This is the post where I spill the beans on the Secrets of Successful Parenting Bloggers (I do spill lots of things daily…but those are usually toys and food items). I will also be sharing these secrets – in real life – as a speaker today at MagNet 2013 Canada’s Magazine Conference. The session is “Writing Your Life: The Secrets of Successful Parenting Bloggers” (and if you are visiting me from the session – please wave – virtually or in real life). So about those secrets…
Don’t just “create content” (the web is already full of content). Write with the knowledge that your name will be associated with your piece. Have professional pride in what you do. I started Parent Club in 2007 because I wanted an online portfolio as writing samples for magazine editors. I will admit – those earlier posts were more “content” than compelling (blogging has been a great education for me in terms of writing, style, interview techniques as well as working with brands and pr.).
My good friend Lena once told me “knock it out of the ballpark” when you write a post…and this has been one of the most valuable successful blogger secrets I have ever gleaned. Don’t just churn out a blog post…knock it out of the park.
Features Readers Love
The best thing to raise your “parenting blogger” street cred is writing stellar features. If you write it they will come. Some bloggers are great storytellers, some bloggers are very talented at educating, some bloggers are absolutely hilarious (not me…I am the most unfunny person I know). Figure out your writing style. Here on Parent Club I blog about family travel, food, organization, activities, and tech because those are all my favourite things (and you quickly become an expert about your favourite things). As a busy Mom of 3, I can certainly own that I am a specialist in each of these categories.
Also, beware of the trolls. Trolls are those un-thoughtful people of the internet who enjoy leaving negative comments on your blog posts. It happens. And it hurts. When I received a troll comment Erica Ehm gave me good advice…which if I remember correctly went something like… “Don’t let it bother you”.
At the end of the day…if you have written something you are proud of – do you really care if someone disagrees? Should you choose to engage in a conversation of agreement/disagreement please know two things 1) yes, it can drive traffic – troll traffic 2) it can also get very personal and nasty.
Social Media Is Important
You absolutely need to have a social media presence as a blogger. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, Stumble Upon and others are your free (and free is nice) marketing tools. It’s how you promote your blog. Your features. Your pictures. Your writing career.
Social media is also a great way to connect with other bloggers (and by connect I mean: support – blogging is not all about YOU but about being part of the greater online community). Shout out other bloggers posts and events (it’s good karma).
I must point out: social media is also gives you influence…
I , @ParentClub, trended in Toronto and in Canada. Not because of a blog post or a feature in a magazine or my upcoming book. I trended because my tweet’s on a Canadian boy’s abduction was overwhelmingly RT’d (re-tweeted) throughout a day. Trending was not my intention…my purpose was to put the word out about a child’s kidnapping. You can use your blogger influence for such good…and…brands like it too…
Working With Brands
Working with brands (and P. R. companies) is a great writer experience. It’s like a magazine feature assignment with a quicker deadline and no editor. Mostly, with sponsored posts…you incorporate your personal experience into brand key messaging. You are the writer, marketing department, graphics department, R & D and publisher. Before you work with a brand – I strongly suggest you identify your own brand.
What do you stand for? What is YOUR mission statement? What is off limits to you? (my friend Dee Brun Grow wrote a great post on “Who The Hell Are You???” all about your personal brand – you should read it)
On the Parent Club About Page the first things you see are my bio and my specialities here on this website. I know the Parent Club brand and by being true to that brand – I have been fortunuate to to work with some great companies (name dropping would be bad right?…*cough*…Fisher-Price, Sears Canada, General Mills, Microsoft Canada…*/cough*- somthing caught in my throat there…all clear now). I don’t write about diets or politics or vodka because that just doesn’t fall into Parent Club brand. Parent Club is a friendly site for busy parents: sharing information to make life a little easier.
A good starting point to working with brands is: http://www.momcentralcanada.com/ (awesome people to work with!).
I also advise you to read “Advertising Rates for Mom Blogs: How Much Should I Charge?” by Jennifer James (it’s intended for U.S. bloggers – thus you must keep in mind…though we share the same language…the Canadian and U.S. markets are very different.)
What Will Blogging Give Me?
- The Future is On-line. As more and more magazine publishers go in-house for their writing needs – the online world becomes more open and appealing to writers.
- Education Is A Good Thing. As a blogger you self-teach about SEO, hyperlinks, no follows, HTML, stats and analytics. Is it hard?…of course not (hello – you can youtube it all). But these things are great things to have on your C.V., portfolio or when working with other online publishers.
- Blogging Without Borders. Your audience is global in the blogging world. This “reach” or “influence” can then be used to pretty up your C.V. as well as help to market other endeavours (like magazine features, guest posts, speaking engagements and such).
- Blogging Is Family Friendly. I blog during nap time (really). It allows me to have a “career” whilst still being a full-time Mom.
- There Is $ In Blogging. No, it won’t be a full-time income but you can supplement your freelance income very well with blogging when you opt in to sponsored posts, ads, ambassadorship, product reviews and the like. No, you don’t have to sell your soul or pimp out your talent in order to do so (now go back up and re-read that part on knowing your own Brand).
And lastly, please remember that success is in the eye of the beholder. When I received my 1st comment (which wasn’t from my Dad – though I do love your comments Dad!) – was my mark of being a successful parenting blogger.What do you think…dear readers…any thoughts about the secrets of successful parenting bloggers?…