This is part of my Makin' Bacon podcast, you can check out all the episodes or subscribe on your favorite podcast player.
When it comes to growing your blog, you simply need to connect with your audience, solve their problems, and watch the money roll in. Easy, right?
We all know it's not as simple as that. And today's guest is the perfect person to help us actually accomplish our goals.
Today, we talk about how to position your brand to reach your biggest fans, why kindness matters in business, and how to authentically fake it until you make it.
The video of the interview is also available on the Makin' Bacon YouTube Channel.
Jenny is a former reading specialist who "retired" from her teaching career when her blogging income far exceeded her salary. Through hard work and dedication, her lifestyle blog, The Melrose Family, became regularly sought out by nationally recognized brands such as Neutrogena, Smuckers, Glad, Costco, Stanley Steamer, Sara Lee and many more. She is a content strategist that helps entrepreneurs better understand their messaging and unique position in the online space. Now, she's combining her passion for teaching with her extensive experience of creating strategic content for online business owners via JennyMelrose.com and her podcast, Influencer Entrepreneurs with Jenny Melrose as well as her first book Influencer Entrepreneurs: The 4-Step Framework to Building Your Audience, Growing Your Business, and Making More Money Online.
If you want to read some more about this, here are a few helpful links.
Today, we talk about how to position your brand to find your biggest fans. Why kindness is so important in business and how to authentically fake it until you make it?
When it comes to really growing your blog, you simply need to connect with your audience, solve their problems, and then just watch as all the money rolls in. It's that easy, right?
We know it's not as simple as that, and today's guest is the perfect person to help us understand what we really need to do to actually accomplish our goals. She's a former reading specialist who retired from her teaching career when her blogging income far exceeded her salary. Through hard work and dedication, her lifestyle blog, The Melrose Family became regularly sought out by nationally recognized brands such as Neutrogena, Smuckers, Glad, Costco, Stanley Steamer, Sarah Lee, and many more. I think we're all jealous of the type of companies that she's worked with.
She is a content strategist that helps entrepreneurs better understand their messaging and unique position in the online space. Now she's combining her passion for teaching with her extensive experience of creating strategic content for online business owners via JennyMelrose.com and her podcast Influencer Entrepreneurs with Jenny Melrose. She's also just released her first book called Influencer Entrepreneurs, The 4-Step Framework to Building Your Audience, Growing Your Business, and Making More Money Online.
She's coming on today to discuss how to lean into your greatness and build an audience of raving fans. I can't wait to learn from today's guest, Jenny Melrose.
Jason Logsdon: Jenny, welcome to Makin' Bacon.
Jenny Melrose: Thanks so much for having me Jason, I'm so excited to have this conversation.
Jason: Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to come on today. I think your message of leading into greatness and building raving fans is so important, and it's often overlooked by many bloggers in this world of Pinterest and SEO focus.
So before we dive into everything that you talk about, I like to start with what is it like around your dinner table on a typical day.
Jenny: I love this question. I actually grew up always eating with my family, sitting down at the table, no distractions, and that's definitely what we tried to pass on to my girls. So I have two daughters, 10 and almost 7 she'll be seven next week. She's been dying to be for like nine months now.
And it's typically my husband and I, we sit down and we eat dinner together as a family, no distractions in the background with TV on or anything like that. With conversations just happening around the table.
And that honestly was a large part of The Melrose Family when I started that site. That was my purpose, I want it to be able to provide easy recipes to my audience so they could get that time back with their family. Because at the time, being a full-time teacher and a husband that works crazy retail hours, we just loved that time that we did get to sit down and just kind of have conversations with our kids and see how their days were going.
Jason: I think that's a great way to find a focus for an initial focus for a blog is that so many people get so overwhelmed with your day to day life that trying to find that time to sit down can be really difficult.
Jenny: Yes, absolutely.
Jason: My wife and I, when we eat at home, we generally eat in front of the TV, but when we try to go out several times a week, and that's when we could really have those in depth conversations and just enjoy each other's company, which is, I think, very important to most relationships.
Jenny: Yes, and it's always interesting to see what the kids will come out up with and to tell us about their day. Especially now, of course, in the middle of this whole pandemic, it gets interesting at times. But it's great, it's our time to connect and really when things are busy between when school is actually in session and sports and everything else. It gives us that time to really just kind of find out what's going on and connect with them.
Jason: I think it's very valuable to talk about that because there's so much that we do and we're so busy in our lives. And I think a lot of times we can forget that these are the people that we are busy for, so make time to spend with them. And so a lot of times they can kind of get pushed into the background and it's a good reminder that your family is why you're working as hard as you do, so make sure you enjoy them.
Jenny: No, absolutely. That was always the purpose behind creating The Melrose Family. Honestly, like that was always part of my pitch when I reached out to brands is that I was trying to provide my audience with the opportunity to get that time back with their families. Because otherwise you're trying to get pulled in 18 different directions and trying to find a recipe and whatever else. So I tried to make my recipes as simple as could be so that it didn't take forever in the kitchen, and they could then have that time to just kind of chat and see what was going on and touch base with their family.
