I work with businesses throughout the UK and currently 50% of my client base is out with my hometown of Aberdeen. Remote working in the digital marketing industry was a thing for me even before COVID times and whilst most elements of the work can be done remotely, there are times when face-to-face is just what a project needs.
But this blog isn’t about remote working as a debate or the human psychology of why face-to-face sometimes just feels better; it’s a behind-the-scenes look at what I do for work and play when I travel to see clients.
The “highlights” on social media platforms are brilliant for snapshots of an adventure or work outing – but it’s just that. A snapshot of time or a moment and even with creative content and smart copy, there is always an element missing or a backstory that can help fill in the gap and give a wider perspective.
Telling you I met with a client to plan their content strategy for the next 3 months vs sharing the players involved, the time it took and the moving parts to work with to pull off that strategy meeting is way more effective!
Plus, nothing like a good behind-the-scenes nosey around to see what a business really does, right?!
This month’s trip to see clients in Edinburgh was tagged onto a “Freelancer’s Day Out” occasion. I know a pretty cool group of Freelancers (hello James, Rob and Nic) in Aberdeen that I get to hang out with every few months with a kind of “work’s night out” vibe and our pre-summer get-together was a day trip to the capital for some food and adventure.
This day’s outing tied in with celebrating one of our birthday birthday’s too (happy 1 year of Freshly Ground Copy Nicola!) and we celebrated with party bags and cupcakes on the train to Edinburgh.
We took the train from Stonehaven and headed straight to lunch in Bonnie & Wild in St James Quarter when we arrived in Edinburgh, fed and watered we hit Harvey Nichols for a wander around before walking the city in what felt like a marathon in the desert … think cobbled streets, picturesque shops, manicured (private *cough*) gardens, sculptures and sunshine!
The final stop of our group adventure was the Van Gogh Alive exhibition, not sure how common knowledge it is that I am a total art-lover and Van Gogh is one of my favourites. You can’t go wrong with the texture of his work, the colours and the emotions; also who isn’t a sucker for a love story where someone sends you his ear …? The exhibition is a pretty cool mash-up of art and music and the soundtrack of composers alongside the digital representation of Van Gogh’s work and life story was wonderful.
After the exhibition and a light refreshment, I headed off to my first work appointment of the trip. One of my client’s in Edinburgh is Bonnie & Wild Scottish Marketplace and I work on social media strategy and management in a marketing team that includes PR, graphic design, website development, copywriting and content creation. There was a Scotland Food and Drink private event that evening and I stopped by to run some stories on Instagram and Facebook and get some content for Twitter and LinkedIn.
The content was aimed at showcasing the drink providers used in the welcome cocktails and accompanying G&T – I use stories to support events like this and post on Twitter and LinkedIn as part of the wider industry conversation and community and it was great to say hi to some of the team and meet some of the service providers too.
I ended day 1 grabbing a quick dinner at the hotel, before heading to bed to catch-up on emails and my (infamous) Trello to-do list board and falling asleep pretty quickly.
My first meeting on day 2 was in the afternoon so I’d packed my training gear to use the hotel gym whilst away, but after busting out over 10kms in walking the day before I skipped that and opted for a walk into town in the sunshine to find a nice coffee shop and do some work. I hung out in Black Sheep Coffee Co that morning, it ticked all the Suz-coffee-boxes like great coffee, great decor and wall art and a “pay it forward” coffee wall on site too.
Even if away with meetings with only one or two client’s, there is still work to be done for other clients and the juggle is always real around keeping up with my workload and emerging yourself in the moment.
I had a meeting in the afternoon to meet with a client’s Event Manager and the venue’s General Manager to talk about how we could be using social media to promote and support the robust events diary. I shared a campaign plan I’d created from the announcement post right through to the day of the event and how we could use creative content and different types of videos or images to sell tickets for any event. I also shared a list of content ideas for during an event and did some “how-to” with iphoneography for social media content and stories.
Great timing to be on site as it was a team member’s birthday too and we went out for a beer after work to celebrate the occasion. A definite perk of face-to-face meetings and being present in the team where possible!
I have a strict “don’t drink and tweet” rule, which means when out having a drink stay off social media and although I’ll still capture content when out, I won’t share anything until the next day or even a few days after. It’s a definite skill to know when it’s “social media time” and when it’s time to just have a good time. I teach these kinds of boundaries in my social media workshops and also how to use the content the day after or even a few week’s after and still make it relevant to your audience.
Day 2 ended with some of us from the team checking out a very cool cocktail bar and getting up to the 6th floor of a hotel lobby to take photos of their gorgeous decor. Never has the #lifewithSuz hashtag and subsequent stories been more relevant than when I travel for work and work events!
I must confess to skipping the gym again! Work, play, people and more work was taking its toll on my energy levels and I still had one more client meeting to go before heading home. I opted for some emails and work prep in the hotel room, before getting breakfast and coffee and checking out of the hotel.
My last meeting in Edinburgh was with Kirsty Maynor and we met in the super cool Clockwise co-working and meeting space in Leith. Worth a look as a co-working space if you’re ever in Edinburgh! Kirsty and I have worked together for over a year now and this meeting was to recap on the strategy goals for the next 3 months and decide how we were going to outsource to make it all happen. We are bringing in a copywriter and content creator to support the digital marketing objectives that tie into the strategy. Think lots of paper, post-it notes and plenty of circles, stick people and arrows to make this happen! Campaign planning, budget, time commitments and roles and responsibilities were some of the topics we got through as well as having a brilliant catch-up on life and work in general.
Working with business owners and teams in the role I do, it’s vital to get “big picture” stuff and have the capacity and skill to chat about life outside of work so I know where I can push or need to pull back or need to bring in additional support to make sure we still meet deadlines and strategy objectives. I’ll never not advocate soft skills like empathy as a key ingredient to my work!
Kirsty and I finished up our meeting planning her new office space, but I wasn’t very helpful with measurements as I didn’t write them down as I was too busy taking photos – for Instagram you understand… ha.
I made the train home by the skin of my teeth (thanks city traffic and tram works) and settled in to get some work done and create task lists from the meetings I’d had to make sure things move forward into next week and next month.
I was straight into mum-life when I got home and the weekend was spent catching up on home chores (all the washing) and spending time with my daughter. As a single parent, work travel can often double as some downtime and adventure for me and I am forever grateful that my work does allow for travel like this. Also grateful that post-Covid-life means I can still travel like this! A girl needs her space and a different environment now and again you know …
So, what’s next?
A different blog than what we’re used to round these parts and the #BirdandEmmy content as we know it will resume shortly! The next work trip is a little less robust in June and then hopefully down to the Scottish borders early July before a family holiday in England late July and a chance to meet some of my fellow Freelancers further afield.
Follow my work life on Instagram here.