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Build a Successful Creative Blog

Lesson 23 of 26

The Importance of Building Relationships

April Bowles-Olin

Build a Successful Creative Blog

April Bowles-Olin

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Lesson Info

23. The Importance of Building Relationships

Lesson Info

The Importance of Building Relationships

So, you guys can see this is a picture of me with Mayi from Heartmade, who I've brought up quite a lot because if I had to pick anybody that has helped my business the most, it would be that girl right there. We are considered competitors, however, we don't see it like that. We have a joint venture together and anytime she has something coming out, I usually am in complete love with it. She's never made anything that I didn't love. So, of course I promote it to my audience, and she does the same for me. So, we have this relationship that's super special that I'll keep talking about during this segment, but I want you to think about, when we're talking about building relationships, to think about your competitors as people that could actually help you, not just somebody that you're competing against and that you guys can't share the same audience because there is enough room for everybody. Online, there's enough room for all of us. Why go it alone if you don't have to? It's not worth it...

. You'll grow your traffic much faster if you focus on relationship building with people that you consider competitors, but also with your target market. Things are gonna grow so much faster than if you stay in your little cocoon bubble at home behind your desk, behind your laptop. I was that kid in high school that hated group projects and, in college, hated, hated group projects, would take them over, feel like nobody was going to take them as seriously as me, and so when I started my blog, I thought, "I'm gonna do everything on my own because nobody can do it as good as me, but also, I'm just... I'm gonna be able to do everything myself," and I shortly realized that that wasn't the case and that if I didn't put time into building relationships, then I was losing out on a lot. It's so much easier when you also have people who get it, who understand what your business is like, because often our spouses or significant others don't. Often our friends don't, because they have quote-unquote normal jobs, and so they don't necessarily get what we do. So, when we're talking about things like our email newsletters or our blogs or what we're doing on our Facebook business pages, they don't get it. So it's nice to have those people that do get it. Not just because they'll help your business and you'll make more money, which you will, absolutely hands down you will make more money, but it's also nice for that emotional support. Also, it means more when someone else says good things about your business than when you do. So it means more when I'm telling people about Mayi's Life is Messy Bootcamp and why you have to join it and why it's so amazing. It means more coming from me because I'm not the person who put it together and that's trying to sell it to you. I'm not making anything off of it by telling you that you gotta purchase this course and that your life is gonna change because of it. It means more, just like with the testimonials, it means more. It means more when the people who are admired in your niche say good things about you than when you say. I wanna know what you guys do now to build relationships, especially with people that are in your niche, also with your target market. What are some things that you have done? Anybody? Sage, I know that you do some relationship building. Yeah, I do a lot of commenting on other blogs, sending emails to people that I like and telling them how their blog posts or their advice has helped me, and I do interviews on my website, too. I actually interviewed Jennifer on my website, which was amazing because we became better friends and also my readers went to her site and then her readers came to my site, too. Okay, so posting interviews on your blog has really helped because that person brings you traffic and you also bring that person traffic and you were able to form a relationship over something like that, yeah? Exactly, and that's how we kind of got into contact and we were excited to see each other here just because I was interviewed on her website and, again, we brought traffic to both of our websites. And another thing that I've done that we've talked about is linking out to other people within your blog post and, when I do that, I oftentimes send an email to that person to say, "hey, I just featured you on my blog post. Here's a link if you wanna check it out." I mean, I don't necessarily tell them to go share it amongst everybody and their readers but if they choose to do that then there's the link and they can do that from within my blog post. And most of the time, people usually do right? They usually do, cause you're saying something good about them. They're gonna share it on social media because it helps them and then it helps you as well. Exactly, exactly. Yeah. Anytime you feature somebody on your blog and you're saying really nice things about them, it does not hurt to send an email saying, "hey, here's where you can check it out, here's the link." And again, not asking for anything in return. A lot of this stuff is doing and giving without thinking that you're necessarily gonna get anything back from it. You will, but you can't go into it with that kinda mindset. I'll tell you a little bit about my blog series that I did. Back in... When I first started Blacksburg Belle, I told you guys that I took that blog from about 20 page views to 800 page views a day, and one of the ways that I was able to do this is I signed up for a free consulting session with Srini from The Unmistakable Creative. Used to