As the latest addition to the Sprint Education copywriting team, I've been asked to introduce myself by writing a blog. Now, although I've written for brochures, websites and email on numerous occasions, I've never actually written a blog!
So, my first challenge…
Q. What’s a blog?
A. Basically a journal written in a relaxed, informal style.
Result! Informality I can do standing on my head. As a busy mother of three lively boys I often have no choice! In fact, I often arrive in the office after the school run, as someone who has just out-smarted a pack of wolves. Smug with just a tinge of disbelief!
First of all, the team suggested doing some research in order to help identify a subject for my blog…
After a couple of hours hungrily digesting every whitepaper and infographic in Sprint Labs, I fell upon John’s Blog, ‘Are You Brave Enough to Bare All?’ and it struck a chord. Not, I stress, because I had some dubious career before motherhood. No, just because I think people appreciate the personal touch and a sense of honesty. Let’s face it, that’s why we find children so endearing and they’re a great judge of character.
The more I thought about it the more I liked this ‘warts and all’ approach to marketing to schools so I pitched it to John as the subject of my blog.
John nodded and suggested that it might be interesting to contrast my occasionally hectic home life (actually who am I kidding – my predominately hectic home life) with the serene and chilled image that Sprint Education often projects of itself...
Calm and serene is right. The first thing I saw when I walked through the front door for my interview was a ping pong table, and as I walked through the office I glimpsed at least two pairs of furry slippers beneath people's desks! However, now I've been here for a few weeks I can see that the only reason for the slippers is that everyone is quite literally working their socks off!
The cold hard truth is that success is really hard work and I don't think there's any harm in letting your audience see the real you. Sure, it's great to project how streamlined and efficient you are but sometimes it can be equally reassuring to let your audience know that things don't always run so smoothly – sometimes people like to see the dirt under the fingernails, so they know just how hard you're working for them.
So, my blog is an open and honest introduction to me, the dirt under Sprint Education's fingernails!
My message? You’re not a machine and most days I’m not Super Woman. Keep it real. Be clear, be honest and show your integrity. I think people like to deal with real people so I’m going to try to sell myself in this blog while also flying the flag for sincerity.
People often say to me, “I don’t know how you do it”, with a mixture of admiration and sympathy. But I always choose to take it as a compliment. A good friend of mine once said that with three children you become a juggler. In fact, I think you become a realist. You know what lies ahead, you see the pitfalls because you’ve done it before and you prepare well ahead.
Sure, the homework, the lunch boxes, the spellings, the PE kits and dressing up days are a minefield, set to trip up any unsuspecting parent, but I have found with good planning and time management it can be done. Am I beginning to sell myself yet?
Any life lessons, golden nuggets of advice…
‘Cut your cloth accordingly’, in family life that’s a must. Don’t be over ambitious, setting yourself up for a fail. Sometimes less is more, but no one needs to know that’s down to a limited budget. For me, that’s time with the boys, in the mud playing football or crawling around the carpet taking the knees out of my jeans. Phones off, with them at the centre of my world.
My advice, do what you do well and above all, let people see the quality. I know what it’s like to operate within a tight budget, which means I’ll always have a mind to help clients get the most from their investment. I’m also a perfectionist, which is just crazy in my frenetic household, but that means what a client gets from me will always be top drawer.
Here I did a quick dictionary check to make sure frenetic was the right word…
Answer: Fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way.
Finally, John said, ‘You need to tie it all together at the end and show what you are bringing to Sprint Education’.
And then it struck me. I’m bringing the qualities of motherhood! A hard-working all-rounder who will keep all the balls in the air, striving for quality at all times. Someone who cares, someone who smiles a lot. In fact, someone you’d enjoy having a cup of tea with!
Nice to meet you.
Marketing to Schools