Building a Blog You Love: Creating a Remarkable Product

{Poster created by Sian Richardson. Download the high res version and Pin to Pinterest using the button at the bottom of the article}.

Welcome to another installment of my Building a Blog You Love series, and let me just start by saying – you are in for a serious treat today!

I’ll hazard a guess you’re familiar with my gorgeous friend Jess Ainscough – writer, health coach, cancer kickin’ creator of The Wellness Warrior and all-round joyful soul – but what you probably haven’t heard as yet is just how much of herself she’s poured into her revolutionary guide to mind-body reinvention, The Wellness Warrior Lifestyle Transformation Guide.

Below you’ll find Jess generously sharing the process of creating The LTG in full detail (for the first time!), as well as her strategies for growing The Wellness Warrior over the past two years. This is the kind of juicy, insight-packed resource I know I’ll refer back to when I’m creating products myself and I hope you do too.

Bookmark it, print it, share it with your friends (help ’em out!)… and enjoy!

Let’s start with your gorgeous site. The Wellness Warrior is my go-to for inspiration on healthy living and it never ceases to amazes me what a brilliant job you’ve done growing your tribe. Can you share what’s worked for you over the past two years when it comes to attracting readers/ subscribers/ raving fans? 

Sure! I think the reason my blog has gained such a loyal following is because I’ve shown up to speak to my readers every day for over two years. When I write for them, I speak to them like they are my friends and family – because they are!

The people reading my blog have listened compassionately as I’ve bared my soul to them – the tough times and the breakthroughs. We’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions together, but the whole time we’ve had each other’s back. Like any family, we’ve argued, we’ve cried, we’ve consoled each other, and we’ve collectively cheered. I don’t censor anything from them – I’m totally real and raw. This has really been the major key to my growing tribe.

There have also been some strategic steps. Guest posting on other blogs with big audiences has helped, so has conducting interviews with people with large followings (they will usually share the interview for you). My newsletter subscribers grew substantially when I changed my opt-in offer to my current 80+ Green Smoothie Recipes e-book. This was a game changer for my newsletter list, growing it from about 2000 to 10,000 in seven months.

I committed to my blog like it was a lucrative job right from the beginning (I didn’t make any money for about 18 months). I’ve treated it with the same respect, making sure everything is top standard, putting my own money into it, and working with the best people to turn it into something that actually would make money.

Tell us a bit about The Lifestyle Transformation Guide and what the drive force was behind creating it. 

The idea for The Lifestyle Transformation Guide was born from the burn out I was experiencing when I was doing one-on-one coaching. I had taken on too many clients and my self care and happiness was being compromised – however I didn’t want to stop coaching, so I decided to package my program into an online format, with a few tweaks here and there. It was a way I could help more people, at a lower cost to them, without harming my own health.

The Guide is made up of 12 steps, designed to take you from where you are now to wherever you want to be on your wellness journey. Each step is also designed to build upon the one before it, so that you are only moving on to the next once you’ve made a habit out of the one before it. Before you know it, sustainable transformation has been achieved!

In each of the steps you will find gorgeously designed mini e-books and worksheets, video demonstrations, video and audio lessons, recipes, and lots of interviews with amazing wellness experts. It also includes bonuses like The Wellness Warrior Manifesto and desktop backgrounds with inspirational quotes – all designed up all stunningly, of course. (psst: you can get access via this link {affiliate}. It’s freaking amazing!)

How long ago did the idea take shape in your mind and what have you done since to bring it to life?

The idea formed in my mind at the end of last year, but I didn’t start totally focusing on it until about April this year. I launched my e-book Make Peace With Your Plate in February, and then took a month off before diving into the next one.

Step 1: Mapping out the plan

I used a Word doc to come up with each of the steps I wanted to include in The Guide. To decide on the steps, I looked back at my own personal transformation at gave a lot of thought to what worked, what didn’t, and in what order the steps needed to be taken to be most effective, enjoyable and sustainable.

I decided I wanted a range of elements in each steps: written, worksheet, video, and interview. I then decided what content I wanted in each step, what could be turned into a worksheet, what videos I wanted to film and which experts I wanted to approach for interviews.

Step 2: Branding and design

Because I knew this was going to be a pretty big job, I gave my designer a heads up pretty early on. We came up with a logo design first, and then she carried that branding out into the other elements of both the sales page and the members site.

