Tag Archives: newbie blogger

Liebster Award – Wherein my spunky lil blog strives to get noticed

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

 My tee-niny lil blog was nominated for the Liebster award by my friend – I mean independent judge – Spring. Spring blogs over at Tilyou Triplets. Thanks Spring! It took me a month to respond, but better late than never!
The Liebster Award is a way for  bloggers to help a sistah out and give other  bloggers an extra boost in exposure.
Here are the rules: 
– Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you and link back to their blog.
– Post 11 facts about yourself, answering the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 questions  for your nominees.
– Nominate 11 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.
– Display the Liebster Award logo.
– No tag backs meaning you can’t just re nominate the person who nominated you.

The questions asked of me are below:

1. What was your reaction when you found out you were expecting multiples? We had just had two miscarriages, so being pregnant with two seemed very meaningful to us. We always say that those little souls wanted to be born together, as twins.
2. What was your spouse’s reaction? Yes! Buy one get one free!
3. How did you tell your family/friends?
It was a huge shock to everyone, because my first two children are grown. So I went around telling people “I have some news to share. I’m pregnant.” Usually the response was something like “OH MY!” and then I’d say “With Twins” and people’s eyes would get big and they’d say “OH MY!”. My favorite response was one of my colleagues. Apparently he had some PTSD and his gut response was to tell me “They’re not mine!”.
4. What is your favorite activity to do at home with the kids?
We love to hang out in our mac daddy play room and…well, play. With toys. In the play room.
5. Where is your favorite place to go as a family?
We are an on-the-go family! You can find us at restaurants, out shopping, taking a walk, at the beach, at the park, etc. No one favorite place, yet.
6. What is your easy, go to meal for the kids?
Umm, jarred organic baby food. 🙂
7. What do you do for yourself for fun?
I used to read, crochet and generally engage in fun, quiet tasks. These days I read celebrity magazines for fun, because my attention span is
8. What is your dream family vacation?
Road trip in an RV Camper across the country to all the National Parks! Imma do it one day with my little family. Hopper gets a lifetime “Access Pass” to the National Parks because of his disability. It entitles him – and 4 adults- to free admission to all national parks for life!
9. DIY or store bought?
In my idealistic world, DIY. In my real world, store-bought.
10. Are you a routine/schedule follower or fly by the seat of your pants type?
I don’t like to keep a routine. I like to have a world of possibilities.
11. Where is one place you would NEVER take your multiples?
The circus. We’ll never do that, because of animal exploitation. I feel very passionately about that. I can barely take them to the zoo! I do, but I feel a ton of guilt over it.
Here are the blogs I’m nominating:
That’s all I’ve got for now. I realize that’s not 11, but the verdict is out. I need to start reading more blogs! If you have a new blog that you’d like nominated, and you’re clever and spunky, let me know!
Questions to answer:
1. If you could go on any kind of vacation with your kids, what would it be?
2. Regular school, homeschooling, or unschooling?
3. What is an average day like with your children?
4. How involved is your spouse/partner?
5. What is your favorite place you’ve ever lived?
6. What type of friend are you?
7. What do you look for in a friend?
8. Are you done having children?
9. Gourmet cook? Short order cook? Take-out?
10. What’s your dream date?
11. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

7 Tips for New Bloggers – Women at BlogHer Share Their Best Advice

I’m at the BlogHer conference this week as a brand spanking new blogger.

That song is freaking bizarre. And I think of it every time I call myself a shiny new blogger. Ugh.

Anyhoo, I ran conferences for 5 years, so I know the importance of getting very clear about what your goals are at a conference. Otherwise, you might end up leaving the conference full of ideas, with no actionable items. I spent too long in corporate America to leave anywhere without actionable items, Heather.

ConferenceGoalsResize

So, during the speed-dating section of The Pioneer Woman’s opening keynote, I decided to poll my peers about their best advice for new bloggers. The organizers had us line up in 2 concentric circles, facing each other. Spending about 1-2 minutes a piece, we met and networked with each person until the line shifted to the left.

