This month we interviewed freelance creative manager and content marketer, Georgia Gordon. Georgia has worked with some of the UK’s leading fashion and beauty brands and shares her insights on content marketing in this space, trends to look out for, how to use content to cut through the noise and gives her advice for aspiring content marketing freelancers.
Tell us a bit about what you do?
I’m a freelance creative manager and content marketer, so I often wear many hats! My skills include copywriting, social media management, comms management, and a little bit of graphic design and video editing. I specialise in the luxury beauty and fashion industries, having worked with retailers like Browns, Coggles and lookfantastic.
My most exciting venture to date is hosting, producing and editing a podcast called Diversity on Screen for one of my clients. We dissect popular films from a Diversity & Inclusion perspective, and the first two episodes are already out on Spotify!
You recently took the jump into freelancing and landed your first client through The Work Crowd (congrats!), why did you decide to go self-employed?
I had a pretty tough year in 2021 and realised that I wanted to have more freedom in my career, especially over my time and the projects I take on. I think the pandemic gave us all a lot to think about when it comes to work-life balance and what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.
I went freelance for the first time in November and I’ve honestly not looked back. As it stands, I don’t have any interest in returning to in-house roles. I love that I get to work a schedule that suits me, my lifestyle and my way of working. You can get paid a lot more for your time when you’re freelance, and although you do have to trade in sick days and holidays, I think it’s worth it.
You’ve previously worked with leading brands within the fashion and beauty space, why is content marketing so important in these markets? And can you share some trends to look out for in 2022?
Content marketing is a great way to convert sales and build on your brand personality. While you can do this on-site or through ads, the communication on those channels are often overshadowed by a) limited space or time and b) the need to sell. Through socials, comms, or blogs, you have an opportunity to talk to your customer for longer - which could be up to an hour for your podcast - and become a part of their everyday life. Customers buy into the lifestyle your brand represents almost as much as the product you sell, so it’s important that you speak their language.
In terms of trends, honesty and relatability are the ones I’m most interested in. An example of a brand that does this really well is Innocent, where the copy on every post focuses on authenticity. They don’t oversell their benefits, they market in a witty and almost brutally honest way, which assures their customers that there’s no BS. While the majority of customers used to search for ‘cheap x’, searches for ‘best x’ are now more popular. The customer's mindset has shifted from looking for the best bargain to looking for products that deliver the benefits they claim.
Customers came to expect honesty from influencers, where we’ve seen a huge shift in ‘relatability’, and now this is the same for brands. A lot of luxury brands see themselves as ‘above that’, but I think businesses that are willing to take the plunge and be more accessible are seeing huge benefits, like Pangaia. This also includes inclusivity, brands that only cater to one body type, skin colour or pronoun are being held accountable (think foundation shades for beauty and plus sizing for fashion).
As content marketing becomes an ever-popular strategy, what tips do you have to help brands cut through the noise?
There are three things that I focus on for any piece of content, whatever channel it’s going on. Not only does this keep you focused and ensure the longevity of your content, it also cuts through the noise.
It’s important to have a clear brand vision and to express that through your content. As I mentioned earlier, content is the main channel in which you build this persona, so it has to be prioritised. It’s also important from a sales perspective. If your content is catered to men over 40 but your product is targeted at women under 30, you’re not going to sell very much.
Every piece of content needs to relate to the everyday life of your target customer profile (or profiles, if you have a few). If you're a fashion brand that’s supposed to be modern and empowering, you will need to be talking to issues like body positivity through your content. Think of the rise of Fenty and the fall of Victoria’s Secret.
Secondly, customers will only engage with content that is valuable to them. People read blogs and listen to podcasts to learn and understand. Every kind of business can create educational content, and it also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership. If I can’t honestly say a piece of content is valuable, I won’t put it out.
Finally, I prioritise authenticity. Customers have become so used to marketing language that they’re now numb to it. As soon as they see sentences that start like ‘experience the ultimate…’, they switch off. This ties in with the emerging ‘honesty’ trend I mentioned earlier, so it’s important to avoid overselling the experience of your product. Brands that have previously relied on selling an “aspirational lifestyle” that’s actually alien to their target profile are becoming more disconnected from their customers, and time will show the consequences of that.
The campaigns that go viral are the ones that are real, like adidas’ recent sports bra campaign. They’re no longer selling you a vision of perfection with one set of perky breasts, but instead showing the bodies of all kinds of women.
I think this is especially important for brands in the fashion and beauty space, because they have historically profited from the insecurities of women. To stay relevant, they need to modernise. Brands that are afraid of taking risks should look at a company like Lush, who has taken risks again and again and stayed relevant.
What advice would you give to aspiring content marketing freelancers?
Three words: go for it! If you’d told me a year ago that I would be a successful freelancer, I wouldn’t have believed you. I used to think that you needed 20+ years experience to be a profitable freelancer, and that’s just not true, now I think you can get started with 3. Companies will always need freelancers, and it’s an especially great career right now because it can all be done online.
My biggest piece of advice would be to find a mentor in your field who is also a freelancer. It really helps when it comes to pricing yourself, sorting out taxes and working out proposals. If you can’t find one, there are plenty of online communities that can offer you support, so have a look on Reddit and Facebook.
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