RepEquity® Blog: Digital Brand Management Distilled

The Developer’s Journey

The pathways to technology careers seem to be all the same: you loved video games and computers as a child; you went to school for computer science, engineering, or math; you build apps, games, websites, and languages in your spare time; and you generally are amazing at all things computers!

Sound intimidating? It was for me!

Fortunately, the truth is that the paths to tech careers are far more diverse than you might expect. I am one of RepEquity’s front end web developers and am a self-taught programmer, with a social science degree, math skills that would terrify your middle school math teacher, and no background in technology whatsoever. In fact, many developers on our team come from non-tech backgrounds. Our Director of Technology was a librarian, we have a developer with a law degree, our staff is full of boot camp grads, and we even have our resident punk rock artist who can make a wordpress site in his sleep.

There are multiple paths to becoming a developer, and with the rise of tech jobs, boot camps, and online tutorials, a door has opened for a whole new type of programmer. This was the subject of our event “The Developer’s Journey” hosted as a part of DC Fem Tech’s Tour De Code. The event facilitated discussion amongst tech enthusiasts of ALL levels – HTML beginners to those with 20+ years in the field. It was an inspiring evening full of great stories, questions, and lessons learned.

If you missed it, that’s okay. We’d love to share the top 5 lessons we learned that evening, in the hopes that it can help developers everywhere – no matter their experience level.

You will be learning forever – and if you’re not – you’re doing it wrong


It may seem like tech wizards have all the answers. But here’s the secret: There is always a new language, framework, cool design, or hip layout. While this means you’re constantly learning, it also means you can be teaching people who have been in the field WAY longer than you have! It’s easy to fall into the trap of imposter’s syndrome but just remember that no one has all the answers, regardless of how many years you’ve coded. What’s great about tech is that it’s always changing, and the programmers that make the best products are the ones with the humility to be continually learning.

No matter what your level is, you have something to teach


Okay, so maybe you’ve struggled with [enter current tech challenge/new library/complicated install process]. I mean, who hasn’t?
But do you know how to do a git push? How to make a basic HTML page and give it colors? Do you know what an anchor tag is? Then you can teach the next generation of programmers – especially those coming from self-learning.

Your community is your biggest resource!


Despite the harsh reputation, there are many programmers out there that are always willing to teach, learn, and collaborate. Sure, there’s always the one jerk who tries to spoil it all, but the best advice I can give to programmers that are just starting up – especially women and those not usually included in tech – is to ignore the haters and keep asking questions!

If you need some help finding a community, there are some great organizations out there to start with, such as DC Fem Tech, DC Tech Meetup, Code for DC, and many others! If you’re not in the DC area, then check out your local boot camp or search for meet-ups. The best way to learn programming is to do it in a supportive group!

Programming is fun! … and programming is terrible.


Programming is a blast. You get to be master of the internet! Make websites only of cat gifs! Solve complex societal issues with your massive intellect! You bow to no man! And then… there are email templates, antiquated platforms, tight timelines that make you want to pull your hair out.

You’ve got to love tech to get through the hard stuff. There will be days (okay, weeks) where you are stuck on that one problem that will just not work. But, that feeling you get when you finally fix it? When you’ve figured out how to make it work?

There’s no better feeling in the world.

We have the chance to shape the field the way we want


There is an overwhelming need for tech workers right now, and we all know that things aren’t changing anytime soon. The up-and-coming tech noobs will, in short time, be a solid part of the tech workforce.

We have the chance to shape an industry to be the kind of place we want to work in. With so much demand for jobs, we have the ability to tell employers who ask you to work 80 hours a week, brogrammer shops, or companies who do not actively encourage women, people of color, or the LGBTQ communities, to “git lost!” That is a pretty powerful feeling.

Treat Yo Self to a Halloween T-Shirt Jam

Happy Halloween! For the spookiest night of the year RepEquity is giving away a free downloadable stencil kit. Don’t have a Halloween costume yet? Still carving away at pumpkins? Or… just generally into awesome iconography? Look no further.

Download RepEquity’s Halloween T-Shirt Jam: Treat Yo Self!

These modular stencils were created by our designer Liviu Alvasiloiei and tested by the whole RepEquity team. We’ve included steps in the kit itself, but are happy to help demonstrate the steps here, with additional lessons learned.

What you’ll need:

  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Regular printer paper
  • Scissors or a box cutter
  • A light-colored piece of clothing
  • Fabric spray paint or acrylic paint
  • Double-sided tape

Step 1: Find a light colored t-shirt


Light colored clothing will best show the spray paint. You’ll also want to make sure to carefully pre-plan before you start spraying. (Ping pong paddles for scale, not stenciling!)

