Interview with Charlotte Day from Contentworks
You have an enviable CV working for some big names such as easyMarkets and FXTM, how did the path begin for you 10 years ago?
Thank you, well this is a good story! I’ve always been passionate about writing and was beginning to pursue my career as a guest writer for a number of high profile online spots such as AgoraPulse and Hubstaff. I also established my online blog
www.charlisays.com where I provide content and social media marketing insights. When it was suggested that I would be a great candidate for FX marketing I was pretty horrified. I was never interested in the financial markets and envisaged it all being pretty dull (which it can be). However, starting out as a freelance writer can be tough financially and you know, forex salaries are acceptable so I began as a writer progressing to Head of Global Social Media at FXTM and Head of Content Marketing at easy-forex, now easyMarkets. I discovered that the industry doesn’t need to be dull at all, it just takes the right people with the right marketing skills to turn it into something exciting. In fact, coming from a non-finance, content marketing background enabled me to introduce a human element to forex content management. I now have a good knowledge of forex but have managed to stay sane and retain my creative spirit so I’m in a great place!
Do you think that working in the marketing environment has helped you with that industry not being net dependent so much back then. Are there lessons that you have carried forward with you that newer entrants to your market may not have?
Ok let’s not go back to the pre-net days because I was still in school and quite happy drawing horses with Microsoft Paint! Actually, when I began in FX, social media marketing had just begun and this is where I combined my content marketing skills with the world of social media. Great social media marketing requires a great content marketer so I was instantly smitten, found my niche and began experimenting with different techniques long before it became fashionable. In fact, I was once even asked by a well-known broker to present a PowerPoint to the board on social media and whether forex brokers should use it. It took me another six months to convince them that posting 50 trading charts per day on Facebook wasn’t ok. True story.
You became the creative director at Content Works. Why did you leave the safe world of FX with big budgets to take this path?
That’s an interesting question and one which I would answer with another. Is the forex world really that safe? Each day we read of brokers losing licences, dismissing staff, cutting salaries and closing offices. We also read of harder and tighter restrictions on the industry which have left many feeling that the FX bubble may burst very soon. However, the reason myself and my co-director Niki, established Contentworks is because we felt we could do better. So much better. There comes a point as Head of Content in a brokerage where you are scraping the ceiling and there are no new challenges to take you forward. With a combined 20 years of forex experience, tons of hands on social media and content marketing experience and plenty of industry contacts, we wanted to break out of the mould and do something really awesome. Yes, there are risks associated with being a start-up but we are ready for them. Someone once said you should never be the smartest person in the room as this can lead to complacency. Always challenge yourself to do greater things.
People who are not ‘in the know’ often dismiss content marketing. Why should they do this at their peril?
People who should be “in the know” dismiss it too! Some of the comments I have encountered during my years in forex would make any content marketer cringe. “Can’t you just copy *competitors* content?”, “We don’t need content marketing, we have a website” or my personal favourite “we don’t need Twitter, we are not in Silicon Valley”.
Actually, most of them aren’t laughing anymore because the bonus gravy train has ground to a halt and additional CySEC and MiFID regulations have meant that brokers need to rethink their entire content and affiliate marketing strategies. Many brokers will state that they welcome the changes as they will make the industry more transparent, regulated and safe for clients but I think this is only a half truth. Many are also quietly worried about how they will bring in the same big business under such tight regulations. Content marketing engages audiences on social media and email, links brokers with key industry influencers, opens doors for PR and media opportunities, forms the basis of great video marketing and drives traffic to websites. Yes, they may choose to ignore it but certainly at their own peril.
There is a change in the landscape being delivered for FX brokerages via regulations and acquiring clients via introducing parties, how could your services fill that gap?
The latest CySEC requirements have stated that brokers will now be responsible for the content and statements produced by their affiliates. Let’s just take a minute to understand how huge that is for the big brokers, many of whom rely heavily on their affiliates to bring in the dollars. As a seasoned FX content marketer, I agree with CySEC’s decision. The affiliates have been running wild for years. Writing their own content, making non-compliant promises of wealth, offering big wins and inaccurate education.
Contentworks has recently launched managed affiliate content bundles to solve the problem for brokers who need to keep their affiliate marketing operations working effectively. Our flexible content bundles for affiliates offer unique text covering broker profiles and USPs, market analysis, blog pieces, newsletters and even eBooks and landing pages. Whilst we are not compliance officers, we do understand the CySEC requirements. This means that the broker’s own compliance officer can approve the content thereby creating a compliant paper trail and the affiliates can happily go ahead and use it.
With a multitude of agencies out there what separates you from the herd?
Yes, there are lots of marketing agencies out there many of which we have previously worked with. Contentworks is different because our team specialises in content marketing predominantly for the finance and tech sector. That’s because we have extensive experience in these fields and understand the requirements of the industries. We provide unique market analysis, website content, compliance friendly social media management, whitepapers and industry specific influencer marketing. We don’t try to compete with the “one stop shop” marketing agencies who offer PPC and web development because that’s not where our team’s expertise lies. We focus on key KPIs that our target industries care about. Getting websites crawled by providing SEO friendly text, attracting and engaging potential clients on social media, boosting web traffic and improving branding and PR. We offer fully managed organic content marketing solutions which slot into your marketing strategy and take the stress out of sourcing regular high quality content.
The bottom line being the most important thing in any business, are you finding that many companies are now outsourcing?
Yes, lots of companies are now very open to outsourcing if they find an agency that can provide solutions to match their needs. In today’s digital age many big brands are working with outsourced agencies in order to fulfil their business needs without any issues. They also understand that a good agency can be more cost effective than opening several internal permanent positions. As an example, our Rockstar solution includes full social media and content marketing management at a fraction of the cost of hiring and resourcing inhouse. Outsourcing is a lot to do with trust. The brands we work with appreciate our industry specific expertise and reputation and so generally they don’t have any reservations about engaging our services.
Any tips for aspiring content writers?
Absolutely, Oh I have so many tips! I have been writing professionally for over 10 years and whilst I am now the guest author in some high-profile spots I didn’t start out that way. As a writer, you have to work hard to get your articles noticed and it can take several years of consistent blogging before you will start to see any traction. Create your own blog and write unique content at least once a week. Once you have done that, establish an author profile and start sending unique articles to 3rd party sites for publication.
Be prepared for rejections and criticism. the path of a writer is filled with them! It’s also important to have a strong social media presence from which you can promote your work, network with influencers and attract more opportunities. Once you’ve been writing consistently for a few years and of course, if you’re good, then you will start to be approached for work.
When that happens, send your CV to Contentworks and let’s talk!
Contentworks delivers smart content marketing solutions for the finance, tech and lifestyle sectors.
Attract. Engage. Succeed.