Here’s how it went:

Me: “Hi, I’m Heather, from Mommy Loves Martinis. I’m a brand new blogger, and have published 13 posts! What would be your best piece of advice for a new blogger?’

Here were the answers I got:

Advice: “Find your tribe,” the PR person from Strong Families told me. “Find other new bloggers and create a private Facebook group for support.”  I heard that also from Janel Mills from 649.133 – a website about the care and raising of girls.

My take: That’s a lot of what I’m doing here at BlogHer. I “know of” bloggers, but didn’t really know (m)any in person. Well, I do now. And they are an amazing group who truly seem to be a collaborative bunch who want to work to help raise each other up. I’ve heard stories about how women go to these types of conferences and meet friends and colleagues for life. Hoping that I get that lucky.

Advice: “Consistency, consistency,” said Katy Morgan of Katy in a Corner, who has been blogging for many years and is speaking on video blogging at the conference tomorrow. When your visitors expect to hear from you and you don’t deliver, they lose faith in you.”

My take: This is hard for me to relate to, because I can’t imagine that anyone’s sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for me to publish, but I do understand and heed by the mantra “Fake it til you make it.” So, I’ll cultivate consistency. At any given time I have about 5 posts that I’m working on. I just need to buckle down and finish things. I’m also a perfectionist, and if I want to up the frequency of my posts from – oh, say, once every three weeks, to 1-2 times per week or so, then I need to let well enough be ok.

Advice: Laurie Luck, of Smart Dog University told me “Find out who you are. Be comfortable with your voice, and above all, be authentic.”

My take: Authenticity is one of those buzz words, but this really rings true for me, especially lately. I’m a mom of 10-month old twin boys. I do NOT have my shit together. And yet, people really think I do. I realized that I’m posting things that present only that side of me. Wrong move. That’s not my authentic life, and only posting that side is doing a disservice to other moms. So, I’ve made a vow to write more messy stuff. Because it’s real life. And real life is not always a polished story of greatness.

Advice: Val from Bon Bon Break told me that I should make sure to have ways for fans to follow me, share my posts, and contact me. She reads hundreds of blogs, and reaches out to people from their blogs on a regular basis. “You wouldn’t believe how many blogs don’t have a way to contact the author. It drives me freaking insane!”.

My take: Umm, yeah. I just checked my site and I’m an offender. Again, I’m not sure who would be wanting to contact me, but I’ll build the site like one day I’ll be a queen. 🙂

Advice: Ashley Garrett, of Baddest Mother Ever , had this to say. “Set yourself a goal. Like for the next 3 months, I’ll post every day.” She also gave me some good advice on copywrite copyright infringement, but I don’t even know how to spell that yet, so I’m banking it for later. . Something to do with “Don’t steal shit from others”.

My take: I read some of Ashley’s posts after I met her on the first day of the conference. This woman is genius. In her writing and in her ability to attract a following. I think she’s on to something! Note to self: Maybe once every two weeks isn’t enough!

Advice: This is from a little later in the day. On the way back from the conference, in fact. I was almost comatose from being around 500 trillion people today, but I managed to jot down her words of wisdom. Valerie Mitchell from Sweeps for Bloggers said “Do what makes you happy. Blogging should be fun. It can be your j.o.b., but it’s your blog and your space, so make sure you’re having fun.”

My take: Right now, blogging is a blast. It’s fun, it’s a blank slate – I can create and build it however I want. But as I do so, I’ll remember these words. Life’s too short to have a job that you don’t like. Sure, nothing is fun 100% of the time, but when things start to become a burden, it’s time to move on. My goal is to keep my blogging fun – most of the time.

Advice: Ok, so this one’s from Ree. You know, as in The Pioneer Woman. That Ree. And no, I didn’t get to speed date her. Sigh. She didn’t exactly dole out advice in the form of “New bloggers should do this”, but what I got from her was again, to be authentic, and to tell good stories.

