If You Like That Book, You Might Like This Book || BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS pt. 1

Hi guys! Today, I’d like to offer you a few book recommendations in the form of “if you liked this book, then you might like this other book.” I love when folks on Booktube, Bookstagram, and Goodreads include comparisons to other books in their reviews! It’s one of my favorite ways to find new reads! So, I thought it might be fun and potentially helpful to readers to start a new bookish series here on the blog.

Basically, I’m going to be recommending books that are similar to very popular books that are more well-known. Let’s get into it, shall we?!

If you liked Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel,
you might like Blindness by José Saramago

If you thought Station Eleven was a stunning and powerful portrayal of humanity’s will to survive as a sickness sweeps the land, I think you should check out Blindness. This book stuck with me long after I read the final page. It is haunting and shattering, but honest and compassionate.

Synopsis:

A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” which spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and raping women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. A magnificent parable of loss and disorientation, Blindness has swept the reading public with its powerful portrayal of our worst appetites and weaknesses—and humanity’s ultimately exhilarating spirit.

If you liked The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls,
you might like Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

If you enjoyed reading Jeannette Walls recount her heartbreaking yet oftentimes wacky childhood,  you should check out Patricia Lockwood who also explores how family and tradition shape her identity. Her book is wildly original and her family members are written so vividly they practically leap off the page.

Synopsis:

Father Greg Lockwood is unlike any Catholic priest you have ever met—a man who lounges in boxer shorts, loves action movies, and whose constant jamming on the guitar reverberates “like a whole band dying in a plane crash in 1972.” His daughter is an irreverent poet who long ago left the Church’s country. When an unexpected crisis leads her and her husband to move back into her parents’ rectory, their two worlds collide.

If you liked The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins,
you might like The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

If The Girl on the Train made you realize you’re a fan of psychological thrillers with a dash of noir, The Woman in the Window is for you.  It is dazzlingly suspenseful and full of twists that will keep you reading long past bedtime. The movie adaptation starring Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman is out soon!

Synopsis: 

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

If you liked My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite,
you might like Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Both of these books are witty quick reads that are darkly hilarious but serve up some pretty serious subject matter. While Braithwaite’s book falls more in the thriller category and Queenie is more of a hard-hitting contemporary — they are both disarming, political, and unexpectedly FUNNY.

Synopsis:

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle-class peers. After a messy break-up from her white long-term boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

That was soooooo fun and I can’t wait to bring you round 2! Have you read any of these books? What would you compare them to?

P.S. How to make time for books. 

A Full Day of Self-Care

Self-care is all about doing the things that bring you joy and make you feel good. Especially in times of stress, incorporating little pockets in your day to treat yourself with love can prove even more important. These moments of pleasure don’t have to be particularly elaborate and they certainly don’t have to break the bank!

I recommend breaking down your typical day into a few parts and then brainstorming ways you could honor your own needs and heart in each of them. (You know what they say, you gotta put your own oxygen mask on first!) Here are a few ideas for a full day of self-care —

Good Morning

Start your day with care and calm…

Face Wash ($13)

Cleansing with a product that makes your skin feel baby-butt soft is such a delightful way to kick off the day.

Multivitamin ($34)

Your health is an important part of self-care!

Cup o’ Joe ($10)

A beautiful mug is the best way to imbibe that morning caffeine fix, in my humble opinion.

Mellow Music

Even if you don’t have time to quietly sit and meditate and journal, playing soothing music for 30 minutes of emails and administrative work is a zen way to start your work day.

Afternoon Care

Bypass the midday slump…

Balanced Breath ($10)

Starting to panic that all your to-dos won’t get done? Take a moment to breathe! Bonus: this stuff smells incredible.

Yoga Wheel ($30)

The perfect way to stretch out a back that’s hunched over a computer all day.

Energy Ball

Afternoon sleepies can usually be solved with a healthy and delicious snack.

Candle ($32)

 A ritual of shutting down and clearing away work materials and then “turning on” your at-home vibe with a candle is an easy way to switch your brain into relaxation mode. 

Bedtime Delight

Set yourself up for sweet dreams…

Yoga Mat ($25)

Kick off your bedtime routine with some light exercise and start winding down for the night.

Bath Soak ($18)

Soaking in the tub will help your muscles relax after a long day.

Oil Diffuser ($28)

Now it’s time to prepare your sleeping sanctuary! Many oils can produce the calming effect needed to lull you right to sleep.

