Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with VeraContent’s Kyler Canastra and technical marketing consultant Stuart Cording:

Kyler Canastra 0:04
Hi everyone, I’m Kyler from The Content Mix, and I’m excited to be here with Stuart Cording, Technical Marketing Consultant at Cording Consulting. And yes, “Cording Consulting.” You’ve heard that right. Stuart is a technical marketing expert who decided to take a leap of faith and start his own consulting company to help marketers implement Technical Marketing Strategies for deep tech clients. Based in Germany, Stuart’s career has always centered around tech engineer at heart, Stuart got involved in marketing for tech companies towards the beginning of his career when he became a marketing engineer at National Semiconductor. Over two decades later, Stuart now dedicates his career to helping others successfully connected with technical decision makers. And I couldn’t be more excited to pick his brain on today’s episode. And what’s more, he’s also a freelance journalist, so I’m sure he’ll have some great insight on content marketing. So I just want to get the interview started. And by thanking Stuart, for coming, thank you so much for joining us on today’s episode.

Stuart Cording 1:01
Hi, Kyler. Thanks for inviting me. I’m really excited about this.

Kyler Canastra 1:05
Our pleasure. Now, I just gave you a really nice introduction based on my research and our discussions beforehand, but I kind of want you to introduce yourself in your own words. So can you just tell us a bit more about where you’re from, and what’s your connection to content marketing in Europe.

Stuart Cording 1:19
So I was born in the UK and grew up there and studied at university there. And I’d always had an interest in electronics, I was completely mad about electronics and programming as a kid. I’m of an age where I grew up with the Commodore 64, as a home computer, sitting there programming in my spare time, everything possible and learning as much as I could about about programming. And I always knew I was going to be in this industry somewhere. But I, at the time, I didn’t understand what that meant as an industry. But it was definitely going to be electronic somewhere. And as I was studying at university, the third year of the studies, you had to take part in a year’s placement as part of that degree. So I managed to get a placement in Germany, just outside Munich, with a company called National Semiconductor, which has now become Texas Instruments. And, yeah, I spent a year there working in the lab developing chips, basically, or semiconductors on microcontrollers, with a fantastic team there. And as I finished my degree, they were willing to have me back again. And that was the break into living in Germany, and I’ve now been in Germany for 20 years. Since then, you know, I’ve moved my way around the semiconductor industry, I’ve worked for a good five or six semiconductor vendors, I’ve worked for tools vendors, and then I started working for a global, but small, global niche electronics marketing agency, Technical Marketing Agency a couple years ago. And that that was really doing it for me from a career point of view. So that’s why I decided to become self employed back in June of last year.

Kyler Canastra 3:01
That’s amazing. Now I got really excited preparing this interview, because there’s kind of some parallels in our career journeys, because I was like doing the product before. So I used to work as a content creator, translator, and then I kind of moved to the sales and marketing side of it. And it’s kind of cool. That’s the same thing. Your interest in engineering is what led you to market for engineering engineers and like that type of product. So yes, your transition into marketing was kind of organic, or just kind of happened, though, for you.

Stuart Cording 3:29
Yeah, I think it was organic, I think it was always going to happen at some point. So I guess my first opportunity to sort of flex my content creation muscles was when I was working at National Semiconductor, I started as an as an application engineer or field application engineer, which meant I was sort of out in the field, I was helping customers and giving them support when they were integrating our products into the applications they were building. And then a MarComm leader came to me one day, and she said to me, we are writing an article for a magazine, or we promised an article for a magazine. It’s about flash memory or microcontrollers. And at that time, you know, flash on microcontrollers was a thing, it wasn’t well known about. But I think there was still some some growing processes and understanding what that technology meant and how to use it. And she asked me if I could write about it. So I sat down and did the research. And I think that was something that came out of being at University. I was quite happy to sort of dig into things and get into depth and find out all the nuts and bolts and I think my feeling’s always been that as long as you know a tiny little bit more than everybody else, you’re on the right wavelength sort of thing. So you just need to get up a little bit more. And then you explain everything to the to just underneath the level of your ability. So I put this piece together and she really liked it. We had a MarComm agency that was working with us and they really liked it, they placed it with some magazines and that sort of started this whole content creation process. at National Semiconductor and I think I must have written about 20 articles I think. They were they counted every article placement. So it was probably five articles but they got translated into other languages. I collected all the magazines that I’ve got it in sort of Swedish and Norwegian and German and stuff. And that carried on and I sort of it didn’t matter where I went, I was always getting in touch with the marketing team and said, Oh, can I write this? Can I add something to the blog? There’s this project, I found using that company’s products. Can I write about that? And yeah, that sort of snowballed.

