minimalist content marketing with brittany berger
Brittany Berger | brittanyberger.com
Hannah: Hello everyone and welcome back to DWGTV. I’m Hannah and today I’m joined by Brittany Berger who is a minimalist content marketing consultant, which is pretty much the coolest title I’ve ever heard. We’re really excited to have her here today. I was first introduced to her, or I first saw her at Inbound in 2018. I attended her session and was super inspired by her; our whole team was. So, we’re really excited about a year later to have her on DWGTV and to be sharing her insights, not only on content marketing but also on productivity, self-care and what that looks like to have that be personal to you and how not all productivity hacks work for every person.
We’re really excited to have you, Brittany. If you want to take a second and introduce yourself, who you are, what you do, and all that good stuff.
Brittany: Sure. Thanks so much for having me. I still think that my Inbound talk was one of my favorite pieces of content I’ve ever created, and I’m so happy people liked it. And yeah, I am a content marketing consultant and teacher that teaches you how to reach your existing marketing and business goals with less content. That sometimes means repurposing, that sometimes means optimizing, sometimes it just means more strategic.
I just really notice that in my years as an in-house content marketer, we were all creating too much content that wasn’t strategic enough. That’s what I am helping people with now.
And then outside of my personal brand, I also run the Work Brighter community as kind of a refuge for people who want to escape hustle culture to a more balanced view of work and productivity.
Hannah: Awesome. So, what inspired you to launch brittanyberger.com and also the Work Brighter community?
Brittany: I feel like they’re both really inspired by where I was at personally in 2017, which was the year that I left full-time work and went full-time on focusing on this stuff. It’s just where I was and the problems I was having in both areas of my life. At the time at my day job, I was the in-house head of content for a company and it was a pretty big company that had been doing content marketing since the start. So, we had a lot of stuff sitting in our archives that wasn’t necessarily working for us. Sometimes it was actively hurting us, like bringing in bad-fit leads, or just you know… we had two articles about something, one was current and one wasn’t. Just so many problems came from how much content that we had created and not maintained over time.
I was also dealing with a lot of health and burnout issues at the time and so I was not working as much and had to, in addition to that, get really creative about how to meet all the content marketing goals and do my job. The approach that I came up with is what I call Minimalist Content Marketing now, and it’s what the whole personal brand focused on, either teaching people through courses and workshops and tools… I’ve got a lot of different products that are all priced so that they can either be for someone starting their own business or a marketer at a smaller company trying to get things together. And then for the larger companies, I also have one on one consulting.
On the Work Brighter side of things, I talk about kind of all the mindset shifts I made around then during that health stuff that I mentioned earlier. So, at the time, I had just been diagnosed with several chronic illnesses. I was very much a workaholic and very bought into what I like to call ‘hustle culture’ and just like an obsession with productivity. I was so obsessed with productivity. At the time I had a newsletter that I called ‘Work Smarter,’ I was writing about productivity. But then when I started working on my health and started trying to come back from burnout, I realized that that was actually working against me in a lot of cases.
I just feel like my whole world was changed around what I thought about work and mental health and self-care and that I had followed a lot of advice that was not made for me. A lot of the productivity advice is for a very specific type of person that we don’t necessarily specify and anyone who is dealing with a lot of physical or mental health issues or disabilities, which is I think probably about 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 people the last time I looked up the stats. So, this huge chunk of the workforce who is actively hurting themselves with all of these popular productivity hacks and stuff like that and I realized that getting rid of that mindset really helped me and I wanted to share it with others.
Hannah: I think that you have such an inspiring story, and I know that your session and your presentation on Inbound just completely shifted my mindset, not only on content marketing, being a marketer myself, but also just… I know I went back to my hotel that night and looked up all of your stuff, looked up your website and all that good stuff, and I was just so inspired and I hadn’t heard anyone talk about productivity in the way that you do. And that was just really cool. Being very Type A myself, very driven and goal-oriented, those are all great things but they’re not good when they’re causing you burnout. So, I was just so inspired by not only what you said when it comes to marketing but also what you said when it comes to self-care and finding what works with you. I think that’s what’s cool too about your two brands, with you have Brittany Berger and also the Work Brighter community. They kind of have the same mission, just about different things. It’s just working brighter and figuring out how to do more with less, so that’s really cool.
Brittany: Yeah absolutely. I say that Brittany Berger is essentially just like a very much more niched down in speaking marketing then the stuff I talk about in Work Brighter.
Hannah: Yeah. So, can you talk a little bit more about minimalist content marketing and kind of how you define that?
Brittany: Sure. So, like I said, at the time when I was at my day job we had a lot of content. When I joined the team, they had been blogging twice a week for years, we bumped it up to four times a week while I was there, before in my last year seeing like, “Oh no, what have we gotten ourselves into here?” and we started pulling back. And the things that I lived by and what I call the three rules of minimalist content marketing now are, it’s about getting the best results possible and not creating as much content as possible. I remember when I joined that company our goal, well one of our marketing goals was to publish daily; that was something that we wanted. But I slowly came to realize as we amped up to three times a week, and four times a week, what it was taking to do that and it was actually pulling us away from all of these other marketing goals that made way more sense and a lot of times creating new content wasn’t the answer because we had so much. A lot of the times we had what we needed, but we just needed to improve it. And so that’s when I began updating and repurposing a lot.
The second rule was about creating just as much content as you need and then switching your priority and your strategy to focus on using it. Like I said, we got to a point where we had a lot of topics that we’d covered before. And how many times can you write about the same topic in different ways? How many times is it even serving your customers to do that as opposed to just putting the same information in front of them in a new way?
That’s where the minimalist and minimalist content marketing comes from because while I don’t necessarily identify with the capital ‘M’ minimalist movement, and the minimalists, the one thing that I really do love from that movement is the concept of defining ‘enough’ and not having more than that, and that is really an important thing to do for you content.
Hannah: Yeah, I think it’s such a cool approach and it seems so simple that I’m like, “Why aren’t more people talking about this and how had I not heard about it until last year,” and it just was like a huge lightbulb moment for me. I think it’s really cool what you’re doing and it just makes so much sense and it’s making the lives of a lot of marketers easier and more effective in their businesses.
Brittany: And that’s what we need because so many of us are Type A, we are workaholics and we put in the work and we deserve for things to be easier.
Hannah: Yeah, it’s so true. So, in your experience working as a consultant with other businesses, organizations, and individuals, what have you seen that is a common mistake that businesses are making when it comes to content marketing?
Brittany: It is really just it all boils down in one way or in another to creating too much content and not using it. What that looks like is different for every company, like sometimes they’re just focusing on distributing their content to all the wrong places. I worked with one company that was creating a ton of really amazing product-focused content but then only promoting it on social media, and I was like, “The people that the content that this content is most useful for and these specific kinds of posts is your existing customers. Why are you showing this to them? It’s amazing and it can help so much. And the people on your Twitter followers, they’re not going to be as interested in in-depth product tutorials yet.” So just really using content in the wrong way and creating too much of it.
I do think a lot of it also is like… I talk to a lot of companies… who they want to be the next, ‘insert their favorite’ very large, very much more mature than them company. Like, “I want to be the next HubSpot blog or the next Trello blog,” and other really big companies with totally different marketing goals and teams and resources, or whatever. They really start losing focus on what matters to them.
Hannah: Yeah, I think that’s so crucial. It’s kind of like stop looking elsewhere and looking at what your… it’s important obviously to see what your competitors are doing but just to recognize okay, “HubSpot, Trello, those are some big companies. Who are we as a company and how can we make our content the best it can be?” Not, “How can we make our content be what HubSpot’s is.”
Brittany: I feel like this is a popular again, like productivity or personal development, self-care quote, but it’s kind of cliché but don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Don’t compare your content marketing to HubSpot. That’s such a recipe for imposter syndrome and feeling like you’re not doing enough.
Hannah: Yeah totally. I think that’s really important to remember. So, what’s just one thing that people watching today… what’s one thing that they can start doing to improve their content marketing? What’s like one small improvement that they can make?
Brittany: So, make a list of any posts that are in your bucket of high-esh trafficked content but lowest converting content and I use converting loosely. Whatever conversion means for your content strategy. But find any post that’s getting traffic but not doing its job and then create spots on next months or next whatever’s editorial calendar to instead of creating a new blog post in that slot, updating the old one.
Hannah: Yep that’s something that we took from Inbound from your session and we’ve totally been applying that to our own content strategy and also our partners, so it’s great.
I want to shift a little bit and talk about the Work Brighter side of things and productivity, self-care and that kind of stuff. Can you share a little bit about what it means to you to work brighter?
Brittany: Sure. So, like I said before, I used to be really caught up in what I call hustle culture, and relentless productivity and just being obsessed with getting as much done as possible. I was all Type A and ambitious and all that stuff. The mantra for that whole community and movement is work smarter, not harder. So, through all of the stuff with my mindset and health and self-care, I realized, “Working smarter wasn’t enough.” I followed all the productivity rules and still burnt out. I like to think that also, those are all very strict rules, all very black and white. I’m a more technicolor person, so I like to think of like working smarter is the beginning of The Wizard of Oz and working brighter as once they’re in technicolor and it’s just going to a brighter, more fuller version of doing the work, and sustainable productivity.
Hannah: Yeah, I love that. Like I said, I am super Type A and that was such an enlightening thing for me to hear is that productivity is personal and there’s so many blogs and YouTube channels and books out there that are telling you, “This is the right way to live your life, this is how you can be the most efficient and this is how you can be the best, do the best, do all the things,” and really that’s just… it’s not sustainable and it’s not personal. I think that’s really awesome.
What is, in your kind of journey, figuring this out, what’s a popular productivity hack that you found just doesn’t work for you?
Brittany: Batching calls. I have an entire video on the Work Brighter YouTube channel about this about how many times I burnt out back when I was batching my phone calls. So, when I was going through health stuff but still working full-time at my day job, I worked semi-remotely. So, I’d only go into the office once or twice a week and that would be for team-wide meetings and so I figured I would just make those my meeting days and backed everything on those days. Like the very popular productivity advice that like on paper it totally makes sense, but then you take into the fact that I’m an introvert, I just don’t like talking to people for hours and hours.
Number two, that I was trying to write really in-depth content immediately following that and number three with all of the health stuff that I was going through at the time, working for several hours without a break would wipe me out. I remember going home to write one day and just falling asleep on the couch with the laptop on my lap, and I was like, “Well this is pathetic.”
So yeah, batching calls totally makes sense, and if calls are super draining for you, totally do it. For me, uh-uh. It was horrible.
Hannah: Yeah, I can relate to that. Batching works for some things but I’m an introvert as well. Even like these kinds of interviews, I’ve got to space it out because it takes it out of you to be ‘on’ all the time.
What have you learned about balancing productivity with self-care? How have you kind of learned how to have those coexist in your life?
Brittany: They are both work to me. One thing I said a lot when I was trying to get myself to focus on self-care when it didn’t come naturally and I had also just switched from my business being my side-hustle to my full-time job, I said, “Okay well now self-care is my side hustle.” And I treated it like one. I put stuff in my To-Do list and my calendar about it that I still use and check-off every day about drinking water, taking my meds by the right time of day, all of that. I took it and I basically put it through all the Work Smarter systems.
I batched self-care tasks, and not like pampering type, but just daily, personal maintenance. Like I’m a huge fan of journaling and just having thinking time and I just have an hour blocked in my mornings for my morning routines and that’s when any self-care that I’m going to do happens in that hour. So that is a batching that works for me.
Hannah: Yeah, I think that’s important to work to when we’re talking about self-care is that our culture has made it out to be facemasks and bubble baths and doing our nails, and it’s so much more than that and it’s not even that sometimes for each person.
Brittany: Don’t get me started on that; I could rant about that forever. But self-care is very related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Unless everything in your life is already together there’s probably something that you can do to take care of yourself more than getting a pedicure. Although I have really been wanting a pedicure lately. But when I go get one, and I will, I won’t be like, “Self-care,” I’ll be like, “Pedicure.”
Hannah: Exactly. So, are there any specific tools that you would recommend to people to help with their content marketing, to help with productivity or automation, just any tools or resources that you’ve found work for you that you want to share?
Brittany: I love talking tools. I am very much a techy so these might not be great for people who have trouble adapting to tools because these are all very flexible ones, but I love Airtable, Notion, and Zapier. So Airtable and Notion are both pretty similar. They’re both kind of like new takes on Google Drive stuff. So Airtable is kind of like a spreadsheet alternative and I’ve always had a lot of trouble just like formatting spreadsheets, getting the formulas that I wanted, so I hated using them for content and stuff. So, I use Airtable for so much of that. And I use it for lots of self-care. Like tracking my health, tracking my habits and stuff like that. I love it so much. And then Notion is kind of like that same concept but more for docs, so like Google docs instead of spreadsheets. And then Zapier, I like to see it makes all of your other tools talk to each other, so it’s a great way to just integrate tools that don’t easily integrate. Your marketing stack and whatever. It’s super fun.
Hannah: Cool those are awesome tips. We’ll make sure to plug those into the description to so people can check those out.
So next, I like to ask everyone we bring on to DWGTV, we like to ask them some rapid-fire questions just for fun, to get to know you better. So I’ve just got a couple here.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Brittany: I can’t decide between Rachel Bloom or Kristen Bell.
Hannah: Oh, I love it. Just a mash-up of both of them.
What is your favorite way to practice self-care?
Brittany: I like to call it ‘mindful television.’ A lot of people just assume that television is something that you do passively and just wasting time but watching something that you know is going to make you feel better afterwards and doing it mindfully, that’s still my favorite way to unwind.
Hannah: Yeah I love that. I try to do that too and be intentional about picking a series or even a movie or just anything that I’m watching. Because I feel like sometimes people are like, “Oh you should be reading instead of watching tv; watching tv is bad for you,” but I really enjoy it and if it’s intentional, go for it.
Brittany: I have a really long tweet thread about that. But any kind of entertainment or content has both good and bad and people judge people by the bad, and books by the good.
Hannah: Exactly. Well speaking of books, what are you currently reading or listening to?
Brittany: So, I just bought a book about the con-artist Anna Delvey. I am so excited to read it. I haven’t started it yet but I’m super into that kind of stuff.
Hannah: Cool, that’s awesome.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Brittany: Night owl all the way. That’s another big productivity hack I let go of, was trying to be an early bird.
Hannah: Yeah, I’ve tried so hard to be a morning person, and I’m still trying to, but I’ve got to be honest with myself. But I tell people I’m not a morning person or a night owl I’m just like a midday person.
Brittany: I call that afternoon panda.
Hannah: That’s what I am.
Brittany: You deserve an animal too.
Hannah: Yeah this is my good time right now.
And my last question is who inspires you?
Brittany: Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. I really love the way that they both evolved their careers beyond acting and into supporting other creatives too. That’s something that as I grow Work Brighter, I really look at both of their production companies.
Hannah: Cool, yeah that’s awesome. I’ve never even thought about them in that way, but that’s really awesome. So that’s all the questions I have. Can you just share where people can go to learn more about brittanyberger.com, well I guess I can go to brittanyberger.com, but just to learn more about you, and Work Brighter, if you want to plug your social media. Where can people go to follow along with everything that you’re doing?
Brittany: Sure, so like you said, brittanyberger.com. The Work Brighter website is workbrighter.co, and then on Twitter, it’s where I hang out the most and I am thatbberg on there and over on Instagram, I’m @workbrighter.
Hannah: Awesome. Well, thank-you so much for joining us today. This has been really fun and I’m so glad that we got some of your time and that can share your mission and insights with our audience here on Facebook and beyond, so thank-you so much.
Brittany: Thank you so much for having me.
Hannah: All right y’all well I hope you enjoyed this chat today with Brittany and that you can go check out more of what she does over on brittanyberger.com and also on workbrighter.co. I hope you got something out of this chat, I know I did. Please just like and share this video if you got something out of it and also follow along with us on social media. We’re on all the platforms, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. Give us a follow there so you can find out when we’re going live next. So until next time have a great day y’all. Bye.
Ready to start a project or really curious about our process? Drop us a note or give us a call; we’re happy to answer all your questions.