@DesignMama’s Tips to Successful Blogging
Marlynn Schotland, aka @DesignMama, knows a thing or two about successful blogging: she owns Urban Bliss Media, LLC, which is a graphic design creative marketing strategy studio, she runs a professional organization for mom entrepreneurs, called the Power MOB (Mom-Owned Businesses), she blogs about strategy and work/life issues on MarlynnSchotland.com, and she writes, does workshops, and speaking engagements. I e-chatted with her recently about how she helps mom bloggers and entrepreneurs:
Q: You are tapped into women who are working moms, familiar with their struggles and successes, not only because that's your audience, but because you are one as well. What patterns have you noticed in terms of common challenges or obstacles they face? Have you noticed patterns or common ways that they meet those challenges?
A: A common challenge all mom entrepreneurs I know face is this: the struggle to do it all, and to do it all well. Almost every mom entrepreneur I have ever met is a Type-A, passionate woman who wants to do the absolute best at everything in life: work, family, friends, self. The most balanced women I meet are the ones who have come to the realization that their priorities will change on a daily basis, that there is such a thing as ineffective multitasking, that there is power in focus. They make time to focus on work when they need to, then on family when that's needed. Perhaps most importantly, the most balanced women I have met have learned to say "no" frequently and with grace. Scratch that: the most important commonality among balanced women I've met is that they are all comfortable with the decisions they make in life/work and they are confident enough to say "this may not work for others, but this is what works for my family." I wish that EVERY mom business owner I met would say that!
Q: As we all know, social media can be a very powerful force because of its availability, ease-of-entry, immediacy, and its potential for "viral-ness." But, for those very same reasons, it has its downsides as well. Because of its availability, often at home, it can make the line between work and home/motherhood very blurry. What's your take on how distinct that line should be and how to make it be distinct?
A: The only person who can tell you where the line between motherhood and business owner lies is you, especially when it comes to social media. For me, the line is often blurred, and I am completely comfortable with that. I've developed businesses where motherhood is very much a part of the businesses, and vice versa. Do what feels comfortable for you and if you feel overwhelmed, then switch up your schedule until you find something that works for you, your family and your business. Some people have technology blackout nights to focus on family, while others accept social media as part of their regular routines and just tweet or update when they can find a spare moment, such as waiting in the carpool lane at school or in line at the grocery store.
Q: Tell me more about The Power MOB and its direction.
A: The Power MOB has been around since Mother's Day of 2006, and has undergone quite a few transitions in terms of format and growth tracks. After a lot of soul-searching, I now know that the strength of The Power MOB lies within the commitment of its members to one another -- the support, the professional development, the cross promotion between members is unparalleled and I know that too much growth would diminish the organization's best benefit. We'll continue to stay on top of the latest business owner trends, build loyal relationships with one another, and help mom entrepreneurs grow their businesses while raising their families through our local events, newsletters and online forums, blogs, etc.
6 Tips to Turning Your Blog Into a Business
Q: What would you say to those mom bloggers out there who are on the cusp of taking their blog and turning it into a vibrant, powerful, revenue-generating business?
A: For the bloggers looking to turn a sustainable profit from blogging alone, I suggest the following:
- Create a truly consistent, unique brand, and clear, focused mission statement.
- Invest time in researching your market and creating a specific market niche. You can't just market to any and all moms and expect to be successful; creating a more targeted niche including specific demographics (age, economics, locations) as well as psycho-graphics (for example, lifestyle routines and how they prefer to spend their money) gives you a competitive edge and greater focus.
- Remember that traffic does not always equal profit. From my research, a lot of "successful" bloggers are not profitable, especially once you compare the amount of time they put into blogging to how much money they are making. If you truly want to turn a profit, you need to look beyond your favorite hobby blogs and study the blogs that are turning a profit to get a sense of what makes them different.
- Study your competition, but don't copy them. Do something totally different. Profits don't come from following trends, they come from starting trends. If you stay true to your unique value proposition, your focused mission statement, and you blog from true passion, your time will come and so will the profits.
- Be patient. If you're looking for the magic bullet to making your blog profitable, it doesn't exist. Popularity can come quickly, but true profits take strategy.
- If you really want your blog to BE your business, you need to treat it as such. Create a one-page business plan outlining your mission, competition, marketing strategy, specific measurable goals, and an exit strategy. Create an editorial calendar with your editorial policies. Create a budget, spend money wisely, and pick and choose your projects. Invest in a professional blog design, logo, business cards and media kit. Start walking the walk, and not only will YOU believe in your blog as your business, but others will too.
Marlynn is putting this wisdom and more into her books for mom business owners. If you are interested in being included in it, contact Marlynn here.