Is WFH Good For Gender Equality?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a major shift in the way we work. In fact, an MIT study shows that in the US, over half the pre-COVID-19 workforce is now working from home (WFH). While many believe that the move towards WFH was inevitable, the process has been rapidly accelerated. There has been plenty of media discussing the pros and cons of WFH. We’ve seen – and even published, some articles exploring topics around WFH – everything from the effects of WFH on productivity to its environmental impact.

Now, we are going to take a dive into another important issue – the effect of WFH on gender equality in the workplace. There is a lot of literature heralding  WFH and flexible hours as a weapon against gender inequality. On the contrary, there is an equal amount of research slamming WFH for widening the inequality gap. We are going to explore both sides of the argument, in an attempt to assess the true impact of WFH on women and their careers. 

When WFH Works Against Women

There is evidence to show that the socioeconomic burden of COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting women.  A South African study showed that women accounted for two-thirds of COVID-19 related job loss. Additional research, done in the UK, showed an increase in domestic violence over the pandemic. Experts attribute this to the pressures of social isolation. 

WFH Increases Motherhood Tax 

Numerous studies show that mothers earn less than both fathers and childless women. This has been aptly named ‘motherhood tax’. Motherhood tax is a global phenomenon that is proportional to the gender pay gap in a particular country. So, if there is a greater pay gap, motherhood tax is also greater. Hiring and promotional practices are an additional feeder of this phenomenon. Many companies weed out mothers and those who plan to become mothers in the hiring process. From personal experience during job interviews, prospective employers often ask if I plan to have children in the next five years. 

WFH and Childcare

When adults were sent home from work to protect them against the coronavirus, children were also sent home. Over 290 million children are out of school. These statistics don’t include children who are no longer able to go to early childhood development centres like crechès and playschools. 

In many cultures, women are traditionally shoulder domestic duties and childcare. Furthermore, moms that rely on work-related child care services are now no-longer able to do so.  This is not to say that men don’t contribute to child care, only that in many households the burden falls solely on the mother. So, not only is your average working mom trying to adapt to WFH, but she has an increased childcare burden.

Under pressure to finish the academic year, many schools have created an at-home syllabus. This puts excess pressure on the mother to facilitate the learning environment. Particularly true for younger children who need help reading and interpreting their school work. 

Relating this back to motherhood tax,  when in a WFH scenario moms have great strains on their time and thus have compromised productivity compared to their counterparts. This decrease in productivity may result in a decrease in potential earning if the mom is working in a no-work, no-pay situation. 

Breaking Into The ‘Boys’ Club’

Women and other minority groups are often excluded from critical networking opportunities, informal decision making processes, and informal mentorship and feedback. Often, business deals made on the golf course or informal feedback given over drinks can play a massive role in furthering one’s career development. The concern with WFH is that the lack of face-to-face time might increase this type of exclusion. 

When one analyses managerial positions among the genders, this effect is clear.  Studies show that women are 21% less likely to get promoted into a managerial position than men. Additionally, women are less likely to get hired directly into these positions. Taken together this results in women holding a mere 38% of manager-level positions. Putting this in perspective, studies show that only  23% of women are happy with their career trajectory.  

When WFH Works For Women

The What Women Want Report 2020 showed that an overwhelming 98% of women would like to have more flexible work arrangements and would like to WFH at least one day per week. While 69% said that they would like to achieve a better work life balance. WFH does allow the individual more control over their daily schedule. This is integral to all workers, particularly parents. 

Here, I’ll digress with another personal story. A friend of mine, a young single mother was doing her internship in a psychology clinic. She asked her boss if she could leave thirty minutes early on a Thursday to fetch her son from school, she was told that she would have to take a full days leave in order to do so. When she tried to negotiate, she was promptly told that if she didn’t like it, she could leave. 

This teaches us an important lesson. Flexibility doesn’t necessarily mean wanting to to set your own hours or even to WFH, it means basic understanding from supervisors. A WFH environment with no support, encouragement, or understanding is not a flexible environment. 

Additionally, the strain of childcare on WFH moms is higher now during the pandemic than it will be in the future. Once children return to school and early-childhood development centres re-open, alot albeit not all of the pressures will normalise. 

After analysis of the various articles  I’ve cited, as well as my experiences as a woman in the workplace, I believe that many mothers would choose to WFH – despite the possible repercussions of slowed career development. Choosing between picking up your child from school and quitting your job is not something anyone should have to do. Having the freedom of movement allowed by WFH might seem a fair trade-off for a potentially slowed career trajectory. In essence, one is making the choice between a possibility and a tangible need.

