I’m self-employed and available for freelance contracts relating to work in digital content strategy and user experience (especially those with a focus in local government and the public sector), and music journalism. Sarah Lay

For a good many years I managed both aspects of my career side by side in full time employment and am now undertaking more opportunities through freelancing. During my career I’ve found success as a digital leader within local government, most recently for Nottinghamshire County Council leading their Digital First project; and enjoyed writing about music and culture, most recently as editor at Louder Than War.

You can find me on LinkedIn or you can talk to me on Twitter but here’s a quick overview of the things I do.

If you’d like to talk to me about opportunities to work together please get in touch!

Local Government and LocalGov Digital

During a 12 year career within local government I found success as a digital leader for the sector, and for the organisations for which I worked. Most recently this was with Nottinghamshire County Council, leading their Digital First project and digital team.  I am also a co-founder of the grassroots movement, LocalGov Digital.

At Nottinghamshire County Council my work involved both strategy and practical delivery of digital services across a website, intranet and a number of other sites and digital channels. In a project which was groundbreaking in its scale and scope I developed the vision and led the team which delivered a new website and set of tools for digital service delivery, an improved social media strategy, a new extranet for doing business with schools, consolidated a range of micro sites and began work toward a new intranet.  You can read about Digital First on this blog.

I’m a founding member of the digital practitioner network, LocalGov Digital, and my role currently involves managing the daily curation of news for the sector, communications for the group and organising LocalGovCamp and Fringe.black

These roles and my previous experience led to being included in the local government shortlist for the Digital By Default News Digital Leaders 100 Awards in 2014.

During my time in local government I gained experience of content and author management and strategy, training, accessibility, usability, search optimisation, stats analysis, social media, innovation and digital engagement. Most recently my focus has been on systems leadership, service design, user experience and delivery.

I previously worked in the private sector as an online journalist, intranet manager for a regional newspaper group and on niche websites including Hold the Front Page and the BAFTA-winning Headline History.

Awards and qualifications:

  • BA (Hons) Journalism
  • MA Online Communications – dissertation looking at content strategy and digital communications in local government
  • Lifetime Achievement Award Comms2Point0 UnAwards – Winner – (2015)
  • Shortlisted Best Digital Professional at Comms2Point0 UnAwards (2015)
  • Shortlisted Digital By Default News Digital Leaders 100 Awards (2014)
  • Best Public Sector at UXUK Awards 2015 – Winner –  team award for Nottinghamshire County Council Digital First
  • Digital Team – Winner – Digital Experience UK Awards 2015 – team award for Nottinghamshire County Council Digital Team
  • Shortlisted NextGen Intelligent Communities Award 2015 (Nottinghamshire County Council Digital First)
  • Umbraco Certified Practitioner (Level One)
  • GovDelivery Maximiser Award 2014 – winner – team award for growth and retention of email subscribers
  • Best Collaborative Partnership – Winner – Comms2Point0 UnAwards 2014 – on behalf of LocalGov Digital
  • Digital Excellence – Winner – CIPR LPS 2009 – team award for work on Derbyshire’s Local Elections 2009
  • Best Use of Social Media – shortlisted – CIPR Awards (Midlands Region) 2009 – team award for work on Derbyshire’s Local Elections 2009.

Louder Than War and music journalism

I am Editor for Louder Than War – one of the fastest growing (and award-winning) music and counter-culture websites in the UK. I work directly with Louder Than War Editor in Chief John Robb and I love being part of the team. I manage the day-to-day running of the site as well as continuing to handle features, interviews and in-depth editorial.

When not helping to manage a virtual team of around 125 contributors around the world, editing content for the site or commissioning features I also write there too and look after liaising with our hosts and technical support.

Louder Than War is now a magazine and I’m Associate Editor and contributing writer to our print edition. The magazine is bi-monthly and produced in association with Big Cheese Publishing. You can find it in WHSmiths or you can order / subscribe online.

I also write for Sounds Magazine.

The Rumble on Radio Andra

On behalf of Louder Than War I present the recommended track of the week on Pete Darrington‘s The Rumble on Radio Andra. I also exec produce the show with Pete. You can tune in every Tuesday from 8pm on the Radio Andra website or app, or catch up with the podcast after the show has aired. I handle live tweeting during the show through our Reckless Yes account.

Reckless Yes – live music promotion, artist management and record label

With co-founder Pete Darrington we are bringing together the bands I champion through Louder Than War and he supports through The Rumble on Radio Andra in a series of live music events and as an independent record label. These include the bi-monthly DIY-style Six Impossible Things (in association with Louder Than War and Radio Andra) and shows with touring bands.

We are home to LIINES, Unqualified Nurse Band, Bivouac, Pet Crow and You Want Fox.

You can find us on our website at RecklessYes.com, on Twitter and on Facebook. You can buy our records in actual record shops or online here.

We Are Noble and Wild – music PR

We Are Noble and Wild is the name I trade as for music PR. My small roster currently focuses on bands signed to Reckless Yes but has also included Chris Helme (The Seahorses, The Yards); Team Love (Bentcousin album release in the UK); Great Raven; and The Hudson Super 6.

In the past I have also put on shows under this name including Hope and Social; Chris Helme; Schande; and Evans the Death.

See my full roster and services on the We Are Noble and Wild website. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Author

I write fiction under the name Riley Reynolds and I’m currently working on a trilogy. The first in the series, The Winter Passing, is due for release in late 2017. You can follow my author account on Twitter or check out my website for latest news about my books.

I am currently working on my first non-fiction book – about fan culture around boy bands.

Home

I live in Derbyshire with my husband and our two sons.

I like black coffee, the west coast of Scotland, being busy, Take That, the works of Joss Whedon, Tim Peaks Diner, taking a lot of photos, Manchester, people who were big in the ’90s, crows, tattoo roulette, gin, music and words.

I am in love with possibilities.