Robin Kaplan knows blogging!
From writing for her own business (the San Diego Breastfeeding Center) to hosting/producing for the Boob Group to guest blogging at at Lactation Matters (the official blog of ILCA, where she’s the former co-editor) – Robin has a lot to teach us all about the why and the how-to of blogging.
Coming to the Lactation Consultants in Private Practice conference (LCinPP) this year? You’ll be lucky enough to hear Robin Kaplan speak. For everyone else, here’s highlights from an interview Jeanette conducted with Robin about why we should tune into blogging.
Why is blogging so important for birth and breastfeeding professionals?
Millennial moms are online. 87.1 million women online are active on a weekly basis in social media (including blog interactions, Facebook, message boards, and other social networking sites. (BlogHer/iVillage) 67% of moms trust the parenting information and advice they read on blogs. Women – especially those of breastfeeding and new mom age – are looking to the Internet for support. Social media is a great source of support, but blogs provide content that is more tangible, with resources they can refer back to.
How does blog content help moms?
The more good information that is out there, the more likely it is moms will get good information at 3:30 in the am when they Google “sore nipples.” We need to infiltrate the first page of Google, so that the top 10 links are good ones. The more we link to one another, the better. This means the bad information will get buried on the 4th or 5th page [of Google’s search engine].
How does blogging help us as breastfeeding professionals?
I have more people find me from my website than ever before. I market my business multiple ways: I teach classes, do word of mouth, get referrals. But pediatrics practices typically send me the moms who need the most breastfeeding assistance and support and I can only be in so many places at one time. I need people to be able to find me. The more I write, the better SEO [search engine optimization] I have. Now, when people type in breastfeeding San Diego on Google, they find me right away.
From a personal perspective, my content helps me manage my time. I don’t have to repeat myself to moms. My basic care plans are on my blog. Now, I don’t have to answer all of those questions about thrush or toddler nursing. I can refer moms at my clinic or in an e-mail back to a blog post, with a note that encourages them to call if they have more questions. If I see a mother post a question on a Facebook group about a topic I have written an article about, I can easily link to the article and know that I have provided her with evidence-based, accurate breastfeeding support. Additionally, I can now spend more time in my office seeing moms and babies or returning phone calls from clients who have more difficult breastfeeding challenges.
Who are the bloggers who get it right?
One of the things I’ll look at in my presentation are examples of really good blogs. Different people have different voices, which is very important. Some moms prefer a more technical voice (like Nancy Mohrbacher’s Breastfeeding Reporter or Anne Smith’s Breastfeeding Basics). My voice is a little more sassy, which speaks to my audience. Of course, the mother of all breastfeeding blogs/websites is Kellymom, which we all aspire to be! Others we’ll look at include The Leaky Boob, Best for Babes, and Nurtured Child.
What can we learn from blogs that aren’t hitting the mark?
It is so important that women have access to quality, concise, accurate information. Not all blogs do this. For instance, Enfamil’s blog runs formula ads in the sidebar right next to their breastfeeding information, as well as states that while breastfeeding “sex may be less than stellar” and “your breasts may leak – a lot.”
And some are getting it right some of the time, but other times have misinformation. Babble is a great example of this. In their Newborn Care Guide they describe the difference between colostrum, foremilk, and hindmilk fairly accurately, yet then you have Positioning and Latch article which is so complicated and scripted that it minimizes mom and baby’s ability to fall into a comfortable position without following their step by step guide. Plus, this first bullet point makes me cringe, as there is no research that backs up the following statements: “First and foremost, make sure you’re sitting in a comfortable chair with a glass of water. Also, keep a pen and paper to record which side you fed on and for how long each. You’ll want to make sure you feed equally from both sides to even out milk production.”
What would you tell someone just starting out as a blogger?
First of all, if running a blog feels overwhelming to you, start small. Consider submitting posts at someone else’s site.
Next, learn the nuts and bolts of blogging. The first year, I was just finding my way. Then, I attended a workshop that helped me with the basics, like editorial calendars and understanding my audience. Had I started there, I could have gotten on target much faster.
Also, choose a platform that makes it easy to update. I started with GoDaddy and a system that was hard to update. Now I use Squarespace. It is a paid service, but it is easy to update and has great customer support – they get back to me within the hour. WordPress [eds note: either self-hosted or at wordpress.com] is another option a lot of bloggers use.
What is the best advice you’ve gotten about blogging?
Write to your target audience. Pick your favorite client, and write to her. It will help define your voice.
What is your goal for 2013?
I’m working on continuing to master using social media to make the most of my content. You can write the greatest content ever, but if you don’t have it out there, no one will benefit from it. Every time I upload a new article, I post it on my Facebook page. I’ll sometimes get ready to write a post by asking questions on Facebook. I get great feedback and quotes, and then share the post with those who helped. I haven’t learned Pinterest well yet, but it is a key platform for Millennial moms.
We’ll be live tweeting at LCinPP, so to learn more about Robin’s blogging genius, follow us at @BirthSwell on Friday night. We’ll also be chatting about blogging at the next BirthGenius chat, February 22nd at 1 p Eastern.