10 minutes reading time (1907 words)

Leadership interview Louise Hawkins, Outreach Department Coordinator


What is our marketing strategy? How are we going to increase our volunteer base? What will we do to make Joomla more popular? These are just a few of the issues on the plate of Joomla’s Outreach Department. Right up the alley for Louise Hawkins, who was the Marketing Team Lead until she got elected as Outreach Department Coordinator.

Louise, congratulations on your election as Outreach Department Coordinator! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Thank you for the warm congratulations. I'm truly honoured and excited to step into the role of Outreach DC.

I was born in Croydon, UK, but for the past 15 years, I've called the picturesque seaside town of Whitstable my home, where I live with my husband and son. My academic journey led me to the Digital Marketing Institute, where I earned a master's degree in 2021.

Professionally, I've dedicated my career to marketing, with a particular focus on supporting SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises). This experience has honed my ability to juggle multiple projects, adapt to various roles, and develop a versatile skillset. In 2019, I transitioned to freelance work, a decision influenced by my commitment to homeschooling my son. 

Interestingly, it was the solitude of working from home that propelled me to volunteer for the Joomla community. Seeking interaction with like-minded individuals and challenges that would push my boundaries. I'm eager to bring this same passion and dedication to the Outreach DC role.

What convinced you to run for the position of Outreach Department Coordinator?

Philip Walton, joking… Philip might have been an initial inspiration, but on a serious note, I truly believe that the role of Outreach DC is pivotal for Joomla to achieve its organisational and community objectives. My background has equipped me with a blend of experience and passion that I believe aligns well with this role.

I'm fully aware of the expansive nature of this position and the challenges it might present. Yet, it's precisely these challenges that motivate me. I have a strong desire to effect positive change, and this role offers the perfect platform to do so.

Ultimately, I pursued the Outreach DC position because of my deep belief in the community's potential. I'm wholeheartedly committed to elevating our outreach initiatives and achieving new milestones together.

Could you tell us what the Outreach Department is responsible for?

The Outreach Department serves as the vital bridge between Joomla and the global community. It's a multifaceted department comprising several dedicated teams, including Marketing, Social Media, Events, Magazine, and Joomla User Groups, among others.

Our primary role is to ensure seamless communication and collaboration between Joomla and its diverse audience. This involves closely coordinating with all the teams to ensure they function cohesively. From marketing campaigns and event management to volunteer engagement, gauging community sentiment, PR and educational initiatives, the Outreach Department plays an essential role in virtually every aspect of Joomla's external engagements. In essence, the scope of our responsibilities is vast and integral to Joomla's outreach success.

What can you tell us about Joomla’s market share? How are we doing? And how can we help make it grow?

W3Techs reports that Joomla powers 2.6% of all websites with known content management systems. Their historical trend graph indicates a notable growth under Phils leadership, starting in November 2022, plateauing in February of this year. After a slight dip, the usage has remained consistent.

Examining the global Google Trends’ interest over time’ report from 2005 onward, Joomla's popularity peaked in 2009 before seeing a downturn. Joomla led WordPress in interest until 2009, likely because WordPress only fully embraced its CMS capabilities with the 2010 release of WordPress 3.0. Although WordPress saw a significant rise, culminating in 2014, it has been experiencing a decline ever since.

Despite WordPress's dominance in the CMS market, largely attributed to its substantial advertising budget and reported user-friendliness, Joomla stands strong as a formidable competitor. Joomla's strength lies in its flexibility and robustness. However, we face challenges in reported user-friendliness, with many articles stating that Joomla can be ‘a little tricky to use’ or ‘a steeper learning curve’ especially for beginners. Given that ease of use is a top criterion for CMS selection, this is an area amongst others that we should look to address.

To bolster our market share, we could:

Enhance User Experience: Prioritise the availability of user orientated ‘how to’ guides , especially for newcomers. The introduction of the guided tours functionality is a step in the right direction.

Strategic Marketing: Launch targeted campaigns with messages that resonate with potential users. The Joomla Community Magazine can also be part of these targeted campaigns with articles that highlight the platform's unique features, success stories, and tutorials tailored to the interests and needs of the intended audience.

Community Building: Amplify our community engagement through workshops, webinars, and training sessions.

Forge Partnerships: Collaborate with entities that can position Joomla as their preferred CMS.

Growing our market share is undeniably a collective endeavour. Whether it's through bug testing, promoting Joomla in individual networks, or providing invaluable feedback, every contribution is critical. Together, we can elevate Joomla's presence in the CMS landscape.

Volunteer engagement is part of the Outreach Department. What’s going to happen there, and what do we need for it to happen?

