iRetreat Blogger Conference 2015

Blogger Conference

I’m so excited to be speaking at iRetreat Conference here in New Orleans this June 28-30, 2015, along with two of my amazing co-workers from FSC Interactive.

We’ll be talking about what it takes to grow your brand or business on Instagram.

I started an experiment with my own Instagram account in January 2015 to see how fast I could hit 1,000 followers:

  • On January 1, 2015, I had 750 followers
  • I tipped the 1,000 follower goal two months later, on February 28, 2015
  • As of April 2015, I now have 1,200+ followers

(A big THANK YOU to everyone who follows me on Instagram!)

Miss Malaprop aka Glamdromeda on Instagram

Now, it’s not all about the numbers. (Seriously, never pay for Instagram followers or anything like that. Yuck.) But I’m big on goal-setting and experimentation. I used a lot of tactics I’ve learned through my day job, but I tested out some new techniques on my own account that my colleagues now use frequently on some of our clients’ accounts, to great success.

I’ll be joined at iRetreat by Elizabeth Piper and Margaux Maizlish from FSC Interactive. Elizabeth currently manages the day-to-day operations of the @VisitNewOrleans Instagram account, which is one of the largest tourism Instagrams in the WORLD! Margaux is FSC’s Director of Social Media, which means she oversees a LOT of different brands who are on Instagram, including Zatarain’s, Tales of the Cocktail, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk and many more.

All of this is to say… You should probably join us at iRetreat. Based on this list of all of the 2015 speakers, it’s looking like a killer lineup. Register for iRetreat now.

What do you want to learn about Instagram?

Fill out the Google Form below and let me know what you have questions about. You can also leave your questions in the comments section below.

0 comments

Operation Spark: Helping Low-Income Kids in New Orleans Get Jobs in Tech

Operation Spark: Helping Low-Income Kids in New Orleans Get Jobs in Tech!

Operation Spark has taught dozens of low-income youth in New Orleans how to code. Let’s help them get jobs.

A few weeks ago, I volunteered at Teen Tech Day here in New Orleans. Teaching kids how to build websites on WordPress = a super amazing Saturday.

During the event, I met John Fraboni, who runs Operation Spark, a very cool organization here in New Orleans. They work with low-income youth to teach them coding and software development skills to help them get jobs.

Breaking down the digital divide is something that’s near and dear to my heart. As a tech-obsessed female, I want to see the tech world become more diverse and inclusive, and access to computer skills and tech education is a major factor in making that happen.

Operation Spark currently has a crowd-funding campaign going so that they can train even more young adults and help them get jobs in the software industry.

What Operation Spark has done so far:

  • Taught over 100 young adults the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript through immersive coding Bootcamps
  • Trained 12 K-12 teachers on bringing software curriculum into their classrooms
  • Gave 10 free Chromebooks to students (with many more on the way!)

What Operation Spark is working on now:

  • They’re currently running two Student Bootcamps
  • Starting up another Teacher Training Bootcamp
  • Starting up a class for incarcerated youth to teach them JavaScript and give them work skills

What you can do to help them:

 

0 comments

TxSC 2015: Creating a Meaningful Presence at Texas Style Council

Texas Style Council TxSC 2015

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

What do you say about something that is the last of its kind? Something that left an indelible impression on you? Something that created lasting memories, friendships, and sparked inspiration? I’ve been struggling to find the words to sum up the final TxSC, but I’m sure gonna try…

When Ashley and Carlie and I went to TxSC together in 2013, I came away from the experience with a lot of ideas and inspiration. But that event was so much bigger (at least twice as many attendees as this most recent experience), and the traditional conference structure made it easy to stick to our comfort zones. While I made a few new friends at TxSC ’13, nothing can quite compare to the way fast friends are made when you’re stuck in an airport for hours waiting for a shuttle or sharing a Girl Scout camp cabin together.

After I arrived at the Austin airport, we had about 3 hours to kill, waiting until there were enough of us to take the shuttle trip one hour outside of Austin to CAMP. I got to hang out in person with rad girls I’d connected with pre-event on Instagram, like Hilary and Vana, and got to meet lots of new ones, including Bobbie, Toni, Susie, Brittany, Lisa, Emma and Maddie, who was also one of my cabin mates.

