Episode 23: How To Develop Workflows & Systems for Blogging Success - Kristina Dowler • Dolly DeLong Photography

Episode 23: How To Develop Workflows & Systems for Blogging Success – Kristina Dowler

Episode-23-of-the-systems-and-workflow-magic-podcast-featuring-kristina-dowler

How To Blog Strategically for SEO & For Your Business

Welcome to another episode of The Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast! You are all in for a treat because I have my magical VA, Kristina Dowler, on the podcast today. She is truly a wizard and the mastermind behind my blogs. She has so much knowledge to share, especially if you want to set up a system and workflow for yourself in blogging. I am so excited to dive in with her on all the ways you can be strategic with your blog to support and grow your business. 

The Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast is brought to you by Dolly DeLong Education. This is a podcast for creative business owners who want to learn tangible steps to automate their business through workflows, systems, tools, and strategy in order to go from scattered to streamlined with purpose. Because even muggles can become automated wizards.

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Creating strategic content that serves your audience and grows your business is time-consuming. I’ve created a free content creation guide and checklist. In this guide to content batching, I’m sharing how I create 30 days of content in just 3 days, plus my Trello board and batching checklist!

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Review the Show Notes

Welcome and Get to Know Kristina (1:11)

What all does Kristina do? (5:48)

How to Create a Blog Schedule to Blog Consistently (10:13)

How to Choose Topics that Align with Your Offerings and Services (19:13)

How to Better Optimize Your Blog (35:34)

Where You Can Connect with Kristina (43:54)

Mentioned in Today’s Episode

Freebie, 10 Tips to Kickstart Your Blog

Blogging Toolkit

Blogging Schedule Template

Connect with Kristina ⬇️

Kristina’s Website 

Kristina’s Blog Shop

Connect with Dolly ⬇️

instagram.com/dollydelongeducation

facebook.com/DollyDeLongEducation

pinterest.com/dollydelong

Did you like this episode? Please share it on Pinterest!

Review the Transcript:

Dolly DeLong
Welcome to the systems and workflow magic podcast where I help entrepreneurs go from scattered to streamlined in their creative businesses. I’m your host, Dolly DeLong, a wife, a mom, and a photographer turned systems educator. Join me every week as we have conversations centered around creating tactical workflows, and automations in your business. Now, let’s make some strategic workflow magic. Hey, everyone, and welcome back to Episode 23 of the systems and workflow magic podcast. So I know I say this every week. But seriously, you are all in for a treat this week, because I have my magical VA on the podcast today. And she literally is the wizard and the mastermind behind the SEO of my blogs. And so I knew I had to have her on like, she has so much wisdom to share, especially if you are wanting to set up a system and a workflow for yourself in blogging and how to be strategic in your blogs. Christina is here. And so Christina, I’m gonna have you tell a little bit about yourself. And can you share your story with us?

Kristina Dowler
Yeah, absolutely. Well, first off, thank you for having me, I’m really excited to be here and excited to talk about this. But for me, so I’m Christina, I’m a content writer and virtual assistant for small businesses. I’ve been doing that for gosh, the six years now and four years full time. So I went full time when my son was born. Before that I was a photographer. So I started in the photography world, I had a photography business in college, I shut it down when I graduated, and you know, got a real job and all of that kind of thing. I got married, and about six months into being married, I decided I wasn’t going to go back to graduate school, I just thought I was going to reopen the business. And so I did that in November of 2015. And at the time, it was just going to be photography. And then I started to realize that there was this niche that was going on fulfilled in the creative industry, there were a lot of business owners, a lot of photographers in particular who really needed help with the back end of their business. And you know this because you do all of your dubsado setup and stuff. But there was this big market for for what became known as virtual assistants. So I started doing that work and build that business up. And that kind of took over over the photography. And then I had my son in 2018. And at that point, I went full time with the business. And I was still doing a lot of virtual assisting. So mostly the backend stuff, scheduling, helping people organize things. And I was also writing blogs for people at the time. And I started to realize that’s what I really liked to do. I liked the strategy behind it, I liked being able to just write, I always wanted to be a writer, although I never thought I’d be able to. It’s kind of one that I do that now. And then a few years ago, right around the time of the pandemic started, which is crazy to say a few years ago, I kind of made that pivot to focusing mostly on content writing. So at that point, my business really transitioned out of the traditional VA tasks and more into this content writing. So focusing on writing blogs, or any newsletters, those kinds of pieces for business owners who just don’t have the time, or don’t want to write or aren’t sure what to write. So that’s what I do. Now. I have another writer on my team, my sister in law, Brittany, She also writes with me, and we have a few other contractors that work with us and do various things on the business. But that’s where we are now. Like I said, I’m in my fourth year full time I went full time when my son was born, so I could be home with him. So that’s been really fun to grow. The business along with the baby isn’t really a baby anymore. But yeah, so that’s, that’s where I am now. And now this year, I have also started to put together resources for other business owners who want to blog and want to do it for themselves or can’t afford someone or you know, just want to keep things small to start. So I’m sure we’ll talk about that later. But yeah, so that’s kind of the new thing going on the business this year. And then I also co own a business with my sister in law called me to thrive. And so we do our own stuff over there to help women who are moms who are business owners, that whole thing. So that’s a whole nother spiel. But that’s kind of my story. And how I got into this, it was just kind of an accident, in a lot of ways. A few clients that actually are still with me, that took a chance on me many years ago. And now I’m still writing for them five years later. So really, really kind of a fun, fun, fun journey to where I am.

Dolly DeLong
I love it so much. And Christina, I actually I was thinking about this the other day, I don’t even know how you came into my world.

Kristina Dowler
I know that half. Well that happens a lot. I’ve been really lucky and really blessed and if any of my clients are listening to this, I want to say thank you to you because honestly, I grew a lot of my business by word of mouth. So 90% of my business has been so and so use me or I was in their group and they talked about you and so I’m really lucky in that sense. So a lot of my clients are friends of each other and you know, we’re in the same circle. So it’s really kind of cool to go somewhere especially I think it was Creative At Heart this summer. I went did I went virtualization digitally, virtually But even just sitting in rows, like I worked with her, I worked with her I knew her like it was just crazy to like, see, the people whose lives you know, have been intertwined with mine on and off for the last few years. So yeah, I kind of lose track after a while, but I’m really grateful. Anyways,

Dolly DeLong
I really think cuz I was talking to Rebecca about this Rebecca rice. I think it was through her. She, she told me, she told me to use so many people and I usually listen to her like 99% of the time. And you were one of the people she’s like, now that at the event of like, I texted her, I said, Rebecca, I need a blog person. I didn’t even know what to call me write my blogs for me. And she told me about you. So thank you for the love. Yes, thank

Kristina Dowler
you, Rebecca. I love her.

Dolly DeLong
Yeah, she’s awesome. So I guess like this kind of like brings me to my next question. I know you kind of answered this, but like, what exactly do you do now? Like, share all the sides of your business with

Kristina Dowler
us? Absolutely. So like I said, when I first started, I was what is traditionally known as a VA. Now, I mean that that term has so many meanings to so many different people, which is great. I think that’s a good thing. And a lot of ways. So what I initially started doing is like the backend work, I would help people get organized, we would set up workflows, we would organize your schedule, I help some photographers vocally even manage their schedule. At the time, like I said, I started to write blogs for people. And you know, when you first start out, you’re just like learning everything. So I did a lot of things to learn what I like to learn what I was good at. So literally, if you name a task, I probably did it. And then like I said, right around the start of the pandemic, when I really expected my business to flop I’m really grateful it didn’t, yeah, looking back on it, honestly, my business thrive then. And that was when I really started to niche down into what I do now, which is content writing. So my job now is to help my clients write quality content to put out on their site on a consistent basis. And we’ll talk about this a little bit later, I’m sure but to me, one of those important things when it when it comes to blogging for your business is being consistent. And as a small business owner, we have so many things that are pulling for our time and our attention and that this is one of the first things that goes out the window when people get busy. So my job is to make sure it doesn’t go out and write these posts. So I write things from blogs about weddings, I’ve written educational posts I’ve written venue has, I’ve literally you can name a topic. And I’ve probably written a blog post on it in the last five years, almost five years. But my job is to take my clients thoughts and my their notes and their photos and really organize them and create a optimized, intentional post that’s going to go live on their site. I also write newsletters to go along with them or monthly recaps, things like that. We do help with Pinterest management right now. So again, taking those blogs and putting them on other platforms. I’ve helped manage YouTube channels and podcasts on the back end as well. So I kind of do a little bit of those things. Now I really like all that stuff is just related to content, sharing your messaging. So I enjoy all of that. And then additionally, I do things like album designs and kind of those other tasks that are just kind of fun for my brain to do to design an album. But that’s basically what my work looks like right now. And then of course, I run my own business. So I’m doing my content there and the address the other business that I mentioned. So we do our own podcasts and things like that. But in terms of what I do for clients, that’s pretty much what it is. I always tell people, I just need a couple sentences and your gallery, and we can get you a blog post. So that’s in the simplest terms, that’s what I do.

Dolly DeLong
It’s it’s true, you all it really is true. The weeks of like, I can’t even string two sentences together about a family session. I mean, I know what happened, but I just don’t know how to concisely talk about it. And then Christina and her wizardry skills. By the way, she’s a Hufflepuff. Just like me, if you guys were wondering, I know, several of you like that she literally transforms two sentences into a very optimized strategic and I would say concise blog post. That’s the goal. It’s amazing.

Kristina Dowler
Thank you. No, no, it’s taken. I will say it’s taken a lot of time because I you know, I want people to blog. But I also want them to be realistic about the fact that being able to turn out a lot of blog posts quickly does take time. Yeah, you know, we’ll talk about some of the ways to kind of hack that. But yeah, I enjoy it. Now. I mean, I sit down and I just take all my clients notes, and I just write and write and write, you know, and then go start prepping it. But yeah, it doesn’t take much if you know what you’re looking for, you know where you’re you’re trying to think about writing and again, we’ll we’ll dive into this in a minute. But yeah, it’s it’s really fun. And I love I think what’s really fun about what I do is I do write for a lot of people, which is really fun, too. There’s a lot of voices and brands to capture. But I get to tell a lot of stories every single day. And maybe I didn’t capture those images, but I’m part of that story becoming, you know, live in the world to being shared. I think that’s really, really cool. That was something that during the pandemic, I kept going back to his like, even despite everything that we were going through, no love was still happening. Babies are still being born families who are still, you know, thriving, are finding new ways to thrive, I should say. And I think that was really powerful to be like there are still stories being told despite everything else in the world. So that’s kind of the coolest part. I think about what I do. I may not know all these people individually, all these clients, at least you know my clients, but I still get to tell their stories. And that’s that’s a lot of fun.

Dolly DeLong
Well, you are so excellent at doing that. Which brings me it looks like merge that into, can you just share it more with the listeners about how to create a system for blogging? I know you have a lot to share about this. And so let’s just dive into the

