Business, Blogging

Curating A Profitable Lifestyle Brand with Melissa Johnson

Episode 025: Show Notes

We hope you have some pink on, because we have Melissa Johnson of Best Friends for Frosting on the podcast today. This woman is bubbly and sparkly, and she loves all things sugarcoated and confetti covered.  Melissa started her blog after realizing the earning potential of the industry, and found herself best-suited to the role of creative director of this lifestyle business. With Melissa, you will get a peek inside a successful lifestyle brand. We’re talking four straight years of making six figures! She doesn’t mess around. She is working on sponsor content, surveying her audience, expanding her team, and we’re talking about all those things in today’s episode.  

We hope you have some pink on, because we have Melissa Johnson of Best Friends for Frosting on the podcast today. This woman is bubbly and sparkly, and she loves all things sugarcoated and confetti covered.  Melissa started her blog after realizing the earning potential of the industry, and found herself best-suited to the role of creative director of this lifestyle business. With Melissa, you will get a peek inside a successful lifestyle brand. We’re talking four straight years of making six figures! She doesn’t mess around. She is working on sponsor content, surveying her audience, expanding her team, and we’re talking about all those things in today’s episode.  |  The Strategy Hour  |  Think Creative Collective

For those of you who think that a money generating lifestyle blog or brand is out of your reach, we would love for you to sit down and give this one a listen and maybe learn that with some strategy and the right tools, you can actually make it happen.

Knowing When to Stop Taking on Contributors, and Move In-House

When it comes to building the brand of your company, it is often easier to say “we” than it is to say “I”. However, becoming the face of your business is a lot more beneficial down the road when it comes to getting partnerships, collaborations, and keeping the authenticity of your brand alive. For Melissa, she realized that with all the outside contributors she was bringing on, she no longer had her hand in the creative process, which is her favorite thing about blogging and just the creative industry in general. One of the red flags was realizing that the blog no longer reflected her true self. She knew that in order to get back her authentic touch she would have to take the plunge and step into being the face of her brand.

Strategically Transitioning To An All In-House Business

After having contributors handle the content load for such a long time, transitioning to an in-house blog requires some specific strategy to pull off. To maintain the momentum and keep up with the work load, you can’t simply take it all on yourself; that’s where a strong in-house team comes in! For Melissa, she has a team behind her that carries out all the decisions she makes. This way she still has full creative control over what goes on the blog, down to all the nitty gritty details, and her true self is fully reflected in her business. They shoot all their content in-house, and she has an incredible team that takes care of the everyday operations so that she can spend all her time “playing in the sand” again.

Building A Community Around the Heart of Your Business

The journey of Best Friends for Frosting started out with it being a PR outlet. From the get-go they were creating content, and mostly making an income off of sidebar ads. They were initially structured as a submission-based content platform where, basically, they were doing blasts on their social media outlets. However, once brands started coming to Melissa, she realized the earning potential of the blog, and the confidence that she gained from the support of big brands allowed her to start building up from those conversations and making those incredible connections. Along the way the blog has had so many incredible contributors, and to Melissa, their growth would not have been possible without the incredible community that was established around their brand from the start.

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A blog is so special, because that is that centralized location where your content can live
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Making Connections With Big Time Brand Names

Reaching out to connect with other brands can sometimes require some digging. Melissa shares that the first thing to do is to find the contact information of someone who handles PR and marketing in the company that you are reaching out to. Oftentimes there won’t be a direct contact or email address on the “Contact Us” page, so you have to hop over to their press page or try to find the right person to contact. Sometimes it may require some creative thinking, like perhaps sending a DM on Instagram or evening doing some LinkedIn “stalking”. When you’ve found their contact details, remember to always keep your email message short, sweet, and to the point! Too much information right away can be overwhelming, and attaching a media package may send the email straight to their junk folder.  

Incorporating a Product Line in Your Lifestyle Business

There are many different reasons to incorporate a product line into your business. Whether it is a lifestyle blog, a fashion blog, or a photography blog, a product line often has a specific purpose. For Melissa, incorporating their own line of products for Best Friends for Frosting really started out as a passion project, and something that was really close to her heart. But most of all, she feels that it is another great way to connect with her audience, to see the products crossing hands around the world and really understand how they are incorporating them into their daily lives. You truly get to see something physical, that you creatively have your hands on, being used by your community in their events. Knowing that other people could have your products in their homes is very special.

The Growth Path for Best Friends for Frosting and the Power of Blogging

So often, creatives think that growth comes from increasing your following on social media, and really working hard to grow the numbers there. However, they forget one critical aspect; the blog. For Melissa, Best Friends for Frosting was the centralized location where all her content could live, and it was truly fulfilling a need on the internet for DIY projects, recipes, and the lifestyle content that people were looking for. The readership for the blog started to increase more and more, and eventually trickled down into all of their social media platforms, and not the other way around. The blog acts like a host for all of this amazing content, and, unlike these huge social media platforms where your posts get lost in a sea of others, there is no competition on the blog itself, so your content is number one.

Polling Your Audience To Grow Your Business

When polling your audience, you have to be strategic in the way you structure your poll so that you can use the results and implement the necessary changes in your business. To start, you have to sit down and think about what you really want to know from them. When you get into that bubble of working for your company, it can be hard to see things when they are right under your nose. That is why getting your readers’ perspective can remove those blinders and allow you to see where you can improve to make the content even more valuable. Be sure to set up the questions correctly so that the results will ultimately help you make really sound decisions in your business.

Highlights

  • Understand when to stop taking on contributors, and move the creative process in-house. [0:04:19.2]
  • Learn how to strategically transition into an all in-house business. [0:07:20.6]  
  • Discover why building a community around the heart of your business is essential to growth. [0:09:02.3]  
  • Find out how to make connections with big time brand names. [0:12:26.3]  
  • Learn how and why to incorporate a product line into your lifestyle business. [0:21:41.9]  
  • Hear the story of how Best Friends for Frosting started to grow, and how its following originated from the blog itself. [0:28:04.0]  
  • Find out how to strategically poll your audience to grow your business. [0:38:18.9]  

#TalkStrategyToMe [0:42:14.5]

  1. Really get in touch with yourself; what fires you up?
  2. Think about the heart of your business; where is the gap and how can you fill it?
  3. Be patient, don’t give up, and go all in on your blog.