19 Ways To Squeeze Every Last Drop From Your Content (+ Free Printable 90 Days of Awesome Content Prompts!)

If you’re anything like me, you’re working hard. You’re excited for what you’re creating and it shows - all of the photos saved on your phone, notes scribbled with new project ideas, drafts of blog posts and listing descriptions… it is a LOT.

Eventually, it can become overwhelming and a just dissolve into a hot mess if you don’t figure out how to work smarter and not harder. Today is all about getting the most out of your efforts, and finally having time to move on to that next project you’ve been dreaming about (and rescheduling) the last 6 months.

Below are 19 ways to make the most out of the content you’re already creating - those blog posts, product photos, and awesome Instagram captions can live a new life and give you a little extra oomph (or free time) and I promise it’s all without cheating. No one will notice or mind the content being re-worked a little - especially if they missed it the first time!

 
 19 ways to squeeze every last drop from your content (plus, a free printable checklist of 90 days of awesome content prompts!) from danielleandco.com
 

BONUS: If you’re looking for a ton of content prompt ideas without having to rack your brain, I’m sharing a 90 days of awesome content prompts printable with you - so next time you’re sitting there with the laptop open and just feeling OVER IT you have a back-up plan. They are written specifically for artists and craftspeople. Just sign up at one of the links below!

I’ve sectioned these out a bit by topic, but arranged them loosely from the easiest/most feasible right now to a few more long-term strategies.

I also share 7 weekly content prompts on Instagram every Friday, so you can follow along with those too!

 

Your Photos & Videos

#1: Have a great photo you’re excited to post to Instagram? Do a quick re-work of it for all the other platforms, too! You can make a quick template in Photoshop, Illustrator or whatever you’re most comfortable with and have it ready to go every time - it takes just seconds to pop a new photo into your templates, save it, and spread that image all over the inter-webs. Below you can how I used the Layout app to create a grid of my new camp mug products. Then, I popped it into a template for Instagram Stories and shared it there. Then, I popped it into ANOTHER template for Pinterest, and shared it there. That’s 3 times the reach it would have gotten just as an Instagram post. Actually, I guess I just used it in this blog post too, sooo… 4 times.

Would you be interested in some premade templates just for this? If so, comment on this post and let me know! It’s on my list of project ideas, if there is any interest.

 The same little grid of my camp mug listing images, working hard to make the most of my time! 19 Ways to Squeeze Every Last Drop From Your Content at danielleandco.com.

#2. While you’re taking those awesome photos of your new work, zoom in and snap a few close-ups or detail-shots too. Those little details and behind-the-scenes insights are often the things I most enjoy seeing, as a follower. It also creates a whole new set of images, making good use of your time. If you do a multi-image post on Instagram, the close-ups don’t have to show up on your grid permanently (if you don’t want them to), but they will still pop up on your follower’s feeds.

Word of caution - be sure to know what your followers like and go with it! If you notice your close-ups are getting all of the love, share more of those - if they seem meh, dial it back.

You can also step back and take a “behind the scenes” photo of your process for photographing your work, and share it on Instagram Stories - it feels very meta, but followers (especially other creative business people) love to see your methods and hard work in action.

#3. Coming up with well-designed and attractive header images can be daunting. In the early days of your business, your aesthetic can evolve repeatedly making updates more frequent than you can keep up with. Why not take your best recent photos and create a collage or grid? Below is a Facebook header image I whipped up in a few minutes using my Instagram posts. Keep a template saved in Photoshop or another program, and you can update it as often as you need to for use on Etsy, Facebook, Spoonflower, and more.

 I just popped three of my favorite recent Instagram images into a template and have a fresh new Facebook page header. 19 ways to squeeze every last drop from your content, on danielleandco.com.

To keep your website homepage up to date without having to constantly swap out images, you can insert your Instagram feed. It will automatically pull in your most recent posts, so your webpage is dynamic and shows your most recent work at all times (and as a bonus, encourages social media followers!)