Jason: And part of being able to have that time to spend with family, I think is also bringing in income. If you are struggling financially, then it's harder to make time and a lot of your focus now is on helping entrepreneurs make better use of their time. And in Influencer Entrepreneurs, the book that you just came out with, you talk about the "PACK framework". Can you talk a little bit about what PICK stands for and how you came up with it?
Jenny: So PACK is an acronym. The P stands for" positioning". A is for authenticity, C is for "confidence" and K is for "kindness". And I believe that 4-part framework can help you in any sort of business that you want to be in. Whether it's going to be solely online, whether you want to do brick and mortar.
It gives you that framework so that you can really lean into that greatness and understand who you are and what problems you solve for the audience that you're trying to reach. And really understanding what that looks like.
Jason: I think that, you know, the first "P" says positioning, and I think that's huge, that a lot of bloggers can relate to.
Jason: There's always talk about how do you determine what your niche is? How do you determine what audience you're focusing on, and it can be really hard to figure out what that means. What advice do you have for how bloggers or entrepreneurs can find a position that's really right for them?
Jenny: Yes. So I think a lot of times when it comes to bloggers, we often will try to think of, like you said, the niche. Like how can I get so specific when and then for some that can be hard because then they get stuck into this tiny little niche and they, it's difficult to continue to meet content like that.
So what I actually believe positioning is about is about you, your personal brand. What does that look like? So I always tell clients, you know, if you're not sure what makes you different. Ask, ask your family and friends, post it on Facebook and just put it out there on your personal page and ask, Hey, what are you, what's, what's one word that comes to mind when you think of me?
I had a recent client that actually did this, and the word that kept coming up over and over again was kindness. You are so kind. This is, you know, that's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of it. And after I had read the comments, I looked at her and I said, it's so true. That's exactly who you are and you don't do it, you, it's not something you think about. It's something that's just naturally your personality.
And at that time, it was before all of the pandemic and everything else that we were going through now, but she was trying to kind of connect her 2 businesses. She had a brick and mortar. Jostle had a blog, and with that brick and mortar, it was a pizza shop. They had a couple locations, and that was part, it was important to her to be part of the community and wanting for people to really feel like they knew the owners of this pizzas shop.
So she was able to incorporate this kindness piece, not only into the brick and mortar pizza shops, but then also into her blog. It became part of just everything she wrote about had something connected back to kindness, passing it on, leaving that ripple effect, and I think that that's what we need to figure out.
It's not always about necessarily the niche that you go into, sometimes it's also about who are you as a person. What is your background? How can you be very vulnerable with your audience as far as your personality, possibly, or even what you've gone through in the past? Um, I think that's what really sets us apart. There are so many influencers and bloggers that are out there that you need to have a story that people can connect to you. And that's what I mean really truly by positioning.
Jason: I think that's very valuable what you're talking about, about focusing on what makes you unique. If you write about AirFryer recipes, you are stuck writing about AirFryer recipes. Whereas you were saying with your original blog, The Melrose Family, you're focusing on ways to get families down to a table together.
And that exact same message applies to the work you're doing now writing for bloggers versus writing for cooks. And it would apply to an almost an infinite amount of other products and services and industries because you're focused on a type of person, not a specific technique or just this small kind of little niche that you have to focus on. It's this larger brand around yourself.
Jenny: Yes. Even when you say you gave that example of an AirFryer, if you're doing AirFryer recipes. What again is going to make you different from everyone else? And for some that might be that you tell stories about your dog as part of creating that content because like we know SEO obviously is important and you need to be found that way for your content.
That brings people in, it doesn't keep them coming back. They go to Google and they look for an AirFryer recipe and they find it, and you have it, and you've told no story, no personality whatsoever. They're not coming back. You've lost them. Whereas if you put in more of your personality, whether it's on your blog or on your social media platforms, it'll bring people back because they start to know, like, and trust you.
Jason: And this ties into a lot of the authenticity of what you talk about. I think, there's been a lot of virtual happy hours on Everything Food Conference Facebook Group lately. And in several of them it's come up, how much should you share? People ask, I understand that I need to be authentic and I need to share, but does that mean everything? How much, where's that tradeoff between kind of oversharing and sharing the right amount for your to grow your brand and your blog?
Jenny: That's a great question because there is a line. And I think the line changes. For each individual person. You can normally tell where you start to step into the gray, you'll get that kind of uncomfortable feeling. And for some that great comes sooner than it does for others.
Perfect example is as a lifestyle blogger, I let my kids be in my pictures from the very beginning. It was kind of me being able to show how that's what it was about for me. It was about being able to have that time with my kids and I wanted people to be able to connect with them. I've used their real names. I had pictures of them. Whereas other moms that were bloggers at that time, they don't use their kids' names, they don't want pictures of their kids taken, that is a gray line to them. And there is no wrong or right answer as far as what should be shared and what shouldn't be. It's really what you're comfortable with.
Now, if you turn around and tell me that you're not comfortable sharing anything, that's going to be a bit of an issue. Because you do have to share something. You do have to have that personality behind it. Unless you're looking to solely rely on SEO and Pinterest traffic, then if that's what you're going to do, fine. You don't have to show any personality, but you're awesome. Probably not going to keep those people coming back to you over time.
