Your creative future starts here:
Without being active online – it's almost like you don't exist
The rise of blogging and social media sparked the interest of LCC tutor Hana Jay Klokner as she studied at University in Slovakia – taking a unique route of carving out a career in marketing through her own start-up blogs, contributions to magazines and independent discovery of social media (as a business) as it began... Hana talks us through her journey to become an industry specialist in social media, marketing and blogging – whilst also adding her best advice for those keen to work in the field!
So, tell us about you?
I suppose a lot of people wonder where I come from when they look at my name. I'm actually from Slovakia but when I moved to the UK I adapted a name "Jay" which was a way of simplifying my surname, which was very hard to pronounce. My current surname Klokner has Austrian origin and I'm lucky to have got it from my husband. He was the one who brought me to London and supported me through my marketing career. Although I live and breathe my work, I love to explore local coffee shops, see a modern art exhibition now and then, and sweat in the gym Monday till Friday.
What was your journey into marketing and education?
I studied art history in Slovakia to many people's surprise. However, I never finished my degree as I dropped out when I realised that I don't want to end up sitting in a gallery. I was accepted to study Marketing Communication at a private university but I wasn't able to pay for the fees for myself at that time.
The good news was that I already had experience with digital marketing, so I started blogging in 2007 for a local Apple magazine and then started 2 blogs of my own. Social media emerged soon after and I found myself managing a few platforms and other enthusiasts like me.
I was continuously building the 2 blogs until around 2012, when I moved to Prague. I think this is where my career started. A local co-working centre asked me to do a workshop about blogging, I accepted, and never looked back. I stayed in Prague for less than a year and then moved to London with my now-husband. When I settled down after my move, I asked if there was any interest in a workshop like this at London College of Communication – and I've been teaching here ever since!
Alongside your work as a tutor you work with various businesses on blogging and social media strategy, tell us more about that?
I've worked with all kind of businesses – from startups, medium-sized, and large companies. They all have different problems, but also some of the same. Usually, it's a lack of strategy, consistency, and structure. You'd be surprised that even large companies like Amazon struggle with a regular posting schedule and even some of the biggest hospitality services in London find it a challenge to keep up with creating quality content. But everyone has to start somewhere – and that's a common thing for all of them.
So what are the benefits and opportunities of understanding, and experimenting with digital?
Digital content is amazing for building awareness of your brand – whether it's a company or your own personal brand, a freelancer... without being active online, it's almost like you don't exist. It's a cliché but true. Some people still manage to build their reputation with traditional PR, networking, and speaking events but these are not as simple to start with as your Instagram profile. The biggest opportunity of the digital world is that you can connect with virtually anyone, from anywhere, doing anything, in just a matter of seconds. Only a few people realise how powerful that is!
How can people coming from both service-based businesses and product-based businesses align the knowledge you share via the courses in real terms?
In the end, it comes down to one thing – selling. And marketing is just a pathway to a sale, it's about creating the conversation about your brand and making it desirable.
How that translates on social media, for products you need to show the product; for services, it's more about the experience, lifestyle, and people who deliver the service. In both cases, user-generated content is proof that either the product or the service is worth the user's reputation to talk about it publicly.
Top three things to remember when it comes to social media and digital marketing?
Consistency, conversation, value. You can't just show up once to make it work. You must keep the conversation going, so don't be shy. And you must make the content worth-while for people, otherwise, they don't have a reason to follow you.