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In housing your content team the Ah Um way

Some businesses use agencies, some freelancers, others their own in-house agencies to get their content done. While they can all be great ways to ensure your creative content is delivered – we reckon we’ve developed a better one.

The great resignation, quiet quitting, skills shortages, in-housing nightmares… all phrases that have become increasingly common when talking about the workplace. There’s no denying that hybrid ways of working have changed the business landscape – and now, more than ever, businesses are looking at ways to optimise how they create content. But what is the best way to get great content?

The traditional options

Agencies

External agencies bring an outside perspective, and the potential to see creative and marketing opportunities that may have otherwise been missed. However, they’re also known for working in pretty rigid models and working in silo to your internal teams with account managers blocking access – missing possibilities for collaboration.

In-house teams

With your delivery team in-house you can realise the benefits of having your content created by a team who are already experts in your company and its culture, as well as having more creative and financial control over outputs. However, sometimes being part of the furniture can mean resource is not put to good use, creativity can get stale and the breadth of experience within the team can be limited.

Freelancers

Using freelance resource can be ideal for plugging some skills gaps, but they don’t come with out their own issues. Freelancers often don’t tend to, or want to, work as a part of a collaborative team, which can make managing wider projects where freelancers are involved more difficult. Plus there are added admin implications such as IR35 compliance and general management of disparate freelancers.

Recruiters

Recruiters can be a good option to help you find the resource you need for a particular project – but that’s kind of all they do. They aren’t content specialists, they focus on individuals rather than teams and don’t manage the people they put in your teams – so if it doesn’t work out you’re back to square one.

The Ah Um option

We’ve taken the best bits of in-house teams, freelancers, external agencies and recruiters and designed a way of creating content that delivers everything you need, in the most flexible, efficient way possible.


How do we do this? We build, embed and run the creative teams you need for your projects directly within your business, for the time you need them. So you can…

  • Get flexibility – onboard and stand down teams on a project-by-project basis, a bit like how an in-house team would work

  • Access top talent – get the benefits of an external agency in terms of having the best, most enthusiastic writers, strategists and creatives making content for you

  • Keep costs on track – our model means you can actually resource your teams efficiently without the overheads of recruiters, full-time staff or using freelancers

  • Realise top-level outputs – embedding a creative team for a particular project means you can achieve the outputs you need without letting other internal projects slip, and without increasing headcount, and long-term costs

  • Mitigate risk – increase the creative capabilities of your existing teams without taking on additional risk or admin – we’ll deal with any personnel absence/changes/issues so you don’t have to

So, you could say we’re like an external agency in structure and experience, but we deliver more like an integrated, in-house team. Our teams take the time to get really involved in your project, understanding the nitty gritty of your product and business, no matter how technical and work with you to get it right, while bringing the fresh eyes and outside perspective needed to make your comms and content strategy fresh, accessible and exciting for your audience.

Read now
3
min read
Articles
Content Strategy & Writing
C-Suite Tech Survey: How decision makers and decision shapers in tech, AI and analytics consume content

What makes content engaging for a B2B audience? It’s a question that we’ve been pondering, so we put it to leaders in tech, AI and analytics and now we’ve written a report on our findings. It isn’t quite ready to go, but we wanted to tell you a bit about our key finds ahead of its release. We’ve discovered three key criteria behind successful B2B content marketing strategies that target this audience.

The background

We’ve spoken to over 250 senior leaders working in the tech, AI and analytics sector to help us understand the factors that shape high-value, group-based buying decisions, and the role that content plays in this decision-making journey.

The respondents are divided into two groups: decision-makers and decision-shapers. Decision-makers are those who are ultimately responsible for choosing new technologies to invest in, while decision-shapers are those who research technologies and consult on decisions, but who do not hold ultimate responsibility for taking investment decisions.

Our conversations have highlighted a factor which is often overlooked in content marketing strategies — content often targets decision-makers, when in reality their decisions are made with input from multiple parties.

So how can we make sure that content is made to engage with these leaders? Turns out that to achieve this goal, content must be visual, varied and valuable.

Visual

The first interaction with a potential customer is vital, especially when competing for attention with a range of other content. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, so an eye-catching graphic is a key consideration.

Trust is also fundamental when trying to connect with decision-makers. Leaders might be short on time, but they need to be able to trust that the content they’re consuming is well-researched, so make sure not to lose the substance of your content when you’re creating the visuals. Attention to detail is just as important.

Varied

Our report found that decision-makers and decision-shapers consume content differently, with decision-shapers preferring to look at a company’s website, while decision-shapers are most likely to find B2B content through social media.

This highlights the necessity of a varied content marketing strategy. To have the greatest impact on the decision-making process, companies must target these leaders with diversified content across their website and social platforms.

Valuable

The visuals might draw your audiences’ attention, but adding value will help you keep it. Leaders were unequivocal in their answers: content needs to be useful to them in their jobs if they’re to keep reading.

So what would be the best format for this content? Leaders voted for videos as their most popular format, closely followed by infographics. While these should be staples in any content strategy, we were still intrigued to find that we mustn’t overlook the importance of printed material. 67% of decision-makers said that they regularly read printed magazines, and 60% of leaders read all of the materials provided at industry conferences.

Putting the pieces together

The results are in — visual, varied and valuable content will draw and retain the attention of leaders, and therefore has the potential to influence buying decisions. Beyond that, we’ve also been reminded how important it is to choose your format and channels with care, as these factors will determine which buyers you are able to reach. But that’s not the extent of it! Look out for the full report to get even more lowdown on how to create engaging content that hits the right target.

