This month’s staff Q&A is with our wonderful Managing Editor, Amanda Gross.
Amanda used to work over in Boston at our sister company, Brafton, but has been running our Editorial Production in Auckland for the past two years. Her talent, drive and enthusiasm have been essential ingredients as we’ve continued to develop and grow our in-house creative teams.
In this Q&A you can learn more about what makes Amanda such as a great recruiter, the big changes she’s witnessed during her content marketing career and who should play her in Castleford the Movie.
What do you like most about working at Castleford?
The people. I love that I get to collaborate with people from all departments across the business, but of course working with my writers, designers and editors here in Editorial Production is my favourite. We have an excellent bunch of people who work hard and make coming to work every day something to look forward to. I call them the gems in the Castleford crown. They’re all gems!!
Initially you were on loan from Brafton, but luckily for us you’ve stayed on. What were the main reasons you decided to stick with Auckland?
Another favourite part of working at Castleford is the progression I’ve been offered – I am really grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had to expand my skillset and grow as a leader, which is part of the reason I stayed on. But also… a week after I arrived, I met a Kiwi. And it turns out he’s a keeper.
As Managing Editor you’re responsible for around half of our employees. What are the main challenges that come with managing such a big team?
There are always one million things happening. I’ve been able to develop a really autonomous, self-motivated team, but I still want them to feel like their problems matter and ensure we give them the support they need to succeed in whatever role they’re in. The main challenge is keeping everyone satisfied and engaged in their work while keeping all the balls in the air.
You’ve got a reputation as an ace recruiter. What are your tips for hiring good people?
Spend the majority of the interview drilling into their personality. A lot of people have the raw skills – whether in design, writing, or managing accounts – but not everyone has the self-awareness, perseverance and pro-active approach it takes to be a star here. I ask questions until I have a good understanding of those traits.
How does your role differ from managing editors in traditional media businesses like newspapers or magazines?
I actually think my role is pretty similar to managing editor roles in traditional media. I manage people and budgets and sometimes even do some editing!! As in traditional media, I’m the ultimate problem solver for all things editorial, whether that’s determining story angles or answering queries about media law. I suppose the fact that I also play this role for the various other departments, particularly account management, would be the key difference. All of my decisions have to make commercial / strategic sense as well as editorial sense.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the content marketing space since you first started out at Brafton all those years ago?
The expectations of users when it comes to the quality of online content. We were looking at 10X content from Moz’s Rand Fishkin last Friday, and I was proud to report that Castleford’s content ticks all the boxes and is keeping up with the demand for higher quality writing and a better user experience overall.
You often lead stretch time in the Auckland office. Do you have a favourite stretch?
I love the side-bending one, which Duncan (Senior Content Writer on Travel & Lifestyle) has affectionately named “the little teapot”. Feels good after sitting all day!!
When they make a movie telling the Castleford story, who should play you?
Well, it would be a musical, and I’d be Beyoncé.