Kristina Dowler
heart of it. Yeah, absolutely. So I think the first thing you should know, and think about blogging when you’re ready to start doing a free business is, no matter what kind of business you run, you should be, should absolutely be blogging, everybody can benefit from it. So I want to make that clear. Whether you’re a photographer or not listening to this, you should be blogging. Once you are like, Yeah, I want to blog about my business. The next thing you need to start thinking about is being consistent. People will always want like this magic answer of how many times a month they show blog, or how often and the reality is there’s not a real answer, I can’t be like once a week is the best. It’s really about what you can do consistently for your own business. For most of my clients, it’s once a week. So they’re turning or turning out four or five blogs a month, depending on how long the month is. But the goal is consistency. Because one of the reasons we blog is because blogs allow us to regularly update our website and an easy format. So we’re not having like create a new page all the time. We’re just creating a new a new blog. And that makes Google happy when they’re like oh yeah Dolly’s posted another thing on her website, it’s showing that you’re active, your business is active, you’re a real human being, you’re not some robot website. So those are some of the reasons we want to blog. So being consistent is important. I want you to I’d rather you blog once every other week, then blog for six days in a row and have nothing left for two months. You know, that’s, that’s something to keep in mind. So, that being said, I think the first step for first starting a blog for businesses to create a blog schedule. I have all of my clients do this, it’s non negotiable. You have to fill out a schedule with me, we need to know what you’re doing. We need to plan ahead. All of my clients do theirs in Trello. I do my own blog schedule and Trello I love Trello. I know Yeah. I love I love Trello. It’s super easy to use. And I won’t dive into tons of details about that right now. But one of the things I like being able to put a blog schedule is in Trello is because you can easily look at the month, the quarter of the year even to kind of see what’s going on, you can add your workflows with a checklist or however you use your cards in Trello. And it’s just really, it’s really easy to manipulate if something comes up or life happens, or you need to move something back. It’s like you’re not having to like redo a whole document, you’re just dragging a little card over. And now you can plan a lot more easily. So I think the first thing before you go crazy trying to blog for your business is make a schedule. And that sounds really vague. We’ll go into like how to do that in a second. But I think if you can learn to think ahead when it comes to blogging, that’s probably one of the most important things you know, when I get on client calls or inquiries. The first thing people ask is What am I going to blog or like, what do I do each month? And I’m like, well, think ahead, like what’s going on what’s coming up. And again, we’ll dive into that in a second. I think that’s the most the most important thing is learn to think ahead and learn to plan in advance. I know you talk about batching content all the time. I mean, you hear your masterclass and all that. So, you know, people listening to you know, like, that’s so important. So it’s the same thing when it comes to your blog, pick a day, and list out what your posts are going to be for the month. I’m not saying you have to write them all out right in that second, but decide what they’re going to be. And if you’re smart, you’ll even do the quarter like that’s 12 posts, like Yeah, 12 posts, you know, four posts for three months. So that’s really not that many when you break it down like that it feels overwhelming at first, but it’s not as many as you think. So I think that’s important. And then having a workflow within that for each blog post is really important. Again, you’re the queen of like, you totally know. Yeah, so I think having a workflow that works for your business is crucial. I mean, I have one that I pretty much use all my clients, we make small modifications based on their particular business or whether their blog gets pushed afterwards or things like that. But the same, the workflow is the same for every single blog we do, it just makes sure that we don’t skip anything that we do all the stuff. Because the end the day, you want to post these blogs. But if you’re not spending the time to optimize them, and make sure that they make sense and that they’re useful, then at the same time you’re wasting your time with that, if that makes sense. If you’re not spending the time making them worthwhile, then it’s not going to help you. So having that workflow allows you to make sure every single piece of content that you put out is useful to your business. Yeah,

Dolly DeLong
I wanted to say like just for those of you who might be brand new to listening into this podcast, and you are brand new to the idea in terms of workflows, simply I explain it as it is a sop or a standard operating procedure of a specific service or a task that like individual tasks that you do. If you think about it, we have SOPs for literally every single thing we do within our life, like, I know that all of us have some sort of workflow for how we get ready or routine at night or a workflow for how we get up and get ready. And so think of this as like a standard operating procedure specifically for blogging and so you don’t have to have all the workflows mapped out in your life like you don’t have to be crazy like me, just Step by step at a time and just start with the workflow for blogging. And think of it also as a blueprint, like, what do you want your ideal blueprint to look like for writing out hashing out blogs. And if you take the time, like Christina saying, take the time to hash it out. Now, you can document it in a project management tool, like Asana, or Trello, or even a Google Doc and write it out, have it as a blueprint. And then you can go back to it and use it as a checklist for yourself. So you’re not constantly guessing if I supposed to do this. Now, you have a checklist?

Kristina Dowler
Yep, exactly. And I think the workflows are nice, too. And I always tell people this, it can seem silly to do a workflow even for something like blogging when you’re a one-woman or one-man show. But the reality is, it helps you know, where everything is where like where you are, in the process, you’re like, oh, did I do this for that book? Did I share this book did I write this, you know, and then if you do ever grow into a team, it makes it way easier and way faster to acclimate your team member. So that’s just kind of a an added benefit down the line. But I love that because now as I’m having, you know, even myself, I’m growing a team and I have an admin and I’m, you know, we’re getting her tasks. It’s like, well, I don’t have to go back and reinvent the wheel, because I’ve been using these systems. And now I just add her to them. So that’s just something to think about to like in the long term. I know you’ve talked about before, too, like if something happened to you, and someone had to step into your shoes, can they follow your business. So that’s why I think it’s important to have these workflows and it to me, it’s literally a checklist, I like checklist, I like going through and be like I did all of the things I know I did all the things, and it just makes my life easier. You know, if you’re not quite quite with it one day, you’re, again, you’re not having to remember all of this in your head, it’s written down, it’s documented. So I really liked that as well. I like Trello, because I can not only lay out my blog posts and the topics and the dates and assign dates and know what’s going on when but I can again, add that workflow in so I can make sure I always know what’s going on. And Trello has a calendar view, by the way for people who like that view when you’re planning content. So you can always toggle into the calendar view and see where your content, you know, is at. So I always like that to like 10 people, because nobody realizes that I don’t take I’m going to be honest, I don’t take advantage of that. And I need to start doing that. Because I’d like an overview of everything. Yeah, it’s really nice. It’s really you know, I have a couple clients who just really like to visualize and that way, and so I always remind them to hit the little hit calendar, and you can see your list for the month and make sure you haven’t skipped anything or whatever. So. So that’s I think the first thing when you’re starting to blog in terms of system and workflow is get this schedule set up, get your workflow, and I I don’t know if I’m okay to say this now. But I do actually have a Trello template that contains my layout for the year. So it has spots for each month of the year. And then I actually have all of my workflows for the different kinds of blogs or weddings, engagement sessions, families, blah, blah, blah, down to podcasts and YouTube videos that get repurposed. So I actually have that available in my blog shop. So that’s something if you’re like, that overwhelms me, it’s done for you to do is put on your own Trello board and you can start tweaking it as needed for your own business. And it’s easy to copy the workflows over for like a new blog. So you have everything right there, you don’t have to like mess with it, it’s super easy. So I do have that. So that’s kind of a I like to tell people, my clients, I’ll get access to that, which is nice, too. They don’t have to, like do any of this before they come with me. Like I do it all for them. Their job is to fill out the topics, which is what we’re gonna talk about in a second, I think is kind of what to blog about. But once you have the format, it’s way easier to start planning in advance. So I just