Once at CAMP, I met the rest of my cabin mates, henceforth known as Troop 1092. (We got really into the whole Girl Scout theme for the Saturday night party – I found a vintage Girl Scout dress on Etsy with patches reading “1092,” which we adopted as our official troop #.) I bonded fast and furious with lovely, intelligent ladies like Maddie, Michelle, Melissa, Lauren and Lauren, Rachael and Rachel, Jordan, Courtney and Natasha. I also got to hang out with Becky, whom I met at TxSC ’13. I became fast friends with Mia. (Seriously – so many mutual interests… in Mia’s words, “How are we not already best friends?”) I met wonderful women like Whitney and Tara. And God bless Cyndie for being so amazing and generous with her time and wisdom. (And for not being weirded out when I totally fan-girled out on her.) And a huge THANK you to Valerie for that early ride back to the airport!

Texas Style Council TxSC 2015

photo by Logan Pearce Photography

On the brand activation and sponsorship side of things… TOMS was amazing, but more on that in a minute. The girls from Outlaw Creative were so kickass – I left a comment on an Instagram photo they posted before the event, mentioning one of their keychains they were bringing with them to the event, and they tracked me down in person to hand-deliver the one I’d mentioned. Talk about surprise and delight! Brands, take note: THAT is how you keep the online conversation and brand awareness going offline.

My cabin mates from Honest Tea served up yummy floats at the Saturday night party, and I must say, the food we dined on all weekend long from The Real McCoy Catering was excellent. SquareSpace was one of the big sponsors of the event, and I loved that they hosted a design lab all weekend long where people could sign up and get one-on-one feedback on their websites and blogs. I was also a big fan of the VERB hair products and Milk & Honey hand soaps that were in all of the bathrooms. (They both smelled SOOO good.) Basically, if you want to create a memorable experience as a brand, do it in a way that closely aligns with who you are as a company. Make it seamless and so natural it doesn’t even feel like marketing.

A HUGE HUGE thank you and all sorts of high five emojis to Indiana for sending off her baby in the grandest of styles. I know putting together an event of this scale is not easy, but you did a fabulous job! And a huge thanks to all of the volunteers, and double extra Brownie points to Chelsea Laine Francis for taking gorgeous photos (like the ones seen here!) all weekend long.

Texas Style Council: TxSC 2015 sponsors

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

TxSC 2015 Takeaways…

I had a lot of intangible takeaways that cannot be adequately described here with words. But the theme of TxSC 2015, “Create a Meaningful Presence,” did not fall short. My two big takeaways were these: the concept of friendtors and the importance of storytelling.

The buzzword of the weekend became “friendtor,” i.e., a friend who is also a mentor. It seems obvious but sometimes it can be easy to forget the importance of relying on the wisdom of your friends. Just because someone is a friend, doesn’t mean they don’t also have wisdom to convey to you. Likewise, it’s important to remember that newfound mentors with more experience don’t have to simply be sage old gurus – they can become your friends too. Instead of viewing people in your niche or industry with more experience or a bigger following as competition, seek to make them your friendtors instead. For women, I think this is a particularly important concept – we need to learn from each other, support each other and grow together.

One of the most memorable keynotes, and definitely the most Oprah-like moment of the weekend, came from Bethany Joy Clark. She is Director of Global Customer Engagement for TOMS. While I knew that TOMS had begun branching out from their original product line of shoes, I didn’t realize exactly how large the impact of their One for One® philosophy had become. For example, they supplied us with coffee from TOMS Roasting Co. all weekend long. Each bag of coffee provides a week’s worth of clean drinking water to a person in need.

During Bethany’s keynote, she shared a short video that told the story of how TOMS gives back, but more importantly, WHY they give back and do what they do. Their story is a great one – it’s hard not to love a company with such a compelling story of doing good. Bethany told us about TOMS’ newest products, a line of backpacks and tote bags. For each bag purchased, TOMS will help provide a safe birth for a mother and baby in need, plus with each purchase, $5 will go to support Every Mother Counts’ global advocacy efforts to improve maternal health.

