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Blogging Advice

3 Burning Questions Answered (Finally) at BlogHer14

By 07/26/2014February 21st, 201732 Comments

Faux Flowers

Outdoor decor at the McDonalds closing party at Blogher14

Since I’ve blogged for over 5 years now, I come to a blogging conference because there’s always more to learn. There’s lots of beginner information that I’ve sat through in hotel ballrooms all around the country, but then someone says something that makes it all worthwhile.

Here are the nuggets I’ve picked up this week:

Should you sleep your way to the top?

Arianna Huffington was on stage today being interviewed by Guy Kawasaki and she said sleep scientists say you need more sleep if you’re going to be successful. They also say to get a good nights sleep, you need some transition time between whatever you’ve been doing during the day and before you go to sleep. NOT TV.

Arianna says her email protocol is to send very short responses. She doesn’t say “Hope you’re doing well”, she says, “I don’t do email one hour before I go to sleep, I take all my devices and gently escort them out of my bedroom. Then I read a novel, something unrelated to work.”

Lights and Lanterns

She ended her talk with this comment. . .

“What I’ve discovered is that the world keeps sending us constant signals, how we can get ahead, how we can put our life on hold so we can achieve the next thing.”

Anne Thomas said “Every day, the world will grab you by the hand and tell you this is important and that is important and that you must worry about this and worry about that and you must take your hand back and put it on your heart and say ‘No, this is important.’

Brick Building

Brick building without night time lights!

How to hire contributing writers to your site.

If I’m going to be the Martha Stewart of Colour (not her but everyone get’s what I’m talking about when I say that – if you can think of a better way to describe it let me know) I can’t be the only person writing on my blog.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while so it was nice to hear how someone else had done it. Once I figure out exactly what kind of writing I’m looking for, I’ll post about it (then you’ll know how to do it too).

If you’re reading this and you want to send me a random guest post with an affiliate link?

Please don’t.

That’s NOT what I’m talking about. I’m. Dead. Serious.

Geometric Lights

eCommerce is Huge

Someone was talking about eCommerce today and how big it was, how so many gazillions of products now are sold over the internet, how amazing it is that people can work from their pajamas and make money and I realized that I need to include a page in my upcoming White is Complicated, A Decorators Guide to Getting White Right Every Time, eBook that actually mentions my first book How to Choose Paint Colours, It’s all in the Undertones. 

I mean, if someone buys my upcoming white eBook to choose a white, they’ll still need to choose paint colours for the rest of their house right?

Forgetting to include that is as bad as when you print a brochure and forget to include your website address or phone number?

Don’t laugh, I’ve seen it happen.

Paper Lanterns

How much do you make with advertising?

Isn’t that always the question we want to ask but don’t because we think it’s rude to talk about money?

Well, I decided since I’m here, I might as well ask the question. As you can see, I don’t have any ads on my site even though some people shake their heads and tell me how much revenue I’m losing every day because I don’t.

One blogger had paid a crew to shoot her YouTube videos for an entire year. She had worked as a reporter in the past, had a very professional looking site with almost 10,000 subscribers and tons of content with an average of 1,000 views per video. She reported that she receives a check every month from YouTube for ads, so I asked how much.


WHAT? You’re kidding right? All that effort and THAT’S IT?

And she’s clearly not doing the videos for the money. She gets asked to work with brands on other projects because of her professional looking videos.

What makes that good information for me is that I’m going to start doing videos. That’s the future of social networking, period.

We are just trying to figure out how to set up the lighting right now in my studio so that I don’t look like an old hag. It seriously takes something to get right!  Anyway, it’s nice to get an idea of how many hits you need before the advertising is worth the annoyance.

Oh, and if someone wants to use your video, here’s a way to find out what you should charge, “What type of budget do you have in place for buying the rights to this video?”. If you’re worried that you’ll ask for too much or too little.

Maria & Barbara

Maria & Barbara Miller (See the flash? It erases all the lines on my face ; )

In the end, guess who told me how to set up the lighting? My friend Barbara Miller? Did it occur to me to ask her before? She’s been doing videos for months now!! But no, I had to fly to San Jose to hang out with her in order to casually ask her what I should do!

Her advice on how to do it (she’ll do a video about it and I’ll link to it when she does) saved me $1,000 in lighting I was about to purchase. Her way costs $50 and is used by professionals.

Spending 4 days here was highly worth it in the end.

