We are kicking off the fall/winter season by re-launching a fun series called “Our Favorite Bloggers,” where each month we will highlight some of the wonderful women (and men) that we have the pleasure of collaborating with on a daily basis. We love to learn more about our blogger friends, so we are sharing that love with our readers! We figured what better way to kick things off than by sitting down and chatting with our first ever “Favorite Blogger,” Shara Lawrence-Weiss, to catch up with her, and hear what she’s been up to since we last interviewed her over two years ago. We had a feeling she would have a lot of great stuff to share, as Shara is the owner of Mommy Perks and the Mommy Perks VIP blog, as well as Kids Perks, Parenting Tips and Early Childhood News and resources — needless to say, this is one busy lady! Through Shara’s dedication and thoughtful content, Mommy Perks has become an extensive community of out-of-the-box thinkers sharing ideas, stories, useful tips and tools, and so much more. Now let’s catch up with Shara….
1. It’s been over two years since we last interviewed you, how has Mommy Perks evolved since then?
Wow. Two years? We have worked together for more than four years now (as of September 19th) – can you believe it? Gosh, over the last two years I’d say that the biggest changes for Mommy Perks have been:
- The number of guest posts I’ve written for various magazines, online outlets and educational blogs.
- I’ve refocused the site to offer more services for small business owners (and fewer reviews/giveaways).
- My content services have really taken off.
- Our Twitter and Facebook communities have grown quite a bit.
- I’ve taken on new clients and learned a lot about helping businesses grow Online.
- I’ve hosted some Twitter parties, webinars, etc.
- I’ve really done well, promoting numerous charity organizations through social media outlets.
- I’ve met countless amazing people, educators and business owners!
- I continue to write my own articles for my sites, but I also accept a lot of guest articles, too.
- I’m a member of the 411Voices.com group (Women in Media). We have some amazing things coming up that I’ll be able to write about soon!
2. What is the most rewarding thing you have experienced in the blogging world?
I’d say…the guest articles I have been invited to write and the guest authors who have written for me. I really enjoy sharing knowledge and learning from others and the give/take of guest blogging has been a huge win-win for me.
3. How does your life off-line affect your blog?
Different folks have different strokes and some folks share everything under the sun. Others hold back tightly. I try to keep a balance. I enjoy writing about my family and sharing parenting endeavors and business experiences. At the same time, there are certain things I won’t write about or share with an open audience. For me, a balance works well. I want people to feel as though they can approach me and chat with me – I’m always open to that. However, I don’t fall apart on my blog, sharing every emotion I experience at every given moment. For the most part, I try to blog about things that are relevant to my readers: parenting and business. I use experiences at home to spur articles and posts but I don’t give away the farm (sharing all of our family stories and moments, etc).
4. Do you have that one favorite post which you’ve ever written?
I have a few, in fact. Here is one that I wrote about my high school boyfriend (one of my more vulnerable posts). It’s one of my top read posts and one of the most re-tweeted, also: http://www.earlychildhoodnews.net/motherhood/312-mothering-a-mugshot
Here is one I recently wrote for the Mommy Perks blog about Twitter complaints: http://www.mommyperks.com/vip/tips/twelve-common-twitter-complaints-ive-heard/
Here is one I wrote about my first husband: http://www.mommyperks.com/vip/tips/september-7-why-im-not-angry-at-my-first-husband/
Gosh – I guess I like my “vulnerable” posts best! I also really love the guest posts I’ve written for others about early childhood and parenting. In addition, there are lots of posts that I love, written by others, for my sites. I enjoy learning from others!
5. What advice do you have for bloggers who are just starting out?
My best tips would be:
- Write about what you know. Don’t write in order to get readers. Write for YOU and the right readers will then follow.
- Use catchy titles on your posts in order to get more clicks. If you are writing for SEO, though, use titles that are better for search engines, long term.
- Be funny now and again. Everyone needs to laugh.
- Be open at times and allow readers inside your head and heart so they will feel as though they know you. Don’t put on airs.
- Some of the largest blogs got popular by being snippy and rude to others. That’s not my style. If you rise to the top by climbing over others, you’ll be more likely to fall.
- Be helpful. When you learn something, share it and be willing to teach someone else. Kindness matters.
- Try to spell things correctly. Articles that are filled with mis-spellings really bug me. If you are not great at spelling, ask someone else to proof read for you. And please, please – do not write posts in “text.” Spell things out like we had to do in school.
- Accept guest posts from others. Don’t worry about sharing your lime light. As mama used to say, “You’ll attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.” Just as you’ll attract more real friends with kindness than with snobbery.
Thank you so much Shara, for taking the time to chat with us and answering our questions. We absolutely adore working with you, and we are so proud of everything you have accomplished over the years. Here’s to more great years (and follow up interviews) ahead!