When you do Content Marketing for a business, for the purposes of SEO, one of the first things you do is draw up a content calendar. You match up what dates are going to be coming up in the year that you can write a blog post about. Some might be more relevant than others. Some might be very tenuous indeed.
However, if you can link what you do to a calendar date – something that people are already going to be talking about; something that people will already be searching for online – then it’s beneficial for your website. More people already looking for the type of content you’re writing, ergo more visitors back to your website. It ain’t rocket science.
And so, this week, it’s my turn to write the GT blog post, and it happens to fall on International Women’s Day, Friday 8th March 2019.
Now you might be thinking, ‘what on earth has International Women’s Day got to do with SEO?’. And you’d be right to think that. Very little, if I’m honest.
I mean, I’d be able to eek out a blog post about it if required. I could write about the many exceptionally talented women around today, who are at the top of the SEO game (there are more of them than you’d think). Or I could talk to you about the women who worked hard in the 1990s to make SEO an actual thing (again, more of them than you’d imagine. History is – still – mainly written by the men.).
But those articles have been written, so I’m not going to repeat them. (Contrary to my usual content marketing technique! Little Copywriter joke for you there. Lolz.)
Instead, I’m going to explain to you today why International Women’s Day is important to the women – and man – of GrowTraffic itself. Because it happens to be one of the few days in the calendar that we genuinely acknowledge (in fact, I have to take an entire day off for it this year, because I’ve got so much to do on the actual day!).
Well, that and Pancake Day. Who doesn’t love Pancake Day?!
Anyway, back to the point.
What Is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day has been celebrated now since 1911. Initially set up by women in Germany, who were fighting for German Women to have the right to vote, the day was quickly picked up by women’s organisations around the world, and variously became a day for celebrating the contribution of women to society and fighting for women to have equal rights to men.
Now celebrated annually on 8th March, IWD has become a global symbol of gender inequality. And you might think that the rights we are fighting for now are much different from those women were fighting for 100 years ago – most women around the world have got the right to vote now, after all. We’ve just celebrated the centenary of that.
And yet it seems that the causes are generally much the same as they have been for over a century; an abolition of the gender pay gap, equal rights in the workplace, free and fair healthcare, affordable childcare, the right not to have photographs of our bum taken from up our skirts etc. etc.
It is rather galling that, after all these years, we are still fighting the same battles as our mothers, grandmothers and even great-grandmothers were fighting.
Regardless, you can pretty much guarantee that the day will be met on social media by a general outcry from affronted folk (admittedly, mainly white men) who, completely unaware of their privilege (they ain’t woke yet, man!), will dismiss IWD as unnecessary (“women are already equal to men”) and unfair (“there’s no International Men’s Day, is there?”).
And just on that last point, there is actually; it’s on Tuesday 19th November 2019, and in these times of a very narrow definition of masculinity, it is needed more than ever too. (And, whilst I’m here, can I just take a minute to congratulate Richard Herring on the work he does on IWD to promote IMD, and raise money for charity too! You are both funny and useful, Sir!).
Anyway, once again I digress. Back to IWD and GT.
Why Does International Women’s Day Matter To GrowTraffic?
First up, I’ll explain why it matters to us.
GrowTraffic currently has 5 employees, and 4 of them are women. (I know, it’s astounding isn’t it?! Bear with me.) We’re hoping to shortly have 6 employees, 5 of which will be female.
You might think ‘so what?’. In this day and age, that’s not ground-breaking.
No, it’s not. But what is ground-breaking is the way we run our business because of it. Someone asked me the other day what I was aiming to do with GrowTraffic, and my answer was “I want to build a business that works for women, because if I do that, it will also work better for men”. And I genuinely stand by that.
That doesn’t mean that I’m trying to build a business that only employs women or that thinks men are less valid – that is the complete opposite of my goal. What I do want to do is build a business where a working mother can work in it – can make a valid contribution – without feeling guilty for being a working mum. Where both men and women can work flexi-time, all the time, in order to fit their working life into their other commitments, be they children, elderly relatives or an addiction to sleeping.
I want to build a company where men can take their paternity leave and not be made to feel like they are shirking their responsibilities, or can go and pick up their child from school if they are ill without being asked “can’t your wife do it?”. (And yes, those are real life examples that my husband has experienced; the latter was even asked of him by a female boss!).
In short, I want GT to practice what we preach and build a company that has genuine gender equality. Equality of pay, equality of opportunity, equality of reward. And luckily, the people who are on this batshit journey with me believe in the same thing. (I think they do, you can see their responses in a minute.)
We can’t change the world on our own – we know that – but we can change our worlds. And if enough other businesses see that this is a viable way to run a profitable business AND STILL GROW, then hopefully more will follow. We know we are not the only ones; it is the way the world of work is going.
And so, IWD aligns strongly with the core values we hold here at GT, hence we mark it. Of course, thanks to the way we do business – thanks to the fact that we are women working in a male dominated sector – every day is IWD to us. We believe in this shit all year round, not just on 8th March.
We’ll still put the flag out though.
What Are GT Doing For International Women’s Day?
Well, you might well ask!
To celebrate this great day of womanhood, the GT team will be dressing up in pink with frilly collars, wearing fairies in our hair, baking cup cakes and drinking dainty cups of tea out of our bone china tea set. Not really. Really, we’ll be setting fire to our bras and marching through the city demanding all men are castrated.