What Can We Do To Improve WFH Gender Equality?

A WFH environment doesn’t necessarily mean an inequitable one. If we are aware of the types of exclusion that can happen in a WFH environment, we can prevent them. Here are some important changes companies can make to ensure an equitable WFH program:

1. Representation In Leadership Positions

Adequately represent minority groups in your top leadership positions. At Goodman Lantern, our ethnically diverse leadership team is 50% female.

2. Equal-Work-Equal-Pay

PayeEmployees of equal rank and experience at the same rate regardless of the gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. At Goodman Lantern, we have two methods of working out payment. Our managers and tech teams are paid on a per-hour rate that is based on position and experience. Our content team is paid on a per-project basis which is based on respective length and difficulty.

3. Equal training and mentoring

Grant all team members the same access to mentorship and training programs. In the WFH scenario, inclusive social gatherings are an important part of facilitating employee networking. Social events such as Zoom ‘pub-quizzes’ are a favourite among the Goodman Lantern team.  

4. Avoid having two tiers of employees

Allowing your WFH employees to become second-class citizens compared to your in-office staff, is a dangerous game. This can particularly affect working mothers, as they are more likely to elect to WFH. Treat all workers equally, give them the same opportunities, and pay them according to the same scale. 

WFH can either stunt or progress gender equality in a given company. If we are to get it right, we need to be aware of possible problems, and try to address them before they crop up. Most importantly, we need to ask the women in our workplaces what they need to achieve. The future is here, and she is female.

Digital Sharecropping: A Native English Content Writers’ Perspective

So you’ve decided to invest some time, effort, and budget into your business’s online presence.

You’ve heard that social media is the way to go. While social media can play a big part in your marketing strategy, you need to be careful of one thing…digital sharecropping.

It’s easy for any business to fall victim to digital sharecropping because there’s an alarmingly low amount of awareness about it. Native English content writers in the industry know all too much about this shortfall. In fact, we think it’s high time that everyone gets a better idea of what digital sharecropping is and how best to avoid it.

Here’s what our native English content writers think about digital sharecropping and some advice on what not to do.

person holding black DSLR camera

What is Digital Sharecropping?

The term ‘digital sharecropping’ was first used by the author Nicholas Carr. He used it to describe a common occurrence on the Web 2.0 (today’s internet). Being one of the knowledgeable native English content writers in the industry, he said:

 “One of the fundamental economic characteristics of Web 2.0 is the distribution of production into the hands of the many and the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few.”

Simply put, the more content that’s put onto free platforms, the more valuable those platforms become. So, the more you add to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. the richer you’re making them. To make matters more unfair, once you publish that content on the platform, it no longer belongs to you, even if you’ve created it.

The reason it’s called digital sharecropping is that it draws parallels to a form of agriculture called sharecropping. With this system, those who farm the land don’t actually own it. Instead, they work the land that is owned by a larger entity and receive a small portion of the profits of their labour.

So, if you imagine that Facebook is the landowner, your business would be the farmer doing the actual work. You work the ‘land’, producing content that brings traffic and attention to the site. What our native English content writers hate most about this is that, even after the effort, your content no longer belongs to you once it’s online. And, yes, you may get some customer interest out of it, but you have little control of what happens to it once it’s on there.

How We Can Tell if You’re Guilty of Digital Sharecropping

Our team native English content writers will tell you to stay far away from digital sharecropping. But that’s easier said than done. How do you even know if that’s what you’re doing?

The horrible truth is that tons of businesses are victims of digital sharecropping without even knowing it. For those that use PR teams and media managers that aren’t native English content writers, this is a travesty. Their teams should know better. But, alas, when you make content for so many different platforms, it’s easy to lose track and forget about who actually owns that content. It’s easy to assume that it’s still yours.

Here are some questions that our team of native English content writers use to determine their level of digital sharecropping:

  1. Is the content credited to me?

  2. Am I able to control when, where, and how my content is displayed?

  3. Can I say when my content is deleted, edited, or taken offline?

  4. Can I download or archive my content from the site it’s on?

If the answer to the question above is “no”, then you’re probably digital sharecropping. Yikes.

What’s SO Bad About Digital Sharecropping Anyway?

Unless, like us, you’re one of the native English content writers that understand the ins and outs of digital sharecropping, you may not see the downside. Sure, your content brings in money for the social media site. And sure, you may not have control over the content once it’s posted. What’s the harm in all that? You’re still getting your name out there, right? While that may be true, it’s not always for the best.

digital sharecropping good or bad

You need to remember that there is a difference between having a well-rounded marketing strategy and relying on a platform to do your marketing for you. It’s the latter that we want to avoid. Native English content writers in the marketing industry will tell you that it’s important to use all kinds of social media to promote your business. It’s a great way to engage with your audience and promote your business. But, you should be doing more than just that.

