[01:05] Amy’s San Fransisco Connection
[05:32] Family Life
[07:25] How Amy’s Grandma Smuggled Whiskey Once
[08:41] College Years & First Job
[11:05] Moving From Fashion to Marketing
[13:50] Amy’s Perspective on Life
[17:58] Life of a Content Strategist
[20:00] What NOT to Do With Content
[23:50] PR + Content Marketing
[28:30] Amy’s Favorite Software
[35:05] Advice to Her 20-Year-Old Self
[39:43] When Amy Sold Girl Scout Cookies
[42:50] Passion For Trekking
[47:13] Which Famous People Would Amy Invite For Dinner?
[48:46] Where to Get In Touch With Amy
Whether you’re creating content or working on PR, the end goal goals for both of them are similar. Ultimately, you want to make your brand more visible and communicate what values you stand for.
Despite having the same goals, marketers often pick one strategy over the other. In other words, they are seen as mutually exclusive. There is no doubt that PR and content marketing have their own individual benefits. But the fields have now begun to merge together.
Image via Annenberg.usc.edu
Almost 50% of PR professionals included in a study predicted that public relations is set to become more aligned with marketing over the next five years. When marketers were asked the same question, 57% of them also agreed.
If done correctly, an integrated approach towards PR and content marketing can yield better results than they do independently.
Let’s take a look at why you need to combine your PR and content marketing strategies:
Why You Should Combine Your PR and Content Marketing
In the world of marketing, PR has been around longer. It encompasses strategies that can yield better, speedier results. On the other hand, content marketing takes a long-term approach.
Now, let’s look at a broader perspective. For those who want to grow their businesses, brand building and engagement are crucial. Both of these factors require that you work consistently for a long time.
PR can get you the attention your brand needs. But how do you ensure you can hold your audience’s attention? By combining content with PR.
Here are the reasons why you should follow an integrated approach:
1. Your Content Can Boost Your PR
If you’ve got your own blog, you’ve created a space where you can discuss the latest trends. Imagine something exciting happens in your industry or niche. You write a blog post for your audience and publish it.
When other publishers are curating or writing content, they may take note of your published work. They may share it with others, or even give you credit in their articles. If you’re lucky, you might even get a message asking for a quote.
Through content marketing, you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche. This, in turn, can help you get more press.
2. PR Can Give More Credibility to Your Content
PR is all about creating buzz around your brand. It gives you validation and credibility. Even if your content is doing exceptionally well on your blog, it still counts as self-promotion. If someone else writes about how great your brand is, that’s what makes your brand stronger.
If influencers and other leaders in your niche are all praises for you, you’re going to get a boost in your brand’s reputation. This kind of PR can do wonders for your content.
3. PR Can Open Avenues for New Content
Content marketers frown upon content that blatantly promotes your brand. To get their audiences hooked on, content marketers focus on delivering informational content.
It’s a great way to engage your audience and promote your services or products without seeming annoying.
What if you are creating great content but it isn’t reaching the right audience?
That’s where PR can help you. PR is all about promotion. If you can get PR placements and brand mentions in the right places, it can introduce you to other consumers.
If you can build on these brand relationships, you can work together to create content. You can also experiment with content campaigns that align with your brand and audience.
Things to Keep in Mind to Align Content Marketing and PR
Now that you know the benefits of combining PR and content marketing, let’s dig deeper.
If you want to get the best of both worlds, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Focus on Providing Value to Your Readers
When you’re ideating your content, always think about how it will give value to the reader. If you want to grab people’s attention, you should focus on producing content that educates them.
You may want to promote your products, but you should avoid overly sales-y content. There is nothing more off-putting than content that is click-baity or overly promotional.
Instead, make sure the aim of your content is to impart knowledge to your readers. You can also look for content ideas that are shareworthy or entertaining.
Simply publishing content and reaching out to journalists or publications won’t do you any good. You have a better chance of getting a positive response if you provide high-quality content.
2. Use the Right Tools and Software
Content creation is only half the battle. The way you distribute your content will decide how much traction you will get. From managing posting schedules to reaching out to other brands, you’ll have to take care of it all.
To make these things easier, you can use tools and software. Here are some tools and platforms that can help you with content marketing and PR:
Image via HubSpot
- SEMrush: Using this SEO tool, you can do keyword research, and run SEO audits. You can find new backlink opportunities and get insights into your competitors’ strategies.
- HubSpot: This inbound marketing tool can help with customer relationship management and sales. Using this tool, you can create high-quality content, target the right audience, and can effectively manage your contact lists. Additionally, you can also distribute and track your email campaigns.
- Google Analytics: You can use Google Analytics to understand if your content marketing strategy is working well. Reports from this tool can help you figure out your pain points.
- Moz: This SEO tool is for inbound marketing and link building.
- Sprout Social: This tool can help you monitor and manage all of your social media accounts.
Apart from the tools mentioned above, there are tons of other tools that you can use. Using these tools can improve your efficiency and improve your productivity.
PR and content marketing are beginning to merge. To keep up with the pace of the industry, I would suggest that you take an integrated approach for PR and content marketing. If done correctly, a combined approach can help you get the best of both worlds.
If you need help with content marketing and PR, please feel free to reach out to me to chat.
Shane Barker: Welcome to the podcast. I am Shane Barker, your host of Shane Barkers Marketing Madness Podcast. Today we'll be discussing how PR and content work together. My guest, Amy Higgins, is director of Content Marketing at Sojern, a media company specialized in Data-Driven Travel Marketing. She's also a member of the Red Curtain Addict and a judging content marketing awards presented by Content Marketing Institute. Listen as she talks about the changing world of PR and content marketing. Stay tuned till the end to find out how she finds these strategies effortlessly. Just to kind of get a foundation of views and individual and that kind of stuff. So, where did you grow up? Where are you currently? How about that? Let's start there.
Amy Higgins: Okay, Simon San Francisco, currently. I've been here not to date myself, over a couple of decades.
Shane Barker: Couple, when did you move in here, when you were like four or something?
Amy Higgins: Exactly. Yeah.
Shane Barker: Very young, you were a mover and a shaker at an early age. So, I didn't know you're in San Francisco. I’m in Sacramento.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. [cross talk- 01:09] we’re close
Shane Barker: I know. I'm like, I could… I just want to look out my window because maybe I could see you. My brother lives in San Francisco, not that you would know him because I know San Francisco is a huge city.
Amy Higgins: It's small at the same time.
Shane Barker: Yeah, that's true. When it comes to, I guess, content in the world of marketing. So, you lived there a few decades?
Amy Higgins: Yeah, a few decades. Seeing the.com boom, bust, boom again.
Shane Barker: Man.
Amy Higgins: Wait for the bust.
Shane Barker: That's it. Just to up and down, up and down, up and down or you've been a part of it. You're like on the roller coaster and just probably riding a little straighter, but.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. Well I wasn't a part of the first.com boom or bust, but I saw everything of it.
Shane Barker: You did, you saw the aftermath and you thought, you know what? I want to be a part of that. I want to be there for the next one, right?