Kyler Canastra 5:34
Yeah that’s so cool. And when I was preparing for this interview, I was just really like, intrigued because like, I feel like marketing for engineers. And that kind of like brain if you think about, like the person that’s going to be consuming this marketing, is very technical, and probably very different than marketing for other like, say you’re doing like consumer brands, something like that. It’s a totally different approach. So I was kind of interested in learning about, like, why does marketing for engineers differ from just like normal marketing? Or like, there’s no such thing as normal marketing. But why? Why is it different? Because like, that’s clearly what led you to start your own consulting firm because you found a certain niche or found something that was very particular about this field. So

Stuart Cording 6:14
Yeah, so I think the key thing about marketing to engineers, and this probably applies to mechanical engineering and electrical engineering as well as electronics. I think what I’ve called it is like the Matryoshka approach. So if you look a Russian doll, these matryoshkas, if you talk to an engineer about what the problems are, and what the challenges are, there’ll be this list of things. And each one is a Matryoshka doll. So it’s like, oh, you know, it’s too complicated, it’s too big, it’s too heavy, it’s too much power. It’s too expensive, and so on, so forth. And these are sort of the reasons that are given to you as to why a particular device or product or service won’t match into this solution. But I think if you get down to the smallest Matryoshka doll, what every engineer inside is really trying to do is try to protect their reputation. And if you understand that, I think then you’re on the right course with Technical Marketing to engineers in probably any business. And the reason I say that was that one of the… the point at which I understood that to be the case was I was working as a technical trainer. And I was talking to this guy, and he said to me, oh, you know, we’re doing this project, we need a part for this, what would you recommend? And I said, Oh, why don’t get to this semiconductor vendor, I used to work there. I know they’ve got the parts, but we, my company doesn’t have those, you know that you won’t find anything suitable for what you need. “Oh, no way,” he says. “I’m never going to touch anything from them. Again, we burnt our fingers once. We committed to using a particular part. And it was either PowerPoint products, or, you know, it came but it didn’t meet the specifications that were promised. There’s all these sort of problems you see. And it’s that’s the point when it occurred to me, it’s like these engineers, what they’re trying to do all the time in the decision-making process, they might not even realize it themselves. So I think the core at the very bottom of it, they don’t want to be the one where everyone says, Hey, this project is gone wrong, because you committed us to using that part, you committed us to using that software that approach whatever it might be. And, you know, I think reputation is a big underlying factor in technical decision-making where the engineers are involved in choosing stuff.

Kyler Canastra 8:29
That’s really cool. And like very interesting to like, see how, I like that image of the dolls, but also just like, I think it’s like something that you could apply to any marketing. So although it’s so different, it’s kind of just knowing exactly what your target audience is looking for, looking to accomplish, which in this case is to protect, you know, the reputation, but you can apply that to any type of marketing or any campaign that you’re doing. It’s kind of what, and I think, especially now to like, within the world of like, so many options, like you have to really understand what makes you different than everybody else, and what’s going to add value to your target audience’s life. So I think that’s really cool. And I love that imagery as well. Now, it’s kind of like a secondary followup question is because we mentioned before, you’ve worked at Texas Instruments on as a field application engineer, and then you also worked in technical sales engineer at Atmel Corporation. So clearly, like this passion for tech is something that’s been really part of your life and part of your career as well. But in your opinion, do you believe that your hands-on experience with tech puts you ahead of other tech-oriented marketers in the field? And if so, why? And if not, do you think any marketer could tackle this field? So do you think like, for example, I could dive into this and be a tech marketer and expert?

Stuart Cording 9:38
So I yeah, I think I think anybody has the potential to move into marketing in this sphere. But I think what is critical is that you have a good wing person alongside you, somebody like myself, in order to guide you through the process because I think, I think if you come from other industries and you say, Oh, you know, we did. I was with one client once and they went, Oh, we did this campaign and we spray-painted messages on the pavement outside this, these shopping centers and things like that. Could we do that? And you can, you obviously don’t understand how engineers work, how they operate, where they’re moving around, you know, and also the budgets that are involved. And that sort of thing in our industry. I mean, yeah, it’d be great to have some sort of campaign like that, where you’re going out and making everybody aware of bus stops and stuff. But you know, how many engineers create a postdoc. So I think the other the other important thing is that, at the end of the day, engineers are like, you know, I know myself when I love information, I sit there, and I’ll absorb anything. When when I was a kid, you know, I grew up in the UK, Macklin was a big distributor of components. And every year when the Macklin catalog came out, I went through all 650 pages of it, you know, and I knew every type of component, I knew what the package sizes were, I knew what all the tools were available. Obviously, I couldn’t afford all of this stuff. But I had this encyclopedic knowledge of what you needed to be an engineer almost. And I think what we lack in Technical Marketing is obviously some of these, these B2C ideas, some of the more creative stuff, some of the more advanced ways of interacting, and using analytics and all that sort of stuff, I think, I think that’s missing. But at the core, you still need to be, whatever your campaign is, you still need to have a very clear understanding of the engineering side, because you can do any campaign you want. But if the engineer at the end of the day doesn’t know, if you’re five DB better than the competition, or that your package size is this small or that, you know, you can you can support 110 amps, whether the competition is 100 amps is absolutely meaningless, you know. I think one sort of as a demonstrator of that, you’ve got two big distributors, US-based distributors. once once Mouser and the other one’s called Digi-Key. And if you go too big, in one of our big industrial exhibitions in the past, the Mouser stand has been all with boards and staff and information about those boards on one thing another, if you went to the Digi-Key stand, they had one-armed bandits, you know, sort of like pull the lever and play a game. And that’s all they had, they just had these these games. And, yes, there were plenty of people there. It was a good branding exercise, I think, you know, there was really benefits out of doing it, they wouldn’t have done it. Otherwise, I don’t think. But year after year after year, they just kept turning up with these one-armed bandits competitions, you can win this, you can win the other. When those engineers then went back back to the office, if they went to the Mouser website, they would have found this body of information, which would have carried them on from their discussions at the stand. And I know Digi-Key also has content on their website and that sort of thing. But it’s sort of, it was less joined up, in my opinion. And I just think that, because, also from my own experience, if you look at the Digi-Key stand, one-armed bandits. That’s not serious. I’m here to, I’m actually here because I want to build something. And you’re showing me nothing to do with what we’re talking about. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, you know, I think that those are, I think, you know, if you understand the industry, you understand how people tick, how they make decisions, the personas that are around, then that makes a big difference. And so even if you’re coming from other industries into it, I think there’s a lot of work to be done. There’s a lot of hard graft. I think it’s possible. And, you know, help understanding what being interested in technology in itself is obviously going to be a big help.

Kyler Canastra 13:51
Yeah. And I think like one thing that kind of popped to my mind when you were speaking about that was just like passion, the idea of like, actually, like being proud or interested in the product that you’re working on. And like trying to sell and trying to market like, I think that’s a key that makes your job a lot easier. So even like someone that wanted to get involved in your area of marketing with engineers, for example, maybe they’re just someone that’s curious and wants to learn and kind of like what you’re saying, like you were a little kid, like that curiosity could transfer into that kind of role as well. So I think like what you said, you need to know what’s going on in the industry, whether it be like through a wing man or woman to be like, politically correct. But also like having someone advising you, but a lot of it too comes from the drive you have with, like I think is really important.

Stuart Cording 14:38
The other key thing to remember is that engineers rarely make good marketers from deep engineers. And the problem is that engineers are never finished with our products and they never complete. That’s why you need a project manager. And they also know all the failures in their product. And so that’s, you know, generally speaking, you salespeople and marketing people tend to talk a little bit of a higher level. And then it’s the responsibility of the applications team and who are customer support for other industries. They’re there to guide the customer through the hurdles, as they tackle them as they’re trying to use your product, whether it’s a chip, whether it’s a piece of software, whatever it might be, it’s like, well, you know, actually, that’s not quite as far advanced as it is. And there are limits. I mean, not everything is solved, you know, even if I buy a pair of shoes that they might not be as comfortable as the last day you bought, although the person selling them to you said, Oh, yeah, great, I really enjoy them. You know, so. And the problem with engineers, is they always throw up all these Oh, but we haven’t done that yet. And that’s not really fully implemented yet. Or we’re not really quite sure if that’s the voltage, you know, because this is like that, I that’s no good to a marketing person, they need to put something in front of people. Right? So yeah, that’s a challenge, bringing engineers on the marketing people

Kyler Canastra 15:56
Yeah, it seems difficult to like, kind of set goals that are going to be concrete goals, because if they’re not finished, they don’t like to finish things, or are always ongoing, then you can’t do that in marketing…

Stuart Cording 16:06
They’ll work until it’s perfect.

Kyler Canastra 16:13
Exactly. So it’s a tough crowd to work with. Sure. Now, we’ve talked a lot about more about kind of like these bigger ideas of like what it takes to be a marketer in this area. And also like, just like your journey, but I also want to know if you had because, obviously, The Content Mix is about content marketing. And I wanted to know if you have an example of a campaign or a piece of content from your career that’s worked really well for you, and kind of like maybe a highlight or kind of like the perfect piece of content for this area.

Stuart Cording 16:41
So I think the piece of content I’m most proud of, is that actually a paper brochure that I did three or four years ago with the client. So it’s a European client, and they are well known for a particular type of electronics solution. And they also offer a customized building service for that as well. So you, you might find that you know, what your needs aren’t fully covered by what they have on the shelf, you need a customized version of that, or you need to fulfill some sort of specific special standards and things like this. And we sat down and talked about this. And again, it went back down to this, this understanding of engineers is that engineers would prefer to obviously to resolve that problem in house, they’re engineers, they’re problem solvers. They have the skills, they have the parts, they have the connections to make the boards and place all the parts on the boards and soldier it and manufacturing, why give it to somebody else, you know, but the reality is, is that it’s not their core competence, their core competence might be, let’s say, making ultrasound measurement solutions for medicine, for example. And this core, this other piece that they need, isn’t their core competence. And so, yes, they know how it should work, and they know what they need to do, but it’s not their bread and butter. It’s not what they do every day. So the likelihood is that part of the project, although it seems simple, is actually going to delay the whole thing because it never gets finished. And because they weren’t aware of all the trouble and problems that could occur. So we talked through this and said, like, I think the most important thing is really to sort of be open. Let’s open up the entire process. So if I come to you for a custom solution, What’s the process? What happens? How is this experience for the for the customer and his colleagues, his team, different to going to other people who offer great service because there are there are competitors as well. So we laid all this out really carefully, we made a customer journey. And these are the steps. This is what you can experience along the journey. And obviously their core product is also high quality and they have all the standards in place for manufacturing and good logistics and second sourcing. So that is obviously a big benefit to somebody going to them because you get that on top. So we sort of fleshed all of this out and said well, what we need then is a brochure that puts this whole story together. So the brochure turns out to be a story. I got a chance to fly to the customer’s location where the team was and they were absolutely brilliant. So we went there and said we need to do some photos and we’re gonna do these photo shoots and show everybody working. The point is that their pride was the key thing. You know that when you do the photo shoot, the pride is what comes through in the photos because they were so proud to be able to show me and participate in this activity. Like this is our summer phones. This Is Us winding this coil. This is us making a circuit board. This is our warehouse, and the warehouse guy drove back and forth for half an hour with a forklift truck to make sure we could get the right photos, getting boxes off of shelves and all this sort of thing. And that combined with the text, I created, with a graphic artist that I worked with to put to the whole thing together, turned out into just a fantastic piece of content. And that’s gone to I mean, I don’t have numbers to say, this is what came out of the program that I do. I do know that it moved things forward within the business. That the sales team are really happy to have this printed material because in Germany, print is still a big thing. It’s very considered to be valuable. And that has now been turned into a website. We’ve then gone on and we’ve augmented the customer journey with some videos that we did. So we did two languages of videos in German and English, where we intersperse that with video of the manufacturing site and the design site. So you know, it’s a project that keeps going, and that will now run ahead of me for the next 12 months, and we’ll start to use LinkedIn to drive traffic to it. So that’s been unbelievable, an unbelievable project. Yeah, and that’s the sort of thing that you really want to do that lives. And, and every everybody who touches is proud of it and enjoys it.

Kyler Canastra 20:49
Yeah. And I, the one thing I liked about, like, the idea of this project was just like, it’s a paper brochure, which I think back to basics, it’s kind of like, you know, the old tricks still work. And I think that’s really important that I think a lot of times we’re so caught up in like the digital world and digital marketing. It’s like, oh, but sometimes like in certain cases, and I feel like maybe engineers would like that. And you also said in Germany, too, they prefer printed things. So like, you knew your audience well, so it kind of worked with that. But I also like how you mentioned, like, when you went to the site to take the pictures like that, like everybody was enthusiastic. And I think that’s so important in any marketing campaign that you’re taking, if you have like a, an idea or a piece of content, you want to push, it’s like having your team on board, you can have a great idea. But if people aren’t into it, then you know, it’s gonna be kind of not a good product in the end.

Stuart Cording 21:39
Yeah, that’s the key thing that you just said there, if people aren’t into it, and I’ve experienced that as well. So in Germany, especially, because that’s where I’ve grown up and where I’ve worked for, for most of my life, there’s lots of small- and medium-sized businesses, and a lot of those businesses in the engineering field are run by the original founders, you know, and they’re engineers themselves. And many of them don’t believe in marketing, this is the problem. So it’s very challenging sometimes to even do simple things, even changes the website, it’s almost impossible to push anything through. It’s all decided by committee, everybody. Everybody wants a say, you know, I mean, and I do mean, everybody almost down to the cleaner is going to have a say in what and what goes in and how it looks. And unfortunately, you can’t really run a project like that, you know, you have to have somebody saying like, this is the framework, this is what we’ve agreed, this is where we’re going. Yeah, if if something’s wrong with this mistake, or whatever, you know, that’s fine. But it can get very messy. And so especially when you’re trying to get engineering input from people as well. So I don’t like this color, or I don’t like that shape layer. That graphic. Sorry. We did that six months ago. That was done. Now. You know, that’s the corporate identity.

Kyler Canastra 23:01
Like sorry, it’s fascinating to realize how many moving parts are in it, and how you need to have them all on board and all like, behind you. Yeah. Now I’m going to give you some space for a little plug, just to learn more about like, your company. But I’m also curious because I always love when people are like, I had a great career, then I stopped everything and started something, a passion project or an entrepreneurial venture. So I’m curious. So in June 2020, which I can assume it’s like a post-pandemic, you know, product, right? We had a lot of time on our hands, you started your own consultancy for marketers, and you give support when it comes to reaching technical decision-makers. So why did you pursue this? I think you tapped on that a bit before, but also, how’s the experience been? Like it is a risk, as I just mentioned, so how has it been?

