State of the Blog

I’ve been blogging here at Crazy Bananas since 2002. Yes, that’s 14 years of blogging. That is A LOT OF SELFIES, YOU GUYS! I love blogging, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon this strange, little medium 14 years ago. Back then, we didn’t even call it a blog. It was a weblog, a journal for me to share my thoughts and ponderings as I transitioned from full time college student traveling Europe to moving to Kansas City and being unable to find job and waitressing to pay rent to my first real jobs to having a baby and getting married to becoming a director at work to quitting my job to pursue my passions to today….wherever we are now! Sometimes I don’t even know.

But that’s why I’ve always loved blogging. It ebbs and flows just like I do. When I started, blogging was about sharing everything. The good. The bad. The ugly. There were no filters and for those of us who felt truly alone (especially when it came to parenting) blogs were where we found others saying “me too.” As a younger mom, without much support in real life, I needed to find others who could understand how hard this parenting gig was! I loved the raw honesty of those early days.

As my life evolved, so did this blog, as did the world of blogging in general. As blogging software became easier to use, blogs started looking more sleek and streamlined. Photography became an integral part of blogging. The words were still important, but having good images was also extremely valued. For me this provided an opportunity, as I was just beginning my journey as a photographer. But it did change the medium. As the photos got prettier, the words became more watered down. Truths were still told, but they were more censored. It happened in all the blogs I read, but it still surprised me. Blogging was becoming a real way to earn a living and support my family. There was an ad network, sponsored posts and brands wanting to work with me. It was the weirdest feeling to realize I had become my own brand. So strange. It’s still strange to me.

When I quit my job a year ago and started my company, I really didn’t know what that meant for the blog. While I wanted to pursue photography, writing has always been my first love, so I kept up the blog as well. But in the last year, I’ve realized while photography is my business, blogging and writing is my happy place.

The days of making enough money to sustain a family through blogging are finished, I think. Sponsors now want more for their money….more mentions, more numbers, more proof of return. And that’s okay, I’ve been on that side of the coin as well. But for me, that means compromising the authenticity of the blog, and I’m not okay with that. So going forward, I hope to get back to my blogging roots.

I want this blog to be my happy place. I want to write here and share what I love with you. I still will work with sponsors, but only when I really believe they understand me, my mission, and my audience. I don’t want to become a talking head.

Thank you so much to everyone who completed my reader survey. I have so many fun things I want to share with you this year! Along with more content about the topics I already cover (like photography, parenting, Kansas City, etc.), I’m excited to share more about recovery, health and style. I also plan to work on getting more video content up this year, which should be a fun challenge!

I’m so grateful to all of you who have stuck around for this nutty journey. I kept writing, even when I felt stuck, because I knew you were reading. You guys inspire me and keep me creating, which is such a gift! Here’s to many more years of blogging, sharing and connecting!

2016 Crazy Bananas Reader Survey + Giveaway!

UPDATE : This giveaway is now closed. The winner (chosen by random number generator) is MELISSA KELLY! Thank you so much for everyone who helped out by filling out the reader survey. I can’t wait to bring you new, fun content this year!

It’s that time of year again friends…time for the Crazy Bananas Reader Survey! I’m always looking to you guys to learn what you want to read about here on this little blog of mine, so I try to check in from time to time to see what you’re loving, what isn’t your favorite, and what you’d like to see more of. You can participate by clicking HERE to complete the 2016 Reader Survey, which shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.

Giveaway + Reader Survey

I know your time is valuable, so to thank you for sharing some of it with me, I am giving away a fun prize pack to one of you who completes the survey. This prize pack includes the following:

– Two (2) Tickets to A Night with Janis Joplin at the Kauffman Center via the Kansas City Broadway Series
– One (1) Complimentary Game of Bowling or Bocce at Pinstripes Bistro
– One (1) Sunflower Print from my Etsy Shop

Not too shabby, am I right? All you have to do is click the link above, complete the survey, then leave a comment below this post to enter to win! Easy peasy!

Want to up your chances of winning? I hear ya…so here are a few more ways you can gain additional entries:

– Following Crazybananas on Instagram
– Liking Crazybananas on Facebook
– Following Crazybananas on Twitter

Don’t forget, once you’ve followed any of my social media accounts (or if you’re already following!) to come back to this post and leave a comment so I can be sure your entry is counted! This giveaway will close on Monday, February 29th at 5 p.m.

Thank you again for all of your support, love, guidance, silly memes and high fives throughout the years. I am so humbled and grateful. I’m not really a hugger, but I’d give you all a huge bear hug if I could!

Galentine’s Day Gift Guide

It’s almost that time of year again…one to celebrate those we love most! No, silly, not our husbands or boyfriends, but our very best lady friends! It’s almost Galentine’s Day!

I love the idea of celebrating the awesome women in my life, so I was super excited when Fox 4 in Kansas City asked me to come on their morning show and share my favorite Galentine’s Day gift ideas. Watch the segment, and then see the links below to find all the local, KC-based businesses where you can purchase all of these great products!