Amy Higgins: I want to be there when it all burns down.
Shane Barker: That’s it, I want to be the one with the match or at least somewhere close. I mean that's from a pyro perspective. I've, I'm just trying to think of everybody. So, [Cool- 01:58], did you grow up in San Francisco? No.
Amy Higgins: No, I grew up in Galveston, Texas.
Shane Barker: Galveston, okay. There goes a fun fact. Well, the fun fact is, I don't know when this podcast is going to come out. So, I'm going to sell you something, and this could happen a month later, but I'm actually going to Austin and one week now. I've never been to Austin.
Amy Higgins: Oh, you would like Austin.
Shane Barker: No, that's...
Amy Higgins: I love Austin.
Shane Barker: So, this is the thing. I don't know why. I'm a big food music, let's hang out, let's have some fun person and there seems to be this thing of people that I've talked to. There was this common line of people that were from Austin and they're like, “oh my God, you've ever been to Austin?” And I got so tired of telling people that. I've never been to Austin, but I literally planned a trip to Austin just so I can tell people from Austin, that I've been to Austin.
Amy Higgins: There you go.
Shane Barker: I'm all about potential problems and solutions, sister. I mean, I go on.
Amy Higgins: Yeah,
Shane Barker: I'm like, I'm just going to plan this trip.
Amy Higgins: Yeah, I can’t say no.
Shane Barker: Yeah, well, I'm terrible at that too. I feel like you do know me. Yeah, so I'm literally going to Austin. I couldn't be happier. Of course, I've got some big commerce and I got some other clients that I'm meeting with but the exciting part about it is, I don't know. There is so many groups of people that I know that I didn’t realize were on the Austin area until I started looking up and I was like, “oh my gosh, I'm probably going be there four days and it's not enough time to shake enough hands and kissing a baby.” So, I don’t know but I'm really excited about it. Like, anyways, I'm kind of pumped. So, shout out to Texas and everybody in Texas.
Amy Higgins: Well, Austin is its own unique island away from the rest of Texas.
Shane Barker: That's what I heard.
Amy Higgins: From a world perspective.
Shane Barker: Yeah. I heard that it's kind of like the, I heard this, have you ever been to Asheville, North Carolina? I don't know why I'm bringing this up.
Amy Higgins: No.
Shane Barker: They call it like the San Francisco, the East Coast, and I don't know why I would think of Austin not as a San Francisco because that would be very different landscape.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: I guess that there's fun cities that I haven't gone to. It bothers me. Like I feel like I need to go and I need to go there and figure out why it's fun.
Amy Higgins: Yeah, me too.
Shane Barker: I'm going to go do my research. That's why I ended up in San Francisco. How did that all happen? Like how did you end up in San Francisco?
Amy Higgins: So, I moved in with my sister in high school; step-sister.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: Met with her in junior year of high school. We lived here for six months and then we lived in the L.A. area for six months and then she was like, “you know what? I can't have a teenager in my house anymore. Go back home, go back to mom and dad.” So, I went back home, graduated and instead of looking at the college I wanted to go to, I looked at the city. Like, let me get back to San Francisco. What college do I want to go to?
Shane Barker: That's awesome.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: So, based around the city, I mean that's not a bad idea. My son actually based his college around Youtube videos of girls gone wild on which college you wanted to go do.
Amy Higgins: Oh, he didn't.
Shane Barker: I'm telling you this isn’t the content, but this is some juicy information. I lit up on my [cross talk 04:33]. Yes, it's super juicy. My son came to me and was like, “either I want to go to Chico state,” which if you know, Chico state was from Sierra Nevada. I used to own a bar in Chico, hold another conversation, or he wanted to go to ASU, Arizona State University.
Amy Higgins: Okay.
Shane Barker: So, I feel like he just was like, what are the top 10 to party schools there within 500-mile radius and then there's probably other ones. There is San Diego and some other ones but I feel like those were the two options that he brought to the table for me. Interesting but so I think he picked his major not do because he wanted to be business or he's like this is great. I would ask, “what's the program like?” And he's like, “I mean they're, they're good.” I'm like, “that's not a solid answer. I don't think good is, you wouldn’t say it looks just as good, like it's good or not good or great. Those are the three different options.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: Anyway, so I might, he is at Chico State right now and he’s actually is coming home. So, I'm excited about that but anyway. Those side notes, little side notes about you can pick your college gone wild or whatever and that's awesome. You pick the city and then you said now, what can I base it around the city I want to live and there's nothing wrong with that.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: So, how big was your family growing up, like in Texas?
Amy Higgins: My Dad's born of eight.
Shane Barker: Wow.
Amy Higgins: So, Irish Catholic family.
Shane Barker: Hello.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. So, I think I have 32 or 35, I have no idea. First cousins on his side.
Shane Barker: Good Lord.
Amy Higgins: And then my mom was born of three and I have three cousins on that side.
Shane Barker: Isn't that funny? It's like one side's like three and the other one's like 500.
Amy Higgins: Yeah, exactly.
Shane Barker: The Irish cab, that makes sense. So, it's funny, I'm Irish, my wife's Italian, but we don't have like thousands of kids that we know about or like all these relatives. We've got a good amount, but nothing like that. You guys were, they were putting in work?
Amy Higgins: Yeah,
Shane Barker: Definitely, the population thing increased because of them. So, tell us an interesting fact about your family. Like something growing up that we wouldn’t know, obviously has nothing to do with content, but I'm just kind of intrigued by your Texas upbringings.
Amy Higgins: So, my grandmother on my dad's side, and I recently found this out, like within the past couple of years. She came over with my grandfather from Ireland. I don't think any of the kids were born yet and then she went back home. Granddad was like, “go home, see if this is what you really want to do. If you want to go back home, great, I'll come back over” and you know, go home back then wasn't like, “oh I'll just hop on a plane.”
Shane Barker: Yeah. You weren't taking [Bert- 06:38]
Amy Higgins: Yeah. It's a two-week rough boat ride.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: She went home. I think she was there maybe three months and she said “nope.” She came back, she was seven or eight months pregnant and she's like, “nope. Coming back to live here, this is it.” But the funniest thing, wasn't that she came back pregnant, was that she smuggled in whiskey in her petticoats.
Shane Barker: See that's…God is your grandma, is she's still around?
Amy Higgins: No.
Shane Barker: Oh God. I wouldn't want to meet her because that's my kind of woman. I mean not that we wouldn't do anything because I'm happily married, but that's awesome. So, she was bringing back the whiskey.
Amy Higgins: Yeah, she brought back the whiskey. So, Galveston set up like an historical, they have their own historical society and they set up an immigration port historical place. And my mother and my brother were walking through it. And my mom's like, “hey, that's your father's family. And it's stated on there, Ms. Higgins or O’Higgins at the time, brought in, smuggled in whiskey.
Shane Barker: Was that her mafia name? O’Higgins or is that her?
Amy Higgins: No, that's the Irish name. My grandfather brought the ‘O.’