Step 3: Website set-up

I have DIY’d in the past, but this time I knew I wanted to hire some help to set up all of the website stuff. I am so thankful that I did! My VA is an absolute whizz. She set up Optimize Press and Wishlist (the two WordPress plugins that were needed for The LTG), and she has done all of the coding, page layouts, and been at my service whenever I came across something that is way to technical for me.

Step 4: Line up interviews

I aimed high for this one, approaching all of the people on my interview wish list. Some declined due to other commitments (it’s tricky when they are in hiding writing books or travelling), but most of them agreed. Yay!

I sent each of them an interview packet outlining everything about the program, everything about me, and everything about my website including stats. Then, I booked in a time to chat with them over Skype. This can also be tricky when you’re talking with people in a different time zone. There were several mornings when I was sitting at my computer with a face full of make-up at 6am talking to someone in the US.

I recorded all of my interviews using Call Recorder for Mac.

Step 5: Marketing plan

I did a big 21 days of giveaways promotion when I launched my e-book and while that was awesome, it really drained me. So this time I decided to keep it simple. This is what I did:

1 // I gave sneak peeks into The Guide by posting a short snippet of the interviews on my blog each Wednesday during about 10 weeks leading up to the launch.

2 // I created a newsletter list purely for The LTG updates, and sent them teasers like behind the scenes pics, launch info, and a free gift.

3 // I enlisted the help of awesome affiliates to spread the word.

4 // I filmed a gorgeous promo!

5 // I did a launch month giveaway to create urgency – everyone who bought the program during the first month went in the draw to win either a Vitamix blender or one of 10 runner up prizes.

Step 6: Content creation

Writing all of the copy, gathering all of the interviews, and collecting all of the bits and pieces from all of the contributors.

Step 7: Film videos

I did this over a couple of days, and spent money hiring the best so that they would be amazing quality.

Step 8: Content design

I sent all of my content to my designer for her to work her magic.

Step 9: Pricing decision

This was tough. I originally thought I was creating a program that would be $150, but as I continued to create I realised that The Guide was growing into something far beyond what I first anticipated. So, after A LOT of debilitating, throwing numbers around and consulting with my power posse, I decided on $979. I wanted to keep it under $1000, and my speaking coach told me that I have to end in a 79 because people respond better to 7s and 9s (and you have to have them in the order of small to big because that’s good feng shui).

But then, things changed again. After I launched it at this price something wasn’t feeling right in my gut. I wanted to make the program more accessible to my readers, while still keeping it at a price that reflected its worth, so I eventually landed on $579. As soon as I changed the price the icky feeling in my gut went away.

The moral? Always trust your intuition.

Step 10: Film promo

I left this until the very end, but ideally it should have been done sooner around about this step. I wanted to tell the story of my own personal lifestyle transformation and illustrate it with gorgeous shots from my life. I am SO stoked with how it turned out. This is probably my favourite part of the whole thing ha ha.

Step 11: Set up membership site

I uploaded all of the designed content and videos into each of the 12 step pages.

Step 12: Set up sales page

I uploaded all of the copy (which Alex Franzen helped me come up with) as well as the videos (I have a video on almost every page), and badges.

Step 13: Set up affiliate program

My VA set this up for me, and then I created the content for the affiliate centre – all of the copy & pasteable language and promotional badges.

Step 14: Test that everything works

I had my power posse help me test that the affiliate program process and the membership sign up process works smoothly and makes sense.

Step 15: Approach affiliates

A week and a half before the launch, I approached all of the people who I wanted to become affiliates, and also put a call out to my LTG newsletter list.

Step 16: Launch!

First I sent an email to everyone on the LTG newsletter list, and then posted a blog on my website and sent an email to my Wellness Warrior newsletter list. Then I posted it on Facebook and Twitter. I also sent all of my affiliates a reminder to start promoting.

I know a high-density project this in-depth takes a village. Who have you worked with along the way? Who helped take this idea from inspiration to reality?

Okay, my dream team includes:

+ Susana and Nicola – my power posse who helped me shape the idea, kept me accountable, were there for me to bounce ideas off of, helped me with any confusion and told me to keep breathing. I couldn’t have done it without them!

+ Sian Richardson – my freaking amazingly talented designer. One brief and the girl totally gets my whole vision, and then lays it out for me so much better than I could ever imagine. She is the best.