#4. If you create videos for social media or blog posts, you can upload those into a YouTube channel (or Instagram TV, now that it’s catching on!) and reach a whole new target audience. This is especially fun if you tend to feel bummed by how much video you have to cut (to keep it to 1 minute for Instagram); go ahead and ‘Gram the shortened version and let the full-length one live on YouTube in all of its glory!

#5. If what you really need is a little extra cash, you can turn some of your photos into stock images. Sites such as Creative Market or Etsy make it easy to sell them to other creative entrepreneurs! Just make sure you’re really okay with them being used by others, and that they are general enough (they don’t show your specific art and sharing them won’t undermine your brand). For example: take a beautiful staged photo of your knitted hat with Christmas ornaments and knitting needles scattered artfully, and then remove the hat but leave the pretty set-up. It could be perfect for someone else looking for a general knitting + Christmas themed photo.


 Kick your content up a notch with a free 90 days of awesome content prompt sheet! from danielleandco.com

Your Blog Posts

#6. Make it a point once a season or so to go back and spruce up your old posts. Nothing makes a website look unprofessional faster than broken links and error messages! Once a blog post is linked somewhere like Pinterest, it can keep bringing in new traffic for years and that traffic is good traffic! Read through the post and add updates anywhere it would be helpful (such as if you recommended an app but since then found a better one), check links are working and swap out any images that are now totally off-brand for you.

#7. The next time you dive into content planning, take a moment and check your analytics to see what’s been working for you. Review a popular blog post and see if there is a point buried in it you could expound on (to create a whole new blog post). When you’re generating ideas, blog posts can be planned out in series to get the most bang for your buck as you’re writing, and that could even go on to be a little e-book if you’re really looking to squeeze every drop of content-goodness out of it.

#8. This is an easy one - refer to your older blog posts in your new ones! You’re likely already doing this, but try to make a point of taking one last look at your new post before you click publish and see if there aren’t opportunities to link to other content (not just old blog posts but also social media, affiliate product links, etc.). It not only will capitalize on past work you’ve done, it’ll be helpful for your readers too.

#9. Make your blog archives more interesting! Most websites have an archive somewhere, linking back to past content - usually sorted by tag or date. Kick it up a notch by highlighting your past content in a unique way. For example, you could curate them onto a “Start Here” page, with your most helpful blog posts in the order you think would be most beneficial. Or, you could have start things off with a list of your most popular posts (like Kelsey did from Paper & Oats, shown below).

#10. If you’re looking to gain more experience and get your work in front of new audiences, there are many websites that accept articles (or even pay you a little bit for them!) so those old blog posts you have could be re-worked a bit and then submitted to your favorite online magazine or resource. Just make sure to follow the guidelines for the site you’re working with, which may require you to re-write it to a certain level of originality. Publishing your blog posts on Quora is an option too - check out this post on SmartBlogger, which gives you all the dets.

#11. Create a newsletter welcome series, and start subscribers right off with your most useful evergreen blog posts. All of the major email newsletter hosts (Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and so on) offer a feature where you can schedule a series of blog posts to be sent when someone signs up. Having a little set of your best blog posts sent right to them is a great way to welcome new followers! Chances are if someone is just signing up, they haven’t read all of your older stuff so you can get them caught up quickly.

#12. Turn those blog posts into something bigger. Make it a webinar, e-course, e-book, podcast… the list goes on! Brainstorm a list of topics you want to teach OR see if there is a theme you can pull from your blog posts. For instance, if you have 6 past blog posts all about selling at craft fairs you could gather those babies up and launch an “Ultimate Craft Fair Success Guide” e-course or booklet. Just be sure to add original content too, so your long-time followers still find it relevant.

 

Your Artwork

#13. Waste not, want not - if you have old paintings, printed photos or materials you’re ready to recycle, go ahead and turn them into cool and creative packaging. I’ve admired how Ingrid Sanchez of Creative Ingrid takes the beautiful watercolor-painted papers she is finished with and uses them for packaging (shown below, from her Instagram). I can only imagine how delighted her customers are to have this lovely little bonus arrive!