Shane Barker: Got you. Just so then people wouldn't know you're Irish. They were like, hey, take out the ‘O’ and nobody will know. So, this is what's funny. So, my wife's family, once again has nothing to do with content, but that's what we're going to deviate. My wife's family came over as [Pattalucci-07:53] and then they didn't want it to be [Pattalucci -07:55] because they were like, “hey, we want to be American.” I'm assuming this great. And so, they made it Pattlock and they're like the only Pattlocks in the world because there's like Pattlock, like it's P-A-T-T-A-L-O-C-K. So anyways, they're the only Pattlocks in the world even though their last name is [Pattalucci-08:08]. So, it's interesting that when Ellis Island and whoever it came through and how they kind of change things a little bit.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: And now, I like the [ ‘O’- 08:15], not that I would rather have, but I think it's cool because you're like, ‘O’, it's like, oh that's awesome.
Amy Higgins: O’Higgins is here.
Shane Barker: O’ Higgins.
Amy Higgins: O’Higgins.
Shane Barker: I just didn't know that it was their mob name and I didn't know that she was bringing over whiskey and stuff. Any guns or anything like that? Drugs or just all.
Amy Higgins: No, not that I know of, but who knows with my family.
Shane Barker: They might pop up. I mean never in, you're going to be at a thing, you're like, oh most of the cocaine came in and you're like, “oh my God, O’ Higgins, there she is again.” Just kidding about the cocaine thing.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. Yeah.
Shane Barker: Okay. So, when you went to San Francisco, so what college after you went back San Francisco, did you end up attending college in San Francisco?
Amy Higgins: Yeah. So, I went to FIDM, which is Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: I went there for one year and then got a job at the Opera. And so, took a leave of absence. So, when I was here as a junior, I interned at the Opera in the costume shop.
Shane Barker: Yeah but in high school, right? Junior high.
Amy Higgins: In high school. Yeah, in high school.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: And then when I came back, you know, this is really dawn of email. No one really has email addresses. No smart phones, no text. I think we had pagers. I would snail mail the costume shop director of, “hey, I really enjoyed my time with you a couple of years ago. I would love the opportunity to work there.” And I would just mail her letters after letters. And so finally she called me up and she's like, “look, we're middle of the season, come in, we'll do your interview. Just stop mailing me.”
Shane Barker: So, was that before or after they filed the restraining order? Was that or did they already have that in place or was that...?
Amy Higgins: I don't know if they ever put it in place. I think or there was always the threat where they kind of dangled it out in front.
Shane Barker: I like it. You're like listen, “I'm, you're going to hire me I promise you.”
Amy Higgins: You’re going to hire me whether you like it or not.
Shane Barker: You will, because I'll the stamps, I can do this all-day lady. I can send you letters all day. I think that's awesome though. So, it's perseverance and it shows… I actually, I have a few friends and I've actually done that myself. Where it's like I'm just going to keep hitting you up and tell you. I mean because I think if I was an employer that also looks at somebody that's really serious, right? Obviously, I'm serious because I'm like stocking you and write you letters, right?
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: For all the people that don't know what letters are, I'll explain that. We'll put something in the bio on the bottom, what a letter is and how you write it and stuff like that. Because it’s kind of an old art form that we don't use anymore.
So that was like, what do you mean? I would just send them a text message. I would, what's app them. What does she mean writing a letter? It's an old form of like calligraphy and stuff but we'll explain that later in the podcast. So, how did you go from the fashion industry, which obviously is the San Francisco is, I've always been jealous of like, like my brother's style in San Francisco, even though it's very simple, but like you can tell people who live in San Francisco because they just always have a little bit more swagger I guess.
In Sacramento, it's a little more conserved, maybe a little bit more conservative. But I just, I always, you know the same thing with people in Europe and you see me like, “oh that guy is from Europe.” Like you know, or oh that girl is from Europe. That's like, has that little distinct thing. So, what caused you to go into the fashion industry and then switch gears and go into marketing and communications?
Amy Higgins: So, fashion was always a hobby of mine. So, I've been sewing since I was 12. Always made my own costumes in Theater, Drama, also in Science Club. And so originally, I was going to go into Biology and then when I lived with my sister, she's like, “you know, you really liked this and you're really good at it, you should do it.” And so that turned me from Science to Art. And then when I was in school, I was doing fashion and then realized that everybody in fashion, it could be a little hard to deal with. It's a hard industry.
Shane Barker: Who knew?
Amy Higgins: Surprise. So, I switched to Textiles and Textile is really cool because it's mathematical, but it's also design. And then I switched to a focus on interior design. So, textiles fit for interiors. So, that's what I finished with but unfortunately, right when I graduated school, I became really sick. And so, I was bedridden for about three years. Disabled for a good, 10 probably and I was working at a motorcycle shop. So, I had another career of mine.
I worked in the motor sports industry for about 10 years and I did everything except to get my hands dirty. So, I managed the shop, I did shipping and receiving. I did all the work orders, mechanic orders, parts, accessories, set up the display, merchandising, purchasing, receiving, like everything, sell bikes, everything except being a mechanic. And one day it hit me, I was like, “I have a degree in BFA and I'm working in retail and I can't do this anymore."
So, I started researching jobs, what would be the career path? And there's only like three or four career paths really. So, I searched those, see if I wanted to do it and then I kind of had a come to Jesus moment. I was like, what are I really like to do? What of what I'm doing now do I enjoy? And it came down to marketing. And so, I actually went to night school at Berkeley for about two years to get my certification in marketing.
Shane Barker: This is what I love about podcasts because you get these stories. It's funny how you just glaze over. You're like, I was sick for three years or a bid written for three years in sick for 10 years. So anyways, and then I'm running a store. I'm a pretty much, I'm the cleaner, the thing is you're like, I'm more mechanically inclined than Shane will ever be is really what I heard. Which is solely true because you probably could fix a bike and I'd be like, listen, I don't, I'm going to have to go talk to Amy O'Higgins to go in and help me with this bike. That's awesome.
So how did that like, God I don't know. I want to hardly talk about being sick, not talk about that but I mean in the sense of like getting through all that. To me that's like, and once again we don't have to go heavy into what's going on but I think that's, what did it take to get through that? I know once again, it's nothing to do with content, but I'm intrigued by that of like, because you seem like a very strong individual.
What I mean by that, is like you seem like I'm going to go be in charge of a motorcycle shop, which you probably didn't have tons of experience with that, but you're like, no, I'm not taking no for an answer and I'm just going to go do it. Not that attitude.
So, like tell me a little bit about how hard was it to there's, I mean I guess I'm trying to pick out the mindset of you because you see I'm going to just go do it. I'm just going to go to Berkeley and go do this or I'm going to go do this. You just seem, junior year I'm just going to go out to California, it's no big deal, like it's a Tuesday.
Amy Higgins: I'm kind of an Uber perfectionist. Like I would be the one in school that would get a 99 and go to the teacher and be like, where did this one point come from? But I was the kid that other kids hated.
Shane Barker: You’re messing up the curve.
