Toronto-based Tavanberg is raising the bar for freelance content producers

One of our goals at Moms at Work is to showcase the inspiring women who make up our network. For this article, we connected with Toronto-based Jennifer Goldberg to learn how her content marketing firm, Tavanberg is helping brands connect with customers.

Tell us about your business?

Tavanberg is a results-driven content marketing agency that helps blue-chip brands reach their customers with high-quality, journalist-driven content that inspires people to read, watch and share. Our services include writing, editing, content strategy, social media management and strategy, video production and creative services.

What do you love most about your work?

I love the creative problem solving involved in developing and implementing a content strategy that provides value to the audiences we’re targeting. There’s so much noise in the content space, it’s incredibly challenging for brands to stand out. I chase the burst of dopamine that comes from receiving feedback from real people who find our content useful, helpful and entertaining.

I’ve also had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best writers, illustrators, designers and marketers in Canada. I’m proud of the work we’ve produced and the fact that the business creates income for so many freelancers.

Tell us about your decision to become an entrepreneur.

I started my career in journalism at a time when newsrooms were toxic, “work-life balance” was a joke and jobs were never secure.

At one of my last staff gigs at a national magazine, a coworker and I realized that the ad sales team was leaning heavily on us to sell branded content packages. We were good at dealing with clients and brimming with creative solutions for brand integrations.

It dawned on us that we could eliminate the middleman, so to speak, and connect brands directly with our network of writers, editors and designers who would approach their content with journalistic rigour. We also wanted to create an agency that would respect and generate income for the creatives who were being let go by the struggling publishing industry.

What’s it like being a mother and a business owner?

Something I don’t see discussed much is the intense decision fatigue that comes with running a business and a family. Everyone in my life comes to me for solutions right now, both at home and at work. I’m challenging myself to set stronger boundaries (my new catchphrase is “that sounds like a you problem”) and delegate decision making when I can.

On the plus side, I’m modelling leadership for my daughter. She knows “Mom’s the boss” at work and we often have conversations about what it takes to build a business and what it means to treat employees with respect.

What impact do you hope your work will have?

Tavanberg has generated a lot of income for freelance writers, researchers, editors, designers and other creatives, most of whom are women. Because of the fair rates we pay, our contributors have been able to do things like purchase their first home, afford a flexible schedule to care for their family and support passion projects. That’s been hugely rewarding for me.

I hope that Tavanberg has set a standard for the way freelancers are treated and paid in the content marketing industry, and that we're proving that investing in quality content makes a difference to consumers.

Any advice you’d like to share with other entrepreneurs?

Word of mouth has been the most effective way to win new business for Tavanberg. Investing a lot of time and money in marketing, attending conventions and cold pitching hasn’t ever landed me a new client. What has worked is maintaining and growing our existing network. Updating past clients on what we’re doing, connecting with other similar agencies, and meeting old colleagues for coffee is the way we generate work. The magic happens when a decision-maker thinks of you at the exact moment when they have budget to spend.

You’ve been a long-time member and supporter of Moms at Work. Why?

After becoming a mom, I got really tired of playing the game where we pretend that having kids doesn’t effect on our professional lives. I wanted to connect with other women who understood that of course it does. And that being a mom can actually be a career benefit. Being a Moms at Work member has helped me set boundaries in both my work and home life. The Collective has given me a space where I can be honest about who I am and where I’m at professionally and as a mother.

Allison Venditti

Career Coach, HR Expert, salary negotiation whisperer, pay transparency and equity advocate. Founder of Moms at Work, Canada's largest organization committed to helping women earn more money, land better jobs and build community. Allison was named The Globe and Mail Report on Business Top 50 Changemakers 2022, is a regular speaker and media expert with over 100 interviews in 2021.

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