Have you considered starting a blog for your business? Have you been questioning if a blo gis the right next step for you? After today, you won't have to wonder! Amy, Founder and MEO of the Mama Honey blog, has a lot of great tips up her sleeve about how to start a blog; in fact, she recently published a blog post about how to start your blog in a day! That's why episode 113 of the Moments with an MEO podcast is about how to start your business blog, with Amy!
In this episode, we discuss:
1. The steps to take to start your blog and get it up and running.
2. The time commitment of blogs and how you can make it work even with a busy schedule.
3. The difference between finding the gap and copying someone else.
4. Where to find inspiration and ideas, even if you feel like your story is already out there in someone else's blog or platform.
And a lot more!
Thanks so much for listening to today's episode! If you enjoyed this episode please leave a review on your listening app of choice and share it on social media!
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Amy Stratton 0:00
A blog is a evergreen traffic source, which I think is really, really valuable, especially nowadays, where it's going to just kind of reap benefits over time. Whereas, you know, more of the social media platforms or more, I guess, like surface level, you know, they, they have their times and they kind of have to keep up with them over time. But a blog is a really nice place that you own. That's, I think another big part of it is you own that little space of the internet, you get to put out what you want to put out there. And have it represent you and your business.
Welcome, Amy to the moments of than me Oh, pie cast, I am so stoked to welcome you here today. How are you?
Amy Stratton 0:45
I am doing great. Thank you for having me. Of course. So,
Amy, you are a military spouse of seven years. Yeah. And you started a blog shortly after you got married. And it was basically kind of like your digital journal. And then you found the world of influencing and you started working with some of your favorite brands. And through that time, you've gotten two beautiful girls, you're now working full time you're dealing with military life. And really your blog is kind of like your outlet. And that's really what we're going to showcase today. And I am so excited to talk about this. Because this is something that's been on my brain for a while, like, should I start a blog? Should I not I get asked this a lot by my clients and whether or not they should start a blog or what the benefits are. And so today, I think is going to serve quite a few people in quite a few different ways. So thank you for taking the time to do that. I would love to start with just hearing your love story. How did you meet your spouse?
Amy Stratton 1:48
Sure, this is exciting. So it might be a little surprising to you. But I grew up right next to Fort Hood, Texas. And I had no interest in ever meeting anyone in the military, like I was good in my little area, had no idea what was going on to the base, other than we hear all the loud noises from it. Come in my husband, we meet right before he's getting deployed. So he was there for HUD for like a pre deployment training. And so we literally met and then he's like, see, I'm leaving next month to go overseas. So that was the very start of our relationship. It was just kind of more of like, you know, we're gonna stay in touch. You're overseas, you have no one to talk to like we're just kind of starting a friendship and starting relationship all at once. And I'll tell you, it was very magical to meet someone and connect with someone when your communication was so limited. Because I feel like we were more intentional with our time and really getting to know each other. So yeah, that was our first interaction was long distance, literally right away. I don't know if that's a typical military love story, maybe that you have deployments that you know, interfere with relationships, how they fall, that that was the beginning. When he came back, we got engaged, I would say maybe a few months after he came back, that's probably more typical, right for military. And then we got married like a week later after getting engaged. So we would like leave it here we are seven years later, we started our family. And you know, it's kind of grown from there. So that's pretty much how it started was really slow, long beginning and fast.
Yeah. So I'm curious where you were in life and where you are planning on going? Because I feel like us women, we always have plans, right? Like, I'm going to get married at 22. And you know, all these other things that never end up happening. So I'm curious, like what your life looks like before you met your spouse? What was that process? And you're like, Wait a second. I don't think this is gonna work out the same way I had intended originally.