be called Blogcast FM. Many of you guys probably know of this podcast. If you don't know this podcast, every single creative entrepreneur should be listening to this podcast. It's amazing, you guys will love it and you will thank me. So, Srini said, "I'm offering a few individual consulting sessions and all you have to do is leave a comment if you're interested in one." So Blacksburg Belle was really new, I could have said, "well, this is really new, I don't have much going on yet, I'll do this some other time," but I didn't. I just hopped right in and I was chosen as one of the consulting sessions and so one of his ideas for me was to do a blog series and include other women in my niche. So, I thought that's a really good idea. I mean, he gave me a lot of ideas but that's the one I picked up on and I said, "I'm gonna try this one first." So I got eight women to participate in a series on succeeding with social media and I would email each person that I found and I would hone in on what they were really good at. So, if that person had 3000 Twitter followers, I would say, "hey, I'm doing this series on social media. I think you're an expert at using Twitter to market your business. Would you be interested in writing a post on Twitter to be a part of this series?" Did the same thing with Facebook, so on and so on. I asked people that were beginners, who were kind of new. Mayi was kind of new at that time, and I asked her. I just had landed on her blog, I fell in love with her hand-painted illustrations, and I thought this is somebody I want participating in this, and so I asked her, she said yes. And I asked people that much larger audiences than I did. I asked Tara Gentile who had a lot of blog readers at that time, lots of email subscribers at that time, lots of people following her on social media. I had nobody. I thought she was gonna say, "who's this person asking me to be a part of this blog series? Um, no." She said yes. So, I got people who had really large audiences involved with it, too. So, don't be afraid to ask people who have much larger audiences than you to do things, to be a part of things. So what we did was we each wrote a post covering our topic. I wrote an intro, everybody else wrote a post covering what they were really good at, and we promoted each others' posts. So when I sent out an email, I said, "I'm doing this blog series. I'm not an expert in social media. I think my audience would be really interested in it. I think all of our audiences would be really interested in it." And I said, "and we can promote each others' posts and send traffic to each other. I think it'll be a great thing for everybody involved." And so, every single person, except for one person I asked, said yes, which I was really surprised by. I thought I was gonna get more nos. So I turned those blog posts into an ebook that everyone could share with their audience, and this is one of the things I included in the email when I said, "hey, would you guys be willing to do this?" I said afterwards, "I'm gonna turn it into an ebook that you can give to your audience, so here's another pro, another reason why you might want to say yes." Etsy picked up on it, started promoting the series, sent tons of traffic my way, I got lots of new email newsletter subscribers, and I formed relationships with people that I still cherish to this day, that I still have relationships with. Tara sent me an email about CreativeLive saying, "hey, this is so and so from CreativeLive, she thinks that you would be great for doing a workshop here." She's the one who introduced me to somebody here to even do this workshop. So, these relationships have paid off since the very beginning. I put together a business with one of these people. So, when you're thinking about ideas, I want you to think creatively. Think outside of the box when you're trying to build relationships with people in and out of your niche. So, some of these people that I asked to participate, they were artists or jewelry makers or something like that, but I thought that they could add a lot to the series because they were really successful on social media. So you don't have to just look at people that you think you're competing with. But this was just one thing that I've done. I'll give you some other examples of ways that I've really tried to make relationships important. You'll see here on the right some superhero illustrations. My bestie Mayi Carles drew those, those are her illustrations. What we decided is we want people to help us spread the word about Connecting the Gaps, and we want to do something really creative. We want to do something different that you don't see. We don't want to just ask people to be affiliates, we want to do something that's a little bit unique. So Mayi and I did a ton of brainstorming back and forth on Skype, and that's how things often work for us, is that we are... I come up with an idea and then she comes up with something better and then I add to it, and we came up with this idea of asking all of the people that we would ask to be affiliates for Connecting the Gaps in a different way. We decided we would make a superhero illustration for each person and come up with their own superhero name, and we posted this on our site, and we sent everyone their own superhero illustration and we told them, "we really admire you, we really love you, you're a part of our community, you mean so much to us. We've got this new business that's coming out and we wanted you to be a part of it. We wanted to do something a little bit different instead of just asking you to be an affiliate." So we put up their illustrations and everyone was sharing their illustrations. They were so excited that they got their own individual superhero illustration and name. They were all over Facebook, all over Twitter. They brought tons of traffic back to our site, lots of opt-ins, but