Dolly DeLong
you all it will be in the show notes. So Christina will attest to this. I’ve been just like pestering her for like, weeks, like hey, when is that gonna go live? Because I want to share it. Like, she’s probably like, please get off me. I’m busy. You

Kristina Dowler
know, it’s so helpful. And honestly, at the time of this taping, we are finishing up putting the details on everything. So it’s not quite live by the time this this episode goes live, it will be but ya know, you’re motivated, you’re you’re reminding me as motivation to get it done. It’s not that I’m not motivated. It’s just you know, you’re busy, busy, busy. We all know it. So I’m really excited to get that out. And all of my clients use it and everyone loves it. So the proof is definitely in the pudding for that one that it is helpful to get yourself organized. And if that’s kind of a barrier for you like no more, there’s no excuses. Now you have an option to really get yourself started. Yes, then I’ve seen it and you all it is it is organized.

Kristina Dowler
Well, thank you. Yeah. So yeah. So that’s the first step. And then kind of the next thing when you think about planning and having that system for blogging, it’s actually thinking about what you’re going to blog. Yeah. And so this is I think the next kind of sticking point for a lot of people is what am I going to write about? What do I possibly have to say? So I kind of want to take two categories if you don’t mind of business owners. So I’ve worked with a lot of different business owners and there’s certainly a lot of topics and every business is different. So I’ll preface with all of that. But I think there’s kind of some big categories you can think about when you’re starting to decide what you’re going to blog about. So if you’re a photographer the most obvious thing that you want to blog is your sessions or weddings if that’s what you depending what you shoot, okay, so keep that in mind. I’m going to say sessions for ease but I totally mean wedding so so that’s the first thing to think about, you know what, what you can blog as those things that you’re shooting for. That’s important. There’s a reason you want to blog that you’re showing that you’re doing work. You’re giving inspiration to your clients, you’re adding to your client experience by highlighting a session. Yeah, I mean, it’s so good as a client, like, oh, look, Dolly blog, my session, how cool is that, like, now I have something to share along with my photo. So those are all really good reasons to blog. So definitely your sessions. And I always recommend, when you’re looking at that blog schedule, you’re like, Oh, God, what am I gonna put on there? Start with your sessions. So if it’s April, say, Okay, I know that I’m photographing this family and that family and this one, list amount on Trello, or whatever schedule you’re using, and then you can decide how quickly you’ll have images ready to blog, you know, some photographers are like hours and 48 hours, some, it takes a few few weeks, whatever it is for your workflow. That’s how you can kind of determine when you’re going to be able to blog it. So maybe you shot in April, but maybe you’re going to blog it in May. So start with those, fill that out in your schedule first. And you’ll be so surprised how quickly your schedule is going to fill up for your blog. And I don’t know why that’s such a lightbulb moment for people like think ahead, like look at your calendar and put it on your board. I don’t say that to be funny. Like it’s the truth. Like, seriously, think about it. And that’s going to fill your calendar really quickly. Once you’ve done that the next kind of category to think about for, you know, photographers in particular, are subjects that are going to enhance your client experience or that are educational. So if you’ve been asked a question about what to wear, what do I do if it rains? Where do we go for pictures, things like that. That’s what I’m talking about. Those are great, what I call filler topics. And I don’t say filler like it’s a bad thing like, like, they’re just ways to kind of round out your blog schedule in a way that’s still intentional. So remember earlier, I said if we’re going to blog, like let’s let’s do it with with reason, with purpose, this is where that comes into play. I don’t want you to blog, something just for the sake of getting a blog up like I want there to be a reason behind it. So we kind of talked about we’ve got session. So that’s showing your work, it’s enhancing your client experience, educational posts, like this can also enhance your client experience, you can send those out in your workflow, maybe you have an email where like, Hey, here’s some tips. Now you can link to a blog post, you’re sending traffic to your website, that’s a perk, which makes you happy. Your clients feel like they’re being taken care of you’re answering questions before they even ask them or think of, you’re showing that you know what you’re doing. And you’re really establishing yourself as an expert at what you do. So I think again, that’s kind of the reason we blog topics like that. So those are the two main ones, when you’re a photographer of things, you can be blogging, and if you still need something else to round out your schedule, consider a personal or business update. So maybe you’re moving to a studio, maybe you’re going to be offering minis, those are all things that can be blogs, too. Even though if you send an email out or you post on social, you can still have a blog that lives on your website about your mini sessions, or, you know, whatever. So obviously, those are great, great topics to write about. If you’re a photographer, now, when you’re not a photographer, it can feel a little bit harder to come up with topics simply because you don’t have something quite as tangible as like the photos maybe. But there’s still plenty of things you can blog, obviously, you can still do educational posts or questions you get asked about your services or your products, you can absolutely do the whole business updates. Maybe you’re about to launch something or you’re offering something new, you’re going to start coaching, whatever it is that’s going on, you can totally share that stuff. But when you’re more of a service-based or like a digital product business or something like that, probably the most important thing you can be blogging are topics related to your services and to your opt-ins and to your your products. So for me, I’ll use mine for an example. Yeah, so one of my opt-ins is about how to kickstart your blog, which makes sense. And you know, I want people to learn how to blog. So when I’m writing my own blogs, a lot of blog blog. I’m writing posts about like with blogging tips, so you know, what is all text? Or how often should you like I’m answering those questions in my own blogs. And at the end of every single one of my posts, I have a little banner that says hey, if you want more tips, grab my freebie, and that’s a way to drive traffic to that freebie. Again, it’s showing that I know what I’m talking about establishing myself as an expert. Yeah, you know, you do this, I know with your blogs, we always point to something that is related to whether it’s an opt-in about branding photos, or you know, your family-style guide, whatever it is, there’s a way to kind of point traffic to that item. So the same principle applies if you’re a digital service or you know, a product-based business, do that with whatever you sell, whether it’s a download a freebie, whatever. Those are ways you can kind of create topics for yourself. Also look at what people ask you, like, look at your dams online. Look at you know, emails you get anytime I get a question from somebody, I put it in a folder or I copy the question and put it on a Trello board. And when I really can’t think of something, I’ll go back and say, Okay, what did somebody asked me and I turned that into a blog post or a couple of blog posts, however you want to break it down, I know that it can feel tricky when you’re kind of in that realm. Like you don’t want to give away too much for free. But remember that these things are just helping establish you as an expert in this in this field, or this topic or this, this niche niche. So you want to share like you want to share a little bit about these and you don’t have to go like a six-page essay here. We’re not talking like, you know, a 24 page dissertation but like, here, those couple of paragraphs about that specific question or that topic or that that part of the process that really helps people go oh, when I think about workflows, I think about Dolly, I think about blogging, I think about Christina so that’s the kind of the purpose for high end, you know, sharing topics like that. So I hope that’s helpful when you’re like trying to fill out the blog schedule. But those are the kinds of things you want to think about. And obviously, whatever other content pillars you use, like, you know, for me, I talk about blogging, I talk about motherhood, like those are all things that I can pull topics from to blog. So think about your own content pillars as well. And then of course, if you do a podcast, if you do YouTube, or anything like that, absolutely take those episodes and repurpose them into a blog. Yes, that that is totally a great way to get more content in your site. Again, it’s intentional, you’re still going to drive traffic to those other platforms, and you’re still updating your website regularly. So you’re getting that that Google bonus there, if you will. So those are just a couple things to think about when you’re creating content, obviously, you know, think about your keywords, what questions relate to that are going to drive traffic there. And those are different for everybody. So I’m not going to go too crazy into that. But that’s also something to consider when you’re trying to go with content, you know, what are people searching around that keyword or what makes sense for your brand, obviously, whatever you do, make sure it makes sense for your brand. Like, it would be silly for me to start randomly teaching my Instagram because I don’t teach about Instagram, you know, just to get traffic. But if my brand did, if that was something I talked about, and that’s part of my keywords, then absolutely coming up with topics related to that is important too. And that’s the same for photographers, you know, I encourage photographers to do like location, like my favorite three locations or something like that, it’s a good way to kind of get that hit on a location-based keyword, if you will. So that was a lot of rambling. But I hope.

Dolly DeLong
Like, I hope you all are taking notes. And I hope you will consider re-listening to this episode again. Because what Christina is sharing, sharing a lot of nuggets with us, you all. And I also wanted to like say it’s so true, like when you are intentional and strategic with your blog posts. Like it’s not just like a one and done like it’ll be live for or relevant for two weeks. And then people will forget it that that’s social media that that is Instagram, if you are strategic with your pillar content, like blog posts, for example, people are going to be finding these blog posts 234, sometimes even five years down the line. So if you are very, very strategic with it, you are going to be helping somebody in the future. And your is going to be pointing to your business.

Kristina Dowler
Exactly. And I think that again, that’s why I say blog with intent, you know, be mindful of what you’re picking, I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever just blog, a personal update or something, of course, I mean, it’s your business, your blog, like share what you want. But the 95% of your if not 98% of your posts should be really intentional, they should be optimized, I think a second, we’ll kind of dive into a few quick tips on that. But that’s why we want to blog like this. There’s a reason for it. It is strategic, those keywords are important. And when you are blogging regularly, and you’re doing so in an optimized fashion, again, you’re making Google happy. It’s like oh, I know what Dolly’s about I know what this website is for, and I know who to send it to. And that just helps you climb up the ranks of Google even faster. So that’s just to be mindful, you know, don’t just blog to blog to do with purpose. And again, sometimes purpose is just being able to highlight a client, you know, wedding or session like that is a purpose because what we’re in the business of people. So I think sometimes that gets overlooked like people get kind of hung up on the, it has to fit this keyword. Sometimes it isn’t perfect, but sometimes that human touch is more important. And that’s okay like that’s still a purpose. So just think about that needle has to say here, like give me a list of like, what was the purpose of this, but like knowing that in the back of your head is really important. And that’s why sometimes the educational post can be really those are sometimes the ones that are the best hits for people because people go searching for that though, like what do I do when we rains? Where do I you know, what am I supposed to wear, and I have people tell me all the time that those are the posts that they get a lot of hits on or that they get, you know, people found them. So again, that’s why it’s important to optimize every single post that you’re putting out there. With that in mind, you know, you just want it to be searchable, so people will continue to find you.

