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August 4, 2019 Elise Le-Galloudec

Inspired. Motivated. Focused. Three words summarising how I felt walking out after two days at the Liquid Learning, Women in ICT and Digital Leadership Summit 2019.

I’m Emma Judd, Group Marketing Manager at Place Design Group and I was the lucky winner of the Women in Digital LinkedIn competition, to attend this Summit from July 23 2019 to July 24 2019.

You may have seen, I took over the @womenindigital Instagram Stories for the duration of the conference and can view my stories on their highlights here.

While it was two days jam packed with an amazing line up of speakers, the below will give you a brief insight and share some knowledge nuggets and relatable advice I personally took from this event.

DAY 1: 23 July

On day one of the summit we heard from some fantastic speakers, with the line-up including:

  • Joanna Murray, Program Manager, Transformation & Innovation, Boral
  • Chris Locke, Chief Information Officer, Flight Centre
  • Deb Assheton, Expert Facilitator, The Amplify Group
  • Wendy Bryant, Chief Information Officer, Transport for NSW
  • Keli Saville, Regional Head of Data, AsiaPac, Vanguard
  • Niamh Collins, General Manager, Digital, HFC
  • Jade Carson, Director, IT Investments, Department of Education & Training
  • Kirsty McKay, Group Manager, Program Delivery & Digital Transformation, Coates Hire
  • Katie Payten, Director, Technology Assurance & Governance, Australian Securities & Investments Commission
  • Kylie McLean, Chief Digital Officer, Australia & New Zealand, IBM
  • Simon Noonan, Chief Information Officer, SportsBet

The first day, first speaker at a conference is always exciting and generally sets the tone for what you can expect and Joanna Murray, Program Manager, Transformation & Innovation at Boral, did just that.

Setting us up for the day, Joanne asked us to reflect back to the start of our careers. Did we know what we wanted to be, and how we planned to get there? I know myself. I definitely had a plan and thought it would go a certain way but reflecting back, it was actually a very different path I’d taken. I think this is a really positive thought to reflect on, especially if you are a mentor or in a leadership role guiding your team through their career journey.

Favourite quote from Joanne’s presentation was, “Great leaders don’t think they’re great; great leaders think they’re human.”

From career reflection, to career reflecting. Chris Locke, Chief Information Officer, Flight Centre, shared some great career advice which I’ve shared below:

  • Don’t be afraid of trying different things in different industries
  • Make a plan and make it happen
  • Be resilient, but patient
  • Get experience – think outside the square

This was also a lovely flow into the third speaker, Deb Assheton, Expert Facilitator, The Amplify Group, who spoke on the importance of true self confidence, the value of vulnerability and gratitude along with self-awareness.

A nice reminder that Deb left us with was that the struggle ends where gratitude begins. Practicing daily gratitude makes us 5-10% happier, and costs us nothing.

“What are you grateful for today?”

I think one of my favourite, most thought-provoking parts of the day was Wendy Bryant’s presentation. Wendy Bryant, Chief Information Officer, Transport for NSW, spoke on ‘Unconscious Bias’. To explain this, Wendy made this really relatable asking us all to discuss at our tables if there were any roles we automatically associate with a man or a woman; knowing perfectly well that both genders actually worked in that particular role. For example, when one thinks of a pilot, a doctor, a nurse or a kindergarten teacher, does one stereotype to a particular gender? Needless to say, most people, by default of unconscious bias, did so.

Wendy also reflected on her time as the only woman in an IT team working with all men. She refused to be the ‘cake cutter’ at workplace celebrations, as the default was to ‘leave it to Wendy because she was the woman’. Reflecting on our own workplaces, I feel there is so much that can be consciously done or implemented to improve this default gender bias. Some ideas Wendy shared with us included:

  • Unconscious bias training
  • Focus on bias in AI – change your Siri voice to male
    • I found this topic extremely interesting. Here is an article from Google that discusses it in more detail.
  • Specific actions on diversity in hiring processes and opportunities

Post lunch, we returned to the room for a panel discussion on ‘Whether work-life balance is possible?’. And great news – it is! And here are the panellists’ top tips for making it happen:

  • Find what works for you. If you play a sport or enjoy gym as an outlet – prioritise that and make a routine that works.
  • Plan holidays in advance and stick to them – If you’re busy, it’s easy to not plan your downtime, but time with family and friends is important. Book it in. Booking it in advance gives you something to look forward to.
  • Don’t hesitate to raise your hand if you need help. A great tip. Learn to delegate and ask those around you for help when needed.
  • Work smarter using smarter working techniques. Again something to Google, but what it comes down to is the fact that we all have 24 hours in a day. Use them wisely. The one thing money can’t buy is time.
  • As women in leadership, WE need to support flexibility. This is so important. If your team comes to you wanting to discuss flexible working options, be the change. Listen to their request and see what may be possible.
  • Flexibility in the workplace. Break down the barriers and become outcomes based. This is such a positive and practical way to frame this thought process, as just because someone sits at their desk all day, it doesn’t mean they are being any more productive than someone working from home. Change the focus to be on outcomes, not on number of hours sitting at a desk, and encourage flexible working arrangements.

The final two presenters for day one, Kylie McLean, Chief Digital Officer, Australia & New Zealand, IBM and Simon Noonan, Chief Information Officer, SportsBet, touched on workplace culture. Kylie really drove home the message that as leaders, it’s so important to create a culture that gets your team to thrive. This was a fantastic leeway into Simon’s Case Study around transforming workplace culture, with SportsBet as an example. Honestly, SportsBet sounds like an amazing place to work with a fantastic culture. Guided by their purpose, underpinned by their values, SportsBet don’t just have their values hung on the wall; they live their values, which makes all the difference.

