Spend the Weekend Working on Your Blog - Resources for a Better Blog - Campfire Chic

 

Do you ever feel like you are working harder than your blog? Like, your blog should be picking up some of the slack so you can enjoy a glass of wine without worrying about spilling all over your laptop?

I hate to tell you this, but you’re going to have to put in a little bit more work before your blog will work harder. Work hard this weekend so you can play harder next week. I put together this short list of articles and blog posts I think will help get you started — I can’t know what your site needs specifically, but hopefully something here speaks to you.

Resources to get your blog to working harder:

And my favorite blogging resource: the BUILD ecourse*. It’s more than an ecourse, it’s a living thing — as in, it keeps growing as more and more content is added to it. Also, the private Facebook group is a mini-mastermind group where BUILDers can ask questions, collaborate with one another, and work through some of the topics covered in the ecourse. Seriously, if you’re like me and want to focus on one topic (for me, that would be focusing on my pillar content) at a time, this ecourse is great because you can jump around the syllabus however you want. Amy has it set up so you can go through it how she set it up OR jump around to what speaks to you that day. There are plenty of video interviews, screencasts showing you how to use different resources, and more. It’s worth the investment. Seriously. Get a taste of the BUILD ecourse with weekly emails from Amy for FREE — check this page for more info on that and how to register for the ecourse.

What could your blog use right now?

*I am a BUILD ecourse contributor and affilaite – if you decide to register for the course and do so through one of the links on this page, I’ll be compensated. If you don’t want me to get anything, go straight to Amy’s site and go through her links. I wouldn’t promote this ecourse if I didn’t think Campfire Chic readers would dig it. All opinions here are my own, naturally.

 

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Resources for Writing a Blog About Page - Campfire Chic

One thing I need to finish this week? Updating my About Page.

Why? I mean, it gets the point across, right?

Kinda, but not really. It’s a bit out-dated and I do not think it truly captures who I am (Hi, I’m Kam) and what Campfire Chic is all about. I need to take my own advice and get to work on what is undoubtedly the most important page of a site like this.

To get me into the mood and to inspire you to update your About Page, I compiled a list of resources that will get some of the basics into our brains so we can make a few basic tweaks.

A reminder: my About You ebook is on sale right now.

About Page Resources for Creatives:

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Tips for Working with a Designer - Campfire Chic
Campfire Chic has gone through many (many many) looks – most of which was the result of me pulling up the Blogger html and adjusting a few things here and there. I liked most of the looks, some of them were obviously better than others…but when I moved CampfireChic.com to a self-hosted WordPress, I knew I needed somebody with actual experience making things look cohesive and user-friendly.
I needed a designer.
Thankfully, I know a few wonderful designers from following different blogs and I knew I wanted to work with somebody I know. Enter Kara Haupt.
I worked (and probably bothered) with Kara for a while to essentially rebrand Campfire Chic and to get the new site up and running. With many Campfire Chic readers saying that Blogging is a top priority for 2014, I felt now would be a great time to connect with Kara to learn more about what inspires her. Also, I asked her share some tips for working with a designer so things go smoothly and both sides are happy at the end of it all.

Tips for Working with a Designer

Kara, in addition to Classes Kara Made you do design for brand identity, websites and blogs. What inspired you to start working with online brands and bloggers to design sites?

It started with online friends reaching out to me and asking me if I did blog designs (they had seen my work for my own sites) and if I could do theirs! I jumped right into it. I really love to create and collaborate with small businesses on their brand identity and designing sites is a fun challenge for me as well. Figuring out a logo and a look for a person or their business is like a puzzle — taking someone’s vision, style, or idea and making something that works visually is a thrilling process.

What are your 3 tips for working with a designer?

1. Find the right fit. 
A good designer can work in a variety of styles to successfully satisfy the needs of a project, but you can’t stick a square peg in a round hole. Look for a designer that creates work youadore and who can communicate with you in a way that works for you both.
2. Listen and collaborate.
The designer you’re working probably has a great style of process that works for them and their clients. So, really dig into their homework and ask yourself what success is to you for this project. I love working with clients that give me a lot to think about and ones that really spend their time being specific about what they want. It makes things so much easier and so much more fun.
3. Trust.
If you found the right fit for a designer, you’re going to trust them and their expertise. This designer has years of experience and education, so really listen to their suggestions about aesthetics, typography etc. They know their shit and would be happy to give a quick explanation as to why something may be the best choice. And trust them to exercise their creativity! Like in number two, knowing what you want is important, but be open to change if it’s for the best!

