Meet the Creator - Natalie Filatoff

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Natalie Filatoff

Natalie is an Australian-based writer with more than 30 years experience working across a variety of magazines and mastheads, writing for a wide variety of audiences and participating in a number of editing and writing projects in print and online. She is incredibly passionate about high-quality journalism, and the need to communicate engagingly and clearly across all media. We recently asked her some questions about her approach to content creation.

What is it you enjoy about creating content?

I love researching new topics and expressing relevant findings for particular audiences — nailing the tone that will engage people with useful or fascinating information.

Tell us about your journey to become a content creator

I've been a journalist and editor for many years. I began as a reporter for a Sydney arts and events magazine and became editor of a computer magazine which helped people engage with the then-new desktop and laptop technologies. I've written about the arts, fashion, food and popular culture for various audiences from teens to young professionals, and went on to found a health magazine — a 360-degree brand with website, online tools, and spin-off books and campaigns — for Australian women in the 40+ demographic. Since 2014 I've been working as a freelance journalist and content creator in the areas of health, science, technology, business and travel. I've co-ordinated and supplemented my content with social media campaigns, created engaging content for corporate apps, edited white papers … I take pleasure in making complex topics, such as Australia's energy transition, scientific discoveries, and corporate thought leadership, engaging and understandable.

What is the piece of content you are most proud of?

Among my most favourite assignments were two multimedia projects for The Guardian Labs:

  • Powering People is an online series about the impact of technology on Australian life produced in collaboration with GE. I researched and wrote the featured content, and had input into shaping videos, images, text and data visuals to tell compelling stories.
  • For the second series, Innovation Never Sleeps, I wrote various features and profiles and helped co-ordinate a multimedia team to create an interactive documentary exploring 24 hours in the lives of five extraordinary innovators.

I'm also particularly proud of the work I did with Diabetic Living magazine. Writing upbeat, informative features about how people can live well with diabetes and reduce the impacts of this chronic disease was especially rewarding. People living with diabetes, and their carers and health-care teams are generous with their experiences and passionate about bringing about positive change — communicating with this community was inspiring.

What value does content bring to a client's marketing strategy?

My colleague Jane Nicholls and I teach an ADMA course in Copywriting for content marketing, and one of the most valuable aspects of what we do is to bring our passion for storytelling and story finding to participants. Audiences engage with human stories and experiences. Many brands don't realise the terrific collateral they have within their own organisations and customer base. Interviews and conversations that generate features rich with quotes, revealing Q&As, entertaining podcasts and moving case studies are just a few ways of bringing brands — from financial products to fast-moving consumer goods — to life. Research confirms what we know intuitively, that facts and information become more memorable when embedded in a well-told story.

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

I look for fascinating facts, personal experiences, and stories of transformation or deep domain expertise. Brands generally have either a rich history or an inspiring start-up tale. Well told through various content forms, such stories resonate with audiences and build connections with customers. Over years of brand storytelling for General Electric, I've found that a light brand touch woven into a compelling story is the most engaging approach. Rather than beating people over the head with a brand message, it's more effective to deliver content relevant to your brand or product, but with the main aim of informing or inspiring people in an area of interest to them.

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

It's a matter of working closely with clients who understand their market segment. Brands generally have excellent insights into what resonates with their customers/audience. A skilled content producer will channel that knowledge, adding fresh perspectives where appropriate. Hitting the right tone and style for any brand is a process of absorbing what's known, adjusting for campaign or project goals, and bringing the right level of energy to the content expression.It also helps to empathise — consider the mood of the audience when they're seeking a particular brand content. Are they frustrated, hopeful, in need of fast facts, looking for inspiration?

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

Key demographics of existing customers and the target audience — who are they reaching and who do they want to reach?

What makes successful content?

Responding to the mood and needs of the audience and providing conversation starters — every piece of content should have some useful or amazing fact or twist that people will want to share.You can find Natalie and her creative portfolio on the Fabulate platform, by clicking and viewing her profile here.