August 31, 2018
So, the window for the official competition has come and gone, but I finally had some extra time over the summer to write my own post, finally return the favour to my nominator, and nominate some of my own favourite blogs! Why not now?
Vanessa’s year-long tour around the world is soon reaching its conclusion, and I’ve sure enjoyed learning vicariously about the many different cultures and places she’s visited this year! Am also looking forward to her tips and recommendations when she returns back home to Vancouver.
I actually used to blog on behalf of the City of Port Alberni for their The Heart of Vancouver Island website. I had NO idea about SEO or keywords or copywriting back then so was basically just winging it. Even so, I found that I really enjoyed writing and sharing other peoples’ stories through this medium. The funding for this project was cut off, despite the 20K+ organic facebook page likes we garnered. This was a big blow, as we had put so much work + energy into this project.
Our The Heart of Vancouver Island Team was each asked to write a monthly column in the local community newspaper, The Alberni Valley Times. Don’t try to search for it online, because you won’t find anything. This 60-year old publication shut down 3-4 months into our writing for them.
I also had an article published in a high-end magazine, which was a really cool experience to see my work in print: CVC Collective: Get Outta Town: Port Alberni
Once I moved to the mainland started to write for Fraser Valley Lifestyle Magazine and had a lot of fun connecting with local businesses and promoting local events. One of my favourite posts for them was on a local business owner who offers free cosmetic tattooing for cancer patients through their #SheIsStrong program
I took some time off to reflect and realized that there were important lessons embedded in the end of The Heart of Vancouver Island and AVTimes projects. I decided to start my own thing . . . on a website that I “own” myself.
This blog is about 5 months old, and I still feel new at things. It’s been really exciting to be able to create my own content WHEN and HOW I want to. It’s a rewarding creative outlet, a way to meet some great people in my new community, and has also provided my family with some fun adventures together.
My business actually used to be called Orange Bridge Communications, after an old grey bridge that used to be orange on the Somass River in Port Alberni. I also used to do social media for the local NDP MLA so it was also a tongue in cheek reference to that. This name wasn’t so relevant once I moved, so I brainstormed and reflected… and chose a name that reflected girly fun & social awareness.
I guess both of my business names have had my weird sense of humour in them. Am just realizing this now as I write this.
Traffic is something that will build over time, I’m sure. I’m trying to lay a solid foundation by starting things off ‘right’ with a professionally built, SEO friendly website. I also took courses in copywriting, SEO and keywords and am continuing to experiment and learn from different things I try out. Metatagging photos and having backlinks from other websites that I’m featured on seems to be helping as well.
The google crawlers are starting to do their thing, but most of my traffic is coming from instagram (link in bio and swipe up function in instastories) and social sharing on facebook, twitter and linkedin. It’s really, really helped when tourism boards and big facebook pages share my posts with links to my blog!
It’s been a huge learning curve and I still have a LOT to learn about all of this!
I’m a full time English, Art and Aboriginal Advocate teacher at a Learning Centre in Surrey. I get to work with creative, quirky, talented students who teach me just as much as I teach them.
Well, I’ve had some really amazing opportunities so far, including meeting ABC Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe (say WHAT!), eating delicious meals and taking my family to some fun places.
One of the coolest things we did was host my son’s kindergarten class for his 6th birthday party at Stanley Park Railway with photographer Steve Attard. Read about our experience here. This was special as the small town girl in me couldn’t BELIEVE that a world-class park would want to partner with me to promote our family’s favourite thing: TRAINS!
Well, I’ve already mentioned the creativity, connection and fun family adventures. To my favourite part I’ll add the community of other mom bloggers and like minded woman entrepreneurs has introduced me to a new tribe of friends who are there for me both personally and professionally.
To be honest, the least favourite part are the occasional feelings of overwhelm and FOMO when other bloggers have larger followings, getting the great contracts and attending the fun events. It’s human nature to feel these feelings, I guess. I’ve realized that there really is room for all of our unique voices at the table.
The barrage of e-mails and messages I get from brands wanting me to work for free for them is also tough to deal with but I’ve put some systems in place to help out with this.
I also recently wrote about how tough it’s been to have some people in my hometown not support what I’m doing, as I wrote about here.
I wish I had started earlier. I was SO afraid to even start my own blog that I waited 10 years to do it. I write about this here.
I also wish that I had started off behind the scenes properly– I’m taking a course on how to run a business as a busy mom and it’s really helped me to take an honest look at my costs, profits, invoicing system, goals, mindset and workflow. But the important thing is that I focused on setting all of that up this summer and can now springboard forward.
Just get started.
Figure out what your personal brand is and what your content pillars are.
Take an honest inventory of your skills and goals and then take courses or outsource to fill in the gaps.
Have a media kit and price list. If you take yourself seriously, others will follow your lead.
Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and try your best to overcome the FOMO. We only have so much time and energy and can’t be at every single event or say yes to every opportunity.
Guard what you say YES to and make a commitment to say NO more often. If brands really want to work with you, and your boundaries are reasonable, they will understand and find a way to work with you anyways.
It’s important to grow a thick skin, but stay soft.
