Genuine interaction is the best thing with Kirsten Oliphant, Create If Writing

Kirsten Oliphant is a writer with a Master’s degree in fiction and has been blogging for ten years. In 2015 she launched the Create If Writing podcast for writers and bloggers who want to build an online platform…without being smarmy. She is an email marketing nerd and is the author of Email Lists Made Easy for Writers & Bloggers. She is a mom to four (soon to be five!) kids ages 8 and under and lives with her youth pastor husband just outside Houston.

Genuine interaction is the best thing with @kikimojo #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Big Takeaways

  • She’s a writer and a blogger and understands both world and talks about things you need to know to connect with your perfect audience.
  • She follows her own curiosity
  • With your blog ask yourself: What is your WHY? Who is the audience you want to reach?
  • She gets excited about connecting with her bloggers and readers.
  • Look at who your audience ACTUALLY is.
  • Be intentional with what you do and realize the cost of what you do!
  • Niching down may be best practice but if you REALLY don’t want to, then don’t but realize the cost!
  • Get out of share groups and go where your ideal audience is!
  • Look at what is already working for you and do more of it.
  • SECRET: There are great groups that are NOT blogger groups!
  • Don’t get stuck in the blogging bubble.
  • There’s not enough disclosure in affiliate programs.
  • Think about: Where do I want to put my energy?
  • You will learn as you go and improve. There’s no overnight success.

Kirsten Oliphant

Genuine interaction is the best thing you can do.

Links Mentioned in this Episode

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Make the Ask with Katie Proctor

Katie is a registered dietitian, brand marketing strategist and highly sought after mentor to those looking to turn their passion for wellness into a career they love. She has always been passionate about helping aspiring RD’s and is one of the co-founders of All Access Internships, an outstanding resource and coaching destination for students looking to get matched to dietetic internships. Previous work experience includes branding, marketing and communications roles at a global PR agency, Fortune 500 company and natural foods start-up. In addition to her health coaching and marketing strategy businesses, she is also the Brand Manager for HealthyGlow.Co, a community and resource that encourages women to improve their relationship with their bodies and find joy in food and fitness again.

Make the Ask with @elevatewithkatie #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Big Takeaways:

  • In August Katie took the leap to leave her full time job.
  • If your five year plan doesn’t work out, that is OKAY.
  • Katie took her experience she had from her previous jobs and turned it into a job…even though at first she wasn’t sure what it looked like.
  • Her work came from making the ASK and asking people what they needed help with!
  • Each one of my corporate jobs taught Katie what she did like and what she didn’t like in a job.
  • Make the ASK. If you ask for what you need and for what you want, and you don’t get it, you’re not worse off than you were before. If you ask and you DO get the answers you’re looking for you’re better for it.
  • Be willing to put yourself out there and make connections!
  • ACTION + PATIENCE are KEY!
  • Don’t assume you know what your community wants!
  • Connect with your community! Meet them where you are.
  • Don’t be afraid to do things that you’re never going to get again.
  • Don’t wait for someone else to validate your success to make a move.

katie proctor

 

Links Mentioned in the Episode:

Connect with Katie:

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Facilitating Those LIGHT BULB Moments with Nikki Elledge Brown, The Naptime Empires ™

Nikki Elledge Brown is known online as The Communication Stylist® and creator of A Course About Copy®. She’s a proud military spouse, mom, former park ranger and college professor who built a multi-six-figure business in under 18 months by helping thousands of entrepreneurs communicate with clarity and confidence.

*Note from Nicole: This is one of my most favorite podcast episodes ever. Nikki is the REAL DEAL. This episode is filled with tons of business gold + you’ll hear about Nikki’s new podcast, which I know you’ll LOVE!

Big Takeaways:

  • Nikki studied Social science of communication – how and why we communicate the way we do.
  • Before she started her business Nikki was teaching.
  • She loves facilitating those LIGHT BULB moments and helping people feel more confident.
  • Divine breadcrumbs: Always leading and pointing us to our path and true zone of genius and true mission in the world.
  • Nikki worked as a park ranger and started by volunteering and facilitating courses online.
  • Nikki felt a calling to share her gifts in a bigger way.
  • One step at a time she started helping entrepreneurs communicate more effectively.
  • Nikki got started by offering free sessions
  • You build a business through real genuine connections with people
  • From doing 1:1 calls Nikki took the themes + patterns that her clients needed help with and created a course around that!
  • Nikki VALUED her time and clearly communicated her value + laid out what they could expect. From her free sessions she had confidence, clarity and raving testimonials.
3 keys to business success with @nikkielledge #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

how to write great copy

Business Success Boils Down To:

  1. Know your value
  2. Know who needs it
  3. Communicate your value to the people who need it in a smart authentic way.

I love facilitating those lightbulb moments. I love helping people get more confident and comfortable.

Questions Nikki asked when figuring out her business:

  • What are ways people are sharing their messages
  • How are people adding value
  • How are people building a platform
  • ONE STEP AT A TIME

How do you write copy that sells?

  • Present information in a way that makes sense
  • Make it easy for them to see they want to do business with you.
  • You have to find the RIGHT people.
  • Sharing your value + communicating your value to the people who need it in a smart, authentic way.
  • Meeting me where I am (start a copy bank) pay attention to what your ideal customers are SAYING – use the words that they’re using!
  • It’s your job to help them hear you before they hire you.

At the top of any page – to get their attention, the magic words are THEIR words. When people feel heard and think “how did you know that” they’re going to start paying attention and think wow she knows me.  It doesn’t have to be hard, but whatever language they’re using, is what you should use.  Let them know you’re listening to THEM.

Basic copy tips:

  • Use contractions!
  • Take the BFF test. Would they roll their eyes and say “this is something you would never say?”
  • If you wouldn’t say it outloud – don’t say it in your copy!
  • Don’t have NEWS ANCHOR voice!
  • It’s cool to be who you are. Being who you are is what is going to draw in the right people!
  • Make it representative of you and what they’re going to get!
  • They want to know YOU.
  • It takes time – give yourself grace. It will evolve.
  • Be you ON PURPOSE!

Check out Nikki’s Podcast The Naptime Empires: refreshingly honest conversations on the realities of parenthood + entrepreneurship.

Links in this episode:

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Figure Out What Works for You in Your Life with Nancy Kalish, Pure Genius

As a former health journalist and certified Health Coach, Nancy Kalish knew she should only eat healthy food. Nancy turned her Brooklyn kitchen into a mad cooking laboratory. Her objective was to make the most incredibly tasting healthy treats ever. One year and a lot of dirty pans later, she succeeded with Pure Genius! *Note: Pure Genius recently changed their name to Rule Breaker!

I don't do things that don't work for me right now @bearulebreaker #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Big takeaways:

  • Nancy jumped in not knowing ANYTHING about the food industry. She joined Expo East and went down without even any products and was a big hit.
  • It took a lot of trial and error to get the recipe right AND to make sure her products lasted on the shelf without molding.
  • Small food companies work had to bring you quality products without artificial ingredients.
  • Entrepreneurs have highs and lows! Nancy’s first Whole Foods order arrived spoiled and she had to go to each store and pull the product from the shelves.
  • Stand up for your brand and your business.
  • Check your trademarks before you build a business!
  • Pure Genius won an award in Sept 2016 for best new sweet at Expo East!
  • Nancy has figured out what works for her right now in her life…like giving up cooking elaborate dinners!
  • Rule Breaker is really committed to not only healthy stuff, but healthy stuff that tastes great!

nancy palish

Links Mentioned in the Episode:

Podcasting is the New Networking with Katie Dalebout

Katie Dalebout is a writer, workshop host, yoga teacher and podcast host. She explores creativity and has a gateway to developing a positive body image and true holistic wellness. She’s a contributor to Refinery 29, Mind Body Green and her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Yahoo Healthy and the Daily Mail. Her first book was published with Hay House in April 2016 and is a collection of journaling tools to help people find self acceptance beyond their physicality.

You can’t go somewhere else if u don’t know where u are @katiedalebout blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Takeaways from the episode:

  • Started podcasting in 2013
  • Podcasts are becoming what blogs were 10 years ago.
  • Put yourself out there, anybody can podcast. Podcasting creates community.
  • With podcasting you’re really yourself and creates an intimate relationship.
  • As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to figure it out.
  • You have to have the creative idea AND take ACTION. When it gets hard, ask for help or push yourself to figure it out.
  • Celebrate your wins, even on days where you don’t get a lot done.
  • Spent a summer journaling and it brought relief and was cathartic to Katie.
  • Journaling allows you to be free and not be judged. You can sort through what’s true, what’s a limiting belief and bring you self awareness. Self awareness is key to growth, development and improving.

You can’t go somewhere else if you don’t know where you are. Katie Dalebout

 

katie-dalebout

To get started with journaling:

  • Ask yourself – how are you feeling right now? Deal with your stuff while you’re in it. 
  • Accept how you’re feeling right now and process it. 
  • Get honest, knowing that no one else is going to read it. It’s exclusively for you.
  • Allow yourself to FEEL so you can release it and move on with your life. 
  • It’s not always pretty and it doesn’t always feel good.

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Don’t be afraid to ask with Lee + Monique, Healthy Glow Collective

Today’s interview is with Monique from Ambitious Kitchen and Lee from Fit Foodie Finds. They have just started the Healthy Glow Collective. Their mission is to help you develop a trusting relationship with your body, find joy in food and fitness, break free from guilt or restriction and connect with like-minded women over shared experiences. To them, it’s all about balance.

Don't be afraid to ask with @fitfoodiefinds @ambitiouskitch @blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Takeaways from the episode:

  • Lee + Monique started working together with their free summer sweat series.
  • Together Lee + Monique have a very engaged community and they figured out what makes them extremely unique. They knew their unique selling point.
  • They asked their community what resonated with them and used that to come up with the Healthy Glow Guide.
  • They took all of their audience’s feedback and put it into a guide.
  • Bring your life and yourself into your posts. Make yourself a human and not perfect all of the time.

healthy-glow-collective

Links mentioned in the episode:

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Ways to Improve Your Instagram with Leah Goldglantz, Leah’s Plate

Leah started her blog in February 2015. Real food is a passion of hers and she loves to share it with others. Leah lives in South Florida with her husband and daughter.

Tell everyone a little bit about you with Leah’s Plate.

I am a full time stay at home mom. My daughter is almost a year old and I got into blogging, but for the first 6 months it was a hobby for me. Six months later I started taking it seriously and making it my full time career!  

Ways to grow and improve your instagram with @leahsplate #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

What came first, your instagram account or your blog?

I actually started that around the same time. I have always been really intrigued by Instagram. I always scroll through my feed every single day and I just genuinely love seeing what food people were making. It was such an inspiration. I was trying to live healthy and get ideas. I started my Instagram probably in the same month that I started blogging.

I use Instagram really as a place to just document my daily food. Whenever there’s a new blog post I put that on my Instagram.

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What was the best thing that you did to grow your blog and your Instagram account?

The food summit last year really helped answer a lot of questions. With my blog, I just didn’t know really what to do.  I didn’t even know who to go to, to ask questions that I had. I had questions about promoting blog posts on Pinterest. I didn’t even know who to ask! It started with the Food summit, really just saying okay this is who I go to about Pinterest.  This is who I go to about specific blog design questions. I connected with a lot of people through the summer from the summit and Ia ctually reached out to those people.

I scheduled consultations with them and went to the with questions about blogging  professionally. I figured out how to manage every part of this business from the blog to Pinterest to social media and Instagram.  Rachel Mansfield was a big inspiration and I listened to her story during the food summit. I listened to her advice, and did what she said during her class. Since then I’ve really seen it grow a lot.

With Instagram, being consistent and posting two to three times a day has helped a lot. Just be consistent with whatever it is you’re doing, is the biggest thing. Interacting and engaging with the community is huge. I try to comment on other people’s photos that I genuinely like with genuine comments. I also try to respond to the comments on my own account. It’s not always easy, but when I have time I really do try to respond.

Nicole’s Note:  My whole goal with the Food Entrepreneur Summit is to really build a community and develop relationships. I want to show you and bloggers and the speakers that that we should come together and rely on each other. It can be a lonely place and it can be confusing to say where do I go to find out more information or who do I go to to find out more information about Pinterest or Instagram.

With the changes with Instagram, how have you stayed relevant and engaged in people’s feed?

I did a lot of trial and error. I used to always post my breakfast at 9 a.m. but my engagement wasn’t what it used to be, so I tried posting at 9:30 or 8:00. I would just try different times and then at the end of the day I would check in on my likes and comments.

I found no matter what time in the morning I posted, my afternoon posts always get more engagement. I always like my breakfast post the best, but it’s just figuring out what time you got the most engagement, especially if I have a blog post I want to share and share then.

