Biz Mama: On Blogging

lean-in-collection-hed-2014{I wish I was this cool mama – but this is a stock image from the Lean In Collection for Getty}

You may have noticed that I’ve changed up the look of Pink Chai Living again. Without getting too deep into explanations (we all know I love a good rant); I just didn’t feel good about the old design. The magazine style look just wasn’t for me, it felt like the blog was trying to be something it really wasn’t. This is just a personal blog by a girl who loves chai; not a magazine.

So in keeping with the ‘let’s get real’ theme, I’m adding a new section to Pink Chai Living today called ‘Biz Mama’. A huge part of my life is spent running a business from home in partnership with my husband – so I know a thing or two about being an entrepreneur, mom, and wife at the same time. I’ve also picked up a few tips & tricks (and strong opinions) about blogging over the years and sometimes I want to ramble about those. With that, here’s my first Biz Mama post….

Things I Want to Say About Blogging

For weeks now I’ve been bugging my friend Rebecca with things I want to say about blogging (some good, some so-so). I’m always telling her; someone should write about this. Well, I guess I should stop talking and start writing!

If you are a new blogger, or you are considering starting a blog I hope you find this helpful. In no particular order; 3 things I’ve been thinking about when it comes to blogging and just have to spill.

1. Blogging is About Creating Content

When I started blogging 3 years ago (I’m just a baby in the digital world), there was a lot of emphasis on creating ‘epic content’. All the blogging guides talked about writing quality content, evergreen content, and posts people want to share. These days I feel overwhelmed with the SEO tips, viral strategies, and write blog posts faster hacks. While I believe there is a place for all of those things; I believe content comes before promotion. 

The cornerstone of your blog is content. Spend time actually thinking about the content you want to create (h/t Karen Bannister), how you want people to react to it, and how it will add value to the world – then figure out how to make it go viral. 

digital nomads{Also not what I look like when blogging, but I think some people might imagine it like this! Image via: familytravel.com}

2. There is no such thing as “free stuff” in blogging

I could write a book on this topic (in fact, I wrote a pretty bold Facebook status about it last week). Putting aside all the ethical dilemmas and bad karma that comes from trying to get ‘free stuff’ from brands; it’s just plain mis-information.

When a brand gives a blogger a product for review, the blogger is expected to use it, possibly take pictures, share some thoughts on it (or in action shots), try the product out, collect their thoughts, and depending on the blogger’s editorial policy, they might even write a review or blog post on the product. All of that ‘work’ was exchanged for the product, so it wasn’t free. 

I personally feel that starting a blog to get free stuff is a horrible plan. You should start a blog because you want to create interesting content, add value to the world, and be part of the online community. Once you’ve paid your dues, blogged consistently for a while, the opportunities to review products will come, and then you can decide if you want to do that. 

{PS: The above point is not about sponsored posts/reviews, just products for editorial reviews. I will write about sponsored posts at a later date}

3. Reviews are your virtual word

Following up on number 2, reviews are your virtual word. In short; don’t say you love something if you don’t, or if you haven’t really tried it yourself. 

Think of it this way; if company ‘X’ sends you a pencil sharpener and it sucks, but you say it’s amazing (because you are afraid of upsetting company ‘X’), and one of your readers spends her own hard earned money to go buy that same pencil sharpener – your credibility is gone (and you are collecting bad karma points IMO). 

I know it’s really exciting when you are new and brands are offering you everything from toothpaste to breakfast pastries to try, but pace yourself and develop a clear editorial policy. As someone who is a major product junkie and loves to test makeup and beauty products I’ve been there. I learned the hard way to be up front with brands on my review policies and not promise coverage before I’ve tested something.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, but also if there is anything you want to know more about when it comes to running a small biz, working with your spouse, or being a mom-entrepreneur, leave me your questions! I will be writing this column twice a month.

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2 Comments

  1. July 1, 2014 / 6:03 pm

    What a great article. As someone who is relatively new to the blogging world, I am still struggling to find exactly what I want to say but I am having so much fun doing it. Any advice on how to spread your blog reach though?

    • July 4, 2014 / 8:24 am

      Hi Sarita, Thanks so much for stopping by! My best advice is just write what you love and don’t worry too much about reach and followers, if you write from the heart people will want to read it!

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