How do you find inspiration to do design work in addition to the work you do while in school?

You know, the design work/school balance is a hard one to juggle for sure and something I am still figuring out. It can be difficult to feel energized or excited when I have so many different creative projects going on, but working with clients exercises a different part of my brain that I really enjoy. Like I said earlier, it’s a bit of a puzzle and I enjoy the challenge!
To find out more about Kara and what she offers, you can visit: KaraHaupt.com, Classes Kara Made, and her blog. If you are thinking you need help with your brand identity, website, or blog, I highly suggest contacting Kara – I hear she is able to take on a few clients right now. What better time than the present, right?

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rukristin_invest_in_your_po (1)

A while back, I was talking with a group of friends about the risk of opportunity and the value of saying no. This group of friends — my tribe, as Kam would call them — is essential to my success. Even though I’m a kick-ass person who is capable of awesome things, I still need people to talk about the big stuff with — people that I trust. What started out as a simple question between friends morphed into an incredible dialog about the importance of investing in yourself and how those investments will help you be the best version of yourself.

When you’re first starting out in any venture — people (especially women) have the tendency to over-commit to projects in the hope that those projects will help them gain other opportunities in the future. I have definitely been guilty of this in the past — accepting way too many ‘volunteer’ positions, or taking on projects that weren’t really in line with my goals in the hope that those opportunities would lead to better opportunities in the future.

This wasn’t working for me, and honestly I don’t think it works for anyone. I was getting burnt out, not doing my best work, and generally hating this thing that I had always been passionate about. I took a step back and assessed my situation. I started to look at opportunities for what they were — opportunities; and not all opportunities are created equal. I needed to figure out which opportunities were best for me now and which opportunities would help me get to where I wanted to be in the future.

After a long time of not really having a clue — I learned how to truly value myself. The first step was understanding the importance of investing in me and how that translated to how other people valued my work.

Here is what I did:

First, I figured out what MY GOALS were. What did I actually WANT? — Write it down. Make it real. Post it on your wall. Look at it every day.

Second, I figured out what do I NEEDED to do to in order to achieve those goals? How can I break down these complex goals into manageable tasks that I could start working towards?

Third, I figured out that I needed to invest my time into those tasks in order to start working towards my goals.

Now this is a long process that will definitely go on for as long as you are working towards new goals — but let’s focus on one of the hardest parts: valuing yourself.

Let’s break it down to a simple equation: time = money

now let’s narrow that down: your time = your money

As bloggers and small business owners, we generally don’t have the luxury of dropping dollars to invest in every opportunity that comes along. We think a lot about how to spend money, and more importantly, how to invest money. We think long and we think hard before committing our hard earned cash. We ask ourselves – is this a wise investment? What am I actually paying for, and how will that further my goals?

Awesome — that’s the first step. But let’s take it to the next level.

Invest in your time.

If time = money, then it is just as important that you invest your time as well as you invest your money. To be successful it is important that you make WISE investments with your time, the way you would make WISE investments with your money.

As I started thinking of my time as my money, things became much clearer. Opportunities continued to roll in, and I began to assess each opportunity with three questions in mind:

  1. What is the time commitment?
  2. What will I get out of this project (both best and worst case scenarios)?
  3. Is the outcome going to help me achieve my goals?

Every time I was committing my time to a project, I was committing money to a project. Your time has an inherant monetary value (after all, you could be spending that time working a part-time job for cash). In order for these opportunities to be successful, you need to be satisfied with the return on your time investment.

Let’s think about it in terms of the stock market.

There will always be opportunities to invest in stocks that might go up in the future and have a great return. But if you don’t have that much money to spend on stocks (or time to invest in projects) you need to be wiser about which stocks you buy (and which projects you take on). This is especially true if you are just starting out and don’t have lots of capital (either time or money). Your decisions on how to spend your time need to be smart and efficient — the same as you would spending your money.

Diversify your portfolio.

The best way to ensure steady growth is to have some long, slow-growing projects as well as quick turn around projects.

