With changing algorithms where are the opportunities? Should you be sending people back to your website instead of to your social media channels?
Jillian Leslie 0:00
Hello, everybody. Welcome back and Happy New Year. I’m super invigorated for this year. I’m excited about 2020. I personally really love even-numbered years. So 2020 kind of blows my mind.
I’m excited about the new stuff that we are building for MiloTree. We are rolling out a pop-up that you can link to any content you have. Let’s say you have a sponsored post and you want people to see it.
You can put an image into the pop-up and link directly to it to direct your visitors to go to it. Or if you sell a product, link to it in your pop-up with an image. Or if you want people to see some of your best content, you want to show it off on your homepage. So that’s what that’s for.
We’re also building a pop-up to grow your Facebook groups. And you know, I’m excited about this because I’m excited about my Facebook group. If you have not joined it, I welcome you to. It’s called the MiloTree Mastermind Group. I am loving being a part of this.
I’m popping in with lives, answering questions. It’s a wonderful community. Please head to Facebook. Search for the MiloTree Mastermind group, we’ll have a link to it in the show notes and really join. I think of it as an extension of the podcast.
Now, for today’s show, I have my friend Camille Whiting back on the show. This is her second appearance. Camille has a blog called Friday We’re In Love, where she documents the dates she goes on, I love this, with her husband every Friday night.
What we are talking about is how to stay nimble. The world around us, especially as entrepreneurs, is constantly changing. I think Camille has a really interesting perspective on that, which is how do you keep, kind of I would say, shifting, and being flexible, testing new things.
So for example, when an algorithm changes on a social media platform, what do you do? How do you think about then directing people to your blog instead of that social media platform? How do you grow your list? How do you think about growing other areas of your business when things are shifting?
Camille and I both have MBAs, so we like numbers, I have to admit. We approach things from a really analytical perspective. I think that you will get a bunch of interesting ideas from this interview. So without further delay, here is my interview with Camille Whiting.
Camille, welcome back to the show for part two.
Camille Whiting 2:47
Thank you so much for having me.
Jillian Leslie 2:49
We caught up at the AdThrive Summit. It was always so great to see you. We talked about you coming back on the show because what I love about you is you are a tester. You like to test things in your business. You like analytics. You love Google Analytics.
Camille Whiting 3:09
Jillian Leslie 3:10
We’ll dig into that. But first, for people who don’t know, I will link of course to your first episode, but will you just give people kind of the quick rundown of what you do and what your blog is about?
Camille Whiting 3:22
Yeah, absolutely. I have been on this blog for about 10 years. I had two previous blogs before that. So I feel like this dinosaur that I remember sitting in a college class and this teacher saying, “This thing called Blogger got released this week.”
So I feel like I’ve always loved blogging and publishing. But I’m somebody that started out as a hobbyist blogger. My husband and I started Friday We’re In love. That’s my business. We started this little project to go on a date every week, no matter what.
We thought the best way to keep us accountable to date our whole lives, is to start a blog. Just to take a picture, write a synopsis of what we did, and put it out there. We did this for a good reason not just because we’re cutesy or overly romantic. We’re actually not.
He’s an engineer. And I’m this analytics project manager. But because we are such calculated people, we figured this would be one formula that would really be the difference in our marriage and our relationship.
I had come from an abusive past. I have a crazy backstory. I’ve been previously married. This was our big goal, to be happy and to prove that you can beat that 50% statistic. You can be on the good side of it.
Jillian Leslie 4:29
What is? Oh, you mean of getting divorce?
Camille Whiting 4:31
Yeah. We were like, “We’re not only going to stay together, we’re going to be happy together our whole lives.”
Jillian Leslie 4:37
Okay. And it’s been how many years now that you’ve been doing this?
Camille Whiting 4:40
Nine years now. We’ve been blogging longer, but we’ve been married for nine years.
Jillian Leslie 4:44
And how is it?
Camille Whiting 4:45
I think it’s fantastic. I was saying this to Jacob. I’m like, “This is the most romantic thing I could say to you, but if we were both coming at life right now, I would choose you all over again. You would still be my top choice. I would still be floored at a guy like you.”
Someone asked me once, “How have you guys got through all the hard times?” We’re like, “We haven’t had that many hard times.” We have. We’ve been through infertility for years and years. And a lot of sad hard moments with infertility. We’re a success story. We have two children now.
We’ve been through job loss. We got married during the recession years and a lot of struggles and things. We’ve been through deaths in families and losses. I think the dates have really been that secret sauce for us.
It’s been something that we can look at how sad or hard life is, and then we can talk about it. We made a rule early. We can talk about it for about 30 minutes. And now let’s focus on the good and talk about the good things in our life, which is each other and our children.
Instead of remembering these bad, hard times, we always remember the fun thing we did that weekend. So, it really has been this great formula for us. Obviously, I’m still really passionate about sharing it, that it’s evolved into an audience and a business and a regular publication for us.