My take: I was on the edge of my seat listening to some of the stories that were quintessential Ree. There’s something about the art of story telling that we as human beings gravitate towards. It’s the shared human experience. When we ask ourselves, why would anyone want to hear about the details of a story of my life, the answer is truly because the shared human experiences evoke emotion, make us feel alive, and bring out the juicy nuances of life.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll continue to poll the umm…4,000 bloggers and publishers here to continue to share the gems. But for now, it’s time to head downstairs and listen to Queen Latifah hand out awards to the best blog posts of the year. I can dream of something like that in the future 😉

 

 

Chronicles of a New Blogger – Episode 2

Ok, installment 2 of “Operation Blog Start-Up”, wherein I chronicle my actions to try to grow and ignite a new blog. {Envision mad scientist woman here}

I’m almost one month into my new blog, Mommy Loves Martinis. Somehow in-between working and taking care of les enfants, I managed to spend a good 7 hours or so on bloggish-type research. I may or may not be enjoying doing my research nightly with a glass(es) of red wine in hand. Red wine makes everything better. So do martinis, but I’ve had to cut back on those lately. Sigh.

Anyhow, I started my week by stumbling across an article called “30 Ways to Promote Your Blog Post” – a cool infographic that was packed with great ideas to do for each blog post you publish. It’s ahh-mazing! Between that post, and some sleuthing around on my own, here’s a list of some of the things I did this week to try to ignite this schizznit:

1. Added my posts to bookmarking sites Reddit, StumbleUpon and Digg. Seemed to have some success with Reddit – I have had 28 visits from Reddit, with an average page view time of over a minute, so sounds legit! I don’t really use bookmarking sites, but apparently a bazillion people do. I need to figure this thing out and understand it. It’s kind of like when I didn’t use Twitter and deemed it “stupid”. I’m such a block-head sometimes. Sigh.

2. Came across the most amazing website in the world – paper.li – which allows you to quickly aggregate and publish curated content from across the web to your subscribers. Uhh. I have no subscribers yet, but I quickly made a newsletter called “Newbie Blogger”. 🙂 Need to refine where the sources are pulled from, because there may be some crap on there about barbeque! Needs tweaking, what can I say. But seriously, what an amazingly cool thing to be able to publish your own magazine/newsletter to distribute as content to your followers. I also am going to start one for Down syndrome. Not sure what the slant is going to be – but I’m thinking it will be to document inspiring stories about individuals with Down syndrome. That way, if someone has a new diagnosis for their baby, or is struggling, they can read lots of uplifting stories to have hope. 🙂 This ties in with my master plan to fund-raise for Down syndrome research – but that’s another post.

3. Did a little research on getting my posts syndicated, and on writing fresh posts for other sites. Places like Huffington Post and Babble only accept original content that hasn’t been published before. There are other places that will accept work that has already been published – syndicated content. I’m thinking that’s the way for me to go right now while I’m working full-time, taking care of munchkins and trying to grow a blog. Not sure I have the energy to write for other publications right now, on top of everything I’m doing.

4. Spent some times getting to know my new best friend, Google Analytics. Dude, setting up widgets on there to view different metrics is not as intuitive as I thought it would be (or maybe it’s me!) But, I did set up to see simple stuff like unique viewers – (1033 so far!) and total page views (2330). You can get sucked into the data!

4. Purchased my ticket to the 2013 BlogHer conference coming up on my 40th birthday weekend in Chicago. How nice of BlogHer to be celebrating my birthday that way! Steph is going to stay home with the boys and send me off to the windy city to learn and soak in as much as I can. SO EXCITED!!!

That’s all I’ve got this week! So excited about this journey and continuing to research, explore and try new things.

As always, if you have tips or info you want to share, please do!

