Blogging at Etsy for {NewNew}ers

Last night rocked! It really, really, really rocked!

Can you tell I’m excited? Maybe just a little excited? Because I am!

I’m also extremely tired, but that’s only because I worked, went to Astoria to pick up my CSA share and then went to DUMBO to get ready for my “Basic Blogging” workshop for team members of The {NewNew} at Etsy Labs.  By the time I got home it was almost 11 PM and I had to unwind, put away my veggie goodness, and read a few pages of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (so close to finishing!! And, yes I’ve read the book many, many times before).

I want to talk about last night because even in my exhaustion today, I’m still oh, so excited about last night!

I got to Etsy Labs and met the wonderfully kind Morgan Evans, Teams Program Coordinator and Community Organizer, who helped set up the stage. I also met Patrick, who connected my laptop and made sure we were ready to go. After organizing my presentation packets, I dashed out to the wine shop and pizzeria up the street to order some food and grab some alcoholic beverages.  Morgan, an Etsy employee, called me “graceful” in my handling of putting the evening together.  As I’ve said to several people, “I’ve never been called graceful before!” I’m sure you can tell that her comment made my night!

Several months ago, I honestly don’t recall when it was (time is moving so fast!), I received an email asking if I’d be interested in hosting a workshop for my fellow NewNew team mates about blogging. It had been suggested by another team mate that I do it if I agreed.  And so I gladly signed up. I need the practice of presenting.

Me Talking About Blogging

So what happened?

WELL, it was a success! I have gotten so much positive feedback from the attendees and from the gracious ladies of Etsy that supported the event that I’m afraid to admit I’m a bit excited about presentations and possibly becoming a blog expert.

I have to admit that I did not pull it off all by myself. I did last night thanks to the help of Kristy Sammis of  “She Just Walks Around With It” blogging fame (amongst her many other claims to career fame).  In my researching for the presentation, I realized that there is a TON of information about blogging. EVERYONE has an opinion. Which is great! There is a lot of great information out there. But no one way is the correct way for everyone. I figured rather than just spending my time reading tons of websites, I could just go to a source. THE SOURCE…Kristy Sammis. I sent a tweet to Kristy and she responded and viola, the presentation was completed.

Now, some of you may not know Kristy’s website, or if you do, consider her THE SOURCE, but to me, she’s THE SOURCE. See, I learned about Kristy thanks to a friend who read her response on Craigslist to a guy who wrote some negative things about a date they went on and shared it with all of us on the THEN social network, Myspace.  I read her response and well, she rocked my world with her humor, dead-on truth, and willing to be so straight forward. I started reading her blog and then started my own.

As I mentioned to the lovely ladies who attended last night, my first blog was very personal. It was so personal I discussed things like how I focused on my camel toe during my Bikhram Yoga classes to stay focused. Yeah. I know. Gross! TMI! But really, my blog was supposed to be entertaining and the written  equivalent of my daily life activities for all of my friends who wouldn’t hear the stories in person.

The blog, however, took a turn. What I mean is that I started talking about my roommate, at the time, who was driving me crazy. I don’t know why I never thought she’d find it. I mean she knew of the blog, but I thought she just wouldn’t find it. And so she found it. SURPRISE!  And then she moved out. And I felt horrible. So I deleted the blog. And swore never to write another blog again.

Obviously, not true. This is a blog!

My third blog to be exact.

My second blog still exists and can be found on blogspot. It’s personal as well and has been around since 2006 and chronicles my life just before I moved to NYC and until last year, when I started this blog. I don’t know how ANYONE can have more than one blog. It’s time consuming and involved.  It is part of the reason that this blog tells a bit of everything about me, not including the TMI stuff like camel toe stories, all the while focusing on business, being an entrepreneur and an artist and saving the world while pursuing my dreams .

So with all of that history, my feelings about blogging, my enjoyment in blogging, and the help of Kristy’s top tips and words of advice, I pieced together my 13 page presentation. I also bought the wonderful “keynote” software from Mac that helped me put the bulk of the presentation together.  I come from a corporate and non-profit background which means that things like presentations always have a slide show (even though I can’t stand power point) and handouts. I also made a quick worksheet for guests to use to take notes. They were extremely pleased.  The last and final ingredient, bottles of wine aside, was that I made it an open discussion. I allowed for questions and comments and let attendees share their own experiences and tricks. I think that really helped to make the evening positive and eye-opening for all of them. It also helped me as a presenter.

If you asked me what I hoped to have the attendees take away?

I’d say the idea that blogging is fun and a good way to grow a business and also a brand. I’d also say it is a great way to share your thoughts, your opinions, and highlight what makes you so much better and cooler than all of the other guys in a world full of blogs and internet fame vomit (I include myself in all of this). 

If you asked me what my message is for blogging?

I’d tell you that blogging should be fun. Blogging helps you become a better writer and presenter. I’d also say, blogging shouldn’t be any different than any other way you communicate; it should be honest, respectful, and positive.  

Think of this way, that angry letter you wrote the the guy who broke your heart in a bad fashion? Would you send the letter? Probably not. (Well unless you’re me and then you’d send it and think, “Oh, NO! WHAT HAVE I DONE?!”, but then you get over it and move on.)  So why send that email, or that comment on a blog, or better yet, post it on your blog? See the thing with that letter is that however mean or nasty it may have been, it will go to that guy and the few people he shows. If you sent that letter in an email, WHO KNOWS WHERE IT WILL GO. It could go viral and then you’re screwed! It’s probably best to just write the letter and cut it up or delete it. If you can’t say it to them personally, it’s better to just not send it at all.

I realize that not every interaction is going to be this way. I also realize that sometimes you’re going to have to stick up for yourself and you should, but try to remember that it can take seconds to ruin a person and/or a business with negative exposure regardless of the time and effort you’ve taken to put your online exposure together, or more importantly however good of a person you are.

I also realize that I have not and do not always walk this talk, but I do try to make every interaction count. Even the mean ones. It’s true. I don’t want my communication to ever be guilty of being wishy-washy or hard-to-understand. In other words, I want to say what I mean and mean what I say. There’s a fine line in walking this and as every human knows sometimes it’s incredibly difficult, but you know, it can be done. If people practiced this just a little bit more every day, the world would be a genuinely better place.

At the end of the workshop, I was asked about newsletters and so it looks like I’ll probably hold a workshop on building newsletters to send to mailing lists and I’ll also have another basic blogging workshop in the early spring for those members who couldn’t attend last night. Every one seems to be excited about it.

My favorite review of last night said the following, “Sara you rock !!! The workshop was fun, informative and thought provoking.  I gained lots of handy tips to get me started on my much needed blog.  Can’t wait for you to announce your next workshop…Sign me up now. ”

Also, in attendance was Kerry, not just a fellow team member, but a blogger for The {NewNew} Blog. She told me that she would be covering my workshop in her post today and sure enough, it’s live. I love it! It includes two photos (one of them is wayyyy up top) of me (taken by the dazzling Kerry) talking to the group. The write up is super nice and fair and not as lengthy as this posting. You should check it out!

You should also keep blogging!


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S2 Stationery & Design

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

4 thoughts on “Blogging at Etsy for {NewNew}ers”

  1. Thanks for the kind words & link to the NewNew post! I’m glad that you liked it!!

    I would also add that blogging about your business makes you better at talking about your business in person. It’s great practice!

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