Welcome to INTERVIEWED, a series of discussions and chats with creators of all kinds.
Today we’re blessed by the company of a man with the eye for manmade structures and a wizard of words, Nik Speller.
D: What do you do online as a creator?
N: I’m a writer, first and foremost. That’s why I started blogging (all those years ago); I was looking for a ‘creative outlet’ and decided writing about food and restaurants was the way to go, as – at the time – it was pretty much the only thing I was interested in.
My photography has mainly been for the blog, when Mat’s had to be in front of the camera and needed some help in getting the perfect shot. I’ve also started a bit of a sideline in architectural photography over on Instagram – totally by accident, I’ll add. It was just something I started doing on a dull, boring day off, and as folks seemed to like it, I’ve kept it on.
Writing is still my main passion, though, and – thankfully – I’ve been able to upgrade from writing for my own (very small) food blog to contributing to Buckets and Spades (and a few others) on a whole range of very cool projects. Fortunately, I’ve also been able to carry writing into my day-to-day work too: writing articles on influencer marketing and the digital world in general, which seem to have really resonated with people.
D: Can you tell me a bit about the man behind the blog?
N: Um…that’s a difficult one – I can talk a lot about myself, but writing about myself is another matter entirely!
I guess I consider myself quite a chilled person – most of the time. I live in London and like exploring the city, discovering the bits I’ve not been to before, drinking beers, drinking coffee, and going running. I’m lucky enough to live in central London, so there’s a lot immediately on my doorstep and I’m conscious that I need to make the most of it now, before something like work or money makes me move.
D: How did you get into online content creation?
N: I think that’s the beauty of the online world – the barriers of entry into digital content creation are non-existent. Almost everyone has the internet, almost everyone has a phone, and I (like anyone else could) just started writing one day about a topic I had an interest in and opinion on – and I took a few photos too.
D: You’re very knowledgeable about the online/blogging world, what do you think all creators should know?
N: Am I? Ha ha. Well, it’s my job to be informed about the blogging world – or, at
least, to try and be informed about it.
What should all content creates know? Content is King – absolutely. Regardless of how a system works, quality content – that which appeals to an audience – will win out and that’s exactly what anyone creating content should focus on. Quality, not quantity. Content, not game-playing.
D: Your Instagram is mighty fine, you have a keen eye for architecture! What are some of your favourite Instagrams to follow?
N: Ah! Thanks! That nice of you to say. Yeah, architecture seems to have become my thing. I guess that’s because is so accessible to me, living where I do in London. That and the fact that I don’t really like to appear in my own pictures – ha ha.
There’s so many top creators out there, that this question is nearly impossible to
answer. So, I’ve gone back through the last few photos I’ve liked on Instagram
and picked a couple for you:
– Jacob just has a really clear and simple style; one of those accounts, that
when he posts, you actually want to click his bio link to check out his latest
– Shaun seems to be putting more and more effort into his Instagram – and it’s
paying off big time! Again, a clear and simple look that just seems to work so
well on Instagram.
– A mention has to go to Robin; King of the comedy Instagram Story. Obviously, he
does a lot of top quality work as a grooming blogger; but, it’s his Stories
that capture his unique take on the world, that I (and quite a few people I
know) look forward to.
D: What photography advice do you have?
N: This question suggestions I know something about photography! I really don’t, except
to say that light and composition are key. It seems to me, that if you get
those two things right, your photo will be a winner – regardless of the
Also, bounce ideas and pictures of trusted people that you know well. Sometimes, a
different pair of eyes can see something good about a photo that you’d not seen
D: Which creators do you particularly look up to/admire?
N: Anyone who can make a career from creating, while staying true to themselves, is someone to look up to. There’s so many people out there who seem to sell whatever small creative ability they have, on the cheap, to any and every brand going. That’s kind of easy, doing the classic Instagram poses and accepting cheques from anyone who waves them at you. Far harder, is to create a credible, respected brand, that will stand the test of time.
With that in mind, obviously I have to shout out to Mat here (Editor of Buckets andSpades), but also Jordan Bunker, the guys at Haarkon_ and (again) Robin James (@ManforHimself) who I had this very conversation with, only a week or so ago.
All of these guys put their brand first, ahead of the many opportunities they get presented with. For them, it’s about doing what’s write for their blog and social channels, not just accepting money from any old brand and banging out the same old stereotypical, cheesy Instagram shots, time after time.
D: What does the future hold for Nik Speller?
N: Who knows! Five years ago, I worked in a completely different industry, in a completely different city. A month ago, I worked for myself, sat in various coffee shops across London. Now, I work for a big business again, that’s making all the right moves in an industry (influencer marketing) that I’ve come to really enjoy being a part of.
If that trajectory if anything to go by, I’ll probably be working on oil rig or an emu farm by 2020. Ha ha ha. Watch this space, I guess.
A huge thank you to Nik for taking part! Keep up to date with his incredibly thoughtful insights on Twitter, keep an eye on his architecture series on Instagram. I’m head over heels in love for a good architecture shot, Nik’s got them all. For more of Nik’s words and writings, check out Buckets and Spades.
For all interviews go here.