Long, slow-growing projects are a great way to build up a brand reputation. These projects tend to require a serious amount of patience and work-ethic, but will pay off over and over again in the long run. My favorite example of a long, slow-growing project is 30 Days of Lists. Because of the time and effort put in by Kam and Amy, 30 Days of Lists has grown bigger and better with each round of lists. If you are serious about investing in yourself, committing to longer slow-growing projects is essential.

Quick turn-around projects are a great way to get the most bang for your buck. These are great for when you might have a little bit of ‘extra’ time that you can commit to a single awesome thing right now. Guest blog posts, blog party collaborations (like my Holiday Extravaganza), a DIY/tutorial post. or a comprehensive list of resources on your favorite topic are all great ways to invest a small amount of time and get a great return.

Take the next step.

Invest in yourself. Be the best you that you can be.

If you are serious about your goals and crafting a plan to achieve your goals, I want to invite you to check out BUILD. You can’t do everything alone, and BUILD offers incredible content to help you reach your goals and a kick-ass community to go along with it. Remember, your time is your money and to be a successful creative you must invest wisely. Kam and I are BUILDers and we hope that you choose to invest in yourself and become a BUILDer too.

How can you best invest in your portfolio this week?

Kristin is a millennial storyteller who loves documenting her everyday-life and awesome adventures. As the owner of rukristin papercrafts, a venue to share information and inspiration on creative ways to tell your story, she encourages others to dream big, find their voice, and be the author of their own adventure. An introvert who loves community, she loves meeting new friends online — drop her a line on twitter, instagram, or facebook and follow along with her story at rukristin.com.

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2 Reasons to have an editorial calendar by Kam of Campfire Chic

Nothing like the upcoming holiday season to make me thankful that I have an editorial calendar.

What is an editorial calendar? You may also know it as a “blog calendar” but I like sounding fancy. It’s the plan you set for your upcoming blog posts organized on a calendar…like, a literal calendar. Maybe it’s a week-by-week plan you have drafted up in an Evernote or maybe you have a specific calendar set up in your Google Calendar. It’s more than sitting down the morning you want a blog post out and writing something on a whim. It’s a plan…and I love a good plan.

Why have an editorial calendar? There are three BIG reasons why I’m thankful to have a blogging plan this time of the year…I can visually see the posts I have ready to roll, when I make time to sit at my computer, I can start working right away, and…how do I say this…I’m super forgetful, so having blog posts organized and in my face keeps me on track.

Here are 3 reasons to have an editorial calendar:

Organization

I’m busy. You’re busy. Sometimes things fall through the cracks when we’re busy…those dishes don’t always get done, that trip to Target for eggs? You spent $50 but forgot to get the eggs. Think of an editorial calendar as a HUGE way to keep the blogging part of your life organized. I use both my Google Calendar and the Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress to organize my posts. That way, if a guest blog post doesn’t make it to my inbox when I need it, I can see what other posts I have planned/drafted and can easily move things around! Heading on vacation? Preparing your blog and website for your absence is so much easier with an editorial calendar! Another reason? If you cover several topics, it will help you organize your posts so you don’t have three DIY projects in a row. Being an organized blogger is fun!

Idea Generation

At a loss for ideas? Take a look at your editorial calendar and see what you have planned and think of other posts that may be good ideas…do you have a post about starting yoga planned for the month? Why not write a few other posts that can build off of that one (see: 5 blog posts to write when you try something new) to fill some of the gaps? Simply looking at your calendar can help inspire you to fill in spots for the month…and sometimes idea generation is the hardest part…take a look at last month’s calendar, is there an update you can write on something you shared? Why not post an update on how volunteering at a local shelter, a variation to the yummy recipe you shared, or a peek into the a secret project you’re working on?

Ease of Mind

Let’s be honest…some of us feel a little stressed about not having a blog post scheduled and ready to go for the next morning. And by “some of us” I mean ME. I like knowing that I have my blog posts set up, scheduled, and more ideas for the following week. When I know I’ll be out of town, I work ahead, and then when I’m waiting for takeoff I’m not worried about my blog not being updated while I’m out of town! The same is true when I’m sick and when I don’t feel like being on the computer after being at work all day.

Get your editorial calendar in check this holiday season so you can get to work faster and back to your family in record time.

How do you organize your blog posts?

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