Jason: And I think if you're nervous about, like you're saying with kids, a lot of people don't want to show their kids, I can understand a lot of your day to day things in your life you might not want to share. But you still have dreams and desires and opinions about things that you can work into your content and you can build your entire position based on being authentic to yourself about what you feel and what you've experienced without having to go into, you know, here's what my son, you know what elementary school he goes to.
Jenny: Right. Yes. And it's more about talking about, like you said, those struggles right now. Being able to talk about how the ups and downs of what you're feeling with being quarantines and remote learning and sharing just your thoughts and getting to opportunity for others to interact with you and share their opinions on what's going on and how they're handling it, give that chance to connect.
So a lot of times what you put on your blog, maybe you're not giving as much personality behind the scenes. You're going to do that maybe over on Instagram stories where you have the opportunity to just kind of, it's there and it's gone for 24 hours. It gives that quick snippet of information for people to be able to connect with and interact with.
And I think that's really where you have the chance to decide what you're comfortable sharing and what you're not. There are things that I will never share, especially if there's things out there that I don't want my kids to know that I talked about. Um, so you know, you just have to know the line for yourself and when you start to get that feeling.
Jason: I like what you just said too, about you can share something on Facebook and then share something else on Instagram stories. I think a lot of people look at being authentic and they think, well, I have to be the exact same everywhere, and that's not life. Just because you're now interacting on social media. I mean, I am, I'd like to think I'm authentically myself with my wife and with my parents and with my college friends, but I am a very different version of myself with them.
There's a lot of overlap, but I still have the same hopes and dreams, but I don't act the exact same way I do with my parents as I do with my friends. And you can do that across different platforms.
Jenny: Yes, absolutely. And because the important thing to remember is that you have different pockets of your audience on different platforms. The people that are over on Facebook may not be on Instagram, and the way in which they interact on Instagram is very different than the way that they interact on Facebook. So you have to kind of be cognizant of that, play into that, and use the different features of the platforms to really be able to give yourself a chance to connect with your audience.
Jason: I think one concern a lot of bloggers have when you talk about finding a position, cause that almost by definition means excluding groups of potential readers. And so they worry, you know, narrowing down their market too much of who they can reach, how you kind of reconcile the need to position yourself with still be able to reach enough people to make a living and grow a business?
Jenny: I think there's a difference between an avatar and an audience. A lot of people like to talk about the difference between the two, right? You need to know who that person is that you're ideally trying to talk to. You need to have that person in mind because you're trying to attract that particular person.
I talk a great deal about the fact that I'm a former teacher because a teacher is going to be attracted to the way that I teach. It's very strategic. I do not let you skip. I give you homework. There are accountability and expectations, and it's that teacher, whereas someone who's a little bit more maybe of a free spirit and doesn't want that, they're not necessarily going to be attracted to me and wants to be a client, and that's okay.
So I think. Having in mind someone that you ideally would want to work with, who is that dream audience that you're trying to attract your content? Someone that's going to, you know, talk about your recipes to their friends or is going to make everything and put it up on Instagram. Who was that person? And then being okay with it's not for everyone. I share my kids on my Instagram stories and some people probably don't want to know about my kids or my dog or whatever else. And if it repels them, you're not my ideal client. It's not the right person that's supposed to work with and that's okay.
Jason: I think it's Seth Godin that says if you try to make a product or information for everyone, you're really making something for no one. That you should shun the nonbelievers and embrace the people that believe what you believe in, that you're trying to reach. Because you will have a lot stronger connection with those people than you would just trying to put out a generic message to everyone.
Jenny: Yes. They're going to find that ability to connect. It's that 80 / 20 rule. I mean, they talk about the fact that 80% of your revenue will often come from 20% of your audience because those are the ones, those are your diehard fans. They are going to get whatever you want. They, you put out a product, they're buying it. You put out a course, they're doing it. You have an event, a conference that are coming. Um, and those are the people that you ideally want.
Mike McCalowitch who actually wrote Profit First, he's most well-known for, also wrote The Pumpkin Plan. And it's not one of his most well-known books, but it's one of the best books I think he's ever written.
He talks about the idea of you want to grow this huge, gigantic pumpkin ideally is what you want, you don't want all the little tiny ones. You want that big one that's perfect. And that's what you're trying to grow with your audience. That's your avatar, that huge pumpkin that is, and you want to have seeds and people that you can continue to grow just like that giant pumpkin.
Jason: I think that's a great way to look at it, that you're just trying to grow a single individual thing, that you're sharing the consistent messaging with, your being authentic in yourself and it's so much easier to reach them and develop passionate fans within that.
I understand that you risked life and limb while you were practicing your elevator pitch, but I haven't actually heard what your specific elevator pitch is. I'd like to hear what is your positioning for a good example of it?
Jenny: I did. I had the positioning for The Melrose Family was a little bit different obviously, than the positioning for Jenny Melrose.
It's funny that you said life and limb, I'm like, Oh, he definitely read the book! Because when I was working on this, I was running and managed to trip and fall and scrape up my knee because I was concentrating so badly on getting it down and being able to really put it out there.
So the positioning for The Melrose Family, which I did sell last spring. With that, I was looking to create quick and easy recipes and products again to bring people back to the table. For JennyMelrose.com it's, I want to be able to reach female entrepreneurs in order to help the young girls in their lives see that there is no glass ceiling. So ideally, I'm looking to work with them so that they see successful business women and know that they can be business women themselves when they grow up.
Jason: I think that's a great example of an elevator pitch because you talk about it in your book coming up with one. I think that shows it has information so I know what you're trying to get across, but it also kind of has the lofty ideals of why it's not, I'm trying to help people make money or bloggers grow an audience. I'm trying to give young women examples of what they can do, to shoot for. And I think that's what's really good in an elevator pitch that if you tell that to someone. They're not going to be like, Oh, okay, well I know everything about you. They're not going to say, Oh, I want to know more about this, or I've been trying to do that, and it really jump-starts conversation.
Jenny: Yes and it combines a little bit of your mission statement and your vision for your business. So having a lot of people will think, Oh, elevator pitch, I'm just going to tell them what it is. I help this or I create this, or whatever it might be. I think adding in that mission and your vision, like you said, gets them to ask more questions, "what do you mean by that?" Or why? Because there's probably something in my past where I didn't see that in my life. I didn't see female business owners and know that that was even a possibility. I mean, I was a schoolteacher. I was supposed to be a schoolteacher and die teaching, or at least retired teaching for sure at full, like 65.
Jason: I think that's what a lot of people don't look at it. An elevator pitch is not the end of the conversation. Ideally, it's opening the door to a larger conversation and to kind of network with different people.
Jason: I really like how you talk about confidence. I thought that was one of the best sections of the book. Just this focus on confidence and as you say, owning your greatness, which I think is such a great phrase. And it's something that almost all bloggers struggle with. I think a lot of us don't feel comfortable while talking ourselves up and tooting our own horn. We start to feel shut down about that. And something I've tried to work on a lot, just being like as like reading your bio, like you've done a ton of impressive stuff and you should own all that impressive stuff that you've done. So can you talk a little bit about why it's so important to own your greatness and how you can go about doing that when you might not feel comfortable talking about what you do.
Jenny: Absolutely. So confidence is such, something that I think so many people have to work on. It's normally something you see in females, that it's such an issue. Even if they have something that they have done and it's exceptional, they won't talk about it. They're someone else has to say it for them in order for it to be brought up.
It still happens even in my own everyday life. Someone will, a best friend will bring up the fact about the book and I'll kind of squirm and kind of slide down in my chair as she's trying to talk about it. Um, but it's, it's that mindset, in the book I talk about faking it in order to make it. And for a lot of people, that seems counterintuitive when we just talked about how you need to be authentic, and now I'm telling them to fake it.
Well, that's because when I'm talking about faking it, it's more about an aura or that just knowing that you can do what you want to do and believing in yourself. You have to have that belief because people can sense it. People can sense when you're doubting that you should be pitching a brand for a $1,500 sponsorship.
People are doubting when you're trying to sell a product and you don't really believe in it, or you don't know if you should believe in it because it hasn't sold yet. You have to have that confidence that just tells them that you've seen success from it, and that's why you believe in it.
You have to have that first though. You don't have that mindset piece all set up and kind of tied up in a bow ready to go when you go to sell or put forth something, whether it's pitching a brand or putting out an affiliate product for someone else, people are going to sense it. And they're going to kind of push back and not end up purchasing so.
You have to just kind of deep breath and just think about, I'm put out this email and if I don't get any responses, I don't get any responses. And it's not a personal thing, it's, it's just putting it out into the universe and letting it be there.
Jason: It's hard to instill confidence in other people when you aren't projecting it in yourself. And one thing that I've seen a lot, and I've heard from attending conferences and speaking with other bloggers, is that a lot of them, I think, have they feel uncomfortable because they're nervous and they don't, they don't really feel like they have it together, as opposed to all the experts who so obviously have everything together.
And the big secret is the experts don't have it together. Like, I don't want to speak for you in any way, but I know for me half the time I, I'm just terrified and anxious that I'm making a fool of myself. But I try to project confidence because I'm taking up people's time. If I'm going to pitch something or do a presentation, it's because I believe I have value.
And in the moment, I might be doubting myself and in my head I'm running around with, you know, surrounded by flames. But I try to project that confidence. And so just because you don't feel like you know what you're doing, no one else does either. We're all trying to get through this and believe in ourselves as best as we can.
Jenny: And the more you do it, the more you practice it. It gets easier. People will say to me all the time, Oh, you go live all the time and you just feel so confident in it. And I'm like, yeah, I've been doing it for 3 years. I'm constantly going live. I'm doing podcast interviews and even my past podcast interviews, when I talk, one of the things I talk fast and sometimes I try to talk so fast that my mind doesn't totally catch up.
