OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: ROYO - Dear Abby 2.0: Giving Advice in the Blogosphere

BlogHer Original Post

 BlogHer '10 panel: Writing Lab: ROYO - Dear Abby 2.0: Giving Advice in the Blogosphere.

 Friday, August 6 at 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm
 Speakers: Kelcey, Wendi and Marinka from The Mouthy Housewives
 Becky from Mommy Wants Vodka 

 Advice columns have been some of the most addictive sites for so many reasons and are must a daily read.
  Topics today that are being discussed, how to start an advice blog

  The speakers discussing why they started an advice column. 

  Becky - response to why she started an advice column. "People asked me to to give advice and I don't know why." Decided to give a try from the hilarious to the more serious. Started it on Sunday for the most serious questions because the Internet is closed.

Marinka - Builds a a great community to your current blog, some people are fun, some people know about household stuff.

Kelcey - Loved reading the e.g. column from Marie Claire.

What makes you an expert?

Becky, I am a nurse but "don't send me any pictures and people are always sending me pics." 
Wendy "we are mostly know it alls." It's mostly common sense. Try to put real advice in our comments. We asked experts to give it validation to what we are saying.
Marinka - Put a disclaimer on our site that it's an entertainment site.

Does anyone worry about giving bad advice?
Becky - Try to provide resources when it's a serious issue like child abuse. It's not appropriate for me to not answer these type of questions but try to be tactful and resources and hope like hell that it helps.

Wendy - I take the serious questions, I email them privately. 

Marika I never worry about giving bad advice - lots of laughs
Kelcey - You end up getting questions over and over again - and they always seem to be about mother in laws 

M - all questions are good. 

You get a lot of interesting google searches - peeing in the shower

Questions from the  audience
Late bloomer advice  question - is it better to always be giving the advice, have a hybrid advice/community or community based blog?
M:  A disclaimer is always good on a blog. When a community is giving advice, it's more organic, it can be a like a discussion like you are with your friends.
B: Not sure about community type blog because the "forum" people will drive the conversation. Forum people get militant, staunch and scary. 

Answering questions that crosses your own personal and moral feelings about a life decision, don't feel like you have to answer them. 
B: You don't really have to  answer questions just because they ask and don't feel bad.
K: I feel comfortable about my own personal experiences and the person can gleam what they what. 

Momagenda questions I get a lot of business questions about my business resources (e.g my publicist) and are confidential. 
B - I would ignore them or answer them nicely. It's confidential. 

Jason from outnumbered - What motivates you to keep doing this and if there is a pinnacle of advice you expect to get to?
W: Started our blog because we like each other and thought each other was funny and liked the advice format. 
K: We wanted to make it funny and give real advice at the same time and make millions.
M: and help people (laughs)
B: I just want Reese Witherspoon to play me.

Gretchen Rubin The Happiness Project 
What is your duty to those who you don't end up answering their question.
M: We say its not appropriate for our site. OUr site is humorous and entertainment based, we  just can't answer with the more serious question. 

B: I try to answer all the questions. 

How does one interject humor into an advice column?
M:There are people who are just not happy.  
K: Either have a humorous site or not, one or the other. You need to be clear so your readers know what to expect. 

Advice on how to write better for this type of columns.

M: I usually read it aloud and try to make it more conversational
B: Keep it simple and conversational. Don't go off on a long tangent, it can get boring.
W: We try to keep it to 300 words. 
K: Most posts are way too long. If you have time, it will be better. 

How do get questions from readers? 
W: We asked our readers on our own blogs, tweeted it out and our friends.

GuiltySquid - needs more readers who want revenge and can be anonymous. 

How do you handle comments that are accusatory or imflammatory? Just ignore or let your other commenters handle it. 

Links will be posted later.