Lifestyle blogger Melissa Johnson has built her reputation, brand and business by using trends that she finds on Pinterest. Thanks to her savviness for spotting the next big thing, she has formed significant media partnerships, racked up millions of views on her videos and increased her reach.
The lifestyle blog Best Friends for Frosting celebrates joyful and whole-hearted living. Melissa Johnson started the site in 2010 as a way to share dessert recipes, but has since expanded it to include content about design, home décor, DIY projects, motherhood, entertaining and more.
As a long-time Pinterest fan, Melissa uses the platform to find inspiration for her content calendar. Some years ago, she started to recognise a pattern: Something would catch her eye on Pinterest – a style, colour, ingredient or object – and then it’d grow into a full-blown trend shortly after. This was the case with chevron prints when she first started her blog, and then again later with pineapples, flamingos, swans, glitter, chambray and many more. So, she decided to trust her instincts, and she started using Pinterest to inform her content strategy. It wasn’t long before Melissa established herself as an expert in the lifestyle space.
Melissa's gingham-inspired cookie Pin for Draper James.
As she expanded her blog over the years, Melissa kept infusing her content with emerging trends from Pinterest. She followed her own instincts, and also worked in tips from trend reports on the Pinterest Business insights page. When she spotted an emerging trend, she created a board about it. Then, she planned by coordinating Best Friends for Frosting posts, as well as collaboration projects and guest editor posts on other blogs.
Melissa also used her trend savvy to pitch story ideas to Better Homes & Gardens. For example, for Halloween 2017, Melissa knew that unicorns were trending, and that the popularity of pumpkins spike in autumn. So, she suggested posting a DIY unicorn/pumpkin craft project. The magazine team loved it and the post went viral. It performed so well that Better Homes & Gardens turned it into a video that they could share across their social platforms. The video also went viral, racking up 2.3 million views in it's first year on the magazine's Facebook page.
Melissa hit on what’s become a key characteristic of her own brand when Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s lifestyle brand, asked her to do a guest post for the 2017 festive season. Melissa kept seeing gingham pop up in her Pinterest feed, and wanted to test it to see if it was the next big pattern. She created a pecan-pie bar, wrapped with a gingham ribbon, and created a post about it for Draper James. The post performed so well that Draper James asked her to do another post for Valentine’s Day. In keeping with her theme, she shared her favourite recipe for sugar cookies, cut into hearts and topped with pink gingham icing (or frosting as they call it in the US).
When Greetabl – a company that specialises in gift boxes personalised with photos – approached Melissa to do an exclusive collaboration, she once again created a gingham pattern for their box. Her collection for the company, which also included stripes and pineapples, sold out in just one month.
Thanks to these successful partnerships, gingham has become a key component of the Best Friends for Frosting brand. Melissa tries to include gingham in most of her posts to provide a recurring theme for readers, helping them to identify her content whenever they see it on the web. She hopes that readers will think of Best Friends for Frosting whenever they see gingham – especially pink gingham.
“I can absolutely say that I forecast trends based on what I find on Pinterest. I make a list of all the things that catch my eye, then I come up with new concepts for content that should perform well with Pinterest's audience.”
Melissa’s of-the-moment style has earned her massive credibility in the lifestyle space. This, in turn, has helped her to win strategic partnerships and collaborations, and it has also boosted her sales.
Melissa’s fans know that they’ll always find the latest trends at Best Friends for Frosting. They’ve started to inspire her as well, by tagging Melissa’s signature hashtag, #SOBestFriendsForFrosting, whenever they see something that reminds them of her brand. As of late 2018, the hashtag has over 120,000 shares across different social platforms.
Industry recognition and a large audience have also helped Melissa continue to build her business. Her latest projects include a new podcast, called 'Heartfelt Success', and an Airbnb property in Sacramento, California. that brings the Best Friends for Frosting Pinterest boards to life. The business has grown so much, in fact, that both Melissa and her husband now dedicate themselves to it full-time.