Here’s why our native English content writers think you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket:

Platforms Come and Go Overnight

When was the last time you thought about Vine, the video-sharing platform? Crazy to think it was once the most popular video-sharing platform out there. And then, it disappeared overnight.

Websites and third-party platforms can lose popularity quickly for various reasons. So, if you’re investing significant amounts of time, energy, and money into one of these platforms, you stand to lose a lot if it goes bust.

The scariest part of all is that there’s little way to tell when the ship might sink. You’re taking a huge gamble on the platform doing well. If it does start to lose popularity, you’ll have fewer eyes on your content and your reach will start to dwindle. This is our native English content writers’ collective nightmare.

There’s No Customisation

Unless you own the platform, there’s little room for creative control of your content. Our team of native English content writers often bemoan the fact that there’s a word limit for posts – unless you buy more characters. But, it goes further than this.

What if your business uses outstanding photos as part of its marketing. These platforms often compress the images, taking away the impact. And, if you use video content, your videos have to meet certain requirements to be shown. I can hear the rest of our team of native English content writers cringing from here!

On the topic of videos, platforms like Facebook will place ads on them. While this brings in revenue, you have no control over the types of ads they use. What if the ad doesn’t align with your brand? What if it’s an ad for your competitors’ products?

Ultimately, relying solely on these platforms leads to a compromise in terms of quality and originality of content. For our native English content writers, quality comes before everything.

It’s Out of Your Hands

Our native English content writers know all too well that, once your content is posted, it’s out of your hands. You’re at the mercy of the platform. If they suddenly decide to change their policy, and your content doesn’t adhere to it, you get the boot. No warning, no time to change.

This is particularly true of platforms that use algorithms to promote content. If your content isn’t in line with the policy, it won’t be shown as often as you hope. It goes even further, to the point where a platform can suspend your page/content altogether. You have little recourse in the matter.

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

By now, you may be thinking that our native English content writers hate all social media platforms. This is not the case. We just know how detrimental digital sharecropping can be to a business. Social media platforms are fantastic when used as part of a greater social media marketing strategy. It shouldn’t, however, be the bulk of your digital marketing efforts.

This is why it’s so important to have a team of professional content marketers on your side, especially if they involve our native English content writers. With their help, you should be able to steer clear of digital sharecropping.

What Other Options Do I Have?

So, say you’ve taken our native English content writers’ advice and decided to avoid digital sharecropping. What kind of solutions do you have?

  • Firstly, you need to make sure that your website is up to scratch. After all, this is where your potential customers are going to be looking. Make sure that your website is professionally designed, optimised for SEO purposes, and is mobile friendly.

  • Secondly, start posting content to your website. This can be in the form of videos, blogs, or infographics. Whatever you choose, you’ll be the one that owns it. This means that you have full control over when and how it’s posted, and how it’s distributed. Your content will be completely customised to suit your standards. Our team of native English content writers can be a great help with this part.

  • Finally, build your brand on your own terms. Seeing as you’re no longer beholden to the whims of the platform execs, you can decide how you want your brand to work. You get to choose how you advertise and who you partner with.

Don’t Say Goodbye to Social Media Just Yet

Your website is great on its own, but it would be silly to discredit how powerful social media is. Simply for the fact that so many people use it every day. As part of your marketing plan, it’s a great idea to use social media posts to promote your content. That way, you’re getting the best of both worlds.

The goal in this instance is to use those platforms to drive traffic to your site. So, instead of relying on the site for all the information they need, your customers will find you on there and rely on your own website instead.

A great way to make sure you’re hitting a good balance is to write a blog for your website, then post a summary of the blog to the social media site. Make sure to link the blog so that people can keep reading if they’re interested. This is where our native English content writers can make things much easier for you.

How Goodman Lantern’s Native English Content Writers Can Help You

Hopefully, you’ve got a better understanding of what digital sharecropping is and how to avoid it. But, our native English content writers know that understanding and implementation are two different things. That’s why it’s better to choose well-versed, knowledgeable native English content writers to do the job for you. That’s us!

With a deep understanding of language, phrasing, and nuance, our native English content writers can help you produce excellent content. And, with an allergy to digital sharecropping, they’ll make sure your content remains yours and yours alone.

Our team of native English content writers can help you avoid the dreaded digital sharecropping. Contact us today!

Copywriting vs SEO Content Writing Service: What's the Difference?

