Camille Blyth is a Scotland Island local, the founder of The Brilliant Content Agency and a member of Beaches Coworking Mona Vale.
We recently caught up with Camille to talk about content marketing and the challenges she has faced in starting a small business with a young family. She also tells us why she believes writing is a discipline and gives us some great tips to develop our creativity.
BCW: WHAT DO YOU DO & HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT?
CB: I own The Brilliant Content Agency and I do ongoing content for service-based businesses. I have always worked in copywriting, but once I had kids, I craved more flexibility than the deadline-based work I was doing allowed me to have. I didn't want to be employed and I knew I had to come up with a way of getting an income that wasn’t dependent on someone else’s time frames.
While I was looking for a solution for my needs, I became aware that there were lots of service-based businesses who knew they needed to improve their standard of communication, but didn't know where to start or were overwhelmed by the amount of content they needed to produce. I also realised that there were a lot of copywriters out there in the same boat as me. They too had small children, were juggling childcare schedules and looking for more flexible work. So, I pulled together a team of smart, knowledgable and skilled local writers, editors and proof-readers and started offering our services. And that's how The Brilliant Content Agency began.
BCW: WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING & WHAT MAKES IT BRILLIANT?
CB: Content marketing is quite simply taking the knowledge and expertise you have in your business and turning it into information that is attractive to your prospective clients.
For content to be brilliant, the basics need to be covered off: spelling, grammar and punctuation, and then it needs to be intelligent. When I say intelligent, I mean it needs to appeal to the target market and be interesting to our clients' customers. For us to achieve intelligent content, I do a lot of pre-work in terms of strategy workshops, understanding the client's audience, their brand and what they want to achieve with the content. These days there are loads of copywriters who write the sort of content that makes Google happy, but at the end of the day, you need your customers, not Google, to engage with you.
BCW: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU'VE FACED IN YOUR BUSINESS?
CB: Well, I started from scratch ... actually, I started from scratch twice! I branded my business and then I got hit with a copyright infringement, straight off the bat. That was a very good lesson. The business started off well, but then I got 18 months in and I hadn't really nailed my niche, I hadn't worked out my marketing strategy yet and I wasn't making enough money. I started wondering whether it was all worth it and whether I should just go and get a job. And then I got lucky: I got three new clients in one go and it literally took off from there.
BCW: NOW THAT THE BUSINESS IS MORE MATURE, WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
CB: I am really proud of the way I've structured my business. All the people I work with are mums and they're juggling childcare commitments with business. My business model allows this to be viable. The mums I work with have come from really successful careers and they have a huge amount of knowledge and experience, plus they're intelligent and ultra efficient. They can provide good information quickly, they know the terminology and talk the right language, so the client gets something that's well written and specific to their industry. I don't have contracts with my writers or my clients. I work on the premise that as long as you're happy, we're happy.
BCW: I IMAGINE CONTENT WRITING ISN'T SOMETHING YOU CAN JUST 'TURN ON'?
CB: Well, you've got to be in the right frame of mind, but you can turn it on. Once, when the girls were little, I wrote a book, just to see if I could do it. I would have this huge protein based breakfast while I was waiting for the library to open. I'd be at the library at 10am and I would write solidly until 2pm, before picking the girls up from school. I forced myself to write - it didn't matter whether I was in the mood, whether I could or couldn't write, I just forced myself to start typing. And from that experience, I realised that actually, you can just sit down and do it. I discovered that it was more about starting and doing, than having that brilliant moment. The more I wrote, the quicker I got into a flow and the quicker that brilliant moment happened. For me, writing is simply a discipline.
BCW: AND HOW ABOUT CREATIVITY, HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR CREATIVITY?
CB: The absolute failsafe for me is 'the morning pages'. There's a book called The Artist's Way, which is about helping people to harness their creative talents and skills. The first chapter introduces the morning pages concept, where you literally get up in the morning, move straight over to your desk where 3 pieces of paper and a pen are waiting for you (not a laptop!). You start at the beginning of the first page and you do not stop writing until you get to the end of the third page. It doesn't matter what you write because you screw it up and throw it in the bin. You don't edit it, you don't read it, you just throw it away. Doing this morning exercise blows out all the rubbish in your brain and after about a week, you start having all these great ideas - ideas for a novel, a new business, new articles.
BCW: DO YOU HAVE A MANTRA YOU LIVE BY?
CB: Absolutely - I live by two actually:
"DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT"
"DO AS WELL AS YOU CAN UNTIL YOU KNOW BETTER. THEN WHEN YOU CAN DO BETTER, DO BETTER."
BCW: YOU'VE BEEN WORKING OUT OF BEACHES COWORKING A COUPLE OF DAYS A WEEK FOR MOST OF THIS YEAR - WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT COMING HERE?
CB: I think the people, the community, is the biggest thing for me. Working from home for the first few years was fantastic and I loved it. But as soon as I started coming in here, just on the odd occasion, I realised that it was nice to talk to other people too. I also love that coworking spaces give people like me so much more flexibility in terms of how they work, when they work and where they work. With the majority of people in the Australian workforce being parents, it baffles me that the nine to five work day, and the four weeks off a year, even exists. Beaches Coworking is a lovely place as well - I have 'my' desk in the sun and it's warmer than my home too.
BCW: YOU LIVE ON SCOTLAND ISLAND - HAVE YOU ALWAYS LIVED THERE? WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
CB: No, I grew up in the Snowy Mountains and I lived in the Kimberleys, New York and Bondi, before moving to Scotland Island 16 or 17 years ago. I love that I live in the bush, beside the water on an island that is all about the community. It's the closest thing you'll get to a 70's style childhood. I love that pretty much anywhere on the beaches you can do a long walk, up over headlands, and the views are just magic. I'm definitely drawn to nature and the relaxed pace of life up here.
Camille owns The Brilliant Content Agency and I'd encourage you to check out her website, as it's full of free resources and great articles about Content Marketing. You can also follow her on Facebook & Instagram too.
And if you'd love to work alongside Camille, why not book in for a FREE trial at either of our Mona Vale or Frenchs Forest spaces and test Beaches Coworking out for yourself?