Biz Talk

And I’m Back…

I didn’t think this would happen, and I was in denial about it for a while. I’m back and with two rebranding-complete overhaul-blogger-to-wordpress-transfer-subscription-revamps, and a couple of social media strategy clients under my belt .

And Im Back Faithfully Social

I decided to shut down my blogging and social media site, delete my email list (such a no no) and work on my crafting instead. My love of hand embroidery and weaving knows no bounds and I am still actively pursing it and blogging about the journey. During that time, people sought me out to help with their blogging and social media strategy.

Those clients referred me to others and I didn’t have a “home” to send them to. So, here we are. I have to work on my own social media presence. I got rid of all the @faithfullysocial handles (again another no no) and have to research whether I can get them back, or have to start fresh, or heck, just combine my @cristinamakes handles. I moved from Squarespace back to WordPress (not fun) and have to clean up my site as I juggle client work, my Etsy shop, school, kids, marriage and a pup!

Just know, that I’m back and will be blogging as much as I can about the reintroduction process. As in, when you’ve pulled the plug, how do you plug back in? Because that’s what I’m going through right now and you know how much I love to share. In the meantime, check out these two launches I am SO very proud of (that are still a work in progress, but sometimes, you gotta hit publish!).

KCrossWriting

Katie Cross Rebrand by Cristina at Faithfully Social

Mary Lenaburg

Mary Lenaburg Rebrand by Cristina at Faithfully Social

So glad to be back, and thank you for bearing with me (and thanks to Katie, Mary and Colleen for having so much faith in me). Sometimes we close the door on something that we should really leave a crack open, because you never know.

Lesson learned.

Don’t Catch the Ball

If someone throws a ball at you it doesn’t mean you have to catch it. I learned this many years ago when I was a Bilingual Trading Assistant at Bear Stearns. I had a manager at the time who was not a very good leader. She had a different way of saying this to me, or maybe it’s a different perspective. She would say “Lob the grenade”. In my early 20s, when I had this job, I knew it wasn’t the right way to think of it. You don’t want to pass the problem off, or “the ball” to someone else. You just don’t need to catch it.

So often we take on the problems others are having and feel the need to solve them. We don't have to. Not all the time. How does this come up for you? Family, the office, friendships? You'd be surprised how we automatically jump in to save the day by @faithfulsocial

Watch to see what I’m talking about. And please forgive the lighting. I’m in the new house, am pressed for time and don’t know where the best spot is to record yet. Next week, I’ll have it all down.

Don’t we always want to run in and help? Think about conversations you have with friends, colleagues and family members. When people come to you with their issues and problems, it doesn’t mean that they’re looking at you to solve they’re problems every time. Sometimes, they just want you to nod along with them and feel like they’re being heard.

Don’t take it all on. You don’t have to. In fact, you’re not supposed to.

Here are those links I promised you in the video!

My very first She Owns It post, The Key to Creating Great Killer Content went up yesterday and holy Twitter! If mine didn’t blow up. I really wanted to share a different gif from A Night At The Roxbury here but couldn’t find it. You know when Will Ferrell’s character, Steve Butabi, enters the club and slightly panics because he feels he has to say hi to everyone in the room?

Well, you all know how I feel about thanking people when they share your posts? Yeah, I was all “hi, hey, what’s up, hi, hey, what’s up, hi, hey, what’s up”. It was great, but also slightly stressful for me and needed some coddling. I’ll be a featured contributor there monthly, so I have to come up with a better plan for that!

Thursday’s are podcast day in my work week! This week on the Building Bridges Podcast Jenna and I talk to Nell of Whole Parenting Family (which I realize in the video I repeated twice, ahem). We talk about parenting, sex and the many paths motherhood can take. There are rap references, sex talk kids and tears. Why? Because that’s basically motherhood, right? I love hearing how these women (and men sometimes) live their lives to show that we can all connect with one another in some way.

On Tuesday, I shared a post right here titled 5 Sites That Will Change How You Blog. I share just 5 of the quazillion blogs and sites I follow using Feedly that has changed how I blog. Don’t discard them just because you may be a new blogger or feel it’s over your head. You’re smarter than you give yourself credit for.

