At Embryo Digital, content is the foundation of our company. Great content is what our SEO marketing service is built on and there’s no better reward than seeing our hard work get results for our clients. Thanks to our well-researched, well-written and fully-optimised content, we believe that we’re the best in Manchester at what we do.
At the heart of our amazing (if I do say so myself) Content Team is a passion for the written word. Naturally, as writers, Hannah, Kara, Thom and myself all grew up obsessing over writers who had already made their mark on the world through their command of the written word, whether it’s authors, novelists, journalists, poets or lyricists. Their work is not only a source of enjoyment (and lively discussions in the office!), but it planted the seed of inspiration and helped us to become better writers ourselves.
For my very first Embryo blog, I thought I’d turn the spotlight onto our Content Team — specifically, some of the writers who have inspired (and continue to inspire) us to harness the power of the written word. Here are your favourite content writers’ favourite writers.
Jeff Weiss — Coming from a music journalism background, I naturally grew up loving music magazines and later music blogs and websites. One writer who consistently entertains, educates and offends (with good reason!) is Jeff Weiss. He’s a Jewish guy from L.A. with long, Jesus-like locks, which doesn’t sound like your typical rap journalist, does it? In spite of that (or perhaps because of that), he’s one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated hip-hop documentarians around — and a wildly talented writer to boot. I would print out his story on MF DOOM and Madlib’s legendary Madvillainy album and hang the pages on my bedroom wall, if it wouldn’t deter any Tinder date who’s lucky enough to get an invite back to my place.
Jonathan Liew — Hands down one of the best sportswriters around right now. Jonathan Liew has this amazing ability to make a football/cricket/rugby game that happened the other night sound like a dramatic spectacle from the pages of a history novel — and I don’t even follow cricket or rugby! As a writer, the speed at which he works is frightening. One of his most well-known articles is a recap of the 2018 Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid. It’s a captivating read even if you didn’t watch the game or have no interest in ever watching a game of football. Somehow, he published it mere hours after the full-time whistle was blown.
MF DOOM — If you’re one of those people who make the terrible joke about rap being crap, I urge you to listen to MF DOOM (“all caps when you spell the man name”). He’s hands down one of the funniest, smartest, most creative, obscure and unique lyricists I’ve ever heard — in any genre. I’ll be listening to his music while I’m doing the dishes, ironing my clothes or commuting to work on the tram (you know, typical hip-hop things) and burst into laughter at some of his lines. This verse from 2004’s “Beef Rapp,” which was a rebuttal against the state of rap music at the time and which I’m definitely not doing justice by typing it out, gets me every time:
To all rappers, shut up with your shutting up
And keep your shirt on, at least a button-up
Yuck, is they rhymers or strippin’ males?
Out of work jerks since they shut down Chippendales
They chippin’ nails; DOOM, tippin’ scales
Let alone the pre-orders that’s counted off shippin’ sales
This one goes out to all my peoples skippin’ bail
Dippin’ jail, whippin’ tail and sippin’ ale
Light the doobie ’til it glow like a ruby
After which they couldn’t find the Villain like Scooby”
Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor — Writers & creators of Welcome to Night Vale. I love how they can combine some lines and turns of phrase that are so profound, with others that are so wacky, and it really just makes sense in a way that really shouldn’t. Welcome to Night Vale have also released a few books, and their Twitter is something else.
Louise Rennison — This is more of a throwback than a current fave, but the Georgia Nicholson books shaped my early teenage-hood. I remember me and my friends all swapping them between each other so we could all read the whole series and quoting them endlessly to each other, and her writing really holds a special place in my heart.
Jonas Jonasson — All of his books are so imaginative and funny with so much heart. He knows how to create characters and pin them down in just a few words, and the way he does dialogue makes me burst out laughing every time. His stories and characters are loveable, human and different to anything else around.
Nathan W. Pyle — The writer of the Strange Planet comic. Not sure if this counts because the writing of this comic wouldn’t be what it is without the visuals, and vice versa but who cares, he’s amazing. He takes the mundane and tips it on its head, resulting in an endlessly quotable and charming Instagram (he also just released a book!) Plus his little aliens are adorable.
To me, the most inspiring writers are those that leave their mark, creating that emotional impact that can really change the way you view the world and influence your own writing. I’ve always been an avid reader, and though there are authors such as Louisa May Alcott and Harper Lee that I’ll always cherish, I believe that it’s the songwriters that I’ve grown up listening to that have left their mark on me.
”You’re just a sinner I am told
Be your fire when you’re cold
Make you happy when you’re sad
Make you good when you are bad
I’m not a human
I am a dove
I’m your conscious
I am love
All I really need is to know that
Interpretations abound (especially religious ones), to me this has always been about changing your perceptions and trying to see the best in everyone. Working in digital marketing, you do sometimes have moral conflicts about some of the clients and what they’re selling, but at times like these, I’ve always tried to get to the empathetic level, and consider the solutions the products and services provide their customers. It’s about being non-judgemental, and I think that’s important in all aspects of life.
Marlon James — One of my favourite writers right now is Marlon James. From A Brief History Of Seven Killings, a dreamlike odyssey inspired by the Bob Marley assassination attempt, to his visceral African dark-fantasy, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Jaimaca-born James writes with vivid freedom of form and language.
Neil Gaiman — Neil Gaiman has been one of my favourite writers for a long time. Books like American Gods and Neverwhere return to the tradition of dark and bloody fairytales. Also, Sandman is one of the best comics ever written – read it and have your mind blown.
William Faulkner — William Faulkner is one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century, and Light In August is a book that changed my life.