To mark a year at servers.com and a promotion to boot, we caught up with Hannah, our Senior Content Writer turned Head of Content to let us in on her secret to writing success.
My job as a writer is to tell stories. To educate and build trust with the people and companies that we work with.
I head up the content team, where we’re striving to be part of a bigger conversation. To talk about what people are interested in learning about. To add value and answer the burning questions.
Choosing the right infrastructure provider to partner with is a huge decision and it’s my job to show our audience that we know them and their challenges, and we have the solutions.
It’s also about giving a voice to our experts within the business. I get to work with so many intelligent and interesting people who are genuine specialists in their areas. So, an important part of my role is learning from them and building their confidence as specialists to get that knowledge out there.
So often they don’t know how much they know.
I love breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day and the thought of a morning without my oats isn’t worth thinking about. I try to get to the gym at least three times a week for a spin class or strength training and after that I’m always really bloomin’ hungry.
I listen to lots of audiobooks whilst driving to and from work (fantasy novels are my favorite). We all live super busy lives and escaping to a new world for 30 minutes is really restorative. I’m currently listening to Stephen Fry read the fifth Harry Potter book for perhaps the twentieth time. If it’s not an audiobook, it’ll be a true crime podcast. Welsh policewoman who fell in love with a bank robber, anyone?
I tend to get to the office early. I’ll eat my breakfast and log on to our social channels to see if there’s been any new engagement with our content. It’s also a time to keep up with discussions happening across our verticals and within the content marketing community. Anyone who knows content knows that it takes time to create the good stuff. I follow a lot of people who share tips on being clever and efficient with the creation and distribution of content.
I generally write in the mornings and reserve afternoons for ‘admin bits’. As the content writer for our gaming, Web3, and trading verticals, the foundation of my writing process involves regular catch ups with our experts to absorb everything they’ve learned from conversations with customers and out at events to then turn into valuable content.
For me, writing well is about trying to educate myself as much as possible around a topic. That way when I come to write about it, it feels natural.
Recently I’ve started working directly with customers on case studies. It’s an amazing opportunity to get to know about their challenges, plans, and why they chose to work with us in the first place. Meeting in person is always the best and this year I got the opportunity to do just that at the Game Developers Conference (GDC).
I’ve worked in enterprise tech for around a decade. There’s pretty much no part of our lives that technology doesn’t underpin, so I’ve always been drawn to the sector.
Here at servers.com we work with verticals that are completely changing the way we live our lives. From the streaming industry revolutionizing the way we consume content to Web3 and crypto pushing the boundaries of traditional finance. As a writer, that’s a very luxurious position to be in because we’re never going to run out of things to talk about. These industries are constantly changing and full to bursting with super smart people brimming with ideas.
I’ve been writing content throughout my career, but it was the opportunity to have writing as my focus that drew me to my current role. Writing has always been a passion. I started writing stories when I was very small and went on to study English language and literature at university. I have so much respect for writers (that’s why I read so much). Who knows, maybe once I’ve retired, I’ll finally write my debut novel.
AI of course is huge. Our newsreels are packed with headlines about how AI is going to replace content writers. Honestly, I don’t believe that will happen. AI isn’t at the point yet where it is capable of original thought. And that’s what people want. What AI can do is help us improve the accessibility and distribution of our content and free up our time to be creative in our roles.
Misinformation is another big challenge. Trying to break though the smokescreen of rubbish content out there isn’t easy. But it’s essential if we want to become a trusted voice. And we do that by being honest about what it’s like to host infrastructure in this industry.
Well, my first day at servers.com was the hottest day in UK history so that was pretty memorable. Trying desperately to make a good impression while basically melting.
Or my birthday when I was faced with an entire team wearing an outfit I’d worn that happened to make me look just like The Rock. That level of prank execution is something to be marveled!
But no, my most memorable moment relating to actual work was a recent piece I worked on around the Minecraft 1.20 update. It’s the first blog we’ve done in collaboration with customers, and it was a lovely opportunity to work directly with them on something they’re super passionate about. In fact, it generated quite a bit of conversation with people who read it and that confirmed to me that our content has real value.
It’s very collaborative. I get to chat to incredibly interesting, smart people about what they’re passionate about. I’m constantly learning, and I get to take what I’ve learned and use it as a springboard to do what I love the most – write.
GDC is a perfect example. I had the freedom to become totally immersed in the gaming industry and to hear from people on the ground. Everyone from game developers to publishers to composers and hardware engineers. As content writers it can be easy to become quite insular because we need focus when we’re writing. It’s important that we push ourselves out of that bubble and GDC was the perfect opportunity to do just that. And of course, as a writer, I also couldn’t help but write about it.
It’s hard to write about something you’re not interested in. Choose an industry that you’re genuinely fascinated by, and the writing process will be so much more fulfilling.
That said, don’t let your passion for your subject hurt you. Writing is a very personal process and it’s important not to take feedback too personally. You might feel great about a piece of content, and it might not land so well with someone else. And that’s fine. Writing is subjective, and everyone comes to it with a different set of expectations, preferences, and experiences.
Because writing is so personal it can be easy to fall into the trap of writing for yourself – rather than your audience. The best way to avoid this is to do your homework. Know who your audience is and what makes them tick. The more involved you are with that community the better you’ll be able to resonate with them.
And finally, if you’re having a tough writing day, don’t force it. Don’t expect yourself to be able to write in the same way everyday. Creativity comes in peaks and troughs.
I love gardening so the first thing I do is go out into the garden and check on my plants. I love chatting to them (it makes them grow better if you ask them about their day, you know) and I’m an avid vegetable grower. I’ve currently got tomatoes and lettuce on the go but usually I have even more.
As digital content creators we work in a world that’s not very tangible. Vegetable growing is the complete opposite (I also enjoy cooking for the same reason). After being sat in front of a screen all day I crave the outdoors, so I try not to look at a screen for at least the first hour after I get home. Most days I’ll also drag my partner out for a walk to get some fresh air and catch up.
After we’ve made dinner, I might watch some TV. But I always head to bed early to read my book for at least an hour before I go to sleep. For me, it’s the best way to end the day and the key to a good night’s sleep.
For our wordsmith Hannah, content is about driving new perspectives and giving our industry experts the voice they deserve.
Outside work, you’ll find Hannah gymming, renovating or growing veg.