Ask Mama Dweeb: “How do I get started blogging?”

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ask mama dweeb part one

I have had the domain MamaDweeb.com officially on wordpress since January 1st, 2010.  That makes this month my 4 year blogiversary!  In four short years, I have packed four separate conferences (speaking at two of them) and immersed myself in blog and social media marketing.

To celebrate, I want to give back, to answer your questions. What is it that you want to know about blogging? Leave your blogging questions here, or you can always tweet me with your questions! They might just end up in a post like this.

Holly & April asked on my Facebook page – “How do I even get started?” They wanted to know how to get sponsors for giveaways and how much time I spend on my blog each week.

I am going to link out to useful articles instead of writing it all out. 

1. Set up your blog.  Make it user friendly. The key to getting sponsors is a blog with readers. The key to getting readers is a blog that is easy on the eyes and has quality content. Here are some excellent articles to help you:

  • SITS Beginning A Blog Resources and Printables – This is a FABULOUS place to start. If you are at the “What is a blog, I think I want to try this” stage, then this is for you.
  • MomComm – I could spend hours on Melissa’s blog. It has a Content Brew course that is an excellent tool for teaching you how to discipline yourself, organize an editorial calendar and keep blogging! She also has archives of blog design critiques she has done. Great tips for how to keep your blog user friendly. 

2. Create excellent content. You want to write blog posts your friends and family and their friends will enjoy and share around. To get inspiration, you can join blog prompts, or participate in blog link-ups. Another thing I do all the time is browse Pinterest and see what is popular. I take those ideas as inspiration and craft something like it. 

3. Join a Blog Community. You cannot do it it alone.  There are lots of blog communities to choose from.  All of them offer support, friendship, ideas, and mentors. 

4. Sign up for Blogger Outreach Programs. Organizations like Mom Central, Mom Select, FitFluential, and Global Influence are just a few companies that are the “middle man” between bloggers and brands. Brands hire them to hire bloggers. You don’t have to do the work reaching out to brands, and you get the experience of it.

5. Track your campaigns. Keep track of traffic and reach during campaigns – even ones that organizations like the ones above hired you for.  Create case studies of your experiences and influence. Then, use these case studies to reach out to brands.

6. Pitch relevant companies. If you think of a brand you really want to work with because you just know it would be a perfect fit for both you and the brand, then go for it!  An example of a perfect fit is a new mom pitching a baby carrier company.  I wrote a post explaining how to write the perfect pitch letter.   Don’t let your “numbers” make you scared. If you know what you are capable of and know what a fabulous fit their brand is, you can sell it. Have confidence!

To find the person to contact, often I have Googled “company name press release” and emailed the person listed on it.  If it is a smaller company, I have emailed them through their website a very short and sweet email (not the entire pitch). 

Another bonus to networking with other bloggers is once you build trust, you can ask for introductions to other brands and opportunities. That is another reason why joining blog groups is such a must!

Ok, so me, today, how do I get the connections I do?

My little story:

Back in 2009, I started a blog just for community weight loss purposes.  Then, I joined MomDot Forums and started to read and ask tons of questions. I learned about blog design, SEO, traffic generation, and social media. Then, after participating in the forums and learning how to get a steady stream (as tiny as it was) of traffic, I started to pitch cloth diaper companies. I owe a ton of my success to the generous WAHMs that supported my “Daddy Diaper Event.” It really launched the success of my blog.  My traffic spiked during the cloth diaper giveaways and I used that new “popularity” to continue to pitch more companies.

Let me cut in here – review and giveaway blogging is the hardest kind of all! 

Ok, back to the story. 2010-2011 was spent as mostly a review and giveaway blog. I pitched companies and joined tons of lists, accepting any opp I could.  I went to blog conferences and soaked up as much information as I could and built lasting friendships with amazing women.

Through my friendships made at conferences, I was introduced to lots of fantastic opportunities. I also never stopped. I continued to learn, I continued to ask “what is the average online reader doing today, and how can I benefit them?”

After blogging for 4 years, now I am receiving emails. A few of my more fun campaigns (like the #SiennaDiaries one with Toyota) happened because they emailed me after reading a post on my blog about their company. 

–that is another tip!  If you really madly love a brand, write about them in some way! Mention them on your blog, Google picks it up.

Honestly, lots of my success came with time, networking, time, lots and lots of investment of time, and self-education.

How much time do I spend on my blog each week?

That varies. But I always spend at least a few hours creating the post, then another few hours promoting it and another few hours mutually supporting other bloggers (and they reciprocate). I also spend time communicating with brands, keeping track of income/expenses and my editorial calendar. All in all, I currently spend about 4-6 hrs on my blog on a slow day. There have been other days that I’ve spent 10 hrs. It all depends on my workload.

Do you have any more questions? Please ask! I’d love to answer them!

Written by:: Annie

Annie Shultz has written 1957 post in this blog.

She is THE Mama Dweeb :) She created this blog back in 2009 and loves to inspire and connect with others through her writing. She also loves talking, dreaming, 90s pop and country music.

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Comments

    • says

      I should share another post sharing “a day in the life” – I think I might do it. It is a lot of creativity, flexibility, and pre-planning.

      I don’t blog much at ALL on Wednesdays. Tuesday night I prepare my “wordless Wednesday” post and link up to a few blogs and leave it. I focus 100% on my family on Wednesdays.
      Same with weekends, I don’t work very much on weekends – that is reserved for family time too.

      I spend as much time as possible on M/Tu/TH/F from 8:30-11:00 focused on my blog because all three kids are at school. Then, I focus on them and the house after school. Here and there I snag bits of time throughout the day. It is a juggling act. Then I am OFF the clock from after school till bedtime. Josh does bedtime for me so from 7:30-11:30 I work again.

      I have been blessed with a very supportive husband. He stays at home and helps out a LOT with housework. Josh and I do about 50/50 housework. I also live close to family and on those super crazy days, I will ask someone if they want to see their grandchild.

      Per week I spend about as much time away from them as if I had a part time job outside of the home. Except I am able to choose my own hours this way :)

  1. says

    Hi – I just started blogging three months ago and since you are a veteran in this industry – I was wondering how many readers you need on a daily basis to have brands interested? Thank you, Christine

    • says

      Hi Christine! I just checked out your blog – it is pretty cute. I love the topics you choose to write about, especially since I am way NOT fashionable :) I want to introduce you to Jo-Lynne if you don’t know her blog yet. She co-hosts “Fashion Friday” and I think your blog is a perfect fit for that blog hop. http://www.musingsofahousewife.com/2014/01/kids-clothing-trends.html (sorry if you already know about this!)

      To answer your question: Every brand and company will have different standards. But I will say they normally ask for “UMV” numbers or “unique monthly visitors.” (This link will teach you all you need to know about traffic tracking http://www.thesitsgirls.com/blogging/monitor-your-site/)

      Honestly, some brands only want your traffic numbers for their records, so go for it! Blogs offer influence, yes, but they are also a permanant link online which is another benefit for brands. (think of people googling “hair dryer reviews” and getting tons blogger reviews pop up)

      I am going to research this topic more to get you some concrete answers :) Sounds like a perfect question for another blog post. In my past experience, I was getting items to review (small $15 items) when I had 2k visitors a month :)

  2. Jenette says

    Thank you so much. I have tried (unsuccessfully) to start a blog before. I am bookmarking this post for future reference.

  3. joanna garcia says

    I Have always wanted to know about how to start blogging I heard a lot of people make good money from it, how does the money come in place? receive and spend? i barely have time in a day to read some blogs so how do you balance with everything else!

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