#101 Ari Sharp – how to create niche content

Ari Sharp is the Senior Media Manager at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In this podcast Ari describes how he overcomes the hurdles of niche content creation in a specialised subject area. Ari oversees the Chamber’s external communications activity which includes media engagement, interviews, speeches, social media, and content.

He speaks with David Pembroke about:

  • working in traditional media during the heyday of newspapers
  • the most important thing about being a good storyteller
  • how to craft a good story – find the emotional connection
  • “burying the lead”
  • transitioning from journalism to communications
  • comms for lobbyists
  • the importance of face to face communication
  • using simple language
  • finding your niche audience
  • getting busy people to contribute content

Listen to the podcast:

Get it on iTunes

Selected links:

Download the transcript

Ari Sharp on LinkedIn

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry website

Ari Sharp on encouraging your people to create niche content:

“I’ve got to confess that it hasn’t been easy. There has been some resistance from some people who as you say they tell me they’re busy and they do have a lot on their plate and I absolutely understand where they’re coming from and I wouldn’t want to impose on them.

What we’ve found is useful is to establish a routine. We have an expectation that each of our policy directors once a fortnight will contribute an item of 400 words. We don’t think that’s an unreasonable burden on their shoulders. We’ve established that routine. They know what’s coming up, they’ve got plenty of notice. We also work with them to suggest some topics, suggest some angles that they might want to pursue. Getting in the habit makes a big difference rather than having it as an ad hoc process.

I think where we’ve perhaps misfired is in trying to push people in to something that is not their natural fit. I had a background in journalism where I was surrounded by other journalists who considered themselves as storytellers and thought and wrote in that way. A lot of the people I’m working with now are brilliant policy people but are not natural storytellers. And it’s not going to work, and it doesn’t work for me, to try to impose a particular structure on them. To tell them, “I think you should write this way” and to be the style police.

So I’ve learnt from experience, don’t try to force a particular style. Don’t pretend that people are journalists and storytellers if they’re not. Help them instead find their own voice. Write in a style that their comfortable with, that captures their personality.”


David Pembroke

About David Pembroke

David Pembroke is the CEO and founder of contentgroup, a government and public sector content communications agency based in Canberra, Australia.

He has a commerce degree (marketing major) from one of Australia’s leading business schools (University of New South Wales) and worked in product management for the American multinational 3M. He changed careers to work in media where he spent a decade as a radio current affairs and sports reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

He was the communications director of the Australian Rugby Team when they won the Rugby World Cup in 1999 and is a member of the Australian Olympic media team.

contentgroup was founded in 1997 and offers consulting, content production, training and research services. David hosts InTransition, a weekly podcast which examines the practice of content communication in government and the public sector.

More posts by David Pembroke

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