Stepping Outside Your Comfort Level

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I have been traveling a lot for work and it reminds me how important connecting with people in real life is – and how it has really become a long lost art. It also reminds me how I got into blogging in the first place, and how it seems a lot of bloggers have lost their voice, their authenticity.

Example 1: Do Something that Scares You

This week I brought a client from New Jersey to Virginia to hold her hand through her first conference. She is excited and yet scared to do something she would never have done in the past – and needed a little help from me to show her the ropes. It also has been empowering to me to realize how well I can manage these things – take charge, have everything organized and completed flawlessly, how to connect with people naturally and not be afraid.

Remember yours? The first time (or maybe you haven’t yet!) you went to a blogger or social media conference and were so excited – and then were too afraid to talk to anyone? You played on your phone. You stood in the corner. You left without saying goodbye to anyone, but then Tweeted them from the train on your way home.

Stop. Turn around. Go back.

Homework:

I want you to do something that scares you this week. I want you to go to an event and talk to a stranger. I want you to finally try that aerial yoga class you saw someone take on Facebook. Then I want you genuinely write about it – from your heart – and tell me what happens.

Example 2: Yorgo’s Bageldashery

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Irene Weinberg with Rodney at Yorgo’s Bageldashery

I walked into a bagel shop this morning in Norfolk, Virginia with a client and honestly fell in love with the place. It had a warm, welcoming vibe, the workers were friendly, and before I knew it – we were chatting with the owners over bagels and coffee about the history of the area, sailing, bagels and more.

I felt an honest connection, and wanted to share the love on social media to promote them – not for money, not out of obligation, but out of genuine want to help them and let my followers  know where I was. Just sitting with them reminded me why I do what I do – to connect with people, the learn the scenery an experience the world – oh, and just bring you along on my journey.

Homework:

When was the last time you wanted to actually TWEET about something cause you loved it – and weren’t getting paid to say it? I want you to remember how social really works – but BEING social. I want you to engage your audience with something that is fun and happy to you – just because. Then tell me what happened.

Example 3: Speak Your Mind

Maybe it’s just me, but I am getting bored of reading paid reviews and see your “ads” on Twitter. *Yawn* When I first started blogging, I would write about all the crazy things that happened to me when I was pregnant. I would speak my mind about breastfeeding in public, or why I choose to be a co-sleeping parent. But more and more, I see myself getting “too busy” to write about the really cool things that happen to me that people would find interesting and instead writing about yet another product or event. I’m even bored with myself.

Homework:

Find a new way to inject life into your words. This doesn’t mean you can’t write about products, or events or food. But give it LIFE. I want to hear the story behind it. I want to see the how the commute was a nightmare, and how you spilled it all over your shoes. Or how your toddler almost pulled down the step and repeat. I want the raw, honest story of life that happens. That’s what is interesting – your life. Don’t be afraid to show it.

I want to authenticity back into our writing before I tune out blogging all together – who’s with me?

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INTRO NYC’s First Brunch at Sarabeth’s

This past weekend we threw our first exclusive blogger brunch here in NYC at Sarabeth’s. What is better than learning about trending topics and social media over bellinis and delicious treats?

Here is a peek at the event:

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What were some of the common concerns among the group?

A big one is monetization and growing your audience. Another was, what happens when you out-grow your blog (like moms!)…. do you grow with your children or find writers to keep it more baby-focused. Good question! We also talked about some fun new trends and tips for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up with the constant changes.

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We’re excited to see the INTRONYC community growing bigger everyday – on social media and in real life! We are hosting mini lunch and learns every month in different venues around NYC (learn more here). Or watch for upcoming details on our next brunch in the fall!

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Shoutout to our Sponsor: Box Butler

We love Box Butler because they’re a great resource for NYC living and storage options – they bring boxes for you to fill, and then go and store them for you. That’s right, delivery and drop off of your own things in storage instead of a huge box you have to manage yourself. And the best part? They can drop off your things usually within a 24 hour window! (That means if there is a frost coming next week, you can have those winter coats brought back home!)

If you want to try out Box Butler – use promo code “INTRONYC” and receive 10% your storage purchase!

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5 Essential Business Books for Bloggers

When is the last time you actually sat down and read a good book. I mean, put your phone down and laid in bed and read a real, hard copy piece of work? Even though we work mainly online, I think it’s important to still hold on to tangible items here and there – like a book. People laugh that I still use a daily journal to keep my schedule, but I feel (and see a lot of other bloggers) it helps keep me more grounded and organized.

