Adrie: Everyone in content knows the feeling of being less than happy with the piece of content that they've just made. But that feeling, unfortunately, doesn't always stop there. You might even feel it at a critical career juncture. Enter perfectly content, the podcast. I'm your host, Adrie Smith, content strategist at Foleon. Every episode, we'll be joined by a guest to explore a real life scenario where they tackle a content challenge and that nagging feeling of less than perfection. We'll hear about impactful content, stronger strategies, and more inspiring brands so that we can all become a little more perfect and more content.
Today, I'm joined by Tom Hitch. He's working as the head of content at Oktra. I've actually been following Tom for quite a while now on LinkedIn. And that's the reason he's here today. He's not posting the same kind of stuff as everyone else is. And that's what really is special and breaks up on my LinkedIn feed.
He's posting a lot of stuff on real estate, beautiful office design. Really he's a must follow and he is doing something right, because it's definitely caught my attention. So welcome Tom. Really excited to have you here today.
Tom: Thank you so much. And thanks for a very warm intro. I makes to feel good about what I'm doing. Thanks very much.
Adrie: All right, so let's get started. So I know you of course, but our audience doesn't. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you're doing at Oktra at the moment?
Tom: Well, yeah, obviously you touched on it already in terms of the stuff I post around office design and workplace and a bit of property stuff as well, but I guess really with what I do, like a niche sort of industry, it's quite, I guess it's like it's a to London obviously goes throughout the UK, but about people working in offices.
So the past couple of years has been quite interesting for us because obviously the whole thing got kind of photo on its head. So it has been perfect. The content really. I guess like my background is more sort of stand out in with a degree in English literature. I was doing a logging and then study work through marketing roles within these companies to where I am now.
But yeah, it's been a bit of a wild ride. Cause I guess with this sort of thing, there's no real like clear path to where you go. You make your own path. You're so far so good. Like I say, it has helped that we've had basically two years of everyone being affected by working from home looking offices and workplaces, all that sort of stuff.
So it has been like the perfect storm, but yeah, I find it super interesting. I've I really enjoy what I do. And yeah, I guess I never would've said that I would have gone into doing this job like five years ago when I was finishing up my English degree. And here I am.
Adrie: I think it goes for a lot of us, to be honest, especially if you work in content, I know very few content marketers who actually studied anything marketing related. So it's really mostly about telling a good story.
Tom: Yeah, absolutely. I think people do say about storytelling quite a lot, I think. And I think when I tried to do it to be about that is what I go back to. I do think that kind of means different things to different people. Like I think some people maybe don't really understand the crux of what you're trying to get to.
And you talk about that, but I'll tell you, I agree. I think a lot of it is just about communication. Storytelling really weaving something that people can feel emotionally attached to or something that they can really buy into rather than just either really unengaging content or communications or just information that just really doesn't grab you.
Yeah. I don't know. It's an interesting one that as you say, you don't really study it. I think some people are obviously naturally quite good at it. I think also just the way that now, I guess the way we consume content and the way I obviously mobile phones, it's massively changed that and the way that social media platforms have changed and the way that we, you know, it slows things down and then submit it's that well now, but you know what I mean?
It's, it's, everything has changed in that realm. So I think it's still evolving and I think that more people now are just good at it because that's what they do in their spare time. So.
Adrie: We're all storytellers to some degree or another, but I won't go into storytelling. Let's dive into your current role at Oktra.
Could you give us a broad perspective of what you're up to?
Tom: Yeah, so I actually literally started this a month ago today. Treat you still pretty fresh in terms of this role. So, well, I know a lot of it, I guess I'm still trying to figure it out. I think within our industry of builds, I think where I'm at now, where you've got a really strong team and there's a lot of very talented people within the marketing team.
So over time, I think there'll be a bit easier to if I put my stamp on things, but ultimately it's a marketing function and content obviously play plays a part in that. There's almost two sides to it. I guess in my head is you've got the more traditional side and then you have the digital side, which as I say, it's very strong.
We're working on things that I guess you would probably expect. So things like case studies and blogs and articles and events, and really anything that falls on the marketing, to be honest, it's not a complete depart from a pocket, a regular marketing function where it's different is because of the industry, because of the types of things that we're doing.