I’m sure to share at that time of my highest engagement because I really want to get the traffic back to my blog. Personally I just know that all my posts around 12:30-1:00, get more likes and comments than the one in the morning.  

Do you have tips for improving your account?

  • Play with different background and find one you like. Leah uses a marble cheese board from Crate and Barrel.
  • Be consistent with your theme. It’s nice when I’m scrolling through my feed and I know whos picture it is, just by looking at it.
  • Invest time in the community. (be genuine!!)
  • Post at least once a day.

If you do something you love, it will never feel like work.

What made you sign up for the Food Summit?

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I was kind of clueless and I thought that this summit could be really helpful. I saw some of the speakers and they were people that I’ve been reading their blogs for years. They are people that are so inspiring to me and I wanted to hear their stories, how they got into this and how are they successful. It made me think, this totally could be me one day. Also being able to go into the group and ask a question I had was huge.

Find Leah!

Nicole’s Note: The biggest thing is you don’t have to do it alone. There are support systems and there are groups so take the time to learn and invest in yourself so you can make it a business and take yourself and your blog seriously.

To sign up for the Food Summit, click below!

To see some of your favorite bloggers who are coming click here!

To hear about the progress Dana Harrison has made since the last summit, click here! 

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Make Blogger Connections for Growth with Lindsay Freedman, The Toasted Pine Nut

Lindsay Friedman likes to make healthy low carb gluten free and most importantly delicious food. She blogs all about it on the TheToastedPineNut.com. She lives in California with her husband and two kids who have endless energy.

Tell everyone a little bit about you and what you do with The Toasted Pine Nut.

I am a healthy food blogger. I make it and develop recipes that are low carb and gluten free and sometimes Paleo. I take pictures about them and I write about them on my blog and they share them with people.

Click here to listen to the Blissful Bites Podcast in iTunes

Make blogging friends in order to grow with @toastedpinenut #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

How did you actually get into blogging?

I had a couple of blogs that I love to read and that was something I always wanted to do. After my second son was born he was about six months old and I kind of had like a now or never moment. I said, if I don’t do it now I’ll probably just continue along my my path.  I actually went to law school and was planning on being a lawyer, so I was probably going to go in that direction. I figured, let me just give it a shot and see how it goes.

How do you juggle work and being a mom?

I’m still everyday looking for that balance. I don’t have it all figured out.

How did your husband play into your blogging journey?

A year after we got married, my husband was having these like really weird unexpected symptoms, drinking a lot of water and losing weight. He was in medical school at the time and he’s said “I think I have diabetes”. I said, that is bizarre.You do not have diabetes.  

Eventually just went into school one day and had somebody check his blood sugar and he was ended up being hospitalized for diabetes. It was totally life changing for us because in order to help maintain his blood blood glucose levels it’s recommended that you use stay on a low carb diet.

I really had no concept at that time. I was a big pasta and bagel kind of gal. I was struggling and having a really hard time finding a resource that could give me reliable reliable low carb recipes that weren’t keto. I wanted like a healthy low carb alternative.

I was really struggling with that and I started cooking and learning more about how to cook for him.  Eventually I decided to go to be a resource for somebody that wants to cook a low carb, healthy, diet.  I try to be that resource for people.

Did you always intend on niching down?

I started out very narrow and it was my intention was always to be a diabetic friendly food blog. I realized once I kind of put myself out there was that people that aren’t necessarily diabetic or cooking for diabetics like the food that I make. So I’ve kind of brought it up a bit and I realized that a lot of my food is also gluten free and paleo. People who are paleo or who have intolerances find their way to my blog also.

How did you get started making money off your blog or making money with brands?

I tell people to put yourself out there and send out e-mails because you’ll never know if brands want to work with you until you put yourself on their radar. I just shoot out e-mails to brands or you could reach out reach to them through social media.

How did you get started with video?

The first step is trying to figure out the whole aerial view. You know like having your camera up to shoot your hands and shoot straight down because if you have a normal tripod it doesn’t really work. My first step was just looking on YouTube, just typing in like how the heck do I do this?

What is your best piece of advice for a blogger who is just getting into this food blogger space?

Find blogging friends that will support you!

Find Lindsay!

Creating Your Brand Identity for Your Blog with Jen Orcutt

Jen is a brand designer and consultant for a passionate soulful entrepreneurs at White Brick Design Studio. When it comes to design, Jen believes that the key to success is infusing her client’s unique vision and style in to every element of the brand.