And this seems like a good time to plug my upcoming Renovate with Confidence: Focus on Finishes  4 week webinar starting next week!

What if one little thing I say, saves you $1,000 or $5,000 or $10,000? That’s easy when it comes to renovations or building a new home right?

Or what if my advice stops you from a making decision that you would regret for as long as you live in your house? Hard finishes are pretty permanent after all.

You’ll get all my best tips curated from my thousands of consultations, plus the step-by-step on exactly what to choose first, second and what comes after that if you’re building a new house.

And it’s entirely backed by my Love Your Home Guarantee:

I’m so confident that my COLOUR CONFIDENCE METHOD™ for choosing finishes for your renovation will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, that I’m offering this guarantee. If, within six months of participating in my Renovate with Confidence webinar, you don’t feel like you saved money in unnecessary purchases and wasted mistakes, and you’re not 100% thrilled and satisfied, just contact me and I’ll refund 100% of your purchase price.

So, you can’t lose, sign up here. It starts Wednesday! The recording will be sent out each week for those that can’t be there at the exact time.

Can’t wait to share it all with you! See you then!

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  • tara dillard says:

    Writing on your blog. Here it is. Maria do you know I get clients from your blog?

    Oddly, a local blog brings me the most clients nationally/locally. Do you know how?

    Probably deposited a total of $20,000 from the above blog. Do you know how?

    TV. Had my own show on CBS. Silhouette is important, shoulders tapering to waist. Never do the ‘cadaver’. Always be at a slight/slight angle to camera lens. Eyebrows the most important aspect in your make-up routine. Blocks of bright color for clothes.

    And, the local blog I make money from? My contractor makes more than me? Do you know how?

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  • Amy Colins says:

    I’ve been following your blog now for about a month or so, after happening upon your website and subscribing. I can tell you that for ME, and many others I’m sure, you already ARE the Martha Stewart of color. Or Colour. Not only do you know your stuff,( and I know you do because I think I naturally know a lot of this too), but I really do enjoy your posts. That’s rare for me! So keep up the great work and good look with the videos and everything else you do! Looks like you are doing all the right things…so keep at it and you”ll be at the very top in no time. Cream rises to the top!

  • Great article. As a new blogger, I enjoyed reading! And Tara Dillard, I want to know how…LOL.

  • Erin says:

    Exciting stuff. No one is ever in a business for too long to not be able to gain something from a well-run conference. My thought on adding writers to your site is that before you even think about doing that, you need to add an editor. I don’t say this to be a put down, but I notice some typos and grammatical errors in your posts with some regularity. I’m an editor in my real life so I’m probably hyperaware of such things. I’m also a blogger (who does not have an editor and frequently has typos in my posts), but the difference is that I’m doing my blog for fun and yours is a key part of your business. I’m not saying that mistakes are OK in a blog like mine that is written for fun, but I allow myself the latitude to make them on occasion, and my readers know my philosophy on it.

    An editor will not only catch these mistakes, but he or she will help you become a better writer (or make you sound like one if you don’t really have time for that and you just want your editor to fix it for you). More importantly, if you’re considering adding writers to your blog, you need to have a consistent style (every publication does) and voice (while still allowing writers’ personalities to shine through, If that’s what you want).

    Think of an editor as doing the same thing for your message as those lights do for your looks.

    Again, I enjoy your blog and your advice and I hope this doesn’t come across as too critical, but you seem like the kind of person who likes it when people just come right out and say it. I really think that if your want to take your blog, brand and image to the next level, an editor is an important part of that.

    • Maria Pereira says:

      I totally agree! I have noticed grammatical errors and typos in your writing and at times the structure of your sentences is such that it’s hard to grasp exactly what it is you’re trying to say.

      • Cindi Zureich says:

        I agree with getting an editor. I too have noticed many writing errors and sometimes do not understand what you are trying to say. I purchased your first e-book and was surprised that the caliber of writing was not more professional. I am registered for your upcoming webinar so I am definitely a fan and want to learn more, but I do think you should polish things up. It could be the determining factor for some readers when deciding whether or not to purchase any of your products/services. I know it caused some hesitation for me.

        • Karen says:

          I totally agree. I feel that the basics of college English 101 and 102 are missing here. I do not like that you very often make a statement that seems to be your opinion and then put maybe in parenthesis. Makes for a mixed message. I hope you are not offended. The changes you will undoubtedly make will be positive. Here is to growth!!
          One last thing, you can mix dirty and clean colors if you know what you are doing.

