Today I’m excited to feature one of my very first business besties, Jordanna Rowan, of the blog, House of Muses. Over the past couple of years, Jordanna has built her blog into a thriving resource for artists, bloggers, and creative entrepreneurs. I actually met her back in December, when she posted on Pinterest about her new Facebook community: Creative Mavens. I was looking to connect with some like-minded folks, so I asked to join.
Jordanna and I totally hit it off, and now we chat online pretty frequently about working from home, blogging, and the crazy world of online business. When I finally pulled the trigger on launching the Hangout, it was a no-brainer that she was the first person I contacted about joining me as a featured guest.
So, without further ado, (whatever the hell that means), please allow me to introduce you to this inspiring online business babe...
I know who you are, but why don’t you tell the folks at home a little about yourself and your reasons for starting The House of Muses…
Hi everyone! :) Firstly, thanks so much to Stephanie for providing this opportunity and building such an epic, bold, and supportive community <insert cheers and applause here>! As for me, I’m a serial entrepreneur, dedicated lover of words, tea-drinker, book-nerd, and lifelong learner of all the things. It was partly this desire to learn and explore that lead me to create The House of Muses— when I started, it was a full-on creatively focused blog, with DIYs, recipes, knitting, gardening, and the occasional post about self-development and my entrepreneurial journey. You can guess which one my audience responded to best!
As I grew my first business (a creative boutique), I discovered how much I loved talking about creativity, business and blogging hand in hand. I also wanted to share the raw experience of being a full-time blogger and entrepreneur— the struggles and successes that go on behind the scenes. After all, behind every strong blog and business is a strong person. For me, self-neglect was never an option— and I wanted to show others that it didn’t have to be the path for them, either.
I’m aware that when you started to take HOM seriously as a business, you had some pretty EPIC stats as far as blog growth. Can you tell us more about that, and share some of the strategies you employed to increase your traffic so drastically?
It was epic like that moment in Return of the King when the Rohirrim charge into battle at Pelennor Fields— anyone? Anyone? This is what can happen when you work from home folks! You watch 9 1/2 hours of Lord of the Rings back to back.
Really, it started when I got my social media shit together. When I started, I was posting content every single day, trying to stay afloat because my views were so closely tied to whether or not I had a post published that day. Then, of course, I realized that if I periodically revived old content though social media rather than letting it slip into the archives to be lost forever, my views were no longer tied to an unsustainable model of posting (crap) every day. When you use social media effectively, quality over quantity wins every time. Pinterest is my weapon of choice, and completely transformed my business, taking me from about 2000 views a month in September, to nearly 70,000 monthly by January a few months later.
Being consistent with Pinterest is key— whether you’re pinning each day by hand, or using automation software like Boardbooster or Tailwind. I personally still pin by hand, being sure to pin high quality content (great visuals, keyword rich description, relevant to my audience) to my own boards and to group boards each day— I stick to the 80:20 ratio, with 80% being repins of other creators pins.
You are a content creating machine!! Your blog is filled with so many thoughtful + inspiring posts. What is your FAVORITE thing to have written thus far? Any topic or subject you are often drawn to more than others?
When it comes to writing blog posts, I like to get a little personal, and a little informal. The kind of content that flows most freely for me is the stuff related to the self, to personal development— that’s part of the reason why I’m launching a second blog side project for mindful living (which you can find at jordannarowan.com, #shamelessplug).
I like the kind of content that people can actually use to change their mindset, and thus change their lives. The personal stuff interests me so much because there are only so many blog and biz tips you can take in and use effectively when you’re not taking care of yourself and running your business and blog intentionally and mindfully.
If I had to pick a couple of favourites, they would probably be:
Why do you thinking blogging can be such a powerful tool for creative entrepreneurs?
It lets you show your personal side in a way that few other platforms can. It helps you build that rock-solid recognizable brand that will carry you to success across multiple platforms.
Not only that, but it lets you give back to your community, while establishing yourself as an expert in your field— social media is great, but there is only so much content you can cram into a social media post. A quality blog post shows your readers that you’re willing to take the time to connect with potential customers, and that you know what you’re talking about. If you’re willing to give away amazing quality content for free— imagine what the paid content is like!
Beyond that, it’s great for SEO to have a regularly updating website and blogging is the perfect excuse.
What’s a typical week look like: for writing + managing content, newsletters and scheduling social posts for HOM?
My answer to this question a year ago would have been so different! These days, I post content only once a week, typically on Thursdays. Quality over quantity, forever. Sometimes I batch content and write a few blog posts or newsletters in one go, then schedule them, but most of the time I like the flexibility of writing only a few days ahead, and I love drawing on current personal experiences— my blog is my business, but it’s also a personal outlet, where I figure things out by writing through them. I always write out everything by hand— yes, newsletters and 3000 word blog posts included. Then they get a good edit as they’re being typed, typically three days in advance of the publish date. I let them percolate for a few days, then they get another look over, some graphics, and a cover image before heading out into the world on shaky newborn legs.