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • How to find your brand identity
    • How to get to know your brand and what works for you
    • The importance of having a beautiful and functional website

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Jen Orcutt

How to Create Your Brand Identity @_passiondesign #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Tell the listeners about you and what you do.
I am a brand stylist and web designer. Typically, I work with female entrepreneurs, in general but recently I’ve really been working a lot one-on-one with food bloggers specifically. I help them uncover how they want their brand to be showcase to the world, how they can really tapped into their own individual values and how they want their brand to be conveyed and then how we can integrate that into a design that really helps them shine and helps their mission and their vision come to life which is a lot of fun.

You used the word brand identity a lot on your website, can you just break down exactly what that even means?

Brand identity to me, how I define it, is how someone feels when they see your brand. When they see your logo or when they go to your website, how that makes them feel; that is going to be the identity that you create for yourself and for your business.

It’s important to have one because especially as a food blogger, the industry tends to be a little bit saturated. There are a lot of food bloggers, so creating a strong brand identity that is really unique to who you are is so important in terms of separating yourself from others in the industry.

A brand identity, in terms of what it would actually include, is a logo and a color palette and font pairings and really all the different facets of what your brand looks like combining all of those in a way that only you have and only matches with your unique style.

How do you think people can just get started with creating a brand identity if they are trying to do it on their own?

If you want to get started on your own, the first thing you want to do is just browse Pinterest. Pinterest is such a great tool for discovering inspiration, different colors you like, different textures, fonts. Let’s say you tend to be drawn to teals, looking up on pinterest teal colored palettes and just getting a feel for different colors that really speak to you and really resonate with you.

Currently, I’m working on something and I’m going to be launching customize branding kits. What I am doing is I’m building an entire personality quiz that you can take and then based on your results, I’ll send you a branding kit that mimics the results. But in the meantime, definitely browsing Pinterest, getting a feel for colors, fonts, logos that you like, looking at other websites, how they are doing it and then from a design perspective, if you have Photoshop, playing around with that Photoshop is really valuable resource to have even if you are not a designer.

Just, in general, if you are going to be creating your own graphics. I know Canva is another really great resource that’s a free resource if you don’t have Photoshop. But just playing around and really taping into who you are and what appeals to you and the message that you want to convey to your readers.

Where do you think the process starts for knowing your brand a hundred percent and then figuring out your brand identity?

My best advice would be to really get a feel for what your readers respond most to and you can do that just by going through the comments or by sending out questionnaire or survey and just getting a feel for what they really like about your blog and your brand. Engage with them because they are going to be the people that invest or follow your brand, so you want to make sure that it is speaking directly to them.

Surveys are a great way of doing that, contacting them if you have an e-mail list just sending out a quick little e-mail with asking for them to respond. From a design perspective again, if you haven’t established a strong sense of self within your brand, if you’re just going through the motion in order to put out posts and to keep up with the more popular bloggers, then that’s not going to do you any service. I think, number one, you need to be blogging for yourself and uncovering your own identity.

What do you look for most in an effective website and how can you make it more professional and functional?

There are few different things that I recommend to bloggers to really want to separate themselves from a blogger and really transition into a business owner. There’s a big difference there. And you can be a business owner as a blogger however there’s a difference between identifying yourself as just a blogger.

In terms of design, some main things that you want that will really help you become more professional is a landing page. When people click on your website URL taking them to a homepage rather than directly to your blog page. This makes a huge difference because it really allows you to showcase everything that you want your brand to be represented by on that homepage. Some common things that you might want to include in your homepage are an e-mail subscription box.

Let’s say your three most recent or most popular posts, if you have any kind of free incentive that you are offering, you want to plug that up there, your logo, naturally it’s going to be on every page of your website. Just being intentional about where you want your visitors to go when they visit your website.

If you have services that you provide, you want to make sure that there is a big button that links to your service page and any navigation buttons that will link to your most important pages on your site. Showcasing that and strategizing that on your homepage really allows you to dictate where new readers or followers will go and also just from a design standpoint it just looks more professional to have a homepage rather than going directly to your blog page. If you go directly to the blog page that is going to be what your known for, just a blogger.

