As I searched for my first job out of college, I focused on finding a job where I could work to achieve one of my goals –
to improve today's digital landscape.I began learning how at a job with a large software company. I found I was well-suited to working in the tech industry. I’ve never really left.
After gaining skills and experience, I ventured out on my own. I determined I could fill a gap in the market –
improving the digital experience of working with small and medium sized businesses. So, I began creating custom websites from scratch. Soon each client came to me with the same set of concerns. Their websites were complimented up and down for their elegance and style, but the sites weren't attracting new business. They didn’t have many new visitors on their sites.
So, I set out to learn various digital marketing skills and trades – everything from search engine optimization to social media promotion. I read different combinations of the same buzzwords so often my head hurt. To cut through the muck, I tried an approach I perfected in college.
While I studied English at the University of Wisconsin, I learned this method to write essays: develop a thesis drawn from theory to examine a subject. At the time I examined fiction. I had brilliant professors who taught me to write high-quality essays. After familiarizing myself with the eccentricities of literary theory, I could write 10–12-page essays over just a few days.
I sought to apply this erudite method in my foray into digital marketing. Call me overly academic, but I see the world through a scholarly lens.
Here's an imagined example of that in practice.
There’s a woman named Jane who produces courses to teach college students how to land a desirable job in the book publishing industry. Jane has me build her a new website. We’ve defined her goals, budget, and personal style plus a lot more – building a website that performs is the fruit bared from many long conversations. Now I need to get people to pay attention to Jane’s website.
First Jane and I create informative videos telling the story of how she came to work at a world-famous publishing house. With these few short videos, we’ve begun telling her story in an engaging way. We decide to post them on one of the most popular digital spaces – TikTok.
Watching the comments, we notice a lot of her followers want to work in children’s book publishing. Jane connects with a children’s book editor who works at the publishing house for where Jane once worked. The editor agrees to film an interview with Jane. I send an email newsletter announcing our plan. We also create some buzz on TikTok in anticipation of the interview.
After the interview, Jane and I write an article summarizing the editor's answers to questions from the comments on TikTok. We publish the video on YouTube and post the article on her website. Jane responds to the questions posed in the comments with clips of her asking those same questions during the interview. Now Jane and her followers are engaged in meaningful dialogues. The children’s book editor promotes the interview to her followers, and this starts attracting a lot of attention.
Jane tells her TikTok followers to subscribe to her email newsletter to stay updated on future content. I send an email promoting the blog post. The email mentions that Jane sells courses that give more in-depth and succinctly organized advice. Many of the recipients read the blog post.
Jane and I purposefully decided this email would be the first time she would explicitly promote her courses. In every piece of content prior to the email, she provided her community tremendous value at no cost. Now people who read the blog post are curious enough to stay on the website to explore and purchase courses. We continue this strategy while we also work to convert new followers into repeat customers.
I’ve followed this process with my real-world clients. Often I start by creating a beautiful, performative website or improving upon one a client has already. Nowadays I also make sure that the website accomplishes clients’ goals. I craft digital experiences that provide value to my clients and to their customers.
While I am happy to make someone a website or make content for social media channels or streamline email marketing, my strength is in seamlessly combining all of that. I started my business to make the internet a friendlier, more valuable space one website at a time. Today my goals are the same, but I’m not just making websites. I help people and businesses connect with their target audience online. I do this by crafting personalized and stylish digital experiences.
I’m a digital craftsman.