Episode 211 // Instagram and Blogging

April 9, 2019

Some of you may have noticed changes in Instagram and blogging lately, so today we’re talking Instagram and our potential breakup with hashtags, the ever changing landscape of blogging and whether or not we think it’s dead, content marketing strategies that suit your specific business, and we’re wrapping up the episode with audience questions about freelancing, monetizing your blog, and being an entrepreneur with two different businesses.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Your brand is so many other things beyond your product and even beyond your service. It should be an environment of ideas and positions that your brand takes on whatever is relevant to the work that you do."
- Emily

Discussed in this Episode

  • Testing and changing to find what works best on Instagram
  • Our experiment with and the results of not using hashtags
  • How blogging has evolved and how you should evolve with it
  • Content marketing strategies
  • Tips for improving your freelance hustle
  • Monetizing your blog with digital products
  • How to balance two separate business as a single entrepreneur

Resources

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.

Transcript

Emily Thompson 0:02
I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:04
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Emily Thompson 0:05
And this is being boss. On this episode of being ball, so we're talking about Instagram, are we breaking up with hashtags? Also, is blogging dead? We're talking about not just about blogging, but content marketing to grow your business. And finally, we're answering your questions about freelancing. monetizing your blog and being an entrepreneur with two totally different businesses and finding the balance. As always, you can find all the tools books and links we referenced on the show notes at WWW dot Bean's boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 0:43
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Emily Thompson 1:42
Yeah, for sure. And I feel I feel myself thinking about the podcast so much more now within like banking it all up for that one instead of just like showing up and just talking about whatever I'm actually thinking about what I want to talk about, because it's like, it's more of an event now than it has been in the past.

Kathleen Shannon 1:59
Yeah, so what have you been up to in the past couple of weeks last month,

Emily Thompson 2:05
all kinds of fun things. The past couple weeks have been really big for Almanac which has been exciting. We spent a lot of the winter sort of developing products and product ideas and like dreaming about them and sort of starting to put some things in place. And now we are officially launching some of them, which is really exciting. So if anyone follows us on Instagram, you may have seen a cute Noma friend who has come out to play. We got a local illustrator or graphic designer and illustrator and screen printer to create a gnome illustration for us. And so we did that and super excited about it. We got a screen printed on a shirt. As of recording this, we're doing a name the gnome sort of contest, I guess getting our community help us name the gnome because I can't decide on a name.

Kathleen Shannon 2:57
I really want to win this. But I also feel like I'm that person who should, in the disclaimer be excluded from winning,

Emily Thompson 3:05
right? So Lily, my daughter also is like I want to enter my name's I'm like, I kind of can't choose your name. Like you're more than welcome to enter your name. But I can't choose your name. I could choose yours for sure. And we'll see why not. But

Kathleen Shannon 3:19
okay, if you choose my name, you can then re contest the winnings to someone our specs, I get it.

Emily Thompson 3:31
That's a good idea. So we're doing a name the gnome contest, which is a ton of fun because David and I have not been able to name the No, we can't decide on a name. And then next week, I guess after this episode goes live, we're actually launching a small batch pre order of our first t shirts. So we're going to be doing him on lots of different things. We're going to start with a T shirt. He'll be back on T shirts, but never quite the same way. So we want to have a lot of fun with him and not just do like one t shirt and be done. We're going to do some fun stuff with the gnome. And I really can't wait for him to have a name so that I can actually call him by a name.

Kathleen Shannon 4:07
I love it. Love it. Anyway, I've been sitting on this secret, which is that Dr. Bernie brown brittnay invited my sister and I to come out to LA to watch her taping of a Netflix special which is going to be out on April 19. So I'm so excited. Maybe there'll be like a sweeping camera pan and you'll get to see me in the audience or maybe not. Hopefully it's not like a bad double chin angle. This isn't about me. This is about Renee. Anyway getting to see Rene brown speak in person. It's just funny for as many for for the books that I've read of hers and even working with her as a client and watching her TED talks on YouTube. Seeing her live in person tell her stories. It was so inspiring. It was so amazing. So anyway, you can listen to her being boss episode, it's being boss, Episode Number 42. Um, and then make sure to check her out on Netflix on April 19.

Emily Thompson 5:11
That's super excited you feel like, like you were like friends of the band, or

Kathleen Shannon 5:16
Yeah, so I felt like I was friends with the band because one we flew out to LA It was super last minute. And okay, speaking of our words of the year, my words of the year are aligned and inspired. And this was a super expensive trip for us to even fly out to LA to get a last minute hotel. It was a lot, and we kind of thought about not doing it. But it just so happened that our calendars were completely clear. We had the money to do it. So we're like, let's do it. Let's show up. Let's do the thing. So my sister and I get out to LA. And we head out to the hall that she was speaking on at UCLA. And there were three huge lines going all the way I mean, like a block down the block right of lines. And I was like, oh, shoot, we got here kind of late like this is this is bad. But then I heard her Texas accent. Now it wasn't Renee was actually her sister who works for her. And I kind of just followed the Texas voice up toward the front of the hall and ended up seeing the whole crew that we work with. So I've mentioned before that Renee Brown is a client, but we're working with her team. And it's actually very rare these days that we're working directly with Bernie and we work a lot with her sisters and the rest of her team. And like her manager Murdoch. And so we ended up spying all those people. And they were like, hey, come up here. We ended up getting to sit in the VIP section with all of her team. We even went backstage before Britney went on and got to give her a hug. And you know, and say hey, before she went on which it just felt really special. And she's been with braid for a really long time. And we've loved working with her. And yeah, it just felt really good. And I yeah, I did feel pretty cool for a hot second.

Emily Thompson 7:05
Right? I also love one of the things that I love about having done the work that we've done for so long, or having done the same work for as long as we have is watching the people that we help. Turn into cool, ask people. You know, we're like we work with people, when they're just getting started, or whenever they hit a milestone where they think, okay, we need to get more legit. For you. It's branding. For me it was websites. And so it's like a step that they're taking. And then you know, 5678 years into a relationship. You watch them grow and do such cool things. So for you, I'm sure to be able to watch Rene go from I guess she hired break whenever she was going on Oprah correct.

