The world today can feel like a chaotic place, and in many ways it certainly is. With the current events and the uncertain future of society as we know it, it’s hard to find solace or inspiration in much of the outside world.
But a light shines brightly at the end of the tunnel in the world of content creation, at least according to Laura Bergheim. As a former Senior Program Manager of Content Strategy for Google, Laura has paved the way for other content creators to change the way they reach their audiences, both in her work as an internet innovator and by demonstrating a novel, gentler way of communicating and connecting with colleagues and clients alike.
During her time at Google, Laura developed and managed content for Google AdWords (now called Google Ads) products and other monetized products. . Before joining Google, she led the feature team developing early content at scale for the first search engine, Lycos, and then built one of the first digital content teams for the first digital agency, Resource Interactive. She jokingly refers to those early days as “when dinosaurs roamed the internet.”
Since leaving Google in 2010, she’s graduated to pursuing her own creative ventures and dedicated herself to giving as much back to her fellow humans as possible. She’s currently leading the charge at her company, Wordsmithie, Inc., a content marketing agency now entering its 12th year, that sparks connections for dynamic brands and the audiences they attract. Laura founded the agency on the principle that “it shouldn't be so hard to find good content creators.”
As the founder and CEO of Wordsmithie, Laura directs quality-focused content development and strategy services to her clients, which include top-level names such as Google, Coinbase, and Square. Laura is hard at work, chasing her desire to bring inspiring content to a world she believes is desperate for compassion and a touch of humanity.
In addition to her rapidly-growing work at Wordsmithie, Laura also spends much of her time contributing her talents and passion to projects that bring light to the lives of so many others and make a difference, working closely with organizations like The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
There are so many things that contribute to the chaos and calamity that we see in the world today. But Laura Bergheim knows that a lot can be done in the way we live our lives, even the way we deliver content, that can help others cope with the noise.
Laura explains her theory behind compassionate communication by noting that people, in general, are the most stressed now than they’ve been since World War II. We're dealing with war, economic crisis, political crises, and environmental collapse. All of these things combined are causing an existential dread about our futures.
With this in mind, Laura chooses to approach her clients and their audiences in a way that helps them understand and cope with the world around them. The team at Wordsmithie tries to add a more personal touch to the messages they deliver and does so with empathy for the sensitive issues we’re up against.
In an interview with Pinchforth, we asked Laura for her thoughts on digital platforms (like Google) in advertising, and whether she believes it’s less effective than it once was. Laura suggests that they’re not less effective, but that their impact has become diluted by an array of competing platforms.
These new platforms offer a lot of competition and reach people in more places than ever. Augmented reality (AR), for example, provides an intimate experience that traditional advertising simply cannot compete with.
Advertising within certain audio spaces has also taken off. Radio and podcast channels provide a more personalized ad experience because users can select their channels based on their interests. Whether a podcast focuses on health, economics, film, or history, Laura highlights the deeply personal touch this media outlet provides to both consumers and advertisers. Listeners also tend to feel a personal relationship with the hosts of these programs, establishing a relationship and feeling of trust that is critical to successful marketing.
All of that aside, Laura notes, search engine marketing (SEM) remains a leading player; Google’s technology and increasingly AI-driven offering are stronger than ever, and a global advertiser base (including millions of small businesses) continues to benefit from Google’s expansive reach.
We asked Laura what advice she might give to fellow content creators. She recommends never being afraid to take a risk – because you never know where a single move in your career might take you. Laura backs the old saying that if something frightens you a little, it’s probably worth doing.
But don’t try to do it all at once, or all alone. Laura reflects on how, as a young writer, she tried to take on the world. After it eventually took a physical toll on her, she realized the value of taking life in stride. To learn from the bad things, celebrate the good. And don’t beat yourself up for not finishing everything on your to-do list. Do what you can, take a break, and come back to it tomorrow (ideally, with a talented team to back you up).
Recognizing and supporting mental wellness is very important to Laura, and she feels it’s one of the critical things to focus on as a leader. Today, the success of a business depends more on its sustainability than its profitability. Giving employees and coworkers (as well as clients) time to process what they’re going through creates a more compassionate and resilient environment in which people can thrive, even during high-stress times.
In Laura’s opinion, the most important thing we can do as content creators, writers, marketers, and entrepreneurs is to be more compassionate in everything that we do. Be kind in your communications and touch peoples’ hearts, not just their wallets. Recognize how damaged humanity is; you can’t just sell to people, you have to relate to them.
Laura’s approach to a complicated world isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution so much as it is a guiding light to finding balance in a world that is undergoing a great deal of change. The challenges we’re facing aren’t going away, so we need to figure out how to handle them together as workers, leaders, and human beings.
Every day, Laura strives to bring the world a more meaningful and compassionate form of communication. She hopes this approach will help her clients and their audiences make sense of the world as they grow, learn and become catalysts for meaningful change.
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