Insights for Launching Your Own Site
I feel like I have just given birth. I’m exhausted and elated all at the same time. So like any savvy babe with a blog my goal is to of course, monetize it. This means taking not only the content but also the design of my site to the next level. So after a few weeks of updating copy, refreshing content, tweaking photos, importing blog posts, hours of tech support, and crafting my core offering, my new online destination Candy Washington: Pop culture with style was born.
To make sure that my labor pains weren’t all in vain, I want to share with you some key insights that I learned during the process.
Insight #1: Create what you love.
I’m literally obsessed with my site – with writing, blogging, posting pics, tweaking the little details, and bugging my friends to check it out. This passion and love are what fuel me to keep at it when I’m tired from work or fried from an audition. But remember the purpose isn’t perfection; it’s to create an outlet for yourself that fulfills you both professionally and creatively. My site really is a labor of love.
Insight #2: Figure out what you have to offer.
So I love fashion, giving relationship advice, writing, and acting – well, so what? My “so what” is that I figured out that I can turn my passions into profits with purpose. If I’m able to add value to the lives of others by offering them my unique perspective and guidance on a styling problem, relationship issue, or need for an actress to bring a character to life while being able to make rent, then my “so what” transforms into a “why not?”
Insight #3: A little bit of healthy competition never killed anyone.
Before embarking on the journey of launching my new site I made a list of similar sites that I admired within the fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle industries. I then made a list of what I liked about them – how they talked about themselves, what products and services did they offer, what brand image were they creating, etc. After I completed my competitor analysis I decided which characteristics, attributes, and strategies I wanted to use, make my own, and apply to my site.
Remember the trick here is to take inspiration from people at the level you want to be at and then apply it in your own unique and authentic way.
Insight #4: Ask for feedback but trust your gut.
It’s always a good idea to ask for an objective opinion when you are deeply involved in a project and need an extra set of eyes with a different perspective than your own. I brainstormed a few ideas for the name of my site and then tossed them around with family and friends to see what their reactions were to each name. I also asked them when they thought of my brand, what came to mind and if my site reflected those attributes. Next up was which pictures to use and where.
But remember, everyone has an opinion and at the end of the day you have to go with the tagline that resonates the most with you, the photo that you just love, and the copy that gets to the core of your offerings. Be open and listen to others but trust your gut.
Insight #5: Promote, promote, promote.
Now that the new site if out in the world I need to start generating buzz. I’m going to write a press release highlighting the new site design, features, services, and offerings and distribute to sites, publications, friends, and family. And of course, I’m going to promote via my social channels.
Remember marketing and promotion is a process and not an event, you have to be continuously promoting your site but more importantly, make sure that your products, services, and content are of quality and of value and they will speak for themselves. Nothing is more powerful than word-of-mouth.
Insight #6: Make a plan for sustainable content generation.
So now that I’ve up-leveled from a blog to an online destination, consistent and quality content has never been more important. To keep the content coming I’ve created an editorial calendar around dates, events, and themes that I want to feature on my site. This will ensure that the content is fresh and switched out in a timely fashion and is relevant to viewers.
Don’t forget about the power of repurposing. Repurposing content is a great way to get more bang for your buck out of each post and to keep content coming when you might be in bind for time. Highlight an old post on “Throwback Thursday” or use an old post to accompany a new post if they are on related topics. Don’t forget to make sure that you are repurposing your own content and are being transparent that it was previously posted but is still of value now.