Have you heard that blogging is dead, or that regular folks can’t grow large social media followings anymore?
Well, today’s guest on the podcast is a blogger and entrepreneur who shares how to grow enormous Facebook and Instagram pages.
Andrea Scalzo Yi is the owner and content creator of the blog, Raising Dragons. In under two years, she’s been able to explode her blog with some hard work and a belief in herself.
Andrea creates video STEAM/STEM projects for kids.
We talk about how she built her business so quickly, and where she plans to take it in the future.
Beginnings a Blog by Making Videos for Facebook
After working in retail her whole adult life, when Andrea began staying at home with her 4 young sons, she was at a loss as to how to fill her time. She knew she enjoyed design, she had a degree in engineering, and she loved art.
So she began creating projects to work on with her sons. She considered starting a blog because she had a friend making a full-time income blogging, but she wasn’t a natural writer, and so she wasn’t sure she could make it work.
But one thing she did enjoy was making videos. And so, in 2017, Andrea bought the domain, Raising Dragons.
And instead of blogging, Andrea began posting 1-minute videos on Facebook of her sons doing the projects. These videos had no sound and were really meant for the busy parent who was scrolling and looking for something simple to do with her kids.
Viral Facebook Videos
As Andrea began adding more and more of her videos, Facebook began sharing them to more and more people.
Friends and family were sharing them, as well, and before long, she had a video go viral.
She kept creating videos in the same style, and as of today, she has had over 20 videos go viral. One of her viral videos has over 30 million views on Facebook.
At the same time, she was posting her videos on her blog, but she didn’t even know what SEO was. So, each blog post was just the video, a short paragraph on how to do the project, and that was it.
What Andrea did was build an audience with her videos and then she began to find out how to best serve that audience.
Utilizing Social Media
Because the algorithms change on social media platforms all the time, bloggers have to be ready to make adjustments. But Andrea tries to stay true to her original form of content by creating and releasing 1-2 new videos each week.
Since Pinterest recently allowed video content, Andrea uploaded all of her content to her Pinterest account.
Andrea is also working to grow her Instagram account (using MiloTree!) because brands are more interested in IG, and want to see an active presence and audience engagement there before they work with you.
How to Monetize Your Social Media Accounts
Andrea’s prime revenue source is sponsored content, but she only promotes brands that fit in with her STEAM content.
Andrea likes to work with smaller brands that are just getting started. She does have a business partner who helps her with the business side of marketing and brand contracts.
Brands can get different packages when working with Andrea, from a simple blog post to across the board social media marketing.
To monetize, she also takes advantage of Amazon’s affiliate program, as well.
Running a Business from Your Phone
One of the things I was most interested in talking to Andrea about was going from “end-to-end” on her phone. She basically runs her entire business from her phone. and I’m not so great at that.
To shoot her videos, Andrea uses a sunroom in her house that gets great light. Lighting is everything when it comes to video, and this room has plenty of windows.
She tries to keep activities set up in the room so that when her son wants to work on something, she can film it for content.
Andrea cuts the volume from most of her videos, adds music, and keeps them close to one minute.
When posting her videos, Andrea puts a branded watermark in the bottom corner of her videos.
Andrea is truly a one-woman show.
She has her partner that helps her interface with brands and has used a contractor to rewrite some of her blog posts for SEO purposes.
Otherwise, she runs her business all on her own.
Thoughts on YouTube
Andrea posts her videos on YouTube but she isn’t currently monetizing them on there.
Andrea believes that her videos aren’t the best for YouTube because they are very short, do not have volume, and are designed for the busy parent.
Andrea caters to the busy mom scrolling through her social media and wants to see something inspiring. She does not cater to the person wants to dig into the meat of her projects on YouTube.
Take note – it’s perfectly okay to figure out what works for you and then jump into that. You do not need to be doing amazingly well in every single area or do everything that everybody else is doing.
Andrea has been experiencing burnout this year. Writing her book, figuring out the marketing plan for it, and creating more content for her blog, all on top of creating new video content has been a lot to manage.
So, she scaled her videos back to once a week and she’s also batching the video work.
It is okay to recognize that your business is in a new season and to change things up to reinvigorate yourself.
At the beginning of 2018, Andrea made the goal to write a book, which became 100 Easy STEAM Activities.
Andrea submitted her idea to PageStreet Publishing and they told her they were interested, but wanted to go for 100 projects instead of the 40 she had suggested.
The publisher covered the photography since Andrea’s strong suit is making video. But the photographers worked with Andrea to make sure it was in her style and fit her ideas.
If you’re a blogger still trying to figure out the landscape of blogging, and how to grow your blog into a business like Andrea, she suggests you start by focusing on providing value to your audience.
Andrea feels like what has served her well is giving people exactly what they want and how they want it, without worrying about monetizing.
You can focus on monetizing in the future, once you know what best serves your audience.
Andrea completely focused on putting out content for two years; that was her sole focus. The money and audience grew from that.
I’m so impressed with what Andrea has built with her business. She has built her audience by serving them exactly what they want and in the style they want it, which is short and sweet videos.
This is Andrea’s first foray into entrepreneurship and she’s having a blast. Can you say the same? If you need help with your blogging journey, come join us over on Facebook where I am doing live video every Monday!
- 2:31 Beginnings of a Blog
- 6:36 Viral Video
- 8:35 Utilizing Social Media
- 10:27 Monetizing Social Media
- 17:15 Running a Business from Your Phone
- 24:15 Andrea’s Team
- 26:45 YouTube
- 31:47 Burnout
- 33:55 Andrea’s Book
- 37:01 Andrea’s Advice
TOP 4 TAKEAWAYS
- Build an audience with what you know and continue to serve them the content they want in the style they want it.
- Don’t sweat social media algorithm changes; stay true to your content creation and trust your audience to follow you.
- Simplify by using less to accomplish more. (Andrea runs her entire business from her phone!)
- Focus on providing tremendous value to your audience and the money will come naturally from that.
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