Episode 36

Prototypes and passion projects to overcome the fear of producing with Bridget Willard

Bridget started with a prototype/passion project, an Amazon book, before diving into other Amazon books, a free content planner and her premium product, Launch With Words.

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Author of several marketing books, Bridget Willard is a teacher who focuses on building relationships first, brands second. She prides herself in offering in-house training, marketing strategy, copywriting, and social media account management.

Her WordPress Plugin “Launch With Words” is a value-add for developers who focus on niche marketing.

To equip small business owners, she writes, teaches, presents to small groups, and creates tutorials.

When she’s not inspiring small businesses, she is reading books, watching sports with Diesel The Cat, or enjoying the outdoors in Corpus Christi, TX.

Say hi to her on Twitter at @BridgetMWillard, visit her at bridgetwillard.com, check out her free Content Planner, visit Launch with Words, including her latest pack, the Web Dev SEO Mini Pack and view her books on Amazon.

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[00:00:00] Rene: Hey everyone. Welcome to Your First Digital Product, a show that helps maxed-out service providers create their first digital product so they can gain an additional income stream, grow their impact without increasing one-on-one work and experience more time freedom. On the show, I talk to business owners who have launched digital products and dig deep into how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. I’m your host, Rene Morozowich. Let’s go.

[00:00:28] Hey, everybody. Today, I’m here with Bridget Willard, and Bridget describes herself as a marketer, copywriter, product owner, keynote speaker, author, CEO, and more importantly, friend. Hey, Bridget, how are you?

[00:00:41] Bridget: I’m doing great. How are you doing, Rene?

[00:00:43] Rene: Good. Thanks. I’m so glad you’re here today to talk about your first product.

[00:00:47] And I know you have a couple other products. So why don’t you tell everybody a little bit more about yourself?

[00:00:51] Bridget: My career path has been so evolved. I started out as secretary and then I went to school to be a teacher.

[00:00:59] Then I went back to being a secretary. Then I found out I was really good at marketing. And sometimes I feel like people want to put you in a box, especially with your career. I’m all these things. I also just am doing like three loads of laundry and I cleaned my floors today.

[00:01:15] The things that matter to me is I want to affect people. I want to leave a legacy and I want people to feel better about themselves after spending time with me. That’s who I am.

[00:01:27] Rene: Right. Yeah. I want to help people and whatever my unique skills and abilities are that I can share with other people. It feels good to wake up and do that kind of stuff.

[00:01:37] But anyway, okay. So tell us about your very first digital product. So maybe when you created it, how long it took you, what it was, if it’s still active. Really, like, whatever you want to say.

[00:01:48] Bridget: Okay. My very good friend, Rhonda Negard of Fat Dog Creatives who designed my site and has designed my site for years.

[00:01:57] Was like, you need [00:02:00] a digital download. What is one of the things you’re passionate about? Like, what is one of the things you always tell your clients? So I’m like, if you don’t care about your business then why should I? And like, I, I would tell my, as an employee, I would tell my boss or in my brain, this is what I would think it’s not my job to care about your business more than you do.

[00:02:27] I wrote this ebook in a Google doc, and then she found all these really great, like forties inspired Rosie the Riveter. And it was so much fun for her.

[00:02:40] She totally designed in a PDF. I decided to come up with some writing prompts. Like here’s 12 prompts for you. Get a journal, any journal you like, any kind of journal and answer these questions and these are going to help you write your blog posts. You’ll have one a month and as you write, as you start writing and publishing, you’ll get better at writing and publishing.

[00:03:07] So they’re specific, like, let’s focus on video this month. Like not everybody wants to do writing, writing. That’s fine. Do a video from your phone and then let’s get a transcript. The challenge is you to get a case study this month or do this or talk about why you started your business or what’s something that you wish people knew about your industry.

[00:03:29] And then in conjunction with it, Rhonda gave me this great idea of making a content planner. Essentially you have to change your sitemap on a regular basis so Google knows you’re still in business. Okay. So it could be updating old content or whatever like that. So anyway, so I use Google Sheets when it comes to managing social for my clients, which works for us because we’re tech people, but like some people need to understand, like, so you’re writing a blog post and [00:04:00] then they’re like, but what do I put on social?

