How I Got Into the Business of Blogging

 

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By Estelle Erasmus

Disclosure: This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

How did this  widely published, former magazine editor-in-chief of five national consumer publications get into the business of blogging and brand partnerships?

The answer is through a very circuitous route. Here is my  personal experience creating, building and monetizing my blog.

I worked as a magazine editor when there was no social media, and the Internet, as we know it today was in its infancy. From the 1990s to the mid aughts, I hired the writers, edited the articles and wrote the cover lines that actually sold the magazines. I worked with art directors to get the look right; I attended and ran photo shoots, and I wrote my own articles, stories and columns.

After the birth of my daughter in 2009, in midlife, I felt my creativity was on hold, mainly because I was putting all my energy into learning how to become a mother.  And, yes, you do have to learn some aspects of mothering—or at least I did.

 

Mother and Baby
This little cherub is seven years old now!

The Birth of a Blogger

I got into blogging in 2012 after my experience being cast as a reader in the inaugural New York City production of the show Listen to Your Mother.

Listen to Your Mother
I’m all the way to the right. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lee Photography. This is where I learned about blogging.

Many of the cast members in the show and the producers were bloggers (like Holly Rosen Fink, Patty Chang Anker and the creator of the show, Ann Imig) , and although I had never thought that I would want to write for free,  the idea of writing only what I wanted to write was empowering. At the time, I wanted to write about my journey through midlife motherhood. Coming from magazines my online reputation was important to me.

As I built my personal brand, I wish I had known about Domain.ME.  Did you know that .ME provides bloggers and business owners with the space you need to build your personal brand and create a captivating online persona that’s a direct reflection of you?

What’s also fascinating is that Domain.ME is a domain name provider that allows anyone (personal and/or business) to create a unique, safe identity online with a domain ending in .ME. And .ME domains are great for personal websites, such as blogs, online portfolios, or aliases for social network profiles. People can register a domain name through one of 190 accredited registrars that operate as .ME resellers.

I called my blog  Musings on Motherhood & Midlife and gave it the subhead: A Journalist’s Transformative Journey.  Because that’s what it was.

Back then, I wrote about my adventures through motherhood and midlife—the humorous and the serious. I covered parenting, humor, lifestyle, travel, fashion, beauty and social good.  I shared my unique perspective: the wisdom of midlife, coupled with the challenges of early motherhood.

My first year of blogging, I was named a BlogHer Voice of the Year Honoree for an advocacy piece I wrote while I was on the board of the national nonprofit Mothers & More. I was honored again in 2013 and again in 2015, making me a 3-time BlogHer VOTY.

Skills That Built My Business

Many of the publications I edited and wrote for are now defunct, but I honed many of the skills that I use in blogging and writing today.  Because I cut my teeth at a weekly magazine (my first job in publishing was at Woman’s World), I’m a fairly fast blogger.  I know what is important in a lead and can put a personal spin on a sponsored post. As a journalist, and longtime member of The American Society of Journalists and Authors,  I also learned the importance of fact-checking even the tiniest details in my articles.

Early on, I got a helping hand from the blogging community through guest posting for The SITS Girls, and Five Minutes for Mom and Mamapedia.

I am a member of every major brand/blogger network, including Social Fabric (Collective Bias), One2One Network, Clever Girls, Sway Media, and the BlogHer Influencer’s Network. However,  I am very selective about the sponsored posts I write. I feel that it dilutes your content if you are always shilling one thing or another. That’s why I make sure that I love what I write about. I’ve also been a  2015 and 2016 National Geographic Kids Insider brand ambassador, a SheKnows Parenting Expert and I’m a former member of the Traveling Mom Network. In addition to monetizing through sponsored posts, I also do consulting and editing work.

My BusinessHas Grown

But as my daughter has grown, so has my blog, and my writing career.

I actually occupy a unique niche in the blogging and writing arena, because I’m  a hybrid—someone who comes from traditional media, has conquered digital media and is a blogger and a widely published journalist and author and writing/editing coach. My recent writing has been featured in The New York Times, Vice, parenting.com, Newsweek, Redbook, Brain, Child, For Her/Aleteia,  Salon, Vox, Good Housekeeping, Psychology Today, and The Washington Post,   among others.

These days, my blog is on my website which is under the name http://EstelleSErasmus, and to help with my personal branding I’ve used the handle  @EstelleSErasmus, for  Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.  I’m on to a good thing because Domain.ME uses the same handle  @domainME across all social networks as well.

Because my readers are thirsty for my publishing knowledge, my blog has become something of a compendium to share my writing and publishing experiences; providing tips and tricks like this post about how to pitch a publication, and this post about connecting with editors on twitter, and this post about how I got into the New York Times’ Metropolitan Diary column because that is what my readers clamor for. They also sign up for my newsletter, to be the first to know what courses, tips and information I’m offering.

Above all, I’m all about customizing my reader’s experience—just like .ME domains.

So  if you are looking to customize your blog or business consider the dotME extension.More than a million people and business use it to personalize their business or create their own, personal, online destination. It’s also a great choice if you are rebranding.

Because who doesn’t want to reinvent themselves from time to time?

 

Mom Cave

25 thoughts on “How I Got Into the Business of Blogging”

  1. You are such an inspiration, Estelle. I too come from a journalism background but the newspaper business. That business is unrecognizable to me now.
    How can your daughter be 7? That is such a fun age with signs of the teenager to come and short glances back to the baby we miss just when we need them.

    1. Thanks, Doreen. Yes, the newspaper business is certainly a pale shadow of what it once was. Like print magazines, they are losing money at an alarming rate. Digital is quickly becoming the new King (Queen), even though I do love print, since that’s where my roots lie. Yes, 7 is fun, and she feels more teen than girl these days.
      Estelle

  2. Great post – I had no idea what your past history was and now I’m in awe. I wish I could call myself a writer, but honestly I just call myself a blogger. There is a difference I think.

  3. Thanks Estelle. Your story is so interesting and puts my little blog into perspective. I enjoyed reading about how you started into blogging and how you share your knowledge with others. So generous.

  4. It’s always interesting reading the journeys of other bloggers and it daunts me a little when I see how much some of you bring to the table! You truly have a wealth of experience and it’s so great that you are prepared to share it with others.

  5. You’ve done a fabulous job of staying true to your writing roots while become a super successful blogger… and writer… and editor… and inspiration to us all. Thanks for sharing your story!

  6. I always love reading your posts and it’s encouraging to know you have made the transition over to monetized blogging. It’s wonderful to be able to write what you want without having to conform to a formula or publication guideline. You have a choice to either accept or reject writing about certain brands if you want. I’ve rejected a ton because they weren’t in concurrence with my message.

  7. Estelle, You have such an impressive background, and drive, and you have really continued on a wonderful journey and adapted to all the changes in your life. I say Bravo to that!

  8. Estelle, it’s great to hear your story. It’s so interesting something we’ve already done can be “morphed” into a new thing as our lives change. I didn’t know much about .ME. Thanks for sharing.

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