Only joking. (Of course, if we did want to carry out such stereotyped activities, there would absolutely nothing wrong with that. That’s the beauty of equality and choice.)
In reality, I’m afraid our IWD activities will be much more mundane.
For starters, we’ve written this blog post, and we’ll also be posting out some super smashing articles about women and SEO throughout the day, via our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. If you’re not already friends with us, you really should be; we post some awesome content about SEO and Content Marketing, and the extra feminist twist tomorrow will be a treat!
In addition to that, I will be going into the local primary school – Northern Primary School in Bacup – to speak to the children about IWD and do a presentation on Five Women Who Changed The World. I’ll be telling them all about five of my personal favourite women; Mary Wollstonecraft, Millicent Fawcett, Emmeline Pankhurst,Marie Stopes (hopefully in an age appropriate way!) and Rosa Parks. The gist of it is that, thanks to the actions of those women, I am now able to speak to them as the female MD of a company, in my own right.
Outside of GT, I have also spent the week doing several activities for IWD in conjunction with the Rossendale Soroptimists, SI Rossendale, of which I am a member. On Tuesday night we held a dinner with another local Soroptimist group, SI Ramsbottom, at which I did a short presentation on Sophia Duleep Singh, a prominent Suffragette and women’s rights campaigner of the 20th century.
In between eating our own bodyweight in cheese and onion pie and drinking rather a lot of red wine, we also made sure we took photos of ourselves doing the official pose of #IWD2019, so that we can also post about it on social media today, and join in with the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, which is #BalanceForBetter.
Hopefully, I will also be bullying the rest of the GT team into doing the Balance For Better pose tomorrow too, so expect a couple of photos of us looking like idiots. For a change.
What Do The Rest Of GT Say About IWD?
Incidentally, speaking of the rest of the team, I asked them for their input for this blog; for them to give me their views on why IWD was so important to GT.
Simon Dalley, my husband, GrowTraffic’s founder and my fellow director, sent me the following email;
“GrowTraffic has been an SEO agency full of women, plus me, for a long time now. The gender split in the SEO industry generally is something like 70% male and 30% female, so it’s always been gratifying to know that an SEO agency could be built to buck this trend, especially when GrowTraffic is that SEO agency. And this isn’t just a trend that’s limited to SEO; whilst the best PPC consultants I’ve ever worked with are women, I think that part of the search marketing industry is even more male-dominated than SEO.
I’ve always said I wanted to create a business I’d want to work for. Rachel, GrowTraffic’s MD, regularly says she wants to build a business that women want to work for. I didn’t get it for a long time. Perhaps I never will fully understand the mental load associated with the role of working women and mothers, however, I can appreciate many of the benefits of the culture and ethos that have developed over the years at GrowTraffic.
Having spent much of my 16 years in the corporate marketing world, working in very male-orientated tech businesses and being out of the house for 12 or 13 hours most days, working in GrowTraffic is revelatory. Keeping up those kinds of working hours is almost Victorian but it’s very common when speaking with male friends. GrowTraffic’s ‘for women’ culture is built on flexibility, delivery and trust. It enables me to be present in my life in a way I could never be when dealing with the demands of a typical corporate role. For example, I have been able to take my son to and from school virtually every day, which is something I had never been able to do in the first few years of his school life. And whilst I doubt I’ll ever overcome the impact of my socialisation, just being around more means, in my personal life, I’m contributing more and starting to see and deal with things that weren’t even on my radar.
It occurs to me that the 70% male to 30% female split in the SEO industry is a huge injustice, because this is an industry that women should want to work in. SEO and many other digital marketing career paths should be able to offer their practitioners huge flexibility and I’d like to think that’s something that has been beneficial to the whole team at GrowTraffic.”
A very sensible answer, which shows that he does pay attention, sometimes.
Our Head of Content, Elicia McManus, wanted to use IWD to highlight something else that is important to her;
“I never take my female colleagues here at GT for granted but IWD really is a great opportunity to sit and reflect on how great they are. I’m lucky enough to work with women who are supportive and a source of inspiration to me.
I will also be using the day feel proud of myself; I work in a male oriented industry and have a disability that is more commonly associated with men and is very misunderstood in women. This IWD, I would like to draw attention to the gender bias in autism research that means thousands of women go undiagnosed.
Much of the research around Autistic Spectrum Disorders has focussed on males and therefore, diagnostic criteria aren’t suitable for women on the spectrum. It’s now common knowledge that the female experience can be completely different. Not receiving a diagnosis early on in life can be crushing for women who may struggle with employment and relationships. Earlier diagnosis means women can seek help, understand themselves more fully and have a better chance at gaining stable employment. Read more on supporting women and girls with autism here – https://www.autism.org.uk/professionals/training-consultancy/online/women-and-girls.aspx”
Massive round of applause, Elicia.
Which just goes to show that not everyone in the team is 100% sensible all of the time. OK, that’s a lie, none of us are 100% sensible any of the time. As Monty Python once famously said about GT, “‘Tis a silly place”. Ahem.
And I think that’s a good place to leave it.
If you’d like to find out more about why International Women’s Day matters to GrowTraffic and what we’ll be doing as a team to support it this year, then please do get in touch with us.
Alternatively, if you’d like to see a copy of the presentation I’ll be doing, or simply want to find out what it’s like to work with a company that puts women equal to men, then again, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
And don’t forget to follow us on social media too, to see more great IWD related stuff.
You can phone us on 0161 706 0012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a wonderful IWD 2019 folks!