This post is a continuation of last week’s “How We Got Started” post. This time, I’m going to talk more about marketing and upkeep.
If you’re reading this, then obviously you know I started a blog. I want to take a minute to talk about how I started it.
To have a blog, you have to have words. So I wrote things. In just a few months I wrote almost a year’s worth of content, so that I could guarantee myself that I’d have something to post. Not just something to post, but something to post consistently. I used Google Drive to write and sort out every single draft and idea.
Next I just started taking pictures. People don’t read this days, really. They like pictures, even though, to be quite honest here, I don’t even have that many pictures. This has basically just become a way for me let ideas out of my head.
Anyway, I’m no photographer, but I do have a point-and-shoot camera and an iPhone (which has a damn good camera- good job Apple). My mom also is the Yearbook teacher, so I have access to Photoshop, should I want to use it. I edited my pictures to make them look as “pleasing to the eye” as I could. There’s also this website called Canva that has great content-creation tools that I use to make the images for Pinterest.
While I was writing things, I created (and am still always tweaking) a free website on WordPress.com. I’m cheap, so I left “wordpress” in the domain at the start, but with some budgeting can be gone.
The next thing I did feels almost (almost, but not completely) ridiculous: I made an editorial calendar.
I can’t even believe I just said editorial calendar. I try to make this blog as jargon-free is possible (even the word “jargon” is just jargon for “bullshit”) but sometimes you’ve just got to use the fancy words. It can be fun sometimes.
An editorial calendar is basically a chart or a schedule of content: what the content is, when it’s supposed to be published, etc. There are all kinds of programs out there that will do this, but I just used Excel. I have columns for “week number,” “date,” “title,” and “category.” Then I scheduled it in WordPress and set an alarm on my phone to make sure I remembered to share the post after it was published.
Like every other blogger these days, I wanted an email list. As cliche as they are, I believe they can be effective if you do it right.
First thing I did was make a sign-up sheet. I sell my stuff in person at markets and such things, so the easiest way to get emails was to ask people to write them on a piece of paper.
Next I somewhat planned a schedule for these emails. By “plan a schedule” I mean I just thought about what day/time and how frequently I’d email.
Lastly, and most importantly, I planned a layout of the email. For one, I like to plan and structure things, and two, I wanted to establish some sort of backbone for the sake of consistency. Then, I just wrote out some drafts and ideas for what to say.
Created a Pinterest account
I wanted a Pinterest account so badly. I feel like a lot of business forget about Pinterest as a marketing platform. Given the nature of my posts (like how to print recipes on fabric), I felt like Pinterest was a great way to spread the blog around.
I just went on Pinterest, created a new business account (I wasn’t about to convert my personal one with its thousands and thousands of random-ass pins), and started Pinterest-ing. I made all kinds of boards before I even had pins.
If you aren’t already, go follow me on Pinterest!!!
Developed a digital marketing strategy:
Marketing is so important. You can’t have a business or project or anything without doing some kind of marketing. Maybe that’s my inner advertising student coming out, but I do think it’s true. If you want buyers/clients/readers, they have to know you exist in the first place.
So I developed a “strategy.” I tried to figure out a way that the business, the blog, and the Pinterest account could all work together and be as one. What it comes down to is they all share similar components, but they also needed to be able to stand on their own. One sells things, one tells people things, and the other shows people things.
Lastly, I had to balance them all, as far as time goes. I couldn’t post, email, and pin all at once. That’s stupid and annoying, so I made a “schedule” for when I’d do what.
As for the business itself:
The business is all I seem to think about. Sometimes I think way too much about it, and it stresses me out, which is not good. This business is fun. It’s giving me the chance to do something I love (make things) with the people I love (my family). That said, that’s all the upkeep there really is to it: just keep on making things.
I mean, it isn’t that simple. I guess I just like to make things complicated because I spend so much time looking at the nitty gritty details: how many price tags we have, did I update the books, did I update the inventory (why do I even keep track of it?), what are people buying… so many little things that at the end of the day, don’t matter that much but still, on some level, matter.
Then of course I take it to the next level by trying to figure out what color table cloths to use because as humans, we are sensitive to color. We make 80-90% of our first judgements based on color, so what message do I want to send to new customers? Do I go blue or red? Or should it be more like a dusty blue with soft pink? Or should those accent an off-white color? What about burlap table cloths?
What kind of music should I play at the booth? Is music really necessary? I like music, so we’ll go with music. Let’s play classic country, like Conway Twitty. That’ll help with the whole nostalgia of some of the things we sell.
This is the shit I think about, but if you want to really nail something, you’ve got to do everything you know how to do.
Plus, I’m in advertising, so it’s natural.
Then the last thing… taxes. But no one wants to talk about taxes.
So yeah, that’s mostly what’s going into the business now that it’s up and running. Of course, things are always changing, but for now, that’s what we’re doing.
Thank you for your eyes!