Book Bridget to Speak at Your Conference


Book Bridget Photo of Bridget Willard Photo of Bridget Willard




Teaching comes naturally to me. You can frequently find me at a WordCamp showing my friends how to use Twitter in the hallway track. When I can see that someone really gets it, my world is elevated and I feel complete. Some of the talks are on WordPress.tv here.

Keynote – Community: Observe, Include, Accept

In any industry, you have peers. In WordPress, you have community. So what does community mean? Why is it important to be part of a community? How do you become part of the community when you’re new? And how can we have mentorship from the seasoned community members?

In this talk, I discussed how we can include others. How new people can observe. How active members can include. And how we can have a truly diverse and and accepting culture – not just an inclusive label.

Relationship Marketing on Twitter: Your Clients are Your Community

In the WordPress Community, we talk about community frequently. We know how to build community with WordPress, but what about with our own clients?

Retaining clients and parting ways with clients requires grace. This type of relationship maintenance is an important thing to learn for introverts and applies to new businesses to veterans. It’s an art and a science — soft skills for the win!

In this talk, I discuss how I went from an employee to a business owner — with half of the clients I need in the first four months — because of soft skills. We’ll talk about relationship building tips for organic and sustainable growth — online and off.

You can’t charge for value if you don’t understand your cost.

In the WordPress Community, we talk about value – quite a lot. And that’s awesome. We should charge for our value. The problem comes when we don’t understand our cost – both in financial, physical, and branding terms.

Having spent over ten years in construction accounting, “job costing” is in my vocabulary and the front of my mind. But as a marketer, I also understand that WordPress has a branding problem. In order to elevate our personal brands and the brand of WordPress, it’s important that we go beyond value and take a look at cost.

In this talk, I’ll discuss job costing, sample time tracking, and just how to reverse engineer your pricing to not only meet your expenses, but live the life you want.

Social Media 101

The marketing challenge for a lot of businesses is being noticed. So, the natural solution is building a great website. We want you to see the holistic value of having a website. Once you have a great website for your business, or a client’s business, your work has just begun.

We do business with people we know, like, and trust. If you’re not using the internet to foster and develop relationships with people, your business will not be successful.

  • Setting up Yoast SEO and the Facebook Debugger Tool are two of the best tools to check how your site looks when shared on social media.
  • You should have a 1200 x 628 featured image for every page and post.
  • You should have a 155 character meta description for every post.
A Marketer’s Guide to Developing Empathy (for Developers)

As a marketer (or business person), it’s important to understand your audience. In my journey from math teacher turned secretary in construction to marketer in WordPress, I’ve taken some of the same lifelong learning principles I have as a teacher and apply them to myself.

Understanding your team means understanding their language. I went from not understanding what documentation was, to testing plugins and writing about them, to marketing a well-known WordPress plugin, to being a team rep for the Marketing Team for Make WordPress. The key to this transition has been empathy and constructive communication with my developer friends.

In this talk, I’ll discuss my WordPress immersion program. This includes why I started attending developer talks at WordCamps, attending our Dev meetup every other month, and how that’s encouraged my own journey on freecodecamp.org.

Keynote – You can’t have a thriving codebase without a thriving community.

I was honored to be the keynote at WordCamp Raleigh where I gave actionable tips to help us all be mindful of our entire health: physical, emotional, and financial.

What does code have to do with community?

Free and Open Source Software depends upon the community who builds, creates, maintains, supports, translates, and markets it. That means any Open Source project depends upon a volunteer-based workforce.

We all recognize that our livelihoods are somewhat attributed to the ability to use Free and Open Source Software — like WordPress — so we volunteer, contribute, to give back.

It’s real.

We’ve addressed it before in many ways. So let’s talk about how what a thriving community looks like.

What is a thriving community?
A thriving community realizes they can ebb and flow in and out of a project. They can contribute for months or years, take a break, maybe even mentor others, and come back — or not.
  • A thriving community recruits volunteers based upon inclusion, not guilt.
  • A thriving community isn’t burnt out or bitter.
  • A thriving community is healthy — physically, emotionally, and financially.
A Word About Perfection
I spent 14 years in construction accounting and my job demanded perfection. I spent hours looking for a penny if my bank reconcilation was off. Job costing had to be accurate. Contracts had to be perfect. I get it.

The problem with perfectionism is when we take a marketable skill from our career and apply it to our personal lives.

Progress is better than perfection. Done is better than perfect. Something is better than nothing.

Let’s Talk about Whole Health
Health comes in many forms: physical, emotional, and financial. And there are quite a few overlaps in these three distint areas, too.

It’s fine to talk about the abstract. In the conceptual, we all agree we should be physically, emotionally, and financially healthy. But are we?

And do we stop from iterating in our personal lives because we haven’t created the perfect meal or exercise plan, because we haven’t felt emotionally ready or because we have financial goals that haven’t been met? Maybe. But let’s take some actionable steps toward progress.

The -er approach
Better. Faster. Thinner. Healthier. Happier. They all end in -er. This suffix communicates progress — not completion.

I’m going to talk about some of the things I’ve done in my life to be -er.

Keynote – Building Community – One Conversation at a Time

In the WordPress Community, we’ve heard the word Community thrown around quite a bit. But what does it really mean? How do you build a community? Who is relevant? How do you spend your time in a way that brings a return? What is a return?

Communicating with people in person and online and building relationships is the key to personal brand awareness and more. At this talk, I’ll reveal all of my relationship building tips and tricks both in person and on Twitter.

Women in WordPress Panel

A frank and honest discussion with women who have been involved for different amounts of time in WordPress – ranging from development to designer to marketer.

Building Your Business Online with Twitter

WordPress-based businesses need customers the same way brick and mortar businesses do. But what are the pain points of your customers? Are your audience personas accurate? How do you build relationships in a digital world? My answer: Twitter.

Twitter serves several marketing purposes including brand awareness, customer service, public relations, networking, and, of course, sales. Our customers are tweeting and they’re telling us about themselves daily. They give us valuable insights that can’t be found elsewhere. These insights help us shape personas into more accurate reflections which influences our content marketing tactics.

I’m often asked how I’ve used Twitter to help with our own marketing goals for Give. It’s not a theory; I did the work. In July of 2015, I was hired to manage and grow the @GiveWP handle with 165 followers. In two months, I had built it organically to 1,000. As of May 13, 2017 we have 4,700 followers. Our following base was built organically; we didn’t buy followers.

What’s our strategy? Our overarching goal is to build community, trust, and be informative to nonprofits. Using relationship marketing, we focus our efforts in our primary demographics and spend time being helpful. We treat them as friends — because they are.

In this talk I will focus on how to use Twitter Lists as a way to efficiently use time, focusing on your audience personas, listening, and, of course, building relationships. I’ll also include Google Analytics data to back up the ever asked ROI to build your WordPress-based business.

Meetups: Why is it important to invest in the WordPress Community?

The WordPress industry is dominated by freelancers, remote workers and a distributed workforce. Though the Community as a whole is strong, the day to day reality for many is isolation.

Sure, there’s Twitter, Slack, and the lot. But seeing people’s faces and hearing their voices is the way humans connect. This is why Face to Face Communication is such an important part of human connection. And you can’t have a community without connection.

It’s easy to take meetups for granted or to believe that their only value is in the exchange of information. However, the value of in-person meetups cannot be understated. Meetups are a great defence against isolation. They inspire, create relationships, and are a great place to learn. Yet, not everyone lives close enough to attend a WordPress meetup.

In Orange County, for example, we have several meetups to choose from which have become mini communities in and of themselves. By building relationships, there is a cohesive bond is formed. We generally call this friendship.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” CS Lewis http://bit.ly/29gj31W

Knowing that you’re not alone is the first step in friendship. The exchange of ideas – theme suggestions, the best form plugins, and CSS tricks – all help the meetup attendee with her work, but even more, the discussion is a platform upon which friendships are built. And friendships are the undergirding, supportive structure of any thriving community – like a coral reef.

Keynote – My Road to WordPress

At WordCamp Cincinnati, October 15, 2016, I talked about how I changed careers and industries from an office manager at a commercial general contractor to a marketing manager at a plugin development shop — at 42 years old.

Book Bridget

Crafting an Effective Bio for Your Website and Social Profiles

WordCamp US
November 1, 2019

We have a tendency to write our online biographies as if they are resumes. Even worse is when we write them full of inside jokes or self-deprecating humor.

We do business with people we know, like, and trust. Your online bios need to show your human side. Are you into golf? Let’s talk about it. Do you have children, design tattoos, or grow watermelons? Let’s talk about your PHP skills in your case studies and leave the resumes for LinkedIn.

In this workshop, we rewrote our bios. I’ll helped attendees with the formula I came up with for over 40 speaker bios I’ve written for WordCamp speakers. The goal was to leave this workshop with a finished product you can apply to your sites immediately.

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Developer Marketing Tips From the Car Industry

WordCamp Dallas Fort Worth
October 20, 2019

Have you seen the concept sketches for the new Volkswagen ID.Buzz? They’ve been marketing this concept car and evolving it since 2001. This isn’t new in the automobile industry. The concepts are always marketed years before they go into production.

And, yet, in the WordPress product space, we tend to build something, see if it is viable, and then throw a few dollars at marketing. And we’re left wondering why there are so many abandoned products and plugins.

Instead, my suggestion is to start a GitHub repo (or Trello Board) for your marketing so what while you are building your next SaaS Product or WordPress plugin, you will simultaneously be working on brand.

Backward Compatibility is Good for WordPress, not Mental Health

Imposter syndrome combined with isolation is a concern in our increasingly growing industry, particularly for those working remotely. How do we address imposter syndrome without looking our internal programming or self talk?

Through talking with developers over the years, I believe many of us came to tech because of our backgrounds. Namely, computers are something we can control. More than half of the people I know in technology have dysfunctional backgrounds.

Teaching emotional coping skills with something developers understand (logical code) can produce powerful breakthroughs. Though I am not a licensed therapist, I do care about our developers, our community, and specifically, my friends.

In this talk, related how I’ve dealt with mental health through my journey and the insight into how destructive our self-talk is. It affects the jobs we go after, the work we do, and how we relate with each other. Instead of keeping old self-talk and growing around it, we need to make “breaking changes” in the way we talk about ourselves.