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Alumni

Kira Lauber-Stracey

Career Path: Head of Content & Online PR, Search Laboratory
Location: Leeds, UK

I’ve always loved writing, so a degree in English Literature was a natural progression. I went on to complete a MA in International Multimedia Journalism at Newcastle University before training at the BBC and Press Association as a Multimedia Journalist.

Having won ‘Best Website’ at the BJCT Awards, I was keen to further my digital knowledge. I was excited by the prospect of being able to immediately reach people all over the world with creative content. At the time, digital marketing agencies were at the cutting edge of this content revolution. I started as a Digital Content Writer before progressing into strategic content marketing and management.

What are you doing now?Kira Lauber-Stracey

As Head of Content and Online PR at Search Laboratory, I’m responsible for leading a team of 29 including Project Managers, a Specialist Digital Content Team, media and online specialists, and events experts. As well as developing our offering, I oversee digital communications campaigns for brands from many industries. We get to build giant cardboard castles in the office, calculate how much it would cost to power the death star, and use Barbie dolls to explain the worst things you could do at an office Christmas party. People often ask us if we do any REAL work, but we do work really hard. We take an analytical approach to content and work closely with brands to maximise digital value from marketing activities - and have a lot of fun in the process!

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

The curriculum really appealed to me, there was a good selection of optional modules like American gothic literature, and creative writing. I was also given the opportunity to take a module in teaching literature in a secondary school. Although I decided not to pursue this path, it was a valuable experience that developed my training and leadership skills which I still use today. I’d highly recommend the module if you are considering doing a PGCE. Northumbria’s campus was so close to the city centre and easy to navigate. It was a real hive of activity which made it easy to socialise after studying.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

The thing that struck me most about Northumbria was how much the lecturers cared. When you are faced with so much choice at that age, it can be really daunting trying to find your direction. I remember my creative writing lecturer spent time with me to understand which parts of creating content I enjoyed the most and helped me find a suitable postgraduate course that would give me a range of career options.

How connected was your course with industry?

I was given the opportunity to take a module in teaching literature in a secondary school.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

Although I decided not to pursue this path, it was a valuable experience that developed my training and leadership skills which I still use today. I’d highly recommend the module if you are considering doing a PGCE.

What was the best thing about your course?

There was plenty of time built in for reading course material and reading lists. This gave me more flexibility than other courses for planning how I spent my university life. I spent a good portion of my degree sat in cafes reading and discussing literature with other course members. It also meant that I had time to hold down a part-time job during my studies which helped pay for my accommodation and social life.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

Studying at Northumbria helped me to realise the importance of a good work-life balance. I learnt from tutors that if you enjoy what you do, you will be intrinsically motivated to succeed. But that you don’t have to burn yourself out to be successful. This valuable lesson helped me not only to identify what my career goals were, but to be happy in my job long term.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

The BA English Literature was crucial to the development of my written skills in forming persuasive and engaging content. The critical analyses of literary texts also helped develop my ability to debate and negotiate, which is a fundamental part of business. Thorough research helped me to develop my analytical ability, which is central to creating effective content marketing strategies and continually refining them.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The culture, there was a good work-life balance and everyone was really friendly and willing to help each other.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Check out the option to study abroad for one of your years, it’s a great way to travel and experience a different culture whilst you study.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words?

Challenging, rewarding and inspiring.

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