Salt Lamp ($12)

For a soft glow in the evening that really produces mellow vibes, fire up a salt lamp or two.

Good Book

Finally, give yourself the gift of no screens for AT LEAST 30 minutes before you close those peepers. Curl up with a book instead. 

Thanks so much for reading! How do you incorporate self-care in your regular routines?

P.S. 6 Reasons You Should Be Sleeping More

10 Things To Do When You’re Stuck At Home

This past weekend was beautiful. Sunny and mild and what should have been Derby Day. Instead, we’re still social distancing. But when I scrolled through my social MEDIA, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of distancing going on.

I get it. It sucks to distance on weekends that are beautiful. Weekends that are sunny and mild and traditionally Derby Day. But we can’t give up so easily. We can’t quit before the world is ready just because we got bored.

So, because people seem to be getting restless and running out of at-home fun that doesn’t involve inviting all their pals over, here are a few additional ideas —

Organize your photos and paper memorabilia.

Social isolation can bring on some serious bouts of nostalgia. While you’re wandering down memory lane, why not create a new photo album or organize your memory box by year?

Meal prep your favorite breakfast foods.

It’s so nice to have foods ready to go in the morning. Without a commute, you may have already found that the start of your day is less frazzled and rushed. This is an additional step to buy yourself even MORE time in the mornings. What you do with that extra time is totally up to you!

Do some landscaping.

We’ll take any excuse to get outside these days! Pop in some tunes or a podcast and get to work weeding, planting, cutting back overgrowth, or whatever it is you need to do to make your outdoor space a special oasis.

Wash your car.

Anyone else’s car perpetually covered with pollen this time of year? Washing it at home is really a win-win-win. Not only does it give you something to do but it will also save you money AND make for a great workout.

Make a pocket letter and send it to a friend.

In the age of social distancing we have to find creative ways to connect with our loved ones. And since, when you’re home all day, checking the mail can be a big highlight, sending a little something by way of the USPS is a great way to do so.

Spend some time in water.

Go ahead and take that extra long bath or shower you would have felt guilty about a few months ago. You have no where to be anyways!

Draft a series of top 10 lists.

I love making lists! Give yourself some creative prompts and record the results. You could make lists of favorites, like all-time favorite books or movies, or experiences. Top 10 meals, vacations, and childhood memories are a few that could really take a while to noodle on (and are super fun to chat about on those family Zoom calls!).

Have a sports documentary marathon.

In the absence of ACTUAL sports being played at the moment, sports documentaries are a great place to get your fix. Think: Cheer, Last Chance U, Ronaldo, The Least Expected Day, The Test, and any of ESPN’s 30 for 30 episodes (but especially The Price of Gold lol).

Create a restaurant in your backyard.

Nothing beats dining al fresco in the spring! Get creative with a beautiful table setting, create ambiance with a Spotify playlist and twinkle lights, heck – you could even design your own menus!

Film a video of yourself reading a picture book.

This would be a super cute thing to send to any kiddos in your life. Don’t forget to do all the voices!

Have you done any of these things yet? What other ideas would you add for folks who are getting a bit restless? xoxo

Has the idea of an oversaturated job market got you bummed?

According to popular opinion, the American job market is oversaturated with applicants. Like a sponge that’s soaked up all the water, this makes it sound like there’s no more room at the inn. And, that knowledge alone can drastically hinder your job search for your dream position. After all, what’s the point in applying if you’re going up against thousands? Wouldn’t you be better off sticking with the job you’ve got, or settling for a position that seems more attainable? 

The fact is that, if you look back through history, oversaturation has always existed in some way. And, the majority of the time, there are a few things we should keep mind. Such as… 

Not all industries are equal

The main problem with the idea of an overarching oversaturation is that it fails to take individual markets into account. After all, the job market isn’t one organism. Industries each have their own markets to take into account, and it would be wildly inaccurate to say that they’re all inundated. For instance, the medical industry is facing significant nursing shortages in the coming years, while even aviation struggles in the face of a growing pilot shortage. Then, of course, there are more popular roles, such as those in the financial sector. With this in mind, the only way to truly get a feel for your market is to start applying. You’ll soon see whether you’re up against many applicants, and will be able to adjust your process accordingly. 

