Maybe you’ve heard of her. Ana White, the carpenter/homemaker/mom/blogger extraordinaire who’s getting tons of attention for her incredible blogging and online community-building skills.
This Alaskan mom has gone from being uncertain as to what a blog actually was to being an inspirational example of how to engage with readers and grow a massive, dedicated following.
On her blog, Ana publishes do-it-yourself blueprints for all sorts of carpentry projects, from dollhouses and toy boxes to king-sized beds and dining room tables. Using Ana’s designs, readers are discovering that they can build beautiful and functional things for their homes at a fraction of the price.
And just how successful is Ana? Her blog, Ana White Homemaker, receives nearly 3 million page views each month. Her Facebook page boasts over 50,000 fans, and in year 2, her blog began generating enough advertising revenue to support her family.
Ana’s success boils down to three main points. Here’s a blueprint, if you will, of what makes Ana’s marketing strategy a plan worth following:
1. Free, valuable content
Even though Ana’s designs are so good that people would most likely pay for them, she insists on keeping everything free and available to the public through her blog. That’s over 500 easy-to-follow blueprints for stylish furniture available at no cost. Ana understands that her content is valuable, and that’s what drives the success of this vibrant, highly trafficked website on which large retailers advertise. She also understands that readers are looking for affordable projects, and she admits that when she first started making furniture, she could not have afforded to pay for designs.
The other type of content offered on Ana’s blog is her personal story, which she openly shares with readers. She writes about her home in Alaska, her husband and young daughter, and her passion for building and creating. And lately, she’s shared the construction story behind the Momplex, a housing complex she and her husband are building for their moms to live in. Ana keeps readers coming back for more—not just for the valuable designs, but also to see what’s happening in her life.
2. A supportive Facebook community
Ana’s Facebook page is a hub for sharing photos, asking questions, and getting advice for building her projects. Even though the Facebook page was started to generate more traffic to the blog, it has become a thriving community in its own right. When fans post questions, it doesn’t take long for other fans, or Ana herself, to respond.
Ana even learns from this community, as everyone contributes their stories in a learn-as-you-go type of environment. What’s really interesting about Ana’s Facebook page is that all of the fan postings are publicly viewable. She believes that as a forum where people can share information, everything must be transparent and accessible.
3. Reader-generated content
Ana White Homemaker features a brag blog and a brag board within the site. These pages are created by the readers, with pictures and words to tell the stories of those who’ve tried Ana’s designs. People post pictures of the process and the finished project, and they even share what they would do differently next time and what variations they made to Ana’s original designs.
Readers are also playing a role in the designs themselves. Ana asks her community what they want to see as a blueprint. The community takes photos of furniture that has inspired them, posts them to Facebook, and Ana takes it from there. There’s a true sense of participation on Ana’s blog and Facebook page, and you really get the feeling that the community is creating both sites together.
Be sure to check out Ana’s blog for creative and straightforward “build-it-yourself” projects for your home. You’ll also want to check out her marketing tactics for engaging and effective ideas that can help you grow your business.
Image courtesy of Ana White Homemaker.Google+