Achieve Incredible Far-reaching Results “With Content” Marketing
What’s your story?
Like many young people, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, even as I was entering university. As a result, I decided to major in an area that I thought seemed interesting – political science – but ended up becoming disillusioned halfway through instead. By the time I realized this, it seemed too late to back out and change tracks. While churning out numerous research papers across my political science modules, however, I recognized that unlike many of my peers, I thoroughly enjoyed writing. I thought that I could make a career out of writing instead.
So instead of chasing grades, I pursued writing opportunities wherever I could – for the school magazine, a non-profit organization I interned at, and so on. Eventually, I landed a position as a writer – and eventually, editor – for an online magazine focusing on the entertainment scene. This was my first exposure to startups, and I was intrigued. After doing more research on the world of startups and technology, I also chanced upon the then-growing niche of content marketing. I saw in content marketing an opportunity to earn a living while doing what I loved, and I devoured courses, books, and materials on it.
I went on to lead content marketing efforts at a number of tech companies, such as Zendesk and Piktochart, and led a team of journalists at the top tech publication in Asia, Tech in Asia. Today, I focus exclusively on a content marketing agency called With Content, which I started in late 2017.
What excites you most about your industry?
I have a love-hate relationship with the fact that, despite being around for a decade or so, many business owners and marketing leaders still don’t understand content marketing well. This makes many of the conversations I have with potential clients frustrating, but also presents a huge opportunity for me to bust myths and help them understand the true potential of content marketing.
For instance, tech startup founders often ask me why their product or service shouldn’t feature prominently in their content – this is one of the biggest reasons we’ve identified why content marketing isn’t working for many of them.
But what excites me the most is that we’re getting more and more clients than ever before (we’re in our third year now). Not just because it’s good money, but because this means that the understanding and level of content marketing in the region is on the rise. This is, indeed, our mission: to raise the bar of content marketing in Southeast Asia.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore, and am currently based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I also developed a passion for helping small businesses and startups in Asia to grow and thrive during my Tech in Asia days, and right now, my mission is to use content marketing as a means to achieve that.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Definitely Singapore. It’s so easy to start and run a business in Singapore, and business owners here tend to be more up-to-date with the latest and greatest – always an inspiration.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
A mentor once told me that the greatest thing a business owner can aspire to is not to have the most money in the bank, but to have the best impact possible on people. He quoted from the Bible: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” At the same time, he was clear that a business needs to first survive – and in a sustainable manner – before it can even begin to have an impact on those it comes into contact with. And that has been a winning formula for me when thinking about With Content: sustainability + people = impact.
Who inspires you?
Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A. Despite having a “closed-on-Sundays” policy – unheard of in the F&B industry – it is the most profitable fast-food chain in America (on a per-unit basis). Even through the toughest times, Cathy stuck with this policy faithfully, living out the company’s mission statement: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” I can only pray to have that level of faith when tough times come calling!
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Businesses have an enormous opportunity – and hence, responsibility – to create a fairer, equitable society, particularly in countries where governments are dropping the ball. Basecamp’s David Heinemeier Hansson presents a compelling argument for this in his debate with angel investor Jason Calacanis here.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would explore more areas of passion and interest, as early as possible in life. It takes time to determine whether a passion or interest can transform into something more – whether as a career or even a hobby – and I would want to try as many things as I humanly can!
How do you unwind?
Once a week, I take my mind completely off work matters and spend the entire day reading a good book or two (with coffee or tea in hand). I also hit the gym at least twice a week – a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Chiang Mai, Thailand is my number one choice. And since With Content is a completely distributed company, I’m incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to be based here now! Thai culture is so laid back and relaxed, you just can’t help but feel at ease when you’re amongst the people.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“The Go-Giver: A little story about a powerful business idea” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Here’s a quote from the book that sums it up: “Most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving […] Then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.” Giving became not only my core principle for doing business, but philosophy in life.
Shameless plug for your business:
With Content is a content marketing agency in Singapore that helps B2B tech companies create long-form content that potential customers will actually love. We’re grateful to have clients who are doing amazing things across Asia, such as UOB, NTUC, Xero, PropertyGuru, SGInnovate, Tech in Asia, and Wavemaker Partners. If you’re interested in adding your name to this incredible list, you can check out our services and pricing here.
How can people connect with you?
Email: [email protected]
Company website: https://withcontent.co/
Personal website: https://danieltay.me/
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.