Today I’m talking with Maggy Woodley, founder of the blog, Red Ted Art.This is a fascinating conversation where Maggy shares how to be successful on social media. Maggy has built an enormous presence with over over 2.2 million Facebook followers, 406k YouTube subscribers, and 376k Pinterest followers.
She also shares the pros and cons of each platform, and why even with such large followings she still cares a lot about (search engine optimization) for traffic.
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Transcript – How To Be Successful On Social Media With Maggy Woodley
Intro: [00:00:03] Welcome to the Blogger Genius podcast brought to you by Milo Tree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian: [00:00:10] Hey guys. Welcome back to the show. Today, I’m excited. My guest is Maggy Woodley from the blog Red Ted Art. Now, she’s been blogging since 2010. She is also an arts educator. Welcome to the show, Maggy.
Maggy: [00:00:28] Thank you so much for having me. I love your podcast. I’ve been listening to it recently. It’s really, really informative. Thank you.
Jillian: [00:00:35] Oh, thank you. So we’ve met about a month ago. We’ve known each other online. I was just looking through one of my Pinterest boards, my group boards and we’re on group boards together.
Jillian: [00:00:50] We just met in person at the AdThrive conference. I got to sit next to you. You were so lovely.
Maggy: [00:00:57] Thank you. It’s so nice to have a long chat to you. I love the conference. It was great, and it was so lovely to meet people in person and connect. That’s brilliant.
Jillian: [00:01:07] Yes. You flew all the way out from the UK to Austin, Texas.
Maggy: [00:01:13] Yes. It was so worth it. Nothing beats face to face contact and kind of, like you say, we’ve known each other for a while online and then suddenly, the penny drops like “Oh, yes. Of course.”.
Jillian: [00:01:24] Right.
Maggy: [00:01:24] Yeah. That’s brilliant.
Jillian: [00:01:25] Thank you for being on the show. And I want to hear about your story because I’m going to say it, you are a big blogger. You have a big successful blog.
Jillian: [00:01:38] To start off, I want to hear your story. How did you get into this?
How to accidentally fall into blogging
Maggy: [00:01:43] I guess like many bloggers, eight years ago, I was home with a toddler and a baby. I kind of knew that I didn’t want to go back to my day job but I knew that I needed to do something to keep myself busy and keep my mind stimulated.
Maggy: [00:02:07] I needed something that belonged to me and also something that brought in a little bit of money, not lots of it, so I could contribute to the household and feel like I didn’t have to go back to work.
Maggy: [00:02:16] I would not have that pressure to go back to work. I actually started off with selling kids’ pop art. That’s actually where the name Red Ted Art comes from. The blog actually came second.
Maggy: [00:02:27] It was this pop art I was selling first. One of these pop art pictures is actually a red teddy . That’s where the Red Ted Art comes from. The art was tacked on because redted.com was already taken. That’s how the name came about.
Jillian: [00:02:48] And were you selling these things on Etsy? What were you doing?
Maggy: [00:02:53] It was mainly through word of mouth or going to local craft fairs, that kind of thing. To be honest, I was competing with things like Ikea. It’s wonderful, but there’s something handmade vs Ikea selling it for five pounds, $10 or whatever it is.
Maggy: [00:03:11] It’s quite a lot of pressure if you’re kind of trying to sell something handmade because you wanted to be really good but by definition, handmade is never going to be what you think is perfect. For other people, it might be.
Maggy: [00:03:24] I set up the blog because I was told at the time that if you wanted to sell anything, you needed an online presence. I was building a website. That actually never went live but I was putting a website.
Maggy: [00:03:37] Whilst I was building the website, I decided to do the blog. It was quick and easy. It was a really quick way to go online. I thought “Wow. I can’t just talk about here’s another painting, here’s another picture, here’s another drawing.” It’s really boring.
Maggy: [00:03:51] There’s a sales mantra that I’m sure everyone’s familiar with which is in order to sell something, you have to give something away for free. Give them something for free and then, in return, try and sell to them.
Maggy: [00:04:02] I was just doing little craft posts because that’s fun, it gives me something to do with the children, it’s easy, I enjoy it and I’ve always love crafts. I kind of created my first two, three craft posts.
Maggy: [00:04:18] This is much more fun than doing pop art paintings where it’s stressful, and you’re trying to sell, I need to get it perfect, that kind of thing. I kind of quite quickly saw that actually, the blog was more fun and less pressure.
Maggy: [00:04:33] It involved my children because I was working with them at the time. When I was a child, I used to love crafting. As a young person, I was a crafter and as a young adult, I crafted as well.
Maggy: [00:04:47] I kind of found my way back to a passion of mine without even realizing that that’s where I was going to go with it. Also, very quickly, my hits are slowly going up. This could be something.
Maggy: [00:05:02] That’s basically how the concept of the blog was born. It was probably a good six months or maybe three months into blogging that I realized I like blogging. I didn’t go into blogging thinking I want to blog to make money.
Maggy: [00:05:17] I kind of went into blogging as a sort of a bridge to a website. I never launched the website because it is rubbish, and I didn’t want to sell the pop art anymore. I just stuck with the blog and haven’t looked back since.
Jillian: [00:05:30] Wow, I love how, again, you went in one direction and discovered a whole passion that was kind of sleeping.
Blogging advice: Just start!
Maggy: [00:05:40] Yes, for me, I mean it was just amazing and perfect. Whenever people ask me now, “How do I start off? How to do this? How to do that?” I always say “You know what? Just start. Just go to where life’s going to take you.”
Maggy: [00:05:52] And in the early days of blogging, I did do like a lot of other parenting bloggers, I did have some book reviews and some days out. It was always many crafts.
Maggy: [00:06:00] I’ve kind of experimented with other things but I always came back to crafts. That was very clearly my strength and my passion.
Maggy: [00:06:09] I think those people who are trying to start out, just start because you’ll quickly find what you like and you’ll quickly enjoy that you do this. Does that make sense? Without trying, you’re not going to find that part.
Jillian: [00:06:23] Absolutely.
Maggy: [00:06:23] And I’m so grateful that I tried, and I found this.
