Devrims #TechTalk 006: Meet Bridget Willard, the Fractional Marketing Genius That Gets Things Done

Ibtisam Bhatti

Devrims #TechTalk 006: Meet Bridget Willard, the Fractional Marketing Genius That Gets Things Done

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Bridget Willard is a doer. She possesses numerous talents, but her greatest trait is her sociability. Her remarkable talent for building connections with people, communities, and brands is truly extraordinary.

She is a proponent of effective lead generation, emphasizing the role of powerful, persuasive, and human copywriting. For Bridget, good marketing strategy begins with your website and extends to social media posts, ensuring the message is always friendly and inviting.

Since 2009, Bridget has been helping small businesses to successfully market online​, offering a variety of services including web copywriting, group training, and the “Launch With Words” WordPress Plugin. She is also the author of several books, such as Keys to Being Social, The Definitive Guide to Twitter Marketing, and If You Don’t Mind Your Business Who Will. Bridget Willard is a marketing powerhouse ready to help you succeed in your online marketing journey.

Devrims: Thanks for your support, Bridget? Please tell us a little about yourself about your career and journey.

Bridget: I started as a secretary, became a teacher, went back to office work for AP/AR, and then became an office manager. In 2008, the economy collapsed and I began to market the company I was working for at the time: Riggins Construction & Management, Inc.

That’s when I found Meetups, the WordPress Community, and a tribe of people who believed I had so much potential in my career.

I am the most myself when I’m teaching and encouraging others.

Empathy is my superpower and my kryptonite.

I’m turning 50 this month and my life has been a long, hard Lord of the Rings trilogy. Some of it I was alone, some of it was celebrated with groups of friends and second breakfasts. Some of my journey involved Orcs tormenting me. Some of it Sauron called to me through the ring. Sometimes Gandolf the White came by my side.

So many times I wanted to give up. So. Many. Times.

That journey taught me a lot about who I am, who my friends really are, and how to keep a lot of things to myself.

Devrims: When did you discover WordPress and how do you think it has contributed to your journey?

Bridget: I discovered in 2007 along with Twitter. I wouldn’t have the business I have now if it weren’t for WordPress. That’s for sure.

Well, I may have been in Marketing, but not specializing in marketing for tech.

Who knows? That’s a hard question.

For someone like me who is driven and creative, I would have found a way to survive in this world with or without WordPress. But I met so many amazing people, it’s hard to imagine my life without it.

Devrims: You have worked on so many WordPress projects. Name some of your favourites and which one would you suggest to the audience?

Bridget: I loved building the GiveWP brand and am very happy with that. One of the co-founders recently told me that I made it what it was and it was a shame I didn’t get credit for it. I don’t need credit. I know it’s great.

I’m proud of all of my client work. Not every brand had the finances to continue doing marketing the way I thought was needed. Not every brand wanted to. That’s the trick with client work. You’re a temporary assist, kind of like a substitute teacher.

But I’m most proud of the “Make WordPress” team I lead and built from 2016-2019. That’s definitely my legacy work in WordPress.

Of course, I’m proud of being a Core Contributor, volunteering and organizing several WordCamps, and speaking both domestically and internationally at WordCamps including a few keynotes.

Public speaking is my jam.

Devrims: How has your experience with WordPress 6.2 been, and what features would you like to have in the latest version?

Bridget: Honestly? I didn’t notice the difference between 6.1 and 6.2 but that’s because I don’t really build sites for a living. I did build as a Lead Gen / SEO tool a few weeks ago. Seems fine. Embracing how WordPress is going seems to be the least frustrating and future proofing.

To be honest, I still need to finish hooking up MailPoet for my Woo transactional emails. I wish the onboarding for this was better.

But the SEO part proved very successful in a short 48 hours.

Spotlight: Devrims WordPress Hosting Platform lets you deploy both WordPress 6.1 and 6.2 on its managed cloud servers.

Devrims: Tell us a little about your business ventures and how are they doing?

Bridget: Right now I’m focusing on creating a quieter life here in South Texas. I have a part-time job as a Jewelry Associate at T.J. Maxx and I love it. Customer engagement, just like online, is all about relationships. At the jewelry counter, I’m able to be the best version of myself, just as I was working the booth for GiveWP as well as my past clients at WordCamps.

My client work is stable and I have a handful of amazing brands I get to work with. I’m fortunate to be in this spot. Of course, who doesn’t need more clients? But for now, I’m happy.

“Launch With Words” is my WordPress plugin that comes with premium packs. It’s not selling as well as I hoped. For some reason I’m not able to communicate how this helps a WordPress freelancer choose a niche and add value so they can increase their profit margins.

It remains a passion project for now. I may end up selling it one day. Who knows?

Devrims: How important is social media management for a business? Give some important key takeaways that you use for social media management.

Bridget: I’d go as far as to say that if you’re not using social media to market your business in 2023, you’re not marketing at all.

Hiring a professional social media manager and trusting their judgement is important. There’s so much more to social media than scheduling posts and replying to a tweet here and there.

This is why I wrote Keys to Being Social. You must understand the social part of social media or your strategy and tactics will be wrong.

Devrims: Let’s talk about WordPress community events. Have you been into these events and what do you say about these events?

Bridget: If you’re referring to the Community Summit; that was an invite-only event. I was heavily involved with the marketing team of Make WordPress. So, I didn’t attend.

I enjoyed going to WordPress Meetups and WordCamps from 2015-2019. The pandemic changed a lot of our lives and mine has changed as well. I haven’t been to a WordCamp since WordCamp Seattle in 2019.

They’re a must for plugin and theme companies. They’re a must for freelancers who want to meet their peers. They’re amazing events.

It has been cost prohibitive for me to attend WordCamps since 2022 and, to be honest, I was busy working at the chicken hatchery in Wisconsin and now, I am getting resettled in my life in Texas.

Devrims: Share something about yourself that we are not aware of? 

Bridget: I feel like people know so much about me or, at least, I’m very open on the internet. I guess, I’m happy with simplicity. I love being in nature. I love learning. I’m a curious and creative person.

Devrims: What is the creative process you follow while writing a book?

Bridget: My books are an extended rant. But seriously, each book had a different strategy. Dysfunctional Love Songs was a prototype so the structure was outlined and intentional. Keys to Being Social was a blog series that had to be heavily edited. I wrote my Twitter book in 6 hours and my WordPress plugin book was written in a month.

With the online marketing series I co-authored with Warren Laine-Nadia, we divided and conquered. One Google Doc was created. We did an outline and divided up the chapters by subject matter. 

Scheduling time to be creative may seem counterintuitive, but you must write to be a writer. It takes time and discipline. Collaborating allows for the je ne sais quoi. Discipline allows the ideas to come to life.

Devrims: Can we see pictures of your workspace?

Devrims: What advice would you give to small businesses who want to improve and what mistakes should they avoid?

Bridget: Be open to learning. The business owner who isn’t teachable can’t improve and grow. This applies from everything to HR to Accounts Payable, Marketing to Product Development.

Secondly, stick with your goals long enough for them to come to fruition. Marketing isn’t a hack; it’s a business strategy. Measure in quarters, not in weeks. Compare in years, not in months.

Devrims: Rapid Fire:

Devrims Bridget
Running or cycling Neither 😀
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