Let's talk! Non-academic careers #6
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Practitioners in talk #Part 6
Many ways lead out of the BGHS. But where do pathways lead to after the doctorate? In the winter semester we talk to historians and sociologists who have chosen their profession outside the university. Michael Siedenhans spoke to us about his work as editor-in-chief at TERRITORY Content to Results GmbH.
Michael Siedenhans in an interview with Pelé in 2004.
Mr Siedenhans, you are editor-in-chief. Where exactly do you work?
Michael Siedenhans: At TERRITORY Content to Results GmbH in Gütersloh. We are a subsidiary of Gruner+Jahr and Germany's market leader in the field of content marketing. We develop content for a wide variety of channels for companies from very different industries so that they can reach their target groups - business customers, consumers, employees, but also sports fans. Our communication services help companies to convince these customers of their brands, services and products and thus win and retain them as customers. I am currently involved in customer and employee magazines as well as websites for DAX and family companies and NGOs.
What is your job as editor-in-chief like?
Michael Siedenhans: It may surprise you: Above all, it's a lot of teamwork. Together with colleagues from various disciplines such as strategy, conception, project management or graphics, we develop ideas for media and stories. For example, we ask ourselves the question: Which medium is best for our client to reach his customers? The classic print magazine or Facebook and Instagram? We deal with it because our client wants to position his brand better or perhaps differently in order to reach new target groups. For me, this means: developing, writing, organizing - and all in coordination with the various disciplines that are active in our company. So it's a bundle of tasks that you probably don't know in classical journalism.
During the Olympic Games in Vancouver 2010 Michael Siedenhans worked together with today's IOC President Thomas Bach.
What kind of knowledge and skills do you bring to your work as a historian?
Michael Siedenhans: First of all a lot of general education. It is important in order to familiarize oneself with different topics. These can range from the 2006 Football World Cup in Germany to pharmaceutical, logistics or technology topics for Hexal, Deutsche Post or Miele to the fan magazine for "Deutschland sucht den Superstar". As a social historian in particular, you have the advantage of knowing a little about everyday, economic, cultural and political history. You can always draw from this barrel again. Because of this variety of subjects in your studies, you train a quick grasp. I also bring with me a certain curiosity from my studies, which is very important in my job. Last but not least, internationality: the faculty made it possible for me to study in Baltimore for a year. This experience taught me to think outside the box.
What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are starting a career in your profession?
Michael Siedenhans: First, curiosity about people. It is extremely important. Secondly, openness to completely new things that you never got to know during your studies. This also includes interaction with superiors, colleagues and customers. Thirdly, a large portion of humility. When you come from university, you think: you are the greatest superstar. As a career starter, you should quickly forget that. My next tip: As a freelancer, you should gain your first professional experience for a daily newspaper. Unfortunately, only a few people who are interested in journalism in all its facets do so today. However, as a freelancer at a daily newspaper, you get to know many different people and learn to write for the target group of readers. Another tip: you should like to be on the move. This is not a job for homebodies. Over the past 20 years, I've got to know all five continents. After all, this is not a nine-to-five job either. Of course, there are phases when there is less to do. Then again there are phases when you work ten to twelve hours
Mr Siedenhans, thank you for talking to us.
The talk was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.
You can find the complete conversation as PDF here:
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