#14. If you’re a photographer, painter or create any two-dimensional work, consider creating designs for products. It’s a way to open a whole new income possibility and reach audiences who might not be in the market for original artwork or prints. It can seem daunting (or even like cheating) to many artists, but I can say from personal experience I’ve really enjoyed the process. I love to watercolor paint, but giving them new life by creating a pattern or design is actually my favorite part. You don’t need to take on all of the work, either - there are plenty of professional print shops and print-on-demand companies that take part of the profit in return for most of the stress. As you can see, a little painting of a whale tail can become mugs, prints, scarves… and so much more.

 19 ways to squeeze every drop from your content, on danielleandco.com.

#15. Use product samples wisely. If you’re already selling products, you can take a sample of your work and then have it live on in so many helpful ways! If you’re using a print-on-demand company, you can often get discounts to order samples for yourself - if you hand-make your product, of course you already have some samples around. Say you have designed a mug - you can take one of your mugs and have a photo shoot to create listing images to sell it online. Then, snap some pretty pictures of it in action for social media. Keep it in good shape, and you could offer it as a giveaway prize to gain followers after that.

 

Your Work As A Whole

#16. Round it all up in a newsletter with a little original content sprinkled in. It’s like a bonus for your followers, and ensures nobody is missing out on anything. Whip up a little original content to start it off and then use it as an opportunity to highlight the best of your social media, link to new blog posts and new podcast episodes, and even offer special discounts or a first heads up on shop updates. This is a great way to encourage people to keep following you while making sure none of your content is lost and forgotten.

#17. Plan your blog post or social media content strategically, with an end collection in mind. I know coming up with fresh ideas of what to post about can be hard for a lot of busy entrepreneurs, so I post a weekly set of content prompts every Friday on Instagram. While I tweak how they look depending on the week, I try to keep the format consistent so when they are compiled they make sense together. For anyone who needs more than a handful of ideas at a time, The Content Archive page (shown below) has it all in one place. This is a way to offer a service to others without having to generate any new content, and it takes me approximately 1.2 seconds to upload the new prompts every week.

  The Content Archive  page is a collection of weekly content prompts from the  danielleandcopaints  Instagram account. New content prompts are posted on Instagram every Friday, but the whole collection lives on here at danielleandco.com!

#18. Recycle content seasonally. For example, late November is a great time to begin linking to gift guide posts from previous years. Update any links for products no longer offered, but as long as you do your best to keep content evergreen, most things should carry over for awhile!

#19. Share with your friends! I don’t recommend joining a fake Instagram pod thing, but I know I like to shout-out people who I authentically appreciate and they feel the same way. You could ask a close friend if you could swap products or services and share the results with each other’s followers, or write genuine testimonials you could each use on your websites. Often if you start appreciating and highlighting other artist’s work, you’ll see a return on your investment and you’ll feel good doing it.

I hope these 19 ideas will help you get every single last drop of awesomeness out of your amazing content! The most important thing is to find what works for you. Reflect on what your community responds to and what you enjoy creating, and do more of it.

What content is most successful for you? Comment below and share your tips with the rest of us!

— Dani


 Kick your content up a notch with a free 90 days of awesome content prompt sheet! from danielleandco.com

DIY Watercolor Paint Storage

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you purchase an item using one. Thank you for supporting danielle & co.!

If you're a painter, I bet you have the same problem as me - wanting allllll the paint colors. In the past, I've used pan paints because it is so much bang for the buck. For instance, I love the set by Kuretake that costs only $37 for 36 colors (available on Amazon)! I've used it for years, and the colors are lovely and mix well. It's also so quick to just close the lid and slide it back on the shelf when you're done.

Recently, I've tried a few tube paints and I've just fallen hard for Winsor & Newton professional watercolor paints. The colors are so vibrant and the pigments so smooth! The issue? They are not so easy to store away when not in use. (FYI, if you scroll most of the way down, I share links to what paint tubes I currently have).

I spent some time researching the best ways to store watercolor tubes, and considered purchasing a variety of plastic organizer that were just... bleh. A few resources recommended storing tubes of paint cap-down, in order to cause less separation in the ingredients and help them last longer. Inspiration struck!

So, today I'm sharing with you how to build your own DIY watercolor tube paint storage board - and for $32 or less, in one day!

