Quick chat with Victoria Lea
You’ve worked in marketing and content for many years. What do you love about what you do?
Working with smart people who are brilliant at what they do. I get a buzz being around creativity.
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
An absolute highlight has been the opportunity to work across full content programs. I’ve run a whole-of-bank content program agency-side for several years and, before that, programs across different countries. Big projects bring out the best in me – the side that likes to think big!
You’re big on strategy and last time we talked you mentioned how key this skill is for creatives, especially in an AI world. Why?
I think everything should begin with – and keep going back to – strategy. When you get the thinking right, creative ideas and solutions that are right for the purpose will flow from there – and often take you to wild, rewarding places.
I’d say for creatives it’s not that you need to be strategic, but to ask questions around strategy. What is a project ultimately trying to achieve?
Say your brief is to ‘create 6 social posts about product X’. Your instinct might be to go down the benefits path. But if you understood that the strategy was ‘increased awareness of product X among Gen Z’, that might be your invitation to get a lot more playful and focused on grabbing your audience’s attention, rather than getting into the nitty gritty of product benefits.
Strategy is the compass for creativity. When you align creative thinking with a well-defined purpose, your ideas can soar to unexpected heights.
What other skills do you think are the most important for freelancers to acquire?
I think it’s vital to stay open to converting existing skills across different formats.
A great article writer, for example, can find an angle that will pull readers in and keep them interested through 750 words, at the same time as being accurate, well-researched and timely. That’s an invaluable skill – so how can it be transferred to 200-word posts, single-tile posts, short video scripts and all kinds of other formats?
Why do you think the Summit is important for freelancers?
AI has arrived in less than a year via the likes of ChatGPT, and organisations are only just now figuring out their responses to it. That means this is an opportune time to be part of the dialogue. No one has it figured out yet, so being able to meet with and learn from all kinds of people with valuable, practical insights about what the AI-enabled future will bring is invaluable.
The conference theme is all about futureproofing your career. What steps are you taking to futureproof your agency – or your own career?
We have an AI working group in the agency looking into where we can play and innovate with AI. From there, we’ll look to define our editorial, design and creative policies around what we learn.
As for me, it’s about staying across how content is changing. I think its fundamentals are still so important – a great story, well told – but what’s shifted significantly in the past decade is how content is created and what it looks like. I’m always interested in seeing what others are doing and how I can incorporate new thinking into the programs we run.
It’s about staying across how content is changing. I think its fundamentals are still so important – a great story, well told – but what’s shifted significantly in the past decade is how content is created and what it looks like.
What are your overall thoughts on AI / ChatGPT?
For writers, it’s confronting: that a machine can do some of the things we thought only we could do. Not as well – maybe never, maybe not yet – but still. That’s confronting and worthy of discussion.
On the other hand, it’s happening and we can’t put our heads in the sand. I remember long hours at university libraries looking for sources, until suddenly we could just google answers. That didn’t change how we thought as writers, just how we gathered our information.
One thing observers of machine learning have been saying for years is that the future of many roles will move into the realm of ‘collaborative intelligence’: people working with AI. For writers, the opportunity is to understand how we can best harness AI to make the work we want to do even better.
I can’t wait to hear different perspectives on writing and content creation – I reckon that’ll provide much food for thought.
Do you think the future is exciting for freelancers, and if so, why?
Absolutely. While I think the way some things are done will change – and I get that change isn’t always easy – the world will always need great storytellers, thinkers and communicators.
What are you most looking forward to about the Summit? (a particular speaker / session, meeting colleagues, or drinks on the destroyer!)
I can’t wait to hear different perspectives on writing and content creation – I reckon that’ll provide much food for thought. Drinks on board a destroyer sound pretty good too though!
Victoria will be a panelist on Day 2 of the Summit. The panel is: How AI is impacting the print, digital and corporate spaces.
Find out more about Victoria Lea on her profile page.