Read now
3
min read
Report
Three tips for better brainstorming

⏰prep time: 10 mins
⚡brainstorming time: 90 mins
🚀suitable for: 1–20 people

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you’re asked to create something new, or fix a problem that seems unfixable. Having a deadline to meet can contribute to this sense of impending doom, stopping you in your tracks before you’ve even started. At this point, scrolling through social media for pictures of cute puppies or your favourite Star Wars memes (we don’t judge) can seem like a great idea, and no wonder.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if you’re a world-famous creative or a complete novice, everyone will get stuck with this feeling at some point. And that’s okay. In a world of easy distractions, reaching that flow state where you’re immersed in your work is a challenge. Whether it’s those emails you’ve let build up or those chores around the house that you’re avoiding, there’s always something else that you can be doing.

With all that in mind, we’ve come up with some brainstorming tips that will help get you over this hurdle and on your way to coming up with fresh ideas.

Be the architect of your environment 🎨

“Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behaviour”
James Clear, Atomic Habits.

Our ability to be creative is affected by the space that we find ourselves in. Knowing this is an important first step, as we can craft our environment to help us be more productive. For example, if you surround yourself with books, you’re much more likely to pick one up and read for a while. What’s even more important is what you don’t have around you.

John Cleese described the ideal of an oasis, where your mind is free from the distractions and obligations of everyday life. So find a space where you can put your phone and your laptop away (or at least turn off your notifications) and make sure that you have everything you need to jot down your thoughts.

Once you’ve done this, try to use this space for problem solving or forming ideas, not just once but every time. Over time, your brain will come to associate this space with creative thinking (the sciencey word for this is neuroplasticity, which is pretty cool).

Identify the root causes of your problem 👀

Start your 90 minute timer now (any more than that and our brains get a bit frazzled).

First, take some time to really think about the problem that you’re trying to solve. The idea here is to dig into the causes and effects of your problem. You might think that it’s a step back from the actual doing, but it makes the difference between a good idea and a great idea.

For example, let’s say you’re writing an essay. First, you’ll want to identify the components of the question you’re trying to answer. What are the key themes? What evidence do you have? What has already been said on this topic? Asking these questions will help you when you structure your argument later on.

The same idea applies to a whole range of problems that you might face. By unpicking the details of the problem, you can identify the root causes, and you’ll have the insight you need to explore effective solutions.

Here’s how we can visualise it:

Get your brain into open mode⚡

Okay, now it’s show time. In order to brainstorm effectively, you need to be open minded and imaginative. Don’t build on your ideas as this will slow you down (and you’ll have time to do that later!).

Our favourite way to get into the open mode is to think of a number of ideas to come up with. It doesn’t matter how many, but it should be enough to scare you a bit. As an example, list 1–20 on your page and try to fill each spot. Don’t worry about how good they are, just get as many down as possible.

If you start to lose the flow, try writing down the worst possible solution, or the exact opposite of what you need. It’s a fun thought experiment which can help get those ideas flowing again. Plan in your schedule when you need to pick a solution — leaving it to the last minute is actually a good thing in this case.

Remember, don’t be afraid to be silly. Humour can lead to you having more fun creating ideas which can lead to more creative solutions.

By the end of this exercise you should have a list of stupid ideas, generic ideas, ambitious ideas and some really great ideas.

Some other brainstorming techniques to try🖊️

There’s a range of different brainstorming techniques out there. You’ll find some more useful than others based on whether you’re doing it alone or in a group, and what your brainstorming is trying to accomplish.

Brainwriting

You’ll find this method particularly useful if you’re brainstorming in a large group. Each team member should write their ideas down on sticky notes without sharing until the end. Brainwriting allows everyone to contribute and prevents personality bias from creeping in.

Mindmapping

Mindmaps are a fun and creative way to get ideas down on a page. Start with a blank piece of paper and write your subject in the middle. From there, add your thoughts as branches from that centre point until you can’t think of any more. Mindmapping helps you connect various ideas and can make for an inspiring visual.

Now you’re set! You can start to develop your favourite ideas.

But don’t throw the others away, keep them or take a photo just incase that ultra stupid idea you thought would never work turns out to be the best!

Read now
5
min read
Content Strategy & Writing
UX & Design Thinking

Recent posts

In housing your content team the Ah Um way

Some businesses use agencies, some freelancers, others their own in-house agencies to get their content done. While they can all be great ways to ensure your creative content is delivered – we reckon we’ve developed a better one.

The great resignation, quiet quitting, skills shortages, in-housing nightmares… all phrases that have become increasingly common when talking about the workplace. There’s no denying that hybrid ways of working have changed the business landscape – and now, more than ever, businesses are looking at ways to optimise how they create content. But what is the best way to get great content?

The traditional options

Agencies

External agencies bring an outside perspective, and the potential to see creative and marketing opportunities that may have otherwise been missed. However, they’re also known for working in pretty rigid models and working in silo to your internal teams with account managers blocking access – missing possibilities for collaboration.

In-house teams

With your delivery team in-house you can realise the benefits of having your content created by a team who are already experts in your company and its culture, as well as having more creative and financial control over outputs. However, sometimes being part of the furniture can mean resource is not put to good use, creativity can get stale and the breadth of experience within the team can be limited.

Freelancers

Using freelance resource can be ideal for plugging some skills gaps, but they don’t come with out their own issues. Freelancers often don’t tend to, or want to, work as a part of a collaborative team, which can make managing wider projects where freelancers are involved more difficult. Plus there are added admin implications such as IR35 compliance and general management of disparate freelancers.

Recruiters

Recruiters can be a good option to help you find the resource you need for a particular project – but that’s kind of all they do. They aren’t content specialists, they focus on individuals rather than teams and don’t manage the people they put in your teams – so if it doesn’t work out you’re back to square one.

The Ah Um option

We’ve taken the best bits of in-house teams, freelancers, external agencies and recruiters and designed a way of creating content that delivers everything you need, in the most flexible, efficient way possible.


How do we do this? We build, embed and run the creative teams you need for your projects directly within your business, for the time you need them. So you can…

  • Get flexibility – onboard and stand down teams on a project-by-project basis, a bit like how an in-house team would work

  • Access top talent – get the benefits of an external agency in terms of having the best, most enthusiastic writers, strategists and creatives making content for you

  • Keep costs on track – our model means you can actually resource your teams efficiently without the overheads of recruiters, full-time staff or using freelancers

  • Realise top-level outputs – embedding a creative team for a particular project means you can achieve the outputs you need without letting other internal projects slip, and without increasing headcount, and long-term costs

  • Mitigate risk – increase the creative capabilities of your existing teams without taking on additional risk or admin – we’ll deal with any personnel absence/changes/issues so you don’t have to

So, you could say we’re like an external agency in structure and experience, but we deliver more like an integrated, in-house team. Our teams take the time to get really involved in your project, understanding the nitty gritty of your product and business, no matter how technical and work with you to get it right, while bringing the fresh eyes and outside perspective needed to make your comms and content strategy fresh, accessible and exciting for your audience.

Read now
3
min read

Some businesses use agencies, some freelancers, others their own in-house agencies to get their content done. While they can all be great ways to ensure your creative content is delivered – we reckon we’ve developed a better one.

The great resignation, quiet quitting, skills shortages, in-housing nightmares… all phrases that have become increasingly common when talking about the workplace. There’s no denying that hybrid ways of working have changed the business landscape – and now, more than ever, businesses are looking at ways to optimise how they create content. But what is the best way to get great content?

The traditional options

Agencies

External agencies bring an outside perspective, and the potential to see creative and marketing opportunities that may have otherwise been missed. However, they’re also known for working in pretty rigid models and working in silo to your internal teams with account managers blocking access – missing possibilities for collaboration.

In-house teams

With your delivery team in-house you can realise the benefits of having your content created by a team who are already experts in your company and its culture, as well as having more creative and financial control over outputs. However, sometimes being part of the furniture can mean resource is not put to good use, creativity can get stale and the breadth of experience within the team can be limited.

Freelancers

Using freelance resource can be ideal for plugging some skills gaps, but they don’t come with out their own issues. Freelancers often don’t tend to, or want to, work as a part of a collaborative team, which can make managing wider projects where freelancers are involved more difficult. Plus there are added admin implications such as IR35 compliance and general management of disparate freelancers.

Recruiters

Recruiters can be a good option to help you find the resource you need for a particular project – but that’s kind of all they do. They aren’t content specialists, they focus on individuals rather than teams and don’t manage the people they put in your teams – so if it doesn’t work out you’re back to square one.

The Ah Um option

We’ve taken the best bits of in-house teams, freelancers, external agencies and recruiters and designed a way of creating content that delivers everything you need, in the most flexible, efficient way possible.


How do we do this? We build, embed and run the creative teams you need for your projects directly within your business, for the time you need them. So you can…

  • Get flexibility – onboard and stand down teams on a project-by-project basis, a bit like how an in-house team would work

  • Access top talent – get the benefits of an external agency in terms of having the best, most enthusiastic writers, strategists and creatives making content for you

  • Keep costs on track – our model means you can actually resource your teams efficiently without the overheads of recruiters, full-time staff or using freelancers

  • Realise top-level outputs – embedding a creative team for a particular project means you can achieve the outputs you need without letting other internal projects slip, and without increasing headcount, and long-term costs

  • Mitigate risk – increase the creative capabilities of your existing teams without taking on additional risk or admin – we’ll deal with any personnel absence/changes/issues so you don’t have to

So, you could say we’re like an external agency in structure and experience, but we deliver more like an integrated, in-house team. Our teams take the time to get really involved in your project, understanding the nitty gritty of your product and business, no matter how technical and work with you to get it right, while bringing the fresh eyes and outside perspective needed to make your comms and content strategy fresh, accessible and exciting for your audience.

What’s it like being a designer for Ah Um? 🎨😛

Take a sneak peek behind the scenes at Ah Um and get to know what Charley, our creative designer, gets up to day-to-day.

A typical day on client work 💪

At Ah Um we focus on understanding our clients before creating their content, so a typical morning for me might include reviewing some brand guidelines and messaging documents. When those don’t exist, I’ll use tools like colour-picking software which help me grab a palette from their existing website!

If we’re working with clients using the embedded team model, we will also join in on the client’s standups and meetings to ensure we’re working efficiently as part of their team.

For video and animation based projects, I’ll make a moodboard containing imagery, fonts, tone of voice and any other information which sets the client apart from its competitors. Once this is done I start the sketching phase. Check out our brainstorming article for the specifics! Then I’ll spend the afternoon working closely with the other project members, and help to create a pitch deck for us to showcase our ideas to the client.

A typical day with no client work 💡

On a day with no client biz I’ll work on designs, videos and animations for our social media channels.

I also make sure to spend time on my personal development, which includes good old chats with the boss about my ambitions, enrolling on courses to help me hone my skills, and watching the BEST youtube tutorials (thank you Ben Marriott).

