Have you considered using video to help your blog gain traction and go viral? It’s possible…with any topic. And it might be just what you need to get your blog off the ground.
Let me introduce you to Deva Dalporto. Her funny mom blog, MyLifeSuckers.com, is a place where she rants, raves, laughs, and cries about the crazy, amazing parenting journey. “I like to keep it real and talk about everything from my saggy post-baby boobs to my kids’ incessant whining,” Deva explains. “I love to act and have produced a bunch of videos for my blog. Shockingly, two of my videos, Let It Go – Mom Parody and What Does the Kid Say, recently went viral.”
Much to her surprise, Deva also has an essay in the new book, I Just Want to Pee Alone, an anthology of work by some of the funniest mom bloggers on the web. Who knows? Maybe a book of her own will follow. She claims that’s pretty likely, but right now she say, “I’m humbled, grateful and incredibly thrilled by all of it. I love blogging. Big time.”
Even though Deva doesn’t yet have a book deal, I thought we could learn from her success, so I asked her to answer a few questions for me. Here are her responses.
Why did you begin blogging?
I worked as a parenting writer at Nickelodeon for years but was always intrigued with blogging. I loved the idea of having a forum for my funny parenting essays that was all my own. When I shot my What Does the Kid Say video last December, I needed a place to host the video and voila, MyLifeSuckers was born!
How did you choose your topic?
I believe in the old adage, “write what you know.” And I know parenting. My life right now is all kids, all the time. So a mommy blog was the perfect fit for me.
What was your goal, or did you have a purpose in mind?
Since I tossed up the blog to support the video, I didn’t real have a “goal” at the beginning. I guess now I just want to express myself creatively and have people laugh, relate and enjoy my videos and posts. I’m all about revealing the truth about motherhood—the good, the bad and the exhausting—and my blog gives me a place to share that journey with other parents.
What made you decide to produce your videos in the first place?
Before kids, I worked as an actress. I always have these silly ideas for videos. My husband bought me a camera for my birthday this year so I could put my money where my (loud) mouth is an actually make some of my ideas happen. I was furious with him. I was mad he spent so much money on a camera and felt pressured to produce something. So I ignored the camera for a few months. Then one day, we were at the park with our kids and the What Does the Fox Say song was stuck in my head. The lyrics to What Does the Kid Say popped into my head. I went home and wrote them down, recorded the song in my closet and luckily had the video camera on hand to shoot the video.
How did these videos affect your blog readership?
Well, given I had no blog before the first video, they affected my readership massively J! I was stunned when my videos went viral and feel incredibly grateful. Because of the videos, I now have a thriving blog. It’s kind of an overnight success story (with 15 years of slogging away writing and acting beforehand).
Did the viral videos affect your blog or you in any other way?
The videos going viral completely changed my life. Well, my professional life. In my “real” life I’m still wiping butts and doing dishes 24/7. When the first video went viral I worked my butt off to capitalize on my luck. The success of the videos helped me launch my blog. I have an essay in a new book, I Just Want to Be Alone, along with 37 brilliantly funny bloggers. They have become my tribe and I adore them all. I have a thriving Facebook page with nearly 10,000 followers now, which is an incredibly fun, exciting development. I’ve had a lot of work offers to produce videos and write for websites—all this in just 3 months. So yes, the videos going viral has been life-changing and amazing! I feel so lucky.
Tell me about the anthology? How did you end up in the anthology? Who else is in it? Who published it? When was it released? How is it selling?
The anthology, I Just Want to Be Alone, is the follow up to the best selling I Just Want to Pee Alone published by Jen at People I Want to Punch in the Throat. It’s a collection of essays by some of the most hilarious, amazing women writers on the web. I’m pinching myself to be in their awesome company.
Jen saw my first video and reached out to me to invite me to submit an essay for the book. I did. And she let me know I was selected to be in the book a few weeks later. I was thrilled! I’ve written thousands and thousands of articles for the Internet, but I’ve never been in a book, so I’m super excited. It was released March 22nd.
Do you have any plans to write a book or to turn your blog into a book?
Absolutely! I definitely want to write a book. I’ll keep you posted!
What tips would you give other bloggers when it comes to using other types of media, such as video?
Don’t be afraid. I think a lot of people are intimidated by the camera. I say just go for it. And don’t stress about it being perfect.
Do you have 3-5 tips you can offer on producing videos easily and quickly –and professionally?