Dolly DeLong
Creating strategic content that serves your audience and grows your business is time-consuming, I totally get it. So let me introduce you to my secret weapon, my free content creation guide, and my checklist. In this guide to content batching. I’m sharing how I create 30 days of content in just three days. And I’m also sharing my Trello board template that helps you organize and streamline your content creation and a checklist of steps you need to take to set yourself up for successful content batching. So grab this free guide in the show notes of today’s episode. I will share two examples so that this kind of like hits home with what you’re sharing. So one of the number one questions that people always ask me when they’re entering my world is what is the workflow? And so I decided to like I did what you suggested I saved that question, put it on my Trello board my project management tool for blogging ideas and I created a blog post about it. I would say probably two years ago and it is my number one searched blog post for the education side of my business and it leads people because I constantly opt-in As my blog posts like with current, either lead magnets or like updates, and so it now leads people into my into an opt in. And that opt in is in a nurture sequence and that nurture sequence leads them more to my services. So yeah, what Christina is sharing is like, like take a most frequently asked question, literally, this is what I think everybody knows what a workflow is, like. That’s an obvious what is obvious to you may not be obvious to person B, C, D, E, F, G, so please like, I don’t want to say dumb it down, but break it down to like, how would you explain it to your fourth grade niece or nephew, and then write it in a blog post, and then people, people will eat it up. And you will be surprised people also do this with my I’m also a family photographer. And my number one blog post for family photography is like the spring birthday party that I photographed in 2020. Okay, right before the world shut down, like it was the first week of March is like the end of March, that’s when everything shut down. So I went to this birthday party, photographed it, the theme was pastel rainbows, gorgeous, like, it was just gorgeous, so sweet for a one year old girl. And I was like, Okay, I’m gonna blog this. And now it’s like my number one traffic source from Pinterest because other moms and dads are searching on Pinterest spring birthday parties for one year old girls. And that is what is driving traffic to my website. Yeah, and that’s, and that’s the truth. And I think that also hits home the point of when you blog, it shouldn’t just end with your blog, I always remind people like, it’s great to put them on website. And there are so many benefits to that, absolutely. But you get even more when you take it beyond the blog. So when you put it on Pinterest, or you share it online, or you put it in a newsletter, those are other ways to spread that content. And I think people kind of forget sometimes that they didn’t need to do that thing. But it’s just a reminder that when you have an optimized post, and you’re spreading it out the right way, among all the different channels, you’re going to reap the benefits over time. And that’s the thing, there is such a long shelf life on blog posts, and going back and read it like updating them with a new opt in or, you know, making sure your dates are up to date or whatever is also really it is beneficial, again, is like a quick way to update things. So I think that’s the other thing to keep in mind is like there are just so many long term benefits of blogging that you might not feel in the moment like I did this, but like an overnight success, like it’s not going to happen that fast. First off, it’s gonna take time. But it does help in the long run like blogging and SEO is such a long game. And I think that’s the other thing. It’s not one of those instantaneous, like, Oh,

Kristina Dowler
I see all of the things happening. But it’s really, really crucial to I think the success of almost every small business. So I think that’s just, you know, keep in the back your mind, it’s a long game, it’s something that’s establishing who you are. And it just allows your website and your platform to work a little bit harder for you, instead of you having to do that, like groundwork, if you will. So I think again, it comes back to just being strategic and intentional. And I don’t claim to be this giant SEO expert, like I like I can point you to people who are I’m good at the writing, I’m good at optimizing and using the tools that are in front of me. And I think it’s entirely possible for every, like every other business owner to do the same. Like you don’t have to know, every in and out like you don’t have to be like this crazy expert to to do this well. And I think that’s also like people I think get a little afraid of, I don’t know what I’m doing. But like, you don’t have to know everything about it, you just have to be able to do what you do really well. And that’s

Dolly DeLong
what matters. I just want to insert and embarrass Christina a little bit here. But Christina, like, I don’t know, if I told you this, but the last two months, all of my inquiries for the photography side of my business, you know, like on dubsado my form, I say, how do you find me, the number one has been Google because like, like keywords that were infused in my blog posts, that tied to my website. And that is where my clients are now used to be referrals. And there is a part portion of my business, like a big part of it is is referrals but now it’s like leading more towards SEO.

Kristina Dowler
Thank you. You’re welcome. And that’s that’s the proof in the pudding. We’ve been working together for a while and being able to see that shift over time because it does take time. I mean, Google is I mean it’s a machine but it’s not going to overnight be like Oh, delis logging out. Like that’s bumper up to number one it takes time to do those things and I you know, again, not gonna go into mechanics at all but like there are things that it’s looking for and so by having these long form posts that are optimized using those keywords, you’re giving Google things I like to think of Google’s like this like sticky monster is just like trying to find things to pull from your site. So there’s lots of places and this actually leads right into like it wasn’t meaning to but it worked perfectly.

Dolly DeLong
We did We did it. Yeah. And that’s the thing. So I mean, it sounds silly, but

Kristina Dowler
Google like it is it’s like this slimy monster and it needs to find things like a slime is not the right term, but it’s like trying to find things so it’s like spider man, that’s probably a better

Dolly DeLong
boy moms and we’re constantly like talking about, like monitors, or things like I’m tracking with

Kristina Dowler
you. Yeah. And that’s the thing. It’s literally it’s a machine that’s looking for certain things it can pull on to be like, Yes, I know what this website’s about. Let me answer this question with this, you know, with this site, because if you’re not telling Google what you’re about, and then it’s like, forget it, I have no idea what this is. I can’t give it to somebody who’s looking for you. I mean, that’s, that’s like the basics of how Google and Google search engines work. It’s, it’s they’re looking to solve a question. It’s not gonna provide an answer. And if you’re not giving them anything to go off, if they’re not going to choose you. That’s reality. Yeah. So when it comes to when it comes to blogging, I’m not gonna go crazy. Here, I’ll give a few overviews. I feel like this is where it can get really overwhelming like all of these terms feel kind of kind of a lot. But there’s a couple of things you can do right off the bat to make your post more friendly to Google to make it more optimized. First off, if you’re using WordPress, absolutely go and install a plugin right now I use Yoast SEO, a lot of my clients, you there’s definitely other versions of it. There’s other similar plugins, but that’s the one I like. Yoast is going to help you optimize your posts. And the thing is, I feel it’s like a training tool. When I first started, it was like, Okay, I’m learning how to do this. And like, is this work gay? Like, does this work and, and Yoast is kind of like your, your checker like it’s like, Yes, you did all the things. Good job. And now it’s like super fast, I can pretty much optimized posted in my sleep. And almost always like as soon as I load into Yoast, everything’s great. And that’s, that comes with experience. I don’t say that to be like, Look at me, it’s like, that’s the experience I have after doing this for so long. So I highly recommend that you install that on your website, it’s a great checker for you just to make sure that whatever keywords you’re using, whether it’s you know, like for you leave young Nashville family photographer or whatever, like that that particular keyword is optimized within your post. And there’s a few ways to do that. You want to include it in your copy. So copy is like the words in your blog. So you need to write words for your blog, don’t just blog pictures, please write words, please write

Dolly DeLong
words. and optimize your pictures to please for the love of God people. Yes, your picture.

