If you ask around on social media for an ‘SEO expert’, chances are Kate Toon’s name will pop up. Several times. Her online brand is well-established and she seems to be everywhere – which goes some way to explaining why she was named our Marketing Maverick Award winner in 2015.
How has Kate achieved this level of brand awareness? We really liked how clearly she defined both her strategy and her approach in her entry:
My strategy is to produce epic content on a variety of platforms.
My approach is to be myself, share my ups and my downs, let my sense of humour shine through and accept that some people just aren’t going to be that into me – and that’s totally fine.
Are the above working? Well, as we’ve mentioned in a previous award winner’s profile, the best definition of ‘brand’ is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Here’s what people are saying about Kate:
“Kate delivers outstanding work for her clients, combining engaging copy with technical knowledge. In addition, Kate creates value-packed communities for her colleagues AND competitors, and generously shares her knowledge through her ecourses.”
“Damn that chick knows her stuff!”
“Fascinating – I’ve never encountered a business fuelled solely on Frazzles before.”
“Kate Toon is down to earth, approachable and really knows her stuff.”
“I’d describe you as an industry leader, Kate. Somebody who not only inspires other copywriters, but is actually generous enough to help others succeed! I’d also describe you as prolific (you have fingers in so many pies and get so much done), completely transparent, hilarious, and humble too. All in all, I think you’re pretty awesome!”
That Frazzles reference is a great indication of just how well she’s connected with her audience and branded herself. Kate has a particular affinity for those bacon-flavoured corn-based snacks … and everyone who follows her online knows this.
Who better to ask than our Marketing Maverick winner where the biggest opportunities and challenges lie for small businesses when it comes to marketing themselves? Kate says:
I believe the biggest opportunity lies in producing great content. But I no longer believe the written word is enough. Humans want more human connection.
Live video chat platforms like Periscope and Blab offer the opportunity to share great content and get immediate feedback on that content. They’re a way to connect with your audience, prove your authority and provide a relatively easy source of content for your site and social media platforms.
The challenge is, and always has been, time.
Small business owners have to wear a lot of hats, and finding time to market can seem impossible. I think the only way to conquer this is to let go of perfection and just be yourself. Don’t over-think or over-strategise, just relate to people online as you do face to face.
So how exactly does Kate walk the walk? In her entry she broke it down so we’re just going to share it as is:
I started a website in a competitive market…
And wrote a lot of blogs…
I realised a lot of my audience were copywriters – so I set up a school for copywriters…
With a free community for them…which now has over 1000 people in it.
Since I was doing so well SEO-wise, I decided to offer an SEO service, then a workshop, and finally an ecourse. So far, 120 people have taken the ecourse.
I promoted the ecourse with a free 10-day SEO challenge, a book and a free support community.
I managed 1200 subscribers and the community now has around 500 people in it.
I write odd posts.
And super-helpful ones.
I post things that other people might not.
And boring things.
And useful stuff.
I use my dog to market myself.
And occasionally my own face.
I record podcasts.
And make little ‘how to’ videos.
And will be moving more into Vlogging in the new year, recording videos and turning them into blogs to support my two product websites.
If you’re feeling a little freaked out by all of the above, don’t be. Here’s Kate again with some final, hopefully galvanising (!!) words:
I don’t have a master plan, or a schedule or an ideal customer avatar. Instead I use my creativity, spontaneity, and genuine love of all things webby to drive me forward. Oh, and coffee, lots of coffee.