Well, I’m super excited to get this going – giddy even because after almost 11 years of blogging and content creation we have learned a thing or twelve thousand. Welcome to our “Design Blogger” mentorship program – it’s blog graduate school, really – where the entire EHD team will help coach a beginner or up and coming design blogger through every part of this weird and exciting job. And it is a job, trust me… Heck, it can even be a career, if you are up for it 🙂
The goal of this program is two-fold: 1. To use our skills, experience, and resources to help coach, guide, and advise an aspiring design blogger through a makeover project of their own, to set them up for success and introduce a new talent to the world. We have a wealth of knowledge that I’m frankly dying to share before I die. I’ve thought about writing a 3rd book about it, but I’d rather have the satisfaction of tactically helping individuals that I have a connection with. And 2. To share the same information that we do with this mentee, here on the blog for all of you, too. I have no secrets, and I’m happy to share in a way that will help anybody feel less alone, helpless, and crazy – possibly even confident and empowered – in this digital media field. There is always room for more great content creators and design bloggers and I’ve been so fortunate and privileged to have a successful one (due to also a ton of hard work and an amazing team) – it’s time to share the space and the partnerships with those coming up in this field.
As I’ve said before, digital media and content creation feels like the wild west and it changes every day, and sometimes you feel so frustrated, alone, vulnerable, and like you are doing it all wrong. I’m not saying we have all the right answers or that we’ve been perfect – HA – but we can certainly help guide you from our experience as well as simply be a friend with a big shoulder to lean (or cry) on. Being a design blogger is my dream job (the influencer part of it, not so much) and I truly can’t wait to use our knowledge, our experience, my mistakes, and resources to help others reach their dreams, too. SO LETS DREAM BIG IN 2021, SHALL WE??? Here’s what this mentorship will include:
This program will focus on documenting one big makeover project that you pitch to us. Bloggers are storytellers – both visually and in written form, which is why it’s frankly not as easy as it looks. You need to be able to connect with readers through your unique voice as well as have a unique design perspective that is also relatable and educational to your readers. You are a teacher, fun friend, transparent designer, relatable writer and well, ideally someone that doesn’t hate looking at numbers or running a small business (this is why there are so many family or couples blog – it is A VERY HARD a one-person job and requires multiple types of brains).
We’ll help you from start to finish with your makeover project – how do you tell the story of your project in a digestible way so that readers connect, engage, relate, and also can visually understand your project. This will include tips on how to capture content, the formats you need to shoot things in for different platforms, and the information that readers need to know to really understand a 3-dimensional project on a 2-dimensional screen. You are a storyteller, so how you tell the story is an art and craft that has to be both unique and universal. It’s a lot – WE CAN HELP. Jess, Ryann, and myself will consult on all things blog and editorial – and we have lots of tools to help.
Between Instagram, Stories, Lives, Reels, Pinterest, Facebook, Tik Tok, Youtube, Twitter … I mean, it’s a lot and one can actually go mad and give up trying to figure out how to manage it and do it “right”. Mallory and my team can help create a strategy that optimizes your goals in a way that is hopefully efficient, manageable, and even fun. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, I just find that last sentence actually hilarious… One of our goals would be to help you not lose your mind but instead, drive traffic and meaningful engagement. You’ll also be on our platforms, driving traffic to your blog and hopefully growing your own audience.
Partnerships and Revenue
Ok so say you want to actually be able to support yourself, OH and even make money for your hard work? WHAT A NOVEL IDEA. Blogging can start as a fun hobby but in order to keep it up consistently, you’ll want to pay yourself at some point. This is where partnerships and collaborations come in – and our partnerships and revenue star Caitlin can help. We will help you pitch out to brands as well as help you negotiate offers when they come in. Since we’ll be amplifying your blog posts here, there is built-in traffic (like a MOTO or like Orlando’s parent’s project) and we’ll be able to leverage our traffic and resources to get you the partnerships and products that make sense for your makeover, as well as help negotiate the fees, deliverables, etc.
