A talk with leading Content Writer Ashley Bruzas
Canadian Ashley Bruzas was just one of many to go from a casual social media user to a recognized influencer a few years ago, but she used her tech savvy combined with her business sense to build her own successful business as a content writer and producer. She is continuously travelling the world and working with various brands, promoting their products online while writing captivating marketing content for her target audience.
We had the chance to sit down with this young entrepreneur to discuss her life, career, and recent success working with lifestyle brand Naked Retail Group and NAKEDCASHMERE, where she helped their in-house team of creatives realize that social media is one of the most prominent tools for sharing content and building brand equity and voice. As social media director for the group, she helped expand their global reach, where she acted as a liaison between the company and the brands they worked with, understanding the needs of each and applying creativity and strategy.
Check out this compelling and informative interview below.
STT: How did you get into content production/writing?
AB: The interesting thing about the journey of a content producer/writer is that it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue. Growing up in a creative household, my dad was always emphasizing the importance of music and the arts. When I was a child, I loved to play the piano, draw, and paint, and it wasn’t long before I got my first camera and began editing photos with the help of different editing software. Fast forward to the digital world we live in today, where the tools we have to create content and bring ideas to life are essentially endless. There is always something new and exciting, whether it’s turning to visual storytelling or the way we can manipulate different mediums and apply different layers to the way they are perceived by others. I have always had a passion for writing, and it has been an incredible hobby that turned into a dream job.
STT: How did you get involved with NAKEDCASHMERE?
AB: When I first moved to New York City, I knew I wanted to work in the fashion/lifestyle industry. As a young adult, growing up flipping through the fabulous pages of magazines, I knew that I wanted to bring my skills to this industry and learn how to apply what I know to a specific brand. When the opportunity to work with NakedCashmere came about, it was interesting to learn the ins and outs of the brand from a content perspective and really understand the brand bible that makes the company come alive. I learned so many incredible things about working for a brand in-house and how all of the creative elements work together to bring a marketing strategy into fruition. Every client, like every brand, is different and there are many factors that come into play when trying to put together a focused and effective strategy for the target demographic and consumer journey. NakedCashmere allowed me to experiment, learn about new marketing channels like influencer marketing, and provided me an outlet to create fresh and exciting content on an ongoing basis. One of the most valuable experiences I took away from working with NakedCashmere was working on the content production for the campaign photoshoots the company produced. From behind the scenes social media content shared across platforms, to website and email content, it was an incredible opportunity to bring our customers along the journey and give them an in-depth look into how the catalogs come together.
STT: What was it like working with Naked Retail Group?
AB: When NakedCashmere partnered with Naked Retail Group, it was an interesting shift for my career and skill set. Not only was I able to work very closely with NakedCashmere but I was also beginning to learn how the brands that NRG works with differed in creative strategy. Ultimately, Naked Retail Group is a concept retail experience, and the team brings in new brands on a contract basis to introduce brands that are oftentimes online-only to a brick and mortar experience. Because the lifecycle of the brands we worked with was constantly changing, I was introduced to many different components that make up the creative marketing world. This constant change and evolution fueled my passion for creativity and I knew that I would someday be able to apply everything I have learned over the course of my career to any brand, aligning with the idea that the skills are the same but need to be applied to each client in a unique way. The NRG business model is really the first of its kind and it was an incredible opportunity to work with a company that was the leader in what they do.
STT: After your success with Naked Retail Group, what was your next move?
AB: After NakedCashmere and Naked Retail Group, I knew I wanted to move into a digital agency. Although I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of agency I would get involved with, I knew that I had to align with the brands they had in-house. I looked into a number of different opportunities with creative agencies, agencies that focused on branding and finally found a healthy medium with a performance-based marketing agency. The combination of creative elements mixed with the data analytical aspect of performance allowed me to focus on what kinds of creative strategy would perform best and how we can effectively communicate this to different clients. Whether it’s ad copy or the visual content itself, there are so many things to learn from a performance side of things that I wasn’t fully aware of before starting my journey here.
STT: What are some of the brands you are working with now?
AB: The agency that I work with currently focuses primarily on direct to consumer lifestyle, fashion and beauty brands. Whether it is a designer fashion brand with a profitable wholesale business who wants to go direct to consumer because of the changing landscape of the department store world, or a jewelry start up that just closed their first round of funding, every client is different and unique. Because we operate in New York City, the number of brands we have access to is endless. Understanding our clients’ goals and how they fit into an agency structure is what makes every day exciting. I’m always working on developing new ideas and coming up with creative ways to produce content and strategy that performs best and helps our clients meet their targets.
STT: How did you turn your passion for content production into helping brands in-house and moving your way up into a renowned digital agency?
AB: Even though I have always loved producing content, whether it was photography or creative forms of writing, it was my natural ability to embrace social media that really launched my passion into a career. When I look back, some five years ago, social media was still a very new concept and I was able to utilize platforms like Facebook and Instagram to share content, network with other creatives and learn about the business side of things long before anyone really knew what it would become. Over time, as businesses began to hop on the bandwagon or fall behind, social media channels became an outlet for content producers, writers, artists, and now celebrities, to use this platform to both share their work and find inspiration for growth. What began with sharing my own personal content, slowly evolved to the point where I was able to work with brands on creative projects. This helped develop my skills and portfolio, to the point where I was able to move to the USA and apply everything I have learned and worked for to brands on a worldwide scale. If you would have asked me five years ago where I would be, I could have never imagined that I would be managing millions of dollars in content advertising and marketing strategy to some of the most notable and growing brands.
STT: What advice would you give to those looking to pursue a career in content writing/producing?
AB: Start small. Brainstorm. Pitch ideas. Do your research. Work on your craft. Because of the saturation of digital marketing, content production and writing as a whole, I would definitely suggest focusing on something that you enjoy and want to get better at. If you really enjoy producing visual content, for example, spend time familiarizing yourself with photography (iPhone, DSLR, film) or whatever medium that excites you, and hone in on creating high quality content. Once you grasp what you’re good at, you can begin to apply your skills to almost any brand or idea that comes your way. We all have something that we are inherently good at - some of us are better at writing long form over short form - but being able to diversify and eventually do a little bit of everything is what will allow you to excel and grow in your field. The landscape of digital content is constantly evolving and being able to adapt with the times is what shows determination and expertise.