So this week, I am giving you some homework. I want you to take a step back from blogging so much and stressing yourself out, and I want you to read. Blogging and small business is just like any other profession – you need continued education. Doctors do it. Lawyers do it, and now I want you to do it. Here are five outstanding books to choose from to get your started.

I think it will recharge you and give you better inspiration to keep going for the year as a successful business owner. The best part? You can get these all on Amazon (hard copies!) for around $1-2 each! It’s like a yard sale for your brain! Enjoy –

1. UnMarketing

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I will just say this. I. Love. Scott. (maybe he’ll read that and be flattered). He honestly changed my life when I met him because he’s honest, raw and real. He’s one of those guys who will feed you no bull shit and call you out on all the things you’re doing wrong that are making you (and us as an industry) look bad. If you want a dose of reality, this is the book to read – because it will honestly make you a much better marketing person.

2. The Art of Social Media

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This is all the rage these days – if you don’t know the name Guy Kawaskai – order this book asap. He’s the new guru of social media, and he spells it all out for you here in this book. It will give you a lot of great tips to revamp your social media strategy, and hopefully even free up some more time to read TWO books on this list.

3. Good to Great

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The original must-read book for any business owner or someone striving to be. I read this in grad school and it had molded the pathways to success. It basically says, do what you are good at, and stick to it. Stop trying to do a little of everything and focus on your talents. Today, bloggers spread themselves too thin over a wide range of areas when they can be successful focusing on what their best in.

4. Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich: 75 Avoidable Mistakes Women Make With Money

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If you need some tough skin, pick up this book. It’s still a man’s world out there, and if you act like a girl all the time, you aren’t going to reach the financial success you’re destined for. This book reminds us how to get what we want by being a lady, but a bitch at the same time. And to STOP killing yourself and business by drowning in debt from things you aren’t even aware of! You might even want to follow up with her first book, Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office. That’s the book that started me on my journey to being my own boss.

5. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Another oldie but goodie. If this hasn’t crossed your path yet – you’ll want to pick it up. This was also a great book I read in grad school because it talk us about morals and ethics, and how to be genuine in a journalist world. As a blogger, let me as you – have you ever done a post or taken money to talk about something that wasn’t exactly what you believe in? Well, your readers probably also noticed. This book will teach you how to still be successful without jeopardizing your brand. ** The forward is by Jim Collins – the guy who wrote Good to Great, so you can see these authors actually work together and believe in what each other is saying – maybe you should, too!

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Get Mobile-Friendly Now, and Why You Should Love Meerkat

I had an interesting conversation yesterday that started like this, “When is the last time you read an entire paragraph on a website?” Rarely, right? Most of us skim, look at photos and/or want to get right to business – the giveaway, the price for the product, the sign-up, etc. And here I go on and on in a paragraph….

My point is this: the digital realm is ever changing. If you’re writing novels and have low traffic, you might want to shorten those bad boys up. Can’t bring yourself to do it? Maybe you should put together an e-book for download. Wonder why Instagram is so hot? Because it’s MICRO BLOGGING. People get what they want in just one photo or video. Which leads me to:

Google will penalize you if your site isn’t mobile-friendly by April 21st

If you don’t know what mobile-friendly means, you better just give me a call. You can tell by browsing your own website on your mobile phone – does it fit your screen or do you still have the shrink and stretch to read it? If it doesn’t auto fit, you have about one month to find a new theme (or reach out to your developers) and get that fixed.

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You should be using RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN. What the heck is that? It means that the page uses the same URL and the same code whether the user is on a desktop computer, tablet, or mobile phone – only the display adjusts or ‘responds’ according to the screen size. Google recommends using RWD over other design patterns.” This last sentence is Google’s emphasis, not mine.

Usually when you go to get a new template for a blog these days they will be responsive, but MAKE SURE.

Why? Because the majority of internet users are browsing from their phones more than ever, and Google wants the information that they find to be relevant and responsive (aka easy to read and navigate).

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Read Google’s Guide to Mobile-Friendly Websites here. You can also drop in your website and see if Google ranks it as mobile friendly or not.


