The Blogging Pivot: When It's Time to Change


Moderator: Melani Feehan/Melanie in the Middle/@melaniemiddle1
Speakers: Ana Flores//SpahiglishBaby//@laflowers
August McLaughilin//Girl Boner//@AugustMcLaughlin
Carrie Forrest, MBA/MPH//Carrie on Living//@carrieonliving

Melani: Started as an extreme couponing Blogger! She was in a terrible accident and was hit by a car. She couldn't write about her shopping trips in the hospital, so she had to make the change. It took a very long time to recover and the change was a challenge.

Carrie: Carrie got thyroid cancer in 2012 and was really feeling bad. She used to be vegan. She wrote a post about her personal story trying to be vegan and now not wanting to, about 6 weeks ago. She wanted to be honest about her journey. Her blog used to be Carrie on Vegan, really about the vegan life. When she turned away from it, she had to change her blog. She wrote a very long blog post that got tons of comments and some of them were not nice. They even made her cry. Now she's not really writing recipes anymore and she is in transition.

August: I had a severe eating diorder when I was modeling. I realized during recovery, that I wanted to be empowered. I had written a novel and I was just bouncing around. I didn't have a huge following, but I did have a steady, supportive following. It was like nutrition, thriller, and living. I first applied for my Trademark before I started my GirlBoner blog series. I hoped that would help build my credibility so I could get a book contract or something. I wanted to talk about it all the time as soon as I started the blog series. I was imagining people being completely terrified, shocked, and thinking what are you doing, before my first post. My first comment was actually on FB, and the person said, "that sounds kind of pornographic, you probably shouldn't write about that." Of course, my first post was actually received quite well and it been like that since.

Ana: I started blogging in 2009, which is kind of like baby steps for most bloggers. It grew out of a need. I was raising my daughter bilingual and bicultural. I went on ine and started discovering all those blogs to help me be a mom but I wasn't finding what I needed. I called my best friend and after six months, we launched Spanglish Baby, with all this content meant for bilingual families. We received so much support. The community just exploded. It was beautiful. We didn't start monetizing for about 1 1/2 but I was in love. I started being recognized and that led to a book. I started having multiple identities online, all at the same time. I launched Latina Bloggers Connect. I was managing three brands at this point. I was writing for other sites as well as Babble, helping them bring in the Latino readers. I was also doing a lot of Ambassadorships. I knew I had to pivot. I just couldn't keep going that way. All of a sudden, there was just so much content and the game changed. Right now, the blog is on a haitus. We just needed to step up. It took us 5 years to get to 15,000 following. Since we moved the conversation over on FB, we have like 85,000.00 We found a way at least to keep the conversation alive. Now I'm focusing all my attention on Latina Bloggers Connect.

Melani: Do what you believe is right. Don't let your blog define you. Just let people know about the changes you are about to make. At some point, you need to hit the publish button, and say, I'm going to make this change, and just do it. One day I changed color on my sidebar. I had people being fussy and wondered what people would do once I started changing content. My advice is to let the comments go. People don't like change. It is extremely important that you do what is right for you. Be prepared, you will lose some readers. It is possible, but you have to be true to you. Write about what you are passionate about. Lots of new people came in and in the end, it worked out. I used to be the Coupon Goddess and then I went to Melanie in the Middle. Is anyone concerned about losing your PageRank? I have never asked a blogger for pagerank and none of my peers have ever asked a blogger for their pagerank. After all this time, people still go to Coupon Goddess and it's redirected to Melanie in the Middles.

Carrie: I did change my URL, but I forwarded it. I didn't want to lose everything. I hired someone to do that for me.

August: I chose my name for my URL. I just changed the name on my header. I started by having Girl Boner Mondays. I knew that readers who didn't necessarily want to read about female sexuality, would just skip Mondays. So later in the week, and whatever day I wanted, I did Mondays and another day during the week and did whatever the heck I wanted. I thought maybe people are going to think Girl Boner is about dog bones, but it's none. I did not buy I use the hashtag all the time.

Ana: I would recommend yourself as you brand your blog. If you're going to do something as drastic as I did, just transition your readers. People say you don't own your content on Facebook. No, I don't, but I have a community. In social media, you have to give to your community. Let go of fear and trust that what you have created is the same as that genius you had when you first started. Started from scratch is most scary but at the end of the day it's about following your passion.

Audience Question: How did you transition your social media accounts with the handles.
Melani: I just switched my handle. With Melanie in the Middle, I don't have a Facebook for that. I can only dedicate my energies to so many places. So for me, the sacrifice was not having a facebook page for Melanie in the Middle. My readers communicate with me through my site. Instagram and Pinterest, I just started when I did the change.

Carrie: With a FB Page, it's kind of hard. I changed from Carrie on Vegan to Carrie on Living. Facebook took seven days to review it and gave a transition time to my FB Followers. Pinterest was an easy change. The only one that I wasn't really able to change was the Google+, so I'm really not posting there. Not all of my Instagram followers follow my blog, so they didn't really know I was making this change. One of my first non-vegan food posts, somebody wrote, "Sorry, is that actually chicken soup, as in rotting carcus... This has been really emotional for me. I ethically identified with that community, but not the judgement.