How I Became a Blog Believer
When I lost a daycare spot for my youngest, I became a writer. Again. After 15 years on the ‘dark side,’ managing PR for some of the city’s top arts and cultural institutions, I returned to my roots in journalism, choosing to start up on my own as a freelancer writer while staying home to care for my kids.
In terms of entrepreneurship, it was a baby step. I wasn’t planning on going full on full-time on my own in the communications world. My main business was being a mom and on the side (as in when my kids were sleeping) I’d build my writing and PR business. That, in terms of my career however, was a massive leap.
What happened while I was parenting and pitching stories and myself to potential clients, I also started blogging. This is something I swore I would never do back in the heart of my PR days. But a desire to get back into writing and a need to get the hell out of the house, I jumped into the ‘mommy blogger’ world with Kids in T.O., a go-to list of researched and reviewed family-friendly destinations in Toronto and the GTA.
Blogging turned out to be ‘work’ and getting noticed in that crazy crowded blogosphere became one of my biggest undertakings – outside of parenting!
Now more than 200+ stories and counting, I’ve learned - post by post - what resonates most with readers and I am fueled by that growing group of parents who have joined me for the ride. It is, after all, the community that makes or breaks a blog. The community is thirsty for information, but most of all, they want to know YOU.
Here is how to show them:
1) Get personal. You don’t have to be a trained writer to tell your story. You need to be authentic and passionate. Write like you talk. The most compelling and inspirational stories are when you wear your heart on your sleeve (or blog.)
2) Inform and inspire. You are the expert – believe it and own the information. Even if you are one of a million voices out there on a similar topic, there is a new or creative angle to tell your story. Find it.
3) Keep it short. A good blog post can range from 300 to 1,000 words but only use as many words as you need. (This post is about 550 words.) Keep sentences short and break up long chunks of text into separate paragraphs (2-3 sentences) for easier reading.
4) Watch your grammar. There is nothing more discrediting of a blog than a page full of typos and a great big comma party. Yes, let your story spill out on the page but before you push ‘publish,’ edit it (more than once), read it out loud to get a feel for the flow, or get a second set of eyes (a friend) to review it.
5) Make it shareable. It’s one thing to write a great story but don’t just leave it there to disappear. Spread the love (add links to your sources and engage with your audience), strategically tag some influencers and ‘friends’ on social media, and always use searched (not just clever) hashtags to get noticed.
Happy storytelling and see you online!
Born-and-raised in Saskatchewan, Renee Tratch now openly (and proudly) calls Toronto home. A freelance writer and PR consultant, she is also the voice behind the popular blog Kids in T.O. and co-founder of Moms in T.O., a collection of inspiring stories about motherhood in Toronto.