This past month I had the privilege of interviewing Jill Nystul, a prominent blogger and pinner for all things Do it yourself. Jill has a background in broadcast television, working in different cities around the country. She also holds the title of professional mom and most recently, professional blogger. She has discovered huge success with her blog, “One Good Thing by Jillee” where she shares one good thing a day with her readers.
Why did you decide to start your blog?
Two reasons (actually three):
1. I was looking for my “passion,” Something that I could do that would fuel my spirit and creativity and keep me from pursuing less productive paths.
2. I kept finding all these “cool” things online and had this desire to tell someone! (Must be the reporter in me!) My friends and family were sick of me telling THEM….lol….so I decided to start a blog and share just one of the “cool” things I found each day. That was really all the thought that went into actually starting the blog.
3. I wanted to quit my day job! Now I work WAY more than I ever did at my “day job”….but I love every second of it!
Has blogging become an integral part of your life?
When you post something 7 days a week….it’s impossible to NOT have it become integrated into your every day life. Plus, it is my career now….so the short answer is yes. And that’s fine with me.
What tactics did you take that you believe led to your blog becoming so successful?
There are a few things that have really made a difference in the success of One Good Thing By Jillee. Consistency. I post something every day. I made that commitment at the very beginning….”one good thing a day”….and I have stuck by it. My readers are confident that they will get something from me on the website or in their email every day of the week. Content. I work REALLY hard to make sure my content is original, creative, engaging, and most important…USEFUL. I can’t obviously come up with a completely original idea that no one has ever thought of or blogged about EVER, but I CAN come up with my own twist on it. I try to give all my work a “One Good Thing By Jillee” personality. My readers want good information…but they also want it presented in an interesting and easy-to-read format. I try to infuse some of my personality into each and every post and then hopefully as they get to know me better they will want to keep coming back to visit. Like a good friend. Social Media. We can’t forget that! Pinterest has been a HUGE traffic source for a LOT of bloggers ever since it took off like a rocket! I make sure to pin my content every day at least once a day and also post to Facebook and Twitter. There is no question this has been a HUGE part of the success equation for me.
I know that Pinterest plays a big role in driving traffic to your site, what tips do you have for other bloggers who want to use Pinterest for the same thing?
Obviously the IMAGES you pin are THE most important thing with regards to Pinterest. They have to be good, clear, and well-composed. The images are what is going to catch people’s attention long enough to get them to read what the image is about. Again, content is king! A great image without a useful or interesting idea behind it is not going to get those repins you’re looking for. If you have a good idea and it’s getting some repins….make sure you pin it multiple times on different boards. But don’t be obnoxious about it. Two or three times spread throughout the day will catch different groups of pinners. Remember, the most pinning goes on in the morning and in the evening. Also, spread the pinning love! Don’t JUST pin your own content…make sure you are following and pinning other bloggers, etc.
What tips do you have for women looking to start a blog or a website?
Do it! Jump on your computer right now and start one. Blogger.com is very user-friendly and is a simple way to get started! It’s FREE and pretty much ANYONE can start a blog. Once you are set up, start blogging! Write something, make something, do something and talk about it! Even if you don’t have ONE “Follower” to begin with (we all started there!), you are still adding CONTENT to your blog that later on will add to its’ value overall when people DO start discovering your awesomeness!
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
My family! It took some pretty rough “life lessons” for me to realize that…but it is the absolutely truth! Every success I achieve, whether it be money or prestige or whatever, it’s my family who I want to share it with and what makes it all worth while. Cliche….but true.
How do you balance work life and family life?
Ummmmm…..one day at a time? Yes. That’s it. One day at a time! Obviously based on my answer to the above question…I definitely try to make as much time for “family life” as possible. Being able to work from home is a MAJOR blessing on that front! Sure I’m “glued” to my laptop a good amount of time, but when my boys “need” me to come watch something funny they are watching on YouTube or help them with their homework, or whatever, all I have to do is snap my laptop shut and I’m there. I try REALLY hard not to use phrases like, “in a minute”, “maybe later”, “not right now” (unless I’m truly under a deadline)…because honestly, MOST of the time, what I am doing at that very moment….can wait. This is one of my favorite quotes, and I think it sums up how I feel so very nicely: Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.
How do you decide what you want to post and write about?
In the very beginning I truly only posted about stuff I liked. I followed the adage “Write about what you know.” But as time went on….my blogs “personality” began to form naturally and I began to pick up on what my readers were most interested in and what *I* wanted to focus more on. And now that I have sort of a framework of what my blog is about….I just keep my eyes and ears and ALL my senses open to the world around me and take cues from life. Online, television, magazines, friends, family…they are all “sources” for me. And don’t forget your readers! They are a CONSTANT source of great ideas! Don’t ever underestimate them! Some of my BEST stuff has come from the “Comments” section.
What blogs do you read?
Truthfully, I don’t have time to regularly read many blogs…but I am inspired by The Pioneer Woman (and try to read her as often as possible), Creature Comforts, How About Orange, Wild Olive, Oh Happy Day, GiversLog, Snippet and Ink, Little Green Notebook, The Painted Hive, Homestead Revival………oh gosh….I could go on and on. But that’s a taste….of my taste.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere. Anywhere. I’ve already mentioned a few specifics (online, TV, magazines, friends, co-workers, family, READERS)….but in general I try to just keep an open mind to everything around me. Sometimes I like to just be silent….and let the ideas that are in my mind but haven’t come to the surface yet….bubble up. I know…sounds kinda weird….but it works for me!
What has been your experience in figuring out the blogging and website building world? What challenges did you come across?
Learning how to actually make money at blogging was a LOT of work! I didn’t have the slightest clue how it all worked! But I just kept digging and researching and digging and researching some more…and little by little…I gained a lot of knowledge about it. It’s funny coming from me…but….be patient! You can’t learn all of this stuff in a day! But you can learn something new everyday! And you will. Just keep at it. And when it all becomes overwhelming (which it will on occasion), step away. Go get some fresh air and a new perspective and come back later. It will all still be waiting for you when you return.
What is your biggest tip for women in business?
First, make sure you are doing something you are passionate about (easier said than done!) and then go for it! Work HARD! Work your guts out! Don’t give up. There are going to be bumps along the way…but you will learn from those experiences. Think BIG! Don’t worry about the “other guy/gal”. The world wide web is a GREAT BIG PLACE! There is room enough for everyone. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others….DO get caught up in making YOUR work the very best it can be, by YOUR standards…not someone else’s. Don’t forget…you have one-of-a-kind voice! There is NO ONE out there saying, doing or communicating the exact same things you are. You are an original.