DAY 2: 24 July

Inspired from day one, excited for day two and it did not disappoint. The fantastic line-up of speakers included:

  • Stuart Harrison, Chief Information Security Officer, Medibank
  • Megan James, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Data Centres & President, Women in IT & Communications
  • Arabella Macpherson, Founder & Communications Coach, Resonate Communications
  • Jade Carson, Director IT Investments, Department of Education & Training
  • Brendan Mills, Chief Information Officer, NIB Health Funds Limited
  • Sarah McCullough, Head of eTech Operations, Essential Energy
  • Kathryn Porter, Director, Customer Experience, Cisco
  • Joyce Harkness, Chief Information Officer, Avant Mutual Group Limited
  • Kirsten Murray, Director International, Faculty of Engineering & IT, University of Technology Sydney
  • Catherine Nolan, Director & Principal Coach, Gender Gap Gone

Stuart Harrison, Chief Information Security Officer, Medibank, kicked-off day two proceedings sharing some words of wisdom around realising your leadership potential. A key theme that came through reflecting on day one was to show vulnerability. As leaders, you do need to stay strong for your team, but vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you are human. Showing vulnerability can often lead to building rapport and relationships with your team. A really lovely reminder for all leaders.

From the importance of vulnerability in leadership, to the importance of resilience as leaders. Resilience was the topic Megan James, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Data Centres & President, Women in IT & Communications, covered in her personal career journey she shared with attendees. Megan is a very inspirational woman, and since the conference, I have shared parts of her story with many of my colleagues. They say you may not remember what people say, but you will always remember how they made you feel. In this case, I remembered what Megan said because of how it made me feel and how much it resonated. If you get the opportunity to hear Megan speak, I would highly recommend you take it and hear her story first hand. I will share my key takeaways from Megan’s presentation below and hope you take some inspiration from this too:

  • Stay in your lane and stand up for what you believe in – no matter what
  • Always hold true to your values – above all else
  • Value your soft skills – emotional intelligence
  • Be present and always show up
  • Everyone has a story – so listen
  • Engage with people – see how you get the best out of people – allow creative opportunity
  • Don’t compromise on any of the above

As leaders and mentors, it’s always useful to have references or tools to provide the best possible guidance and advice to enable meaningful conversations with your teams and mentees. Arabella Macpherson, Founder & Communications Coach, Resonate Communications shared with us some great tips around unleashing your power as a mentor. I’ve summarised them below:

  • Coaching
    • Ask questions
    • Make suggestions
    • Share experiences
  • Chunking
    • Use chunking to open up or delve deeper on topics
  • Matching
    • Give all of your attention
    • Match 60%: physically and vocally
    • Repeat words and phrases back to show acknowledgement

Towards the end of day two, the discussion changed to be more around the future of work. Jade Carson, Director IT Investments, Department of Education & Training, spoke passionately on the topic of engaging and attracting future female leaders to IT roles.

Some ideas and strategies Jade touched on started right back at engaging young girls to show interest in IT. Whether that be at home, at school or at play. It’s also about attracting girls and women to a career in IT by changing the image/perception of tech, promoting meaningful careers and addressing the unconscious bias. On top of this, growing the focus on the culture around tech, closing the confidence gap through training and education and having strong female mentors or sponsors will help attract female IT talent. Jade concluded that we should keep a focus on culture being equitable and reflective of diversity. And that job design or redesign for flexibility is important. Overarching, she highlighted female role models across the IT industry is key.

Continuing the future of work discussion, panelists’ thoughts covered:

  • The importance of business and IT partnerships – with the increase in technologies in the workplace, it’s important for businesses and IT leaders to work closely for the best possible outcomes
  • Portfolio careers – showing depth and breadth of experience
  • Being location agnostic – it’s not about where you’re physically working from. With technology you are enabled to work from anywhere. This also ties in to the earlier discussion around being outcomes focused.
  • Gig Economy – presents great opportunities but also new challenges

And that’s a wrap! Catherine Nolan, Director & Principal Coach, Gender Gap Gone,

was our facilitator across the two-day summit and presented a great summary of the insights from across the event. A few practical tips she left us with included:

  • Create a Vision Board – use Pinterest or Canva to get started. If you see it, you’ll achieve it.
  • Create your 40-page resume – a dumping ground for YOU only. List examples as they happen so when the time comes, you have the content and are ready to apply for that dream job.
  • Watch the Amy Cuddy Ted Talk – ‘Your body language may shape who you are’

There were honestly so many fantastic insights and inspirational moments over the two days. I hope this blog post shares just some of that post-summit magic with you all.

Thank you for reading.

Emma Judd

Instagram: @emajudd

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emajudd/

Do you have more insightful leadership tips? Share them in the comments below.



January 25, 2019 Elise Le-Galloudec

In an era of instant gratification, and selfies, it’s difficult to imagine the hard yards invested in creating meaningful work, the people involved in one’s success. It’s even more difficult to stick to something long term when we don’t see immediate results or praise. One post on Instagram could mean a person’s life achievement, yet to a viewer it’s just another image on their feed.

Candace Marshall is a perfect example of someone who’s invested years of hard work into her career. Thanks to her colleagues and boss (aka her tribe) putting her forward “kicking and screaming”, she’s finally received formal and public recognition.

Executive Producer at Josephmark and Breeder, Candace took home the Columbus Digital Producer of the Year Award at the Women in Digital 2018 Gala. Her work on Clipchamp Create, which the judges described as technically complex and highly strategic, won her the recognition in the competitive category.