 
 A DIY watercolor paint storage, affordable and easy to organize watercolor tube paints! From danielleandco.com
 

I decided to go ahead and build my own tube paint storage board for a few reasons. I loved using vertical storage space, and can hang this right above the rest of my supplies. Also, my studio is just a little corner of my living room so all my supplies are on display - aesthetics are a priority! After considering various pegboard options and not finding them to be as attractive as I would like, I remembered I had these gold binder clips and decided to pick up a few other supplies and make a custom storage solution that met all of my needs.

 
 A DIY watercolor paint storage, affordable and easy to organize watercolor tube paints! From danielleandco.com
 
 

1. Gather Your Supplies

You may already have some of these around the house! This is a very customizable project, so you can use whatever you have on hand or pick up supplies in the colors, shapes, or sizes you prefer. My total supplies cost around $32 (not including watercolor paints, of course) and I only used a fraction of the stain, finish spray, nails, etc. so could have made two of these easily!

Total cost: $32.86

You'll also need a pencil and a hammer from around your house, and something to hang the board on your wall (like Command Strips or a metal hangers you can attach to the back).

Optional steps listed below include making watercolor swatches to hang above each paint tube, which would also require paper and your painting supplies. Also, I used a white Sharpie paint pen to write my business name on the board, just for fun - if you have a little extra room on yours, it is a fun way to personalize it!

BTW, I just chose a round board for fun; a rectangular one would fit more paints!

 

2. Prep The Surface

While the stain-grade wood board I picked up from Lowes Home Improvement is advertised as stain grade and already sanded, I found some of the edges a little rough and used a spare piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them down; this is optional if your board doesn't need it!

Next, I did one coat of pre-stain wood conditioner by Minwax. I highly recommend this step, even though it is an easy one to skip. In my experience, the overall quality of a wood stain project ends up so much higher when you use this stuff, and it only takes spreading on a thin layer, a quick wipe-down with a rag and then 30 minutes of dry-time. Just trust me on this one!

 

3. Stain & Seal The Wood

I used Minwax stain in "provincial" - it's one of my favorite stain colors as it is such a nice tone, not too light or not too dark. You should follow the directions on your can of stain, but my method is:

  1. Apply one coat of stain, moving in the same direction as the grain;
  2. Wait 15 minutes;
  3. Rub excess stain off, in the same direction as the grain and evening out any too-dark or too-light areas;
  4. Allow at least 8 hours to dry.

I finished it off with this Valspar topcoat in satin-finish, with three very light coats. (Obviously, I was too lazy to walk to the garage and just did this part on my cement side steps.)

 

4. Lay Out Your Design

After the board had thoroughly dried, I brought it inside and laid out everything on top of it to see what layout I liked.

I began by putting the binder clips on the paint tubes, and laying them in rows with the paper swatches above them, to see how many would fit in each room. Then, I used a pencil to mark the hole in the binder clip handle, so I would know where to put my nails.

Wondering why I left so much space between them? Most of my tube paints are the smallest size available (5ml). However, if in the future I pick them up in the 14ml or 37ml sizes, I want to be sure they still fit on the board. I measured the larger tubes and they were about 4" long, so I went ahead and left enough space for that.

You might also want to make a bigger board, if you have more paints! Tube paints are a little pricier than the pans I've used in the past (like $6-$10 for just one tube) so I'm limiting myself to a smaller initial palette. In reality, I can achieve all of the same colors I used to get from pan paints, just by mixing the pigments together. I do hope over time to collect more colors, so might have to make myself a bigger board in the future!

 

5. Add the Nails

The next step is simple - just go ahead and hammer in a nail on each of the spots you marked with your pencil!

Easy-peasy!

 
 A DIY watercolor paint storage, affordable and easy to organize watercolor tube paints! From danielleandco.com
 
 

6. Create the Paint Swatches (Optional)

This is the fun part (at least to me)! To easily identify which paint you are reaching for, you can use watercolor paper, paints, and a pen to create a swatch label to hang above each tube. Simply:

  1. Measure the size of swatch you want (mine were 1.25" x 2" or so);
  2. Cut or tear your paper to size (I love using a paper bone folder, shown in the pic to the left, below);
  3. Use a pen or pencil to label the top of the swatch with the name of the color;
  4. Paint a pretty little swatch on each piece of paper!

