Robbie Myers is a seasoned media and fashion executive who for eighteen years served as Editor-in-Chief of ELLE, the #1 fashion magazine brand in the world. She reached over 28 million monthly readers across print, digital, mobile and social in the US alone. Today, Robbie brings 30+ years of creative, managerial and entrepreneurial experience to her current roles as a board member, consultant and advisor to companies in the world of tech, media and fashion. Here, she shares strategies for building brand content that truly connects.
What would you describe as the elements of a great story?
Don't be boring, which sounds obvious, but is not easy. It's tough to not be boring because that means your editorial strategy has to talk about new things and social media makes that hard because people are posting by the second. You have to figure out how you are going to get into people's feeds. How are you going to get their attention? One way to do that is to know your vertical well and to be honest about what you know. Then there's the storytelling, incorporating your brand values, your ethos.
How do you determine a brand voice and infuse that into the content?
For people at the beginning of their careers, it helps to have a good story. Start with the truth. It's okay to look at what else is in your category, but you have to think about what's unique about what you want to say. Look around at what your people are doing. What are they listening to? What are they reading? What do they care about? You need the input. You don't want to pretend to be something that you're not. Start with the truth and with your own story and speak authentically about your product. A big part of having a brand voice is marketing yourself through content creation. It's become the heart of every brand these days.
What's the best way to incorporate your personal story into your brand strategy?
If you have a voice, and you want to produce a particular point of view, then you need to establish that with some cadence and a solid point of view that people will want to support and repost. Everything you say has to be tied to something else eg you're sharing the news, or you're commenting on issues that are part of your brand.
You don't want to pretend to be something that you're not. Start with the truth and with your own story and speak authentically about your product.
What is your best advice for delegating and trusting others to execute your vision?
How do you get a large staff on the same page about brand essence and core values? There's this theory that it takes five years for a staff to gel, which means it takes five years for people you work with to have the shorthand to understand one another.
In terms of managing a big staff, you have to delegate, and you have to have department heads. I believe in expertise and I also believe that people learn over time. I know 10,000 hours has been debunked, but that knowledge gets into you and allows you to quickly make your way through the weeds of decision-making. When you’ve already seen an issue, again and again, you know how to navigate it. Even though all problems are new problems, you now have the navigational tools.
What are some of the tactics you used as a magazine editor to drive growth?
When I started in the editorial world, I was in print and my job was to grow the circulation. The advertisers would pay for access to the readers' eyeballs. That was the deal.
I wanted readers to engage with us. I cared about them, and I wanted them to care about us. I did that through compelling content. I had to know what they wanted. But I also had to be half a step ahead. I had to know what was cool and bring them something they'd never seen before. I would fight with other magazines over cover stars because that drives eyeballs to the newsstand which in turn generates subscriptions.
Over the years, our priorities changed significantly. You had to learn quickly because the mediums were always changing, particularly in the last decade with the rise of social media. That significantly changed the communication between provider and reader.