Azadeh Williams – Journalist and Content Specialist

Posted October 20, 2017, by Jenny Sakr
Azadeh Williams – Journalist and Content Specialist

With over 3000 published articles across three continents, including feature writing for The Times (UK), The Sunday Times (UK) and Thomson Reuters, Azadeh Williams is one of the most widely read B2B journalists in her field.

Currently based in Sydney, Azadeh is the founder of content writing agency and continues her news, features and content development for IDG's CMO Magazine, Canon's Fast Business, Intuit, The Tax Institute, Thomson Reuters' Insightly and QuickBooks.

Azadeh has also lectured journalism at Macleay College and pioneered both the fashion and business journalism electives.

How long have you been in journalism?

Since 2002 – started editing law journals and publications while still at Law School and continued to write while being a grad lawyer at Gadens, before jumping ship to become a full-time legal news editor with Thomson Reuters in 2005.

What did you study and what are the steps you took to be where you are today?

I studied Arts/Law at the University of Sydney, Honours in English Literature, and then an MA at the City University London School of Journalism

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A Nobel Prize-winning novelist

What was your first job?

First media-related job was working as a media officer intern at the National Native Title Tribunal, researching, developing and writing content around indigenous water rights.

When did you first know you wanted to be in journalism?

When I was writing for newspapers in university while studying law. I just loved media, writing and the ‘buzz’ around news.

Explain a typical day at work

For my content writing business, it’s typically about trying to gain and retain new customers, businesses and publishers willing to take on my services. So it’s a lot of time on the phone, LinkedIn and email. I also develop a content strategy for clients, so that requires a lot of more in-depth analysis. For feature writing and news writing for publications, I spend a lot of time going to events, visiting executives in boardrooms, meeting and interviewing CEOs and CMOs, then writing it all up.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you in your career?

I thoroughly enjoyed being a features writer for The Times UK. I went to the UK with absolutely no contacts, I hadn’t even visited the country before, but I quit my full-time role at Reuters to pursue a vision to be an international business journalist. Within only three months of arriving in the UK, I had a full page feature on private equity in The Times.

That led on to more opportunities with The Times and the Sunday Times, along with various PR companies, legal publications and software companies taking on my content writing and editorial services.

Name the best and worst parts of your job

Best part: Telling compelling and engaging stories that spark debate, inspire change or celebrate business and marketing leaders.

Worst part: It’s a severely underpaid profession and the new wave of so-called ‘content writers’ charging a fiver for a piece of content is severely devaluing the industry. Luckily I’ve juggled my content writing business, lecturing and niche business and marketing news writing offerings to stay afloat and have a flexible and rewarding career.

What’s the most important career tip someone has given you?

When I went for a senior editorial job in Sydney after being in London for 5 years, the head of the company met me in the lobby and said ‘you’re too good for this role, you’re worth millions.’ Those words have haunted me every day – and I still feel like I haven’t reached my full potential.

What do you wish someone had told you before starting in this industry?

To build your own news and content writing business when you had the chance and there were fewer players in the field because now it’s just so insanely competitive – like dogs to a bone.

Where's the best place to start if you want to get into journalism?

Best way to start is by interning at a leading publication – because once you have a big ‘wow factor’ name on your CV from the start, you’ll immediately stand out from the crowd. At the same time, also have your own website and build content on it – it shows you are proactive and immediately gets you noticed.

Name a career highlight

I absolutely loved lecturing at Macleay College – I pioneered both the Business Journalism elective and Fashion Journalism elective. To be able to give back and share my knowledge with the students was an incredible experience.

What’s next for you?

I plan on focusing now on re-building my content writing agency and its offerings, as I know what it takes to provide compelling, effective content that gets measurable business outcomes. 

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Jenny Sakr
Jenny Sakr

Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.

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