You can’t help but wonder what a blog named Hawks and Honey might be about. If by some crazy chance you guessed an awesome mom blogger with an emphasis on natural living, DIYs to the max and travel–you’d be right! Jennifer is a mom to two daughters, and named her blog to represent them. When pregnant with her first, a family of hawks were constantly around her home, and with her second, bees! When she isn’t blogging, Jennifer is making clothing to sell in her Etsy shop and reviewing local restaurants with a group hilariously named ‘Bitches Food Club.’
How long have you been blogging? I started blogging a few years ago to a more private blog, but recently rebranded to Hawks and Honey. I felt like I needed to make that change if the blog was going to continue to grow. Hawks and Honey has been live since November 2013.
How did you come up with the idea? A friend of a friend, Danielle, has a super successful blog which I read through and thought, hey, I could do this! I love documenting my experiences, projects and vacations. So, I started blogging almost like a journal but also with posts regarding projects I was doing around the house and while I was pregnant. Now it’s turned into documenting our travels, local restaurants, natural living, and DIY projects. It’s an outlet for me to share interesting aspects of our life, hopefully to inspire other families to make natural choices, or offer daily activities and travel suggestions (especially to those traveling with kids).
What was the hardest part in getting started?
Reaching an audience. I still struggle with this, just reaching the right people who I think would enjoy my blog. That and setting yourself apart. Like, I have a beautiful family, a fun life and I make stuff. But so do hundreds and thousands of other people. So, what makes my blog special? I’m still working on figuring that out, but it’s been a fun experience of getting to know myself and what makes me and my family unique.
How do you maintain a balance between other aspects of your life and your blog?
I really have to put my kids first, and my husband too, so sometimes the blog takes a back seat to my real life. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve found a balance, but I definitely have priorities. I want my blog to be successful and awesome, but I’d rather make sure my life is successful and awesome first. I definitely think that reflects in my blog as well. I’d rather not waste space on content that isn’t interesting just to maintain posts. If that means I don’t post for a week or two but then when I do it’s really something interesting or helpful, well, then, I’d rather do that.
How do you stay connected with other bloggers and creatives like yourself?
I try to find real people in my community with similar interests. I’ve found attending creative workshops is really helpful in building community. That and just attending local events in general. I’ve met super sweet people though calligraphy workshops, generous small business owners from buying local off Etsy and local handmade events, and of course other amazing bloggers from Bloguettes (which I found from attending other Phoenix events and following other Phoenix locals on Instagram)!
What’s your favorite social media channel for personal use?
Instagram. I love sharing beautiful moments from my day with family and friends. I’m an artist, so the idea of sharing updates visually is really interesting to me, I probably overgram but I really enjoy looking back through my feed with my kids and seeing all the wonderful aspects of our life, and I’m totally that creep that when I find a new person I scroll through their history and “like” probably 20 photos, so don’t be concerned if I do that to you. Sorry, in advance if that’s the case!
What’s your favorite social media to use for business/blog related stuff?
I think Facebook and Instagram are best for business, I haven’t really got into Twitter although I do post there once in a while too. Facebook is cool because everyone hates Facebook but totally checks it everyday, so I can reach a lot of readers quickly on there, and I can link back to blog posts and people can ‘share’ the link or tag friends and that reaches more viewers really efficiently. Instagram is great because I can share images of works in progress, or just completed projects and reach anyone or everyone who clicks on a hashtag, and all my followers can see it. I’ve definitely reached people quickly on those forums, much quicker than trying to network independently.
Who do you look up to?
As far as bloggers go; Danielle Hampton of Sometimes Sweet, James Kicinski-McCoy of Bleubird, Gretchen Bossio of That Mama Gretchen. I actually am working on a feature post series to document my industry role models, including bloggers, small business owners and working artists, so keep an eye our for that!
What advice do you have for others?
Stay focused on being yourself and doing what you love. That’s what makes you unique. That and never pay for advertising on other blogs. (Sorry, blog friends selling advert space). I mean I’ve tried that, and I do get huge increases in my stats but I also don’t gain many life long readers. I’ve had much more friends turned followers on my blog by meeting people in real life. I think it’s definitely something to consider. Save all that money and instead of buying advertisements on other blogs, attend a workshop with other bloggers. You learn something, it gives you something to write about AND you make connections with real people–that’s money well spent. And don’t be scared to ask for trade or even discounts, people in our community are really awesome and would usually rather have you there than not and trade is a powerful tool. I’ve offered to take photos for people at their events for a discount, and I’ve never had someone say no to me, and that’s worst thing they could do, say no, so just ask!
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
There isn’t just one thing, more like lots and lots of little suggestions that have helped my blog become more professional and recognized. Things like, don’t post a picture unless it’s really good, in terms of lighting, composition, not blurry, those kinds of things. It just doesn’t help the space. As far as text goes, picking fonts that represent you, so you have a recognizable, visual brand is huge, so I’ve committed to new fonts that represent my brand. I really take the advice from anyone who offers so I’ve got quite a list of suggestions and I’m always open to more advice!