Competition is inevitable

The idea of oversaturation can be harmful because it suggests that applying would be useless. After all, your name won’t even come close to acceptance against thousands of others, right? Wrong. In reality, competition in job applications is inevitable. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try — there are a million reasons why those thousand others might not be as suited to the job as you. It just means that you should pay careful attention to how you can guarantee that you stand out from the crowd. Given that you were unlikely ever to be the ONLY job applicant, that was always set to be the case, and oversaturation has nothing to do with it.

Booming markets need more, not fewer applicants

When it comes down to it, the strangest thing about this whole oversaturation theory is the fact that thriving industries need more, not fewer applicants. If a market were oversaturated, it would suggest that area’s doing pretty well. And, that success would in turn undeniably lead to more job openings, new companies in the field, and other such benefits. Each of which makes it more likely you can make your mark within the industry, not less. 

The simple reality is that yes, sometimes you will be up against thousands of other applicants. Sometimes, however, you may be one out of fifty. Oversaturation doesn’t mean impossible. So, forget what you’ve heard, and go out and bag that dream career!

My 3 Favorite YouTube Channels for At-Home Workouts

If you’ve been around my blog long enough, you’ll know I’m no stranger to the at-home workout. I LOVE working out for free in the comfort of my own home. There are just so many resources out there on YouTube to help facilitate your fitness journey. (You can even create your own challenges to help stay on track and keep things interesting!) Now, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we are all spending a little more time indoors and a little less time in public classes and gyms. Luckily, I already had honed in on my YouTube go-tos long before the term “social distancing” was a part of our collective consciousness. If you’re new to the at-home workout, I’d love to share my three favorites with you —

For CARDIO –

My favorite channel when I want to raise my heart rate is BODY PROJECT. Their holistic exercise routines typically combine HIIT cardio, low impact resistance training, pilates, and boxing. The routines are fast paced and energetic and the teachers are so adorably motivational (and adorably British!).

Want to try a Body Project video out?

For STRENGTH –

My favorite channel when I want to work my muscles is SYDNEY CUMMINGS. Sydney is a certified personal trainer who uploads a new workout on YouTube every single day at 5 am. And these aren’t your typical 20 minute for my YouTube audience but ya gotta pay for the better videos…nope. These workouts are long and actually pack a punch.

Want to try a Sydney Cummings video out?

For YOGA –

My favorite channel when I want to practice yoga will come as no surprise to anyone … YOGA WITH ADRIENE! If you haven’t tried out a yoga flow with Adriene yet I really don’t know what you’re waiting for. I typically do one of her videos 3x a week and she has become such a calming and important presence in my life.

Want to try a Yoga with Adriene video out?

What’s your favorite YouTube channel for workouts? Share them below! I’d love to try out your recommendations as we continue this period of self-isolation. xoxo

7 Work-from-Home Looks Made Possible by Le Tote

I’ll be honest. I had the idea for this post over a month ago. I wanted to document some of the outfits I actually where as a work-from-home freelancer, specifically showcasing how I use pieces from my beloved Le Tote subscription to build the looks. I snapped photos of seven of the outfits I wore over a couple weeks. Outfits that I wore in my home office, but also to run errands, work from the library, and out to dinner with Chet.

Things got busy with work, we had some friends come into town, and blogging sort of took a backseat. Then, everything started to escalate with the Coronavirus and I was lucky if I could peel myself away from the news for long enough to actually do anything productive.

While my work-from-home looks have looked a little less put together this past week, I still thought I would go ahead and share this post. Especially as all but non-essential services have gone remote, more folks than ever will be throwing together work-from-home looks. I’m not one of those people that’s going to preach at you about getting dressed in your best first thing every morning when working from home. I usually start working around 7 am every day, but rarely change out of pjs until 10 or 11. You gotta do what works for you and helps you be the most productive. But what I WILL tell you is that you should wear outfits that make YOU feel good.

…And if you’re sick of everything in your closet already, you don’t have to leave your house to get clothes from Le Tote. Just sayin’.

Ok, enough of my blabbering, here are 7 work-from-home looks I put together with Le Tote pieces

1. Flare Hem Sweater, Jeans and a Cuff Bracelet

2. Black Sweater and Floral Trousers

3. Tie Neck Blouse and Jeans

4. Boxy Ribbed Sweater with Charm Necklace and Boots

5. Yellow Cardigan and Printed Pleated Skirt

6. Red Tunic with Gold Locket and Jeans

7. Floral Peplum Button Down under a Cardigan with Skinnies

Which look is your favorite? 3 and 4 probably felt the most like me, but 5 was a lot of fun! Also, shout out to all those snaps where I’m in socks! Not wearing shoes is probably my favorite perk of working from home. 🙂

If you’d like to try out Le Tote, click this link to get a free tote!

P.S. Since I know this is a concern these days, here is info on Le Tote’s cleaning process.

6 Quick Tips for Lowering Sugar Intake

What we put into our bodies affects our health. Having a high sugar intake can cause so many issues within our body, and it’s an addiction I’ve tried to curtail within my own life (as evidenced by various Whole 30‘s!). 

Let’s chat about some of the health impacts of too much sugar…

According to the American Diabetes Association, while eating too much sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes, it is strongly linked to type 2 diabetes. This disease not only has an impact on your body’s ability to produce insulin, but it can also negatively affect your eyesight. According to this eyeglasses buying guide created by Mark Agnew, founder and CEO of eyeglasses.com, this is an impact of diabetes that is often under-discussed. He notes,  diabetic retinopathy is quite common and is a type of eye damage familiar to many folks with diabetes.

The retina sends images via the optic nerve to the brain for processing. If you have too much glucose in your blood, it can cause irreversible damages to the delicate vessels which may mean poor vision, visual impairment or even blindness.

With our eyesight in mind, let’s take a look at some easy ways we can cut our sugar intake: 

  1. Cut Back on Sugar-Filled Drinks – Instead of reaching for a can of coke when you’re thirsty, opt for water or sugar free juices.
  2. Avoid Sugar-Loaded Desserts – These may be cakes, ice-creams or lots of chocolate, they will be jam packed with processed sugars that just don’t bode well with our bodies in large quantities. Consider making from scratch and enjoying in moderation.
  3. Avoid Sauces With Lots of Sugar – Many sauces have sugars in them. Ketchup is one of the most famous for having lots and lots of sugar inside, so always read labels if you’re looking to lower that sugar intake.
  4. Eat Full-Fat Foods – Many “low-fat” versions of things like yogurts or cheeses make up for the lack of flavor by adding sugar. 
  5. Eat Whole Foods – Eating single ingredient foods are a great way to steer clear of added sugar.
  6. Check for Sugar in Tinned Foods – Again, reading labels is key.

What foods are good?

There’s no need to fight those sugar cravings. They happen and they won’t go away until they’re satisfied. But, when they happen, you can make an effort to eat the right sugars. Instead of reaching for a cookie or candy bar the next time the craving strikes, grab a handful of fruit.

But, don’t grab just any fruit. You need a fruit that ranks low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index was created to rank the foods that cause high blood sugar. The food is typically ranked out of 100, with 100 being the largest blood sugar spike.

Here are some fruits that are low on the glycemic index and can be mixed with other things for a delicious snack or meal:

  • Berries – Add them to some granola with honey and milk to create a sweet delicious breakfast with natural sugars.
  • Figs – Eat them with crackers and cheeses or on their own. Full of goodness with a delicate flavor. 
  • Cherries – Great snack but beware of the pips; cherries are packed full of goodness!
  • Pears – Oven bake pears and top them with a crumble or put them in pies!
  • Apples – With peanut butter or almond butter for added elements, they are delicious and full of goodness. 
  • Peaches – Peaches can be enjoyed during spring and summer when they are at their peak.
  • Grapefruit – Squeeze this into a juice if it’s not too bitter for you. Delicious for breakfast.

Our eye health is just one of many things we must be sure to take care of. Too much sugar can affect our skin, our liver, pancreas, and heart.

Overall, the key to maintaining health for ALL your body parts is regular exercise, a good sleeping pattern, and a balanced, healthy diet.

Skip the processed desserts, cut back on refined sugars you don’t need in drinks and foods, stop adding sugar-filled sauces to your foods — these small changes will make a world of difference in your sugar intake and help you see, function, and live healthier in the long run!

Stay healthy, friends! xoxo 

The Book Drop: Subscription Service Review

I discovered The Book Drop totally by accident. I was researching a ton of bookstore websites to put together a website redesign proposal for a client. Looking over the Bethany Beach Books website, a tab marked The Book Drop caught my eye. I clicked on it. “Bringing the independent bookstore to you,” it said. Thoroughly intrigued, I dove in deeper to discover it was a book subscription service. Getting new books in the mail AND supporting an independent bookstore?! SIGN ME UP!

