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ARMLife Interview with Tanya Harris

So, to start off, tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I studied Journalism as my undergraduate degree and whilst doing that I did different placements at magazines as well as some editorial and feature writer roles. However, during that course we were told over and over and over again that journalism is dying and that we’d all probably end up getting jobs in marketing. In my third year we had a module on SEO, so it’s always been something I’d been aware of.

After graduating, I went into an SEO copywriter role and from there moved around into other content strategy and creation roles which focused more on those old Blackhat buying links, google fodder content, learning more about the strategies behind getting good quality site content such a blog posts. I actually went freelance for a while after this, doing copywriting working with a whole range of different clients across different sectors.

How did you join ARM?

I actually got contacted by someone who used to work at All Response as I’d worked with them previously, which led to All Response actually being one of my freelance ‘clients’ for about 3-4 years! It was only last year that I formally joined them on the SEO team.

That sounds like a really nice transition into the company!

It definitely was, I knew the team and its clients really well before joining so I didn’t feel as nervous as I might have done had I been brand new to the company. I also knew all of the client’s copywriting work as I’d written a lot of it whilst I was freelancing, so I was already well-versed on a lot of the subjects.

What’s a typical day like in your role?

My role is kind of split between research and content production, so I do jump onto a number of different things to help the team out on more technical tasks, but my main focus is content, so I’m definitely playing to my strengths. Usually I’m either researching opportunities to create new content or looking at how to optimize content i.e. to help a site get more visibility in search engines, make pages read better and enhancing keywords.

What’s one of your favourite parts of your role?

Obviously, I love the writing, which is to be expected from someone who studied journalism, but I also really enjoy getting to learn loads of new things. I end up writing about all of these different topics that I would otherwise know nothing about. For example, one of our clients is an eye hospital, so I’ve been writing about all these different conditions, some I can’t even pronounce! My Grandad went in for cataract surgery early on in the year and it was really cool to know how the surgery was done.

This year’s been an odd one, is there anything you’ve learnt that you’ll continue once things go back to ‘normal’?

I know this is probably a really boring answer, but probably not! Having come from a freelance background I’m used to working from home and being in that working environment. I’m quite an organized person normally, think to-do lists and checking things off, so that’s been really helpful this year.

Have you picked up any new hobbies this year?

I actually moved into my first home this year, so building furniture has become my new hobby!

How did you spend Christmas this year?

Thankfully where I live was still in Tier 3 on Christmas Day, so we were able to have my mum over for the day as she doesn’t live far! We made a vegan roast and watched all our favourite Christmas films!

What are you most looking forward to doing again?

Seeing my family and friends in person again. I’ve really missed actually seeing people (not on a screen!). That and just being able to just pop out for a casual lunch or to the cinema without having to worry!

And finally, what’s your favourite dessert?

I have a major sweet tooth and absolutely love chocolate, but my favourite dessert might be apple crumble… or sticky toffee pudding… or cheesecake. It’s tough, I like pretty much all desserts!