Meet the Creator - Helen Hawkes

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Helen Hawkes

Helen is a talented writer with decades of experience, who has written for leading mainstream magazines, newspapers and digital sites in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom including The Australian Financial Review, The Daily Mail, The Sun-Herald, Vogue Australia, The Australian Women's Weekly, The CEO Magazine, INTHEBLACK, GQ Australia and more. She is currently based in Brisbane, Australia. She specialises in lifestyle including health and wellbeing as well as business and finance including trends. Her custom work has included managing a a book on Brisbane for delegates and media at the G20 Summit and clients including the Commonwealth Bank, Q Super and HCF Health Fund. We recently asked her some questions about her approach to content creation.

What is it you enjoy about creating content?

I love the whole process, from generating content ideas that will resonate with a client's target market, through to researching the subject and gaining perspectives from interviewees, then communicating the story or message in such a way that it is engaging from beginning to end. Ultimately, I love using short or long-form to grow reader and customer base as well as position businesses and individuals as experts in their field.

Tell us about your journey to become a content creator

I began as a generalist, developing expertise on subjects ranging from consumer affairs, real estate and entertainment to fashion, finance and health and beauty. About 20 years ago I began to specialise in all aspects of well-being, as what is now a US$4.2 trillion industry started to take off. At the same time, my work with businesses in this field led to wider business reporting, currently for a high profile accounting body as well as for major finance clients. I have always been fascinated by statistics as well as social and global trends. I have a strong ability to take very complex information and turn it into compelling content.

What is the piece of content you are most proud of?

In my early career, I was lucky enough to be able to draw attention to key social issues. For example, I wrote one of the first articles on refugee children in detention. Today I lead my industry in ‘wellth' content (wellness/health/wealth) focusing on total wellbeing initiatives, from workplace well-being to wellness real estate, scientific advances in anti-ageing, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals and well-being areas such as fitness, food, relaxation, stress management, organics, sustainability and more. My feature on how to find peace at work for LUXURY magazine at The Australian Financial Review was the most-clicked story across the group. At the same time, my content for a medical centre has educated clients about the benefits of preventative health checks, physiotherapy and mental health; for a local chamber of commerce, my content has seen them consistently grow awareness about the region's attractions; while for a superannuation fund, my financial and career stories have assisted members in negotiating a pay rise, planning for retirement, or understanding zero inflation. I love that my words appear on the product labelling on two of the beauty industry's premium brands.

What value does content bring to a client's marketing strategy?

Great content starts with thinking laterally about a client's message, to add value to customers of the business or brand, and to position the client as the expert or leader in their field. Consumers of multimedia today are very sophisticated. They want an authentic, genuine connection that adds to their knowledge, their skills, or their lives. They are easily bored and they are cynical about hard sells. In this way, great content can be more productive than a direct-sell.

How do you determine the tone, voice and style is right for a particular piece of content?

I familiarise myself with the company, the product and their communications to understand their customers and their brand. Tone, voice or style needs to be honed for different age groups and generations, genders, socioeconomic groups, belief systems, education levels, business backgrounds and more.

What is the most useful thing a marketer can provide you in the brief that allows you to understand their brand?

Tell me what it is you think you're selling, or what you offer, and who to! And I don't just mean the product or the service, I mean the experience – how does your product or service make your customer's or client's life better?

What makes successful content?

It's accurate, timely, on message and most of all, it is NEVER BORING. Attention spans today, thanks to smart devices, are minimal. I write content that brings the customer or client with you, from beginning to end. I hate obvious. And the reader does too. And I really hate patronising and, trust me, so does your potential client.You can find Helen and her creative portfolio on the Fabulate platform, by clicking and viewing her profile here.