          • Robin says:

            This is one more vote for using an editor. I have worked as an editor, and it is a joy to take a few paragraphs and elevate them so that the message comes across easily.
            Your writing is already very good – because you have great ideas and you express yourself very well. An editor will enhance that.

  • susan says:

    Maria, I think you are amazing. I love your blog. I’m one of those folks who waaaaay prefers to read over watching and listening to video.

    I know it’s the way of the future and I dread it. I’ve stopped reading many blogs over the last year simply because they went to video.

    Definitely do what is best for your biz! Make those videos! Wondering what you you think about considering adding the script written out below it for people like me who seriously do NOT have the patience for video.

    • Cindi Zureich says:

      I agree with this too. I do not care for videos in general, so using that medium would turn me away. The exception would be step-by-step information that can be better understood by seeing the actual process.

      • Robin says:

        And some people read blogs at work (but not me of course!!!)
        My pet peeve is a video that opens up and starts playing before I have a chance to mute it.
        By all means, do the videos, but I would make sure the text is there, too, for the people who don’t want to (or can’t) watch it, or people who play the video with the sound muted.

    • AK says:

      I agree – mostly because most people who create videos don’t think about whether the format really suits their message better than a written post. If you’re going to physically show me something, then video is good. If all I’m going to watch is a talking head, I would prefer to read the content — I can do it more quickly and refer back to it more easily later.

  • Angela Taylor says:

    Maria, have you considered writing a regular book with illustrations and information? Problem with the E-books is that the colours never translate well.
    Martha Stewart has many ‘How To’ books out there:)
    I think you would do really well with this medium.
    Love your Webinars, but it would be nice to have a proper reference book.

    • just me says:

      Yes, there are still tons of us out there who prefer to read a book in our hands by turning paper pages. Not a Nook. Not an e-book. Not a download. An old-fashioned, paper book is still a wonderful thing to have and behold 🙂 Would I buy your book? Hmmmm…….maybe 😉

  • Diane says:

    thanks for sharing your newfound knowledge. I would just like to add a few things.
    One is that while videos are popular, they also are often over-looked because people simply do not have the time to sit and listen to a video wherein a blog post allows them to skim, read privately without sound affecting those around them etc.
    Two is that I have written blog posts and web content for online retailers and designers for years. Just because you have a blog does not mean you have to write every single post yourself. Pay someone to write in your voice, approve all posts initially but hopefully you will eventually release control and trust your writer. Also, use this person as a proofreader for your books and other written content. It will improve your professional appearance. This, obviously, frees up a great deal of time and well worth the cost.
    Three. Please choose another comparison. We all sometimes forget that Martha Stewart is a convicted felon and I, personally, do not want my name attached to something like that. Choose something more positively identifiable like the Picasso of color, Jackson Pollack of interior design….you get the idea.
    Good luck!

    • Mary Cudworth says:

      Martha Stewart paid her debt to society and in my book, and has redeemed herself. Not an easy task to accomplish for one who has had worldwide scrutiny. Everyone deserves a second chance, and I for one buy products she has aligned with because of the quality associated with her brand. It is easy to get carried away with the written word online. Remember words are very powerful. They can make or break a person.

      • KA says:

        Martha Stewart did a very tiny thing in comparison to the crooks that still run free from HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Countrywide, Washington Mutual, etc. She actually did pay for her error, but the jerks in those companies above have probably mutated into more crooked things that we haven’t even thought conceivable yet. Jamie “I’m richer than you” Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase has some kind of cancer now. Your health is more important than your wealth. See #AskJPM on Twitter for clues on how bad HIS company really is.

  • Wow – everybody’s a critic when you ask! I’ll give you my 2 cents – there’s never been a time when I didn’t feel like you were striving to be better with you blogs. your commitment is astounding and your energy must be over the top, cause every time I turn around you’ve furthered your career in a big way. Now more!! You’re on your path and it’s evident that you found your passion. You’re still enjoying the ride and that’s very important, you’re terrific and I’ve always admired you. Go for it!

  • Pam says:

    I also am one of those who has no patience for videos – UNLESS there is a complicated technique I want to learn and must see demonstrated before I attempt to execute. Videos for videos’ sake is meaningless – communication method should be driven by content.

  • Debbie viola says:

    I came across your blog while I was searching for successful creative blogs. I am a professional decorative artist who now wants to get serious about blogging, as I have added abstract paintings to my repertoire and have an online presence.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your blogs, information and photos. I marvel at people who have found a way to have thousands of subscribers, and look to you for inspiration. Keep up the great work!

