We’ve made it to another Friday, which means it’s time yet again for fuck yeah, Friday! This week, tons of tips and tricks from SEO to blogging to knocking your email list out of the park…
1. This post from Femtrepreneur on email list building has so much great wisdom, I want to print it out and frame it and kiss it. Or something less creepy, like bookmark it.
2. Little Farm Media is dropping some great tips for how to boost your SEO in time for the holidays.
3. If you’re like me, inbox zero is some mythical state of being. 99u agrees and has a better idea for handling email overload!
4. Confidence is key in business (and life!) and as always, Ash Ambirge lays down the law on how to seem confident, even if you’re not!
5. ByRegina knocks it out of the park again with 20 tips to up your pro blogging game!
What’s on your reading list this weekend?
This tech tutorial is one that has been requested a ton: how to create custom, branded Pinterest board covers! It’s worth spending a little time to create custom Pinboard covers – it’s easy to do, they make your page on Pinterest look cohesive and organized, and they create a fun and effective extension of your brand. Scroll down for the full how-to, and (because I love ya), a free Pinterest cover template for making your own covers in Adobe Illustrator!
HOW TO CREATE CUSTOM PINTEREST BOARD COVERS
1. Go to the individual board whose cover you want to customize.
2. Don’t forget the details!
Make sure to add your description (with your business name) and then in the search box, type in the board name where you’re adding this.
3. Edit Your Board Cover
Once your pin is uploaded and saved, you’ll be taken back to the main page for that board. Click on the “edit board” in the upper right corner, and then in the window that pops up, click “change.” You should see the most recent pin uploaded to the board, ie your custom cover image! You can click and drag the image to recenter it in the crop window, if needed.
That’s all you have to do! It’s a little roundabout, but it’s just a couple easy steps and it makes such a huge difference in how your Pinterest page – even if it’s just on your first couple rows of boards –will look at first glance.
You can make your own covers with a program like Photoshop, Illustrator, or even Canva (or, if worst comes to worst, Powerpoint!). The official size for board cover images is 217×146 pixels, but I’d create the images at 2-3x that size, since Pinterest will automatically downsize your image for you. Save your images as a png (or png-24 if you have the option) and you’re on your way.
And if you’re an Illustrator fan like me. you’re in luck – I created a free template for Illustrator to help you out! Just fill out your information below to unlock your free Illustrator template download.
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Oh yeah, I’m going there.
I don’t usually talk politics on here, but after following the election news recently, I just couldn’t hold back. In the last couple of weeks, Donald Trump has gotten a huge (and disproportionate) amount of attention from pretty much every major media network. He’s gone from an outspoken millionaire and property mogul to a political candidate that some of the electorate is taking quite seriously. The key to this? His unique personal brand has allowed him to break from the election norm and stand out among the candidates. Here are the top 3 takeaways from watching how he’s done this.
Full disclosure: I think the man’s beliefs/politics are perfectly crazypants and would never in a million years vote for him. Just so we’re clear.
1. Know Your Targets
Much to the dismay of the Republican party leadership, Donald Trump has become their numero uno guy for comments that are sexist, classist, racist, and just about every other negative -ist out there. To them, it’s a PR nightmare (and rightly so.) But what Trump is doing is actually spot-on from a personal branding standpoint: he’s tailoring his speeches to say exactly what a lot of people want to be hearing. Although I personally disagree with everything he says, he’s gaining popularity because, to his supporters, he’s the only candidate being honest and upfront. Since his earlier days in the public eye on the Apprentice, Trump has always played the part of the business-savvy but tactless “tell it like it is” guy, and he’s playing that up in his campaigning to appeal to his target demographic. I’m not about to recommend that you go out ranting against women or Mexicans (please don’t do that!) but what you should learn from this is the importance of tailoring your voice to those people you want to work with and who can eventually be huge cheerleaders for your brand.
