The Real Reason We Were Unprepared for Working From Home

1

Unlike most blog posts that tell a story, twist and turn, tease you into a product, then leave you wanting more so you click through to the sales page, I’m going to straight up tell you the real reason we were unprepared for working from home.

You won’t like it.

In fact, you may want to sit down. Because you’re really not going to like it.

Here goes…

You failed.

I know. I didn’t think that was going to be the next line either. But, here we are.

In this post, we’ll look at:

  1. How you failed
  2. Attempts to fix the work from home problem
  3. Some good examples so you (and I) can learn how not to fail
  4. Who is accountable?

How you failed

Let’s face it. As an industry, we have failed to prepare the world for working from home.

By industry, I make some assumptions. You are reading this blog post as a leader, an advocate, or simply an employee in the Unified Communications or Audio/Visual industry.

If you’re not, I’ll guess you are either in charge of sourcing a solution to your work from home woes. 

If you don’t fall into any of these categories, welcome. You’ve not failed. However, you will probably find this blog post a little dull.

Despite the many (and I mean so many) remote working blogs that vendors have churned out over the last few years, it seems the majority of the world hadn’t read them.

The stats don’t lie (unless you used incognito mode in your browser). 

According to a study by the Office of National Statistics, only five percent of “us” had a remote working lifestyle.

Moshe Beauford, journalist at UC Today, recently reported UK companies, in particular, had been looking for help from the Unified Communications world to remedy their working from home issues.

The issue, by the way, is that now they have no choice.

The study also reveals, while five percent do work remotely, 30 percent of the UK has worked from home before. If we translate to pure numbers, we reveal something really quite alarming…

There are roughly 32.5 million workers in the UK. If 30% of these have worked remotely before, that’s ten million workers. If only five percent of those ten million continued to work remotely, that’s over nine million workers that worked remotely and chose not to, weren’t allowed to, or couldn’t.

Nine million.

Yeah, we failed.

Attempts to fix the work from home problem

According to Semetrical,a digital marketing agency, Google searches are up for terms synonymous with the Unified Communications and Audio/Visual industries:

  • Video Conferencing 1075%
  • Audio Conferencing 823% 
  • Web Conferencing 809% 
  • Remote Working 73%
  • Webinars 73%

And, in case you were wondering, Unified Communications was up a measly 15%.

Why such a gap between video conferencing and Unified Communications? Good question.

The simple answer is that nobody has heard of Unified Communications, still. Whereas, people know they need video conferencing, audio conferencing, or web conferencing to get their job done from home.

So, what on earth are all these blogs about? Another good question. You’re a terrific audience.

If you take a look at the top search results when googling terms like Unified Communications or Video Conferencing, you’ll find the answer.

You’ve been writing about your company. You’ve been writing about your product. And guess what? Nobody cares!

In his contribution to Read Me, a book for copywriters to reality check themselves, Chris Waite writes:

“Remember the default position: 

Right now, no one out there is the slightest bit bothered about your client’s product or your ad.”

You know that phrase, “if you build it, they will come.” Kevin Costner said it in the baseball movie, Field of Dreams. 

Well, I’ve got grave news for Kevin Costner fans. He was lying. 

Just because you write about your product or create an awesome ad, people aren’t going to flock to it. That, really, should be the opening line at marketing school. 

When developing the content marketing strategy for Mio, I spent a considerable amount of time on Google Trends. If people were searching for it (and it was relevant to Mio), we should have been writing about it.

For example, Google Trends tells me people are searching for “How to set up a Microsoft Teams meeting.” So guess what I did? I wrote a blog post informing how to set up a Microsoft Teams meeting.

I wrote this blog post on March 20th 2020. By 5th May 2020, it has 81,537 unique page views.

Long story short: people search for things they need help with. Not your product.

Another example of this is the content strategy for another client of mine, RingCentral.. In my first month, I was asked to research and write a blog post about the following:

  • How to take in-person events online
  • Customer service skills
  • Time management strategies
  • Sales demo best practices

By targeting these keywords and search terms, RingCentral will gain readers (and potential buyers) who require a solution to their problem. These readers aren’t searching for “Unified Comms” or for “Can RingCentral help me host a virtual event?”