[00:04:01] So the content worksheet says like, okay, here’s my blog topic and the first day you’re going to put it on Twitter, what’s your tweet going to be?

[00:04:09] And she made it so it’s fillable. But some people want to print it out, write it, whatever. You could print it out and make a binder. Like this is what I’m going to do. And then this is what I’m going to, so that I publish my blog post. And then the next day and that same day I write, I published this tweet with the link.

[00:04:24] And then the next day I put it on Facebook and the next day I put on LinkedIn. And these are what I’m going to write. Because what you don’t want to do is auto publish to everywhere all at once, because then you’ve only, there’s this one moment in space time.

[00:04:39] Rene: You have that window. Mm hmm.

[00:04:41] Bridget: Very small. It’s not even a window. It’s one moment in space, in the space time continuum.

[00:04:47] Rene: It’s a small window.

[00:04:48] Bridget: Where somebody might see your thing, which is not a good strategy. It’s efficient, but that’s not a good strategy. Right? So I want people to understand that you need to take words out of your blog post and that’s your posts.

[00:05:07] So you’re rolling this content out over the internet over the course of a week and you’re giving people a different opportunity to do that.

[00:05:15] So like, once you start doing it, then you’re going to start writing things that are what I call tweetable sentences. When you start realizing how you share it across social, then you tend to write that way. Oh, I see. I want something I’m going to use on Twitter. I want something I’m going to use on Facebook. And then, then it makes it easier for you. You know, it makes it easier for you to understand the whole of what you’re marketing.

[00:05:46] I started doing copywriting and making content blocks that would be interchangeable and usable for a seven figure agency called roofermarketers.com. They only build [00:06:00] sites for roofers and I have extensive experience working in roofing and in general construction.

[00:06:06] I’ve been writing about construction for 20 years. So when we were writing this templated content, right? Content blocks that were basically templates. And if they did wood shingles, we would use that on their home page or featured page or services page. If they did cedar shingles, we do that, you know, like, so we just grabbed from this content library that we built because it doesn’t matter if the content’s duplicated.

[00:06:32] The thing that’s worse than duplicate content is no content. Or content that makes no sense, right? So then I was like. Hmm. Wait a second. What’s the big problem everybody has? Getting content from their clients. Well, I already wrote this ebook, right?

[00:06:54] So I was like, what if there was a plugin that would add blog posts that they could schedule out? Yeah. And so I thought, well, let’s, let’s do kind of a test run with those 12 prompts from If You Don’t Mind Your Business, Who Will.

[00:07:12] Rene: Oh, nice.

[00:07:12] Bridget: So that is the free starter pack for what is now Launch With Words.

[00:07:17] Rene: So just to kind of take you along the path, it was, these were problems that you were already seeing with your existing clients. So, you know, a lot of digital products come from a problem that we see and a solution.

[00:07:31] So we, we, you know, as service providers have a good solution. We’ve honed it over time and we’ve worked it out with our individual clients. And we think, okay, I could put this together. So it’s really great that Rhonda pushed you forward on that. Some people want to do the products on their own. It’s helpful to have someone there for that, like accountability, because I think we can kind of get in our, get in our minds and also client work sometimes will come first so we can, you know, be derailed there.

[00:07:58] So did it take you a long time to [00:08:00] put that ebook together? And I love the the part about the separate kind of content pack. So tell me just a little bit about how you sell that. Like, did you just put the ebook up and the paperback book, and then later you made that? Did you do both at once?

[00:08:16] Bridget: If You Don’t Mind Your Business, Who Will is only a PDF available on my website.

[00:08:22] Rene: Okay. Okay.

[00:08:23] Bridget: I am a author of books on Amazon. Okay. And that is, um, and coauthor with Warren Laine-Naida on marketing books.

[00:08:33] Those I did in 2020 and forward, cause that was like my COVID project. We just redid the, um, Only Online Marketing Book You Need for Your Small Business. Our second edition just came out last month.

[00:08:47] So she pushed me to do that. I wrote it probably in a day or so, like I just downloaded my brain. Like my Twitter book, I wrote in eight hours. Nice. You know, so like, it’s everything I know. So then she started the process of doing it in Illustrator. And then as she started with the design we collaborated on edits. Writing just for a Google doc is not the same as writing for something that’s published and formatted like a magazine.

