An experienced corporate ghostwriter digs on what it’s like behind the scenes

Kirsten Campbell is the voice of some of Vancouver's most powerful executives.

Kirsten Campbell is the voice of some of Vancouver’s most powerful executives

As with most heroes, Kirsten Campbell’s origin story happened by accident. The North Vancouver product put herself through a BBA at SFU and graduated straight into the 2008 recession. So Campbell began working in-house at tech companies, mostly in the marketing department. “It was robotics to software and everything in between,” she remembers.

After her last gig ended a few years ago, she decided to open The Campbell Agency, a one-stop content house that produces social media posts, editorials, marketing plans and anything else under the sun to help Vancouver executives and companies to get their preferred messages to the public.

Although things started out a bit slowly, Campbell notes that it took about a year and a half to build up steady work. All of her business comes by way of referral. “Somebody goes, Oh my gosh, that’s exactly what I need. Usually it’s an executive who needs help with something—a website or a speech or something like that,” she says. “Then somebody goes, Oh, I know someone perfect for this, and my name gets passed around that way. It’s fantastic.”

At any given time, Campbell typically handles work for three to four companies and the same number of individuals. She’s dubbed herself “the marketing tornado” for her expertise in a variety of fields.

“It started off kind of as a joke, because instead of being just the person who writes stuff, I can look at all your Google Analytics data, I can then tell you what to write about, write it, go post it and push it out online,” she says of the moniker.

“But I can also be the person that says, Oh, there’s this article that came out; you should comment this on it. It’s kind of like an iceberg; there’s a lot more under the surface that goes on. I consider myself the ghost in the machine who makes you look good and sound smart and moves your agenda forward.”

Asked for some war stories from six years working for some of Vancouver biggest and most influential companies and their bosses, Campbell doesn’t hesitate to roll out the highlight reel.

There was the time she had to condense a 150-page business plan that someone else had written down to 15 pages; the time a high-profile C-suiter edited out all positive references to anyone else in something she’d written; and, of course, all the times her clients get approached in the wild about something she’s written.

“One of my clients was at a Google AI event, and someone from Google ran up to them and said, Your content is so funny and interesting, and he’s sitting there saying, Oh my God, what do I do?” Campbell recalls with a laugh. “He totally pretended to own everything, but he doesn’t write the pieces or remember most of them, so he was trying to remember what she was talking about.”

For the most part, Campbell believes that a client’s personality dictates the results she can get for them. “It really depends on their awareness,” she argues.

“If there’s an ego, it can be a bit of a struggle at times. Part of my job is to save people from themselves—I’m the person that manages your public perception and maximizes your career potential. My entire job is designed to get you new opportunities and make you look good. The ones who know that and understand that I’m on their side, they can go really far.”