Volunteer engagement is a crucial aspect of our Outreach Department. One of my immediate priorities is to initiate conversations with all current team leads. It's essential to understand and gauge the sentiments of our existing volunteers, ensuring they feel valued, content, and rewarded for their contributions. Their feedback will be instrumental in shaping our engagement strategy moving forward. And, if you are a team leader and you don’t want to wait for me to get in touch, find me on Mattermost or drop me an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can schedule a chat. 

Furthermore, I'm keen on reaching out to colleges and universities. In the UK, volunteering is highly regarded and can significantly enhance a student's CV. By engaging with the younger demographic, we not only tap into a pool of enthusiastic potential volunteers but also lay the foundation for nurturing the next generation of Joomlers. 

While this is just one of the many ideas I have in the pipeline, I firmly believe that by actively listening to our current volunteers, we can craft a more effective and inclusive strategy for volunteer engagement. If anyone has any additional ideas, connections or would like to get involved, please feel free to get in touch as it would be much appreciated.

What is the highest priority in Outreach at the moment?

At the forefront of our Outreach priorities is the release of Joomla 5, with a significant emphasis on its marketing and PR. Parallelly, team building remains a crucial focus. Recognising the need for restructuring, I will also be channelling efforts into volunteer recruitment to bolster and rejuvenate some of our teams. Again, If anyone is interested in joining any of the outreach teams or knows of others that are thinking of volunteering, please let me know or send them my way for a chat.

Another top priority is conducting a comprehensive situational analysis. By harnessing data from our analytics, survey responses, data scraping, and social media listening tools, I aim to gain a holistic view of Joomla's current standing, our competitors, and prevailing market trends. This analysis will not only help us pinpoint our target audience but also unearth potential new segments to approach. It's essential to discern both our and our competitors' strengths and weaknesses, and to identify imminent opportunities and threats. Often, such an analysis reveals 'low hanging fruit' areas where minor tweaks can yield significant results.

I'm a staunch advocate for grounding our digital marketing strategy in empirical data and facts, ensuring our actions are both informed and impactful.

What do you think is the major challenge for the Outreach department? How can we all help with it?

The major challenge for the Outreach department, as I see it, is varied. Firstly, with the release of Joomla 5, ensuring effective marketing and PR becomes paramount. This requires not just promoting the new release, but also managing the expectations and sentiments of our existing user base. 

Secondly, team dynamics and structure are in need of attention. The challenge here lies in ensuring continuity, maintaining morale, and integrating new volunteers. 

To address these challenges, collaboration and open communication are key. Team leads and volunteers can aid by providing candid feedback, actively participating in discussions, and embracing any changes that come with it. 

The broader Joomla community can assist by rallying behind the Joomla 5 release, sharing insights from their own experiences, and promoting the platform's strengths. Additionally, everyone can contribute to the situational analysis by sharing data, market insights, or even anecdotal evidence that might help paint a clearer picture of our standing. By uniting our efforts and leveraging the collective expertise of the Joomla community, we can navigate these challenges effectively.

And what do you consider the major challenge for Joomla as a whole?

The overarching challenge for Joomla as a whole lies in its positioning in an ever-evolving digital landscape. While Joomla has a rich legacy and a strong foundation, the rise of competing platforms and changing user preferences can impact its market share. The release of Joomla 5, although promising, also brings with it the challenge of adoption, ensuring that both new and existing users see its value and choose it over alternatives.

Volunteer engagement and retention is another challenge. As the backbone of Joomla, it's vital to ensure that our volunteers feel valued, heard, and motivated to contribute. This ties back to the Outreach department's challenges but has broader implications for Joomla's growth and innovation.

To address these challenges, Joomla needs a unified vision, one that is informed by data, driven by community feedback, and is agile enough to adapt to the changing digital ecosystem. Collaborative efforts, open dialogue, and a commitment to continuous improvement will be essential in navigating these challenges and ensuring Joomla's sustained success in the CMS market. In alignment with this, the Open Source Matters board is actively focusing its efforts in these areas.

What change(s) - if any - would you like to see happen in Joomla?

There are two changes that come to mind. I'd like to see a substantial surge in market share and a flourishing community and volunteer expansion!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Absolutely. Firstly I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to Philip Walton. Working with Phil as Marketing Lead has been a delight, and his support gave me the confidence to step up for the Outreach Position. And secondly I would like to emphasisemy commitment as Outreach DC. I promise to give my utmost and do my best in this role. I believe in open communication and collaboration, so please know that my door is always open. You can find me on Mattermost or drop me an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Whether you have ideas, feedback, concerns, or any thoughts related to outreach, I genuinely encourage and welcome you to share them with me. 

And remember, while I can't offer you a coffee when you drop by virtually, I can certainly promise a friendly e-smile and maybe a glimpse of my dog Marley!

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