As Bethany told these stories and shared their WHY, the room was already hooked. We were IN. You could feel it in the room. Then she outdid herself – at the end of the keynote came the Oprah inspired moment as she announced that each attendee would get one of these new backpacks. Not because it was something they had to do. Not because it was a cheap marketing ploy. But because Bethany really wanted that moment of giving, and wanted to share it with us. Don’t get me wrong – the bag is RAD. It is a seriously well made and oh-so-nice backpack, and if you’re in the market for a new travel bag, you should totally consider one of these. (Damn straight I’m taking mine with me on the two trips I have coming up in the next few weeks…) But the thing that will stick with me is not just that I got some free swag. The thing that will stick with me is WHY that bag exists in the first place.

And so my biggest takeaway of the weekend, a marriage of my B-School studies and TxSC, was this… Always lead with your WHY. As a brand, as a blogger, as a human being, look in your heart, seek out your WHY, and put that at the forefront of all you do. In the words of Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

What’s my WHY?

I’ve been thinking about mine, more and more.

I want to see equality in the world. Gender equality, racial equality, equality for everyone to love who they love and be who they are, regardless of if it lines up with another person’s vision of the world.

Equality of opportunity. We may all be born under different circumstances, and some of us may have an easier road, but for those of us who do… let’s try to even the playing field for those who don’t.

I want to share, inspire others, and spread love and joy. Life is short, a precious gift. Do not squander it, and do not allow those around you to squander it either. Seek to lift others up rather than bring them down.

The placebo effect is a real thing, you know. “Attitude is everything” is not simply a platitude. It is an actuality. I choose to live in lightness, and seek to help guide others from the dark.

I wanna know… What’s your why?

Share YOUR why in the comments below.

4 comments

Monthly Online Income Report: February 2015

Online Income Report: Miss Malaprop February 2015 earnings

I received some really great feedback a couple months ago from my first ever monthly online income report. I’ve had both online and IRL friends tell me how much it meant to them for me to share the specifics of what I made online in December 2014.

That post took me awhile to put together (and so did this one), so I don’t plan to do them every month, but I would like to start doing them more often since so many people have found the information valuable. So without further adieu… Here’s my monthly online income report for February 2015!

Monthly Online Income – February 2015

Amazon – $83.92
Zazzle – $49.99
RewardStyle – $24.25
Shareasale – $51.00
Etsy – digital downloads – $108.00
Etsy – jewelry sales – $71.25
Storenvy – jewelry sales – $0.00

Total Gross Online Income – February 2015: $388.41

Year-Over-Year Comparison – February 2014

Amazon – $34.67
Zazzle – $9.32
RewardStyle – $45.68
Shareasale – $22.45
Etsy – digital downloads – $9.00
Etsy – jewelry sales – $27.00
Storenvy – jewelry sales – $42.00
Squidoo – $18.57

Total Gross Online Income – February 2014: $208.69

Traffic Overview – MissMalaprop.com – February 2015

Miss Malaprop February 2015 Google Analytics stats

Traffic Overview – CoolStuffWeLike.com – February 2015

CoolStuffWeLike - February 2015 Google Analytics overview

Next Steps:

Not as impressive as December 2014, but year-over-year, I’m pretty darn proud of myself! I almost doubled my overall online income.

At the beginning of this year, I made myself some written goals on the calendar I keep pinned to the bulletin board next to my desk. I went back through and made note of what I made online through Amazon Associates and through my Etsy shop each month in 2014 and doubled it as a goal for myself for each month in 2015. For both January and February of this year, I hit both of those goals! (March 2015 is looking like it will be pretty close to March 2014 without a whole lot of growth. You win some, you lose some…)

Speaking of goals… at the beginning of January 2015, I decided I wanted to see how fast I could get to 1,000 followers on Instagram. At the time, I had 750 followers. I made a plan, got serious with an editorial calendar of sorts and started taking way more photos than I could ever post. In two short months… I tipped 1,000 Instagram followers on February 28! (I’m planning to do a mini e-course soon covering how I did it. Stay tuned, and sign up for my email list to be the first to know when it’s available!)

February also brought about some bigger plans and changes for the rest of this year and the state of my business. I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s B-School, and after watching a super rad Whiteboard Friday video from Moz, I also decided to kill CoolStuffWeLike.com and merge the good stuff with MissMalaprop.com. (I’m still in the transition process; pardon my dust.) Long term, it just makes more sense for me to focus my efforts on one brand and one website. Cool Stuff started out as a sandbox because at the time I felt like I couldn’t post about the kind of stuff I do over there here on Miss Malaprop. But times, they change, and 2015 is a year for changes.