Step 2: Cut out the stencils


We printed our stencils on heavier paper, but regular printer paper will work, too. To cut out the stencils you can use a box-cutter or a pair of scissors – just be careful not to cut yourself!

Step 3: Place insert inside your t-shirt


Put a piece of cardboard inside your shirt to prevent seepage to the other side. Clipping the shirt to the insert will prevent it from moving. Make sure your stencil fits on the insert!

Step 4: Place your stencil on the t-shirt


Securing the stencil with double-sided table will keep the stencil from moving and make sure the lines of your image are sharp.

Step 5: Cover the rest of the t-shirt with a paper guard


For best results, you can tape the paper guard to the stencils. If you’d rather not, you can get someone to hold down the paper guard – as long as they’re okay with getting some paint on their fingers!

Step 6: Let the paint dry for 5-10 minutes


And there you have it! Let your paint dry for 5 to 10 minutes and move on to your second stencil of a spooky face.

While we used our stencils on t-shirts, it’s definitely a tool that can be used to create designs on many objects. For example, why not use the stencil to outline a scary face for your jack-o-lantern? The possibilities are endless!

However, we’ll leave you with one last tip: make sure your room is well-ventilated! The spray paint fumes can make people a little loopy…



RepEquity Named One of the District’s Great Places to Work


We’re thrilled that Washingtonian included RepEquity in its 2015 list for Great Places to Work. At RepEquity, we embrace the perks of contemporary office life, including a creative open floor plan, a fully stocked kitchen, a break room with ping pong and darts, and a drink cart that makes the rounds on Friday afternoons. But that alone doesn’t explain why we have a core group of staff members that have been here since the company started and we’re still one of the fastest growing companies in the DC area. So, what’s our secret? There isn’t just one.


Our team is a diverse, passionate group of professionals that work hard, play hard, and embrace challenges with an energy and grace that’s hard to beat. And when we say diverse, we mean it in every sense of the word: race, religion, political views, you name it. Our teammates speak more than 15 languages and hail from all regions of the globe (much like our clientele).

The diversity in our office makes RepEquity a wonderful place to work in many ways, but the most rewarding is the knowledge that we work for a company that celebrates us for who we are – whoever that may be. PepsiCo exec Brad Jakeman may have said it best: “Innovation and disruption does not come from homogeneous groups of people.” At RepEquity, we pay homage to that fact in the way that we’ve staffed our company.


The people that we hire succeed at RepEquity because of a passion for the work that we do, not just the number of years they’ve spent in the industry. While many of our staff members have worked for some of the biggest agencies and brands out there, a great number of our team members are self-taught and came to RepEquity because they love the work – be it tech, design, content, or SEO.

creativityThat isn’t to say that we work all the time; on the contrary, RepEquity leadership knows that the most talented, driven employees are ones that have a well-rounded life outside of work. We’ve got musicians, artists, writers, gamers, foodies, yoga instructors, and runners on staff that have plenty of life to live after their 40 billable hours per week. That’s a rare luxury in the agency world, but one that our CEO, Tripp Donnelly, will never let go.


In keeping with our internal culture, RepEquity and our team members stay plugged into the local community. While we often host events in our own office, such as career-building conversations with rising freshmen at American University, Women Who Code’s Front End Hack Night, or our most recent event, The Developer’s Journey, our staff also takes their expertise outside the office.

On our staff is the Board President of the DC Chapter of Society for Marketing Professional Services, Katie Garrett, and the President of Washington Women in PR, Avelyn Austin. In addition, many staff members, like our Vice President of Technology & Engineering, Tedi Konda, or our Associate Developer, Jessica Bell, stay active in the community by teaching and mentoring after hours. Some of us are even celebrity bowlers — but you’d have to ask Tripp about that.


Finally, and most importantly, RepEquity is an amazing place to work because of the team mentality. Everyone at RepEquity embraces the idea of continual learning, and internal trainings are common. Whether it’s for Google Adwords certifications or a general primer from the SEO team on the more technical aspects of their job, staff members are encouraged to cross-pollinate ideas and learn across departments. This ethos thrives so well at RepEquity because of our culture of humility, curiosity, and pursuit of excellence. From upper management to our most junior associates, RepEquity staff members are always eager to ponder a new challenge and embrace a promising solution no matter who raises the idea.

The RepEquity team sailing in Annapolis for the Blue Angels show.