Backing this sentiment up further, one segment in my podcast, Unified Comms Influencers, includes a quiz based on real search data. I didn’t set this up to catch my guests out. But, it has exposed a gap between what we think people search for and what they actually need help with.

This shouldn’t be news to anybody. But, based on the study results, and the lack of preparedness for those new to working from home, this is a revelation.

Who is doing a good job?

Let’s change gear and look at who has targeted (and executed) the correct strategies to enable working from home. 

Rather than looking at figures for this, we’re going to delve into the content produced. You know, what people actually see when they’re searching for help (or when they’re not searching but passively consuming content).

Zoom

Every airport I’ve been to in the last three years has featured Zoom advertising. Every other billboard in Times Square and Piccadilly Circus has been plastered in Zoom. The London Underground networked has been Zoomified.

Why is this a good job?

By being in the face of travellers, consumers, and regular people, you stand a good chance of influencing a B2B customer. After all, some of us have jobs to do. This is called brand advertising and not something I am a fan of. However, it worked.

In fact, this advertising paid off so well for Zoom that their April “Ask Eric Anything” webinar revealed 300 million daily meeting participants are using the video platform.

Monday.com

If you look at Monday.com’s blog, you’ll see something refreshing. Rather than shoving doom and gloom, and video or die messaging in front of their readers, Monday.com has produced content designed for real people. 

Titles like “How to Plan your Work Week” and “How to Run Mutually Beneficial One-to-Ones” are real-life problems users face.

Why is this a good job?

By writing about real-life problems, Monday.com stands out as a tool for the people. Rather than corporate blog posts about video conferencing and remote working, they stand are empathizing with potential customers. The power of empathy and well-strategized content marketing is not one to mess with. I expect great things from Monday.com

Pexip

On March 25th 2020, I was frustrated with the poor show of remote working content. The theme seemed to be turn on your video and buy our product. So, I posted a LinkedIn appeal for good remote working content. 

I was expecting the usual corporate posts from major players and thought I’d been sent just that when Anders Løkke, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances at Pexip, sent me Pexip’s Definitive Guide to Working from Home

Anders was confident his team hadn’t let him down.

Why is this a good job?

He was right! An excellent example of content made for the reader with actionable steps and to improve your workspace and successfully work from home. I found myself nodding with approval throughout each chapter. Just what the doctor (or the reader) ordered.

Who is accountable for the real reason we were unprepared for working from home?

Sure, there are some examples of great content marketing in this post. But, the answer is still you.

By the number of recent searches for things like video conferencing, it’s clear most of the workforces around the globe were not ready to work from home. You don’t search for video conferencing if you’re already doing it well.

The reactive behavior of marketing teams makes me unhappy. I have worked in the Unified Comms industry for over 10 years. I have many peers that have worked in this industry for even longer. They are excellent at their job and represent top brands with top products. But, the laziness to write time-based content only has brought shame on our industry.

So, Dom, you’ve moaned quite a bit in this post. What are you going to do about it?

Here’s what…

I push evergreen content with my clients. When someone asks me to write something for a one-off event, I get angry and throw things. I write an annoyed reply, then pause and take my dogs for a walk.

When I return, I explain thoroughly why this is the wrong approach. For the most part, people get it. 

So, here’s the here’s what.

If your brand is struggling to attract the audience you desire, I will write you a free blog post. 

Or if you have an existing post that didn’t bring in the thousands of views you thought it would, I will rewrite it.

There are no terms and conditions attached to this offer. You don’t have to hire me for three months before you get the blog post and you don’t even have to put my name on it. Although, that would be nice.

David Maldow, here at Let’s Do Video, does an excellent job of creating video content for the Unified Comms and Audio/Visual industry. But, there is no-one doing this for written word. 

So here’s my offer:

  • One free blog post about Unified Comms, home working, remote working, how to stay productive, not get distracted, host better video meetings, whatever the problem your product solves
  • One free blog post that is evergreen rather than time-based
  • One free blog post which solves the problems of the reader

To claim your free blog post, reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn and tell me you read this blog post. 

See you there.

Share.

About Author

Dominic is a freelance content marketer specializing in unified comms and collaboration. He combines 10 years of product work with 6 years of marketing experience to produce subject matter expert content that hits the top of Google every time.

1 Comment

Leave A Reply