Ever since having children, I have loved writing about merging skills I acquired at the office to parenthood, with perhaps my favourite being a piece I wrote on merging project management with fatherhood when my second daughter was born. Then I thought, why not turn it around?
What skills have been brought to my work-life from being a father? That was when I realized, “OMG, I look at my marketing projects like they are babies!” And it turns out that, rather than the growth of a beard, was probably what led to my sudden career progression in the last three years, going from a junior supervisor to a department head. So, from prenatal care to your kid’s first day of kindergarten (sorry, my kid is three, this is all the experience I have), how do you apply what you learned as a parent to digital marketing?
You and your partner are pregnant! I have no idea how to apply this mixture of joy, worry, and fear into what you place into your job, but let’s call it the following: your boss has asked you to create a piece of content promoting an API you have no idea how to use yourself (true story!)
Thinking back to my first thought when I heard my wife was pregnant with our first daughter, the words out of my mouth was “yay!” This is definitely NOT what I was thinking at the moment though, which was more similar to “oh sh*t, oh sh*t, oh sh*t, oh sh*t!” This was likely your first reaction when you received the exact objective you had to market; and trust me when I say, your boss is not going to be happy if your professional facade is suddenly replaced by profanity and panic (speaking from personal experience from when I was 21 years old).
So, what do you do first? Well, my first thought immediately went to, whether I want a baby (yes) and how do we go about it (I had no idea at the time). Afterward, it is: what do I need to prepare? Applied back to digital marketing, the questions essentially are:
1. Should this product be marketed?
2. How should this product be marketed?
Answer these two questions, and not only will you be able to control your panic, you will also have a better sense of what needs to be done. For me, with my background primarily in content, my answer is always: content. After all, it is the fastest growing marketing method, right? However, it turns out that 70% of marketers lack a marketing strategy. And when you are a soon-to-be parent, a lack of a parenting strategy can mean your child grows up bobbing his head to Eminem before progressing to getting into real trouble with the police calling you at the middle of the night (sorry dad).
So, what is the lesson here? Have a strategy!
Think about what you will need: from what platforms (social media, blog post etc) to which medium (graphic, article, video), from human resources (graphic designer, writer etc.) to which brand of your diapers you will use – wait, I just mixed up my metaphors. But anyways, what you do have to keep in mind is the presence of a coherent plan. What you’ve planned WILL NOT all work out! (I originally intended to my daughter to play with my dogs (fetch, walks etc.), I didn’t expect my daughter to play USING my dogs (singing at them while they are made to sit or having tea parties where my dogs, again, just sit there). Still, a plan is better than no plan.
The Baby Moments
Doctor: Congratulations, its a girl!
Jackee: I know, doc. You told me 4 months ago at the ultrasound.
You have your plan. You have made your content according to your plan. You have released your content onto the platform according to your plan. Now what?
As a parent, what I faced were myriad of divergent opinions: “you should do this, you should do that, you are doing this right, you are doing this wrong.” Everyone has an opinion, from your father to the random waitress at your usual restaurant who never manages to get your order right (I said NO SUGAR!!!!). How do you sort through which information source to listen to? Whose advice do you take?
In content marketing, it is very similar. Everyone thinks they know best. Your graphic designers will tell you one thing while the production team will tell you something else. Even online sources differ as to what you should do.
So, who do you listen to? Well, my advice is very similar in both situations. Speak to your partner (your stakeholders in the marketing model). Listen to those who you would USUALLY listen to for advice. In my case, my father, rather than the random waitress (hey! NO SUGAR!). In a more relevant example, listen to trusted industry experts you would usually read and not some random blogger.
How do you make sure your content (child) does well? As a parent, I worry about everything from my daughter eating something she is allergic to like milk or eggs to ensuring that while I share a lot of information about our family, I can still ensure we stay safe on the internet. As a parent of your content, you face the same thing. How and where do you perform outreach? How do you know if they are doing well?
At the end of the day, you just remember one thing: if you do everything you are supposed to, good things will most likely happen. Good content will bring good results. Good parenting will give you a good kid.
My kid just lied to me the other day at the age of 3, and I was very proud of her mental capacity to comprehend consequences. So far, my proudest instance of hers is still her pulling my glasses off my face and throwing them onto the ground at 2.5 weeks old. What does this say about me as a parent?
Photo credit: Getty Images