A Reflection on International Women’s Day.

reflecting-on-IWD

We celebrated International Women’s day at work this month and actually it made me think, so much so I have written this blog.

As part of the ‘Women’s Day Lunch’ at the agency, Dan (server-side developer at Sagittarius) inspired me by talking about being a female developer and her views of equality. Code is code, regardless of gender.

Women's day...what does it mean to me as an employee and as a mother?

When you are pregnant or when you have a newborn baby, you remember the joy of work, wearing nice work clothes, buying a Starbucks and talking about adult things that remind you of life pre-child.

I went back to work part-time when my son was 4 months old and it was fine. It turns out that newborns are easier than toddlers in hindsight.

I grew up in the '90s with the spice girls, TLC & destiny’s child, a child of the ‘girl power’ generation. As I grew up, I had to explain to my lovely parents that one day it will work out, I didn't want to work my way up in a job for 30 years that I hate (like my dad). I didn't know if that would be true, but it all worked out in the end.

My career was always number 1, I think I even stayed single for much of my 20’s as I was too exhausted to be able to put the same effort into my love life that I did for work!

Having a child has changed all this and for the better. I now have a 4YO son who is the apple of my eye. He is loving, affectionate and sassy in equal measures.

My family is number 1, that is how it should be. My son has special educational needs and attends school part-time, so needs me even more than most, he needs me to support him, teach him and fight for him in an underfunded educational system.

I am a mother, but I am also an independent woman who has worked hard in my career. I don't have to be both people, it is who I am.

Someone somewhere once said. “At the end of your life, the only things you will regret is not spending enough time with your family and not looking after your health”. It is important to care about what you do, but work isn't your life. My health is next on my list!

Women in business shouldn't have to hide this, hide our families or our priorities. There are so many benefits to companies supporting working parents.

Our experience as mothers gives us something extra. The late nights, a new level of openness. We don't have time to wait around or be subtle if something isn't working or needs to change, we are on it. If we need to leave at bang on 5 to collect our children then we will, but we will be better at planning our time and be more efficient. Work gets done, so don't question when or how.

We plan our day to work around our needs, we plan and own the diaries to avoid having to choose between a parents interview and a meeting 100 miles away.

We work after 7 when our kids are in bed, so we are present when our kids are awake. We work on Sunday nights whilst watching call the midwife because we don't mind multitasking. We don't bang on about overtime, because we do what we need to do.

We teach our kids how to use laptops, PowerPoint and excel because we can! Even more so when mummy works in digital marketing. Our weekends are full and over planned, we avoid nights out because there is no time for hangovers and a child who wakes at 5:45 every day.

I make sure my son knows that mummy works hard, pays 50% of everything and decisions are not just daddy's because the world has changed. I am slightly sad I didn't have a daughter because I think this would mean more to her, but I also want my son to respect equality. I want him to find someone one day based on love not need.

My son asked if I was the 'Sir' at work the other day and I can only assume he meant the boss. He is in a school full of women in power and still this is how he perceives the world.

10 years ago, I worked for an IT company where promotions were made on the golf course and women worked in accounts or marketing whilst side-lining as tea ladies to guests. I think the world is better now, in the agency world anyway!

Equality will come one day, but it needs parents, education, media & employers to keep on driving it together. It is not an equality tick box exercise it should just be the best person for the job.

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

19 Mar 2019 - 5 minute read
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