Managing a team of eight digital editors, writers, video producers and audience development executives, Amy Cooper is head of content at Bauer Media.
The Bauer Media Group is one of the worlds leading media companies that manages a portfolio of more than 600 magazines, over 400 digital products and 50 radio and TV stations around the world.
Bauer is shaping popular culture like no other media because we tell the stories that move and excite people. Yvonne Bauer.
Through my conversation with Amy I've learned what being head of content means, how to become a great content creator, what KPIs you should track when planning a content strategy, and more.
Discover how you should focus on content to work, and what skills do you need in your team to drive success ⇣
What does it mean to develop a career as a content creator? With Amy Cooper
Amy Cooper: I can safely say that no two days are the same for me, but I like to start my day the same way - pressing snooze on my alarm before reading my emails and looking at Google Analytics in bed which is a habit I need to break.
Once I get to my desk, I like to have a bit of structure to my mornings and will generally go through each brand's performance the previous day and touch base with the teams on what is coming up that day.
I work across seven brands that all have very different audiences and goals so the rest of my day I can be doing anything from tweaking headlines, reporting on entry points, discussing video ideas with the team, looking at social performance to working on the long term content strategy for each brand.
Amy: It’s a really broad role that allows me to work across multiple functions of the business.
I started in editorial before pivoting to audience development, and my current role allows me to marry the art and science side of content across several great brands including Closer, Mother&Baby, Empire, Grazia, heat and some of Bauer’s radio brands.
I work across content that goes out on the websites as well as social and video and get to work with our editorial, commercial, and product teams.
One of my most significant areas of focus is on the content strategy for each brand – how are we diversifying our entry points to the site, reaching more users and driving audience growth on each title.
A lot of the brands I work across have a solid, rich history behind them.
My role is in making sure these brands are visible across multiple digital touchpoints and reaching our audience where they are as digital behaviors continue to evolve.
Amy: I am lucky that I love the brands I work across and would (and do!) consume our content outside of work, but I would say I have an always-on mentality.
Even if I’m reading content from a competitor, I’ll be thinking about how they headlined the piece or sold it on social. As the digital landscape is continuously evolving, I would say the ability to be agile is super important.
What worked in 2016 won’t work today, and I have no doubt I will have to learn a ton of new skills to be able to do my job effectively in 2020 and beyond.
#4. Maria: What are the most important KPIs and insights you look for when planning a content strategy?
Amy: For some of our sites, the search is the biggest driver, while others still have a significant percentage of social traffic. How users interact with our content differs from platform to platform, and we’re also invested in growing visibility on both owned and operated platforms.
When planning our content strategy, I look holistically at where I anticipate growth will come from and have a clear objective for each brand and where we want to get both the website too, but also what kind of growth we want to see across YouTube and social.
I think it’s also essential to look at what our competitors are doing and then look for more significant insights into what our audience is doing.
For example, in the last year, we’ve seen more users coming to our site Flipboard, so that’s becoming a channel of increasing importance to us.
Amy: I think the best content creators – whether they are journalists, vloggers, podcast hosts or influencers with a strong social media presence always put their audience first.
If you’re not in tune with what your audience wants and needs, and working to reach them where they are, you’re not going to succeed.
Amy: I think an audience-first mentality is so important and if you’re thinking about a career in media, think about what makes you tick (and click!) as a consumer.
Amy: Most people in this industry are incredibly passionate about the content they’re producing and put the user at the heart of what they do.
I would begin by thinking about the kind of content you turn to: what is it about it that captures your attention? Where do you turn to for content discovery? What is it about a particular story that drew you in?
Understanding your behavior is the first step to understanding your audience and how to reach them more effectively.
Amy: I relocated from Sydney to London in early 2018, and while I thought the transition would be a breeze (after all, Australia and the UK are quite similar culturally), it took me longer than expected to wrap my head around the media landscape in the UK and find my feet.
I didn’t have many connections in London, and it is such a bigger market. It has been both a thrill and a challenge to get myself up to speed.
Amy: Social media hasn’t just impacted the marketing industry, but modern business and society at large.
Through social media, smaller companies that might not have had the advertising budgets to create compelling and cost-effective marketing campaigns now can reach an audience - and build powerful communities around their products - that they didn't have previously.
Some of my favorite brands are startups that are incredibly tapped into their community on social and who have used social media organically and through paid activity to activate their consumers, reach new users and scale their business.
Amy: I think people value transparency and authenticity from brands. One of my favorite things about social - and digital media more widely - is that it enables everyone to be a part of the conversation.
While sometimes negatives comments are just that (there's a reason writers are told never to read the comments section) when valid criticisms are coming through, content creators and brands must take note of these and learn from their mistakes.
Depending on your business and what your primary use of social media is (for example, if your audience often uses social media as a customer complaints channel) then a thoughtful response will usually be required.
Amy: I am signed up to many newsletters and have a lot of Google alerts, but I think this is a great starting point in terms of keeping on top of industry news and this would be my biggest recommendation for anyone looking to break into the industry.
I’m also really lucky in that I have a lot of contacts that have worked in social that make a great sounding board, and I am part of a few industry groups (on, you guessed it, Facebook!) where we discuss innovations and changes across the biggest platforms.
This article is part of a series of interviews with social media strategists and social media managers where we're trying to define what skills you need to develop for this job.
If you enjoy our conversation, check out more interviews from this set.