+ Tina Caldwell – my super star VA. She is so fast, so nice, and so patient.

+ Luke Middlemiss from Playback Films – Luke is my videographer and he is a genius. His regular gig is as a wedding videographer (he makes wedding videos look like high-budget movies), but I snapped him up to film all of my videos – the demonstrations, in-person interviews, and of course, the promo.

+ Yvette Luciano – Yvette is my new customer service virtual assistant, and she helps me answer all of the LTG related query emails.

You’ve interviewed plenty of influential souls both on your site and for the LTG. Can you give us a bit of an insight into how this usually plays out? 

I love doing interviews! It’s the best way to get quality information and advice, as well as make some great connections. I outlined my process for The LTG interviews up above, and it is pretty much the same for The Wellness Warrior ones. I just email them with an introduction about me and my story, my website stats, and tell them that I would be over the moon if they would chat with me.

Any tips for contacting and connecting with busy, important people? 

Make it super easy for them. Give them all of the information, including what you are interviewing them for, who you are, what your website stats are, and tell them that you just need them for 30 minutes max (less if they can’t do that) at a time that suits them. Work in with them and their schedule as much as you can.

What lessons have you learned along the way?

Ooh so many! The main ones are:

1 // Launches ALWAYS take more time and work than you first expect. If you choose a launch date, be willing to have this stretched to accommodate any unforseen bumps.

2 // Hire a VA. This will save so many headaches, and stop you from fighting with WordPress into the wee hours.

3 // Be assertive and stand up for yourself when working with creatives. It used to be really difficult for me to tell designer and other people I’m working with if I don’t like something. I don’t like conflict at all, so this lesson has kept coming up for me. It’s still a skill I’m working on, but I’m way better than I used to be.

4 // Breathe.

Pretty amazing, huh? I love how Jess has brought so much clarity to the product creation process – something that can definitely be overwhelming and confusing without a roadmap!

I’D LOVE TO KNOW: What did you learn from all this? Feeling inspired to create a product of your own? 

Other posts in the ‘Building a Blog You Love’ series:

Start with Heart
Design Essentials
Brands, PR’s + Making the Money

And don’t forget you can get instant access to Jess’ Lifestyle Transformation Guide by clickety-clicking here!

Things I’m Digging Right Now

My world is being positively rocked by a handful of goodies at the moment. Let me share them with you…

The Definitive Guide


Where do I start with the brilliance that is Kate Swoboda’s insanely generous, fully comphrehensive, ridiculously practical guide to all things coaching?

Let’s just say The Coaching Blueprint is kinda revolutionary – and Kate Courageous, as you’ll find her on Twitter, is all sorts of amazing.

Full of ideas, bursting with how-to’s and newly updated to include 100 more pages of juicy wisdom, I have a strong feeling this 437 page offering is going to be one of those timeless resources I refer back continually.

If you’re an aspiring, dabbling or fully-fledged coach, you’ll save yourself a boatload of time, stress and to-ing and fro-ing by adding TCB to your arsensal.

Bolster your biz and make life approximately 437 times easier by heading over to Kate’s site and checking this baby out today.

The Skincare Range


I’ve mentioned before that when it comes to self tanners I think Ella Bache’s Great Tan Without Sun kicks the rest to the curb, so when I was kindly sent the brand’s new SpiruLines skincare range a month or so ago, I was curious to see if that love would translate across.

After using the products daily ever since, I have to say, they are delightful.

The serum (upright silver bottle shown above) is beautiful and I’ll often just use it on my skin without anything else at night as it’s really hydrating – which is a big thing for me as I love to feel “moisturised.”

Also loving the Intensive Wrinkle Smoothing Cream which is a lovely consistency and one I’ll absolutely purchase once this tub runs out. I don’t use eye creams much so I’ve definitely enjoyed adding one into the mix. Win all round, my friends.

The Summer Threads + Treads


Well looks like my summer footwear purchases are now sorted. In a flash of impulsiveness at 6am yesterday morning, I found myself clicking ‘Add to cart’ for a pair of ‘Rachel’ Missoni Havaianas (!!) along with a pair of Sass and Bides, that happen to go perfectly with my can’t-take-it-off-it’s-so-comfy Neon Hart summer dress.

