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Dads Are Parents, Too


Session: How Blogging Can Bust the Fatherhood Stereotypes
Speaker: Bruce Sallan

This may come as a shock to many in Hollywood and MSM (Main Stream Media), but dads are parents, too. What happened to the honorable, if somewhat staid dad that used to be a staple of Hollywood? Spencer Tracey in Father of the Bride? Or, Robert Young in Father Knows Best?

THAT dad is now Homer Simpson, The Family Guy, Al Bundy, and in movies the dad that can’t figure out how to put a diaper on so he gets pee in the schnozzer! Funny. Not funny when it’s a mom. They would get major protests if they portrayed moms anything like they portray dads. Boycotts, Newsweek/Time covers, Ellen, The View, even Dr. Phil (who I don’t really think is a man…shhhhhh).

The above Comic Strip is a creation of Aaron and Bruce Sallan

I am (@BruceSallan) moderating a panel at BlogWorld LA called, How Blogging Can Bust the Fatherhood Stereotypes with Jim Lin of Busy Dad Blog (@busydadblog), Ron Mattocks (@CK_Lunchbox) and Kevin Metzger (@theDadvocate).

We will ask how dads became the butt of jokes, what we are doing to correct that stereotype, and how ALL parents can be honored and celebrated for doing what is probably the most important job we can do.

Hear what Bruce has to say about his session and why you should come to BlogWorld LA:

See what other speakers are saying about BlogWorld LA.

Join Bruce and his community each Thursday for #DadChat, from 6pm -7pm PST, the Tweet Chat that Bruce hosts. Bruce Sallan, author of “A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation” and radio host of “The Bruce Sallan Show – A Dad’s Point-of-View” gave up a long-term showbiz career to become a stay-at-home-dad. He has dedicated his new career to becoming THE Dad advocate. He carries his mission with not only his book and radio show, but also his column “A Dad’s Point-of-View”, syndicated in over 100 newspapers and websites worldwide, and his dedication to his community on Facebook and Twitter.

Blogging in the Summer? Yes or No?


Remember the end of the school year as a kid? The anticipation of summer and more importantly, no school. The lazy days of summer gave us time to dream, play and be free. Often, as the summer ended, there was a new excitement for the school year. The joy of purchasing new school supplies, seeing old friends and the structure of the school year are usually welcome come September.

As I watch this cycle every year repeat itself with my kids, I began to think about applying it to my blogging. The summer is a perfect time to take a break from blogging and be free. Taking the time to enjoy my family, read a few books or just enjoy the warmth of the summer day.

I’m a big believer that the best place to look for blog post ideas is your life. You need to give your brain a break to live and enjoy. Come September, when summer is over and you are back at your computer, you will feel refreshed and there will be a new joy for blogging.

Take A Blogging Break

So, how do you enjoy a summer break, without losing your blog? Let’s start with the math. If you decide to take two months off during the summer, that is eight weeks and at 3 – 4 posts per week, you need 24 – 32 posts to cover your break.  So, how do you come up with those extra posts?

1. Write one extra post. During the other 10 months of the year, write one extra post each week and you will have 40 posts. Even if you write one extra post every two weeks, you will have 20 posts.

2. Repurpose old posts. We all have posts that we wrote when we first started blogging that could be updated and revised. Find the 10 posts that have the lowest traffic and rewrite them.

3. Guest posts. If you have one guest post each week, that is another 8 posts.

Blogging with pen and paper

With these three idea, you could have 38 – 58 posts ready to post during your summer break. And if you are like me, you may get the urge to write during your break. Don’t let that stop you. Buy a journal and try writing with pen and paper and don’t worry about links or your readers. Write for yourself and see what you come up with. You may end up with a few more posts.

What ideas do you have for planning for a summer vacation from blogging?

Images from Microsoft Images.

Parent Bloggers, Do You Need a Niche?


As soon as I decided that blogging was going to be more than just a “way to keep relatives informed,” everyone wanted to know my niche. What do I blog about? Well, just about everything that I like. But that isn’t a very good niche. I resisted for a long time narrowing down my blog to a particular niche.

