Hello, my name is Sue Keogh I graduated from Anglia in 1997 with a degree in Communication Studies and Spanish. I live in Ely and run a company called Sookio Ltd, which offers a wide range of editorial services to clients in the UK and beyond, specialising in web content. Going to talk to you today about what I get up to in my day-to-day job and give you a bit of background on the places I’ve worked previously and how I went about setting up the company
My company does three main things: The first is ongoing updates, looking after a section of a website and producing regular content. For example working as part of the homepage team for Yahoo! and AOL Or the example here, working with Toshiba on We Love Stories, a competition to produce a viral video for Toshiba. Wrote all the website content, keep the blog updated and look after the Twitter and Facebook feeds.
Website copywriting, usually when people are launching a new website and need some copy or sometimes just a small section that needs updating. Trident Insurance for example, are setting up a microsite targeting professional gay men, so the copy had to be written in the right way to appeal to the target audience and work with the images. Sectors I’ve written for: arts, music, charity, business, technology
Social media. Normally goes alongside the web content updates. Am also setting up a series of workshops training people how to write for social media. The problem with social media is that everyone can do it. But not everyone does it well. Using my editorial skills to produce lively, accurate and compelling updates that actually win the client more web traffic and sales.
At the moment my time is split into three: Actually doing the work Finding new work, through networking, marketing, writing proposals, meetings in London Admin, accounts, running the business So a typical day might involve writing a press release, chasing an invoice, updating Facebook and Twitter for four clients, writing a proposal and coming up with a blog post. It’s been an interesting route to get here, so I’m now going to run you through what I got up to after leaving Anglia in 1997
Smooth Ops – PA and editor of country music site Smooth Operations – music-based docs, series and events for BBC network radio. PA to partner and presenter Looked after paperwork and basic accounts, researching programmes, setting up interviews with guests, arranging trips to London, worldwide, running tapes to London. The BBC also decided they wanted to set up a folk music and a country music website Natural progression Writing features, news, CD and gig reviews, competitions, commissioning writers, travelling to Nashville to do interviews and cover live events.
Two parts to the role looking after the 50 sites that make up ITV.com. Opposite of BBC – core team of three, with sites produced by production companies like X Factor/TalkbackThames, Who Wants To be A Millionaire/Fremantle. producing homepage, entertainment and sports content. Commuting to London from Ely which was tough going. Ended when Granada and Carlton merged. Was made redundant again. Realised in the same week I was pregnant. So this was an interesting time. Needed to get something fast before the bump began to show. But if you tell people in an interview you’re pregnant they’re unlikely to give you the job. If you don’t tell them, then you’re getting off to a dishonest start.
Took some work with Yahoo! to tide me over. Just 20 hours a month, providing out-of-hours cover for BT Yahoo! homepage. Ended up being with them for four years. Role – producing news, entertainment, sports coverage for their homepage. Racism row in the Big Brother house, death of Saddam Hussein, covering the World Cup. Need expert editorial judgement, quick reactions and to be a bit of a news junkie. The fact that I was on maternity leave was actually to my advantage as I was always around to fill in, and gradually I started to pick up more and more hours. For example London 7/7 bombs with staff sent home. Tough day. Lots of stories from different news providers coming through, had to get most accurate story, best picture, make sure each slot had a different angle. Start of life as a freelancer.
There’s the perception that to start in business you have to come up with this killer idea, go and get funding and –bang – you’re in business. I had a much softer start than that, gradually taking on more and more freelance work until I realised that setting up a limited company was the best way to go. The trigger for it was the legality of being a freelance contractor. To comply with regulation you have to be either a Limited Company or send your invoices through what they call an umbrella company. The more contracts I got the more expensive this became! So in June 2008 when I got a big new contract, I set up Sookio Ltd. It turned out to be a good idea because Lets people know you’re in it for the long-term Lets people know you’re experienced in your line of work Makes you look more professional and successful rather than a self-employed person just starting out.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned in the last three years:
Always have a contract – essential, particularly if further down the line they’re not paying you!
Make sure it includes a clear brief, so both sides know what is expected from them.
Get networking now! It’s great for building contacts and relationships. Competitive world out there and it’ll give you the edge. It’s also good being able to recommend people. Try CamCreative, CaMedia. Set up a profile on LinkedIn.
It’s a small world. Don’t bad mouth people. You never know when you might work with them again. Don’t criticise clients – particularly on social media. Give out a positive impression to the world.
Keep doing the things you want to do. Even if you end up in a rubbish job to pay the bills after leaving college, if you really want to get into film production, then either volunteer your services for free (tough, I know) or get writing a blog focusing on your chosen field. Give out signals that this is what you’re interested in. I sometimes accept work that’s for less money or on a short-term contract if it’s something I like writing about, as it usually leads to more work in that area.
Five lessons learned <ul><li>Always have a contract </li></ul>
Five lessons learned <ul><li>Always have a contract </li></ul><ul><li>Always have a clear brief </li></ul>
Five lessons learned <ul><li>Always have a contract </li></ul><ul><li>Always have a clear brief </li></ul><ul><li>Time spent networking is time well spent </li></ul>
Five lessons learned <ul><li>Always have a contract </li></ul><ul><li>Always have a clear brief </li></ul><ul><li>Time spent networking is time well spent </li></ul><ul><li>Remember it’s a small world </li></ul>
Five lessons learned <ul><li>Always have a contract </li></ul><ul><li>Always have a clear brief </li></ul><ul><li>Time spent networking is time well spent </li></ul><ul><li>Remember it’s a small world </li></ul><ul><li>Keep doing the things you want to do </li></ul>
Thanks! And stay in touch <ul><li>My website: www.sookio.com </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SookioLtd </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sookio </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/suekeogh </li></ul>