Facebook cleaned up fake and dead likes

You probably saw a drop in your Facebook likes yesterday. Just like Instagram did a couple months back, Facebook went through and removed all the fake/dead accounts (and likes). If you commited the sin of buying likes, you might have seen a huge drop (and so did your followers), so I hope this is finally a a great reminder to STOP THAT. Enough with the like wars – get out there and start ENGAGING your communities!


 Meerkat/Periscope War

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There’s a major storm brewing on Twitter, and for good reason. If you didn’t know – just a couple weeks ago this incredible new app called Meerkat came out. It lets you live stream from anywhere directly into Twitter with a link. Think Google Hangouts on Redbull. You can get lots more engagement, viewers, and more just by hosting and giving a sneak peek into your business. Well, Twitter wasn’t too happy about it, so they came out with their OWN live streaming app – Periscope.

So the big question – which one is better? That’s going to be something we have to follow and find out. What team are you on? Currently we’re still #TeamMeerkat.

Curious to see how it will work? Watch our LIVE Meerkat broadcast from our Coffee Chat on March 31st at 9am! (PS we literally have ONE SEAT LEFT – who wants it??)

If you need more info – you can always email me 🙂

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Social Media – You’re Doing it Wrong

A lot happened last week in the world of social media. First of all, it was #SMWNYC 2015 – a week of everything social media including top tips, trends and setbacks by industry leaders like Mashable, Martha Stewart and the New York Times. Yes, Facebook is still here to stay, and your tweets are still relevant, but here are few key takeaways I thought were worth passing on to you, as well as well, the word on the street here in NYC. It’s pretty chatty if you listen –

1. You’re showing your age.

I hate to tell you guys, but the younger crowds are eating it up on SnapChat. If you’re still scratching your head wondering how brands are connecting with a private image app that you thought was only used for cheating husbands and wives – think again. SnapChat isn’t private anymore, you have the ability to make your profile public, and view public posts as well. Check out how this guy turned his account into a virtual resume for a JOB at SnapChat! Did he get it??? Your audience is here – just how are you going to reach them?

2. Video Video Video.

Now don’t freak out if you’re not ready to swallow the audio voice over pill. While YouTube is king, it’s not the only video options out there. But if you want to keep up on social media, you’re going to have to start adding some video to your life.  As mentioned, Vine is making a huge comeback and is really popular with fans if you can make witty six-second videos. Another cool trend? Fast-motion video. Check out Beyonce – and of COURSE there’s app for that – in fact there are a few. Here’s a list to get you started.

3. Watch this movie – Chef.

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John Favreau brilliantly incorporated the magic of social media into this super cute movie about a chef stuggling with his life’s passion and connection with his son. You’ll see some great Twitter references, as well as – wait for it – VIDEO! His son uses an app on his phone to take one second of film everyday for their entire trip across the country and then turns it into one amazing, tear-jerker video for his dad. Now, how cool would it be if you did that for your brand? Of course it’s a real app! It’s called 1 Second everyday. The movie is available now in Netflix.

4.  YouTube Kids and Google +

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Google has been making a lot of serious changes this week. For one – they launched their first-ever app just for families from the ground up – YouTubeKids. Brilliant. Yes it does exactly what you think it does it corrals all the stuff you want your child to watch in one safe place (and keeps the bad stuff out). It also has cool features like a timer (so you don’t have to be the bad guy!), and pre-set search settings. It’s free and available right now for iOS and Android.

With the addition of one thing, something else has to go, and we’ve all seen it coming. Say goodbye to Google+. Now before you freak out and worry about photos, those Google Hangouts and beyond – don’t worry, they’ll still be around, but they are going to break up. Tear.

Until next time –

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Photo credits: Chef the Film; YouTube

Can Do Duck the Musical

This past weekend we had the opportunity to host a premiere viewing of the new off-Broadway kids show, Can Do Duck the Musical. We invited and brought in over 40 NYC bloggers and their families to see the exclusive performance.

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About Can Do Duck the Musical

Our favorite takeaways from Can Do Duck: (1) t it’s interactive (kids get called up to participate on stage)

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(2) it has an inspiring and motivational message. How sweet is it that the kids were totally mesmerized and sang along with the ending song, “You Are Loved.” What a positive way to end a show!

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(3) and there is also floor seating for the kids, so they can feel a part of the show! This is great for curious toddlers with a short attention span. It gives younger kids an opportunity to be exposed to the arts without worrying they won’t make it through the show. (If they get restless, there is a small arts and crafts area outside that they can venture into!) Talk about kid-friendly.

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The musical opens this coming Sunday, February 8th (with Saturday and Sunday shows every weekend at 11am through March 8th). Tickets are $40 for adults and $30 for children (ages two and under are free). They also have discounted pricing for group rates! Get tickets here!

What People Are Saying About Can Do Duck the Musical

Follow along or join in the conversation on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

hashtags #cddtm and #intronyc

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Meet the Blogger: Nicole Renee of Fitful Focus

Meet Nicole Renee – the writer and inspiration behind Fitful Focus – a motivating blog on how to stay fit and focused on those goals.

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What inspired you to start blogging?

I started blogging as a way to hold myself accountable and track my health and fitness goals.

Do you blog full time or part time?

Part time.

What makes your blog unique?

I try to never be too serious. Health and fitness can get serious so quickly – it should be fun! I also won’t put myself into a box like many health and fitness bloggers do (paleo, vegan, yogi, cross fitter). I like to test out all the trends (diet and workout wise) to see what works best from me – after all, switching it up is a great way to see new results as well as discover new passions.

What has been the most successful way to engage with your community?

Giveaways are always a great way to create engagement. I also pose questions at the end of every post to foster conversation.

What is your favorite social media platform and why?

Instagram – so much eye candy!

What is your favorite brand to work with and why?

I have a few.

Vega is an awesome brand. Their product is quality, the team of people there is amazing, and they are doing great things to make the world a happier, healthier place.

I also love Quest. They are another amazing company working toward a healthy lifestyle and they are incredibly creative. They are constantly creating delicious recipes and giving people healthier versions of unhealthy desserts. YUM!

What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written. Why is it your favorite?

I ran my first marathon back in January. I did so much research before embarking on my training and was so nervous by all the things I was hearing, like “you’re going to lose all your toe nails!” After I crossed the finish line, I wanted to write about what I found to be true and what I found to be false when it came to marathon training rumors. It was a really fun post to write and become one of my most popular. 7 Myths of Marathon Training: Is there Any Truth to Them?

Link to your most popular post.

Healthy Pumpkin Pie “Ice Cream” !! 

My favorite place to blog is…

from my super comfy couch! (but if I had the option of blogging from Costa Rica or the Maldives, it’d probably be there…)

My goal for blogging is…

…to have fun, share my recipes/tips/tricks, meet like-minded people, and discover new things.

My advice for new bloggers is…

…make it fun, be yourself, and enjoy it :). And connect with other bloggers – is so much more fun with blends (blogger friends).

Follow Nicole on social media!

Facebook: http://facebook.com/fitfulfocus

Twitter: @fitfulfocus

Instagram: @fitfulfocus

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/fitfulfocus

5 Updates You Must Do Right Now for Your Blog to Start 2015 {Giveaway}

Ahhh it’s a new year and everyone is all about new goals, new resolutions and new everything. But before you get all excited about all the “new” stuff, let’s polish up your “old” stuff first.

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1. Get your taxes ready.

Being a blogger means you own a business. Do you have an accountant? Kept track of all your expenses and income? Then you’re in good shape! Get a head start by planning to meet with them early and get it over with. Did you pay a virtual assistant? You’re responsible to get 1099 out to freelance work (over $600) before February 15th. If you haven’t kept track, start now by looking back and try to put your expenses and income into an excel sheet. This can take some time so you won’t want to wait until the last minute. This way, you’ll also have your template ready to start keeping track for 2015. Set columns for advertising, office expenses, tech support/set-up, income, etc. That way you can break it down and see what you really made vs. what you spent and know how much you need/want to make this year!

2. Start tracking.

Have you been keeping track of your goals and setting new ones? Allison has great points on how to set these goals, but you also need to know your growth to know where you’ve come from and where you’re heading. So right now, take screen shots or start a Google Doc of all your current blog numbers and social media followers. Set a reminder to check them once a month and write them down to see how they are increasing. Are you hitting your goals? You should also be looking back once a month at your best posts – what is getting the most attention and traffic? Do you even know? You should be writing other posts that are similar, or putting your best ads on those pages to be generating the most revenue.

3. Change your passwords

Did you read my last blog on security and the big WordPress hack? Don’t lose all your hard work to some bot from a third world country. There is no time like the present to update your logins.