I’m wildly indecisive, so the idea of a small bookstore owner actually selecting my book for me really appealed to me. I decided on the Books for Tea and Coffee subscription which rotates every other month between historical/contemporary/literary fiction selections and thriller/suspense selections. You can read more about all the subscription options HERE.

Every Package Includes:

  • 1 hand-wrapped trade paperback book
  • A note about why the book was selected
  • Indie Next List which highlights new books that independent bookstores & booksellers LOVE

and Most Packages Include:  

  • A letter from the author
  • and an autograph (!) – either in the book or on a bookplate

You can select to pay month-to-month, or subscribe in 3 month, 6 month or one year installments. The 6 month subscription is just $99!

To give you an idea of what kind of books are selected, here’s a quick rundown of the last few months —

The Braid by Laetitia Colombani
Books for Tea

In this unforgettable international bestseller, three women from very different circumstances around the world find their lives intertwined by a single object and discover what connects us—across cultures, across backgrounds, and across borders.

A Noel Killing by M.L. Longworth
Books for Coffee

Christmastime in the South of France is as beautiful as ever, but when a shady local businessman drops dead in the middle of the festivities, Verlaque and Bonnet must solve the case while keeping the holiday spirit alive.

Silent Hearts by Gwen Florio
Books for Tea

A stirring novel set in Afghanistan​ about two women—an American aid worker and her local interpreter—who form an unexpected friendship despite their utterly different life experiences and the ever-increasing violence that surrounds them in Kabul. ​

The Winters by Lisa Gabriele
Books for Coffee

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate.

Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein
Books for Tea

An unflinching exploration of Nazi Germany and its legacy, Wunderland is a at once a powerful portrait of an unspeakable crime history and a page-turning contemplation of womanhood, wartime, and just how far we might go in order to belong.

Are you sold on this amazing book subscription? SIGN UP HERE!

P.S. To keep up to date with what I’m reading, be sure you’re following me on Goodreads.

How to Transition Your Capsule Wardrobe from Winter to Spring

how to transition your capsule wardrobe from winter to spring

When you set up your capsule wardrobes based on the season, it can get a little difficult in the weird in between times. Here in North Alabama, there are definitely days in late February/early March where we could bust out the barbecue and then days when I’m running to wrap up in an extra blanket or two. If this sounds like your current climate situation, I would recommend swapping out a few of your winter pieces for more springlike items and to ease your capsule into warmer weather. You don’t want to pack up your cozy sweaters and stow them away only to sheepishly pull them back out on one of those random frigid mornings!

But swaps don’t have to just be about temperature control! After months of dark hues, maybe you want to throw in a pastel or two. If you’re drawn too chunky cocktail rings and statement necklaces for winter party season, maybe you want to switch out for something more dainty! Just because capsule wardrobes help us embrace minimalism doesn’t mean BORING. Have fun with it!

Here are 12 swaps you can make to turn your winter wardrobe into a WINTER-TO SPRING wardrobe — 

Swap a turtleneck for a vintage inspired tee shirt.

Swap dangly statement earrings for dainty geometric studs.

Swap your chunky knit scarf for a silk scarf.

Swap every day pearls for every day hoops.

Swap a parka for a polka dot rain coat.

Swap black hoodie for a creme fleece pullover.

Swap heavy duty flannel for a lighter plaid option.

Swap a midi skirt for a mini.

Swap a white button-down for a white crop top.

Swap a chunky knit sweater for your lightweight crewneck sweater

and dark colored pieces for WHITE.

Finally, for those super unseasonably warm days where you just want to go for it, swap black skinnies for black shorts!

Have you ever tried seasonal capsule wardrobes? Any more advice for transitioning from one season to the next? 

P.S. If you’re more of a one and done capsule wardrobe person (or the concept sparks your interest), you can get a checklist PDF of my 50 Piece All-Season Capsule Wardrobe right this way! 

10 Brutally Honest Tips About Online Content Creation

10 brutally honest tips about online content creation

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again — content is king. Online content creation and marketing was once just a way to set yourself apart, but nowadays it’s pretty much a necessity. And if you’re a small business or solo-preneur, your online content can make or break a successful marketing campaign.

Over the years I’ve worked with a ton of brands (both new and old) to develop meaningful online content strategies. Here’s what I can tell you — everyone, from a dog-walker to a CEO who writes bestselling books, can create valuable and relevant online content that will connect with potential customers.

