Next Level Blogging with Marissa Harrington of Bourbon and Goose

 Next month we host our second Next Level workshop, designed to take your creative business to the next level. This time we are focusing on how to blog when you're a maker (and not a blogger). Blogs can be a great way to build community and share more of yourself with your customers, but it can be hard to know how to maximize it for selling. As a preview, we're curating a few posts from creatives about their blogs and some advice.

Our first post comes from member Marissa Harrington, a creative director who is using her blog, Bourbon and Goose, to highlight her photography and creative endeavors.  

Q: Why/when did you start blogging?

Marissa Harrington of Bourbon and Goose.

Marissa Harrington of Bourbon and Goose.

A: I started blogging in 2008. At that time I did not have my own blog but was a guest writer for an online beauty company and was a weekly contributor for a LA food blog. I have to admit that I had debated starting my own but kept putting it off. I guess I was waiting for the perfect time. Pretty silly looking back as there is no better time than now. In 2011, I started Bourbon and Goose thanks to Sam's encouragement. It really helped me to express my other interests outside of beauty.

Q: How do you approach blogging?

A: Currently I'm reorganizing my blog schedule to include weekly columns that support the work I'm doing with in the studio and with my meet-ups:the #happyhourclub and Beer Me Exchange. I'm very excited to have an editorial calendar that's scheduled and for those days I want to write on a whim, then it doesn't feel forced. I also believe in taking breaks from blogging. If you don't feel like posting, then it's best to go do something you feel like doing, like going outside and taking a walk. It helps to give you clarity on what you really want to communicate to your audience.

Q: How has blogging helped your business? Why do you think? What have you done to make that happen? 

A: This question is tricky for me because I started my blog before the business. Once I left my corporate job, I decided it was time to venture out on my own. I dabbled in using my old business name but found it was too hard to build an audience and build a business at the same time. It dawned on me that I needed to bring the studio under my blog. It has always been an important part of my toolkit because it showcases my style and personality—a perfect resource for potential clients and collaborations.

Q: What platform do you use for blogging and why?

A: At this time I prefer Wordpress because I've been using it for years. I'm able to make updates on my own, play with the style and host it myself. I'm a huge fan of their various widgets and plugins. For another venture of mine, I'm using SquareSpace but right now I don't think it's the right fit for Bourbon and Goose. Maybe that will change later as Squarespace grows and works out all the kinks.

Q:  As a creative director, what visual tips would you give for makers who blog? 

Photo from Marissa's Instagram and one of her Happy Hour Clubs!

Photo from Marissa's Instagram and one of her Happy Hour Clubs!

A: Well, I have a few so I'm going to borrow a page from Danielle LaPorte and do a rapid fire. If anyone wants to chat about them, feel free to email me at mh{at} or hit me up on instagram: @bourbonandgoose. I remind myself of these daily when I'm creating. Some are super popular but hey, it's easy to forget when you're wrapped up in your work.

Less is more. Layouts that are clean and simple tend to be favorites because they are easier to read and remember.

Don't be afraid to share your story because we all LOVE a good story.

Create a mood board, collage, style guide—something that helps you define your style so you can refer back to it in order to keep your look consistent. Also, it's a great reference guide when working with designers, marketing companies and copywriters.

You don't have to blog every day. You're a maker and blogging shouldn't take away from your business or living a life. Figure out what works best for you in terms of a schedule. Remember it's just a tool for your toolkit—not your profession.

If writing isn't your thing, think of other ways to share your story. Here are a couple: share photos, find contributors or hire someone that's awesome. Having a blog allows you to own your content and market your work independently. Social media platforms come and go so don't put all your eggs in other people's baskets.