Welcome back to another edition of #2STeamStories. This monthly serial lets you know more about the 2Stallions Family and what they do. From internships in UI/UX design to content marketing, #2STeamStories aims to help everyone get a better picture of life at an agency. We also hope to provide insights into each speciality and encourage aspiring marketers to join this dynamic and exciting industry.

In this edition, we dive into the world of our Head of Content, Olwen van Dijk-Hildebrand.  True to the long-form that is her speciality, Olwen shares her journey into the marketing world, coming into it unexpectedly. Join us as she takes us through her career history and arrival at 2Stallions, and learn what it takes to generate content that connects and inspires individuals.

Hi Olwen! Tell Us a Bit About Yourself. 

Hi, everyone. I am Olwen. I was born Dutch-Indonesian but have spent most of my life living worldwide.  My father worked at the UN, and as a result, I spent my childhood travelling from country to country with the rest of my family – my parents and a younger brother. I spent the first 5 years of my life in Yemen and have fleeting but fond memories of the place; after that, we lived in London for a year and in Africa for eight years following that – first in the Ivory Coast and then in Mozambique. I finished high school in Fiji and finally went to university in Australia, where I finished my tertiary education and met my husband. After nearly a decade in Australia, we moved to Malaysia, where my parents had retired.

Olwen for Asia's Woman Leader 2023Can You Share Your Marketing Journey With Us?

I stumbled into marketing more out of necessity than choice. In 2012, my husband and I bought a small cafe in the Dandenong Hills in Melbourne. We ran the cafe for three years, and during that time, I managed our Facebook page, thus my introduction to marketing. I didn’t think about it that way; at the time, I was trying to drum up business and raise what I would now call brand awareness.  

Can you share a little about what's expected in your role - OlwenIn 2015, we sold the cafe, having earned a wealth of experience in the culinary and barista arts and customer service, and moved to Malaysia. It was a big move, and neither my husband nor I knew exactly what we would do when we got here, but we wanted a change, so we made a change. 

I applied for jobs and eventually found my way into a marketing executive position in Kuala Lumpur at AQ Services International, a mystery shopping company. I was with them for five years until the pandemic kicked in. When I left, I’d gone from an executive, lone wolf marketer to the senior communications manager with a team of six. I was quite proud of the work we’d accomplished, and it was a shame to have to leave it, but circumstances being what they were, there wasn’t much choice. 

Luckily, I’d worked with 2Stallions since 2016 – AQ Services had been a client for several years – and Daniel Heerkens reached out to me in mid-2020 to offer me a job. 

What Aspect of Being a Content Marketer Do You Enjoy the Most?

Great question! I love being at the forefront of information. When you’re a content marketer, you need to be ‘in the know’ all the time – there’s no room. This marries up perfectly with my innate curiosity. One of my base philosophies is that all knowledge is worth having, so constantly learning new things, reading, chasing, thinking and dreaming as a content marketer is the perfect way to feed my knowledge cravings! 

On top of that, I enjoy sharing knowledge – helping others learn is something that makes me happy. On a more fundamental level, however, I believe that content marketers are responsible for sharing correct and useful information. Whether it’s visual, audio, or written content, it’s important to remember that content marketers are the gatekeepers for knowledge – one way or the other! I kind of love that as well.

What Essential Tips Do You Recommend For Becoming a Skilled/Excellent Content Marketer?

Firstly, you have to love it. 

Content comes in all shapes and sizes, and the best content is delivered holistically, meaning it’s a combination that celebrates all your senses. If you don’t love creating content, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble. I first approached content creation from the written side – I love writing. It’s a passion that runs deep. I found, however, that writing wasn’t enough – I needed to learn how it worked with the rest of a content marketer’s arsenal: visual, audio, audience perception… Nothing exists in a silo! 

Secondly, you have to think strategically. 

Content marketing does not function on its own. Digital marketing is always – always! – best approached holistically. This means that you can’t just check the box’ excellent content marketer’ without learning how to connect your amazing content to other digital marketing initiatives that are going on around you. 

What is the most challenging part of your job? - OlwenWhen I first started, I used to say ‘content is the glue’ – now, I say ‘content is an ingredient of the glue’. Why? Because I’ve learned that content marketing isn’t strong enough to support a digital marketing initiative by itself – it needs support from on-page SEO, technical SEO, off-page SEO, paid advertising, paid social… Nothing in digital marketing stands alone. It’s all interconnected.

What Routines Do You Follow to Stay Inspired and/or Grounded in Your Work?

This is a good one. We all need something to hold onto, especially when things get a little stressful or crazy, as they are wont to do. My routines are fairly simple and flexible: I make sure that I take time in the morning for ‘me’. I’m not a great morning person, so for me, the morning is introspective and preferably solitary. I do some yoga and meditate before work; I’m terrible at breakfast, but I do try! After my ‘wake up’, I start work – which means 1 to 2 hours of focused work, clearing emails, catching up on accounts; the kind of work that requires little to no interaction with others. 

I’m a ‘To List’ and ‘Time Blocking’ kind of person – I make lists, cross things off, and block time in my digital calendar to do what needs doing. I find this lets me feel in control and keeps any potential panic at bay. When things get really crazy, I might have multiple lists going on at once – these take the shape of Post-it notes on my desk! I only reserve those for special occasions, though. Inspiration is a toughie. I mostly read a lot of fiction, but also blogs, industry reports, newsletters, and anything and everything I can get a hold of that’s relevant or relevant-adjacent to my work. This helps me stay focused and alert; I get excited when I read about a new development in AI, for example, which motivates me to keep going.

If You Could Go Back, What Changes Would You Make When You Initially Started?

Do you mean after I stop cringing at some of the things I used to do? In all honesty, when I first started, I had no clue what I was doing. I should have taken more time to research and learn, but I believed myself short on time (running a cafe will do that to anyone). I would take an online course on social media marketing to help me form a better foundation for what I was trying to do back then. 

Advice for individisuals aspiring to launch a career in marketing - OlwenI probably would also have added a 6th major to my Undergraduate studies: Communication or Journalism – we didn’t have ‘Mass Communication’ or ‘Digital Marketing’ back then. I’d also have gone for a second postgraduate degree in marketing and communications.

6 Things You Can’t Live Without?

  1. My husband – yes, I know, totally a romantic.
  2. My creative writing.
  3. My favourite books – titles included in this list are Stephen King’s On Writing, Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart, The Blue Sword by Robin Mckinley, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian.
  4. The smell of coffee.
  5. Good music.
  6. My ability to be patient in the face of stupidity, ridiculousness, bureaucracy, and misogyny.

How do you like to spen your time away from work?Wrapping Up

Connect with Olwen on LinkedIn to learn more about her work as a content marketer.

Get to know our #2StallionsFamily with the #2STeamStories tag.  Discover the works done by our diverse team of digital marketing professionals who’ll bring your ideas to life with impactful designs. If you’re looking for a content marketing expert, don’t hesitate to contact us

Originally published: 25 May 2021
Updated: 11 December 2023