Showing posts with label read. Show all posts
Showing posts with label read. Show all posts

Monday, July 25, 2016

5 Ways to Shine at Sponsored Posts

Making Money

5 Ways to Shine at Sponsored Posts

August 01, 2016
by: Kel Amstutz

If you’re working with brands (or hoping to), at some point you’ll write a sponsored post. But how do you make a blog post about a brand not one big buzzword-filled snoozefest?

Well, keep it true to your style and voice for starters.

You’ll not only make the brand happy; your readers won’t hit the back button either.

These five tips will give you a fresh twist for your next sponsored post.

Plus, check out the examples from bloggers who know how to write for brands in a way that’s both authentic and informative.

Just Be Real… Even if that means at Your Own Expense

You don’t have to sound like you’re spouting marketing-babble when you write a sponsored post.

Brands want to see you being you so keep it real, even if that means showing a less-than-perfect day or poking a little fun at yourself.

Shining Example: Anne from did a great sponsored post for Kohl’s Wink of Pink Giveaway. Is pink her favorite color? Not at all. But she took on the challenge of working in pink clothes into her wardrobe, which makes a believer out of any pink skeptic. Not only that, Anne wasn’t afraid to poke a little fun at herself.

5 Ways to Shine at Sponsored Posts- get real, even at your own expense! 

Every time I see this picture, I crack up. That would TOTALLY be me.


It all starts with a Compelling Headline

If you want to bore someone into never clicking on your blog post, then start off with a really boring blog post title. 

Who wants to click the link that says “NEW POST: Free React Mobile App”? Zzzzzzz. 

Instead, create a snazzy headline that makes readers curious. The only caveat? You MUST follow-through with an awesome post!

Shining Example: Dani from Cloudy with a Chance of Wine does this brilliantly, both the headline and the post. Instead of calling her blog post “Free React Mobile App,” her post is titled “Why I Never Left College Parties by Myself.”

Now THAT’s a post I want to read. She doesn’t disappoint, using her college mishap to explain why this app is such a good idea.

5 Ways to Shine at Sponsored Posts- have an irresistible headline


Add a Dash of Video

Do you like creating videos? 

Well, no one says your sponsored post has to just be written words. Adding video to your posts helps readers really get a sense of the product being talked about (not to mention, get to “know” you a little better by seeing more than a little headshot in your sidebar.)

Shining Example: Fadra from All Thing’s Fadra is always the first person who comes to mind when I think of great sponsored posts with videos. Her post for Kia about Life in a Small Car takes a humorous look of a luxury chick trying out the Kia Forte LX. She saves some of the car’s features for the text, but in the video she shows herself using the car for a little trip to a blogger meetup. She takes the car for a spin, drops cookies, and her camera falls. While the latter two might not relate to the car, the video is memorable and fun… just what Kia wants.

Give Readers a Benefit that Clicks

A rookie marketing mistake is to only talk about a product’s features. Typically, benefits are what seals the deal in a consumer’s mind. Using __ product will make me ___. So, when writing about a brand’s product or service, consider your audience. How can that “thing” make them healthier? Improve their life? Simplify their day? Solve a problem?

Shining Example: Anna from My Life and Kids didn’t just create a green smoothie recipe to promote Silk Coconutmilk. She tapped into a feeling most parents have: feeling tired. Her solution is an energizing smoothie for tired parents all over. (Must try this!)
With three little kids, a growing business and an endless pile of laundry – I don’t have time to be tired. No – seriously. I don’t have time to spend my afternoons yawning or unfocused. I don’t have time to spend my mornings in a foggy, half-awake state while I try to get one kid on the bus, another kid dressed for preschool and keep another kid from playing in the toilet.
5 Ways to Shine at Sponsored Posts- give readers a benefit that clicks

Be Relate-able

Brands work with bloggers because they’re “just like you and me.” A brand talking about their own product, service, or cause is one thing, but hearing it from someone we can already relate to? That’s even more convincing. When you start off a sponsored post with something everyone can relate to (like nostalgia), you get your audience nodding their head… and reading your content.

Shining Example: Roo from Neon Fresh knows how to pull readers in with a relate-able, humorous style. And her sponsored post about eBay’s Curate a Collection for a Cause is no different. She gets you all nostalgic for the 90s (even as a child of the 80s, I can still relate to playing Oregon Trail, yo), which is the perfect set up to talking about eBay, isn’t it? She makes me WANT to put together a curate a collection…maybe one in which I curate bits and pieces of the 80s (Rainbow Brite anyone?).

Nope! I can't wait to be done with school in two weeks and then off to my dream job! Haters approval not needed! I have found something I love to do! It makes me happy to see I'm such an inspiration to all my haters :):
If you found this post interesting, I bet you’ll love checking out my other most popular posts:

 Here is my most popular eBook! 

