Interview with Andy Lambert, ContentCal
I speak to Andy Lambert, one of the founders (and currently, Growth Director) at ContentCal - the social media scheduling tool.
Since a re-brand in 2016, the company has grown to a team of 26, with over 3,000 sign ups to the platform, with clients that include: WPP, Royal Mail, Dentsu Aegis, and thousands of small businesses globally.
You’re one of the founders at ContentCal – HOW DID THE COMPANY START?
The business already existed as a social media agency, founded by Alex Packham in 2014. Alex had spent his career at NowTV and Odeon managing social media - and typically living in spreadsheets to plan this content and get approval across multiple stakeholders.
After creating the agency and managing content in a similar way, Alex saw an opportunity to create a solution to simplify the whole content management process, from ideation, planning, approval to publishing and analytics - and set about recruiting a team that could bring that vision to life.
Here’s a perfect example of one of the most overlooked areas of growing a business, and that’s getting the right founding team in place. I had been involved in start-ups in different industries before, and through an act of pure serendipity, the CEO of the previous start-up was involved with got in touch with me to say that he was looking at investing in another start-up, and he wanted me to meet Alex, look at his idea for a new software product, and see if I wanted to be part of it.
After meeting Alex, and evaluating the potential of the idea, the decision was a no-brainer!
What is it about ‘social media’ that keeps you interested in it?
The ever-changing nature of social is both a blessing and a curse! A blessing in the fact that every year there are so many avenues of opportunity created. Platform changes (like IGTV) and the ways that people are using these new tools to monetise their businesses. Who would have thought just 5 years ago, that people would be able create businesses that only exist on Instagram?
Social represents an incredible opportunity and we are only at the dawn of it.
The curse is that how these constant changes impact our product. One day you can tag on Facebook, the next you can’t and then, hey, guess what? It’s back again! (Damn you, Facebook!)
What are your aspirations for the business, going forward?
For ContentCal to become the destination for social media marketing. We are only at the beginning of our journey. The future lies in providing not just a platform to allow people to plan, create and publish social media content, but as the go-to resource for ideas, inspiration and access to talent (i.e. providing our customers with access to a global network of content creators, PR specialists, videographers, influencers etc) to contribute and collaborate with on your social media plans.
As we always say, the best content is always created together!
What annoys you about content marketing / social media as it is today?
Mis-information is rife - for instance, reading that Facebook doesn’t like third party publishing tools, or that Facebook penalises external links. I’ve never seen any properly researched evidence to support this.
Also, the people that believe that Facebook is the source of evil and that there will be some form of a mass-boycott.
Social media is 'growing up' and shedding its skin, and we’re slowly getting better at using the platforms and understanding how best to use it. Like anything in life, things happen in cycles, and right now, we are at the part (in Facebook’s case) where they are being very conservative - post Cambridge Analytica - making changes that make it harder for brands to stand out and target certain folk. But, time will move on and this will change again.
The reach in social media (most notably Facebook’s) is, without doubt, the greatest marketing opportunity since the creation of TV and it’s still massively underpriced for the attention and reach it gets.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to set up a start-up tomorrow?
CEOs and founders can be overly-glamorised, but the best businesses are the result of having a great team.
You need people to tell you you’re wrong, and start-ups can be incredibly lonely and isolated places at times; especially when thing haven’t gone as planned. Make sure you have have a solid team (or person) to support you and keep you motivated to succeed.