A few weeks ago, your humble e-scribbler stumbled across St. John’s Toddler, an exceptionally well done local blog by Erika Pittman.
While it has ben very successful, it was pretty easy to see this blog deserved some wider exposure so I offered Erika this space with no restrictions. She responded with the piece below. It introduces the blog and Erika in a simple, frank way.
Then again, that’s what “mommy blogs” usually are and why they have turned into both a popular form of online expression and a market force in the United States. Mom’s who blog are just one of the many way’s women express themselves online.
If you want to see just how potent that market segment is, check out BlogHer:
Today, BlogHer is the largest community of women who blog: 25+ million unique visitors per month (Nielsen NetRatings). Engaged, influential and info-savvy, these women come to BlogHer to seek and share advice, opinions and recommendations. BlogHer’s team works hard to bring you the best and brightest conversations, writers and speakers – online and in person. That’s what we do best.
Engaged. Engaging. Info-savvy. That’s pretty much what Erika’s blog is and influential is what we’d predict St. John’s toddler will become.
by Erika Pittman
I began writing St. John’s Toddler when I was on maternity leave two years ago. I was disappointed in the lack of local information about activities and services available to parents of young children in St. John’s. When I went to the internet in search of local activities and events for children it was hit or miss and most of the activities and services I knew about came from word of mouth. It seemed counter-intuitive to me that you already needed to know what you were looking for in order to Google it, so I started my blog.
St. John’s Toddler is not a ‘mommy blog’ in the typical sense. My intent in the beginning was simply to gather toddler-related information all in one spot. As the blog has grown that scope has expanded slightly, but it is still not a personal blog. I do a daily post, usually focusing on activities, products, events, services, or sometimes I just share a link I found useful. The common theme is parenting children under five years old in St. John’s. I chose to focus on that age group because, at this point anyway; that is my area of expertise. My son turns three this year.
Since the beginning I have tried to encourage people to send in their tips, ideas and reviews because I didn’t want this blog to be about me and my life. The whole personal blogging thing makes me uncomfortable in some ways; I can't seem to get over the 'all about me' thing or the sharing my life with strangers part. That being said, I have noticed that the posts that are slightly more personal get the most feedback. For example, people were really interested in sharing their experiences and the challenges of taking their toddlers to restaurants after I wrote about which St. John’s restaurants I felt were toddler-friendly. Another interesting thing about the feedback I get is that a good portion of the email I get is from women new to St. John’s looking for things to do with their kids and how to meet other moms and children. I think this affirms my whole reason for starting the blog and I am happy to help them.
I am happy to say that in the two and a half years since I created the blog, a little community has formed around St. John’s Toddler, with loyal readers who send tips and regularly comment. This is exactly what I was striving for. I have begun to expand the blog a little too in recent months. I now have a local family doctor who contributes articles. I hold contests with prizes I buy myself or are generously donated by local businesses. I created an Amazon St. John’s Toddler bookstore for books that my readers or I recommend and I have set up a Twitter account.
This month I am holding the first St. John’s Toddler event; a children’s clothing swap. I am hoping this event will be an opportunity to take the St. John’s Toddler community from the virtual world to the real world and I am looking forward to meeting people I have been talking to by email for years.
I am not sure what will become of St. John's Toddler when my child turns five, but I have a feeling the content and audience for St. John's Kid and particularly St. John's Teen will be easy to find!
- srbp -