Finding the Balance in Life and Work.

finding_the_balance
  • Be a great employee
  • Get your career on track
  • Network
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Be a good parent
  • Do the housework
  • See your friends
  • Look after your family/friends

Sometimes the list seems never-ending; I'm a list kinda person. 

How do we fit it all in?
How do we get the balance right?

Here are some tools and tricks I find work for me. It appears that I have a few 'rules' I live by:

  • When I'm at home - home stuff comes first
  • When I'm at work (or working from home) - work comes first
  • Family wins
  • Do stuff that makes you happy

So how does this work in practice? When I'm working - I focus, One Thing at a time (as much as I can). Priorities can change and there are times when plans and focus go out of the window, but I try, each day, to have a focus, what do I want to achieve. I will aim to focus on that piece of work for a set period, avoiding distractions (usually with earphones in!)

I set some time in my day to deal with the 'noise' - working through emails, calendar requirements and quick tasks.

I confess, I'm not great at leaving my desk at lunchtime but a quick walk around the block can make such a difference and make me feel completely refreshed. Even just taking a few deep breaths, standing up, walking to the water cooler or kitchen can give that next burst of energy and refocus the mind or calm after a particularly heated exchange.

Working from home is a blessing - I love the buzz of a busy office, the people interactions and connections. For me face to face is great but I can also be easily distracted and diverted from my One Thing and my goals for the day - working from home gives me the space to concentrate and focus.

When I leave the office my focus shifts, that is family and me time. I have time 'scheduled' in my week which is 'me time' - I go for a run, do a boxercise class, swim - sorry, I'm not really a sofa, wine and bath kinda girl! That works for some people, but I like to be active. I find this time is great for looking after both my physical and mental health, I focus on now, on breathing, connecting the punch, keeping the pace, hand entry (front crawl) etc. and then I let my mind wander. This time can be great for problem-solving, generating creative ideas and just being in the now.

At home, being organised, meal planning and not being afraid to ask for help all help to keep our house running, don't get me wrong - I am far from perfect - I'd far rather sit and play Lego, games or watch a film with my 4-year-old than clean the bathroom or vacuum the house - the cleaning can wait, my daughter is changing every day and the last 4 years have flown in blur. This year, we are trying to say 'no' more often and to give ourselves breathing space at home - our holidays are booked (mostly) - that is our down time and time to refresh.

Plan.
Focus.
Prioritise.
Have fun.

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?

 
Marie Heinsen
Marie Heinsen
EA to Co-Founders & Head of Sagittarius Agency Services
Marie is the Directors' EA at Sagittarius and enjoys the fast-moving pace of agency life. Prior to a career break, Marie worked for a small events agency where she could be found producing, co-ordinating and organising conferences within the Healthcare sector. Marie has also worked in a field marketing agency in a client service role.
Marie Heinsen

Marie Heinsen

16 May 2019 - 6 minute read
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