Jillian Leslie 5:56
What I love about that is the intentionality. I think that where marriages go off, and not even off the rails. They say you have to work at your marriage, but I think it’s more like you need to prioritize your marriage.
Camille Whiting 6:16
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. That’s our whole thing is making sure there’s mental and physical space and time for each other. That there’s more fun memories in our lives than bad memories.
Jillian Leslie 6:28
Yes. Again, I think this, which is, if you were to ask my husband, does he give more than I give? He would say yes. And if you asked me, “Do I give more than he gives?” I would say yes. Happily, both of us. Happily.
So, I don’t know where the truth lies, but the fact that we are both willing to give more, perceived more happily, I think, is a formula for success. Does that make sense?
Camille Whiting 6:58
Yeah, no, absolutely. I think it’s all about being selfless. It’s all about still taking care of yourself but really thinking about the other person, and to put their needs first. That has been the success for us.
It’s been the success in dating too. We think of what the other person would love to do. We sure have a lot of good happy memories together. I’m sure grateful we started this. We had a wise clergy leader challenges to do. That’s kind of how we got the idea in the first place.
There were people in their 70s who are still happily in love. They’re in their 80s now, but happily in love acting like 18-year-olds. I knew I wanted what they had.
Jillian Leslie 7:34
Interesting. Okay. One last question about this and then we’ll talk more about business. Do you think that it is the dates like skydiving or the crazy dates? Or is it the dates like just dinner and tacos? Which do you think are the most meaningful?
Camille Whiting 7:54
I think there’s value in a combination of all of it. Okay? Because we all have different love languages. I believe in that. We all have different things that have different meanings to us.
There are times when my husband and I sit folding mountains of small toddler laundry. Right now, we have two boys. There’s a lot of laundry in our house. I think I’m having just as much fun with you folding laundry as I do, actually, when we’ve done skydiving.
And so, I think there’s those moments of the monotony that you choose each other and you get to talk to each other. Maybe just going to dinner, just doing a small simple going for a walk.
But then those big things are so good too because they disrupt the norm and there’s a lot of psychology behind having new experiences and more dopamine and feeling more in love.
And so, I think just that combination of do all the different things. Do some splurge dates. Do some really cheap, free things. Do low key things. Do go all out. I think they are all equally important.
I couldn’t choose just one but I think having that mix and that variety is what keeps things fun and exciting and keeps your budget in check and keeps your introverted piece of the couple happy, and you’re extroverted piece of the couple happy. It’s just all about the variety.
Jillian Leslie 9:04
I like that. I like that. I do. I remember this one time where, you know, we have one child, which is great. She’s awesome. Were like the best playmates. It’s sometimes hard for us, David and me, to have that special time.
One time, his parents were babysitting her. They lived in San Francisco. We’d been to San Francisco a million times but mostly with her. And then, all of a sudden she was like off with that. So, we got to just be in San Francisco, just the two of us, for one night.
It was like the city was sparkling and brand new. It was like the two of us in a new – it wasn’t a new city, but it was just us. I remember feeling that feeling of that carefree feeling before you have kids, where you’re totally into this person and you think they’re the most interesting person.
I remember thinking, “Wow! How interesting.” All it took was like five minutes of us alone in a city and all of those feelings came back.
Camille Whiting 10:04
Yeah. It really is amazing. And they do. I think people think they’re so far disconnected. It’s amazing how just a few new experiences shared together can really reconnect you and remind you why you chose your partner in the first place.
Jillian Leslie 10:16
I love that. All right. Now, let’s switch gears. One thing that I wanted to talk to you about because we started talking about this at the AdThrive Summit was how you think about your business and how you are constantly coming up with things to test. So first off, how do you monetize your blog in your business?
Camille Whiting 10:37
Okay. I have four main things. I feel like they’re pretty standard. Different people have different levels. My main monetization is sponsored posts because we are more of a lifestyle blog.
It makes a lot of sense for us to partner with sponsors and share their products with our stories. That’s my primary one. I am with an ad network, and that’s probably my second biggest one. And then affiliate links and product recommendations, and then some product sales.
And then, I’d also say it’s blog-related, but I do some service offerings too. I do a little bit of consulting in addition to my typical publications. And then, I hope that I’ll launch some courses in the near future soon, too.
Jillian Leslie 11:19
Great. Okay. As we always talk about, as bloggers our businesses are always changing. You have to be comfortable with change in order to be an online entrepreneur.
Camille Whiting 11:32
Jillian Leslie 11:33
And so, for us, something that was working last year might not be working this year, but then again, it might work in another year. Who knows? But what would you say is working right now, like those four income streams where you’re like, “No. This is definitely where we need to be.”
Camille Whiting 11:47
I think being an authentic storyteller is working for me with sponsorships in that piece. I think I have made a big pivot shift in I want more traffic.
I love listening to your podcast because I feel like you always say this, and traffic matters a lot, and it does. I feel like we can never have enough traffic. It’s the commodity.
Jillian Leslie 12:08
You can never have enough traffic.
