Taking it personally

Recently I've been looking again at why I take the effort to write this blog every other week. Originally I started it to share the work of the team to an internal audience at the University (and to get some much needed exposure and buy-in). However, over time it's grown a bit as I've been fortunate enough to gain quite a large external following (and did I mention a blog award?!) This has encouraged me to start to write a bit more personally in my posts and also to cover some wider industry themes.

The purpose of a blog
The blogs which I read are generally those which give some great industry tips and voice quite strong opinions. Therefore I've thought that instead of me using this as a forum of self promotion and reporting our work I should use some of the great blog title generators out there to do the same. But then I keep coming back to one key issue - if I'm not enjoying writing it then why should I bother?

The same is true at work. Generally I love what I do and constantly being able to learn and experiment is a real gift (digital marketing is GREAT for this). Sure, I have bad days and get frustrated with internal politics - but isn't that true with almost any job? When you stop enjoying what you do for a living then it's definitely time to look elsewhere and I haven't reached this stage yet.

This enjoyment of what I do has also leaked out into some personal projects which I've undertaken lately. A few years ago my Wife and I published a children's history book (she wrote it and I illustrated, designed and self published it). I then taught myself Wordpress in order to design and build a website for it. This was tremendously satisfying and we totally underestimated the amount of work it would be. It's done moderately well and last week saw a big surge in sales thanks to some impartial online reviews.

The Breathe Garden Design website.
Fully responsive thanks to some of the
great features available in Wordpress

I then designed and built my bother-in-law's company website (also in Wordpress) which allowed me to experiment with responsive design templates and a filterable gallery. That reminds me - I really must sort out their email client! In the past week I've also been helping a friend in the village promote and launch his new photography business website. The list goes on...

I'm really grateful to the University for giving me the chances they have but also think that in order to be at the forefront I also need to put in these (extra-curricular) hours to stay ahead and not be limited by the same way of doing things.

Clearing! January starts! Winter! Three
campaigns all in the same place...
At work, these last few weeks have seen me take part in Prospectus/Campaign pitches (an activity almost as important as staff recruitment where I've been flying the flag for a digital first focus) and I've been undertaking some serious number crunching to analyse the effectiveness of our old campaigns. I've also been wrestling with how to present three consecutive campaigns on our homepage alongside some serious planning to develop our website course pages with Sharepoint integration.

Time will tell which direction this blog takes in future but whatever it is it will be in a format which I enjoy writing! I guess one of the best ways is to look at which posts have performed best and take my focus from that. After all, working in Digital Marketing you can't talk often enough about the importance of 'evidence based decisions' (maybe that should be the title of my next book...?!)
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