Lifestyle blogger Melissa Johnson has built her reputation, brand and business based on trends she finds on Pinterest. Thanks to her savviness for spotting the next big thing, she has formed significant media partnerships, racked up millions of video views and grown her reach.
Lifestyle blog Best Friends for Frosting celebrates joyful and wholehearted 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 decor, DIY projects, motherhood, entertaining and more.
A longtime Pinterest fan, Melissa uses the platform to find inspiration for her content calendar. Years ago, she started recognizing a pattern: Something would catch her eye on Pinterest—a style, color, ingredient or object—and then it’d grow into full-blown trend not too long later. It happened with chevron prints when she first started her blog, and then again with pineapples, flamingos, swans, glitter, chambray and more. So, she decided to trust her instincts, and 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 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 unicorns were trending, and that pumpkins spike in popularity during the fall. So, she suggested posting a DIY unicorn pumpkin craft project. The magazine team loved it and the post went viral, performing so well that Better Homes & Gardens turned it into a video they could share across social platforms. That video also went viral—racking up 2.3 million views on the magazine's Facebook page in its first year.
Melissa hit on what’s become a key piece of her own brand when Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s lifestyle brand, asked her to do a guest post for the 2017 holidays. Melissa kept seeing gingham pop up in her Pinterest feed, and wanted to test 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. That post performed so well that Draper James asked her to do another post for Valentine’s Day. Keeping with her theme, she shared her favorite recipe for sugar cookies, cut into hearts and topped with pink gingham frosting.
When Greetabl, a personalized photo gift box company, approached Melissa to do an exclusive collaboration, she created a gingham pattern for the box. The collection, which also included stripes and pineapples, sold out in 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 through-line for readers, helping them identify her content whenever they see it around 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 come up with new content concepts that should perform well with Pinterest's audience.”
Melissa’s of-the-moment style has given her massive credibility in the lifestyle space. That’s helped her build strategic partnerships and collaborations—and it’s also boosted her sales.
Melissa’s fans know they’ll always find the latest trends at Best Friends for Frosting. They’ve begun to inspire her as well, adding Melissa’s signature hashtag, #SOBestFriendsForFrosting, whenever they see something that reminds them of her brand. The hashtag has over 120,000 shares across social platforms as of late 2018.
Industry recognition and a large audience has also helped Melissa continue to build the business. Her latest projects include a new podcast, “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.