Creating teams. Shaping futures.

Life as a… What it’s really like

The aim of our Blog is it to showcase the wealth of knowledge and expertise the South West has to offer as well as the variety of career journeys we come across, working within the Digital, Marketing, Creative, UX, Technology and eCommerce sectors.

We are keeping it local, authentic and you will hopefully agree: insightful.

Here a collection of rather impressive career journeys we’d love to share with you, put into the spotlight and feature. Some prime examples that can give you an idea of what life can look like working within a range of jobs across our sectors. Some first hand insights:

Life as a Head of Online Trading
Alice Little, Head of Online Trading at Lovehoney

Life as a Marketing Director within eCommerce
Matt Parker, Marketing Director at The Present Finder

Life as a Software Developer
Jenny Gaudion, Software Developer at Scott Logic

Life as a coder aged 13 vs 31
Our chat with Kyran at Hanham Woods Academy and Oli Ward, experienced professional coder at Develop Me

Life as a Head of Marketing
Tom Johnson, Head of Marketing at The Filter

Life as a Marketing Executive
Gabriella Evans, Marketing Executive at Jordans Trust Company Limited

Life as a Digital Marketing Executive
David Brooks, Digital Marketing Executive at Bob Martin Vet Care

Life as a Digital Project Manager
Monica Maya, Digital Project Manager at Studio Six

Life as a Digital Account Director
Ryan Anthoney, Senior Account Director at True Digital

Life as a CRO Director
Ryan Webb, CRO Director at Search Star

Life as a Content Strategist
Sarah Russell, Freelance Digital Strategist

Life as a Social Media Specialist
Ben Jackson, Social Media Specialist

Life as a Social Media Specialist
Jessica Siggers, Bristol-based Instagram Consultant, Social Media Influencer & photographer, Igers Bristol

Life as a Copywriter
Justin Ballantine, Copywriter and Creative Director at Bray Leino Yucca


Life as a Managing Director – Our Managing Director Nick shares

ADLIB Life – The one about Joe

ADLIB Life – The one about Sam

ADLIB Life – The one about Jack

What impact Internal Influencers can have on your brand & bottom line

As part of our involvement in the People Forum Event Series, we got the chance to catch up with Synergy Creative’s Lucy McKerron ahead of the next People Forum Session on topic “Empowering your people to authenticate your brand“. The session will be all about Internal Influencers, Why & How they can be more valuable than any investment in external influencers.

ADLIB: During your session you’ll be sharing How to identify, approach and equip internal Influencers, How to bring marketing, communications and HR teams together.

That’s great, but for those that are asking ‘Why’: Can you share what impacts internal influencers can potentially have on both a brand and a business’ bottom line?

Lucy McKerron: Even though brands have been using influencers since the beginning of time, there has been a lot of buzz over the last few years about brands using external influencers to add an extra layer of credibility, be less intrusive and spreads their message further. Bloomsfield recently reported that $255 million is being spent on influencer marketing every month, but many brands haven’t realised the potential reach and value their internal influencers offer.

For all organisations, not only will your internal influencers already be engaged with your brand, collaborating with them is likely to be more cost-effective and efficient than trying to engage external influencers with little or no loyalty to your brand. When you take into consideration the fact that employees are likely to be up to 10x better connected than brands, it’s easy to see how a brand message can reach up to 561% further when posted by an employee rather than by the brand’s official channel. So an influencer programme which engages employees in external communication can be beneficial. There are lots of examples of how powerful this can be – making a great case for marketing departments to be identifying and training brand champions within the business.

From an HR and a business strategy point of view, there are a wealth of benefits to the organisation of engaging with their internal influencers. If an organisation has a strong strategic narrative which positions the purpose and direction of the organisation, influencers can help increase penetration of these key messages – both internally and externally. When it comes to building awareness of your company culture and employer brand, messages from your employees will appear far more authentic coming from your employees than a brand channel – be this via an employee takeover of an organisation social channel or via their own network – something that brands like Ford, Starbucks and ASOS do well. I really believe that all organisations should be harnessing the power of their internal audience!


Sounds obvious. Will be great to hear more about your approaches to and suggestions on ‘How to make this happen’ during your presentation.

Find out more and to join the next Bristol Media People Forum on 3rd of October via Eventbrite.

Make quality your policy – Getting ahead in Content Marketing

For some businesses, ‘Content Marketing’ is about putting a blog post out every now and then. For some their website is a place to vent or share a personal view. But for most of those we work with, they know that there is so much more to it than just publishing your thought of the day.

As a business, a lot of consideration needs to go into your approach to “content”. It has to have a purpose and a strategy behind it. To answer the question ‘How to get ahead in Content Marketing?’: it often takes an expert to get it right, engaging with a specialist agency or recruiting a Marketer that brings the know-how in-house is often the first step on that journey.

We caught up with Content Marketing Expert Magnus Linklater to find out about his career journey. Magnus has a wealth of experience in publishing, event planning and digital marketing, having worked for many years in international marketing agencies before setting up on his own.

Magnus is now the owner of Bristol-based SEO and Content agency Bespoke Digital. He also shares tips on creating content that engages users and is optimised for search.

Here’s our chat:

ADLIB: Magnus, what has been your career journey so far?

Magnus Linklater

Magnus Linklater: I started out at News International back in the 90s, working on the Times Educational Supplement. I remember the excitement of the first PCs being set up on our desks, so this was way before content marketing as we know it today.

