Do you remember the blog post I wrote on the 10 quotes about content marketing that hit the nail on the head? I looked back over it the other day and was a little ashamed to see that only two of the 10 quotes were from women (discounting the bonus quote from me).
Are there less women doing great things within the marketing industry? Not a chance! In fact, if I think about some of the people whose marketing abilities I most admire and have been most influenced by, they’re generally women.
So as it’s International Women’s Day today, I thought I’d showcase some of them here. Go look at their websites, read their blogs, sign up to their newsletters, buy their books, follow them on social media - and be inspired by their success.
1) Celia Forshew
It’s funny to think that Celia was a university student when I first met her - in fact, she was (and still is) one of my younger sister’s best friends. She’s also an accomplished businesswoman, who started her first venture (a student run charity festival called Vale Festival) when she still an undergraduate, and won a substantial investment from Peter Jones when she and her now-husband Ian appeared on Dragons Den in 2007 with their music festival, Beach Break Live. Her latest success is Seed Marketing, which draws on her understanding of the student demographic to help big brands target campaigns at this valuable sector. We recently contributed content to a fantastic campaign for Pot Noodle, which brilliantly showcased the out-of-the-box thinking that makes Seed Marketing - and Celia - such a formidable force.
2) Jo Middleton
Back in 2009, Jo quit her job to try her hand at journalism, and started a little blog to showcase her writing skills. Today Slummy Single Mummy is an award-winning site and Jo is in demand from companies like Coca Cola, Paramount and Hyundai, who all want to harness her massive following (not to mention send give her free stuff and send her on exciting trips abroad!). Not only is Jo an exceptional blogger, she’s also the queen of social media, with around 75,000 followers on Twitter, over 9,000 on Instagram and 10,500 on Facebook, at last count. What I love about the way Jo markets herself and her business is that it’s 100% authentic. What you see is what you get - she’s not trying to be anything other than herself, and it works.
3) Alex McArthur
When we first met in Cardiff, too many years ago now to count, I was a staff journalist on The Western Mail and Alex worked for one of the city’s top PR firms. Fast forward to today and Alex is one of the founding partners of McArthur Davies. As well as providing her clients with a host of marketing services, Alex has really harnessed the power of face-to-face marketing for her own brand. First, she set up the free Boost events with tax firm Wilkinson & Partners, to provide local businesses with expertise, ideas and networking opportunities. She also runs a series of collaborative workshops with various specialists from around Bristol and the South West (of which I’m proud to say I am one: you can find out more about our content creation workshop here). Both the Boost events and the workshops add enormous amounts of value to the business community Alex serves, which as we all know is the key to great marketing.
4) Janet Murray
It was probably a decade or so ago that I first came across Janet when I joined Journobiz, a forum she and her husband created for freelance journalists. I’ve made some lifelong friends through that site, for which I’ll always be grateful. But it’s what Janet has done since those days that I really admire. A well-established journalist who has written and edited for the likes of the Guardian, Telegraph and Times, Janet launched Soulful PR a few years ago to help small businesses get their names in the media without hiring a PR firm or writing endless press releases. Not only does she know basically everything there is to know about how to do just that, she’s also leading the way with her own marketing. With impeccable branding, a thriving Facebook community, and relevant, value-adding merchandise, she’s a great person to model a business offering on.
5) Suzi Hull
Do you like my logo? My business cards? My website? Suzi is the talent behind them. When we first met, I had a homemade Wordpress site that now makes me blush when I think about how amateurish it was. Within minutes of meeting me, Suzi was able to explain how she saw my brand visually, and she was spot on. A talented and experienced graphic designer who has worked with brands including Disney, Jaguar and Lloyds, Suzi's skill lies in getting to know her clients and then translating their essence into spot-on branding. She's also an incredible project manager, who helped grow the last business she worked in from two to 25 people in under a year.
6) Stella Orange
You know when you read something, and you can just hear the person who’s written it talking to you? That’s what it’s like reading one of Stella’s newsletters. They’re long - far longer than most experts would tell you is ideal - and they’re not full of pretty pictures. And yet I almost always read them start to finish. Because it doesn’t feel like she’s selling anything. Usually she’s just telling some hilarious anecdote and encouraging her readers to be the best they can be. Encouragement is something Stella is great at. Which is why her Write Club is such a success. You just want to spend time with her, even if it is on Skype, and a few minutes listening to one of her pep talks will give you enough energy and self-belief to write just about anything you need to write for your business. Stella has great credentials, having worked as a copywriter for everyone from New York Times bestselling authors to million dollar companies, but it’s who she is rather than what she’s done that I really admire.
7) Bryony Thomas
If there’s one book I’d highly recommend every business owner buy, it’s Watertight Marketing by Bryony Thomas. I snapped up my copy after being thoroughly impressed by Bryony’s simple, easy to apply techniques during a free one hour webinar she ran a few months back. The concept of the book is wonderfully simple: just identify where the leaks are in your marketing funnel, and then plug them to improve your sales. Practical, inspiring and very readable, it’s designed to help you save money and energy by showing you where best to target those resources to make the maximum difference to your bottom line. You can’t really say no to that, can you?
8) Lidia Drzewieka
Lidia is a great example of a serial entrepreneur who doesn’t give up until she succeeds. After starting several different ventures over the last few years, she decided to use the knowledge she’d gained about branding and business to set up Visuable. Now she combines her photography and web design skills with an overall strategic approach that helps other entrepreneurs and business owners communicate their brand effectively. I love the look and feel of Lidia’s sites, and always enjoy collaborating with her when I’m asked to provide copy for one of her clients (as I did with this site for stylist Becky Barnes). She’s a fellow E-Spark entrepreneur too, so expect great things from her over the coming months.
So, that’s my list. There are probably dozens of other names I could have added, but you have to draw a line somewhere.