Being a Digital Mum: What is it all about?

I can’t remember exactly how I first came across Digital Mums, but the idea of adding serious digital skills to my CV rolled around my head for quite a while until the pull was too much and I signed up.

I was in a slightly different position to the typical “Digital Mum” trainee because I’ve been running my own PR business Sandford PR for the past 7 years so I hadn’t had a recent career break for my family that others were emerging from. My children are older (9 and 12) so my maternity leave took place at my previous agency. For me, it was about broadening my skills whilst continuing to run my business. And unexpectedly becoming even more passionate about engaging with the working world as a mother and buisness woman, the merits of flexible working and setting a good example to my two daughters.

It was with some trepidation that I started the course, “met” my cohort on our first Google Hangout and got underway. I knew about social media, used it, talked to clients about it, so how much was there really to learn? Surely it would be just topping up what I knew already and it would all be a breeze. How wrong I was!

I was assigned a small architectural practice as my programme partner whose work I immediately liked. They were a very friendly, creative bunch, a tad disorganised but keen to make the most out of the experience that they could….when the real work of studio wasn’t getting in the way!

We developed a campaign that focused on the little things that can spark the inspiration for creating a new home. The hook was to be a competition to win a sit down sketch design with the co-founders. Something that sounds straight forward but offering a service rather than a product as a prize took real thought to get it right as there were so many possible scenarios to explore before nailing it.

There were many challenges I faced along the way, from meeting the weekly assignment deadlines with late nights and long weekends, learning new things every week, to coming up with a compelling strategy while juggling client work along side my own “client”, Digital Mums. However, throughout the course there was a huge amount of support (and laughter) from my cohort and always the friendly reassurance and guidance needed from the course leaders themselves; all of whom it seems had once been in our shoes so they knew exactly what we were going through.

There were many ‘a-ha’ moments along the way, but it was once the campaign was live and we were putting everything we’d learnt into practice that my real learning kicked in. Seeing the direct correlation between the activities on our platforms and our weekly insights made me realise how the different components to a social media campaign can have such a massive impact. It felt both daunting and empowering in equal measures.

We had some good successes along the way, culminating in a very happy winner of the competition, but my biggest personal achievement was the feedback from my programme partner at the end of campaign:

“Thanks for all your sterling efforts to burnish the studio into a well oiled and gleaming social media machine. You were terrific, and it has been an invaluable insight — I must admit I hadn’t fully appreciated how time consuming it is to keep an ongoing presence; you’ve basically got to live and breathe Instagram/Twitter etc.”

Now the course is finished I’m starting to appreciate quite how much I’ve learned and how far I’ve come. The other day I found myself being part of a PR panel talk with a renowned mummy-blogger influencer and it felt entirely natural to be talking about content creaters and engagement. I’m excited about the future, expanding my business to offer social media management directly as a service but also using my knowledge to benefit clients in many different ways that I hadn’t expected. I feel current, knowledgeable and fully skilled as a digital marketeer.

I definitely would recommend Digital Mums to others. With the mums in my cohort who had been on long career breaks and were retraining, I could see an amazing confidence returning as the course unfolded. So whether you’re wanting to learn a brand new skill and return to work, or that you feel there is a gap in your knowledge that needs to be filled like me, it’s a great experience and proves you’re never too old to keep learning!