So you'll hear it in my voice and I've had people say, well, why don't you, I'm, you can just edit that. And I'm like, no, we're leaving that in. Um, that was actually one of the hardest parts about the book is because they don't like those hesitations when you have it on audible. That it's taking me forever to do the edits because I'm like, no, I want that in there. That's me. That's how I talk. That's how I think. I want my people to feel like they're listening to me read.
I think one of the things you really can do is just to practice it. Like if going live isn't your thing, make yourself, do it. You'll become more comfortable. I am actually an introvert. I despise conferences, it's really hard for me. I normally am exhausted afterwards and people think I'm nuts when I say that, because of course I hosted my own conference. Um, and I had a hangover for literally a week and not from drinking. It was from the social anxiety and all of the stimulus. It's just too much for me. It's not my personality.
But the practice of being able to kind of fake it and being able to just put it out there and be who I can be best that I can with people as I'm talking to them is what's important.
Jason: I think that practice aspect is so important and it's so overlooked. It was shocking to me when I got started public speaking. I've been doing it for 4 or 5 years now. And when I was just getting started, I had people come up to me and say, you're such a good public speaker. I'm jealous that you're such a natural, you're so natural at this. And I was like, yeah, completely natural. You know? Once I did 6 months of weekly Toastmaster meetings and I took 3 different presentation skills workshops, and I got involved in improv to improve my stage presence, and I practiced this specific speech probably 15 or 20 times, so I have it completely memorized from start to finish, even though it's an hour - that it was completely natural.
And it's just like you need to put that time in. You don't look at a photographer and go like, wow, they're just so naturally gifted at taking food photos. We look at them and say, wow, they've been doing this for 20 years, they've put in the time and they know how to do it. And the same is, I think, in my opinion, I believe that the same is true on almost everything. That whether it's networking, personal interactions, public speaking, being confident, all of these are skills that you can learn just like anything else, but you have to want to improve and put in some time and energy at it.
Jenny: Yes. No, it's absolutely true. It's funny because in the book I talk a little bit about the fact that I was a basketball player, um, and went to college on a scholarship.
And for those that don't know, I'm only five, four, so I'm not a very tall girl by any means, but it was about practice. That's exactly, it's just like a sport. Anything else? You have to put that practice in and just start to feel comfortable and work through the kinks. Notice where you're, you know, when it was basketball, I would notice where my elbow would kind of stick out when I was doing a foul shot or I would speed up or do something that wasn't working.
With this side of my business, it's noticing where I kind of stumble or noticing where I feel like my audience really isn't paying attention to me. Maybe I'm not asking the questions correctly or having a good call to action. All of those things are important and practicing it is the only way to get through it.
Jason: I think it's real hard mentally to look at some of these things that we consider our personality. Like whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, how you speak, how you communicate. These aren't skills like photography or cooking, they are part of our personality. Which is, it is true, but they are still skills.
When you're developing a recipe you've never done before, if it's a little over cooked or the spices are a little too heavy, you don't look at that and go like, I'm worthless. I'm a failure because I put in too much paprika. Oh, okay, next time I'll fix that. But when we get in front of the camera and we talk too fast, or we don't get our message, or we stutter, or we take 10 takes to get something down, we think, Oh God, I've just, this is me I'm just not good at this. And it's you need to have that same mindset that this is a recipe you're trying to develop. Just keep diving in. It's saying nothing about who you are as a person. Just keep trying to improve and get better and better. And suddenly you will go, wow, I just did a whole 30-minute podcasts without taking a break. And, I don't even need an edit because it went well. I'm actually getting this down finally.
Jenny: It's very, very true.
Jason: You talk in the book about needing to hear "nos" in order to hear "yes". Can you talk a little bit about what that means and why? Why the ability to hear "no" and be okay with that is so valuable in a entrepreneur.
Jenny: Being an entrepreneur is a roller coaster ride, let's be honest. It's up, it's down. I don't care how much money you're making, you are making $7 million or you're making $7.
It is ups and downs. You come crashing down to go right back up. And it happens all the time, especially when different things kind of change in economy and whatever. And we see different ways that we need to try to start doing things with algorithms or new social media platforms. So what that "no" gives you, it builds up your, your skin. It builds up your ability to be able to hear the "no" and to be able to keep moving.
So one of the things that I've talked about in Pitch Perfect Pro, my course that really walks you through how to work on sponsored content, is that you have to hear, you have to, you have to get in front of 100 people and out of those 100 people, I want you to hear 90 "nos". And people will say to me, wait, what? Yeah. Because the law of averages is one out of every 10 people is going to say "yes". So if you get those 90 "nos", then your yeses are going to start coming. You have to continue to get that, have thick skin and continue to push past those "nos" that you're going to hear so that you can get to that "yes".
And that's sales, that's pitching, that's affiliate marketing. It's really a numbers game, you have to get it in front of people. Even list growth, working to build your email list. You have a great opt in, you think your audience is going to be, and I have clients all the time that will come to me and say, don't understand why no one is getting this, getting my opt in.
And I'll say, okay, great. Well let's talk about it. Like where is it? Where can I find it on your site? And they're like, it's in the sidebar. Okay, where else? Oh no, it's in the sidebar, my sidebar is on everything. And then I'll ask, well, where's the majority of your traffic coming from? Is it mobile? And they'll say, yeah.
I'm like, okay. So I have to scroll all the way past the content that I'm trying to read because I came for a recipe, and then you think I'm going to go down to your sidebar and actually see where your opt in is. No one's seeing this. So you have to really start to think about, okay, where can I put this so that people will see it?
Where can I talk about it? It can't just be in my sidebar or, Oh, it's a popup. People love telling me the popup and I'm just not getting people to subscribe. And my thought is always, well what do you do when a popup comes up? Cause I know what I do, I just hit delete and I'm done. Sure. You'll get a couple people here and there that will put their information in because their first day on the internet apparently. But other than that, they're not going to do that. So you have to have find other ways to get in front of them. It is. It's just a numbers game no matter what it is that you're doing.
The other thing I always see is I'll have people come to me and they'll say, um, my product that I put out, I put it together, ebook or put together a course. It's terrible. No one wants it. They'll say, okay, well let's take a look at your link. Your sales page for it sales page is beautiful. How many people saw this. And they'll look at their stats and go, 11 and I didn't get any sales. And I'm like, Oh, dear Lord. Okay, so 2 to 8% of people actually purchase, and with that 2 to 8% they need to have seen this 7 times before they'll even take any action to be of that 2 to 8%. So now let's talk about 11 people and let's just do 8% of 11 people. I'm not good at math, but is that even one? Like that's the kind of things that we have to be thinking about is, it's numbers. We just need to get in front of people and interact with them, which is one of the reasons that I love Instagram stories. It's like one of my favorite places to be.
Jason: And you do a lot with that. You picked the cover of your book on Instagram stories, isn't that right?
Jenny: That's correct. Yup. I think it's just one of the best ways to get your people to engage. So I had done a shoot and I had a couple ideas for pictures that we kind of loved. I had my team kind of look at them. We put up 4 or 5 different pictures, and I put it up on stories and labeled it picture A, picture B, picture C. And then at the end I asked them, you know, what picture should I choose for the book? And they all picked the picture that we used for the cover. Um, and then the one that came in like 2nd that was probably, I don't know, the other 50% of people that was choosing something, it's the back.
So now they all see something that they're like, wait, I picked that picture. I wanted that. She listened to what I had to say. And one of the great things about that too is the interaction on that particular set of Instagram stories was through the roof. People want to give you their opinion, whether it's about a cover for a book or if it's about what you should make for dinner.
And that's how you start talking to them. Because Instagram stories right now, they're pushing them. You go into Instagram and the first thing you see are those little bubbles and those little bubbles, the people that are up close are the ones that you're interacting with the most. So they'll continue to show their content to you.
So when you have people actively engage and comment and say, I like picture B, or I like picture C. That's telling Instagram that they want to interact with you and see more of your content. So now you're going to have even more of an opportunity to get in front of them.
Jason: So if a blogger is interested in getting more involved in Instagram stories, what type of content would work good for someone that's just dipping their toe into stories?
Jenny: The biggest thing is trying to stay consistent as possible. And most people will say, well, how many times do you post? And honestly, I would go 3 to 5. It's like a great sweet spot. These are 15 second videos if you do a video, but it doesn't always have to be a video. It can be a picture with just a poll, which one do you like better? Or it can be a picture with questions to be able to, for people to put in, to ask you about.
When it comes to it, you just show everything. Think about like 5 categories in your life, and also have your content, your blog, that you can share about and try to put them in.
The other thing that I would recommend for Instagram stories is think about throughout your day what would be something that you consistently could share because they're looking for that consistency. So for me, it's my dog, which I'm shocked, has not barked or tried to climb onto my lap. And he's not a lap dog by any means he's much too large. But he's on my Instagram stories all the time. And it's easy because I'm like, Oh shoot, I only did 2 stories, say, what are you going to do dumb, dumb? Let me take a quick picture. And it, and it gets a ton of engagement. People know him. When I meet people at conferences, they'll ask about him before they ask about my kids. Thinking about what's consistent throughout your day. Do you start your morning off with yoga? Do you start running or do you have a smoothie or just part of your routine? Think about 3 things that are routine and then throughout the day, and then add in little snippets that you can kind of post.
One of the great things I see food bloggers doing right now is they will have like almost like themes that they were thinking of for each day. So yesterday was a great example because it was Cinco de Mayo as well as Taco Tuesday. So I had a couple food bloggers that I noticed put up, here's Taco Tuesday recipes, and they had a branded kind of story, pit shot picture they put up, and then they had two recipes right afterwards.
Now here's the key with this, because a lot of food bloggers I see making this mistake, it's what they'll do is they'll use Swipe Up if they have 10,000 followers or they'll just put up the photo and there was no way to go to the recipe. What you actually want to do, even if you have Swipe Up, is to tell them to DM you for the recipe. Because what happens is it goes to your DM's, which is showing Instagram they want to interact with you. Plus, let's think about it. Swipe up they do that all day long. They're not actually going to stay on the page long enough to use the recipe. So when you have them actually DM you, they're asking for that recipe, it's now in their DMs with the link. They can go back to them any time when it's convenient for them. Rather than trying to go back to your stories to Swipe Up, which really is like just something we don't even consciously do anymore.
