Tell me about your company, its work, and projects…
I help people create content that delivers results. I work with agencies and in-house marketing teams and offer training, coaching, and consultancy.
What are the challenges posed by the industry you operate in?
Hiring, developing, and retaining people is the biggest challenge in every industry right now. Creating work environments where people can thrive is difficult, and for far too long companies did little more than pay lip service to that stuff. I feel like finally things are beginning to change for the better now, but honestly, progress is slower than I’d like.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way you go about business?
As a solo practitioner, things haven’t changed that much for me. I guess I do more stuff via Zoom, and less stuff in-person, but that’s no bad thing.
What trends do you see for the future?
I think that remote work, (or hybrid-remote, where some folks are office-based at least some of the time, whilst others are fully remote) is here to stay. I think that’s a great thing, but of course there are operational challenges for companies to navigate. However, I think those companies that create great work environments for remote, hybrid remote, and office-based employees will win out in the end.
What is your biggest objective as a speaker?
I hope that people leave my talks feeling a little better about themselves, and more excited about their work.
Could you share with us the points of discussion (the input that you provided) during your talk at MozCon?
My MozCon talk was essentially a catalogue of some of the biggest mistakes, and missteps I’ve made during a decade working in Digital PR; and some thoughts on where I still think we’re behaving a little wrong-headedly as an industry today.
As a leader, what are the factors both professional and personal that drive you? What keeps you going?
I’m incredibly fortunate to be doing a job which I love which makes keeping going a lot easier. But I’m also a huge believer in the importance of both hobbies, and side projects – I do a bunch of things which are definitely not “work” – they are deliberately designed in a way which means they’re unlikely to yield any commercial benefit. I do them simply because I enjoy them.
For example, I write a fortnightly newsletter called Manufacturing Serendipity. It’s basically a public experiment – a few years ago, I began wondering if it might be possible for me to create conditions where I’m led to make interesting discoveries. Might paying attention to what I’m consuming, where I’m going, and how I’m spending my time cause me to see the world a little differently? Might it even change how I think? It’s a lot of fun to do, and people seem to enjoy coming along for the ride.
In your opinion, do digital events give you a similar level of feedback/result vis-à-vis the live versions? What would you say were the biggest pros and cons of both formats? Which do you prefer?
Ugh. I wish I could say that virtual events offered the same sorts of levels of interaction as live ones, but in my experience, for the most part at least, that’s not been the case. That said, last year I took part in a fantastic event run by Isaline Muelhauser. Rather than give an industry-focused talk, she instead encouraged me to give a talk and Q&A on my first love: fiction. The interactions with attendees were brilliant and it was a wonderful experience. But that was the exception, rather than the rule.
In terms of pros and cons, I love that virtual events offer people the opportunity to hear talks from folks without having to travel anywhere, and I think that they definitely have their place. However, when it comes to interactions with humans, in-person events win out for me.