Amy Higgins: I know. I totally messed up the curve.
Shane Barker: The curve would always mess me up. My lady is like, “no, I want to get 104.” I'm like, “no you don't. 99 is already messing up my 76 alright.” I don’t need you to go in. Okay. I still love you, but go ahead. Keep going.
Amy Higgins: Okay, so then I think when you're sick, and I've seen the same things with friends of mine who have cancer or any sort of debilitating disease or life expectancy disease, it changes your mindset because you don't have a choice. And when you have the flu, you're like, “okay, I'm going to take a couple of Nyquil, go to sleep tonight. Take a couple of Dayquil tomorrow, go to work, suffer through, keep going.”
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: But when you have an illness for so long, you don't have a choice. You have to keep going. You know it's do or die situation.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: And so, I think on the days that I feel good and the years that I feel good, I'm just full steam ahead.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: Like, ‘Yeah, here it is. I can do this.’ But on the flip side it also kind of test your limits because you're like, “oh, if I go to a 10 could I possibly go to an 11?” And then you might go to 11 but it sets you all the way back down to two and you're like, that was the wrong move.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: Well, I love your perspective on that because I think life's all about perspective. You can look at things, and I hate to say half empty, half full, but I think that's important when it comes to perspective and how people live their lives. And I think for you, you look at him, not me, she has ups and downs days as I think everybody does. But I think it's interesting. I love that your perspective is like, you really seem to really, really appreciate life. And I think there's something to learn there from anybody.
It's just, life is not to be cliché it’s like, half empty, half full in a glass. And I think I get, so I'll give you one thing. This has nothing to do with content, but I had a situation, this happened as about almost a year ago, maybe nine months ago now. I was doing CrossFit and I hurt my back. I went to a chiropractor, hurt my back even more and I'm going to the emergency room and now my right leg is 100% numb, right.
Amy Higgins: Yeah, you pinched a nerve.
Shane Barker: Yeah, you can definitely pinch a nerve for sure. And so, we didn't know whether it was a nerve or whether it was the shot pulp fiction style that the nurse gave me in the emergency room. Like no joke. Like yeah, it's a whole note and my mom's a nurse and my wife, a nurse, they were both there.
So... the only reason I'm telling you this story is because it's very interesting for me when I think about mobility. But I think just life in general about, I look and I go, “oh, my legs, it’s sucks. I can't run, I can't box, I can't do my CrossFit.”
And then I can literally be driving down the street and I see somebody that's in a wheelchair or something like that. And I go, you know what, it's all perspective. And not to say that, oh I've got my life. I don't have their life. I'm not trying to say that, but I think it's, I get reminded that you know what, things are still good. Like I still have my health and I've got family and I've got good stuff in life.
And I just think that's important. Like I said, has nothing to do with content of the conversation we're having, but I just think it's, I love your perspective on it. For you it's like, because you have a really great personality obviously.
Amy Higgins: Thank you.
Shane Barker: You’re very uppity, which is cool. And that's, I enjoy these types of interviews and so it's interesting to hear about, not necessarily what you have going on, but in the sense of how you take that and you turn that into something. But I, I get that from your personality because I was looking at like what you've done in the past, and you have a very colored background.
I mean like you've done a lot of different things, which is makes it really interesting and fun for podcasts because then I got asked these questions. Once again, we'll probably talk like 2% about content marketing and 98% about just like what you've done to get to to where you're at the point where you're at now?
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: Which is cool. I love that kind of stuff. It's kind of fun to see people's life path and perspective and how they do things. So anyways, you've got a good little vibe about you. So, we will, we did talk about that 2% of content marketing. So, I'm going to switch gears just a little bit.
Amy Higgins: Okay.
Shane Barker: So, when we talk about like Content Marketing and PR, like what would be your title? Like this is always the hardest part for me. Like what are you doing? Like “oh, titles.” Like, well like what would be your title? Like in regards to, I mean obviously you know you're having on the content side and there's a PR play as well, what do you consider yourself title wise?
Amy Higgins: Title-wise usually a content strategist.
Shane Barker: Okay. That makes total sense. And so, and on that side of it, obviously there's obviously a little bit of a PR play there as well. So, when you say content strategist, like define what that means. What do you do on a daily basis?
Amy Higgins: Well, I think that changes depending on my clients or my job. I'll tell you what I have done. So, I've had places where on the content marketer, which means I'm the community manager, I'm the event coordinator and the blog writer and I'm the e-book writer. And oh yeah, I write thought leadership articles for the CEO.
And I've been at other places where all I do is work with marketers to figure out how they can get the best legion program working. And so, I might be working with a writer, a designer, an email marketer, and marketing analytics person. Someone who can go deep into sales force or any of the marketing, like Marketo or Eloqua, going in there and set up all the triggers.
So, it changes every day. I think PR is starting to fuzz into content just as much as design is starting to fuzz into content. Just as much as like product marketing is starting to fuzz into content. So, it really just, it's who you're working with and how the team is built.
Shane Barker: Yeah. And I think this, what's interesting is that you kind of touched on a little bit, is that what you enjoy about being a strategist is that it's kind of different? Like that right…
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: For me, that's kind of what it is. That's why titles are so hard for me because there's so many different things of different projects that we take on that I enjoy. So, it's like, “oh, I do a lot of influence from like, okay, that's great.” Well we do a lot of content as well. Yeah, that's great. We can do SEO; we can knock it out with that. So, it's like, it's so hard to throw a title on that, but I like the content, which I mean really what you are as a project manager, you can project manage anything that needs to be project managed, that’s what it sounds like.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: Or manage somebody or jump in there and do it. Like you're that person. Like either I can write or I can hire somebody or write it, but it's end of the day it's going to get done.
Amy Higgins: But it's not just project management, it's looking at, almost like a puzzle maker.
Shane Barker: Strategy.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. So, it's looking at how everything fits together and what needs to be done and what does it need to be done. I think that's the biggest problem with content. And I forget which story this is from, which report, but even today, most marketers say that 80% of content they produce doesn't get used.
Shane Barker: It's crazy.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. So, think about 80% of your work. Think about how many vacation days you could take if 80% of it wasn't being used?
Shane Barker: Yeah, that's disturbing. I mean that's just, just a lot of content. You know, it's like 80% of it. Well that's kind of crazy.
Amy Higgins: Well, I'll tell you a story. I worked for a company that we are looking at win loss reports. When people come in, why are we winning to sell? Why are we losing the sale? And then we looked at our key assets, what big assets do we have currently? How are they performing? But our performance metrics were all off. So, we were looking at this particular content that gets opened the most. This is the most downloaded content that we have. Therefore, everything we should produce should be based off of this. That when I dug into it, it was the biggest views but also the biggest bounce. So, it was written with a title that was very SEO friendly.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: And written with, the first landing page at people like, “Oh, I want this.” But then when they opened it up, it wasn't what they wanted. And I think that's almost worse. Getting a customer, getting their expectations high and crashing them cause they're never going to come back.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: Whether then kind of halfway meeting their expectations.