I mentioned above that I'm starting with a fairly limited palette or tube paints. I already had a few, and then added to them to cover all of the primary colors and have enough of a range of hues. Below is what I currently have, linked to Dick Blick (my favorite art supplier):

Tip: I found Winsor & Newton's guide to a "6 Colour Mixing System" really helpful as I chose my starter tubes!

 
 Creating watercolor paint swatches, for a DIY watercolor paint storage board. From danielleandco.com
 
 

7. Add A Custom Touch (Optional)

This is completely optional, but my layout left some space at the bottom of the board. I didn't want to miss an opportunity to add a little personalization, so I sketched out my business name on the wood using a white pencil and then went over it with a white Sharpie paint marker. Next time, I'll just use white paint and a brush (the Sharpie paint marker absorbed way too fast into the wood.)

8. Finish & Enjoy!

I love how my watercolor storage board turned out, and hope you love yours too! I'd love to see it, so please tag me if you share it on social media! (Instagram @danielleandcopaints, Facebook @danielleandcodesigns)

 
 A DIY watercolor paint storage, affordable and easy to organize watercolor tube paints! From danielleandco.com
 

I have plans for a larger board in the future, and am considering using a larger rectangular board, one with unfinished bark edges, or a lighter stain color. There are also so many fun binder clip colors and designs available!

 
 A DIY watercolor paint storage, affordable and easy to organize watercolor tube paints! From danielleandco.com
 

You can see I still have a few empty clips, so room to grow!

If you're looking for an attractive yet affordable storage option for your tube paints, I hope this does the trick!

How do you store your watercolor paints? Do you have a large collection of paints, or just a few that you mix together? 

- Dani

What's the Best Investment For Your Creative Business? Advice from 5 Successful Artists & Designers

If you are (like me) still in the process of building your business, you know what it feels like to run out of something. Time, money, help from others... resources are limited, and you have to make tough choices every day about what you invest in. Do you spend the two hours you have free scheduling social media, or developing your craft? If you have a little extra money, what do you spend it on when there are so many things you still need to do?

Last month, I shared the first of a four-art blog series where I asked established artists & designers to share advice for those of us just starting out. Today is the second part, and it's a good one! Today, we're going to talk about what's the best investment to make when you are a beginning artist or entrepreneur. Below, you will find the sage advice of Stephanie Fehrenbach, Ingrid Sanchez (a.k.a Creative Ingrid), Ashley Rayne (a.k.a The Wild Hippies), Jessica Roux, and Monica Lee-Henell.

 
 What's the best investment you can make in your creative business, when you're just starting out? We asked 5 artists & designers to share their wisdom! More at danielleandco.com.
 

You can check out their advice below, with a little description of each artist and links to their websites and Instagram. Let's get to it!


"What is one investment you recommend a beginning artist and entrepreneur make in their business?"

 
 Stephanie Fehrenbach shares advice on investing in creative business, on danielleandco.com
 Work by Stephanie Fehrenbach, shared on danielleandco.com as part of a blog series on advice for artists, designers & creative entrepreneurs.

Stephanie Fehrenbach

Stephanie is an Ontario based artist who works with oils, watercolors, and other mediums and who I've always especially admired for her floral paintings; they are just so vibrant and full of movement!

InstagramWebsite

Invest in your website for sure! Your website is a reflection of you and your art, so make it the best you can. You don’t need anything really fancy, just a clean layout that’s simple, easy to navigate and lets the art shine. I use Squarespace and I love it! You don’t need to hire a designer -  the templates are beautiful and super easy to use for a non-techy person like me!

Good supplies are definitely worth it, but that being said...start where you are! You don’t need everything to be perfect right out of the gate. You’ll gradually build up a set of good materials as you go and start selling more work. Don’t wait for perfection to get started. Buy the best you can afford and keep making your art.
 Ingrid Sanchez shares advice on investing in creative business, on danielleandco.com
 Work by Ingrid Sanchez, shared on danielleandco.com as part of a blog series on advice for artists, designers & creative entrepreneurs.

