An Interview With Davor Štefanović

“You can’t think outside the box if you don’t know where the box is.”

Today, we bring you the interview with our lead writer, Davor Štefanović. We had a chat about his thoughts on writing, what goes into crafting a good copy (coffee, apparently), and his views on success in the digital marketing industry.

Tell us about your writing process. How do you go about crafting an impactful copy or a piece of content?

Short answer? Coffee. Long answer? Lots of coffee! 

Well, kidding aside, it’s really not rocket science. I do my research, read up on the topic as much as the time allows, and then I proceed to write. The intro is usually the hardest so I leave it for the end when I have a better idea about the article’s flow. 

I guess research is the important part, you really can’t start writing about something without having read up on it and got at least a moderate understanding of the topic. If you know what you’re writing about, the actual process is easy.

How do you define success and what makes the project successful?

Well, If people like my writing, I call it decent. If they manage to learn something from it, well, that’s real success, isn’t it? Of course, that also depends on clients’ goals. People won’t “learn” much from an ad copy but if they’re intrigued enough to click on it or research the client’s brand… that’s good too.

What I’m trying to say is that success is not a strictly defined concept. In the digital marketing world, it heavily depends on the clients and their goals. I guess if I were to narrow it down to something that makes sense for the digital marketing agency, then it’s blending the technical requirements (SEO, keywords, and generally pleasing Google) with actually well-written and useful content.

What are your tactics for handling writer’s block?

How much time do you have?

I don’t have a set strategy for that, it really depends on my mood, what I’m working on, what’s the deadline, and… “a variety of other factors” (if I had an editor, they’d probably look at me very sternly right now).

If the deadline is looming then I’ll just have to power through it. It’s not an easy process but sometimes it’s necessary. In most cases, I take a break — I’ll read, take a walk, do a workout, play video games… just try to get my brain unstuck and come back to work fresh. It doesn’t always work right away and I’ll often end up staring at the blank page in Google Docs but eventually… something will click.

Now a bit of advice for any (aspiring) writers. It’s all about time management, and getting overworked helps no one. You can’t really switch to a different project as a “break” from what you’re currently doing. It’s not gonna work, at least not in the long run.

If you’re really burnt out, sometimes you just have to let your project manager or client know that you’re going to be late. That way they can prepare in time and find additional help, if necessary.

Fortunately, at EBS Marketing we’ve managed to establish a good work-life balance and allocate extra time to our projects to ensure we always deliver the best possible quality.

Either way, it’s best to see it as a learning experience and react to handle any difficulties as early as possible.

How to spot a bad article for a social media post?

In one word? Flow. Bad pieces of writing don’t have good flow and sentences often look clunky. Overuse of boilerplate phrases and misuse of idioms are also clear signs the writer doesn’t quite know what they’re doing. While I don’t mind breaking rules here and there (verbing nouns, for example) you have to know how to use them properly before you go around breaking them willy-nilly. If you want to “think outside the box,” make sure you know where the box is.

In addition, the lack of any useful or actionable information shows that the writer barely did any research. Fluff is sometimes necessary, as is marketing spin, but that can’t be the entirety of the piece. If your whole article consists of “Well, it depends” without explaining why and how these variables impact the outcome, what good is it?

What book should everyone read?

Oh… there are so many to choose from. While I dislike putting pieces of media on a pedestal and there probably isn’t one book everyone should read… I’m gonna go with Sir Terry Pratchett’s work.

Not sure I can recommend a specific book (if you twist my arm, I’ll probably go with Small Gods or Monstrous Regiment), but pretty much the entirety of the Discworld series is pure gold. It combines light-hearted whimsy with poignant social commentary and deeply human empathy. You really can’t go wrong with his books.

As for the classics… I have mixed feelings about them. Despite being loathed by students almost everywhere, school curriculums do contain some real gems. That being said, you want to reach beyond them and look to what really interests you. 

As with everything, variety is key here. You want to read a broad swathe of literature in order to improve your vocabulary and enhance the way you express yourself. Reading books written by people coming from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints can also teach you how to think critically and understand different perspectives.

What makes the EBS Marketing teamwork successful?

Communication and loving what we do. That’s really all there is to it. We ensure we’re all on the same page and focused on delivering the best results for our clients. I think we’re all pretty synced up right now and things are going smoothly. 

All of this took work, of course. We had to get to know each other and understand everyone’s working style. The fact everyone has a good work ethic has helped and now we’re getting brilliant results for our clients. If something is unclear, we hammer it out until we’re sure we’re on the right track.

 

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