  • Bhavana says:

    I just love your honesty. And your willingness to put yourself out there for the world to scrutinize.

    You dont need to, but you do maybe because you want your readers, students and potential clients to be able to relate to you as a warm, friendly human..not just a professional running a business.

    I dont know where Im going with this! But in the presence of critics, I just wanted to let you know how much your way, YOUR brand of blogging, your words explain interiors like no one else does. When some interior decor pictures look off on houzz or somewhere, I go “Aah, there you are pinky beige…. Maria.”

  • Kay says:

    Yours is one of a VERY small handful of blogs I never miss. I have your boards and have been in most of your webinars. I am saving up for your True Color Expert course. I have learned so much from you!!!! And I love that you are so yourself in your writing.

    Having said that I agree with the comments about a good editor. If you find one you trust it will make your life so much easier and your brand so much more professional. And when you have more than one writer it’s true that a good editor will make sure the ‘voice’ is seamless. I loved the comment about an editor doing the same for your blog that good lighting does for the videos you’re planning. So true.

    I think we are being a little critical because we all love you and want to see you be over-the-top successful! What you have is absolutely great. Time to take it to the next level.

    Oh, and I want to know how Tara does all those things, too. :)) (total hijack 😉

  • Jillian says:

    I too love your blog, Maria. Even if I don’t agree with you (not often), you always give me something to think about it, and you really inspire me to actually take a stance instead of being wishy washy. About the video…could you create a YouTube channel where you supplement your blog with videos but don’t turn your blog completely over to video? Or if you do do video, make sure there is enough supplementary content – text and pictures – that readers don’t have to watch the video. I agree with others…I am rarely in a place where I can watch videos nor do I have the time. I hate missing out on content because bloggers are moving to video. By the way, check out Derek Halpern. He does great video and I always watch his – they’re short and sweet.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Thanks for your comments everyone, I get what some of you say about video, I don’t like blogs that are entirely video but there are definitely some things that are better explained with video which is why I would like to add it to my blog.
    My blog will never be all VIDEO.
    Re: the grammar. Sigh. Irene is the master of that so I need to get her to work on editing my posts way more than she does based on these comments!

  • Linda says:

    Interesting how many commenters dislike video. I thought it was only me. I don’t watch videos and have totally stopped following blogs from those that have gone video. I think the reason is that I like to skim blogs and you can’t do that with videos. Plus I often read blogs in places where it would be inappropriate to have sound. However..having said all this, I am making a video in a few weeks for a company that wants me to talk about what it was like to switch careers as a boomer. Without a doubte I will be posting that video. I too know it is the way of the future 🙁

  • Cathy Gibson says:

    Maria, I’ll add my voice to Lynne Whiteside. I always appreciate your effort, and I love that your blogs let your personality shine through. I say don’t edit too much- I like your writing the way it is!! Above all I couldn’t disagree more with having your blog written for you. The thing that keeps me coming back is your voice with all your honesty and personal asides. Looking forward to videos in addition to all else- keep up the good work!

  • franki says:

    Not a blog video lover…at all…uses “way too much” of my computer contract time. Luv your blog! franki

  • KJ says:

    I really LOATH video only blogs. There’s actually quite a few people who do. Most people are terrible in videos (bad voice, bad face, bad style, bad poise); writing is much more forgiving! I feel like a prisoner when I am forced to watch video. I’m probably showing my age: 46.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Haha, hey don’t mince words 🙂 My videos will be to SHOW something. Not just to chit chat.

  • Arlene says:

    In regard to Tara Dillard’s comments re eyebrows I have found Dior Universal Brown eyebrow pencil superior found at Shoppers or Sephora. They also tattoo eyebrows on. I thoroughly enjoy your blog Maria. You open yourself to the readers thus becoming like a friend. You know within yourself what us right for you. I think all the writers truly want to help you rise to the top. Women do that for women even if sometimes it hurts.

  • Just wanted to stop by and drop a quick hello from The Famous Ashley Grant. I wanted to also tell you that I had a blast with you at open mic night and then party hopping thru the suite parties. By the way you totally left to soon. The parties got CRAZY after you left! I made my way to karaoke, sang my heart out and then went back to the suite parties and could barely walk around because the parties were so full. hahaha!
    Was such a fun night and I truly enjoyed your company. Let’s keep in touch! xoxo


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