Amy Stratton 4:03
Yeah, honestly, I think it fell online pretty much with what God had planned for me and what I planned for myself. So my professional kind of goal was to be a teacher and I was already pursuing that route. I was good. But I always wanted to get married young and have kids young. Like I know that sounds crazy now being older, but I wanted to have kids like 18 years old, like that was pretty enlightened. And he, you know, came into my life and it was perfect. Obviously, we didn't have kids that young, but it was in line with what I wanted. I did want to get married young and have a spouse. I didn't think I would be moving away from home. That was something that was not in the cards that I was expecting. I was literally voted most likely to stay in my hometown. And I was like one of the first to leave. So that was a little bit of a change for me that I was content with where I was physically, but like emotionally and mentally I was ready for that next chapter to be, you know, married. So yeah, I was gonna be a teacher I found out through college that that was not for me, it was definitely not like the military that had an influence on that. It was my studies that I was like, this is not the path for me. So that's kind of where blogging came in. We moved around, I started, you know, I was in college started it, and then I thought it wasn't for me. And then I was just sitting doing nothing. And so blogging is really when that took over was like, you know, I can document this time in my life of being a new married woman to someone in the military. So it honestly just started out as being a distal journal, like you introduced it as, because I was living away from my family. And that was kind of just a nice little way to, like, update everyone on what was going on in life. And it was just a fun hobby. That's really what it was. It just kept me busy. It kept me looking forward to something in the week, because you know, kind of days that dragged by, I wasn't doing much I was working like a part time kind of job, I had a lot of free time on my hands. And it honestly, I feel like it grew with me as a person, like I started off as a fun hobby just on the side. But as time went on, we added kiddos to the mix, I added an actual career, it really just kind of it was with me all that time. It's just like part of my life that I've always blogged each little moment in my life. And then my blog kind of gave back to me, and I was able to get income from it. And it was just kind of a nice thing were started as something that I was passionate and just happy doing. And then I got rewards from it at the end, you know, it wasn't opposite, where I just did it to like, make money. I did it just because I found joy in it. And then that kind of just came. That's kind of like that beginning.
I love that. And I love that it was just something fun. And I feel like a lot of military spouse or businesses in general, start that way, right? You're like, oh, wait, like, I enjoy doing this. I can get paid to do this, like, let's do it. Why might someone want to start a blog for their business? Or just start one in general? Maybe they're like, I would love to be a blogger? Like, why would someone find joy in that? Or why might someone think that that's a good choice for their business?
Amy Stratton 7:23
Yeah, so I would take an account the business that you're wanting to grow. So sometimes I know it's very common military community to have like a small business within your home. But really, the big picture of it is it's something that you can have a business that moves with you, like a blog is virtual, I feel like that is something that a lot of us are looking for, like you don't have to worry about it being you know, if you're stationed here, and then you move, maybe overseas, like it's something that is always going to be there as a business. And so whether that looks like a tangible, small business or virtual, I feel like a blog is a really great driver for either of those paths. Because whatever you're doing a blog is a great house for that if it's a product, you can pick your blog on or put it on your blog, if it's just you're wanting to be a content creator, a blog is a wonderful space for companies and brands, to be able to view what you have to say. And I will tell you going the blogging route versus just maybe like Instagram, it pays a lot more like there's more opportunity there where brands want blogs written. And to have a blog already established, it's just really great to build almost like a portfolio of what you have to offer. So I feel like it's there's layers to a why you would want it for your business. But a blog is a evergreen traffic source, which I think is really really valuable, especially nowadays, where it's going to just kind of reap benefits over time. Whereas you know, more of the social media platforms are more, I guess, like surface level, you know, they they have their times and they kind of have to keep up with them over time. But a blog is a really nice place that you own. That's I think another big part of it is you own that little space of the internet, you get to pick out what you want to put out there. And have it represent you and your business in the best way that you want the company or the clients or customers that you're dealing with to see
you recently posted a blog that I loved. I read it and I loved how it was structured. I love the images that you put in there, basically breaking down like how to start a blog. I would love it if you could give first time bloggers. They've never written their blog before. What's kind of the rundown? Like what do you need to do in order to set up your blog for success?
