Dear Diary,

Recently, I shared my blogging story on a panel hosted by the National Association of Women Business Owners. I went down memory lane–two years back in my mommy brain, and told the group how I grew my website and partnered with brands. When the site launched, I was the king of content! Using my journalism background, I mastered the art of storytelling. I interviewed experts, featured amazing moms and posted pictures of my beautiful baby. But the saying, build it, and they will come didn’t ring true. I had to connect with other writers, especially ones with larger audiences. Although content may be king, but collaboration is queen!  Here’s how you can become a better blogger by connecting with other writers.

1. Find a Mentor

Who do you want to be when you grow up in the World Wide Web? I  wanted to be Denene Milner from My Brown Baby and Ronnie Tyler from Black & Married with Kids. So, my mentor, Damon from Very Smart Brothas advised me to guest write for larger parenting sites. I didn’t know Damon personally, but reached out to him via Facebook–we graduated from the same high school, and bribed him with free food. We met for dinner–my treat, and I picked his brain for ideas on how to grow my website. We later became friends, and I followed his advice and added Denene and Ronnie to my list of blogging buddies as well.  Since I didn’t have an audience, I borrowed their readers. My articles and bio were featured on their website, and readers eventually started to click on my link.

2. Find a Friend

This step was super easy for an extrovert like me. For one, I was real life friends with Gina from All the Many Layers and Kim from Pish Posh Perfect. We’ve been writing and reading each other’s work for years. Gina and I met in middle school and will be best friends forever! The three of us even went to our first blogging conference, Blogalicious together in 2013. I then met my virtual blogging buddy-Brandi Jeter. She is a co-founder of Pushing Lovely, one of the the best blogging groups on the Internet in my book! The Facebook group is a supportive setting for female writers of color–although your ethnicity isn’t a requirement for membership. Brandi and I became friends outside of the group and eventually met in person. She’s the truth! She really knows what you should do to stand out in a sea of bloggers and attract major brands. When I published my first sponsored post, she gave me advice about my photos. I applied her words of wisdom and have since wrote countless sponsored stories. I even landed a few ambassadorships. When paid opps come our way, we can toss each other’s name into the ring when agencies are looking to work with more bloggers. She can show you better than I can tell you, which is probably why she published that e-book everyone has been begging for the past year or so!

Brandi, the blogger behind Mama Knows It All, recently released her first book, The 7 Days to a Better Blog Challenge. This book is for anyone who wants to blog or has a blog but wants to blog better. Brandi is an advocate, mother, newlywed and friend to many and has coached hundreds of bloggers on what it takes to make money from their site through her job at Collective Bias.

3. Find a Community

Join a Facebook group!  There are hundreds, make that thousands, to choose from. The key is finding a group that isn’t a click farm. You want to form genuine relationships and build trust among the members. You don’t want to just read, share and comment on content you couldn’t care less about. I turn to Pushing Lovely and Black & Married with Kids to share/receive tips, vent about writer’s block or shout out accomplishments. Using the groups’ best practices, I started my own group for Diary of a First Time Writers. Email me if you’re interested in joining the team! I can be reached at

Hey DFTM Fam–Are you thinking about starting a blog? If so, what do you want to write about? What steps are you taking to turn your dream into a reality? 

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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