Stuart Cording 23:47
Right, so yes, it is a risk. And I had also started my own business. Yeah, about eight years ago, and it was a complete disaster, it didn’t go very well at all. And so I learned from doing that, I knew the risks of being self employed. But that’s the first time I’ve tried to form a company with a partner and we had a product and the service and all sorts of bits and pieces on it. And this time, it was only going to be me, so if it failed, it was my fault. And I’d become unhappy that unfortunately just it was a constellation of things that I was unhappy with the directions that my career was going with my employer at the time. I sort of ended up being just a content creator and that was all I was doing. And at the same time I had, you know, I was applying for some jobs and people say no, we we’d like to employ you but COVID we can’t really get the job at the minute we’re going to be delayed so I knew I could get a job. And I also had some other people that I’ve met through my network over the years and they were coming to me and say like, we’d like to work with you but the sort of the company you’re working for, the prices are too high. The manner in which they want to form a contract doesn’t work for us. But you know, we’d like to work for you. Can we find a way to do it? And I was very wary about just working for a single customer. I think it’s part of my own personal persona, right? I could never, when I was an applications engineer in the field, I used to go to all these different companies, and it was great. One day I’d be doing a bluetooth headset, the next week I’d be working on an oven, then I’d be working on the fridge panel, then I’d be doing like a flow meter in a cellar somewhere, there’d be all these pacemaker thing and all bits and pieces. Yeah, and it was great. But I could never imagine working at that company for the five to 10 years it took to make that product. I need that broad base of things and plate spinning. I have to be careful because you can end up with too many plates. But I do thrive on that, that broadness and that sort of tentacles in lots of things. And so to being self employed, and with two, I had two people come to me say, could you help us with marketing? And I had my old employer said we were happy to sort of continue to feed you as a freelancer with content pieces. So I was pretty sure that you know, I could make that work from a financial perspective. And yeah, it worked out. It was really good. So and I mean, I have not stopped since I started, I’ve been continuously busy. Income has been there all throughout the pandemic, as well. I mean, it couldn’t be better. And people, I get excellent feedback as well. Really, it’s lovely to hear what people say about things and write and produce. I’ve become also a freelance journalist for Elektor, which is big hobby and industry magazine in our space, and well known, it’s celebrating its 60th anniversary at the minute. So we’re doing lots of pieces about the last 60 years. And so that’s a great opportunity to go back and look at which what each decade brought us and technology, how it came about, why do we have these tiny chips? with enormous amount of processing power in our mobile phones today? Where did that all start? and so on and so forth. Why did the internet come about, you know, why? Why, you know, why do we use HTML? all these sort of things. So, yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. And it’s also allowed me to branch out into and try things that I hadn’t done before. So I did a marketing, podcast or webinar cast webcast with a friend of mine, which is why you know that my video setup is hopefully acceptable today. I started doing interviews on LinkedIn as well, I started doing a show, which we call “Through the cable roll” It’s like throughthe keyhole, but for technology. But we go through a roll of cable, and I’m trying to build that up as well. We went to the IA Mobility Exhibition and looked at some of the technology that’s on display there around mobility and electric, electric vehicles, electric power trains. And I’ve also been using those videos to promote some of the articles I’ve written for Elektor over the last few months. And yeah, you know, I think the important thing is that the other clients benefit from from from that as well, because all of these areas where I’m involved, if they come to me and say, Oh, we want to do this, or we’re looking at that, that my background and knowledge is there in that space. And we can, you know, we can do it, because we’ve tried it. And we’ve had the opportunity.

Kyler Canastra 28:33
That’s so great and I mean, one thing is like ,taking risk pays off. Well, I want everyone that’s listening to take because clearly you started your own business, and it failed, and you still decided to do it again. So that’s yeah, I also just love like thinking about when you were talking in the beginning of the interview with like the magazine as a kid and that curious mind and talking about how you work better, like it’s just like kind of knowing you’re like, even as a child, you were the same way of just like I like to learn about things, many things and be involved, I just can’t have a monotonous job. So I think it’s really cool that you kind of took that and started your own thing. And I kind of better suit your lifestyle and kind of who you are as a person. I love that. Now, I’m just curious, because, you know, you tell you’re having a lot of things going on, you have a lot of plates, but kind of what is your daily life like in this business as a consultant, and as a content creator?

Stuart Cording 29:20
Yeah, I’ve basically, I have, I have two clients who I work with, as in the marketing consultancy role permanently and have a few other people sort of help out on an ad hoc basis. So so a week involves pushing those projects forward that we’re doing and the campaigns forward that we’re doing with those fixed clients. Then I’ve got the journalistic sides, there’s always a raft of material to be created. And there’s a raft of material to be edited for the magazines and for the online presence as well. And otherwise, you know, it’s handling other ad hoc content requests. So you know, content, web requests come in some, sometimes those are very well prepared, there’s a brief. If it’s on the topic I know that makes it obviously easier because you build on stuff. And you get very good at researching on Google and finding the right material and finding good sources of information and background. Others are not so well prepared. And you know, I might be involved in doing some interviews with some clients and their teams of engineers, were used to get down to the nuts and bolts of you know, what makes up their solution. Why is it good? How does it help? What’s the USP, all those sort of things. So every week is different. This week, for example, the Elektor Magazine, they are running a fast forward award for startups, which will show the winner that product on exhibition in November here in Munich, and we went to visit one of the sponsors and do a video interview with them and talk to them. And you know, we were there for maybe two hours, we got all the material done in German and in English, and now we’ve got this video material that will be turned into a text-based material for the website, and so on and so forth. So, one week video, the next week, just packing away at the keyboard, try to get as many words in as you can.

Kyler Canastra 31:16
So you like to have something different and have excitement. It’s gonna bring now for time sake, I’m gonna push a bit forward to like the end of our interview, which is usually like advice and recommendations. Yes. I want to know, like what advice we talked, we touched upon this before about kind of can like any marketer get involved in tech marketing, or like, if someone was interested in this field, kind of, I want to know what advice you’d give to somebody who’s looking to start out in tech marketing.