I always default to “Be The Change”. It’s simple and perhaps a bit cliche now, but Gandhi knew what he was talking about.
For career, I’ve always wanted to work with a big corporation or nonprofit in the area of social responsibility. I value all things grassroots, small and local but would like to see what could happen with more resources and level of impact. I had a glimpse of this when I traveled to Kenya with Red Rose Tea and to Rwanda with smartwater.
For travel, I’d love to go to England to see my great-grandma’s childhood home… and also go to Haida Gwaii to see the Spirit Bears. I also would love to take my son to Kenya to build schools when he’s older.
For family, I want happy and healthy loved ones.
Well, September is here and the school year is approaching in full force so I’m mindful of work/life balance and the fact that blogging is ‘just a hobby’ for me. I have big dreams but also know that doing what I can and maintaining status quo is probably a good goal for now.
My hope is to develop some longer term partnerships with like-minded brands which would allow for deeper relationships and content strategy, as well as create more of a consistent schedule.
That said, I have exciting projects coming up with the Museum of Surrey and Ronald McDonald House as well as a year-long ambassadorship with Steve Nash Fitness Clubs! Stay tuned.
Codi was voted as #1 Vancouver Mom Top 30 Blogger this year, and the honour is well deserved. Her writing is raw, candid and inspirational. She blogs about living this life as a wife, mama, and wheelchair user. Find out more at: Help Codi Heal
Melissa has taught me SO much about being a busy mom building a business while raising babies. I’ve participated in the Real Mother Hustler facebook group and her brand new Success System online course. Read her blog at: Real Mother Hustler
I met Crystal at the Vancouver Mom Top Blogger event and we’re also in a business course for moms together. She shares real life + inspo with a focus on “Finding Shine In the Daily Grind”. Check out her blog at Hustle With Luster
Kristyl was one of the first people I met when we first moved to the mainland… because our hubbies worked together at the time! She’s an established lifestyle, travel, family and food blogger, proving there is nothing bland about the ‘burbs. Read more on: The Valley Mom
Annette is a community champion and often features other bloggers on her site. She shared all about kids, travels, food & fun. Looking for a fun activities to do with kids Vancouver? Annette will help you out! See more: VanCity Kids
Reg and I connected in a mom blogger group and we finally met in real life at the Vancouver Mom Top 30 Blog party. Her lifestyle and wellness blog focuses on strength and nourish through movement. Read more at: Reg Lok Von
Lisa and I go WAY back from our hometown of Port Alberni. She’s a Vancouver based success coach, speaker & entrepreneur. Find her at Inspired Mom Life Blog
Carrie is a member of an instagram branding course and is a magic creator, and idealist an attitude. Learn more at Silver Lining Seeker
Athenas and I literally met at baby group in White Rock and recognized each other from online! She’s a lifestyle blogger with a focus on local and wellness. See more at I Love 604
Jenn and I are from the same area and have connected about our shared experience as single moms. She’s a makeup artist extraordinaire who is knowledgeable about the latest trends and the best products. See her work at Fresh Face By Jenn
Emily and I are part of the instagram course and is a yoga teacher, snowboarder and nature lover in Whistler BC. Check her out at Emily Kane Yoga
Tashia and I are both from Port Alberni and worked together on our first BIG social media project. She is a super talented portrait photographer and good friend. She focuses on women, babies and families. See her work at Tashia Potter
Amy and I are in the instagram course together and she focuses on travel and online marketing for female bloggers and small business owners. See more at Rose Gold Marketing
Kathleen and I also connected via the instagram course. She is a traveler, photographer and blogger who describes herself as a whimsical, free spirit creative. See her blog at Away For A Spell
Britt and I met through a mom blogger community and she shares motherhood + lifestyle inspo. I love her latest blog post on How To Raise A Reader! Read now at CocoBean Baby
Megan and I are both teachers in the same school district and share a love for ethical fashion. She invites you to join her as she builds a capsule wardrobe filled with ethical fashion that fits the *almost* plus sized woman. See her blog Moving To Simplicity
Asia and I first connected through a mom group and she blogs about pregnancy, motherhood and healthy living while remaining frugal. Her instagram just cracked 1K! Learn more here: Frugal and Frills
Kelly and I are again in the same instagram course together. I find that most mom-bloggers share their experience with toddlers and I love how Kelly’s is different– she shares mom life of active teenagers. See more of motherhood, adventures and lifestyle inspo: Pine and Poplars
Questions for my fellow bloggers:
1. When did you first start blogging and why?
2. What THREE words best describe your blog?
3. If your blog was a beverage, what type would it be?
4. What’s the best way you’ve found to drive traffic to your blog?
5. What are the most rewarding and and most challenging things you’ve faced as a blogger?
6. In five years, what do you want to see happen with your blog?
7. If you work outside of blogging, what’s your day job? What do you enjoy most about it?
8. How do you attempt to strike the ever-elusive ‘balance’ between work and family?
9. What’s your favourite social media channel + why?
10. Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever traveled? Any top tips?
11. What are some of your favourite conscious + ethical brands?