Shane Barker: Yeah, I mean it’s, you have this with like PPC and landing pages. If you're looking for a blue widget and you go to a thing and it's a green widget, it's still a widget but it's not the green wedge that you were looking for. So, it's kind of that same deal and I think you get that with like click bait stuff where people like, “oh this is, oh let me go read this.” And you're like, no.
Then I get that on, I used to write for some sites, I won't say who they are, you probably know who they are, but where we would, like all of their stuff is really click baiting. Where it's like, ‘oh, let me tell you the two things that Bill Gates did to be successful.’ And then you read it and he's like, he was perseverant and he was energetic and you’re like really? Did I just like to make millions? That's where you got me. I'm so confused and not that I probably should have been clicking on it. Not that I thought they're going to be like, listen Shane, we're not going to tell anybody else, but we're going to tell you this is what he did to make billions.
But it's like you see the read that kind of stuff like, ‘oh man, that's just a disconnect. Like why am I even reading this type of content?’ But that's interesting to see those words it's like, ‘hey, this looks like this was the best piece ever.’ And yes, it is but it's also the worst.
So, it's like, is that what you want to produce? So that's great, people are downloading it. What do they download it for the right reasons? And then they're getting disappointed, which is when she said it's like, “hey, we're got, this looks great, oh nope.” It's one thing to produce something that's maybe not phenomenal, but at least people get some good information. But it seems like there was this a huge disconnect between the downloads and the people that were actually obtained the information.
Amy Higgins: Yeah, exactly. It's kind of like if you hear a restaurant has starring reviews and then you go in and the food is subpar, you're never going to go back again.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: But also, you're never going to trust that review site again.
Shane Barker: Yeah. And I think that's the review things are always interesting because of the potential of getting fake reviews or Yelp and some other companies that not hit on Yelp, you know, seen bad things about Yelp. But there's potentially things that those reviews can really affect businesses either way, either positive or negatively.
And I know it was Yelp, a lot of times they'll go and offer advertisement if you need help with your reviews or if you need to help to get them down a little bit, which is kind of, it is what it is. And we don't need to go heavy into that right now. But, it's interesting the whole review side of things and being able to having that write. Reviews are so important when it comes to online businesses. I think a lot of businesses miss that of like, “oh, I can just ignore it.”
No, you can't and you shouldn't. And there's these reviews are happening whether you acknowledging them or not and like how you get control of that? And so, I think, I don't know, that's a whole other conversation online was used, but I think it is something that that affects PR that affects everything.
And I think content can also help with reviews and help with sediment and people being able to better understand something about a company or whatever that may be or plays into the PR side of things as well. Things that are being written, the company, so interesting.
So, I mean obviously you've worked for like Zendesk and I was one of the companies that you used to work for. What would you say if there was either a content marketing or PR initiatives, what companies do you think are doing really, really well when it comes to, I would say content marketing, maybe even PR. Maybe there's some play with that or maybe say, this person, this company is doing great with content marketing. They're doing great with PR. Is there anybody that stands out to you?
Amy Higgins: So, I always use the example of LinkedIn. Their content has grown up as, as content marketing has grown up. I think, they do really in-depth content for an audience like the marketer audience, the sales solution audience, and they fit it all the way across the funnel. I mean, anytime I read their blog, I find useful information.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: For consumer side, I think Nike does a really good job. They catch on trends immediately. They go beyond what we normally think of content; like making sure that there's an app that you can track your exercise, that they give you, exercise hints, they give you lifestyle hints. So, it's not just buy our shoes buy our clothing, but it's more of a lifestyle; buy our brand.
Shane Barker: Yeah. And I think that's a… we've seen that change I would say in the last, well I know, I'll give you an example. So, when we started writing the blog, my blog probably seven or eight years ago, our big thing was like let's just offer value, right? Like we don't need to talk about Shane Services all day because nobody cares about my services. What they care about is great information and then I just happened to be there. Nike being that example, ‘hey you want to do this, you want to track my whatever, my steps, you want to track this?’ Well, Nike apps to be the solution for that. Right? But we'll, we're new and it's going to educate you on what you do to be healthier and now naturally you probably going to go to Nike cause you're on their website, you're seeing all their stuff's in, there we go. It makes total sense to go buy the product.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: So, I think that, I do love that and I think I always recommend it's a longer-term play. We don't all have Nike budgets, but I think it's a longer-term play of to educate the consumer and then let the consumer make the natural decision to come back to you. If it makes sense. If you're writing content that's providing that much value and it sounds like LinkedIn is a good example for you. When you started reading their content like God, every time I read some of their content, I'm pulling a good little nugget of information, which keeps you coming back.
I think same thing with Nike, offering great information and then when I'm ready to buy this shoe that taps into my wristband that does this and my headband. And so that I'm all connected and ready to go on my run and make sure I'm getting some credits for it, then there we go.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. Then it works. I think that's a huge shift that we have to do with content is both on the B2B and B2C side, that it's really about education and knowledge and you become the trusted resource. So, it's not, ‘hey, buy my stuff.’ It's more, listen to me, and just like how you don't want someone standing on the street yelling at you. You don't want a brand's content to stand on the street and yell at you.
Shane Barker: Yeah. We get what you do, we get the services. If we want to know about your services and you that accessible for them, but you don't need to shove it down their throat. I think that's the play is like, ‘hey, when you're ready.’
The only downside for me with this and with this when we always do this with our clients, but is that, sometimes we were like, ‘wow, it's like to produce that kind of content takes a long time and this, that and the other.’ It is a longer-term play. I mean, I'll give you an example. Our site, I mean I just, this last year or two started like really, I mean all my stuff is in-bound now.
So, what I mean by that I mean I spent how many years on my blog writing content and then developing the team out. And now we're seeing some really good stuff from it. So, I think it's, once again, that is a longer-term play, but I think it's the right play. I mean, it's like, I think it's a better way to go because people once again, they want to find your product service they can write. That's, that's not the hard part. They know what you do. The good part is if your obvious things driven some great content, you're a storyteller, you got something going on there that you're keeping people's attention.
Amy Higgins: And I think this stat hasn't changed for maybe five years, but serious decisions always says that by the time someone gets to the, I want to talk to a salesperson or by the time they walk into a store or go onto a website to purchase something, EDC or B2B, they've already made up their mind 70% of the way. And so, having an outbound call, and someone calling up, “hey, do you want to buy it?” And no one's, it's like the old vacuum cleaner sales guy, knocking on the door and no one wants it anymore. They want to go to, hey Mr. Smith down the street. He knows how to clean anything. And Oh yeah, I mean a new vacuum. So, I'm going to go down to Mr. Smith and buy it from him.
Shane Barker: Yeah. Well that plays into reviews, that plays into a lot of other things that go into that. To validate your product or your service and what you have. That's interesting. Yeah, I love that. So, what would be free software’s that you can't live with that. What are three of those that you think man, if I didn't have these, life would be so much harder?
Amy Higgins: Oh, so I've worked at many companies where I have zero budget.