Courses and development 🔧

One of my goals has been to improve my motion design and animation skills, so I have used my yearly training budget to take part in Ben Marriott’s Master Motion Design course. It was incredible! I’m obsessed with his tutorials and this course was just an entire new level of detail. I learned sooo many useful techniques and workflow tricks that can be applied to every project for a smoother overall process and improved end product. We covered loads of animation styles and took a deep dive into the technical bits of after effects (my favourite thing to nerd out about).

This year I’d love to look into hand-drawn animation courses as liquid motion and morphing would be super cool techniques to integrate into my work.

Work-life balance 🌳

I really enjoy being creative and I spend most of my free time doing things like design, film and music, so having a full time job in the area I enjoy the most makes me really happy. However, when working from home I sometimes use up all my creativity at work and have none left to use on my hobbies, and vice versa! I’ve found that going into the office once or twice a week helps me have that separation between work and life, and even if it’s been a super intense working day, I still feel like I can spend time on my hobbies at home.

Read now
3
min read

Take a sneak peek behind the scenes at Ah Um and get to know what Charley, our creative designer, gets up to day-to-day.

A typical day on client work 💪

At Ah Um we focus on understanding our clients before creating their content, so a typical morning for me might include reviewing some brand guidelines and messaging documents. When those don’t exist, I’ll use tools like colour-picking software which help me grab a palette from their existing website!

If we’re working with clients using the embedded team model, we will also join in on the client’s standups and meetings to ensure we’re working efficiently as part of their team.

For video and animation based projects, I’ll make a moodboard containing imagery, fonts, tone of voice and any other information which sets the client apart from its competitors. Once this is done I start the sketching phase. Check out our brainstorming article for the specifics! Then I’ll spend the afternoon working closely with the other project members, and help to create a pitch deck for us to showcase our ideas to the client.

A typical day with no client work 💡

On a day with no client biz I’ll work on designs, videos and animations for our social media channels.

I also make sure to spend time on my personal development, which includes good old chats with the boss about my ambitions, enrolling on courses to help me hone my skills, and watching the BEST youtube tutorials (thank you Ben Marriott).

Courses and development 🔧

One of my goals has been to improve my motion design and animation skills, so I have used my yearly training budget to take part in Ben Marriott’s Master Motion Design course. It was incredible! I’m obsessed with his tutorials and this course was just an entire new level of detail. I learned sooo many useful techniques and workflow tricks that can be applied to every project for a smoother overall process and improved end product. We covered loads of animation styles and took a deep dive into the technical bits of after effects (my favourite thing to nerd out about).

This year I’d love to look into hand-drawn animation courses as liquid motion and morphing would be super cool techniques to integrate into my work.

Work-life balance 🌳

I really enjoy being creative and I spend most of my free time doing things like design, film and music, so having a full time job in the area I enjoy the most makes me really happy. However, when working from home I sometimes use up all my creativity at work and have none left to use on my hobbies, and vice versa! I’ve found that going into the office once or twice a week helps me have that separation between work and life, and even if it’s been a super intense working day, I still feel like I can spend time on my hobbies at home.

Surviving and thriving: reflections on our first “proper” year as a new agency

As the year comes to a close we’ve found some time to reflect on what we’ve learnt as an agency, and how we’ve grown over the past 12 months. From working with a diverse range of clients on projects of varying scale, to facing new professional and personal challenges, we have faced lots of learning curves and opportunities to grow.

To make sure these important learnings aren’t forgotten in the merry haze of Christmas, we’ve asked the team to share with us what they feel their most important takeaways from this year are.

Adrian — Managing Director

This year has felt like our “first proper year” as a business. We’re settled, both physically in our new office, and mentally with our agency offering and positioning. We’re more comfortable in what we do and are focusing in the areas we’re good at which is ultimately leading to better, more meaningful work. What really has been motivating is to be having exciting conversations everyday around creative innovation and the model we’re bringing to market. Everyone is interested. Not just our clients but everyone is asking questions — partners, press, contemporaries and our wider network of creative talent. It’s not all about the numbers, but performance is good too. We’re pretty happy to have had 116% growth YoY. Ultimately we are still a small, independent company without any funding in a competitive, changing market. Sometimes we can be over ambitious, get distracted or focus in the wrong areas. But with the vision we have, and increased rigour and focus in 2023, I’m pretty excited to see what we can achieve. In the next few years I’m hoping we’ll be defining the way creatives collaborate and work. Watch this space. And yea, we’ll finally put up our website in Jan because the best thing I did this year was take a few days off and let the team sort it out. Needless to say they smashed it. Thanks guys.

Maddie — UX Lead

One thing I’ve learnt this year after moving from a large company to a small agency is the importance of adaptability and flexibility. Smaller agencies tend to have less structure and are more fluid in terms of roles and responsibilities. This was a challenge for me at first, but it’s also been a great opportunity to learn new skills and take on a variety of tasks and projects. I’ve learnt the significance of effective communication and collaboration in a small team, as everyone plays an important role in the success of Ah Um. Overall working here has been a valuable learning experience that has taught me the importance of adaptability and the value of strong communication and collaboration in small teams.

Lorna — Content Lead

The big thing I’ve learned this year is that I love being back in the office! It’s so great to regularly be seeing the team in person, working closely together throughout the day and exploring all the great stuff on our doorstep. Plus we’ve even started having in-person meetings with clients, which makes such a difference.

I’ve also been reminded again and again what a great team we have. Everyone works hard and pulls together, always having fun as they do. And we continue to champion the things that are important to us — mental health, wellness, personal interests and personal development. Here’s to 2023 and great things for Ah Um!

