FREDERICK COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
In 2008, I launched a blog called parenting BY dummies.
It wasn’t meant to be anything more than a little hobby I did to keep the creative juices flowing after I had my third child and decided to do the stay at home mom life largely because the price of three kids in daycare was more than my annual salary.
I’d always wanted to be a writer and I finally had time to do that in a way.
There was zero thought about where it would go, building a brand, making an income—it was just a place where I wrote funny things about motherhood that my mom and best friend read.
No one else read it.
And I was totally fine with that.
Until one day someone else stumbled across it, and left a comment.
I freaked out a little because weird, a perfect stranger was enjoying reading about my life, but also AWESOME, a perfect stranger was enjoying reading about my life!
That one comment grew into more, and more, and one day I realized that this “little hobby” where I wrote funny stories about motherhood might actually be a bigger deal than just giving me a creative outlet between the diaper changes and playdates.
I know you’re probably over there rolling your eyes as you connect the dots to determine that I was one of those “mommy bloggers” and before you navigate away from this post because you already know that the mommy blogger thing is nothing like your “real business” thing, let me just give you a little spoiler about where this is going: my mommy blog has allowed me to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, created several streams of income for me, won social media awards, and helped me gain position marketing positions with national brands, and that’s just what happened last year.
Still with me?
Between 2008 and 2014, lots of things happened that caused me to truly reimagine my blog’s purpose (you’ll have to buy me a coffee if you want to hear about that transformation). I even changed the name to DudeMom.com so it would be something more fitting (I have three sons).
Over the course of about six years my blog had become my full time job and source of income and I had the opportunity to do a lot of big campaigns and promotions.
Before I knew it, I’d become what some would call “an influencer.”
Personally I hate that word because it makes it sound like I’m out here stealthily recruiting people to my nefarious mom gang with our Yeti coffee mugs and fur lined boots.
Totally not my jam.
I don’t even have a Yeti coffee mug *tucks fur lined boots beneath desk*.
Besides, I’ve evolved. I don’t just write stories about my mom life anymore. I also create funny memes, and gifs, develop ads, create social media strategy, consult with national brands on their marketing strategy, manage this really awesome Facebook community where organic reach is still a thing, and work in the communications department of your friendly Frederick County Chamber of Commerce.
Recently, that little blog only my mom used to read, took me to New York City to appear as a guest on the Today Show!
Amidst the well wishes and kind words of encouragement, a number of people have shared their curiosity about how a mom in Frederick gets in a position to do something like that and, because I like to keep it real, I figured I'd just go ahead and tell you.
Social Media Can Take You Places: How to Use Your Online Platforms to Gain Exposure for Your Business
Consider yourself a rockstar.
And learn how to tell people you are one without also sounding like you’re about to spike a football in the end zone and do a touchdown dance around it.
No one likes people who are cocky. Bragging is annoying, and yes, I mean humblebragging on Facebook too.
But there is an art to letting people know that you’re awesome at something that they might like to know about.
For me, it was about getting over the fact that I wasn’t “just” a mom. Motherhood is an important part of who I am and I’m proud of that, but I am also a college graduate with a master’s degree. I’m a great storyteller, I have an eye for photography, I know the Facebook algorithm probably better than Mark Zuckerberg himself, and I have a knack for designing engaging marketing campaigns that knock goals out of the park.
Nail down that elevator pitch once and for all and then don’t be weird about saying it when the opportunity arises because you know what they say about luck…
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” -Seneca
Become an expert.
The first time I was invited onto a news segment to share some ideas for healthy breakfast options for kids, the producer’s script had my title as Amanda Rodriguez, parenting expert, DudeMom.com.
I literally LOL’d.
Parenting expert is probably the biggest oxymoron I’ve heard in years. You can’t be an expert parent. There’s no one right way to do parent life. There’s no handbook, there’s no formula, or fail proof plan to making great kids. There are some great ideas and some decent advice, and we all know that depending on the kid, and the parent, and the situation, and a bunch of other factors that weigh on humanity in various ways, you still don’t know exactly how a person is going to turn out.
That said, no matter what your topic is, you want to position yourself as a resource—someone who is able to provide information that your target audience consistently finds useful, meaningful, and trustworthy.
If you use your platforms to become a good online resource, you will open yourself up to more opportunities to demonstrate that to an even larger audience.
Whether you have a niche shop on Market Street in downtown Frederick or a blog designed to entertain parents while helping to make their lives easier, you want your online portals to reflect that you know your stuff and can provide value to people even if they won’t ever be able to walk through your doors and enjoy your knowledge and expertise first hand.
Be smart about your social media.
Your social media platforms are like windows into your world and you want to make sure that when people look inside they don’t see your mess laying about.
That doesn’t mean that you need to have this perfect, curated feed of only beautiful words and images. It means that you want to understand your brand, your audience, and the platform you’re posting on to ensure that your messaging hits your intended audience in a way that is as authentic as possible.
You want your social media presence to speak to who you and your brand truly are, so that when you get the opportunity to represent it on a bigger stage you are able to meet the expectations that opportunity sets upon you.
Look at everything as an opportunity.
That doesn’t mean you have to take them all, it just means that before you turn something down, you should take a beat to think through how this could be a stepping stone to something else that aligns with your ultimate goals.
In October, I had the opportunity to go to New York and film a YouTube series with the Today Show. It wasn’t on TV and it wasn’t something I thought was going to bring me much in terms of exposure--I’ve been on several YouTube based shows, I have my own YouTube channel, and it wasn’t a paid opportunity—in fact, I paid for my own train ticket to get to New York.
It would’ve been easy to say no thank you. It was a super busy week, my budget wasn’t really feeling it, and my kids were being kinda needy. But a friend asked me to participate and I wanted to support her.
Plus, like most things, it wasn’t without possibilities.
Afterall, it was a Today Show production, hosted by a regular Today Show contributor in a studio located on the same hallway as Jimmy Fallon (I stood in the bathroom with Gloria Allred, passed Billy Crystal several times on my way there and back, and watched Quavos mull over his outfit while his dancers warmed up in the hallway).
I imagined that this could possibly lead to other opportunities with the network, ones that would have me taking selfies on the set of the Today Show we’ve all seen on morning TV.
Either way, I went because it felt like the right thing to do, both for who I was in October and for who I could be in the future.
The email I received to appear on the Today Show with Hoda last week started, “I got your info from the producer you worked with back in October…”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Want to find more ways to get yourself in front of the media? This upcoming event is a great way to learn more: Promote Your Business: How to Get Your Organization Noticed by the News Media
Amanda is the blogger behind the humor parenting blog, DudeMom.com. She has lived in Frederick with her husband, three sons, and dog since 2006. She also works at the Chamber as the Digital Marketing Specialist.
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