I met some friends at the playground the other day. There was a bit of chat about the blog, and a few of them told me that I should explain a little bit better about Capital District Fun and Kids Out and About. So I’ll try.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you might recall that on my one-year Blogiversary last December, I said that I had no plans to make money from Capital District Fun. I’d looked into it, and if I started selling ads I’d have to worry about the statistics of how many people visit the blog, sell myself, and figure out all sorts of things, like setting ad rates and sticking the ads into the coding to make them actually appear. Now, if I wanted to do these things, I’m sure that I could. But in keeping with my longstanding tradition of choosing the least paying employment possible (hello! graduate student, museum educator, stay-at-home mom? Nice!), I decided that I’d rather focus on writing. So I’ve been doing other writing projects, including re-writing blog posts into more formal articles that I’ve sold to different regional parenting magazines.
Here’s the thing: there’s a lot about the “Mommy Blog” world that just isn’t my cup of tea. First, I don’t spend a lot of time reading blogs as recreation. Many successful bloggers read tons and post comments here, there, and everywhere to get people to link back to their own blog. I do follow blogs with Google Reader, but I just don’t have much of an emotional investment in most of them. I’m bad enough at keeping up with my real-world friends. Second, there’s a lot about advertising and promotion that seems perfectly natural on other people’s blogs that just feels icky for me personally.
I had decided that I was just going to blow off trying to make Capital District Fun a money-maker, and to value it for what it is for me, which is a gateway to feeling less frightened about writing and a place to vent or rant at the end of the day. The truth is, I don’t love putting together the listings of events. I know that people rely on it, and I sort of consider it a public service, but I’d love to avoid it.
This was my basic mindset when I received an invitation to lunch from Debra Ross in March. A mom of two, she had begun a website in Rochester called Kids Out and About several years ago, and she was launching Kids Out and About in additional locations, including Albany.
I looked at her site, and I decided that I was probably invited to lunch because Kids Out and About would be squashing Capital District Fun like a bug and Deb, who seemed like a lovely person, felt a little bad about it. At Kids Out and About, different organizations can enter their own events, classes, and camps. The listings are free, although people can also pay for additional advertising or enhancements to get more attention. I love the idea of different organizations putting in their own information, because it means that they can give complete and accurate info. At lunch, we agreed that once enough organizations participated, I could link to Kids Out and About instead of putting together my own listings and spend the extra time writing, and they linked to my blog in their newsletter. In the meantime, we’d do some friendly linking back and forth. It was just a bit of informal mutual aid.
As we shifted from spring to early summer, things evolved. I was hired as their Editor for the Albany site, which means that I’m being paid for what I do with Kids Out and About. Deb has also helped me with a bit of assertiveness training so that I can score admission to events that I review and things like that. And, since this is my official employment with actual salary, I’m tracking business expenses to claim, which was something that I didn’t feel comfortable doing when things were “just” for Capital District Fun.
If things go according to plan, in the future I’ll be focusing on writing. Tech-y people do the tech stuff and business-y people do the advertising sales, which is much more appealing to me than trying to do it all for myself on Capital District Fun. Right now I’m writing the local-specific portion of the Kids Out and About newsletter each week as well as reviews (like these from Lake Placid and Washington DC) and articles (like this one about area playgrounds). I’m also spending more time than I’d like ensuring that there are events and other information while we try to get more organizations on board, which is making it difficult to keep up with everything.
Ideally, I’d love to get as many organizations as possible listing their classes, events, and camps on Kids Out and About, because then:
- We’d all have a huge resource that would have listings that are more complete, detailed, and accurate than one mama –awesome though she may be–can do by herself
- More organizations involved would probably increase the number of organizations advertising, which would mean more money for me (yes, please!)
- I’d be able to spend more time writing fun stuff, like reviews, essays, and articles
I’m explaining all of this because some of my friends at the playground were concerned that I was being exploited (don’t think so) or still working for nothing (nope), or they said that they hadn’t signed up for the Kids Out and About newsletter because it seemed disloyal to me (it isn’t). And it’s true that when I first started mentioning Kids Out and About, I was feeling only cautiously optimistic. Now I’m much more gung-ho about the whole venture.
So, if you want to check it out, two good places are pages that Deb put together on Apple Picking and Corn Mazes in the area. When you go to look at them, there will be a little pop-up box that asks if you want to subscribe to the email newsletter, so you can conveniently subscribe to hear from me every Thursday. And if you want to make the pop-up box go away and you don’t see the little x in the upper-right-hand-corner, click there anyway to make it go away. Poor Deb managed to figure out how to make the pop-up box appear, but she has yet to figure out the little X part.
I would truly appreciate it if you’d check out the site, sign up for the newsletter, and list your events if you’re part of an organization that has fun kid stuff. All of that would be helpful to me, but I think it would help you out, too!
I like writing Capital District Fun, although I feel like I’ve been swamped and it’s been a bit dull lately, which will hopefully pass once the kids are back in school. I’ll still post here even if the listings take off on KOA and I can skip them here or just link over.
Feel free to email me if you have questions at either email@example.com or my Kids Out and About email, which I just yanked off of here because the spammers have now discovered the address. It’s my first name [at] Kids Out and About [etc.]