WHAT DO YOU DO?
In the past, I've created campaign narratives for outdoor lifestyle and wellness brands. Recently, I've begun building and applying a 'ground-up' content strategy for a fin-tech startup.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
My background is in poetry. Growing up, I read anything I could get my hands on, regardless of medium, and emulated my favorite writers by filling dozens of notebooks with (agonizingly, embarrassingly) heartfelt prose. As a student first at NYU, then Trinity College, I majored in Poetry and Film, combining my love of beautiful words and images into one.
Creative writing has always been a part of my personal narrative. I've spent many summers in classes, and late nights around oblong tables in basements, all for the love of honing my craft.
It wasn't until an old professor gave me the opportunity to be "first eyes" on her second book during the summer before my senior year that I realized I had a very, very disciplined, academic side. I combed those 300+ pages backwards and forwards, noting the even the smallest minutia of narrative breakdown, the tiniest loopholes in characters' stories. I didn't realize it at the time, but that was my first introduction to content strategy, and my initial foray into cultivating brand narrative.
Years later, I'd co-edit a series of poems and black and white photographs that became the book 'regent' by Brett A. Maddux, published by Silk House Publishing. My love of poetry and newfound editorial chops found their way together, and continue to do so today.
HOW DO YOU STAND OUT IN YOUR FIELD?
I think my background in poetry has taught me how to write succinct, quippy copy about quite anything. I've written haikus about climbing shoes, short stories about adaptogenic sex dust, and tome-like guides to the best swimwear for jumping off a cliff (without losing your top).
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I recently moved back east from Los Angeles to start a new full-time position as a Senior Content Strategist. We're a startup, which means that my position encompasses all things content, strategy, social, project management, and more. I love being back in New York, and this job is the perfect mix of challenging and exciting. But my brain is never satiated, it seems! It's the academic in me.
My move back east took me away from my full-time position as Brand Marketing Copywriter for the outdoor brand Backcountry.com, as well as from a freelance position with the adaptogenic wellness brand Moon Juice. There, I was creating content for the marketing team and working on a social-specific campaign. I also had the opportunity to work alongside a designer and friend creating a brand narrative for a gin distillery while in LA.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I love a strong brand voice. From backstory to design to narrative hopes and dreams, I'm fascinated by a unique brand personality that's manifested in a voice. I pride myself on being able to see a brand for what it is and what it wants to be, adapting my storytelling and content strategy to both fit, while simultaneously breaking those molds.
My work ranges from fast and furious (email subject lines that make you click without question), to free-flowing and narrative (an extensive About Me with some personal anecdotes are my favorite brand of word candy). Approachable, lighthearted, honest, and smart. My personal Instagram @rubanoj gives some good insight into how I write. Both quick and silly, longwinded and heartfelt.
WE ALL HAVE MULTIPLE SKILLS OR WORK IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD FOCUS ON MORE?
Helping cultivate brand identity from end-to-end. I think that there's so much to be said for strong brand identity, as I mentioned, but I think that extends much further into narrative than most companies truly comprehend. There's nothing like a strong visual--accompanied by an equally, if not even stronger backstory. Think Care/of, Casper, Into the Gloss.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
A big personality, somehow I still manage to be introverted professionally. Making new client connections is not a strong suit, despite the fact that I love to meet new people and hear their stories.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Schedule deadlines for both myself and my clients.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I would've told myself to ask for more feedback at my first job out of college. The people I worked with were brilliant, and that both inspired and, more relevantly, scared me. I could've left that job having learned a great deal more -- I'd tell myself to collaborate on a deeper level, learn from others and make mistakes. Not to be afraid of not knowing the answer.
Don't be scared to ask more questions in order to understand something better.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
UX design. Creating the ideal user experience is something I'm fascinated by, but have no experience with on the back-end.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I’m interested in a wide array of projects, ranging from content creation at large, to brand narrative and strategy.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
I'm interested in working with people who see their brand's potential and understand that brand identity is much more than a hero image. People who are challenging a norm, perhaps even a norm consumers are known to love. Those who are unafraid to break the mold in search of a better, more strongly told story.
I'd love to collaborate on a long term project, building a content strategy from the ground up and helping cultivate a brand narrative end-to-end.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
My hourly rate is $60. $400 per day. Long term project rates vary depending.
WHO IS A CREATIVE THAT HAS HELPED YOU ELEVATE YOUR WORK?
I'm obsessed with the work of Chloe Caldwell. Obsessed might be egregious, but here we are. Chloe pushes the envelope in every sense of the phrase. Her words are brash and negligent, sophisticated and thought-provoking. No matter what she's writing about, she's doing it in a way that makes her reader want to read more, write more, lean in closer to whatever it is they've gotten their hands on. And that's exactly how I want to be seen as a creator of content, no matter the medium.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can find time for a phone call.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Bukowski before bed. Wild dreams.
This member profile was originally published in June 2019.