My occasional series of interviews with interesting people continues.
Daniel Thomas is content manager at the online gambling company Betfair. He was previously a business journalist for 11 years, working for three leading trade titles as a reporter and news editor before a stint as a freelance journalist and copywriter.
[I worked with Dan at Computer Weekly]
Give me a short run down of your career to date.
After graduating with a degree in journalism, I got a job at Computer Weekly magazine – meeting your good self – which was an excellent learning ground for a wet behind the ears reporter. I stayed at the publisher Reed for nine years in total, with stints at Personnel Today and Caterer as news editor post CW. I then entered the freelance world for 18 months, adding corporate work such as copywriting and media training to my CV. My core skills have always been writing and editing, but recent years have seen team leadership and project management come to the fore.
You have an interesting new job. Can you tell me what it is and what it involves?
As Content Manager, I globally manage Betfair’s editorial offering, encompassing sport, poker, games and casino. The central hub for this activity is the betting.betfair website in the UK and its 17 international versions. I also manage the content for Betfair’s ‘high value’ customers and the central copywriting resource at the company.
There aren’t many people doing this type of job. How has it been moving from journalism to content management for a brand?
I am still, essentially, managing words on a (web) page, so there are of course similarities, but working for a brand rather than a publisher means the scope of my role is much wider. There is much more long-term planning for starters while the budget I control is – to put it mildly – far bigger.
Are there any striking differences in how you produce and manage content?
On a day-to-day basis, not really. I manage a team of editors who, in turn, manage a host of freelance contributors. Same as in any newsroom. One difference is that we allow our contributors to input content direct into our CMS (although they can’t publish).
The copywriting side of things is, however, something you don’t encounter in publishing. On an ad hoc basis, my team produces or edits content on anything from customer communication to internal HR messaging.
What type of content projects are you working on currently?
As a sports-led brand, obviously events such as Wimbledon and the start of the football season are big areas of focus. One of my key projects is working on a content proposition for what we call our ‘high value’ customers; our most sophisticated punters, who generate the highest levels of revenue for us.
What’s your most used work gadget?
The role is largely desk based, boringly enough, so laptop, although I of course diligently check my BlackBerry at home and on the Tube.
Favourite work app?
Betfair app of course!
Tell me something not many people know about you.
I always used to say’ I’m distantly related to the Spanish Royal Family’ in answer to this question but I subsequently discovered that the family member who was investigating the Thomas family tree actually made a mistake…. So a random fact that is actually true: Errol Brown was born on my road!
Previously, I have spoken to: