Passion

So, how did I find my passion for content marketing as part of the masters? That’s a really, really good question, actually, because I think it’d be fair to say before I’d started the master, I don’t think I’d even really heard of it. And I was working in the marketing world. I mean, that’s probably not a good thing to admit. The course actually kind of opened the doorway to content marketing for me because of the structure of that first year made me realise that all the things that we were beginning to consider as digital marketing comms and techniques actually contributed to this thing called content that was becoming much more prevalent in the way that people were talking about content. It made me realise actually these digital marketing content, these are pretty much fundamentally talking about the same thing.

And I also then, having come from a very traditional marketing background in the advertising world, realised that actually content was the answer to a lot of the failings of the traditional marketing methods. The old interruptive methods. I did realise they were interruptive at the time and only through my research into content marketing and doing my dissertation on it, did I come to the conclusion, actually, this is what I’ve been waiting for in my marketing career all my life. And I would not have seen, I mean, it just would not have been opened up to me as kind of an opportunity had I not done the master. So it really did pivot me away from a very traditional marketing career to something a lot more in tune with what the marketing needs and what customers need. And that’s really become the focus of my life is how we create better content for customers.

Time

Finding the time to actually do Masters, to manage that demand on your time, I’m not going to deny it it’s difficult. It’s not an easy thing to do. When I did it, I was at a particular life stage, I just had a young family, I had a business, I had ageing relatives. It was tricky. And there were times when I thought, “Well, I don’t think I’ve got the time to continue,” but we did and we had some family deaths actually and that really knocked us for six. But what we decided was, myself and my wife is that, it was worth doing and we were going to go through it because the outcomes were going to be really, really useful.

In terms of the practicalities of it all, there is no doubt that you have to have an agreement with your loved ones, that you are going to be absent for hours at a time, for extended periods of time, Sunday afternoons, Sundays used to disappear. So you have that conversation beforehand so that they know, and then you work around it and say, “Look, maybe one Sunday in five, four, I won’t be doing this work.” And the other thing I also found is that I had to demarcate time that I was going to do college work, MSC working, and I had to stick to it, come what may, because that was the time that I’d set aside to do the work. And that really worked for me.

It was a real discipline and I’m not saying it was easy in the first year, but by the time I got into the second year, I’d worked out a way of saying to my family, “That’s when I’m going to do this work.” They could then go off and do other things or find other things to do and then I would come back and we’d do the family stuff. But you do have to be disciplined. If you’re the kind of person that take things a bit free and easy, you might find yourself struggling with the commitment. It’s a commitment, right? But it’s not overwhelming. You just have to manage it into your day to day life. And I’m not the kind of person that naturally does that, so the discipline of actually demarcating time that was for the MSC really, really helped me.

ROI

I can’t give you direct causal evidence. I’ll give you a lot of casual evidence which suggests that that investment has paid back many, many fold. Now I have completed client projects and tasks, but I would definitely not have done I’ve been able to do had I not done the masters. So there is clearly a financial benefit to it. It was worth doing in the kind of financial sense. But the other benefit to it is in the kind of relationships and contacts that I’ve made, and the people that I have come into contact because of doing that masters that I would just not have otherwise come across. They just wouldn’t have been in my sphere of kind of contact. And actually for me, personally, I think that’s as much of a benefit as the financial benefit. So people on this course, today I’ve been teaching, which I would not otherwise have done. So for me, it’s a many-sided sort of benefit. It’s not just the money.

Graduates

So the cohort that I completed on the MSc was in 2013, and quite number of people that finished with me I’m still very close to, and they’ve gone on some amazing things, actually. Many of them have gone on to really take big steps forward in their digital careers. I know a couple of them have moved on to kind of CMO roles. A couple of them started a digital training agency. And there’s me, I’m probably the black sheep, that has used it to actually move into a different kind of marketing consultancy. But actually everybody who graduated, it wasn’t the end of their journey. It was a start of their journey, I think is the best way of putting it, because they’ve all gone on to other things because of that qualification.

Well, my experience of the course and how it’s affected me, or what impact it’s had on my life… I mean, clearly it was a real pivot for me, because my experience prior to completing the Masters was very traditional marketing. And what the Masters allowed me to do is built almost a new stream to my career around digital marketing and digital marketing training and digital content, as you know. So I’m convinced I wouldn’t be in the content-marketing space if I hadn’t done the Digital Masters. Why not? Well I absolutely know I wouldn’t, because it just wouldn’t have crossed my path. So for me, it was a life-changing experience in a really good way, but if I hadn’t done it, goodness knows what I’d be doing now.