Okay here we go!
I’ve answered a couple of questions together. And as you can see, I’ve left the most important ones till last.
If you have more questions, comments or ideas for content you’d like to see us writing, I’d love to hear em!
When you’re not writing blog posts for Monzo, what does your day to day include?
Helping launch new features
Because we use the blog to make important announcements, I’m also involved in launching new features like Pots, Marketplace Beta or Coin Jar. I’ll link up with the product manager for each feature to work out the best way to tell our users (and the world!) about what we’ve built.
That could be:
- One big launch: building excitement and making a splash
- A gradual rollout: communicating clearly how the process will work, making sure we set expectations so no one’s disappointed
- Or an early experiment: explaining that this isn’t the final product, but we’re launching it early to see what you think, and would love to get your feedback
I’ll then write a blog post, put together a press release and send it out to journalists, and work with the product manager to make sure we keep customer support in the loop: briefing them on how the launch will happen and anticipating common questions.
Talking to press
I also try to strike up new relationships with journalists, and respond to incoming requests from the press. That might mean setting up an interview with Tom or someone else on the team, sharing relevant information or stats about the company, or introducing them to Monzo to begin with.
Do the teams at Monzo proactively feed you stories, or do you have to go searching for them? Or a bit of both?
How much freedom you get at Monzo to do your Job? Are you free to make your own content and put it out or it gets discussed and edited before going out…
A bit of both! People are keen to share an insight into the work they’re doing, so will come to me with ideas and suggestions of things they want to write. When that happens, I’ll help them (to different degrees) with ideas for the content and structure, and actually edit their drafts.
Searching for stories takes a bit more detective work: creeping around on Slack, seeing who’s presenting interesting stuff in team meetings, understanding everyone’s expertise and approaching them with ideas, or gossiping to find out what’s going on.
Who reviews your content or are you a team of 1?
What was your worst content blunder that slipped the review process?
Boring answer, but probably typos!
Written content is usually given the once over by at least one other person, usually @tristan or @hashbridge, to check for typos, get feedback on the content, style, tone etc.
I then upload blog posts to the website using GitHub, so someone reviews everything then too, to make sure all the formatting’s on point and I haven’t broken anything.
That’s usually/hopefully enough to catch any glaring errors, and less obvious ones too. But when you’re working quickly or have been staring at the same post for a long time, it’s easy to miss things. I’m always amazed at how eagle eyed some of my colleagues and our customers can be
Who is your credible news outlet?
Which is the first news provider you reach for in the morning?
I usually watch BBC Breakfast or listen back to the Today Show while I get ready in the morning, then check Twitter on the tube.
I also use Pocket to save stuff I come across during the day and want to read later. So I’ll also catch up on anything I’ve saved while I make my way in.
TechCrunch and Business Insider help me keep up with stories specific to our industry.
The BBC’s Business Daily podcast is also great. Each episode deals with a different theme or issue, related broadly to business and money, like commuting, urban housing, the profitability of emoji businesses, and even challenger banks Good for getting an interesting overview on big current issues.
And I’m excited to see what The Telegraph is doing to expand its tech coverage.
Press moves really quickly, but what are your thoughts on the slow journalism movement? Is there room for considered print/web longreads within the intense 24-hour-news-cycle?
Absolutely. I think there’s room for both, and personally think sitting down to read a long piece, on your phone, in the paper or a print magazine, is a nice and necessary counterpoint to just endlessly scrolling on Twitter.
Journalism as an industry is facing a lot of challenges, fighting and adapting to stay alive. But in many ways I think it’s social function is only becoming more and more important c.f. The impact made and attention paid to Carole Cadwalladr’s work on Cambridge Analytica this week.
Lil reading list of things I like:
Also, what is your Monzo news highlight? (Favourite piece of press for Monzo you’ve ever been involved with)
Probably this one
By Tim Lewis in the Observer. It was amazing to see Monzo’s story being told in a double page spread in the Sunday papers, and reaching a real mainstream audience. We even saw a spike in new signups that day, which could have been because of the story. It’s often very difficult to measure and quantify the value of PR, so it was cool to see one story have such a direct effect on signups.
Here’s a choice quote:
“Before a switching service was introduced in 2013, on average we would stay with our bank for 17 years. The typical marriage in Britain, meanwhile, lasted 11 years, seven months.”
Monzo are already good at it and great on transparency but what improvement do you think Monzo and you could make in sharing content and bring more transparency?
Are there ever disagreements about how much information to share with customers? Who has the casting vote?
We share an incredible amount of information with our community, and I think we all understand why that transparency is so important: it’s what will help us earn your trust and prove that we’re really doing things differently.
But I think it’s important to share that information in a way that’s considered and coherent.
Information overload is a problem we face when communicating internally, and I think putting a whole host of information out there ad hoc, whenever someone happens to ask, is not the best way to fulfil our commitment to transparency. Being transparent means being honest and open. But it also means making sure you make an effort to communicate what you do share in a way that people can always access easily and understand.
As for new ideas, I’m all ears! If you have any thoughts on what you’d like to know about Monzo, or what we can do to help you better understand or access the information we do share, please let me know!
A couple of things I’m keen to do more of:
- Technical posts
- Share stories about how people actually use Monzo
What feature are you most excited about Monzo releasing this year?
The redesign of the Spending tab (sneak peek here). I’ve always been crap at budgeting and managing my money. Targets help a lot, but I think the new updates that factor in committed costs and disposable income, and show whether or not you’re “on track” for the month as a whole will be wicked. I think it will be super slick and make a lot more sense as a main account.
Or CASS, because I’m averse to admin and love anything that helps me avoid it.
What is the most disappointing bit of tech you’ve ever bought?
I don’t go in for gadgets that much, maybe a Kindle tablet I never use? Got it years ago for uni to save lugging loads of books around, but always found it difficult to focus and kind of took some of the fun out of reading.
What the the top 5 songs you listen to if you need a musical pick me up?
More than five but:
And finally, are you a lover of pineapple on pizza? ( + = )
Yes! Kitsch, but I love sweet/savoury combos. Reminds me of going to Pizza Hut as a kid.
and do you like cats?
More than dogs, but I’m allergic
Do you like Marmite?
Didn’t think “like” was an option!
Who’s your favourite member of the Marketing and Community team?
Think I’ll decline to comment.
Had fun answering these, thanks everyone!