Today, I choose to come home

In the past few weeks, I’ve been googling our main domain and finding that our blog posts have been cited as references: in an article for the Journal for the Society of Financial Service Professionals, in an entry in the National Student Advertising Competition, in a presentation on marketing given in the Netherlands, and of course linked from other blog posts.

Unbeknownst to me on the scale that it was happening, while I was [self-]publishing, I was also being promoted.

Over the past few months, I’ve been largely reconfiguring our marketing and lead gen strategy, aiming more toward content marketing, and hiring writers and developers so I can focus on client relations to grow.

To grow—not just maintain.

As mentioned in the past in this series, that was for a long time the primary goal: maintain, stabilize, be present where you are (and be grateful for every gift you’ve been given).

The investment and planning were proven; the returns have surpassed my wildest expectations:

This past year’s commitment to hiring new talent and adhering to a robust content strategy—social, blog, email newsletters—has led to a 94% increase in our website traffic, dozens of new email signups, and increased leads.

And unexpectedly, I’ve come home.

I won’t retell my career backstory—it’s written about elsewhere on the site, some have lived it along with me—but this particular team has returned me to a past life, when in my mid-20s back in my book publishing days, I managed a rather sizable batch of writers, editors, and production artists.

I had left that life behind me. But those were some of the best and most genuine people I’d known out here in the business world. People I still know today.

Now, I am once again leading a team of accomplished, intelligent, insightful creators, all committed to the quality written word and the themes surrounding it—not creating dumbed-down, viral noise or churning out marketing drivel.

Whether it’s small business strategy or tech tips or non-profit expertise or real-time restaurant marketing ideas, we’re zeroing in on topics that matter while producing quality content.

Have I emphasized quality enough?

And I am proud.

The publishing industry is unforgiving. After 10 years, having joined the industry at 19 because I love books and writing, the tedium had burnt me out. I knew I could keep doing it, that people like me should stay and rise further in the ranks—but I actually couldn’t. It’s taken me another 10 years to accept that managing editor role again.

The high-tech managing editor life, c. 1999, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Sadly, I couldn’t be a career writer. It kills me how writers are underpaid and undervalued. But I can help those who try to live within those constraints. I pray that the writers I hire and collaborate with shine and share and grow as writers should, paid as writers should be, with a little boost from my insight. The mentoring I’ve done since my first days as an editor, training up college kids and guiding older professionals on the ways in which “content” calls itself writing—when I was just out of college myself—taught me valuable lessons in humility, restraint, and form.

I didn’t anticipate that relinquishing that “must do it all” pressure would open a gateway for me as a writer. It would bring me home in another way. By reuniting me with the managing editor I used to be, by reconnecting with writers on a day-to-day basis, by engaging with their words and ideas, I’m writing more than ever personally.

Maybe this time, it wasn’t a choice. Maybe this time, it was the universe hearing the intention I hadn’t yet fully returned to and giving a gentle nudge toward home.

22-year veteran of strategy: brand, business, organizational, communications. Certified in project management and regulatory compliance. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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