I began reading these when I didn’t know what a .gif was. I just knew, like any new language, the more you expose yourself to it, the more sense it will make. If you’re serious about this blogging thing, then do the work!

Thursday’s are a big deal around here aren’t they? Video, podcasts, candy canes?

In what ways do you take on other problems and issues you probably shouldn’t? Does it happen at the office, on PTO boards, friendships? Let’s talk about it and remember, don’t catch the ball (not every time).

So often we take on the problems others are having and feel the need to solve them. We don't have to. Not all the time. How does this come up for you? Family, the office, friendships? You'd be surprised how we automatically jump in to save the day by @faithfulsocial

How to Break the Blogging Rules the Right Way

As a blogger, you want to be consistent. Your posts should have a consistent format, you should post on a consistent schedule and your content should be consistent and in keeping with your brand. Sounds a little boring after a while, doesn’t it? I think it can be. The antithesis (what’s up SAT word) of this is to have no plan and fly by the seat of your pants with regards to blog design, editorial content and schedule. 

As a blogger, you want to be consistent. Your posts should have a consistent format, you should post on a consistent schedule and your content should be consistent and in keeping with your brand. So how can you break the blogging rules, the right way? by @faithfulsocial

Let’s talk about life for a second. You know what’s consistent about that? Change. We’re getting a little esoteric here, but hang with me. How can you, as a blogger, break the rules the right way and still maintain consistency?

Consistency builds trust with your readers.

They come to expect and even wait on baited breath for your next post because you’ve let them know when and at what time they can expect an update from you.

Consistency gives you sanity.

If you’re doing it right, you never have to worry about what your next post is or how it fits in with your overall strategy of what to post. Planning, isn’t it great?

Consistency gives you a social life.

Setting a consistent blogging and content creation schedule means that you can then plug in everything else in your life like dinners out, time with friends or better yet, that early morning monthly massage!

Consistency allows you to be the Queen of all that you survey.

If you have your schedule set, you are in a better place to say yes or no to any upcoming opportunities because you have already committed to yourself first.  

And finally, if you’ve been consistent, that means you can break the routine every once in a while, and the world will keep spinning. It’s like your readers give you a pass. Why? Because it shows that you’re a real person and not a robotic machine. 

As a blogger, you want to be consistent. Your posts should have a consistent format, you should post on a consistent schedule and your content should be consistent and in keeping with your brand. So how can you break the blogging rules, the right way? by @faithfulsocial

I missed a video post last week (did you notice?) and it was just because I didn’t want to face a camera. I’m a little introverted, remember? I was in a bit of a funk, we’re moving, and I hate to pack. I thought it was better to just not share a video post because I am a slave to this consistent schedule.

Instead, I worked on updating my blog functionality and blog images, recorded podcasts, sent out my social media tip of the week to those that have signed up for it, and worked on my ecourse. I was still working and productive and that’s key. Be consistent in your progress, whatever it is that you want to get out of this blogging thing, work on pushing that – it doesn’t necessarily always mean a video post on Thursday at 9AM every.single.week.

So break the rules, if you’ve set them up right and stuck to them for a long while, it’s ok to break them. It changes things up and that keeps it interesting.

So tell me, how do you feel about breaking the cycle – every once in a while? Think your readers will notice? If you’ve done it, chime in and let me know how it made you feel. Probably pretty human, I bet.

 

As a blogger, you want to be consistent. Your posts should have a consistent format, you should post on a consistent schedule and your content should be consistent and in keeping with your brand. So how can you break the blogging rules, the right way? by @faithfulsocial

 

The Art of Saying No or How Not to Burn Bridges

In an earlier video post, I talked about how when you say no to opportunities, you’re really saying yes to yourself. In the video post, I shared how there’s an art to saying no that honors the person sharing the opportunity with you, while also honoring yourself. You certainly don’t want to burn bridges. You never know when that person will come around again, so while you don’t have to grovel, you do have to mind yourself when you respond. 

I love to share goodies, tips and tricks like the ones I am about to share with you. Be sure to sign up for my VIP list to receive exclusive tips that I don’t share with anyone else (or anywhere else, for that matter). You’ll also receive my top 7 tips for creating a successful online community, just for signing up! So many tips! 

