Women in Content: An interview with Carrie Rose

By Natasha Glazebrook, The CMA on

The second part to our Women in Content blog series sees Carrie Rose from Rise at Seven in the spotlight. A huge name in the industry, I couldn’t wait to find out how she became so successful and how she has grown her business so rapidly!

Carrie is one of five fantastic females speaking at our Women in Content webinar series on Monday, 8th March 2021, which is a virtual event hosted by the CMA to give content marketing leaders a spotlight to inspire others navigating the industry.

Carrie Rose, CEO of Rise at Seven

Carrie is the CEO and Co-Founder of Rise at Seven, a search-first creative agency in London, Sheffield and the US. They are currently just 17 months old, but won Best Large Global Content Marketing Agency of the year recently at the Global Content Awards after delivering award winning creative campaigns and content for their clients. They specialise in delivering search first creative executions for global brands or those that want to be.

I got a great insight to her career and how she manages the agency and own work. Take a look at what she said…

Really pleased to have you join us for the Women in Content event, Carrie! You and your team are smashing it right now, so it’s great to have you on to give some advice and inspire others. Can you tell us a bit about you and what you do? 

Sure. I am CEO and Co-Founder of a search first creative agency, Rise at Seven, and essentially we work with global brands or brands that want to be global. Getting people to search for their brands through creative content marketing and digital first brand building strategies, or get our clients to come up when people aren’t searching their brands too – through useful and informative content, industry leading technical SEO and digital strategy.

The fun answer is… we make SEO sexy and deliver bigger and better creative campaigns than any other agency in the world. And it’s my job to lead that. 

And how did you get to where you are now?

Through relentless hard work, clever agency marketing and employee influencer marketing. I really champion personal branding and push staff to the top from behind. I work closely in the agency – supporting campaigns, progressing people and pushing culture. 

So, does stepping up to CEO mean that you don’t get to work on the campaigns yourself anymore – are you removed from the work when running the agency?

I never run campaigns anymore, but I drop in and add value. That’s where my time is best spent. Instead of running 4 accounts or creative campaigns, adding value to all. I still insert ideas into the team, show them how to make their campaigns from an A to an A* and mentor staff. But the incredible work you see on social media now from Rise at Seven is all credit to the team.

Sounds like you’ve got a great team behind you! How does it feel handing over the reins of projects/clients you have worked so hard on?

At first, it was very hard. I realised how much of a micro manager I was. I liked things my way. Until I realised I should just teach others my way, and take their sparks of genius and make it something even better. I changed my way of thinking about 8 months into running the agency and it was the best moment for growing this business at scale. If I stayed running campaigns, I wouldn’t be at 65 staff or growing as rapidly as I am. It is limiting. 

As you say, your agency has been growing rapidly over the last year… Can you tell us a little about that and how you cope with such big change in such a small time?

It’s been rapid. We went from 2 of us, to 14 (this time last year). And actually now 65 of us across Sheffield, London, and US. We have hired someone every week since covid hit and we have changed a lot as a business to react to it. We’ve kept teams small to be able to move fast and make decisions quick. Speed is a competitive advantage. 

Is a company culture important to this process? How do you go about establishing a company culture, and is this different when working remotely?

It’s probably the most important part of the process. Creating a good company culture is a million things – but essentially it boils down to behaviours of people and sticking to purpose and values. We got our purpose and values right from day 1 and have only hired people who display the behaviours of those values, allowing us to scale through the right people that fit who we are. 

It’s fair to say that there’s a lot going on at your agency. How do you stay productive when you’re so busy?

You’ve just got to love your job. Work doesn’t feel like work to me. It’s my life. You have to take care of your mental health however and delegating work and decisions is the best thing for someone in a leadership role. Knowing we don’t have all the answers and asking for help is ok.

How do you know when to say no to a client? 

It’s a gut feeling. We have written a set of rules now of whether brands fit what we are trying to do, and if they don’t, we decline them. When it comes to making decisions however, you just have to have the right evidence proving you are right. Insight and data is your best friend. 

Do you feel pressure with decisions like this, and from running the agency?

I do feel pressure and I’ve realised I’m actually quite a stressy person. Covid has of course amplified that massively and coping with pressure simply comes down to making decisions fast. The quicker you make a decision, the faster the pressure goes away. Running a business is basically how fast can you make decisions. 

Can you use your experience to share any tips for other women that are navigating content currently, or who might just be starting out in the industry?

Focus on building you, your personal brand. Don’t listen to the negativity online and know that they aren’t your audience. Be yourself and focus on making money before anything else. Get sales right and the rest will fall into place.

If you want to know more about Carrie and her journey to leadership, you can catch her speaking with the CMA on the 8th March. She will be presenting, ‘Navigating My Way to the Top’ as part of our Women in Content webinar series. During her talk she will share how she, as a 27 year, old female creative became CEO of one of the fastest growing agencies, when many said she couldn’t. There will be time to put any of your own questions to her and the four other speakers in what we know will be a brilliant event!

Women In Content

Find out more about the Women in Content Event on 8th March.

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