Arielle Halter on immersing yourself in comms

Arielle Halter on immersing yourself in comms
Want to learn from the best? Our interview series is the best place to get advice from those with their finger on the pulse of what's new in the comms arena.

Arielle Halter, Digital Content Officer in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, dives into the importance of using data to paint the whole picture, and offers insights on the slow shift from social media obsession to more valuable content created with consumers in mind. 


Why did you choose to pursue a role in digital content? For example, has it always been your passion or was it pure happenstance? 

After college I applied for a Business Marketing course at several universities across the North West before stumbling across an apprenticeship working in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Communications and Engagement Team.

I hadn’t considered an apprenticeship prior to this but I thought it would be a great opportunity to work in a busy marketing team whilst also continuing to learn. I began my journey in marketing and public relations a few weeks after finishing college.


What personal skills or attributes do you think are most important in the digital content sphere? Why these skills/attributes in particular? 

I would say the three most important skills for the world of digital content are being confident, creative and adaptable.

The digital world changes so quickly so it’s important to keep in mind what’s going on in the world and how that may affect the messages you are trying to promote to potential clients.


What sort of challenges do you face in your role? Is there a particular challenge that you experienced in the past that stood out? 

I’m sure lots of communications specialists have heard this before, but I’d say the main challenge is everyone thinking they know how to communications works.

Communications is about storytelling and painting a picture whilst engaging with your target audience. Listening and having empathy is a skill and something that can take good communications to great communications.


How is your role perceived in your organisation?  

I’d say my role, as well as the role of the wider Communications and Engagement Team, is a vital service within the organisation and is positively perceived.

Many colleagues come to us for advice and inspiration. It’s fantastic when we’re involved in planning from the very beginning and can help other teams develop strong pieces of work and campaigns in all areas of the organisation including Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Recycle for Greater Manchester, working with the Mayor Andy Burnham and much more!


At React & Share, we’re obsessed with measuring our efforts to prove our worth to internal stakeholders - what measurements do you think content teams should be presenting to leadership?

As much as analytics and data is key to what we do I don’t think it’s just about the numbers. If people are engaging with our content – why are they and what’s the call to action at the end?

Sharing the statistics, any external factors that may affect data and the end goal to leaders allows you to paint the full picture of the work being done and how communications is a key part in producing the results.


What advice would you give to those at the start of their career? 

My advice would be to learn! Ask questions, shadow colleagues and immerse yourself in the role as much as you possibly can. The best way to learn is by doing and at the start of your career is your chance to gain as much knowledge and information about the industry you work in.


What do you think the secret of success is when working in digital content? 

I wouldn’t say it’s a secret, but I think being creative and focusing on quality is vital to success.

The industry seems to have moved away from endless social media posts, instead focusing on creating more valuable content that consumers want to read about.