Edited to Announce: The winner of a copy of the No Brainer Blog eBook by Hayely Morgan is….Emily Fontes! Congrats, Emily!
I have that shivvery feeling you get the morning of your birthday when you can hardly wait for the day to begin ’cause you know it’s just gonna be so. much. fun.
What? You don’t get that? Moving on…
Today I am just tickled pink (and shivvery-excited) to share with you one of my favorite bloggers: Hayley Morgan of the Tiny Twig. I relate to her passion and respect a lot of the choices she’s made on her blog and in her life, and when she said she was gonna release an ebook about blogging–I was on it. I was gonna snatch it up as soon as it released, and definitely share the awesomeness with you all.
But then, glory be, Hayley contacted me (little old me!) and asked if I wanted to be part of her launch team.
Let me tell you, people, it was a no-brainer. (hardy, har, har)
So today I’m asking Hayley some of my most burning questions AND giving away a copy of her book!
Enjoy her insight and nuggets of wisdom and then join me in the comments for some rousing discussion of what we learn, OK? I’ll be first, sharing how I plan to apply this to my blog!
On Niche and Voice
Me: Hayley, you claim to be ‘nicheless’ and define yourself as a ‘lifestyle’ blog instead. Can you explain how this may be a great option for those struggling to define their niche? How can a nicheless blog work as well as yours?
Hayley: Readers can quickly do a Google search to find information if that’s all they are seeking. But, they keep coming back to a blog because of the blogger’s voice and to have a point of connection. They connect with the blogger, their life, their perspective. I think even the truly successful and well loved “niche-y” blogs out there actually rely more on their voice than their niche. They have cultivated a strong point of view within their niche, so in a way they may have used the niche as a stepping stool but eventually outgrew it.
Think of the Nester; she uses her home as “niche”, but the content of her blog could be applied to any aspect of life. As the years have worn on, she’s moved away from doing as many DIYs and home tutorials and speaks more to her philosophy on life through the lens of her home. She has developed a strong voice and a strong aesthetic that people are drawn to more than they are her knowledge of how to hang curtains, arrange pillows, or whatever.
Me: You have such unique vision for your online presence, and a clear idea what you’re about. I’m curious where you get the majority of your input–online (blogs) or offline (books)? What blogs or books have most shaped your vision?
Hayley: I approach blogging more as a businesswoman than a writer. I could find a variety of less demanding outlets for writing if I just wanted to get words on the page. It has been my experience that the blogs that stick around long enough to find a following are blogs that are run like a business–but with a heart. You have to find a way to sustain the day in and day out of blog management in order to give yourself room to find words that mean something.
I don’t even mean that you have to make money, but thinking about things like the return on investment (even if that investment is only time) and opportunity cost (what are you giving up to spend time on Twitter?) will help you last in the fast paced and fickle world of blogs.
I went to school for business and am married to a businessman, so we talk shop all the time. I’d say very little of my input comes from reading blogs, but more from relationships I’ve formed. There are a few very successful bloggers that have taken the time to gather me under their wing. I’ve soaked up every bit of wisdom they’ve said and then I can look at their other decisions and actions and glean more. Whether someone gives you five minutes or five years, there is always something to be learned.
On Mastermind Groups
Me: Are you part of a mastermind group, and if so, when and how did that happen? I believe no blogger should blog alone. What’s your advice to those without a close network of fellow bloggers?
Hayley: I am! I have been in a few groups since I started blogging. Just like in real life, some of those groups had odd dynamics and fizzled and some were really successful for a season.
I was part of a group at the beginning of my blogging days that was really helpful as we all learned the ins-and-outs of the technology and platforms. For that group, I approached about 7 different bloggers with similar sized readerships to mine. I think all of them said that they were absolutely interested in being part of the group. For that group, we simply had long Gmail chains and kept up with each other’s lives, blogs, and answered any questions we could along the way. That group wasn’t the most amazing at strategy, but the relationships I formed in that group are still very integral to my blogging life today. They are the people I approach to collaborate, lead, and dream with me.
Today, I’m a part of a group of 4 that meets over Google+ from 10-11am every Monday morning. We come with 3 things to talk about: our win for the week, our loss/failure of the week, and one strategy question we have for the group (could be how to best work a particular giveaway, or how to proceed with a certain relationship, or a line of code we don’t understand, etc.). We text and email other times throughout the week and are involved in other projects together–so when we get together for our Strategy Meeting, we try to keep to answering those 3 questions.
I’ve also had relationships where I meet one-on-one with another blogger each week to discuss my business and her business. Those were incredibly fruitful relationships for grinding out actual business decisions, because there was enough time for each of us to fully explain and discuss our issues each week.
Phew! I’m out of breath! This stuff is mind-blowing! We’re you inspired? Tell you what, leave a comment sharing which of Hayley’s concepts you are the most excited about applying to your blog, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of her new book, “The No-Brainer Blog“ which is chock full of the kind of awesomness you just got in this here post!
Giveaway will be open until Tuesday, Dec. 4th at Midnight. This post includes affiliate links.