Back then, we produced brochures for the various events we hosted, so the content management amounted to arranging layouts and deciding on messaging. Then, around the turn of the millennium, it became popular to create ‘brochure websites’ – essentially copy and pasting printed material and plonking it online.

I thought this was a wasted opportunity, and argued that we needed to give people more value – a genuine reason to visit the websites – but I soon got bored of living in London and decided to move to Bristol, taking a job at the Institute of Physics Publishing.

I knew digital was the future, and IOPP was very focused on its print journals, so in 2007 I took a role as Head of Marketing for a division of informa Media & Telecoms, where I oversaw a global series of IPTV events (television over the Internet) – long before the advent of Netflix.

However, Informa soon informed us that the team was relocating to London, and I didn’t fancy heading back there so took a job at an international SEO agency, setting up their first UK office, in Bristol.

After a few years of doing it for someone else, I took the plunge and started Bespoke Digital in 2011.

ADLIB: What inspired you to start your own company?

Magnus Linklater: I wanted to offer top quality local SEO services, as at the time most people were outsourcing offshore, or using people that didn’t really know what they were talking about. The industry is littered with chancers claiming to be experts who know little more than the basics, or worse: they use outdated tactics that harm rather than help your search performance.

I couldn’t understand why everyone faked their link-building, buying content placements on spammy blog networks that had no tangible value. My decision to go it alone coincided with Google tackling dodgy SEO manipulation with their Panda algorithm update, which penalises websites with low-quality content.

I saw a gap in the market for doing things the right way rather than treating SEO as some kind of ‘get rich quick’ scheme. The name Bespoke Digital came from the idea of tailoring content strategies, rather than the scattergun packages that were commonly sold in the past.

Focusing on high-quality content production – in the form of insightful articles where you share advice and say something meaningful – is the best way to naturally earn the attention of your target audience.

If you create great content, people will link to it, and inbound links are a major ranking factor that Google weighs up. Essentially, search bots regard inbound links as votes from the wider online community, so the more ‘votes’ you have, the better your content must be, and the higher you’ll rank in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

In the past, this was open to manipulation (buying tons of links from private blog networks), but the Penguin update has cleared up this grey area of SEO, and the emphasis nowadays is very much on quality over quantity. Submitting guest articles to premium websites is a large part of what we do for our clients, boosting SEO as well as opening doors to new business opportunities, but it’s crucial to heed Google’s warning on large-scale article marketing if you start doing this yourself.

There are no shortcuts, so if you start spamming your way to success, you’ll soon crash and burn, and your website will take a long time to recover.

ADLIB: What are the key things to consider when optimising your website, from both an SEO and content perspective?

Magnus Linklater: Undertaking keyword research should form the foundations of your content strategy, understanding searcher intent and answering the questions people are actually typing into Google.

Answer The Public is a great tool to help refine your research, and relevance is what you should really focus on when writing, i.e. making your content relevant to your target words/phrases without waffling on just for the sake of it. It’s also crucial to avoid keyword stuffing, so use multiple variations of your keyphrases rather than the same one over and over and over again.

You have to be unique and aim to make your webpage the very best resource of its kind on the Internet, going above and beyond what anyone else has said on the subject. Again, if you make quality your policy, you won’t go wrong.

Everyone should read Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO, and I still learn a lot from the Whiteboard Friday tutorial videos. A few years ago, I had a marathon session of watching every single one back-to-back, but I’m married now so I don’t think I’d get away with such fanboy behaviour these days.

Ultimately, SEO is all about relevancy, context and giving the right signals via your content. There are about 200 ranking factors that make up Google’s core algorithm, so I can’t go into every one here, but I’d happily take any questions.

ADLIB: Are there any South West companies that have particularly impressed you with their approach to content marketing?

Magnus Linklater: I recently published a piece on TechSPARK titled ‘Tech Marketing Campaigns Putting Bristol on the Map’, highlighting some great video, social and email strategies from local startups.

ADLIB also got cheeky a mention for the insightful 2017 Creative Employment Today Survey, which is a great example of unique, relevant content that frames you as a leader in recruitment for the South West.

I doff my cap to you.

ADLIB: *Blushes* Thank you. What advice would you give to someone starting out on their own journey of business ownership?

Magnus Linklater: Learn from your mistakes; bad things can happen but you can get over them if you’re honest and straight with the people involved.

Learn from your experiences and adjust your approach accordingly, putting in systems to make sure you don’t make the same mistake again. This way it’s not a wasted experience.

Be flexible and allow your business to change and adapt to your client’s requirements whilst at the same time sticking to your core strengths and not diversifying too much. Remain a specialist, don’t become a jack of all trades.

Work hard. Night and day if required. It takes time but your hard work will pay off in the long run and it’s fun being your own boss.

Make time to do the things you love, have a hobby, get out, spend time with your family. Try and separate work from life. You might spot me sailing around Bristol Harbourside in my little dinghy, unwinding after a day sat on the computer. You need to work hard but you also have to have a life outside of work.

I’d also advise using Google Drive instead of Word and Excel as it’s excellent for collaboration and is just as powerful as the Office packages. I’m in the process of switching everything over to Drive because the ease of sharing documents is so much better than saving multiple versions and emailing them back and forth. Additionally, I’ve just started playing with Google Data Studio, which is a great new tool for visualising data, and the great thing about the Google suite is it’s all free!

Thanks for your words of wisdom, Magnus.