Amy Stratton 9:46
So before I even get into those steps, I just want to say anyone can do this. Like there's no magic power that I have over someone else. I know it has some technical challenges that you might have in the beginning. But I'm serious when I say anyone can do this, you just have to put in the work. I am a person that's very visual. I love watching YouTube tutorials. So don't feel that that's going to hold you back from like, I'm going to go through these lists and things like, Oh, I can't do that. I don't know how to do that, I promise you there are resources out there. That's something I'm very passionate about is I didn't have all of that going into being like a blogger, I had to figure it out on my own. And so I liked making that blog posts from like, literally, here's the screenshots, here's how you do it, I want it to be accessible. That's really what I wanted the goal to be. So my first step is naming your blog, knowing what you're going to blog about, I think that's a really great place to start knowing that you will want to be you know, recognizable, and something to be known for when they see that blog name, they're going to know what's attached to you. And it makes sense about what you blog about. So a nice way that I like to put this is think about who you're talking to who is your audience, I think that's something very important to keep in mind. If you're making this a business, right, you're just doing it for a personal journal, you don't have to worry about that you're the audience. But if you're doing it as a business, you need to think about who you're talking to, and what problems you want to solve for them with your business. Those are my first steps, name your blog, figure out what you want to blog about. My next biggest tip is to own your blog, set up a domain and become self hosted, I recommend WordPress just because that's what I use. And it's the biggest platform to make your own website and own it. And what I mean by that is if you use a free site, that site owns it, they can take it down at any time, they can use you for advertising and get a lot of benefits from you that you'd necessarily don't always see the benefit for. So on your site outright, if you're making this a business is the best investment you can make. Honestly, from that get go. Once you create your blog, my next biggest tip is to always work on improving your blog. Don't stay stagnant. Don't say placement, the blogging world moves just as much as social media does. So always stay with the trends and do your research on what your audience wants. My best tips for this is to go to answer the public comm go to your local Facebook groups. If you're a mom blog, go on those mom groups and see what they're asking about and be that resource for answering. If you own a beauty business, what are they asking about beauty? You know, what are the makeup items that they don't know about that you can be that resource for and let that inspire a blog post, I think that's just like the easiest way that you can get it across to your community is literally by going into that community and what people are actually looking for. My next tip is to have a marketing strategy. I think this is where a lot of blogs do fall off, where you get excited you do one or two posts, and then you're just like, Well, I'm not getting traffic, I'm just gonna close it down. Hope for the best next time. This is just like any other business you have to put in the work, right. So treat it as a business from the get go. And you will see that return and that reward come from it. So personally, I love Pinterest as a huge traffic source for me, YouTube, tik, Tok, Instagram, those are all wonderful platforms to be a part of that can help drive traffic to your blog. Like I said, a blog is a evergreen piece of the internet. So sometimes it does take a little bit of that turnaround time to see the light of day on Google. So use those social media platforms to your advantage. So you're driving traffic to your blog. This is just another way that you can get connected to your community and connect with others to bring them to not only be followers, but also part of your community and part of your blog traffic. And kind of with that is just be consistent. Again, don't bring yourself out in the beginning. Treat it like a job as much as you can within your realm. So maybe you're not getting a lot of companies or brands reaching out to you yet, then your full time job is to put out those blog posts, reach out to them do your marketing strategy. And don't let that stop you. Because I think the biggest thing with blogging is it does take that consistency. And that is like an all aspects of consistency with updating your blog and making it pretty and fresh and inviting updating blog posts, putting more out there, researching your community like it's a constant ongoing thing. There's always something you can be doing. And I think that's the exciting part. It's not just something that sits and you're just like praying that it works out. It's something that I can always be working on and I even go back onto my blog and update it then I update colors and little things like just tiny little things that can make a difference. So that's really the best advice if I'm giving it to anyone that's just first starting out to creating your blog to being consistent having a marketing strategy, you know what your goal is? I suggest writing it down and putting it out there putting it out into the world what your goal is, is To get a certain amount of use, is it to work with a certain company is it to make a certain amount of money, if you can quantify your goals, then they can be reachable. And I think that's the biggest thing with the blogging world is you are in control of what happens with it. And that's exciting. It's a little scary. But as any business like business entrepreneur will tell you, that's the most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur is being in control of what happens with your business.
Absolutely, you mentioned it a few times, and I just think it's so relevant to who we're talking to. I feel like a lot of times, there is a fear of starting a blog. And the time commitment that it's gonna take a lot of people are like, this is gonna take over my whole life. I'll never get anything else done. And so I'm curious if you could just speak on that, like, how much time or how little time? Could a blog take up in someone's day? Like, would this be reasonable for everybody who's like, ooh, blog? Sounds awesome?
Amy Stratton 16:04
Absolutely, yeah, my blog post that I put out there and start your blog in one day, like it can really happen that quickly, of just setting it up. That's probably the longest part in all of this is it'll take a few hours to set up. From there, it's up, you don't have to worry about it and be nitpicky like I am at this point that's been live for a few years. But the actual blog post writing and advertising, you can take maybe like one or two hours of a week. So I would say it's very minimal time commitment, especially if you do all of those steps of doing the research and knowing what you're going to write about. I feel like that's the biggest block of like, I don't know what to write about. And then you kind of waste hours, not knowing that piece. If you cut that out, you can write out a blog post pretty quickly. And I would say yeah, just like one to two hours, or even one hour a week, whatever is doable for you start with that. I wouldn't overdo it. Like I said, as long as you're consistent. You can commit one hour a week, or you can commit two to three hours a week. Stay consistent with that. And don't overdo it or don't feel like it's, you know, you get to the end of the week, and you didn't have time for it. You got next week. Like there's always you know, the next week, you don't have to make this a stressor, that's definitely not what I would recommend is when it starts to become a stressor, you probably should take a step back, because that's going to take the joy out of it. And it's going to definitely come across that way to your readers.
