Blog Log #13: The Key To Building an Engaged Audience Plus 30 Ideas For Fresh Content


Nubby Twiglet | The Key To Building an Engaged Audience Plus 30 Ideas For Fresh Content

The quickest way to grow your blog doesn’t hinge on implementing the latest SEO techniques or posting a lot of pretty images. If you want an audience that’s engaged and keeps coming back for more, create genuinely helpful content.

If you poke around the internet, you’ll notice that a majority of the most popular blogs are heavy on content that teaches you something. Whether it’s how to live a better life, how to tie a scarf or how to whip up something new in the kitchen, people are always searching for opportunities to learn something new, even if it’s ridiculously simple.

Think about it this way. When you sit down to google something, would you key in:

Popular lipstick shades or how to pick flattering lipstick shades?
Graphic design portfolio or how to build a print portfolio?
Cute hairstyles or how to style short hair?
Chunky sweater styles or how to style chunky sweaters?

Audiences want applicable advice that is helpful and benefits their lives in some way. The concept of being helpful can feel a bit daunting at first. After all, not all of us are gourmet chefs, DIY masterminds or decorating geniuses. But, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. When it comes to being helpful, we each have a unique set of talents and life experiences. We just tend to assume that everyone else knows how to do what we do. You’d be surprised at how popular some of your tried and true skills can be when turned into a series of blog posts.

To be genuinely helpful, the key is to think of little ways to add a twist to what you already enjoy doing.

Here are some ideas to get you going:

1. Bake your way through a stash of favorite family recipes and photograph the results.

2. Review the books that have had the biggest impact on your life.

3. Break down your favorite makeup and skincare routines along with the products you recommend and why.

4. Document before and after shots of your home renovations with how-to guides.

5. Are you a green thumb? Create guides around what grows best in which climates.

6. Tour your city’s food carts and let us know your top picks!

7. If movies are your passion, create guides of must-see films broken up by genre.

8. Did you bypass college and follow a self-taught path to the career of your dreams? Tell us how you did it!

9. Share styling tips on how to get creative with a very limited wardrobe.

10. If you’re a master at smoothies, create a series around your favorite recipes.

11. Do you have a knack for hairstyles? Let us know the best ones for long, short, updos and more!

12. Create a series of helpful email templates related to your industry.

13. Share your tried-and-true social media tips and tricks for each platform.

14. Develop a series of paint swatch combos for the color challenged.

15. If organizing is your thing, share before and after shots alongside your sources for supplies.

16. Do you have a talent for modifying the mundane? Share your best IKEA hacks!

17. Are you a web designer? Let us know your favorite web font combos.

18. If you’re a thrifting champ, create guides for cities you’ve visited.

19. Is bartending your specialty? Share recipes and photograph your best drink concoctions!

20. Review your favorite restaurants in town and come up with your own rating system.

21. If you’re a shoe obsessive, create guides for the best shoes from working out to going out.

22. Is traveling your passion? Create guides for each locale you visit including transportation, dining and hotels!

23. Create a series of style posts centered around a favorite wardrobe staple.

24. Do you have a specific way of shooting and processing your photos? Show us how you do it.

25. Have you mastered how to clean your house without using harsh chemicals? Teach us your tricks!

26. If you’re a creative that’s burnt out on “pinspiration” posts, inspire us through real life mood boards.

27. Run your own business? Create an advice column centered around what you’ve learned.

28. Have you pulled off a career change into a completely different industry? Break down how you did it!

29. Are you a fitness junkie? Share routines for busy, on-the-go types.

30. Is event planning your passion? Teach us how to make gatherings and parties run more smoothly.

When it comes to building an engaged audience, be genuine, be helpful and share what you know.

Your turn: What are some recent helpful posts you did that were a big hit?

Image: Alexa Loy Photography.

The Typofiles #131: Elle UK Accessories

Nubby Twiglet | Elle UK Accessories

Over the last year, I’ve been crushing hard on the editorial design laced throughout Elle UK. During the holiday break, as I cleaned a solid 50 magazines out of my office closet, I came across this supplemental accessories guide.

