Content Marketing Rockstars: John Chen from Contentrific
For this edition of Content Marketing Rockstars, we speak to one of the most viewed professionals on LinkedIn in Singapore, John Chen from Contentrific.
Why Content Marketing?
John Chen: Content marketing is to me an interesting blend of concepts: on one hand you have the opportunity to put information in front of an audience without any traditional media restrictions. In a way, it’s liberating way of being real in a real world.
At the same time, you have the chance to see real-life statistics as to how your audience reacts and engages with your content – for the most part, let’s not forget that this ability wasn’t granted to us 20 years ago.
Being able to make decisions based on hard numbers becomes a very interesting process of self-assessment, as it allows people like me to constantly reflect on my content, and find out what works for me, and what doesn’t. In other words, there’s just nothing like this out there.
How did you get started with Content Marketing?
John Chen: Content marketing was a transition for me after being a content writer and copywriter for 8 years of my life. I got the opportunity to learn about the industry after getting a job as a Content Strategist at a startup firm.
I was searching for a job right out of college, and this was the best opportunity available to me at that point in time. So I went into the job and found out that there was this other universe on the other side of the content sphere, and I was immediately hooked.
To me, this whole study of building an audience from scratch with content that engages, enlightens and entertains was something that made sense as a writer; so I guess it was a lucky stumble.
Content Marketing requires lots of inspiration, how do you stay inspired?
John Chen: I think inspiration is, for the most part, a question of being inquisitive and curious by nature.
Many a time, people think that to be creative to solve the world’s biggest problems. I beg to differ. I think at the core, it’s about caring enough to want to find solutions to solve it in the first place.
For example, let’s talk about a form of thinking called Plato’s First Principles Thinking. This style of thinking is about putting aside any assumptions that you know already exist; what other people are saying about it.
The logic here is very simple. If you base your rule of questioning things around what you think are already dead assumptions, you’re most likely going to end up with the same results. This means that you’re not creating. In other words, you’re not being inspired.
I think being able to think using First Principles ensures that we are constantly challenging ourselves to go beyond our idea of what the world is, and focus on what it could be. This extends very much to content. Especially since as content marketers and writers, we are constantly challenged to think of marketing certain products and services in different ways – I’ve found that the First Principles have been great in nudging me along inspiration wise.
What are some valuable insights you would give to businesses or organizations that are starting up or have been struggling with content marketing?
John Chen: First, find out WHY you started the business. I cannot stress this enough. So many businesses start off thinking of content marketing as “Oh we’re just going to put together some writers and place them on our blog.” That’s the worst thing to do. The fact is; what makes you think that without a convincing storyline, you’re not just another business out there posting the same stuff?
If I can get thousands of reposted content all over the Internet, what makes you think that I would stay loyal to the results that I search for? I think brands are mixing up storytelling and blogging to mean the same thing; they’re not. Far from it. At the core, I would suggest that brands figure out what their core story is, before trying to embark on content marketing.
What do you think is the future of Content Marketing?
John Chen: I think the future of content marketing is something that is very much AI driven. That means that writers like me are going to be phased out in the future 🙂
AI natural language processors like Automated Insights’ already exist, and they are driving most of Fintech’s news today. This is a trend that I see impacting the world in future stages.
And when the big boys are done, chances are that some companies will try to take the technology and scale it down to small business level. This means that pretty much soon, companies will most definitely use AI and machine learning word creation, as opposed to hand typed content.
That being said, one of the best advantages that you’re going to have is your story, because there are no 2 founders that are the same – they just don’t exist.
Besides Content Marketing, what are you passionate about?
John Chen: I’m passionate about telling stories of Asia, especially. I think that growing up as a Singaporean Chinese, there are so many touching stories that I’ve heard that made me cry, sad and even happy.
But for the most part, I don’t seem to see this being covered from a content point of view on such a widespread scale as our Western counterparts. This is natural, as Asians are by nature shyer to share than Westerners, so this is something that I hope I can shed light on.
There are so many stories that are waiting to be uncovered in Asians, and I don’t know what now, but i’m looking forward to dig deeper into this topic soon.
Give us an elevator pitch of your business?
John Chen: Sure. I’m a LinkedIn Power Profile of 2017 who helps companies craft stories that humans and search engines love.