Shes Connected Conference 2011- Inspiration is Contagious!

Blogger interviews

Have a blog, or considering one? If you’re a digital woman or aspiring to be, the upcoming Shes Connected Conference 2011 is an event you need to have on your radar.


By Sara Hodge

For anyone not aware, I wish I could articulate the almost palpable feeling of excitement that I’ve experienced in my twitter feed over the last few months. It started out slowly, as anticipation for the Shes Connected Conference, happening September 29 and 30 started to build and is now at a fever pitch. The postive energy and enthusiastic vibe of the ongoing conversations is truly beyond inspiring. Friendships, connections and partnerships are being made by the minute, even before the conference officially kicks off, and there is so much more to come of it.

Shes Connected is a Social Media conference where major brands and some of Canada’s top digital women (moms, bloggers and leaders in social media) connect, engage and learn together in interactive sessions such as discussion panels and roundtable meetings. Having attended the conference last year, I know firsthand how valuable this opportunity is. I’m fortunate enough to have been chosen as an advisor and speaker at this year’s event, an honour considering the talented company I’ll be in.

One of the best parts of attending Shes Connected and other social media related conferences is the chance to meet and get to know other like minded people. Amazing people, inspiring people.

There’s that word again: inspiring. That is what these women are.

Since launching this site, I have had many women ask me how to get their own blog started. So, last week I posted a simple tweet calling on blogging attendees of Shes Connected to take part in a mini survey to find out how they got here and share their experiences. The results, as you’ll see below, are nothing short of golden. This article is FARlonger than blogs I normally post, but I hope you’ll take the time to enjoy the insights, tips and personal journeysthat these ladies have so generously shared.

This is what inspires me. I hope it does for you as well. – Sara.

 

Shes Connected Blogger Mini-Interview

(Special thanks to the women mentioned below for your time and talents!)

1. What was your inspiration for starting your blog?

 

  • “I’ve been through a lot, as we all have in one way or another in this long journey we are all traveling. We all have a story. During good times and bad I was always able to find inspiration through connection with other people. Through their words and experiences. I hope to reciprocate that and pay it forward through my own blog. So, if my readers take a little bit away from my words—I’m very happy.” – Nancy, aka @WhispersInspire author of Whispered Inspirations
  • “Once I had children, I felt as if there was a need to do ‘grown-up’ things and connect with other like-minded individuals. As a stay at home mother to 2 children under the age of 4, I found myself longing to connect with the world. I had so many questions and so much information to give to people and I did not know where to start. So, one day while nursing my youngest I started lil-sugar.ca, a place to unleash my personal ideas and interests.” – Meri, aka @LilSugarMag author of Lil Sugar Parenting Magazine
  • “I actually have two blogs but the one I am answering about was started as a private journal for me when I was diagnosed with cancer. Knowing it was private meant I could write exactly what I thought and felt without worry of being judged. It was a form of free therapy for working through my issues.” – Colleen, aka @Hippofatamus author of It’s Not the Good Kind

 

2. What makes your blog unique?

  • “I am a mom to both toddlers and teens, so I have a wide range of topics and products on my blog. Always available to my fellow Canadians!” – Gingermommy aka @Gingermommy author of Tales of a Ranting Ginger

 

3. What advice would you give to future / would-be bloggers?

  • “I would advise them to first and foremost be yourself, find your voice and prepare to open up a little bit. Being vulnerable sometimes shows your human side and you will find that you can relate to a lot of your readers more. Find your niche, something you enjoy, something you are passionate about and go with it.” – Nancy, aka @WhispersInspire author of Whispered Inspirations
  • “*Always blog about something you are passionate about, that way you will always have a topic to talk about and a drive to continue*. Be open, and willing to accept the viewpoints and criticisms of the world around you, grow and learn.” – Meri, aka @LilSugarMag author of Lil Sugar Parenting Magazine
  • “Don’t fuss too much about numbers or whether anyone is reading. Write for yourself first. But, if you want to connect and grow your readership, you should seek out other blogs – read and comment. And don’t do the “Wow I love your blog! I’d love it if you came and checked mine out too!” kind of comment. That always reads false. If you like something or are moved by something or learned from something, leave a comment. The more you do this, the more you will learn from other bloggers, the more your name will get out there, and the more your own readership will grow, organically, with like-minded folk. Use Twitter. It’s a great way to meet people and a great platform to publicize your blog posts. Just don’t overdo it. Twitter works best as a connector, not as a broadcast, one-way medium.” – Deborah, aka @Mom2Michael author of Raising My Boys
  • “If you want a ‘story based blog’, write for the love of writing, not necessarily to make money or get free stuff. There are blogs that are specifically structured for that purpose, such as the product review/giveaway genre. If you try to combine them, sometimes it seems like you have an agenda and then your opinion will be suspect. Produce quality writing. One more thing: keep them within a reasonable size. We often want to click in, click out, and 2000 words prevents that and may keep people away.” – Mara, aka @ChickyMara author of Books and Brands and Be Nice or Leave
  • “Stay true to yourself, determine what your goal is and write when the spirit strikes you – choose quality over quantity.” – Felicia, aka @FeliciaDewar author of Single Mom of Two and Canadian Single Girls
  • “To start slow and be patient, it takes time and effort to create a following, to start working with brands. don’t force, don’t come across as aggressive, just roll along. karma is big, support others and others will support you.” – Jennifer, aka @MomVsTheBoys author of Mom Vs. the Boys