What struck me most is that the design was completely of the moment but the executions were very timeless. Elle always balances edge with sophistication, both in its fashion and editorial design.

Nubby Twiglet | Elle UK Accessories

Throughout the pages, there was a fair amount of color blocking but it was done in completely unexpected pairings. Set in very standard columns, type was then rotated on the page. Dividing lines broke up content but instead of being black, they were done in full-on magenta. When it came to sunglasses, hand-drawn lines were woven through the page to draw attention to particular pairs. It’s all these subtle details that make the magazine such a standout.

Nubby Twiglet | Elle UK Accessories

Featured: Elle UK
All scans and photos: Shauna Haider
Check out more Typofiles columns here.

Tools Of The Trade #15: Present&Correct Office Supplies

Nubby Twiglet | Tools Of The Trade: Present&Correct

Readers are always emailing and tweeting me, inquiring about where they can find cool office supplies. If you’re on the hunt for goodies that are anything but run of the mill, Present&Correct is an absolute treasure trove.

They take great care to photograph their finds, many of which are one-of-a-kind and sourced throughout Europe. New life is given to long-forgotten supplies like French post office labels. And if vintage prints and ephemera are your thing, you’ll also love their blog.

Nubby Twiglet | Tools Of The Trade: Present&Correct

Small businesses with a clear passion for what they do make the world go round. And even better, Present&Correct now have a brick and mortar shop in London.

P.S. Their Pinterest boards are off the hook!

Adventures In Queensland: Lady Of The Manor

Nubby Twiglet | Port Douglas: Lady Of The Manor

On our third day in Australia, I got sick and after hopping a quick flight to Cairns, I ended up in a crowded medical clinic. After that stop, darkness was already setting in and I fell asleep on our drive through the windy roads to Port Douglas. It was pitch black when we finally came to a complete stop at a set of gates. Slightly disoriented, I looked around but couldn’t see much.

Nubby Twiglet | Port Douglas: Lady Of The Manor

We then pulled into the driveway of our house for the rest of the week. We were shown around and I got lost several times through its maze of rooms, quickly realizing it was more of a mansion. I settled into the master bedroom and drifted off to sleep. This is the view that I awoke to. It was a full-on paradise with birds chirping in the palm trees. Australia is home to some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.

Nubby Twiglet | Port Douglas: Lady Of The Manor

This set-up was so completely opposite of my everyday existence. I knew I had to document it to show my family back home (because I doubt they believed half of my texts). I borrowed one of Gala’s dresses, posed by the pool and quickly earned the moniker Lady Of The Manor. Haha.

Nubby Twiglet | Port Douglas: Lady Of The Manor

But, all good things must come to an end. After 4 days at this glorious hideaway, it was time to head back to the city (and reality)!

Photos: Janneke Storm.
I Wore: Sunglasses, Dries Van Noten. Dress, borrowed from Gala. Boots, All Saints.
Special thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland for making this post possible.

The Week In Pictures: 1.3.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

It feels good to be slowly settling back into regular routines including blogging after a nice, long holiday break. Over the last month, it’s been a little chaotic around these parts with half of our downstairs feeling like a disaster zone as Joey rebuilds our entire bathroom from bare bones to a subway-tiled masterpiece. He’s been doing all the plumbing, electrical and construction himself and I’m amazed watching it all come together. Progress shots are coming soon!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

The new year flew in at full blast. I’ve been tucked away in my office all week, taking a nonstop stream of client calls and sending out proposals. I can already sense that this is going to be a very busy year for Branch.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

When it comes to Christmas, I always think the best gifts are things that feel a little too special and luxurious to splurge on for yourself. Gala knows me well and sent me this amazing Jonathan Adler bowl emblazoned with lips. It’s the perfect addition to my collection of white ceramic body parts!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Half the fun of putting together my gift for Gala was picking out all the little pieces.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

One of my resolutions for 2014 was to read more. I do read (on the internet!) but it’s never anything that meaty and I’m longing to dig into new business and design books. I picked up a stack of new titles and can’t wait to review them for the Look Book column.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. I’ll be off wrapping up the design of the new Blogcademy site (you can see a sneak peek here) which will be going live later this Spring. I hope you’re feeling semi-rested and ready to take on 2014!