Maria, from Collecting Moments had a few questions and while I’ve already responded to her offline, I thought I would share the exchange with you because we’re a sharing bunch around here. Let’s get started!

The Art of Saying No to Opportunities where you can honor the person who is offering the opportunity, we don't want to burn bridges as a blogger. We also want to walk away feeling empowered. Check out these email scripts you can tailor to your blogging situation. @faithfulsocial

Maria writes: 

I just read through your blog and listened to your Vlog about saying no to an opportunity. I absolutely loved it! I can relate. As a new blogger, there’s a few opportunities that have come my way, and sometimes it’s hard to say no. I’m fairly fresh (my blog is only a year old) and I would think that every opportunity lends itself to more doors being opened–whether it’s monetary or just exposure…I do have a question, however.

You mention on your vlog that there’s an art to saying no to opportunities, that we should do it in a way that honors both the person that’s presenting the opportunity and us as well. How does one phrase that without sounding dismissive or just plain, “no thanks, I’m not interested.” I would assume that burning bridges is the last thing we want when we say no (because who knows there might be other projects that fit our criteria from that same company in the future).

I guess what I’m trying to say is how do I say thank you, but no, without cutting ties with the person/company that offered it in the first place? 

Here’s how I do it: 

Dear Sir Smiles,

Thank you so much for thinking of me for [insert this opportunity here]. I am flattered that you thought of my blog as an avenue to promote [insert promotion here].

In reviewing your offer, I don’t feel it’s a fit for me at this time. I do have a solid [insert your industry here] friend/s in mind and am happy to make the connection for you if you’re interested. Her/His name is [insert name here]. She/He blogs about [insert relevant topic here]. 

While this particular collaboration wasn’t in the stars, I look forward to others you think may be a fit in the future.

[However you sign off in an email]
Cristina

You’ll notice that I created a “Graceful No” sandwich. Can you see? 

  • Bread aka Flattery: Thank you so much for thinking of me for [insert this opportunity here]. I am flattered that you thought of my blog as an avenue to promote [insert promotion here].  
  • Meat aka Your Graceful No: In reviewing your offer, I don’t feel it’s a fit for me at this time. I do have a solid [insert your industry here] friend/s in mind and am happy to make the connection for you if you’re interested. Her/His name is [insert name here]. She/He blogs about [insert relevant topic here]. 
  • Bread aka Gracious Ending: While this particular collaboration wasn’t in the stars, I look forward to others you think may be a fit in the future.

This kind of email, honors you by sticking to your boundaries, and honors the person offering you the opportunity because you are sincerely trying to help them find a match. The caveat to this is, if the person offering the opportunity to you is difficult or shady, you don’t want to refer them to anyone.

I experienced this recently and paused before I responded. I thought that there must be someone I could refer. I remembered that my community is just as important to me as honoring this person offering the opportunity.  I removed the “meat” part of my email sandwich and pressed send.

You don’t want to damage the relationships you’ve cultivated with people in your industry by referring nonsense to them. Trust me, they won’t appreciate it. 

Maria continues to write:

I’ve been getting many inquiries for product reviews lately. All of which have compensated me for the product and the shipping free of charge. Like I said, my blog is still small, so I’m not expecting monetary compensation for these. The fact that they send me products for free is good enough for me for now.

With that said, I still want some compensation for my work (as you know, it takes great time and effort to craft a worthy post, and I put 110% in it every time.) I’m not asking for much, mainly it’s in terms of networking or exposure (a retweet/mention on twitter, a shout out on instagram, a link of my post on their blog).

There’s been a few instances where I’d have trouble communicating that to my clients. The fact that my blog is still so small gives me a bit of a complex, and I don’t quite know how to word  that I appreciate the opportunity, but would like some networking and exposure in return. 

Any insights? Should I even ask for this or just let it go and appreciate the fact that they even reached out to me? 

