Traffic Strategies: Crystal & Melanie
we've talked about, you know, content creation. We talked a little bit about your journey. Kind of talking about you started as a blogger. Then you went ahead and transitioned into having your own magazine. So tell us a little bit more about like, how long did that take? What were some of the big steps? When did you kind of know that you've made it? Because I think there's so many people that are right at the beginning of that journey and they hear that's where you started and they see where you are now and then get there What that dream look like? What were some of the strategic decisions you had to make? I think it's really tough to go back cause it feels like forever ago, even though only three years ago. But what we did is again the founding team were all bloggers. So we really leveraged. The resource is re sources that were already available to us, and that was our blog's. So leverage. Whatever resource is you have to yourselves on followings and whatnot and start there. And from ...
there it'll grow and grow and grow, and it just it takes a lot of patience and a lot of hard work, and you will have those ups and downs for sure. But I think consistency is key and not giving up. And I think overall, one of our the reasons that we did succeed is that we weren't afraid to partner with people. I think that's absolutely key when you're starting a business is partnering with people who can help, um bring their readers or their followers to What you're doing is starting their entry. We actually found that the community out there is incredibly supportive. Um, I think a lot of people are just afraid to ask for help. When you dio, you find that there's a lot of people willing to give you, um, helping hands. So So what is one of the biggest obstacles that you feel like you've had to overcome? Oh, gosh, honestly, a lot of personally could be professional. You know, a lot of people stepping into the limelight can be scary. I think actually, the business aspect is really tough for people starting their own business because I think a lot of us here in this room and the audience is creative types, right? So we have a lot of inspiration and a lot of big ideas. But then there's such a practical side to running a business is, well, you have to think about it counting and taxes and some of that non fun stuff. So that was really in the first year of our business. I think that was one of our shorter points and struggles. But again, just not being afraid to ask for help on reaching out to other small businesses and saying, Hey, how do you manage your accounting and do you know someone I can contact and whatnot? So, yeah, I mean, I don't you know, we talk about pretty pictures and all of that, but obviously that's one part of a business. Their customer service. There's a film that there's all of that. And like you said, I think it's I think it's just about being able Teoh ask for help to reach out when there's something you don't know how to dio and be transparent about it. You know, I think when you put yourself out there and say I'd like toe learn, I'm brand new at this. You kind of lay all your cards on the table people a lot more receptive to helping you. Yeah, absolutely. So, in contrast, did that tell us you know what is one of your first big wins? What did you really feel like you'd made it? You know, you've got this incredibly inspirational story or one of those moments where you just went. Oh, my gosh. I can't do this thing happening. I have to. That stick out in my mind. The 1st 1 was it took us about four months to behind the scenes produce and launch our first premier issue. So is four months of setting up the business and doing photo shoots and reaching out to potential advertisers to see if they'd get on board for the first issue. And when we launched, we actually received over million page views. Oh, my God. Totally shocking, Teoh. The whole entire team. So I think that was one of those pivotal moments where it's like, Okay, Wow, this has definitely been worth it. And I no longer want to consider this a passion project, but I want to take this to the business level and quit my day job and actually go full force with that. Andi, I know that that's a very unique story. I know that it normally does not happen that quickly. Have a listen. She also said, Four months. I think it's easy to look at Room magazine and think, Oh, that just happened like it must have just always been there. And like you said, sometimes it's four months unless it's four years, it's different for everyone. But I love what you talked about, where there was a turning point where you went. This is going from a side project to an actual business. And and one of the questions I get a lot from people is when should I quit my job? When do I know it's the right time? Teoh this into an actual business and it's different for everyone. You obviously, some people are in situations. I think starting a business in college is one of the best things I've ever done because it was at a time where I didn't have kids. I didn't have a mortgage, I didn't have things like that so I could not be working and just kind of, you know, live, lean and work in my business full time. But everyone's situation is different. you know, you're starting. Your business is at different ages and where you've got different responsibilities. So it depends on how you want toe work. But you said that mental switch, which I think is really cool. So even if you are working full time somewhere else and you have a business on the side, do you think of that business as your side business? Or