February 2015 also marked the announcement that Pinterest would ban all affiliate links, which has me planning to switch up my strategy just a bit.

In retrospect, I would have planned a little better and put some money behind Promoted Pins to push traffic to my Funny Valentine’s Day Cards post, and I would have done more marketing for that post overall. In 2014 that post had crazy traffic, but as you can see from the Google Analytics stats above, my overall traffic for CoolStuffWeLike.com decreased significantly year-over-year in February, and the traffic to that post in particular was a big part of that.

Was this post helpful to you? Tweet about it!

What other information would be helpful to you?

Doing these reports periodically helps me check in and see my own progress, but is what I’ve shared here helpful to you? Are there things I’ve mentioned here that you have questions about or would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments below!

8 comments

Let’s Kick Parkinsons! Support Me in the Crescent City Classic 10K on April 4, 2015

501st Legion's Bast Alpha Garrison raising money for Team Fox, the Michael J Fox Foundation, to find a cure to Parkinson's disease

A few years ago, my boyfriend David’s dad passed away from a form of Parkinson’s. If you’ve never experienced the effects of this disease first-hand, it is a long and painful thing to watch someone’s health slowly deteriorate. Parkinson’s is the world’s second most common degenerative brain disease, impacting nearly 5 million people worldwide. (David shot a video of his dad a year or two after the original prognosis. You can watch it here.)

Also a few years ago, we got involved with the 501st Legion. David is a life-long Star Wars fan, and his childhood dream was to be a Stormtrooper. And now he is one:

Mallory and David with the 501st Legion at the Tucks Parade in 2015

I’ve since joined the 501st Legion myself, and one of the most amazing things about this international organization of Star Wars fans is all of the charity work they do. A couple of years ago at the Star Wars dance party, we did a fundraiser for the Michael J Fox Foundation, which raises money to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. To date, the MJFF has awarded over $400 million in grants and is the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research in the world.

So… with all of that in mind… David and I have signed up to walk in this year’s Crescent City Classic 10K, as part of Team Fox Louisiana (aka Kickin’ Parkinsons) to raise money for Parkinson’s research. David is even going all out, and wearing his Stormtrooper armor for the entire walk.

Here’s the deal, we’re each responsible for raising a minimum of $200. Either we raise it or we pay it ourselves. Either way, Team Fox wins… but we’re committed. But $200 doesn’t really seem like enough to us. So we want to go bigger and since we’re doing this as 501st Legion members, we thought we’d set a goal to raise $501 each.

To sweeten the deal for you, we’re both doing some incentives, Kickstarter-style:

  • Donate $10 or more and I’ll give you a shout-out here on this post on Miss Malaprop (including a link to your website or blog).
  • Donate $25 or more and I’ll feature you in a #ShoutoutSunday post on my Instagram.
  • Donate $100 or more and I’ll create a one-of-a-kind doodle (you choose the color and theme). I’ll scan it and send you a digital copy, plus I’ll mail you the original. Think this, this, or this. You’ll also get a link on this post and an Instagram shout-out!
  • Donate $250 or more and I’ll give you a 1-hour creative business / marketing consultation via phone, Skype or in-person (New Orleans area only). Possible topics include a critique and feedback on your website, blog or Etsy shop; brainstorming marketing ideas; technical help with WordPress, SEO or social media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram). You’ll also get a link on this post and an Instagram shout-out!

(Thanks to my bestie Ashley for the incentive idea. She and her husband are also walking in the CCC10K for charity, and raising money for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. You should totally check out her campaign page as well!)

To donate, click here.

I’m collecting donations until April 3, 2015, as the race day is April 4th.

I won’t be offended if you can’t support this cause with a financial contribution. I totally understand. Of course, if you can, I would love for you to contribute. Or if there is another cause that has more personal meaning to you, please contribute to that, and let me know that you did in the comments below.

Whether you can or can’t financially contribute, I’d love it if you’d help me spread the word. Please share this with your friends, and if you’re on Twitter, just click the message below to share a tweet:

A big thanks to those who have donated so far…

Andrea Dupree
Ashley Robison
Juliet Meeks
Missy Wilkinson
Wendy Dolan
Whitney Bryan

Have you or someone you know been affected by Parkinson’s disease?

Let me know in the comments below.

3 comments