Even if you do is just blog, there are still other ways that you can market yourself with your homepage to just make it seem more credible. Another thing, getting rid of ads on your site can be really effective because ads tends to slow down your site a lot and it makes it the loading time a lot slower and also the amount of money that typically bloggers make through ads I don’t think is worth the effect that they have on the aesthetic of your site. I think that there are many more ways to make money such as creating a source of passive income like an e-book or an e-course and selling something that you actually created rather than the ads.

Another thing I see often times is on the sidebar, they can get a little messy and have a lot of widgets and features that aren’t necessary. So, if you have the categories, drop downs and then archive’s drop down and then a popular post drop down which is all tends to be redundant, maybe getting rid of one of those categories are great to have but you don’t need all three.

If you have a bunch of sponsorship buttons or badges that aren’t necessarily promoting you in any way or doing anything for you, getting rid of those perhaps. The main thing you want on your sidebar are a main head shot or a photo of you with a brief bio, your social media icons, a sign up subscription box for your e-mail list or your Feedly accounts, any kind of free offering that your providing or any e-books or source of passive income that you are providing, an ad for that, and then a category’s drop down and that’s really the main features that you should have on your site. Other than that everything should be supporting you in some way. If it’s not then I don’t think that its necessary.

Creating your brand identity

What tips do you have for marketing yourself?

The first thing I always tell myself when I’m marketing myself is doing it in a way that makes it customer based rather than me based. That means that marketing yourself in a way that you really showing that you want to help the customer and the consumer, you are not doing this for yourself you’re doing it for them. I’ll always say note the difference in these two marketing pitches. No one would say, “Buy this e-book from me,” or say “I created this e-book to help you…”

Making it focused on the client and how you created this for them rather than for yourself which is what you ultimately did and marketing yourself in that way will make clients or customers feel a lot more comfortable and a lot more willing to invest in you. It’s just one of those things that you have to just do and trust that you have to do it and not get so caught up in your head and just kind of go through the motions of it.

Is there any last tip you want to share maybe something that you think is an absolute must have for your blog?
If your purpose is to get more followers which tends to be for bloggers, I think the best thing that you should have in your website is some kind of free incentive, free opt in and then marketing that very high up on your homepage. Having a newsletter subscription box with some kind of marketing copy for your free incentive and then having people sign up directly that I think is really important to get more followers and if you are having trouble of thinking something especially if you’re a food blogger you could do a meal plan guide or a grocery list guide even tips for food photography if you want to be speaking to other food bloggers. Just having some kind of one page free PDF, it doesn’t have to be anything crazy.

Tell everyone where they can find you.
You can find me at WhiteBrickDesignStudio.com and that’s where you will be able to navigate all my design services. You can find me in screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-9-36-43-amInstagram too @whitebrickdesignstudio.

Jen is a brand designer and consultant for a passionate soulful entrepreneurs at White Brick Design Studio. When it comes to design, Jen believes that the key to success is infusing her client’s unique vision and style in to every element of the brand.

Find Jen!

How to Successfully Work with Brands with Jenny Melrose

Jenny is a former inner city school district reading specialist that retired from teaching after replacing her teaching income with her blogging income from her lifestyle site the Melrose family. Jenny worked hard to set her site and influence apart so brands sought her out to work with her. She went from having empty editorial calendar to one that was full three months in advance and needing to turn down opportunities. As a former teacher, it’s her passion to teach bloggers how to do the same which is why she created jennymelrose.com a site for helping influencers and entrepreneurs to grow with their businesses.

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • How Jenny has built her business working with sponsored posts + brands
    • How to pitch yourself, highlighting your strengths
    • How she left her full time teaching job and replaced her income

How to Successfully Work with Brands @jennymelrose #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Click to listen and Subscribe to the Blissful Bites podcast in iTunes to listen to Jenny Melrose.

Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.

I started my blog about 5 years ago when my daughter was first born. Family wanted to know more about how she was growing and what was going on with her life that lived down south and from there I kind of got sucked into the whole blogging world and fell in love with it. I turned from a hobby blog to something where I was able to replace my teaching income and actually not get to miss out on all the little moments that I was missing out with my girls.

How did you actually take the leap to leave your full time teaching job?