[00:09:16] Yes, it’s totally different.

[00:09:18] Rene: Yeah, you’re gonna pull people in whenever it’s designed nicely. It’s like a contract, you read a big wall of text, you’re like, oh, I can’t read this. So yeah, if you want people to consume the content, it needs to pull them in and look nice.

[00:09:30] So yeah, that’s, that’s a great point.

[00:09:31] Bridget: This is what she excels at. Right. So then she’s like, okay, what if we did this? And what if we did that? So then it was a PDF and we looked at it and everybody looked at it for typos. And then I installed Easy Digital Downloads, connected PayPal and Stripe. That is now a free product. So everybody who’s listening, I made it free because I didn’t have any free things for lead gen.

[00:09:57] Rene: That is an interesting thing. I think a lot of people, [00:10:00] whenever they have like a free lead magnet, it’s actually just a form, right?

[00:10:04] You just fill maybe your name or just your email address and then you get that free content. But this is like a different experience where people are actually kind of going through like a checkout process.

[00:10:13] Bridget: Yes.

[00:10:14] Rene: But it’s free.

[00:10:15] Bridget: That’s a product that’s free. Yeah, they get added to my Mailchimp.

[00:10:20] Yeah, so it’s the same concept, but I’m already selling digital products. I kind of pitched this idea of a plugin to my very good friend, Ronald Huereca of MediaRon LLC.

[00:10:31] And so he ended up making two plugins. Launch With Words is an importer plugin that’s free on the WordPress directory.

[00:10:39] And that’s used for both the free and paid content packs. That is client side.

[00:10:47] He built a plugin just for my website so that I can create these things. It becomes a JSON file and the JSON file is what you buy. I encourage my web dev clients to use the starter pack, which is prompts for their clients.

[00:11:06] They import as drafts, so the client can go in there and use their website and because sites that aren’t used they’re not going to have SEO value, right? Right. So you can install the prompts and you don’t even really need my plugin anymore. I also set you up for some blog draft posts. There’s prompts in there. All you have to do is get in there and start writing and it has a checklist of everything you should include.

[00:11:36] Nice. So you just go in there. It’s just a draft. So the premium packs are for web developers who are building a website for a roofer, for a general contractor, for a residential contractor, for a Chamber of Commerce, for plumbers, for residential care homes. They just want to literally launch with words. That [00:12:00] means they buy the pack from me, they install it on the client website, they uninstall the plugin, they schedule them to be published either once a month or once a week.

[00:12:12] The site is published and for eight weeks you have a blog post going out. So that they can see the website is working and then that will encourage them to write more, right?

[00:12:24] Rene: I like that you are doing these by industry. It’s easier to sell a product when it’s very specifically targeted.

[00:12:32] Bridget: It also fits my mission of helping WordPress agencies and freelancers be more businesslike and can, and niche down. Like a lot of times the developers I know are very gifted people who want to work on websites to challenge them intellectually.

[00:12:49] You want to turn these websites over like tables in a restaurant if you want to make money, right? So why don’t you give a value add of blog posts and just niche down into plumbers? So that’s the flexibility you have as a developer and you’re buying ghost written material for 500. You could add $1,200 to your contract.

[00:13:11] Rene: Yeah, that makes sense. So you started with an ebook. And then, um, the Launch With Words. And, do you want to talk at all about the books that you have?

[00:13:20] Like the books on Amazon? How did you create those? Anything about that?

[00:13:24] Bridget: Okay, I started with Dysfunctional Love Songs. That is a book of affirmations, uh, for hopeless romantics like myself. Where I have, I think, 22 songs that I used to love to sing at karaoke.

[00:13:42] So that was both a passion project and my pilot for my life’s work in two fold, which is Keys to Being Social. Now this is a good, uh, case of taking a blog post series and putting it into a book. So then I wrote The [00:14:00] Definitive Guide to Twitter Marketing, I Double-Dog Dare You to Try It. So this is a free blog post on my website, but if you don’t want to read it for free and or you do want to support a woman in business and just buy it from Amazon. Or buy it for a friend.