4. Update!

When is the last time you looked over your blog and social media profiles? Are they all up-to-date with correct emails, stats, photos and data? Do you like what they say? Did you need to add some new press and praise to your media kit or about you page? Take a minute to go through them all and refresh! What about that copyright date on the bottom of your website? Unkept websites look dated and are turn-offs to readers and brands who might be checking you out for opportunities!

5. Research and Analyze

Lawyers and doctors are required to take continued education courses every year to make sure they are up-to-date on all the industry trends and practices, so why aren’t you? There are lots of great Blogging conferences every year, so research them and pick one or two that are worthwhile each year to attend.

Some of our favorites?

Well, here in NYC we host a monthly Lunch and Learn to discuss all the currently trends and news in social media and blogging. Join us on February 9th!

Blogging Concentrated is great for those who are looking to take the leap and push their blogs into serious revenue and career. (We’ll be in Philly in March!)

BlogHer is probably the most popular, and it’s coming to NYC this July!

SITS Blogging Boot Camps are amazing. Tiffany and Francesca will give it to you straight about the business. If you really want an insiders look to blogging, attend one of these!

{GIVEAWAY}

To get you started – we want you to join us here in NYC for one of our monthly Lunch and Learns, as well as one of our upcoming webinars on how to get your blog oiled and greased for better opportunities this year.  So we’re going to give one of each away! Enter below to win and join us!

Get Ready for 2015 Giveaway

Are You Protecting Your Blog from Hackers?

You’ve put all this time and effort into creating a masterpiece – self hosting, content, great photos, a pretty theme – it would be a shame if one day you woke up and it was all gone. But it happens. A lot. In fact, WordPress sites just took a hit – 100,000 WordPress sites were just hacked through an outdated plug-in

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And with all the current hacking situations – maybe it’s time you took the steps to protect your valued assets online. Don’t be native – just because you’re a little ole blog doesn’t mean you won’t get hacked like Sony. If you are hacked and infected, you are ‘blacklisted’ on Search Engines. That means all your valuable readers will see a scary red screen pop up when they come to your site saying “this site is infected with malware.” Not exactly good for your traffic and thus, your revenue. Scared yet? You should be. Now make these changes:

1. CHECK YOUR SITE NOW. CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS.

Log in and check your site right now. It’s okay? Phew. Now make sure it stays safe.

And don’t use a password that is something like “password” or “123.” *eye roll* Yes – it might be easier to remember them that way, but that also makes you vulnerable to attack. Make sure you encrypt your passwords, and change them at least every 60 days or so. Not just your WordPress passwords either – change your email passwords, too. If you are using Google and have a lot of info stored on Google Docs, I am pretty sure you won’t want to lose any of that either.

TIP: Use  a program that is credible to store all your passwords for you if you have trouble remembering like Dashlane. It’s free to host them on your phone/app. But you have to upgrade if you want them to be saved in the cloud (ex. – if you get a new phone, you NEED to write them down, they will NOT be automatically updated and saved).

2. BACKUP

Do it right now. Remember that scene from Sex and the City where Carrie “sad Mac-ed” and lost everything? It happens. Don’t lose your stuff! There are lots of ways to back up your site – usually your host will offer a nightly backup so look into it. Or, you can always save your own. I personally keep my own XML file on an external drive and I pull that once a month. Just so I have a back up of all my old posts and won’t lose them all. Plus, I know this is a CLEAN backup, so if I DO get infected, I’ll be able to reinstall an uninfected backup. You can save your own by going to Tool>Export>All Content.

Tip: If you’ve been blogging for a while, you might want to export in sections – the posts, photos, etc. individually. Sometimes if you have a lot of content, WordPress won’t like to do it all as a bulk upload and might crash, so just save yourself the stress!

Pay a company to back it up for you on the cloud like CodeGuard.com.

3. UPDATE

If you read anything about the WordPress hack, you’d know that they infiltrated all the sites through an OLD version of a plugin. WordPress doesn’t just send you updates for fun – they’re send for a reason. As soon as you’re asked to update your site, plugins, etc. DO SO. Also, take a quick walk through your website now – are there any plugins you aren’t using – DELETE.  Mark it on your calendar to remind yourself to update your site at least once a month.

