November 06, 2015
/ by Jason Morgan
Behind the popular crafts and casseroles of the family lifestyle blog About a Mom is the dynamic duo of co-founders Angela Sellari and Laura Kromer, a team comprised of mother (Laura) and daughter (Angela), bringing homespun wisdom to a generation-spanning audience of daughters, mothers and grandmothers with a classic Southern charm and flair. Hailing from a multi-generational home in the rural outskirts of Augusta, Georgia, the pair successfully launched the blog in 2011 and have amassed nearly 100K followers on Twitter, with monthly page views and unique visitors in the hundreds of thousands. While perhaps not all of us could work with our mothers so closely, Sellari and Kromer make it sound easy, and actually, like a whole lot of fun.
The blogosphere was not a foreign land to these classy Southern gals. They had already partnered on a hobby blog for several years, but decided to divert their efforts to About a Mom. Sellari’s strengths lie in the technical side of the blog, stemming from her previous 15-year career in web support for a major telecom company. “I knew it was time for a change,” she said. Kromer, already experienced as a freelance writer and semi-retired from the medical field, was ready to step in and provide the bulk of the blog’s creative direction, including the multitude of recipes, crafts and family activities, while Sellari, as the more analytical of the pair, was able to draw on her technical know-how to tackle the operations and social media necessities of running a self-made mom and daughter blog. “It all happened so organically, like it was meant to be,” she recounted. “While working together so closely and living in the same house poses some challenges, it’s been a huge plus for us overall. Mom and I have such a fantastic work relationship.”
Photo courtesy of About a Mom
Though family lifestyle blogs are fairly common, Sellari and Kromer have a unique voice that spans generations and thus, enables them to reach more broadly into the digital space. “Co-writing the blog definitely helps us reach a broader demographic and expands our reach,” Kromer said. One might think speaking to a wide range of age groups could be daunting, and Sellari admits, “This is something that we used to struggle with, having heard time and time again that the way to stand out is to be very niche specific. We write about things that interest us and relate to our lifestyle, being a multi-generational household. So far, this seems to be working out pretty well for us.” Kromer breaks this down further: “With me being a Baby Boomer and Angela from Generation X, it’s been natural for us to offer a wide range of coverage. Bringing on contributors from the Millennial Generation who have younger children has helped us stay even more relevant with our younger audience.”
The mission behind the coverage, as Sellari puts it, is “to be a resource for moms, and a source of inspiration. We try to always keep it real, and I think we come off as relatable to our readers. The mother and daughter relationship is such a special bond, and is something a lot of our readers can identify with.” The readers range from 18 to 54, Sellari said, though “We also have some older readers and love getting comments from grandmas who are using one of our ideas for an activity with their grandchildren. A lot of our readers are coming to us for family-friendly recipes and ideas for family activities,” Sellari explained. Kromer notes that their seasonal content does quite well, making About a Mom a destination for seasonal inspiration.
Within the blog, readers will perhaps first note the recipe box steeped in Southern comfort, including delectable dishes like Creamy Pumpkin Pasta, Carrot Cake Pancakes, Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Maple Glaze and Charleston Inspired Grits Fritters, the last of which dovetails smartly with Sellari’s travel piece about staying in a haunted Charleston hotel. Kromer admitted that their “readers seem to have a sweet tooth and an affinity for casseroles and freezer meals. For some reason, those types of recipes do very well for us. A few of Angela’s travel pieces have done well recently also.”
However, their editorial strategy goes beyond trial and error. Sellari knows the importance of social media to a blog’s success: “I am very active on social media, with Facebook and Twitter being About a Mom’s top social platforms. I try to be very consistent on our social platforms and actively engage with our audience. I’m always checking analytics to see what works. I think it’s important to share the content of others and not just push your own stuff. I regularly share content from other bloggers and from good social causes we support. My advice to aspiring bloggers is to be consistent, engaging, and patient. It takes time to grow an active following. Also, [it’s important] to be gracious.”
That grace extends to working with brands and PR professionals as well; a certainty, if not a necessity, of maintaining a healthy family lifestyle blog. Though the prospect of balancing brand partnerships and editorial integrity can be tenuous, Sellari said that “it’s not as tough as it once was. We have learned that it’s okay to say no to something that isn’t a good fit. We are always working on fostering more long term relationships with brands that we feel are a good fit. I don’t ever want our sponsored content to seem like a sales pitch, and our branded content needs to seamlessly blend in with our evergreen content. I’ll admit there are times when that requires a bit of creativity, but there are also instances where we just have to say no.” However, certain partnerships have worked quite well for them, including some that Sellari said she is particularly proud of and got great advertiser feedback, including a recipe for Mixed Berry Shortcakes, a Black and White Three-Tier Cake, and a Build Your Own Sundae Bar.
By and large, Sellari and Kromer have found mutual partnerships beneficial, and she is glad that “PR is more and more seeing the value in working with bloggers,” she said. She does note the work this requires from the PR professional: “I think it’s important to take time to get to know the blog and the bloggers. Long term partnerships are great. When I believe in a brand, one blog post or social campaign hardly seems adequate to express my thoughts and share the many ways that brand fits into my lifestyle. Laura and I love the long term partnerships that we have and have been fortunate to work with some amazing PR folks. Feedback and constructive criticism are always appreciated,” she explained. Appreciated as well are, of course, personalized and tailored press releases,” Sellari said, “[those] will usually catch our attention. I don’t mind getting press releases. Sometimes they turn out to be a good fit for our audience.”
photo courtesy of About a Mom
With a growing following and no shortage of family-friendly content, About a Mom’s dynamic duo are looking forward to further success and the familial warmth of the holiday season. The blog has enabled both mother and daughter to write a new chapter in their lives, on their own terms. Kromer echoed this notion, and said that “working on About a Mom keeps me sharp and helps me have purpose. I like the challenge of blogging and think I would be quite bored otherwise. We are a very close knit family, so the holidays are very special. As my grandchildren get older, become teenagers and leave the nest, I really treasure every moment I get to have with them. The beauty of blogging is that we can do it on our own schedule and make time for what matters most.” For Sellari, “it’s all about the experiences. I have had the opportunity to travel and do some really neat things through the blog. Getting paid to do what you love is a pretty sweet deal. I love how the blog has become a family business. Being able to work together is such a gift. I go into the holiday season feeling very blessed.”
Have a slice of About a Mom’s family content by following Angela and Laura on Twitter or Facebook, and be sure to take a gander at their cache of recipe images on Pinterest and Instagram.
Cision Blog’s newest content series, Behind the Blog, spotlights notable influencers in a particular digital space, such as food, fashion, or finance. Read our first installment here and our second installment here.
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