Sam — Copywriter

The fact that we’ve worked across a range of clients from multiple industries (and pitched to others) has been a great experience. It’s been useful to learn from a diverse group of people, particularly about their own challenges, and how we could solve them through content production and strategy.

From a copywriting perspective, I’d say this year has also been beneficial in getting experience writing on a lot of different projects, with different formats/audiences in mind. Writing across social media / email / sales decks / scripts has taught me a lot in how to tailor writing to the medium.

Charley — Creative Designer

This year I’ve learnt that I really enjoy being immersed in the clients’ world and understanding their values completely before getting into the creative work. It really helps my design visions come together and makes the workload feel lighter.

And that’s a wrap…

2022 done, almost! Looking to the new year, we’re excited to continue defining our creative collaboration model and achieving even greater success. Here’s to 2023!

Read now
4
min read

As the year comes to a close we’ve found some time to reflect on what we’ve learnt as an agency, and how we’ve grown over the past 12 months. From working with a diverse range of clients on projects of varying scale, to facing new professional and personal challenges, we have faced lots of learning curves and opportunities to grow.

To make sure these important learnings aren’t forgotten in the merry haze of Christmas, we’ve asked the team to share with us what they feel their most important takeaways from this year are.

Adrian — Managing Director

This year has felt like our “first proper year” as a business. We’re settled, both physically in our new office, and mentally with our agency offering and positioning. We’re more comfortable in what we do and are focusing in the areas we’re good at which is ultimately leading to better, more meaningful work. What really has been motivating is to be having exciting conversations everyday around creative innovation and the model we’re bringing to market. Everyone is interested. Not just our clients but everyone is asking questions — partners, press, contemporaries and our wider network of creative talent. It’s not all about the numbers, but performance is good too. We’re pretty happy to have had 116% growth YoY. Ultimately we are still a small, independent company without any funding in a competitive, changing market. Sometimes we can be over ambitious, get distracted or focus in the wrong areas. But with the vision we have, and increased rigour and focus in 2023, I’m pretty excited to see what we can achieve. In the next few years I’m hoping we’ll be defining the way creatives collaborate and work. Watch this space. And yea, we’ll finally put up our website in Jan because the best thing I did this year was take a few days off and let the team sort it out. Needless to say they smashed it. Thanks guys.

Maddie — UX Lead

One thing I’ve learnt this year after moving from a large company to a small agency is the importance of adaptability and flexibility. Smaller agencies tend to have less structure and are more fluid in terms of roles and responsibilities. This was a challenge for me at first, but it’s also been a great opportunity to learn new skills and take on a variety of tasks and projects. I’ve learnt the significance of effective communication and collaboration in a small team, as everyone plays an important role in the success of Ah Um. Overall working here has been a valuable learning experience that has taught me the importance of adaptability and the value of strong communication and collaboration in small teams.

Lorna — Content Lead

The big thing I’ve learned this year is that I love being back in the office! It’s so great to regularly be seeing the team in person, working closely together throughout the day and exploring all the great stuff on our doorstep. Plus we’ve even started having in-person meetings with clients, which makes such a difference.

I’ve also been reminded again and again what a great team we have. Everyone works hard and pulls together, always having fun as they do. And we continue to champion the things that are important to us — mental health, wellness, personal interests and personal development. Here’s to 2023 and great things for Ah Um!

Sam — Copywriter

The fact that we’ve worked across a range of clients from multiple industries (and pitched to others) has been a great experience. It’s been useful to learn from a diverse group of people, particularly about their own challenges, and how we could solve them through content production and strategy.

From a copywriting perspective, I’d say this year has also been beneficial in getting experience writing on a lot of different projects, with different formats/audiences in mind. Writing across social media / email / sales decks / scripts has taught me a lot in how to tailor writing to the medium.

Charley — Creative Designer

This year I’ve learnt that I really enjoy being immersed in the clients’ world and understanding their values completely before getting into the creative work. It really helps my design visions come together and makes the workload feel lighter.

And that’s a wrap…

2022 done, almost! Looking to the new year, we’re excited to continue defining our creative collaboration model and achieving even greater success. Here’s to 2023!

C-Suite Tech Survey: How decision makers and decision shapers in tech, AI and analytics consume content

What makes content engaging for a B2B audience? It’s a question that we’ve been pondering, so we put it to leaders in tech, AI and analytics and now we’ve written a report on our findings. It isn’t quite ready to go, but we wanted to tell you a bit about our key finds ahead of its release. We’ve discovered three key criteria behind successful B2B content marketing strategies that target this audience.

The background

We’ve spoken to over 250 senior leaders working in the tech, AI and analytics sector to help us understand the factors that shape high-value, group-based buying decisions, and the role that content plays in this decision-making journey.

The respondents are divided into two groups: decision-makers and decision-shapers. Decision-makers are those who are ultimately responsible for choosing new technologies to invest in, while decision-shapers are those who research technologies and consult on decisions, but who do not hold ultimate responsibility for taking investment decisions.

Our conversations have highlighted a factor which is often overlooked in content marketing strategies — content often targets decision-makers, when in reality their decisions are made with input from multiple parties.

So how can we make sure that content is made to engage with these leaders? Turns out that to achieve this goal, content must be visual, varied and valuable.

Visual

The first interaction with a potential customer is vital, especially when competing for attention with a range of other content. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, so an eye-catching graphic is a key consideration.

Trust is also fundamental when trying to connect with decision-makers. Leaders might be short on time, but they need to be able to trust that the content they’re consuming is well-researched, so make sure not to lose the substance of your content when you’re creating the visuals. Attention to detail is just as important.

