Last summer, as the world adjusted to pandemic life, Jessica Petrie knew that she had to make changes to how she ran her studio, Yoga Next Door.
She quickly figured out how to stream her classes from her studio in the beautiful woods of Maine, and adapted her business model to offer video learning and online payment. While looking forward to a return to in-real-life classes and retreats, she refused to be set back by the pandemic, and found a way to allow her students to continue their yoga practice from the safety of their homes.
We are always learning from customers like Jessica — or Steven Gaither, Wali Pitt, and Tolly Carr of HBCU Gameday. The trio doubled down on understanding their growing audience, while staying focused on their important coverage of sports and culture at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Their expert use of SEO tools has helped them increase site traffic along the way.
They are not alone: many WordPress.com creators have grown their audiences while publishing on social and cultural movements around the world, signaling their resilience, adaptability, and impact in challenging times.
We are proud to feature Jessica Petrie, HBCU Gameday, and other inspiring customers at the second Official WordPress.com Growth Summit, on Tuesday, August 17. You can still buy your ticket and learn from these incredible customers:
Amani al-Khatahtbeh started a website, Muslim Girl, and a movement. Whether highlighting prominent Muslim women in the Olympics or in the media, or diving into issues like human trafficking and marriage in modern Islam culture, Amani has created a platform focused on raising awareness, amplifying young voices, and fostering open dialogue. Beyond this, Amani is building a community around the diverse identities of Muslim women in the West — on #MuslimWomensDay (heading into its sixth year next March) and every day.
CEO Neil Chase and VP of Product Strategy Kim Fox will talk about their nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom, CalMatters, with our own Kinsey Wilson, the head of Newspack (the open-source publishing and revenue-generating platform for news organizations.) CalMatters not only covers policy and politics in California; they also help empower emerging publishers with their digital platforms. We’ll learn how they started, how they sustain their operation, and what they see ahead in digital news.
Anja Spilker is the founder of Mexico-based company Zaloa Languages, which offers online language learning with native teachers to an international audience. Anja is that rare and powerful combination of founder, CEO, and influencer. She’s equally adept at sharing her life behind the scenes as she is in shifting her business model, significantly increasing revenue, and creating a compelling brand with a sophisticated ecommerce approach. Listening to her tell the story of Zaloa Languages will be a masterclass on its own.
With HBCU Gameday, Steve Gaither spotted an underrepresented niche in the vast sports media landscape. He teamed up with experienced journalist Tolly Carr and digital technologist and video producer Wali Pitt to create a publication with an important focus on HBCU sports stories of culture and substance. They’re hands-on in understanding how their audience finds them, all while adopting new formats (video!) seamlessly.
David Nitzche is a master of short-form storytelling, and he’s making a business out of it. We’ll learn how he weaves trailers, music videos, and creative for Apple, Marvel, National Geographic, Red Bull, Netflix, Google, and more. David will also talk about how he’s evolved his career from freelance editor to launching his own post-production studio, Workprint, in Los Angeles in the middle of the pandemic.
Yoga Next Door
If the story of how Jessica borrowed her son’s GoPro camera to quickly experiment with offering her classes by online video doesn’t inspire you, Yoga Next Door’s return to real-life retreats will. But you just may learn most from Jessica’s on-the-fly business savvy, including how she set up a digital library for customers while continuing to share her mindfulness and yoga expertise willingly. (So willingly that she’ll offer attendees a mid-Summit yoga and mindfulness session.)
Which of Nick Engvall’s ventures can you learn most from? We found him via Sneaker History, the podcast he launched with and for fellow sneakerheads, drawing on his own content-creating background with brands like StockX and Finish Line. But we’ll also explore his creative agency STATURE, his hands-on thought leadership for podcasters and creators, his advocacy of WordPress, and how he finds time for it all!
If we have time, that is. Because all of these speakers have many stories to tell and ideas to share, and we have a packed Summit agenda that also includes sessions with our own talented Happiness Engineers, who will lead workshops on blogging, podcasting, building an audience, and SEO.
We hope you’ll join us on Tuesday — and just as importantly, we hope you’ll keep working on your thing, too. We’d love to feature you someday soon.