I strongly recommend my eBook, The Social Media Manager Kit by Kel (w/ bonus) in order to get you started. It will include templates for emailing potential clients or those you landed a completed job with, it will allow you to focus and challenge you to keep moving forward. 

This life, working at home, being financial free and with my family, is something that I used to dream about

  • I am living it. 
  • I am loving it. 
  • I am making it my life! 

Need More Help?  

Check out my eBook, Make your Dream a Reality in 30 Days or Less! - a jump start guide with templates to get you ready, set and ROCKING this Social Media Manager gig! 



Thursday, May 12, 2016

20 BOOKS you NEED to read NOW!

20 Books You NEED to Read This Spring

By: Kelley Amstutz


Henry Ward Beecher:


It's not a secret. I just found a gift card for Barnes and idea WHEN I received this GC, but I went to load it to my account and lone behold...I still had some $$ just waiting there for me...seriously (I said to myself) WHAT!!! So, this called for SHOPPING (duh!) and that lead to books...books...and more books.  I love real deal, hard bound books, but with this FREE MONEY...I got a variety (say what?) and now I have books stacked on my nook there weren't before my free money shopping spree, right!  And there are now books stacked (like STACKED) on my nightstand, which has lead to HUBBY asking me when I am finding the TIME to read all these GEMS.  This leads to the depression part of LIFE....NOT ENOUGH TIME TO READ... (WAH)

Oh well... I can't stop the #obsession.  The struggle... oh yea...ITS REAL!!!

So, of course, I had to put together my LIST of MUST READS...twenty six (26) - yes I said it...of these BOOKS that you MUST...absolutely NEED to read....N O W !!!

What are you waiting for? 



G O ...

A House for Happy Mothers: A Novel, by Amulya Malladi

Two women. Two continents. One goal: to save their families. A House for Happy Mothers tells the touching story of Priya and Asha, two very different women brought together through India's rising surrogacy industry. While Silicon Valley resident Priya has everything she can imagine, she is unable to have children, leaving her to turn to someone who can. Across the world in a small southern Indian village lives wife and mother Asha, who checks herself into the Happy Mothers House, a baby farm where she is housed while carrying a child for a couple oversees. Together, the two women restore faith in each others lives by bringing a new life into the world.

Why I'm looking forward to it: It's a feel good story that warms the heart and makes you proud to be a woman.

The House of Bradbury, by Nicole Meier

Mia's life is not going quite as she'd hoped: her debut novel is being panned by the critics, her relationship with her Hollywood producer fiancé Carson has just gone down the drain, and she's now living in the carriage house of her judgmental sister. However, when Mia learns that the legendary writer Ray Bradbury's house has been put up for sale in Los Angeles, she feels compelled to buy it, convinced it will give her inspiration again. And it just might, but not in the way that she anticipated.

Why I'm looking forward to it: Who hasn't wanted to live in a famous author's house and felt lost after a major life change?

A Criminal Magic, by Lee Kelly

In an alternate Washington D.C. during the 1920s, magic is real and it has just been outlawed. The prohibition leads to a dangerous and booming magical underworld, one that young sorcerer Joan Kendrick becomes a part of when she accepts a job offer from the Shaw Gang, D.C.'s number one crime syndicate. When she meets fellow sorcerer and undercover prohibition trainee, sparks begin to fly, and not just in the figurative sense.

Why I'm looking forward to it: It reignites our inner Harry Potter obsessions with magic and mystery while providing a dangerous, romantic twist!

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, by Rebecca Traister

Journalist Rebecca Traister provides a historical and cultural account of unmarried women in America who have helped to shape the nation. Extensive research covering class, race, sexual orientation, and more, presents compelling anecdotes about the single American woman—old and new—and how sometimes being a lady and on your own can bring about massive social change.

Why I'm looking forward to it: It's basically a well-informed book version of the message in the Beyoncé video and we are here for that!

The Full Catastrophe, by Karen Elizabeth Lee

Lee's memoir chronicles her recovery and salvation after her husband Duncan (whom she planned to divorce after 14 years of emotional abuse) dies of cancer. Left to face her own demons without Duncan's ranting to keep her company, Lee turns to Jungian psychology in order to make sense of her life. What she finds are the strength and tools that may help her finally resurrect it.

Why I'm looking forward to it: This feels like the perfect mix of a psychological study paired with inspirational self-help.

The Ex: A Novel, by Alafair Burke

Jack Harris' life was shattered after the sudden death of his wife Molly. Three years later, after putting the pieces back together, he meets a beautiful stranger who shatters his world once again—only this time he is being framed for a triple homicide. Olivia Randall, Jack's former fiancé, happens to be one of New York City's elite criminal defense lawyers, and comes to Jack's rescue after hearing about his arrest. But the man she once thought she knew may not be as innocent as she thinks. Alafair Burke's complex characters and mysterious plot line in The Ex will keep you at the edge of your seat and wanting to know more after each page.

