Archive for Christy

Quick Tip Friday: Know Your Competition

knowyourcompetition

There is plenty of room for us all in the great wide Internet, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a certain amount of competition for eyeballs and time. Think about who your blog is written for and what information they would come to you to find. Then, go out and find 3-5 bloggers who write the same topics for the same people. Try to find a range of blogs in terms of size and popularity. As your browse, take note of the following:

  • Does this blog have more readers than yours or less?
  • Are the readers engaging with the blog via comments?
  • How does the layout and style of the blog appeal to you? Is it easy to navigate?
  • How does the writing style compare to yours?Is it clear who the audience is? Do you think it’s easier to relate to or more difficult? Why?
  • How often does this blog update? How much do they use their social media channels?
  • Does this blog use long or short posts, or a combination? Do they do a lot of giveaways? Use a lot of images?
  • Do the author or authors seem knowledgeable about the subject matter?

Looking at other, similar blogs can help you think about the success of your blog. Look at your own site and ask yourself the same questions. What can you learn from your “competition?” What can they learn from you?

 

Photo Credit: Jayhem, via Creative Commons License

 

Quick Tip Friday: Update Your About Page

update-about-page2
We’re assuming right now that you’re a professional (of sorts) blogger. You want opportunities. Maybe you want to work with brands, maybe you want a book deal, or maybe you’re promoting your other business. Whatever your goals, your About page on your blog is a stepping stone to getting there, so make sure it’s ready for the Big Time and up-to-date. We’ve got some tips to get you on track.

Focused – Your About page should include information relevant to your blog and/or whatever business your blog is promoting. Sure, you can include a few fun facts that make you easier to relate to, but unless it’s relevant to your blog topic, leave out medical issues, financial woes, and other trauma/drama. Your goal is to draw the reader in, not make them feel uncomfortable or sorry for you.

Confident – You don’t have to brag about every little thing you’ve ever done, but this is the place to put your best foot forward. Think about relevant speaking gigs, degrees, honors/awards (stick with the quality here), and accomplishments, as well as other blogs/sites you write for/work with, work experience, and anything else that shows your expertise in your chosen area. If you write about homeschooling, make sure we know that you have teaching experience or that you’ve homeschooled for 5 years already. Crafter with an art degree? Or maybe you’ve been baking since the age of two and now you’ve got a food blog. Why should we listen to you?

Succinct – Get to the point.

Current – If your kids are no longer toddlers, make sure your About page doesn’t say that they are. Got a great new job or skill? Be sure to add them. Moved towns? Changed marital status? Switched topics? Time for an edit. Not only does it help match you with the best clients, opportunities, and products, it shows that you’re on top of things.

Clean – This may be the most overlooked aspect of the About page. Check your grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Read it out loud to make sure it all makes sense. Have your (honest) friend read it over and give (honest) feedback. Once again, this shows your professionalism and attention to detail.

Personable – Whether tiny blogger or larger business operation, include at least a short bio (with name or pseudonym) of each person behind the blog. Even on the Internet, readers want to connect with other (real) people. Bonus for including a headshot or fun photo, depending on what is appropriate for your site.

Contact – You must have contact information. Period. Non-negotiable. Put your email address (not just a contact form) on your About page or another obvious location. You can spell it out or otherwise mask it from spammers, but make things easy for the legitimate people who are trying to connect with you.

Do you have About page pet peeves? Other suggestions for making About pages that stand out?

 

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Quick Tip Friday: Update Your Pinterest Account to Business

Pinterest Business Account

 

If you’re like most bloggers I know, you probably have some sort of goals around building your site and pageviews. And why not? What good is all of that writing if no one is around to ready it? We all know that Pinterest is hot. The right Pin can skyrocket your blog from anonymity to fame.

One way to help promote your pins and your site is by switching to a free Pinterest Business account. It takes just a couple of minutes. You’ll find analytics to help you track your most popular pins, as well as to get a sense of what your followers are looking for. There are tools like widgets and buttons. And, maybe best of all, are Rich Pins. These are specialty pins that allow you to share recipes, articles, products (for those of you who sell things), and more.

Already have a Pinterest account? Try one of these quick tips:

  1. Sign up for Rich Pins
  2. Add location information to your travel images
  3. Pin 5 new pins (some from your site, and some from other sites)

What are your favorite Pinterest tips? Leave us a comment.

Miss the last tip? Quick Tip Friday: Change The Copyright Date On Your Blog


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Win Tickets to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

KAP_2601When you think about holiday icons the span the generations, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is bound to top many lists. It is the 50th Anniversary of the first airing of the television special, after all. Now Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is heading to the Citi Shubert Theatre in Boston December 9-14, 2014. You can nab tickets from the Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre or you can enter to win from one of our member giveaways below.

Annie Comes to Boston – Win Tickets for Your Family!

annie

Annie is the perfect show to introduce your kids to the theater, or help foster an already growing love. With a lot of kids, plenty of catchy songs, a rags-to-ritches story, and even a live dog, there’s a lot to love.  The exciting news is that Annie is coming to the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre in Boston and several of our members have tickets to give away for opening night on November 5th. They’ve also got a discount code to help make the show even more accessible. There’s a different winner for each site, so make sure to enter them all for the best chance at winning.

 

Boston Parent Bloggers Welcomes the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston

P1180659I know we’re always looking for new and fun things to do with the kids, especially when it’s too hot/cold/wet to be outside. The LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston in Assembly Row, Somerville, launches next week (May 23) as the newest option for indoor family fun. Several of our members had the chance to check it out and are giving away passes so you can enjoy it with your own family.

