My Work: Kate Blythe

Portrait of Kate Blythe

Interview: Haris Stavridis // Portrait: Andrew Woffinden — Courtesy of Matchesfashion.com

Could you please describe your role at Matchesfashion.com?

I’m the Global Content Director of Matchesfashion.com and oversee all content across all platforms—digital editorial, print editorial, email, video, social, menswear and womenswear. I’m responsible for the global content strategy for the business and the creative innovation and I also run a team of 35 people that includes stylists, editors, writers, art directors and production managers.

What is your typical day at the office like?

I like to get into work thirty minutes or so before my team, so I can check my daily schedule and work through some of the hundreds of emails I receive every week. Then I will have a production meeting with the entire content team where we go through the assets for that week and the weekly content, along with our special projects, which we run concurrently. Following this, I will have breakout meetings with senior members of my team to discuss shoots, photographers, writers for interviews and layout concepts. After that, I get down to editing copy and signing off layouts and final proofs in order for the content to be released at the agreed time. I will grab something easy for lunch, then I will head off to the finance department for budget reviews before catching up with my fellow executive team members on business wide strategy. I travel quite a bit to Europe so I may spend a Monday in the office, Tuesday in Rome, back to London then to Paris for a day—it can be busy but also very exciting and interesting.

What do you enjoy most in your current position?

I love the variety of my role and love to be challenged on how to seamlessly blend content and commerce in a credible and innovative way. We act as a creative agency for the business and produce all creative assets in-house, so we need to think on our feet and brainstorm ingenious creative solutions at the drop of a hat. No two days are the same and I have never been bored in my current role! I also love to work with my fellow creatives who continue to inspire me with their talents.

A great number of fashion and retail companies have embraced content marketing in order to boost their sales. What are the most common mistakes when it comes to creating and distributing content?

We are a global content team dedicated to creating truly credible and editorial content that will engage our readers and will thus inspire them to shop. We will never lose this part of our DNA as the moment you do, all your content can feel like a hard sell. We aim to arm the Matchesfashion.com woman and man with everything they need for a stylish life—we want to include them in our world and make them want to come back to us time and time again for enriched shoppable content. It’s a dynamic way of thinking for the future—digital publishing is a game-changer!

Do you feel that retailers are at risk of saturating the market with all this explosion of content?

Firstly you need to understand your customer, then you need to give your customer and reader what they want. Are they coming to your site purely for grocery shopping or household items or are they coming to you looking for luxury fashion products and a luxury experience across all touch points? For us, our discerning luxury customer desires more than just a shopping experience; they are looking for content to further enrich their lives, whether that’s the hotlist of hotels to visit across the world or an interview with the most interesting new designers on the fashion landscape. Knowing your customer is key and offering them what they want, and also what they don’t yet know they want, is very powerful.

What kind of tools does your team use to measure the impact of your content and how do you prioritise what goes online?

We use many tools to analyse the performance of our content from Google Analytics to social listening tools like Falcon. Of course, we work with our email providers to deep dive into our email open rate, click through and overall performance. We also look at our weekly sales figures to analyse the impact of our editorial features on sales of key products. One thing that is great about digital is that you can be incredibly reactive, so if something is working, you can grow that franchise, and if something doesn’t engage the reader, you can change it by the following week. Everything we do has data reasoning behind it.

What kind of stories are most popular with your audience?

This differs greatly for menswear and womenswear. Firstly on womenswear, we see great traction with shoots, designer interviews and practical shopping features, whereas on menswear we see our readers engage with talent interviews and creative videos. Vacation reports work really well across both.

Which channels do you find most effective/efficient when it comes to distributing your content?

Email is still a great communication channel for us. Of course, social media is evolving all the time and our social platforms support our digital content and vice versa.

Do you feel that video is the future of content?

I feel that video is one part of the global digital content strategy. Everything should be multi-layered and dynamic—a still piece of content won’t engage like a piece of content with animation, video and moving image.

Which are your three biggest headaches at work right now?

Not having enough hours in the day, not enough room in the content plan to include all the beautiful features that we have ready to go, and not being able to speak multiple languages.

When it comes to fashion and business news, what's on your daily reading list? Any great business books you'd like to recommend?

I follow the Business of Fashion website, which I really find useful and insightful. I also love reading the New York Times and the Financial Times for interesting market moves. As a career woman and working mother, I recommend Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In but I also love to read great fiction when I have five minutes to myself.

You worked at ELLE for five years. What's the most useful thing you learned there?

ELLE was a fantastic place to learn how to be a good fashion writer and how to create strong editorial stories. I styled, wrote, organised, interviewed, collaborated and edited, which are all skills that I use every day now. I love print, always will, and it is something that we still produce here at Matchesfashion.com—it’s an important piece of the content puzzle. I also learned to work hard and fast and to always enjoy every part of my role!

How challenging was your transition from print to online?

It was challenging at first but then I soon settled into my next role. My friends from ELLE are still my friends—in fact I work with some of them now.

What was the biggest setback that you have faced in your career? How did you respond to it?

I haven’t had any setbacks, everything has been a learning curve and I have tried to make the right decisions along the way.

What is the most solid, specific piece of advice you have for anyone wishing to work in fashion?

Find your skill and work hard to impress everyone with it, whether that’s writing or styling, subbing or designing. Ask for advice and be professional at all times, as you never know when you’ll work with someone again. It’s a small industry after all.

Could you please tell us about your business priorities for the next six months?

I am challenging myself and my team to be even more global with our content approach!

Who would you like to recommend next for My Work?

Lorraine Candy, editor-in-chief of ELLE magazine UK.

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