The judges appreciated her business acumen demonstrated throughout the submission and quality of the final output, in addition to being a highly engaged digital community member.

Candace says support from her team and pushing each other to do better, have been determining factors for her achievements.

We spoke to Candace immediately after receiving her award, which was perfect timing as we had a chance to receive first hand testimonials from her boss Jessica Huddart, CEO and founder of Josephmark, and colleague Dr Colleen Morgan, Product Director as Josephmark.

Here’s what was said, sans the tears of joy, and endless congratulations on the award.

 

WID: How did you find out about the inaugural Women in Digital 2018 Awards?

Candace: My work colleagues and I have been regularly attending the Women in Digital events for a while now.

 

WID: How did you end up in a position to be nominated for the Columbus Digital Producer of the Year?

Candace: There’s a lack of acknowledgment within the creative production industry, compared to the traditional film and TV industry. Also working across two companies, Josephmark, a digital venture studio, and Breeder, a motion design studio, meant I had support from two companies.

 

WID: What does the award mean to you?

Candace: It’s amazing and humbling to be recognised and honoured, particularly to be supported as a woman and have support to the extend I have in this industry, it’s not the norm.

What’s even more special to me is that my colleagues think I’m worthy of the award to put me forward, as I would never enter myself.

For women to support women is amazing.

Women are 100% equal to men in the working environment of both Josephmark and Breeder.

We’re conscious of promoting women in our industry and pushing each other forward. It’s a phenomenal place to work at.

 

WID: Why is it important for women to push each other forward?

Candace: Because we don’t push ourselves. It takes people like Monica Bradley to encourage us to show our worth and celebrate ourselves and our achievements. Monica Bradley works extremely hard for herself, yet she finds ways to push other women up. Our generation is lucky to have people like her as role models and taking interest in what other women are doing. I don’t think she even realises how much this means to us.

 

WID: How do you think winning the award will impact how you conduct yourself at work now?

Candace: I have an amazing team I work with, I feel comfortable and supported. I have Ben and Jess who support everything our team wants to do, and allow us to grow in our careers with Josephmark and Breeder.

However, what I think this award has made me realise is that I can do my job well and that I need to work to support women outside Josephmark and Breeder. Especially those women who may not have the opportunities we have or may not be as lucky as we are to work in an organisation where gender is not a barrier to anything.

 

WID: Had you not come across Women in Digital through work, how do you think you would have come across such an award or event? You gotta be in it to win it.

Candace: Exactly, what would you google? Women support groups? No!

 

WID: What would you like to see happen next?

Candace: What I would like to see is the support women in the digital industry receive, have it in the design industry, the animation industry, the film and tv industry, and traditional post production industry where I started my career in. I have never worked with a female director on a film shoot in advertising, it’s all men, and female producers.

This is why Women in Digital is so amazing, it’s because of the support, not just of a few people, but a whole network of people, people who attended the Women in Digital awards, and they themselves are all accomplished people.

 

WID: What do you think men think of the Women in Digital event?

Candace: I wonder what men think of this. I’m still surprised there is such an amazing network of women. And I really feel like it’s only been the past few years that I’ve been made aware of the supportive female network.

Dr Colleen Morgan, Product Director, and Jessica Huddart, Founder and CEO at Josephmark, join the conversation.

 

WID: Being a female, and founder of Josephmark, you’re the one who put Candace forward for the award?

Jessica: Yes, kicking and screaming might I add. Candace didn’t think she was worthy of the award, and she thought there was a better candidate out there.

 

WID: Do you think it’s a female trait to lack confidence in the quality of work we do and the contribution we make?

Jessica: I think we underestimate ourselves, I see it all the time.

There’s 50% of women at Josephmark, and definitely 50% women on our leadership team.

 

WID: Was that a conscious decision to have 50% of women employees within the company, and the leadership team?

Jessica: Initially no. It was based on merit, and who the best people would be for the roles, and it happened to be women majority of the time, but it’s become more conscious. It’s become harder to find women with enough experience and the right age bracket to apply for positions at Josephmark.

Since we’ve started noticing that we weren’t getting enough applications for senior positions from women, it’s become more conscious.

 

WID: How does the gender ratio affect the company’s performance?

Jessica: I don’t even think about it. I think there’s real danger in overanalysing it and turning into more of an issue than it is. However, in my experience, I do think that women are often better candidates for leadership positions.

The struggle and challenges in attracting female candidates to job openings are significant for whatever reason, and they don’t have enough confidence in their abilities, or to apply for the the position in the first place.

 

WID: Why do you think women are better at leadership positions than men?

Jessica: Women are more empathetic, they look at the whole situation, rather than zero in what they are comfortable with.

Women are more naturally inclusive. I think self doubt propels better work in some ways. There’s no bravado, there is still ego, everyone has ego, but it plays out differently with females.

 

WID: You’ve been a strong support of Candace as well? What makes Candace amazing?

Colleen: Yes, she’s amazing.

Candace is straight up, honest, and makes everything happen. You know when Candace is in charge of a project, she makes it just happen. She always pushes everyone to do their best work, no matter what.                  

Jessica: Candy brings immense positivity to our workplace, she values her attributes and she brings it. She’s an example of what she wants to see in everyone else. With her straight up attitude and approach to things you always know where you stand.