is that are you looking to turn that into something bigger? How committed are you to it? Because I think people can feel your commitment. They can tell whether you're trying to turn this into something bigger and better, or whether it's something and something for comfortable always having something on the side. But there is a big difference in the way your company is perceiving the way people feel about your brand when you are in it and you are fully in it and you put yourself out there in that way. So I love that you did that. I think it's no coincidence that this magazine has been so successful because you have stepped up and said, We're here. Watch out World. We're putting it out there. We're gonna do this. Yeah, you have to give 100 and 10%. Otherwise, it's not gonna work. And that's what help me with that mental switch. I realize that if I wanted Teoh continue and produced the second issue, I could not also still have a day job and gay what that company deserved of me. So and that's scary. That's really scary about that. Terry, if you have a job that has, you know, an insurance plan you've got, you know, a certain amount of vacation days and you get toe leave five oclock and you're out of there putting your see. No, we're trying to get health insurance for the first time as a Sonia like this is really hard on. So, you know, I really I think you're very inspiring. I want people to see that it does take about Lee. You know, you do have to sometimes go in those uncharted waters and you know, it doesn't always work. Sometimes it takes a few different tries, but there is a life end of the tunnel in there. Is it really possible? That is very exciting. It's possible when you put yourself out there in a way. Yeah. When I was going through that phase. Just a quote that I kept on using as my mantra was, Leap and a net will appear on off that faith. And luckily it's it's birth. So you too. You have to put yourself out there. I think it's easy also. I mean, Creativelive is a perfect example. You see people up here, there on stage and you might be wondering I could never do that was so scary. I mean, we saw Christine, who was like, This is my first time. Everybody has a first time and everybody starts somewhere. I over the first time I did a webinar, which is not nearly as into me. Is this cause you're just behind a computer? I was literally clinging. I'm in my square foot apartment Manhattan. I went onto the window like my husband's like you have to get on their people on the cold. I'm like, What am I gonna say for an hour? Are you kidding me? What am I going to talk about? And it was the whole time. I am just like trembling. But every time you do something, you expand your comfort zone and there are very few people that start out just being comfortable and graded everything but most people. It is a journey and just the decision to start leaping until that net appears. Uh, that's how a lot of very successful people in a lot of very successful companies were formed and made. A lot of people are resonating with Leap and the Net will appear so great Go to the Internet. Well, Camelia Camelia is asking about your approach for those early on partners. What was your strategy? I'm so a little bit of step by step for those of us who want to do some outreach. Yeah, I know for myself. Personally, when I started reaching out to blog's, I first of all made sure I had a good looking website. First, You don't want to reach out to people before you've got something that looks professional. You know, you're not gonna get to any great favours if you're not, really, because people are putting their brand on the Linus Well, they're gonna partner and endorse you. The best piece of advice I can give. Don't write a super long email. I have done this and I have seen so many people do this. Where bless their hearts, like you write an email to someone. You think this is my one shot? I've got to tell them everything. And you know, most people that you're reaching out to like that they're probably getting a lot. I mean, we're all getting a lot of emails every day. And I know for myself, I know for every person I've talked Teoh, that the first thing you do when you see a long email is you go to the next one or you delete it or you just go. Oh, my gosh. I'm never gonna be able to read all of this when you read the first sentence and you, you know, look out, look out. So I think that what I learned and I did that originally, as I would write super long emails, no one responded, Go between wrong. And then I realized nobody's reading all of this. And so I started to write a very short but attention grabbing email and I would use flattery. I told you guys on the psychology, major, everybody, you know what the sweetest word to most people's ears is what their name people love to hear their name. And they love Teoh here. What you love about them? Like, if I was going to reach out to Crystal, I wouldn't say hi, Crystal. I'm a big fan of your work. I'd like to have you feature my pillow line. I would say Crystal, Uh, in September of 2012 you published an issue about this and there was one particular shoot you did that inspired me so much because of this and she would read this, even go, huh? This person knows my work, They appreciate it. It's not just a blanket statement. And we all have a lot of ourselves tied up in our work. So when people really respond to it and there's so much negativity, I mean, that's a whole other thing. They could go out there, go down the tangent. But whenever you're putting yourself out there, there's going to be people who send negative vibes your way, Say