Rob Alderson was brought into WeTransfer in 2016, when they only had a marketing team. After more than three years as the VP Content and Editor-in-Chief of WePresent, they had expanded to about 200 employees, in four cities, with a full marketing team, and a content team too. Alderson is now a full-time dad and “retired freelancer”. He’s taking some time to see what’s next for him, but is hoping to get back to a full-time editorial position. He spoke with Wonder Shuttle about his time launching WePresent and the tricky parts of getting brands into content.
So you were brought in to launch WePresent in 2016?
Yes, that’s right. I was brought in because WeTransfer from the beginning has given away 30% of its backgrounds to the creative community. They wanted to dig a bit deeper into those creatives that they were supporting, but they were also very appealingly open-minded about what that might look like. I was asked to come in, figure it out and build something that was going to showcase the kind of relationship with the creative community that WeTransfer as a service has. That is what ended up becoming WePresent, but it took some time to get there.
What do you think of the investment that companies like WeTransfer are putting into content by hiring editors?
I think it’s vital if brands want to do content that they hire editorial people. This isn’t at all a slight on PR or marketing people, it’s a massive skill that’s super important for companies. But the company and the brand is their overarching concern. It’s great to hire editors because we come with this in-built obsession with engaging people, and that’s part of our DNA as editorial people.
Having said all that, the little bit of concern I have at the moment is that maybe too many brands are trying to do content. It’s really important that brands slow down a little bit and work out, “Is this right for us, does this fit in with our overarching business goals, and are we being realistic about what content can achieve for our brand?” Content can have a great role in a brand marketing strategy, but it’s really important to be honest about its limitations.[Read more…] about Rob Alderson: If you make great stuff, users won’t care that you’re a brand