Shane Barker: That’s very low.
Amy Higgins: Yeah, I have to play around with what it is. I think having a CRM system, no matter which CRM system it is, is key.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: Because you want to be able to track things. Having analytics is key. Whether it be Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, it's about to call it Omniture. I am a GA fan. That is key and understanding how analytics work and how things are tracked and what you need to track and what you don't need to track. Absolutely key.
And then across teams, I think there's always some sort of team collaboration thing that's key and even with clients. Like sending them a Google doc where they can put feedback directly in it or you can put feedback at the same time. I've managed teams where you sent it to one person and they edit it and you send to another person, they edit it and you send another person, they edit it. And by the end you've got to take all that stuff and put it back, get it together and it ruins productivity.
The last one I would say, well actually there's two, so depending on what you're doing, some sort of SEO tool. Rather like mas has free ones, Sim Rush, SCM Rush, their free ones, go a little bit, but their basic plan is so inexpensive that it's worth it. I find doing keyword tracking and seeing what your competition is up to is always key. And then for social media, if you really want to look at your social media having analytics there. I'm a fan of sprout social. It goes deep, you can track everything from influencers to hashtags to competitors to responding and posting all at the same time.
Shane Barker: Yeah, I think that it's funny when you talk about, I mean, do the analytics. And I don't think people really understand what a lot of the companies that I've talked to, they get analytics, but they don't really get analytics. So, when we ask them, “hey, what's going well for you?” I mean, that's probably why they're reaching out to a marketer. I don't really know, I'm not really sure when you come out, we produce some content. What are your goals with the content? I'm not really sure. It's like, okay, then, how do you know when you're going to get to the finish line? Or how do you know when you've achieved what you're looking for? And I think a lot of people don't produce content with a purpose.
And in the beginning, I don't think anybody does. I didn't, I was like, I'm just writing a blog post. I don't know. I mean keywords or whatever it was. I just want to produce something. And then, I think over time, if you're doing it the right way, it's like what is the goal of this? And then how are we measuring those with anything? And not only just with, with influencer marketing, with SEO, with anything. What are we looking at here? And what is the purpose of that? And then once again, is it getting great downloads, but is it also the one that people have in the biggest disconnect with? Which is something they look at.
Amy Higgins: And things will change. I went to a company and they're like, “oh, we do this quarterly report. It's amazing. It gives us tons of leads.” And I looked at it and I was like, how? And so, one quarter I put my head down, I'm like, I'm going to put 110 effort behind this. I'm going to pull all the levers, test all the buttons, do everything possible to make this thing explode. And what I found out quantitatively is we had a 0.001% download rate, lead rate. So, from a marketing perspective, it wasn't generating any leads.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: From a PR perspective we had very small, once in a blue moon we'd get an article, but not, not that much. And then from a qualitative perspective, now here's the key thing. I went around to different departments and said, so we produced this amazing piece of content every year. Are you using it? How are you using it? Walk me through it. So, we publish it. Where does it go on your team? And the majority of people, it was like hot potato, “oh yeah, it's great. I love it. But our team doesn't really use it. I think this team uses it.” So, I go to that team, same thing, “oh, it's great. We love it, but we don't really use it.” I think that team uses it.
Shane Barker: So, everybody was praising and going, this is awesome, but we don't use it. I mean, I love it, but I think John likes it a lot more so ask John.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. And then John's like, oh no, no, no, I don't love it. So, ask Steve.
Shane Barker: And then all of a sudden you went around full circle and you're like, wait a second...
Amy Higgins: Why are we doing this?
Shane Barker: What was the point? And they're like, here comes Amy again here, give it to somebody else. Give it somebody. That's interesting.
Amy Higgins: But they did it because they'd always done it. And I think that's a key thing with content is things change.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: You know, your product changes, your people changes, the audience changes. And you have to stay on top of that.
Shane Barker: Well I think what's interesting about it is for you, you seem like you're the person that you want get hired with because there's a lot of yes people and you're like, “no.” Yeah, I know. “Sorry guys. I'm not like, I'm going to look into this a little further.” I'm like, Oh God, she's going to find out something that we don't know about, but just... Amy's here and you'd go dig a little deeper, to kind of find out because really what it comes down to. Like is this working and why do you think that it's working? Why can you tell me that it's working? What can you show me? What does the reasons, like what are the goals of this and are we hitting it?
Amy Higgins: And the flip side, you have people who things are going under the radar. Like someone's doing some, I don't know, interactive infographic and they used a platform that was very easy to use. And they were doing it to create [legend-34:02] to an event. And they're like, “no we’re just going to do it. We don't want to bother the content team. We don't want to bother the design team. We'll just do it. So, they go rogue. So, you go over like, Hey, what's working for you? What's not working for you? And they're like, “oh this is amazing. I was working really well.” And you look at the data and it's like, that was working really well. Let's see how we can replicate it, and take less effort for other teams to do the same results.
Shane Barker: Yeah, I think it's a thing is for you, it's very analytical, right? You need, which is awesome because most people aren't that way. I mean, all it takes is one guy goes, ‘rah rah and the rest goes rah rah rah.’ And they're like, hey, this is awesome. I’m like, why is it awesome? I don't know. Shane has his hand up, I don't know what he's doing. He's, he's drunk. I'm not sure what he's doing, but he seems to be super excited about this.
And I think that's what's cool is that you actually digging down and really finding out what's going, either way, whether it's good or whether it's bad and kind of why that is. And just because you've always done it doesn't mean it's right. And especially if you've been doing it for a long time, it's probably not right anymore. That's really what it comes down to is like eight years you've done this, you've done this thing for 10 years, but so many things have changed in that time.
You would've think, just your everything perspective, how things are done. I mean there's just technology. The people, your audience, I mean there's just a lot of variables there that you have to look at to see if they're all in sync with the stuff you've been doing for the last 15 years.
Amy Higgins: Exactly.
Shane Barker: All right. So I have a question where, so let's say, and I know you've, you said you've been in San Francisco for decades and we're not going to go into age from the Mama was told me, don't ever ask a lady her age. I'm never going to ask your age, but what could Amy today tell Amy when she was in her twenties like early twenties? Would Amy listen, will Amy in her twenties listen, I know Amy was a bull. She was like, listen, I'm going to do what I want to do because I'm Amy. O’Higgins
Amy Higgins: In my twenties as a completely different person.
Shane Barker: Oh really.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. Heavy, heavy punk rock.
Shane Barker: Why would you not? I'm like, hello.
Amy Higgins: I think I own like five motorcycles the time.
Shane Barker: Look at that. Were they motorcycles or did you have like the scooter where you're in the scooter thing? No, you were motorcycle.
Amy Higgins: Motorcycles.
Shane Barker: Did you call yourself a motorcycle chick?
Amy Higgins: I hated that. But yeah,
Shane Barker: I didn't know. I didn't know if that was, I mean, I was never a motorcycle chick or dude, so I didn't, I'm just throwing this out there for the audience and also rode motorcycles.
