If you want to know what a successful blog looks like, look no further than The Good Stuff Guide. Despite the fact that I’m not a mom (unless you count raising an ornery dog as motherhood), this is one of my favorite blogs. I read it at least twice a week, and if you’ve ever spoken with me about blogging, you’ve probably heard the name before.
Continuing with my successful blogger interview series, I am honored that I had the chance to interview one of my favorite bloggers: Heidi Farmer, founder of The Good Stuff Guide. Heidi has been a major source of inspiration for growing my own blog, and I’m so thankful she took the time for this interview.
Why did you decide to start The Good Stuff Guide?
The things I write about in The Good Stuff Guide is what I wanted to read on the Internet. I really hadn’t spent a lot of time on mommy blogs, but it seemed that many of the other mommy blogs are more inward focusing—they are just telling me about their kids or what’s going on in their lives.
I would check CNN and other news and entertainment sites, but I wanted something more uplifting, fun, and geared toward what I wanted to read. So, I thought I’d better create it.
How did you decide whom this blog was going to target? And how similar is your target reader to you?
I’m definitely a Midwest-bred, normal, typical, American suburban mom with young kids—and moms are my target market. When I was creating The Good Stuff Guide, I put myself through an exercise where I defined my target mom and I named her Brooke. She lives in Michigan—because that’s where I am from—and it seems that a lot of my readers are from the Midwest. Brooke drives a minivan, and she has two kids, one is in first grade and the other is in preschool. As I was creating the blog, I kept thinking about what Brooke would want to read.
She is different from me, and that was part of the exercise. Your target market can’t just be people like you. So, Brooke and I talk all day long. It sounds strange, my imaginary friend and me, but it helps me create a blog that speaks to my target audience.
Is the creation of Brooke one of the first things you did before you began The Good Stuff Guide?
Yes. Brooke is your typical suburban mom, married to her college sweetheart, went to a state big (ten) school, loves her kids, has great friends and great mommy friends that she connects with. Taking the kids to Disney World is also really important to her. She loves her parents. There are lots of things she is thinking about, doing, and planning for throughout the day.
How has narrowing your target reader to Brooke helped to build your readership?
You know it’s funny because I really struggled with the idea that if I made my target audience too specific, I wouldn’t attract a large readership. I didn’t want to disregard all the groups out there. But, after making my target market as clear and specific as possible, my blog has appealed to more people. I can’t explain, but it does work.
I’m not trying to be all things to all people. And I think people realize “this is who she is.” They know when they come to my site they are going to get what they want. They put trust in me.
Your blog is fairly new. How high is your readership now?
I had 215,000 hits in January, and I am on track to surpass that in February. What’s nice is that, because I publish six days a week, a lot of those readers hit every day. So I am at about 17,000 to 18,000 loyal readers, which is great, but I’m always looking to grow.
I first started promoting it on Facebook and using Facebook ads. I love that Facebook ads are so specific. I can get right at my target readers relatively inexpensively, and that’s been good. I do have a Facebook fan page, and that’s a great way to get people involved every day.
I also invited every single friend I had, and I emailed a bunch of different people, in small groups—instead of sending out a mass email to all my friends. I contacted my friends in smaller groups so that it felt more personal saying, “I’ve launched this blog, and I would really appreciate your taking a look.”
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) has also proven to be an excellent tool for promoting my blog.
HARO has proven to be the best place for people to find me, and granted they are all journalists or things, but there are a lot of moms on it, too.
What two tips would you give to bloggers?
The biggest tip is that the content must be quality. Bloggers need to ask themselves: What am I putting out there? Is it quality? Is it what people want to read? Is it useful to people?
With my blog, I’m really trying to work on the writing, work on giving people what’s important, and trying to keep it short, too, because usually they just want it in quick little snippets with photos. So that’s the biggest one: quality content.
The second tip is to have some sort of editorial schedule and dependability. It depends though on what type of blog you have. If your blog is just for your friends and family and you just do whatever the heck you want, that’s awesome, that’s great. But if you are looking to have it more out in a public realm and try to really build it into something substantial nationwide, then to have some sort of dependability so people know when to hit your blog and when you have new content is essential.
There’s nothing worse for readers than when they visit your blog, it’s the same content that was there the last time. I schedule my posts so that they run at 4 a.m., Monday through Saturday. And when I go to other sites and they haven’t updated in a few days, it says to me that they don’t post much, so there isn’t much for me to come back and see. Not that you need to publish six days a week, but whatever your schedule is, keep to it.
Where do you see your blog going? Are you going to eventually bring anybody on to help you?
The Good Stuff Guide is a one-woman show, and, to be honest, I don’t know at this point the direction I’m going. There are times when I think, “oh, I’m going to need some help at some point,” and I’m not really sure how to do that. I am hoping at some point it really might be a full-scale business. I just don’t know. We’ll see when we get there.
About Heidi Farmer:
Heidi Farmer is the founder of The Good Stuff Guide, a blog that focuses on the Good Stuff in life for Moms, Kids and for the Home. Special features of the website include; Home Tour Fridays, frequent Monday Giveaways, Mini-Vacation Wednesdays, and various product reviews. The website highlights the things that make family life more efficient, less hectic and most importantly of all, more fun. The Good Stuff Guide’s devoted readers are typically middle/upper class suburban moms scattered across the United States that are between the ages of 25 to 44.