Do you know you need more traffic to your website and content but are already tapped for time and can’t even think about adding one more time-consuming tactic to your plate? Enter Pinterest and this systems-filled episode with Mariah Tomkinson from Bloom Hustle Grow which will walk you through how to save time and build your visibility with Pinterest.
Mariah Tomkinson runs Bloom Hustle Grow, where she helps female service-based entrepreneurs make the hustle easier by getting their business operations organized and optimized. She has an MBA and BS in Business, and has spent many years saying, “that’s a great idea, but how are we going to execute that.”
Mariah doesn’t want to see anyone give up on their dreams just because they can't figure out the business side or tech side of getting it all organized.
Key Takeaways from this Episode
What has your business journey looked like from when you first hung out that digital “come in, we’re open sign” to where you are today?
- It feels like it's changed so much and really not all that much. I've really learned through opening my business and kind of working with clients one on one is I've learned where my strengths are and what I enjoy offering as a service. What I've offered has changed from the beginning to where we are now, and I've learned that I really just need to lean into my strengths and figure out the way I can best serve my clients, as opposed to kind of doing what everybody else is doing online. I started more as a business coach because that was broader, and I've learned that I needed to niche down and really embrace what I am really good at, which is planning and operations and doing those foundation things for your business.
- I'm always scared to make change, so business has always been a scary leap for me. I probably am the least entrepreneurial person. If you looked at some of my personality profiles, you'd be like, “No, you have resistance to risk and change, which puts you off that path,” but I've always wanted to work for myself and I love getting to create my own path in my life and how I work and who I get to work with, which is one of the greatest things about being an entrepreneur, but I just learned it is an experiment. You're not going to know where that path is leading you, and it's going to evolve and you have to evolve with it. It definitely had some scary points and I definitely resisted change for a long time and wanted to keep myself broad because that seems less scary than saying, “Nope, this is what I'm an expert in.”
- I started my business when we moved to California initially, which was four years ago. I left my full-time job because we were moving with my husband's job, so at that time, I knew and we talked about it, was that I wanted something that I didn't have to start over every time he got a new opportunity or that we had an opportunity to move to a new place. I didn't want to have to start my career all over again every single time, so that decision was a motivation, and this is kind of like the extreme part of that motivation, is that now we don't have to live in one place and that we can travel and work at the same time full-time. It's amazing to be able to see different parts of the country and still be able to have that career and not have to just give up my business.
What's the #1 burning question you get from your community about contingency and what-if business planning and what do you tell them?
- I think everybody wants the perfect tool, and this is the thing, there is no perfect tool. There is no perfect system. It's always evolving, and I say the best tool for you is the one that you'll use, but everybody thinks that there's a unicorn tool. Like, “I'm going to find this one and it's going to make my life so much easier,” but that's just not how it works. You just have to pick one and try it out. I do, I see people all the time using tools as a procrastination technique, like, “I'll start my email list when I find the perfect email service,” or, “I'll start my course when I pick the perfect platform.” I promise you eventually you'll switch to a new email service or a new course platform or whatever it is as your business evolves, so just dive in, get started, and stop waiting for the perfect tool to come along because it's not going to happen.
What is one piece of advice you have for online business owners who see what you’ve built and all the success you’ve had doing it – and want to create their own version of it but have no idea where to start?
- Honestly, you just have to start, which I know sounds like such a cliché, but there's no straight path from there to here or a set formula to follow, despite what you hear online and what people feed you. There is no set formula that you're going to be like, “Yes, now I have my perfect business and everything is running smoothly.” I think it's truly a journey and you have to try not to overthink it and know that whether a win or a fail, it's a step closer to finding your own version of success in your business or life. I think it may be that you start your own business and you figure out, “Hey, this isn't for me. I'm better working for somebody else,” and that's okay too, but you're not going to know that until you try it out and until you go after clients and you give it your best to see what you can see with your strengths and your skills.
- I definitely think that you should just evaluate what do you want to offer. What are your strengths, either in your past careers, or what you have a passion in or maybe you've done as a hobby or you did as part of… I don't know, just as part of your life. Sometimes people don't have that experience from a career, but they're really good at planning, like meal planning or something like that, and they know they can offer that. Honestly, your strengths could come from anywhere, but I would definitely say, what are your strengths and then what do you like to do? If you could do one thing every day, what would that be and how would that translate into serving your community or your potential audience starting out? I just think that a lot of people kind of overthink what they want to offer. Honestly, I don't know a single person who started a business and they offer those same exact services.
So shifting gears to marketing – How do you stay motivated and inspired when it comes to content creation (especially after all this time)?
- It definitely can be a struggle at times, but for me, being an extrovert, having real life conversations. I don't even have to be in the conversation, I can just listen, can help spark inspiration for that content. I think knowing someone needs that advice on whatever the topic is or they're struggling with X, Y and Z in real life, helps me feel like the content is more important. So, that motivates me to put it out there because I have that real life inspiration.
As an online business manager, and I know that you are on my team, you're on a couple of other people's team as an online business manager, how do you find that content works in their businesses, and can you give anyone some tips about the different businesses that you've had the opportunity to be behind the scenes on?
- I think content plays such a varied role in businesses, but to me, it's the foundation of having an online business, otherwise you're just kind of a name floating out there. What you offer your content is really what you're an expert in. Right? It tells that whole online space, “This is what I'm offering. This is what I'm doing.” So, I love getting to see all the different ways people use content to do that. Sometimes people do it in a more consistent way, putting out blog posts every week or putting out a podcast every week, while other people do it as more of an inspiration or motivation way, so they have an idea and they're like, “We're going to do this awesome challenge this week,” or put together a Facebook group where they're getting other members to contribute. I love just seeing how content can take so many different paths to connect with your audience.
