From in-house to Agency – 1 Year on

This week I’m celebrating my first anniversary at Helpful Digital. It’s been an eventful year (particularly the last few months!), but it’s been rewarding too.

Moving from working in an in-house digital team to a digital agency has been an adventure. Not that long ago I was the client, now I’m the one supporting the clients.

When you work in-house, you get to know everything there is to know about an organisation over a number of years. You can play a part in seeing products improve, audiences develop and engagement on campaigns increase. You know what messaging will work, what hashtags to use, what time of day to post, which accounts to not engage with and what audiences really need from you.

Since moving to an agency, I have come to appreciate the strong foundation coming from an in-house digital team has given me. Having that experience to draw from has allowed me to pass on practical advice that the clients can put into practice. I understand what it’s like to have a lack of resources or budget. I’ve managed social media channels, run campaigns and communicated work to colleagues who don’t fully understand digital comms. I know what will work and what’s unachievable. I can empathise with the struggles an in-house team faces, and I can honestly say I know how it feels!

I’ve learnt a lot in my seven years of in-house digital communications, but there’s always more to learn, and the opportunities given to me at Helpful to up my game and learn new skills have been invaluable. Understanding everything an agency like Helpful does and how to manage current and prospective clients is a steep learning curve. Having the support of the rest of the team, the space to make mistakes (and learn from them), and their patience with my many questions has made it a whole lot easier.

No two days are the same, and that’s a good thing. I like to be kept on my toes and be challenged. I’ve been able to travel (pre-COVID!), work on crisis simulations using our Social Simulator platform, deliver training to hundreds of people, develop effective strategies and dig deep into organisation’s social media channels. Some projects have lasted a few months and others for a few weeks.

In-house digital teams have immense value, and having digital skills within your organisation is no longer a ‘nice to have’. To be seen and heard nowadays, you need to be communicating using digital platforms, but one of the things I’ve understood the value of since joining Helpful is an outsider’s perspective.

It’s not always easy to see what isn’t working when you’re immersed in the work every day. Over the last twelve months, I’ve been able to provide that perspective. I’ve helped out clients detangle accounts, suggested ways to improve content, highlighted potential risks and help pinpoint what training their staff will benefit from.

Even in just a short time, I have been able to work with a variety of clients. From small charities to huge corporations and in many different sectors, instead of knowing one organisation really well, I have insight into many. From the Royal Air Force to government departments, Kew Gardens to a major energy provider. Whilst each client has their own needs, audiences and goals, there are always things I can take away from them and use to support the next client.

The reason Helpful stands out from the crowd (in my biased opinion) is because we want to give companies the tools to help themselves. We want to give organisations the right tools and knowledge, not just what’s the most expensive or what they think they need. It’s been amazing to see the value I (and the rest of the team) have provided our clients over the last year, and I’m looking forward to everything that comes next.