2. Get Clear on Your Core Beliefs
This goes hand-in-hand with the way Trump panders to his audience. He leverages his unapologetic and unfiltered persona to share his core beliefs: he knows what he believes in and he wants everyone else to know it too. Every brand should have a set of core beliefs, whether it’s Amazon’s value of embracing failure or Toms’ belief in always giving back, having a set of core brand beliefs/values is key to being consistent and creating a solid brand and business. Donald Trump, similarly, has talked about his own core beliefs and his goal to “make America great again,” and leverages those core beliefs to try to find common ground with his audience and make himself seem more relatable.
3. Tread Carefully
The key problem (and maybe the biggest personal branding lesson to be learned here) is that Trump has taken the ideas of marketing to your target demographic and embracing core values to an extreme. As a result, he’s created an interesting situation for himself: he’s getting plenty of press and voter support, but he’s also damaging his once business-minded brand and turning it into a political one that has turned off many of those who previously thought of him as only a businessman. As a brand, it’s key to know who you’re targeting and being crystal clear on your values, but when you take it to an extreme as Trump has, negative consequences (in his case, losing multiple sponsors and business deals) are almost guaranteed to occur. So while he’s doing extremely well in the polls, and his new personal brand is working for him politically, he’s seeing some economic fallout. In sum? Know who you’re talking to and what you stand for, but be aware of people’s reactions to you, and be conscious of that if your messages may be seen as extreme or polarizing!
What do you think? Has he damaged his brand beyond repair? Would you ever embrace this kind of “no holds barred, give no fucks” attitude? Do you think he’s simply gotten to the point, business-wise, where he can afford to do this with his brand? Lots to think about. And I bet you didn’t think there were branding lessons to be learned from the man with the worst combover in America.
When I first heard about Gumroad’s Small Product Lab challenge, I was intrigued and frankly, a whole lot intimidated. The concept is that, in 10 days, the participants would conceptualize, create, and launch a “small product.” I didn’t think I could come up with an idea in 10 days, much less an idea that was feasible, marketable, and that solved a problem that actually needed solving. I signed up anyway and the emails promptly got lost in the inbox shuffle.
Then, Gumroad ran the challenge a second time and a group of us decided to tackle this challenge head-on. Long story short? Last Thursday, I launched my first ever ebook: The Ultimate E-Course Toolkit!
The entire process was such a whirlwind; I’m still a bit shellshocked (and recovering from sleep deprivation) from it all. Nonetheless, I’m so glad I committed to doing it this time around and managed to create 26 pages of super sexy worksheets, planners, calendars, and resources that I can both sell and send to my e-course clients. YAS!. I learned so much from doing this, so after 10 days of craziness, here are my top 5 takeaways from the SPL challenge!
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
One of the best parts of the SPL challenge is that, even though it was a super tight timeframe, they plan out what you should be doing each of the 10 days. Plus, they have you create your own gameplan to carefully map out every aspect of what you’ll be creating, how you’ll be delivering it, and how you’ll promote it. When doing something like the SPL challenge, it helps so much to make a plan, and force yourself to stick to it!
2. Get + Stay Organized
I’m pretty bad at this, if I’m being completely honest; organization is definitely not my biggest strength. I found, though, that at least having some semblance of organization was crucial to succeeding here. For me, the best way to organize my ideas was a combination of trello and a master document where I put all of my links, research findings and other notes. I began the challenge with a super detailed outline and referred back to it every time I’d start veering off course.
3. KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid)
You’d think this one would be a no-brainer, but at some point I found myself with 20+ pages in the Toolkit and wondering if I needed to add even more sections! 10 days seems like a good chunk of time but in reality, when combined with client work and, ya know, life things, 10 days is a crazy short timeframe to create and sell a product of that size. Keeping it simple and sticking to my original plan was the only way I was able to launch in 10 days, and even then it required an all-nighter to pull it off.
4. Embrace the Unfollowers
Despite the fact that my email announcing the toolkit was the first one I’d sent out in over a year and included an exclusive discount, I still got a few unfollowers. My initial reaction was to be bummed (ok, and a little indignant), but then I reminded myself that it was a good thing. Why would I want people on my email list who don’t care about what I have to say for the first time in so long? And if they’re not as excited as I am about this crazy entrepreneurship rollercoaster that we’re on, then why bother trying to appease them? My list might be a little smaller, but at least I know it’s full of people who are interested and invested in what’s going on.