I write the Muses’ Mail newsletter on Fridays, drawing on my experiences from the week, which my readers get at the crack of dawn (at least, the crack of EST) on Monday morning. Since my ultimate goal of my blog is to get people on my mailing list, the best content now goes there first. These lovely folks are my VIPs. I don’t ever send people from my newsletter BACK to the blog, because the newsletter is where I make great connections— and of course, has the best conversion rate. For that reason, I occasionally repurpose newsletter content into blog posts— waste not!
Social posts don’t get scheduled— I know, I know. (🙄<---- my face right now, Jordanna, lol)
What social media platform do you think has played the largest part in your blog’s success thus far… and why?
Pinterest baby, Pinterest. Although I’m coming over to the Instagram way of things— I’m loving using Instagram as a social media platform for my lifestyle blog project. But Pinterest is definitely my marketing powerhouse. In a way, I feel like this answer is cheating— I wouldn’t really call Pinterest social media. It’s not where you’re making your new biz BFFs, it’s where you’re marketing your business, on a completely genius visual search engine.
Having a great Pinterest strategy makes pinning each day completely simple. Even though I’m not rocking Boardbooster or Tailwind, I spend about 10 minutes each day on Pinterest, and it directs thousands of views a day to my blog. Huzzah! Pinterest is a place where people go to learn, and most often a blog is a place where a writer is able to teach their audience something. It’s a match made in heaven.
Any simple tips that you can share with readers to use Pinterest to their advantage?
1. Pin often, pin lots.
It is true that you have to pin a lot more than you think you do— I’m talking 30-75 pins a day. But fear not! Most of these pins are going to be repins of other peoples’ content, about 80%. You want to be making sure you’re getting in there every day, even if it’s just once a day. That 10 minutes will transform your blog.
2. Group boards.
It’s not enough to only pin to your own boards! You grow your reach by pinning frequently to group boards as well— ones that are lively, and directly related to your target audience. If you can’t find one in your niche, start one! I guarantee there are others out there who will join your team.
3. Consistent branding.
It’s very helpful to think of Pinterest like an extension of your blog. You want people who arrive on your Pinterest profile to a) know that you’re a blogger and b) know exactly what it is you blog about. No questions asked. This means a rock solid description that draws in your reader, branded cover images, and highly relevant and repinnable content.
What is the number one piece of advice that you would give to someone who is considering starting a blog for their business?
Do it. Do it now.
That’s cheating, I know. But it’s true— you’ve got nothing to lose by starting sooner rather than later. That perfect moment will never arrive. You will never feel 100% ready, and 100% happy with your blog— and I’m not sure that feeling ever really goes away. The way you grow your blog and improve your business is by throwing it out there, bouncing it off the wall, and seeing what comes back. And then doing this over and over again.
I’m going to cheat again and add a ‘part b’ to this statement (since the first bit was cheating, it doesn’t count anyway, right?). Quality over quantity— always. If you can only post once a week? That’s fine. If you can only post once every two weeks, but you’re putting out blog posts that are the bomb dot com, that’s fine, too. Consistency matters more than frequency— there are only so many favourites and roundups of unoriginal content that your audience will take before wandering off. Dig down, write from the heart, and pour out that pure gold, ducklings.
What else do we need to know about you? WHAT’S NEXT for HOM?!
I’m a bit of a serial entrepreneur— I will never stop trying new things, throwing new business ideas out there and seeing what happens. I just released a new, affordable Pinterest guide, (because no one should have to spend hundreds to learn how to keep their business alive), and a second mindful lifestyle Youtube channel and accompanying blog. I’m also reworking one of my introductory level courses Mission System into a full, awesome-packed online course, which I expect will be available in Winter 2017.
Oh, and a super secret, super awesome project which will be in the works the moment Squarespace has domain transfers live. I won’t say much, but it’ll be very collaborative, very community focused, and very much about transforming your life and the world around you with your personal power.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait for this super secret super awesome project Jordanna is hinting at. #thesuspenseiskillingME
So appreciative of Jordanna, for taking the time to chat with me about her blog + her business. I hope you enjoyed these tips + insights as much as I did.
Jordanna Rowan is writer, motivator, and a blog consultant for creative entrepreneurs who want to give boundlessly, connect authentically with their tight-knit community, and build a stronger business. She’s also obsessed with making sure that new bloggers can make it without obliterating their bank accounts— because price inflation is baloney. She drinks a lot of tea and spends at least 5 hours a day with a cat on her lap.
Other ways to connect with Jordanna: