I’m a plunker-downer. I work full-time as a PR consultant and freelance writer, and about once a week or so I like to trade my home office for a cozy spot where I can treat myself to fancy coffee while getting stuff done. I have a hotspot with an unlimited data plan so I don’t even hog the establishment’s wireless network. I especially love penning blog posts while I’m out among our tribe of locals. It is inspiring to observe life around me.
A few weeks ago I was lucky to meet Clarissa Mae who has earned enough blogging success to leave her full-time job. Not my goal anytime soon but it was fun to meet her and hear her thoughts on how to gain a reader following via social media.
I first noticed Clarissa Mae setting up a tripod and camera near the table at Aroma Cafe where I was sprawled out writing a news release. She adjusted the camera focus trained on the cafe’s electronic fireplace and comfy chairs. Then she sat down and checked a few poses. Blogger alert! I soon realized I was watching someone else crafting a post.
Unlike me (and most of the rest of the cafe crowd I typically see), this young stranger’s workout wear was perfectly coordinated. I noticed her burgundy tunic, black, quilted yoga pants and a cute pumpkin colored hat. She wore a stylish scarf that tied it all together, and she had on cool leaf-patterned earrings and burgundy high tops.
I introduced myself and asked if I could snap a few pictures (spot me in the photo above!). “Sure,” said Clarissa Mae, who was warm, friendly and eager to talk about blogging.
I discovered Clarissa Mae is a yoga teacher, fitness coach and world traveler. She was raised in South Dakota, she explained, as a painfully shy girl who fell in love with history. She pursued a masters degree in Historical Administration and worked in the museum field for several years. In 2008, she discovered yoga. She was good at the bendy moves and found the practice unleashed a, “drive, passion, and self-confidence” she had lost since childhood. She soon became a yoga teacher and started her blog in 2014.
Clarissa Mae is now settled in the Quad Cities with her husband Wade, who is an outdoor adventurer and also a blogger: Intrepiddaily.com. They are pursuing their interests and blogging and “influencing” full-time. Check out their Instagram feeds (Her: clarissa_mae_ Him: intrepid_daily) and you’ll find them traveling in Guatemala, Colorado, South Dakota, England, California and more exotic places. They work with companies, travel bureaus and retreat organizers for sponsorships, fees or products in exchange for posts about specific topics or goods. Clarissa Mae works with several brands including as a brand ambassador for BangsShoes, the maker of the cool burgundy high tops she was sporting and posting about the day I met her. The idea is that if Clarissa Mae likes the shoes, others may too. Bangs’ marketing program is centered around adventurers like Clarissa Mae.
Blogging provides the freedom to pursue a lifestyle that both Clarissa Mae and her husband Wade desire, while helping others pursue goals in fitness and life. “The best thing about blogging is my ability to reach people beyond my physical location,” Clarissa Mae noted. “It gives me a way to expand my influence and teach and share my knowledge.”
Last year the Quad City Times listed her as a member of the “Q-C Famous” because she has a large Instagram following. As of today, she’s amassed 35.5k followers!
Here’s what Clarissa told me about building by own blogdom:
- Capture cool pictures. Yoga and travel lends to great photos and Clarissa Mae has captured some awesome ones on her Instagram account.
Cool pictures in posts get the most interest. I pay particular attention to country music artists and those with good pictures in their social media feeds always grab my interest. A few of my favorite Instagram accounts are owned by Remsy, a Texas-based country artist/music producer who does great B/W shots, and Lyle Lovett, who snaps cool stuff at soundcheck on concert days. Check those out!
- Clarissa Mae also told me about the app “Preview” to plan, schedule, analyze, filter and easily add hashtags for Instagram posts. Interesting.
- Another tip was to contact travel bureaus and locations before you hit the road to ferret out travel opportunities to be paid for travel posts. I love to do those so I may try down the road. BTW, check out highlights from our family’s recent trip to South Dakota here and here.
- Use hashtags lavishly! Clarissa Mae recommends up to 30 with each post. Wow! I’m lucky to remember to add one or two. Here is a screenshot showing some of her recent hashtags:
On pursuing dreams from Clarissa Mae’s bio:
“Growing up I was a shy girl who was often teased and bullied for wearing glasses and being small and freckly. I struggled for years with poor self-image and was never happy with the person I saw staring back at me. I never felt good enough or sure of what my path was. And I never thought I would be brave enough to share my story, my vulnerabilities, and insecurities with the world…After discovering yoga in 2008 and dedicating myself to a practice I began to see myself not as a weak insecure person, but someone with drive, passion, and self-confidence. Attributes I thought I had long ago lost in my childhood. Today, through the practice of yoga and a lifestyle of confidence building I am elated at the person I am. I love that I have talents that come naturally, like teaching yoga and creating fun sequences or working one-on-one with students. I also love that I have spaces of growth left like delving into new content creation and creating programs for people. Yoga has given me so much and that practice is something I want to share with the as many people as possible! What a great teacher!
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