Check out the reviews and giveways at:

 

 

Sticky: On Patriots’ Day and the Boston Marathon Tragedy

If you don’t live in the Boston area, it’s probably hard to understand what the atmosphere around Patriot’s Day is like. It’s the first day of spring break, and a state holiday. There’s the marathon and a morning Red Sox game. There’s so much optimism and excitement – like an unofficial start to spring. I’m heartbroken that it will never be the same.

These words are from Boston Parent Bloggers co-Founder, Jodi Grundig. People around the world will associate the tragedy today with the Boston Marathon, but for those of us in/from the area, it’s not just Marathon Monday. It’s Patriots’ Day and it is now forever tied to today’s tragic events. Boston is a city that was forged in struggle and hardship. Patriots’ Day is intended to honor that. We hope the spirit of Boston and the fierce pride and determination of her citizens rise above once again.

As parents, children, spouses, and friends, our thoughts, prayers, and good wishes go out to those impacted by the bombings.

 

Virtual Vigil for Sandy Hook

Our thoughts go out to those impacted by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT this past week. As parents, we wanted to reach out, speak out, and send our love and support.

These posts authored by our members reflect our diverse thoughts and feelings as we try to comprehend the violence and fear, as well as celebrate the memories of those lost.

photo credit: 53 mm photogRaphy via photopin cc

My kids at Disney Social Media Moms, or why I don't have mommy guilt about my blog

Mom, Do You Have What it Takes to Launch a Successful Blogging Business?

My kids at Disney Social Media Moms, aka why I don't have mommy guilt about my blog - do they look lonely and deprived?

Every single week, my husband and his friends get together to play video games.  I used to joke that I’d have to be dying for him to stay home. The truth is that they commit to it and make it happen. It’s not unusual for one of them to miss it (they all have very young children), but game night goes on. I once tried to organize a monthly get-together that consisted mostly of the wives of this same group of guys. We got together one time because they started dropping out each month. Their husbands were working late (something that never happens on game night), the kids were sick, or something else had come up. I was one of the only ones in the group who was able and willing to consistently put that time aside for myself, ask my husband to back me up (which he happily did), and make the ongoing commitment.

Fast forward to now as I grow my blogging and freelancing career. It probably seems to newbies that mom bloggers are successful because they’ve holed themselves up in their home offices typing away (and tirelessly caring for their home and kids). While there are a few cases where this is true, generally it is not. These bloggers are out making connections, building relationships, and growing their businesses. Although I’m hardly the most successful blogger, I am still one of those women. I know that regardless of the size of my blog, I won’t get the opportunities if people don’t know who I am. And just as importantly, I have to know who others are, as well. Once again, I put that time aside for my business, ask my husband to back me up, and make an ongoing commitment by attending events, traveling, and meeting new people. If I can make it to an event that I’m even vaguely interested in, I go. You never know what interesting people you’ll meet.

The past few weeks, I’ve had a number of public and private conversations with other moms about growing their own blogging businesses and connecting more with brands. And the consistent challenge that I’m seeing is that they are not able and/or willing to put forth the investment of time, money (yes, building a business will cost you something), and self that is required to properly launch a business. Much like the moms in the social group I tried to start, they have too many hurdles – childcare fell through, a sick kid is home, a hubby has to travel/work late/do whatever, there is a family commitment.

So here is the big secret of successful bloggers who are moms: they jump over those hurdles whenever they can. We all have to deal with those things. Dads have to deal with those things, too. And this is where you have to make a decision. You either find a way to bypass as many hurdles as possible, or you accept that you are not likely to launch into blogger superstardom right now. Because the worst thing you can do is hover in the middle, making commitments and breaking them, and burning all of your bridges in the process.  Your professionalism is part of your blogging currency.

Please understand that this isn’t a judgment. We all have different circumstances and priorities and that’s OK. But if you look at the bloggers who are getting the big opportunities, you’re going to find that they generally have some things in common.

  • They’ve got childcare help, either from a truly supportive partner, or family, or a reliable sitter or nanny. Most likely, there’s even backup help.
  • They are flexible and creative with hurdle jumping. When something comes up, they work to find a solution and they use all of the resources at their disposal. It helps them remain a reliable person to work with.
  • They have some kind of budget for their business. And don’t forget that it may be funds they’ve been saving for years.
  • They’ve managed to either let go of or channel their mom guilt. You simply can’t build a business without sacrificing some time with your kids, especially if they are home with you 24/7. And you probably won’t be there for every soccer game, talent show, or science fair. I let go of mine by reminding myself that my kids are watching their mom follow her passion – exactly what I want for them – and that they get some pretty cool perks out of it.
  • They are present. When opportunities arise, they are there, because they know that’s where the magic happens.
  • They work damn hard. Regardless of what you think of their writing or content or layout, chances are that they have put in their time (writing and/or networking).

So now is the time to ask yourself if you’re ready. Do you have most or all of those elements? Can you put them in place? If no, that’s fine. Now isn’t the right time for you to go all out. You can work on slowly building your business until you are ready. Otherwise, jump on in, Sister. There’s plenty of room for us all!

Win a Ticket to Blog Better Boston

We know how hard it can be to travel to conferences, but we also know the value in the learning, networking, and inspiration. That’s why we’re so excited about the upcoming Blog Better Boston conference on March 24, 2012. We’re not the only ones… Blog Better Boston is now sold out, but we’ve got a ticket for one lucky blogger!

The giveaway is open to all, but we do have a bonus entry for Boston Parent Blogger members. The giveaway runs through the end of the day on Wednesday, March 7. Enter now! Leave a comment below answering the question, “What is one thing you want to learn about blogging or social media?” and then click “Do It!” in the Rafflecopter widget.


a Rafflecopter giveaway