You Don't Look Like a Star Wars Fan .

ClaireB-you-dont-look-like-a-star-wars-fan

Following my post about the ongoing battle to find and secure female dev. talent, I ran my adverts and job specs though gender bias checkers - all good there, our environment is pretty “collaborative" and “supportive” and so saying it on our adverts appeals to women apparently.

I checked the balance of photos of females on our web site - ensuring they are seen to be equal in number and in an influential role - yep, all good there too. Our senior Project Manager is female, half of our Account Management team is female. Half of our Digital Marketing team are female. Our Marketing Manager is female, I am female.

I listened with a critical ear to the daily "banter" - it was a bit geeky and obscure on occasion, but equally sexist from both sides so nothing to worry about there. I spoke to the teams and could not detect any really obvious issues with the thought of fitting a female developer into our teams - quite the reverse in fact they were all aware of the imbalance and all had opinions on why, and none of them though our recruitment process was to blame.

But the truth is we don’t have a single female developer on the team, and we couldn’t remember one in the past either. I looked back at my recruitment metrics and the stats don’t lie; we just don't get many female dev's applying. Could be area, definitely industry, certainly not our sector (Marketing).

But I did start thinking about what happens when they do apply? What does our recruitment process look like from the outside in? I respond to everyone, I read every CV, I think laterally and I telephone screen if there is a small hope that CV’s don’t quite say it all.

Well, last week - at last, following a referral from a contact on LinkedIn (and if your reading this, thank you and the £500 will be yours when this referral passes her probation if she chooses to join us) ... I interviewed a . NET Developer who was FEMALE and lived in the area – double points!

Hallelujah. A not so silent prayer went out as I showed her around our fab offices, including our breakout room - which all of a sudden looked a bit too masculine. Please let her be a good cultural fit as well as technically brilliant, please please.

I then found myself conducting an interview with a massive complex - don't let me be biased- don't let me discriminate either negatively or positively, consciously or sub consciously... I was convincing myself that in fact there was no gender divide in tech jobs. And do you know, the first issue she raised was " I am not a typical Dev, I am not geeky and don't game and I am not interested in Star Wars, do you think your team will accept me? Do you think I will fit in?"

What would you do or say or think? It's a tough one because the reality is if a male applicant said this I would probably be thinking "now you said it, I am not sure” but when this candidate said it, I almost fell out of my chair in my keenness to demonstrate this would not be the case.

In truth it made me reflect - would it? Is that really important? Would she feel that? Would that influence her actions/ progression: enjoyment of the role? Would the existing team feel it to? What effect would it have on them? In the wonderfully engaged and coherent team we currently have? I want a better gender balance to challenge our team dynamics – we all want everyone’s progression to be based on their talent , drive lust for life and technical ability – not a “face fitting” type of assessment. How do I ensure this?

Obviously we want to have an environment where everyone flourishes and progresses - obviously we know the benefits of true diversity on the teams. But this established intelligent already successful person said it, out loud at the start of her meeting with me - she must have been thinking about it, influenced by it.

If we are fortunate enough to have her decide to join us and that we do offer an environment where she can grow, develop and progress - fairly and in exactly the same manner as her male colleagues, what do I need to do to ensure this for her and for the rest of the team?

I am looking forward to finding out.

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?

 
Claire Battle Thumbnail
Claire Battle
Head of Talent
Claire is the agency's Head of Talent and is responsible for employee recruitment. Claire has a long history of working in recruitment and IT and enjoys working in a dynamic agency environment!
Claire Battle Thumbnail

Claire Battle

25 May 2016 - 5 minute read
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