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Meet the Publisher: An interview with HRZone’s Fiona Tully

Triana Jarman

The leading title for human resources professionals, HRZone.com, received a major refurbishment recently, not only improving the look and navigation of the site but also enhancing the functionality to ensure its even more interactive. As one of the leaders behind this project, Group Publisher, Fiona Tully was integral to the successful development and implementation of these changes which will help drive HRZone into the future.

In this interview we get to know Fiona a little better by gaining insight into her marketing background, discovering how she strives to improve content and why she wants to tour Canada in a winnebago!

Q: When did you join Sift Media?

FT: I joined Sift Media at the start of October 2013. I had intended to take a six-month sabbatical after my last job, but then the Publisher role for HRZone and TrainingZone came up and it was just too good an opportunity to miss.

Q: Tell us a little about your background prior to joining.

FT: My background is marketing and I’ve done pretty much everything from corporate and product marketing to marketing communications and managing large teams in both B2B and B2C companies. I joined Future in 2001 and moved from marketing into a publishing role six years ago, working on leading print and digital brands in the Design sector. For me, the move into publishing wasn’t about abandoning my marketing roots – a customer-first approach is part of my professional DNA. It was a way of influencing decisions at a business level and being able to make more of a difference.

Q: What changes have you seen at HRZone since you came on board?

FT: I joined Sift at a really exciting time.The company was investing in technology and new roles to support its growth ambitions, gain better insight into its digital communities and be more agile in terms of launching new products to support business leaders across our key sectors. Now, 18-months later, all that investment and hard-work is paying off and I’m delighted that HRZone.com is the first site to launch on our new publishing platform. It’s early days but we’re confident that our ability to deliver content and advertising messages in a more targeted way, based on an individual users’ behaviour and the subjects that interest them, means a better experience for our users and better results for clients looking to connect with key decision-makers in the HR space.

Q: What are the hottest topics being discussed amongst your community members?

FT: Employee engagement continues to be a hot topic within the HR profession and it’s an area that HRZone is leading on with research, content and two new events on Employee Engagement launching in the UK and US this year. The intrinsic link between employee engagement and customer experience is another live debate that’s gaining momentum and will be a main content thread on HRZone. HR has an important, strategic role to play in this, but it requires a much broader, business conversation. The question around “Who owns the customer?” is fundamental. The truth, of course, is that to be successful, every business function and every employee needs to understand their role and be equipped to deliver customer value. I’m really excited that HRZone will be part of this conversation in the year ahead.

Q: You’ve worked in digital publishing for some time now, what keeps you excited about it as a media channel?

FT: Digital media puts power back in the hands of the customer. It provides choice, allows for real-time profiling and instant feedback so we’re always learning more about our audience. In turn, our users can engage and connect with our content, with other people just like them and with clients in a seamless and simple way, wherever and whenever they want. In a results-driven company, the transparency and visibility of digital means we can tailor content and campaigns to individual users and if something’s not working, we know straight away and can take action. The ability to gain continuous insight and the pace of change, both in terms of new technology and user-sophistication, means we’re always looking at ways we can improve our content offering and provide a better customer experience. Nothing’s more important than that.

Getting to know the real Fiona Tully…

Q: What was the last film/book you saw/read and would you recommend it to others?

FT: Stoner, by John Williams. It’s a celebration of an ordinary life. However much we have, I think it’s part of the human condition to always expect and be striving for more, to judge ourselves by how other people see us. It redefines what we see as failure and I think it’s a must read for everyone. The book’s gone out of print twice so I guess it’s no surprise I’m a fan; I’ve always rooted for the under-dog. The last films I watched were the X-Men series with my kids. I’m also a bit of a sci-fi, fantasy geek at heart.

Q: If you could hop on a plane now and travel anywhere in the world for a holiday, where would you go and why?

FT: I’ve always wanted to tour Canada in a winnebago. Something about the freedom of the open road and the sheer vastness of the country fascinates me. I went to Vancouver once on a work trip and fell in love with the city.

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

FT: I’d read people’s minds; although Jamie, my editor thinks that’s very “uncool”. Mainly because I think the world would be a simpler and nicer place if people said that what they meant and meant what they say. Of course, I’d want the option to turn it off at will too.

Q: If you had to give up one of your five senses (hearing, sight, touch, taste, smell) which would it be and why?

FT: Smell, because my youngest son eats beans with everything.

Q: Finally, how can we get in touch with you and where can we find you in the world of social media?

FT: I can be contacted on fiona.tully@siftmedia.com or via LinkedIn.