Anyone that lives in Queensland will know that although it’s kind of ridiculous to pay $100 for two pairs of thongs, the cost-per-wear is actually pretty low. Exceptionally low in fact – my last pair of Havi’s (that finally just died a death) saw me through three consecutive summers (and that’s a whole lotta wears).

I’ve also been on the hunt for a trucker cap for beach days and found the Tigerlily beauty shown above (can’t find it online, sorry!) at one of my favourite Burleigh boutiques BIKINi & me.

Summer – come at me.

The Web TV Series


Have you heard about healthtalks TV yet? I’m so excited about this – what a stellar group of wellness warriors and all-round gorgeous gals spreading the healthy living message together, in one place, on video for us all!

The premise is that hosts Jess Ainscough, Melissa Ambrosini, Nat Kringoudis and Samantha Gowing will deliver health and wellness information right into your home, and they’ll take you to places no others will dare. Nothing is off-limits and given the calibre and shared expertise here, I can safely say it’s all going to be high density, mega educational stuff.

Take a peek.

The Lifestyle Transformation Guide

About a month ago I opened my inbox to find a shimmering gem from a friend and one of my biggest inspirations, Australia’s Wellness Warrior Jess Ainscough.

The email read:

“I was just lying outside in the sun and had an epiphany. I was thinking about some of the roadblocks people may face before they start working through my Lifestyle Transformation Guide and realised that one of them may be the belief that they don’t have enough time in the day to do everything. And that’s when the lightbulb went off. YOU are the perfect example of someone who has a full time job PLUS you make the time to look after yourself, work on fulfilling your purpose, maintain healthy relationships and everything else you have going on.”

Jess then asked if I’d be interested in talking passion, balance (or my take on balance), overwhelm and everything in between on video for her new offering the Lifestyle Transformation Guide – and of course I jumped at the chance. I also shared my morning routine for another section of the program, and having spent some serious time hanging out ‘backstage’ I’m going to tell you today why you too need a slice of the raw cacao pie.

The Lifestyle Transformation Guide


Over the weekend, I sat with tears streaming down my face listening to Terri Cole from Live Fearless and Free talk about her ‘year of fear.’ I marvelled at the gentle warmth of Tara Sophia Mohr. I read the step-by-step guides gobsmacked at the depth of practical knowledge that had been poured into this life-changing resource – the Lifestyle Transformation Guide.

It was as if I was sitting in a room full of the people that inspire me most – wellness experts explaining WHY and HOW you can find your way back to brilliant health – learning how to rock my own life from the ground up. And yep, I cried again when I watched Jess’s promo vid. The bar has been freaking RAISED.

My “official” praise for the product is as follows:

“Jess Ainscough’s Lifestyle Transformation Guide is a total game-changer. Somewhere between the soulful first-hand wisdom of its gifted creator, the insanely useful worksheets and the video interviews that will leave you exclaiming Oh my god, how GOOD are these?!, you’ll be rocked to the very core. Your life will change for the better.

Let Jess steer your intentions to a place of truth – where practical teachings meet stunning design – and relish in her support as you reclaim your life and your radiant health. When you dive in, bring the most tired, sluggish, uninspired, overwhelmed parts of yourself to the table and I guarantee you’ll walk away with a multi-tiered action plan for living your best, most energetic life. This revolutionary program is in a league all of its own.”

I also need to mention that there’s a dedicated Facebook support group for participants where you can hang and chat with Jess personally. She’s with you every step of the way, and honestly, that kind of access is invaluable (believe me – I watch transformations and epiphanies happen every day in the B-School Facebook group. Magic happens where like-minded people gather).

The Deets


I believe in the LTG so much that I have no hesitation in saying that is worth every cent of the original price… however, Jess’s people have spoken out about how much they want it, and like everything she does, her aim is to serve so she’s decided to significantly reduce the price to make it accessible to all. It’s now $400 cheaper. Yep, that’s right – four HUNDRED dollars CHEAPER (total $597).

If you’ve heard about the guide and were on the fence about purchasing it before, now’s the time to commit to dramatically improving your health, claiming your ideal self and ushering in the type of energy that will help you amplify every area of your life.

Click this link to make it happen, gorgeous. Let’s link arms and embark on this journey together. Let’s honour ourselves – always – starting today.

(I’m an affiliate for Jess but that has no influence on my opinion. You guys know that but worth mentioning anyway!)

