Case study

Live music editor — Henry Lewis

Henry's pathway to becoming a live music editor at Skiddle shows the value of impressing potential employers during work placements

What course did you study and where?

I graduated from Salford University, studying journalism and broadcasting. I got my job after completing a week-long work placement with Skiddle, where I worked with our former live editor Ben Smith and current colleague Becca, writing news articles for the website and some longer features too. This was then followed by me going out to gigs and reviewing them as well as interviewing artists, which set me up for what I have ended up doing full time.

How did you get your job?

I stayed in touch with Jimmy, who is now my boss, and told him that I'd love to take any full time work if there was any, which at the time there wasn't. A couple of weeks later he called me up to say a role had become available. Naturally I took the job and started five days after I had finished university.

What's a typical day like as a live music editor?

There aren't too many 'typical' days, but I can mainly expect to create written content for the website, be it news articles for live shows that are set to go on sale, or have recently come on sale, as well as feature writing based on a variety of live music topics. These are normally list-based articles with one central theme, with the idea to get our audience talking online.

As part of my day-to-day job I schedule video and written content to appear on social media pages across the coming evening, and up to a few days in advance, as well as staying in contact with our regular contributors to offer them written work too.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The best thing about the job is getting the opportunity to write about a subject I love - music - every single day. The video content we produce gives me a chance to show a creative side, as does the longer feature writing we do and gives me an opportunity to touch on my personal tastes to quite a large degree.

What are the challenges?

The challenges are staying up to date with the latest social trends and ensuring that what we're posting is relevant and will perform well on social media. This is because it is one of the biggest entrances to the Skiddle website and brings in a big audience.

The job also challenges you to think outside of the box in a way that will make the content stand out from the others, and project Skiddle as not just a ticket sales company but also as a company made up of real people who have similarities with their audience, thus building the customers' trust - something that is often low in the relationship between ticket vendor and customer.

In what way is your degree relevant?

As a journalism student I have used what I learned about writing within a content management system, and everything that comes with that, such as including the most important information in the opening paragraph, writing a hooky headline to draw the reader in.

As a broadcast student I also learned about interview techniques so I had practiced that before I had to do it for my job, including interviewing on the phone, but also on camera too. This also applies to writing engaging, interesting questions that get the best out of the interviewee, rather than anything too closed.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My job has developed a lot in the time I have been here (just over two years). I started out as a junior contributor writing odds and ends for other contributors, while also honing my skills on social media and posting via our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

After a few months, I moved up to the role as festivals editor - essentially overseeing all festival related content on the site including line up announcements, artist interviews, 'Five of the Bests' (picking a varied five acts playing across one festival that we like), as well as arranging for contributors to go and review festivals before editing their work and making it live on the site.

Following that I moved to my current role, live music editor, which is the same as the festival editor job only I oversee all the gigs we have on sale and my ambitions are to grow the Live Music section of Skiddle with better looking, higher reaching content, be it written or in video form, that excites our audience and results in higher traffic.

What advice do you have for others looking to enter this industry?

  • Keep banging on the door and offering yourself wherever possible.
  • Try to avoid saying 'no' to opportunities for written work. The more you say yes and turn out good work, the more you will be asked to work.
  • Remember what you learn as soon as you learn it wherever possible. You don't want to keep asking potential employers the same questions over and over. Chances are they're busy a lot of the time, so you want to be able to know how to get on with things on your own as much as possible.

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