‘Don’t Start Content Production At All Until You Understand Your Brand Story’, Says Brianna Dunbar, Podcaster And Growth Expert
It’s nothing new that the internet and the world today is filled with information and content. So much so that many brands may have started to wonder what else is there to create and how to keep up.
In this sense, there has been constant talk about the need to humanize content and invest in strategies for it to stand out. But how can you differentiate yourself from a tough crowd such as the one we have today, and most importantly: can you create really impactful content if you don’t know who you are?
That was the quest that drove Brianna Dunbar, founder of the amazing podcast Badass Basic Bitch, to success and to grow a multi-million dollar business.
Working with content and brand development, Brianna suddenly realized that she had created tons of different brands but, at the end of the day, no one knew who she was. “I wasn’t anybody, but I was building all of these big brands… That’s when I came to the realization for myself that when people searched for me, I want them to know who I am and I want to control that narrative.”
That was when she started her own brand and gave a face, a voice and a heart to her content, making it come alive. This attracted people, making her audience go through the ceiling.
In Rock Content’s Jam Session, which is a mix of interviews, webinars and more with world’s best in class marketers, Brianna shared her story and gave brilliant tips and insights about brand building and content creation.
As a single mom of three kids, she was able to gather an immense audience and achieve great business opportunities by letting herself be honest and vulnerable with her audience and create content that is human, personal, authentic and appealing.
“You can’t have a brand without content,” she states. “Don’t start content production at all until you understand your brand story, until you have that sense of who you are or what your company stands for. Literally don’t do anything until you have that story and you have brand guidelines.”
To get even more inspired to create badass content, check out Brianna’s tips and learn how to give more life to your brand and enrich its narrative so that your audience will really want to hear more from you.
Check out this (and a lot more!) in the full video interview (or read the transcription below):
TaQuanyia “TQ” Boston: Today, we have the amazing Brianna Dunbar-DeMike as our guest speaker. She runs an amazing podcast named Badass Basic Bitch, which allowed her to reach a massive audience of over 750,000 people while building brand authority when it comes to content creation and branding.
Not only that, but she’s also in the world of entrepreneurship, having already created, sold, and collaborated with a number of startups, she’s rocking her career while being a mom of three kids and she has a bun in the oven.
Brianna, thank you so much for joining us today.
Brianna Dunbar-DeMike: Thank you. I am so excited to be here today. Thank you for having me.
TaQuanyia: No problem. So I always just like to open the floor for our guests. Tell us a little bit about yourself and a little bit about your professional background.
Brianna: Sure. As you said I’m a mom of three, one on the way. To me, that’s probably the most important part about me. At one point, I was a single mom of three and I remarried last year. Hence, going for number four. I come from very humble upbringings. I grew up in a suburb in New York.
One of five, my mom was a single mom of five and it was a struggle for her to provide for all of us and I always struggled in the school setting. Later on, I found out I had dyslexia and ADHD and it wasn’t until I was able to establish myself, the way I wanted to work and what worked best for me that I started seeing success in my career. And that’s when I started Zen Content.
That was my first company. Grew that to be a multi-million dollar business. Sold it within three years. But overall, I spent the past better, 15 years or so building brands for some really awesome companies like Walmart, Nationwide, and all of Pottery Barn subsidiaries.
Then, excited to talk about this topic, which I know you’re going to go into, but in 2019, decided it was time to build my own brand.
TaQuanyia: Wow, just wow. Talk about really overcoming adversity and just making sure that you take control of your life and build something that you can be proud of.
Thank you so much, Brianna, for sharing that with me today.
And for today’s topic, we’re just going to explore the opportunities that Content Marketing brings.
While there are a variety of topics to cover we will mainly be focusing on brand building and the alignment between content creation, brand messaging and the benefits of using all of these things together.
So, Brianna as you are an experienced professional and a content creator, what do you consider the main benefits of connecting brand and content and how do they relate and connect to each other?
Brianna: Yeah, it’s really interesting because like I said before, I have built out a ton of fortune 500 brands and at the end of the day no one knew who I was. I wasn’t anybody, but I was building all of these big brands.
Whether it was their branding strategy or the actual content creation that would live on their sites. In late 2019, I decided it was my time and what I realized, to answer your question, is you can’t have a brand without content. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re swiping left or right and then you have a date.
What is the first thing you do? You Google somebody, right? As soon as you match up with somebody, you Google them. If you interview for a job, what’s the first thing you do before you get on the interview? You Google them. You look them up. You try to find their social media platforms, their websites, anything about them.
That’s when I realized and came to the realization for myself that when people search me, I want them to know who I am and I want to control that narrative. I can only do that by creating strong content and building my own brand about myself.
TaQuanyia: Wow, that’s so impactful, especially for up and coming companies or even companies that have already been established and are looking to really take control of their brand story and their brand narrative. To, much like you said, have those people, their target audience, discover them.
So, thank you so much and you know, we’ve seen the evolution of digital content, right? Throughout the years it’s gone from long text to static images then videos and audios and now, you know, we’re in Instagram, TikTok, Reels, and YouTube.
How do you see brands evolving as content evolves?
Brianna: Yeah, this is interesting because obviously there is a significant trend where it’s saying long-form content is slowly dying and it’s going to be more of a short form content. I actually don’t fully believe that. I do believe that we’re seeing a significant trend of the demand for short form content, but I don’t think long form content is just going to die out and everything is going to be 15 to 30 second videos.
There’s a reason why TikTok started at 15 second videos and now I think you can do three minutes, right? It’s like trying to find the balance. I think short form video content messages are fun, they’re interactive, they can be more relatable, they’re engaging.
But, they also are hard to send a message. It’s really hard. It’s a difference between, “here’s my elevator pitch”, “here’s my 30 second elevator pitch” and then that gets you interested and then “here’s my book about me”.
I think the quick videos are the entrance of “here’s who I am”. Here’s a taste. Here’s a snippet, but then come through the door and realize that there’s more about me than just these quick hits.
I think that short form videos or short form content, especially for brands, are going to be “how do I get you the information, or the messaging to you, as fast and quickly as possible so I get you interested?” Then, I keep you with the longer form, high authority, more vulnerable type of content and messaging.
TaQuanyia: That makes so much sense and that speaks to just how content is created, right?
In the beginning, when you’re writing something like a blog post, you have to hook that reader and that’s kind of what those short videos can do. But you really want to hook them enough to get the rest of that content.
That’s so important and thank you so much for sharing that perspective.
You know, I always ask: what are some of the challenges that you see marketers facing when implementing a branding strategy anytime they have to use Content Marketing as their main pillar within their Marketing strategy?
Brianna: Yeah, I think trying to figure out who they are and especially for newer companies or newer people who want to build their brand, it can get really chaotic and it can get cluttered. For me, I’m a mom, I’m a business owner, I’m a wife. I love to bake. I love to DIY. It’s like, okay lady, that’s way too much. I think narrowing down, not losing your brand and messaging and purpose but still being consistent.
I think that’s probably the other thing, it is hard to be consistent. You have to have discipline and you know that’s a hard thing to do. I think those are probably the big things. Then lastly, probably finding the resources to create the content. You are not scalable. You cannot just produce more and more content yourself. Your team of three cannot produce all of the content that you want to create. Sp, being strategic and outsourcing.
And then, the last one is finding the ability to have that evergreen content and repurpose content and adapting it in different ways so you’re not reinventing the wheel every single time you produce something.
TaQuanyia: Wow, that’s super valuable information.
Especially what you were saying about continuing to be consistent but also realizing, hey when you need help, make sure that you have that help available. And finding those resources and then creating that evergreen content that will last and that will keep your audience coming back for more.
And you have obviously made use of those tips because, well again, you are such an amazing person that has built a large following.
Since you are well known for your podcast and this is a channel that has been growing for you and continues to grow for you, when it comes to the audience, how could podcasts really stand out from other forms of content?
Brianna: Yeah, there’s two things there. How does your podcast stand out from the thousands and tens of thousands of podcasts that already exist and then how do you stand out from other pieces of content that you could do?
I think in terms of having your podcast stand out from others is finding that white space. For me, it was all about women’s voices. It is hard to find podcasts or even channels where we can hear seemingly ordinary women talk about their great successes.
And I personally felt like you had to be the Cheryl Sandbergs of the world in order for your story to be heard. And that’s not what I wanted. You know, there’s so many amazing women doing these things and it’s extremely relatable because it’s literally your neighbor or your friend or your sister or whoever. Where it’s extremely relatable and you look at them and you hear those stories and say, “you know, she can do it, I can do it too”. Versus hearing Christina Tosi’s story where you’re like, “okay well, obviously she started Milk Bars, she’s a genius”.
And so I think it’s finding that white space and how to be different in terms of how to stand out from other content formats. I don’t necessarily think it really needs to stand out per se. I would always recommend to do video and then what you do is you take those long form content and you put them into snippets.
And so I snip them all and I share them on Instagram, on my personal Instagram, and my professional one. That’s the Badass Basic Bitch Instagram. And then TikTok. We have our own TikTok, too. It’s all about repurposing that content and leveraging it on different platforms, in different ways. And you’re still growing your audience on all of those different platforms and it’s just coming from one long form of content being cut up.
TaQuanyia: That makes so much sense.
Really trying to diversify the channels that you use can help you grow your audience and I think that’s really great advice for all types of brands.
You know, how your podcast has been able to build upon your own personal brand?
Brianna: Yeah, it’s really interesting. I started the podcast more for a healing journey for myself. I have been through a lot of trauma and I use the podcast as a way for me to tell my own story, but also heal through other people’s stories. The types of topics we have on it really range and so it allowed me to understand myself and my purpose and what I stand for. And that in turn allowed me to figure out what my brand is and I think that’s probably the biggest thing that came out of it.
When you think about who you are, it can be really difficult because a lot of people are like, I’m so many things or I could be so many things. What would make me have an audience, if I could be these things? And at the end of the day you’re not going to grow if you’re pretending to be something you’re not. Or you’re trying to be something you’re not. For me personally, it allowed me to figure out what exactly my brand was, and that opened up this authentic vulnerable self which grew my audience.
And allowed me to have more speaking events that were paid. It increased my Instagram growth significantly. I think when I started on my own personal Instagram, I had maybe 20,000 and I’ve had over 80,000 in a year.
My own professional Instagram, we started with like a hundred people and now we’re over 30,000. I actually have gotten a lot of job opportunities. There’s one I took. A lot, I turned down. But it allowed me those choices. People were coming to me and asking me if I will interview versus me asking to interview. It’s grown my LinkedIn and honestly my community in my real life, not just the virtual social media. But it’s allowed me to enhance relationships in my own community on a day-to-day basis. So, it’s opened several doors from me, all well-rounded.
TaQuanyia: And it really sounds like you took time to humanize your brand and, much like you said, making sure that you were authentic and really truly telling the story, is what naturally drew people toward your story, your content and allowed you to grow your audience.
So, I think that’s so critical and you know whether or not you plan on being a digital influencer is a plan. We like to ask: why should marketers care about their personal branding?
Brianna: Yeah for me, and I think this is a great question, because most people think: oh like you’re on Instagram, you have a podcast, you’re on TikTok, you want to be a digital influencer.
Or I don’t want to be an influencer so I don’t want to do any of those things and what I always say to them is: I don’t want to be a digital influencer. That is not why I do this. I don’t sell anything on Instagram. I don’t have ads, typically, I don’t have ads. I have some sponsors for my podcast but I’m generally not like pushing ads for people to buy things.
But, here are the benefits for me. I am building another company and the benefits of having a brand are when I go to raise money. Those investors are going to know me for more than the five minutes that I’m pitching to them because they’re gonna know that I have all these other things. And I’m sorry, with a name like Badass Basic Bitch, they’re going to listen to something. They’re going to at least scroll and maybe something will hit them and maybe they’ll be more likely to invest in me.
When I go to hire people to join my company, they’re going to search me. They’re going to see that I’m about empowerment. That I’m about career advice. That I’m about bettering yourself and about mindfulness and mindset and I believe that they’ll be more likely to want to join my team and be about what I’m about.
When I go to sell my services to somebody, I have a digital footprint of who I am and the stances that I believe in. It is about serving my customers and I want what’s best for my customers and here’s all these things that I’ve done to prove that. They’re most likely going to buy my services.
And then, at the end of the day, it’s like when I go to sell the company, there’s all of these benefits throughout and if you’re like, “okay lady, I don’t want to build a company. I don’t want any of those things”.
Okay, well, one day you’re probably going to want to change your job or get a job, and just that alone, getting those interviews, getting past the other 100 plus applicants that you’re fighting against. Just by connecting with LinkedIn. I connected with someone recently. They had over 500,000 followers and I sent them a connection because I was like, I love this person. I want to be their friend. I want to connect. So I sent them a connection. And they wrote to me and said “hey my connections are full, but just your title alone, that you’re a host of a podcast called Badass Basic Bitch, I’ve literally removed someone so I can add you to be my connection”. And I was like they don’t even know me but now we’re connected.
And guess what? It started a conversation. Where that conversation has become multiple conversations and now we’re thinking of collaborating together on something. It has opened those doors for me and I think with over 4 million Google searches per minute, it is quite possible that someone will eventually Google your company, brand or your own personal brand. And you want to control the narrative of what they find and I think that’s the biggest benefit that this offers.
TaQuanyia: That’s so true. You really spoke on just making sure that you are aligned with your goals and once you are aligned with your goals, networking and creating those opportunities for yourself through the content that you create.
So, thank you so much for sharing. I just always think that it’s so amazing, especially when you are presenting and I know that you have a lot of different spaces that you’re in. You have a considerable amount of followers on Instagram, like you said, as well as your podcast. And you share plenty of interesting ideas and thoughts on LinkedIn. And also you’re on your blog.
Could you tell me more about the importance of connecting with your audience on all of these channels? How does utilizing them together help you present a clearer brand message?
Brianna: Yeah, I think it ensures that your target recognizes you. I want people to go to my LinkedIn, my Instagram, my Spotify, Apple Podcasts, whatever and recognize that it’s the same. It’s the same brand. It’s me. And I think it’s super important to have that consistency. And not saying that it has to be copy and paste material. But you want the feel and your messaging and this is the advice that I give to people who maybe want to be a digital influencer or if they’re selling stuff.
Like, if you’re on Instagram, – and I’ll just use this example because I was actually just talking to someone about this. If you’re on Instagram and you’re showing your mom life and you’re just being this mom and you’re an influencer and you’re just saying like I’m all about the mom life and I’m cookie cutter. We’re gonna do DIYs for kids crafts all day long and that is your Instagram. But then you go to that same handle and you go to your TikTok and it is about partying and drinking and going…
This is a real conversation I just had with someone, it creates a distrust in your followers because they’re super confused about who you are. And you want that repetition. You want that familiarity and you want that trust. At the end of the day, having those similar messages and clear brand messaging just reinforces those key benefits and points of interest.
And it instills a sense of, I can depend that you are going to give me the similar feel and messaging across all of your platforms and I think that’s probably the most important thing and advice that I could give.
TaQuanyia: That’s so impactful. You know, just making sure to be clear, concise on all of the channels will really establish trust and make sure that your brand messaging is coming off very clear to your audience.
You definitely have done an amazing job at that and in your podcast and your social media. And you mentioned this during our conversation, you usually talk about women empowerment and I just think that really is a part of your being and sticks with your personal branding.
Where do you get the inspiration for it?
Brianna: I mean, my mom. How could I not? Actually it’s, this is kind of personal and interesting but, my mom was extremely smart. She was the first woman to graduate from her Engineering College. She was an engineer and she worked on NASA shuttle wings. She worked for Grumman. Very smart, driven woman. She got married and she started having children and she decided to give up her career to be a stay-at-home mom.
That was her choice and she made that choice, and she had five kids. We’re all a year and a half – two years apart and they ended up getting divorced. My dad struggled with substance abuse and she ended up being a single mom of five with no career because, guess what, when you give up your engineering career for several years, you can’t just go back and be an engineer.
Watching her at a very young age of seven go back to school, go back to work and do all the things and still have that career was extremely impactful for me, especially when growing up it wasn’t very common to find a single mom. Most people still stayed married and divorce wasn’t a very common thing and I think in my school at the time she was probably the only one.
I think watching her struggle alone really impacted me to say you know we can’t continue this in our society, where we drag women down or judge them because we don’t know the full story. Instead we have to change our mindset and empower women, empower ourselves versus trying to compete and tear down. It’s all about building up and so I think that’s probably what spawned the most for me and why I wanted to do this alongside my own personal story.
Although some similarities, a very different story than my mother. Those combined just said, this is something that I’m so passionate about that I have to do and now I have a son and two girls and a girl on the way. Now I just feel more strongly that I have to continue this mission to teach them and so when they grow up, they have a similar mindset as well.
TaQuanyia: That’s so impactful and beautiful and thank you so much for sharing that. Personally, just being a mom sometimes we do have to make that decision of whether we want to be full-time mommies which is a full-time job 24-7 or having that career.
I definitely believe that the things that you are doing are impactful to so many different women. Just, you know, changing your mindset is valuable to anyone. So, with that being said, if you could give a tip to anyone who is watching this and they were looking to start creating or they wanted to scale their content production, what would it be?
Brianna: Okay, so there’s several tips. I would say for someone who is looking to start content production. One, don’t start content production at all until you understand your brand story, until you have that sense of who you are or what your company stands for. Literally don’t do anything until you have that story and you have brand guidelines. I don’t care if they’re formal or informal. Write them down. Type them up. It doesn’t matter.
You need some kind of structure to make sure that everything that you’re producing is supporting that story and that guideline. What that means is that you have a mission. You have a vision. You have your core values. You have what your personality is. Are you quirky? Are you serious? Are you technical? Are you funny? What’s your personality and then how do you convey that through your voice?
Then, who are your target personas? Who do you want listening to you or buying from you or visiting you or engaging with you? Then, of course, you can add the logo and the color palette and the image and all of that other stuff. But that’s not needed. But at the very least, you need those brand guidelines because if you’re going to be producing content, especially at scale it needs to tie into one of your foundational pillars that make you up, or that make your company up.
TaQuanyia: That really is impactful. You know the tips that you’re providing because, again you’ve stressed it over and over to really humanize your brand and to really make it relatable to who you are and that again creates that consistency, that clear brand message. While you’ve given us a lot of tips on what somebody should do that is looking to create or start, what about content suggestions? What are the books, podcasts, and anything else that can inspire a career? What do you feel are personal suggestions regarding this?
Brianna: Yeah, I think, I cannot iterate enough, and I say this in my podcast, a lot, is being you shouldn’t be hard, and that means being your company brand shouldn’t be hard either. If you are struggling at being you or having your company represent themselves as who you feel they should be, it should flow easily and you have to understand who you are first as a person, as a company depending on what type of brand you’re building. I go back to that whole concept of understanding your brand strategy and those pillars.
That was a journey that I took when I started my own brand. I sat down and I said “who am I?” because at that time I did not know who I was and that was only three years ago. I asked myself, am I a mom? Am I a business woman? Am I a child of an addict? Am I a single mom and survivor of abuse. Who am I? What is it? How do I want to represent myself to somebody?
I think you have to understand those first before you go and try to get inspired by any kind of book or podcast to help you. Now, with that being said I’m still going to give my personal suggestions on what books and podcasts you can read and listen to because if you’re like, okay, I know who I am. I know what I want to be. I am looking for some inspiration. I think in terms of who you are and confirming that, there is… I am super passionate about the enneagram.
If you have not taken the enneagram, go take it. Figure out what number you are. Learn it because I am so anti-personality tests. I always felt like Myers-Briggs and the color wheel and the whatever strength finders. I’m like, they’re all BS and they’re all like little parts of me but when I cross roads with the enneagram, I kid you not, I cried.
When I read, I went to a seminar because I read it and I was like, oh, this feels, really this feels like I’m connected to this. I went to a seminar thing and I cried at the seminar when the guy was talking about my number and the core values and what we do when we’re in a healthy mindset or in a stress mindset because it was so relatable. I was like “get me out of here.” This is super uncomfortable, so enneagram. There’s a book called The Road Back To You. It’s all about the enneagram and that would be my first place to go.
I think the other two books of understanding yourself and your brand and figuring out what you stand for, and maybe more about you and your history as a person or a company are: What Happened To You, that is by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey and it is an awesome book. And then Boundaries, because boundaries, you can set them for work. You can set them for your personal life. You’re really going to understand your core values and it’s super interesting because you don’t have to just set boundaries for yourself.
You can set company boundaries. If you’re selling a product that has compliance and regulatory, what is your boundary between pushing out a product that might not be fully compliant? I think it’s super important to understand in terms of identifying what your core values are and what you’re willing to bend and not bend on. Other books, The Confidence Code is a good one. Presence is a good one by Amy Cuddy. I think those are probably good starting points.
TaQuanyia: Thank you so much for sharing that feedback. You know we do have, I wanted to just take a moment and say that we have a few questions on that one, I think are relatable during this time. We’ll also save some time at the end of the conversation.
You know, what do you suggest to marketers that are struggling with building brands for their company, especially just given all of the things that you said?
Finding that inspiration, understanding who they are because even if you’re just a person, you know one person trying to build a brand, if you have a company and you’re trying to build a brand, you might struggle with that even more trying to understand who am I? Who is my target audience? What do I want to do? So, what do you suggest to marketers that are struggling with building brands for their companies?
Brianna: Yeah, if you’re running out of content ideas, the best thing that you could do is to do a customer feedback session. Talk to your customers. Something that I recently did was I hosted a happy hour with some of my Badass Basic Bitch listeners and I wanted to know, what do you guys love hearing about? What do you want to hear more about? And I took that feedback to get to know my listeners and hear them say we want more of these topics. Stop talking about x y and z and we want to hear this. I think that’s probably one place.
Now, if you’re like, “I don’t have a lot of customers yet and no one wants to give me feedback”, the other thing you can do is look at what your competitors are doing and what’s working for them. Not saying necessarily steal their exact ideas but it is market research. Go out, look at your competitors, see what’s working for them and maybe you’ll find that short form content videos that are light-hearted go a lot further than what I’m doing so let me do some of these. I think that’s probably the two tangible things that people can do right away.
TaQuanyia: Something else that you mentioned which happens to be another question and it just flows and segments so perfectly.
You mentioned, if you’re running out of content ideas. Well, one of the questions was, was there a moment that you ever ran out of a content idea? What did you do? How did you bring the ideas back?
Brianna: Oh man, no, I mean for me, I have not run out of content ideas. I started my podcast in early 2020, so I’ve just overlapped a year. Personally, no and plus, the topic that I have is pretty broad. I think that the other important thing is: don’t limit yourself. At least on a personal brand. Don’t limit yourself to only a DIY kitchen blog because it’s like, then you can’t leave the kitchen. You only could do those things and, for me, I’m like it’s about women empowerment and that can mean anything.
I’m trying to keep it broad. Now if you’re a marketer and you’re struggling to build brands for companies who actually have a narrow focused topic. That can be a struggle because maybe you’re like, well, my company only sells kitchen tiles and so I can only build content for kitchen tiles.
Guess what? That’s wrong. There’s something called Affinity Marketing and what’s really fascinating is I was working with a furniture rental company. I was building their brand and they were only writing pieces about renting furniture. I’m like okay, why? Who rents your furniture? Military families. Right. They care about furniture rental; they’re constantly moving and they’re constantly needing to rent stuff? What do military wives, because most likely it’s being rented by military wives, because the majority of military folks are men who are married and they’re being deployed. So, the wife is at home, typically, and she is the one that is managing the move and managing the rentals.
What do they care about? We started writing about those topics that had nothing to do with furniture rental. My biggest recommendation for marketers struggling with content ideas is thinking about Affinity Marketing. Who are their customers and what other things do their customers care about? It doesn’t have to absolutely relate to what your product or service is. Because what’s gonna happen is those individuals are gonna search and they’re gonna find your content. They’re gonna like your content and they’re gonna remember your name. When it’s time to rent furniture they’re gonna have that brand awareness of your name.
TaQuanyia: You are definitely giving the super secret sauce to the best Marketing recipe because that is so gold. You have to find other avenues to attract but still make it relatable to you to stay top of mind so that when they’re ready to buy or looking for you or your product and service, you’re the person that they’ll go to.
That’s so impactful and you know, as we’ve talked about a variety of things. Content, the future of content is just forever changing and so what future Content Marketing trends do you see being the most valuable for companies and entrepreneurs alike?
Brianna: 100 percent being authentic. Like period. We want real. We don’t want fake. We don’t want a buttoned up version of what you want to sell. They want vulnerability and there’s, actually I just finished another great book, Culture Code. It was talking about, in 1982, Johnson and Johnson had a huge Tylenol outbreak where someone was tampering with their Tylenol. They were putting cyanide in the tablets of Tylenol. People were taking it and they were dying from this and it was mainly happening in Chicago. Johnson and Johnson got pulled in by the FDA. They said, okay let’s mark it and let’s not freak all of America out. Only pull back what is in Chicago, for example. And Johnson and Johnson could have said, okay, yeah. This is only a Chicago thing and we’re just gonna pull that back but everyone else is okay.
But what they did instead, the main CEO, I think it was, came and said we are gonna pull back a hundred million dollars worth of Tylenol products because we have no proof that this is only in Chicago. We have made a huge mistake. We allowed our bottles to be tampered with. And in the end, they were so vulnerable about the mistakes that they had and they owned it.
And guess what happened? One, their stock crashed to zero dollars first and then two, what happened was as they were messaging this, as they were being authentic and vulnerable and taking responsibility and owning it and showing these people that they care more about their safety than making money or having a product, all of a sudden their stock started going back up and it went all the way back up past to where it was when the incident happened.
And now Johnson and Johnson is a huge company. Tylenol is a huge product and it was all because they shared that vulnerability and they were authentic versus having some kind of appearance that they had it all together. That is what people want today
TaQuanyia: I think that definitely speaks to a lot of the influencers and just anyone who’s really trying to connect with their target audience to, again, be really authentic.
I know earlier we talked about not planning on being an influencer but how do you feel about reaching so many people? You shared this great story, an example of how Johnson and Johnson was vulnerable and how they were able to reach different people outside of Chicago where this incident was happening. How do you feel about reaching so many people because you are vulnerable? You are real. You are authentic. How does that make you feel?
Brianna: I woke up this morning and I went to my buzz sprout statistics and got my one million downloads this morning from Badass Basic Bitch.
TaQuanyia: You go, girl.
Brianna: And I wrote a sentimental post on LinkedIn about just this question.
I started this journey as my own healing and what I realized was it became a community of healing. I have received thousands and thousands of messages about how my voice and the other person’s voice on the other end of whatever interview I’m doing has touched so many people and impacted so many people.
It is just beyond words. I can’t describe how it makes me feel because I’ve always wanted a mentor growing up or someone to tell me how to handle situations or tell me how it was going to be okay. I felt like that always fell short. I never really got that experience and so by providing it to other women it’s an extremely fulfilling thing for me.
Someone asked me, oh you hit a million, how are you gonna celebrate? My response was, quietly. I’m going to celebrate quietly. I’m going to celebrate internally. I’m going to celebrate by looking at where I was a year ago or a year and a half ago or two years ago to where I am now and appreciate every single person who got me here. So it’s pretty awesome knowing that I can reach so many people in a positive way.
TaQuanyia: And that I know speaks to just obviously who you are as a person.
Thank you so much for sharing that. I’m excited because that is huge. I understand you want to celebrate privately but I love to celebrate you out loud. That is amazing.
Because you have reached such massive levels of success. You know we always like to ask what are some of the key factors that you found with your content Marketing and your branding?
Brianna: The key factors that brought me to success?
Brianna: I could say, oh, I’m authentic and I’m vulnerable but at the end of the day if no one is hearing that, it doesn’t matter I think, to be transparent. The success that I had was being strategic with the guests that I brought on. Creating really good content for those guests to share. That they would want to share because if I brought on a guest that had 200,000 followers, a percentage of them would want to hear that. Then they would hear that episode and maybe they would subscribe and stay with me.
I think that there’s some strategy behind utilizing how to get your message and your content shared throughout other influential people whether they’re on TikTok or LinkedIn or whoever. Also having topics that can be kind of edgy that people would want to hear.
One example was that we had a whole entire episode about modern sexuality and that was probably one of the highest performing podcast episodes because people are like I need to really hear this. This could go either way. I think creating engaging fascinating topics that people aren’t talking about or aren’t seeing. That’s probably another one.
Then the last one is really, I don’t do it all by myself and I never say I do. I have a team that helps me, that helps me stay on track, that helps me. Now I interview all of my guests, all my pre-guests. I come up with all my own outlines and everything because that’s super important to me. But when it comes to creating social cards and snippets and getting it on Instagram and TikTok and LinkedIn, you know I have help for that because I can’t do that and do all of the other things that are important. So, I think coming up with a strategy to find resources to outsource is really important as well.
TaQuanyia: That makes sense, and you know, along with that topic, do you have any suggestions on how a brand can maintain a consistent amount of content production?
Because, as you said, you know, you have a small team. They’re able to help you. They’re able to, obviously, help you scale. What in your opinion, would be the best practices to produce a consistent amount of content?
Brianna: Yeah. Every quarter, at the beginning of the quarter, sit down with your team and outline the content that you want to create that quarter. It doesn’t have to be the entire year but I definitely recommend it on a quarterly basis. If you want it to coincide with real world events, whether it’s breast cancer awareness or like eating disorder awareness, or what have you.
It’s figuring out what things are happening on a quarterly basis and what content you want to produce. If you’re shipping out a new service or a new product or there’s a hot topic that’s going to be happening. Like summer, okay, well maybe you want to talk about bathing suits or summer places to travel or traveling COVID tips. Plan it. And then utilizing tools to help oversee the content creation.
There’s so many great tools out there that help you stay on track and stay organized. And then in terms of you’re looking to outsource. You’re like I don’t have money to have a full-time writer. You don’t have to outsource everything but using a platform like Upwork, for example. To go and maybe find your own writer. Maybe they’re writing a blog post for you for fifty dollars a blog post. Just use them to keep up with the content production. If your team can’t handle it or someone misses a deadline, it’s a great alternative to make sure that you’re staying consistent. You just have to have those backup plans as well.
TaQuanyia: That’s, you know, really smart and I think you’ve helped our audience be able to understand how they can take actionable items and really make their reality more fruitful instead of looking at all of the things that they don’t have.
Much like you, your brand, changing your mindset and opening yourself up to the possibilities.
So, thank you so much for sharing and just one final question.
You’ve given us so many different tips and tricks on just Content Marketing branding strategies. What’s one last actionable piece of advice that you can share with your audience to make your content or to make their Content Marketing more successful, right now, today?
So, let’s just say someone sees this and they’re like wow, I am super inspired. I’m ready to go all in. What would you give, what advice would you give that person?
Brianna: Yeah, I think if you stay true to who you are and what your values are, then it will be really easy to keep your audience, grow your audience and engage with your audience. It’s when we start to veer off and we start to think what do they want? What do people want? What will go viral? Is when we start to lose our authentic selves or we stray away from the values.