Copywriting and SEO content writing – you’ve heard of them both but are they really different?

Which one is more important for your business?

Should you invest in an SEO content writing service?

Or should you focus on a copywriting service instead?

Here’s the quick answer: They’re two sides of the same coin. You need BOTH.

person holding ballpoint pen writing on notebook

The Two Crucial Branches of Content Marketing

SEO writing and copywriting, when implemented correctly, will help you reach, engage, and convert your leads into customers.

Some marketers will tell you that these two types of content development are the same thing. Others will tell you that you only need one and not the other.

The simple fact is this:
Sometimes the two overlap but there are some distinct differences to be aware of.

SEO writing and copywriting, combined, are the foundations of content marketing. It’s the differences in delivery that set them apart from one another.

You might want to tell precisely the same story to different people but your delivery will be different.

Consider a real-life example:

When telling your friend what you did over the weekend vs telling a colleague, you’re not going to choose the same words. You might also include or exclude a few juicy tidbits, depending on your relationship with your “audience”.

The same applies to content marketing. SEO writing is reserved for one audience while copywriting is reserved for another.

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting helps build brand awareness and motivates consumers towards a particular call to action – usually a purchase or a sign-up. Copywriting is usually persuasive.

Copywriting is suited to a wide variety of different content marketing projects, taking on many forms including:

  • Emails

  • Web pages

  • Landing pages

  • Video/audio scripts

  • Advertising copy

goodman lantern copywriting service

What are the Main Elements of Good Copywriting?

  1. Targeted
    Copywriters need to develop copy that targets a specific audience. The content needs to address a particular problem or pain point in that target group while making sure to present the brand as a solution. There’s a need to understand the psychology of the target audience; learning to subtly push the right buttons.

  2. Emotionally Appealing
    Copywriting needs to elicit an emotional response from the reader. It’s all about the art of knowing which words to use and which words to leave out. Copywriters use their words to create an experience for the reader.

The key to solid copywriting lies in a) developing audience personas and b) knowing how to hook the reader.

What is SEO Content Writing?

SEO is the big, confusing elephant in the room for so many people.

SEO writing, or on-page SEO, focuses on developing textual content that is both search engine and reader-friendly.

The main mistake people make when crafting this type of content is worrying too much about the search engines and forgetting about the real-life human they need to target. That’s often where a professional SEO content writing service comes in.

SEO writing is only successful if you avoid the following:

  • Keyword stuffing

  • Cloaking

  • Buying backlinks

Effective SEO content is both informative and user friendly. It should be scannable, consumable, and easily discoverable.

What are the Key Components of SEO Writing?

  1. Keyword Research
    When conducting keyword research, an SEO writer hunts for words that people search for in relation to your product or service. These words (or phrases) are used to map out a clever strategy for your content. More often than not, these keywords will be used to answer a specific question that readers are asking or to address prevalent thoughts/opinions the audience might have.

  2. A “Readers First” Attitude
    Newbie SEO writers will target search engines with their content. Professional writers know that people come first. Yes, it is important to make content crawlable by inserting keywords. But that doesn’t mean neglecting the reader’s experience. Google ranks content based on user intent and how much time is spent on a particular page. Additionally, good content is always shared by readers – this results in tons of backlinks and, ultimately, higher discoverability.

Differences and Similarities Between Copywriting and SEO Content Writing

The main goal of copywriting and SEO writing is:
to hook, engage, and convert leads.

That’s the one big similarity.

While both disciplines have the same goal, they approach them differently.

So What’s the Difference?

There are two major differences worth noting: consumption and target audience.

  1. Consumption
    SEO writing meets the audience on a webpage, while copywriting may meet them anywhere else. SEO writing can be found in long-form content like articles and blog posts, seeking to answer questions. Copywriting happens in a specific brand voice and is related directly to the selling of your product/service.

  2. Audience
    SEO writing is for people who are at the top of the funnel. It’s for people who are looking for solutions to a problem or answers to a question. Copywriting is aimed at warm leads who are already leaning towards buying.

What’s the Benefit of a Professional SEO Content Writing Service?

Marketers often resort to “black hat techniques” to pump out their version of SEO-optimised content.

Unfortunately, without the skills required to craft impactful content, these pieces are often keyword-stuffed and badly structured.

The latest Google algorithm updates prevent lacklustre content from ranking. You need solid, well-written content packed full of value if you want to succeed at the SEO game.

An SEO content writing service is backed by experienced writers who know when to tug at the audience’s heartstrings and when not to. They know which keywords will work and which won’t. Ultimately, they’ll guide you towards content marketing strategy that will work for you.