I got’chu. First of all, don’t don’t let being small give you a complex. Just as you don’t want to burn bridges with bigger bloggers, they shouldn’t want to burn bridges with you either. With hard work, you will be the next big blogger that they wish they were nicer to back in the day. #firsthandexperience

I think this question was around asking for social media promotion/networking instead of monetary gain? For now, that makes TOTAL sense. Sometimes, you just gotta ask for stuff, you know? In this case, here’s what I would say:

Dear Ms. Fancy Pants,

I was so excited to receive your product in the mail for review. The post about [insert product] is about to go live tomorrow. To help make this a complete success for your brand, I would appreciate any social media shout outs that you could give of the blog post review.

To make this easy for you, please see the pinnable images, pre-crafted tweets/FB updates and the permalink to the post. All you have to do is copy, paste and share!

Please let me know if you have any questions at all. I can’t wait to share [insert product] with my audience!

[However you sign off in an email]
Cristina

In any working relationship, remember to make it easy for the other person always, and in all ways. 

Appreciate that they reached out to you, but don’t forget that they reached out to you. You are providing a service (and value) to them. You are sharing an audience you nurtured with them. They wouldn’t have access to your people without YOU. 

Always know that you are inherently worth it. Every.single.time.

So let’s all follow Maria on all the things. She’s at @MBette827 on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter! 

I have created a secret Pinterest board for The Art of Saying No with inspirational quotes to keep you on track. If you’re interested in having access, just shoot me an email at faithfullysocial@gmail.com and I’ll hook you up. I feel like we should start a revolution? Come on! Don’t say no to this one!

How would you have responded to Maria? Help a sista out in the comments! Remember, if you have any questions for me, please reach out. I would love to share the answer as a blog post along with the social platform/s of your choice!

Did you love this? Sign up to receive exclusive tips like these right in your inbox every Friday!

The Art of Saying No to Opportunities where you can honor the person who is offering the opportunity, we don't want to burn bridges as a blogger. We also want to walk away feeling empowered. Check out these email scripts you can tailor to your blogging situation. @faithfulsocial

Be Your Brand

If we ever met me in real life, I’d be just as I am in the following video.

If we ever met in real life, I would be encouraging, talking about others who have inspired me that I think you should check out. 

Be Your Brand Building a brand isn't really that hard. In fact, there's one branding question you can ask yourself every time you try to connect with other bloggers, creatives or just people a video post by @faithfulsocial

If we ever met in real life, I would take you to my favorite ice cream shop where they serve up Maple Bacon Ice Cream.

If we ever met in real life, I would have a smile on from ear to ear, just like that picture of me on the right.

If we ever met in real life I would listen to you, ask questions and make you laugh your face off. I’m funny. Even this chick thinks so, and she’s a hilarious humor blogger that has written for HuffPo, Scary Mommy and others.

If we ever met in real life, you’d get that I am no different online than I am in real life (except maybe that funny part. I think my funny doesn’t translate as well in the written word. You need all the theatrics because I’m 4’11”).

Be Your Brand. Be who you are and own it. 

In today’s video post, I talk about being the same person on line that you are in real life. It should be an equal blend. If not, what’s the point? I talk about a person I met over the weekend who embodied this perfectly. It blew me away. 

Take a peek…

Remember that the profiles you are connecting with online, are real people.

People want to feel like they are being heard, because deep down we all want to matter. 

To stand out, all you have to do is remember that in every interaction you make. Ask yourself, how can I make this person feel heard? And act on it.  

The book I referenced is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

And here is Uncustomary Art (Mary), on Facebook so her birthday present of 2,000 fans will be realized!

Here is the Instagram quote I referenced that was the inspiration for this post

I’m going on vacation next week. I’m authentically being my brand and taking a break, for realsies! I am not just doing it in real life and pretending that I’m on with automated tweets and shares. In real life, we need time to recharge, refresh and spend time with our families. But, you can go on vacation with me! Wouldn’t that be fun! We can share caramel lattes and glazed donuts on the lake and talk about that time I thought cutting my hair short was a great idea (The Karate Kid circa 1984 is not a good look for me).

I am sending an email to my VIP subscribers telling them how to spend a week with me in the Adirondacks (along with an exclusive social media tip of the week, per usual). 

Be Your Brand Building a brand isn't really that hard. In fact, there's one branding question you can ask yourself every time you try to connect with other bloggers, creatives or just people a video post by @faithfulsocial