SHE Media Partner Network’s Leah Segedie is a perfect example of someone whose blog as grown with them. What began as a platform to help moms kickstart their weight-loss and healthy-living plans became an all-encompassing bootcamp for women (complete with a dietician, trainer, and pediatrician!) Today, Mamavation is a platform intently focused on getting information about how to make their homes safer from toxins and dangerous chemicals for themselves and their families. Keep reading to learn more about Leah and her amazing work!
Congrats on your first book and your awesome blog! Tell us a little bit about what you’re passionate about and how you got started.
My passion is in empowering women to live healthier and I’m equipped with an advanced degree in health communication to do it. When my youngest son was sick, we spent years in and out of doctors offices trying to help him. One of the things we had to do was detox our home from hormone disrupting chemicals to protect him. At the time, I was lucky enough to have help from some of the top scientists and pediatricians in the country at my fingertips to put the pieces together, so I turned all that knowledge into a book to help other women. Today, my son is doing better, but I haven’t stopped learning and educating others. In fact, It’s one of my missions to help women do this and be successful long term. Everyone can benefit from lessening the amount of dangerous chemicals in your home and being surrounded by a supportive community.
What might readers find in your book, “Green Enough – Eat Better, Live Cleaner, Be Happier”, that they won’t find on your blog?
Green Enough is where you’ll learn and laugh at the same time. When Rodale (Penguin) asked me to write this book for them, they wanted to see my colorful personality in print. A fan of mine was one of their publishers. Google doesn’t like all the four letter words I tend to use on a regular basis inside the private community, so the public facing Mamavation.com is more conventional. The book, however, is not. It’s full of colorful language to help you remember what’s important. When you laugh, you remember things. That’s real science.
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What’s the first piece of advice you’d give to anyone looking to remove harmful chemicals from their lives?
If you have a family, I’d say start slow and implement this over years. I know that sounds counterproductive, but when you have other people in the home, the least amount of “pain” is better in the long run because it lessens the fights you’ll eventually have over the process. Do a little bit and when they get used to it, do a little bit more. Easiest things to change that require less stress to your family are things like cookware, air quality, cleaning products, food containers, etc.
Any tips for bloggers just starting out on how to foster a community as loyal as yours?
Mamavation has been around for 10 years. Some of the secrets to my success include maintaining my standards, not falling prey to what everyone else is doing, always looking out for other women, and speaking up when things are wrong. Don’t focus on what everyone else is doing. Today what I do is more popular, but when I started it was not. I learned to make what I’m doing more interesting to others and I keep doing that today.
How has your blog evolved since its start?
I started on the Ning platform 13 years ago with a site for moms interested in weight loss & healthy living, and a story about my own 100 lbs. weight loss. Mamavation.com came later as a way for me to be more intimate with my audience. Mamavation started as an onilne boot camp for women. Women from all over the US would apply for us to take over their life for 7 weeks and help them lose weight and get healthier. We had physical trainer, dietitian, and pediatrician that would assist in the bootcamp. During that time, we completed five years of campaigns and over 3,500 lbs. lost by the community.
We then pivoted Mamavation.com to green living and detoxing the home five years later. The reason behind this was partially because of the science behind lifestyle vs. weight loss, and also because my personal life was changing as well. The science behind wellness supports lifestyle changes, not weight loss. Focusing on weight loss instead of lifestyle increases the amount of disordered eating, makes people feel uncomfortable in their own bodies, & can actually result in weight gain. But personally, I was getting very bored and needed a change. I had also became a vocal advocate for labeling GMOs nationwide and was very interested in the negative impacts of pesticides in our food and other dangerous chemicals inside our homes that can lead to diseases like cancer and exacerbate obesity.
What 3 things does anyone starting a blog need to know?
Don’t be overly concerned with what everyone else is doing. You don’t want to be like everyone else. No one will ever be able to find you in a crowded field of millions of bloggers.
People are attracted to confidence, so whatever you have to say, say it with confidence.
Eventually you are going to get into a crisis. When this happens, take a minute to walk away from your computer. If you are wrong, fess up to it. Being wrong doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a human person. People will be willing to forgive you as long as you change the behavior, learned from the experience and can communicate what you learned, and set up something so it won’t happen again. Ironically, my first misstep launched my career because of the way I handled it.
What recommendations do you have for driving traffic to your blog?
Partnerships with other communities have been a really good tool for driving content to my site. But another great driver of traffic has been having a consistent email newsletter strategy. Other colleagues of mine love Pinterest but I haven’t gotten into that yet.
How has partnering with the SHE Media Partner Network been beneficial?
I made the switch from Mediavine to SHE Media in March. SHE Media has given me free SEO support with their staff, they pay better than Mediavine, and so far I’ve been very happy.
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