Jason: This also ties in a little bit to what we were talking earlier about positioning and reaching less people. Is that, yeah, by making them DM you, you're going to reach a lot less people maybe than just Swiping Up, but the people that take the time to reach out to you, are these are going to be these types of raving fans that love you and love your type of content.
I think you mentioned that in the book about you know, the size of your, of your following doesn't matter as much as how engaged they are and passionate. You can have a following that's a 10th the size, but if they are much more engaged and they're much more passionate, that could be an even more valuable asset than having a larger audience and it's kind of like, yeah, they're fine and put out good stuff, but aren't fans, true fans of what you do.
Jenny: Right. And that's for you want those types of fans, because if you want to actually monetize your blog beyond just ads, you have to have those types of people. Because the brands that are going to do sponsored work want to see that you have that engagement. So you can be a micro influencer with 1500 followers and they're going to pay you to do Instagram stories if you can show. What your engagement is and what you can actually put together for them.
Same thing with selling a product. If you don't have people that know how to interact with you and your product, just not going to sell. They don't know what to do except swipe up and then they go to swipe up and they click on something and it takes them off the page and then they're gone anyways. It's really about creating those relationships that they feel like they know you.
I can't tell you how many times I've had people come up to me at conferences and start talking to me, like I said, about the dog or about my kids. The first time someone asked about my kids, it was very early on where I was starting to speak and we didn't have the dog yet, and I kind of went like, use my kid by it, by her name, and I was kinda like, are you a stalker? And she's like, no, no, no. I watch your Instagram stories and your podcast. I'm like, okay. You kind of freaked me out a little bit. Now I've gotten used to it. It's just part of knowing what's going on in our lives.
Jason: The joys of being authentic, right? People you're like, have we met before? And they're like no, no we've never met. I feel like I know you like, Oh good I'm glad it's working.
Jenny: It's amazing too with podcast listeners. Um, I was at a conference like 2, 3 years ago and I wasn't speaking I was actually listening to someone else. And I asked a question about something that he had said, and afterwards I got up to go use the restroom before the next speaker, and I went to walk past like 3 girls and they stopped me and said, Are you Jenny Melrose? And I was like, uh huh. They go, we didn't know who you were because we didn't, we've never seen like a picture of you before, but we recognize your voice. The second you started talking and asking that question, we knew exactly who you are. That's weird.
Jason: That's awesome. That's, that's what you were looking for in fans with sharing yourself and getting out there and doing things. You're interacting with your, with your fans, which. You know, especially Instagram stories, like you're saying, it's a great way to not only build this engagement, but also to learn what your fans are interested in. What type of problems do they have that you can help solve with future solutions, and just kind of getting in front of them and building them up into these lifelong fans, which I think is at the heart of your book. Be yourself, find other people that really like who that is, and then help them solve the problems that they have. And things will start to come together if you keep at that and practice it, you know, put in the hard work.
Jenny: Nope. It's absolutely true, and I think no matter what kind of content you're creating, you can use that framework. You can, because it's really just about being you and knowing how to influence and just talk about the things that you love and get those people on board with you, without being pushy.
Jason: I think that's one of the nice things is that when you are authentically yourself, you aren't. You're never selling, selling to people. You're not doing this hard sell. You can talk about the things that you care about and are passionate to you because you care about them and they're passionate to you.
So you're not saying like, Oh, you should do this because they're giving me money for a sponsored post. You can say, this might be a sponsored post, but it's with this brand that I love and I believe in, and this is how I've used it in the past. And if you have these similar needs, which I know a lot of you do, I think it's going to solve that problem for you, which. So much easier to write and get across to your audience.
Jenny: Yes. That was honestly one of my favorite things about The Melrose Family. I was great at writing sponsor work because I didn't, that was my most popular content. Because I would try my hardest to make sure that it fits into the brand and it fit into something that I knew that they wanted.
And I always tell the story about Glad trash bags. And it's in the book as well, about how Glad came to me wanting me to do a 4 day smelling challenge on their garbage. And I was like, yeah, that's not going to work. But came back to them and I was like, listen, this is what I want to do is the story I want to tell.
We had Caribbean fresh tacos. And my little one left a piece of her fish taco in the garbage before we left for a 4-day weekend, came back and the garbage smells great. But the pinnable is the Caribbean fish tacos, the Facebook post, the Instagram posts, and I'm authentically putting in a story that ties your brand into it.
And I got pushed back on it at first and finally just said, listen, if you that's fine. I'm willing to walk away. Like I won't do it. We're not signing the deal. Then they came back and ended up signing and then a year later came back to buy the rights to the photos.
Jason: That's awesome. I love how that can work together. When you, when you know your audience and when you know what they're looking for and how they're going to react to content, it's a lot easier to feel like, no. I know you're saying this, you know, brand, but I know my audience and this is what they want, and then when they listen to you, it's great, and if they don't listen to you, you know, this opportunity wasn't right for me.
