Creative Thinking for The Blogging Bee

The Blogging Bee website, designed by

Last week Chris Kirsch and I were excited to kick off The Blogging Bee, a collaborative venture in teaching fiber-istas the fine art of blogging. Today I’m going to approach The Blogging Bee from an art director’s view. I want to share our creative thinking and explain just how it is campaigns such as ours come to be.

Our Challenge

One day months ago, Chris mentioned many of her fiber friends would love to blog but don’t know where to begin. Would I be interested in teaching them? I jumped at the idea. I regularly teach my clients to blog and they quickly learn it offers great benefits to their business.

And so, The Blogging Bee was born.

The Blogging Bee logo

Our Target Market

Quilters—all fiber artists, in fact—are as diverse as a patchwork quilt. Yet, according to a recent Quilting in America survey, the average “Dedicated Quilter” is female, about 64, well-educated (79% attended college), has a household income in excess of $100,000 and has been quilting an average of 20.3 years.

Quilters are becoming a tech savvy bunch. Five years ago when I introduced Chris to blogging, a concern was that many of her peers barely used email, let alone the internet. Today, she averages more than 1100 views a week on Chris Lynn Quilts. Quilters are looking to get cross-creative with their fiber art. They want to challenge the analytical side of their brain. Blogging is just the thing, especially when taught in a personalized, hands-on method—the very way they’ve been learning fiber techniques all these years.

The Blogging Bee website, designed by

Our Brand: A Romantic Contrast of Old and New

I have two antique sewing machines with drawers stuffed full of vintage gadgetries. Their emotional factor is priceless. They also create an interesting, if not paradoxical, brand. In addition to using them in our website imagery, I also started an Instagram photo series the week before our kickoff. I plan to continue this through April so be sure to check it out.

Here’s where the paradox happens: Even though our look is vintage, our design is trendy. And for very good reasons.

Our website uses a responsive framework, complete with scrolling navigation, full screen images and large text. Being mindful of our target market, we want to make our message easily readable on whatever device the viewer chooses.

We’re also trendy with color. Drumroll, please, for Pantone’s 2016 Colors of the Year: Rose Quartz and Serenity!

Pantone is the leading color authority and each year it introduces its attention-getting Color of the Year (this year it chose two). While Pantone is most associated with the printing industry, it inevitably sets the trend for interior design, fashion and…fiber arts. Naturally, this season’s fabrics will show lots of pink and blue, and with Dedicated Quilters spending an average of $3,296 annually on quilting-related purchases, you can bet they’ll notice this color trend.

Pantone poetically describes its 2016 colors as an “inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.” Our goal was to bring this intrigue to our brand. The Blogging Bee is a romantic contrast of old and new, from the glorious tradition of quilting to the exciting, new levels of online technology.

If you’re in southeastern Wisconsin and want to learn blogging, check out The Blogging Bee. If you’re a business and want this same creative attention for your marketing, check out Adunate!

Introducing The Blogging Bee! (No April Fools!)

The Blogging Bee, a blogging workshop for fiber artists

It’s April 1 but there are no April Fools here! Today Adunate is proud to announce an exciting new venture: The Blogging Bee!

It all started months ago with a random idea from quilter extraordinaire Chris Kirsch. Chris is a long time client, but even more importantly she’s my dear friend and walking partner. One day while trudging together on our snowy country roads, Chris mentioned the idea of a blogging class. She said many of her fiber art peers would love to blog, but don’t know where to begin.

And so, The Blogging Bee was born. It’s a 1-day blogging workshop, with a focus on fiber arts. How fun is that!

Chris and I are a dynamo duo for this workshop. As we say on our bio page, “Chris brings the beauty. Di brings the brawn. Together we cover everything you need to get your blog up and running with easy pizazz!” You can read more here.

There’s a catch!

If you’re interested, you’d better sign up soon. We’re limiting our class to only 10 people. We want to make sure everyone gets personalized, hands-on attention and by the end of class they have a blog online and ready to go. Yes, it’s going to be a great workshop!

Find out more at The Blogging Bee!