That's where the opportunities come up. So that's some stuff which I I'm working on, which I can't really talk about because I don't really want to do a Tom Holland give spoilers away and then get told off for it, like when I get back to the office. So there's some stuff that is, I guess we're doing that is a little bit different and there's a bit is new for the industry, which I think is really cool.
And that's coming out soon and yeah, I think holds money. My strength is probably more in, so video content, perhaps social media content, obviously LinkedIn, like you mentioned, the start is where you discovered me anyway. So that's what I like to do. But as I say, Very broad look hat as say all the way through, from what you would expect in a regular marketing team all the way through to things that a little bit more niche within our industry.
So yeah, it is pretty broad and it's pretty fun. So that's for four weeks in I'm enjoying it. And like I say, I guess I'm still trying to ready to figure out where I put my stamp on things.
Adrie: All right. So you've heard it here. Tom is definitely one to follow on LinkedIn. Let's keep an eye out on what he's next going to drop.
And as I said before already, the content that he's posting is pretty great. Some really nice office designs. Um, definitely something to keep you inspired. If you're working from home, especially. But let's dive into why we're here. We spoke a little bit about how in content marketing, your role can be quite general.
And often people who are heading up in those kinds of roles end up doing quite a lot of stuff. Could you share a little bit about your particular challenge in this area?
Tom: Yeah, one thing which I think I have probably said on other podcasts as well, over the past couple of years away at the high of locked down when I was doing podcasts.
So it was quite nice to be baffled one again, actually. But I think the big thing was that you touched on this just now of having all of these really cool offices to work in and have these really amazing designs, whether they were big brands, people knew, or whether they were boutique businesses that they've never heard of, they were still really nice to look at.
And it was. Really cool designs. And that was really where I guess it started, that I guess was the challenge to myself was like, okay, how do I take what I'm doing? How do I make that? Interesting. And how do I get it out to people? Cause I guess that's the other thing we're faced where there's highly competitive industry with all of these company pages.
Pushing out, similar sort of stuff. Everyone's got three good designers as basically the main point of what we do. So for me, it was about trying to figure out how do I gain an advantage of over those company pages? How do I build time for myself and how do I get that's a reach. So I think when I actually looked at not, and to be fast, to do, look at that as something that it's not just like, you figure it out.
Do it, and then that's the end. It's not that, isn't how it goes, but I think the biggest thing was confidence. No one has ever heard of, no one knows what I do. How do I start? Like just becoming this person. Ultimately I think a lot of people probably do face. I've spoken to vehicle from various industries, other people that have followed me and other things like that have said, okay, how do I do this?
How do I do? And so much of it is overcoming your own fears or your own challenges. So I guess. Deciding I wanted to do it. I also created my own challenge, which seems a bit like existential, but you get what I'm trying to say.
Adrie: Yeah. I guess sometimes you have to create your own challenges in order to feel like you're actually progressing.
Tom: I would have just not have been doing anything on LinkedIn for the past few years and it wouldn't be on this podcast and I probably wouldn't be head of content. So all of those things, yeah. First obviously one of the things might not have been. Core my goal at the start obviously are the output of getting myself, started giving myself confidence and yeah, basically, but I would say he was honestly the challenge quite basic.
And there were some other things, but it was probably, I think we've probably come into a bit later on, but it was the initial thing of going, how do I start from having not even a thousand followers on LinkedIn to being able to post four or five times a week that I'm thinking. Obviously, there's a lot of stuff within the middle of that fun bar around now.
Like I'm pretty comfortable and confident with it, but yeah, I guess for a lot of people they look at and say, oh wow, that's so good. I'll still do that with the people I follow. Yeah. Anyway, before I like waffle on too much, that was basically how it went.
Adrie: Yeah. So at the moment, um, I think there are a lot of conversations going around in the content community about imposter syndrome.
And I think that's a little bit of what we're talking about right now. It's something that can really creep up in a new and can really question your own confidence, but it can even continue on into when you're more successful and you've really actually found your niche. So I'm wondering, and I think other people are wondering is how can you actually get over it?
I'm curious to hear your.
Tom: I think he is different for everyone. I don't wanna say I was lucky because I don't think it was necessarily that, but when I went into, I didn't have any pressure on myself to I wasn't trying to fund my business. I wasn't trying to use my LinkedIn content to finance my income.
It was really something I saw that I could go into. So I get for other people that it's probably slightly more pressure on this working, but I think I quickly realized that I, by doing this, I could learn a lot by getting my own data and okay. What works, what people reacting to, what style of content is working to people, all that sort of stuff is really helpful.