- Lighting is everything. I usually use natural light in my videos, but I recently bought a “daytime” light bulb ($7) and a big paper lantern ($20) so I can bump up the light in darker spaces. I hang it up with a wire hanger.
- Make sure the sound quality is good. Invest in a good mic. Bad sound can kill a video and make it look really unprofessional.
- Learn how to edit. I watched some tutorial videos and learned how to use iMovie to edit my videos. It came with my computer, it’s easy to use, and so far, I’ve been able to achieve everything I want with it.
- Don’t be a crazy perfectionist. I’m a crazy perfectionist and it can drive you nuts and hold up projects. Nothing in life (or video) is perfect, so just go for it and do your best.
- Be real. This is the best tip I can offer. When you’re authentic, whether in video or writing, people resonate with you.
What one thing other than using video did you do that increased your traffic or brought in more unique visitors?
Facebook. Oh, the glorious Facebook. Facebook has driven more traffic to my blog than anything else. It was also the catalyst that helped my videos go viral.
How long did it take for you to gain consistent blog readers and can you pin point any certain event that created a tipping point when readership increased noticeably?
I lucked out and went viral with my first post, so my experience is a little unusual. But I noticed that while a lot of people came and saw the video, they didn’t really stick around to read other content or come back. It’s taken time and consistent blogging to grow my audience. I try to blog at least 3 times a week, I engage with my readers on Facebook several times a day and I tweet a bit. All that has helped grow my blog readership.
What’s the most important thing a blogger can do to get noticed in the blogosphere and build a platform or fan base?
I don’t know! Do you know? Will you tell me? Hmmm … I’d say videos are a great way to make a big impact. That worked for me. And being consistent. I know a lot of people who want to blog but don’t do it regularly enough to build their audience. I’ve been working my tush off since December. Blogging has become my full-time job. And man, do I love it!
Has being included in an anthology—being a published author—affected your blog in any way? If so, how?
Having a tribe of bloggers who support me, link to my blog, mention my posts on Facebook and twitter has helped my blog a lot. I get a lot of traffic daily from my co-author’s blogs. And I send a lot of traffic to their blogs as well.
I also think being a published author (OMG, did I just really say that??) gives me a little credibility. Even in our digital world, people still respect good ol’ fashioned books.
What tips can you offer other bloggers to help them blog more successfully?
- Be consistent. Blog often. If you write something brilliant and then your blog isn’t updated for three weeks, people won’t come back.
- Guest post. My blog posts have been syndicated on What The Flicka and Scary Mommy and my videos have been on Huffington Post Parents, Babble, PopSugar Moms, People.com, and more. While having my content on other sites doesn’t directly drive up hits on my blog, it does raise awareness of me and MyLifeSuckers and ultimately can only help. Make sure you ask the blog you’re guest posting on to link back to your homepage so people who like your stuff know where to find you. Every day I get hundreds of visitors referred from websites I guest posted on. It’s a gift that keeps on giving!
- Find a blogging community. A tribe. Seek out people who blog on a similar topic, with a similar sensibility as you do. Reach out to them. Comment on their posts. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter. If you harass your blog crushes enough, they will notice you (just kidding … sort of). When you form a connection with other bloggers, they will support you and your efforts. I was lucky enough to land in a tribe via my book, and those women have been amazing. They’ve helped me with all my newbie blogging questions, they’ve supported me, they’ve made me laugh. Befriending other bloggers is a very cool perk of blogging.
- Engage with your readers. I try to respond to all of the comments I get on my blog and on Facebook. I write everyone who emails me back (and am bummed when my replies bounce back and I can’t reach someone.) I love my readers. Like seriously adore, love, want to marry my readers. I consider them my friends now, and I hope they feel the same way about me. We’ve formed a little MyLifeSuckers community and I am thrilled about that.
About the Blogger
Deva Dalporto is a writer, actor, blogger, and tired mom of two adorable life suckers. She is the creator of the viral videos What Does the Kid Say and Let It Go – Mom Parody. A former senior editor for Nickelodeon’s ParentsConnect, Deva’s writing and videos have been featured on NickMom, What The Flicka and WeAreTeachers. Her viral videos have been on Huffington Post Parents, People.com, Yahoo!, PopSugar Moms, Babble, CafeMom, and more. She has an essay in the book I Just Want to Be Alone. Deva blogs about the crazy, amazing journey of parenting at MyLifeSuckers.com.