Amy Higgins: I think if I could go back to my twenties, I probably would have gone into the workforce sooner from marketing or explored it more. I mean, I shifted my career in my mid to late twenties.
Shane Barker: It's one of those. But do you, this is a thing, do you think, do you regret the path you've taken?
Amy Higgins: No, I wouldn't be where I am today.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: And I love my life.
Shane Barker: Yeah. That's what I always think is like for me, everything's foundational. Whether it's, whether you think it's right or whether it's wrong. To me, everything happens for a reason. Not to get all like, but I look at it like, well there's certain things happen for me to get here and then I would have been, if this would have been different than, I wouldn't have met this. So, I feel like everything happens for a reason. I mean there's things that I guess I'll give you an example. This has to do with San Francisco.
I think if I would have, instead of going to Chico, I went to, so I used to work for a Chevy's Mexican restaurant, long, long story. The corporate was there in San Francisco and I would go around and travel around, open a restaurant. And I always thought if I didn't do the hospitality industry, this was many, many months ago, I probably would have moved to San Francisco and then really early on in the tech industry and I probably would have been a billionaire or whatever. Not If money's your thing, then great. Not really a billionaire, but somewhere there were probably early startups. We've been grinding it out. It would've been really interesting.
But I also really enjoyed the restaurant thing and I also enjoyed that. I just, for me, my thing would have been like, I would've probably had a mentor or really done an internship. I gotten myself like I'll figure it out. It's not a big deal. And that's what I did. I think I, I probably had a number of years of learning that could have gotten, where I've kind of learned all my stuff I need to learn in three months, five months, six months, instead of trying to grind it out on my own from 10 years or whatever it is.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: So interesting. I just got, I don't know, it's just always kind of intrigued by that kind of, that's what I want to ask people. Like, “hey, what would you have done? Would you would've jumped into marketing a little earlier?”
Amy Higgins: Yeah, or I would have done the other route and skipped fashion altogether and gone into Science. Sometimes it makes me wonder, like if I went back in my high school years and I went into Science and, and it was right when, I went into Neurology or Genealogy, genetics I was really interested in. If I went back and did that, what sort of life would I have today? What would be different?
Shane Barker: Would you not, have a question for you? Would you label yourself a nerd back in the day?
Amy Higgins: Oh yeah, definitely.
Shane Barker: That's so crazy because now nerd like me, I'm like, that's cool. Like if somebody call you a nerd, I think it’s awesome. I don't think I was necessarily a nerd when I was like 120 grams in total weight. Like I was just, I look like I need to be fed every day. I was just a shriveled little thing. But I think it's interesting of like that whole transition from like being nerd and being all this and then, most of the time I'm like, my son was like, “oh that kid's kind of a nerd.” I'm like, he's probably going to your boss. Like be very careful of who you call a nerd because you're probably going to work for his company one day. So anyways,
Amy Higgins: Well, there was a guy, so I also ran nightclubs.
Shane Barker: Of course. Why wouldn’t you not?
Amy Higgins: Of course. I mean, let me add another career. And one of the nightclubs that I worked with, there was this one guy who would always be dancing in the corner by himself and he was always kind of this weird, like little stalkerish couldn't really tell. But he was nice. So, I was always nice to him. He now owns and developed one of the biggest software companies out there, one of the biggest tech companies out there. And so, I'll see him at parties like I was at his birthday party a couple of years ago. And people like, how do you know him? I was like, we go back. You don't even want to know, we go back.
Shane Barker: That is too funny. Well, and I think that's another thing too is, when we talk about just life and just how you treat people too. I mean that's like, you just never know who anybody is, but you shouldn't treat somebody on who they are, what they've done. It's like you just treat everybody with respect and they’re a good person, then that will come back. Or you never know what might happen because of that.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: So, I think it's, it's always a good thing just to kind of be a good person to pay it forward. So, there was a thing that I read about you in regards to, there was an interview about a girl scout cookies.
Amy Higgins: Oh yeah.
Shane Barker: Tell us a little about the girl scout incident. What we had gone on there?
Amy Higgins: Yeah, it wasn't an incident. My mother would call it an incident.
Shane Barker: Opinions.
Amy Higgins: Just like how on grades I'd be like, why I get the 99? I always wanted to sell the most amount of girl scout cookies, little competitive. And so maybe four or five years in a row, the time of year when the cookies came in our living room, because we grew up in Texas. So, you have a formal living room, a formal dining room and informal living room, an informal dining room.
So, our formal dining room would be Florida ceiling boxes of girl scout cookies. And then I would walk around the neighborhood with the little red wagon and deliver all the cookies. It was to the point that if people didn't buy them from me, like my grandmother would bother them at church.
Shane Barker: Yeah, get the whole family involved.
Amy Higgins: Yeah, granny got my back. So, whenever I have a hard time at work or whenever I can't succeed at something, my dad will bring it up. He's like, you are nine years old and you sold 500 boxes of girl scout cookies or how many that was. He’s like we couldn't move in the house cause the amount of stuff you sold. He's like, if you could do that when you're that young, you can do it today.
Shane Barker: Okay. Look at dad giving me the motivation.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. Motivational speaker.
Shane Barker: So, I'll tell you one of the most brilliant things that I've ever seen and I might be overplaying that little bit, but it was brilliant. I saw this was obviously here in California with marijuana being illegal at the Dispensaries. I saw girl scout cookies, the girls in front of the Dispensaries.
Amy Higgins: I remember that.
Shane Barker: I was like, oh my God.
Amy Higgins: Talk about knowing your target audience.
Shane Barker: Yeah. I don't, between you and I, you know how many boxes I bought that day. Oh, I mean I'm just saying I was driving [cross talk- 41:18-41:20]. I was taking a friend because he was having anxiety. But yeah, I looked at that and literally, I was driving by and I was like, that is brilliant. I think I actually pulled up and bought a few boxes more.
He's like, what are you doing? I'm buying a few boxes. That's brilliant. That kid is going to be, he's going to have the next big software company or something, like that's it right there.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: I thought that was brilliant... girl scout cookies. I was like, man, that's awesome.
Amy Higgins: I mean the other place you could do at, which probably wouldn't be as awesome as like in front of a Jenny Craig.
Shane Barker: Yeah. Just in case you fall off that wagon, you're like, listen, we're here to support you. We're not going to judge you if you want to get a few boxes.
Amy Higgins: Yeah. I always laughed. There was a, I worked night shift at a Pizzeria in high school. So, you had the Pizzeria and then you had an ice cream shop and then you had weight watchers or Jenny Craig or one of those, like all in a row. So that's one of my, I always look at how many malls are built up. Where you have the dentist, the sweet shop, the Doctor.
Shane Barker: Yeah or it's like a church in the liquor store and you're like, I don't know why they're all next to each other, but I guess some.
Amy Higgins: Or wedding dress store and divorce attorney.
Shane Barker: Yeah, that makes sense. You're like, why not get it early?
Amy Higgins: Why not.