Varied

Our report found that decision-makers and decision-shapers consume content differently, with decision-shapers preferring to look at a company’s website, while decision-shapers are most likely to find B2B content through social media.

This highlights the necessity of a varied content marketing strategy. To have the greatest impact on the decision-making process, companies must target these leaders with diversified content across their website and social platforms.

Valuable

The visuals might draw your audiences’ attention, but adding value will help you keep it. Leaders were unequivocal in their answers: content needs to be useful to them in their jobs if they’re to keep reading.

So what would be the best format for this content? Leaders voted for videos as their most popular format, closely followed by infographics. While these should be staples in any content strategy, we were still intrigued to find that we mustn’t overlook the importance of printed material. 67% of decision-makers said that they regularly read printed magazines, and 60% of leaders read all of the materials provided at industry conferences.

Putting the pieces together

The results are in — visual, varied and valuable content will draw and retain the attention of leaders, and therefore has the potential to influence buying decisions. Beyond that, we’ve also been reminded how important it is to choose your format and channels with care, as these factors will determine which buyers you are able to reach. But that’s not the extent of it! Look out for the full report to get even more lowdown on how to create engaging content that hits the right target.

Read now
3
min read

What makes content engaging for a B2B audience? It’s a question that we’ve been pondering, so we put it to leaders in tech, AI and analytics and now we’ve written a report on our findings. It isn’t quite ready to go, but we wanted to tell you a bit about our key finds ahead of its release. We’ve discovered three key criteria behind successful B2B content marketing strategies that target this audience.

The background

We’ve spoken to over 250 senior leaders working in the tech, AI and analytics sector to help us understand the factors that shape high-value, group-based buying decisions, and the role that content plays in this decision-making journey.

The respondents are divided into two groups: decision-makers and decision-shapers. Decision-makers are those who are ultimately responsible for choosing new technologies to invest in, while decision-shapers are those who research technologies and consult on decisions, but who do not hold ultimate responsibility for taking investment decisions.

Our conversations have highlighted a factor which is often overlooked in content marketing strategies — content often targets decision-makers, when in reality their decisions are made with input from multiple parties.

So how can we make sure that content is made to engage with these leaders? Turns out that to achieve this goal, content must be visual, varied and valuable.

Visual

The first interaction with a potential customer is vital, especially when competing for attention with a range of other content. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, so an eye-catching graphic is a key consideration.

Trust is also fundamental when trying to connect with decision-makers. Leaders might be short on time, but they need to be able to trust that the content they’re consuming is well-researched, so make sure not to lose the substance of your content when you’re creating the visuals. Attention to detail is just as important.

Varied

Our report found that decision-makers and decision-shapers consume content differently, with decision-shapers preferring to look at a company’s website, while decision-shapers are most likely to find B2B content through social media.

This highlights the necessity of a varied content marketing strategy. To have the greatest impact on the decision-making process, companies must target these leaders with diversified content across their website and social platforms.

Valuable

The visuals might draw your audiences’ attention, but adding value will help you keep it. Leaders were unequivocal in their answers: content needs to be useful to them in their jobs if they’re to keep reading.

So what would be the best format for this content? Leaders voted for videos as their most popular format, closely followed by infographics. While these should be staples in any content strategy, we were still intrigued to find that we mustn’t overlook the importance of printed material. 67% of decision-makers said that they regularly read printed magazines, and 60% of leaders read all of the materials provided at industry conferences.

Putting the pieces together

The results are in — visual, varied and valuable content will draw and retain the attention of leaders, and therefore has the potential to influence buying decisions. Beyond that, we’ve also been reminded how important it is to choose your format and channels with care, as these factors will determine which buyers you are able to reach. But that’s not the extent of it! Look out for the full report to get even more lowdown on how to create engaging content that hits the right target.

Why your business needs copywriters

(Written by a completely unbiased copywriter)

Copywriting is absolutely everywhere, though you might not have noticed it before. Every ad you’ve seen, every website you’ve visited, every newsletter you’ve read, you can guarantee that a copywriter has been there, crafting the right words to convince you to take action. In its essence, copywriting is simply that: taking your reader from point a to your desired point b.

In the years before the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century, a dedicated reader could have read every book in existence within their lifetime. Why is this relevant, you might ask. Well, then think, could you imagine hopping online and reading every page on google suggesting you should buy this or that item? No. It would take forever.

The fact is that we have far more choice in today’s information age, from the books we read to the brands we buy from. On the one hand, you can market yourself to people all over the world (something that a merchant in the middle ages likely would have killed for) but on the other hand, that power comes with an inevitable trade off — overabundance. The chances are that there are thousands of others out there that are selling the exact same thing that you are, so why should people choose your brand over theirs?

This is where copywriting is essential. The right copy will differentiate your business from the crowd and create trust with your audience. It tells a story about who you are. It makes your customers feel seen. It’s the jedi mind trick of marketing and advertising.

An experienced copywriter will have experience in producing a range of material for various brands. There are also a multitude of niches within copywriting — whether it’s B2B copywriting, technical copywriting, SEO copywriting — so no matter what it is that you need, there’ll be specialists out there that have been there and done it.

You might have a truly great product on your hands that you can’t wait to tell the world about, yet the results won’t be what you hoped without a real connection with your customers. And that’s exactly what a copywriter can provide. You know better than anyone why your business would be beneficial for your target audience, a copywriter simply takes that knowledge and creates a message that will reach them.

Now, you might ask yourself why you’d need to hire someone to do this for you. After all, couldn’t you write this yourself, or get an AI tool to do it for free?

