Educating B2B and B2C consumers with senior freelance talent
ExSitu works with individuals through to large-scale care organisations to provide individualised, custom aged care experiences through documenting the values of everyday Australians. This information helps inform day-to-day care plans, goal-setting, healthcare provision and even end-of-life decision-making in an easy to access, client-friendly cloud-based format.
As a start-up working in care-related fields, ExSitu understood early on the necessity of educating both the care industry and the direct consumer market. Inventing a new technology-based solution comes with its own set of challenges, especially when the main product customer is elderly. Developing that solution at a time where the target market focus, aged care, was in flux and adopting new guidelines, added to the complexity.
ExSitu needed a powerful voice and content strategy that overcame assumptions about cloud-based technology while introducing values-based care prior and during its normalisation via the recommendations arising from the Royal Commission into Aged Care. Run by April Creed and Rebecca Glover, two former aged care nurses, ExSitu also wanted to preserve their connection with healthcare and advocate for ageing Australians in the same way the co-founders had done during their nursing careers.
To create their communication plans, produce content and support social media outreach, ExSitu turned to freelance talent.
Building a business with freelance communication skills
As a startup, ExSitu faced pressure to educate the audience while balancing the financial needs of the business as they became established. The ability to work with freelancers for short-term projects provided greater flexibility than traditional headcount models. It also meant the ability to pivot and reduce risk while doing so as they tested adoption of ExSitu care plans within aged care, general healthcare and end-of-life services.
“As we built the ExSitu product, values-based care was always in the forefront of our minds. We also used the card sorting process we learned as a fledgling startup as the genesis for helping our clients articulate the hierarchy of their values to inform the care plans. Balancing the concepts of values-based care and card-sorting to an audience that had minimal exposure to either concept at that point became the focus of our marketing and consumer education. We also needed content that outlined the potential challenges facing the industry and making a case for ExSitu’s care plans while also providing a positive and possibilities-driven view of the future to the industry. That’s not a simple task when you’re approaching a sector-wide, government mandated change,” explained Executive Director, April Creed.
They staged the content marketing work to help meet the needs of a changing market, startup funding constraints, and to help the lean team manage content delivery. The duality of the content meant allaying the concerns of direct consumers of care plans in ageing Australians while also appealing to aged care centres in terms of time, cost and brain space savings.
Establishing a communication baseline meant web copy, marketing plans, and because of the effects of Covid and live training delivery, contingency planning. Addressing concerns about changing to care plans at facility level and highlighting the opportunities within switching to values-based care were also vitally important. As was providing content that staff or family members could leverage to help encourage care plan participation. Furthering this through the consistent delivery of a newsletter, content planning, blog writing, and social media and community management became a regular part of ExSitu’s consumer outreach strategy.
This helped create a great content base and helped mitigate risk for the board and answer B2B consumer concerns while enjoying the flexibility to scale the workforce as workload increased.
Autonomy and delegation for the win
As ExSitu is a lean team that services large-scale aged care organisations and works directly to facilitate the product’s adoption throughout New South Wales and beyond, April and Rebecca wanted to develop a freelance relationship built on minimal guidance and autonomy. The aim was to decrease the management and labour while increasing the content output via a trusted freelance ally.
“We take guidance from our freelancers as they are the experts in their field. Communication via email is our preference, as it is mutually respectful of people’s time. A good freelancer will propose a work schedule. A good client agrees to a good fit,” explains April Creed, Executive Director.
ExSitu speaks to three distinct markets in aged care providers, palliative care providers, and individuals looking to understand their care plan needs within all aspects of ageing. Finding freelance talent that suited the ExSitu working style and ethos meant utilising one of the oldest methods in the book – word-of-mouth. Knowing exactly what they wanted for a culture-fit as well as a skills-fit helped ExSitu define what their needs were and design a working role to suit. Finding a Multipotentialite that could service both the changeable nature of startup while creating a consistent voice was a process of asking around, taking notice of freelancers who fit the bill, trialling via low-budget and low-impact projects to test fit. Post onboarding, it also became an exercise in listening to the freelancer’s expertise on what the project required.
“Proper communication and marketing aren’t about quick works or delivery based on hours worked. It’s developing a strategy that doesn’t rely on me to be there to execute it that covers a startup’s basis. Part of my job when working with startups is to not only follow the brief, but also identify where the brief might need ongoing support. With ExSitu, that included identifying the education both the B2B and B2C clients needed while building out a plan that continually improved the relationship. It also meant answering the board with contingency planning and unlocking skills within the team related to communication through newsletter training and more. That meant understanding the product, planning well, and then executing. Having that level of autonomy and input while also listening to April and Rebecca as nurses, startup founders, and care plan advocates is why it works. If it wasn’t a partnership to do the best, we all can to get the word out about ExSitu, I doubt we’d be as successful as we are as a team,” explained communications freelancer, Rebekah Lambert.
Like most startups, ExSitu has learned a lot through practical application and learning when and where the opportunities lie. The flexibility to try ideas, work with different partners directly, service grants and funding, and innovate to not only meet market needs but to anticipate them is the cornerstone of ExSitu’s success.
“Working with freelancers works for ExSitu now and will continue to do so in the future. We found we could harness the best talent available for niche positions and nuanced content by building relationships with freelancers. In our experience, the flexibility for both the freelancer and the client lends itself to more fair outcomes for everyone involved. We share an underlying commitment to quality and purpose. We believe keeping the best talent and enjoying the best outcomes comes down to allowing for autonomy, workplace flexibility, and placing freelancers in leadership roles. Choosing to develop relationships with freelancers as equals is important to ExSitu,” explained April.
The model is clearly working.
As a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider, ExSitu has worked with aged care centres from Tamworth to Bega and beyond. ExSitu has won national and international awards in innovation and generational inclusion within aged care. They have also worked on hybrid community engagement programs within older living communities, and are currently engaged in a pilot program with Carers NSW, BCR and the University of Wollongong to develop values-based care plans to improve outcomes in regional Australia.
“We are hoping to grow and keep our freelancers as our business grows, including offering further hours or part time and full-time work. Starting that relationship with respect and autonomy helps us reduce recruitment costs and grow as we work with people we know understand the product, the audience, and what we want to achieve,” said April.
To find out more about ExSitu, head to www.myexsitu.com
To find out more about utilising freelance talent for your startup needs, contact Unashamedly Creative today.
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