You’re listening to the Amanda Doherty Press Podcast, a show designed to help small business owners, side hustlers, and entrepreneurs like you feel more equipped to handle your marketing strategy.
Meet Matt and Amanda Doherty
Hi everybody, I am Matt Doherty, host of the Amanda Doherty press Podcast. Today, I’m joined by my wife and the visionary behind the brand, Amanda.
Hi! Glad to be here.
This is the first of many podcasts we’ll be releasing in the coming months to help small business owners, side hustlers, and entrepreneurs like you feel more equipped to handle your marketing strategy.
We are all about supporting small business owners, micro-business owners, and even people who have been around the block and are just looking for a little bit of added energy for their marketing strategy. We have gone the DIY route for the past three years, and we did not want you to feel like you had to do that same strategy that took years off of our lives. So we’re hopefully going to save you some therapy money and have some fun on this podcast.
Plus, we know, because we’re small business owners ourselves, we’re bad at taking time off. So this is a good excuse for you to invest some time into your business while sitting down and maybe propping your feet up for a few minutes.
We’ve made about every mistake you could possibly make. And then some, so let us help you not make those mistakes anymore.
Our Background In Marketing & SEO
Amanda, to start us off, tell us a little bit about your background. Who are you? How’d you get into marketing?
Well, it’s funny hearing my husband ask me “Who are you?” But it’s a valid question.
I am a small business owner, but I didn’t start out that way. I went to college for a degree in contemporary journalism. And if you’re curious what that means, it is where you write nonfiction, which by default just kind of makes you sound really boring. So contemporary journalism makes it sound really fun and is more story-inspired. So it reads like fiction, but it’s actually true.
One gifting that I was able to pick up from that specific degree and through years of working with other amazing writers in that field was a knack for storytelling and really drawing out the story behind unique brands and unique people. And so that, at my core, is what I get most excited about and has been the common thread from the beginning.
After writing for several years, I also went back and got a master’s degree in education. So that whole concept of taking large, boring, abstract ideas like the Industrial Revolution, the Renaissance, etc., and trying to explain them to a room of seventh-grade boys and girls in fun and engaging ways required me to pull that story strategy back out of my pocket.
Fast forward several years, and Matt and I and our son, Desi–we’ve got a five-year-old son–moved across the country to Northern Colorado. And that is where we are today. Matt went back to teaching, but our son needed some extra support, so I needed to stay home. But I also needed to make some extra income. So I decided to learn a craft such as woodworking and how to engrave things using a laser engraving machine and then try to sell my designs online.
And let me tell you, at first, I wouldn’t even call it a hobby, because I wasn’t even good at it. But eventually it grew to hobby status, and then to the “Hey, I’ve got something cute,” “Hey, thanks, Mom, for being my only customer” when I launched my Etsy site, and that Etsy site grew and grew. And that became the most stable income for our family after just 6 months.
What I had to rely on initially was an enormous amount of storytelling and solid copywriting. And because I had no money whatsoever to dedicate to things like paid ads, honestly, it kept my social media strategy from becoming a top priority for me. And if you look at my success, now you’re going to see a website, an Etsy site and Amazon site, all three, succeeding very much past where I expected us to be, much faster than I expected as
And you know, we’re super proud of that business. But over time, we began to draw attention and became a common source of, “Hey, can you come over for coffee?” or “Hey, can I buy you a beer?” or “Hey, can you come over for dinner so I can ask you how you grew your business and how I can do that for my own?” So that’s kind of where this whole thing started.
And what brings us to this specific podcast is this new brand that we launched. At the time of this recording, Amanda Doherty Press was launched less than two weeks ago.
What is SEO and How Did We Learn It?
Here’s a second question for you going along those lines. You mentioned SEO. Where did you get your background in SEO? How’d you really cut your teeth on learning how to do SEO optimization through storytelling?
I think I should step back for just a minute and answer the question “What is SEO?” first because SEO is one of those funny jargon abbreviations.
Marketing agents are really good at marketing really obnoxious terms. I’ll be the first one to say that. We’re all about transparency here. So I’d like to make sure you’re caught up and up to speed.
SEO literally stands for “search engine optimization.” So say, for example, you write a blog or create a new product, and launch it on your website. You now have to wait for Google to figure out what the heck that page is and how to index it. And it’s huge. Google is very complex with growing and developing algorithms. And so you have to understand how Google works, essentially.
When you type a specific set of words or keywords into the search bar, Google will analyze how relevant all of the content on the internet will be in order to effectively answer that search query. It will need to know what to put at the top of the search results, and maybe what is less relevant, which is going to fall further down the page or even, you know, 200 pages later in the archives. So SEO is crucial, because, on one hand, you have the storytelling element. You have to be able to share a good story. You have to be able to communicate your vision and your brand, and get people to really fall in love with what you’re doing so they can partner alongside you.
But if Google doesn’t like what you’re writing, and if it doesn’t understand who you are, what you’re all about, where you’re located — if it can’t figure that out from the content on your website, then you’re never going to get any customers outside of your social media presence.
So SEO is an incredibly valuable tool. Because if you do it yourself, it’s free. And that’s what I had to start off with after writing my own content for some time for my website, my Etsy page, my Amazon account, and even my Pinterest account because Pinterest is a search engine. So it requires SEO knowledge as well.
And so learning that ended up being the most valuable skill I had to bring to the table as a writer and as a business owner myself. So that’s essentially what SEO is and why I think it’s an incredibly valuable skill to learn, at least the basics of, even if you yourself want to eventually outsource that. Everyone that starts to get their feet wet in the realm of SEO is going to very quickly say, “Yes, that’s awesome. Now I know how it works. Somebody else needs to do this.” And so that’s often one of the first hires that you tend to get from a marketing agency is the SEO and content writer.
So that’s how I jumped into the SEO game. It was purely out of necessity. I started writing for companies across the country and businesses across the country, some very small, many in the medical industry. I cannot tell you how many were in the automotive industry. I’ve written about every car known to man. Matt loves that I can spew out more automotive facts than he can.
It’s slightly emasculating that my wife knows, like about 10 times more about cars than I do. But I’ve learned to deal with it and to be impressed by it rather than intimidated.
Yeah, so I had to write about anything and everything, which was totally fine. I was not opposed to writing about any of it. But the reason why I kept getting hired was that the sales and conversions of my clients continued to go up because writing something that nobody is able to find is one thing, but if you’re able to write something that really captivates the audience, answers a question that the people are asking right now, and provides effective call-to-actions that are going to drive you to a specific sales page or to reach out to the dealership or what have you, there’s a strategy involved in it, so they loved that I had that strategic background. And then I had that underlying knowledge of how SEO works so that in their minds, if you can find a solid writer who understands what it means to be a business owner and can play the Google game pretty well, then that’s a solid win in their book.
So after writing over 580 articles for over 160 companies and businesses across the country, we decided that we would like to kind of hone in specifically with small businesses that are going to enable us to really focus in on the stories and get them off the ground. It’s going to be super fun.
Marketing Agency vs Marketing Boutique
When you first came to me with this idea of starting the business and going into marketing, I was a little overwhelmed. Because all I had seen were these giant marketing agencies. You know, I’ve worked in the business world a little bit. And we’ve seen marketing companies we’ve worked with hire hundreds of people, have hundreds of project managers, all these contract writers, all this stuff. And I’m thinking there’s no way we can do that. You know, we have capital. We don’t have that much capital. How are we going to get this going? And your idea was to come up with a marketing boutique more than a marketing agency. Can you walk everybody through what the difference is and what we specialize in as a marketing boutique over a marketing agency?
A marketing agency is amazing to work with. If you can find a solid one that has great reviews, that people are just thrilled to work with–if you can find one by word of mouth, that’s amazing. Again, the problem comes down to the fact that a marketing agency is going to be most effective at marketing its own services. And so in many cases, what they’re marketing makes it very difficult to discern whether or not it’s going to be beneficial to you. Many clients hop off a sales call and think, “I don’t really know what any of this language means, so I feel like I just have to run with it and trust I’m investing in the right thing.” And I’ve worked with many people who have come to me with this complaint.
One client comes to mind. He and his family had invested over $80,000, in all kinds of work to their website through a very well-known, local marketing agency. And it didn’t result in a single sale. And I remember thinking, well, I think it was you who joked, “I wish I could charge $80,000 to do nothing.”
I would love to do that! If anybody wants to give me $80,000 to not sell anything I can. I’m your guy!
That’s why there’s something to be said about working with a small team who is highly selective of the businesses that they choose to work with. And that is definitely what I would like to prioritize moving forward with Amanda Doherty Press.
We have several packages available. One goes all the way down the path of we just write all of your content, whenever you need it, you just tell us what you need, or how many a month and we’ll do the SEO research, we’ll send you the articles, we’ll send you the links, all that fun stuff. But then the other side of that is that there’s an enormous amount of coaching because everything that I do, I want to make sure is purely authentic to and transparent to the business owner.
There are a couple of red flags that jump out at me at the moment, For example, if a marketing team wants you to hand over the keys to your kingdom. This is your business and your vision. Nobody knows that as well as the business owner, right? So if you’re listening to this, you’re probably thinking about launching something soon, or adding a new product, or pivoting, or you’re just ready to scale your business. These are totally valid reasons to start contacting marketing teams.
But I think there’s an enormous amount of value if you become highly aware of the strengths of each component of the marketing system because when it comes to marketing, this could go all the way from, “I know how to make billboards,” to “I know how to write press releases,” to “I can start writing a blog,” to “I can write a long-form sales page,” and it goes on and on. Anything that would directly impact a sale or point people towards a specific action is what we call marketing. And so you, as a business owner, need to know how each of those components works and feel empowered to make those decisions. Without fear or bribery is like the winning distraction as to why you chose a specific team.
Ownership of Your Marketing Strategy is Key
I think the number one way that you can predict whether a business strategy or a marketing strategy is going to succeed is how much the business owner herself has bought into that idea. Do you think that’s pretty accurate?
Yeah, that’s what we’ve seen time and time again with businesses we’ve worked with. There are obviously other factors like whether the product you’re selling is a good product or if it is something no one wants, but even then, a lot of that can be overcome with passion and by somebody believing in what they’re selling, whether it be a service or a product.
You, as the business owner, are the bread and butter of your business. You’re the most valuable asset of your business. So all we try to do is partner alongside you.
Don’t Just Trust Anyone With Your Dream
And just going along with that theme, with Amanda’s engraving business, with the custom woodworking and all that, it was something that, to be completely honest–and I think I’ve told you this before–when you first told me about this idea I thought, “Oh, that’s cute.” You know, like, “We’ll make a couple extra bucks, but when are you going to sign up to be an Uber driver, so we can actually make money?”
And it was really cute and nice until that first Christmas season when I would come home from teaching all day to find you packing up about 105 orders every day for two months. And you were making a lot more than I was.
It was a couple of months into the first year, and I was like, “Wow, this is actually a thing!” And I never told her until it succeeded that I thought it was just a nice little cute thing or that she’d be lucky to make a couple of bucks. I never put that in her mind, and I supported her wholeheartedly. Hopefully you agree with that.
Oh, yeah! A lot of success came down to the fact that he didn’t open his mouth those first few months because that would have been enough for me to hide under a bed and quit.
Yeah, I just told her afterward when she had made it, “Wow, I really didn’t think this was going to work, but I trusted you.”
And, you know, that’s important as well–to have people that trust you around you and surrounding you. And you know, more than that, for you to believe in yourself.
There’s so much truth to that. During the whole 3-month transition process of stepping away from teaching, I woke up every day just stressing and asking for guidance from people I trusted. It was all I thought about. It was all-consuming.
Time at church was spent just thinking about that and asking people, “Hey, you have a business; what should I do?” And at the end of the day, people kept telling me, “Do what you feel is right, and do what you want to do.” That wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but looking back now, the whole idea of believing in yourself is such a big thing. Because once I stepped fully into this, and once I put my resignation in to relinquish my salaried job, the weight left my shoulders and I thought, “Okay, I’m out of teaching, I can pursue this 100%, and we’re not going to do it half-hearted. We’re going to do it with everything we’ve got.”
There’s also this new weight that came on my shoulders where I realized, okay, this isn’t just some three- or four-hour-a-week thing while I find the career I want. I’m 100% committed to this. And this is more than a full-time job. Definitely more than a full-time job.
Many of you might be sitting down thinking, “Yeah, this is a very lonely endeavor,” or “Yes, I feel like I’m breaking every rule by not going the corporate route or following the traditional nine-to-five model where I come home and clock out for the day.” Many of you are probably listening and thinking, “I need to Google the phrase ‘clock-out,'” because I know that is not my natural wiring anymore.
I hope you can hear the heart and the understanding that we’re able to bring to our customers because this is about as authentic as it gets. And as genuine as it gets. We really are partnering with each of our customers for their success. And so, for that reason, we are super selective about the people that we decide to work with, not because we don’t want to support everyone. But there is something incredibly freeing about opening up the time and energy to just a handful of clients a month or on a scheduled monthly basis that allows us to really invest the time, care, and energy that a larger marketing agency, by its very nature, is just not capable of offering.
Amanda Doherty Press is Doing Something Unique
Many agencies that I’ve spoken to or worked with in the past have up to 250 clients on their list to work with regularly. And so, for that reason, how much time can you honestly dedicate to each client if you have 250 clients?
So we’re keeping ourselves small until we’re capable of expanding well. And at that point, we will remain highly selective of who we work with because we want to work with business owners who really want to take the reins from their marketing strategy and roll with it on their own. It’s incredibly valuable for the business owner to partner alongside our marketing efforts.
We mentioned people that are our customers, and we mentioned people that are clients. This isn’t all just a paid ad. This isn’t like a 30-minute ad that we’re running to promote sales. We have a lot of free stuff that we want to give you. We’ve gotten a lot of use out of other people’s free content. And so we want to give back as well.
Let Us take You Out for a Coffee Sometime
One of the free offers we encourage you to take advantage of is our complimentary website audit. If you go to our website, you can get a free audit where we tell you exactly how your existing site is performing from a brand perspective and how it ranks in all the popular search engines.
Also, speaking of free resources, this podcast is going to be the best resource you can take advantage of. It’s our weekly freebie.
This is our origin story. After this, we will share practical strategies you can implement on your website and in your marketing strategy today to start seeing results as soon as tomorrow. And that in and of itself is going to be the biggest freebie we can offer. So we’re here to offer extremely practical insider advice. We’re not here to hold the cards close to our chest.
Again, empowering you is the best way to make sure that your business grows. Me trying to swoop in and save the day will not change the direction of your business. It really requires your ownership and I know that if you’re listening to a podcast about marketing, then you’re the type of business owner that understands this concept already.
We’re not here to save your business. Because at the end of the day, it’s yours, and we’re not going to be able to do that.
Snag a Free Website Audit
So head over to the website to request a free website audit. We’ll schedule a time to sit down with you and discuss how your website is performing.
If you’re not even at that point with a website, keep listening to the podcast. We offer practical insights to help you feel confident that we’re the right team for the job.
Subscribe and leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen.
Thank you guys so much for listening!