Link Love: 1.2.14


Nubby Twiglet | Link Love

• When it comes to your social media in the new year, work smarter, not harder!

• An open letter to young female creatives.

• Kelli Anderson just pulled off one of the best IKEA hacks of all time with her stand-up desk!

• What are you building in 2014?

• 10 things they didn’t teach you at design school.

• What if you stopped focusing on past performance and quarterly goals when it came to your small business and instead set goals that were more in line with your personal new year’s resolutions?

• These 7 tips will help you find the time to blog.

• Jasmine Star shares how to set goals.

• Design Work Life rounded up their 12 favorite typefaces of 2013.

• Do you ever catch yourself dreaming about that perfect house? Stop.

• Make sure your WordPress blog is secure in the new year with these manageable security tips.

• A shout-out to the two projects we recently shared on the Branch blog: Luke Copping’s corporate photography booklet and Olivine Atelier’s gorgeous line of perfumes.

• 7 ways to spring clean your blog.

Photo: The Kennedys in New York, 1960.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

25 Moments of 2013: My Timeline Of An Awesome Year

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

Looking back, 2013 felt a bit like two years crammed into one.

A lot of travel, designing, blogging and teaching happened. And I had a pretty good time during most of it which really is the most important part! I’ve always felt that we should be conscious and thankful for all the awesome moments in our lives in order to open the door to more of the same. This post is a big pile of gratitude dedicated to 2013 and features 25 moments in chronological order that made my year unforgettable.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

It’s weird to think back and realize that our second ever Blogcademy just happened at the starting of this year. We taught in London in the middle of a blizzard which shut most of the city down. But, our blogcadettes were total troopers. So many of the ladies in this pair of classes made a big impact on us, including the super smart and stylish Xandra.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

After Blogcademy, we headed out to a farm in Surrey to teach a social media course to photographers. I was completely obsessed with the main house which at a solid 500 years old, felt straight out of a fairytale. There used to be a recording studio on the property — David Bowie, Queen and Black Sabbath had camped out there in decades past. Gala and I wasted no time claiming Freddie Mercury’s bedroom for the night!

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

After a day on the farm, we packed up and took the Eurostar to Paris. Paris in the winter means that there’s no tourists in sight. And, it also means that you have to do a whole lot of acting for the camera when you’re getting rained on and freezing to death.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

In April, Gala and Kat came to Portland to visit me for the first time and we spent some quality time crawling through my grumpy neighbor’s lawn, posing for Made U Look. And, visiting the Acropolis…because anything that’s good enough for Marilyn Manson is good enough for us.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

Once our adventures in Portland were over, we headed down to LA. I brought Joey and Rocky, who happens to be named after Sly Stallone’s most famous character. We walked him down to his namesake’s star for a photo-op and he quite suddenly puked all over it. Thankfully, the rest of our time in LA went much more smoothly. Like good ol’ Americans, we took Kat to Disneyland to celebrate her birthday. And in our world, no birthday celebration is complete without matching ears.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

Perhaps even better than our time at Disneyland? Meeting this way too perfect Michael Jackson impersonator.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

Late Spring was spent in Portland just trying to catch my breath. With the rest of the year’s travels mapped out, I knew it was only going to get more crazy from that point onwards. I spent every moment I wasn’t working sitting at home, trying to soak up the calm and keep everything together.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

In New York over the summer, we held our first meet-and-greet and got to hang out with a lot of the women who had joined us at our first Blogcademy the previous October. So much had changed by that point and it made me incredibly thankful to hang out with the ladies who had taken a chance and bought tickets when we were still trying to find our way. A standout from that first class? Latanya, who immediately took action after our workshop and turned her passion for blogging into a full-time gig.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