Something that I then learned through the process. If you want to call it that again, I want to make it clear that it's still a process. You don't just get to the end of it, but you have to basically realize that it's a, it's like a slow game. Like you can't just immediately go, okay, go up on one post.
Great. I'm going to get an order or someone's going to buy something off me, or I'm going to get 10,000 followers from one post. Like it's like a real slow, progressive, gradual change, which I think at the start, I was like, oh, this is, this has to work and I have to get this, but over time you just become less attached to things and you just become a bit more like realistic about what you're trying to do.
So I think those things are like quite important. And then also as well, what, like you'd mentioned there, the community side of things. Yes. There's like competitive, like competing people and competing figures, but most people all pretty approachable. Also the fact that you can just go and see what the people are doing.
So you don't even need to have to necessarily speak to these people, but go and find things that you find interesting. Go and follow people that you might think you can learn something from. And eventually some of those people that he followed then started messaging are people now that I could literally ring up and be like, can you help me with this?
Or do you know someone that. I don't know, whatever their actual friends are in their proper contacts now. So I think that's the other thing is immersing and yourself in, um, community really it's again, I, I think when I talk about some of this stuff, I said, I always think that it sounds like quite basic and quite obvious, but I think for some there's, no, there's not always this like really like clear cut way of getting to certain places.
I still think that it's going to come down to the individual, but. Taking the time to learn and see what that means and what that means to you. Having patience to not just expect overnight results. And then it was just really immersing yourself within it to make sure that the people you're following are the things that you might like to try it one day.
And eventually you might even be able to reach out and speak to them. That's really where the discovery to overcome. Some of the challenges came from was just not being so shy about this stuff. And you just pick up confident as you are doing it.
Adrie: Definitely. I really agree. And I know part of it as we've spoken about before is really just about getting started and not really being so attached to everything that you create or post, and also understanding that it's going to take some time for you personally, did you have a strategy around this to really get you started?
Tom: Yeah, it's interesting. Isn't it actually? Because at the time I probably did have a lot more primitive . I want to try this and see where it goes. But I guess when we're talking about this is quite exclusively linked to LinkedIn content and social media content rather than the other sides of things. So it's quite drilled down on those sorts of this sort of area that you've got to look at.
Okay. What can I commit to? What, do I want the output to be at the start? It really. Let's just see where I can get to. Can I get an extra, a hundred followers? Can we get an extra 200 follwers? What do I want them to learn from my content? So really just trying to figure out what that was at the time. And then, yeah, I just think over, over the last probably year or so, once I got up a bit of speed and a bit of confidence, it was just about, okay, how do I make my owns or niche?
How do I carve out some authority to be the person who talks about this. And I think that's happening might get, I definitely think. It helps me get in this role. I don't think it's exclusively why I got this role, but again, I think there's, it's a free platform. And if you want to go and use it and you just understand, or you have information that you want to get out to people, you understand how to do that in a creative way, people will respond to that.
So, as I say, whether it's a job, whether it's people buying things from you, whatever it might be, it's, it's definitely evolved over time in terms of my own postal purpose. But I think for now, To be fair. Now I'm in a new role as well. I'll probably eat a couple of weeks, maybe a month or so actually look at what am I trying to do now. What is my goal with doing this? Cause they're all times where you get to. Am I now just folding file to putting out content for the sake of it? And I think that's where. Rainy side. So I think we've with this changes probably helped me to get me to where I am and now I need to re innovate again and think of something new and figure out, okay, do I need to change the type of content?
Do I need to change the format? All that sort of stuff. I think just restrategize, but yeah, at the start, a purity was just a case of, I want to get involved with this. I don't know what it is right now. So I'm going to throw myself out there and just see what happens.
Adrie: I guess it's the very beginning. It's.
Strategy. You're just really there to see what works and then refine it at a later stage. So you're basically reverse engineering the way that you create a strategy for this kind of thing. Right?
Tom: Either because I think some people, particularly at the beginning, it depends who you speak to as well, because obviously there's a lot of experts and some people that call themselves experts that aren't necessarily, in my opinion, However, that's a different story here is that people will say, oh, you have to have a really clear plan and really fair strategy.
You have to know where these things, you have to be really good at designing content. You have to be really well-spoken. If you're going to do videos, you have all of this sort of stuff that just mounts pressure on people. And I just don't agree with that. I just don't think that you necessarily need one.