Candace: I’m so lucky that I work with women such as Colleen and Jess who are interested in the role that I do and want to work together with me rather than seeing my role as a service. I’ve been given the opportunity to be more involved in projects than a producer normally would. I’ve been afforded an opportunity because I work with women such as Jess and Colleen, and that I have been able to work for two studios at the same time, which is a unique opportunity.

Colleen: Because you have the curiosity, because you care about what’s going on and that’s essential to making sure that everything is done.

Jessica: She cares about the people, and she cares about the outcome, and she cares about the business.

 

WID: How do you see Women in Digital evolve and encourage more women to apply for the awards? Also, would males feel excluded do you think because of the focus on females?

Jessica: I do feel that sometimes by focusing on the female aspect of things generally, we can unconsciously create a divide between men and women.

However, I don’t think that’s the intention. Actually, when you think about feminism it’s about a quality, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve. I would really like to see awards that put men and women up together, and still have a candidate like Candace take it up.

Candace: I would like to be against men, we’re equal people.

Jessica: We don’t need to separate ourselves to make that point. But it’s great to be celebrating each other. Women are really great at lifting each other up, and the Women in Digital Awards celebrates exactly that.



October 31, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

Celebrating the women doing incredible things in digital. 

By Caitlin Ritter

Isn’t it weird how women so often struggle to advocate for themselves? There are plenty of studies acknowledging and explaining the phenomenon, but considering how incredible women are, it blows my mind every day when I hear another woman modestly downplaying herself.

That’s why I was so excited to attend the inaugural Women in Digital Awards on Friday 26 October. The awards were the perfect opportunity for women to step forward and shout their talent, achievements, passion and dedication from the rooftop.

And shout it they did.

And yet, on the night, there was not a single ego in the room. These awards were all about women supporting women, lifting them up, celebrating their success. That (along with some great wine) made sure this was a night to remember.

The people

I was a late addition to the guest list, filling in for my incredibly talented but presently overseas boss, Emma Haller, who was nominated for Leader of the Year. Because of the last-minutedness of the ticket purchase, I was ridin’ solo for the evening.

This had two unforeseen benefits: I got to meet heaps of lovely people that I otherwise might not have, and I got to do plenty of people-watching.

The peopleEveryone brought their A-game to the red carpet, and I loved the stellar line-up of nominees and guests. Notables for me included the Honourable Kate Jones, Minister for Innovation (and Minister for Tourism, as she so smoothly reminded the room) and Yasmin Grigaliunas, co-founder of World’s Biggest Garage Sale (I can’t go past a great profit-for-purpose).

 

WID awards Kate Jones
They say a picture says a thousand words, but not even a thousand words is enough to capture the vibe in this room.

Monica Bradley did an exceptional job as MC, keeping the mood high and the night flowing.

The place

A wise man once said, ‘there ain’t no party like a W Hotel party’, and I got to experience that first-hand. The gorgeous cocktail function space was lined by a balcony featuring city and river views, making it the perfect place for mingling before heading into the hotel’s full function room for dinner, wine-sipping boomerangs on Instagram, and, of course, the awards themselves.

W Hotel - Women in Digital Awards
Great light fittings: check. Mysterious but cool table centrepieces: check. Ample screens for media viewing: triple check.

And most importantly…the presentation

It was the meat in the sandwich. The reason why we showed up. The award presentation part of the evening had a great cadence, giving the room enough time to appreciate the nominees before moving onto the winner, and then getting on with the next category. Though I was a little heartbroken that my boss didn’t take out her category, I loved seeing all the women own their moments on stage. Make sure you check out the full list of winners in the official media release.

Above all, I was impressed by the women who were overwhelmingly knowledgeable about technology, implementation, transformation and strategy who stood up and put their name forward as leaders in their space.

It was clearer to me than ever before that women in digital are more than just a group of people who share a (very complex, multi-faceted) interest.

We’re problem solvers. We’re innovators. We’re communicators. We’re community makers. We’re leaders. We’re part of the future.

And on Friday, we were all together celebrating each other, clapping just as hard for the nominees as we did for the winners.

Our hands were numb, but our hearts were full.

 

 

 



July 31, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

How long do you think it takes for a potential follower or customer to decide whether your brand resonates with them? 17 seconds of scrolling your Instagram profile? One minute on your website? The stark reality is a lot more sobering. According to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, it can take around 0.2 seconds for an online visitor to form an opinion about your brand. So how can you ensure that person likes what they see? Avoid these common content mistakes.

Mistake One: Not having a consistent brand voice.

One of the simplest ways to improve how your business is perceived? Implementing a clear and consistent tone of voice across all of your business’ digital touchpoints. Does your brand use emojis on social media? Do you write your newsletter copy in a fun, colloquial way or are you a bit more serious and considered? What kind of pictures do you share and are they consistent in their aesthetic? If you’re not entirely sure, it’s time to figure it out.

When it comes to your brand’s voice, flipping and flopping inconsistently is terrible for business because your followers and potential customers won’t be able to properly grasp who you are and what your brand stands for. Figuring out your business’s specific tone of voice will allow your followers to decide if you’re a company that resonates with them and are worth trusting. Everything from your website copy, to your Instagram bio, to your blog posts needs to possess your brand’s unique DNA.

Mistake Two: Not providing content of value.

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or a service, are a business with 5000 employees or a start-up that’s bootstrapping, the content you’re producing must do one thing: provide serious value to your followers and potential customers.

If you’re smart (and I think we can agree you most certainly are) then your business has cottoned onto the “content marketing” trend and is creating blog posts, newsletters and regular social media content. But if the content you’re producing isn’t adding monumental value to your potential customers’ lives, you might want to hold off on giving yourself a pat on the back. Sharing informative, helpful, valuable content that solves your ideal customer or client’s problems will not only show you’re trustworthy and position your brand as a thought leader, it’ll ensure your business is the one people go to when they’re ready to commit.

