Originally my plan was to be a journalist. I love stories – I always have – so this seemed a sensible idea. But at University I ended up working for Bacardi Brown-Forman in their student marketing team. Over the next ten years, I worked in app development and marketing for Telefonica Digital, brand campaign management at O2 UK, social media management for three of Danone’s early life nutrition brands and advised multiple small businesses and start ups on their social, content and brand strategy.
With the birth of social media and subsequently a new-fangled advertising form called ‘content marketing’, my gift for storytelling (it turned out) was just as valuable in the marketing world as it may have been in journalism.
In parallel to all this, I was writing blogs in my spare time – including one on free from baking long before there was an audience for it! – and could see the potential in this blossoming industry. Myself and and my peers were frustrated by how agencies (mainly PRs in those days) were executing blogger and vlogger campaigns with no real strategy, no KPIs and certainly no measurement in place. They all seemed to fundamentally misunderstand what made these influencers (though they weren’t yet known as such) resonate with their audiences or how to tap into that effectively.
So in 2016 I joined a boutique marketing agency managing campaigns for P&G, Disney Junior and Feld Entertainment (Disney on Ice), and launched and grew the agency’s first ever blogger network. In 2017 I joined Mumsnet, heading up their Blogger Network, re-engaging members with the brand, ultimately growing membership to over 10,000 relevant, pre-vetted members, 20% of which were from ethnically diverse backgrounds – at the time, reports showed that the industry average was 9% BAME. I also developed and grew the commercial side of the business working with brands to successfully run campaigns on our members’ blogs and social channels to achieve our clients’ KPIs.
Finding, developing and prioritising true influence
I have always prioritised true influence over vanity metrics such as follower counts, talking to clients about engagement rates, the power of storytelling and audience relationship and personal authority when all they wanted to know about was follower counts and reach. Meaningful campaign reporting is another passion point for me – what use are page views stats if you don’t know who those viewers are? During my time at Mumsnet, data became our trump card, investing in a software to help track our campaigns more objectively for clients at a time when most in the industry were still screen grabbing Google Analytics and hoping for the best.
I’ve been in this industry – on both sides of the fence – since the beginning. As it matures, and as more brands look to ‘get in’ on the action, those markers of true influence only become more and more important to help your message stand out in an ever crowded space.
If you’re looking to execute a campaign at serious scale and drive the biggest reach possible, I’m simply not the specialist for you. But if you’re interested in understanding how you can build a relationship with the right consumers that will last – let’s talk.
Awards and Accolades:
- Talking Influences’ Top 50 Industry Players 2019, One To Watch 2020
- Blogosphere’s Best Food Influencer Brand Campaign 2019 (Winner)
- Boutique Influencer Marketing Agency 2019 (Finalist)
- The Drum’s Social Buzz Best Use of Community or Group 2019 (Winner)