Shane Barker: Just hedge your bet against my relationship, not a big deal. So also, I've seen some pictures, this is kind of on a personal level because you always seem to like just set goals and go and crush them. Mount Everest Base Camp. Tell me a little bit about that. What was that, give the listeners a little story behind that. What did you do there?
Amy Higgins: So, I kept trying to whine up myself every single year. So, the first year I did a hike Salkantay to Machu Picchu,
Shane Barker: Machu Picchu,
Amy Higgins: Which is a four-day hike. It was 16,000 feet was the top.
Shane Barker: Peru, right?
Amy Higgins: Yeah, Today, it would probably be easy for me. Then it was very difficult. And the next year I went to Kilimanjaro.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: And I went with one of my old coworkers, because she's also an avid traveler. And so, she went with me and I told her, I said, “hey, if we can do this, we can do Kili. Let's do Everest.” Jokingly.
Shane Barker: Yeah.
Amy Higgins: But then that joke kind of drove me through it. So, I went to Kilimanjaro thinking I'm the weakest of the bunch here. Here's my friend who runs Iron Man. Here's some women who all own, one of them owns a CrossFit gym and they're all like heavy CrossFit athletes.
Shane Barker: That makes sense.
Amy Higgins: And here's the little old me. I'm never going to make it. I made it to Kilimanjaro. I was the first one up, the only one to get to the top, without getting sick. We'll be polite, put it that way. And when I got down, I was like, let's go to Everest. And so, I booked a trip in the very next year to the base camp of Everest, which was harder than Kilimanjaro.
Shane Barker: Oh really?
Amy Higgins: Yeah. Kili, the height gets you in the heights, gets you in the last day. So, you go from 15,000 feet up to 19’8” it's 19,838 I think is what it is, all like within six hours. And it's just devastating. Yeah, it was like an angel and a devil by the time I got up there. One side of me is going, what the…what are you doing? You crazy woman turn back, turn back. And the other side is no, almost there. You can do this.
Shane Barker: We haven't up yet. We're doing good.
Amy Higgins: Yeah, we're fine. And then Everest was just as hard, but it was 15 days. And so you would have one hard day, you would have an easy day that was that cup down, up, up, down, and then you'd have a really hard day that's like up, up, up, up, up, and then you'd have a rest day and then you'd have another up, down, up, down, up, down. And then each stage kept getting harder and harder. And so, it was, a good nine days all the way up.
Shane Barker: Oh, man.
Amy Higgins: And I got sick a number of times. There was one day that's 10-hour hike back down. I couldn't hold down food that entire hike, but they separated me from the pack. They're like, hey, go with this Sherpa, he's going to take you down. Go with the guide. You separate. So, if you need to go look at a rock, you can go look at the rock.
I made it down over half an hour before everybody else and the only reason was motivation because where we were going was the non-shape bizarre which is a trade city, a woman owned trade city. Women have the stance there and not men, which is also interesting. Part of the Sherpa culture. So, I made it there half an hour early because there was a shower and there was a western toilet and there was a bed with a mattress.
Shane Barker: What...
Amy Higgins: Yeah, I was like, “oh, comforts of life. Take me there.”
Shane Barker: Yeah. See for me that I've been like, listen, we have a six pack of Guiness at the end of this thing, but you got to get there fast. And I'm like, okay, I'm ready. Let's do it. I'm motivated. Let's just this. I’m all in.
So, obviously we've talked a little bit about your hobbies. You're hiking and you're traveling. If you could, if money wasn't an issue, where would you live and why?
Amy Higgins: If Money wasn't an issue I'd probably live in Thailand.
Shane Barker: Where in Thailand?
Amy Higgins: Outside of Chiang Mai.
Shane Barker: Okay.
Amy Higgins: I'd probably live in the hills about an hour away from town.
Shane Barker: I didn't go to Chiang Mai. My brother and my dad did, but I've been to Koh Samui and I've been to Bangkok and that was all really, really fun. I love traveling.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: Like I try to make my speaking events that I do, I like try to move them around, whatever country I want to go to. Like I'm like,
Amy Higgins: Oh, that's awesome.
Shane Barker: Yeah. I try. For me it's like, “oh, hey, I heard you guys are having a local event in [Ka tour- 46:25].” I'm like, “well, yeah, kind of like I'm, yeah, “I want to speak like, hey, let me come on out.” And they're like, alright, I guess whatever you want to do.” You go out for a month? We're just doing this on Tuesday. I'm like, no, no, it's fine. It's okay. That'll be fine. Don’t worry, just invite me out, paid for the plane. We'll be fine.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: Somewhere in the middle.
Amy Higgins: Yeah.
Shane Barker: I do. I've been, I was bit by the travel bug a long time ago. My Dad and my family, well I went did at school in Costa Rica, which is a whole another story about 20 years ago. No, 25 years ago now, Jesus spent a little while, but so that's kind of got me into the whole traveling thing. And then I saw your little paintings behind you so I know you had a little bit of culture and you with the whole San Francisco vibe. Awesome so, this is going to be the, this is the sad part, this is the end of the podcast and then it's kind of like that breakup part. Yeah, I know. This is like where,
Amy Higgins: Yeah, I feel like we're breaking up.
Shane Barker: What are we going to do after this? I don't know. I guess we'll just figure out custody for the kids. So, I have, let's say if you were going to dinner, what would be three people and I'm filling, you're going to have a very eclectic group of people at your table, which I would hope that somehow, I was involved in this dinner. If it was three other people, what's three people would you invite to dinner that can be dead or alive? If you were going to have dinner with anybody and you said, listen, this can be one-night, whatever hour, two hours, dinner, who would you have?
Amy Higgins: I would go for the conversation, not with me, but with them. So, I would love to have [Stock DeCovich- 47:38] to hear about his time during the war and just, I mean the symphonies he creates, it's one of my favorites; one of my favorite composers. And then I would probably have someone like Monet, to look at someone from the Arts and Impressionist period because Impressionist, especially in Paris, they had this own little vibe and this little tribe together. And so, they get that, that would be really interesting. And then I think I would do someone that's a little newer, like Martin Luther King or someone who's trying to drive change and civil society. Yeah,
Shane Barker: I wouldn't have guessed those exact ones, but I knew that years would have been like these like, I was this person from here and then this person from this era, I want to know. I could have guessed that. I could've guessed. You're very interesting individual. Amy, this was an awesome interview. I think taking the time today and I'll have to reach out to you when I come out to San Francisco and I'm holding a little Noel, maybe we'll come out and have a coffee or something like that.
Amy Higgins: Definitely, yeah.
Shane Barker: Awesome Amy. Well thank you so much for the interview. If anybody needs to get in contact with you, what's a good way to get in contact with you?
Amy Higgins: Twitter or LinkedIn is always really good. And my handle on both of them is Amy W. Higgins,
Shane Barker: Not O’Higgins.
Amy Higgins: Not O’Higgins, W. Higgins.
Shane Barker: Well cool Amy, have an awesome rest of your day. Thank you so much for the interview.
Amy Higgins: Thank you.