Mistake Three: Misinterpreting quantity for quality.

According to former Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile, your website has 15 seconds to capture the attention of the average visitor before – poof – they’re gone. If you think that’s dire, 55% of visitors actually spend fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page. The lesson here? Content that’s sparkly, concise and shares your brand’s personality and key messages is going to be way, way more effective than an About Us page so long it gives your thumbs a cramp from scrolling. Mistaking quantity for quality is a common trap many businesses fall into. No, the amount of words you can cram onto a page is not indicative of how wonderful your business is; it’s going to bore people at best and lose your brand business at worst.

 

Edwina Carr Barraclough is the founder of By Edwina, a consultancy that offers brand, social media and content strategy, sparkly copywriting and media coaching. Edwina is also a journalist who writes for The Sydney Morning Herald, News.com.au, Mamamia, Body & Soul and more. Head here to follow her on Instagram and here to follow her on Facebook.



June 26, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Phyllida Yeo

With more and more content filling up our walls, inboxes and increasingly busy lives, storytellers have to pick up their game. Now, captivating, authentic and emotionally charged stories are king — anything less simply won’t cut it.

For seasoned pro, Cas McCullough, great storytelling is a passion. Starting as a graphic designer and copy editor, she learnt about the value of great content early on in her career. Fast forward to 2018, Cas is not only a talented writer and entrepreneur, but also a busy working mum.

Recently, we got to pick her brain about storytelling, her content creation platform Writally and how she holds it all together.

How did Writally come about?

In 2012, I realised content marketing was going to take over the marketing and advertising space in a big way. My clients and I were trying to take advantage of this new and exciting tool, but we were wrestling over the problem of creating original content in an easy way.

Thanks to my son, the idea of providing a structure that clients could work with and that helped them cut through their mental writing blocks popped into my head.

How important is great storytelling in 2018 and beyond?

The online space is saturated with content. Boring content just doesn’t get any traction. Search engines have shifted their algorithms to hero authority content and your readers just scroll past what doesn’t interest them.

What are some of the key storytelling ingredients?

First and foremost, you must know who you’re writing for and where they are in the purchasing cycle.

Secondly, you need a plan of attack or you could end up going off track and fast! I also find that a structure can help inject drama and suspense into the plot — there’s nothing like a good cliff hanger to leave people on the edge of their seat. A story that fails to get started, or never gets resolved, will most likely fail to leave readers wanting more.

In terms of brands, what are some common storytelling mistakes?

Readers aren’t concerned about your business’s priorities or concerns. All too often, businesses only talk about themselves or company news like everybody cares.

Authenticity and showing that your brand cares more about your readers’ lives than itself should be at the heart of every story.

What are some of the other road blocks brands or individuals can encounter?

Simply starting can be the most difficult part! A lot of people get stuck at the intro because they want to capture attention.  Start with a couple of related questions that lead into the topic. You can always go back and change it later.

What’s your top tip for a novice storyteller?

Mapping out your ideal readers and their pain points is key — that’s the trick to making it truly relevant. I also focus on an individual I want to talk to and their most pressing pain points, rather than a big group of people I’m just trying to reach.

In terms of you own story, what have you learned along the way?

The most important lesson I’ve learned is to listen to your audience. Tuning into what they want and need will save you a lot of heartache down the road.

On a personal note, I’ve also been very lucky to create the life I want. Being available to my kids is my number one priority, and I’ve always created work opportunities around them — not the other way around. If it doesn’t fit, I don’t pursue it.

What’s the next chapter in your story?

Now that Writally is a proven recipe for success, I’m looking at taking it another step further.

Marketplaces are popping up more and more and a Writally marketplace is in the works. This will give businesses access to a collection of recipes on different topics or themes so they can create their own original content in house.

This is only one of the many goals I have for 2018, so watch this space!

While great storytelling isn’t always easy, its ability to make you feel something is extraordinary. With so many ways to create emotionally powerful and relevant content, from augmented and virtual reality to video, written and ephemeral content, it’s about using multiple channels to capture attention, and as always, leaving your readers wanting more.

This article was contributed by our star blogger, Phyllida Yeo. Phyllie is a driven digital marketer based in Brisbane. Since she started her career in a graduate program, she has developed a passion for all things digital. Whether it’s content marketing, search marketing or simply getting inspired by others, she enjoys building her skills across all areas of the industry. She is currently a Digital Marketing Coordinator at Signet.

 



June 12, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Lani Pauli, Deane & Co

Yep, you read that right! While it seems counterintuitive, working less and finding more balance in your life can actually have a positive impact on your business.

Thanks to social media and the fact that in this digital age you can work almost anywhere at any hour, there can be limitless opportunity to work and a never-ending supply of tasks to do. But that doesn’t mean you should just work-work-work!

Not least because an overstimulated, perpetually busy mind is not the place where the best ideas, clearest decisions, or brilliant strategy come from.

As part of our consulting work, we often talk with clients about how to get more balance in their lives, and how it’s not indulgent, but can really pay off for their business.

You only have to look at business power players Tim Ferriss, Ariana Huffington and Bill Gates – all advocates of scheduling dedicated time off – to see how working less can help you more.

If you are finding you are always ‘on’ and spending the bulk of your precious time working on business, take a moment to stop and recalibrate.

Here are 5 ways to consider bringing more balance to your life, calming your mind and running your business, so that it doesn’t run you.

#1 Take Holidays!

Having time off is one of the most sure-fire ways to be more productive. Breaks, down time, having fun and thinking about things outside work is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. Travel allows you to learn new things, get new perspectives, and come at problems in different ways. If you haven’t had a holiday in ages, it can be as easy as taking a long weekend away or getting to the beach for a couple of days.

#2 Clear Boundaries

Make clear boundaries and stick to them. Leave work on time, take a proper lunch break each day, don’t reply to emails or calls outside of hours.  Some of our clients at Deane & Co now put in strict boundaries and openly take one day off a week. On this day they don’t reply to emails (unless the situation is urgent) and their success continues. If anything, this client argues (and we’re inclined to agree) that it enhances their ability to be successful as they’re giving themselves adequate time to recharge and restore.

#3 Switch Off

The best way to be a winner in business and in life is to rejuvenate body and mind, which means a good nights’ sleep. And vital to good sleep if switch off technology, social media, the laptop and cleansing the bedroom of all electronic gear. Consider social media-free weekends: Tim Ferriss switches off his phone every Saturday unapologetically.

#4 Prioritise

Take a cold hard look at how you’re spending your precious time across the different categories that matter to you, whether that’s Family, Eating Well, Exercising, Down Time, or Being Social. If you’re finding that all your time is caught up in business and busyness consider where your main priorities truly lie. Upping your wellbeing only help performance, so spending time on them is an investment in business too.

#5 Delegate

To work less you need to do less, so think strategically about how you can get things off your plate. If your business is like your baby, at some stage you need to let it grow and develop. Trust and work with others. Invest time in good people and then delegate to free up your own time and do the things you truly love and are good at. If you suck at accounting or graphic design, it’s time to hand those things over to people who excel at them so you can have the bandwidth to do what you do best.



June 12, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Lani Pauli, Deane & Co

The notion of including a blog on your business website can seem like a big commitment, especially if you’re not a natural writer.

But let me tell you, having an active blog can be one of the most unexpectedly powerful elements in your business arsenal.

Case in point, a blog post I wrote 3 years ago – an interview with a knife maker from Tasmania of all things – still brings traffic to my site every single day! I had no idea this lovely gent was going to become a cult figure on the Australian food scene, but that’s the beauty of having a blog. Now thousands of extra pairs of eyes have come across my business website without me lifting a finger.

If you are thinking through the value of having a blog, here’s five important reasons why you might consider creating a blog for your business:

#1 It helps drive traffic to your website

Here’s a simple equation: the more pages on your website, the more opportunity to attract readers and website traffic. If you blog consistently and build up a following, that’s extra traffic each and every day. The more often your website is added to, the more search engines like Google know that they can legitimately send traffic there.

#2 It humanizes your brand

A good way to differentiate your product or service from competitors with similar products of services is to have a blog. Say if you were a professional coach and consultant you could highlight that your area of expertise was helping teams work harmoniously or you could showcase your sense of humour in delivering training. It’s these personal extras that help a client choose you over a competitor.

#3 It’s another channel of communication

A blog is another less formal avenue to talk to your customers and it presents numerous opportunities to seel, without selling. For example, if you were a jewellery brand, you could create lots of interesting content about travel, food, fashion that can include jewellery without out it being an overt sales pitch. It’s much more fun for your customer to read a blog about the fabulous jewellery you wore on holiday in Marrakech than to see your product catalogue again.

#4 It signals your business is active

An updated blog signals to new customers that your business is active, well maintained and going well. It’s a simple way to give a positive message about how successful you are.

#5 It helps establish your authority

Creating a blog and showcasing your thoughts, experiences, and expertise is an excellent way to display your authority and credibility in a particular area or industry. If you sell a food product or service, using your blog to talk about upcoming chefs, new restaurants, great cookbooks, amazing documentaries or food experiences show you know you are an expert in the food space, upping credibility to business and product along the way.



June 12, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Jen McKinnon

Often used to distinguish the types of content necessary for your brand strategy, as a concept, the sales funnel helps marketers and business owners understand the customer journey. It is also a useful tool that, when properly implemented across your digital marketing strategy, can fast-track your business success.

Comprising of four stages, the sales funnel tracks the journey from the customer’s first interaction with a brand, right through to initial transaction (purchase) and customer retention thereafter, ensuring that prospective customers are being nurtured in the most effective way when interacting with your brand.

Whether you realise it or not, if your business relies on consumers to make a profit, you probably already have a sales funnel. However, if you don’t know what it is, it’s more than likely not optimised for maximum return.

In the general sense, a funnel is used to channel tiny particles into a container with a small opening. The purpose of a funnel is to capture as many of those particles as we can. The same goes for the sales funnel; however, the small particles, in this case, are your potential clients, and the small opening is the metaphorical door to your business. You want to capture as many customers as you can, and paying close attention to the four stages of the sales funnel will help you do so.

The Traditional Sales Funnel

Awareness

During the awareness stage at the very top of the funnel, you make your first impression on potential customers. At this stage, you are speaking to prospects, so it’s here that you should be introducing your brand, products and services.

Establish the Problem

All sales are made by solving a problem, so establish the problem your product or service can fix early on to really get your audience thinking. This problem doesn’t have to be huge; it may be seemingly trivial to one person but significant and important to the next.

For example, clothing can solve a number of problems. In the practical sense, an item of clothing may keep you warm in winter or cool in summer; or, emotionally speaking, it may provide confidence or esteem to the owner. You just have to pick the angle(s) that will be most relevant to your target market.

