A little summer vacation…

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Hello Friends! You’ve probably noticed things have been a bit quiet around here. Meg and I wanted to pop in and let you know we’re still around, still here, we’re just taking a somewhat unplanned (though perhaps very much needed) summer break from our posts. What’s been going on? Meg’s been busy traveling and working on some pretty unbelievable styling projects. I’ve been hard at work in my design studio, on some fun (and in depth) web projects. And we’ve each been taking a little more time to ourselves, to enjoy the finer things: walks on the beach, exploring our own cities, and of course, great food.

We promise we’ll be back shortly. But more than anything, we hope you’re enjoying your summer! Savor it…September will be here before you know it…

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a little blog inspiration, let us point you to our Topics Library! Here, we’ve listed some of our favorite posts, all categorized by topic. Hopefully this can help give you a little jolt of inspiration, creativity, or insight.

Want to follow along on our adventures? Follow Meg on her blog and Instagram, and follow Victoria (that’s me!) on my blog and Instagram.

 

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LINKUP // Sharing Your Hidden Talent

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It’s time for our July Linkup! This month, we asked:

WHAT ARE YOUR HIDDEN TALENTS?

 

Thanks to everyone who participated this month! Click on each link below to see the participating bloggers’ answers:

 

 

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LEVERAGE // How to Leverage Your Skills to Create New Blog Posts

rage your skills and knowledge to create new blog posts

Whether you’re a newbie or veteran blogger, you can probably relate to the occasional struggle of creating new content for your site. We all go through those periods where ideas seem sparse and every post draft we write is one we want to scrap!

One of the best (and truest) pieces of advice I’ve ever heard about generating blog content is to write what you know. This can be applied in a lot of different ways, but I think it’s especially appropriate when you want to share your knowledge and skills with your audience. It’s easy to forget, but things that seem obvious, second nature, or simple to us might not be that way for someone else. If you’re struggling for blog post ideas, one of the best things to do is to think objectively about your expertise, knowledge, and skills, then brainstorm how you can share it with your audience. In other words, you leverage your knowledge!

For example, let’s say you’re a lifestyle blogger and you share recipes on your site. You’ve written a ton of recipes prompting your audience to chop an onion “with a medium dice” — but are you sure everyone who’s reading knows what that means? Boom: you can create a step by step tutorial showing readers how to medium dice an onion.

Or, suppose you like to paint in your spare time and know a lot about different paint brush styles and which paints will work best for a particular medium. How about a post sharing these details for beginner/aspiring artists? You might know the differences between oils and acrylics, but perhaps your audience would love to learn more about this. Plus, it could even help share the process and inspiration behind your work, which is another interesting angle to write about.

Sometimes the skill you share doesn’t even have to align perfectly with your typical blog content. If you’re a fashion/personal style blogger who often gets complimented on your photos, maybe put together a guide with your top 10 tips for getting the perfect shot — obviously, your readers think you have some knowledge to share in this area, so why not?

The awesome side effect of leveraging your skills by sharing them via a blog post is that you not only come up with new content for the blog, but you often come up with great content for the blog. It’s no secret that posts sharing tips, how-tos, DIYs, and skills are among the most shared and pinned, and can significantly help your SEO (especially if you name the post with something similar to a Google search — like “how to chop an onion” or “how to take better pictures for a fashion blog”).

Finally, you don’t always have to write about a skill or hidden talent you’ve had your whole life. Sometimes you can leverage your current reality to create content. I have two personal examples here: once, I wrote a post about my experiences with learning a new language as an adult. Taking language classes was something I had recently embarked on, and I wanted to share what tools and tips I’d picked up along the way. As a second example, when I recently moved across the country (for the second time in two years), I wrote a post with moving tips. Neither of these are skills, per se, but instead, I leveraged what was happening in my real life to create useful content for readers.

I’d love to know — what skills or life experiences do you have that you could write about? How are you already leveraging your skills and experiences into great blog content?