[00:14:17] Uh, and then Warren and I, The Only Online Marketing Book You Need for Your Small Business. This is a passion. This is like, why don’t we do this together? So I did four books in 2020. Oh, sorry, I forgot How to Market Your Plugin. And this is the other half of my, of my life’s work.

[00:14:36] Vito Peleg of Atarim said, “Awesome idea. Our industry needs this book. You’re definitely def, the person to write this and make sure it’s full of goodies.” So like nobody has written about how to market your plugin in WordPress. How to Market Your Plugin has journal prompts. It has If You Don’t Mind Your Business, Who Will. It literally has that as a supplement. I call it an add on. Add on number two is a default marketing brief that you can follow like, so what you’re going to do over quarter and then the add on number one is the three year plugin marketing framework quarter by quarter, what your goal should be, but like, it talks about email marketing, uh, loyalty.

[00:15:22] How do I approach content marketing? It’s totally normal to market in phases, um, participating in hackathons. There’s a whole chapter on sponsoring WordCamps, what your plan is to be, how you staff a sponsor table. Attending meetups and WordCamps. It’s like that. Okay. It, this is literally what you need. I’ve sold so many of this and this is such a lead generation tool for me. Don’t forget that Amazon is a great backlink.

[00:15:54] Then Warren and I did Your Non-Profit and Your School that same year. This is the [00:16:00] second edition of Your Small Business. We have a lot more authors in there. One of the things I added to here was like eight day marketing kickoff in one hour a day.

[00:16:10] Like literally what your schedule is. So like day one, 8am journal, write down your business wishlist, set a timer, open a blank journal, paper, do it. It helps. Go. What do you want to accomplish most? What’s your biggest threat? What do you wish people knew about your industry? What do people keep asking you?

[00:16:26] So by 15 minute increments, what you could do in one hour a day. Do you remember in the beginning of this call interview that I said, I want to leave a legacy?

[00:16:35] These are my children. It’s also a lead gen thing and it’s also a great sales tool and it also actually helps people, which is what I want to do because that’s who I am.

[00:16:48] So like the most important thing is your products that you’re selling, your digital products, they should reflect your values as a person and who you are. And I feel proud to say that all of mine reflect that completely.

[00:17:04] Rene: Yeah, I agree. So how do you, do you have any thoughts on those are all like physical copies?

[00:17:10] People can get the Kindle version, I’m sure, but those are like physical copies. Do you have a thought about that in terms of, do you think it’s more beneficial to have that physical copy that people can actually sit down with? Like, you know, we’re all digital, right? We’re websites and we’re content and blog posts.

[00:17:26] Like, do you have any thoughts about the physical book?

[00:17:29] Bridget: I absolutely do because I read paper books. I don’t want to be at the computer all the time.

[00:17:35] Rene: Yes.

[00:17:35] Bridget: Plus, like, you know, I want to be able to write notes. What social media posts can you reply to right now? Look at your home feed, you’d be like, okay, I did that. Or if it’s in the back of the plugin book where it has, if you don’t mind your business, there’s journal prompts. Those journal prompts are there. Why did you start your business?

[00:17:58] Or like, wait, three year [00:18:00] plugin marketing framework. Start Twitter account. You’d be like, yeah, I did that. You know, like, I don’t want to go find this page, but like, I can put sticky things.

[00:18:09] I write in books because I want to remember that thing. And here’s the thing about that, neurologically speaking, we remember things better when we use a pen and a pencil, a pen and paper. That is a different neurological process than taking voice notes or typing on a computer or, or listening. They can work together. I went to school to be a teacher and I know it works.

[00:18:39] Rene: No, I totally agree. Digital products are great, but there could also be a supplement with a physical product. So like, yeah, if your digital product is an ebook, like having something that can be physical as well. So I think that that is fantastic.

[00:18:54] Bridget: One of the tricks with a Kindle is if you have the Alexa app on your phone, you can ask Alexa to read it to you.

[00:19:01] Rene: Oh sweet. That’s nice. Uh huh. Very cool. Pretty cool. I like it. I like it. So anything else you want to say about your products before I ask you your advice for people anything else that we didn’t cover?