mean things your way. So when you have someone that really, truly Comptel appreciates what you're what you're doing, then you've got their attention, you know? And I think so many people start out talking about me. Me, me, me, me. Hi, crystal. I'm Melanie. I have this business. I sell these products. Do you want to feature them backwards? Right. Let me talk about you and what I love about what you're doing and why I appreciate you and an opportunity. I see that could serve both of us. That's how you create a collaboration. A partnership, Any other follower. I'm just thinking back to that time when we were first beginning and what strategy be used. And I agree you have to have some sort of a Web presence. We didn't have our full blown rumack dot com up yet, but we had a splash page that just had one image of a coming soon note. Um, so we reached out to people and we kept it short, But then we also gave projections. So we're featuring this person, and they have x amount of followers and this person with x amount of followers. So together we're projecting this sort of a launch with this many readers. So when you can give a little bit of tangible information to the partner, then I think that helps a lot. In addition, Teoh really knowing exactly what they dio and being specific Teoh compliments and flattery is Melanie said as well and how you can work together, Not about what can you do for me? But here's why. I think this serves Both of us were all. It's a partnership that we're talking about to be a way way. It has to be willing for both people. So going into it, make sure that you're really highlighting what they're gonna get out of it as well. And I remember Roux had that great press kit as a product seller. You guys would go through and talk about where the advantages were, where the exposure was, why we should, you know, if you're paying to advertise, people want to know that. What? What can I expect to get out of this? What am I paying for so mean, really clear about those benefits? I love that great question. Another thing that you know has continued to come up is this idea of the business versus the personal. So can you speak to whether you operate both right? You integrate them, how you differentiate? Yeah, And honestly, that's an ongoing question. I'm constantly asking myself because I dio have room magazine as the founder of that. I'm definitely a face of the brand. But then I also have, you know, my own Pinterest page, my own instagram feed my own Twitter account. So I'm also a personal brand in some regards. So what I do is I use my personal brand to complement my bigger brand that I'm trying to promote, which is true, because that's obviously my income and my true passion. So what I do is I a my personal accounts. I will occasionally pin or instagram or tweet stuff that content of rules. But then I also give people an inside glimpse into who I am and what I'm all about, so that they get to know the founder behind the bigger brand. So, um, you I think if you have ah, account any of these accounts, you have to remember that anything's on record, so to speak. So anything you're putting out there is going to be a reflection of your personal brand or your product brand or your photography business or whatever it is that you do so really being strategic about bull. So I think everyone should write down both the worldwide audience and in studio right now, right down one person or one brand that you're going to reach out to in the next seven days, someone you collaborate with, someone that you can send an email to like we talked about. If you send that email, make sure it short. Make sure that you're giving specific praise. Make sure you're talking about the collaboration, what is going to be the benefit for them. And I want everyone to make a note. Like I said, even worldwide audience right now, put it in your calendar right in your notebook one person or brand that you can reach out to. And if you don't have an email address, you can figure it out. You know, if there's a large company that you really want to reach out to, that is more difficult, particularly you don't have a lease on or someone that you can kind of that go is a go between. But there should be someone within your sphere of influence that you could actually reach out to in the next week and form some sort of a partnership collaboration. Even Christine was talking. Even if it's just a little add on your block and you say Hey, you know, I'm gonna promote your site. You promote my let's just swap and do it this month. We can try for 30 days, see if we like it. If we don't no problem but leverage someone in the next seven days and reach out to them to form a partnership, that's a passion. Put it right into action right away. I'm wondering cause I love that so much if we can walk through or maybe get some examples for one of our studio audience members about who they should target or who they might build out that action plan even more. Absolutely. Is there anyone studio audience that wants toe be a bit of a guinea pig? Anyone you're thinking up? I mean, I can speak Teoh a little bit of creativelive strategy, and we've done some partnerships in the past, and we definitely have some more exciting ones coming up in the future. Um, you know, it's not always gonna be, you know, immediate people that you think it's going to be or it's not gonna be, uh, maybe people directly within your industry. And sometimes it's the smaller fish that will bring you a lot of very exciting followers or more attention because they've got very loyal follower bases themselves. Yeah, the relations. So