Content Marketing Rockstars: Daniel Tay from With Content
We kick off 2019 with a new addition to the Content Marketing Rockstars series and we have the pleasure of interviewing Daniel Tay from With Content, one of the rising stars in the Content Marketing scene!
After spending 5 years heading up heading up content marketing and editorial efforts at a number of top tech startups across Asia, he decided to start a Calm Content Marketing Agency, in which he had worked with several household names including HP, Mastercard, NTUC and Xero.
1. Why Content Marketing?
Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe strongly in Seth Godin’s wise words from a decade ago:
“Content Marketing is all the marketing that’s left.”
At a time when content marketing was still in its infancy, how did he have the audacity to make such an assertion?
Basically, Seth recognised that consumers were getting tired of being marketed /at/. New marketing, he says, is about “teaching your customers and giving your customers the resources to believe you” rather than consistently interrupting them with self-serving content.
Sound familiar? 10 years later, many companies have yet to learn this lesson. Practically everyone who has access to a screen of some sort has had advertisements served to them, and don’t be fooled – they do /not/ like it at all.
Faced with a deluge of content, today’s consumer is more discerning than ever. Like it or not, your competition is not just a rival company’s blog – you’re trying to pry your potential customer away from, say, Instagram photos of their best friend’s cat and/or dog.
Not an easy feat! And certainly not something a typical ad can accomplish easily.
Done right, content marketing can cut through the noise and allow companies to connect with the right people by providing *useful, entertaining, and ultimately, valuable* resources to them.
This is the reason why we started With Content – to help companies to craft content that their potential customers will actually love.
2. How did you get started with Content Marketing?
My journey began while I was in university. I was majoring in Political Science, but by my second year, I realised that I had no intention of working in the public sector at all. Through writing numerous essays, I also found out that I really enjoyed – and was good at – writing.
So I sought out opportunities to write, and in the midst of it, chanced upon a local media startup that needed help in the editorial department. While penning entertainment features for them, I also learned a ton about startups from the founder herself, and was intrigued.
But it wasn’t until I landed a marketing gig at another early-stage startup that I realised that there was a real need for content in this space. I started doing research into what content marketing was – it was a relatively nascent concept in Singapore at this stage – and convinced the founder to give it a shot. Within a year, we hit 700,000 pageviews through our blog alone.
Suffice to say, I was sold on the promise of content marketing.
Since then, I’ve headed up content marketing efforts at a number of tech companies, such as Zendesk and Piktochart, and led a team of journalists at the top tech publication in Asia, Tech in Asia. Today, I focus exclusively on a content marketing agency called With Content, which I started in late 2017.
3. Content Marketing requires lots of inspiration, how do you stay inspired?
To be honest, I think the content marketing space suffers a bit from over-inspiration these days. Like content in general, there’s a lot “feel-good” noise crowding the air space.
These days, I only read content marketing articles that have clearly demonstrated examples and case studies to back their claims. In fact, I find myself reading more non-marketing related types of literature to get writing inspiration.
Another way I stay inspired is by keeping in touch with some of the best writers and content marketers in Asia. No better way to stay sharp than by bouncing ideas with those who are out there doing the work, day in day out.
4. What insights would you give to businesses/organisations that are starting up or have been struggling with content marketing?
Businesses tend to think of content marketing as a magic bullet. Write a blog post, and it’ll somehow “go viral” and bring in a ton of leads within days. But that’s because they’re thinking of content marketing as advertising, where you spend a dollar and get a dollar’s worth of eyeballs.
And that’s precisely why content marketing “doesn’t work” for them.
That’s why I always advise my clients to go back to basics. Yes – distribution, analytics, and the whole array of marketing jibber-jabber are important. But in the grand scheme of things, if you don’t get the content itself right, you’re starting your climb at the bottom of a very, very tall mountain.
Get the basics right.
– Identify your target audience.
– Find out what pain points and problems they’re struggling with that your product or service is a solution for.
– Craft topics that dive deeply into each topic area.
– Interview experts in the space to get their insights.
– Do research to get a good grasp of the nuances and trends of the industry.
– Finally, put it all together and write up one hell of an article that directly addresses your potential customers’ issues.
Now, repeat this process /consistently/ over the next 6 months (or longer. Definitely longer).
Content marketing is a long game that requires a good measure of persistence and grit. If you’re looking for a quick fix, stay clear of this space.
5. What do you think is the future of Content Marketing?
A return to the basics.
It’s fun and exciting to think about tactics and strategy, but the realisation is setting in that even the best “hacks” have an expiration date.
Question: What continues to drive growth long after the Facebooks and Googles of the world dominate the world with their algorithms?
Answer: the audience that you own.
The future of content marketing lies in not being distracted by the newest and latest, and simply keeping the focus on your audience. Find out what their struggles are, and consistently tackle those issues in your content. Earn their trust, over and over, with every piece you publish.
6. Besides Content Marketing, what are you passionate about?
Travel! Right now, I’m writing this from Chiang Mai, where my wife and I are currently based. We have plans to go to Taiwan (where we’ll be hosting our very first With Content company retreat), and then various parts of Europe after. All while continuing to run With Content, of course.
7. Give us an elevator pitch of your business?
With Content is a content marketing agency that helps B2B tech companies create credible, authoritative long-form content that potential customers will actually love.