Lure Them In

At this stage, it’s all about finding a ‘hook’ – something that will lure the audience towards your brand. How can you catch the attention of the right people? The funnel is wide at the top, so the more attention you can draw to your brand through SEO, PPC, blogs, display network advertising, PR and viral social content, the more likely you are to filter in potential customers.

Consideration

The next stage of the buying journey is consideration. Once your prospect enters this stage they become a lead. It is in this stage that your prospect is evaluating their options, so identifying a clear unique selling proposition (USP) will aid your efforts to stand out as the best option in the market. For your prospect to complete the consideration stage and take the next step, you need to qualify them by providing the information they need to understand more about your product or service.

Recognise Your Lead’s Goal

What is it that your prospects want from your product or service? If you can recognise what your potential customer needs, you will have a much easier time convincing them that your product is right for them. While the awareness stage is about identifying the problem, the consideration stage is about solving that problem.

Explore the Details

It is as this stage that you can really get down to the nitty gritty. It’s here that your lead wants to explore the features of your product or service so an emphasis on deeper education should be made when it comes to the consideration stage.

The best way to engage your consumers at this stage is through a combination of product or service descriptions, case studies, demonstrations, how-to videos and more extensive documentation on the details of your product or service.

Decision

Once the lead is interested and fit to make a transaction, the decision stage sees your lead transform into a customer, as they make the choice to purchase your product or service.

Answer the Right Questions

This stage is about establishing that final layer of trust. Here you should be answering questions like, ‘why your business?’, through testimonials and reviews. You can also influence your customer’s decision by displaying impeccable customer care through interactive digital channels, such as social media and Chabot services.

Retention

Often neglected by business owners, customer retention is all about turning an existing customer into a repeat buyer. Some people see retention as beyond the funnel but, not allowing your existing customers fade away is an integral part of the buying process.

Did you know that a repeat customer is worth 9 times more than a new customer? It takes far less effort, and is far less costly to retain customers than it is to attract them. An existing customer has already been through the sales funnel, so to lose them thereafter would be a waste.

Nurture Current Customers

Loyalty is valuable to your business, so client nurture is essential. You can incite customer loyalty through immaculate customer support and further education on the product, service or industry. However, the best way to ensure allegiance to your brand is through a loyalty program that provides value and recognition to your existing customers. Using a loyalty benefit scheme, your brand can inspire repeat purchase through rewards and special offers, and even the occasional freebie.

Email marketing has become the penultimate when it comes to nurture, as automation technology gives business owners the capacity to ‘set and forget’, streamlining the process and minimizing time, effort and resources. Without bombarding your database, keep your brand’s image at the forefront with consistently valuable email communication to repeat buyers, and re-engage past consumers who you haven’t heard from in a while with an automated nurture program.

The sales funnel is an extremely valuable tool when used effectively, helping you understand your customers and get more out of your marketing efforts. Applying the four stages of the sales funnel to your marketing strategy will stimulate an enriched experience for your consumers when interacting with your brand and, in turn, extract a better return on your marketing investments.

 

With a strong background in creativity, Jen has found her niche in digital marketing. As the senior content creator for the ASX-listed Melbourne IT Group, Jen is responsible for branded content across all subsidiary businesses. Her flair for writing is matched by her passion for sharing knowledge and she is driven to produce digital content that is useful to business owners and marketers alike.



April 21, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Kathy Wilson

It wasn’t all that long ago that seeking part-time work was like hanging a sign across your LinkedIn profile saying “not that interested in my career.” Not only was there a salary penalty but promotions suddenly became “unavailable” and career-enhancing projects would disappear like a puff of smoke.

But in 2007, Tim Ferriss forced the world to take a look at the way we all work  with his international bestseller “The Four Hour Workweek.” No longer was there a direct link between hours worked and commitment and success.

The flow-on effect has been slow in coming but is now picking up steam. Finally, like a shy little sister at the dance, part-time work is stepping out of shadows and presenting herself as a powerful career tool.

All over the world, millions of dollars are flooding into part-time and flexible work in 2018 as both employers and employees catch on to its advantages.

But have the tables turned so much that part-time work now actually boost your career?

In many cases yes. And for women in digital, it’s a “hell yes!”

So let’s take a look at six specific ways you can use part-time work to skyrocket your career.

1. Use job-sharing to make you part of an unbeatable package.

By developing a strategic job-share partnership, you can take you from a “maybe” candidate for a stretch job to a “must have.”

By matching your skills with someone similar but complimentary, you can potentially double the expertise, experience and skill sets you bring to a role. It also means that when and if the need arises, there is the ability to scale up rapidly (e.g. for a launch/end of financial year/time-sensitive report).

Increasingly – job sharing is a thing. And for senior, well-paid and challenging roles.

Companies are becoming open to hiring senior people on a flexible basis, according to recruitment firm Timewise.

“The British company surveyed 200 local senior managers and found that two out of five would consider hiring candidates for a senior role as part of a job-share. It also estimated that 770,000 high-income earners in Britain now work part-time, an increase of 5.7% on the previous year.

There are no losers in this scenario and big wins for innovative employees.

2. Use the flexibility of part-time work allows to develop skills in new areas

Very often, even the best full-time jobs involve using the same skill set over and over. I kind of rinse and repeat. Sure, you may have mastered the skills required but once you have done that a plateau can set in.

That’s what happened to Tracey – a coder in Sydney.

“When I first started my job

Part-time work, by its very nature, frees you up for things other than your primary job.

Spend it to upskill in new areas that can take you in a whole different career direction.