TIP: Install a security plugin. iThemes Security is a great way to get started that will put up some deterrents such as an away-mode disabling login feature, and changing the URLS for your WordPress login so it’s not as easy for an attempted hack. Another great one to check out is Wordfence. 

4. MONITOR

Get started by running a check-up like Sucuri SiteCheck Scanner. This will tell you if you have any malware, out of date software, your blacklist status and more. Use a monitoring system that can put up a WAF (web application firewall) to protect your site like Cloudfare.com or  Sucuri.net. Also, if you are infected, Sucuri is a the top security firm in WordPress right now to help you straighten things out. But, let’s hope we can avoid that!

 

 

 

Ten 2015 Trends You Need to Know About

Being a blogger doesn’t mean just writing about what you want anymore – the best bloggers have a strategy (and an editorial calendar). One way to keep on top of the pile is to always be aware of the current trends and fads happening around you, so you can jump seamlessly into the conversation. Last night we had the opportunity to attend an exclusive event held by Ford Motor Company that discussed what trends they think will start (or continue) to emerge in 2015 – and why we as a whole should be aware of them.

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From a brands perspective – it’s not always about sales or the coolest new truck on the line, it’s about understanding how the world around you is changing – and if you’re going to be able to keep up or not. So the question is – will your blog?

A car company? Yes Ford is one of the most innovative companies in the world, in fact they were named the most “green” company in the world in 2014. So with that, let’s see what they think will emerge in 2015:

1. Make Way for Gen Z

What are these younger kids thinking? Will they even (want to) be on Facebook by the time they reach the age of parenting and jobs? But with a whopping 2 billion members of out the world’s entire population of 8 billion, it’s safe to say they are going to be important. If you’re a food blogger – take note: this generation is being regarded as the “foodie” generation. They are acutely aware of where their ingredients come from, and enjoy preparing their own meals. Growing up with common terms such as Gluten-free and GMO’s, they’re much more inclined to be searching for food related articles, recipes and ideas.  Gen Z is roughly defined as anyone born since 1993.

2. Rally for Renegades and Rebels

Ahhh – chalk one up for the rebels out there. Our younger generation is aware of global issues out there, and they’re less concerned on following traditional means of life – such as college, jobs and family. The ways of the world are changing – instead of getting an advanced college degree,  55% of Generation Z is more likely to start a business and hire others right off the bat. That means you have some competition coming up the pipeline. This also means sites like Etsy stand to grow in popularity. Listen up brands! They are also drawn to companies and brands that are rebellious. This means going against the grain and creativity are more critical than ever to hold a captive audience. Take the #eatenalive show on the Discovery Channel – it sounded cool but failed to deliver, and in return, received TONS of backlash. So step outside the box, but be sure to follow through. 54% also say they want to have an impact on the world – this means going green and eco-friendly topics and blogs will be flourishing as well. People are actually wanting to HELP each other more!

3. Flaunting Failure

Today, failure isn’t being hidden in the closet – it’s being worn confidently on the sleeves of many small business owners. Even though an estimated 90% of tech startups fail, this is now viewed as a badge of honor – that the person was willing to take the leap, and learned a valuable lesson. Even Oprah Winfrey herself said, “There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.” And think about – when you listen to the stories of successful people – most of them weren’t just lucky and hit it big – they had a lot of setbacks that didn’t deter them, but helped them figure out the way to BECOMING successful. This is a great motivation moment for bloggers – instead of always having BLOG ENVY (see our past article on this), try to worry more about your own decisions and how you’re growing. Stop measuring yourself against everyone else, and measure your success against you. How much did you make this year compared to this year? Did you have an uptick in followers? Readers? I am going to go on a limb and say yes. No one becomes successful overnight – work hard and learn from your mistakes to grow in the right direction.

4. Carryless Movement

Moms can really relate to this – how many of you have been open to trying new products that weigh less, hold less or compact things for you more easily? What about using apps – especially here in NYC, think about how many times you use Seamless to order food or Fresh Direct to delivery your groceries. Are you using mobile banking to pay for things? I bet many of you accept payments through PayPal and never even have to step foot in banks anymore. What about Uber that lets you pay for your cab without having cash or credit cards on you. We’re moving into a more minimalistic society. Take note of this when opting in to do reviews for more modernized items and apps that let us do more with less.