Jillian: [00:06:27] Yeah. I mean I think it is all about discovery. It is all about putting it out there and then seeing how you respond to it and how other people respond to it.
Maggy: [00:06:40] Exactly. There’s no shame in starting something and changing direction. It’s just I think especially in the early days, you have to give yourself some time to experiment, maybe for six months to experiment.
Maggy: [00:06:50] After that, I do think you have to start knocking down though, and going for it because I’ve seen some very talented people over the years, starting blogs and then rebranding two years later, rebranding two years later.
Maggy: [00:07:02] That’s quite difficult because you’re always starting afresh. I do think once you get going, it’s good to stick with it.
Jillian: [00:07:09] Okay, so now that you have been at it and you’ve grown this big business, how similar is it today? How often are you creating crafts, and how do you stay motivated?
Maggy: [00:07:21] Yeah, it has changed significantly. In the early days, it was about my children and it was about me and obviously my children featured it in a lot.
Maggy: [00:07:33] Then they started school. They came home from school, they were tired , they didn’t want to craft and I didn’t want to make them.
Maggy: [00:07:40] So I’d wait for them and then, I’d wait for the weekend. They still didn’t feel like it and then something like, “Oh no. I need that next blog post. What’s going on?”
Maggy: [00:07:49] For me, it was a transition period from having always had my kids in it and it being about us. And in that sense, being a personal blog about crafts.
Transitioning into a craft blog
Maggy: [00:07:56] I did make that transition into being a blog about crafts but not always child-made. That was difficult because up until then, I always felt that children should be driving it and then suddenly, it became this whole adult-made versus child-made.
Maggy: [00:08:16] I don’t know if you’re aware of the debate but people often debate “is it alright for an adult to share a child’s craft that no child has ever made before?” Once you kind of rap your head around that, then it just kind of took off from there if that makes sense.
Maggy: [00:08:30] So it has changed but just because my family life has changed. I think this is what a lot of blogs do because we changed and our children change.
Maggy: [00:08:38] Our home changes and in some ways, our story is still wrapped up in that even though it’s much more about me now than it is about the kids. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I just think it’s different.
Jillian: [00:08:51] Right. Again, I think that when you are a blogger, your blog is part of your life. I always say, “I’m so curious. In five years, what our businesses will look like?”
Maggy: [00:09:05] I have no idea. No idea. Things changed so quickly on the Internet as well, don’t they?
Jillian: [00:09:13] You discovered social media pretty early so you are very big, for example, on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest, I’m assuming. So how did you then get onto social media early?
Maggy: [00:09:30] Okay, I’m glad you think I got on early because I remember when Facebook first came about, I was a bit baffled by it. I confess. I didn’t understand why you would have a page on Facebook. In some ways, I was slow to make that switch.
Maggy: [00:09:47] And then when suddenly, again, the penny dropped about how you use social media, then when other things come along like Pinterest and Instagram, I was like, “Oh, actually, you just need to go and run with it.”
Maggy: [00:09:59] And then also when you then start seeing the traffic coming from the social media platforms, you suddenly saw why somebody saw the value of social media.
Maggy: [00:10:08] Now, mostly, I am a massive social media convert. I totally get it. I totally get that you need to do it. That’s such a huge traffic driver. But if I’m being really honest, in the very, very early days, it took me a little while to kind of get it.
Maggy: [00:10:24] I was lucky enough that that was a long time ago. I mean, it was 8 years ago.
How to grow a followings on social media as a blogger
Maggy: [00:10:29] I do agree that in some ways, it’s much harder now to grow your presence on, say, Facebook but otherwise, it’s easier because there’s more information out there, and people understand sort of the tricks of the trade a bit better. So I guess, again, it’s just different.
Maggy: [00:10:45] But to anyone starting out, my tip would be to focus on one platform and really work that platform and not neglect the others completely. I think you need to kind of dabble in all of them but you can transfer a lot of it.
Maggy: [00:11:00] So let’s say, Facebook’s the main one. Do all your work for Facebook whether its video or crafts. And then you just quickly edit it for Instagram or Pinterest.
Maggy: [00:11:11] I do think it’s important not to neglect any platform completely. You want your eggs in more than one basket.
Maggy: [00:11:19] For example, I’ve had a problem with my Facebook page this week. People might be aware of Facebook just randomly kind of dinging pages and there’s no reach.
Maggy: [00:11:27] For a week, I couldn’t basically use it and then luckily, because my Pinterest is in place, my SEO’s in place and YouTube is in place, it was annoying but it wasn’t a disaster.
Maggy: [00:11:39] Social media is so powerful, it is amazing and I love it, but at the same time, we don’t own it. We have no control over it. You have to have not all the eggs in one basket. I think this is the sort of the bottom line.
Jillian: [00:11:58] What is your biggest traffic driver right now?
Maggy: [00:12:02] Right now, it’s Google and SEO. That’s because I put in a lot of effort in the last year to tidy up my SEO strategy, so to speak.
Maggy: [00:12:16] I think it’s really important to never forget Google because again, this thing about using Facebook as an example, I had a week where I can’t use it, and that’s my traffic down. At least I had Google taking over and Pinterest.
Jillian: [00:12:30] Could you just say how many followers do you have on Facebook?
Maggy: [00:12:34] Just short of 2.4 million.
Jillian: [00:12:37] Wow. Wow.
Maggy: [00:12:39] And yeah it’s crazy now because two years ago, when I had 400,000, you’d get the same sort of traffic. It’s a great number but you have to take with a pinch of salt and kind of remember how Facebook behaves unfortunately.
Why Facebook is like a bad boyfriend
Jillian: [00:12:54] Right. Facebook is like a fickle boyfriend but I feel like Facebook is becoming a worse and worse boyfriend.
Maggy: [00:13:03] And unfortunately, we can’t get rid of that boyfriend just yet.
Jillian: [00:13:08] We’re in bad relationships. Facebook never, and I have said this on my podcast, Facebook isn’t our sweet spot for Catch My Party. Pinterest is.
Jillian: [00:13:20] And so I would meet bloggers like you who are getting enormous amounts of traffic from Facebook. We tried everything and yet, it’s just there are certain blogs where it just is a perfect fit.