you have to just kind of really, you know, leap. And then that will What is it on? And sometimes, you know, if people come to you with partnerships, you have to be open and receptive to that. Because really being nice to people in supportive of the business community in general is really the best way to sort of expand your presence absolutely completely. And I think also using using people you work with in the past just a great way to do that. I know what I was looking to make a lot of connections. Maurin the online educational space starting out. I didn't really know a lot of people, but maybe I knew one person and I wasn't going. Teoh say that I had relationships that I didn't. But if I had one person that had a good relationship with and I would say, Hey, I'm going to reach out to this other person that I know you're friends with. Is it okay if I say I'm a friend of yours? Just get some sort of informal endorsement and you don't want to do that without asking. But most people are like OK, yeah, no problem. You know, handed a retouch of this person. I don't want to just be some random stranger that no one's auction for. It's always whenever I'm at a networking event and there's someone I want to meet, that's kind of more high profile. I try never to just go been, approach them and say, Hi, Melanie, Let's let's meet But I'll find someone else that maybe we know mutually. Elsa, Hey, would you mind introducing me? Because then you're coming in on a very different platform than just someone out of the blue. And there's someone else that saying And then that's like we talked about Ken endorsing my dancing, my imaginary dancing. You know, when Kenna says something about me to someone, it's gonna be much more valid and reliable than if I walked up and said, Hello. I'm wildly successful. You want to work with me, They're gonna be the hell are you talking about? What are you talking about? So finding people to make introductions, that something I do a lot of read after someone and say, Hey, would you mind just shooting a quick email introduction to this person For me on that could be a great way to branch. Also, if you're thinking I don't have an in with a particular person, find that six degree or is it that six degree of connection or something like that? Degrees of separation separation way? Awesome. Go ahead. I have a question. Would you recommend reaching out to people who, um, not competitors, but say if I'm reaching out to entrepreneurs should be reaching out, um, two blocks that cater entrepreneurs or kind of tangential things, like, how would you recommend choosing those? Because I I can think of some people. But if I were to make a really solid go trying this strategy, I would have to cold call people and right, And so who? What is the right direction to go? I think it also depends on what What your proposition is, you know? I mean, there are companies that to start out and make a connection is gonna be a paid relationship. And then once you establish the value and establish the reaction, like if you pay for sponsorships somewhere and they see that their that their audiences reaction to your products or services. An amazing you, then have mawr leverage. You can say, OK, this work. But let's try maybe this instead or let's do a swap or something like that where they're gonna be. If you do start with smaller companies, you're going to be able to work more ID I on stuff. So sometimes you know, sometimes it getting your foot in the door does cost Money doesn't always have to. But sometimes money does open doors and, you know, creates relationships and gives you an end with someone, even a company. Sometimes I've done something where I worked with an advert advertiser and become an advertiser of theirs and got an introduction to the editor and then got free promotion from them. Right, because now you've got someone who actually answers your emails, which could be very helpful. Eso, you know, and cold calling. Oh, not my hair thing in the world. But you only got to get one. Yeah, only work. Occasionally it works, and when it works, it works well. Phone, I think, sometimes talking about the Internet, I know, and we're now on the Internet, ironically, but picking up the phone is pretty amazing. People are surprised that it's actually ringing. Forgetting something fascinating that's working actually really well, in my business is right now is direct mail. Whoa! Yes, email is becoming mawr and more aggressive, and you're getting more more emails every day. I get excited to check the mail because what comes in the mail now? Letters, invitations to weddings or baby showers? Yes, not that age. You know, fun stuff comes in the mail now, so we started doing some things were actually mailing. When someone joins our program, we will send them a hand written note welcoming them. We will mail little gifts. There's tons of companies that you can actually reach out to. I can't think of the name of one, but I'm sure you could google this like companies that you can choose from a variety of things. When they join your email us, you can send them a brownie like stuff like that. It's crazy, but director male like you're saying just breaking through the clutter kind of thinking outside the box. Now that email is what everyone relies upon, reached out and using the phone or sending a letter in the mail might be your little in absolutely another great question. That is, from Sandy. And we talked a little bit yesterday, Melanie, about how what you put on your Pinterest board to get new email followers. And so Sandy has asked for Crystal. Could you give us some tips about building a blogger audience besides just blogged posts? Perhaps through Pinterest Soro Blogging the most obvious obvious is obviously who that content is. King. So gorgeous shots for sure, really interesting angles, things that people can't find somewhere else. So if you are funny, let that shine through in your blogged post. Another thing that was really, really helpful for me when I had a block and with first starting out was commenting on other people's blog's. And the way that I think of it is you're leaving your electronic footprint all over the web. So the more times that you can leave your foot print out there, the more chances that other people have to follow or to find you. So I would say great content being active part of the community by commenting and then also being consistent. You do have tohave consistency if you're not blogging on a daily basis. There's chances that people will just sort of forget about you and go somewhere where they can find daily content. And if you can't do it on a daily basis, which I know is really hard for a lot of people getting businesses off the ground and whatnot, then at least do it once a week or have some sort of schedule that people can depend on. This is huge. Consistency is probably one of the least recognised traits of successful people, and it can be with your social media can be everything in your life. I you know, I make a habit of studying really successful people in successful businesses, and it's not always that they're the most talented or they have the best product or the best service. But when you break it down, they are consistent And like, Crystal said, it doesn't mean that you're like trying to stick to this rigid schedule of every day. But whatever you do, do it intentionally and be consistent about it, and I mean that definitely and relates to blog's relates to anything in your business. You know, if you are creating content, if you are producing products. If you are, you know, do we need sort of customer service elements, even in your own personal habits? As an entrepreneur, you and your brand are linked together. And so how are you? Personally, this is probably another creative life session. But how are you personally studying habits in your life To be consistent and growing your business? What are you doing every day in every day out, Teoh constantly be growing and learning. Watching sessions like this is a perfect example. You know, just as much as you put in your gonna be able to put out as a content creator myself, I find that if I'm not reading, if I'm not going to conferences, if I'm not talking to interesting, inspiring people, I can't produce good content because I'm not feeding myself in the same way. So I think that's really important to a lot of us are crazed working all the time. You know, we don't take a minute to put it back into ourselves. And in order to be consistent in producing, I think you have to also be consistent in consuming and making sure you're taking care of yourself. So I think after this we're talking about is a contest. It is of the three best strategies for getting traffic Teoh its traffic and then it's contact. So we come back, we're going to be talking about how specifically we've talked about Pinterest as an overall way to get traffic to your site. But what are the best specific strategies that I have proven and tested that will increase the amount of traffic you're getting from Pinterest? So it's gonna be really good super juicy. We'll talk about that after lunch and also the final segment today is going to be about Pinterest contest. So I'm gonna walk you through it specific contest I launch for one of my brands. The exact sequence, how what I did, the steps that I took and the results that I got so will kind of open up, take you behind scenes of my business and show you as both product and service. There's a ton of opportunity for service businesses to be using Pinterest contest. We're going to show you how to do it. It is just tremendous that we're getting information that is proven and tested. That's awesome. We've just posted a global thank you card for Melanie Duncan on our on our Facebook page, so we'd love for you to head over to facebook dot com slash creativelive to give Melanie some creative live love and let her know what you've learned. And I'd like to share a quote from the Internet from Sean Augustine, says Melanie Girl, you always bring the great ideas. I've been running around all day logging in on my laptop, been on my phone just so I don't miss anything. I love it. I love it. I threw. I was reading some of the responses on my Facebook pages and looking at it. Entrepreneurs Academy is our Facebook page and it was so hilarious. There was one of our students that said, I have been I am watching all three days My son is cooking because he knows I'm not gonna leave the computer. I've canceled all my appointments, and I think that's a perfect time to say thank you. First of all, studio audience, You guys are amazing. You're coming in early. Every day you're sitting here, you have questions. You're putting yourself out there ideas out there. I appreciate this so much. Three days is a long time to take away from your business and to just be here to absorb and to interact with us. So thank you. And worldwide audience for those of you, they're taking an hour to taking the full three days to be here. I appreciate you spending this time with us. I appreciate your involvement. Your questions on this is why I do what I do. So thank you so much. Your time is probably our most valuable resource, and I do really, really appreciate it.