It’s precisely because of this culture that RepEquity staff members are best able to serve our clients with relentless energy and drive. We cultivate the environment that makes it possible for people to think up big ideas and act on them. So when Tripp tells us that we are “a lean, precision instrument,” he’s absolutely right – and our clients can attest to that.

If you’re interested in joining the RepEquity team, drop us a line. We’re hiring.

RepEquity & Google Team Up To Host A Digital Happy Hour

digital happy hour

Last week, RepEquity and Google co-hosted their inaugural Digital Happy Hour at the Washington, DC Google office. The event was held for RepEquity clients and kicked off with a panel of four Google experts who offered insight into the latest Google products and targeting strategies. We followed the educational panel with some tasty hors d’oeuvres and drinks in the stunning Google offices.

Welcome to Digital Happy Hour

We had over 50 clients RSVP. It was great to introduce our old and new clients to each other and the rest of the RE team!

Google’s dynamic speakers covered topics such as how search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) work together to make the most of a brand’s real estate, combat negative PR, and promote desired content. They also discussed how to tell great stories and build stronger relationships through advocacy campaigns, micro-moments, and YouTube video advertising.

Google AE Steve Lerch

A shot of one of our speakers, Google Account Executive Steve Lerch, as he takes us through Google’s “Micro Moments.”

Everyone agreed that our inaugural Digital Happy Hour was a big success. Our clients who attended left the event with new ideas and a fresh appreciation for Google’s online advertising tools (and maybe a little rooftop deck envy!).

We look forward to hosting many more of these events in the future. Want an invite? Sign up here.

SEO vs… the Pope?


Photo credit to Digital District

Those of us who live in the SEO world face a constant stream of challenges and obstacles: daily Google algorithm updates, third-party content out of our control, competitors coming at us from all angles. But competing against the Pope? That was a new one.

On September 23 – smack dab in the middle of Pope Francis mania here in DC – I hosted an SEO webinar through Digital District. And, thanks to the city shutting down to accommodate the pontiff, I was able to do so from the comfort of my own home and my own sweatpants. To be clear, I was just as sucked into the pomp and circumstance as the rest of the country. But I took a 45 minute break from Francis coverage to speak to an audience that, well, might have been paying attention.

As I moved through a whirlwind tour of SEO basics, tools for intermediates, and tactics for experts, the expected questions did begin to come in. And so, as a follow up to that blessed webinar, I give you answers to those questions:

  1. What’s the best source of SEO news and updates to keep up with?

    I’d say the most regularly referenced sources we use here at RepEquity are (formerly,, and (some of us may or may not have contributed to that last one). In addition to being a great source of news and invaluable tools, also hosts events around the country that are considered the industry’s gold standard. And SearchEngineLand delivers a must-read daily newsletter that keeps us all up to speed.
  1. What is the best way to utilize and build SEO for personal search results?

    This was a great question that I was able to address towards the tail end of the presentation, but, to recap: There is a lot you can do yourself to begin taking control of your own personal brand. Active social media accounts are an obvious first step; it can be very useful to look beyond the big fish – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – and make sure you’ve claimed a profile on some of the second-tier networks like Quora,, Slideshare, and LookUpPage. Also consider grabbing your own domain name and using it as a brand platform. And don’t forget about optimizing image results – adding some properly tagged photos to Google+ and Flickr will help ensure you control that content as well.
  1. How long does it take to see results from SEO?

    The pursuit of SEO does require patience. The answer to this question will invariably depend on what keywords we’re talking about, and what kind of foundation we’re building off of, but we typically try to set expectations by explaining that the work we do takes some time to filter back to Google and impact the results. This means anywhere from 1-3 months to see movement, 4-6 months for those changes to begin trending powerfully, and 6+ months to ensure your work takes hold.
  1. And, what to do with broken links? 

    So true, Allie. Broken links of all shapes and sizes – internal, inbound, and outbound – can influence your SEO efforts. Internal and/or outbound broken links send a signal that your site is not being maintained regularly, and busted inbound links represent lost opportunities. We use various site crawling tools (Screaming Frog, for example) to run audits at least once a month to check for these issues. At the very least, we can automate that part of the process.

  1. For good measure, a bonus question: what are some of the best SEO tools?

    I’ve mentioned (for website metrics and keyword difficulty scores) and Screaming Frog (site audits). Other tools we rely on include AuthorityLabs (tracking SERPs), Ahrefs (backlinks), and SEMRush (competitor research).

Thanks again to Digital District for organizing and hosting the webinar. Let’s do it again when the Dalai Lama comes to town.

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