I first met Kim when I started writing for SEEK. She was the kind of editor and content manager you dream about as a freelancer. She always returned emails, is highly organised and encouraging. As someone who has dabbled in freelance writing, Kim understands what editors and content managers are looking for as well as what it’s like on the other side. Kim has now moved on from SEEK and is working as a Multi-Channel Content Manager for Woolworths.
Meet Kim Lamb – content manager extraordinaire
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a content nerd, having discovered very early on in my career (as a PR professional originally) that I love the power of content marketing and the way it can charm and persuade a customer base, building brand loyalty, brand personality and ultimately sales conversion.
I’ve since spent the good part of a decade working as a content strategist, producer and word wizard across B2C and B2B, in-house and agency roles, working with brands that include Woolworths, SEEK, the South Australian Tourism Commission, Perth Airport, AMP and the Royal Automobile Association of SA.
I also have my own blog, Eat Play Love Travel, which is essentially an excuse to eat fabulous food and travel to fabulous places and write about it. I also dabble in a bit of freelance writing myself, so understand the game.
Do you work with freelance writers in your current role?
In my current role, our content production is coordinated through an external agency, so no, not directly. However, in many of my previous roles I have relied heavily on a bank of freelancers to create the content required to support the strategy in place. This could be commissioning short snackable copy for email and online, or long-form articles for magazines and websites. It could also be video, imagery, infographics, animations, you name it.
What do you look for when working with freelance writers?
First and foremost, that they’re easy and enjoyable to work with! But also that they have the right experience (preferably a bank of pre-published work) and some background understanding on the industry at hand.
For example, when managing the B2B content strategy for SEEK, it was important to get writers who understood the complex landscape of HR and recruitment, and therefore could write about it credibly and intelligently. Otherwise the copy just wouldn’t be on-point for the audience.
In your experience, is there anything freelance writers can do to make themselves more likely to get repeat work from an editor or content manager?
Provide a great first experience. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking commissioning a freelance writer that you haven’t worked with before, especially one that doesn’t come with recommendations from someone you know. Are they going to get the audience right, nail the tone of voice, produce a piece of great copy that’s error-free and easy to read (pretty basic, right? But you’d be surprised).
If this first interaction goes smoothly and it’s a pleasure to work with them (i.e. they’re easy going, reliable and file on time a polished piece that’s to brief), I will add the freelance writer to my regular stable.
Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to freelance writers?
Writers that don’t understand the differences and nuances between writing for print, online, email and social media. All platforms require a slightly different approach – it’s important a freelance writer knows what these are.
Any advice for writers who are hoping to get noticed by editors or content managers and build up their work?
Make an effort to understand a brand’s content strategy. What are they looking to achieve? Who are they targeting (be aware that it could be a mix of different audiences)? What types of content do they regularly produce? What are their likely content pillars? Also understand the role and remit of the person you’re pitching your services to (it’s always a little embarrassing when you have a writer pitch you an idea that’s not for the content brand that you work on).
If you want to get in the door with a particular publication, website, editor or content manager, be helpfully persistent. Remind them every now and then (not weekly) that you’re there and wanting to help out, pitch ideas that show you know their audience and style. Even if these particular ideas aren’t picked up, it will show that you’re super keen to work with them – this will go a long way.
And any tips for freelancers who want to work more in content marketing?
Content marketing is such an exciting space to work in as it’s increasingly becoming THE way to get your customer’s attention. Traditional broadcast advertising is losing its power. Humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfish, which means that if something doesn’t interest us then we use our phones/tablets/laptops to find something else that does. Distraction is a click, scroll or swipe away.
To cut through the clutter, brands need to engage their customers, offer them something of value. Content can do this. More and more marketing teams are releasing this.
To work in content marketing, identify your niche, build your knowledge within this niche and go for it. There’s more and more opportunity opening up every day for good quality content creators.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Value your worth as a writer. Good content comes at a cost. Don’t undersell yourself, or worse, write for free!