Recently Kathy of a Delightsome Life asked us to share some on blogging and how we do it, we thought we’d share our post here with you today.
Believe it or not the number one question we get asked about our blog At The Picket Fence is not…”how do you come up with projects?” or “how did you get sponsors or advertisers?”
The concept of multiple blog authors is still relatively new in the blogging community. Blogs originally were a platform for people to share their personal lives, most likely with friends and family so therefore it was a natural extension to be a “one woman or man show.” But, there has slowly been an evolution to multiple author or contributor blogs. For us this was a fabulous concept!
Here are a few pluses about blogging together: two brains for the price of one. double the available content. a person to automatically get to vent to, collaborate with and bounce ideas off of. a division of the labor i.e. writing posts, responding to questions and emails, working with sponsors and advertisers and communicating through social media.
Here are the minuses: lack of spontaneity. having to compromise. sharing of the income generated from the blog.
As you can see in our eyes the pluses far out way the negatives! And the added and best bonus:
Getting to work everyday with your sister who lives across the country!
So HOW then do we make this work daily for us? Well, we thought it would be fun to share a day in the life of our blog!
so with a three hour difference we can cover a large portion of the day with regards to our blogging business!
Most days Heather will wake up, have coffee, have some more coffee…and fire up the computer. The first thing she does is either publish that mornings post (usually between 8-9 am) while Vanessa is still snuggled in bed with visions of posts dancing in her head… If there is a post up from the night before that will still be the featured post for that day, Heather will go into edit and update the date and time and update the post. This brings the post back up to the top of people’s blogging dashboards and readers.
Next, Heather will check emails and categorize them in our At The Picket Fence Gmail account. This is our main account for our blog, and we both have access to it online and on our phones. With a quick scan she deletes any spammy emails, categorizes emails into their respective folders: sponsors, giveaway requests, post questions, BlogHer emails etc. She makes sure to mark any for Vanessa specifically as “unread” and starts them so she’ll see them when she gets online.
After addressing any emails that need immediate responses. Heather switches over to our special email address where all of our comments are sent. We decided awhile back that having two email addresses one a general and one a comment only helped us from “losing” emails from sponsors, advertisers and business opportunities among the comments.Heather scans quickly the comments looking for questions to answer or comments that need a direct reply.
Now, it’s time to connect with our Facebook Friends.
We have been blessed to have so many wonderful Facebook friends (almost as many as blog followers) so we work hard to cultivate the community over there! In fact, it’s a great way to connect with us on a more personal level, so we encourage all of our blog friends to also join us over there. We try each morning to share an inspirational or funny quote, picture, etc. We also make sure to link up our blog post for the day. We check for any private messages or new likes who have left comments and respond to those directly.
We also make sure we are utilizing all of the great resources provided by social media platforms by having our Facebook updates all post on our Twitter account automatically. While we are in our Facebook Page account we take a quick moment to scan the pages we follow to make sure we leave comments, like status updates, etc. This not only creates a sense of community but also increases our edgerank (i.e. how Facebook sees our importance) because Facebook likes interaction.
At this point in the morning, Heather’s coffee has run out and it’s time to focus on “real life” for a few hours. Vanessa is now up and at ‘em with her family.
Vanessa usually jumps on the email first thing to check for new comments, and to address her emails. She is our “email cleaner” she is good about keeping us from being overwhelmed with emails in our in box! She also will often get on Facebook as well and post something from her. Usually something funny or cute her kiddos have done…and they are VERY funny and cute. (says their Aunt Heather…grin!)
Often Vanessa will send a quick text to Heather letting her know she’s up and to touch base on something while getting her family around for the morning. We do A LOT of texting!!
Texting saves our bacon when it comes to our blog. No matter where we are or what we’re doing we know we can communicate with each other.
Some of our text go like this: “Yikes! I forgot to put the linkytool link in the party! Can you fix that real quick I’m not at home!!” or “OMG you’re post today is so fabulous! I LOVE your photos!” maybe a “did YOU see the email we just got?!” or “Can you do a Facebook update I forgot?”
At some point in the day, we will have a phone conversation. This usually consists of working through our calendar and scheduling posts or discussing working with a new sponsor, etc.
When blogging together an online calendar is a lifesaver! We use our Google calendar because it is attached to our Gmail. It’s easy to click over and go over the calendar together and fill in our posts, giveaways, etc. We then schedule reminders to our Gmail to help keep us on track. On our calendar we schedule posts, sponsor shout-outs, giveaways, and keep track of our statistics.
Afternoons are reserved for both of us to work on projects, take photos and write posts. We also do lots of our post writing at night when our families are settled in for the evening. Afternoons are also when we will have a phone conversation to discuss sponsors, giveaways and advertisers. We often split responsibilities but we both are able to handle things like billing, tweaking the look of the blog and making sure we are visiting and making the blog rounds in our community.
Vanessa will get online in the late afternoon, while dinner is going on at Heather’s house, to refresh a post again. She will share features on Facebook, tweet some updates and answer emails. Evenings are always flexible at both our homes depending on what we have going on in our personal lives. Sometimes we are both online at the same time, emailing featuring, pinning, and tweeting. Sometimes only one of us is on. The nice thing is no matter what we can be PRESENT online connecting with our communities because there are TWO of us!
One fear we have had in this joint venture is a lack of personalization. We are one blog…but we are two sisters. We will often “sign” our Facebook updates, comments or tweets with our individual names so that others will know who they are talking to. We each have “blog friends” that we feel especially close to and have developed friendships with. We never want to lose who we uniquely are. We also each have special gifts, talents and subjects we feel strongly about and want our blog to reflect our individualism as well.
Vanessa has her amazing and very personal A Labor of the Heart Series…focusing on adoption and faith. Heather has written a Blogging 101 Series sharing her passion for blogging and helping new bloggers.
And then we have fun joint series we love working on together like our Behind the Blog Series. And of course our favorite part of the week…Inspiration Friday Party! Where we get to showcase other bloggers and bask in the fabulous talent out there in blogland!
As our day draws to a close, we often will spend a few moments pinning and repining on Pinterest, which is a fun way to end the evening or tweeting with our friends. We both have Pinterest and Twitter apps on our phones which makes this easy to do without having to be in front of a computer. Vanessa will often refresh a post one more time in the evening, or do a few more shout-outs on Facebook, making sure we are connecting with our friends in all time zones.
And then it’s time for bed…where often our most creative ideas and blog ideas come to us when our brains are resting…which might generate one more late night text…”Hey I just had the most amazing idea…remind me in the morning to tell you!!”
Besides are blog we also have several other collaborative projects. We are both monthly guest contributors to Houzz.com as well as recently brought aboard as HomeTalk Ambassadors. Needless to say we’ve developed an even closer relationship over our blog. It’s a business…but we are SISTERS and that always comes first!