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Quick chat with Jo Davy

You’ve worked in marketing and content for many years. What do you love about what you do?

I started out as a journalist and then a lifestyle editor before moving into content marketing and the one constant in my career has been variety. While I really admire writers who become subject matter experts, I’ve always enjoyed the prospect of learning a little bit about a lot of different things. 

What have been the highlights of your career so far?

I moved to London in 2015, and after months of slogging it out on the job hunt, I landed a role as a deputy editor working on the launch of a brand new local newspaper covering the heart of the city. The editor and I created the whole thing from scratch working from a freezing printer warehouse in a dodgy part of South London. Our laptops were about 10 years old and could barely cope with InDesign. A week after we launched, thieves stole all the papers and tried to sell them to a recycling plant. I can’t believe we got it out every week but it was a lot of fun and a great way to get to know my second favourite city. 

A more recent highlight was the morning I spent filming with Yotam Ottolenghi at the Adelaide Central Market for a piece we did with Mercedes-Benz. I’m a big fan of Middle Eastern food – hook a hummus IV to my veins – and he was one of the most humble and genuinely interested people I’ve ever had the pleasure of interviewing.

You are a big proponent of client management – what do you enjoy about this type of work?

I know there are some agencies that structure their teams so there’s an account manager dealing with all the client communications and the creatives are kept behind this invisible wall. That’s one way of doing things, but I think it’s really important that our content editors are out in front of clients and building relationships with them. A written brief can only tell you so much. Just as a journalist is going to get a much better story from getting out from behind their computer and talking to people, we find that time spent talking with our clients helps us get to the root of their goal or challenge so we pitch better ideas and produce better creative. 

While I really admire writers who become subject matter experts, I’ve always enjoyed the prospect of learning a little bit about a lot of different things.

What skills do you think are the most important for freelancers to acquire?

Editors are under a lot of pressure to make stories work harder for brands and publishers, so anything you can do to repurpose your content so it can work across different channels and formats is a huge plus. Start thinking multi-channel when crafting a pitch and file articles or whitepapers with suggestions for extra social executions or video. AI can do some of this grunt work so it’s worth experimenting with some of the tools to see how you can plug them into your workflow. That said, the basics are still worth their weight in gold: story structure, style and a great hook. 

Why do you think the Summit is important for freelancers?

We keep hearing about how game changing AI is going to be, but the technology is developing at such a rate that nobody could possibly have it nailed at this point. Even the founder of Open AI is a little concerned. I think the Summit is going to be a fantastic opportunity to connect and share use cases and learn from each other at a really pivotal moment for our industry. 

Rather fortuitously for this audience, a big part of our future proofing strategy has actually been increasing our reliance on freelancers.

The conference theme is all about futureproofing your career. What steps are you taking to futureproof your agency?

Rather fortuitously for this audience, a big part of our future proofing strategy has actually been increasing our reliance on freelancers. The content marketing ecosystem has undergone such a dramatic shift in recent years and clients expect us to not only be category experts, but also have the technical skills to plan and produce content for a huge variety of different channels. Heads & Tales prides itself on being able to dial up this expertise on demand, and the way we do that (without charging clients massive retainers) is by relying on our freelance network.

Anything you can do to repurpose your content so it can work across different channels and formats is a huge plus.

What are your thoughts on AI / ChatGPT?

I’m excited that we’re starting to get over the fear factor and understand what these tools can do for us. At the same time, I’m actually buoyed that there’s still a healthy dose of scepticism around AI. The reality is that this technology poses real risks. I think these past few years have given us pause to approach these sorts of life-changing forces with a bit more caution and nuance than we have in the past, and I’m hopeful that it will be enough to establish some solid frameworks for using the technology for good.

What are you most looking forward to about the Summit?

I’m a big fan of Kerri Sackville’s writing and Claire Kimball’s work on The Squiz so I’m looking forward to their panel discussion on Humans vs. AI.


Jo will be a speaker on Day 2 of the Summit. The topic is: Why we need good storytellers more than ever – and the future for writers working with agencies.


Find out more about Jo Davy on her profile page.

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