Kristina Dowler
And when we say optimize, I mean resize them and not need to be like massive files. Because trust me, as somebody who looks at websites all the time, if a photo doesn’t load, I’m out of there like I’m I don’t care anymore, right? And it looks let’s be real. We all have short attention spans now. So you need to make sure your your images are smaller, make sure they’re renamed don’t just upload jpg, blah, blah, blah. Rename them with your name and your location, your business name, your location, because those are searchable things, Google will look at the names of your photos, people. So make those make those something Google can grab on to and again, make sure that makes sense with whatever you’re blogging that’s that’s really important. And I just keep that in mind. So if you’re blogging about a family session, don’t put Nashville wedding photographer No, that doesn’t make sense. You know, if you’re blogging about a birthday party, put put that as a birthday party. Because the other thing if, if you’re putting out basically false information is what it comes down to. You’re also going to get hurt when your Google searches like hey, you’re lying, you’re not telling me what you’re actually doing. So just keep that in mind like be truthful and be honest. It pays off in the end. So rename your images, resize your images, write copy, I usually recommend 280 to 300 word minimum, which sounds like a lot, but we’re talking like three good sized paragraphs, guys. Really not that much. It’s not too bad. Yeah, you can definitely write more. I mean definitely. And I know if you ever like look at Dolly’s blogs, we write a lot more than

Dolly DeLong
I have to say.

Kristina Dowler
Totally fine. I think that when you get to the point where you’re like 1200 words to 1500 you might want to consider breaking it into two posts just for you know, readability but it’s not necessary, again, your blog. But for Google’s benefit, you want to have at least 280 to 300 words for your post, use your keywords in the copy but don’t keyword stuff. So keyword stuffing basically means like you’re putting in every other word like it needs to feel natural like you would say it anyway when you’re writing your copy. So include that you’re in Nashville include that it was you know, at the location or whatever. And I’m using Nashville because obviously Nashville doesn’t apply to everybody but use that naturally in your copy, use it in your headers if you can, if you feel like you can’t really work it into your copy naturally you put it in a header instead to just kind of break up and a header is simply using a different title of that h2 or h3 tags that’s all it is it just it’s a nice way to visually break up your copy you can decide which one looks better some people have more of like a scripted font for their like header two or three so just be mindful of like reading it but those are a couple of things in your copy you to be mindful of you know talk about the session and talk about what was going on if you had vendors was a wedding or an external location like link to that if you have an opt in or a product or something that directly relates to your blog, definitely link to that in the blog that’s a great blogs are a great way to drive traffic to your OPT in so you know we use banners I use banners my visitor dolly does too you can do that you can just do a hyperlink whatever works best for you

Dolly DeLong
and like your and create these banners for free in Canva. Yeah, absolutely.

Kristina Dowler
Super, super easy and people like visual things that they can click on them all around banners. And then as far as your images you know when you choose images for a blog, especially if you’re blogging like a photo session just you don’t have to blog them all choose the best of the best show what really shows your your style and your your style of shooting, not just like your editing. But you know, if you’re somebody who does more of like lifestyle photos, make sure that’s what’s in your blog, that I’ll just like the ones that everybody’s smiling together, you know, just really be true to like what happened in that session and your brand and your business because again, this is kind of a snapshot of your business. So just be mindful when selecting images that you’re really telling that story. And then when you do upload them, make sure you add alt text, this is another spot that is super easy to do. Sounds really overwhelming. But it’s so powerful. So Alt Text is basically when you add an image to WordPress, you can edit the image or you can look in your media library, there’s literally a line if you click on the photo, there’s like online or it says all text and it has like a box. Yeah, fill in, super easy to find. But if you can’t, you know, there’s lots of tutorials on how to find them. But that’s all it is. All Text is literally a description of the image, this is not a place to put your keywords in, go create me you can if it makes sense, again, if it’s the context of the image makes sense. Like if it’s somebody standing on the steps of the War Memorial, you can say standing on steps of war memorial, you know, it’s fine. But don’t just put national photography national date that that’s not what all Texas, all Texas describing the images. And it’s there’s two reasons for this one, Google doesn’t have eyeballs. Google is a machine. So they don’t know what pictures are. And people always laugh when I say that. But like it’s the truth, like it’s a computer, it doesn’t have eyeballs that like register what an image is. So you’re telling Google what that image is, again, that’s something else that Google can search for, like, oh, somebody typed in Nashville war memorial, let me pull this image and share it with them. Because I know it’s of the National War Memorial. But it’s also a way to make your site more accessible. So if somebody is visually impaired, or you know, or if your site isn’t working, and your images aren’t learning, it’s a way to tell people what those images are. So you just want to be descriptive when you’re filling in all text. So for example, if it’s a family session, maybe it’s toddler sits on red blanket while chewing on cake, like that’s, that’s all you have to write. Yeah, you could put the park name and you could put, you know, in Nashville, you could put those things. But you don’t need to put by Dolly don’t, you don’t have to describe who you are, you’re describing literally the image. So super easy. That’s another way to boost the SEO of your post, is by filling that in. So just just a little, make sure you do that. Make sure if you’re gonna put images in there, you spend the time doing the alt text, if you are doing a longer post like a wedding, I know it can feel overwhelming to do like 5050 pictures of it, if you really are like short on time, or you’re just overwhelmed, do at least half of them. But it’s really better if you can just do them all. But if you really need to just like half as fine. So that those are kind of my big tips in terms of optimizing the post just right off the bat. I mean, there’s, you know, always all sorts of hacks from the people. But those are the ones I do consistently with my clients. And it does make a difference. The only other one I didn’t mention is linking. So make sure that when you when you possibly can do an internal link, which means you’re linking to something on your site. So again, for photographers, this might look like linking to your contact page, linking to your opt in, it could be linking to another blog, maybe you did another session there or something that was educational, or that kind of thing. And if possible, do an external link to so this is something connecting to either another website, maybe a vendor or a venue that you used, it could be your YouTube channel or your podcast host, those also count as External links because they’re not hosted on your own website. But again, these are just things that are showing Google like, Hey, I’m a real person and I have real connections and I’m not just like making things up. So that’s why those links are important to make sure that they’re high-quality sites don’t just like randomly put in like some garbage. Like that is important and don’t ever pay anybody to like put aside like don’t pay people for backlinks. Like just avoid that. I’m not gonna go into that, but like, just don’t do it. Like it’s a scam. So, yeah, those are kind of my quick tips on optimizing your posts. I’m gonna stop rambling now. No,

