Monday, November 10, 2014

Life of a Blogger

Posted by Tara



Today I wanted to share the inside scoop of blogging. Why and how we got started and what my end goal in blogging is. There are a lot of people that don't understand why and how it happens. 

Why
I used to blog years ago, when family blogs were big. My kids were little and I would post updates on them and happenings with our family. Over time, I eventually stopped. Life got too busy with 4 little ones and I couldn't find the time to sit down at the computer and write and post pictures. I had a couple of people un-pleased with my decision, but that's how life goes!
My kids are much older now, all but one are in school during the day. I found myself getting together with my friend Devin multiple times a week to craft and create things. It was fun! I enjoyed it. I knew that blogging had come a LONG way since I last did it. There were a few I followed and thought, I could never do this.
My friend Cindy Jenkins from Jenkins Kid Farm knew that I had been tossing around the idea about blogging and invited me to attend a bloggers' conference called Revive put on by the girls at Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market. 


I approached Devin before I attended and asked "Hey, would you like to blog with me?" She loved the idea and had already been thinking of the same thing! We tossed around the idea of what we would be called before I left for the conference. When I attended Revive, I still wasn't sure if I was going to blog. A lot of details were still unfinished. I learned sooo much though. I learned marketing and picture taking for a blog. I learned how to help your blog grow and make money from blogging. I got to meet some incredible bloggers and make lots of new friends. After leaving there, I was sure about starting this blog. I knew I really wanted it.
Fast forward 20 months and here we are! Our blog grew so quickly. We weren't expecting or planning on it to go this fast, but it has. I attended as many blogging events as I could fit into my schedule during the first year to learn all that I could but to also market our name and get us out there with other bloggers. And it worked! We have worked with some amazing bloggers and I don't think that would have happened if I didn't get out there and meet people. I had someone the other day ask "How did you do it? Your blog is successful in a short amount of time. It took years for mine to get up and going." We have seriously been blessed in the blogging field to have only been doing it for a little over a year and a half and be where we are.

How
We first chose a name. Salt and Pepper Moms actually came from Devin's husband, Jake. At the time my hair was really dark and Devin has light hair and skin and he said it to be funny, but we loved it! Then we met with our friend Caitlin who took some pictures of us and also designed our blog. We still at this point didn't know what we were doing and exactly what direction we wanted to go with the blog. We launched in March of 2013. We did a few wood pallet posts and they did amazing for us in stats. Our pallet signs are still our number 1 post with the most hits. As we started adding more recipes and projects to our blog, our friend Caitlin encouraged us to start fashion as well. We had no idea what to post about but thought "What the heck, let's do it!" Our fashion posts have come such a long way. 

The Business Side
Now to explain the business side of things. Although blogging is really fun and we enjoy it, it can also be quite time consuming. We are busy moms with a lot on our plate and it helps to keep our blog running if we can find a way to make it profitable for us. There are three ways we do this: 1. product reviews, 2. ad campaigns for specific companies, and 3. ads on our site.

Product Reviews: If a clothing company comes across our blog and sees us wearing a cute dress and they like the post, they contact us and say "Hey we want to send you two dresses to review and share with your readers in a fashion post." Who doesn't love free clothes!? Clothing is not the only thing we review, just an example. Free products are one way we are sometimes compensated for taking the time to write about a product for someone. We always strive to provide our readers with honest reviews of whatever products we have been given. We have lots of companies contact us weekly wanting us to share their products. We check them out first to make sure their company is a good fit for us and our blog. For example, one time we were approached by a company who sells red solo cups for college parties. We pick companies with products who fit our mommy lifestyle and that company definitely was not a good fit for us.

Ad Campaigns: There are some companies who don't provide products but will pay you for a post. There are companies out there that link bloggers like us with companies such as Walgreens, Walmart, Target... the list goes on. With those companies you have to pitch your blog to them and tell them why they should choose you. Sometimes you get picked, sometimes you don't! And a lot of campaigns are simply not a good fit for us, but it's exciting when there is a company that we are excited to work with because their products fit so perfectly with what we do already and then we get paid to post for them! It's great.

Ads on Our Site: These are simply advertisements you see on the side bars of our blog's page. We do not usually choose these ads, rather they are determined by the type of traffic running through our blog and what Google feels (can Google feel? I guess it can...) would appeal to our readers. We are paid based on "clicks" on these ads. Pretty self-explanatory.

We post on everything from fitness to recipes to fashion and more. Anything we love is up for posting on! We try to post 3 times a week to help keep our stats up which in turn helps us when we pitch ourselves to companies. We try to make sure our posts look clean and professional for all those companies out there to notice us and want to work with us for their product reviews and ad campaigns.

Our Blog
There are thousands and thousands of bloggers out there. Some may blog strictly for business and some blog for fun. Regardless, they are creating amazing crafts, diy projects, recipes and so on. Think about Pinterest. Pinterest is a bloggers' world. Almost everything you pin is linked up to a blog. You get great content and helpful information and bloggers, in return, get great stats on our blogs. We create and share things to, yes, have a little business but ultimately we want to share it with our family and friends. If I had some amazing secret to eliminate laundry in your house, wouldn't you want to know what it is? We make things and think "This is awesome, we should post this so everyone could benefit." Some people may wonder, "how do I know if a product you're posting about is really good?" We don't lie on our blog. We aren't going to say this is a great product when, in fact, it sucks. We are honest girls and always represent that on the blog as well.


Blogging Realities
There's a lot of behind-the-scene stuff that happens with posts that you just aren't going to see. Do we share them? Not usually because we don't think it would interest those readers coming to our blog. Like the above picture. Here is the story behind the night I baked and photographed these yummy cookies. Seth (my husband) was gone attending a church meeting and the rest of us had just wrapped-up eating dinner. I had my cousin, Zach, and his wife, Julia, over for dinner. It was nearing bed time and the kids were getting that "hyper before sleep" thing going on... if you're a mom, you know what I am talking about. The older kids finally went to bed but my little Blake was still up. He was jumping around by our table in our living room and lost his balance and hit his eye on the corner of the table. I rushed over and scooped him up. The way it sounded I knew there was going to be blood. But what I didn't expect was stitches. 

I called Seth and told him he was going to need stitches. Having 4 boys, this wasn't our first go around with stitches and I knew not to panic. Seth hurried home and ate dinner, while I took pictures of the cookies. Blake was fine (he actually fell asleep within minutes of hitting his eye). We left our kids with my cousin and headed out. He got 7 stitches and it was the worse thing I have ever had to witness. Blake screamed this sad scream the whole time. It broke my heart. Things happen behind that scenes that sometimes I didn't feel necessary to share. I know for me, if I have a recipe that I want to share, I have a kitchen that is a mess from making it. Life happens for us too. Things get busy, house gets dirty and we are running around trying to raise a family, just like you. But when I see delicious looking cookies on Pinterest, I just want the recipe and perhaps a few pretty pictures of the cookies when I go to that site, not gory photos of a poor little baby with a gash on his head.
I hope by reading this you can either relate or have learned more about the behind the scenes of the world of blogging! Feel free to leave feed back on what you think about this post. We are always trying to improve our blog so our followers and readers will want to return!

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2 Comments:

At November 10, 2014 at 8:28 PM , Blogger Molly Campbell said...

Glad to hear your blog is doing well! So many of my favorite bloggers hardly ever post any more, it seems like it isn't worth it to them anymore, but I miss having blog posts to read, I hope you guys are around for quite a while!

 
At November 19, 2014 at 6:41 PM , Anonymous Michelle Hutchison said...

This is such an inspiring post- you've mentioned avenues for growth I've never considered before! I've been guest blogging for years but have recently launched my own nutrition coaching business and blog here in Phoenix- www.ohmynosh.net Starting something on your own takes so much research, strategizing, and plain old prayer! Love hearing about your successes- I hope to follow suit!

Quick question- do you have any thoughts on the efficiency of guest posting in building an audience?

 

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