Q&A with Emily Geier: HCF's chief ‘Word Herder’

Emily Geier – or Van as she’s better known – is a lifelong lover of words. She has considerable experience in publishing, including working for the world’s biggest publisher.

It’s through her love of storytelling that she’s taking owned media by storm – pioneering HCF’s content marketing strategy and roadmap.

Van’s equally passionate about people and stories, and she’s one of our favourites to work with.

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What do you do?

I’m the chief ‘Word Herder’ at HCF, working across everything ‘content’ – from member magazine and podcasts, to our brochures, to content marketing more holistically.

It’s my job to ensure we make the most of every opportunity to bring our brand identity to life, in a way that’s relevant and meaningful to our members.

What mantra are you living by this year?

Get back to storytelling.

In 2019 I’m focussing on finding stories I want to tell, and that our audience can relate to and will find compelling.

While there’s a place for authoritative information and insightful advice as part of every content suite, I’m following my passion this year to unearth real people’s tales because I believe genuine stories have the power to drive action.

What’s the most important thing marketers can do to drive commercial outcomes?

Honestly, I think it’s most important to get really clear on what the commercial outcomes actually are – make sure that all of those who are going on the journey with you agree what success will look like when you get there.

That often requires more time than you’d like, a bit of back and forth, and some courage; but it means everyone’s pulling in the same direction, and that can be really impactful.

What’s a cracking book you’d recommend, or a podcast you swear by?

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Well, I’m a story-lover first and foremost so there was no way I was going to choose anything in the realm of marketing, or even non-fiction.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is the most incredible book I’ve read in as long as I can remember. It’s a tome, so requires an investment of time and heart. It’ll chew you up and spit you out and is an ode to the resilience of the human spirit. It changed the way I thought about love.

Who are your go-to thought leaders, and why?

When it comes to storytelling that’s brutally honest and beautifully written, it’s pretty hard to go past Australia’s Clementine Ford. Her ability to convey the conviction of her belief in such a convincing and eloquent fashion is something all marketers can – and should – learn from.

From a marketing perspective, Seth Godin is the best orator and thought leader in the business - regardless of whether it’s via his blog, books, podcast or speaking. A few weeks ago marked the 11th year in a row of daily posts on his blog. That’s nearly 5,000,000 words (truth bombs) since his first post twenty years ago.

Our favourite qu: What’s your top beer or wine recommendation?

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At the risk of sounding like a cheapskate, I don’t often get past Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir. We bought a case at their pretty little vineyard in Tasmania, and it’s been my go-to ever since. Doesn’t break the bank, and at under $20, there’s always a bottle within easy reach under the stairs.


Matt Allison is the Managing Director of Ubiquity Lab. Click here to sign up to our monthly EDM, or here to follow us on LinkedIn.

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