Browsing Category:

The Lovely Lessons

    Behind the Blog, Lovely Favorites, The Lovely Lessons

    Why I Started My Blog Newsletter (& What Do You Want to See In It?)

    One of the major items on my list of blog enhancements this year was the creation and implementation of a newsletter. With the proficiency of social media, there’s evidence of declining numbers of actual blog “readers,” and I’ve even had people say before they actually go to my blog, they look at my Instagram feed first to know exactly what I’ve posted. Not to mention, there’s MORE content housed on my Instagram that doesn’t even go onto the blog. So that left me questioning why I am I even putting all of this work into my blog if people are going to my Instagram first? 

    Well, mainly because there’s so much that the Instagram-only audience is missing out on! Thus the affirmation that my newsletter must come to life. The newsletter is a way for me to condense the blog material and give everyone a quick overview of the posts that might interest them that week right in their inbox making it easy for them to find and navigate new content. Here’s how I started my newsletter, The Lovely List,  in 2016. (Keep scrolling and click to read full post!)

    Have you joined The Lovely List yet? You can subscribe on the right sidebar  ——->

    First, I did some mail provider research and talked to others who have already started their own newsletter and decided that Mailchimp would be the easiest platform to start collecting email subscribers and building a database of templates – I’m technically the newbie at this whole thing, and Mailchimp seemed to be the easiest in terms of setup and not to mention FREE which is super important considering I have no idea what I’m doing yet! 

    My blog template had always included  “subscribe” field on my sidebar, but to be honest, I had no idea what exactly they were subscribing to – scary right? I did some searching and found where those email addresses had actually been stored as people submitted their information into the form – which was awesome because it meant that I was starting my newsletter database with actual people ready to receive emails from me!

    The Lovely List button on my sidebar now collects email addresses and adds them directly to my Mailchimp account. (It’s pretty basic right now, but I’m still getting into the customization part.) And so far, I’ve sent two actual newsletter emails this year which doesn’t seem like a lot yet, but I consider them test emails as I’m still nailing down what my header needs to look like and what content I actually want to include. 

    One of the great things about Mailchimp is that it will tell me exactly how many people opened their email and how many actually clicked on any of the links inside that would have possibly put them onto my site. This is great data to see what people are clicking on to get to the site, and in turn, I can continue to put more emphasis on those content areas. 

    This also leads me to ask – what do YOU want to see in the newsletter? Is it a question and answer session, curling wand tips, quotes of the day, favorite drugstore beauty products, all of the above? Shoot me an email to telling me what you want to know!

    Sign up for The Lovely List on the right hand side of my blog to get the next newsletter! I’ve been working hard behind-the-scenes to try and make it awesome for you guys. 🙂 

    Behind the Blog, Lovely Favorites, The Lovely Lessons

    The Lovely Lessons: What I Did Wrong in 2015

    I know I’m a little late to the game on this post, but better late than never is starting to become my motto in life! Last year, I filled out this goal-planning sheet that I found on the Nectar Collective that I kept in the back of my agenda, and at some point along the way, I moved it into my desk drawer where it stayed until last month when I found it again. I got a little nervous to look back at what I envisioned for my 2015 and if I had met any of those goals – and a little excited too. Turns out not only did I achieve almost every single thing that I wrote down for myself – I far exceeded it! THAT was a motivating moment for me, so I decided to fill out the very same sheet again this year, and this time I game myself a little loftier goals…

    So what did I do right and what did I do wrong in 2015? Here are my rights:

    1. I joined a “gang.”
    Last year, I was sitting in an AdFed luncheon, and a creative speaker was talking about the importance of finding your “gang.” She suggested that as a creative, you need a group of like-minded people to bounce ideas off, get feedback from, ask questions, and share resources. It’s like a really cool support group you could say. That resonated for me because I had just really become friends with Nikki (My Style Diaries), Kathleen (Carrie Bradshaw Lied) and Jenn (Haute Off the Rack), and I realized that I had found MY gang. In 2015, we went to New York for fashion week, went to a week long trip to Cabo and started a group text that doesn’t go a day without conversation. We’ve already started planning our new adventures for this year and beyond all of the blog-related parts of our relationship, I’ve found friends for life too!

    2. I got picky.
    2015 was the year I got picky – in a good way. I started being more selective about what I posted to make sure that it was all things that I truly, truly loved and want to share. And I started to get picky about the photos I was posting. Were the compositions, colors and creative direction all photos that reflect “me?” That was a rather difficult project towards the end of the year because for a large part of 2015, I had Kaela taking all of my blog photos, and we were able to develop that brand together. The past few months while she has been on maternity leave,  I’ve realized that instead of relying on one person, I need to know how to be able to work with multiple people to get the same end result. So the pickiness is a current work in progress…

    3. I chose Instagram.
    For a girl with a full-time job, tackling all forms of social media is a pretty impossible task. So I decided that instead of trying to fully engage on all of them, I needed to hone in on just one. And that one in 2015 was Instagram. At the end of 2014, I had 13K Instagram followers, and at the end of 2015, I was close to 70K. I chose to put the most energy into creatively curating content for my Instagram account, and it paid off. More Instagram fun coming this year!

    Here are my wrongs:

    1. I failed to launch. 
    Setting up my email newsletter and online closet sale were all ideas that I had LAST January. They just became real, ahem, this month. One year later. How great would they be now if I had started a year ago? I guess we’ll never know! Chances are if you have a great idea that you keep thinking about day after day, it’s probably one you need to act on – that’s something I’ll be reminding myself this year!

    2. I didn’t say NO enough.
    Although I did get picky, I still had an issue with saying no. I took on too many blog projects along with being completely overworked at my full-time job in athletics which led to me being frazzled pretty much all of the time. Finally towards the end of the year, I prioritized and realized that I needed a job that encouraged my social media growth instead of hindering it. Now saying YES, means only positive things for me career-wise.

    3. I stopped learning.
    Okay so that doesn’t mean I turned my brain off, it just means that I wasn’t actively pursuing the education necessary to succeed online. Instead of watching Real Housewives, I probably should have been reading SEO for Dummies or watching tutorials on Lightroom. 2016 is going to be a year of learning for me! I’ve already started soaking up some new knowledge regarding Mailchimp and my newsletter – more to come on that in a lovely lesson soon to come!

    photos by Kaela Rodehorst Photography

    Have you evaluated your wrongs and rights of 2015? I highly encourage looking into your faults and how you can make them right this new year!

    Sign up for The Lovely List to get The Lovely Lessons straight into your inbox each week!