We recently had the opportunity to catch up with SHE Media Partner and lifestyle blogger, Caitlin Houston. In the interview below, she shares with us her content strategy tips, the importance of building trust with your audience and her favorite blogger myth!
Tell us a little about yourself and your blog!
My name is Caitlin Houston and I’m the mom of two little girls, Annabelle and Ailey, who provide most of the inspiration for the content you find on Caitlin Houston Blog. My family and I live in my home state, Connecticut, but for 12 years I lived in the South with my husband. I began my blog over ten years ago after I got engaged as not only a way to share my wedding planning details with family and friends, but to also connect with other women in the same stage of life. Today I continue to share my adventures with my readers on Caitlin Houston Blog in the hopes of making a connection to my audience.
How did your blog come to be?
My blog was called “Bear-y Excited Bride” as it was my way to share the wedding planning process with my family and friends. After I was married, my blog continued to be an outlet for me to share my adventures as a wife. Slowly I transitioned into a rebrand as Confessions of a Northern Belle and my blog became a little something more than an online diary. Over time, it has grown and I’ve began working with small businesses and influencer networks.
What types of content do you write about on your blog?
On Caitlin Houston Blog you’ll find a variety of content related to my life as a mom in Connecticut. From style to home and motherhood to travel, everything I write is honest, organic, and intentional. Many of my blog posts are thoughtfully organic, posts people can return to time and time again during different periods of their lives.
any summer vacation posts you’d like to share with us?
My family just returned from an amazing trip to Basin Harbor Resort in Vermont. You can read all about our trip and the resort here!
What can you share with us about your audience, who are they and what type of content do they like?
My audience is primarily women, at different ages and stages of their life. I know I have dedicated readers who’ve been around since the beginning and then new readers every day who find me through a friend, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Since my content ranges from in depth motherhood confessions to seasonally appropriate style posts, my readers can be young or old. Everyone likes something different – my pregnancy posts are popular with the younger crowd while some serious posts about mental health are appreciated across the board. My audience also enjoys seasonal gift guides and travel posts about my trips throughout New England.
Thinking back to when you first started out, how has your content strategy changed over the years?
I find it so incredible that I was able to maintain an audience when I first started blogging considering many of my posts were juvenile and usually thoughtless. My blog served as an online diary where I would share a little bit of everything – sometimes so little it was one to two sentences about my weekend and that’s it! Stream of consciousness was my strategy and I wrote what I thought, when I thought it. Over the years I’ve learned that people aren’t looking to read short blurbs of my inner thoughts. Instead, people seek out blogs for advice and inspiration. My current strategy for creating entertaining and useful content is to write with a purpose. I always ask myself – How am I serving my audience? Will this post provoke deeper thought, elicit a reaction, or answer a commonly asked question?
What have you learned from changing up your content strategy?
In ten years I have experimented with many different blog post styles – such as “Confessions” link parties and weekly round ups like “Friday Favorites.” My audiences’ preferences are always evolving and while there was once a time they enjoyed link up style posts, they do not now! My purpose as a blogger is to serve my audiences’ needs and not my personal needs, so I really do try to write what they want to read. Instagram is a great place to poll my followers for requested content!
What content strategy tips would you give a blogger who is just starting out?
Write often and publish frequently. Teach your readers they can trust you for providing content on a regular basis so they return to your blog.
Write what you know and what you love, but always ask yourself: How is this post serving my audience?
Write evergreen content – posts that someone will find useful and entertaining not just today, but years from now.
It’s ok to plan content around holidays or seasons if it is useful. You can always update an old post about “Easy DIY Fall Decor” to make it relevant for today.
Never publish a blog post without reading through it first. Typos and spelling mistakes are extremely unattractive and bring down a blogger’s credibility.
What is the biggest myth about being a lifestyle blogger?
That lifestyle bloggers get everything for free. THIS IS NOT TRUE! On very rare occasions do I receive a free item without the underlying expectation I will post about it on my blog or social channels.
Over the last 6 months, what new tool or tactic is working best for you to grow traffic and/or followers?
Over the last 6 months I often feel it is hard to be “seen” with the ever changing algorithms on Google and social media. To compensate for the inevitable, I’m resorting to the tactic I used when I first starting blogging: engaging with other bloggers. Sometimes new people discover my blog through comments I’ve left on other blogs! I also cross promote my posts everywhere and ask friends to share anything they enjoy with their followers. Engagement is truly the secret – talking to new people, talking to your audience, and a constant effort to connect!