Image: Death to Stock

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LEVERAGE // 6 Things I Use As Leverage

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Like I said in the opening post for this month’s word leverage as a noun means the power to influence a person or situation to achieve a particular outcome, and as a verb means use (something) to maximum advantage.

When I think about the things that I personally use as my leverage for my business, a few things come to mind:

 

1. I can sell ice to Eskimos.

What I mean by this is that I’m good in person. I’m good at talking to people, pitching ideas, and getting people on board with whatever I want them on board with. I like people, I’m nice to people, and I hope people can tell I care.

 

2. I love speaking in front of crowds.

I love speaking on panels, giving speeches, doing Q&As — I never get nervous. I love it. I always try to give people information they an actually use. I’ve been to some conferences and panels where they give you no useful information. It pisses me off, so I make sure that I do my best to give out as much useful info as I can until I get cut off (I could talk for hours). This makes people like me, which is good for business.

 

3. My job at Hallmark taught me A TON about photo shoots.

Honestly I think Hallmark’s prop closet might be one of the biggest in the US. I’d dare to say it rivals that of the Martha Stewart. At 23 when I got a job at Hallmark Cards HQ, I was just happy to have a job. I didn’t realize how much it would teach me. One part of my job that I didn’t really realize when I got it was that I’d be directing and even styling photo shoots, and that ended up being my favorite part of the job. I learned all the tricks of the trade right in the beginning from some amazing stylists and photographers.

When I moved to DC over four years ago, I didn’t try get into photo styling work. I thought it’d be too hard to get clients or a photo styling job considering I had only a few acquaintances in the DC area and I was more focused on my blog and social media work. As the years went on, and social media and websites have become vital to most businesses — people are in need of good photos. My photo shoot work started mostly with collaborations on my blog, and then grew from there. Now one of the biggest parts of my business is doing photo shoots for my clients. Anything from fashion, to home products, to food and stationery — I’m doing it all.

In five years of working on set at Hallmark, I left with a high level of expectations for my photos. You can ask any photographer I’ve worked with — I’m probably one of the pickiest people they’ve ever worked with. Not in a bad, super annoying way (at least I hope not) but in a I know this photo can be better and I’m going to work until I get it there wayI don’t care how big or small of a shoot it is — if I’m going to put my stamp of approval on an image, I want it to be the best I can make it in the circumstances. And sometimes there are circumstances — like bad weather.

So basically I leverage the amazing knowledge and experience I have from my years at Hallmark, and now years of styling on my own, to create beautiful photos for my clients and brands I’m working with. Read the full post »

JULY LINK UP // HIDDEN TALENTS

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It’s time for another B Bar linkup!

This month’s linkup will take place on Wednesday, July 15th. Here are the important dates you need to know:

+ If you would like to participate, submit the permanent link to your post via this form by end of day Monday, 7/13/15 to be included. Check out the images below for examples of where to find your post permalink in both WordPress and Blogger.

+ Make sure to schedule your post to go live the morning of 7/15/15 at 6am Eastern Time.

+ Keep an eye on your Inbox throughout the day on Tuesday, 7/14/15. On this day, you will get an email from us with some language about the post and including the links to all the other posts that you need to add to yours so it will link to everyone else’s. This email will also prompt you to reply with any corrections/edits to the info you submitted via the form — it’s important that you double check this info.

Some quick updates to our linkup logistics: We love hosting these for you guys, but in the interest of making it seamless for all the participants, we’ve added a few new policies for the linkup — check these out at the end of the post.

Again, you can submit your permalink here!

For the July LinkUp Post, we’re asking an icebreaker question whose answer may be more related to leverage than you think:

WHAT ARE YOUR HIDDEN TALENTS?

You can answer this question in a lighthearted manner (you can sing like you’re on The Voice?!?), but you can also share any hidden talents that you might be leveraging on your blog or in your career. Are you an amazing public speaker? A naturally good artist? Do you have a knack for design or writing? What are the things you grew up “being good at” before you realized that they actually made you unique — that they were a talent? And, how are you leveraging them now? We can’t wait to hear your responses.

Continue reading to see where to find your permalink and to read our updated linkup policies.   

 

Read the full post »