Last month, I introduced you to content editor Anne Handley-Fierce, Skyword’s newest associate editorial director. Today, I’d like you to meet copy editor Braden Becker. If you recognize his name, it’s likely because of his ongoing series here on the Content Standard. In this series he “focuses on the idea of identity in a new or evolving brand” within the health and fitness industry (including, thus far, STACK and Oiselle) to get “creative people to think a little differently about how they write—particularly if it’s on an organization’s behalf.”
Regarding his series, Braden says, “I try way too hard to fit a fifty-pound thought into a five-pound sentence. If you were confused by something in my series, it was probably my fault.” The point here? Editors are people, too.
Braden has been a content editor at Skyword since April 2014, a position he applied for because the company “had a quirkiness a lot of businesses don’t care to have.” Before that, he graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in writing and rhetoric, which “proved to be the perfect groundwork for a role in content marketing” even though, at the time, he wasn’t sure of his career path. It all worked out, though; Syracuse’s writing and rhetoric program “was a little journalism, a little psychology, a little technology, and a lot of written stuff. Incidentally, that’s a basic description of Skyword’s content services department.” (Believe me—he’s very right.)
After graduation, he went on to work for a specialty sports outfitter and then as a copy editor at a B2B publication for IT professionals, all while freelancing for two content marketing agencies. Although he “wasn’t clear” on what these companies used his writing for, he believes the experience and “necessary state of confusion” led him to achieve content marketing literacy.
Braden says copy editing “makes you more observant and gives you visibility into things other types of professionals don’t pay attention to.” But doing so “in the context of marketing” sparks his interest the most: “Because our content is ultimately designed to be persuasive, I spend most of my time editing in such a way that causes a reader to get up and do something.” He loves the challenge of editing in and of itself—after all, “putting yourself in different shoes is a good exercise” for any career in which a person must speak and appeal to others.
“I would totally consider myself a marketer,” he says. “Editing will probably always be an aspect of my career in some form, but I’d like the experience I have there to grant me a seat in the more macro-level projects inherent to the industry. Content marketing means something different to everyone, and I definitely want to do something that allows me to focus that meaning for myself. Editing lays such an awesomely wide foundation for success in this business.”
Speaking as Braden’s coworker, I can fill you in on one thing everyone at Skyword already knows: The man loves to run. In fact, while he’s been a content editor since 2012, he’s been a distance runner since 2004. “Running may be the only thing I do that competes with my competence as a writer and editor,” he jokes. “When I’m not in the office or blogging for the Content Standard at Starbucks, I’m probably doing something in service of the sport. Everyone should have an outlet that distinguishes themselves from their career. I’ve always thought it was a healthy thing to do.”
His running still ties into his career, though. Beyond editing for health-focused brands, his athlete status is what drew him to the health and fitness companies he highlights in his Content Standard series. “These sports brands are constantly referenced as examples of firms that know exactly who they serve and how to assume an image that resonates with their audience,” he says.
Braden became interested in travel after going to South Korea to see his twin sister, who teaches English there. “Since visiting her,” he says, “I’ve also been to Singapore, which has got to be the world’s best-kept secret. A week doesn’t go by where I don’t think about it at least once.”
He enjoys listening to The Shins and Dave Matthews Band—the only group he’s seen live in concert every summer—plus alternative hip-hop (which “has only recently become a go-to genre”). Braden is also a prolific tweeter, and says his favorite person to follow—aside from fellow Skywordians, of course—is Iranian President Hassan Rouhani: “Important people saying important things about controversial topics on a platform everybody uses is so cool. Being able to influence foreign relations over a social network that also talks about stupid stuff is amazing, and I’m always ready to follow and retweet.” Braden says he’s also “a sucker for hilarious tweets; if you can squeeze a joke into 140 characters, you’re a stud.”