Fake It Till You Make it

Megan Hargroder’s not above stretching the truth a bit for the right opportunity and trusting herself to quickly get up to speed—after all, men do it all the time.

At least twice in her career, she’s applied for positions and cited proficiencies in different systems she wasn’t super well-versed in. After landing the job, she taught herself the programs (Final Cut Pro and InDesign, for the curious among us) and no one was the wiser.

Now the founder and CEO of Conversations Digital, a marketing firm that works exclusively with licensed attorneys, Megan marvels at her career trajectory. From working as a “one-woman band news reporter” for a station that wouldn’t allow her to create social media accounts for the company because it was “unprofessional” (“Joke’s on them now!” she laughs) to organizing community management for nonprofits to being a Jill-of-all-trades for multiple clients, she feels like she’s done it all—and that’s exactly why she advocates now for the power of finding your niche.

Why Finding a Niche Is Critical

Megan Graham

“At first, I worked with a lot of different companies—from professional services to candy companies—doing anything my skill set would stretch to, and it got overwhelming. I was constantly scrambling to keep up because you have to learn so much about each business. I had a high turnover rate and was always stressed about bringing in new business. Then a trusted advisor of mine suggested I niche to working with only my best clients, and those clients happened to be lawyers,” she remembers.

Niching to work specifically with law firms allowed Megan to dive deep. She learned everything she could about the legal marketing industry and began charging premium rates for access to that expertise.

And she chose well: While there were other companies in the legal space doing what she did, they were overcharging and underdelivering. “I realized all I had to do was a good job, and I could keep a client for life!” she recalls.

Give Employees a Chance to Thrive Inside and Outside of Work

Since niching, Megan grew Conversations Digital from a one-person company to a six-person team, with one more hire joining the ranks so far in 2022.

Because she knows firsthand how it feels to burn yourself out, Megan’s a huge proponent of work-life balance, both for herself and her employees. That means 30 hour work weeks for everyone across the board.

“This is the right amount of time for people to efficiently do their best work and have a life outside of work,” she emphasizes. “Without a life outside of work, people start to hate what they do.”

She urges business owners to internalize this principle: The most valuable asset in your business is your workforce—not your clients. If a client is repeatedly problematic or upsets an employee in an unacceptable way, she removes the client from her list and finds a new account. “Replacing employees, especially ones who have been with you for a while and really learned your systems and clients and do great work, is a very hard thing to do.”

Why the World Needs Less, Not More, Content

Megan’s days in the print newspaper world taught her to always ask the following questions about a piece of work:

  • Is it clear?
  • Is it interesting?
  • Why should I care?

Beyond that, don’t bury the lede! Be clear with your hook, so the reader is engaged right from the start. “Especially in today’s world, you can’t ever assume people are doing anything more than scrolling,” she points out. “You’ve got to give folks a reason to stop and pay attention.”

Though it may seem counterintuitive, Megan feels strongly the content marketing world needs less content and more emphasis on quality, thoughtfulness, and precise editing. “I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to focus on the number of social media and blog posts and less emphasis on the questions above,” she says.

As content professionals, we should consider the basics:

  • Why the content we’re creating matters.
  • How we can go deeper.
  • Whether the content is accurate, intersectional, and relevant.

“Meaningful, inspiring, valuable content will never lose its power,” she notes. “But sometimes it does get drowned out by all the ‘noise’—and as content marketers, sometimes we don’t realize we are the ones creating the extra noise!”

Finding Community in a Remote-First Role

Everyone at Conversations Digital works remotely, which (as most of us know!) presents unique challenges around connection and community. Megan has tried various virtual communities to grow professionally. Currently, she enjoys Bureau of Digital. A $50/month membership gives her access to a weekly meetup and Slack group of over 1,000 successful business owners, most of whom also run remote companies.

She’s also been surprised at how receptive people in the legal marketing industry are at meeting on Zoom to talk shop and chat with her.

“I try to always follow the ‘best of the best’—the people not just keeping up with, but sparking change and innovation,” she says. “I got a little ballsy recently and started just reaching out to folks I admire, and they’ve been more than willing, excited even, to meet with me!”

The Future of Conversations Digital

Megan’s approach to work is certainly paying off. Conversations Digital recently won awards for its work for Hiltner Trial Lawyers and Olivia C. Cummings, just two of the passionate, justice-minded firms Conversations Digital works with.

This year holds a lot of exciting growth opportunities for Megan and her agency. She’s taking her own advice and producing less content for clients. Instead, she’s directing her team to strive toward repurposing top-performing old content for clients, updating and upcycling to make things even better than they were rather than creating brand new assets.

The bonus to this approach is that it’s incredible for SEO—you’re essentially getting compound interest on your web traffic. And with that, we’re off to revisit some of our own old posts to see how we can refresh them!

Nikki Carter
Nikki Carter is a freelance writer-editor. She has a BS in Marketing and an MBA, as well as certs in Salesforce, Google Analytics, and HubSpot. She runs a weekly newsletter, Will & Way, for Women of Color and is querying her first novel for publication. When she isn't writing, you can find her hiking, reading, drinking oat milk chais, or crafting

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