Diary of a First Time Mom Celebrates Pittsburgh Mom Bloggers Heather Hopson July 10, 2013 Uncategorized 17 Comments Dear Diary, Yesterday, I hosted my first Diary of a First Time Mom Lunch & Learn event in partnership with The Motherhood for Pittsburgh mom bloggers. The company connects brands and bloggers to create smart, original and engaging campaigns. My goal was to get to know my favorite bloggers better, meet new bloggers and introduce their blogs to others. I hoped to create a community and a support group. There are endless opportunities in the blogging business. Sometimes an advertiser doesn’t select my site to participate in a campaign, but I may know another mom who is a perfect fit. I once heard someone say that networking isn’t about what you can get. Often, you have to give, give, give before you get anything in return. One reason I launched my website was to help other moms. Now, I hope to help other bloggers as they pursue their dreams in the writing world. About 15 Pittsburgh mom bloggers attended the event. They each received a personalized name tag and a necklace. If anyone said the word “blog,” another blogger could take their beads. Jaquie from The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood racked up the most beads and won five tickets to Phipps Conservatory. She can take her family or visit the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden to write stories for her site in peace. To get to know each other, we played a game called What’s in your blog? Kim from Crafty Mama of 4 scored the most points and scored four tickets to the Pittsburgh Zoo courtesy of Pittsburgh Urban Media. Rachel from Third Stop on the Right came in second and received tickets to Triple B Farms upcoming peach festival. I shared my thoughts about why I began to blog and how I attracted brands to my site. My takeaway–Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, create a niche site of your own. You don’t need major numbers to attract major attention. Create quality content, and build relationships with your readers. I then turned the floor over to The Motherhood co-founder Cooper Monroe, who talked to bloggers about how she and Emily McKann turned their blog into a business. She told the moms to go with their guts. Is writing for free worth it? Is it driving traffic to your site? Is it establishing a relationship with the company, or building a reputation among PR firms that you work for free? If not, prioritize your work, and focus on your site. She warned against writing posts just for money. Your readers know what’s authentic , so don’t back brands you don’t believe in. She also shared how brands often look for specifics. For instance, you won’t land a Lactaid campaign if you’re not lactose intolerant. Cooper also shared how a simple post can make a lifelong impact on others. Maybe your shining the light on a charity or telling a mom’s story that saves others time, effort, stress or frustration. Since we had limited time, bloggers wrote questions on sticky notes and posted them in the parking lot, or in this case, the Ask Your Mother board. By the way, that’s a picture of my pretty mama. I wrapped up the event by announcing giveaway items. Chaton from Chaton’s World won the grand prize–a two-hour blog consultation with The Motherhood and a goodie bag. Becky from ‘Lil Burghers also took home a gift bag from The Motherhood. Heather from My Tales With Two took home a $100 gift certificate and product prize pack from EsSpa Kozmetica Organic Skincare, an award-winning spa in Pittsburgh. She definitely deserved it, since she has twins! The spa also gifted everyone a $20 gift certificate, which you too can receive by signing up for the EsSpa email distribution list on the spa’s website. Stephanie from When Crazy Meets Exhaustion won two autographed copies of Co-parenting 101 from author and blogger Deesha Phillywaw. In addition to the book, Stephanie’s readers can win a one-hour co-parenting consultation with Deesha or her ex-husband. And they say the early bird gets the worm. In this case, the first blogger to arrive, Rachel, got a Max & Erma’s gift card. Before the women bounced and blogged, the filled out a feedback form and received information on how to keep in touch with all the bloggers, like Christine from More Than Mommies, Cynthia from Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, Elizabeth from From Practice to Parenting, Elizabeth from Try it as You May, Kelly from Pgh. Momtourage, Mary from Everyday Baby Steps, Nadine from Pittsburgh Mommy Blog and Rhonda from Raising Her Right. All awesome sites! Big thanks to everyone who attended! If you’re a mom blogger in the Burgh or the surrounding area, email me to receive an invitation to attend the next event. Hey bloggers! What’s the best advice you’ve ever received to make your blog better? 17 Responses Jenn Rian July 10, 2013 Well, this just made me more jealous that I couldn’t be there 🙁 This is awesome! I look forward to attending future events! Reply Christine @MomsNCharge July 11, 2013 Woot! Woot! Congrats Heather on hosting what looks to have been a FAB first event! So proud of you mama and look forward to seeing and hearing about the next one. I’ll have to say ditto to what When Crazy Mom Meets Exhaustion wrote about making sure you stay authentic. It’s so much easier to write when you’re not trying to be someone else. Reply firsttimemom July 16, 2013 Thanks Christine! Can I officially be in your Moms ‘N Charge crew? lol Reply Val July 11, 2013 I love this recap and the take aways are on point. Just produce quality content and be genuine. The relationships will come. Reply firsttimemom July 16, 2013 So true Val! People see through fakeness. You know when someone is reaching out only to get something from you. Bloggers gotta stay true to themselves, because that’s all we have when we shut down the computer at night. Reply Heather Coleman July 13, 2013 Thanks again for hosting this fantastic event! I feel like I learned so much from all of the ladies there and am inspired to “get serious.” I’ll say it again – you’re a woman of vision Heather! Reply firsttimemom July 16, 2013 Aww, you’re making me blush! lol Thanks for coming. I am sooooo happy that you won the spa gift certificate. With twins, you deserve a little pampering (versus changing Pampers:) Reply Janeane Davis July 14, 2013 Thanks for sharing how your event went with us. I am happy for you that things went so well. I look forward to hearing about the next one. Reply firsttimemom July 16, 2013 Thanks Janeane! You were a big supporter from across the state! Reply Joyce@MommyTalkShow July 14, 2013 Looks like an amazing event. Wish I could have attended. Sounds like great information was shared. Reply firsttimemom July 16, 2013 Do like Oprah and Gail did, and bring your talk show on the road for the next event! lol Reply Chasing Joy July 15, 2013 I am so happy to hear how well your event went. Congrats. Reply firsttimemom July 16, 2013 We had a fabulous time! My only complaint–I wish it was longer! Reply firsttimemom July 16, 2013 Thanks! It brought everyone such “joy”. Thanks for giving me the idea to have a Lunch & Learn event! Reply MELISASource July 15, 2013 Wow!! Looks and sounds like it was an awesome event! I love your photos! Congratulations on its success! Reply femmefrugality July 15, 2013 Looks like you guys had a great time! Would love to participate in the future! Looking forward to meeting you on Friday at OVBloggers! Reply firsttimemom July 16, 2013 Can’t wait til Friday! Seems like so much fun! 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