Camille Whiting 12:10
If every single person in the world wants to be on my site 24/7, fantastic. Like that is the ultimate goal, right? Every single device open to my site. Obviously no, that’s not realistic, but you can never have enough traffic.
And so, I have made some shifts in thinking about… For a while, two or three years ago, I was really into let’s grow Instagram because this is where everybody is. I’m starting to get some more sponsors there. I still care about Instagram.
A year ago I was getting really upset with Instagram and feeling it was more fake. I was seeing some of the shady things, people buying followers.
Things that you’re like, “Wow, this is such a weird wild west platform and we’re doing really weird things with it.” where it was really fun the year before.
Jillian Leslie 12:50
Right. I felt too, I thought, it felt like everybody else was making money on Instagram or getting lots of traffic and somehow we were not necessarily monetizing it as well or getting as much traffic. So, I felt a lot of FOMO around it.
Camille Whiting 13:03
Yeah. And I think they know that. They’re making some changes even to try to help with mental health on Instagram. So, it’s been interesting. I still think it’s fun. I still love being there.
I’m still online every day, doing stories every day, sharing a post pretty much every day on Friday We’re In Love on Instagram but I had this moment where I kind of shifted and said, “You know what? This can shift. My audience can shift. Weird things can happen. People can be inauthentic here.”
But I am making a good passive income on my site. And so, I’m going to start working more on that passive income, growing my ad revenue, growing my affiliate marketing there, in addition to just social and just going wherever it’s fun, or wherever everyone seems to be.
I still think that’s important. Like I said, I’m not ditching Instagram anytime soon. I really like Instagram but I have really stopped to say, “What can I do to continue to grow traffic? What can I do long term? If Instagram died tomorrow, would I still have a business?”
I’ve had so many friends at one point say, “Oh, I’m quitting blogging. I’m doing all Instagram. I’m all-in on Instagram right now.” And every time they said that it made my heart hurt quite a bit to say, “People are getting deleted overnight.” or, “You know Facebook bought it, right?”
I don’t mean to be negative about it, but the writing’s on the wall. They’re going to make it a pay to play, I think, eventually, more and more. They’re going to do their best interest.
And so, it always hurt me a little bit to hear that. I kind of had this moment of saying I’m still going to care about that, but I’m going to shift a lot more focus into my blog, what I own, my site, and growing traffic.
So, I’ve been working on my big hypothesis this last year and a half, and that’s where I’ve seen a lot of success.
Jillian Leslie 14:45
Okay. So, are you watching traffic growing?
Camille Whiting 14:48
I am actually. I’ve had some dips. I’ve had some ebbs and flows like everybody has, but I would say in the last six months especially, I’ve been able to see some good traffic growth.
Jillian Leslie 14:58
Okay. So let’s talk about then, what are you testing? What are you doing to grow your traffic?
Camille Whiting 15:04
Okay. Well, I used to see so much from social. I’m not one that’s like, “Boo, the algorithm on Instagram were in waste.” I’m one that kind of, “I think it can be a good thing, actually.” And I appreciate it as a user a lot.
But it did have this wake-up call for me saying, “Nothing is constant. You know this. You’ve been blogging for 15 years. You know things change.” What can you do with social changing? What can you own?
And for me, this was the year of like, getting the email mindset finally. I’ve been doing email list for a couple years, but I shifted into really, I want to feel like I own the subscribers. I feel like I can contact the people and not have my message limited.
So, I’ve worked a ton on growing email and that has been successful. It’s been work, and it’s been time, and it’s been a slow turn but it’s fun to see that those numbers continually grow and to see that traffic does come from email and that people are interested when you email them.
Jillian Leslie 16:05
I take it you’ve been working on growing your list.
Camille Whiting 16:08
Jillian Leslie 16:08
And be then providing like the right message to the right person at the right time.
Camille Whiting 16:16
Yeah. I know you’ve had Matt Mullen on twice, right? I believe.
Jillian Leslie 16:20
Camille Whiting 16:20
Matt lives in Phoenix where I live. And I’m really lucky. You know how these tech firms are like, they number all their employees. Like, I’m employee number 43. And it’s the sense of pride like the lower your number is.
I feel like that with Matt a little bit because he’s coached so many publishers at this point, but I think I was number two or three.
Jillian Leslie 16:37
Camille Whiting 16:38
I should clarify with him. But he tested a lot of his theories with me. And fortunately, unfortunately, I got pregnant. I was really sick with my second child so I didn’t get to do as much. I had to take a step back and work that year while I was just so sick every single day until I gave birth.
From my conception to birth, it was such a hard pregnancy. After I had him and I adjusted to mom life of two, I’ve been able to come back and say, “Okay. Now, let’s get really serious about the things I’ve learned.” But I love Matt’s theory of really give value, create sequences.
I know he’s talked about this on several podcasts so I won’t go into all of it. I have had a lot of success with his methods. It’s been fun to grow and to have this audience that feels like friends and supporters.
Especially with dates, they really want my weekly date. I share weekly dates every week. For people that are looking for that, it’s really fun, I think, to open your inbox and go, “Oh, there’s some good ideas that I can do right now.”
Jillian Leslie 17:36
And then, are you selling stuff to your list?
Camille Whiting 17:41
I’m doing a little bit. I am a firm believer in kind of copying big company strategies. I have this other background and not just blogging. We’ve shared this. I know you do too, Jillian. I have an MBA.
Jillian Leslie 17:54
We both do. We’re going to do an episode on what MBA is. Kind of like, get a quick MBA in one podcast episode, right? Like, share our secret. If you guys want to hear that, let me know. Camille and I will do that episode so you don’t have to go spend all that money and spend all that time.
We could just share some quick tips. I just have to say, I do this with my daughter where I’ll teach her a concept, like the 80/20 rule, and I’ll turn to her and I’ll go, “See that right there, what you just learned? That was $10,000. So you better take that to heart and learn it.”
Camille Whiting 18:34
I know. I should start adding a dollar amount to every class I took and saying that. Yeah, they’re no cheap thing. But, yeah.
I feel like when I started getting really serious about my blog when I realized there was traffic and people were starting to make money off of them, I have this advantage of also sitting in this room with some of the Top Fortune 500 companies that were doing really cool things on their websites and their social platforms and hearing them literally throwing millions and millions of dollars into trying things and seeing things.
And so, I think that’s where my mindset comes from of, “Let’s try new things. Let’s experiment new things.” because I’ve seen so many companies do it. I’ve seen them spend a million dollars and fail and say, “Delete that part of the website, I guess.” I go, “Wow!”
I feel very overwhelmed that that much money went to waste but I get that you have that much money to experiment and try things. I watched them really boldly go after new things and try new things.
It made me look at my business quite a bit different too and say, “Okay. What new things can I be trying? What can I be implementing?” I’m a lot more conservative. I don’t have a million dollars for things, but it’s really interesting to kind of develop that mindset and move forward with it. I hope I answered your question.
Jillian Leslie 19:51
Okay. So you’re doing email, and you’re growing your list, and you’re feeling more connected to your audience, and you’re sharing these dates with them. And then, my hunch is you’re directing them back to your website to grow your traffic.
Camille Whiting 20:02
Yup. So my main goal with email is to grow traffic. It’s to get people to come back to my website. You asked if I was selling things. Sometimes. Oh, this is what I was going to say about this. I watched a lot of those companies give first, right?
They give a lot of freebies. They give a lot of information. They help. They serve a lot, and then they try to make the sell. I feel like I’m getting to that point where I can sell in my sequence. I do some.
I do some affiliate posts. I do some other things but I feel like I’m getting that really core audience that after they’ve been through months of my sequence or they see that there’s a lot of value then you can make the sale.
So, I’m really establishing those platforms that have just come back to me for traffic because they do make money off of traffic.
I’m lucky enough that that’s true for me and my ad network takes care of us that way. Right? But also, it will be a tool to do more sales and grow more sales in the future.
Jillian Leslie 20:55
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Then in terms of SEO strategy, because I think of you as an SEO strategist. I think that’s how I first went to one of your talks at Mom 2.0, I think. And you were totally geeking out in such a good way on Google Analytics.
Camille Whiting 23:14
Yeah. I love analytics. I love the technical pieces too, which is what I did in my career. I kind of purposely kept things separate.
I had a point in my career where I could very clearly choose to be a technical project manager, or I could go into like the content strategy creative side for a corporate blog. I decided to go tech and to keep my blog, my passion on the side. So it’s been fun for me.
They feel like these two separate loves that I equally love. It’s really fun as my business has grown, to realize that I really get to do both of them every day.
Jillian Leslie 23:45
That’s cool. Okay. What, in terms of your SEO strategy, have you changed up or have you focused on?
Camille Whiting 23:52
I think I’m using analytics to find what people want from me more than just what I feel like writing about. I think years past it’s been like, this is what I’m passionate about. And I still do some of that.
But I think more and more going, “Oh wait. Yeah, people are looking not just for date ideas. They’re looking for marriage advice. Or they’re looking for infertility information or other things and building out landing pages and more content around those things that people want.”
I think giving the people what they want yield success. You’ll see more traffic as you give people what they’re actually searching for, especially when it’s in your content vertical.
Jillian Leslie 24:34
Right, which I would totally agree with. I think back in the day, I remember licking my finger, putting it up in the air to go, “What should I write about today for Catch My Party? What am I thinking about?”
And now, we are so much more strategic in what we do. We have SEMrush, which is a keyword tool. We run all of our ideas for new content through SEMrush to see what are people searching for, and what are we ranking for?
For us, we go into our Google Analytics, and we look at what our most popular posts are. So, that is like our first strategy. And then we say, I think we do really well with baby shower stuff, right?
And so it’s like, “Okay. Well, we’ve done baby shower ideas, and we’ve done baby shower printables, and we’ve done baby shower favors.” What else could we create around baby showers to help people plan baby showers?
And then, we’re linking all of that content together so that Google goes, “Oh, this is the place to go for baby shower stuff.”
Camille Whiting 25:49
Jillian Leslie 25:49
But we are being very intentional about making content. I like baby showers but like my daughter is 12 so it’s not natural for me. I’m not planning a baby shower. So it’s not like, “Oh, this is what I want to write about it.”
This is what my audience wants from us. This is where they come for this. So we’re going to serve it up in every possible slice that we can.
Camille Whiting 26:12
Absolutely. I think you can also look in Google Search Console. I love SEMrush. I use it too but that is another great place for me to go and to see what people are searching.
Obviously, I don’t want to cannibalize keywords I already ranked for, things I’ve written about but it’s amazing how people come and use my search bar and search for things that I’m going.
I’ve written something similar, but not that. I don’t actually rank for that. And oh, lots of people are searching for that.
Jillian Leslie 26:35
So wait. So you’re thinking in terms of in your own site?
Camille Whiting 26:38
Yeah. In my own Ad Search Console, what people are searching and then looking at what people are either googling to get there. And then also looking through what people are searching. I think your email list is also another fantastic way to do that. You’ll have people respond.
I try to keep my email sequence very conversational. I ask people to reply to me regularly. It’s amazing. How people follow up and ask questions and you’re going, “Well, now, tons of you have asked about that. And I’ve never actually written about that.”
Jillian Leslie 27:07
Right. I wouldn’t have thought of that.
Camille Whiting 27:09
Super intentional content ideas that I love. It helps me serve my audience. So, I’ve definitely had that mind shift from this is a personal blog just writing about me. I mean I am. It’s a lifestyle blog. I’m still sharing a lot of my life, but really going, how do I better serve people and what they want?
That’s definitely where I come from, with my SEO strategy. Or give the people what they want, especially when it’s already in your vertical, it’s already your expertise, and it’s something that would be really easy to add.
Jillian Leslie 27:39
Are you feeling your content then shift based on serving your audience?
Camille Whiting 27:45
Yeah. I definitely think it is. I mean I still do my regular date nights every week. We still publish every Friday what we did specifically, but I am finding more date night lists. I’m finding more specific things people want. I’m finding more marriage content people want.
And so, I’d say it’s a slight shift. But I also feel like I’m getting through things you assume you’ve already shared. It’s interesting how you’re like, “Oh, no. I guess I haven’t gone into great detail about this one little thing I mentioned in a post.”
Now, I can pull that out. I can write a whole tutorial, or a whole article, or whatever you want to call it on your own site, but you can create content around that one thing. It’s definitely making me think bigger picture but also more finite at the same time.
Jillian Leslie 28:32
Right. Okay. I just did. There’s an episode that I just did about YouTube with a guy named Nate Woodbury. He had this whole strategy where he goes into SEMrush, but you can do this anywhere.
Let’s say, he has like a finance blog, right. He does it for YouTube, which is, of course, a search engine, but he’s not going to just do like those basic finance videos, he’s going to look for the long tail searches.
How to deal with your finances. I’m making this up. Like if you’ve just come out of the Navy, you know something very specific. And then, he’s going to do a video about that. Like, how to deal with finances if you’ve just had your second kid.
He’s going to go after that search query, create content around it, but like all of the pieces all fit in finance, or in let’s say, checking accounts or something. He says it’s like a tree and he’s building in the leaves first.
As he continues to fill in the leaves, it’s like now he starts to get authority with that whole tree like the trunk, but he’s not going to just kind of go after like the middle of the tree. He’s just going to go leaf by leaf by leaf by leaf.
I thought, “Wow! That is really smart.” It’s not just smart for YouTube. It’s totally smart for blogging. It was one of those moments where I’m like, “Oh, that’s a really good way to think about it.”
Camille Whiting 30:09
Yeah, absolutely. I’d say my strategy is very very similar. I think of it a little bit like Wikipedia when you go to find something on Wikipedia. Not just a specific term, but for example, I’m kind of a nerd when we watch TV shows.
I like to kind of start googling all the actors and actresses in it, what they’ve been in before. And so, I either think of it as I can look under this big umbrella of general concepts of people in this TV show, or I can start searching each actor or actress one at a time, or I can search like the writer or the plotline.
Anyway, I like to think of those little finite pieces instead of just the umbrella. I want to rank for that big umbrella, the TV show I’m searching for all the little details, but very similar.
So my analogy is more Wikipedia. My nerdiness and wanting to know all of the information behind productions and plots and actors and actresses,
Jillian Leslie 30:58
Right. And again, I say this all the time, and I sound like a broken record, but the riches are in the niches. So it’s like if you can own dating, like married dating, that is a big market in the internet.
Camille Whiting 31:10
Yeah, absolutely. I think I found that success. When I started a blog, most people were just doing it as a little online journal. Obviously, we did too, but totally unintentional. We were doing this very niche thing, right, where we were sharing just our dates.
That’s how the blog started once a week. I just shared a date. And so, it worked for me. I feel like now everyone says that, right? Be as niche as you can. For me, that’s been totally true. I just got really lucky that that’s how we started this whole project.
Jillian Leslie 31:41
What is really nice about your story is that you had a need, which is you knew what it was like to be in a not-great relationship. And so, you wanted to fix that to guarantee that that was not going to happen again. And that’s a very strong motivator.
It wasn’t just like, “Oh, I came up with this really cute idea.” It was, “No. I want to hold us accountable.” What better way? Like you were solving your own problem. In the process, you came up with this really interesting solution.
I always think this, which is if you’re having a problem, chances are there are a fair number of other people who are having that exact same problem. If you’re the person who’s publishing the content to solve the problem, people will show up.
Camille Whiting 32:24
Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more.
Jillian Leslie 32:27
Again, because you’re so authentic about sharing your story, I want to come along for the ride to hear about it rather than like you’re Glamour magazine telling me what kind of dates I should go on.
Camille Whiting 32:44
I am definitely not Glamour magazine. I definitely married to an engineer with all the engineer stereotypes. I agree with you. I think it makes us more relatable but also we’re a few more steps into the process.
So it’s almost kind of like a bigger sister, older brother sharing. I feel like that’s our voice. Sharing our successes and things we’ve learned to help other people who are along the path.
Jillian Leslie 33:09
Will you share your failures?
Camille Whiting 33:11
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think we share our failures regularly. I think I wait to share things too. I’ve been invited to do things before. I got invited to a parenting summit to be a speaker when my oldest was three months old.
It would have been great money, and it would have been a cool opportunity but I told them really bluntly, “I have a three-month-old with colic. I have no idea what I’m doing right now. I wouldn’t even know how to answer people’s questions at a summit.”
I’m flattered, but I’ll talk about these things when I’m ready to talk about these things. And so, I think often that is my approach as I publish things that here’s a solution, but here’s how we came to that solution.
Jillian Leslie 33:47
I like that. So with thought, with time.
Camille Whiting 33:52
Jillian Leslie 33:53
Okay. So for bloggers in general, where do you think the opportunities are right now?
Camille Whiting 33:59
Okay. I think there are a ton of opportunities in new platforms. I was thinking about this question and I feel like I get asked this a lot. Like, what would you do if you were starting today? Where would you go next?
I think I can attribute all my success to being an early adopter to things. So you know hearing, “Oh, blogger? What is that? Oh, okay. I guess I’ll figure this thing out.” Or, “Oh, this Instagram thing or Facebook’s new.” and all these little things, I think add up to success.
I’ve been hearing for years and years like video is where it’s at but for me, one of my big hypotheses and a place I’m seeing some success has been this lightbulb of you got to get into video. I think it was when Pinterest started saying, “Hey, let’s talk about video pins.”
You can now create different video pins and you can upload directly to Pinterest instead of pin from YouTube and, and things like that. It made me go, “Okay. There’s clearly a push right now also on Instagram for IgTV.
A lot of people are seeing numbers go down but they’re having a lot of success doing IgTV. I think people had been talking about YouTube and so many other platforms. YouTube, for me, is like a supplement to my blog when I create content for my blog. I’ll also upload the videos to YouTube.
That’s how I’ve always treated it. I really grow without trying. Not anything that impressive. I have a very small YouTube following compared to everywhere else but I’m not doing anything besides putting some videos up and people are still finding me.
Jillian Leslie 35:22
What are your videos? What are you making?
Camille Whiting 35:25
We do some updates. We do some with just content anyway. There’s something that it’s easier to show than to tell than to try to describe. We do some travel videos. Family travel is one of the pillars of our blog.
We take our kids to Europe usually at least once a year. And then we go throughout the US too. And so, these videos are just kind of recapping where we were, what we did and sharing some of the story.
Sometimes they’re just cutesy. Like we took our kids somewhere fun and it’s more fun to watch my kid geek out at a park than for me to write about a national park or something. They’re just kind of those videos.
I wouldn’t say there’s even a huge YouTube strategy. It hasn’t been my main thing that I’ve gone after but it’s been interesting how I feel like people are just growing in video, right.
For a while, I thought it’s just those tasty style videos for recipe makers. And I do some recipes but not a ton. It’s not my core thing that I write about.
And so, this year has really challenged me to say, “How do you make it your thing?” If you’re going to write about dates, and family, and travel, how do you make the success you’re seeing people in other niches having your niche now?
I have been experimenting with video quite a bit. Another huge aha moment for me this year has been what are the barriers to entry that you can break down that maybe other people are still having? I know that might sound weird, but I was thinking about Instagram in specific.
Phones are getting really good with quality photography, right? It’s such a visual platform, but back in the day the people who are really growing we’re taking professional DSLR type pictures and putting it up on Instagram, right? So they have this barrier to entry.
Jillian Leslie 37:05
Right. I’ll MBA you. They have a competitive advantage.
Camille Whiting 37:12
Absolutely. And so, I’ve been thinking a lot. If you don’t have a competitive advantage somewhere, how do you create a competitive advantage? That has been my big thing this year. I’m going, “If people can duplicate me, then I’m becoming obsolete.”
I know that may sound a little bit too drastic but if people can look exactly what I’m doing on Instagram, for instance, and they can say, “Oh, well, they went to that place, and they took a really cool date night picture.”
And we do a lot of night photography, which I do think is something that sets us apart. It’s another barrier to entry that it’s a different skill set to photograph on the day versus the night time.
But if somebody can start going to the exact places we’re going and get the same type of pictures, then it’s time for me to rethink things and to innovate and to do new things to get a new competitive advantage. I say all this thing. I’m a very much a team player.
I think there’s room for everyone but I have seen so much success in first of all being that early adopter and trying new things, getting on new things, learning it before the masses seem to learn it, but also saying how do you elevate where you are to the next level.
So things like learning video is a skill that not everybody’s learning right now. Learning professional polished scripted videos almost. I like to be authentic. So I say that all with a little bit of, you know, a little grain of salt.
But actually intentional videos of we’re out on a date, let’s make sure we create a video so we show what we’re doing not just tell what we’re doing. That has been one thing I’ve really been testing this year.
And this is brand new for me. I’m only a couple of weeks into like a weekly IgTV movie and adding more videos to my post but it’s been really well received so far. It’s been really fun for me.
I always think of if all of this went down tomorrow, right, if there was no more business of blogging, what skills do I take that would transfer to the next thing?
And every time I learn a new skill that helps grow my business, I always think this is not just beneficial for right now to give you that competitive advantage. This gives you one more thing on your resume.
Jillian Leslie 39:17
Interesting. I like that. Yeah. It’s funny. We’re bloggers but the truth is we’re online entrepreneurs. As such, we wear so many different hats and we have to learn so many different skills.
My husband is my partner. Literally, I’ll be like, “I don’t know how to do this.” His advice to me is literally like once a day, “Just Google it.” Like, “Just Google it.” And so the amount of things I have taught myself by just googling is crazy.
Even, for example, I’ll get an error message and I’ll be like, “What is this?” And he’s like, “Just copy it and Google it.” And so, the fact I think that we’re online entrepreneurs, part of our job is that we have to be learning and we have to be nimble, and we have to be agile.
We have to learn new platforms. Like when I started the podcast. It was like, “Well, you just put one foot in front of the other, and you figure it out and you Google stuff that you don’t know how to do.”
So I like that idea of like, you’re not just learning for blogging. These are life skills. These are things that could translate into who knows what, because we don’t know what the future is going to look like.
Camille Whiting 40:31
Yeah, absolutely. I think we’ve been around long enough and you’ve been around so many years, you could say that. I’ve seen people that rose as Facebook stars and made so much time and money and traffic on Facebook, and then watch things shift drastically on Facebook.
I could use Facebook every which way. I’ve seen people say, “I give up on Facebook. It’s nothing.” and then they’ve gone back and they’ve made a lot of money off of it. So, I just think there’s there’s opportunity everywhere you look.
But the more you get that competitive advantage and you learn and you’re one step ahead of the game, the more success you’re going to find.
Jillian Leslie 41:05
Yes. And in fact, again, I will say that for example, for Catch My Party on Pinterest, we’ve got over a million followers and yes, we use MiloTree and that has definitely grown our followers, but also we were early on the platform.
Now, we were not one of those sites, the Pinterest God shine down on and you know, those people have like five million followers. They’re like, “I don’t know how I got all these followers.” It’s like, “Wait a second.”
But again, we were early on Instagram, and early on Pinterest, and you know, early on Facebook. I told my daughter, I’m like, “I’m going to be the next Tik Tok star.”
Because I just downloaded Tik Tok just to see what this whole thing was about. She’s like, “You cannot be on Tik Tok mom. That is not cool.”
Camille Whiting 41:52
Which just defines that you should be there, which is also one of my things, right. I hadn’t even heard of Tik Tok. Our last interview, I think you were the one that told me, “My daughter is getting into this thing called Tik Tok.”
Jillian Leslie 42:02
Oh, did I? Okay.
Camille Whiting 42:03
Yeah, I think you were the one that told me about it. I downloaded it. I don’t even have much on there. I think I have two or three videos, but people are finding me there.
Jillian Leslie 42:10
Camille Whiting 42:12
Yeah. So it’s another opportunity. I have a friend that experimented with it. I’m not super crafty, but she is. She has found so much search volume in specific crafting hashtags.
And so, even though she’s this middle-aged woman, she’s like, “Well, I am going to go ahead and try it.” Even though there’s a younger audience. She is finding traffic. She’s finding an audience.
It’s not huge. I think people want overnight successes. And I think if you look at every person that is successful, they just got into these things early and they learned and they grew and they tried.
I mean as I share all this, I’m not the biggest on anything by any stretch of the imagination, but do I have a business that supports my family? I do. It’s because I’ve got into these things, and I’ve tried and I’ve been consistent.
