What's Next for #createlounge in 2017
I’ve started this writing this blog posts dozens of times in my head throughout the past two months and now I’m finally putting it on paper. Well, so to speak.
With the start of the new year happening in just a few short weeks (seriously, how is 2016 almost done?!), we have some exciting changes coming to #createlounge. That’s right, it’s time for #createlounge version 3.0 to launch!
Here’s a brief synopsis of our last two years as a community:
- 1.0 January 2015 to April 2016: The start of #createlounge when I created a simple Twitter chat under the hashtag to connect with other creative bloggers and entrepreneurs. It continued to grow steadily and we received great feedback on how our community members were ready for more from us.
- 2.0 May 2016 - December 2016: We kept the #createlounge Twitter chat but added a weekly podcast where we interviewed guests from our community and a monthly book club to blend with both the podcast and chat.
So as you’ve guessed by finishing the timeline and by the title of this blog post, I’ve been working behind-the-scenes for a little over a month to bring you the next chapter of #createlounge. It came more quickly than I originally anticipated, but isn’t that how all good things happen?
Here are some of the big changes that are coming, starting on January 11th (mark your calendars!):
Saying hello to a contributor blog
This is the news I’m most excited about! I’ve had the hardest time keeping this a secret but the cat is out of the bag now. Truth is, I’ve always wanted to turn #createlounge into a contributor blog but a few excuses kept holding me back.
It wasn’t until about a month ago that I realized where the fear really came from: that no one would be as passionate as I was about contributing to the #createlounge mission. Boy, was I wrong.
When I decided to face the fear head-on, I asked a few close blogging friends on if they’d like to write a post on our website if I opened a blog. They all said a big YES and took it one step further by wanting to become regular writers for #createlounge.
Because we'll have regular writers, we'll start out posting at least 3 times a week: Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday! How amazing is that?!
We’ll also be taking submissions for both writing and photography once we launch so if you’re really interested in submitting something early, feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can give you some details. Woo hoo! I could not be more excited for this new chapter!
Saying goodbye to the podcast (for now)
It’s extremely bittersweet for me to share this news with you. While I’m happy that taking the podcast off my plate will free up time for running the contributor blog, I also know it’ll be sad to say goodbye to the podcast for the moment.
I enjoyed my time creating the podcast and interviewing all of our beyond brilliant guests, but it's become too time intensive to be a sustainable content form with how our community is built right now.
I hope by taking some time away, I'll be able to come back to the podcast with fresh eyes and determine what the next steps are. After all, I've been producing episodes every week for 7 months - it's time for a little breather!
Don’t worry, our archive of episodes won’t be going anywhere! You’ll still be able to access them on our website after our relaunch. I have some ideas for future ways to bring audio content back and even introduce video content, but one thing at a time (or at least that’s what everyone tells me, *wink*).
New website redesign
Since we are shifting to a contributor-based blog in this new season, our website must go through some renovations. I’ve been working behind-the-scenes on creating a website that is just as beautiful and functions just as well, only it will highlight more of our blog posts and contributors. It will also be unveiled when we relaunch on January 11th.
Up-leveling our #createlounge social media presence
We will do this in 2 key ways:
New #createlounge Twitter Account
Some of you may be thinking, “Well, it’s about time!” I hear you. I didn’t want to create another Twitter account for #createlounge until it became more than a one-person team (aka me). Because we are growing a team of dozens of contributors, it’s time for #createlounge to have it’s own space.
- Tweets that celebrate our community member’s “wins”
- Sharing what our community is currently creating
- New blog posts on our #createlounge contributor blog
- Blog posts from YOUR own blogs
- Any #createlounge events and updates
Upping our Instagram Game
We've had our community Instagram account since we launched the 2.0 extensions last May but I'll be honest, I've totally let it slip through the cracks. It was too easy to have it fall to the bottom of my to-do list with juggling the podcast and Twitter chats along with all other areas of my business. Oofda!
I've since changed our strategy so it will be easier for me to plan content ahead of time. Now, we will be taking all of our Instagram photos directly from our community when they tag their photos with #createlounge. Start using the hashtag to be featured!!
Here are some of the things you can expect to see on our Instagram feed:
- #createlounge Creative of the Month features
- Sharing what our community is currently creating
- Introductions to our #createlounge contributors
- Instagram challenges (we really want to bring these back quarterly!)
- Any other #createlounge
Infusing more faith into our community
Faith is a huge part of my life but for as long as I've been building my personal brand online, I haven't been sure exactly where my spiritual journey fits in. It became easy to push it aside, waiting for the day when I'd figure it all out.
With my passion for creating inclusive and welcoming communities, I was also afraid of turning people off or alienating people I had already connected with by sharing my faith. My deepest fear in life has always been making other people uncomfortable which is in direct conflict with my calling. But if I believe I'm here to honor God's plan for me to build communities and help others understand their own need for belonging, I need Him to be a part of the equation.
Our contributor blog will have 5 categories, one of them being Faith. I think it's the perfect place to allow community members to share their own spiritual journeys in a safe and supportive place along with extending myself the same opportunity. This is a BOLD step for me, but one that I believe will be incredible for our community.
I believe we were created to create. That's the core of what #createlounge is all about. Whether that's a blog, business, or for-fun passion project, we want to see you create what hasn't existed before and bring your story to more people. That will always be our constant. This community has always been made for you and will continue to be.
A BIG thank you to YOU!
It's because of your dedication, support, and love for this community that we've been able to take these steps forward. I love that we continue to move in different directions as we listen to what our members need and do just that.
Thank you for allowing me to be open about this new chapter and listening to the "why" behind all of these new changes. I hope you're as excited as I am about our relaunch on January 11th!