okay, here is the news I was talking about....

11:42 PM

I was interviewed a couple weeks ago for a feature that ran Wednesday night on blogging. I was asked to be the blog designer for the reporters blog, "Off Camera with Trish VanPilsum". Take a peek....

In-Depth: New Kid on the Blog

Published : Wednesday, 18 Nov 2009, 11:12 PM CST

MINNEAPOLIS - What does it take to design a money-making mommy blog? Reporter Trish Van Pilsum goes through the process herself and shares first hand, the secrets to success.

A blog is basically an on line journal. I still have the journal I wrote when my daughter was born. Back then journaling was a private thing. When moms needed to compare notes they talked over the back fence. That isn't always possible now so women by the millions have turned to the internet to share stories, advice and, most importantly, support.

Take Kami Rude.

She went from being a single woman working full-time to a stay-at-home wife and step mom of four kids. But staying at home doesn't mean being isolated.

Kami writes her own blog about her family. She says, “It just blew up. I had so many readers right away.”

She reads blogs written by other women, too, like Mckmama dot com. I’ll have more on her popular blog in a bit. And the Pioneer Woman: undisputed queen of the mommy blogs. But, wait there's a new kid on the blogosphere.

That would be me. Pretty funny since it wasn't that long ago I didn't really know what a blog was. And it's not that the world needs one more of us. There are 35 million active bloggers in the U.S. in any given month. So how on earth, or at the risk of stretching the metaphor, how in cyberspace is one little blogger supposed to stand out.

Chris Wexler is a digital advertising expert with Campbell Mithun. He says, “The tone of voice is really important. Finding your personality helps the cream rise to the top.

Maybe before we start talking cream we should figure out how to get started. You can start a blog for free. Wordpress and Blogger both have free blog services. First I have to create an account. I want to call my blog ‘Off camera with Trish VanPilsum’ since it will document my life off camera but that url or address is taken.

I settle on ‘Off Camera with Trish’. In less than two minutes, I have a basic blog. But I want more than a basic look. So I ask a professional photographer, Molly Durkin, to get pictures of my family, especially the kids. I'll need lots of these because my blog will include a section on parenting teens.

I also call on the expertise of a blog designer, Jennisa at Once Upon a Blog. She has designed over 500 blogs. Only five of them were for men. Kami tells me these extra steps pay off.

She says, “If I hit a blog that doesn't have a good layout, if it's something my eye can't be attracted to, I often will leave before I check it out.”

My blog reflects my many interests including cooking. Jennisa tells me I have a lot of different categories to talk about. If I have one main place for people to come and then branch off to different places that would be fantastic. But it really comes down to the words.

I set up my blog in Blogger. I have some columns that I want to post and I have some video. I need to figure out how to get it on my blog and I have no clue. I do learn that successful bloggers post regularly, maintain a clear point of view and come across as authentic

Wexler says, “If you follow a few basic rules you might get ten readers but you might, it might snowball and it might be something that becomes viral.

To become viral is to spread like a germ. It happened to a blog about Stellan Mckinney. He wasn't even born yet. His mom blogged about a heart defect that could kill him. Tens of thousands of people all over the world followed every development. Jennifer Mckinney known in the blogworld as Mckmama gets 2.5 million hits a month. Her blog is now packed with ads. She donates some of the money to charities.

Wexler says, “Very few of them start out to be professional bloggers. It's a passion.”

Heather Armstrong writes an edgy, sarcastic parenting blog called Dooce.com. She's smart and she's funny and she attracts almost five million page views a month and lands big advertisers like target.

Ree Drummond, a city girl swept off her feet by a cowboy, is quickly turning an on-line journal called The Pioneer Woman dot com into an empire as big as the ranch where she now raises a family and writes a blog that gets 15 million page views a month. Her newly released cookbook shot to the very top of the New York Times best seller list. The folks who wait in long, long lines to buy it feel like they know her. That's what blogging does. Kami says, “It's almost like you know these people in real life. They do become important to you.”

Blogging does something else. It gives women with gifts and creativity a place to thrive without leaving their homes and their kids.

It gives their readers something a lot smarter and a lot more relevant than daytime TV to keep them company, which makes a mom like me wonder whether I might have made another choice had my kids been born in the age of the blogosphere. And that, by the way, is the subject of my very first post.

Dear mommy bloggers, I envy you, well you'll just have to visit my blog to read it.

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