While in New York, I engaged in my favorite night time activity: going clubbing with Bianca. The best spot? On Top at Le Bain, which features a hot tub in the center of the dance floor complete with a gleaming disco ball and an astroturf covered roof with a crepe stand. My idea of heaven.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

After New York, Kat, Gala and I boarded a flight to Minneapolis. Our time there was one of the highlights of my year by far. That perfect lavender-infused latte at Spyhouse. Pride weekend. A visit to First Avenue. Guzzling booze out of a shrunken head. Meeting Alexandra Franzen for the first time. Sipping Sofia on a pontoon in Lake Minnetonka. Perfection.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

A quick stop in Austin rekindled my love affair with the city big time. And, our Air BnB pad had dinosaur planters.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

In August, Joey, Rocky and I headed down to the Oregon Coast for our annual Cannon Beach stay. My time at the beach gave me the opportunity to rock this weird neoprene dress I now refer to only as zipper hips.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

Less than a week later, Gala, Kat and I headed off to the Greek Islands. It was the most surreal, beautiful place I’d ever been. We spent our nights perched on a private balcony watching cruise ships inch by while listening to 90s gangsta rap. Climbing the maze of steps through Santorini made me feel like I was in another world altogether.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

A full week of unwinding in Greece was met with two back-to-back Blogcademy classes in London. Our London apartment featured some of the best wallpaper I’d ever seen (Gala always chooses well!)

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

After London, I headed off to New York for a few days. Bianca lives right on Wall Street and the novelty of getting up close and personal with our nation’s history never wears off for me.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

Once I got home from New York, there was a 10 day window to celebrate my 32nd birthday, my third wedding anniversary with Joey and launch Branch. Intense doesn’t even come close to summing up that week and a half! Star visited Portland in the midst of it all and somehow made the madness feel manageable.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

On September 25th, Branch went live. I had kept it under wraps for so long and honestly, I had no idea what to expect. Taking that chance was worth it — within one day, the next month was booked solid with projects.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

A few hours after Branch launched, I headed off to LA for a meeting with one of my clients and then straight to Palm Springs for Designer Vaca. Hanging out with 50 other lady small business owners was just what my soul needed. Star and I spent a whole lot of time lounging by the hot tub, gossiping with friends and sipping Maneaters.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

Heading back to Portland for a few weeks of no travel felt awesome. I met friends for coffee, settled into Branch life and got my bearings.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

Working for myself full-time opened up the doors for a lot more spontaneity. Like this day trip to Cannon Beach with my brother where we hunted down an elusive bigfoot statue.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

October felt really heavy because I knew that at the end of the month, I’d be leaving Joey and Rocky for close to a month, our longest time apart since we’d met. I completely dreaded it.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

After a 13 hour flight, I woke up in Brisbane. The first week of our time down under was sponsored by Tourism Queensland which meant doing a whole bunch of things I couldn’t quite believe including zip lining through the rainforest, koala cuddling and taking a helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef. Our welcome to Australia was so over the top good that my homesickness quickly evaporated…for the first three weeks, anyway. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

During our time Down Under, we taught four Blogcademy classes in quick succession…and ended up on ABC News.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

The cherry on top of our trip? A brief stay at Gala’s parent’s house in Wellington, New Zealand. Between the business advice, stylish surroundings and home-cooked meals, I was secretly hoping they would adopt me and that I could just move in.

Nubby Twiglet | 2013: Year In Review

In December, I finally got over my fear of entertaining thanks to a whole lot of pushing from Joey to make our holiday party happen. In the process, I realized that our house didn’t need to be picture perfect. People are what makes a house a home and having it filled with our friends and family for the night reminded me of what really matters.

Here’s to a big, exciting, fulfilling 2014. Thank you for joining me on this trip down memory lane. Wishing you an awesome new year!

Photos: Shauna Haider, Janneke Storm, Shell De Mar, Made U Look, Juliane Berry and June Cochran.