- 24 Jun
- Clarissa Laskey
Sarah Maker Interview: Content During COVID
Our Mediavine publishers are amazing, resilient and hard working people, even throughout a global pandemic!
Instead of giving up during these unprecedented times, they doubled down, listened to their audience, stayed visible, updated old posts and created new content — all while using their expertise to help others learn and grow.
Much like our Publisher Interview series, our Content During Covid series also shares success stories of how our MVPs started their blogs, their best posts and top traffic sources, plus the ways Mediavine has helped shape their businesses and personal lives for the better.
The difference is that this series focuses on how our publishers changed their strategy and created helpful, relevant content during this unprecedented time, all while continuing to grow their site traffic.
We will be sharing some motivating success stories from our over 7,100 and constantly growing list of publishers.
Join us for our interview with Sarah of the site Sarah Maker, a craft and DIY blog that features lots of creative project ideas. Sarah’s mission is to inspire a creative spirit while sparking the confidence you need to make your own masterpieces.
We are very happy to have Sarah on the blog, so please say hello and learn how her goal of helping others stay safe helped her craft the kind of content that keeps on getting her big traffic increases.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your everyday life.
My family and I live in Durham, North Carolina. I have three kids aged 5 and under (my youngest is 12 weeks old!), so you can imagine we are pretty busy!
Between my mom job and my blog job, I wouldn’t say I have much free time — ha! When I’m not working though, I really love baking or crocheting while watching Netflix. (My quarantine recommendation is Schitt’s Creek, if you haven’t watched it already.)
How did you get started blogging?
I started blogging as a way to support my family while working at home. I feel so grateful that I can fit my blog work around my family life.
It’s a juggling act sometimes for sure, and with blogging there’s always more work to do. I try to remind myself that I’m working to live, and not living to work!
I started my first blog (a food blog) almost 2 years ago. I started my second blog (a craft blog) about a year ago, but I didn’t start taking it seriously until the site got accepted into Mediavine this past January.
How long have you been a Mediavine publisher? How did you first hear about us? What drew you to Mediavine as a partner for display advertising?
I’ve been with Mediavine for 18 months, first with my food blog and now with my craft blog. I heard about Mediavine through a food-blogging Facebook group, and I’m so glad that I did!
Describe your experience with Mediavine. What do you love about working with us?
I love how helpful, responsive and transparent Mediavine is as a company. If I ever have a problem with my ads or Mediavine plugins, I know that Mediavine has my back.
The tech support and customer service teams are truly some of the best I’ve ever worked with.
How has your content strategy changed since COVID-19?
For the craft blog, I know that my readers are looking for ways to put their craft and sewing skills to good use. Some of them want to sew masks for their family or local hospitals, while others want a new craft project to keep their hands busy and to ease their anxiety.
For new content in the upcoming weeks, I’m trying to focus on tutorials and projects that would help beginners get started with a new craft.
What new content have you specifically created for this time?
I never thought I’d be writing a sewing tutorial for surgical-style face masks, but here we are. I actually had to take my infant to the hospital (she’s fine now!) right around the start of the stay-at-home order, and I saw how our Emergency Department was already rationing their protective equipment. So, in response to that, I wrote a post about a free mask pattern.
At first I thought people would only make the masks to donate to hospitals, but that was before the CDC changed their recommendations. So now, people are using the patterns to make masks for themselves and their families.
What existing content is doing well right now? Have you updated it in light of the pandemic?
I do have some existing content that has picked up during this time. Specifically, traffic to posts written about different types of “craft kits” has almost doubled.
I’m sure some people are using this time to learn a new craft, and ready-made kits make it easy to have all the supplies delivered.
What percentage of growth have you seen with the new content you have created or existing content you’ve optimized during this time?
As you’d guess, the mask tutorial has the most traffic. I don’t have much to compare it to, but, the traffic has been viral to say the least.
For my existing craft content I’ve seen a 50-100% increase in traffic, depending on the specific post.
How are you engaging with your audience during this time?
This is a hard question for me to answer. With everything going on, I haven’t really focused on social media as much for this second blog. I do the basics, like sharing the posts on Facebook and Pinterest, but ramping up my social media strategy is definitely on my to-do list.
One thing I did do differently was to film a YouTube video for the mask sewing post. I think that watching a video walkthrough is helpful to beginner sewers and people using their sewing machines for the first time.
It was the first YouTube video I’ve made for my channel, so I was a little nervous and the video was a little clunky, but the video took off regardless. I did get a lot of traffic from the YouTube video as well.
What is your biggest traffic source and what strategies have you used to make that your top traffic source?
Google is my biggest source of traffic.
There was a combination of factors that contributed to the success of the mask post. One of course was just a huge increase in search traffic around those mask-related keywords. It is a topical post, so I don’t expect it to perform indefinitely.
Second, I was lucky enough to get a few high-quality backlinks to that post relatively quickly.
Third, I think using the “How-to” schema in the Create plugin helped me get some rich snippets in the search results. I’m sure that contributed to my position and overall click through rate.
I also kept updating the post to talk about the new CDC guidelines and to answer questions I’d get in the comments.
Do you have any advice for bloggers on how to pivot their content during this time to try and grow their traffic?
I would encourage bloggers to think about what their readers might need during this time, whether it’s recipes to make with all those dried beans they panic-bought or kids’ craft projects to make with recycled toilet paper rolls.
I’m also hearing that Pinterest traffic is up 60% year-over-year, so if you have extra time to focus on social media, that could be a good opportunity for you.