If even if you had a strategy, things are going to change within a period of time. Maybe it's six weeks, maybe it's too much. That's basically the same amount of time. That's given another example. I used to see us meetings, maybe it's two years, but eventually you will need to refine your strategy. So even if you have a perfect one, now it will not be perfect for you once you started doing this stuff.
So I, again, it's not like I'm a coach on this sort of stuff. I'm still figuring out for myself, but the people I have spoken to that were trying to get started out. We're trying to get. into this it was all, how do I do this? What cameras do I buy? What equipment do you use? And literally I use my phone.
I edit on premier probably like quite badly. And they're like, oh wow. If it was like, you had this and you had bands like, no, just get started, figure it out afterwards. Don't try and perfect it before you've even posted like your first video or your first text post, whatever it is. I think that is definitely I I, so yeah, basically I don't agree that there's a great, there's a perfect way to start your strategy.
I think everyone is at a different stage of things. So yeah, if it works that way round great, but you want to really refine it before you start. That's also fine, but I think you'll find quite quickly that whatever you're doing you'll have to change because you'll notice differences. Pretty, pretty sure.
Adrie: Yeah, no, I really agree with that because I do see a lot of people get really stuck on the strategy phase for far too long. And by the time that their strategy is actually complete, the market has totally changed. Their perspective has totally changed and then they have to redo it all over again. And they never actually get to the point where they're creating content.
I really do think it's better if you know some of the basics, what you want to get out of this, how much time you actually want to put in. But the real biggest thing here is actually just getting started
Tom: yeah, precisely. And just very quickly on that discovery piece, that was something that I really found was always like putting lots of time into making sliders, like the carousels and, and things like that.
Like little graphics. And I was taking like a week to like finish them off and change colors and move lines and change font sizes. It was like, whoa, no one even cares. There was other posts that I did where I would like there might be typos in it or some other. Yeah, sure. I'm not telling people would like go and put typos in your post.
Honestly, the amount of people that just care about the message that you're putting out there and who you are. And I guess what you're trying to do is far more impressive than if you've chosen the right colors in your graphic, because if it doesn't work on that post, then just change it for the next one.
If you just sit on it and try and perfect it before you post it, then I'd say you would just never post it. And then all of a sudden you've lost a week, two weeks and things have changed. So yeah. Yeah, I'm with you on not on, on very much. So I could do, like, I like just to go and do stuff and figure out and then figure out off to its beat.
Appreciate everyone's go with different approach and that sort of stuff.
Adrie: I think one thing to know is really that LinkedIn is an informal channel and it's more focused on message. So of course you can focus a lot on the design, the colors type photography, but ultimately it's not just an informal channel.
It's also a personal channel.
Tom: Again, like drilling into LinkedIn, he's like named in, doesn't have an archive of your content. So like you post it and then probably within what, 48 hours maybe slightly longer, it's gone again about, so I guess another advance on that front.
Adrie: So I really do want to dive into this because I do think it is important when I first started falling.
You initially, I was not somebody who was really interested in office design or property. Yeah, your content was so appealing. And some of it was actually only shot on an iPhone camera. So what's the secret here? How do you actually get somebody who may actually be slightly outside of your target audience to be interested in your content?
And maybe that's not even the end goal here, but I do think there is something special about being able to do that.
Tom: I guess it's access. There's not that many people doing what I do. And even now there's not that many. And I agree you would've seen how my stuff has changed over the last two years, but I would like to go back to doing some of those things, but obviously we face quite a lot of challenges where we've got downs and things like that.
So at some point that will pick back up. But yeah, I just think it's the accent. So what is unique about what I do is a role I used to go to a lot of offices meet a lot of clients used to back in London a lot. And just generally that became the USP for me to be like, okay, cool. I can do. Take photos of this.
I can make videos of that. And yeah, like the stuff I share obviously dealt with it. Good. So that helps, but not all of it's completed office design, some of it's site, some of it's just being out and about in London, like late at night, early in the morning, or whatever's going on. I think it's just giving people that kind of perspective that they don't necessarily have in their job.
So I, I generally believe it's just access and that. Go-to point was how do I lean on that to make it interesting. And I guess I, to a certain extent as well.
Adrie: All right. So it triggers curiosity, and I think that's awesome that you've really found the cool part of your job. And I guess it's all up to us as content people to really trigger that curiosity and really find that uniqueness that is your job.
