Give Your Brand a Hand: Zephyr Hill Blog December 2017
Computer? Check. Writing skills? Check. Time to sit down and write? Check. You may think this is all you need to run a successful blogging business, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. You need well-written, interesting content and you also need organizations to sponsor posts and advertisements.
Anne Sweden juggles these aspects of blogging as she solely owns and operates Zephyr Hill Blog. Since 2009, she has blogged about cloth diapers, parenting, homeschooling, and other subjects. When she isn’t running her blogging business, Anne is busy raising and homeschooling eight children in the Kansas prairie, which is incredible because it’s like having two full-time jobs!
Anne Sweden is well-suited to be our December Give Your Brand a Hand winner due to her willingness to educate families through her Zephyr Hill Blog. Her blog’s grassroots origins also strengthen her connection with her readers.
Give Your Brand a Hand is a monthly giveaway created with small businesses like Zephyr Hill Blog in mind. Applicants who make less than $1 million in annual revenue and have fewer than 50 employees can enter for their chance at securing $500 worth of free promotional products. Our team hand-picks the recipients based on their organization’s mission and their answer to the question: “What would you do with $500 in promo items?”
THE DAWNING OF ZEPHYR HILL BLOG
Zephyr Hill Blog’s first post had little to do with Anne’s current topics. It was all about How to Name Your Farm or Ranch! Anne felt inspired to create her blogging business after her family was trying to find the perfect name for the farm they had purchased. They tried to look up ideas on what and how to name their farm, but they couldn’t find anything relevant. Anne was inspired to ensure other people wouldn’t find themselves in the same situation and turned it into a blog post. It is still one of the most viewed articles on her blog to this day.
“I just want my blog to be a helpful, friendly place for people to have fun and get answers to questions they might have.” – Anne Sweden, owner of Zephyr Hill Blog
The name they chose for the farm was the inspiration for her blog’s name. The farm was on an older, historic property in Kansas on a hill called “Zeferjahn Hill” after the family that had once lived there. The word “zephyr” actually means “a breeze from the West” or “a gentle breeze,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. It’s windy in Kansas, so Anne and her family decided “Zephyr Hill Farm” was a perfect fit for the farm’s name. To reflect her home, Anne also named her blog after the farm.
THE FAMILY THAT REPURPOSES TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER
Anne’s blogging business transitioned from naming farms to many other family-related topics. Now, she primarily tests and reviews cloth diapers to help her readers choose the best one. She has also been fortunate to review other products, such as a Fender guitar. This product review deeply affected not only her, but her 14-year-old son.
“That was great because it was something my son and I were able to do together,” Anne said. “I play guitar already, so it was just fun watching him learn and trying the program. I was glad I was able to answer some of his questions and help him out since I had some experience myself. He loved the guitar; he’s continued to play the guitar.”
“Family is everything. In fact, I couldn’t do it without them… They’re very supportive.” — Anne
All of Anne’s children and her husband help provide content for the blog when it comes to testing and reviewing products. Anne’s blogging business is very important to her, so if she needs time to focus on her writing, her family will go to a separate part of the house and play music together.
In addition to family-related topics, recycling and repurposing are common themes to see in Anne’s blogging business.
Reusable cloth diapers were a natural topic for her to blog about because she was already using them at home. At the time, she had four children so she was looking for a way to save money on diapers. She tried cloth diapers over disposable ones and she found it didn’t just save her money, but it was good for the children’s skin. It also cut down on the amount of household waste produced, so less garbage was going into landfills.
To encourage interested families to try cloth diapers, Anne does giveaways on Zephyr Hill Blog to get people started on the transition from disposable diapers.
“One of the best ways to encourage someone to use cloth diapers, because there is a price curve and they’re more expensive initially, is just to send them one for free.” — Anne
After a busy day of juggling all of her responsibilities, including homeschooling her eight children, Anne savors sitting down to write blogs.
“It’s relaxing,” Anne said. “I have always liked to write. It’s also rewarding because I do feel like it’s helpful to people. It’s meaningful, not just to me, but to other people as well.”
One of the most impactful moments Anne has had while running her blogging business happened after the birth of one of her children. She saw an outpouring of support and well wishes from people she had never even met and it meant the world to her.
A NEW BRANDING RESOURCE FOR ZEPHYR HILL BLOG
The future has a lot of exciting things in-store for Anne and Zephyr Hill Blog. One of her goals is to constantly improve her writing and posting frequency. Because of Give Your Brand a Hand, Anne will also be able to expand her brand and do more giveaways in the future with her new custom Piccolo Mini Tote Bags. The tote bags will be used to package prizes such as reusable diapers, reusable towels, and reusable wipes into gift bags.
“It really just stood out to me in terms of being very practical,” Anne said. “It’s not just useful and stylish, but it’s another reusable product. It fit into the whole theme of my blog and I thought it would be a good thing to put my brand on.”
“You can wash tote bags and reuse them. You can use them to cut down on waste from shopping bags. So to me, it just fit better with the whole theme of my blog.” — Anne
With our personalized tote bags, Anne will be able to explore new marketing avenues and send her readers something they can use daily to show off the Zephyr Hill Blog brand.
YOUR BRAND COULD BE NEXT
While Zephyr Hill Blog was December’s Give Your Brand a Hand winner, your small business or nonprofit could be next! Enter for your chance to get a helping hand by telling us your unique story at www.giveyourbrandahand.com!