Editor of the Year

The Editor of the Year 2022 is as fantastic in front of clients as she is behind her screen editing – truly the mark of a talented corporate editor. She has inimitable energy and passion for content marketing and communication and is able to juggle multiple clients and publications while under considerable pressure.

The SAPF is delighted to hand this prestigious award to Robyn Lane, Content Officer at the agency Machine.


Robyn Lane

Content Officer


Robyn Lane - Machine_

Meet Robyn

Robyn is a Content Officer at Machine_, overseeing content marketing for several clients, such as Sanlam, RCS, Nutun (née TCR) and Nedgroup Investments. Robyn played a key role in winning the Nutun (TCR) internal communications account in 2021, a short month after joining the Machine_ team. After winning the account, Robyn led a complete overhaul of their internal magazine. This included transforming it into a digital, interactive publication allowing the business to draw on employee data for the first time. Currently, she is Editor-in-Chief for two internal corporate publications: Sanlam’s Connect and Nutun’s Ngage, both quarterly digital magazines.

Before Machine_, Robyn edited, wrote and styled for Livingspace magazine, the Foschini Group’s interiors title and the second-most distributed décor magazine in the country. She was Editor-in-Chief for Livingspace for four years before additionally taking on the role of Digital Editor of Woman & Home in 2020.

Why Robyn is the Editor of the Year 2022
It is clear that Robyn is passionate and truly cares about her work, as well as the people she is doing it for. Her approach to content creation for internal communications is a human one – empathic. Robyn’s aim is to create content that is as relatable and helpful to the work experience as possible. As we all spend the majority of our lives at work, Robyn believes she has to find a way to try to make that experience as easy as possible.

For example, in 2021, an internal survey was conducted at Sanlam where staff were asked to give insight into their sentiments on Connect Digi Mag. Here are some of the comments:
• “Very strategic and ahead of the pack in the industry”• “The magazine covers a wide range of topics that are pertinent to us”
• “It assists in personal growth and is always relevant”
• “It’s easy to read and assimilate the content. It is topical and makes you want to learn more… suits my enquiring mind perfectly”

Robyn has overseen three magazine rebrands since joining the Machine_ team. Ngage magazine transformed into a fully-digital, interactive publication once the portfolio was won over. Engagement rate was 81% higher than the benchmark average, and engagement time was 1 min 34 seconds – 10% of an employee’s 15 minute break period.

The CI of Ngage must reflect Nutun’s new values, colours and brand positioning as the rebrand launches in the latest issue. However, the content approach needed to change as well. The employees weren’t changing, but the work environment was. This provided an opportunity to make this transition as smooth and easy to understand as possible.

Sanlam’s Connect also saw a refresh earlier this year to improve UX as well as lift the CI into a more editorial one. This decision was made after the Sanlam 2021 internal survey resulted in employees requesting the magazine’s design be simplified and easier to navigate.

Since this refresh, Connect’s average engagement time viewing has increased by 252% compared to the internal benchmark. In addition, new users comprise 31.5% of total users, which is a 9% increase from the previous issue.

Most of Robyn’s time is spent overseeing content strategy and internal publications for Sanlam Group internal communications and Nutun (TCR).

Sanlam Group internal communications:
Sanlam Connect is the quarterly digital magazine for Sanlam Group’s internal staff and stakeholders. It’s used by Sanlam’s internal communications team to connect with its stakeholders spread across South Africa and its emerging market locations (including 33 other African countries). The magazine needs to be representative of the many different business clusters within the Sanlam Group, which operates as a vast and complex federated model.

Nutun internal communications:
Ngage magazine is a quarterly digital publication distributed to Nutun’s South African staff, mostly consisting of call centre agents. However the Ngage audience also includes team managers and other business leaders. In 2022, TCR rebranded to Nutun, completely relaunching their brand, values, logo and EX pillars. Communicating this to employees in a way that created calm and understanding was imperative. As TCR, a debt-collection organisation, was now being branded as a digital tech company, employees were wondering, “Well, is my position still relevant?” The approach to Ngage’s content shifted to centre around their new values, but also education. It was critical to show staff how change doesn’t have to be scary, and to empower digital mindsets, thereby building confidence as the business moved into a new era.

Robyn also oversees content marketing strategy for the other content marketing accounts in Machine: Nedgroup Investments and Sanlam’s Human Resources division.

Robyn runs the entire editorial process from start to finish on both the Nutun and Sanlam titles, while she has access to a broader creative studio as needed (they are not employed full time against Robyn’s clients). Most of the writing is commissioned out to specialised writers proficient in their field of lifestyle or financial writing. Robyn holds final review of all content and partners with the Creative Director on work that comes out of the studio.

Client testimonials

Inga Bosch-Cloete, Senior Manager: Group Internal Communications, Sanlam:
“An exciting initiative that launched recently in the employee space was our revamped staff volunteerism programme. Robyn played a meaningful role in bringing this initiative to life for staff, in that she spearheaded the project content plan.
“Her enthusiasm ensured all key stakeholders collaborated to deliver on the desired internal communication outcome. Bringing to life a business deliverable amongst staff through internal comms channels requires content creators to be focused on the key messages to land. They need to be able to connect the dots between business strategy, messaging to key stakeholders to drive engagement and meaningful communication collateral to support the intended call to action.
In her role, Robyn diligently joined these dots and presented a content plan that ensured the business outcomes were met, in that it was meaningfully translated into the internal comms roll-out plan and the messaging highlighted the business strategy and values.”

Nadia Horne, Internal Communications Manager, Nutun (née TCR)
“Working in a corporate culture on an internal magazine like Ngage has its challenges, which makes it essential to have a strong editor to take the lead. Working with Robyn Lane on a few magazine editions so far has been a pleasure. She is knowledgeable and brings insightful ideas to the table. As new collaborative relationships with agencies typically are, this one has been pleasant and Robyn has assisted in taking the magazine to the next level. I look forward to working with her on future editions and seeing it flourish into what it was always meant to be.”

Sarah Browning-de Villiers, Chief Content Officer, Machine_
“Since joining Machine_, Robyn has brought an inimitable energy and passion for content marketing and communications to a host of some of our most significant client accounts. Impressively, Robyn is able to juggle multiple clients and publications in which she is editor-in-chief simultaneously, often while under considerable pressure.
“Robyn is as fantastic in front of our clients as she is behind the screen editing – truly the mark of a talented corporate editor.”