INTERVIEW WITH MATT FLEMING FROM READ MODIFY WRITE
Matt Fleming runs Read Modify Write Ltd, a marketing consultancy firm for tech companies.
He's helped publishers, non-profits, and consultancy firms to produce great content and grow their businesses
Let's get cracking with those questions then...
Q: You’ve got a background in software engineering, but now you’re working in the field of content marketing / inbound ...?
I’ve always enjoyed writing about technology and explaining complex topics in simple, straightforward ways. But I found just doing that wasn’t enough to grow users for my own software projects.
So I started to read anything I could find about copywriting, and eventually, inbound marketing. And I had some success with that, growing my audience from hundreds to thousands.
Now I consult with tech companies to help them improve their marketing.
Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges right now, when it comes to attracting and converting leads on websites?
A lot of sites fail to attract leads because they spend too much time talking about themselves instead of framing the copy around how they improve their customer’s condition. Some company sites don’t even make it clear what the companies DO. I see sites that haven't really thought through exactly how they're going to convert leads. They've got great content, but that's it. They're not asking for permission to contact leads via email, or trying to setup consultations, or offering to walk prospects through their software.
Establishing an on-going relationship with your leads is critical, especially for the tech consultancy firms I work with where the sales cycle is measured in months or years.
q: Which ‘go-to’ tool or app could you simply not live without?
My totally boring answer is my project management tool. I use Cushion App to schedule all the projects I work on. Its ability to visualise overlapping projects lets me work with multiple clients at once, and that’s the feature that beat all other project management offerings I tried. Cushion App is the software that runs my entire business.
q: What gets on your nerves about the tech industry, if anything?
The big one is that there’s this tendency in the tech scene (outside of the startup community) to value engineering skills above all others, to the point where skills required on the business side are actually derided.
You see it in blog posts that focus exclusively on how some new software works but don’t discuss the business motivations behind it, or why customers thought it was important. I guess you could say the sector isn’t very good at ‘storytelling’. But I’ve always found that word a bit pretentious, so let’s just say the sector isn't good at telling customers why they should care.
q: What advice would you give to someone new to a career in digital?
Find people that are willing to talk about both what the industry is doing wrong as well as what it’s doing right; marketing isn’t all BS, but it’s not all rainbows and kittens either. The industry is awash with people at either end of the spectrum, but few offer the kind of constructive opinions that beginners need to learn and grow. You either get people tearing down crappy marketing campaigns without raising up good ones, or you get people writing LinkedIn posts while working out on a treadmill because “If you want to make life happen, then put yourself in go mode”.
And study the history of marketing. Things tend to get repackaged and renamed to make them see new and shiny, but there’s a lot to be learned by reading copywriting and marketing books. Drayton Bird’s Common Sense Direct and Digital Marketing had a big influence on me. Technology changes, principles don’t.
I also read anything that Rand Fishkin posts. He’s a great teacher, and the content at moz.com is excellent.
Q: Are there any big industry changes you see coming in 2018, which might affect the work you do today?
I don’t see anything coming in 2018 that will change the work I do. My strategy has always been to combine great content with the right technology to solve marketing problems. And while there’s lots of noise at the moment about AI, chatbots, etc. it’s my job as a consultant to only suggest the things that make sense for my clients, and not because they’re the latest fad.
So my fundamental approach won’t change.
It’s business as usual.