Stuart Cording 31:44
Yeah. So I think if, let’s assume that you’re already doing some sort of marketing or the interest is there and you’ve got a handle for what marketing is, and what it means there’s a couple of books that I can recommend, which I’ve brought with me. So for technical people for Technical Marketing roles, there’s two ladies here, there’s Rebecca Geir, who wrote the book Smart Marketing for Engineers. And there’s her colleague, as well. That’s

Kyler Canastra 32:13
good title:…

Stuart Cording 32:15
Wendy Covey. Yeah, so Content Marketing, Engineered. Now, both of these are excellent texts to read through to get, I would say, a good gauge on some of the key things that need to be done as a technical marketer, and also to address that engineering audience. So you’ve got things in here about creating personas, developing marketing plans, design of the website, content plans, there’s also that’s in the Smart Marketing book, in the Content Marketing, Engineered, it’s obviously a bit more content created, one of the great things in here that you can take away is developing the mission and vision plan. And also, creating positioning statements and things like that. And if you don’t have those, it makes it very, very difficult to, I think, you know, develop your marketing plan anyway, as a as a, if you’re going to be involved in small to medium sized business and you’re, you’re going to be the marketing person, you really need, it’s very highly likely that you’ll need to work with some partners to do this job, you won’t be able to do it on your own, because you won’t be able to create the content, you won’t be able to update the website and all these things on your own. So I think mission, vision and positioning as they’re sort of described in here and using other resources on the web that you’ll find are essential, because if you nail that down, you’ve got this thing that you can go to other people with and say, This is our mission. This is our vision, this is our corporate identity, just an A4 piece of paper, if you want, corporate design, you know, people, those people trying to help you have 1000 questions already answered by having that so I think that is essential. The other good books I wanted to note are Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, I think anyone who wants to get into writing at all should go through this. I just quote one of the things one of the good things in here is “‘Embrace the ugly first draft.’ I think if you’re struggling to write anything, just get anything down. And then also the quote from Checkhov of ‘Don’t show, don’t tell. So he says, ‘Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of the moon on broken glass.’ And that’s the difference I think between you know, an article written by an engineer and an article written by someone who’s a bit more creative, a bit more of a content creator who has engineering experience, you can learn a lot from that. One of the things that one of my jobs was technical training. And in that job, I loved this particular book, as you can see, because I’ve got so many loads. It’s good Developing Technical Training by a lady called Ruth Colvin Clark, it’s a bit dated, and if you get to the like the second, the final third of the book, it’s about online learning and everything’s changed completely. So that’s all irrelevant now. But I think the key thing in here, and I’m just going to share this, because this is probably the most important thing is understanding what they call the content performance matrix, that’s just going to sort of show that there. It’s the understanding of the difference between facts, concepts, processes, procedures, and principles. And I think, you know, when we’re trying to sell technical products, you need to pick people up and you need to sort of give them sort of like a structure, like a framework upon which they can hang their your knowledge and, and where they can, they can find their place here. So you know, it’s, you know, it’s a five-volt part so that’s a fact, but if you if you then need to put a chip on a board, there’s a process associated with that, or, you know, if if, if working in particular manner doesn’t, can it be written down, it’s probably a principle, this sort of guidelines put in place so those are really good things.

Kyler Canastra 36:02
I shouldn’t have been surprised that someone that likes to learn would recommend great books. And you came with the books, so for those listening, check out the video.

