Meet the Team | Simon Torkington

Simon is an Executive Producer at Formative Content, joining after a long career in television news. He joined the BBC in 1994 as a junior producer before quickly progressing to the position of senior Programme Editor.  In 2006, Simon moved to Qatar where he was a senior member of the launch team at Al Jazeera English, working as a Programme Editor and Executive Producer.

What drew you towards content marketing and Formative?

Moving back to the UK after almost a decade in Qatar was a big opportunity for a change of focus. I was aware that after 20 plus years in TV news production, I had a very defined skill set. Having seen the success Al Jazeera had with its digital venture, AJ+,  I was really drawn to digital content. So, I started looking around and saw the job ad for the role here. When I looked at Formative’s website, I saw people with TV news backgrounds just like me, who had already made the transition to digital. I thought, this is the place, I’d fit in here. I also realised that I could put my own editorial and leadership skills to use in a way that would work for me and for the company.

How does your previous experience inform what you do here?

There are a lot of transferable skills from TV news production to digital content creation. Across my whole career I’ve been driven to tell stories.  At Formative I’ve got so many ways of telling clients’ stories, that will appeal to so many different people, across all the different social media and digital platforms we have. And it’s a two-way conversation that we can create for our clients which is a powerful thing. Traditional television news was very much a one-sided conversation with no interaction with the audience.

Tell us a little more about your role here.

I have two job titles, Executive Producer and Head of Video. As an Exec Producer, I’m responsible on a day to day level for a range of digital content that we produce for our clients. I’m heavily focused on the content we create for the World Economic Forum. Alongside that, I direct accounts for a number of our clients. So, as well as editorial, there’s a client relations aspect to the role which was new territory for me when I joined Formative. On the video side, my team looks after all the video content that we create for clients from conception to final delivery.

What do you enjoy most about your job here?

Gaining new skills that help me to deliver beyond the expectations our clients. I love change and shifting from TV to digital certainly gave me that. If you’re not growing you’re dying. I have only been with Formative for 11 months and we’ve doubled in size, we’re winning new business, we’re growing and going places fast. Working with an amazing team of young, digital natives allows me to learn a huge amount, and hopefully they can benefit from my 20 odd years of media experience as well.

What’s the most challenging part of the process?

The social media metrics and how things get measured are very different to TV viewing figures. It took me a little time to get a grip on the level of detail available and how to leverage that. Figuring out subtle ways to make content perform really well is another challenge. Algorithms are slippery things to pin down.  One word can change a piece of content from an average performing piece into a viral hit. With a minor change to a headline on a video we made, we moved from 100,000 views to 45 million in a matter of days. That was the moment I realised just how powerful what we do here can be.  

What would you say to anyone looking to work within content marketing?

Come armed with lots of good ideas for telling stories. We may be making corporate content but it connects only when there is a good story to tell. You need the ability to understand audiences and to create content that they will want to share with their friends and professional networks.

If you’d like to hear how we can help your business produce journalistic content, get in touch today.
Email: or call our team on 01494 672 122

Simon Torkington is Executive Producer at Formative Content and produces and oversees content production for some of our biggest clients.

Formative Content is a UK based content marketing agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.