Tag: Michelle Vogel

Why I Have a Big Stinkin Crush on the Genesis Framework

While I can design a website if absolutely necessary, I’m not a web designer. I don’t speak computer languages and don’t know my way around the Adobe Creative Suite. I’m more of a words gal.

But there is no worse feeling than crafting some great text and seeing it stuck on a terribly designed page.

Content is king but design is queen, my friends, and your personal or business website isn’t doing anything for you without both.

You can have great content, but if the page is too busy or the font is too small or the call to action blends into the background, your content can’t reach its full potential.

My new WordPress theme crush

I’ve been using a WordPress theme called Make by Theme Foundry for every site I make (my blog, this site, Gatien’s site, Baltimore Fun Hacks…). I chose this theme because they had a free version and I wasn’t ready to invest in a blog theme at the time; I was impressed by all the customization options offered under the free theme. I could really make my blog design my own without knowing CSS.

Gatien’s site, designed in Make

I’ve realized this year, though, that because of the way Make was built, it’s heavy. It’s slowing down my sites.

They’ve also decided to render the theme unusable if I don’t pay them yearly, even though I never signed up for a subscription with them. So now stuff on my blog isn’t working anymore and I desperately need to replace the theme. (So yeah PS I don’t recommend using this theme.)

So I went hunting for a new theme and in the process, I discovered the Genesis Framework by Studiopress. For those unfamiliar, it’s the most commonly used WordPress framework in the world.

What I see in Genesis

I first discovered my infatuation with Genesis child themes after looking up the theme of a few sites with site designs I loved:

The only other theme that came close in appeal for me was Divi. I mean, especially because it’s drag and drop so I could actually design and build the site without a designer who speaks code. Divi is just as speedy as Genesis… I have seen some really beautiful sites built in Divi… But here’s why I like Genesis better:

  • In comparison, Divi sites feel “lighter” whereas Genesis sites have a weight – a sturdiness – them.
  • The basic child themes in Genesis start out with better formatting for bloggers, whereas I think Divi formatting (by the way I’m specifically referring to the way Divi formats blog pages)┬ámakes more sense for businesses.

Will Genesis and I live happily ever after?

I NEED to change my theme. My goal is to have someone customize a Genesis child theme, but it’s hard finding the right person. Soon. Soon.

What Robert Irwin can teach us about marketing

What Steve Irwin’s 13-year-old Son Can Teach Us About Marketing

If you haven’t met thirteen-year-old Robert Irwin, be prepared to be blown away. He is by far the most gracious, likable, intelligent, well-spoken 13-year-old I think I’ve ever seen.

As someone in the video comments section said, “He is a f***ing treasure”.

Robert recently stopped by the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He brought in baby animals and let Jimmy interact with them while he told Jimmy fun facts about each one. Jimmy plays the “city guy” to Robert’s “outdoorsman” and the [very real] hesitation we get from Jimmy makes for a fun and entertaining contrast with Robert’s sheer, unstoppable delight.

Have a watch:

You’re ready to go on an expedition with Robert, right? I know I am.

So how come this pre-teen can sell us wildlife research and conservation but some of the biggest NGO’s in the world can’t?

Robert (or the team behind him, I don’t know) is excellent at marketing.

Here’s what we can learn as marketers – especially those of us working in the social impact space – from 13-year-old Robert Irwin:

He’s excited as hell about his brand

Talk about infectious excitement! Now Robert didn’t invent the gig – his father certainly did this first – but he knows how to use his energy to get our attention. Notice how positive he is about everything. Notice his passion and enthusiasm to share every single “fun fact” about each animal.

You might not have the opportunity to appear on the Tonight Show anytime soon, but there are still opportunities to be excited as hell about your brand. Think about how you can “write like you speak” on social media posts to convey this kind of enthusiasm. Think about how you can incorporate your energy and passion for your business when you talk with leads, funders, the press.

Obviously, you should tailor your messaging to fit the tone of your brand. But if you don’t get excited about your products/services/project, no one else will either.

Here’s another clip from the same show a few months ago

He tells interesting stories

The major challenge anyone working in social impact has is that oftentimes the thing they’re selling doesn’t have a direct or clear benefit for the audience their selling it to. It’s social impact, so it usually benefits someone else, maybe a community in need – a community your target audience doesn’t know, has never met, and will never meet.

Let’s face it: it’s hard to get people to care about anything or anyone but themselves.

You have to do as Robert does and sell the stories.

Make those communities across the world very real. And be INTERESTING.

This is where so many organizations go wrong: no one wants to know “we had X-many honey badgers in the world in 2005 but we only have only X-many today”.

American badger


Data and facts and all that serious stuff are important to have in your back pocket because they validate that the world needs what you have to offer. But, if you’re marketing yourself to a lay audience, you need to be more interesting than that to get their attention.

How about, “In Africa, the honey badger has been known to back down lions! They have NO FEAR AT ALL!” Ah, that’s better.

Robert layers on these little anecdotes one after another. He paints us juicy pictures of the animals’ lives. Tells us their names, feeds them, pets them.

I dare you to aim for interesting in your marketing. Think of the really intriguing stuff you can share with your audience. The stuff they don’t usually get to hear about. Tell anecdotes, or tell longer stories with a beginning, middle, and end – but start with the end and keep them on the edge of their seats!

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well Robert’s got it easy. He has exotic animals to show off for godsakes! I don’t have anything that interesting or exciting.”

I would bet your brand has its own “exotic animals” to share with the world. You just need to look for them.