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Q&A with Holly Jones: a content marketing force of nature

Meet Holly, AustralianSuper’s content dynamo. She talks about solving customer problems with content and experiences, branded content sites, Jackie Chan and Yarra Valley pinot noir.

Holly has an innate knack for innovating, driving change and garnering enthusiasm for audacious goals. Put simply, she’s a dynamo.

 

She heads up AustralianSuper’s content marketing, editorial strategy and governance. However, she hails from a journalism background and kicked off her working life at the BBC Good Food magazine, before transitioning to its website. This is where her love for digital content started and she’s never moved back to print.

 

Holly has always gravitated towards companies that embrace disruption and have a strong content-marketing and customer-first focus. This included a stint at content behemoth the REA Group, where she was part of the launch team for the realestate.com.au blog.

 

She’s passionate about solving customer problems with content and experiences. In addition to producing amazing content, she’s equally focused on connected wireframing, design and simplifying content to enhance the customer experience.

 

AustralianSuper’s mission to help members achieve their best retirement outcome really resonates with her as it provides a content-marketing runway to help members make long-term decisions.

This necessitates layering information to present stories with substance, simplifying complex topics so people can build their confidence and knowledge, and ensuring that content helps people achieve their ‘next best action’.

 

Some of her career highlights include getting Jackie Chan to contribute his top Hong Kong recommendations to Lonely Planet, and creating enduring branded content sites that have stood the test of time, including bbcgoodfood.com and lonelyplanet.com.

 

She’s often seen on the speaking and publishing circuit, recently gracing the stage at Mumbrella360 to co-present with Matt about content-marketing strategy and performance, and subsequently being published in the global Journal of Brand Strategy.

What do you do?

The elevator pitch is that I drive content growth at AustralianSuper by defining and delivering editorial-style content.

 

My role has three core focuses: consumer-content strategy, editorial-content growth, and content governance.

A large part of my focus is improving how we create and measure content effectiveness and quality, so we can present a united voice that’s always brand-aligned.

I work closely with myriad cross-functional teams – particularly the communications, analytics, marketing and digital teams – to support the amplification of content in our owned, earned and paid channels.

 

With all my roles, the content-growth journey starts with being realistic about what you can achieve in what time frame. In my experience, successful content projects shouldn’t blow up budgets or waste money. So I take an MVP approach, and try to stay in a growth mindset.

AustralianSuper-content-tips-women
Holly takes a storytelling approach to help members achieve their best retirement outcomes.

And just as importantly, we present a lens informed by the JTBD framework that helps brands and their partners tune what they deliver at important moments along their customer journeys.

What mantra are you living by this year?

K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple Stupid. I borrowed this one from Lorraine Murphy, an entrepreneur and my business mentor.

When you’re building something from scratch and leading a business into a new space there’s no point overcomplicating things. Death by planning is my biggest pet hate!

What’s the most important thing that marketers can do to drive commercial outcomes?

I think understanding and connecting with the wider business is key for content-marketing success. You can’t achieve content-marketing success without broader business alignment and integration.

 

Marketing teams have a reputation for working in silos, or only with external agencies, which can be hard when you’re building an in-house function.

 

It means they miss out on the internal expertise and knowledge sharing. But I do think this is changing and we’re seeing teams across various industries taking on a more connected approach. My favourite quote is, ”Your customers don’t care about your org chart.”

 

Content marketing must be integrated, leveraged and amplified through paid, owned and earned channels.

This can take a while to build at a company that’s young in the content space, but it’s worth the effort and patience as it ultimately delivers a much more sophisticated brand experience – but of course I would say that!
That requires more design-type thinking about how to go to market, so value is delivered rather than just described, i.e. like advertising.
Jackie-chan-police-story-poster
You know you're a content powerhouse when you secure Jackie Chan as a contributor.

What’s a cracking book you’d recommend or podcast you swear by?

I recently did the Content Design London course, so I have a copy of Content Design by Sarah Richards at hand every day. It’s a great resource to remind you to stay focused on the user need, and subsequent action. And it often resets my thinking at times – in the best way.

Who are your go-to thought leaders, and why?

Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi from the founding days of the Content Marketing Institute. Hilary Marsh has a great presentation called Managing The Politics of Content, which applies to so many businesses.

 

And my peers. I often turn to industry experts to see how other people are thinking and solving problems.

Our favourite qu: What’s your top beer or wine recommendation?

It’s all about pinot noir for me. Recent favourites are Vinteloper from the Adelaide Hills, and Rouleur from the Yarra Valley.
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