Now my next question actually comes from one of our listeners. And her question for you is when or how often should I put out a blog post? I get this with podcasting, too. And, you know, the day of the week doesn't really matter in podcasting, but I don't know how that shifts over into the Blog World. So how often and maybe what day? Or when should someone post a new blog post?
Amy Stratton 17:58
Yeah, that's a great question. I would say it's going to be dependent on your industry. So how fast turnover your industry has, where if it's something like, I don't know, politics, or like entertainment, you might have to do a little bit more through the week. I personally just do one a week. And I typically do at the beginning of the week. So I have that week to do social media advertising. So I would get that in your mind. First stuff, what time commit you can commit to, I think that's the most important piece, and how you're going to plan it out for the week. So your blog doesn't flop and that doesn't get that traffic that you want it to have. I know some people blog, like once a month people blog two to three times a week. It's really just dependent on your industry and what you're blogging about. I personally right now I'm doing pretty lengthy blog posts that do take a little bit more time. So that's kind of another circumstance that will change the answer. If you're doing really quick, like outfit post, I could probably see you doing like, three to five a week if you wanted to, or just a quick post for putting it up. So yeah, I would think about your industry and the time that you can make to writing, editing and advertising on social media.
I love that now. Okay, you just brought up another great point that I want to ask about. And that is the different steps that go into writing a blog post, because I know we just talked about setting up your blog. But when it comes to actually writing it, how does that work? Like how many different steps do you go through before you hit publish?
Amy Stratton 19:29
Yeah, that's a great question. So I have on my phone, I have a Notes app that I have a running list of blog topics, and I have like little bullet points, I can check them off and it's done. And so that part, you know, takes a little bit of time where you're just kind of like running through like ideas. So maybe it takes like 10 minutes or an hour for some people. So that part I know the blog topic. Sometimes what I'll do is I'll take that into my post and make it a draft where I type up just a quick little like pair graph of the direction I want that blog posts to go. From there, I will then go into the, I usually go into Pinterest and look at other blog posts that are related to that topic and kind of see the direction they went and find my favorite thing to do is find stuff that they didn't talk about, that I could speak on, I feel like gives me such an edge, I get to offer more. Like I said, I go in there for inspiration. And I don't want you to think that, you know, that's like copying or anything like that. Stay clear of that. But I go in there to think about, you know, again, what they write about and what they missed that I could put into my blog posts and focus on. So that's what I start with that inspiration kind of step. And then I'll go back into my posts and start writing. I personally like to take my own photos, I know some people will go like the stock photo free photo route, I like having my own stuff on there. So I can use it for my like social media or my Pinterest. So that's personal preference, that does take additional time to take photos and edit them, put them in there. So depending on if you do that takes a little bit extra, but then the actual writing the blog post, gosh, it can take 30 to like 30 minutes, like two hours, depending on how long it is, and how in depth on going. And that's like writing it going back editing it, changing the the headers, the colors, checking for SEO, setting up the keywords, all of that like full on that screen. And then I will either schedule it, or publish it and then go into Pinterest and make pins for it. So that's a whole other part of it is kind of the after it's posted, I quickly make pins. So I have them up and ready, schedule them out for the week and link them to the blog post. So I can get traffic that happens not just that day I post it but over time as well.
I want to touch upon something that we've talked about at length on my other platforms, but I don't think I've talked about it enough on the podcast. And that is the difference between copying and finding the gap. Because that is huge. So what you were talking about is finding the gap, you're going to your competitors, and you're looking at what they're like, What topics they're talking about. And you're specifically figuring out what they missed. And then you're going to the next competitor and figuring out what they missed, and then the next competitor and figuring out what they missed. And you're taking what they missed and creating your own perception or your own ideas on that. Which is very different from going to your competitor reading what they wrote, and then just rephrasing it on your own blog. Yes, this happens all the time on Instagram, it happens all the time on basically every social media platform now, because tick tock has normalized copying and you know, following other people's leads and trends. And so this is something that is so huge, and I cannot stress it out enough how important it is to find the gap. Because that's what sets you apart, just like you were saying, finding the gap in what your competitors are talking about. And talking about that is truly what sets you apart and what makes it so that people actually want to go read your blog, and not every other blog that you could potentially be copying, right? Yes. So I love that you do that I just had to like pause and take a moment to not only respect that, but encourage that in every listener because that is so so so important. And I think it's missed and a lot of people don't understand the difference.