My husband and I had always wanted to live down south but what was holding us back is as a New York’s teacher, I had a great salary. And it was hard to walk away from teaching that was so consistent and all of my family was from New York because that’s where we live. What ended up happening is my husband and I sat down and I was just not happy teaching anymore. It wasn’t the kids. I love my kids, I love my colleagues, education had just made a change with administration. So, we sat down and he said, “You can replace your teaching income in the next 6 months, you can put in your resignation and we’ll move. We’ll go down south, it’s not as expensive as in New York and we can see what happens with the blogging. You always have your teaching degree, if it comes down to it that you have to go back which, of course, made me cringe. He gave me 6 months and I fully need what I needed to do and we’ve been down south ever since.

What was the first thing you did to replace your income?

I started working with other bloggers. I’m big in networking. I like to be able to have that communications that you can figure out what strategies are working for them and what strategies could possibly apply to your site. I created those relationships and was able to start to figure out ways to build up my traffic and then as I was starting to get an engaged audience, I started reaching out to brands myself to start to want to do some sponsored content with them.

What were the things that were most effective in building your traffic?

It was definitely Pinterest for me.

What have you done to really build an engaged audience?

I’m very active in social media. I feel that social media gives me an opportunity to actually show different sides of me.

What do you think has been the most successful when approaching brands?

When I first started wanting to work with brands, I did go through the network. And I would use different networks that were out there and I always felt that I was getting kind of pigeon hold into these little idea, what worked, what the brand wanted. I couldn’t pitch my idea so that it was to my strength.

Now, when I reach out to a brand I have like a whole step by step process that I put together for myself so that its quicker and I can get it done but my initial e-mail, doesn’t overwhelm them. I kind of introduced myself quickly, I get in and I tell them that I like to send my media kit and my proposal and I go from there and if they don’t reply back, they don’t reply back but a lot of times because I’m giving them such a simple direction as whether or not I want to send my media kit and my proposal, does that work for you? They can just quickly reply yes, send it over and they’re good with that.

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Can you tell me a little bit more about playing up your strengths?

I hear so many bloggers say, “I don’t like doing these sponsored posts I get. The give me these guidelines and I don’t know what to do with them.” It’s kind of crazy but my most popular content are my sponsored posts because I get really creative and I try to think of ways that I can apply it to my readers and if I can’t figure out a way, I don’t work with that brand. I’m very particular who I choose to work with so if I can’t turn it, it’s not going to work for me.

When I mentioned about playing to my strengths so when I created a proposal I make sure that if I’m pitching someone about party planning, I’m probably not going to pitch Instagram for me. Instagram is just not one of my strengths when it comes to a DIY craft.

If its food, I’ll pitch then I’m going to put out something on Instagram because that’s what does better in my Instagram channel but I always pitch Snapchat because I’m comfortable, it’s simple, it’s easy, I’m good at it and I love it. The brand can tell when you’re engaged and loving what you are doing.

I definitely work with companies that I didn’t know how it was going to exactly fit in. In the beginning, I made some choices that just didn’t work and it was terrible on my site and I learned from that because that is what this is all about. As a teacher, I’m still a continuous student so I am always learning from my mishaps. Since I made that decision to stick with brands that I use constantly or can turn so that something that I would normally talk about on my site has made a difference on my readers.

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Let’s get into your 9-point pitch checklist. I know this is something you have on your site that you offer and I’m really interested to hear what this is all about.

My sole purpose is to teach bloggers to replace their incomes or how to make more of an income because I see so many bloggers struggling and I was there and its huge for me. The 9-point pitch checklist, the purpose of it is to give people kind of a skeleton of things that should be in your pitch. Like I said before about always saying that, “I’d like to give you or send over my media kit and a proposal that’s one of the points that is in the checklist. I give you everything from how to casually address some, to do an elevated pitch, all the way through to how to show them your influence. The pitch checklist is definitely something that my readers used that are bloggers to write their initial e-mail.

How can we get the 9-point pitch checklist?

If you go to jennymelrose.com there it is set up so you can get the checklist. You can do a 10 day pitch perfect challenge. I give a mini lesson each day for 10 days so it starts from who to reach out jenny-melrose-49-200x300to and gets them to actually have a finished e-mail to send off.

Jenny is a former inner city school district reading specialist that retired from teaching after replacing her teaching income with her blogging income from her lifestyle site the Melrose family. Jenny worked hard to set her site and influence apart so brands sought her out to work with her. She went from having empty editorial calendar to one that was full three months in advance and needing to turn down opportunities. As a former teacher, it’s her passion to teach bloggers how to do the same which is why she created jennymelrose.com a site for helping influencers and entrepreneurs to grow with their businesses.

Find Jenny:

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