Mom, blogger and marketing gal Missy Berggren and I met through a mutual friend; a fellow blogger who drew both of us more deeply into the world of blogging, and then left this world all too soon. It wasn’t until after Emilie Lemmons’ passing that Missy and I connected, and then in January, at a birthday celebration in her honor, met in person. I’ve been looking forward to featuring Missy for quite some time now and am delighted the time has finally come.
Missy, your blog is called “The Marketing Mama.” Can you share with us what prompted you to start blogging and how you chose that title for your blog?
I started blogging while pregnant with my second child. I had watched a number of my friends begin blogging, including Emilie, and was inspired by them. I wanted to use my blog to chronicle my pregnancy and family life. The title “The Marketing Mama” came about after a brainstorming session where I tried to encapsulate who I am and what I’m about. First and foremost, I’m a woman, but I’m also a professional marketer and a mom. Putting all of those together I came up with my title. I thought it was catchy and represented that my blog would be about a mom who works out of the house… I think I (mostly) accomplished that.
I’ve enjoyed watching your blog grow and change over the past year or more. First, it was a design change. Then, some of the content changed. Your readership grew, and you were part of a contest that had you competing with some of the top bloggers of the Twin Cities area. Explain a little of how this has all unfolded, and how blogging has changed for you over the last year or so.
When I first started writing my blog, I read that it takes the average blogger two years to find their voice and an audience (if they haven’t abandoned their blog by then). That was certainly my experience. There were a number of things in the last year that helped me grow as a blogger and writer. When Emilie died, I felt compelled to keep a running list of blog posts and news articles about her. I wasn’t trying to be strategic with it at the time, but that list brought many new visitors to my blog – people who were touched by Emilie’s story and wanted to learn more about her.
As a marketing professional, I concern myself with aesthetics such as design layout and photography, and after two years of blogging I decided to invest in a new design beyond the free templates. I instantly enjoyed a new brand as I now had a logo – and I made efforts to improve other areas of my web site as well.
The Nickelodeon’s Parents’ Pick Contest gave me more exposure in the Twin Cities area and I was honored to be listed among some popular newspaper and celebrity bloggers in town. It was around that time I fully realized my readership had grown beyond just my close friends and family – that other people, strangers, were reading my blog. And it was then that I started to sense a shift in my writing. I started to pull back on how personal I would get (for a greater sense of privacy), and started writing more formally with “how to” tips (such as my popular breastfeeding post “How to Pump Successfully at Work”) and editorials on parenting philosophies that were important to me (see “A Few Thoughts on Babywearing”).
Although my blog content is written through the filter of what’s important to me, I began to write more with my audience in mind and how I could be helpful to them. Rather than venting in a post about how difficult food allergies are to manage after my daughter’s diagnosis (she’s allergic to eggs, milk, soy and peanuts), I waited until my experience and strength could be helpful to others and then wrote a series of articles on the diagnosis and management of food allergies.
I was given opportunities to reach more people through various guest writing stints, as well as two appearances on local morning TV. Some of these opportunities came to me easily, others I pitched and worked hard to secure myself.
What would you say are the three most common topics on your blog, and why?
I blog a lot about health topics (food allergies, pediatric eye health, dental health, addiction), and general parenting topics (babywearing, breastfeeding, products to make your life easier). While my content reflects my interests, I also push myself to be open enough to share my personal life (such as The One Where I Officially Announce I’m Getting Divorced) and personal reflections on my growth as a mother and a person (What am I Passionate About? and Life Lesson: Three Things.) Of course sprinkled into these posts are comments and updates and photos of my children, Alex (5) and Avery (2).
What do you look for in other blogs that you frequent?
The blogs I pay close attention to have compelling writers at their core. I’m not as interested in “journal” or “baby book” blogging as I am in short stories and reflections that stir my emotions and make me identify with, or feel for, the reader.
I know you’ve not only grown your blog, but you’ve organized several blogging events to connect one blogger to another. Tell us in brief about the events, and what gave you the courage to organize them?
Last fall I was inspired to bring together a group of bloggers to volunteer together packing meals for starving children in
The idea for the first MN Blogger Conference came out of this event. Local bloggers were wishing and hoping for a conference in our own back yard. I was urged by some of my blogging peers to take on this challenge after successfully organizing the volunteer event. I explored the idea and found a partner who could share in the planning. That planning is now well underway and the conference will take place September 11 in
Although most of the details are still under wraps, I’ll share here (for the first time!) that I’m planning an event with Macy’s for my readers in October. Stay tuned for more information on that soon.
When you’re not blogging, what three things are you most often doing instead?
Caring for my kiddos, sleeping and working my full time day-job as a manager of marketing and communications for a hospital.
Where do you see all this taking you? What are your goals, your dreams, as a blogger and writer?
Continue to connect people with other people, places and things that will make their life easier. Continue to help others. To push myself as a writer, and above all, have fun! My blog is my creative outlet and my passion. Whenever it starts to feel like a burden or too heavy on my shoulders, I take a few days away and regroup until I start to feel inspired again.
For those just starting out in the blogging world, what advice would you offer?
Write about what you like, what YOU are passionate about. Find satisfaction in the process and the documenting of your journey – don’t rely on outside factors (comments, other bloggers, readers) to validate your work. For tips on how to get started, you can watch my presentation “Join the Mom Blog Movement” I gave at the Minnesota Baby Expo in April – there are four segments on YouTube: clip 1, clip 2, clip 3 and clip 4.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Missy. It’s been a pleasure having you here! Continued success in all of your endeavors, blogging and otherwise!
Q4U: If you have a question or comment for Missy, here’s your chance to share it with her!