 

4. How important is social media to the success of your blog, and do you have a preference for any particular platform?

  • “I started Twitter around the same time as my blog. Mind you, like many others, I previously “dabbled” on Twitter way back when but didn’t really give it much effort until now. Twitter is the platform I’ve chosen to get my blog out there. It doesn’t happen overnight. Twitter is all about building relationships, sharing and engagement. If people like what they read, they will share it with their followers and so on.” – Wendy, aka @apphipmom author of App Hip Mom
  • “I found out about the world of “Mom Blogging” via Twitter. It’s my favourite platform because it’s in real-time, the communities which we build are real. I also use facebook, for those of my readers who prefer the platform at least they can get updates too.” – Alyssa, aka @AMotherhoodBlog author of A Motherhood Experience

 

5. How does your blog benefit from your attendance at conferences like SCCTO?

  • “Since being the first announced speaker for the very first Canadian #140 conference my readership has steadily increased. After speaking at the conference it skyrocketed. People wanted to know more about the former homeless single mom who managed to trend higher then Justin Bieber.”– Jodi, aka @KarmicEvolution author of My Accidental Life and The 5 Dollar Project
  • “By connecting with other bloggers, companies and people who attend conferences, I am able to create relationships and contacts. This not only furthers the success of my blog, but maintains a networking relationship that will act as a support group to encourage and assist in my blogs’ growth.” – Meri, aka@LilSugarMag author of Lil Sugar Parenting Magazine
  • “*The key to building a fan base is presence*. Presence, networking and proper blog/social media education.Learning from other very seasoned bloggers and digital women offer a huge advantage to your blog and it’s content and quality.” – Carol, aka @TheModernMama author of The Modern Mama Memoirs
  • “*It refreshes my creativity* to meet others that are in the same space. It gives me hope to increase my network and helps me find kindred spirits to help me succeed!” – Felicia, aka @FeliciaDewar author of Single Mom of Two and Canadian Single Girls
  • “I am attending SCCTO and it will benefit my blog in ways I can only imagine! I started blogging alone. No one in my family or friends knew about this form of writing/programming. SCCTO will give me more knowledge and power to create a better blog, work with brands in the near future, and generate possible income again as a freelance writer.” – Julia, aka @AskMamaMoe author of Ask Mama Moe and Shopping From the Heart
  • “The SCCTO conference is my first conference and I hope to hear from Brands what they’re looking for and also connect with other bloggers. Personally I don’t make an income with my blog, but I am looking at steering towards charity fundraising with it.” – Julie, aka @SoberJulie author of Sober Julie
  • “*Conferences open doors that typically are not readily available*. You get to network on a different level – a more personal level – with brands and your peers.” – Cee@SmookieStyle.com, aka @SmookieStyle author of Smookie Style

 