3. Get your foot in the door at an up and coming company.

Once you have a few years experience, you expect a certain salary – and that’s a good thing.

But what about if your dream company is a bit speculative and can’t afford you at that rate?

Easy.

Negotiate a part-time contract to get your foot in the door.

4. Make more money

This may sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes, working part-time can mean you end up bringing in more money.

If, for example, you take on a 30 hour a week gig and a 15 hour a week gig, your total income might exceed a full-time salary.

5. Be available to last minute and short-term opportunities

By its nature, part-time jobs mean you are free to dabble in small, cool and/or one-off projects.

Who knows, maybe that small gig you pick up might lead to you being the next big thing in digital in a few years.

And finally…

6. Part-time work can make you happy – and that makes you a far better company asset.

According to an article in Fast Company,  https://www.fastcompany.com/3048751/happy-employees-are-12-more-productive-at-work ) happy workers are more productive workers.

Here’s what the article said: “A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive. As the research team put it, “We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”

If you can find your work/life balance that works for you, you’ll be far better and your job – and a much more valued employee.

Shawn Anchor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, has found that the brain works much better when a person is feeling positive. At those times, individuals tend to be more creative and better at solving problems.

Kathy Wilson from Elite Reputations gets women great part-time jobs. She knows that starting a job search can push everyone single, insecure button you have and she has a plan for you to follow that is simple and easy and will get you a new job in 4 weeks or less. And she’s released a course called “The World’s Most Real Guide to getting a part-time job that isn’t crap and pays what you deserve“.



April 8, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Jen McKinnon

Many small to medium business owners have seemingly bigger fish to fry when it comes to marketing than developing a brand voice for their business. However, something as simple as what you say and how you say it could be the difference between many and few conversions.

What is Brand Voice?

Brand voice is an ostensibly grandiose concept but it can actually be make or break for your marketing campaign. Simply, your brand voice is what tells your brand’s story – the personality of your brand. It’s what keeps your brand consistent and plausible through style and tone but, most importantly, it’s what differentiates you from your competitors. Your brand voice is applicable across all content streams, including (but not limited to) blogs, email marketing, social media, website content and digital advertising.

How will a clear Brand Voice help my business?

There are a number of ways your brand voice can benefit your marketing and your business as a whole by inspiring interaction, engagement and customer relationships. Let’s take a look at the top reasons to establish and employ a brand voice:

Establish Brand Identity

With a solidly established brand voice you can give readers an instant understanding of what your brand is all about, purely through the way you communicate. By personifying your brand (thinking of your brand as a person), you can find a way to encapsulate the values of your business in the style and tone of your content. Are you passionate but relaxed? Lovable but cheeky? Firm but approachable? Try to choose contrasting traits to give your brand voice more depth.

It’s important not to pick too many adjectives when describing your voice. If you do, you dilute the strength of the words that encompass your brand’s values most effectively. Aim to only use three or four adjectives when describing your tone and style of communication. This not only preserves the power of your voice but makes it clear to those using it.

Reach the Right Consumers

Your brand voice gives you a rich understanding of how to address your consumers. Knowing how to speak to your target audience will help attract more qualified consumers and, as a result, maximise your conversions.

For example, if your business is selling bicycles for children, the audience will be vastly different to a business that sells health insurance to under 25s. The bicycle store will be targeting parents, so their voice may be playful yet authoritative to demonstrate that the brand knows how to have fun but pays close attention to safety. On the other hand, the health insurance broker speaking to young adults may take a more comedic approach to be relatable to a youthful audience. There is no use in the bicycle store or the insurance broker employing a rigid tone of voice as it doesn’t appeal to either target market.

Gain Trust

Just as sending mixed or scattered messages can be detrimental to a romantic relationship, the same can be said about the marketing messages sent by your brand. You can avoid inconsistency in your communication by setting out clear brand voice guidelines. This not only improves the interaction your potential clients have with your brand but it also stimulates trust. Consistency implies stability and dependability, which are traits that all consumers look for in a brand.

Brands who know who they are and the value they provide to their market are the most successful because they appear trustworthy. Think Nike, Apple, Coca Cola – these brands all have a strong and identifiable brand voice. Just because your business isn’t a multi-million-dollar company, doesn’t mean the same tactics won’t benefit your marketing strategy.

Establish Connections

You want your brand to be relatable to your target audience and speak to them in terms they understand. Business is built on relationships, which is why it’s so important to ensure your customers can and want to connect with your brand. Establish a brand voice that inspires audiences to want to interact with your brand.

Many purchases are made for aspirational reasons. Consumers aspire to look cooler, be slimmer, get a better job and, by ‘talking the talk’ you further tug on the consumer’s aspirational strings. This can drive consumers to develop a relationship with your brand. Satisfying your customer’s expectations in terms of style and tone, not only adds coal to that aspirational fire for purchase but deepens the consumer’s yearn to forge a relationship with your brand.

Recognition

A good brand voice will be instantly recognisable. This doesn’t just improve brand recall, it also helps you stand out amongst a crowded market. If you communicate with your consumers in a memorable way, you have a higher chance that potential customers will remember and recognise your brand just from your tone of voice. Being recognisable and familiar to audiences is a high priority in marketing and can be the molecular difference that makes you a sale.

Once you have something to say and a way to say it, the marketing world is your oyster!

With a strong background in creativity, Jen has found her niche in digital marketing. As the senior content creator for the ASX-listed Melbourne IT Group, Jen is responsible for branded content across all subsidiary businesses. Her flair for writing is matched by her passion for sharing knowledge and she is driven to produce digital content that is useful to business owners and marketers alike.