It’s true that AI bots are smarter these days, and if you feed them the right input then you should get legible copy in return. But believe it or not, a copywriter’s first asset is not their writing skill, it’s an ability that AI doesn’t have.

Copywriters can think.

This is the true bulk of a copywriter’s work. Before a first draft is written, a copywriter will spend time researching your competitors and target audience, as well as familiarising themselves with your brand guidelines and tone of voice. These steps help to determine the content and style of the copy, as well as the medium it’s shared through as part of the overall messaging strategy.

Bringing copywriters onboard means more than just a refresh to your sales material, they can provide the direction that your marketing needs. They can assess the challenges that your business is facing and give you a fresh perspective. In this sense, the work of a copywriter is more proactive than reactive, arming you with expert guidance and a path to build a better relationship with your customers.

Ultimately, the first impression that someone gets when they visit your website, read your blog, or see an ad will be formed by the words that you use. The difference between engaging content and the all-too-familiar is one that your business will undoubtedly feel.

If you’re thinking of hiring a copywriting agency, or have already done so, take the time to share your views on what you think your business’s strengths are, who you’re trying to reach, and anything that differentiates you from the competition. This usually happens during the onboarding phase, but a successful partnership will be built through continued communication and collaboration.

With the right team in place, your business will break through the barrier of stale webpages and newsletters that never see the light of day. On the other side, the upturn in sales and brand awareness will have you questioning how you ever did it without copywriters.

Read now
4
min read

(Written by a completely unbiased copywriter)

Copywriting is absolutely everywhere, though you might not have noticed it before. Every ad you’ve seen, every website you’ve visited, every newsletter you’ve read, you can guarantee that a copywriter has been there, crafting the right words to convince you to take action. In its essence, copywriting is simply that: taking your reader from point a to your desired point b.

In the years before the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century, a dedicated reader could have read every book in existence within their lifetime. Why is this relevant, you might ask. Well, then think, could you imagine hopping online and reading every page on google suggesting you should buy this or that item? No. It would take forever.

The fact is that we have far more choice in today’s information age, from the books we read to the brands we buy from. On the one hand, you can market yourself to people all over the world (something that a merchant in the middle ages likely would have killed for) but on the other hand, that power comes with an inevitable trade off — overabundance. The chances are that there are thousands of others out there that are selling the exact same thing that you are, so why should people choose your brand over theirs?

This is where copywriting is essential. The right copy will differentiate your business from the crowd and create trust with your audience. It tells a story about who you are. It makes your customers feel seen. It’s the jedi mind trick of marketing and advertising.

An experienced copywriter will have experience in producing a range of material for various brands. There are also a multitude of niches within copywriting — whether it’s B2B copywriting, technical copywriting, SEO copywriting — so no matter what it is that you need, there’ll be specialists out there that have been there and done it.

You might have a truly great product on your hands that you can’t wait to tell the world about, yet the results won’t be what you hoped without a real connection with your customers. And that’s exactly what a copywriter can provide. You know better than anyone why your business would be beneficial for your target audience, a copywriter simply takes that knowledge and creates a message that will reach them.

Now, you might ask yourself why you’d need to hire someone to do this for you. After all, couldn’t you write this yourself, or get an AI tool to do it for free?

It’s true that AI bots are smarter these days, and if you feed them the right input then you should get legible copy in return. But believe it or not, a copywriter’s first asset is not their writing skill, it’s an ability that AI doesn’t have.

Copywriters can think.

This is the true bulk of a copywriter’s work. Before a first draft is written, a copywriter will spend time researching your competitors and target audience, as well as familiarising themselves with your brand guidelines and tone of voice. These steps help to determine the content and style of the copy, as well as the medium it’s shared through as part of the overall messaging strategy.

Bringing copywriters onboard means more than just a refresh to your sales material, they can provide the direction that your marketing needs. They can assess the challenges that your business is facing and give you a fresh perspective. In this sense, the work of a copywriter is more proactive than reactive, arming you with expert guidance and a path to build a better relationship with your customers.

Ultimately, the first impression that someone gets when they visit your website, read your blog, or see an ad will be formed by the words that you use. The difference between engaging content and the all-too-familiar is one that your business will undoubtedly feel.

If you’re thinking of hiring a copywriting agency, or have already done so, take the time to share your views on what you think your business’s strengths are, who you’re trying to reach, and anything that differentiates you from the competition. This usually happens during the onboarding phase, but a successful partnership will be built through continued communication and collaboration.

With the right team in place, your business will break through the barrier of stale webpages and newsletters that never see the light of day. On the other side, the upturn in sales and brand awareness will have you questioning how you ever did it without copywriters.

How video editors use psychology

Video editing psychology in film is often used to send subconscious messages to the viewer, giving them a better understanding of the story. The same techniques can also be utilised in commercial video to make content more engaging.

Here are some of my favourite techniques to use in all my video projects:

The first reaction 🎥

As an editor, you will watch your footage hundreds of times, so it’s important to know how you felt the first time you saw it, as that is how the audience will feel when they first see it.

When you first review footage, sit down and watch a clip all the way through, then write down how it made you feel. When you watch through a second time, take more comprehensive notes about the actors, scenery, cinematography, or anything that stands out to you.

These notes will come in super handy further down the line, so remember to keep them organised too!

Edit speed 💨

To get the viewer on the edge of their seat, you edit a scene to be fast and frantic, not giving them a chance to think ahead of the action. If you want them to feel calm and cool, you edit it slowly and smoothly.

For example, a nature documentary about a mother and a baby bird could be slow and peaceful, which feels safe and calm. Then a snake springs out of nowhere and the edit is quick, frantic and jarring creating that sense of danger and anxiety for the viewer.