Are You Ready to Make Peace With Your Plate? (Hint: Yes, You Are)

A shimmering site

Every once in a while, I stumble across a blog that really speaks to me. Stars align, things make sense, words leap off the screen and into my psyche and I know that amongst the 300 or so other sites that sit in my Google Reader, this one will shine.

That’s how I felt when I discovered The Wellness Warrior.

Writer/ holistic health coach/ all-round superstar Jessica Ainscough’s personal journey through the murky waters of a cancer diagnosis formed the blueprint for The Wellness Warrior, and daily, Jess empowers people to take control of their health in a bid to improve their quality of life – on a physical level and a mental level.

A bold + brilliant book

Being a passionate supporter of all the gifts this luminous, ridiculously inspiring soul sends out into the world, I was thrilled when Jess approached me recently to read through her latest book Make Peace With Your Plate (designed by my girl Sian, who seriously knocked it out of the park!)

I read it in one sitting. And then read it again the next day. It’s that good.

Personally, this book couldn’t have come into my sphere at a more perfect time as living the healthiest/ shiniest/ most energetic version of me is most certainly on my mind at the moment (hello, wedding, hello serious energy requirements!)

In speaking with a lot of you about your goals and intentions for 2012, I know you’re also looking to make subtle (or major) shifts in your lifestyle this year so I thought I’d give you a bit of a rundown on Make Peace With Your Plate to help you on your way to mega-health and glowing… everything.

The official spiel 

Make Peace With Your Plate is not a diet book. It’s not a book that preaches a certain dietary dogma. Whether someone is vegan, vegetarian, a meat eater, raw vegan, or Paleo is not of concern in the slightest. The gist of this book is real, whole, natural foods.

It’s a book that has been craved, for its potential to free people from their tortured relationship with food and covers: the simple truths that put an end to the torturous relationship we have with food; what foods our body wants us to put in, and which ones it does not even consider to be foods; which foods are contributing to weight gain, bad skin, and bitchy emotions, and which ones will lead to a body that is gorgeous and healthy and a mind that is clear and happy.

A few reasons why I loved the book and why I think it’s necessary + super important + a total game-changer:

1 // The big one here is the obvious. Staring down the barrel of a life-altering cancer diagnosis, Jess completely transformed her life to save her life (and her arm, which doctors said would need to be amputated). I don’t know about you, but to me that kinda screams “I know what I’m on about here, people!”

2 // Infused with Jess’ signature ‘advice-from-trenches’ style, by the time you get through the first section you’ll realise Jess has poured everything she’s learnt on her wellness journey into this baby. She doesn’t hold anything back and the result is a super informative resource that I know I’ll continue to refer back to as I make changes to my diet – both for motivation and reassurance that I’m on the right track.

3 // While Jess speaks from firsthand experience, the book is backed up with a plethora of research and expert advice.

4 // Coffee enemas. Fascinating stuff. Read the book to see what I mean. It’ll pique your curiosity.

5 // pH balance in our bodies is crucial to health and I loved the information on why our bodies need to stay slightly alkalised to function optimally.

6 // After years of reading countless books on nutrition, I’ll admit to feeling more than a little confuzzled so I’ve made a commitment to myself to listen to my instincts first and foremost, and roll with the information that really resonates with me. There were a few key things in this book that had me saying a silent ‘YES’ because they were explained better than I’ve ever heard them explained before. Eliminating/ lowering dairy intake is one that really jumped out – I know my body doesn’t deal well with dairy and hearing the facts was a real eye-opener.

7 // Chemicals, chemicals, chemicals. Artificial sweeteners and sugars are toxic, and will make us fat, moody or worse still, very sick. I needed the reminder (like a big slap on the face!)

8 // Lots o’ recipes and shopping lists. Because we all love it when it’s easy.

9 // Beyond the plate – Jess talks about meditation, sunlight, movement and self-love and why they are intrinsic to our overall wellbeing.

10 // The over-arching message: eat for enjoyment. End the vicious cycle of deprivation, indulgence and guilt and instead eat to feel amazing. Eat what your body runs best on. Ultimately, it’s about making peace with your mind. body AND your plate.

Head over to the The Wellness Warrior to grab your copy of Make Peace With Your Plate today!

* In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m an affiliate for this product, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase it. I think you know me well enough to know I only recommend products that I use and love myself, so I have no hesitations at all giving this one a huge thumbs up. As I mentioned before, total game-changer. Enjoy!