry to be part of as it grows so quickly and there is always something new to learn. Keep pushing and showing your passion, and you will get your foot in the door.
By Rosa Mitchell – Creative Strategy Manager at Bring Digital Ltd.