From lab rats to Godzilla: Q&A with Content Writer David Renwick
What were you working on just now?
I’ve just finished a piece on digital air traffic controllers – essentially virtual agents within a computer network that manage individual computing tasks. One of the inventors of the project at IBM explained that the system was like having an air traffic controller managing every aircraft in US airspace individually, whilst also being aware of every other controller simultaneously. It’s really fascinating stuff.
What do you like most about working in content marketing?
I’d have to say getting to write about a combination of new topic areas, while also exploring areas I thought I already knew pretty well. It’s also really interesting to see how our content helps client websites rise in Google’s search rankings.
Google or Bing?
Definitely Google, though there was a time when I had just bought a new laptop with Windows 8 and used Bing for a few days. I think the biggest downside to Bing is the distinct lack of innovation in areas such as voice and image search. Google has all kinds of little shortcuts. Did you know, for example, that you can right click an image on a webpage, press ‘s’ and Google will search for related images? The integration with other products in the Google suite is another big factor that Google search has over its competitors.
Chrome or Firefox?
I’ve used Firefox pretty extensively in the past before jumping to Chrome. The fact that Chrome was noticeably faster to open and load web pages was a big deciding factor for me and I think they’ve improved the browser substantially as well. In the latest versions of Chrome you can send pages directly to the mobile version, which I think is great.
Apple or Android?
My first smartphone was an Android, followed by a newer Google Nexus phone. I’ve since jumped ship to iPhone and haven’t looked back. I used to think customisation and bigger screens were what I wanted in a phone, but I think simplicity and reliability are much more important. Nowadays, most of the same services are available across both operating systems anyway so I don’t see a huge difference when it comes to everyday use.
Who have you learned the most from since joining Castleford?
I’ve honestly learned from a huge number of people here, as each have taught me something different. Zak (Associate Content Editor, Business & Technology) and Amanda (Managing Editor) have really helped me develop my writing style, while Chris (former Lead Content Writer, now Section Editor at Brafton) was great at explaining the different topic areas and requirements of existing clients. John (Senior Content Writer) has been awesome at teaching both myself and the team about writing better whitepapers, which seemed daunting at first but are something I actually enjoy doing now.
We cover a huge range of different topics. What’s the strangest subject you’ve written about during your time with us?
The strangest article I’ve written recently was about research that might save the lives of lab rats. Researchers from the University of Glasgow believe that by implanting sensors with power sources on the vertebrae of an animal, the effects of medications and procedures can be monitored without the need for deep tissue scans. Apparently these scans are what contribute to high animal fatalities.
You spend a lot of time on the internet as part of your job. If you could write for any brand, who would it be and why?
I actually quite like taking on clients from new industries, as it forces me to learn about new topics, trends and people. I suppose ideally I’d like to write for a company involved in the aviation sector, covering news and research developments, as that’s an area I grew up around and would love to build expertise in.
What can we usually find on your desk?
Finally, you studied film at university. What’s the worst movie you’ve seen this year?
Probably the latest Paranormal Activity film – I think it was a spin off? They had something quite fun with the first two, but have degenerated really badly since. I guess that’s a clear example of the effects of annualising a film franchise. I am quite looking forward to the new Godzilla movie. The director, Gareth Edwards, made Monsters in 2010 which was fantastic. It’s also got Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame.