Last week, I wrote a post about why I left my job as a teacher to become a stay-at-home mom. Well today I wanted to share with you how I became a “slay-at-home” mommy blogger. Ok, maybe not quite SLAYING as much as I want to but the other day one of my mommy blogger friends described me as “slaying” so I’m OWNING IT!
I wanted to answer some frequently asked questions about becoming a mommy blogger, things I’ve learned and how you can do it too if you want to! DISCLAIMER: IT’S NOT THAT EASY!!! What I mean by that is, it is time consuming! You know how you see all these mommy bloggers on Instagram with perfect looking houses and pictures? Well, it’s not something that happens with the snap of a finger. You might say, why all the staging? Well, I’ll go into that later too.
How I Became a Mommy Blogger
I’ve always loved blogging and journaling. I used to blog on a platform called Xanga but it was mostly about things I did that week or a sermon recap for friends from church. I loved just documenting things through words and pictures. Mostly pictures. If you ask anyone from my past, I was known as the photo historian of the group and I probably have more pictures that you can imagine.
So how did I go from Xanga to creating Lovestalgia and blogging and getting sponsored posts? Long story short, a fellow online friend, Simply Every, who also loves to write, was going to start a blog so we decided to do it at the same time. Originally, I started my Lovestalgia Instagram to do something in the wedding or events industry because I also dabbled in wedding planning. But she encouraged me to launch my blog and take it more seriously. Then through Facebook groups of mommy bloggers, I was able to meet other bloggers who had just started blogging. From there, I was able to find a network of local mommy bloggers who I’ve come to trust and bounce ideas off of.
Things I’ve Learned in the Last 3 Years
I realized the other day that my first blog post was from May 2015. I thought it had been only two years since I started blogging but it’s actually THREE!! So what have I learned in the past few years?
The word “authentic” gets tossed around Instagram and blogging like preschoolers tossing sand at the playground BUT being authentic IS important. Why? Well, it’s fine to be inspired by someone and perhaps get ideas from them but if you copy them and try to be exactly like them, then it won’t get you anywhere. Your “brand” will be confusing because you are confused and you’re trying to be someone you’re not. Be you. Whatever strengths, weaknesses, experiences you’ve gone through, weave those things into your brand and your story. No one can be you, like you. And if you are being fake and inauthentic, you’re not fooling anyone- least of all your audience.
I’m guilty of saying some unkind things about people at times but in the blogging world, if you talk smack about others (whether it’s other bloggers or brands or PR people), it will come back to bite you in the butt. I’ve been in some Facebook groups where other bloggers have said terrible things about a brand. And while it might be helpful to others if the brand or person is horrible, maybe it would be better to not put it out there in a public forum. Also, if you don’t agree with how someone runs their business or methods they use, maybe talk about it with your group of friends. Not online for the whole world to see. You don’t have to get along with everyone and be their best friend, but just be courteous and kind.
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.
It’s easier to ask another blogger how they got to work with XYZ brand or whether that brand pays or not. I don’t mind sharing with friends because I like being helpful and consider myself to be a pretty resourceful person. HOWEVER, if you never comment on my pictures, like my posts or anything then all of a sudden ask- I find that to be a bit rude. Sometimes I will see other bloggers working with brands that I want to work with. Usually I Google search for a contact for that brand unless that blogger is a blogging bestie. Don’t be a taker or a leach without giving back.
IT’S A LOT OF WORK.
It is so much work. It really is. I remember barely sleeping when I first started and even now, I’m writing this post after everyone has gone to sleep. During the day, I have to do my mom life duties and the only time I can do mommy blogger work is at night. There are so many things to consider when blogging. For a start, is your website even optimized for growth and exposure? If you think that blogging is easy and people just get sent “free” stuff in the mail, you’re wrong. Blog posts, pictures, and Instagram posts just don’t happen overnight. It takes planning. You might ask why all the staging for pictures? I believe in being authentic but personally for me, I like looking at pretty pictures. But more than the pictures, it’s the stories of the women/men/people/families that draw me into a blogger’s life. An amazing mommy blogger and bloggers in general can weave their personal stories into sponsored posts without making it seem like they’re selling you something. Sometimes I will read one of my friend’s posts and all of a sudden want to buy laundry detergent or go DIY something. That takes skill and hours of creativity crafting a story.
COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION
This is another phrase that I’ve heard numerous times in the blogging community but sometimes I wonder if a lot of people truly take it to heart. Sometimes I have FOMO when I see someone working with a brand that I want to or going to an event I wasn’t invited to. I might get a bit disappointed but then I usually move on because life goes on.
This quote from Abby Wambach’s speech to the graduating class of 2018 at Barnard College really hit the nail on the head for me.
“As you go out into the world: Amplify each other’s voices. Demand seats for women, people of color and all marginalized people at every table where decisions are made. Call out each other’s wins just like we do on the field, claim the success of one woman as a collective success for all women. Joy. Success. Power. These are not pies where a bigger slice for her means a smaller slice for you. These are infinite. In any revolution, the way to make something true starts with believing it is. Let’s claim infinite joy, success, and power- together.”
If you’re not right for a certain campaign, there’s something else out there that’s a better fit. There’s enough pie for everyone!! Celebrate their wins rather than getting upset. And if you want to work with that same brand, don’t slide into their DM’s asking for a contact. Do your own research.
DON’T DO IT JUST FOR THE PERKS
There are so many bloggers and I believe there’s always room for more. BUT if you want to get into this industry just for the “perks” then you might want to reevaluate what you’re doing. Like I said, it’s a lot of work. It’s a huge investment of time, money and energy. Don’t do it just to get free stuff or go to events. Those are definitely perks but there should be a greater purpose of why you want to blog. Whether it’s to share your story or your belief in a cause, figure it out and then run with it.
I Still Want To Be A Blogger
So after reading everything, you want to start a blog and be a mommy blogger?! If so, DO IT!! Everyone has a story to tell, so tell it!
- Figure out a niche. Lifestyle is easier than something specific because if you do fitness, you can only do fitness and it’s harder to branch out.
- Figure out a name. Whether you make one up or use your name, use it to create social media accounts. (Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter) I usually search on Instagram to see if there are already accounts with the same name. You don’t want to be mommyofagirl12335342 if there’s already mommyofagirl on those social channels.
- Get a blog domain. If possible, use the same one as your social channels. You can get a free one through Blogger or WordPress or self-host one for a fee.
- Take some courses. If you Google search how to start a blog, there’s tons of websites that offer free tips. I would start there to gather information. Then consider investing in a course, books, or even conferences.
- Post, post, post! Start posting on your social channels. Brainstorm ideas for blog posts. Pin things on Pinterest. Just start!
Do you want to be a mommy blogger?
Photos by: Annie Vovan Photgraphy
Check out my blog post on 5 things I learned at Mom 2.0 Summit!