TaQuanyia: Oh looks like we lost a little bit.
Thank you guys so much for being so patient. Looks like we have a little bit of a technical difficulty for the broadcast.
Are you back with me, Brianna?
Brianna: I am. Mmmhmm.
TaQuanyia: Oh I do apologize. So, it looks like we were having a little bit of a connection issue but that’s technology for you and that always happens.
But I wanted to make sure that the audience did hear because you provided such a thoughtful answer and response to what actionable items you were mentioning, just staying true to yourself and just really making it easy for your audience to connect with you and engage with your audience. And not just looking for the viral moments and the opportunity. Just keeping that authenticity. Is there anything that you wanted to add to that point?
Brianna: Yeah, I think the only other thing I would want to add is it’s cool to go viral. I had a piece of content that went viral and it was like making a concrete table and like that went viral but that has absolutely nothing to do with me or my brand. It’s just me and my husband making a concrete table and it was kind of cool and I posted it and that went viral. But what ended up happening was I got a lot of followers that wanted to see more of that but that’s not who I was.
Brianna: And I think, I would rather have 5,000 dedicated followers who are passionate about what I’m doing than 500,000 and only 1 percent care.
I think that’s the other thing is like don’t always try to catch that viral moment that you’re trying to do. Slow and steady always wins the race.
TaQuanyia: Wow. Thank you so much. That was super helpful and thank you so much just for allowing me to pick your brain today, allowing me to interview you and for you to share your ideas and your background and your story.
It’s truly amazing. Just all of the things that you’ve gone through, all of the things that you are today and still becoming.
I thank you so much and with that you guys, we are going to conclude this Jam Session.
Thank you all for joining us today. Again, we host these Jam Sessions every so often and we want to make sure that we are always providing great content so if there’s any topic in relation to Marketing or any relation to content, we’re always looking for advice and tips and things that you want to see again.
Thank you so much, Brianna, and that’ll conclude our Jam Session for today.
Brianna: Thank you for having me. It’s been fun.
TaQuanyia: Thank you. Take care. Bye.
More about ‘Badass Basic Bitch’
In the Jam Session, it’s very clear that Brianna’s content is all about being personal and meaningful. Her podcast, Badass Basic Bitch, is a success and it has more than 30 thousand followers on Instagram and over 1 million downloads.
What few people know is that it all started as a healing journey for Brianna. She wanted to learn more about herself and find a space to be open and vulnerable.
Being a single mom entrepreneur and also having been raised by a single mom of five who also worked very hard, Brianna felt she had this mission to create a channel to share and hear stories of powerful women out there.
She didn’t want to create content about big business women such as Sheryl Sandberg or Arianna Huffington, who are amazing, yet intimidating, she thought. She wanted a place to honor those extraordinary women who could be your friend or your neighbor, who were intelligent, resourceful and were doing wonderful and innovative things.
That way, she started producing content that was real, original and incredibly relatable, which drew people in.
Covering themes such as divorce, business, entrepreneurship, career, relationships, marriage, health and so much more, in each episode, Brianna brings a special guest, a badass woman such as herself, to help her cover the topics and expand the conversation.
Book ‘What Happened To You’
Coming from a humble family and having dealt with adversities such as substance abuse, healing from trauma and heading a journey to bettering yourself is a huge thing for Brianna.
When asked about her main inspirations, she cites a number of books and strategies related to self-knowledge and mindfulness. One book recommendation that stands out isWhat Happened To You, by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey.
This book provides scientific and emotional insight on how our behaviors and patterns are shaped through our earlier life experiences. It is a powerful tool to help people rethink and understand the roots of certain attitudes and mindsets, reshape responses and relationships and, that way, open a door to healing.
Brianna mentioned the importance of this reading for figuring out who you and your brand are, what is special about your journey and how you can use this knowledge to stand out.
Brianna mentions that there is one impressive strategy that helped her in the past and that can really help marketers who are running out of ideas for content: Affinity Marketing.
Affinity Marketing is a strategy in which businesses that operate in different segments, but share something in common, collaborate or establish partnerships in order to boost each other’s content.
This can happen in many ways and the example Brianna gave was insightful. When striving to create content for a furniture rental company, Brianna thought they could go beyond and offer the public more than just posts about furniture.
She went deeper intp their public to find out that most of their customers were military families, and then she thought of topics that could be interesting for that audience — apart from renting furniture.
This highlights the importance of knowing your audience and learning more about what else interests and moves them. By creating content catered to them, they will keep coming back and remember your brand’s name, which does wonders for brand awareness.