When you blog about your life, it is very difficult to narrow it down to a quick one sentence tag line or elevator pitch. And I’m going to go against what all the “experts” say. I’m telling you that you don’t need to pick your niche…..right away! I have been blogging since before there was the word, blog. I created websites in Microsoft FrontPage and I always wrote about whatever I wanted and put up lots of pictures of my kids. In 2007, I realized I had readers that weren’t related to me and that was when I made the switch to being a blogger for business.

That is when the trouble began. I went to conferences and everyone wanted to know what I blogged about. My answer was different for each person because it depended on what I had written about that day. I read over and over that I needed to have a niche, I needed to know what I wanted to do with my blog, I needed to have a goal and a plan. I didn’t have any of those. I just continued to write.

The more I blogged, the more I realized I enjoyed blogging about technology and social media. I wrote about those subjects more and more and less about what my kids were doing. I continued to write and now four years later, I finally figured out my niche.

Did I just waste four years writing about something that wasn’t my niche? Not at all. I spent four years experimenting and improving my writing. Now, I have an elevator pitch, a niche and I’m working on a formal mission statement, goals and a plan.

Clues to Your Niche

Here are a few things to pay attention to that may help you find your niche.

  1. What do you like writing about the most?
  2. Look at the types of blogs you choose to read on a daily basis?
  3. Look at your tags on your blog. Which ones are used the most?

My point here being, if you enjoy blogging and you have no idea what your niche is, don’t worry about it. Keep writing and it will come, even if it takes four years!

Image from Microsoft Image Gallery.

Involving Your Kids In Your Blog Business


When I overheard my 11 year old describe my job as, “getting paid to be on the computer,” I knew it was time to involve my kids in my blog a little more. Sure, they are great topics, but I wanted them to understand what I am doing online.

Why do I care if my kids know? There are several reasons, but the most important one is because I write about them on my blog sometimes. I want them to understand how I include them on my blog so they can make them choice whether they would like to be included. I often ask them if I can include a story on my blog about something they did. They should understand what that means.

The second reason is so they understand that I am built a career out of doing something I love. It is possible to create a career if you are not finding what you want working for someone else.

Here are several ways I have started to include them more in the business of my blog.

  1. Share what you do every day. Every night when we talk about what we all did during the day, I tell my family about the posts I wrote. This helps them understand how they are included in my stories.
  2. Have the kids review products. I do product reviews on my blog and if the product is for children, I let them do the review. They use the product and then we create a video and I either interview them or they just tell me about the product and I paraphrase. It is possible to create a video without showing your kids faces. I will show them using the product while they talk about it.
  3. Give your kids a blogging day. This is one that I have been trying to get my kids to do, but so far no one has really jumped on it. They see it as homework I think, but I’m not giving up. I used to hate writing and I never thought of myself as a writer. I discovered I hated writing about the topics the teachers wanted me to write about. Once I started writing about things I am passionate about, I started to love writing. I want my kids to share that love of writing (or at least not detest writing.)
  4. Turn the camera around. I am always taking pictures and filming my kids. When I am vlogging or need pictures of me using a product, I have my kids take the pictures or record the video of me.
  5. Hire your kids. My kids love to feel like they have a job to do (and get paid.) I hire them to research, scan in business cards, enter data in my database and even clean my office. They are more willing to do this when I tell them I am hiring them as I would any other employee. I give them deadlines and let them figure out how it should get done. It gives them a sense of what having a job is all about.

I work at all hours of the day from my home and involving my family is very important to me. How do you involve your kids in your blog?

Images from Microsoft Images.

Keeping Track of What Others Say About Your Family Online


We’ve discussed where to draw the line when choosing topics to write about your family, but what about information that others may post about you, your family or even your blog. How can you keep track of that information?

First, I need to point out that there is no system that is going to catch everything that is out there on the internet about your family. I have a few methods that I use to track what might be said about me and my family.