A common technique in horror and thriller is the slow edit speed before a jump scare or reveal. The viewer can feel as if they are the one slowly tip toeing down the corridor, in anticipation of something scary lurking around the corner.

Blinking 👀

Blinking is a good indicator of how long your mind spends on one thought. As an editor, you need to give the viewer enough time to take in the information.

If a person in your scene has just heard some good news, their thought process could be: shocked — blink — taking in the information — blink — thinking of the consequences — blink.

If you want your audience to stay shocked, you cut before they have time to take it all in.

If there are no people in your scene, watch each bit of footage and see where you naturally blink.

Always watch over your work with fresh eyes, whether it be the next day, week or month. If you can, get someone else to watch too and pay attention to their reactions and timings, often there will be reactions that you never expected.

J cuts 👂

J cuts refer to when the audio starts before the visual does.

This is a particularly good technique to use in conversations. You see one person talking, then you hear the next person but take a moment to actually show them speaking. This makes the viewer feel like they’re the third person in the conversation, as if they’ve taken a moment to turn their head after hearing the words.

This technique is used to prepare the viewer for what’s about to come next. For example, imagine a beautiful forest, then you start to hear a kettle whistling. You’re not going to be surprised when the next shot is of a kettle!

J cuts are also great for misleading the audience. Imagine that instead of the kettle whistling, you hear big slow booming sounds like a dinosaur walking… but the next shot is actually a toddler running in slow motion, ice lolly in hand and an exhausted parent following scrambling behind.

Eye tracking 🎯

This technique is when the subject of each shot lines up with the subject of the next shot. Meaning the viewer doesn’t have to move their eyes across to find the next piece of action.

A great example of this are the first 25 seconds of the Altered Carbon Season 1 Trailer. They use the technique throughout the show which makes it feel cinematic and futuristic.

Breaking rules 🚫

Rules like continuity editing and match cuts are often used to make a scene feel smooth or natural.

Films like Pulp Fiction that are not presented in chronological order, will always be a prime example of how to break the continuity rule.

In scenes with conversations, the camera will stay on one side of the characters, not crossing the invisible 180 degree line. However because this is the norm, breaking the rule creates tension in the audience, and they anticipate that something bad has happened/is going to happen.

Read now
4
min read

Video editing psychology in film is often used to send subconscious messages to the viewer, giving them a better understanding of the story. The same techniques can also be utilised in commercial video to make content more engaging.

Here are some of my favourite techniques to use in all my video projects:

The first reaction 🎥

As an editor, you will watch your footage hundreds of times, so it’s important to know how you felt the first time you saw it, as that is how the audience will feel when they first see it.

When you first review footage, sit down and watch a clip all the way through, then write down how it made you feel. When you watch through a second time, take more comprehensive notes about the actors, scenery, cinematography, or anything that stands out to you.

These notes will come in super handy further down the line, so remember to keep them organised too!

Edit speed 💨

To get the viewer on the edge of their seat, you edit a scene to be fast and frantic, not giving them a chance to think ahead of the action. If you want them to feel calm and cool, you edit it slowly and smoothly.

For example, a nature documentary about a mother and a baby bird could be slow and peaceful, which feels safe and calm. Then a snake springs out of nowhere and the edit is quick, frantic and jarring creating that sense of danger and anxiety for the viewer.

A common technique in horror and thriller is the slow edit speed before a jump scare or reveal. The viewer can feel as if they are the one slowly tip toeing down the corridor, in anticipation of something scary lurking around the corner.

Blinking 👀

Blinking is a good indicator of how long your mind spends on one thought. As an editor, you need to give the viewer enough time to take in the information.

If a person in your scene has just heard some good news, their thought process could be: shocked — blink — taking in the information — blink — thinking of the consequences — blink.

If you want your audience to stay shocked, you cut before they have time to take it all in.

If there are no people in your scene, watch each bit of footage and see where you naturally blink.

Always watch over your work with fresh eyes, whether it be the next day, week or month. If you can, get someone else to watch too and pay attention to their reactions and timings, often there will be reactions that you never expected.

J cuts 👂

J cuts refer to when the audio starts before the visual does.

This is a particularly good technique to use in conversations. You see one person talking, then you hear the next person but take a moment to actually show them speaking. This makes the viewer feel like they’re the third person in the conversation, as if they’ve taken a moment to turn their head after hearing the words.

This technique is used to prepare the viewer for what’s about to come next. For example, imagine a beautiful forest, then you start to hear a kettle whistling. You’re not going to be surprised when the next shot is of a kettle!

J cuts are also great for misleading the audience. Imagine that instead of the kettle whistling, you hear big slow booming sounds like a dinosaur walking… but the next shot is actually a toddler running in slow motion, ice lolly in hand and an exhausted parent following scrambling behind.

Eye tracking 🎯

This technique is when the subject of each shot lines up with the subject of the next shot. Meaning the viewer doesn’t have to move their eyes across to find the next piece of action.

A great example of this are the first 25 seconds of the Altered Carbon Season 1 Trailer. They use the technique throughout the show which makes it feel cinematic and futuristic.

Breaking rules 🚫

Rules like continuity editing and match cuts are often used to make a scene feel smooth or natural.

Films like Pulp Fiction that are not presented in chronological order, will always be a prime example of how to break the continuity rule.

In scenes with conversations, the camera will stay on one side of the characters, not crossing the invisible 180 degree line. However because this is the norm, breaking the rule creates tension in the audience, and they anticipate that something bad has happened/is going to happen.