5. No Strings Attached

The same goes for large items in your home – a lot more consumers are into “sharing” high-priced items instead of buying them anymore. Think about Rent the Runway, swap meets where you can exchange your or your children’s clothing instead of buying new ones. Ever thought about renting a dog? The BorrowMyDoggy app lets local dog owners allow people in the community to walk their dogs for them, babysit them when they go away for weekends, and more. It’s shown 40% of adults under 35 are having trouble making long-term commitments. So keep this in mind when talking or looking into products to talk about – will consumers want to host that large lawn mower in their backyard or just rent one during the summer?

6. Expanding “Next of Kin”

It’s obvious that the “traditional family standard” is changing. Over 17 countries worldwide have approved same-sex marriage, and 20 others have recognized it in some way. Divorce rates are up, and single parent homes are common. A nuclear family doesn’t mean a mom, dad and children anymore – it can be a multitude of combinations anymore, and it’s important to include these families when you’re talking to them as an audience. Over 76% (myself included) agree “family” includes good friends who aren’t blood relatives. 41% of US babies (myself included) are now born to unmarried mothers. Even 54% of American pet owners refer to themselves as “pet parents.” In Japan, pets even outnumber children under the age of 16 by roughly 6 MILLION. If you want to be viewed as an expert, you’re going to have to be less conservative on your views of the world.

7. Give and Take of Privacy

What is privacy worth to you? It’s this evil balancing act of opening up your life to be transparent and still holding on to something private and sacred. How far is too far? Are you willing to store all your images for free online if they have access to your personal moments and glimpses into your life? Are you willing to show your child’s face but won’t disclose where you live? What is your barrier? This is an on-going topic that isn’t going to go away any time soon. In fact, over 56% of millennials were willing to share their location with companies in order to receive coupons to nearby businesses. But, is anyone else creeped out when Facebook sends you a notification telling you one of your friends is “near by?”  How much Kool-aid are you willing to drink for a larger audience, following and ideally a bigger paycheck?

8. Elusive Health

Between 2008 and 2013, obesity rates have rose significantly. So much so that for the first time in history, obesity is more of a global concern than hunger. When polled, a whopping 48% of Americans said it was easier for them to figure out how to do their own taxes than it was to eat healthy? What?! There is a huge need here and people are desperate to find answers and follow those on their journeys of health. If you are a health, food or lifestyle blogger – this is your bread and butter. Recent trends like meat-free Mondays, the juicing frenzy, mislabled foods, and the education to know new food-related terminology is only going to keep getting more and more attention. Focus on these topics and you’ll see your audience start to grow.

9. Escape Artist

Ever find yourself saying you just want to unplug from the world, and then find yourself skimming through tweets and Instagram images while watching the news at night? GUILTY! More and more the need to “escape” is becoming America’s new favorite pastime. 62% of adults WORLDWIDE under 35 say they seek experiences they feel can’t be replicated. Travel bloggers anyone? Extreme sports? Why do you think shows like Anthony Bordain are so wildly popular – people want to get out there and see the world. Any Netflix bloggers out there? Maybe it’s not even escaping your home. Even 25% of Netflix subscribers have crammed an ENTIRE 13-hour season of a popular show into two days. That’s considered escaping in itself. What about day trips? Exploring the city around you – these types of posts are becoming ragingly popular. Have you ever walked the beaches of Barbados? Zip-lined in Puerto Rico? Better consider those types of articles on your blogs (as long as their relevant with SEO!). Have a fun vacation coming up or trying to plan where to go? Now you know what you need to be documenting.

10. Many Faces of Mobility

Are we really only a few steps away from the Star Trek transporter in real life? The theory of mobility is changing, and the way people are viewing it can be defined different ways. Do you think of mobile phones? Mobile as in transportation and moving vehicles? What about the way you work – are you working from home as you’re reading this? Traditional means of mobility don’t seem to exist anymore, and cars technically could become a thing of the past? Think about driving tests – now cars can park for you, or signal when you’re crossing the middle line or break when you’re too close to the car in front of you. Will our children even need to take driver’s tests? Have you heard about Ambulance drones yet? When you call 9-1-1, the dispatchers will release both a drone AND an ambulance. The drone can make it to the scene is about one minute providing a life-saving toolkit to those on the scene immediately.

 

It’s impossible to predict the future, but there are ways to follow these trends into 2015 and be skilled bloggers, supplying our audience with the information they need. Will you be ready?