Thinking Outside the Blog Post

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about blogging over the past while. I love blogging, but when I’m pushed to choose a niche (or “focus” as the cool kids are calling it these days) I hesitate.

What is it about blogging I love? Also, what do I want to write about?

What I do know is I need to focus a little so now comes the hard part.

What kind of blogger do I want to be?

What kind of blogger do I want to be?

In December I had an assignment to write a post about DIY boot cuffs. I pitched the topic because I had designed a crazy-cool knitting pattern and it was going over really well. And it would have been fine. But then I got thinking…I can do better.

Thinking Outside the Blog Post

Because I’ve spent months wrestling with the idea of blogging and where I want it to take me in my career I am starting to think outside the blog post. And in this case I realized boot cuffs could be so much more than a simple post—they could be the start of a new adventure.

(Was that a little dramatic? It felt a bit dramatic.)

Here’s what I did. I had a lot more ideas but decided to start slow since this is all new to me.

It was kind of a five-step plan. I made it faux-arty in case you’re the visual type.

Thinking Outside the Blog Post

(Like this plan? Download a copy for yourself)

Thinking outside the blog post five-part plan

  1. Part 1: Plan post. OK, this step should happen inside the blog post as well but the way I thought about it was a bit different. Instead of focusing on the literal pitch (hey, I made up a cool pattern for boot cuffs so I should write about it) I thought about the audience. What about boot cuffs would make them excited? Would they like some options? What if they’re not knitters, can I expand this concept to be more inclusive? With these questions my post began to take on its own life.
  2. Part 2: Set up complimentary resources. I thought about whether this word should be “complementary” but I think I’ve chosen the right one. This is where creativity struck. In the past when I’ve posted a tutorial I’ve just laid it all in the post. But wait a second. I put a lot of work into this pattern and these tutorials. And they’re just going to live in this one place forever? Say it isn’t so! There must be a better way! I decided I could also make a free pattern and add it to Ravelry. By creating a free download my pattern could outlive my blog post. As well adding a pattern to a site such as Ravelry adds some legitimacy to it. An added bonus was by doing this I could track the number of downloads, which I couldn’t do in the blog post. For future posts I can see the value in creating a resource alongside the post…in fact it opens my mind to a world of possibilities, even monetary ones!
  3. Part 3: Post teasers on social media channels. This is an area I need to improve. I knew I was writing this post, so why keep it all to myself? Once the work was done I began posting teasers for the post—hey guys, I get to write about my boot cuffs for UsedEverywhere. Awesome, right? Because it was awesome. There’s no reason to keep it a secret. What else I loved was in the month between writing my post and it being published I could promote my knitting pattern and saw a couple hundred downloads before my post even went live!
  4. Part 4: Once post is live, promote, promote, promote. When my blogs publish I try to remember to tell people. Once. But the thing about social media is you have to keep reminding people you exist. Once isn’t enough any more. So this time I posted it everywhere relevant. Facebook, my knitting page on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and over again. And for my efforts I got some shares. They were encouraging. Not viral maybe but pretty good for my first go-round.
  5. Part 5: Track stats like a boss. Well I’ve already mentioned I tracked my pattern downloads and my social shares. And I heard from the site owners that my post was tracking to be the most popular of the year (although it could have been a joke since my post was Jan. 2…). I’ll have to keep that in mind and remember to promote it throughout the year. Because why would boot cuffs go out of style? Oh. Well maybe they’re not so suitable for summer. But autumn is right around the corner!

Before this post my focus has been on the words. And while this is good (words are important) there is a lot more I can do to help people see the words. By planning for my readers to adding value to spreading the word…all I’m doing is setting myself up for success. So there we go! Blogging breakthrough!

My Birthday Gift to Me

honeycomb-scarf

For the past couple weeks I’ve been thinking about how I wanted to spend my birthday.

I thought and thought and thought about it.

And then I decided I would rather be knitting so I sat on the couch and haven’t done anything since.

OK, that was a slight exaggeration, but I certainly didn’t think of anything I wanted to do for my birthday.

Birthdays for me have become just like all the other holidays you’re supposed to do something big for. It’s too much pressure.

But now I know what to do. Because it’s been on my lap the whole time: I want to knit for my birthday. That’s all. I want a nice evening of knitting.

Does that make me officially old?

Collecting Buttons in Moderation

Last week or maybe the one before I had an opportunity to go through a huge jar of buttons and take my pick.

Actually, there were two jars but I only dropped one and as a result was able to go through said jar quite thoroughly.

I was never that interested in buttons. Until I needed one, that is. This is when I learned just how expensive cool buttons are.

It’s bizarre actually. Well, maybe to all you FBB’s (frequent button buyers) it’s no big deal but for me paying $5 or $6 for a button was a bit insane.

Perhaps I don’t know where to shop for buttons.

Collecting buttons

Anyway, I gathered only the buttons I thought I would use in the next year (I tend to over-collect and am learning to hold back) and am very much looking forward to updating my grandma’s old 60s handmade pillows. I did one already but was a bit miffed about the price of upcycling when it came to the buttons.

In case you’re wondering, this is the updated one (the retro pillows are hidden in this old post). My grandma and mom made a set of three in brown, orange, yellow, and brown and they had massive pom poms on them. They’re great but don’t quite go with my living room.

This is much better.

Handmade Ties for Every Tom, Dick and Harry

If you’re connected with me by social media then you already know I went crazy this weekend over my lucky strike in pattern book 1760 “Discover The Excitement Of Hairpin Lace.”

More specifically over these amazing ties.

Handmade ties.

Dick’s tie is simply called “Knitted Tie,” Harry’s is “Ascot,” but Tom’s…Tom’s tie is called “Afghan Tie.” Now that’s special.

This pattern book comes to me from the 1960s and—apparently—just showed up on my bookshelf as my mother said there is no way it belonged to her.

I shall search my dad’s tie collection soon to verify.

Anyway, the price on the book is $1.50. Mine has a little sticker asking $0.50 but now it’s on eBay for the vintage-trendy price of $9.99 USD.

Immediately I thought finally I have something I can knit my husband, as he has never once allowed me to make something for him, stating he’s very picky and doesn’t want to hurt my feelings if he doesn’t like it.

Ouch.

But these ties! I mean, who wouldn’t want them?

Oh, he’s getting them.

I Avoided Vampires this Weekend

I know I said I would probably stay in and watch Dracula or at least skim the book. Well it wasn’t on Netflix, wouldn’t you know.

life characters

Instead I watched to the end of season two of Life. Oh man I wish there was a season three!

WHY!?!

I mean, it ended but did it really? Anyway, so fail.

Here’s what else I did whilst avoiding vampires.

borax crystals

Had an afternoon of “fun with borax” making crystal ornaments with my niece and nephew. (More on that later)

arbynwear toque

Attempted self-portraits to document a new toque pattern I’m writing.

knit girraffe

Also in knitting, I made a stuffed toy, a giraffe. It’s actually finished but I haven’t taken any more photos or stuffed it. It’s awesome.

80s sister

Watched my 80s revival sister slave over her stale gingerbread house. The design wasn’t stale, the candy was. Buyer beware.

All in all I stayed busy, but unproductive in the vampire area. I’m sure you understand.

Oh, I also wrapped all my Christmas gifts and thought about writing more thank you cards from my wedding…but then we started up a game of Roste dominoes and, well, you really have to give it your full attention. Those Roste’s are ruthless!