Maggy: [00:13:36] Yeah, I agree. I definitely can’t knock anything else. I agree with you. Pinterest is so important, is such a valuable platform and put it into context.
Maggy: [00:13:47] I mean my Pinterest following is much smaller. I think it’s about 360,000. I spend a lot less time on Pinterest, and it’s driving the same amount of traffic. If not, even a little bit more.
Maggy: [00:13:58] But I find Facebook quite useful that I can get something going on Facebook and then, it gets pinned a lot and then, it just becomes stronger. So Pinterest has got that long midterm game, isn’t it?
Maggy: [00:14:12] If you got a new blog post out, Pinterest won’t really pick it up for about three or four weeks. I mean it will but you won’t necessarily see a huge difference in that particular blog post whilst Facebook is kind of now.
Maggy: [00:14:24] I think that’s sort of quite the difference between the two for me.
Maggy: [00:14:26] You kind of start off with Facebook now, it kind of gets things going, it goes on to Pinterest, it slowly kind of dispersed amongst Pinterest and then further down the line, it’s Pinterest that’s giving you the traffic and not Facebook.
Maggy: [00:14:39] It’s kind of like a little lifecycle of your blog post. I think Pinterest is a really important part of that.
Jillian: [00:14:47] Now, where do Instagram and YouTube fit into that cycle?
Maggy: [00:14:53] Okay, so Instagram is one of those social media platforms that I’m kind of doing on the side. I kind of spend a bit more time on it now and again and then I forget again a little bit about it.
Maggy: [00:15:03] So at the moment, for me, Instagram isn’t massive. I know some people who would really excel at it but I feel the sort of return on time investment isn’t good enough but then maybe, I haven’t spent enough time.
Maggy: [00:15:16] It’s chicken and egg. If not spending the time, you’re not going to see the returns.
Maggy: [00:15:20] I can’t see it for me at the moment, Instagram, being a massive traffic driver. It’s good for community. It’s good for like I’m starting to use it to share, to my readers’, crafts.
Maggy: [00:15:31] When they make mine and they send me photos, I quite enjoy that. That’s a nice way to kind of give back but that’s sort of something I’m dabbling in.
Maggy: [00:15:41] So Instagram to me is “I’m doing it but it’s not my main focus.”
Maggy: [00:15:45] It does help with when you do sponsored work but again, that’s not my main focus so it’s not so important.
Maggy: [00:15:51] YouTube is an interesting one for me . I started it properly about three years ago because I wanted to diversify. I could see that I kind of plateaued a little bit in my blog, and I wanted to get to a new audience.
Maggy: [00:16:06] Huge deal for me is about talking to the children directly.
How to create a YouTube strategy as a blogger
Maggy: [00:16:11] In YouTube, my main audience is sort of eight to 12 year olds whilst Facebook is their parents.
Maggy: [00:16:17] For me, that’s a really valuable tool because you’re kind of getting different sort of feedback. You get feedback from the kids as to what they find easy, what to find difficult.
Maggy: [00:16:26] I get really good feedback from that, what they enjoy, what they don’t enjoy.
Maggy: [00:16:30] For example, five years ago, I wasn’t doing any emoji crafts. Now, I am. That’s what 10 year old’s like, and that’s great as long as there’s a balance.
Maggy: [00:16:40] What I love about YouTube as well is on YouTube, I want to be the crafty auntie with 70 kids who love crafting but they don’t have time at it for school. The parents don’t like doing it. They have no one at home who does it with them but they love it.
Maggy: [00:17:00] And I kind of want to be their crafty auntie that they kind of go to for some ideas and then, they can kind of teach themselves a bit with my help. I can see that my kind of YouTube persona.
Jillian: [00:17:11] That’s terrific. Now, does YouTube then drive traffic for you? Does it drive brand work or is it just that it is you are the crafty auntie and you feel like these are your children?
Maggy: [00:17:26] It is the crafty auntie that’s a really big part of it and then getting feedback and ideas, I guess. You could argue. But also it informs my content for my blog.
Maggy: [00:17:40] My blog and YouTube are totally interwoven so I’ll put a video on YouTube, and I’ll do a blog post on it from my blog as well.
Maggy: [00:17:50] I guess it is just a different way of driving, not just driving traffic but generating content.
Maggy: [00:17:55] You asked earlier on, about how do you keep motivated or interested or how to keep coming up with ideas. I think YouTube was just a fresh way of looking at content, craft ideas and that kind of thing.
Can you make money on YouTube?
Maggy: [00:18:08] I do a little bit of ad revenue. I would say per thousand views it’s significantly less than the blog. I mean I’m earning, and what I get from YouTube is still worth it. But it has takes ages just to get to that level if that makes sense.
Jillian: [00:18:25] So yeah, absolutely.
Maggy: [00:18:27] It gets frustrating, and that can be very difficult for people just starting out from YouTube, that the monetary gain can be delayed.
Maggy: [00:18:39] For me, what I liked about YouTube, thinking about it outloud now, is, for example, origami, which I love, I didn’t do a lot of origami on my blog previously because taking photos of 50 steps and editing them, so boring.
Maggy: [00:18:54] A nice little video, it’s really quick, really easy and you explain it. It changed my content on my blog purely because I had a different way of sharing how to make something.
Maggy: [00:19:07] That’s being quite fun because it’s opened up kind of a new area of crafting because some things are difficult to explain just using words and three pictures.
Jillian: [00:19:20] Totally.
Maggy: [00:19:21] And the video is a really nice way of being able to go “actually just take a look, it’s really easy.”
Jillian: [00:19:27] You are on a variety of platforms. You’re making video. What does your schedule look like, and do you have a studio setup in your house?
How to set your schedule up to be a full time blogger
Maggy: [00:19:37] So in terms of schedule, I do consider myself a full time blogger. This is my job and I do roughly work, let’s see, from 8:20 when the kids go to school from 8 to about 3 or 3:30.
Maggy: [00:19:52] I do have an hour’s lunch break, whether for walk, for exercise, Pilates or whatever but on the whole, I do have sort of regular working hours everyday and in those regular working hours, for example, I would not do housework because I need to do my work if that makes sense.
Maggy: [00:20:07] It’s like a little rule. I don’t go near the washing machine or anything like that. I do that when the kids are home because a) they need to see that that kind of stuff happens and b) because these are my working hours.
Maggy: [00:20:18] I take my working hours quite seriously in that sense and then, outside of that I’ll probably still ad another hour here or there where I do a bit extra.
Maggy: [00:20:28] I think if you add that up, it is pretty much a full time job but it’s a full time job that really flexible.
Maggy: [00:20:34] For example, I can’t take holidays and obviously manage my time around that and things like that so I find it really hard saying exactly how many hours a week I do but it’s not insignificant.
Maggy: [00:20:46] In terms of setup, I have a little office which is great. I have like a mini video set up which is actually in my bedroom because that’s got a really big window, and it’s got a desk.
Maggy: [00:21:00] Although, I have some lights as well, I kind of can leave out, and it’s the only place in the house where I’ve got the space, and I can leave things out.
Maggy: [00:21:09] I think, again, that being able to leave things out is quite key in terms of things like video production, probably photo production too because you ‘ re not having to clear this space each time. You’re not having to —
Jillian: [00:21:21] Pull out the equipment.
How to Create Video for YouTube as a Blogger
Maggy: [00:21:23] Exactly. And it makes a huge difference. I can go where I’m just going to do a quick video, and I’ll go over, and I’ll just do a quick video and then I’ll just come back and carry on, writing. Because you can.
Maggy: [00:21:33] Whereas before, I used to have some of that kind of wait and get things out. So I’m very lucky that my husband’s very tolerant of the fact that our bedroom is also a mini studio.
Jillian: [00:21:44] That’s great. So what do you say to yourself, “this week, I am going to create three posts, two videos.” How does that come to you?
Maggy: [00:21:57] Yes, I do have a schedule, and I think it’s simply because YouTube is like any social media. You’re kind of rewarded for consistency so I do have in my head, “I need to do two videos a week.”
Maggy: [00:22:10] For a year, I did three a week and then, I cut back to two, and that’s been fine.
Maggy: [00:22:17] Those two slots so to speak, drive my production or productivity and interestingly enough, I used to have two blog posts a week with Red Ted Art so when I built up the blog, I always had this goal of two a week or more, obviously. But it had to be a minimum of two a week.
Maggy: [00:22:35] The same with YouTube, it has to be a minimum of two a week. And it doesn’t mean that some weeks, I’ll do something that isn’t that good.
Maggy: [00:22:43] And some people could argue, “Well, maybe it’s better for you. You only put good content out.” The other side, I’ll argue that sometimes, I’ll put something out that I think is not good and then it just takes off.
Jillian: [00:22:56] I know. That’s the most fascinating part of the Internet.
Maggy: [00:23:01] So you know what? My two a week is really powerful because I’ll sit down and go, “I haven’t got a video and I really need a video week. I haven’t got today’s video yet,” and I’ll go “I just got to do something” and then I’ll just do something, and I’ll do my best video and then, that will inform, I don’t know, some other ideas, spin off ideas of the back.
Jillian: [00:23:20] So are the videos and the blog post related or is this two separate crafts that are blog post, two separate crafts that are videos?
Maggy: [00:23:28] They will always be related. The blog actually now has about four posts a week because I have my two on YouTube and I’ll put most of my YouTube videos on the blog. Not all of them but most of them.
Maggy: [00:23:41] And then on top of that, I’m continuously working on SEO for Red Ted Art. For example, I’ll have those two YouTube videos and then a blog post to go with them.
Maggy: [00:23:52] I did a mermaid craft. They’ll be on the YouTube channel and on my blog but then, I’ll also need work on a round up, kind of rehashing old content in new ways or might republish an old blog post or I might have somebody who really wants to do me a guest post.
Maggy: [00:24:10] “Yeah, great. I love a guest post. Brilliant. I’ll have that up.” Sometimes, I’ll even have five posts go out on Red Ted Art in a week which I personally find I’m quite overwhelmed by it because I need to do two.
Maggy: [00:24:22] It’s so much content, I can’t keep up. There’s always so much to do. There’s always so much that you kind of want to grab and go for and do the next thing.
Jillian: [00:24:35] How do you then like edit the video and then repurpose all this content for social? What’s your process?
Maggy: [00:24:43] So with the video, I film it. I film the make and then, I go back and do a little introduction with the finished product and then, I’ll take the camera stand down and then I’ll do photos for both the YouTube thumbnail but also with Pinterest and the blog in mind.
Maggy: [00:25:04] So the process involves both at the end. It starts off with a video but the photos that also need to be done for Pinterest and for the blog. And then, also I’ve recently had an app, I can’t tell you the name right now because I hid my phone so that doesn’t ring during the podcast.
Maggy: [00:25:22] But I got an app where you can then do screen shots of the video quite quickly. I’ll use the screen shots just to add a couple of steps into the blog post but the video is still a key way to explain and make on the blog .
Maggy: [00:25:38] But I’ll also have a written description plus some steps so it’s always interwoven. The blog posts could mostly be standalone without videos as well now.
Maggy: [00:25:50] For a while, we really needed the video to be able to do the craft whilst now, I’m trying to kind of come up with an in-between group because some people are offline, and they want to make something.
Maggy:[00:26:03] I do create a craft now with both in mind, what YouTube needs and what Pinterest and the blog needs. It took me a while to kind of come to that to think I was YouTube-ing for good year and totally neglecting Pinterest. That wasn’t good.
Maggy:[00:26:21] And then, when I’m working with my SEO, I’ll suddenly get “Oh, I have a gap. Toilet rolls are really important from my blog. I need to create some toilet roll crafts and then, I’ll try and come up with something that’s suitable for my YouTube viewers and my blog.”
Maggy:[00:26:34] So they do definitely work together now which they didn’t before. They were a bit more separate but SEO will drive YouTube, YouTube will drive the blog because I need a blog post.
Maggy:[00:26:46] And then as long as I’ll remember to then have some photos for Pinterest, I’ll occasionally take some square ones for Instagram but it’s not as important.
Maggy:[00:26:52] I can just crop the other ones. But yeah, that’s how I’m working at the moment. I’m thinking I should do in a square video and stick on Instagram.
Jillian: [00:27:03] Your process is amazing. And do you have help? Do you have people who work with you who are editing your videos or doing social media for you?
How to run a successful Facebook page with over 2 million followers
Maggy: [00:27:16] I have. I have help. And as far as that, I have fellow bloggers help me with my Facebook page in that. I’ve given them like 5:00 timeslot or the 6:00 timeslot and they’ll fill that for me everyday.
Maggy: [00:27:29] But I would say, I’m still doing half of Facebook and they’re kind of doing the other half for me. Because on Facebook, I’m posting 12 to 20 posts a day. I kind of need that help so I’m doing 8 to 12 myself.
Maggy: [00:27:44] To be honest, at the moment, I’m still doing it myself. I’m trying to be clever and work smarter, not harder. That’s my big downfall right now which I think a lot of us might be able to relate to.
Maggy: [00:27:59] I do deal with it myself, and I know I shouldn’t. But I’m very particular about my Pinterest images. I’m very particular. It’s really hard to let go.
Jillian: [00:28:08] It is really hard to let go. But I have to tell you, in my own experience, I’ve had to start letting go, I had to start hiring people, and it is ultimately a positive thing.
How to hire good people to help you with your blog
Maggy: [00:28:24] Yes. Yes. I think the problem is I feel that I’m coping. Because I feel that I’m coping, I find it hard to let go. I think if I felt overwhelmed but then when you’re overwhelmed, you don’t have time to hire someone.
Maggy: [00:28:36] I mean I think what I need to do is hire somebody young and train them up and have here every day.
Maggy: [00:28:45] I think that’s my problem is that I’ve dabbled in. I’ve dabbled in VAs and I’ve dabbled in people writing. They did a round up for me, and it will be really good. It’s not that they haven’t been effective or anything.
Maggy: [00:28:57] It’s just more case of I think by giving them just a little bit here and there, they can never really work themselves into my way of thinking. And I do think if you’re going to outsource, you are going to have to really be committed to it so the dabbling hasn’t helped me.
Maggy: [00:29:11] It’s kind of put me off rather than just going actually “You know what? I need to put an ad in the paper and go for hire, and I’ll get somebody aboard probably.” right.
Jillian: [00:29:19] Well, in the training, training somebody to think like you takes a while.
Maggy: [00:29:24] Yes. Yes. And then, it has that nervousness that you spend six months training them up and then, they leave.
Jillian: [00:29:29] Yes. Yes. I have an assistant, for example, and we actually now can kind of finish each other’s sentences.
Maggy: [00:29:42] Wow, that’s amazing.
Jillian: [00:29:43] And by the way, she lives in Portugal, and we are just on Slack all day.
Maggy: [00:29:49] Okay, so you work remotely. That’s amazing. I love that.
Jillian: [00:29:50] Yeah. And then like because on Slack, for example, we can call each other so when we talk, we’re like “I can’t believe you’re not down the block.”.
Maggy: [00:30:02] Wow, okay.
Jillian: [00:30:02] “I can’t believe you’re halfway around the world.”
Maggy: [00:30:06] How did you find her?
Jillian: [00:30:08] We had done work. She had done work for Catch my Party, and we became friends. She was pregnant, and she was having a baby and so we just stayed. Now, that baby is I think five. And so we just stayed in touch.
Jillian: [00:30:24] She’s a designer. She’d created some printables for us. And I just loved working with her. So one day, she said she was looking for to do more. I said “Do you want to work with me?”
Maggy: [00:30:38] Brilliant. Brilliant. I love it.
Jillian: [00:30:40] Again, it was organic and it’s like she is like half my brain.
Maggy: [00:30:46] Brilliant. My problem is I know some really good bloggers I would love to work with more but they’ve got their own blogs. They are so busy, and that’s my problem. I know some amazing people I’d love to hand over some work to.
Maggy: [00:30:58] I know it would take some of it off me but at the end of the day, they’ve got their own websites and their own projects.
Maggy: [00:31:06] That’s the thing, it’s finding that sort of external person to it, who doesn’t necessarily want to do their own but just love being involved. That’s given me an idea so I’m glad we’ve had this conversation.
Jillian: [00:31:21] I have to say, the letting go is difficult at first but then, when you see how much more you can do. Or here’s the other piece, you’ve got a thought partner. So when she comes to me, it goes “I think we need a blog post about this” and I’m like “Oh my god. That’s brilliant.”
Maggy: [00:31:43] Yeah, that’s a very, very valid point. That’s why I agree. It’s amazing.
Jillian: [00:31:46] So you’re not just up in your own head.
Maggy: [00:31:49] Yeah. And you do have somebody to discuss latest issues and kind of bloggy-ish problems because it’s always the little things going on that the kind of the real life people don’t necessarily get.
Jillian: [00:32:02] Exactly. And also, for example, when we came back from our conference, you and me, and we learned new techniques for Pinterest immediately. I’m like talking to her and going “Here’s what I’ve learned”, it gives me all these ideas but like it’s hard for me to execute.
Jillian: [00:32:20] To say “let’s go this way” and she’ll be like “great” and then add her spin to it. If you find the right person, that one plus one is more than two.
Maggy: [00:32:32] Yes, I agree.
Jillian: [00:32:33] Now, it can be that one plus one is like one and a half.
Maggy: [00:32:37] Yeah. Yeah, but then it has to be with the right person, I guess, right?
Jillian: [00:32:41] Exactly. Exactly, so it is all about finding the right person.
Maggy: [00:32:47] Yeah, I agree.
Traffic sources as a blogger
Jillian: [00:32:48] Okay, so when we were talking about kind of all these social networks that you’re on and stuff, we were going through your traffic sources and you were saying that SEO is first. And you said Facebook and Pinterest are somewhat even, although Pinterest might be a little bit higher.
Maggy: [00:33:09] Yes, they kind of level each other and then I think overall, Pinterest, I mean I haven’t looked at it recently and I don’t look at the full year but Pinterest probably will do better over time.
Maggy: [00:33:20] If you have a Pinterest viral, as you know, that’s just amazing whilst if you have a Facebook viral, you’ll get most traffic from it but not in the same way as a Pinterest viral.
Jillian: [00:33:29] Okay. What do you mean by that?
Maggy: [00:33:31] So if I have a post that say has been reshared 40,000 times on Facebook, which I hasten to add is not often. I’ll get some lovely traffic from it because people on Facebook like to consume on Facebook.
Maggy: [00:33:46] It’s quite hard for it to get them to click through. I mean they do click through, statistically speaking, but I suspect, I’m just making this up, that only 30 percent of Facebook users click through whilst probably 90 percent of Pinterest, users click through.
Maggy: [00:34:01] Pinterest users are there. I mean yes, they’re browsing a lot and getting visual ideas, visual inspiration. Obviously, that’s what Pinterest is.
Maggy: [00:34:09] But I think Pinterest people do want to click through and get the full information while as from Facebook, it’s almost like the more they can consume on Facebook itself. So 40,000 pins would get me much more traffic than 40,000 shares on Facebook.
Jillian: [00:34:27] Yes. Now, does YouTube drive traffic?
Maggy: [00:34:30] A little bit. Not hugely. Mainly, the main traffic I get from YouTube is if I have a printable to go with a certain craft.
Maggy: [00:34:40] Because YouTube, because it’s my kids there, I do put printables on there but, I don’t put too many because I feel it’s a little bit unfair because they didn’t all have access to printers.
Maggy: [00:34:52] I try not to overload my YouTube channel with the printables as such. I do try and do a lot of stuff where they can learn how to make it literally from scratch.
Maggy: [00:35:02] Sometimes, I’ll go “Here’s how you make it from scratch. If you find it easier, here’s it printable” so you could argue there’s choice. But yeah, I get a little bit of traffic from YouTube but not tons.
Jillian: [00:35:14] So then my next question is how do you monetize?
Maggy: [00:35:22] For both the blog and YouTube it is mainly ad revenue, and I have to say, I love ad revenue. I think it’s brilliant because it feels like this passive income.
Maggy: [00:35:32] I have no guilt about ads because I feel I’m offering a lot, everything for free. And if you just have to look at an ad whilst you’re kind of [00:35:38] passing, [0.0] that’s fine as far as I’m concerned.
Maggy: [00:35:42] I don’t want to be ads to be intrusive obviously but equally, I think if they’re fine. Ad revenue is a big thing.
Maggy: [00:35:49] We talk about [00:35:51] AdThrive earlier on. I mean, that, for me, was a game changer. Google AdSense doesn’t even compare. AdThrive transformed my income. It’s amazing. Thank you, AdThrive.
Maggy: [00:36:11] YouTube is similar in that sense that it’s actually Google Adsense on YouTube but the revenue is much lower. I have a lot of Indian viewers on YouTube and again, as with AdThrive, I’m sure certain countries are more profitable than others.
Maggy: [00:36:28] In India, for example, it’s less profitable but I still like it as a place. I mean, I enjoy those viewers so there’s nothing wrong with that but it just means that the revenue is lower.
Maggy: [00:36:39] I do a little bit of sponsored work so working with brands and stuff but it was not my main driver. I do a little bit of affiliate marketing but again, I’m not really good on sales. I’m not a big salesperson.
Maggy: [00:36:53] I do feel I need to change up a bit because I do have a great, great, really strong audience. There’s some really great products out there, and I probably should make more about bringing those two together. But at the moment, it’s ad revenue and that basically means I just totally focused on sort of page user statistically.
Jillian: [00:37:11] Got it. What do you do then? How do you deal when you wake up in the morning and Facebook has somehow changed its algorithm, and thank goodness, this most recent one was only like it affected your traffic for about a week, but how do you not internalize that and go “oh” or “yay” because I struggle with that?
Maggy: [00:37:33] Yeah, it is really hard. I’m “lucky” that Facebook has been tinkering with the algorithms, I think, since 2014 or something. The heyday of Facebook has long been over, and they’ve been making it, as far as I’m concerned, more and more difficult for years now.
Maggy: [00:37:58] So I think if I’d gone for my heyday of 2014 to a week of no traffic, it would have been devastating but because Facebook has been turning off the tap bit by bit. It was obviously disappointing but I’ve heard about this.
Maggy: [00:38:16] Literally, it’s a seven day problem. It was literally to the minute. Once the seven days were over, the page was back and because I knew about other pages that this has happened to.
Maggy: [00:38:34] When it came to me, I was just like “You know what? It was bound to happen at some point. It’s happened now. Let’s pray, it’s a seven day bug. Just move on.”
Maggy: [00:38:47] I was lucky, touchwood. I mean it only got lifted this morning so we’re still early days. I think because Facebook’s been a difficult platform to work on for a while. You just have to let go.
How to deal with traffic swings as a blogger
Maggy: [00:39:01] Yeah, that’s the only way I can describe it. It’s a love-hate relationship, Facebook. Quite honestly, it’s very frustrating platform. But what can you do? We don’t pay for it. We don’t own it. They do.
Jillian: [00:39:16] Right. Yes, it’s a good lesson. I think that traffic in general or like I will go for weeks and not check our Google Analytics because I find it’s really hard for me to separate my emotions or my fears from my Google Analytics.
Maggy: [00:39:40] You’re quite right. Especially in the summer months, I’ll avoid looking at it because in the summer months, which is my quiet period, I don’t know if it’s the same for you, it can be can be depressing.
Maggy: [00:39:50] But I think also with having been blogging for about eight or nine years I’ve also learned that it is seasonal. The highs of Christmas is not the norm. They are generally a high and if I assume that my summer traffic is normal and everything else is a bonus, it’s much easier to deal with.
Jillian: [00:40:11] Yeah. So in fact, for us, weirdly, our traffic is like the highest for Halloween. It dies for us between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Maggy: [00:40:26] Wow. Really?
Jillian: [00:40:27] It’s just super weird but it happens every year. Every year, I fear that we’re going out of business.
Maggy: [00:40:35] I know what you mean . When you see that drop, you’re like “Haa!” and then, somehow, kind of the following year, it comes again.
Jillian: [00:40:41] It comes back. Yes.
Maggy: [00:40:43] Like I remember this September, thinking “in September, everything’s good again” and then the first week in September, it was still a bit low.
Maggy: [00:40:51] And then in the second week, panic, panic and then by the end of September, we were off again. But I know what you mean. During my peak seasons, I find that probably more stressful than the low seasons now because I’ve kind of made my peace with the low season.
Maggy: [00:41:10] The peak season is when I’m like “I need to make more money now.”
Jillian: [00:41:15] Yes, but there is something about letting go. There is something about trusting like “Okay, maybe our business is over but we’re smart. We could come up with something else.”.
Maggy: [00:41:29] Yes, I think you’re right. Again, I’m not sure how it works with Catch my Party but I know, for example, with Red Ted Art, certainly for the next year or two, unless something really awful happens, I will have a base income.
Maggy: [00:41:44] I know I’ll get at least, let’s say, a third of what I’m earning right now. And if I look at that as a number, I’m like ” You know what?” The blog is at the size now where that is still a good number.
Maggy: [00:41:57] I think you just have to, and I do say to my husband constantly, we just need to make hay while the sun shines, save as much as possible, put as much as possible aside and then, what will be will be. And I’d like to keep it going for as long as possible but who knows?
Jillian: [00:42:20] Yeah. Well, it’s one of those things about being an entrepreneur is you don’t know.
Maggy: [00:42:26] And I do think it’s important to constantly add strings to your bow so YouTube was an example with three years ago, I wasn’t really doing it and now, I am.
Maggy: [00:42:35] In terms of looking forward, I’m considering. I haven’t got any concrete plans but you’re looking at what products you could have, maybe physical ones, apps or there’s a lot of ebooks around.
Maggy: [00:42:50] You do have to kind of just keep adding strings to your bow and then as one drops off, the next one hopefully takes its place and you move on.
Jillian: [00:42:58] And that was our story with MiloTree. We built MiloTree for ourselves. We didn’t think this would be a business. Then all of a sudden, it really worked and we thought “Wow”.
Jillian: [00:43:08] We had that moment of like “Can we be in the app business?” This is a whole different market. We’re selling to bloggers and entrepreneurs whereas Catch my Party is all about moms throwing parties. How do we make sense of that? And then we’re like, “Well, why not?”
Maggy: [00:43:28] I mean, it’s genius. I love MiloTree as an example. I think it’s a really good example where like you say, created it for need you had yourself and then, it created a new income stream or business for you.
Maggy: [00:43:43] It’s looking at things like that. I’m always keeping my ear open for blogger problems and blogger issues. I’ve got a friend who’s an amazing developer, and I know he’s interested in developing something. It’s just figuring out what that something is.
Jillian: [00:43:56] Exactly. And it’s just kind of like tapping into yourself, for me, it is about questioning your assumptions and saying “Could I do this? Maybe I could. Maybe I should try that” and kind of going, following a couple of your almost crazy ideas and seeing like “Could that pay off? Could this be something? I don’t know.”
Maggy: [00:44:22] Yeah, and I think if you don’t try, you’ll never know. And I think that’s the main thing. For example, it’s funny, I just mentioned about the developer. I said to him “Look, can we create a rival newsletter platform?”
Maggy: [00:44:36] We had a big chat about it, and we decided we wouldn’t though because ConvertKit is just amazing and competing purely on price isn’t worth it but then, “Yeah, but what else is there?”
Maggy: [00:44:44] It opens up conversation so even though, maybe it’s a bad example because I said I haven’t actually tried a newsletter platform because that’s a huge project but I initiated the background conversation and talked to an expert. It’s exploring different options.
Maggy: [00:45:02] Again, it might lead you to something else and I think it will because he said “But you know what, Maggy? I don’t think the newsletter is a brilliant idea just because competing on price isn’t a good enough reason. I think there’s something we can do together. I know there is.
Maggy: [00:45:16] We just have to come up with ideas.” So now, I’ve got that sort of strength that there’s someone there who believes in everything I’m doing and really wants to work with me.
Maggy: [00:45:25] He said that. He said “I really wanted to do a project with you. We just need to figure out what that project is.” It was a month ago . Two weeks ago, we spoke so this sort of thing, you just kind of get it. If you have any problems, please tell me.
Jillian: [00:45:37] Exactly. Email Maggy. Definitely. So Maggy, what are you most excited about that you’re working on or that you’re planning to work on?
Maggy: [00:45:48] Well, it’s a tricky one for me because [00:45:52] back to this thing [0.0] about having an assistant or somebody to work with is I’m so lost in the day job.
Maggy: [00:45:59] I don’t often take enough time back, step back to go “Okay, what’s the bigger picture?” And I think I sometimes use that as an excuse.
What is constructive procrastination?
Maggy: [00:46:08] I love the term “constructive procrastination.”
Jillian: [00:46:13] I’ve never heard that. I love it.
Maggy: [00:46:15] Yeah, you’re basically very, very, very productive. You’re not doing the things you should be doing. So back to me, turning out five blog posts a week. That’s really productive but I’m still procrastinating on the bigger picture. That’s my challenge.
Maggy: [00:46:34] One thing I’m looking at is obviously making more of my newsletter again. This is from the AdThrive conference. And again Facebook having just given me that week off, so to speak, kind of forces that.
Maggy: [00:46:46] I’m much more positive about my newsletter, for example, and making more of it and using it as more of a tool to connect with people and encouraging them to do things like send me their photos or stuff they’ve made themselves.
Maggy: [00:47:00] I have to confess. Beyond that, it’s kind of carrying on what I’m doing and maybe coming up with a killer idea that my [00:47:10] developer friend [0.0] and I can work on. I’m quite confident we will think of something. The question is just when.
Jillian: [00:47:17] Right. Now, given that you’ve been at this for a while, What advice would you have for somebody who is just starting out where today, it’s not as easy to grow your Facebook followers or something like that but you should use Milo Tree because it will help.
Jillian: [00:47:37] What would you say to somebody who comes to you and says “I want to do what you do. I want to start something on my own”?
Advice: Believe in yourself as an entrepreneur
Maggy: [00:47:47] Yes. I think there are a few things. Not sure how many points I want to make. Let’s see, the first one is just believe in yourself. I know it’s such a cheesy thing to say. It’s such a cliche thing to say but it’s so important.
