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Meet Rease Kirchner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rease Kirchner.

Hi Rease, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’ve lived in St. Louis on and off throughout my life and I’ve worked in so many roles and industries — digital marketing, Spanish/English interpretation in both medical and legal fields, and education. Although my degrees are in Audio Engineering and Spanish, what I truly wanted to be was a writer — which is how I eventually ended up as a Content Marketing Manager.

For years, I worked as a travel writer and freelance content writer, which allowed me to travel and live abroad. Two years in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and three years in Fajardo, Puerto Rico allowed me to really hone my Spanish skills while also creating my writing portfolio.

My experience in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helped me build up my online presence and get a client base as a travel writer and content marketer. My work history might seem strange to some, but I think it’s important to explore different options to find a good balance between what you like to do and what pays the bills.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
For most of my life, I worked way too much. Even in high school, I was enrolled in a special program that split my day between taking classes and working at a restaurant.

Without a college fund or any family assistance, I had no choice but to work a minimum of 40 hours (but usually 50+) all throughout college. Most days I packed breakfast, lunch, and dinner into my bag so I could eat in my car between jobs and classes.

Days before graduating college, I quit my fairly high-paying marketing job because the environment was so toxic, At 22 years old, I already felt burnt out. I took a 50% pay cut to work as a bilingual preschool teacher (and 2 other jobs, to pay the bills).

For me, the lesson was that high-paying jobs are not worth your mental health. Having an important-sounding title doesn’t make you happy or healthy.

Working with those kids was amazing, but juggling three jobs was not, so that’s when I took the leap to move to Buenos Aires, which eventually led me to freelance. Years of freelancing led me to content marketing, which is what I specialize in today.

First I learned to find work that doesn’t drain you. Then, I went on a journey to try to find work I enjoyed that also allowed me to build in time for rest. I’m still a work in progress, but I no longer take part in “hustle culture” that encourages working all the time to hustle your way to some imagined tier of success.

Now, I build in time to rest. However, I do have an outline for a memoir that I’d love to make time to finish someday.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’ll never forget when my article “I’m a Fit Chubby Girl and I’m Sick of People Telling me I’m Unhealthy” went viral. Unfortunately, the site that hosted (xoJane) is no longer online, but every so often, even years later, someone finds a copy of it and sends me a message.

Hundreds of women messaged me when it first came out — many thanked me for expressing what they felt and shared their own stories of body dysmorphia, medical struggles/being ignored by medical professionals, and frustrations with how bodies are perceived.

As for what I’m up to now, 90s jazz design: cups, controversy, and nostalgia is a recent piece I loved researching and writing.

Some of my favorite travel-related bylines include Discover the Best of Buenos Aires in National Geographic, 20 Ultimate Things to Do in Puerto Rico in Fodor’sTravel, and 5 Under-the-Radar Things to Do in Buenos Aires, Argentina in Here Magazine.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
I think Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies will have to adapt to remain competitive. I’ve been in the game for most of my career in one way or another, and I disagree with some of the standard tactics that self-proclaimed SEO experts recommend.

A decade ago, we had to write for a robot (the Google algorithm). And while that’s still true, the algorithm is much smarter and not only provides room for creativity but often rewards it. I’ve got the reports to prove it! Quality writing, unique content, and fulfilling a need that no one else in the search results is addressing are key.

I’m also passionate about using content marketing and SEO strategies for good whenever you can. For me, that means writing about important topics, like creating inclusive content (https://webflow.com/blog/inclusive-content) or teaching people how to get crucial information on the first page of search results. People tend to think of marketing as only a way to sell something, but it can also be a way to spread vital information.

For example, one project I’m extremely proud of was tied to a law firm, Fortman Spann, who I worked with for several years. The tiny firm focused on representing franchisees and at the time, there were several cleaning franchises that specifically targeted Spanish speakers and essentially scammed them out of their life savings.

The franchisors counted on the fact that many of these people didn’t have strong enough English skills to understand the contracts and once they’d drained their savings, they wouldn’t have money to hire an attorney. I used my SEO experience to specifically target their company names and related terms so that my articles (written in Spanish) would rank above the company websites in search results.

I exposed their tricks, named names, and offered free phone consultations through the law office. Those articles prevented hundreds of people from buying into the scam.

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