Tag Archives: bloggers

Start a Blog Series > Part 2: Blog Writing and Time Management

This is the second in a series of posts I’ll be featuring about blogging and social media here on TheMommyInsider.com.  Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to my RSS feed to be notified when the next post in the series is added.

Read part 1: Want to Start a Blog? Here are Five Things to Think About When Starting a Blog.

blogger time management
Photo credit: Stuart Miles

A lot of people (moms and dads specifically!) want to be able to publish their own masterpieces. The Internet serves as a great avenue to do just that.  Through blogging, anyone can write about what inspires them whether it’s their kids, their job, volunteering, a hobby, travels, products, or services. I’ve learned in the last 10 years I’ve worked online, that to be successful in blogging, you must manage your time well.  Managing your time is even more important than being able to write well, in my opinion.

Here are several time management tips to consider when starting your blog.

Plan your Posts

If you are maintaining a niche blog, it is highly necessary to schedule your blog posts unless you have a sort of breaking news content. Planning or scheduling your posts gives you enough time to research and consolidate ideas.

File your Ideas

Whenever something pops in your head, write it down and if possible, record an audio blog. This way, impromptu ideas will not be wasted as you may forget them later in the day. Incorporate your filed ideas with your blog post plan.

Write Several Blog Posts at a Time

All writers would agree that there are days when you cannot just force yourself to write. Thus, when you have the urge and time to write, take advantage of it and write several blog posts that follow your blog schedule.

Set Perfectionism Aside

It is true that you must always strive to provide quality content. However, it would be best to let go of minor grammatical and typo errors especially if you are running out of time. After all, blogs take its appeal from its ‘home-made’ feel.
Blogging will only prove to be time-consuming if you fail to manage your time well. This is especially true for parents, full-time employees and those who have something else to attend to aside from blogging.
Try following the tips above and I think you’ll find that blogging is very rewarding and fun!
This is part 2 in my Start a Blog series.
Read part 1: Want to Start a Blog? Here are Five Things to Think About When Starting a Blog.
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Please share your favorite blog writing and time management tips and resources in the comments below.

As I continue on this series about blogging, please feel free to ask me any questions you might have from the most basic to more complex questions in the comments below.

Alicia Hagan, Editor

What I Want and Don’t Want in a PR Pitch

I have blogged for a little over 6 years now and have been in the online advertising and marketing business for over 10 years. I get over 300 non-spam emails a day and I’m not saying that to brag by any means. There are bloggers out there that get far more and there are bloggers out there that have their email under better control than I do and don’t get to the point where they have over 20k emails in their inbox. Enough of that.

I was compelled to write this article to answer a question that Cecily Kellog wrote for Babble recently titled “Pitches Gone Bad, When PR Agencies Only Get Part of the Story”. I won’t get into the article here because if you are a blogger, you really should read the article in its entirety but at the end of the article Cecily asks the question “How can we, as bloggers, make it easier for them to research us so that the pitches we receive hit the mark more often?”.

Here is my answer:

Include our full name, email address, Twitter and Facebook links on our Contact and/or About page. If you accept products for review and feel comfortable with leaving your kids genders and ages then doing so will help PR reps know if you are a good match for their product.

As far as pitches are concerned, I used to prefer personalized emails, but I now prefer a more ‘broad pitch’ than the personalized pitch. I think it’s great when a PR rep acknowledges my kids by their names and ages, but I find it more annoying than just about *anything* when I see “Dear Sally” instead of “Dear Alicia” or when the PR rep makes other mistakes in the pitch such as referring to my blog as someone else’s entirely.

What I would like to see from PR representatives:

  • Most importantly.. a clear and concise subject line such as “product review opportunity” or “brand ambassador opportunity”.

For product review opp pitches I would like to see a/the:

  • Brand name
  • Product name
  • Product URL
  • Product description
  • Age range
  • Product price
  • Store availability
  • Exactly how many products will they be sending me?
  • Do they want to do a giveaway?
  • Brief company bio
  • What they would like from me
  • What they will provide me with and/or do for me?
  • Subject line examples: “Sally’s Ice Cream Play Set product review opportunity” or “iPad app review opportunity – redeem code available”.

For brand ambassador opportunities I would like to see:

  • Brand name
  • Brand ambassador campaign name -Having an official brand ambassador campaign ‘name’ gives the campaign more credibility.
  • Why was this opportunity created? To build brand awareness, product awareness, blogger outreach?
  • What’s expected of me. How many posts are required? What am I expected to do on Twitter and Facebook, etc..?
  • What they will provide to me? Let me know if all brand ambassadors are getting paid the same amount or if pay is based on a ‘sliding scale’.
  • Potential travel requirements. Tell me what expenses are NOT covered (transportation to airport, parking, dining once I get to the location, etc).
  • Information about past brand ambassador campaigns they’ve done. Include a URL to the landing page of the last brand ambassador campaign you ran.
  • How long the campaign will last?
  • How many bloggers are you inviting to and will be participating in this campaign? This one is very important!
  • I would like to see all of this information included in the FIRST email that I get from the PR representative. That’s my wish anyway!
  • Subject line example: “Sally’s Organic Potato Chips Brand Ambassador Opportunity” – Easy, huh?

For article pitches:

  • Include the FULL article text and tell me that this article will not be posted on 5 million other blogs.
  • Include the author bio and a link
  • Subject line example: “Article post idea about dogs and Halloween costumes – full exclusive article text included”

Here are a couple of emails that I haven’t opened yet because the subject line doesn’t make me WANT to open the email:

Here are a couple of emails that I opened right away because the subject line made it clear what was being offered to or asked of me:

I understand and appreciate that PR reps are very busy, as are bloggers, and I am ok with more generalized pitches HOWEVER pitches must include all the information I need to make an informed decision right away. I don’t want to have to ask a million questions. That’s when I hit the delete button.

I, like may bloggers, have over 22k emails in my inbox. Yesterday, I received over 300 non-spam emails all of which I would LOVE to read but because I run two businesses and have two children and a home to take care of I have to choose very carefully which emails I open. That’s where a very clear and concise subject line comes in.

I hope this helps bloggers and PR representatives alike. I enjoy what I do which is why I’ve done it for so long and consider myself to be successful seeing as how I’ve worked from home, providing my family with a full-time income for over 10 years.

If you have tips on what you’d like in a PR pitch or brand ambassador campaign pitch, let me know in the comments below or email me at alicia@themommyinsider.com!

Alicia Hagan, Editor

I’m a Ragú® ‘Mom’s the Word on Dinner’ Brand Ambassador!

Ragú® - Brand Ambassador campaignThere’s one thing that I’m actively trying to get better at lately.. cooking.  I’ve decided to start cooking at least two nights a week.  OK, maybe three.  So what’s the story you ask?  Well, my husband works nights most of the time so he’s not home at night to enjoy dinner with us and my mother lives very close to us and likes to see the kids as much as possible, so we go to her house about five nights a week to hang out with her and have dinner.  The kids love it because there’s no TV (you read that right), and I love it because we get good, wholesome, organic, prepared from scratch meals because that’s how my mom rolls.  She’s wholesome and organic. 🙂  Oh, and I love that we get to see her.. not just the food she prepared.  Don’t worry, we do the dishes.

When I was recently asked to be a brand ambassador for Ragú® I thought what perfect timing!   I am honored to be part of such an amazing group of bloggers participating in this campaign and I’m sure this campaign will help me gain the knowledge and confidence I need to cook more and give me the extra push I need to be more creative with food.   There are 25 Ragú® Mom’s the Word on Dinner brand ambassadors including Mommy Niri and Rockin’ Mama.  I will link to a full list of participating bloggers soon.
Mom’s the Word on Dinner is the name of the campaign and during my brand ambassadorship, I hope to get creative (that means use cooking utensils), use recipes (I might have to measure stuff), and share dinner time ideas and tips with you. I’m so excited to be par tof this campaign which is about sharing dinner time advice with other moms and I want you to participate too so jump on over to the Ragu Mom’s the Word on Dinner Facebook page and join us!

I had a blast watching the videos on the Ragú® Mom’s the Word on Dinner Facebook page today.  Video topics including “Got Kids with Odd Eating Habits?” and “When Dinner Gets Tough..” will keep you hooked to the computer for a while.

Here’s a video to get you started:

During my brand ambassadorship for Ragú®, I’ll be hosting two in-home parties and two great giveaways so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook and sign up for my RSS feed so you are always up to date with my latest posts and goodies!

Do you have a dinner time tip you’d like to share with me and my readers?  Please do, in the comments below!

Disclosure – This post was created in connection with my appointment as an Ambassador in the Ragú® Mom’s the Word on Dinner Program. I am being compensated for my Ambassadorship. All opinions and ideas featured in this post are 100% my own. Visit www.facebook.com/ragusauce to join the conversation, get recipes, and watch videos.

Alicia Hagan, Editor

Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad.. I Don’t Eat Salad and I Loved it!

Wendy's Berry Almond Chicken Salad

I was lucky enough to be part of a group of wonderful local bloggers here in Atlanta for the second time, to be given the opportunity to try a new Wendy’s menu item, the Berry Almond Chicken Salad.  The Berry Almond Chicken Salad is a seasonal addition to Wendy’s salad line.  Because I’m not a fan of salad I ordered the half sized salad thinking I would have to force myself to eat even that much salad.  Much to my delight, I was wrong!

Boy was I surprised when I received my salad!  I wasn’t expecting to be handed such a fresh, colorful, delicious looking salad (and by a very courteous staff at that!) The Berry Almond Chicken Salad was topped with fresh strawberries and blueberries, shaved natural Asiago cheese and warm grilled chicken.  Yum!!  Seriously, I  don’t eat salad, just ask my sister (@greedygrechen on Twitter), and I really enjoyed Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad.

Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad is served with fat-free Marzetti’s Raspberry Vinaigrette and sliced almonds on the side adding great flavor and texture to the salad.


I am giving a lucky reader a $25 gift card to Wendy’s.  To enter, leave a comment below telling me what you’d like to try at Wendy’s.
This contest is open to U.S. residents 18 and older.  No P.O. Boxes.
Entries accepted through 11:59pm June 15th.

Earn extra entries by doing one or all of the following:

Disclosure: Wendy’s and The Motherhood invited me to try the new salad, and I was compensated for my time, but all the opinions in this post are my own.


Alicia Hagan, Editor


Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2011 Happening Now!

It’s been a busy day, one that is sure to be the first in a series of days that I will never forget.

First I got up and did some last minute packing,  answered a few emails, got my 4 year old ready for school, then I hopped on a plane and flew to Orlando for Disney Social Media Moms 2011.  I registered for Disney Social Media Moms Celebration a few months ago and my family was supposed to be come with me today but my husband couldn’t get off work today so he and the kids are driving to Orlando tomorrow.   I know they’ll be fine, but neither one of us has ever driven alone with the kids for that long.  We’re such wimps.. I know.  I hope his patience levels are high tomorrow!

What is Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2011?
It’s a conference (AKA Celebration) where about 200 fabulous mom bloggers are getting together to expand out knowledge on social media, blogging, and online marketing.  What’s extra super great is that we also got park hopper passes for all of the Disney parks for the next few days and we are staying at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  As I’m writing this, I have my patio door open, I can see Magic Kingdom across the lake, and I hear the train whistling.  It’s absolutely breathtaking!

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration began this afternoon with a gathering at the Wedding Pavilion at Grand Floridian Resort where we learned about Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings.  Did you know that over 20,000 couples have been married at Disney?
David Tutera from My Fair Wedding talked to us about wedding trends and other interesting wedding related facts.  A few quotes from his talk include: “It all boils down to making dreams come true”, “Bold bright red is the new trend for weddings”, and “People begin to be safe because they are scared. And then it becomes boring”.
Carley Roney from TheKnot.com also spoke. I enjoyed her talk and would have loved to have taken more notes but a few quotes from her speech include “Social media is a cocktail party, you u need to be charming and witty, not talk all about yourself, compliment others” and “Make your audience your passion, your obsession” focus on community”.  I love that one.  I’m not sure how much my husband and kids would appreciate that but it makes sense.  I believe that you need to have a healthy obsession for anything you really want to accomplish in life.



At dinner tonight I met a few bloggers that I hadn’t met before and got to see some blogger friends who I enjoy and appreciate including Desiree Miller, Stacie Connerty, Mommy Niri, Jennifer James, and Jodi Grundig.  Now I’m back in my room relaxing working and looking forward to what’s to come tomorrow.

I am so excited about Chris Brogan session tomorrow.  He’s one of my blogging hero’s.  I saw him at IzeaFest a couple of years ago and thought he was just fabulous and learned a lot from him.  Rene Syler, author of Good Enough Mother, will also be speaking tomorrow and Susan Egan is on the agenda as well.

I hope to gain knowledge on better blogging practices, how to engage my audience (that’s you!), and how to manage my time better.   I don’t know what each of the speakers is going to talk about but I do know that with all of the fabulous mom bloggers and speakers here at Disney Social Media Moms, I’m bound to learn a few things!

Alicia Hagan, Mom Blog editor