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What I’ve Learnt: Adam Brannon, Senior Content Strategist, Herd

Adam Brannon, Senior Content Strategist, Herd

Adam Brannon joined performance marketing agency Herd, based in Yorkshire, in 2021 as a content strategist and later promoted to senior content strategist in 2022.

Herd won the award for Best Use of Data & Insights for its work with Motorpoint – solving the brand incrementality conundrum to drive record-breaking paid search results – at this year’s Prolific North Marketing Awards.

Before joining the Yorkshire agency, which rebranded from Meta to Herd last year to avoid any confusion with a certain social media giant, Brannon has had a varied career.

His career has included working as a content marketing manager at Summit, a columnist at Hull’s What’s On hub, as well as being an avid film fan and founder of entertainment website Movie Metropolis.

He shares all the lessons he’s learnt across his life and career so far…

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

It’s actually something I have started doing pretty recently. I’m one of those people who really struggles to get out of bed in the morning, so over the last six months or so I’ve been setting my alarm to go off 30 minutes earlier than normal and going for a walk, reading the news or doing some chores.

I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful village with lots of nice walking routes out into the countryside, so this has really helped me start each day on a positive.

Once I’m back, I can then continue with my morning routine as normal.

What’s been your luckiest break?

Whether or not you would class this as luck depends on your own personal view, but I see it as one of the luckiest moments in my life.

Back in 2017, I was stuck in a job I disliked but out of necessity, I stayed. On a whim, I applied for a digital marketing executive role at a large agency in Hull. I didn’t expect to get the role as the calibre of the interview team I was in was incredibly high, but I was lucky enough to be asked to join the company’s content marketing team.

That single moment changed my life and has allowed me to progress in a field which I genuinely am fascinated by. In 2021, I joined Herd, and the rest as they say, is history.

What’s your best failure?

When I left university, I did everything I could to find a role suited to my degree – journalism. After months of applying for numerous graduate schemes and working part-time in my local Clinton Cards, I started to become very disenchanted with the path my life was going down.

Competition was exceptionally high, with the majority of roles being based in London, and that just wasn’t for me.

As time went on, I started to feel like a failure, and I spent a few years bouncing from role to role, doing volunteering work so that I didn’t feel like my degree was a waste of time.

Then in 2017, I sidestepped into content marketing and found my calling. That initial “failure” led me down a path which today, I look back on with fond memories. But back then, it was a devastating realisation that having a university degree didn’t actually help me that much in my particular field.

What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?

It must be creating my blog, Movie Metropolis. 13 years and still going strong, it’s been a labour of love for sure. In 2018, we were ranked as one of the top 10 movie blogs in the UK, an accolade we have managed to hold onto each following year. We’ve gone up against other, much larger websites and I couldn’t be prouder.

In 2020 and 2023, we were nominated in the Best Entertainment Blog category at the World Bloggers & Influencers Awards, with the ceremony hosted in Cannes.

In 2015, I launched a contributor programme and reached out to the University of Lincoln where I studied from 2007 to 2010. Blogging and creating blogs was part of the journalism curriculum, so I was honoured to go back and present a lecture to first and second year students.

Following the lecture, students were able to apply to write for the blog as part of their course. Since then, this has now been opened worldwide, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with 15 amazing writers from around the globe since 2015.

Which podcast or book would you recommend others to read and why?

Declutter Your Mind is fantastic for people who suffer from anxiety and nervousness. During the pandemic, and particularly the numerous lockdowns, it became an invaluable resource for me. It looks at how to reframe negative thoughts and create goals that connect with your individual passions. A really good read.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Stop worrying about trying to make everything perfect.

In content and writing, it’s really difficult not to take feedback personally – it’s a creative pursuit that leaves you open and vulnerable. For a lot of my life, I’ve tried my best to make everything absolutely perfect, whether that’s at home or in my professional life. In fact, my year six teacher wrote in my end of year report: “Remember Adam, nobody’s perfect”. Seeing that on paper is something I will never forget.

Quite frankly, it’s absolutely exhausting being like that. It all came to a head a few years ago during the pandemic when I became so incredibly anxious, I became completely burnt out. Something had to change. And while I will always aim for the very best, I now appreciate that occasionally, life might not go the way I expect – and that’s ok.

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

I have been incredibly lucky to have had some amazing managers and mentors since joining the world of digital marketing. People who have gone all out to help build my knowledge and confidence in an industry that is constantly evolving.

It is so important to surround yourself with people you can trust, and who have your best intentions at heart, and I’m thankful to have been surrounded by individuals like that throughout my career to date.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I’m a classically trained pianist and have been playing the piano since I was six-years-old, completing nearly all the ABRSM examinations. My intention is to teach piano in the future as my piano teacher was such a big part of my childhood – I’d like to be the same for someone just starting out.

How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?

The crisis has heightened awareness around the importance of employee well-being. Employers are increasingly recognising the need to support their employees’ mental and physical health. This includes offering resources for stress management, promoting work-life balance, and fostering a culture of empathy and support. The focus on employee well-being is likely to continue, leading to more holistic approaches to work and improved work environments.

We spend so much of our lives at work, you must find somewhere that aligns with your own individual values.

What does success look like to you?

Success for me is all about knowledge. I want to ensure I’m the very best version of myself, and in turn deliver the best work for the clients I work with. I’m hugely passionate about learning and development and always try to set aside some time each week to listen to a podcast, read a few articles or posts that are relevant to my channel specialism.

Not ground breaking stuff, but if you can go to work every day and leave knowing you’ve done your best, people will respect you a whole lot more. Building a good reputation is key to future success.

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