In addition to managing a personal blog and traveling the world, Emma Bates works as Head of Global Marketing and Operations at Away Travel, and is also co-founder of The Un-Idle Collective! This #girlboss really does it all, and she has great insight when it comes to the ins and outs of working with businesses as well as developing a personal brand. Read along to get to know Emma and learn her tips for growing your audience!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in the suburbs of London and moved into the city to study War Studies at King’s College London. While I was there, I started a blog and used it as a creative outlet during my studies to counter the very academic degree I was working on. I’ve always adored traveling; I have two parents who instilled the importance of exploration in me at a very young age. I wanted an outlet that wasn’t on social media where I could archive my travels, so my blog became a place to curate my travel photos.
Through working on my blog, an interest in marketing began to grow, especially within high growth startups. It’s been challenging and exciting to work with new companies, and I really love it. Initially, I consulted for a number of companies in London and I now head up Global Marketing and Operations at Away.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role as head of Global Marketing and Operations at Away?
I focus on Away’s global marketing strategy, working to determine which markets we’d like to activate and planning the initiatives that go along with that. I came on board last summer to launch Away into two of our biggest markets outside the US: the UK and Germany. We opened a concept store in London for three months to showcase Away and provide a space to host events and grow our UK community. We also opened a holiday pop-up in Berlin just before Christmas.
How have you used your knowledge to create brand partnerships, events, and collaborations?
Everything I’ve learned as a blogger and through creating a personal brand on social media has been extremely helpful in my role at Away. My experience with travel blogging in particular helps me connect to Away’s customers, as it’s a travel lifestyle brand. I’m glad to be able to transition blog relationships to my current role and utilize those connections to grow Away’s presence in new markets.
You are also the co-founder of The Un-Idle Collective–what inspired you to start this?
Founding The Un-Idle Collective was a creative response to the political and social events of this past year. Two friends and I were feeling especially frustrated and helpless, so we began to think about what we could do to educate ourselves and other people who felt the same. With The Un-Idle Collective, we’re looking to foster education through knowledgeable discussion, provide accessible activism and engage more people with the issues we face in this world. We’re collaborating with all manner of charities, NGOs, non-profit organizations and thought leaders to achieve this.
Today, social media is growing at such a fast rate. In what ways would you say it has helped you grow both The Un-Idle Collective and your personal brand?
Social media provides such an amazing space to creatively experiment and grow your ideas. For me, it’s been really helpful in spreading awareness of a cause that we’re addressing with The Un-Idle Collective, or highlighting a new blog post. There are so many platforms to engage new audiences and expand beyond those who are initially interested, it’s just a matter of utilizing them to their fullest extent.
Do you have any tips for bloggers and influencers trying to expand their audience?
Authenticity goes such a long way towards engaging and growing your audience. Just like a company, you should establish a voice that’s reflective of the community you’re targeting and the message you want to spread. I’ve found that when I write longer captions explaining the story behind the photo, my audience tends to be more receptive. People especially gravitate towards travel stories, so I try to share those as often as I can!
Throughout your journey of being both a business woman and managing your personal brand, what would you say has been your biggest takeaway?
It sounds very basic, but surrounding myself with a community of people who genuinely inspire me on a day to day basis is important. Loving your work and company is another huge takeaway. I always thought I would freelance until I was able to start my own company, but when I found Away and met everyone there, I knew I had to find a way to be a part of what they were doing. I genuinely love getting up and going to work every day, and when you love what you do, you’re far more productive!
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Spending as much time as possible with my little kitties (and my mum, obviously) whenever I travel back from New York. Spot Alfie, being the star of the show as per usual. This month Garnier is focussing on reconnecting with home, yourself and your loved ones. Whilst I adore New York, there's nothing quite like home. More over on @garnieruk #WeAreGarnier #ad
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I’m really focused and excited about everything we have in the works at both Away and The Un-Idle Collective. At some point down the line when the moment’s right, I’d love to set out on my own and run my own company.
Special thanks to Emma for answering our questions!