  1. Google Alerts. Setting up Google Alerts is quite easy and can be done for just about anything. I have Google Alerts set up for my name, my kid’s names, my husband’s name, each of my kid’s schools, my blogs and a few keywords I track. It was through those Google Alerts that I discovered my daughter had set up an email account she shouldn’t have created, my son’s play received awesome reviews from our local newspaper, an article was written about my husband and someone had stolen one of my blog posts. I have the alerts sent directly to my email and I quickly scan through them. It doesn’t take much effort and can find a lot (but not everything.)
  2. Social Mention Alerts. While this is similar to Google Alerts above, I find that they do overlap sometimes, but Social Mention often finds different things. You can set up alerts again for anything and have them emailed to you.
  3. Twitter Searches. I set up columns in my TweetDeck that searches for each of the names I want to find. This could be done in HootSuite or any other Twitter monitoring tool that has columns. This isn’t quite as accurate because people often shorten things, but once again, I’ve found a few things about my husband’s company.
  4. Tweet Beep. I just found Tweet Beep today, so I have not used it, but it looks like Google Alerts for Twitter. If anyone uses Tweet Beep, let me know how well it works.

The best defense is to be sure you teach your children how to sue the internet safely. But you can not always control the information that is released about you. This is another way for you to track what others might be saying.

What tools do you use to monitor your family’s name online?

Image from Microsoft Images

Read Nursery Rhymes to Your Kids From Anywhere With New App and Wi-Fi!


Having just spent the majority of yesterday at the hospital with my preschooler, I have to say that this app went straight to my heart. Even non-parents can appreciate the beautiful drawings of the classic stories.

The Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app is available on the iPad, iPhone 4 or 3GS. You can read these stories aloud to your child from any Wi-Fi accessible app.

Available for $4, the app contains popular nursery rhymes like Humpty Dumpty, Jack & Jill, and Three Blind Mice. Not only does the child hear your voice, they can interact with the stories as well. According to their site, Nursery Rhymers merges the illustrations of Denslow, created over a century ago, with the very latest in physics simulations. The app appears to have been built out of a torn-up and rearranged copy of Denslow’s original Mother Goose. Click here to download.

How Do Parent Bloggers Find the Time to Blog? 10 Tips For Finding Time


The number one question I’m asked when I tell people I blog is, “How do you find the time to blog when you have 4 kids?” The second question is, “How do you do it all?” I use the time effectively or I would never get anything done.

Finding time to Blog There are days where it all flows easily and I feel like I’m on top of the world. But there are also days where I am lucky to get a shower in, I forget to pick someone up from school and all three meals are McDonald’s. Not something I care to admit, but the truth.

Here are my tricks for finding time to blog, keep a house up and raise kids.

  1. Let go of perfection. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have standards and you shouldn’t try to do a good job. It just means that not everything you do has to be done to perfection. That is an impossible goal, so don’t even try.
  2. Don’t do it all yourself. I have someone come and clean my house every 2 weeks. I know that if nothing else, my showers and floors will get cleaned every 2 weeks. It also forces me to pick up every 2 weeks. I hate cleaning with a passion and so I let someone else do it. Ask for help when you need it.
  3. Carry something with you to take notes. Whether it’s a pad of paper or audio notes on your iPhone, when an idea strikes, take note of it. I use my iPhone because I can talk faster than I can write. When I have an idea for a post, I talk it out. I find that often I talk enough to get an entire post written. If you use a program like Dragon Dictation on your iPhone, you will save some of the writing time too.
  4. Work when you wait. According to Answers.com, the average person spends 2 – 3 years in their lifetime waiting. When I’m waiting at the doctors, in line at the grocery store, in line to pick-up kids, I get small things done that I can do on my iPad or iPhone. I check e-mails, read blogs, research for articles I’m writing or edit articles. It doesn’t seem like much, but it helps me get some of the small tasks done. There are days where during that time, I listen to music or catch up on a TV show. Either way, I’m accomplishing something I want to get done.
  5. Have a weekly plan. Each week, I look at my deadlines and plan out how I will accomplish everything. Things do come up and I have to adjust, but I find having a plan helps me.
  6. Schedule in time for last minute stuff. I have deadlines each week, but I try to make my deadlines several days before the article is really due. That way when I have to take a kid to the doctor or I am sick, I have some leeway on my time.
  7. Learn to say No! I’m still working on this one. You have to know what you have time to do. Saying no isn’t not an insult. It just means you do not have the time. There are so many things we would like to do, but we have to prioritize our time. Leo Babauto of Zen Habits wrote an excellent article, 7 Simple Ways to Say “No.”
  8. Take a break. This may seem like an odd tip for this topic, but if you do not take time for yourself, you will burn out. It will begin to take you longer to do tasks because you will not be able to focus. Take a break and you will feel refreshed.
  9. Enlist the help of your family. When I have to review products, I get my family to help me. If it’s something we can all do, I get everyone to try it and I record their responses on video. This morning my kids and I did a workout video together for a review I’m working on. We had a blast and it was a great way for me to work and spend times with me kids.
  10. Have fun! When you stop having fun blogging, then it may be time to quit. When your work is something you love doing, it doesn’t feel like work.

