Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh, What a Difference a Year Makes:The Cast of CoffeeShopBloggers

It is shocking to me that it's been a full year of blogging for our little group, the CoffeeShopBloggers, and I wanted to give you an update on how blogging has affected our lives. A year ago, the economy was in the tank and we all had time on our hand. Our paying gigs were slow and we had time on our hands which we were not used to.

We were in various stages of blogging. I had launched mine as a work-in-progress (still is) but had no audience. DesignTrackMind was about to launch hers and her husband, GreenCollarEconomy, is an SEO/SEM expert. Capability:Mom was curious about blogging but had to be coerced into starting, and iCommunicate had a blog up a while back but had no idea how to find it.

Our various states of blog dishevelment lead to the birth of the CoffeeShopBloggers group which we formed, met weekly, and shared everything from tips on getting more traffic to setting up carpools to leaning on each other for support. We laughed (a lot!) and we cried (usually when our blogs blew up and we thought all was lost).

And we learned a lot! It was just like drinking out of a fire hose and thank you to everyone who helped along the way: Sherpa Report, GreenCollarEconomy, TweetDeckTutor, and others. We collectively spent several days on help desk at various companies talking to nice, helpful folks including BlueHost, GoDaddy!, SoloStream, and Wordpress.com. Thank you to all of you too!

So, where are we now?

Our poster child for success is DesignTrackMind who was the Interior Designer for the Auburndale project of This Old House. Out of the zazillions of Interior Designers (all with pretty websites), they chose her. Why? Her blog!!! THEY LOVED HER BLOG! Now that the 16 episodes have aired, she's totally slammed with work. Her most colorful story of how blogging has changed her world is this: she recently got a call from a new client who moved from Barcelona, Spain to her neck of the woods to help with her new house. And how did she know about her? She and all her friends had been reading her blog during the last year in Barcelona. When she found out she was moving outside of Boston, she and all her friends screamed, "YOU CAN WORK WITH DESIGNTRACKMIND FOR YOUR NEW HOUSE!!!" And that probably made the move more palatable!

Capability:Mom started her blog under duress. DesignTrackMind and I freely admit that we badgered her into jumping off the cliff with us. And now? ... birth of a really funny writer. Who also gets paid gigs to write! And has found her voice. And is ready for more. She also turns out to be a secret tech geek and supplies us all with new widgets and techy tools for SEO and other stuff. Turns out she's learned so much about social media marketing that she consults on the side!

iCommunicate is a MarCom consultant. She is now so busy with clients that we barely see her anymore. But that is great the goal of her blog was to enhance her business and it worked.

As for me, PragmaticMom, I wanted to see if this could evolve into a small business -- it is, but ever so slowly -- and I wanted to understand Social Media Marketing. I get it now: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Blogger, and creating a community (the social part of Social Media Marketing). And yet this is the tip of the iceberg because there is so much more to learn. It's been so much fun to meet both with my blogging group to group learn and to meet like minded people in the blogosphere and on Twitter. Here's a little sampling of my blogging experience:

  • If you type in "Best Education Mom Blog Boston" in Google, I once came up first. I still seem to come up on the first page of search results. Crazy, huh?
  • I met many wonderful people through blogging. The ones I want to bow down to and say unworthy include Newbery winner Sharon Creech and Blue's Clue's founder Angela Santomero.
  • I've learned how to track and fix my blog load speed, sell merchandise through Amazon, and add html code to my blog, This for a person who is has NO TECHNICAL SKILLS whatsoever.
  • I've come to appreciate structure in my blog by adhering to an editorial calendar. And I stick to my calendar at least some of the time!
Capability:Mom and I have tried to document our learning along the way such that if you see our blogs and wonder what it took to get here, there is a road map for you to follow. We hope that you have learned from our mistakes so that you won't be crying while on help desk with the nice folks at BlueHost when your blog transfer from Wordpress.com to Wordpress.org because you want advertising that pays $ did not go smoothly. Been there, done that and that is best avoided.

Thanks for reading our group blog and please let us know what you need help with. We are all in this together (to quote my kids' favorite movie). But isn't that what blogging is all about?!

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this post and this group! I have learned so much and am so appreciative of the support of this group of talented, generous women.

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