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Mommy Blogging
Finding a voice – and an income – on the Internet
By Erica Voll

When Tina Seitzinger went from working full-time in a corporate marketing job to working full-time at home taking care of her two boys under 4, she admits it was a difficult adjustment.

“I love my boys, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with them,” says Seitzinger, who lives in Camden County. “But at times, it gets a little nuts.”

Seitzinger began blogging about her life at Life Without Pink. It was her blog, she says, that kept her sane.

“Writing about the daily struggles of motherhood and raising two boys is therapeutic,” she says. “It lets me connect with other moms who are dealing with the same issues I am.”

The term “blog” is a combination of the phrase “web log.” Think of it as a personal site on the web where its author can write about any topic she chooses.

There are millions of blogs. In fact, a recent study by the marketing research website eMarketer says 3.9 million moms in the United States blog, covering topics from couponing to traveling to diapering.

And big name brands are noticing.

Tiffany Romero is the owner and co-founder of the website The SITS Girls. She began the site, which stands for “The Secret is in the Sauce,” in 2007 as a place for women bloggers to come together and connect. Romero says the more than 7,500 women that are part of the SITS community are harnessing their power as brand ambassadors and voices on the Internet.

“New media has given women a unique platform to talk to one another and share advice and information from parenting to products,” says Romero.

Romero says blogging allows women like herself to be involved in the planning and execution of major brand campaigns. She says when it’s done right, brands who partner with influential moms who blog create a positive experience that can generate buzz.

“Having a mom positively speak about a product on a brand’s behalf sends a very positive message,” she says. “It’s different than what we’re used to in traditional advertising.”

Sheila Hill is an SJ Shore mom who blogs about raising two daughters at Pieces of a Mom. She often works with brands for product reviews.

“I think it is a perk of blogging to learn about a new product or brand before other people know about it,” says Hill. “I’ve done a number of product reviews and have been introduced to a variety of products because of my blog.”

Mount Laurel resident Beth Christian blogs about SJ restaurants at Jersey Bites. A partner in a law firm, Christian makes time to visit local restaurants and review them in her column on the blog.

“I’ve always been interested in freelance writing or travel writing,” says Christian, who is also a mother of two. “But I never pursued it due to the demands of juggling my career with my family.”

Blogging, says Christian, has been a positive experience for her whole family.

“My husband enjoys going out to restaurants with me and is my official food photographer,” she says. “And I think it shows my children to keep yourself open to new possibilities.”

Jo-Lynne Shane blogs at Musings of a Housewife, and in 2008, she started a group called the Philly Social Media Moms, which includes many members from SJ.

“I created the group as a place for local mom bloggers to meet and socialize,” says Shane. Today, the group has 100 members who bring attention to social issues and charities, encourage each other in new ventures, and collaborate to plan events both online and off.

Shane also says mom bloggers are emerging as a powerful force.

“Companies who are not harnessing the power of social media are missing the boat,” she says. “Mom bloggers are working with brands in a myriad of new and creative ways, such as acting as brand ambassadors, providing consultation services, planning events and introducing brands to social networks.

“Some of us are writers, some build communities, some share our skills and some provide services,” she adds. “We are each influential in our own way.”

But there is something each one has in common: Each blogger takes her blog seriously.

“I would like to expand my readership by 50 percent in the next year,” says Hill. “To do this, I need to post regularly, remain active on Twitter and comment on other people’s blogs.”

Seitzinger, who is currently looking for marketing work, says her blog is a tool she uses in her job search.

“Blogging has allowed me to connect with companies and brands,” she says. “It also helps me stay current on trends and technology in social media.”

And Christian has taken what she’s learned from blogging to help create New Jersey Healthcare, a blog about healthcare reform and healthcare issues in the state.

“As a lawyer, I focus on health law and non-profit law,” says Christian. “Blogging has allowed me to grow as a writer.”

Many women take their blogs so seriously they trademark their blog name, form limited liability companies and earn money from their blogs by selling advertising space.

Bloggy Boot Camps, founded by Romero, are local, one-day conferences designed to give bloggers a place to network and learn things like search engine optimization, how to work with public relations agencies and leveraging social media tools to increase readership.

“It’s an intimate group of women – only about 100 at each event – and we create a conference with content that is varied but relevant,” says Romero.

Seitzinger attended Bloggy Boot Camp in September.

“It’s a great way to meet the women, in-person, that you have developed a real friendship with online,” she says. “And it was a great resource for me as well. Listening to other women talk about what has worked for them in the industry, or what hasn’t, was very valuable.

Seitzinger hopes everything she’s learned from blogging will one day translate into something more.

“I want to continue to write stories that one day my boys will enjoy,” she says. “But I also want to continue to build on my personal brand, develop strong connections with others and one day land a full-time job managing social media.”

February 2011
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