Maggy: [00:48:00] I mean I have a lot of teachers who read my blog. I know they love it. In fact, I got an e-mail today from a teacher at school, asking me to come in and make her wedding bouquet with her class. That is such a sweet thing I know.
Maggy: [00:48:15] And then coincidentally, the deputy head, also from the same school, emailed me today saying, “Can you come in for our Health and Wellbeing day and run some craft sessions?”
Maggy: [00:48:24] I know I’ve got teachers you’ve totally got my back. But also, in my early days of blogging, I had teachers or teacher friends who’ve kind of questioned my ability to teach and that made me unconfident about certain things I was doing at the time.
Maggy: [00:48:38] I think I was really enjoying doing so I had like a Kids Get Arty series, looking at Goldsworthy or Andy Warhol or whatever.
Maggy: [00:48:48] I think if you’re passionate about what you’re doing and you believe in yourself, what you produce will be amazing.
Maggy: [00:48:56] I think that’s one big thing is this: Don’t let other people make you feel that you can’t for whatever reason, whether you’re in a cooking blog and you’re like “I’m not a chef. I’ve never trained.” It doesn’t matter because if you’re passionate about it, you’ll be doing a good job whatever you’re doing.
Maggy: [00:49:10] That’s the first thing is to really not let other people question you in that sense and then other things are more pragmatic.
Advice: Understand SEO as a blogger
Maggy: [00:49:19] I think my blog, right from the word go SEO, I didn’t understand it early on. I had some really weird blog titles like “Red Ted get stuck in” instead of describing what the craft’s about.
Maggy: [00:49:33] You can make really nice art titles. Have fun with titles but they mean nothing in SEO terms. I do think paying attention to SEO from as early on as possible is important.
Maggy: [00:49:44] You don’t have to necessary get bogged down in the detail of SEO. You can learn about SEO as yo go along but if you have basic structures in place like a good blog post title –
Jillian: [00:49:57] I just want to stop for one second. I think what you’re saying is to not have some like “This is awesome” post-title but to say “How to make a wedding bouquet with tissue paper flowers?”
Maggy: [00:50:13] Exactly. Yes, not go for the sort of nice, journalistic titles but go for informative titles. So whether it’s SEO, Pinterest or Facebook, if it’s informative, people know what it’s about.
Maggy: [00:50:26] You’ve got to remember that your blog is a bit like a magazine and yet you’re kind of on a shelf in a news agency and you’re fighting for people to pick up your magazine, look inside your magazine and find out more.
Maggy: [00:50:37] If the cover image is confusing and the title is confusing, they won’t necessarily pick it up. Not because it’s not nice, just because they won’t.
Maggy: [00:50:47] I think it really tricky to a newer blogger to say “You need to do this, this and this” because it can be really overwhelming. So I do think, just get started.
Maggy: [00:50:56] Generally, my advice to people is consider the basics of SEO which are things like a good title. Consider your images. Don’t put things on your blog that are two megabytes in size, try and keep them small.
Jillian: [00:51:11] And that’s so that your blog loads quickly because speed matters. People will click away if they’re waiting for your images to load.
Maggy: [00:51:24] Exactly, so this is a quick loading but also, you’re then carrying around round a lot of weight that you’re paying for because it has more bandwidth being eaten up by that visitor because it’s taken that long for that image to load.
Maggy: [00:51:36] The images don’t have to be physically smaller but the file sizes need to be smaller without going into too much techno-speak.
Maggy: [00:51:42] There’s a whole thing about being conscious that there is social media out there and that Pinterest, for example, does prefer portrait and that Instagram, for example, does prefer a square and that Facebook is somewhere in between.
Maggy: [00:51:54] I prefer landscape from editing visual point of view because I find that it doesn’t take up your whole page in terms of image. You kind of need to have a mix of images to kind of address different needs of the audience, finding in different ways.
Maggy: [00:52:11] You can take the same picture but have it landscape and portrait. That usually will do the trick to begin with and then as your blog grows and you learn, you get better photography and you get better at your printable images and you get better.
Maggy: [00:52:25] But I think to avoid overwhelming people with information, just have one of each, a landscape one, a portrait one. Watermark everything. Things get lost on the Internet.
Jillian: [00:52:39] Wait, can you explain what a watermark is?
Maggy: [00:52:45] On my images, I have very lightly written Red Ted Art in the corner so that places like Pinterest, often, images will get mispinned so to speak and the link will get broken so there’s a lovely image of your craft and when people click on it, it just doesn’t come through to you.
Maggy: [00:53:05] If you have a watermark on it, at least they can type into Google. “Okay, so it’s Red Ted Art.” There’s a giraffe so I’ll just put “Red Ted Art giraffe” and then with a bit of luck, they’ll find that craft again.
Maggy: [00:53:16] Obviously, there’s also a little bit about [00:53:17] online theft [0.2] but that’s another issue. But just from a simplistic point of view, I always like to call it “the images get lost”. If you watermark, you provide a trail back to your website, and people are more likely to come back to you.
Jillian: [00:53:33] Oh, well, Maggy, this has been so delightful. I so enjoy it when we chat. I just learn from you. I love your honesty, so how can people reach out to you?
Maggy: [00:53:49] Anywhere. They can email me email@example.com or they’ll find me on social media, Facebook but in groups usually, I think, were more active. I didn’t know people are aware of things like The Kid Blogger Network or Bloggy Buddies.
Maggy: [00:54:05] I think, again, new bloggers should try and join blogging groups.
Advice: Join blogging groups
Jillian: [00:54:09] And these are on Facebook?
Maggy: [00:54:10] On Facebook. There are some really good blogging groups or if you’ve got a friend that blogs, ask them about what groups they’re in. I think it’s a really good, helpful.
Maggy: [00:54:21] But if you’re trying to get to me personally firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving me a comment on Instagram oddly, considering I’ve said it’s not that important of a platform.
Maggy: [00:54:31] I usually see all the comments in Instagram whilst I don’t see any comments on Facebook because it’s so busy on Facebook.
Jillian: [00:54:38] Awesome.
Maggy: [00:54:42] Thank you so much for having me. It’s been really nice to chat with you. I feel like you might be so far away from me but we’re friends, and it’s lovely.
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