[00:19:15] Bridget: Um, no, let’s go straight to the advice.

[00:19:17] Rene: Okay. Okay. So what is your advice? So people have not created any product.

[00:19:21] There are people out there who have not created a product. Maybe they want to, maybe they’re reluctant, maybe they’re scared, maybe they just don’t know what to do or don’t know where to start. Any number of things could be happening. What is your advice? Maybe two to three things, um, either to do or not to do, uh, when creating their product.

[00:19:36] Bridget: So I would just follow what I did, you know, do a prototype. That’s what Dysfunctional Love Songs is. It was a prototype, but it was also a passion project. So because it was a passion project, it, it helped me overcome the fear of producing. The fear of publishing is the worst. The fear of [00:20:00] publishing is the worst thing to overcome for people with anxiety about creating.

[00:20:06] Like Nike, just do it. Right. But it’s hard. Cause you’re like, Oh, what’s this going to look like, right? Do something that you’re super passionate about first. Then you’re like, oh yeah, I could do this. I could do that. That was how I started with the physical book publishing through, um, Kindle Create. kdp.amazon.com. The other thing is collaborate. I collaborated with Rhonda Negard, and I collaborated with Warren Laine-Naida. You know, many hands makes light work. Yes. The good thing about writing with Warren is we had one Google doc. He’d be like, we could divide and conquer. Like he’s better at SEO.

[00:20:51] I’m better at social media, but we both have input on both. Right. But like you take that chapter, I’ll take this chapter. Okay. Now let’s read it backwards. Okay. You, you put in your comments here, you put it in your comments there. Collaboration is amazing for that.

[00:21:09] And it is, it’s, you have to work with somebody that you trust almost with your soul. I remember when I was songwriting, my producer, Chris Falson said songwriting with another writer, it is like a marriage. You have to trust that person with your soul because a creator’s soul is, is vulnerable and that’s what makes their products valuable.

[00:21:33] Don’t recreate the wheel. Don’t make your life complicated. Use the thing that makes it work.

[00:21:39] Make it easy because the reason why you’re doing it is to get more people on your website, in your email marketing, in your sales cycle, you know, whatever.

[00:21:50] So you have your digital product. Don’t expect people to be excited. They’re just not going to be, everybody’s like in their own world.

[00:21:58] We have to remind ourselves. [00:22:00] We did it for the Amazon backlink. We did it for expertise and authority, which is the two E’s of E E A T. Um, experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. We did it for SEO and we also did it so we could send it to prospective clients. I go on Amazon.

[00:22:19] Rene: That was my question. Yes.

[00:22:21] Bridget: I go on Amazon. I send it, send them a book.

[00:22:24] Rene: I like it.

[00:22:25] Bridget: I gave 10 to the chamber that I used to be involved in. I gave 10 to them when I was there. I just, I did another batch of this, the new one, but like, yes, it’s a sales tool. It’s a sales tool.

[00:22:38] Rene: I think a lot of people do use their product, like in that lead magnet sort of way, like a paid lead magnet. So it really isn’t going to be the thing you’ll retire on. However, it could be a great vehicle for people to hire you for one on one services, especially if you really just love one on one services.

[00:22:57] Like, I think that’s a great way to do it and, and thinking about like that. You know, we do a lot of these things for lead generation, right? We speak at conferences and we’re on podcasts and whatever, but like creating a product that people can buy instead of just giving it away for free, because I think people value a paid product, you know, in a different way than they do a free product.

[00:23:17] So having something, yeah, and it shows that authority and, you know, like you mentioned the backlinks and all those other great benefits to it, you know, it’s more than just the money you make on it. Well tell everybody where they can find you online.

[00:23:30] Bridget: Uh, so my website is bridgetwillard.com. I’m BridgetMWillard on all the socials and I’d love to chat.

[00:23:37] Rene: Awesome. Thank you so much for being on today.

[00:23:39] It was great talking with you.

[00:23:40] Bridget: Thank you so much.

[00:23:42] Rene: Hey, thanks for listening. I’d love to continue the conversation in your inbox. Email SUBSCRIBE to hey at yfdp.show or sign up in the show notes to get bimonthly emails about how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. Can’t wait to see you there