Stuart Cording 36:10
I actually amazingly, I found them. I think also, the other, the important thing, I’m independent, I’m a solo freelancer, I don’t really have any intention in turn, turning this into a business of many, many people at the minute. And I think when you’re a solopreneur, as they call them, it makes sense to try and grasp as many tools as you can to simplify your life. So my job is consulting, it’s writing. I’m not interested really in obviously I’m interested in the finances, I want to read like, I’m not interested in sending out all the invoices and checking everything. Okay. So here in Germany, at least, we have a company called Lex Office and who’s coupled up with a bank called Contest. And that’s been absolutely brilliant. You can put all your data in, it sends off all your invoices, you can create offers. Because it’s linked to your bank account, as soon as it gets as soon as an invoice gets paid, it all gets wrapped up. My tax advisor, he can log into it as well from the back end as well. And he can correct anything and equals everything he needs for VAT and all that. So that is absolutely brilliant. Another time saver is Calendly. I think you use that as well. Yeah. So yeah, don’t waste time trying to find an appointment. Just say, look in there choose something, you know. So yeah. Now the other one I use a lot is Toggle is a time tracking tool, which is invaluable if you’re trying to charge people by the hour. So I, at the end of the month, I just opened Toggle and say, right, I spent this amount these amount of hours on this project, these numbers of hours on that project. And also with, I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world, but at least for me, and in Europe, we charge for content by the word. So it also helps with time tracking to see how much money am I earning per word, essentially? Am I on par with my hourly rate or not, you know, do I need to be more efficient. So those are the good things. Recently, with the video stuff has been quite interesting. There’s amazing how many online video tools there are all for editing. There’s a new one I thought was called cap wing. But then I went to watch their videos and it’s called called Kapwing. So Kapwing is a great video editing tool. And the thing that I use it mostly for is put subtitles on video. So they’ve got an AI tool for getting the words out. It’s not perfect, but it does tend to have a starting point. And then tweak that. So that was absolutely brilliant. There’s another one called Headliner as well, which I used a bit. And yeah, I think other than that, yeah, so so Grammerly, DeepL for translation. I only write in English, but I prepare some text using DeepL in German, so people have got something else to start on as a basis. My German is good enough for talking to people and things, but it’s not really good enough. Yeah, for content writing, I think to be published. So yeah, so there we go.

Kyler Canastra 39:10
That’s awesome. And like a very thorough list. I think a lot of people are gonna benefit I love that, I think the more tools and the more books recommendations we have, the better for sure. Yeah. Now we’re coming to the end. We’ve come to the end, I guess of the interview. It’s been really, really interesting to learn more kind of like your career journey, how one thing has led to the next and how now you’re solo entrepreneuring and kind of just like doing what makes you happy. And I think that’s really like for me a big takeaway from this interview. And I was wondering, though, in your opinion, what’s the big takeaway, like a takeaway from this interview or a piece of parting advice that you’d like to share with the audience?

Stuart Cording 39:47
I think if you’re if you’re struggling in a small- to medium-sized business, the key thing is is really to sit down and prepare an explanation of your business. I would say sort of mission and vision and positioning statements. If you get those sorts of things together and then go out there and make use of all the freelance resources that are out there. There’s some great graphic artists that I work with. There’s great other marketing people that I’m in contact with, you know, myself as a writer and others, of course, if you can, if you can put all those things together, you make your life much, much easier and I think you make the life of the people you work with much much easier. And you know, I think that’s sort of the key to having a successful campaign and making your life easier as a one-man marketing person with small- to medium-sized business.

Kyler Canastra 40:42
Yes, it’s user resources and find them and know when to use them, how to use them, and who’s the righ person to hire. That’s awesome. Now if people wanting to like get in touch with you, maybe ask you some questions about how you did everything, like started your own business or anything about tech marketing, is LinkedIn the best way to get in touch? Or is there other ways as well?

Stuart Cording 41:01
For sure. LinkedIn is definitely the easiest way to get in touch because obviously most people are business people, professionals are on there. Alternatively just type my name into Google I’m I’m almost a Google whack. I think there’s there’s I think there’s one Stuard Cording in Australia that played in a in a local cricket team. All the other ones are, so you’ll find me.

Kyler Canastra 41:26
I feel like there’s not many Kyler Canastras so I feel you on that. Thank you so much, Stuart, for everything for your insights, your story for everything was really helpful. And I think a lot of our listeners are going to enjoy it.

Stuart Cording 41:41
Thank you as well. From my side, it’s been brilliant. I really enjoyed the chat and the questions are really insightful questions. And they’ve taken time for me to sort of sit back and think about what I would answer, you know, so it’s been really good.

Kyler Canastra 41:55
And I’m glad I made you reflect a bit, because you should be like happy with the career you’ve had so far. So I’m glad that we did that. And I also want to thank our audience for tuning in. As always, for more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out and keep tuning to the podcast for more interviews with content experts like Stuart so we’ll see you all next time. Thanks again.

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