Why I'm looking forward to it: If you're a fan of Gone Girl, you'll love The Ex. It's got a little love, a little scandal and a little mystery. The perfect read for a night in.

Glass Shatters, by Michelle Meyers

Charles Lang wakes up in a house he does not recognize, without any memory of who he is or where he came. As he explores the mysterious, abandoned home he begins to discover bits and pieces about his life such as his status as a brilliant scientist and his wife and daughter, both of whom went missing years ago. Haunted by memories that may or may not be his, Charles soon realizes that his only hope of finding his family is to go deeper into the recovery of his jagged past.

Why I'm looking forward to it: A mystery, an unpredictable narrator, and a strange setting all add up to create the perfect formula for a suspenseful thrill ride.

The Hole in the Middle, by Kate Hilton

Outwitting co-workers, hosting dinner parties with double-digit guest-lists, and sticking to her guns in PTA President persuasions – all in a days work for Sophie Whelan. What can't this woman do? With Sophie's 40th birthday dangerously approaching, she can't help but feel that her existence is bursting at the seams. Nonetheless, a opportunity from her past resurfaces, forcing Sophie to choose if her life's current chaos is a blessing in disguise, or the biggest mistake she's ever made.

Why I'm looking forward to it: It's heartfelt, hilarious, and it's an international best-selling debut! Count us in.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, by Roxane Gay

Author of Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay leaves us feeling full with her latest memoir Hunger, her story of weight, self-image, food, and the balance between feeding yourself emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Gay tells her story of how she turned to food to hide from life's burdens, and ultimately became a different person. She writes from an honest place that makes it easy for any woman to relate to her struggles.

Why I'm looking forward to it: We love books that display vulnerability as a strength and not a weakness, and Gay's memoir is a great example to learn from.

 Reading Below

Innocents and Others, by Dana Spiotta

Among the smog of 1980s Los Angeles, best friends Carrie and Meadow are both successful filmmakers, having grown up in the city of angels all their lives. But the common interest tends to end there, as the two disagree on everything else from life and love to the films that they create. Told in a masterfully non-linear format that intersperses chapters with documents such as interviews and film theory paragraphs, Spiotta paints a painfully real picture of two women trying to come to terms with themselves and each other.

Why I'm looking forward to it: It speaks to our nostalgia for L.A. in the 1980s while the content and experimental writing promise to make it a new staple in contemporary fiction.

 What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, by Helen Oyeyemi

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is a series of intertwined stories that revolve around the idea of keys, both literal and metaphorical. These special keys open a heart, a house, and a diary, and lead you into labyrinths to the other side of the story. Oyeyemi's creativity and mystical style keep you hooked and entertained from one story to the next.

Why I'm looking forward to it: It bounds multiple stories and unlocks hidden niches of your imagination that you didn't even know existed.


I strongly recommend my eBook, The Social Media Manager Kit by Kel (w/ bonus) in order to get you started. It will include templates for emailing potential clients or those you landed a completed job with, it will allow you to focus and challenge you to keep moving forward. 

This life, working at home, being financial free and with my family, is something that I used to dream about

  • I am living it. 
  • I am loving it. 
  • I am making it my life! 

Need More Help?  

Check out my eBook, Make your Dream a Reality in 30 Days or Less! - a jump start guide with templates to get you ready, set and ROCKING this Social Media Manager gig!