 

 

 

 

Chronicles of a New Blogger – Episode 1

So, it’s been 2 weeks since I plunged into the blogging landscape with my blog Mommy Loves Martinis. I have the name, design, and 2 posts under my belt. I’m annoyingly goal-oriented, so of course, now that I’m 2 weeks in, I want to know the answer to the question – how do I build up my blog to make it successful.

What does success mean to me? Life is sweeter when you have someone to share it with. Quite simply, I want to reach the people I need to reach. I have a joyous life, but I’ve also been through a lot. Maybe my authenticity and my experiences can help others. I am a helper by nature! I even went so far as to get my Masters in Social Work. I don’t do that anymore, but the desire to help lift people up will never go away for me. I really, really mean that.

I’m not special. But, I do believe that it’s in connecting with other people and their stories that we can try to combat this pervasive loneliness that just seems to be everywhere.

So, as I go about the business of blogging my passions (new-again mommyhood, building community, Special Needs, Down syndrome, current events), I also want to lay out what I’m doing to try to build a reach for my blog. I can’t really fail, because in the end, if I reach one person, I can smile. I mean it. But, I won’t lie. If I can reach more, then I’ll smile bigger. That’s a blogger’s dream. It’s why we do this online journal thing.

Inspiration is one thing, but I’m a practical gal, so in these posts, I’ll try to get specific about the activities I’m doing. Some of them might be ridiculous, wrong, or otherwise misguided. Others may be brilliant 🙂 I have no idea – I’m just following my instincts, and trying to learn from others who have gone the path before me.

So, for today –  here are my activities.

1. I happen to be a “her”. So, I registered for BlogHer.com and filled out a profile. Filling out profiles is boo-hoo irritating. How the hell do you sum up who you are and what you stand for in a short, succinct, savvy paragraph? Just do it. I created a document on Google Docs that has marketing blurbs. So far I have a short, uninspired one, and a shorter, even more uninspired one. It can only get better, folks.

2. Read an article about the top social media conferences. To me, social media and blogging go hand in hand like tofu and braggs. Like Hair Bands and Aqua Net. Like babies and squishy cheeks.  Seriously, WTF? How do I even choose? Looking at doing something that’s not even on the list – the BlogHer conference in the fair windy city of Chicago. Also interested in the Content Marketing conference. I’m currently in B2B marketing, and that’s the schizznit that works these days. Banner ads are out, content is king. I need to learn this crap, pronto.

3. Found this article about milking Twitter for all it’s worth:  HOLY CRAP. Lots of fancy tools. I chose one that looked fun (umm, who doesn’t want to know their social influence?) and signed up. I chose #WeFollow (Do these pound hashtag thingamajiggies work outside of the twitterverse? Help??)

4. Looked at my Google Analytics. Hey, it’s been a month. And, it’s addicting to study that stuff! I’ve been live for 2 weeks. I’ve had  620 unique visitors and  1168 page views. Sounds cool to me! And, I forgot to enable the google analyticator widget thingie until AFTER I published my first post. Sigh. It’ll have to be close enough. I’ve done a decent job of building up a social media presence on Facebook, so that’s where the bulk of my Sunday drive traffic comes from. Yay, Facebook friends. You rock!

5. Twitter. Twittered at the software testing conference I’m working this week. It’s not really my personal niche, but I need to practice this crap! I’m up to 103 followers! And, they didn’t leave in droves when I started tweeting software testing gems. I have a loyal Twitter following! 😉

6. Started using Tout -a video app similar to Instagram where you can upload videos directly to Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Ummm, Vine is too restricting for my marketing purposes. 6 seconds makes me think of an auctioneer. Maybe I’ll find uses for it later. Today, I used Tout for the first time. 15 seconds, baby! I posted my first video. It was an inspired take at our conference booth. You can watch it here. Don’t judge. It only goes up from here!

7. That’s all I got!

Looking forward to documenting my blog-building activities in upcoming posts. I’m so passionate about using the social landscape to connect with each other and build community. Maybe this stuff can help other newbies! And, if you’re an experience blogger, I’m happy to be the benefactor of your tips!