Amy Stratton 23:43
Really. Yeah. And kind of just to touch on that too, relating to this industry. You know, we're all military spouses, you think like, what do I have to share about military spouse like that hasn't already been shared. You, my friend are different than the other military spouses out there. You have your own story, your own voice. And so hopefully, this is empowering you that you can still share your story. It might sound like the same background or same topic, but I promise you it is going to be so different than someone else's experience because it's coming from you and from your perspective. So hopefully this is encouraging because I know there's lots of blogs out there that exist. And you're thinking, you know, it already is probably out there. I promise you it's not there's something that you can fill within that niche that you're talking about.
To just put this into perspective for our longtime listeners. Every single episode, I always ask the guest, whoever that may be about their love story. We're going on over 100 episodes now. So over 100 love stories. And even if they start out by saying oh, we're just the typical high school sweethearts, or even if they say oh, we met in college, and you resonate with that, not a single one of these 100 Plus stories have been the same. And that's why I love starting out in that space because everybody's journey is different, even if you think that you are not special or unique. So I love that. So I would love to know, where can we connect with you? Where can we read the blog? Where can we connect with you on Instagram? Where can they reach out and ask you more questions if they're curious about being a blogger themselves? Where does all that magic happen?
Amy Stratton 25:25
Absolutely. My blog is called the mama honey calm, named by my daughter. Just for a little backstory on that. And then my Instagram is Amy in Stratton, STR a TT o n. Yeah, I seriously am so big on community over competition. So if you have any questions on starting your blog, I have my inbox open, I would be more than happy to answer and help you become a successful blogger. Or if it's just a hobby. I'm here for that, too. I I love when people start blogs, that's just my favorite thing, because I love reading them. And I
think it's kind of like podcasting where you don't read just one, right? Like you read different blogs. Maybe you're Googling something. And you're asking a question about what the heck does TDY mean, and you find three blog posts, and you can go read about them. I feel like you know, podcasting is the same, like there can be 12 podcasts. And I don't care which ones you listen to, because I know one of them is going to be us. So you know, I don't feel like there is like I don't even know if competitions the right word, right? Because you can read so many different blog posts. And you can listen to so many different podcasts. So I love that and definitely go connect. Amy is the sweetest, she's very personable on Instagram, which is where I've connected with her. And we formed a relationship on Instagram before even meeting today. So it's all good. Amy, what is something that you're learning right now?
Amy Stratton 26:53
I am learning how to solo parent all over again with two little ones. Military life took over our life recently. So I'm learning how to like cut down on making dinner for just us handle all like the household things. I remember to take out the trash. So I am learning solo parenting in the military life right now. Wow.
And how are you embracing being an M E L, a military spouse CEO.
Amy Stratton 27:23
So I feel that I embrace being an MAO because of the feedback that I get from hearing from others in the military life that, oh my gosh, this helped me or oh, I can so relate, that just brings me so much joy. And knowing that what I'm doing is making a difference in someone else's life. I'm not just like speaking to a computer, putting it out there. Like there's real people that are watching and listening and reading. And that just brings me so much joy that I get to connect with people all over the world, you know, military spouses all over the world. And that's just such a wonderful feeling to know that someone could be overseas or states away, and we can still be BFFs and connect on something because we have something that is uncommon.
Yeah, you know, another example of how your story is different. Everybody answers that question differently. And I love it. Because you know, me, oh is a term that I came up with over a year ago now. But you know, everybody feels like they embrace that military spouse co identity differently. So I love that. So thank you, Amy, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for taking time that you could be spending doing literally anything else considering your solo parenting. And I really, really appreciate you giving us the step by step, how to start it the step by step of how you create your blog posts, where you find inspiration, how to find the gap. This was so value packed, and I'm just so grateful that you wanted to jump on today. So thank you so much.
Amy Stratton 28:59
Yeah, thank you for letting me speak and for having me. I'm really honored