Friday, August 28, 2015





There is really nothing I love more than settling in for the night with a snugly blanket and a good book. So, here is the question...the one that every book lover HATES...
What’s your favorite book?
Here is the list-with little explanations, about why each book made this list. At least one of us has read most of these books, but we haven’t read all of them. And I hope your kind of freaking out over the list you now have to take to the library
So here goes...30 most recommendable books:
1. These Is My Words by Nancy Turner – Eye-opening, heart-warming and completely heart-wrenching!  Sarah, the main character, is hilarious. The story is written in the form of a journal, and you see Sarah’s growth and development through her writing.  
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – This book focuses on the power of words and the power that even a young girl can have. The way the author wrote it (it’s narrated by Death) is absolutely amazing. 
3. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton – This book is set in the present but takes you back to London in WWII. The story is interwoven so well that you feel like you’re there, experiencing it right alongside the author. It is beautiful, stirring, and captivating. 
4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – A parable that’s a quick, easy read.  Its simplicity renders the power of a parable that can add depth of content and personal applications.  
5. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – A human story of redemption and change. Deeply spiritual in the strength of the human spirit and how much you really can handle when you have no other choice. 
6. The Giver by Lois Lowry – A novel about the dystopian society, showing that painful experiences are not only an inevitable part of life, but we shouldn’t look at them as something to avoid.  True joy and color in life comes from ALL the experiences we have.
7. Princess of the Midnight Ball (Twelve Dancing Princesses series) by Jessica Day George – A new twist on the 12 dancing princesses, the series is great for the family but just as great for adults. The heroes are handsome and endearing, and the heroines are lovely and brave. 
8. Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan – Try an Audio Book with this one!  Jim Gaffigan narrates his own stories on parenting and family life and it is HILARIOUS!  A must read for any parent who is stressed out, which is pretty much all parents at some time or another.   
9. Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan – This is a best seller about a little genius girl who is a bit different. And you follow her, she finds simple beauties and happiness. She’s also witty and funny.
10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – One of my all-time favorite books! It is beautifully written with wonderful characters that stay with you long after you read the book.  Atticus is my hero; the legal profession needs more men like him.  The book  deals with themes of prejudice, kindness, courage, dignity, innocence and experience.  Definitely a must read.  
11. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton – This book is a compilation of thoughts that mostly come from the authors popular blog. She is as funny as she is real as she is kind as she is relate-able. A great read for women.
12. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl – This is the personal story of the author, Victor Frankl, a survivor of a holocaust camp. He finds a way to be positive despite his dire and depressing circumstances.
13. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross – This work of historical fiction takes place in the dark ages, and is based on the legend that in the 9th century a woman disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female pope.  The Catholic Church denies that this ever happened.  This thoughtful, compelling, and entertaining book makes a great case that maybe a women really did sit on the papal throne for two years.   
14. The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien – The beautiful language and the message of courage, nobility and the power to change the world for good is the power of this read.
15. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – This book is reminiscent of a fairy tale bring a hint of magic into everyday things.
16. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann D. Wyss – If you grew up loving the Disney film and didn’t discover the book until adulthood, it is wonderful to read aloud and will makes you want to be that kind of parent.
17. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley –  “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley provides more to the story beyond the film of a monster of a madman's creation. 
18. They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie –  Agatha Christie first visited Baghdad as a tourist in 1927; many years later she would become a resident of the exotic and then open city, and it was here, and while on archaeological digs throughout Iraq with her husband, Sir Max Mallowan, that Agatha Christie wrote some of her most important works.
19. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre, the story of a young girl and her passage into adulthood, was an immediate commercial success at the time of its original publication in 1847. Its representation of the underside of domestic life and the hypocrisy behind religious enthusiasm drew both praise and bitter criticism, while Charlotte Brontë’s striking expose of poor living conditions for children in charity schools as well as her poignant portrayal of the limitations faced by women who worked as governesses sparked great controversy and social debate.
20. Enchanted, Inc. series by Shanna Swendson – These are pure fluff, but they are fun and they are a rare example of mainstream fiction that includes romance without inappropriate content and they make me and my girls smile.
21. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Neil Gaiman took “The Jungle Book” and replaced Baloo and Bagheera with ghosts and Shere Khan with a man named Jack. “The Graveyard Book” is the magical result. The family of little “Nobody Owens” is murdered one night. He manages to escape unharmed and toddles his way to a nearby cemetery where he is adopted by its ghostly inhabitants. The events of the first chapter are upsetting, but not at all graphic. The rest of the book is intriguing and delightful. 
22. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand – If you love horse racing you will love this story of loyalty, redemption, and determination in this book.  Hillenbrand’s writing is magnificent. (She is also the author of Unbroken)
23. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford – This one is a historical fiction that offers little glimpses into the lives of both Japanese and Chinese Americans during WWII and the age of the Japanese internment camps in the United States. The author weaves a story of the past that gradually helps you understand the current relationship between a man and his son. 
24. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer – This book is historical, romantic, humorous,  and intriguing. Be ready to be completely charmed. Written in the form of letters, it brings the reader in through the characters’ personal thoughts and emotions. 
25. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley – History has all but forgotten...In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write. But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her...
26. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – OThe novel follows two characters: Marie-Laure, a blind French girl who flees her home with her father when the Nazi’s occupy Paris; and Werner, a German orphan who grows up with his sister, and whose gift for building and repairing radios gets him into a brutal academy for HItler’s Youth. The book is beautifully written with gorgeous imagery and profound symbolism.
27. Goose Girl by Shannon Hale – Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.
28. The Rent Collector by Camron Wright – This novel follows a fictional Cambodian family who lives at and makes their living from the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. It explores the power of literacy, the drive of a mother to give her child a better life, and the sweetness of redemption for a woman who seems a bit nonredeemable. 
29. Wonder by R. J. Palacio –  August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. 
30. Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear – There is in-depth character development and each book adds another layer of intrigue. Fun, great narration and interesting mysteries.  

P.S. Which ones have you read? What would you add? 
I  love book recommendations…

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