We need three people to make cultural content that isn’t crap

Adam Koszary
3 min readAug 25, 2022


I’ve mentioned this idea in a few talks and a few rants but never get around to putting it on down on paper.

It’s an idea which has come from working in arts, culture and heritage for about ten years now. It’s primarily an idea that comes out of frustration, of looking at our sector and thinking: why are we not very good at connecting with the public online?

It’s not because there isn’t an appetite for what we do, but whenever I’m asked to suggest good case studies of content and social media I usually dig into my pockets and come up with a few bits of lint, a receipt for a tub of Haribo and the Black Country Living Museum’s TikTok.

So, here it is. Here is my thought. It is not revolutionary, but it is mine.

It is that we are very often prioritising only one type of digital capability, competency and literacy in the roles we create for content and social media.

I believe there are three types.

The first is the Digital Marketer. These people know the ins and outs of digital advertising, they understand social media tools, they can use Google Analytics and they know how to tell people that there is an Exhibition, an Event or Something To Do by broadcasting that information on social media.

The second is the Collections Expert. These people know how to interrogate a collections database, they know the stories locked within objects and artworks, and they have a fine-tuned understanding of the ethics, research and literature behind those collections.

The third is the Creative. These people understand how to hook people in with compelling stories, create attractive graphics, make videos and react to a trending meme without making you cringe.

Each of these people has essential expertise and they are valid. I am saying that we need roles which combine all three people — either by recruiting one by some miracle, by pooling all three areas across multiple people, or supporting and training people into all three areas.

We need this because while Digital Marketers can effectively get content online, that content may not be creative enough to actually have an impact. They may be in the working habit of telling people about the Product, and then forgetting they need to interact with users. They may lack the collections expertise to add the sprinkling of knowledge which users expect from us.

We need this because the Collections Expert may have deep and fascinating knowledge on what we post, but they write their posts like an academic paper, take crap images and don’t understand how to take advantage of how different social media channels work.

We need this because Creatives could play to the crowd, forgetting the core purpose of the organisation and chase engagement for its own sake. They may use collections in an entertaining but unethical way, bringing the organisation into disrepute.

Combine these three different areas, though, and you have content which is true to the organisation’s purpose, is marketed in the most effective way and is actually content people will enjoy and engage with.

But it requires collaboration and empathy from all involved.

The Digital Marketer and Creative needs time to delve into collections and talk with collections staff, to understand what the ethical red lines are and how to unlock the best stories.

The Collections Expert and Creative need to understand the importance of branding, of targeting and understanding specific audiences, and the importance of working to and reporting under a strategy.

The Digital Marketer and Collections Expert need to appreciate that we need to meet audiences halfway, to create content that taps into the emotions and curiosity of our audiences.

Like I said, all three of these people are necessary, but too often their expertise is siloed and in some cases jealously guarded. When all three come together to create content, however, is when we finally produce content which is effective, purposeful and entertaining.



Adam Koszary

Formerly Programme Manager and Digital Lead for The Museum of English Rural Life and Reading Museum. Now something else. https://adamkoszary.co.uk