Kathleen Shannon 7:50
So so she hired us right before she went on Oprah. And just as another creative entrepreneur who was like, hey, I want my website to look and feel like me. Can you do my branding?

Emily Thompson 8:00
Yeah. And so like seeing her pre Oprah all the way to Netflix special? Like, that's a pretty awesome journey to watch.

Kathleen Shannon 8:07
I know. Yeah, it's been. It's been really fun being a part of our team, and it's why I still love doing client work.

Emily Thompson 8:15
I love it. What else have you been up to anything else?

Kathleen Shannon 8:18
Well, I just had my 10 year anniversary with my husband. We went to Santa Fe, so went on a fun trip. But also workwise or I guess being boss related. I had breakfast with Jason Harrison. So he is a fitness coach and has his own brick and mortar space. And, um, I got to have breakfast with him in Detroit. him and his wife, Susan, were visiting they were checking out a performance and I don't know it just reminded me that seeing people in person goes such a long way. And we have just such an inspiring conversation. We had brunch for like three hours. And it was really, really good. So you all can check out his episode.

Emily Thompson 9:02
I'm not sure it's Episode Number 61 I just searched for it. There you go.

Kathleen Shannon 9:06
So Episode Number 61 where we interviewed Jason but yeah, really just being able to talk about politics and and fitness and nutrition and all of the things that I like to nerd out on was a lot of fun. So just a reminder that you know, if you are ever traveling to another city and you kind of know of a creative there, be sure to reach out and try and connect or connect with the people that already live in the city that you live in. I know that it's so easy to get bogged down in work but if you take the time and effort to make a date to go get breakfast or coffee or drinks or whatever it just is so even if you're an introvert It is so fueling It is so good. It definitely filled my cup for sure.

Unknown Speaker 9:55
It is always time well spent. Yeah

Emily Thompson 10:01
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Kathleen Shannon 10:42
All right, Emily, I want to talk about Instagram. Good. I'm excited to have this conversation. I did a post about as of recording this a week ago. And it was all about hashtags. And so the funny thing about this is probably three weeks ago, you sent me a message on slack. Or maybe we were having an in person meeting and you were like, Hey, did you realize that you're forgetting to put hashtags on our Instagram posts? I was like, Oh, yeah, sorry, I forgot to tell you. I'm experimenting with not using hashtags. So we've been doing actually a lot of Instagram experimenting this year. One is that we're posting less and part of that is because we're publishing less whenever it comes to the podcast. But we're also posting a little bit less so whereas before we felt like we should be posting once a day, we really reevaluate it and said, How many times a week Do we really need to be posting and between the two of us we have what like, five or six Instagram accounts,

Emily Thompson 11:42
there's a couple

Kathleen Shannon 11:44
there's a there's just a lot of posting all the time. So we thought, what if we just posted two to three times a week. So that was the first thing. And then the next one that I wanted to try out was hashtags. I wanted to see what really prompted this actually, let me just read the post. So if you don't already follow us on Instagram, we are at being bossed club and you can see the post itself. It's a big hashtag graphic. But here's what we said, are we breaking up with hashtags? We're always running experiments. And for the past month or so we've stopped including hashtags on our Instagram posts. And then it's like the big shocky emoji face, because I will never break up with emojis. hashtags are great for organizing content and making your posts finable. But we've noticed a couple of things. One, the spammy comments have gotten out of control. We're not even sure how this software works. But I have a feeling hashtags prompt a lot of automated and generic responses. Gross. So these are the responses that are like nice shot, nice pic, you know, great, great content, let's collaborate.

Emily Thompson 12:51
Okay, very genuine,

Kathleen Shannon 12:52
very, very. And then too, they clutter up the content, it can make genuine content feel like a salesy attention grab, we're still gathering data to see how not using hashtags is affecting our engagement and analytics, we might come back to them. Who knows. But for now, we thought we'd let you in on the behind the scenes on how these experiments go down in real time. And then I asked the question, have you experimented in your business lately? Let us know in the comments. 67 comments later. And 303 likes it's been a one of our most popular posts to date, with all without hashtags. So I have so many thoughts on this. But first, Emily like what are you thinking about it?

Emily Thompson 13:38
No, no, first, I want to hear your thoughts. Because you have thoughts. I have facts.

Kathleen Shannon 13:44
Oh, there we go. There we go. Okay, so my thoughts are truly It was like the spammy content that really was just getting under my skin a little bit. And then also just feeling like the algorithm is always changing. I don't really know what's working and what's not working, which you'll probably inform me on because you have the facts. Um, I do I don't want to say and this happened to whenever I shut down the braid course I wasn't making or like whenever I stopped doing opt ins on my website, or content upgrades on my website, I'm not saying that hashtags are good or bad. I want to make that incredibly clear. I like hashtags. I like it when people use hashtags that I can use to find, let's say whole 30 recipes. I love following that hashtag because I can find new things. I love following the hashtag abstract art, so they can find inspiring things. I like it whenever it's actually functional. But for myself, whenever I was doing being boss posts, I felt like I was just putting in the hashtags that I thought I should be using. Like you know that software that generates hashtags for you based on what you're posting about or the kind of categories that you select for yourself. And it just felt a little shallow to me. I'm totally willing to use If it's working, but I just didn't know if it was working or not. And I will say that a lot of the spammy comments are no longer there. Um, so that's basically the information that I have. I love it. Those are my feelings,

Emily Thompson 15:16
right? And I will say to you, so a couple things around this. One, I feel like we use a stupid amount of time thinking about researching and putting in hashtags. So like even thinking about just time management, like is that really the best use of our time. And we don't have that we don't know that. But I don't like it. I don't like how much time we use on it. And I do think that those spammy comments, negatively impact not only like our perception of the platform, but also our community's experience of us on that platform. So I think those are two very important things to think about. And they are the two things that we were trying to combat. So once I saw that you were doing this, and I realized that you were doing it on purpose, and not just forgetting to put in hashtags, I was like, I love this idea. Because at the very same time on the almanac, Instagram feed, I was deciding to go balls to the wall with some hashtags where I was going to use all 30 hashtags, I was allowed on my Instagram posts. And not only was I going to post all the hashtags, I was going to start posting twice a day.

Kathleen Shannon 16:24
So literally the opposite strategy, really

Emily Thompson 16:27
exact opposite. So I was like, This is perfect, this is a perfect test and change. I'm so glad Kathleen, put that post up on the Instagram, because then we can really talk about what it looks like, on both sides of things. Now, I'll tell you what has happened at Almanac. And what I see happening like via the numbers, and the numbers we use later comm they do not sponsor us by any means we pay for it. We use it later COMM And to see all the analytics for Instagram, and to do some scheduling as well. So that's what I'm pulling all of these, all of these this information from. So looking at later for our Instagram account, I'll talk about Almanac first. So whenever I was started doing the or before I started doing it, I wasn't seeing much growth on our Instagram. In fact, I was seeing maybe negative growth or like decline is that the opposite of growth decay, I was seeing decay happening on Instagram where posts were getting less engagement. We weren't really gaining many followers if he had any at all. And

Kathleen Shannon 17:31
we had about like, how many followers like 2000 on Alma, um,

Emily Thompson 17:35
I think 22 perhaps Okay, so a little over 2000. Um, I wasn't seeing much growth, and it had been at that place for several months. And I was I was using a couple hashtags, but not being very strategic about at all of these things. So I decided, Okay, I'm gonna be strategic. And I'm gonna have a

Kathleen Shannon 17:51
couple more. I have a couple more questions go for you technically a business account on alman. I am technically a business account. Okay. Yes. Do you have a thing where you can sell things through Instagram? I do. Okay, I have that just these are I have some conspiracy theories.

Emily Thompson 18:09
You should? you absolutely should. I'm pretty sure there is some things that happen whenever you get a business account, you stop showing up in people's feeds as easily. And I have played around with that, like tagging products with people can buy from Instagram. I also think the algorithm does not do you any favors when you use that as well. So I don't use that and put a

Kathleen Shannon 18:29
pin in algorithms. We'll talk about that in a second. Yes, I have some things to say there too. Yes. Okay. So keep going. So you got about 2000 ish followers, it was staying pretty stagnant. Yeah. And then you started using 30, hashtags,

Emily Thompson 18:44
30, all 30 hashtags, and different hashtags every for basically every post, and twice a day. And I started seeing so much growth. Like we literally doubled our weekly followers, like how many followers we were getting a week, not so much per post engagement in terms of likes, the likes, were staying about the same, but we started getting more comments. So I think people seeing us in their feed more often made them want to have more conversations with us. And I wasn't really changing anything with the stories like I wasn't adding many more of those or anything like that. So I was trying to train to keep it like trying to keep a pretty clean experiment here as much as possible. So did that for a couple of weeks. And I was super impressed with it. And then actually someone in on the post on the being boss Instagram account mentioned some new algorithm things around posting, or using five hashtags as

Kathleen Shannon 19:44
No, she said five words in the comment.

Emily Thompson 19:49
Oh, yeah. Oh, I will try that. Next. There

Kathleen Shannon 19:53
were a lot of responses. But I was like, Where did you hear? Where did you get this algorithm information because this is my thing with algorithms. That's all for a second. Well, algorithms in general, it's like Who? The people who seem to have a handle on the algorithms? Who are they? And where are they getting their information? I don't think anybody actually knows. Oh, for like, it's not like Instagrams report saying like, here's the algorithm situation, right?

Emily Thompson 20:21
That's their proprietary information that allows them to make money. No one actually knows those secrets unless secrets, in which case, please send us an email.

Kathleen Shannon 20:29
Well, I think that people are claiming to know the secrets and then selling those secrets. And then the algorithm changes. And then the algorithm changes and the secrets that they're selling isn't even based on fact, unless they're like an insider at Instagram, for sure. Lighting as a consultant for sure. So

Emily Thompson 20:45
okay, so let me then go into the difference between and playing for the algorithm and playing for your people. Because you should be playing for Yes, for sure.

Kathleen Shannon 20:55
Yes. So

Emily Thompson 20:55
here's the here's some things I did, though, I decided to continue posting twice a day, because I felt like I had enough content to share. And that was kind of one of my struggles before was like, I have more than seven things to say in a week for the almanac, Instagram account, or more things that I could share. Um, but the Instagram or the hashtag thing was a hassle. So I started posting twice a week, but only using five hashtags per post. And here's what I found. Nothing changed between doing 30 and five. But here's something that I saw Almanac versus being boss, on some posts, up to 40% of the views that my post got came from hashtags, not from people who follow me.

Kathleen Shannon 21:44
Interesting. And what do you think? What can you tell like, what hashtags are most popular or doing well, for you,

Emily Thompson 21:51
I haven't dug into that very much. Um, but I will. But I absolutely will. Because I think that's an important piece of the puzzle. It's less about, it's less about using all the hashtags you can and more about finding the right hashtags. So once I started getting into this idea of Okay, I need to really make sure that I'm only going to be doing five there five good hashtags, I started finding some good niche hashtags. So things like hashtag found foraged or forged found or something like, like, weird little hashtags that have about 100 200,000 wasn't hashtag live authentic, or hashtag blessed. Yet, neither of those are happening for sure. I'm really getting an insight into some good niche hashtags, but also using local things, which I think is something that a lot of people forget about when using the internet is that a local crowd is super important. So I found that posting more times a day, I think gets me more engagement. And being very particular about using only like five to maybe seven hashtags is actually a good place to go. And it's really important to use those hashtags, because that literally is how people are finding you. So the automatic account has seen some good positive growth. By doing some of these things. The being boss account, has literally lost more followers than it has gained. Well, there we go. Tell me more about that. So since you stopped using hashtags, our

Kathleen Shannon 23:30
rental we should say, since you stopped using hashtags that I'm Oh, lilies oppose, yes.

Emily Thompson 23:36
Hashtag stop being used, or stop.

Kathleen Shannon 23:40
I mean, it was it was my decision. And I was kind of like taking the reins on this. I

Emily Thompson 23:46
mean, that is like an accusation by ad babes. Since hashtags went away. Our impressions have gone down. So that's the number of times that people see it, as well as the reach, which is the number of people who have who see it have just sort of dropped a bit, and there's still some spikes that happen, but those spikes aren't quite as high. And we literally have lost more followers than we have gained.

Kathleen Shannon 24:13
I do wonder, hmm, because I noticed that just anecdotally, like we had 21.1k followers, Mm hmm. Whenever I stopped using hashtags, and now we have 21.2.

Emily Thompson 24:29
When did you start using hashtags? The other

Unknown Speaker 24:31
day stopped using hashtags. February 4 is the last time I use hashtags.

Emily Thompson 24:38
Okay, so since February 4, we did have 2121 180. So right at 22 and I will tell you that it went down and then up and then down and then in the neck. We got up to 21 three at one point, and then has went back down. We were at 21 three on March 8.

Kathleen Shannon 25:01
Interesting, I also wonder if that has something to do, I'm not trying to like defend the no hashtag position because I literally don't care. Um, but I wonder if that has something to do with the size of the being bots Instagram account,

Emily Thompson 25:14
which is almost definitely

Kathleen Shannon 25:15
bigger than any of our other account Most definitely. And

Emily Thompson 25:19
in the, here's the thing I want to really point out about this though, because we could go into all the what's different or what's because even if we figure out like, if we crack the algorithm, it's gonna change next week, guys. So like, again, playing this game is pointless. However, if you are going to use a platform, whatever it is, as your main avenue for marketing, and an almanac supply company, we have very purposefully only gotten on a single social media platform. So we're not on Facebook, except I had to create a Facebook page in order to have a business account for Instagram. But literally, there's nothing on it. And I'm not telling anyone about it. We're not using any other social media platform. So for me, I need to figure this out. Because that is my only form of marketing online at the moment. So I see that as being sort of my job. But being boss, we don't care. Or we care so much less about it. For us. The Instagram is just a fun side project that we're doing to support the podcast and the thing that we've been doing in order to, you know, still share some content and stay in touch with our community. So figuring it out for being for being boss is less important.

Kathleen Shannon 26:37
Also, our goal of being boss isn't necessarily growth. I mean, how many people comment that they missed the days that we had that Facebook group, and there were 1000 people in it, and then it grow to grew to over 25,000 people, and it ran us into the ground and we shut down the Facebook group, right? You know, it's the kind of thing where like, you have to look at what your goals are, as well. And I think that some people are really trying to hack the algorithm for popularity sake, and I get it that the more popular you are, the more stuff you can sell, whether that's a course or a product or your own services. But it's a certain point, you know, growth, like it or not dilutes conversions, you know, it dilutes

Emily Thompson 27:17
that ad agency. Absolutely, and $100,000 or $100,000 100,000 followers does not make you a boss, by any means. those metrics are pointless if you're not converting and converting does happen beyond the social media platform, for sure. And that's where having an awesome business comes into play. So I'm definitely not like sidestepping the importance of having a great business or to play the Instagram game. I'm doing it to support the badass business that we're growing. But it is fun, I think to occasionally look at the things you're doing and go, does this make sense? For us? It was like, does all these hashtags make sense at Big Boss? And we I still don't think we should use them. I'm perfectly fine with us not using them unless you want to choose like three or four that you're like, No,

Kathleen Shannon 28:15
I think I want to choose like maybe five that I really love, including maybe hashtag being boss podcast hashtag being boss, like ones that are just very specific to us where PDL could find us by using that hashtag, you know, and then there's other stuff like other people started using the being boss hashtag or other people started randomly tagging us in their posts that have nothing to do with us. And I just got a ton of it, guys. It was a tactic. And I'm just done playing the game. And I think that that's kind of where I was at with being boss. And we can I mean, we both have our own businesses that we're trying to grow and scale in different ways. And we're trying different things in those places than we are at being boss. You know, it's kind of cool that we can use being boss as an experiment. You have a place to experiment and a place to get bold and say, hey, guess what? We're boss. And we're going to try not using hashtags. Yes.

Emily Thompson 29:10
So here's another thing about hashtags that I want to mention, though, because as I have gotten into looking at some hashtags, and this really was all sparked by that post, so thanks, Kathleen, for making me obsessive. But I really wanted to see how this works. So then how does this work? One of the things that I did find that I think everyone should adopt, and we should think about it whenever picking those being boss hashtags, is that hashtags become communities. For sure, so I even think about the I am being boss hashtag which we created. I think around book launch, if I'm not mistaken, or maybe even like way before that, in order to connect bosses and for bosses to be able to pinpoint the moments when they are being boss in their life in business. And now that Instagram allows you to follow a hashtag you To follow everyone who uses the hashtag, you can just follow the hashtag. And I use that as a place to build community,

Kathleen Shannon 30:08
which I love whenever. So like being boss Nola, being able to follow hashtag being boss Nola. Yep. Yeah, I love being able to follow a hashtag versus following all the people who are in that silo? Yep. For sure. Yes. And that's what that's where I am pro hashtag. And I think I even mentioned that in the post

Emily Thompson 30:28
for sure. For sure. So that's it that that's an interesting place, or interesting thing for you to think about in terms of hashtags, and is a place where if you want to be using Instagram these days, this is this is like, my takeaway is this, my takeaway from this whole hashtag conversation, it's not about using all of them, it's about finding the right ones for you. And it's about becoming involved in those communities. Because for people who are hashtagging, I am being boss, we all have something in common. And we all are there celebrating something. And that is a beautiful community thing to get involved with. So whatever it is that you're doing, whether in whether you're using Instagram, just for personal pleasure, or to build your business, find some solid hashtags, that you want to be involved with like minded people who are, who are, you know, wanting the same things that you're wanting, and get involved with them. Because I think that's also a little key to some Almanac, growth that we've seen is that I've started following the hashtags that I'm using, and I'm liking people's posts, and I'm paying attention to what they're doing. And then they come and follow me like it's this whole, like happy community building thing. That is what social media is all about.

Kathleen Shannon 31:44
Amen. You know, I think it really is, at the end of the day prioritizing engagement over popularity and growth for growth's sake. So if that means that using hashtags will serve the being boss community in a specific way, then I will use a hashtag all day. But I'm done just, you know, dumping a hashtag into some software that tells me what other hashtags to use and trying to game the system. I think that you know, probably my biggest key takeaway, and this is kind of what I've been doing for the past year is going back to my roots of following my guts. And it probably means that we're going to disagree a little bit more on like facts versus feelings. Um, but it does mean for me that I'm going to do what I want, you know, and I'm going to reassess and think okay, is this serving me? Is it serving my audience? Why am I doing this? Is it working? Is it not working and just really getting analytical about the behaviors that we start to engage in?

Emily Thompson 32:48
Yeah, it's about being mindful and testing and changing. Are you paying too much to send out packages and letters? Wouldn't it be nice to have a solution that can give you the lowest rates with send pro online it's easy to save time and money no matter what you send from packages to overnights and letters. With sem pro online, you can easily compare USPS UPS and FedEx rates all in one online tool. also gain access to special USPS savings for letters and Priority Mail shipping. You can print shipping labels and stamps from your own computer and track all of your packages and get email notifications when they've arrived. Send pro online is only 1499 per month and for being a being boss listener, you can get a free 30 day trial to get started plus a free 10 pound scale to help you accurately weigh your packages. Visit PB com slash being boss to access this special offer. That's pb.com slash being boss experienced the better way to ship with a free trial of Simcoe online. Alright, Kathleen, I am excited about this next topic so much because I feel like for years we get asked or we have been asked this question I'm still being asked this question you're asking me this question. Is blogging dead?

Kathleen Shannon 34:15
Yes. So as far as being and so as social media and so as TV and so as all the things

Emily Thompson 34:23
Oh, TV is dead, and the phrase dead newspapers totally dead.

Kathleen Shannon 34:28
All the things that people have been saying is dead is dead dead. But blogging. Okay, here's the nail in the coffin. Design Sponge is shutting down. I mean, this is huge. This is like oh gee blogging. This is the day the heyday in which we met was whenever Design Sponge was booming. Deuce was the mom blog. And we were all reading blogs on like how to clean your home. More blogs about me were

Emily Thompson 35:01
half my day was spent reading all the blogs in my RSS feed. That's what you did you read blogs, you know, really technically blogging died whenever Google shut down its RSS feed that is a fact a cold, hard fact. So let's talk about how blogging is dead and how TV is dead and how print is dead. And all these things are dead. Because what we mean here is that it's dead the way it was. But it's still alive, doing it new things. But blogging the way we all think about blogging is gone.

Kathleen Shannon 35:41
Yeah, and we got to evolve with it. So I mean, we we kind of grew up in the online world, writing blogs. Yeah. And I think that we've been very attached to blogs, I know for me, I really mourned, the day that I stopped blogging. And it was actually like a slow death because I started posting like, once a year. But then we picked up the podcast, the podcast happened kind of in lieu of blogging. And for me, it really replaced that creative expression for me and that place to show up. And obviously, it served as well. Because we were never able to monetize our blogs, like we have been the podcast, we were never able to create, you know the impression with our personal blogs that we have. With the podcast, we were never able to make that same kind of impact. But I do think of blogging and podcasting very much in the same way we would not have this podcast if we not if we had not been finding our voice blogging. So I don't think we could have as easily written the book if we hadn't spent years writing blogs. Absolutely. So I think that blogging still has a place, for sure. So it's not totally dead. But like you said, it's a little bit different. So it's totally I want to hear I want to hear more of your thoughts on where blogging is still alive and how it can still serve you or your business vision.

Emily Thompson 37:08
Yes. So whenever I most recently got asked this question. It was literally the day that I launched the blog for almanacs supply company. And so whatever, whenever a girl I was coaching, I feel like

Kathleen Shannon 37:22
there's this trend coming up where I'm like, I'm breaking up with hashtags. And we're like, I'm gonna use 30 of them. And they're all happening on the same day. Blogging is dead, and you're launching a blog.

Emily Thompson 37:33
Yeah, basically, basically, where I looked at, I told her I was like, the way you think about blogging the way the world thinks about blogging is absolutely done. Where it

Kathleen Shannon 37:43
was like, how do you think the world is thinking about blogging, in that kind of sense that is dead.

Emily Thompson 37:48
So the idea that you have to publish very consistently, and this is something where even you and I are always like, consistency breeds legitimacy, like pick a day and do it or whatever it may be. And whether it's every other week, or every week, or every, you know, day that ends with a why or every month, or whatever it is, it's not so much about just hitting publish anymore. It's about publishing quality content. And that doesn't always come on a consistent schedule. So So I recently launched one for Almanac, because I have content that I want to share for this for this for this business, that I'm creating this product business that I'm creating. And I want to do content marketing period. So we are building some offline things. We're doing things that our local community very much so but obviously, my expertise is an online business. So David and I have been very intentional about putting a lot of our time and resources into doing the thing for Almanac that I'm telling everyone else to do. And what I'm telling everyone else to do is create content for your business and position yourself as an expert by talking about what you do, period. And so we've thought about doing a podcast now is like, maybe not at the moment. But we have been investing lots of time and energy into Instagram, so into social media. But also I wanted to create more long form content that needed to live somewhere or somewhere else. And I needed it to live on our website, because what the blogs do, they drive traffic to your website. So we launched a blog at Almanac supply co so that we could create this long form content that could not as easily live on a social media platform. And I wanted to live in a place that also allowed people to buy things. So I wanted them to go to our website, which is what we should all be doing. Quite often I'm talking to creatives who don't understand why they're not converting on on social media, are they there, they're not converting in the places where they're showing up because they're not showing up on the website where people can actually learn how to hire them or buy them in an easy fast click way. So I'm so we launched the almanac supply co blog, and we're seeing higher traffic to our website, people are spending more time on our websites they're clicking through and they're looking at other things. It's hasn't quite been long enough yet for me to see if it's actually affected sells. But it has been long enough for me to see that it is definitely affecting website traffic. So what I'm doing is working and I'm not posting every week, I'm not I there has been a week where I posted twice, there's been a week where I posted none. For me, it's all about creating this very all encompassing marketing plan for my business using my blog as an outlet for that, but one where it's very closely tied to the rest of my business, the actual meat of my business. And that is the great products that we create and sell.

Kathleen Shannon 40:59
Yeah, so whenever I think about blogging being dead, I think about the way of like monetizing blogs with ads. So I'm with you, or I think that blogging as content marketing for your own business is an incredible strategy for positioning your expertise. And also your content shapes who you become. So a lot of times people feel constrained by a brand, they feel like that outward impression isn't enough. A blog is a place where you can start to go deeper, a podcast as well, or a YouTube channel, whatever you want to do. But content is a place where you can start to explore new ideas, you can test products and ideas. And for me, blogging is still very much alive. And I still blog over at braid creative. I'm with you where my frequency isn't as much. In fact, lately it's been this this year, it's been once a quarter. Ideally, I would like to do one to two times per month, but then really leveraged that content on social all month long. So it's like good enough content, and it's meaty enough content that you could send out to newsletters on it you could do for Instagram posts on it, you could share it on Facebook, and really leverage that content. And this is an idea that I've talked about a lot as far as like having hub content, which is like this primary meaty content that you put a lot of effort into, and you make sure to keep sharing the shit out of it all over the place. Yes, um, but I do, I will say like, if I were your business coach, Emily, I do think that if you're just starting to blog, you should do it with more frequency and or podcast or YouTube, I think that it would be behoove you to, you know, publish, let's say once a week for until you can build up that base of content and really start to find your voice. So I would do once a week for, let's say, at least three months, right? So you have a good base of content. And then from there, maybe do once every two weeks, and then maybe once a month, I think the more established you are, the more you can get away with being infrequent, because you've already proven that you can be consistent and that you can show up and that you're reliable. I think that you've done that with being boss and with Indy shot biography and almanacs kind of an extension of your whole history as a creative entrepreneur. But this is just my advice to anyone who's listening who's wanting to start blogging, I would probably say, if you're brand new, and you don't have that basis, that library of content, to publish as much as possible, as fast as possible, still making a good and you probably have a lot of good stuff in you, because you haven't been blogging for eight years already. Right? That would probably be my advice. And I have more thoughts on blogging, but I want to give you a chance to respond,

Emily Thompson 43:54
because they have to disagree. I totally have to disagree and that no one's watching blogs anymore. I think that's one of the big, the big, different things about blogs these days is that no one is watching to see if you are posting every week, they're not watching to see if your posting with any kind of frequency. Occasionally they'll come to your website. And they're going to hope to see a couple of posts. And I think that oftentimes that requirement of consistency is what stops people from getting started. And I think these days blogs are much more forgiving. And that you can show up. You can have a blog that has two posts on it for a year. And what you will know is that everyone who visits your blog will read both of those posts. Whereas if you are creating consistent content over and over again, that great content you create in the beginning goes to the bottom and no one reads it. I was working on I guess I still am is sort of on the backburner at the moment and you say design for me personally and A big part of that was a blog section. And it actually ended up becoming the almanac, the almanac blog, because all the content that I wanted to share was things that were very Almanac, relevance and recipes and some things about seasonal living and those sorts of things. And in my blog design, it was going to be unlike any blog I've ever seen. And guys, you are more than welcome to steal this idea, because I did not do it fast enough. And I'm here willing to share, my idea for my blog was that it would only ever house five pieces of content. And I wouldn't post them consistently, I would just like I was planning on loading it with five pieces of content. And that would just stay there, there would be no navigation beyond those five posts. And whenever I wanted to switch out one for a new post, and I was thinking five different categories of content, whenever I wanted to switch one out, I would just switch it out, and then the one that left was gone. So there was no like a back navigation, it was simply a place where you could go read five pieces of content, period. Okay, this,

Kathleen Shannon 46:03
this gives me another thought that I've had on blogging recently is that blog posts need to be a little bit more evergreen. So whenever we were blogging back in the day, it was very timely, it was related to what was happening in our lives. So for example, I just went to Santa Fe. So let's say I wanted to do a personal post about that which side note, I'm still thinking about personal blogging, which I'm

Emily Thompson 46:28
talking about on this pod, your personal vlogging in your heads is what you're doing,

Kathleen Shannon 46:32
I really am. And so instead of it being all about my wedding anniversary, it might be more about the space that we were at. So it might be really about Santa Fe and the things that we did, and probably not so personal, probably more of like a Santa Fe travel guide kind of style blog post, right? That's not happening. But this is to say that my posts, and I still do blog over at breed creative, my posts are very much more evergreen and not so rooted in the time that we're in right now. And it's posts that are really functional. So this is something else that I want to add. And I've seen you doing this with almanaque as well, the posts are incredibly functional and useful. The internet is saturated right now with a bunch of bullshit content. don't contribute to that, right? Like just write like helpful, useful, or at least at the very least honest, like, even if your post isn't a how to, or as long as it's personal or not, not even personal. But as long as it's honest. and dare I say authentic, it will resonate. But if you're just posting because you feel like you should be posting. That's the stuff that's going by the wayside. So this is you know, also to say part of my strategy over at braid has been really using my blog as a place to capture shape and share the information that I'm constantly already sharing with my clients, or in emails or stuff that my client needs to know next about branding that isn't necessarily a part of the braid method, right. And so I might create a branding checklist, but then this is also content marketing that will bring people in and want to learn more about branding. So I'm thinking of it from a bunch of different levels, but definitely getting a little bit more useful and a little bit more evergreen with the content.

Emily Thompson 48:26
Yes, I like to think of blogging as being an expansion of your brand. So in using Almanac as an example, it's really easy. And I hear this all the time from makers for people to think okay, my brand is only this thing that I'm making. No honey, your brand is so many other things beyond your products, or even beyond your service. It can, it should be an environment of ideas and positions that your brand takes on whatever is relevant to the work that you do. And I've even seen me building the almanac brand, as proof to all my maker friends that you can absolutely have content that's relevant to your brand. That's not just you showing what your product is, or the behind the scenes of how you've made it. You can really do so many things with content and a brand and it should be there to expand your brand. I think it's a little less so these days and exploration and more of like a stake in the ground.

Kathleen Shannon 49:31
Right. I think that Well, I think it can be both like I definitely think that it's an exploration and I see you exploring ideas with an almanac but I also think that it's proof of your credibility. And so this is where that consistency part does come back in a little bit where you know, someone's googling someone to brand themselves and they hit braid creative and see this wealth of knowledge and all these blog posts. It just adds proof to how credible we are and how long we've been doing this for. So there's that side of things. But it also allows people to start to hear your voice and connect with you emotionally because that's part of what a brand is, as well. It gets you on this shortlist. And it's what differentiates you, whenever people have a lot of different people to choose from, they're choosing you, oftentimes, because of the lifestyle and the content that you've created around the brand, the feeling that you evoke in them whenever they're interacting with your Instagram posts, or whenever they're reading your blog posts or listening to your podcast.

Emily Thompson 50:39
And I just want to throw in one more insanely practical piece of info around blog posts, that is the exact same from the way it has always been. In that it is great for search engine optimization.

Kathleen Shannon 50:53
Yeah, period, we used to get real creative with our headlines and blog posts. Uh huh. The headline is a place like if there's ever a place where you want to say what you mean, it is in the headline of your blog post, get as practical as possible, absolutely. Forget creativity, you can do that. Within the post.

Emily Thompson 51:14
You're more like the second paragraph. So with the second paragraph with creativity, headline for sure. first sentence very say what you mean. And beyond that get as creative as you'd like. But it is really great for search engine optimization. So often we have people coming to us like how do i do better in you know, in Google? And how do people find me, they find you via Google, Google catalogues your site based on the content that's on your site. And if you're talking about things that are relevant to your brand, then it will all come together and people finding you.

Kathleen Shannon 51:49
All right. Well, my key takeaway here is that blogging is not dead. It has just changed. And I Phoenix it has really risen from its ashes. And I'm personally obsessed with content marketing, I love creating content, obviously, with our history of blogging, and then with this podcast here, content is I think one of the best ways to brand yourself and to differentiate yourself, and to really become creatively fulfilled. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a blog, it could be a podcast, it could be a YouTube channel, it could literally just be photo essays. It could be any way you want it to be. But I do think it really is important in this day and age to be creating content, but to be creating really good content that we're you know, whenever you like publish something, and you just want to go back and read it. Yeah, that's how you know it's good. That's how you know it's good. So only publish that stuff for sure. That's not entirely true. Because sometimes you have to publish the bad stuff to get to the good stuff. So am

Emily Thompson 52:55
I'm kidding, but it's fine to go in and clean out that bad stuff too. Later.

Kathleen Shannon 52:58
There you go. All right. I recently deleted probably 200 braid blog posts. So that is a really good point as to like go back and scrap the things that you that are either irrelevant, or that you don't want to be known for.

Emily Thompson 53:15
Yes, for sure. Hold on there was a thought I had here Okay, so if you want to hear more about or read more about branding, go visit braid creative comm for Kathleen's blog posts. Seasonal living over at Almanac supply co.com we have recipes and seasonal forecasts, which are way fine. Good. And if you want to learn more about doing content marketing for your own brand and business go over to being boss club to check out our master classes we have a content or a What is it called content marketing masterclass? Is that what it is there you go content marketing masterclass that is waiting for you.

Kathleen Shannon 54:00
Okay, Emily, so you busted out this beautiful color coded spreadsheet. And you had listed even in the spreadsheet some of our roles and duties and our marketing plans and our numbers. And it kinda looks a lot like our cod kit.

Emily Thompson 54:16
Well, you better bet that's exactly where it came from. And it stemmed from me doing some of the exercises in CEO day kit. It really spurred me to think about what it is that we wanted to do in our business for the new year, except a little differently. This year. I use those to create some spreadsheets, but it definitely started with the exercises, the worksheets that we include in CEO Jay kit, a tool that we use every year to plan our year ahead. So it really gives us a chance to sit down get really clear on all of our goals on all of our attentions. It helped me think about my word of the year and some of my words of the month coming up. So if you guys want to get aligned and in the know with the nuts and bolts of your business, check out our a C Do daycare at courses dot boombox dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 55:07
Okay, we have like, we have like five minutes for quick what is that called? quick fire quick fire q&a fast action. All right, we have about five minutes for some quick fire q&a. So we have asked you all quiet to ask us questions and you submit these mostly on Instagram because that's where we like connecting with you all. So here are a few questions that have come up recently. So one of the questions was not a question which we will no longer be answering but this says anything that has to do with freelance copywriting. If you are a freelance copywriting, if you're freelance anything, I would say practice doing that thing as much as possible. So if you're a freelance copywriter, right, as much as possible, one of the things that I know get said a lot is to charge what you're worth, and especially with freelancers, that's incredibly important to charge money to get paid. But if you're just starting out, you just need to be writing as much as possible. So that whether that's on your own blog posts, whether that is for quote, unquote, exposure, you just need to be writing or doing the thing, whether that's design, I was designing so much for free in the early days, but the goal was just to design as much as possible. So if you're freelance, do the thing that you want to be doing as much as possible. That's my best advice.

Emily Thompson 56:30
I love it. And my advice for anyone who has freelance anything as well, is the ABCs of business always be collecting this mindset. And a freelancer especially can be super difficult to get into whenever you are doing work, or you are supposed to be getting paid, make sure you are collecting the money that you are supposed to be getting paid. And that is a practice that is usually super difficult. I usually has freelancers sitting there going, but I have so many people who owe me money. And I'm like, are you invoicing them and collecting it? And they're like, no,

Kathleen Shannon 57:08
this oil I love this is why we love our partner fresh books, cloud accounting. Okay, so I'm gonna change my answer to if you're a freelancer be using fresh books.

Emily Thompson 57:19
Amen. And ABC, and ABC, ABC F. Okay, next question. I have a blog I want to monetize with digital products. How do I find my tribe? What are key tips for new bloggers to monetize?

Kathleen Shannon 57:34
Well, we were just talking about this, right. So my biggest recommendation is that you don't have to have a large market in order to sell. So whenever I first started selling my online course with braid creative, which is now no longer available, I maybe only sold five in the first quarter that I had launched it. And that was good enough. So my biggest advice for monetizing with digital products is one, you kind of have to make it your full time job. If you want to sell digital products in a way that fully supplements your income. It's a full time

Emily Thompson 58:14
job supplement your income.

Kathleen Shannon 58:17
Yeah, even then, like it's, it's not passive, so that there's that I'm finding your community whenever it comes to that and building growth. I think that you'll agree with me here, Emily is to build a newsletter list. And even if you start with 10 people, and you write really good newsletters, it's going to grow to 100 your conversion rates will be through the roof, they will be probably 25% versus the 1% that we see whenever we grow our newsletter list a little bit bigger. And my key tips for monetizing is to have a service or product that you want to sell beyond ads. And really making sure that you're reminding people how to hire you all the time. Even if you get haters telling you that you're selling too much. That's okay to remind them how to hire you

Emily Thompson 59:08
have two totally different answers. You ready for this guy? To find your folks, I would recommend getting on a social media platform. No one's hanging out on blogs anymore. They may visit a blog, but they don't hang out there. So sharing what you're writing on a social media platform where people are actually hanging out i think is how you find your folks. And then whenever it comes to key tips for new bloggers who want to monetize something I'm seeing a lot which we did not talk about in the blogging section. It came in my mind and I totally forgot to say it is think about doing some influencer things as well or partnering up with other bloggers who may also have digital products where you can do some sort of like bundle sell or something like this. What I'm finding in the online space a lot these days is that we're hanging out together in order to do the thing and to make it work. So whether that's you partnering with someone who's on the same level as you, or you're partnering with someone who is who has a brand that is larger than yours as an influencer thing is working. And it's working also really well for small blogs because small blogs and small Instagram followings and all those things usually have higher engagements than people who have 100,000 followers or even 20,000 followers, there are some really great things that come from staying small. And so you can even play in that space as well. But you have to remember and whether it's the digital products, or brand partnerships, both on your level or above your level, is that you better be showing up and doing the work that gets everyone the the outcome that they desire. You are they're offering a service to all of those people in all of those situations. So it better be totally boss.

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:54
Better be boss, be, be be better. I'm just trying to turn everything that you're saying that

Emily Thompson 1:01:02
was like a better business bureau. BBB. Anyhow, so there we go.

Kathleen Shannon 1:01:09
Alright, our last question is how do you balance a maker business with an online slash service based business? Ooh, this is a good question for you, Emily, how do you balance them? And how can you incorporate them, so one helps grow and inform the other?

Emily Thompson 1:01:25
Okay, so balancing them is all about just dividing your time and conquering. So for me, I spend, you know, certain days doing almanaque things in certain days doing being boss things. So I just time manage as much as possible, we have some training on that being boss club slash time, in case you're interested to see more on how we literally do this in our calendars. And then when it comes to incorporating them, it's finding interesting ways for them to work together or for them to even like think about the brands collaborating together, what would that look like? And or if it's not brands, its services and products, like what would it look like if they were to work together? The fun thing with business these days is there are no rules. So you can do things however you'd like. Here at being boss, we talked about Almanac a lot, we even did a spin off podcast called Making a business where we followed the journey of Almanac beginning, there's so many things that you can do. And there is a common thread between the things that you do, even if they feel completely separate, you have to find that and use it to to make the best of both.

Kathleen Shannon 1:02:41
So I'm going to come at this from a branding perspective, since that's what I do for a living. And we do get a lot of people who are multi passionate entrepreneurs. And the first question I like to ask is, if you could only do one thing all day, every day, what would that be? Right? So it might be that you either need a break up with one of the businesses and stop doing it. But let's say your service based business, let's say you're a copywriter, but you really want to be a maker, then you have to think and your copywriting business is established. And that's what pays the bills. But you're starting this new thing off the ground making products. It might be that the copywriting is paying the bills, but it's not necessarily what you want to be known for. So I would say keep riding that wave based on referrals and the kind of behind the scenes stuff that you're doing to get business. But you don't have to promote it as much as the thing that you want to be known for which might be your maker business. So that's my biggest advice there. If you really are, let's say a 5050 split between the two things, then it comes back to how does your personal brand, how does who you are integrate into both of those things. And once you can find that common thread, you won't feel so scattered or spread thin because you understand how your values and who you are is really driving both of that service and that maker business.

Emily Thompson 1:04:11
Thanks for listening. And hey, if you want more resources, we're talking worksheets, free trainings in person meetups and vacations and more. Go to our website at www dot boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 1:04:24
Do the work the boss