The Blogging Bee promotional ad, designed by


Adunate Now Offers Social Media Marketing

Forward Mutual Insurance Company social media marketing

You know you should be doing social media marketing. But maybe you don’t quite know how? Maybe you don’t have time? Or maybe you just don’t have an interest?

Here’s something to think about.

The days of passive consumerism are over. Impersonal advertising, like television, radio and newspaper, no longer holds the all-influencing power it used to have. Now we consumers seek connection, communication and information. With all our cool tech devices, we pursue these desires whenever we want, wherever we want. Given that, social media has become the primary marketing venue for reaching today’s consumers.

Forward Mutual takes on social media marketing

Mutual insurance companies generally are not frontrunners in online marketing, yet, last spring when Forward Mutual updated its website, we discussed the idea of social media marketing. President and CEO Lois Wiedenhoeft wanted to reach out to its younger target market in the way they communicate. She also wanted to answer their insurance questions and offer helpful ownership advice. Social media was just the tool to do that, plus it would increase Forward Mutual’s exposure and build credibility.

Last month we got the ball rolling!

Once a week, Forward Mutual and Adunate work together to post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We’re also doing regular blog posts in the form of News. Contracting Adunate to manage its social media marketing allows the staff at Forward Mutual time to do what they’re committed to doing best—serving home and farm owners throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

So check out Forward Mutual’s new presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Be sure to “Like” the pages and follow this innovative mutual as it reaches out to its market!

Oh, and by the way, if you’re on the fence about social media marketing for your business, check out this little infographic I put together. Based on statistics from Statista, it’s easy to see your business is hiding in a hole if it’s not active online.

If you’d like help with your social media marketing, be sure to give me a call.

Social media marketing infographic by Adunate

Expanding Into New Lines of Communication

close stitching of quilt by Chris Kirsch

Sometimes it’s hard to decide whether to be enthusiastic or envious. Like now…I pass along social media marketing advise to my client Chris Kirsch and she successfully runs away with it in ways that far surpass my own marketing.

I’m just kidding, of course. I’m so proud of Chris’ business savvy and I’m itching to pass it along. And because Marketing Mentor’s Ilise Benun extols the benefits of podcasting, I’ve decided an interview with Chris will spread her success and introduce a new communication tool for myself.

There’s just one problem: I sound like a dork.

In Marketing Mentor’s podcasts, Ilise always comes across as intriguingly poised. In our podcast together, Chris sounds delightful and I, well, let’s just say I’ve left myself room for lots of improvement. But that’s okay. This was so fun to do and there are so many interesting people out there to interview, I’m anxious to try it again.

So, here it is. The first of my audio podcast series, rough as it is. And let me introduce to you—Chris Kirsch!

Chris, to me, is foremost my friend and neighbor. We enjoy walking together several mornings a week, where we discuss business, faith in God and lots of other things. Hey, we’re talented, multi-tasking women—we can both walk and talk pretty doggone fast!

Chris is also one of my clients. A couple years ago I suggested she try blogging as a means of reaching out to her target audience. The tricky thing is, her audience generally is not considered to be users of social media.

No problem!

Here’s how Chris gets around that and uses blogging to bring further success to her business.

PS. The photo above is a closeup of one of Chris’ quilts. Okay, yes, I admit; I am envious.

PPS: I know so little about this podcasting. I’m looking for suggestions; so please, do share!

Check Out the New Digs!

A new look for Adunate!

Well, what do you think? My blog has an all new look!

I’ve been working on this for, oooh, I’m embarrassed to admit. Let’s just say I’ve been squeezing it in between my client’s important projects and it’s taken a very long time.

Speeding the process along was John Sawyer, a WordPress guru from The Small Business Website Guy. I really liked the features of WordPress’s Twenty Eleven theme but I also wanted some customized design elements. So John did the foundation work and I tweaked, and tweaked, and tweaked and tweaked.

Anyway, here it is—Adunate’s customized WordPress theme, complete with three columns and a maximized content area. It’s coordinated to match my Adunate business site, yet comes with unique accommodations for photography, Twitter feeds, and other cool media stuff.

What about you? Does your blog need an new look? Want to start blogging to promote your business? Let me help with a theme specifically designed to fit your needs!