Not all of these tips will work for everyone. Use what works and leave the rest.

What ideas do you have for finding time to blog?

Image from Microsoft.

Why Be a Mommy Blogger?


Why would I want to be a Mommy Blogger? I get this question a lot. Why would I want to share intimate details of my everyday life with the world? Very good question, which I will answer in a moment. First let’s look at the Mommy Blogger phenomenon.

Marketing to Mommy Bloggers appear to be a new phenomenon, however, Moms have had the purchasing power in the family for decades. Marketing to moms is not new at all. Here is an ad from the 1950s, which clearly depicts a Mom making her child very happy with the 7-Up. If only it were that easy!

1950s Advertising Mom

Photo by James Vaughan

The difference now is that brands do not have to just market “at” Moms. The dialogue is now two-way. Moms are talking with brands about the products we use. Moms are influencing the next generation of products by telling brands what we need instead of brands telling us what we need.

According to the The BabyCenter 2010 Mom Social Influencer Report,

  • 18% of moms who use social media account for 78% of the influence
  • Motherhood is the #1 trigger for social media usage
  • Social moms are most influential in their native environments

So, why would I want to be a Mommy Blogger? As The BabyCenter 2010 Mom Social Influencer Report has shown, the #1 reason women go online is motherhood. Being a first time Mom can be very lonely. We often leave office jobs where we have daily contact with other adults and are within days thrown into an environment where the only person to talk to is our baby. Women are social creatures by nature, therefore, women seek out others online more than men.

Like many Moms, I went online to find others at home like me. I started my blog to share with my family, the daily changes in my kid’s life. I found that writing about my passion for technology brought other Moms with a similar passion to my blog. I found my tribe and a replacement for the office camaraderie I missed when I decided to stay at home with my babies.

Whether you are a Mommy Blogger or a Mom who blogs, the majority of us share the intimate details of our lives and passions because we want to find our tribe and share our knowledge with that tribe. We seek out the daily companionship we left at the office. Being a Mom can be a very lonely job. Being a Mommy Blogger brings the world to your computer and you realize you not so alone after all.

Are you a Mommy Blogger? If so, why did you go online and blog?

Michele McGraw is a mom of 4 who blogs about technology, digital scrapbooking and fitness at Scraps of My Geek Life. She can be found socializing on Twitter, @ScrappinMichele.

Monetization and the Parenting Blogger


In the summer of 2008 I was facing a ticking time bomb. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a time bomb. It was the clock that was ticking telling me that in one year I would need to return to teaching in order to once again supplement my spouse’s income. While there were many things that I loved about teaching – the students, the content, the coworkers – there were also many things that I strongly disliked about teaching – the students, the content, the coworkers. With my four year old filling my days with sunshine and my cuddly two year old in my arms most of the day, I also could not fathom a return to my eleven hour teacher work days that involved weekends of grading papers and would now involve daycare drop-offs and pickups, both occurring in the dark.

Thus I began blogging. While moderating the BlogHer Mindful Monetization panel earlier this month, someone asked if there’s a particular niche blog that tends to make more money than others. I simply answered, “Not parenting blogs,” and turned it over to my fellow speaker who does very well through ad revenue on her beauty site. Of course, no one told me two years ago when I began blogging that starting a parenting blog would not be my road to riches. And in fact, my goal at the time was not to find my fortune through an ad network or affiliate revenue but rather to tap into that writer brain that had long since been silenced by the sound of crying children. I hoped to build an online portfolio of blog posts with the goal of freelance writing and editing jobs, and just enough of them to keep me at home with my children and the bills paid.