Ingrid Sanchez

Ingrid (or CreativeIngrid as you might recognize her) is a Mexican artist based in London, who creates a prolific amount of work that is so bold & vibrant. The process videos of her painting large florals & abstracts are so captivating, I always look forward to them!

InstagramWebsite

Seriously, the best investment is time. A lot of people ask me about the brand of my watercolours or the size of my brushes. That is not important, but practice is. Because I say a lot, “practice, practice”, people think I don’t want to share the “secret”, but this is the secret. It’s not free, practice requires time, a lot of it. It’s a huge investment because no one is paying you and sometimes it can feel like a waste of time, that is why patience has to be present.

I will say to the beginners to take different workshops with different artists in different styles. That will really enrich the practice. To the entrepreneurs, something similar - invest in knowledge, hire someone with experience to teach you how to do things, that will save you a lot of your precious time.
 Ashley Rayne shares advice on investing in creative business, on danielleandco.com
 Work by Ashley Rayne, shared on danielleandco.com as part of a blog series on advice for artists, designers & creative entrepreneurs.

Ashley Rayne

Ashley (better known as The Wild Hippies) is a hand-lettering artist who is all about the positive vibes! Her colorful, cheerful artwork is shared on Instagram & available on Etsy. Her sense of humor is what sets her apart from other artists online, for me!

InstagramShop

My advice to someone just starting out would be to take it slow. Do not go out and spend all your money on the newest tech, tools, or help. Make a list of everything you need, and a separate list of everything you want. Buy some entry level supplies until you are ready to upgrade. Buy only the essentials you do not already have. And take advantage of social media! Yeah, a website is great, but it can be expensive, and is a lot of work. Social media on the other hand is free and easy to set up.
 Jessica Roux shares advice on investing in creative business, on danielleandco.com
 Work by Jessica Roux, shared on danielleandco.com as part of a blog series on advice for artists, designers & creative entrepreneurs.

Jessica Roux

Jessica's work is subtle and lovely in a way that's hard to describe without having seen it first. With very consistent use of colors and technique, she focuses on nature in a unique way. What draws me in is how she illustrates animals with so much life and detail.

InstagramWebsite

Having a great computer setup is important to me - a big, color calibrated screen running Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom, a Wacom tablet, a high quality scanner, and a fine art printer are all great investments to make that will reward you for years to come. 
 Monica Lee-Henell shares advice on investing in creative business, on danielleandco.com
 Work by Monica Lee-Henell, shared on danielleandco.com as part of a blog series on advice for artists, designers & creative entrepreneurs.

Monica Lee-Henell

Monica's work feels ever-evolving, but always in a beautiful direction. I've followed along with Monica's work for years, and her vibrant, moody abstract and floral paintings always make me stop scrolling in Instagram just to admire them for a moment.

InstagramWebsite

Photoshop and a good understanding on how to use it. Whether you are taking your work online, creating your website or reproducing your work, good Photoshop skills are worth every penny.

The answers from each of these artists are different, and at first may seem contradictory. What I take away is the importance of picking something to focus on and invest in. As opposed to picking alllllll the things to invest in, and feeling overwhelmed and scattered. When you have limited resources, it's better to do 1-3 things really well than 4-15 things mediocre.

This is advice I'm taking with me into 2018! I spent 2017 trying out a lot of new things and experimenting. While I think full video tutorials are awesome and fun to make, I realized they doesn't play on my strengths and took a lot of time away from painting and blog writing. Those are the very things most crucial to my work! So, I'm letting the idea of weekly video tutorials go. Instead, I'm going to focus on quality blog content and building my online shop. This also keeps me from rushing out and getting expensive video equipment, and helps me to use what I already have.

Stephanie recommended using Squarespace as an affordable way to have an amazing-looking website without the cost of a designer. I absolutely agree; Squarespace is what I use too, and it is so clean and intuitive, I can't recommend it enough.

What's one investment you are making in your business? How have you narrowed down your focus, to be sure you're directing your resources where they are needed? Please share in the comments below!

- Dani