Beard Wars: Q&A with Senior Content Writer, Shane Roberts
Shane Roberts, one of the senior content writers on our Travel & Lifestyle desk, takes some time out from crafting outstanding content for our customers to tell us about his love of trees, holding the line for the Castleford football team and sacrificing his beard for a worthy cause.
What do you like most about working at Castleford?
At the risk of sounding horrendously cliched – something that my team will know that I have a keen eye in seeking out – it’s the fact that I get paid to do something I love: writing.
Not only that, I get to do it at a forward-thinking company that matches my own ambition, and I come in each morning knowing that I have a great raft of diverse topics to write about – and they sure can vary!
Finally -call the Cliche Police once again – it’s the people I work with. I’m very good friends with each of my colleagues. Castleford has a hugely cosmopolitan feel, and that’s something that I think should be applauded – there are five different nationalities on the Travel & Lifestyle desk alone.
If you weren’t writing for a living, what would you be doing?
I’m a huge sports fan, so I wouldn’t mind being involved in that industry in some shape or form. Note that I said ‘fan’ and not ‘participant’ – as Castleford’s football team will attest to, I’ve got two left feet, but that doesn’t stop me being a brick wall in the heart of the defence. And by ‘brick’, I mean ‘flimsy’.
Not many people know this, but I’m also hugely interested in trees – they fascinate me, and if I hadn’t studied English at university, I would have followed the forestry path.
Looking back at your time at Castleford, what are you most proud of?
During my time here, I’ve written for many of what you might call ‘female-orientated’ clients. We’re talking matching jewellery, shades of lipstick, pregnancy, wedding dress alterations, and even breast enhancement. As a 6′ 2″ bearded Englishman who enjoys boxing, getting into the mindset to write some of these articles proved a big challenge, but it certainly broadened my writing range.
However, perhaps my proudest achievement with the company is convincing a customer to stay with us after they read a whitepaper I put together – that customer is still with us today, and ordering ever more content!!
What’s the most interesting account your team is working on at the moment?
Duncan has just taken a new customer which arranges sightseeing tours around Antarctica, where you can seek out emperor penguins and killer whales. It certainly makes a change to the sun-drenched climes that Travel & Lifestyle usually writes about!! Additionally, I’m taking over a customer that sells ride-on lawnmowers later this month – the pun potential for that one is limitless.
If you could poach any writer from another team to join Travel & Lifestyle, who would it be and why?
I could get into a lot of trouble here, so I’ll play it diplomatic. There are a lot of world-class writers here at Castleford, and any one of them could bring a lot to the Travel & Lifestyle table. I was particularly looking forward to Jareth coming over – he’s a very talented writer – but then our new Hybrid desk poached him, so he’s doing great things for them instead. Never mind!!
As I said earlier, I’m huge sports fan, football in particular, but it’s fair to say that most of the Travel & Lifestyle table aren’t quite as passionate about running around after a ball as I am. Hence, I often find myself talking to Ben on Business & Technology, or Mark on Property & Finance, to mull over the latest beating Arsenal (the team I’ve followed my entire life) have taken against a team that finished fourth in the Estonian league. This can often cause my neck to ache, so anyone I can banter with over any sport is worthy of a space on the hallowed Travel & Lifestyle desk in my book.
You’re sporting a pretty impressive beard. It’s clearly the best beard in Editorial, but is it the best beard in the Auckland office?
Another controversial one. Duncan’s background is in film, and he wants to make a Castleford movie entitled ‘Beard Wars’ which would see me face off against Jonny. That’s some tough competition – Jonny’s beard is immaculately coiffed, so I don’t know who might emerge victorious. I might ask him what beard oil he uses. (I’m a fan of Lambert’s Luscious Buccaneer). He’s British, too – it must be something in the water.
You did Movember last year and rather controversially lost out to Mark (Senior Writer on Property & Finance) in the office vote for best mo. Will you be taking part again this year?
That brings back painful memories. It took me about three days to get the pitiful effort that Mark grew over the entire month, so there were definitely some FIFA-esque bribes going on in the shadows. In all seriousness though, it was all for a great cause, and we raised a fair few dollars.
This year? Movember’s rules state that all competitors must be clean shaven on November 1st, which would mean losing my incredible beard. That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, especially if it involves winning the title that is rightfully mine.
Finally, who did you get in the Rugby World Cup sweepstake and are you hopeful of winning the pot?
I drew Ireland – a surefire bet for at least the quarter-finals. So, should England get knocked out by Australia this weekend, I’ll be cheering on the men in green. If the luck of the Irish is with them, and the All Blacks choke as they always do at foreign World Cups, they are definitely in with a shout!!