Most parenting bloggers have a no dearth of content ideas. Many of us are stay-at-home parents and are surrounded by other parents not only in our day to day lives but also online through social media. Should I ever find myself without a post topic, I need only to tweet, “What parenting issue are you dealing with right now?” and suddenly I have a couple dozen topics to research ranging from potty training a toddler to the potty mouth of a tween. Finding time to create that content is a different story. While bloggers in another niche may have set aside time from their daily work schedule to post, parenting bloggers, stay-at-home moms in particular, post frantically during nap time or in the wee hours of the morning when they themselves should be sleeping.

What does all of this mean for monetization? There are certainly many parenting bloggers who have no desire to monetize….and that’s good because monetization is not easy. While I’ve watched frugal living bloggers rapidly build a fan base that has led them to phenomenal ad revenue through private sales and ad networks, I’ve also watched mom journaling bloggers struggle to secure a ten dollar 125 x 125 button ad. For many parenting bloggers, writing sponsored posts is simply not an option either for the integrity of their blog or simply for lack of offers. This has led many parenting bloggers to seek methods of monetization beyond their blogs. There is certainly no shortage of examples of brands and bloggers working together successfully in spokesperson relationships, through integrated campaigns, and in social media through Twitter events, Facebook campaigns and more. Even with the opportunities available to monetize using their blog as a platform, a means to an end, parenting bloggers still face small budgets and the scrutiny of their readers as well as their community when they choose to monetize.

While I never could have predicted two years ago where I am today thanks to the creation of my own parenting blog, Resourceful Mommy, I’m happy that this is the path I have taken. The problem for other parenting bloggers looking to monetize is not lack of trailblazers, but that no two bloggers seem to find success following the same path. While those of us who are happy with where we have gone can certainly provide guidance to those hoping to move from mommy to monetization, only hard work, time and a healthy dose of luck can move a parenting blogger hoping to find monetary success to where they want to be.

Amy Lupold Bair writes her own parenting blog at http://ResourcefulMommy.com and owns the blog network Global Influence comprised of 1,000+ other bloggers, many of them parents. In her non-parent time she…well, she doesn’t have any of that. Learn more about Amy and what she does at http://resourcefulmommymedia.com

The Parenting Blogosphere: A REAL Reality Show in Progress


bellezappa There are TONS of parents in the Blogosphere, and none of them knows everything about rearing children.

(One raises alfalfa; one rears children.  Semantics, semantics, semantics. . . .)

However, we all know SOMEthing about rearing children, and if you put all of the “somethings” together, we just might have everything.  Maybe.

It’s not just parents with young children who live in the Blogosphere, you know.  There are also older parents whose children are grown and gone, but these people are parents, nonetheless!  Often, these experienced parents are the missing link when it comes to the combined forces of the Blogosphere knowing “something” and knowing “everything!”

For someone like me, for example, with grown children and a shipload of experience but no takers in my real life, blogging about the joys and sorrows and delights and frustrations of raising children is a cathartic thing, with a lot of the bad memories miraculously and conveniently erased.  But to a young parent, some small thing I mention might make a world of difference!  I hope so, anyway.

This applies to many areas, of course, but parenting is the most important job in the world, so it is the one I am thinking about right now.

When my children were babies, and toddlers, and all the way on up to now, all I had to help me were pamphlets and relatives.  Much of what I learned from these very limited resources was viable, but so much more of it just, well, wasn’t.  It would have been wonderful to have, at my fingertips, a wealth of OTHER parents who were learning, as do we all, by trial and error, themselves.

Blogging parents will always have someone to ask, someone to tell, someone to admonish, someone to thank, and someone to fall back in abject horror at the very THOUGHT of being like that.  Often, a bad example is also the best example.

The Blogosphere.  Now, that’s a reality show I could go for.

P.S.  Those are MY children in the picture.  My beautiful, beautiful children.

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