An intern did a preliminary interview with me to make sure I actually have something to say that's interesting. One of the questions she asked me was: What is your specialty? What makes you different than the other "mommy bloggers" out there.
|I am a mom. I blog. Does that really make me a mommy blogger?|
Ugh. Can't you just ask me about my closet?
It got me thinking about the big bloggers out there. The bloggers who have the sort of success that I dream about. What makes them different from one another? I know what makes them similar. They're all great story-tellers with powerful voices who like to mix a little humor with a side of serious and/or heartwarming.
Let's see, there's:
1. The Pioneer Woman. PW's blog isn't a blog anymore, it's truly an Empire, with a capital "E." She has books, television shows, recipes, photos, homeschooling tips, the proper cowboy wife etiquette tips, and more. My suspicion is that Ree Drummond is a droid. She's like the Plucky, Down Home Model of the Martha Stewart robot. The Pioneer Woman is just like Martha Stewart, if MS was friendly, unafraid of needless calories and farmed in Oklahoma instead of Connecticut. Truly, is there anything PW cannot do? Even her dog wrote a book! (Mothra's won the Westminster Dog Show, I'm sure his book detailing his trials and tribulations to get that blue ribbon will be out soon.)
To me, PW comes across as the patron saint of the overachievers mixed with Bella Swan. I just read her memoir and all she wrote about was what brand name clothes she wore on her dates with her cowboy (Who wears heels to a ranch?), the fancy food she cooked for her hungry, hard working man (Of course of he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy - why did that surprise you?) and how clumsy she was around his virile, masculine body (How many times can she almost fall down and be rescued by his strong, ropy, muscular arms? Almost as many times as Bella was kept safe by Edward.)
2. The Bloggess. AKA the "One I Aspire to Be." Hands down, The Bloggess is the funniest blogger out there (says the second funniest). I had the Elf on the Shelf, which was a cute little viral post, but she had the epic viral post about Beyonce, which still makes me laugh every time I think Knock, knock, motherfucker.
Jenny Lawson is my kind of mom. I would love to hang out at a playgroup with her, especially if she brought her one of a kind Mommy business cards. The Bloggess has a gift for connecting with her readership and getting them to do some crazy shit. Like take pictures of themselves with balls of twine, send around a red dress for everyone to share, buy Christmas presents for needy families, and bring big metal chickens with them to book signings (her book dropped earlier this month and I'm devastated that Kansas City is not on the book tour). She also has an animal fixation, only hers are dead. She collects taxidermied animals and dresses them up and turns their images into greeting cards.
3. Dooce. Even though PW and The Bloggess have bigger audiences, Dooce is the mother of us all. Heather Armstrong started blogging back in the day when no one even knew what blogging was. Even back then, I remember my sister in law telling me how funny Dooce was. I started reading and I got hooked. Her dog also has his own tab on her blog. (What's with these girls and their dogs? Hmm....maybe I need a dog.) She writes about everything from getting fired for writing about her co-workers to depression to building furniture from Ikea (gotta love the blatant product placements) and now she's been writing lately about how emotionally spent she is with everything going on in her personal life (her new book came out this month and she's getting divorced).
4. Scary Mommy. When I think about it, I honestly don't think I've read anything that Jill Smokler has written. She says she writes about the fact that parents don't have to be perfect - I like that, but I can't really find stuff she's written! I've been to her site numerous times and every time I'm completely overwhelmed by the amount of information there.
She has giveaways, she has a forum where people can chat, a place where parents can confess their parenting sins, and she encourages you to buy her book. I heard her book that just came out is really good. (Apparently I missed the memo that mommy blogger books are supposed to be released in April - hopefully I'll get the memo for April 2013.)
I do like that she was part of the "most revolutionary social media campaign ever" when she teamed up with Target and let readers pick her outfits. It was really fun, actually. I tried to pick the strangest outfits, just because I thought it would be funnier. My strategy didn't work. She looked great in anything they put her in. She has set the bar high, but I intend to clear it easily when I launch my most revolutionary social media campaign ever when I partner with Honda and get a badass Odyssey minivan.
These are the 4 that I think of when I think of successful Mommy Bloggers, although they're all so much more than that. Now, back to the interviewer's question: What makes me different?
Well, let's start with who I am and what I write about.
People I Want to Punch in the Throat. I started this blog about a year ago now and I never know what I'm going to write about - it depends upon my mood. Usually, it's things that piss me off. Sometimes it's celebrities, sometimes it's politicians, sometimes it's the guy standing in front of me at McDonald's who can't decide what he wants for lunch ("Uhh...what's good here?") and sometimes it's the Hubs. I try to temper my rants with humor and every now and again I show a bit of my compassionate side. I don't want it to get out that I have a heart, though - it's bad for business.
I think I'm different from the mega-bloggers, because I'm not as nice as they are. No one has the scorched earth policy that I have. I am not afraid to say anything. It's like I've said before, I'm a bullshit caller. I don't let people get away with silliness (myself included). Plus, there is nothing off-limits on my blog. I let the Hubs write about my jungle, for goodness sake! Let's see Dooce do that. When I write, I don't worry about what the masses might think. Maybe once I'm invited to drive my minivan to the big girl blog party, I might worry, but for now I am my own person.
I read these blogs and I learn from them and I'm inspired by them (and, it must be said, sometimes I want to punch them in the throat), but I won't copy their style. I will never write a cookbook - unless it's called Food I'll Never Make. I will never host decorating segments slash advertisements for Ikea on HGTV. I will never appear on the Today show and kiss Ann's ass when she interviews me about my book (that she obviously hasn't read). No, if I appear on the Today show, I want to drink wine at 10 am with Hoda and Kathie Lee and thank them for inspiring my first post. I think it would be great if they put us in a boxing ring and really let us try to punch each other. I will never get a dog and let it have a tab on my blog - letting the Hubs guest post is close enough. I will always take crappy pictures with my cell phone camera, because I'm way too lazy to get out the "real" camera. Besides, I don't want to get so that my photographs are so great looking, they detract from my words. (Ha.)
I want my success on my own terms. We all have our own schtick and we appeal to people, because we're not phony (although PW is really starting to become a "persona" rather than a person anymore). That's what makes them different and that's what makes me different. You can't put these girls in any one category and I'm proud to say, you can't put me in any one category either.