Jason: So we're getting near the end of our time. But the one aspect of your book that we haven't talked about that I really thought was important, especially with everything going on now, is the end of PACK is kindness. And that's, you know, having kindness in your interactions, in your work. And can you talk a little bit about why you think showing kindness is a pillar of building a successful business.
Jenny: It's something that gets passed down with a ripple effect. It's just like the person that goes into the drive through for Starbucks and the person in front of you pays for your coffee. So you're going to do the same thing behind you. You just continue to pass that along.
And I think we as business owners need to be kind to others because they're going to remember that, whether it's customer or a colleague. In the same token, we also need to be kind to ourselves. That is one of the biggest places I watch women that are moms and trying to build businesses. They don't take time to say, okay, what I'm doing is amazing and I need to just understand that and be okay with the growth that I'm having.
In the book I talk a lot about it's your path, your journey, not everyone else's. You need to sometimes put the blinders on. You need to sometimes block the people that who you cannot watch on Instagram that trigger you. I do it to my sister-in-law. You need to do what is going to give you that joy and passion.
Many of us are very fortunate because as bloggers we get to do something that many of us love. It's a hobby and if you're going to be a business owner, you have to love it because like we said, it's those ups and downs.
So I think the kindness piece was something at first it wasn't originally part of the framework. And then as the more I thought about it and the more I noticed what I did in my every day with clients or with someone that worked for me or someone that I, whose podcast I was on, I noticed that that was a huge piece of how I conducted myself and how I wanted people to know me. Um, and I think that that's also a piece of why your mission, your mission, your values are so important when you're creating and thinking about your business.
Jason: If you look at the people you choose to interact with and the people that choose to interact with you, a lot of times it's the people that you're nice to and that are nice to you. And it's such a small thing in most cases, to just start off by the default of treating people nicely and treating them with kindness and in situations where you want to reach out in anger or frustration, it's better to take a step back and think, okay, is there something else going on? Is there? And maybe there's not, and it's just better not to engage.
Because every time you engage with somebody, you are spending energy. And I think spending in a, in a negative way, it's not moving your business forward. And most of us don't enjoy that. So focus on those positive interactions. Be positive yourself. I think it goes a long way towards building up relationships with your peers and with your readers and fans.
Jenny: Yes. No, absolutely. And it's so easy nowadays to hide behind our computers and to say something or to make a comment or go after someone because they're using your content.
I mean, that's one of the biggest things I see, especially with food bloggers, is they'll flip out when someone is using their photo and they'll go after them, whoever is doing it on Instagram. When really if you took a second and just thought you don't know who that person is that did it, they may, honestly, I know it seems hard to believe, but they may honestly not realize that what they did is wrong. And if you approached it from being able to teach them, Hey, listen, this is what you really should be doing. I love that you love my content and I'm so honored, but I need you not to post the full recipe on your Instagram posts. Thanks so much.
Jason: I think there's a lot of. I hate to use overreaction, but there's a lot of extreme reaction to people either taking content or if they have problems with one of your recipes that it's on them for misunderstanding something to kind of lash out.
And I've found that if you treat these people with respect and you're nice to them, they often turn into someone that is one of your biggest fans because you, you're probably, they probably have done this in the past with other people and get negative reactions. And the way that you treat them. Stands out in their mind, and suddenly they're the ones that are passing along your links and they're commenting on your post and they turn into your biggest fans just because you took a breath before writing back and you were nice to them, which they don't get a lot probably.
Jenny: Yes. And always remember that people are reacting the way that they're reacting or saying the things they're saying, and it's nothing to do with you. Nothing to do with you. Something is wrong in their own personal life. And if you would just react to what they're saying and it not come out of kindness and taking a second to just be thoughtful about what you write, you could be adding to that as, especially right now. When people are self-isolating and hiding behind computers and not having any social interaction. When we come out of this we're still going to see people that very much probably forgot how to have human interference. So you're going to need to take a breath.
And I know that there's a lot of stress right now. I watch all like new Facebook posts about, Oh, she didn't have on her mask and we were online and what do I do? And you have to just from kindness, why it, how it could possibly affect you, and just being thoughtful about what you say to others. It's just it's going to be a ripple effect. People are going to remember it, and instead of being grumpy because you lashed out at them, now they're going to be kinder to the next person they talk to. It's a ripple effect.
Jason: I think that's a great thing to end the podcast on. I think it's just if we all treat each other a little bit better, a little bit more kindness, it helps make everything go much more smoothly and the world just moves a little bit, a little bit better, I think.
Jason: So I'm sure people are going to have questions, so if they have follow up questions, they want to check out your course or your book, they can reach you on Instagram at @Jenny_Melrose, on your website at JennyMelrose.com. And I also have links to everything we talked about in the show notes @makethatbacon.com/JennyM.
I just want to say thanks so much for coming on. I really enjoyed your book. I really enjoyed discussing it with you and diving deeper into some of the concepts and I think my audience is going to get a whole lot out of this.
Jenny: Thank you so much, Jason, for having me on. I truly appreciate it.
Jason: This has been Makin' Bacon, help you serve your fans, grow your income, and get the most out of your blog. Until next time, I'm Jason Logsdon.