Jillian Leslie 42:56
There are times by the way, like Snapchat. It was initially before Instagram copied Snapchat. It was like everybody needs to get over to Snapchat. And you better believe that I was on Snapchat. And then guess what? It didn’t really work.
Or Google Plus. Remember Google Plus? It’s not like every platform is going to pay off. So don’t be disappointed when something goes away, but I agree with you, which is go down. Like if you have not downloaded Tik Tok, definitely do and see what the kids are all doing.
Camille Whiting 43:27
And carve out two hours of like waste. I wouldn’t even say waste. It’s fun waste.
Jillian Leslie 43:33
You get sucked in.
Camille Whiting 43:34
I am such a productive person and I was just like, “This?” I feel like I think I’m younger than I am. But when I go on there I’m like, “These kids, man. They’re younger than me.” But I’m like, “They are so clever.”
Jillian Leslie 43:45
They are so clever.
Camille Whiting 43:46
So fun. Like I can totally see why everybody’s here. Have people figured out exactly how to monetize it yet? There’s some of it happening but you know what, Instagram was everything. I’ve been with it with blogging, and I blogged for years just because it was fun.
And then opportunities came eventually. And so, I like to think everything that way. Like Tik Tok is probably going to be the exact same way.
Jillian Leslie 44:07
If there are people out there, bloggers who are using Tik Tok and figuring out a way, please reach out to me because I would love to talk to you and have you on the podcast.
Camille Whiting 44:14
And I want to hear that podcast. I’m sure it’ll be so interesting and so enlightening.
Jillian Leslie 44:18
Yes. And again, because I would say that I’ve read this thing that Tik Tok doesn’t have… It’s kind of goofy, and kind of weird, and funny and stuff. And so, it has a much different vibe than Instagram, which can make you feel not always great.
Whereas Tik Tok seems more fun, even though again, it’s owned by some Chinese company and who knows how they’re spying.
Camille Whiting 44:48
There’s all these strange things but I think that about Instagram too. It felt like the Wild West at first. And the people that really put the time into it, they grew and now they’re really reaping the benefits of getting in early, putting time into the platform.
And so, that’s one of my biggest pieces of advice to anyone. There’s opportunities everywhere you look. But where you put your time is where you’re going to see success. And there’s value in everything, but it’s just choosing where do you think the most value will be.
Or trying. Let’s try some time here. Let’s do some things here and just experiment and see, and then make choices off what makes the most money or what has the most long term opportunity.
Jillian Leslie 45:26
Right. And definitely be where your audience is, and then just experiment with other platforms to see, “Oh, is there an audience here?” Kind of like for you with your email list to go, “Oh, these people are really engaged here.”
Camille Whiting 45:42
Yeah. Yep, absolutely.
Jillian Leslie 45:44
All right. So Camille, how can people reach out to you? See what you’re doing, see your dates, see your videos, all of that.
Camille Whiting 45:51
Okay. Well, I put the most time and effort into my website because I own it. So FridayWereInLove.com will always be the place. I feel like I’ve put a lot of time into the search indexing and categorizing dates so you can find exactly what you’re looking for, budget, time of the year, all the things.
Definitely sign up for my email list. Not just because, obviously, I care about that right now but I really do think I’m offering so much value right now giving people weekly date ideas and helping them a lot.
Instagram is a place I’m at. I’m @FridayWereInLove there. Facebook, I’m actually spending more and more time in. I had written it off years ago. And now, I’ve had some enlightening moments of realizing a lot of traffic comes from Facebook.
And so, I’m putting more time into Friday We’re In Love on Facebook. Those are probably the main places. And then, I’m also Camille Whiting on Twitter.
Jillian Leslie 46:38
All right, Camille, you’re going to come back for part three.
Camille Whiting 46:41
Well, thanks. I’m flattered that you think I’m worthy of this.
Jillian Leslie 46:44
Camille Whiting 46:45
You really run such an amazing podcast and I’m so flattered that you would let me come on it. Not once, but twice.
Jillian Leslie 46:50
Oh, no. I love it. First of all, thank you for that. And no, I feel like we kind of see the world in a very similar way.
Camille Whiting 46:59
Yeah, I agree.
Jillian Leslie 47:00
I hope you guys liked that episode. My biggest takeaway is that as an entrepreneur, we are rewarded for taking risks, for jumping on different platforms, for showing our face, for doing the things that other people are scared to do.
I do think that as an entrepreneur, my job forces me to be in a lot of discomfort. I think that’s good for my business. I also think it’s good for my own personal growth. So let me know what you think about that. Email me, Jillian@MiloTree.com.
Also, if you have not yet tried MiloTree on your blog to grow your social media followers, your email list, and now to direct people to blog posts or sales pages or products or your most important content, definitely head to MiloTree.com. Give it a try. You get your first 30 days free.
I’m just really excited about all of the stuff that we are building. I’m in so many different places. But please meet me in my Facebook group, the MiloTree Mastermind Group. I will see you here again next week.
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