Guest post by Jennifer from Still Living the Dream in our three part series on How to Start a Mom Blog. She takes us through her journey as a blogger and brings you great tips straight from the trenches!
Let me start off by saying, I’m not a big player in the blogger world. I’m growing my blog slowly and while it may be taking me a bit longer to get to “the big show”, I’m working hard, having fun and I’ve participated in just enough campaigns and programs to be dangerous. Many people ask me what it’s like to be a blogger and how they can get started and I can completely understand why. The opportunity to participate in fun campaigns, try out new products, write about topics close to your heart and earn a living for your family…all while wearing your PJ’s in your home. What’s not to love?
I started my blog several years ago as an outlet for creative writing. As a freelance writer I was frustrated that my writing “assignments” weren’t always about topics I was passionate about. My blog became a way for me to publish whatever I wanted.
Then I learned that blogging could also become a way to earn an income.
But because I didn’t start my blog as a business, there were a lot of things I had to do after the fact in order to begin treating it like one. Blogging platforms, blog design, my niche, a business plan … it takes a lot of offline work to have a successful presence online.
- Do you like to write? A silly question, I know…but if you struggle with putting words to paper blogging may become more of a chore than a joy in the long run.
- Do you have time to devote to it? It’s definitely possible to work full time, raise kids and blog. In fact, some people do it with much success. But if you have other obligations you may find that most of your blogging is done in the wee hours of the morning or middle of the night. I’m not at the point with my blog where I can quit my day job. And I’m not even sure I want to. But I struggle with the fact that my attention is diverted from growing my blog as quickly as I would like to because of other work that I must do to earn a living.
- What’s your goal? Do you want to blog to make money, have fun, entertain people… all of the above? It’s important to know what you want to do before you start. A business plan will help you define your goals and keep you on track.
- Does your family support you? If you are going to be writing about your adventures as a family, it’s important that they are on board with it. I can’t tell you how many times my family (and friends) have said with a sigh after a misadventure, “This is going to end up on your blog, isn’t it?”
My family LOVES my work as a blogger when they get to try out new products or go to fun events. But I spend more time writing, taking photos, creating videos, promoting posts via Facebook, twitter and online communities and fulfilling campaign requirements then I do attending an event. The behind-the-scenes work takes a lot of time away from your family.
- Join online blogger groups: There are many out there but MomSpark Media is a great one for those getting started. They provide blogging opportunities, networking and support and education. I also love the Clever Girls Collective. This group provides great blogging campaigns to get involved with.
- Join your local blogger group: I highly recommend you look to your local community for a blogging group. While many of the groups I’m a member of are online with colleagues I’ve never met are great, it’s nice to have a group that meets in person. For me, The Houston Blogging Chicks has been an excellent resource for local opportunities and all around networking. Just remember when you join a local group, don’t expect everyone to pour information and resources into your hands and then run. Like developing relationships with your readers, you must also develop relationships with your colleagues.
- Attend conferences, conventions and/or workshops: There are a lot of different ones to choose from and if you ask 10 bloggers which one is the best, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. Here’s a place to start looking for blogger conferences.
If it’s your dream to blog, go for it! Have fun and try not to worry along the way. If you share your journey in an authentic voice and blog with integrity, your readership will grow and brands will want to work with you.
Jennifer is a freelance copy and feature writer and contributes frequently to The Houston Chronicle and Living Magazine. She has been blogging about raising young kids while pursuing your passions at Still Living The Dream and is author of Houston’s Hiring, a Houston Chronicle blog about the local job market. You can find Jennifer on Twitter @jpatrickcomm.
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