Anthony Caruana has worked for almost every major masthead in the Australian IT press, covering enterprise and consumer technology, information security and customer advocacy with his news writing appearing in major press around the world. 

Having also worked as the lead IT executive in several businesses, he brings a unique insight and deep technical knowledge to his reporting. 

Anthony is currently a freelance writer working for several major publications, a regular commentator on radio and television, as well as hosting many corporate events and webinars. He is also a sought-after media trainer. 

We recently asked him some questions about his approach to content creation.

 

What is it you enjoy about creating content?

It’s the exploration. Whether I’m interviewing someone or researching a topic, I love learning new things. Sometimes those things are small details. Just today I wrote a short article about why airlines fly empty planes (it’s to keep the take-off and landing slots they buy from airport operators) – I learned something new.

I love finding the human angle in what I write about. Particularly in technology, the focus is too often on ‘feeds and speeds’. I’m more interested in what that means to people in a practical way. When I interview a founder about their business, I love hearing about the journey before they started as much as what’s happened since they secured funding or achieved a big milestone.

What is your approach in bringing a client’s story to life through brand journalism?

It’s always about the story. I firmly believe that people engage with stories. I recently completed a series of stories about a range of laptop computers. While the specifications and design are important, I focussed on how the technology can enable a person to do something new or better than before.

There’s a temptation to be sucked in by the latest trends or flashiest design. But brand journalism and content marketing work best when the reader really engages. 

In the media training workshops I run, I tell people about a squatter who breaks into someone’s home and steals their food. Then I reframe it and tell them that’s what Goldilocks and the Three Bears is about. The facts are the same – it’s the way you tell the story that makes the impact. 

Tell us about your journey to becoming a content creator.

My journey to becoming a content creator was really through a series of fortunate events. I graduated from university with a science degree right at the time Australia decided scientific research was a waste of time. So, I decided to transition into teaching.

I was fortunate that I secured work as a teacher for several years when the Kennett Government was closing schools and laying teachers off. From the last school I worked at I switched into vocational training and scored a corporate job managing training for a large company.

I then transitioned into operational IT and started blogging for a large Canadian site. It was a sweet gig for me – I got to play with some cool tech, and I got to keep a few things along the way. It was unpaid but fun.

From there, I gained a reputation for my work and landed a freelance gig with one tech magazine. Eventually, that led to more freelance work and I eventually gave up my secure and well-paid corporate job in the utilities sector for the roller-coaster of freelancing as a content creator.

How do you determine the tone, voice and style is right for a particular piece of content?

There are two big questions for me –  audience and intent.

When I started freelancing for my first print magazine, the editor gave me a valuable piece of advice. Someone will spend their $10 for that magazine just to read your 300 words. Make sure they get their money’s worth.

Although the online world has changed the economics, the principle is the same. The reader needs to come away with something of value for them.

As for the intent, there are times when the client wants something specific – like increased sales, more clicks on their website or some other tangible outcome. But that intent has to be right for the audience and not be rammed down their throat.

What’s the most useful thing a marketer can provide in the brief that allows you to understand their brand?

I could pretty much reiterate my answer to the previous question. Who is this content for and what do you want them to do with it? If they know that and can articulate it, then the job of creating the content is a lot smoother.

What’s the piece of content you are most proud of?

That’s such a tough question. Over the last 15 years I’ve written thousands of articles – I was writing 20 pieces per week for one client over about two and a half years.

I had the opportunity to write about the Same-Sex Marriage Survey, giving it a personal angle which I was really proud of (and resulted in quite a bit of hate mail!). And I’ve been able to write a couple of series on topics such as corporate leadership and ethics that I think resonated with my target audiences. But picking out a single story is too hard.

I think I’m still getting better and better as a writer and think my best work is still ahead of me. I recently read Donald Hall’s A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety and was inspired by a writer who was almost 90 years old and still getting better at his craft.

 

You can find Anthony and his creative portfolio on the Fabulate platform, by clicking and viewing his profile here.