5. Have a Support System
This was definitely what got me across the finish line with the SPL. I had a group for accountability and was in the SPL Facebook group as well, where we all shared our progress, worked through our (many) challenges, and helped promote each other. Having other people to bounce ideas off of and cheer me on was great, and it also inadvertently created a bit of a “peer pressure” effect for me – since I’d publicly committed to creating and launching the toolkit in 10 days, I had no choice but to follow through!
Oh, and a bonus #6? As always, done is better than perfect.
If you’re curious about the toolkit or are ready to snag your copy, head on over here! If you’re planning on creating an e-course any time soon, you won’t want to miss out on this crazy good resource.
So, you know your brand is ready for a change. Maybe you want to up your game. Maybe you’re sick of blending in with your competition. Maybe your current look is attracting the wrong kind of customers. Either way, you’re ready to finally take that big leap.
If you’re like a lot of clients who come my way, you’re probably super stoked but also nervous, scared, and maybe even a little jaded about it because of a bad past experience. I totally get it– rebranding is a huge commitment to make with your business baby! It’s a lot like redecorating your entire house (or in this case, your home on the internet), and while you hope/know that the final outcome will be amazing, it’s a messy process and there’s a lot of uncertainty in the meantime.
To make that process a little easier for you, here are my ABC’s to follow for when you make that decision to change things up in a big way!
This step is crucial! When I get a new branding/site client, I always do a brand audit, but it’s something you can and should do yourself before talking with a designer. This will help you figure out what you already have, what you need, and holes in things like your systems. For example: are your email headers branded? What about your PDF’s? Do you have an email signature?
When you go to rebrand, you’ll want to change all of these things to keep your brand consistent. Maybe you don’t have a header for your email, or you haven’t been doing blog graphics with the same fonts and colors. A good designer/strategist will help you figure out exactly what you need, but it’s important to know what that might entail so that you can a) be sure to ask for it and b) not be surprised when your designer suggests it!
Admittedly, this is one of my favorite things to do– it’s Pinterest time! This is another step that I do with my branding clients, but it’s also a really useful thing to do when you decide that you want to rebrand. When you first start thinking about changing up your brand, create a pinboard. This will become your digital “filing cabinet,” where you should put any and all inspiration! When I say inspiration, I mean screenshots of sites you love, fonts that strike your fancy, even photos of rooms and fashion that make you happy. As you compile more pins, you’ll (hopefully) start to see some patterns in what you like! Maybe you lean more towards boho chic, or maybe you’re inspired by a much more clean and modern look.
The best part of this step is that, as you see your style start to come to life, you’ll be able to look for designers whose style and philosophy is aligned with that. I’ll be the first person to admit that my designs aren’t shabby chic or masculine and grungy, so someone wanting that kind of look and feel would probably want to find a designer whose portfolio shows that. For someone wanting a bold, fresh, typography- and strong-color driven brand, though, they’d definitely be landing in the right place when they went to my site! Which leads me to the final pre-rebrand step…
There are a LOT of designers — and people who call themselves designers — out there, thanks to the accessibility of the internet and Photoshop. You may or may not have a referral to a specific designer, but I would always recommend looking closely at a person’s portfolio. Most designers don’t have a ton of pieces, but the good ones will have their best pieces posted in their portfolio or behance site. How does their work make you feel? Does it move and inspire you? Is it in line with the types of images you’ve been pinning or is it a total 180 from what’s been inspiring you? Does their copy make you feel comfortable and welcome? Do you feel like you want to work with this person, and does their work make you feel confident in their abilities to do your rebrand?
There’s a lot more that goes into a brand identity, but these ABC’s should help you start to prepare for a fun and exciting next stage in your business! If you’re itching to experience the magic of a rebrand yourself, drop me a line and we’ll talk about it — I’m currently booking for the end of the summer and into the fall!
3 weeks in a row for a series! This is totally a record for me, so count that as yet another reason to say FUCK YEAH, FRIDAY! Without further ado…
- Jet is being called the new combination of Amazon + Costco, and they’re offering free 3-month trials. Idk about you, but that sounds pretty rocking to me.
- These toolboxes from Oh So Beautiful Paper are all sorts of fun. Every designer needs a toolbox for their pretty pens and stuff, right? #bizexpense
- Paying taxes sucks, but this guide from the Freelancers Union might take some of the sting out of doing them quarterly!
- Crappy clients can suck the life out of you. The always-fabulous Marie Poulin talks about why getting good clients (and only good clients!) is a must do.
- No niche? Fizzle talks about why this is a good thing (and I’ve got to agree!)
- The Blogging Brew covers group pinterest boards, and how they can help you grow your biz. Love that advice!
Seen more new + noteworthy links this week? Leave em in the comments below!
Here’s a little insider (not-so) secret: Pinterest can drive a HUGE amount of traffic to your site. Like, ridiculous. If your pins get re-pinned? We’re talking some mega traction. Granted, I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict (16k pins and counting!), but I’ve found it to be super useful for inspiration, recipes, tips, you name it. This tech tutorial is a really simple one, but also incredibly an incredibly useful way of seeing who’s pinning from your site without having to dive into Google Analytics.
- Go to pinterest.com/source/yoursite.com (for example, I would go to pinterest.com/source/linzlovesyou.com or pinterest.com/source/lindsaygoldner.com)
- There, you’ll see (on one page!) all of the pins that have been pinned directly from your website.
- You can click on any of the pins to see how many times that particular pin has been re-pinned. You can also look at other boards where it’s found (great for doing market research!), who’s doing the pinning, and see related posts, which can be super useful for getting ideas on related content.
- Bonus: you can also comment on your pins, either replying to pinners’ comments about your content (hopefully good comments!), thanking them for pinning, or even correcting uncorrect attribution.
Simple but easy and useful as heck. Doesn’t get much better than that!
Are you liking these tutorials and want to see more? Hit me up in the comment section and let me know what else you’d like me to cover!
I’ve been dreaming about the Pacific Northwest lately since I bought my ticket for We Make PDX Celebrates, so I decided to share the PNW-inspired lovefest with you through a rustic and woodsy moodboard!
Woo, another Fuck Yeah Friday! This week has been full of business ups and personal downs (weird first date, anyone?) but as always, there’ve been lots of interesting posts in the blogosphere!
- An oldie but a goodie from yours truly: branding advice inspired by online dating. Trust me, you’ll learn a lot!
- Great example of when design meets a real life need– texting when you miss a birth control pill!
- I pretty much want all of these art prints.
- Who says home offices have to be boring?
- Nobody likes a copycat. How to develop your own unique blogging voice from the Nectar Collective!
- By Regina is awesome. Here’s her great take on a creative action plan (aka a business plan that sucks less).
That’s all for today! What’s on your reading list for this weekend, anything juicy?
If you’ve ever worked with a web designer, you probably are familiar with them asking you for your username/password to things like your hosting account so that they can hop in and make changes as needed. But for wordpress, I usually ask my clients to create an admin account for me so that they can delete it when we’re done with the project. It sounds a little intimidating, but creating a new admin is actually super easy!
- Log into your wordpress dashboard (yoursite.com/wp-admin)
- In your sidebar menu, look for the “Users” link (hint: it has a little icon of a person next to it)
- When you hover over users, you’ll see the flyaway menu. Click “Add new”
- From there, create a username like “Lindsaythedesigner”…anything BUT admin! Seriously, just don’t use admin, it’s horrible from a security standpoint.
- Plug in the email address of your new user, and create a password.
- Check the box that says “send password” so your new user can see their new pw!
- This step is the most important! Where it says “Role”, the dropdown menu defaults to subscriber. But for someone to make changes on your site, it needs to be changed to Admin. Don’t forget that step!
- Hit add new user, and you’re all set.
See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?