Dolly DeLong
I love it. And you guys like Christina has a whole blogging toolkit all about this, and I’m gonna have this in the links of the show notes so you can go and purchase it and start learning from the Wizard herself. I love called the wizard wizard So Christina like I know you shared so much but can you share how like as we wrap up, can you share how people can find you work with you and get to know you?

Kristina Dowler
Yeah, absolutely. So the best place is gonna be my website. So that’s dot the i’s outsourcing it’s all one word. There’s no like punctuation literally dot the i’s I thought I was being so clever. dot the i’s outsourcing.com And I’ll make sure Dali has all these links. So yeah, that’s that’s where I post my own content. I share a lot about blogging and what to blog and how to blog and like quick tips like this quick wins. So definitely follow along there. You can join my email list where I also send out notices with new blogs and tips. You’ll find my free resource page on there and that has a blogging often if so, if you want to know more about blogging, you want 10 quick ways to jumpstart your blog if you’re like okay, where do I start again I have an opt in literally walks you through like what we just talked about, like all of those things that you want to hit. So grab that that’s on there as well. And then the blog shop has all of my resources for business owners who want to blog so we have the Trello template that I mentioned I also have a questionnaire templates. So this is really great especially for Fatah ographers that has seven different questionnaires. So for weddings, engagement sessions, families, seniors, branding, all that whole thing. Basically, these questions are for your clients. So you can send them out in your client workflow to learn more about them to learn more about why they’re booking their photos, what what matters to them most really is just ways to get you more information to include in your blog. So you’re not like what is when do I write about? Like, what do I write about for this one. So it’s just a really easy way to gather a little bit of extra information from your clients to make your job writing about that session way easier. So that’s on there as well. And then I also have the blogging toolkit. And that is basically 13 lessons start to finish of how to plan blogs, how to write them, like literally, we dive into what like what you should include in your coffee, like even more than we did today, I literally show you how to do all those things on the back end of WordPress, I show you how to do alt text, we go into like full, you know, deep dives into all of those things. We spend a lot of time talking about the strategy behind blogging to so again, how to use Trello, how to create a blog schedule that is strategic and intentional for you just so you feel more confident choosing your topics and all that too. And I’ve got some fun bonuses in it. So that’s going to be there as well. So that’s all in the blog shop on my website. So those are the best ways I’m on Instagram, Christina dollar, super easy. Christina with the K, K ri, because of my first name, not CH and yeah, and then I’m on Facebook under adoptee eyes as well. So you can find us there. And we don’t currently have any spots open for new clients. But we will probably later this spring. Like I said, I do have another writer, my sister in law works with me. So between the two of us we do open open spots every few months. So definitely check that out. If you want help you like don’t want to do it at all. We are here to help you. If you think you’re ready to tackle or want to learn more about it or want to get your own system set up before you hand it off, then I highly recommend the Trello template or the toolkits depending on how in depth you want to go. But that’ll all be on. Like I said the blog shop on my website so that it’s all there for you as

Dolly DeLong
well. Oh my goodness. And you all like for those of you who are listening in the future, like just get on some waitlist, like reach out to Christina and get on the waitlist because she really is a wizard you like and a main thing and I’m so I am like so selfishly happy, like I found you when I found you and you’ve helped me out so much. So thank you.

Kristina Dowler
Oh, no problem. I’m so glad. Like I said earlier, I’m grateful to all of my clients. I’m grateful to you. Thank you for having me on here. I love talking about this. And I really do even you know, six years later, I do truly believe like in the power of blogging. I know it sounds scary, and it can feel really overwhelming. And it almost feels like oh my god, one more thing I have to do. But there is such power to it. And it’s really about making it work for you. If once every week feels like too much back it down. Seriously, there are so many ways to make this work for you. So just find that and like, I’m here to encourage you, I want to read your blogs. Can you send it to me on Instagram or in my email? I really want to read them. I want to know what’s going on. I don’t know how you feel. So we’re here to support you and cheer you on. And I know Dolly’s got so many more great tips coming up in the future do so. Thank you again for having me.

Dolly DeLong
Of course. Thank you so much. And you all thank you for tuning in this week and we will talk next week. Bye. Thank you so much for listening to the systems and workflow magic podcast. You can find full show notes from today’s episode at dolly DeLong photography.com forward slash podcast. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be so honored if you’d subscribe and leave a review on your favorite podcast player. Be sure to screenshot this episode, share it to your stories, and tag me at dolly DeLong education over on Instagram. Until next time, go make some strategic workflow magic.

 

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