Successful Mom Blogger Heather Armstrong
Heather Armstrong has been named the Queen of the Mommy Bloggers by Lisa Belkin of the New York Times Motherlode blog. Few, if any, moms have achieved the kind of success Heather has with Dooce. Her blog was the first to take a personal journal and turn it into a profitable mom-blogging business.
But being first isn’t why she’s so successful; Heather is an extremely talented and engaging writer, a savvy businesswoman, a personal-branding virtuosa, and one who knows how to stir up controversy to her advantage. Heather’s success very much defies most common-sense business advice.
Heather’s full story can be found on her blog, but to restate it briefly, she started blogging to simply talk about life as a single woman living in Los Angeles. A year later, she was fired from her job for talking about her co-workers on her blog.
Soon thereafter, Heather got married, moved closer to her Mormon family in Salt Lake City, and had her first child, Leta. Heather’s life rapidly spun out of control as she crumbled under the effects of postpartum depression, and she checked herself into a psych ward. Her blog chronicled the entire journey, including her eventual recovery from the depression to her life today.
Heather’s blog has always been a lightning rod for controversy, especially because of her openness about being a former member of the Mormon church, and her willingness to be so honest and vulnerable about her struggles with mental illness. This raw honesty draws many visitors, including both fans and haters.
It’s worthy of note: Should you decide to write about extremely personal issues and controversial beliefs on your own blog, you should be prepared to grow a very thick skin.
Even though Heather’s husband quit his job to work on Dooce in 2005, she feels that her blog has become something far more important than just a family business. Her ability to raise awareness about postpartum depression and other mental health issues has made a huge impact on the lives of thousands of her readers.
Some of them have struggled with the same problems, and her blog has given them hope they can survive the pain they are currently in. Others have loved ones with mental health issues, and have written her to say that until they read her blog, they thought their spouses or family members were making things up.
Heather’s writing has shown them what their loved ones are going through — in many cases, for the first time ever.
Heather rose to popularity so quickly that she has never had to pursue advertisers, brand campaigns, or other work opportunities. This is very much the exception and not the norm in the blogging world, but it does indicate that success breeds more success.
She credits several factors for her success — uppermost is the ten years of hard work she has spent writing consistently — along with a good bit of luck. She also knows that having the luxury of a business partner (her husband) has been critical to her ability to focus on her strengths without having to worry about the business end of things.
Heather’s three tips for blogging success are:
Understand how much work blogging is — there is a big misconception about how easy it is to blog.
The Internet is permanent and universal. Don’t think that blogging anonymously or saying hurtful things won’t come back to haunt you; they will.
Find websites with communities you like — and participate in those communities. Doing so will get your name out there. It shows that you care about what you’re saying.
Started blogging: February 2001
Blog provided stable income in: October 2005
Income estimate: High six-figures to possibly over a million dollars in annual revenue.
How Heather makes money: Advertising on her blog, two books (one of which was a New York Times bestseller), public speaking engagements, and brand partnerships such as social media marketing for HGTV and a spokesperson deal with Verizon.