Tailwind Growth for the Average Blogger

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Welcome back to the blog!  Last July I mentioned that I had just signed up for Tailwind.  I’ve now been using Tailwind for about 8 months and have definitely seen growth.

I decided to write this post because I see a ton of posts showing how bloggers grow so much in just a couple of months.  Many of those posts are quite misleading though.  Perhaps the blog is new, but the blogger is well seasoned.  Or, the blogger spent hours upon hours working on their blog during those months.

I’d like to say I’m an average blogger.  I keep the time I spend on my blog to a minimum.  Typically I spend about 10-20 hours on the blog during the month.  Many bloggers rack up 10-20 hours in just days.

The graph below shows referrals to my blog from Pinterest.  As you can see, I had less than 100 page views on my blog from referrals on Pinterest prior to using Tailwind.  If you would like to see my overall stats for any specific month, you can find them here.  Once using Tailwind, I started to see some growth.

In July, I started scheduling my repins and saw a small increase.  I also joined quite a few group boards and saw a huge increase in August.  Of course, growth doesn’t happen all at once so I had a dip for September.  I stayed pretty consistent through December where I had a huge spike.

Each time there is a huge spike, I did something differently.  I either joined more group blogs, increased the amount of pins I post per day, or had a better posting schedule.  One of the main things I started doing is re-pinning my own pins to all group boards they are relevant to every three months.  I made a spreadsheet to help me keep track of which to post when.

I started pinning about 25 pins per day in August and by December was at 30-35.  Now, I’m not much higher at 45.  Many people pin 50 or 100 times per day but I haven’t been able to get myself there.  I imagine once I get there I will see a bit of a jump.

I have seen another dip since December but I anticipate it will go up in the next few months.  So, for the average blogger, success doesn’t happen overnight.  Some great growth is still possible though.  I went from 100 to 800 views in a month from Pinterest referrals and it only took 6 months.

Do you have any Tailwind strategies?  I’d love to read them in the comments!

If you haven’t tried Tailwind, try it free using this link.

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How to Create Blog Photos Using PowerPoint

My How to Make Your Own Blog Photos post shows the steps that I use to create my images.  Today I’m going to go into a bit more depth and show you how I do some of the editing.  So, if you haven’t read the other post, go check it out and then come back to this one.

One thing to note before diving into the editing.  I like to take landscape photos when I’m creating a collage of images.  I will show you why below.

Setting Up PowerPoint

The first thing I do when I’m getting ready to create a blog photo is set up my template in PowerPoint.  This is really simple.  I just open a new document and change the slide orientation to portrait.

TAB: Design SECTION: Customize OPTION: Slide Size –> Change Orientation to Portrait

Once I have the size set, I delete the text boxes that are on the slide.

Inserting the image

I copy and paste one of the images from my collection into PowerPoint.   At this point, the image only fills part of the slide.  I resize the image by dragging the corners out until the top and bottom align.  The right and left side will be way out of the canvas.  This is what you want.

Setting the Image

Once you have the image large enough to cover the canvas, crop the left and right sides of the image.  You will be able to see the slide edge when cropping and the photo should snap in place.

When the edges are set to the canvas, you can then drag the photo left and right until you have the perfect section. Click Crop again to complete the crop.

Basic image fixes

I only do a minimal amount of editing to each of my photos which usually only consists of a adjusting the brightness and contrast.  Sometimes I will adjust the sharpness as well.  On rare occasions, I will use a different editing program to create a blur or other effect.

Select the image by clicking on it.  Then go to Format, Corrections and hover over the images to see a preview.  Select the one you like the best.  I typically like 20% Brightness / 20% Contrast but occasionally I choose a different option.

Inserting the text box

To insert the text box, go to the Insert Tab and click on Text Box.  Drag the text box onto the photo.  You can always adjust placement later.  Write the text for your image in the text box.

Highlight the text and increase the font size until it is large enough that to fill the photo.  We will adjust this again later.  The initial increase is just to be able to read the words.

Designing the text box

Click on the outside border of the text box.  Click to the Format Tab and open More Fill Colors for Shape Fill.

I usually fill white with a 10% transparency (opacity) but you can choose any option you want.

Editing the Text

At this point, I usually move the text box to around the area I want it to be.  Change the colors and fonts any way you would like.  I’ve even downloaded some additional fonts from Google.  Don’t forget to add your watermark.

Finalizing your image

Once you have your fonts how you want them, you need to finalize the image.  Your project is currently a PowerPoint file so you need to create the image file for your image.

To do this, go to Save As and then choose the PNG option.  There are other image files such as a JPG but WordPress doesn’t play nice with JPG’s.  So, if you may ever switch to WordPress, use PNG’s.

The End Product

Congratulations!   You’ve now created a pin-worthy image by using PowerPoint!

If you have any questions, please reach out to me.  I’m more than happy to help!

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How to Automate Your Media Kit

how-to-automate-your-media-kit

In my last few Blog Income Reports, I’ve mentioned that I was working on creating an automated Media Kit.  I am very happy that my media kit is now complete!

Before you read the post, open my media kit in a new tab so it will be easier to follow along.

The header

I began the post with a simple image header.  The image includes a photo of me on the left with a short bio on the right.  I created this image as one graphic in PowerPoint.  Clicking this image takes  the reader to my About Me page.

Social interaction

This is where it starts to get exciting.  I went back and forth so many times trying to figure out how to get a live count of my followers.  Really, I made this more complicated than it needed to be because I wanted to use my own graphics.  I tried a table where row 1 was the image and row 2 was the count.  This looked great in desktop mode but not mobile.  I eventually landed on using the image caption.

I use a plug-in for the plugin Social Count Plus to generate the live counts.  This plugin will allow you to use social icons they have pre-loaded or if will allow you to generate a short-code for just the count.  I used just the count and added the short-code to the description of my image.

*This taught me that you can use HTML in the image caption!  Fantastic!

My social interaction also has a basic image that I created for my blog income reports and a link to the page where I have them all compiled.

General Info

The next section is pretty simple.  I created two graphics in Power Point and uploaded them to the page.  The services graphic links to all of the webpages where I’ve been featured. My Say Goodbye to Living Paycheck to Paycheck series is linked in the image about the posting schedule.

Stats

This is the part that probably took me the longest to figure out.  I was originally trying to use advanced coding to show my unique users and pageviews.  These are the most often used stats in the blogging world it seems.  It ended up being way to complicated though so I settled on a live image of sessions.  Sessions still gives a general idea of how to blog is doing plus I post my exact page views and users each month in my Blog Income Reports.

Two plugins were needed to get this widget onto the Media Kit.  The first plug-in is Google Analytics Dashboard.  This is the plugin I used to create the widget.  I chose to show the last 30 days of traffic.  The second plugin is Widgets on Pages.  This plugin allowed me to display the widget on the page by using short-code.

Have you also automated your media kit?  If so, I’d love to see it!

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