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My Secret Revealed: I’m Out of the Nest!

15 Jan

It’s time to let you in so that you can share in my joy. Are you ready? OK first, mark your calendars for January 25, 2013. You’ll see why in a minute …

If you’ve been with me since I said I had something so wonderful to tell you but just couldn’t yet, I’m sorry to keep you in suspense for so long. The truth is that everything wasn’t final until yesterday so I didn’t want to count my chickens before …well,  you know. But now, the time has come for the biggest announcement I have ever made on this blog. And you get to be a part of it.

If you’ve been reading my blog for even a week, you know that I like to share encouraging posts on occasion. Posts that are meant to inspire you to DREAM BIG, take chances and live life to the fullest. These posts are straight from my heart and often, they are meant to encourage myself, too.

For example, do you remember when I told you this?

Gasp.

Gasp.

Or how about this?

KateUpdates BraveOr the baby bird?

KateUpdates Baby Birds

Or this one?

69665125457804418_s6de0TGRRemember when I dared you to spread your wings and jump from the nest?

Well, this birdie just flew the coop.

This morning, I let my boss know that he should start looking for someone to replace me because I’m starting my own business. I’ll stay with them for a month or so to help them get someone to replace me but then I’m done and solely focused on my business. He was excited for me, prayed for me and it was all around a great meeting!

Today my life is forever changed. I’m taking the risk, I’m jumping from the nest …

I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!

… and a little scared. But mostly excited 😉

I know this is my time.

I’ve been thinking about this for sometime and praying a lot, too. Doors have been opening left and right and it’s very clear to me that it is time to fly. And guess what? I am. 

On January 25, 2013 KateFinley.com will launch, offering Integrated Marketing and Public Relations Consulting services. (Public Relations, Media Relations, Social Media and Marketing)

Kate Finley KateFinley.comOH and guess what? I already have my first client.

More to come but thank you for being excited with me and sharing in the joy. I wish you the same!

What’s your BIG dream? Are you pursuing it? Are you about to leap from the nest?

~ Kate

Announcing Project Style Share! + Use Pinstagram to Simplify Pinterest Campaigns

18 Dec

pinstagram-instagram-pinterest

Note: This post was put together just as Instagram made a big announcement about how they use your photos. Be sure to read it.

Earlier this month, I was chatting with some friends on Facebook about the clothes we were wearing that day (yes, people actually do that) when I had an idea. What if  we created a board on Pinterest where we could share snapshots of our style every day for a designated period of time? We could even open the idea up to others so they could join in! I thought we could share pictures daily or as often as possible from New Year’s Eve throughout January. Fun idea, right?

I quickly announced the idea to my friends before thinking through all the details because I didn’t think it would be too challenging. I love using Pinterest so I’d just make a board where we could start accumulating pins. Well, this proved to be more difficult and time-intensive than I initially anticipated … Before getting into that, here’s the BIG IDEA:

Project Style Share
If you love clothes, style and accessories: Project Style Share is for you! It’s a fun way to connect with others by sharing ideas and highlighting your personal style. The rules are simple, take a photo of your attire or an accessory & share it on Instagram (Type: #projectstyleshare in the description so we can find it and pin it to our “Project Style Share” board on Pinterest) beginning New Year’s Eve through January 31st. Post a picture daily or as you’re able!

KateUpdates Project Style Share

Notice how I mentioned Instagram there? Well that’s because, as it turns out, Pinterest isn’t as easy to navigate as you’d think when it comes to hashtags and searching. At least, not for this sort of campaign. Here’s why:

  1. There isn’t a collaborative board option on Pinterest. Yes, they have secret boards but what about public boards? Sure, you can invite other pinners manually and grant them access to pin freely to your board if you follow them. However, if you’re trying to create a campaign that allows pinners to interact with each other on a central board, there isn’t really an uncomplicated option.
  2. Pinterest search is different. Whereas in Twitter and Instagram you can perform a search and find every mention of a particular hashtag or keyword, Pinterest ranks its pins and approaches search differently. Meaning, you can’t search by hashtags like #projectstyleshare and see everyone who used that hashtag. Instead, pin searches are ranked by how many times pines are repinned or liked. This poses a BIG problem when you want to find the content people are sharing or if they’re mentioning your brand by name.

So what did I do?