it was something that we were giving to them and then they were giving back to us. The blog tour for this workshop. So, leading up to this workshop, I did a blog tour that Sage was a part of and I asked different bloggers that I thought would add to the conversation of why blogging is so important, what it's done for them, how it's helped their businesses. I asked them to write a post about any of those topics and to include a little blurb about this workshop so that their audience would know about it and come watch it, and I wrote them some copy that they could include in their blog post so it'd be really super easy, and everyone that could participate said yes. I had somebody that was traveling to Morocco and she was going to be gone for three weeks so she couldn't participate, and then somebody else was about to have her second baby, so there are some times people will say no to you when you ask them to do stuff, even though they would love to say yes, but it's just because it's not the right time for them. So, everyone for this blog tour, I was really excited about reading their posts. They sent lots of traffic to RSVP for this workshop and got some traffic themselves, as well, because I was promoting the posts, CreativeLive was promoting the posts. So it was a way that everybody could get a little something from it. And I even got comments from these bloggers, they were emailing me saying, "this has reignited my love for blogging," one person said. Another person said, "I didn't realize how many people would tell me that my voice is so unique and be so excited about my post. Thank you so much about inviting me to a part of this blog tour." So it became something exciting for everybody involved. Right, Sage? How was your experience? It was wonderful. I mean, just to be asked was amazing because I love what you do and I know that my readers would definitely resonate with what you're talking about, too, and I totally saw a spike in the number of people coming to my site. Yay. Another example would be when I released Marketing for Creatives. I asked people that I thought that their audience would be really interested in Marketing for Creatives. I asked them if they would be interested in interviewing me on their sites. These were people that already did interviews. Mayi sometimes did interviews, but she broke her rule and did one with me because she loves me, so... But a lot of people that already do interviews, I asked them, "hey, I think this would be really interesting for your audience. Would you be interested in interviewing me?" They said yes and, every time one of those interviews was published, I saw an increase in sales. And so I did this after the launch of Marketing for Creatives for about a month and a half, maybe two months and, everyday one of those interviews came out, big increase in sales. And I'd already built up relationships with the people that I asked for these interviews. They knew my name. It wasn't that I was emailing them and they had no idea who I was. We had talked on social media, we had exchanged emails, we had been commenting on each others' blogs. So, usually you start small with this kind of stuff. Start talking to people on Twitter, start talking to people on Facebook, on Instagram, wherever, and forming those relationships, leaving comments on their blogs. That's how you start building these relationships. Take advantage of every opportunity. You never know where they might lead. For instance, when Srini said, "hey, I've got these consulting spots open," I could've easily said, "I'm not ready for that," and then I would've lost out on this great opportunity. Another time, I don't know if you guys know about Marie Forleo's Rich, Happy and Hot Live conference that she used to have every year, she no longer does, but it was an amazing conference and, the very first year that I had started Blacksburg Belle, I was looking at this conference and thinking, "oh my gosh, I want to be there, I want to go to this conference," but the ticket price I want to say was $1500, I mean, it was not an inexpensive conference to attend, and she announced that she was gonna have scholarships for it. So, I thought, "what the heck, I'm gonna enter. I'm gonna put in a scholarship." So, I created a video, entered my scholarship, won a seat at her conference, and I could have said, "I'm not ready for this yet," or, "because I can't afford this ticket, I'm just gonna give up on this opportunity." And I'll tell you, not only did I get that ticket, but we had to sleep in a hotel in New Jersey because we couldn't afford one in Manhattan at the time where the conference was. My husband drove up with me so that I could drive and it would be cheaper, and we left the night that the conference ended instead of staying that night. We left that Sunday night, even though the conference ended at six or seven, drove back to Virginia eight hours, and we did it because this was gonna be a huge opportunity for me. And it was. I made relationships and formed relationships there that have helped my business so much. I met Laura Roeder who is a big name in social media, and I was able to interview her for Blacksburg Belle, because I was able to meet her in person at a conference. So take advantage of those opportunities. I see this happen all the time where people say, "I'm not ready," or, "I don't have the money," or, "she won't pick me," or, "that won't happen for me." Don't do that. Instead, try because you never know what could happen. I don't know if you guys have experienced anything like that where you've taken advantage of an opportunity and been able to capitalize it and make it a big difference for your blog or if you've said, "I'm not ready for this. Somebody's offering something that I'm not quite ready for so I'm not gonna go for it." Have any of you experienced that? Coming here, I wasn't sure I was ready for it but I really wanted to go for it, so I made it happen. Yes, and tell is your site again. Alright. I also blog at, it's a camping and travel blog. Yeah, coming here, I thought, "oh, I don't know anything about blogging. I might be in over my head," but I did it and I was chosen and I'm so excited. I've had so much energy these last three days just from being here and all these creative ideas coming in my head, it's so exciting. Yeah, and you guys have formed relationships with each other being here, right? (audience agrees) You're all talking about going to your sites. You're all talking about looking at each others' work, how you're gonna follow each other on social media when you leave, yeah. Big opportunities. Anybody else? I'm a big fan of Jess Lively and I had been commenting on her blog, just as like a fan, for forever, and one day, her assistant emailed me, and she does interviews with pretty big people on her blog. Her assistant emailed me and said that their interview for the next day had fallen through so she's like, "can you fill out these questions and give me an interview for you? Like, now?" And so I dropped everything and then did this quick little interview, sent her photos, nice photos that I had of myself, which reminds me to always have nice photos cause you never know when you're gonna get asked for them, and sent it off and they published my interview, little nobody, and I got so many new people on my blog because I could've told her, "I can't throw anything together in a couple hours," but I knew what this could've done for me so I did it. I love that story. Do you know how many readers you got from that? Do you have any... I got 100 new subscribers. 100 new subscribers? That's a lot, that's really good. Yeah. Yeah. I actually got my first client from a relationship that I had formed. I have an accountability partner and we have been meeting with each other every Tuesday for the past, almost year and a half right now, and she's the one who introduced me to my first client. She's like, "hey, this is Jennifer. She helps women build and design courses, you really should check her out." I chatted with her through Facebook, we got on the phone and, just from that conversation alone, she's like, "I'm gonna sign up with you for your sessions," and so I was just like, "oh," and that came as a result of having this relationship with Maya, my accountability partner. How'd you find this accountability partner? I'm sure there are people thinking, "I want somebody like that." That's true. I'm in a private Facebook group and she took the initiative, and I think that's what we're getting from you, take the initiative and put yourself out there, so she posted, she's in the L.A. area so she posted a question on Facebook and said, "I'm looking for an accountability partner, anybody interested?" And, at that point, I was kind of like you, I'm like, "I'm not sure exactly what that is, what I would do, but I'm just gonna put my name there anyways," so I did and we connected and we've been working with each other for the past year and a half now, so... That's an amazing story. Yeah, yeah. And she's someone I can bounce ideas off of. Like you said, she's in the same boat trying to build a business and so she really gets and understands what I'm trying to do and vice versa, so we really do help each other out in that respect. And she's somebody that can, you say, "I've made these updates to my website, can you take a look and give me some honest feedback?" Exactly. "And tell me what you think?" She's told me a number of times, "that's not gonna work," and so, that's been very helpful. It is helpful to get that outside perspective. And I actually have an ebook and she went through the entire thing, which is just amazing, and she recorded this audio for me where she said, "this is what I would change, this is what I'd do, this is what I enjoy, this is what I love, you might want to try this," and it just blew my mind cause it was just so helpful to have someone care about what you're doing and then take the time to help you build that up. So that is really good and really special. Do any of you also have partners like that? I have two. You have two? I have two accountability buddies. And what do they do for you? It's just a good check-in. Like, instead of a to-do list, I do a done list for the day, so that it also gives me a record if I don't think I've done that much, I can just look through those texts, and then we do a once-a-week check-in email that's more like what our goals were for the week and things like that. And another one is more for art, we just do sending each other photos of what we've done for the day. Okay, so it keeps you feeling accountable because you have somebody to answer to at the end of the day. I love that. And you were gonna... I was gonna say last year, a group of, turned out to be women but it didn't have to be, got together cause we wanted to just share about our businesses and just actually have a place to talk about that because sometimes in social settings people don't really wanna here about what's going on, and we kind of fell off the wagon with that this year and I'm thinking that I miss it so I'm gonna reach back out to them. People were getting engaged and everything and so, you know... Did it make a difference? Yeah, it was nice. It was like a monthly thing. It was just nice to have a place to talk about stuff and get feedback from people. And just, yeah, when you're excited about something, like know there's gonna be a place to share this thing. Yeah, yeah. It's nice to have somebody when you're really excited about something and then also when something really bad happens in your business. I can't tell you how many times I have called Mayi. I've emailed her, said, "I need a Skype chat right now." I am sobbing, something really bad happened that would probably not be devastating to most people like, whatever it is, my website has crashed or whatever has gone on, I have gotten the first mean email from somebody, and she'll hop on Skype and talk it through with me and, by the end, I feel like "ah, okay," like I took a Xanax or something like that. Like she made me feel better, she made me feel like somebody gets it. Right now, we've got a lot of people in the chatroom sharing their stories, I wanna read some of these. Here's a good one from Nella Dutano, and said that their big step was that they wrote a guest post for Leonie Dawson and they sent it, they waited til the last day, didn't think they were gonna get picked and then they finally got picked. They were featured on the blog and it worked out really well for them, so congratulations on that. And we also asked a general question like, "what is it that you and the chatroom have been doing to build your relationships?" And we got some more great examples. Consultalosa says that, "I meet with local artists once a month and we support each others' openings, new projects, etc." GinaC says, "I have a group of people that I have developed friendships through Instagram and Facebook. We share each others' posts and participate on each others' posts as well." And you could probably even find an accountability partner in the chatroom if you really wanted to. [Chatroom Moderator] That's right, they could be in there right now. Yeah, and if you want somebody, just saying something on Facebook, just saying, "I'm looking for this for this reason," and let people know the specifics of what you're looking for and you might find somebody. Same thing on Twitter. You never know. Let's talk about the people who you hang with online. They influence the way people see your brand. So who you're connected with online makes a difference. Not saying that you don't want to hang out with people who have small audiences. I'm talking about making sure that you hang out with people who have similar values, who you would want your brand to be associated with, who they have similar likes, similar dislikes, things like that, because you don't want your brand associated with somebody that values completely different things than you. It influences how people see you online. And when you're connected with certain people, that can raise your status. When I interviewed Laura Roeder, who has hundreds of thousands of fans, when I interviewed her, that helped me raise my status. People were like, "you know Laura Roeder? She was interviewed on your blog? You guys did a video together? Oh my goodness!" It's like this big deal. So it can help you and can help your business, too, but you want to think about who you're hanging out with online, who you're chatting with a lot on social media, and what that says about your brand. So brainstorm your buds. This activity is on page 68. Who do you want to hang with? Who in the blogging world would you love to have a relationship with? Who do you share similar values, goals and interests with? Who do you want to hang with online? So these can be people with really large audiences. This can also be people on your level, who have the same type of audience that you do, that are just starting out, or who haven't been around for long. Who in the blogging world would you love to have a relationship with? This is another reason to download that workbook. Thinking about this will help you start to connect, to figure out who you should be commenting on their blogs, who you should be chatting with on Twitter, who you should be talking to on Facebook. So share with me, who do you want to be buds with online? I want to hear some of your answers. Sage, who do you want to be buds with? Oh, I love Natalie MacNeil from She Takes on the World. I just think she's the coolest. I also like Laura Sims from Create as Folk. Alright. Anybody else? I want to hear who you want to be buds with, and they might hear it and say, "I heard my name!" Okay, this is top, top, top. Brain Pickings' Maria Popova. Ooh, I like that site. She's like... Yeah, that's an amazing site. Who else? Who do you want to be buds with online? Well, I obviously want to be buds with the Crafty Chica, because she's my crafty hero. And do you do anything now to develop that relationship? I comment on her blog posts sometimes, yeah. She's usually the only person I comment on. I follow her YouTube, I subscribe to her YouTube channel. Okay, what about on social media? I follow her on Facebook and Twitter. And do you leave comments and reply to her on Twitter? Yeah, I do. Okay, and has she replied back sometimes? She has, actually. Doesn't that feel really good? It feels very good, yeah, like, "oh my gosh!" It feels amazing. Yeah, it feels really good. What about you? Have you, with any of those people, have you commented or talked to them on social media? Yeah, I comment a lot, like their stuff on social media, leave little comments, and it has worked for me. Actually, Laura Sims from Create as Folk sent me an advance copy of her book on to review, which was nice, and I was featured on the sales page, my little blurb, my testimonial. Amazing, so you are buds! Sort of, yeah. Getting there. Yeah. But yeah, like relationships take time so it's little comments and then a little bit more back and forth and then a little bit more so, yeah, it's definitely grown over time. So how do you think she noticed you online? She noticed me from my comments. She recognized my name and my smiling face, it was my picture, and she noticed that I was liking her stuff and sharing her stuff on Facebook, too. And sent you an advance copy. That felt good, right? That felt so good. Who else? Well, people in the chatroom have been chiming in with some of the people that they would like to be buds with online. CreativeKimona says, "I would love to hang with Laura Bassen and Jennifer McGuire," and now Christy Tomlinson, it says, this is Tanya from Southern Oregon, wants to be buds with Christy Tomlinson, and then, of course, we have lots of people who want to be buds with you, April. We've got Amanda, Sue, Tanya from Southern Oregon, a number of people. MorbidCafe says, "I want to be besties with Ann Ray and Jonathan Fields, oh and Brene Brown would be great to hang out with as well." They are big names, so a lot of people are shooting for the stars, a lot of big names, but that's achievable sometimes, right? Yeah, definitely, especially if you're one of those people that's constantly showing up for that person. You know, I knew of Sage because she kept leaving really thoughtful comments on my blog. The same with Jennifer. She left really thoughtful comments on my blog, so I knew both of them, right? I asked Sage to be a part of this blog tour because I had gotten to know her through the comments that she left so I knew who I was asking to be a part of the blog tour, right? And when I saw your name on the list of people to come to this CreativeLive workshop, I was so excited to meet you in person. Both of you, right? Cause I recognized your names, and I even told you that, that I was really excited. And I otherwise wouldn't know you if you hadn't been leaving those comments, and more than one, not just one, and not comments that just say, "hey, nice post." Add to the conversation. Add to the conversation. So start to connect. How can you connect with them? Social media, Twitter, Facebook, leaving thoughtful comments. This is an example of a comment that Jennifer left on my blog, she says, "hey, April, I blog because I love sharing my passion and connecting with the women who read my blog. I think about them when I write and hope that the information I provide resonates with them or benefits them in other ways. Actually, I implemented one of your blog writing suggestions in a previous post to print out my blog post and edit it. That effort paid off because it quickly became the most popular post on my site. It was from the heart. Thanks for that. Looking forward to your workshop." Yeah, exactly. That's a very thoughtful comment. That made me feel incredible that she had used my information and that had made her post the most popular post on her site. And then I included that in an email that I sent out to my list, asking her, of course, beforehand if she was comfortable with that. But that's the type of stuff that makes you stand out to people, especially people that you perceive as knowing more than you or being better than you or being higher up in your niche than you. That's the stuff that stands out, you know? I feel like we're friends, like we could go out to coffee, from the comments that you leave on my blog. The same thing with Sage. I feel like we could go out to coffee, I would know who I'm going out to coffee with, and we could be friends. Email. So take it to the next level. After you've been talking on social media, after you've been leaving thoughtful comments, the next step is emailing. And you can just say, "hey, I really love what you've got going on. This has been my favorite post of yours," or, "this really helped me in this way," or, "I created this DIY project that you put up and here's a couple pictures of it. I wanted to say thank you for everything that you've done." So not emailing asking for something, but emailing saying, "hey, I love what you do." Those emails stand out to me. I remember those people. And then, how about talking on Skype? Asking that person, "hey, would you like to chat for a few minutes on Skype?" That's something that people get nervous about, that they get a little bit fearful of, that the person might say no, but I know whenever I've done this, and I've actually started talking to the person, it makes a big difference. I've even done this before with someone who has left multiple comments on my blog, and I thought we would get along really well and so, I'm gonna see if she wants to chat on Skype. Her name is Cora Lee, I've talked about her before in this, and if you read Blacksburg Belle and you read the comments regularly, you know who she is because she leaves lots of thoughtful comments. But the reason I reached out to her and said, "hey, let's chat on Skype for a few minutes," was because of the comments she was leaving on my blog. She was like, "oh my gosh, you're asking me to chat on Skype? I can't believe it!" You know? She thought it was a really big deal. So, it can work. Interview her for your blog or introduce her to your audience like Sage has done with Jennifer. That's a really easy one. If you want to help somebody out and you want to get to know them, interview them on your blog. Ask to guest post on her site. So, if she accepts guest posts, write the most amazing guest post possible. She will remember you. She will become one of your online buds. If you write a guest post that her readers fall in love with, that they leave tons of comments on, she's gonna remember it. She's going to want to move that relationship forward. And then move the relationship offline. So, meet in person. If you live close enough to each other that that makes it possible, meet in person. Meet at a conference or art retreat that you both want to attend. Attend a workshop, retreat or conference where she's speaking or teaching. All of those things can help you move that relationship forward. So, if you want to go to a conference, see if that person also wants to go to that conference. That's how Mayi and I met in person for the first time, is that she wanted to go Rich, Happy and Hot Live, I wanted to go to Rich, Happy and Hot Live, so we thought that would be the first place that we would meet in person. And that's when we decided we have to do something together, we have to do some sort of joint venture. That's when Connecting the Gaps came to be. So think about that also.

Class Description

There are over 200 million blogs on the Internet, so how do you cut through the noise and stand out in the crowd? A quality blog boasts great content, a powerful voice, and relevant, useful information. The problem is, putting all of those pieces together, understanding how to find the right audience, and marketing your blog is no easy juggling act.

Join the founder of Blacksburg Belle and author of Marketing for Creatives April Bowles-Olin for a comprehensive course dedicated to teaching you how to write, create, and market a successful blog. Drawing on the same methods she’s used to help successful entrepreneurs around the world grow their online presence, April will teach you how to find your own voice and get more comfortable writing like yourself. You’ll learn how to develop a strong editorial strategy, attract the right readers and write engaging headlines that will drive traffic to your site. April will also explore some of the key problems that hold bloggers back -- from writer’s block to boredom to insecurity about what you’re writing -- and explain how to overcome them. Best of all, April will teach you how to save time and have fun while contributing to the success of your blog.

After just three short days with April, you’ll possess the perfect foundation for better copywriting and creating a powerful, traffic generating blog.



This course is absolutely amazing. April is so enthusiastic and inspiring. It is clear she has spent a lot of time preparing for this course with a wealth of useful information in the videos and the workbook and the resource pack. Having just launched my new photography website, I have been looking for ideas and help with the blog- a new area for me. This has made me feel excited about my business. It's helped me plan my blog posts for the coming months and highlighted the importance of a good blog for keeping a website fresh. I found myself excited for each new video and sad when it was all finished! I've purchase a few courses through Creative Live but this is my favourite so far and April has a lot to do with that.

Kristina Zambrano

Where to start? ... Um I took my blog to the groomer ha! you guys must be thinking how on earth you take a blog to the groomer pretty easy actually you just go and click where it says "Build a Successful Creative Blog with April Bowles and you are taking it to the groomer. Now leaving my pet-related talking if you are creative and have no idea where to start in blogging this is your place to start she (April) will teach you everything about the blog world with a touch of joy, fun and creativity. She will take you from Zero, Nada, Nothing to Something or better say to a brand new groomed blog. And if you need more to convince you to get this workshop you just read April Bowles "26 post you gotta read - blog tour" and if that doesn't make you get it, then you are totally not ready to Blog. Thank you so much April for everything you shared with us.


This course gave me both the impetus to begin the blog whose domain I was sitting on for nearly a year and the skills to do it well. April was - and still is - supportive and helpful to all of the people who participated in the course. It became a community of people, supporting and helping each other to follow through with the amazing instructions that she gave us during the course itself. The resources she gave us are still useful, and the connections I made on her site and the sites she pointed us to have made my blog successful in only a few months. AWESOME course!