Now, this is a question that I'm really excited. I've been waiting for this one because you are a systems person, a fellow systems geek here, so I want to know, can you walk us through a typical content creation day for you?
- Yes. I work best if I can batch any project I'm working on, however, I am not one of those people who can sit down and write for hours on end. If I have a whole day of writing in front of me, my brain totally flips out and it's like, “No, no, don't feel like doing this. Let's not focus.” I actually try to block an entire week for writing to put out my content for the month, so it's not necessarily that I'm working eight hours a day just on content, but it's around my client appointments and things like that, and it's different pieces of the content process. Before that week starts, I always have my editorial calender, what topics I'm going to tackle. I try to do themes. My brain just works better in themes. Then from there I do blog posts and then newsletters based off of that theme as well as my social media content. The blocks of time are just dedicated to different parts of that, as well as creating the graphics and all that fun stuff, and putting it into WordPress. But essentially I try to get it all done within a week or a week and a half, depending on how busy my client schedule is.
- That's my favorite part of it, because it's not hanging over my head. I hate to have where it's like, “Oh my god, it's Monday. I need a newsletter by Wednesday.” I hate that pressure. I've never worked well under pressure like that, even in school research papers and stuff, I was always that person who had it a week ahead of time, because sometimes I just need to sit with it and then reread it and it makes the content better.
What do you do, because you mentioned, “If I have a day of writing, my brain is going to explode,” but what do you do when you come up against some writers block?
- I actually find if I have a time limitation, that works best for me. I try to do writing blocks, maybe an hour before a call or some other stopping point, because then I'm like, “Okay, I only have an hour to try to get this done,” and that can help kickstarts my brain. I know that's weird, but because I'm like, “I only have to sit here for an hour. Whatever I can get on the page is what I can get on the page for right now.” You know? Then you have to come back to it sometimes, but that allows me to just jumpstart it.
How do you use Pinterest in your business? I want to know how other people can get started with it, but we can start with how it works in your business.
- I truly believe if you're producing content, particularly blog posts or podcasts or YouTube videos, anything consistent where you have that bank of content, you are losing out on a huge audience opportunity not using Pinterest. Pinterest is one of the few social media channels you can set and forget, basically. It is a search engine, it's non engagement, so you don't have to go back and really worry about comments and things like that. You schedule it and it's out there working for you. I think it's amazing and especially if you're going evergreen content, which most people are. Right? You're not just writing a post that lasts for a week, you're writing a post that's still relevant six months from now or years from now, even.
- With Pinterest, it makes sure those old posts are still getting out there and getting circulated and new people are finding you all the time. I feel like sometimes in Facebook and things of that nature, we kind of get into our community groups a little bit, which is great, we love making connections, but at the same time, sometimes it's hard to get new eyes on your content, and Pinterest definitely allows that to happen because people are on there all the time searching for whatever they need help with, whether that's cake decorating or how to set up SEO or marketing tips, anything.
I think it barely matters what industry you're in, the only industry it might be a little bit difficult, and you might have a different perspective on this, is something that's super locally based.
- Very true. If you're really super locally based, Pinterest doesn't have quite the reach that you want, however, if you're in tourism or something like that where people are visiting and your business is towards a traveler, people use Pinterest all the time to plan their trips, especially things to see and tours to take and restaurants to eat at.
What would you suggest for people getting started with Pinterest? If that's new to them, if they hear that and they're like, “I want some of that in my business but I don't know where to start.” ?
- It's super easy. If you're already creating content regularly, all you really need to do is make sure you have a Pinterest graphic that goes with that content, whether it's a blog post or you're doing YouTube or a podcast, whether it is, make sure you have a vertical graphic to go with that, and start pinning, honestly. I know everyone wants to be like, “It can't be that easy,” but it really is. Once you get your board set up and you have a system to get pins out there, you have those graphics and you're setting it up and pinning it out on the Pinterest, if you get a schedule like Tailwind, you're good to go.
- It is the one that I recommend. It makes it really easy for your pins to get out there. The queue itself, it's very customizable, so you can pick times or they can recommend times, and you can also drag and drop your materials. They've been adding features since they've started that help you expand your reach, like Tribes and then also looping your pins, which takes out even another time set because you can have pins already looping themselves automatically.
I'm such a fan of Tailwind. It saves my butt in terms of time versus the ROI of Pinterest. It's crazy. I want to get a bit systemsy here, you have a brand new piece of content, what do you do in terms of Pinterest for it?
- I typically try to do two different graphics for it, so you just have a little variety there. Then honestly it goes out. I have a list for each piece of content and what board that it will go to, and so I just make sure that I schedule it to all those boards. I have a lot of group boards that I'm involved in as well as being a member of Tribes on Tailwind, which is sort of like group boards but it's specifically within the Tailwind platform. I just make sure that that piece of content gets scheduled across all the things that it's relevant for.
How would you define a content empire as it relates to your own business and what you’ve built?
- I view content as a foundation to online business. I think I mentioned this before, but basically I think without some kind of content, you have no way to define yourself. You're a business, in yourself, to your audience, so I think sometimes people think of content in such a narrow definition where it's a blog post or a newsletter or something you're continuously putting out, but content is so much deeper than that, it's what's on your social media, it's what's on your website. It's Facebook lives, it's doing podcasts like this. I think content… I mean, I don't know that you can run an online business without some form of content.
Latest content or marketing tool discovery? Adobe Spark
Most profound business book you’ve read? Masterminds
What is one marketing trend that you're passing on for now? Instagram Stories
2018 or 2019 planner of choice? Trello
Where would you invest $5,000 in your business today? Branding