Build a Successful Creative Blog

Lesson 21/26 - Promoting and Building Anticipation

 

Build a Successful Creative Blog

 

Lesson Info

Promoting and Building Anticipation

So what kind of blog do you want? This is an important question to answer. Do you want a blog that readers are focused on your products? Or do you want a blog that readers are focused on other peoples' products? Which one? Sometimes people want it to be a blog where people are focused on other peoples' products, where they blog everyday and they make their money from advertising, but most of the time, I'm going to assume most people watching, they want people to be focused on their products, buying their stuff, focused on their services, what they provide, their courses or their jewelry or their art or their pottery or whatever it is. So then what about ads? I don't recommend them. This is a very controversial topic in the blogging world, whether to put ads on your sidebar or not put ads on your sidebar. My opinion is not to do it because you're taking people away. Plus, your sidebar is your prime real estate, and the more junk you have on your sidebar, the more stuff people are going ...

to be not paying attention to. If you only have a few things on your sidebar, people tend to pay attention to them. They recognize them when they come to your blog. They click on those things. So if you've got an opt-in, you've got your social media buttons, you've got a place where people can go to your shop, or go to one of your products, or one of your services, then you've got it made because people are paying attention to the stuff you want them paying attention to. If you also include ads, there's a lot of clutter on there. People don't pay as much attention to your sidebar and, a lot of times, it's just not worth it. Most creatives that I've talked to, I will ask them, "okay, how much are you making from your ads?" And it's not much. It might be $50, $100, maybe $200 or $300 a month, but really it's taking away from their business and not adding too much to their bottom line. So, often, it's really not worth it and it's often not a viable business option. Someone will say to me, "okay, that's the way that I want to make money." Alright, well are you willing to blog everyday, multiple times a day with quality content, new content that people aren't used to seeing with amazing photos? If so, you can make that work. Good example of that is A Beautiful Mess. For a very long time, that's how they made most of the money that they make through blogging is through the ads and the sponsorships and stuff like that. They also have courses that they offer, and I don't know their money breakdown but, for a while, it was really focused on the ads. But if you've ever been to this blog, they post multiple times a day. Everyday. And it's quality stuff. It's not just posting something to post content. So that is an option if you want to be a blogger. So if you're saying to me, "I want to be a blogger, I want my blog to be my business," then advertising and sponsorships, that could be your route. But most creatives that I work with, that's not what they want. They don't want their blogs to be their businesses, they want them to be a tool to promote their businesses. So how do you share your work? This is in the workbook on page 62. How do you currently share your products and services on your blog? Do you always go for the hard sell? Or do you come up with creative ways to promote your products? So is it always, "here's a picture of my jewelry, here's where you can buy it?" Or do you do other creative things to sell your work? And I want to hear what you guys currently do to share your products and services on your blog. What do you do to promote them? Well, right now, my front page is a static page that has a gallery of custom photo jewelry, which is what I specialize in, and it kind of describes how you order it and there's a link to the shop on the sidebar at the top and then after that is a list of my blog posts. So, the first thing you see when you go to my website is custom photo jewelry and a small gallery of products I've made. Okay, so I think that would work really well for your business, having it setup so that when people get there, right away they know, "this is what I sell," and if they want to check out your blog posts, they can do it that way. That's a great way to have things setup. Yeah, definitely. Anybody else? How do you do it? I mean, I'm blogging about everything I make and then the things that I can sell, or, when I have something to sell, that's its own blog post. And I have started to feature one item in the side column that links to my Etsy shop, and you can always go to my shop, too. I like that, putting something in the side column that they can go to. That's a good idea. So when you post about one of your products, is it just, "here's the product and here's where to buy it"? It depends on what it is or how much of the... sometimes I share the process of making it. Yeah, it's usually something about how I made it and talking about the materials and then where to buy it. Okay, alright. Anybody else? I have one in my menu, in the header, and then I will generally write a blog post that's kind of a helpful how-to blog post, and then at the end I'll say, "if you want more information or you need more help on X, Y and Z," I have a link to my page, like my Work With Me page, that really details some of the sessions that I have out. So it's generally in a blog post that is loosely related to the actual client session, and then a link out to that specific page. Perfect. That's a great way to do it. I need to do it more often, though. You give them something, they see you know what you're talking about, and then you make the sale, yeah. Here's where you go for more. So, you want your products and services to be the center of attention but you don't want to sound like a used car salesman who only cares about the sale. We've all been to these blogs. So, I'm not talking about the way you have things setup. When you have a products-based business, you want that to show. You want that to be the shining feature of your website, definitely. I'm talking about your blogs, so when people click on that blog link and they're looking at your blog posts. You don't want to always just be saying, "here's the product, here's where to buy it," because that doesn't work. It doesn't work very well because people are gonna think, "well, I can just go to this person's Etsy shop and see these products. Why am I reading her blog?" It's not gonna make as big of a difference to your bottom line. So, let's talk about some ways you can creatively promote your products and services. So, I did a lot of promotion for this workshop because I wanted as many people as possible watching it and I did things that were a little bit different like showing this hairstyle idea that I experimented with. I put pictures from a photo shoot I did for the slides, the blueberry pictures, I shared them on my blog, and said, "I did these for this CreativeLive workshop," and I was talking about the behind-the-scenes that went into putting this workshop together, the stuff I was doing at home, and those were the posts that were most popular. A picture of the glasses and camera bag I bought for the trip. I talked about this a little bit yesterday how I put up a picture of the glasses I purchased. I also linked to the camera bag on Twitter, and people were like, "oh my God, that bag is so amazing, I love it. Oh, that workshop looks really awesome, too. I just RSVP'd." I asked for book recommendations for my flight. This was actually the most popular thing I did, is, on Facebook, I said, "I'm a nervous flier," and I am. I hate flying. So flying across the country from Virginia to San Francisco is a big deal for me, and I wanted books that would help me escape the moment and the nervousness. And my ideal reader for my blog reads a lot, and so I got a lot of recommendations and people were so excited to recommend their favorite books to me. They were so excited to do that. So I wasn't saying, "just go watch this workshop." I was saying, "hey, I need some book recommendations, this is why, and here's the link to RSVP to the workshop if you want to." I also posted about topics I'd be covering, like developing your unique blogging voice and then, at the end of the post, said, "if you liked this, there's gonna be so much more in this workshop. Click here, RSVP to watch." Let's talk about some examples for an artist. So you could show your work hung in different peoples' homes. If you have friends that have your art hung up somewhere, take pictures of it. Show how it can be displayed. Lots of people are hesitant to buy art because they don't know how they would display it or what it would look like. Show it like that. Post about creating a DIY gallery wall and include some of your art in it. So you post about how to put up a gallery wall in your house, you include your art and then you wink to those pieces. You say, "and, if you like these pieces, here's where you buy 'em." Show your work in different stages: sketchbook, beginning, middle and end. This is a great one for people to feel a little bit involved in the process and, when I see this, I often think, "wow, a lot more than I thought went into this," and it also makes that price a lot easier for me to pay. Post about caring for the art, making it last, and then linking to where people can buy your art. Share tips on framing art. Share the playlist you listen to while creating a painting. I would love to hear that from one of my favorite artists, if she shared, "this was the music I was listening to when I painted this." That would be really interesting to me. Let's talk about some examples for a jewelry artist. Post pictures of your customers wearing your jewelry along with some testimonials. This is a really easy way to sell your stuff is to have people who are happy with it talking about it, sharing a story about it, and having a picture of them wearing it. Share tips on caring for jewelry. How to clean silver or gold or etc., whatever it is, and include a silver necklace, picture of that, and where you can buy it in your Etsy shop. Share tips on how to wear a statement necklace with a casual outfit, with a work outfit, for a night out on the town. I know I'd be more likely to wear a necklace if I was shown, "okay, you could wear it with these three different ways and these three different outfits in these three different settings." Post pictures of your fashion including your jewelry and link to all of the pieces that are your own. So, if you make jewelry, you could post what you're wearing each day, and if you've got some of your jewelry on, you can link to that. That would be an easy social media update. Somebody who does this well is Lisa Lehmann, and she is known as the bead girl on Etsy and she has a blog Studio Jewel that you guys can check out. She does this really well. She does some really creative things with promoting her jewelry. Post a picture of the beads and other materials and tools that you used to create the jewelry. So, before you make it, just shoot a picture of it, of the beads, of the stuff that you're gonna use, of the tools, and include that. Post about essential wardrobe pieces and include some of your jewelry. So, "these are the 10 most needed pieces for your wardrobe for the summer," and include a piece of jewelry that's yours in that. So it's helpful, you're giving something to your readers, you're not just promoting your stuff, and, if you include stuff from other peoples' shops, they're also gonna be likely to share it. So if you include a necklace of yours but then you also include somebody else that sells on Etsy, maybe she makes a top that's an essential piece for your wardrobe, you could link to that and then send her an update on social media saying, "hey, I included you in this post." She's likely to share it as well. So, creative promotion, page 63. How can you market your products and services without only posting about that product or service? So, thinking about these creative examples that I've talked about, how can you do this with whatever you sell? What topics relate to your product or service? How can you use them to promote your stuff? Like, fashion relates to jewelry so you could easily turn that into a regular post for your blog that doesn't feel too salesy but that is selling what you make. Let's say you have an art journal ebook that you're selling on how to art journal. You could post your favorite materials, and that could be a bunch of posts. That could be spread out over time, like your favorite resources for scrapbook paper, your favorite resources for pens, your favorite resources for stickers or paint or whatever. You could also post a list of prompts. Let's say you have 100 prompts in the ebook, you could take 10 of them out, make them a blog post, and say, "if you really liked these, here's where you can find more." Let's say... yep. I have a question about testimonials because I get a lot of comments on my Etsy shop, "oh, I just love this bracelet, it was even better than the picture showed," and blah, blah, blah. Can I just cut and paste that? Do I have to ask permission to use that? I would ask on Etsy because some people have their settings setup privately. Okay. So, on Etsy, yeah, I would email them and say, "hey, do you mind if I include this in my product description?" Okay. "Thank you so much for the kind words," and just shoot them an email. When I do that, 99% of the time people say yes. Okay. And I'll do that when I receive emails from people who say, "Marketing for Creatives was so amazing, I was able to increase my newsletter list by this amount by doing this." I'll say, "hey, can I include that as a testimonial?" And they always say yes. Okay. Because they're so excited about whatever it was, they're so happy with it that they want to help you. Okay, thanks. Yeah. If they say it on social media, if somebody says it on your Facebook wall or on Twitter, they're saying it publicly anyway so you can just use that stuff. Okay. But sometimes people keep their Etsy stuff private, their purchases on private, so I would ask about that. Okay, thanks. Yeah? We have a question in the chatroom from the Witticist, and we're talking about selling jewelry and actual physical goods and they wanted to know if you had any suggestions for selling if your product is writing. So, she's talking about children's books and comedy writing. Is this the same apply here if it's writing or is there a different strategy? Yeah, so your blog is basically your sales tool. Just sharing your writing is what's gonna work. I mean, just putting your writing out there. If you're a writer, then that's your tool right there. What about you guys? Did you guys come up with any creative ways that you can promote your products and services? So I make a lot of my props, like headbands and wraps, for babies, and so, like, showing my supplies and how I'm making it and that might make somebody be like, "oh, I wish I had that on my child," and, "that would look really cute in a session with my baby," and that might be a good way to get them thinking about their own portrait session. Yeah, yeah. And do you let people know on the sales page that you have all of these props? Well, I don't sell the props, I just-- Right, no, but that you have them and that you use them? You know, I don't, I don't. I let them know before the session, so if somebody's booked with me, I'll let them know kind of what I have, but I should put that on there. Yeah, put it on your sales page, for sure. What else? Did you guys come up with any creative ways that you can sell your stuff? So, self-coaching calls. But a lot of people like my worksheets and I could show a picture of my most popular worksheet, my Ultimate To-Do List, and show my to-do list and to show them the things that I have planned during the day. Also, my clients don't know this, but I have different playlists that I play depending on what type of call I'm getting ready for, so I could share the music that I'm listening to to get ready for a certain kind of call. I could show my ritual before client calls, getting my tea, setting up my desk, getting my favorite pens, all of that. Those are all fun options. Yeah. And that's so different, it would stand out in the noise. Yeah. Anybody else want to share? Do we have anybody online? We have another comment here from Time Capsule, and they were wondering about, if you do sell a product that's also available, say, on Amazon, is it a good idea to either cut and paste reviews from Amazon onto your page or linking back and forth to reviews, cause I guess I just want people to know that their product has been reviewed, even if they're not on their Amazon page. Yeah, absolutely I would cut and paste and put them on that page, definitely, yeah. If somebody has said something really great about your business publicly, they want people to know anyways, so you can definitely use that stuff. If they've sent it to you privately in some way, just ask for permission. Give something away. So, at the beginning or end of the post, sell. Here's an example for the beginning of a post: "In my workshop, Build a Successful Creative Blog, I teach creative entrepreneurs everything they need to know to create a blog that sells their products for them. But for today, I'd love to show you how to develop your unique blogging voice." So at the beginning, I am pitching something to them, for them to go and sign up for this course, and then tell them that this is what I'm giving you today. An example at the end of the post: "I hope you enjoyed this post on how to create your own gallery wall in a small space. I've linked to all the pieces, including some of my own below, in case you want to add them to your collection." So if you link to other artists as well, they're likely to share your posts. So if you included some of your favorite artists in this post in creating that gallery wall, you link to all the pieces, all those artists are gonna want to share that. So at the end or the beginning of the post, sell something, give something away as well. This is a big one. Build anticipation. As soon as you start working on a new product line or service, start talking about it on your blog and social media. Do not wait until you've finished. Do not wait until you've finished. What do you guys do now? Do you start talking about it right as you start conceiving of that idea and start building it? A lot of my ideas can have a gestation period of a year before it's fully done, before I've... I'll have an initial idea for something and I don't have time to actually make it and produce it, you know, so I feel like if I started teasing things and I thought maybe I was gonna get to work on it and I didn't, I just, you know, I feel like that's too big of a timeframe. But, I mean, what about the stuff that you know you're gonna make? No, because I really don't like... I don't mind sharing process things along the way, like on Instagram and stuff, but I would rather not personally share stuff until it's fully fleshed out. It's just it's kind of probably because I'm a graphic designer and that's sort of the mentality that has been instilled but I could work on sharing a little bit more. Okay, so you do share some of it, though, on Instagram cause you share some of the process. Yeah, yeah, but I don't necessarily say exactly what it is that I'm making. Okay. Maybe, you know, or what that end result is gonna be looking like. Okay, so let me tell you why it would work well to start talking about it right away. Because it usually takes us multiple touches before we buy something. Most of the time, if you think about your buying process, you don't buy something the first time you see it. You think about it. You play with it in your mind a little bit. You think about wearing that jewelry or you think about that bag or you think about the top or the dress or whatever it is. You usually don't buy the first time. And so for most people, in your businesses, if you're talking about whatever it is, this new line of jewelry that's coming out, and you're sharing photos of it, people are primed to buy as soon as you launch. They're not gonna think about it anymore, they're ready to buy. They're excited to buy. They're waiting to buy. They can't wait to buy. Even though they haven't seen that thing in it's... Cause personally when I... I like seeing peoples' process on Instagram and stuff, but when people are like sneak peeks but I can't actually see the thing, I'm gonna forget about it and not go back and look at it. Whereas if I'd seen it then and there was a way to look at it, I probably would have looked at it in that moment. Well, you can say, "this is what I'm working on." I know, but I sometimes get frustrated, like I just want to see the thing now. Okay, well, this works. It's worked in my business. If I don't prime my customers for it then it often takes a little while for the sales. But if they're ready to buy, if they know what I'm working on, then as soon as I launch it, I see a huge increase in sales because I've been talking about it, because people are excited. They're talking about it on Facebook, they're talking about it on Twitter. They're saying, "I can't wait until this new edition of Marketing for Creatives comes out. I already have the first one and I'm definitely buying the second one and I can't wait." And it's because I posted on Twitter, "I'm working on a second edition of Marketing for Creatives. It'll be coming out around this date." And so people are ready to buy as soon as I put that product up there. I'm going to be experimenting with new mediums and there's a bad habit, like I have to figure it out all myself. But if I actually put it out there, somebody might just have like a great idea that there's no way I would think about, and that happens all the time. I'm like, "why didn't I just mention that?" Somebody just said something simple, it's like, "oh my God, yeah, I'm gonna do that." So it really... I'm gonna... Mark my words. And I do include people in the process. So when I am working on... Even when I was working on this workshop, I would ask questions on my Facebook page saying, "I'm working on this CreativeLive workshop that's coming May 1st, and I'm wondering what you struggle with when it comes to your email newsletter," so that I would know the things that my ideal reader is struggling with and then I would say to them, "that stuff's gonna be included so you should watch, so you should come RSVP." So they couldn't have it right then but they were even involved in the process of creating it. And I do that often, yeah. We have a suggestion from the chatroom and this works really well for people out there who are building physical products, and now this is a suggestion that says, "I like to say pictures to keep track of the entire process. Then, when the project is completed, I start the anticipation. So I reveal it gradually and I don't sell it as soon as it's done." So they take all the pictures but then they gradually release the pictures, even if the product's already done, to sort of build up the anticipation. Yeah, and I know some creative entrepreneurs that do that as well. That they have a launch date, they've made the jewelry, but their launch date is a month away. They're getting ready for the summer season and they've got this new line of jewelry coming out and they've got all of this anticipation that they're gonna be building during that month before it comes out, and they've got a lot of the pieces already made, yeah. But even they'll talk about it beforehand, saying, "I'm working on my summer line of jewelry." And some times, they'll include their customers in that process. They'll show them beads and say, "which one do you like more?" I'm gonna show you an example of that and how it worked really well. So, let's say you're creating a new line of handmade clutches. You could post your sketches. You could ask for feedback on something, a color palette, the closure, fabric flowers for adornment. Share pics of the fabric, a bunch of them stacked on top of each other, you carrying one out to dinner. These are all ways that you could build anticipation if that's what you're selling. So, in your workbook, you will see on page some questions on building anticipation. What are you currently working on? What can you start sharing today to build anticipation? What pictures should you take during the process to share? And the picture that's up here is a picture of Jessica Swift boots, and she included her customers in the process when she was making these. She kept us involved the entire time. She talked about, "this is where I'm getting them made, these are the color palettes I'm thinking about," she let us choose the ones we liked the most, the patterns we liked the most, and I will tell you, I was one of the first people to buy a pair of these boots and I bought them for $100. Why? Because I love Jessica Swift, she involved me in the process, and because I was supporting her venture. This was something that she was raising the money and she needed a certain amount in order to make the boots and, if you paid $20, you'd get a free print; if you paid $100, you'd get an actual pair of the boots, or whatever it is. What sold me on it is that I was a part of the process. She was including me in it. I knew where she was getting them made. I knew the patterns she was working on. It got me excited. I was waiting for the delivery of these rain boots and, as soon as I got them, I took a picture in them, it wasn't raining, sent a picture to her along with a testimonial, how much I love these boots, how adorable they are, so that she could post it if she wanted to. And I did that because I loved them so much and because I was a part of the process, because she made me feel involved with it. I love her stuff even when she doesn't include people in the process, but this is a great example of how she built this anticipation and you wouldn't think that she would be able to raise, I think it was $18,000 or $20,000 she needed to raise to actually put together this line of rain boots. She raised it. And the reason why is because she built anticipation. So tell me what you're thinking. Tell me how you're gonna build anticipation, what you're currently working on, how you might make this work for your business. I would love to hear. I've been using rubber stamps for a long time but I'm gonna bring in a paper cutting machine and start doing gluing and all different kind of process. So that is a scary thing for me, to try to learn some kind of technology, even though its technology is still paper. So that's something. Like what surfaces gonna work on? I have no idea yet. Yeah, definitely. Anybody else? Sage? So, I'm working on a home study program and I started doing this but, as we know, I need to take more pictures. I could show them pictures of me editing the videos and show my process for that. I could show them two worksheets, "which one do you think you'd use the most in this course?" Like, "which one do you like best?" And I'll include it. Something like that. Yes. Michelle Ward does something like that, the When I Grow Up coach who you're actually going to meet today, she does interviews and, sometimes when she's editing them, I've seen her take snapshots of her screen and share that and say the interview's gonna be up soon, this is who it's with, these are the tidbits you're gonna hear, and it builds anticipation for that. We have a comment here from clickychickcreates who was wondering, now if this is something where you're either writing a blog post to build anticipation or just an Instagram or a Facebook photo peek, but I think really you could kind of just take one of those social networks and maybe make that your sort of anticipation builder, and post those pictures on Instagram. Is it a good idea to kind of use the different medium like that? Yeah, I do it everywhere when I'm working on something. I will... I just recently started using Instagram so I haven't used that yet to build anticipation, but I use my blog, I use Twitter, I use Facebook, yeah. And I usually do it in different ways. I usually say slightly different things. And this may not work for every brand. It may not work for every business. If it's not something that you feel like it's good for me, then that's completely okay. That's completely okay if you're like, "eh, that's not one of the things that--" Well, I think I do do it. I'm experimenting with new material and so I put up a video of experimenting with it on Instagram and got a ton of hits last week. But I didn't say... I was just like, "it's an experiment for this," or, "I'm experimenting with this material," but I didn't say, "because I'm making a new cat toy with it," but I guess I could've added something like that. Or added a followup picture with something else that like... You know, cause you can share more than one picture on Instagram in a day pretty quickly. But that, even just sharing the fabric can get people excited. Without saying that it's for a cat toy, they can be thinking in their heads, "what is she using this for?" And then when that person sees it later in the cat toy, they're reminded of that picture you shared earlier. Well, it's not that exact thing isn't gonna show up in the cat toy but the... I meant materials that I'm working with. Okay, alright. So but that's a way that you can do it that feels good for you and for your brand and business and you can add more-- But I could be more conscious about, like, adding in those... a little bit more detail, yeah.

Class Description


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