We do everything from product placement to large makeover stories and each one is negotiated totally separately by Caitlin who will be your coach in this realm. It’s exciting and intimidating and full of words like deliverables, assets, contracts, and deadlines. I’m making this job sound very scary (it can be) but I suppose that’s why we want to do this – we want talented designer bloggers to have the help that I wish I had had 6 years ago.
Partnerships aren’t the only way that we monetize – we have ads and affiliate links (commission). So we can help set you up with those revenue sources that can become “passive income” – I say that in quotes because nothing is really passive – it’s based on traffic, engagement, and authenticity. A lot of companies won’t work with blogs until they have a certain amount of traffic. But we are using our connections to pull strings and get ads placed and affiliate programs in place. While it might take years to grow revenue, if you want to do this as your career and not just a hobby, we can help start getting you paid for your hard work.
Design and Styling
Throughout your design process, we want to be a resource when needed to help with all things design as well as the styling for the final “reveal”. I can teach you what “styling to camera” even means and what makes a successful photograph that really tells your story and “POPS” with an audience. I can help weigh in on design if that’s something you’d like – lord knows that I need like 2 million people to weigh in on some of my design decisions… It’s kinda terrifying to put your work out there (as any of my team members can tell you during their MOTO reveals) so we want to be a resource to help you feel confident that your work will be well received.
The wonderful Sara Ligorria-Tramp, while freelance, is offering to be a part of this mentorship program too, and help teach you how to shoot your projects – both process and reveal. Camera tricks, settings, angles, lighting – I mean, I want this too – this is so valuable. I’m not sure how this is going to work – if you are local ideally this would be in person, but if not then there might be a lot of Facetime photoshoot time happening. But photography is an important part of people really being able to see and understand your project (plus it’s important when pitching to other media outlets for press).
So who can become a mentee? ANYONE. I don’t care if you went to college, or if you did what you studied. We are ideally looking for people who have a unique voice, passion for design, and the desire to tell great stories.
Tell us who you are, why you have a story to tell, what makes you so unique? It’s like a college admissions interview – for a really irreverent arts program – and we aren’t interested in a resume full of good grades, more a well-rounded story full of hard work, perseverance, passion, and quirk. Impress us with your tenacity, humor, and unique design or style perspective. That could mean a moodboard of your project, an essay about your life, etc. You don’t even have to have started a blog yet, or you could be 5 years in blogging once a month and ready to turn that hobby into a career. You could be 17 years old or 52. We just want to hear from people with interesting perspectives. And you’re going to need to be transparent and honest because so much about being a GOOD design blogger is about transparency, authenticity, and relatability – both in personality and style. A huge part of growing an engaged audience is them forming a connection to YOU, so this is not the time to be overly professional or cagey. Tell us who YOU are, we want to be your friend.
You don’t need to own your home, and the project that you pitch doesn’t even need to be your own – it could be your sister’s or neighbor’s (or if you have a feel-good project to pitch – some sort of charity project, you know that’s always interesting to us but not mandatory). We are going to start with one mentee, documenting one project and hoping to add more and more once we get it down.
So email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a note about who you are and why you want this mentorship, links to anything you have – social media, blog, Pinterest. Include before photos and description of the project that you’d like to document and why. And if you are a design blogger with decent traffic already, don’t be bummed! We are still amassing a pretty amazing crew of paid contributors and looking for a few more – so please send through a sample of your work if you are looking to contribute. You might be too far ahead to be a mentee, but we’d still love to work with and promote compelling and amazing voices and designers of all levels.
If interested your first “deadline” is Monday, September 14th. We’ll review all the applications then and reach out about a week after for an interview. I’m dripping with excitement and information. Are YOU ready for a career as a design blogger???????? And remember regardless we will be sharing the same information here as we are with the mentee, theirs will just be more tailored to them but by doing this we’ll create a comprehensive guide on how to be a successful design blogger.
Opening Photo Credits: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: Staging my Dream Parisian Hotel Suite with Sothebys