Peanut Butter Protein Balls – T. Loft
Blow Out Appointment – Posh KC Blowdry Bar
Facial – Bare Med Spa
Heart Sweater, Keychains, Giving Key Necklace and iPhone Case – Available at Etiquette Boutique
Letterpress Cards (Hammerpress), Shine Co. Candle (Shine Candle Co.), Sweetkiss Brigadeiro Treats (Sweetkiss Brigadeiro) – Available at Hand and Land
Valentine’s Day Party Box – My Fete Box

Special thanks to Kathryn Elise Studio for helping pull this segment together!

Blogging for Creatives Workshop 2016

Blogging for Creatives : 2016 Workshop Recap

I had such a wonderful time teaching my class “Blogging for Creatives” at Hive Workshops again last week! Since I last taught this workshop in the summer of 2015, so much has already changed…new social media platforms have been launched, blogging platforms have been updated, successful plugins have been discontinued and new ones have taken their place. I was honestly amazed at how much new information I had to share! But the core principals of the class were the same.

Blogging for Creatives Workshop 2016

Blogging is a way you can build your business, enhance your engagement with current and future clients, and grow your brand. I am finding more and more that the trends in the blogging world are coming back around again. When I first started, long form essays were the way to go, and blogging was all about authenticity and sharing the real deal with readers. In the past five or six years, blogging has swung more commercialized, with blogs looking super polished and curated content everywhere. But I feel the pendulum swinging back toward the center. While I love the idea of blogs serving as “online magazines” with beautiful images and clean designs, I also miss the real truthfulness and gumption that used to rule the blogging world. I believe we are trending toward the center, with more and more bloggers writing long form again, and mixing that in with their shorter, more visual content.

Blogging for Creatives Workshop 2016

For creatives and small business owners, this presents a real challenge. How do you create a trustworthy blog while also using it to sell your wares or services? I believe it’s by mixing it up! Yes, of course you should feature your work, but you should also share a bit about the person behind the work. What do YOU love? How does the outside world influence your work? What can you teach your readers and clients? These are all great questions to ask yourself as you either start new or revamp your creative business’ blogging practice.

Thank you to all the incredible creatives who attended my workshop and inspired me with their thirst to learn more! I was so grateful for this review submitted by Nancy Tucker Garcia, a creative who attended the class:

I recently took Megan’s class “Blogging for Creatives” at a Hive workshop event, & I can’t say enough great things about it! Megan is a WONDERFUL teacher & makes everything easy to understand. I already have a blog “somewhere” out in cyberspace that I haven’t done a lot with in recent years, mainly because it’s been difficult for me to figure out how to do a lot with it. After taking Megan’s class, I understand the value of blogging, not only for my business but also just for fun. She gave us some valuable pointers for making our blogs more user-friendly, which I especially needed having lived most of life without all the technology we have at our disposal today. I love to write, & I always have something to say…For anyone mildly interested in starting (or improving) their own blog, I can’t think of a better authority on the subject than Megan.

This is what it’s all about for me…encouraging others to blog not only to improve their business life, but their personal life as well. There is something pretty fantastic about watching people spark up when they realize blogging can help grow their creativity. The possibilities are truly endless!

Special thanks to J. Lynn Designery and BlogStomp for sponsoring this workshop! J. Lynn Designery’s Revive Blog Planners are a necessity for anyone wanting to start or build a successful blogging practice. You can see me showing how I use my planner as an editorial calendar in the images above! BlogStomp software makes creating web compatible image layouts super easy, and has cut down on my workflow and the amount of time I spent editing images for the blog. I love their platform and highly recommend it!

(All photos by Melissa Slater)

Blogging for Creatives Workshop : This Week!

I’m so excited to be teaching a class for Hive Workshops this week all about blogging! I taught this class last summer and the response was awesome (you can see the recap from that class here). This is a workshop for all creatives, not just photographers and will take the creatives through the benefits and how-to’s of blogging for creative businesses. The end goal is for you to leave the workshop with the tools to either create your own business blog or to enhance your current blog and social media content. I will show real-time demonstrations and techniques for making your blog amazing! Worksheets will be provided for the creatives to keep for their own use. As with all Hive Workshops, open discussion is strongly encouraged!

Hive Workshops Blogging for Creatives
WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES

At the end of this workshop, attendees should be able to:

– Understand how blogging helps build their business

– Identify the top blogging platforms for creatives

– Understand simple HTML and CSS tricks and tips to help them create and design their blog

– Know easy methods for building story and interest through blogging

– Describe how to make content shareable on social media

– Identify the best social media platforms to focus on in order to build their brand

– Understand how to promote their blog, including SEO and hashtags

– Describe and explain the “3-and-3 Blogging Rule”

– Be familiar with programs/plugins specific to creatives that make blogging workflow fast and efficient

Event sponsors include J. Lynn Designery, who will be gifting our creatives with 25% anything in her shop! Her blog planners are a must have for bloggers in order to make successful blogging easy and productive. BlogStomp is a returning sponsor and will be gifting our creatives 20% off their products. BlogStomp makes creating image boards for your blog quick and easy, cutting down workflow and making it simple to create beautiful blogs that showcase your best work.

I would LOVE to see you at this workshop on Wednesday, January 13th from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Hive Workshops fantastic space in the West Bottoms in Kansas City! To sign up, click here! And as an exclusive gift from me to you, use the code BLOGGERBEE to get $10 off the cost of the class!

 

Hive Workshops KC Blogger 009

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