And it’s not too late to get in on the action! But it can certainly feel overwhelming. Do you make YouTube videos, start a podcast, write a weekly newsletter? What should you share? And how often? While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, I’ve put together a list of my top 10 tips:

1. Have fun!

This one may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how often I find myself offering this simple piece of advice. In terms of building and maintaining your audience, personality matters. Nobody wants to hang out with the person who isn’t having a good time. And they’ll probably be able to tell if you’re faking it, too. But more than audience, you have to consider sustainability. Can you keep something up if you don’t enjoy it? Create the content you enjoy making, at the rate you enjoy making it.

2. Invest in ways to make it easier and more fun.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create online content. Work with what you have to start out. But when you’re ready to invest, consider spending your money on things that will make the process easier and more fun. If the aspect you enjoy most about is photography, maybe you spring for some camera gear. Whereas if drafting written content to accompany those photos is taking up too much of your time, consider outsourcing to a freelancer.

3. Provide value within your niche.

People aren’t going to care about your brand or your products right away. Until you’ve developed a bit of a fan base or a sense of community within your audience, they’re going to scroll right past that blog post about your company vision or the video covering your life story. That’s not to say there won’t be a place for those things eventually! But you’ve got to start by providing value. This can be as simple as a blog post with relevant tips & tricks or an infographic with useful information. But could also include things like printable PDFs, detailed templates, or an inspiring podcast.

4. Have patience!

Organic growth and ROI will come, but it won’t come over night. It takes time. Building up your online presence or brand is dependent upon also building up that community of followers. So, you might hook them with valuable content but now you have to give them time to get to know you. Put out the the content that lets them do so. (And take time to get to know them, too! ) This also means you have to be consistent. You have to tell them when content is coming and then follow through.

5. Track your analytics.

Yes, this is a creative endeavor. But you can have a little more method to your madness than throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. Look at the numbers. Create a spreadsheet to chart growth in key areas and keep track of what worked and what didn’t so you can modify as needed.

6. Develop a relationship with your audience.

I’ll say it again — you’re building a community FIRST. The brand will blossom from there. One very simple way to do this within online content is online COMMUNICATION. Reply to comments, answer emails, tag people, reach out to other brands and people when you feature them in your content. Folks love recognition, whether that be clicking the heart next to their Instagram content or writing a LinkedIn article about how much you love their business. Another way to build relationships is by engaging with other creators in your niche. Your voice is amplified when it’s in a chorus of others!

7. Be authentic!

It’s going to be hard to develop lasting relationships with a community of loyal customers if you keep changing who you are and what you stand for based on passing whims (or paychecks). Be yourself. Only communicate what you believe and stand for. Again, people can tell when you’re faking it. You’re interesting and enough just as you are!

8. Don’t be afraid of the ask.

Yes, you want to consistently provide your audience with value when it comes to your online content. But here’s the thing. You got bills to pay! You can’t give everything away for free! So, now that you’ve built up that community that loves and trusts you, you’ve shown time and time again that you’re a reliable source of [information, advice, inspiration], someone out there is probably going to want to actually pay for one of your goods or services. Probably a LOT of someones. But…not if you don’t ask!!! So many of my clients over the years have expressed hesitation when it comes to the sales aspect of their online content strategy because they, “Don’t want to sound sales-y.” And I get where they’re coming from. You don’t have to shove sales pitches down peoples throats 24-7. But you won’t get a sale if no one knows you’re selling. My advice? 1) Keep your content diverse — a fun post here, a value add there, this product, that service, etc, etc. 2) If you think of your overall online content strategy as a novel, make sure you’ve written your audience as the protagonist.

9. Start now.

There’s no “right” time to begin incorporating online content into your marketing plan. You could wait for that new camera, website redesign, or social media intern — but those things may never happen. And you’re missing out in the mean time.

10. Keep learning as you go.

Need inspiration? Look to other content creators. See what YOU enjoy watching and reading, what resonates with YOU, who is providing value in YOUR life. What are they doing that you can incorporate in your content? Without copying them, of course! Need more resources? There are a plethora of educational materials available about online content creation, many of them completely free.

Keep trying new things. Keep creating. Keep seeking out additional knowledge and strategies. You got this!

If you ever want to talk strategy, my inbox is open! Send me a message at ebeth.berger@gmail.com ❤ Let’s work together to make some internet magic!

P.S. 10 Tips for Working an Event.