Right. And is what you're doing.
Tom: Yeah, exactly. Cause you know, obviously yes, the officer's lines are great, but I appreciate the not everyone is going to have. At cool products to share or something that people go, oh, wow, that's amazing. I think whatever you do on, you can see this in everyone. All of that, they're really big guys.
They're not the proper big guys. They just are. So in command of what they do and what their offering is, that's why they do so well off of the platform is that they are just so in touch with why people go to them and not someone else. So I think that's really where it comes from
Adrie: all right. So let's talk about some of the results of finding your niche and actually doing this.
I mean, on one hand, your content has become more professional. You've become better at what you do. What other kinds of benefits have you experienced since doing this?
Tom: I think this is another interesting one because actually, like I touched on before, this is purely extracurricular. I don't like, my performance is not based on this.
I don't have. There have been some opportunities that have come up through it in terms of new business. But that again is not really down to me. So to be honest with you, this is just something that I really enjoy doing. And I'm just passionate about, I think, just that kind of awareness, obviously things like shushing this way.
Anyway, this is what has become sort of both still be like an important part of marketing and what's going on. But yeah, even on the little things like people saying to me, feel really inspired about seeing your posts or this looks so great. Thanks for sharing. And like, whatever, like that might seem really trivial and like really basic, but again, because I'm, I don't have to fund my business or we don't have to put the clothes on my back with my LinkedIn content is a very different experience for me.
So I've had some really good wins in that respect. And like I say, actually, like, it's definitely how we, my job and yeah, I think it's also just helped me less. How to make good content or what works, what doesn't that I guess has probably been the biggest thing, but then also as well, like the comparison between where I am now, versus where I was a year, two years ago, three years ago that I think is something to bear in mind as well.
Like it's just, if it is a proper, slow, long game, like I could be doing this for God knows how many more years. So to do what I'm doing now might be setting the foundation for what happens in two years time. But I'm quite happy with where I'm at and yeah. I just feel like I'm doing exactly what I watched described.
That's exactly what I'm doing right now. So I'm very happy with that.
Adrie: All right. Well, thank you so much for taking us through that, Tom. My last question for you is I want you to share with us a piece of content idea and ebook of person, anything that really changed the way that you look at content.
Tom: There's a couple, to be fair, to mention. I've got five in mind, five people that people can follow, go and find stuff. And there are plenty, but these are the buyers that has direct key. Either I've spoken to, or I've done coasted with them or become friends or whatever at various points of help. First of all, you've got guy called Chris brunch who runs C2, branch marketing.
You may have seen this thought they are basing like content generation and. They've done very well for helping people get content out on their own channels. But the second one is goggled Dan Knowlton, who runs notes and marketing with his phone and Lloyd. Again, he's a bit more in the advertising slash digital round.
And Chris is. He's again, spent some of that spend a lot of time in the open, have had questions and yeah, he just knows what he's doing. And then probably more in the video side, there's a guy called Jack Gosford and there's also a guy called Nick Ray. They're both very good at video. They have a very good, solid understanding of how to get some results and how to create certain types of videos.
So I would definitely recommend them. And then it was a bit more randomly, but there's a guy called Danny Townley, who followed for while I've spoken to him a couple of times. And he's just really top bloke. His feed is really good because he blends a really nice pitch off his personal life, family life and things he does in his spare time, as well as professional worlds.
There's like a broad rush of different things there. And I felt like people could do a lot worse than going and checking these people out and say you're right for them because they overall very good at creating certain types of content within their own sort of areas of expertise. And I think that's, they would be the people that I would say are a great place to start just because they are very good at what.
Adrie: All right. Thank you so much for sharing those guys with us. And thanks a lot for joining us today and sharing your, I guess, your journey into finding your niche and creating good content for LinkedIn. What was a really great conversation? Thank you so much.
Tom: Hopefully it was helpful.
Adrie: All right. Well, that's it for this week's episode of perfectly content.
Thank you so much for listening. This episode and want to stay tuned for more click subscribe, wherever you're listening and you'll receive updates on our very next episode. And finally, one last thing. We have an editorial style newsletter that goes out once a week, called the crave. We talk about all of the content that we've been craving this week and each week it's curated by a different content person from the Foleon team. you can check it out at foleon.com/the-crave. See you there.