  • After my research, I decided to turn this into an Instagram campaign because utilizing hashtags is incredibly simple in comparison. Friends I’ve manually added to the Project Style Share pinboard can pin automatically and I’ll add others photos as I see them on Instagram.
  • However, there’s still problems with that option: Instagram doesn’t allow you to pin to Pinterest and vice versa.
  • Que Pinstagram. I’ll use this handy-dandy program to automagically pin from Instagram to my board:

KateUpdates Pinstagram

There you have it. As it stands, I think I found the best solution for this particular situation and I hope you gained some knowledge/ideas in the process. Know of an easier way to do this? Dish!

Also, please help spread the word about Project Style Share and consider participating beginning New Year’s Eve 😉

~ Kate

Five Tips to a Successful Blog (So You Want a Blog? Pt. 1)

19 Nov

Lately, I’ve had people ask for tips and advice on starting a blog so I thought I’d share some key concepts that have helped me. This is the first of a series I’m calling, “So You Want a Blog?” Before I go and share the tools I use or step-by-step directions, I wanted to share 5 keys that I consider essential to successful blogging. It’s my hope that these keys will help you whether you’re thinking of starting a blog or you want to build on the blog you already have.

Enjoy and please let me know your thoughts/questions/opinions in the comments below.

#1 Consistency

  • Decide how many times a week you can commit to sharing posts (daily, M-F, every other day, etc.) and stick to it. Not only does this help your Google ranking (which makes it easier to find you online) but it gives your readers a reason to regularly visit your blog and share your content.
  • This step took me a while to get comfortable with but I think I’m starting to find my groove. Initially I felt a little overwhelmed by the thought of how many times I “should” be blogging but then I decided to relax and to just have fun with it.
  • Yes, it’s a time commitment. Blogging is a time commitment. It’s also super fun and rewarding. It takes work but the payoff is worth it. Who knows what amazing things will result from your blog? Start dreaming now.

# 2 Community

  • This breaks down into two groups: Your readers and other bloggers. You want to make your blog a place that is comfortable for your readers to share their comments, share the content with others and encourages interaction. That’s the easier part of community in my opinion.
  • The harder part (solely based on the time that it takes) is to start developing relationships with other bloggers. Don’t be afraid. Bloggers are really friendly for the most part. Show interest in them and they’ll gladly return the favor. I will share some tools that can help you with this but for now, just know that building your blogger friendships takes time and research. You’ll spend time finding bloggers with similar interests, reading and sharing their content and finding blogger groups online.
  • Again, there is a time commitment involved but this aspect is honestly one of the most rewarding parts of blogging for me. I’m meeting so many neat people and learning tons every day from those relationships and the content shared. Which brings us to #3 …

#3 Content

  • Want to know my secret to writing content that gets people reading, following, commenting and liking my blog? Here it is: Ask yourself, what would I want to read? That’s it. It’s tempting to look at other blogs and begin wondering if you should write a certain way or about topics that aren’t as natural to you because it seems “popular” but resist it.
  • My best advice on content is that you share based on experiences you are having or share trending topics that are interesting to you. If you like to write about it, people will like to read about it. Not everyone will read your blog of course but your blog isn’t for everyone. It’s for people who align with your interests and passions. You have a target audience and we’ll get to how to determine that later but for now, know that your blog content doesn’t have to please everyone. That’s a relief, right?
  • Write about what you love and you will love what you write.

#4 Commitment

  • OK just like anything that’s truly worth doing (being healthy, fit and achieving your career goals, etc.) sometimes you just need to roll up your sleeves, put on your running shoes and DO IT. Honestly, there are times that you just don’t feel like blogging. That’s OK and perfectly normal.
  • Push through and just write. When this happens to me, I take a good ole’ fashioned pen and paper and map out some ideas in clusters (I’ll show you how I do that later too). That process usually sparks something that makes me want to write. Or, you can always share an image or quote that you think your readers would really like.

#5 Creativity

  • You can be as creative, artistic, silly, zany or even serious as you want to be. It’s YOUR blog. You get to decide what the look, feel and overall vibe is. I’ve read that one of the key elements to a successful blog is being passionate. So share what you like and what really gets you going and you’ll naturally acquire followers. You’ll also enjoy blogging a heck of a lot more if you allow your personality to shine through.

Stay tuned for more tips to help your blog soar.

~ Kate

P.S. Follow me on Twitter so you can see the craziness that ensues for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.