A day in the life of me - The balance between technology and family.

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Having spent over 5 years working in London with a commute of over two hours each way, I used to think I had it pretty tough. Although I enjoyed my job, which allowed me to fulfil my huge passion for technology and development both inside and outside of the office (4 hours on a train every day is a long time), I admit the commute was dragging me down. And then, just when I thought my tiredness levels had reached the max, life changed. On 11 April 2014, a ‘Little ray of sunshine’ entered our world, and all of a sudden I no longer just had a full time job. 

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My 40 hour work week suddenly became an 80 hour work week, and my full time job was now an extra little gig on the side, a lot of the time taking a backseat to raising our perfect ‘Little Stewie’.

Suddenly this teeny tiny person had arrived, needing even more attention more than my Pokemon GO and things had to change! I knew that I desperately needed to find a work-family life balance that would allow me to continue my passion, whilst enjoying as much time as possible with my new family. London had to go.

Now, having moved to Sagittarius in June 2016, I am extremely excited for the next chapter of my life. This is how a typical day pans out for a “Family Developer”, and I’ve never had it better!

  • Mornings now resemble a scene out of the BBC series Outnumbered - total chaos!!
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  • Daily standoffs over why chocolate buttons aren’t classed as a breakfast food, taking deep breaths as I patiently wait for my fiercely independent ‘Little Stewie’ to fasten his own shoelaces (I haven't got the heart, or the time, to tell him that his shoes are on the wrong feet), and then eventually leaving the house with Little Stewie under one arm, and my laptop under the other.
  • I love arriving at work! Normality resumed, an uninterrupted, rare chance to sit down and enjoy a coffee in the company of other professionals, without constant requests from my darling Little Stewie to ‘put Peppa Pig on’. Time to crack on and get on with doing the job that I love.
  • With a rewarding day's work complete, it's time to head home. Via a nursery pick up, and a son so happy to see his Dad, mainly because he knows we’re going home to watch continuous repeats of the latest toddler cartoon bait.
  • Arriving home, TV is straight on, and so with Little Stewie sitting down quietly I seize the opportunity to take a second look at a piece of work I was engrossed in earlier today. For about 30 seconds. Out of the corner of his eye Little Stewie sees my laptop firing up and before I’ve even loaded Visual Studio start page, he’s on my lap, logging onto YouTube, and within seconds we’re enjoying the latest episode of Paw Patrol (in German, for some reason). Although it has now become pretty obvious that I’m getting no work done whatsoever for the next couple of hours, the Technology Dad in me can’t help but feel a little bit proud that my two year old is quickly becoming advanced in navigating his way around the world wide web, and expressing an interest in ‘daddy code’
  • 21:00 and Little Stewie has finally given in and admitted defeat and is finally in bed. Finally I am able to sit down and engross myself in the world of .NET, technical architecture, and building my wife's website. With a bit of bedtime reading from the latest blog’s from our ever changing industry. 

Now that I work locally, I honestly believe I have the best of both worlds. I look forward to and am excited about heading to work, and I look forward to coming home in the evenings. I have more energy, which means I’m able to devote more time to independent development outside of the office. Don't get me wrong, Little Stewie can drive me and my wife crazy a lot of the time, and there's days where i would love nothing better than to sit on a train for 4 hours and indulge in a bit of ‘me’ time. But leaving London hasn’t meant I’ve ‘chosen’ my family over my career - if anything I feel like my career is on the up! I love my job and the new balance I’ve found, i love getting home at a decent time to see my family, and as long as my son still believes that I’m Super Dad then I’ll always know I’ve done the right thing!

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Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Sagittarius
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Sagittarius

07 Sep 2016 - 7 minute read
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