Zig-Zagging into a digital career…
During this blog series, we talk to accomplished digital marketing professionals from a variety of backgrounds about their career journeys with the aim of inspiring jobs seekers, aspiring freelancers and the trailblazing entrepreneurs amongst you!
This edition features the Briony Cullin. I met Briony at Women in Tech SEO Fest and the more I found out about her, the more I knew she’d be perfect for this blog series! She’s an Australian Lawyer turned Food Blogger, turned Freelance Digital Marketer. She met her now-husband when travelling in Japan and they’ve been living in Glasgow for the last 10 years!
So, where did it all begin for this marketer? Let’s find out…
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A politician! I was a pretty big nerd when I was a teenager (not much has changed) and I used to read legislation and speeches to my friends. I channelled my enthusiasm for reading legislation into becoming a lawyer (before I then moved to the UK and totally changed career paths).
What and where was your very first job?
When I was 16 I started working at Mitre 10 which is the Australian equivalent of B&Q, first on the checkout and then on the timber counter. I really loved learning about construction and timber, even though customers wouldn’t take me seriously at first. It was a very manly, macho environment and growing up with two older brothers meant I was already pretty bolshy, so I really enjoyed the challenge of showing customers I did know my stuff!
When and how did you first discover digital marketing?
I moved to the UK in 2009 and started writing a food blog all about Glasgow’s food scene. That was my first foray into digital marketing and it was a great way to learn about SEO and social media. It was all a bit accidental, I didn’t really mean to grow an audience of readers (other than my Mum) but people in Glasgow started reading and commenting, which is when I realised that the wider world had found it.
Share a mistake you made or an event you regret from your career:
I was working as a paralegal and knocked the phone plug out of the wall with my handbag when I put it under my desk. The law firm was without phone and internet for 24 hours until they realised the plug just needed to go back into the wall. Thankfully my boss laughed.
Jumping in a time machine, what pearls of wisdom would you give your 18-year-old self?
Be kinder to yourself! I still need to learn this as a 37-year old but I’m definitely getting better.
What industry skill do you wish you’d learned sooner?
Probably SEO to be honest. I’ve been writing on the internet for so many years but didn’t get my head around SEO until 2017 when I did Kate Toon’s courses. For me, SEO was the missing piece of the digital marketing puzzle.
Who are you inspired by in the digital marketing industry?
As mentioned above, Kate Toon. She is such an amazing teacher about SEO and really explains it in a logical, clear way. I really fell in love with SEO because of her teachings and it changed my career path to something I genuinely really love doing.
I’m also totally in awe of Areej Abuali who arranged the Women in Tech SEO Festival this month. The event was meticulously planned and the day itself was so inspiring and educational.
If you were to publish your autobiography in 20 years time, what would it be titled?
I just don’t want to look back and think “I could have eaten that.” The memoir of a dog-obsessed foodie who loves napping.
What is the one thing you want to be remembered for from your career, and why?
Being helpful and transparent. I love working with clients and empowering them to understand digital marketing, no matter how technical.
Huge thanks to Briony for sharing your story with us! I’m sure like me, our readers will be inspired by your journey from down under to the Scottish Lowlands but also from the legal world to digital marketing!
Keep an eye out for more of the MOAM series as I regularly publish new editions from inspiring digital experts.
Could your career story encourage others to further their digital marketing careers? Or do you know someone whose story needs to be told? Get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, if you’re looking to explore your options in digital marketing, visit our job board and contact page.