According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, there are over 20 million people blogging. In a town filled with creative types, it’s certainly no surprise that Maplewood and South Orange residents want to get in on the action. However, some may be surprised at just who wants to blog: mommies.
On a recent hot Monday afternoon, eight moms, who are part of the Mothers & More organization, gathered in a South Orange living room to listen to Maplewood mom and blogger Danielle Friedland, founder of the Celebrity Baby Blog, reveal her secrets on creating a successful blog.
After testing the bloggy waters with sites focusing on knitting and her personal life, Friedland created the celebrity babies blog five and a half years ago on a whim.
“I was watching the Golden Globes with my husband, who was already a blogger,” Friedland said. “In fact, I considered myself a blog widow, since he blogged all the time and I was left alone. I started talking to him about Mary Louise Parker who had just given birth a few months ago and Marcia Gay Harden who was pregnant with twins, and he said ‘Hey, you should blog about them!’”
Within a few years, Friedland’s site became successful. Time Inc/People.com bought her site last year. She remains on board as a senior editor.
And so it began. The moms around the room quickly jotted down notes as Friedland shared her story. Lisa Duggan, founder of The Motherhood, a magazine that ceased print publication last year but continues to live on as a blog, asked “How did you get the word out about your blog? Did you ever advertise?”
“No,” Friedland replied. “I never really advertised. I did spend a few hundred dollars advertising—but remember, I started the blog over five years ago. At that time, there weren’t that many blogs around. Now it’s much harder to start a blog on a totally new topic.”
Shanta Bryan Gyan, a mother of two, owns her own communications consulting firm, SBG Communications. She attended the meeting to network with other women business owners and to learn about how to use blogs to promote their businesses.
“I’m also interested in finding out about the latest, innovative blog tools that are successfully working for businesses,” Gyan said.
Kim Baugh, who runs her own resume writing company, was not certain she wanted to blog or even if blogging was the right venue for her. Friedland offered brainstorming ideas.
“Instead of investing a ton of time and energy to a blog, perhaps you can devote one hour a week to your blog,” Friedland said. “You don’t have to write an essay each time. You can post a link to a New York Times article that relates to your services.”
Patty Mallory-Miah, who hosted the meeting along with her almost 3-year-old son, shared her challenges as an artist and a mother of two. “I recently launched my own Web site but it takes a lot of time!” she said. Mallory-Miah designs original children’s artwork and maintains the Web site Art About the Baby.
The meeting came to a close as the ladies realized it was almost time to pick up their children from school. Friedland offered some last-minute advice.
“Tell all your friends about your blog and ask them to share it with their friends. Interact with other bloggers,” Friedland said. “And make sure any links open to a new window. You don’t want people to lose your site!”