6. Has blogging changed your life? If so, how?

  • “*Has it ever changed my life!* Not only have I received requests to write posts for other sites, but what’s really incredible is that I met Judy Ranieri of Mibec Communications at an Women in Biz Network event back in May and a few months later Judy casually mentioned my blog to Leigh Mitchell, the founder of Women in Biz Network. Leigh read my blog and asked me to blog for her. One thing lead to another and now I am working with the Women in Biz Network. Crazy, right?!” – Wendy, aka @apphipmom author of App Hip Mom
  • “Blogging has affected my life in SO many ways. I have made so many amazing connections and friendships that would never have occurred otherwise. I have made some money on the side, which is so helpful while I am currently doing the SAHM thing and we living on one income. Along the same lines, I’ve been able to get some extra treats or toys for my kids that I wouldn’t have been able to afford or justify spending money on.Blogging has provided me with a sense of community and a sense of accomplishment, as well as a place to vent, and a support group to fall back on. One year in, and I know that I would be a different mom today if I did not blog. Better? Worse? Hard to say. But I think definitely more isolated. (Oh and honestly, probably better rested – this blogging thing eats my sleep.)” – Deanna, aka @MapleLeafMommy author of Maple Leaf Mommy
  • “Blogging has become very cathartic for me. It’s much easier to see the other side of the coin once I have written my side out. It has made me a bigger, stronger and truly happier person. I have inspired others and this in turn creates an eagerness in me to continue sharing and continue searching out others that could use a friend! It has made me realize that I have a great life! And truly has helped me become so much stronger mentally and emotionally.” – Felicia, aka @FeliciaDewar author of Single Mom of Two and Canadian Single Girls
  • “*Blogging opened up a community to me that I was very much in need of when I started*. I was looking forsocial interaction, a creative outlet and a way to channel my passion for writing. I found it! In fact, it helped me so much, that it pushed me into starting my own charity event. Through a blog for the charity event and through Twitter, I was able to get back into my community and really help in ways I didn’t know I could. The charity raised money for the three hospitals in our area that have helped my children since they were born. It was my way of thanking them. And it was so successful that I am going to make this an annual event in Montreal, each year making it bigger and better!” – Julia, aka @AskMamaMoe author of Ask Mama Moe andShopping From the Heart
  • “Living with a brain injury is tough, so is recovery from alcoholism. Blogging has given me an avenue to express myself, my feelings and ultimately allowed me to see myself from the outside looking in. Blogging often brings like minded people together, it provides a commonality. I’ve become friendly with many fantastic people, both in the world of recovery and outside of it. Blogging is presenting me with a forum to remind people to live life fully by becoming humble, honest and finding faith.” – Julie, aka @SoberJulie author of Sober Julie

 

7. Additional comments (express any other thoughts, ideas etc you’d like to share)

  • “*Stay true to who you are, if you aren’t true to yourself you are wasting your time blogging*. There will always be someone who thinks your blog is awful, there will never be as many followers as you wish there was and you will get writers block – That is why it is so important to write for yourself and not give a damn what people think. Stats are not important. Haters are not important. Layout and design are not important. YOU are important. People can find a blog on any subject any time, it’s YOU that will draw them in.” – Jodi, aka @KarmicEvolution author of My Accidental Life and The 5 Dollar Project
  • “Although review writing and giveaway hosting is a fun way to gain readership and make your current readers smile aside from more personal posts, always remember to keep perspective when writing these types of posts. Keep it real, keep your blog (and yourself) grounded. There are hundreds of us with the same dream – I like to believe we are all here to help eachother in our own ways.” – Alyssa, aka @AMotherhoodBlog author of A Motherhood Experience
  • “Never care what others may think of you because of a blog post. You created a blog to express, so express yourself – loudly, colourfully, boldly, effectively, passionately.” – Carol, aka @TheModernMama author of The Modern Mama Memoirs
  • “Without blogging I never would have been able to connect with some of the people who have been integral to my growth as a human being. Writing is now something I am passionate about, and cancer advocacy is another. *Thanks to blogging I have a forum for both of those passions.*” – Colleen, aka @Hippofatamus author of It’s Not the Good Kind
  • “*Never feel like you have nothing to say*- everyone has a story, every family is unique, there is always something interesting to share with others. Share the moments, the crafts, the recipes, the funny things your kids say. Connect with moms like you!” – Jennifer, aka @MomVsTheBoys author of Mom Vs. the Boys
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I founded Mums 'n Chums in 2009 after realizing that the area I live in was drastically underserviced as compared to surrounding areas for support and activities for growing families. Mums 'n Chums grew popular very quickly and I have been dedicated to nurturing that growth through frequent networking, social media engagement and in person meetups. By the end of its first year, Mums 'n Chums had close to 500 members and was receiving regular inquiries from fans outside of its service area, asking when we would be expanding to serve them as well. After much careful research and polling, I expanded the site in May of 2011 to cover the entire North end of the GTA (from Cambridge to Markham), areas I believe are still receiving far less attention than they deserve from other sites and family services. We also changed the focus from small scale local mom and tot meetups to more of an informative purpose, closing down our forum and adding several talented contributors to the blog. We do still offer several large scale family events per year, such as our popular Birthday Bash events and our Holiday Bash in December. Our contests have also become a member favourite, and we strive to offer amazing prizes from trusted brands like Babies R Us, La Roche Posay, Johnson's Baby and many more. In March of 2016, after months of work spent migrating all of the site's content to a new platform, Mums 'n Chums re-launched with its fresh, new look. The changes and expansion have proven a great success and we're still getting inquiries from several other cities within the Greater Toronto Area, whom we have decided to serve as well. I have built this site and its' reputation carefully and look forward to continuing its growth!