Please introduce yourself and tell us about your blog?My name is Charli Penn-Watkins and I’m a 29-year-old wife and dog mama with a passion for words and love. I’m a relationships editor by day and by night I blog about my marriage in real time.
What most influenced you to launch your business?When my husband and I got engaged, we searched for resources for advice for newlyweds online and were very disappointed with what we found. We like to learn from experience and we didn’t see much advice offered online from that viewpoint. So, we created one. We decided to blog candidly about our marriage, in real time, from its inception. So I launched ManWifeandDog.com one month before we said I do in October 2010. The idea is simple: We’re young, married, and trying to make it work. We’re going to learn as we go and write about it, and if you read along perhaps you’ll learn something too.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far with your blog?Balance! There’s so much to write about, and so little time left after working 50 hours a week to actually sit down and share it. I have to be present in my marriage and succeed in my career, but I love the blog and I often kill myself trying to “do it all.” It’s tough. But, I’m learning new tricks as I go. Thankfully, my husband is very patient and believes in what we’re doing 100-percent. That helps a lot.
What role do social media play in your blogging life?A huge role. So many of my readers have admitted to finding me on Twitter and Facebook because a friend shared my post. I love that! Both sites really help me extend my reach and I try very hard to make sure that Man Wife and Dog’s voice is represented daily on Facebook (Facebook.com/ManWifeDog) and Twitter (@ManWifeDog) Luckily, as an online editor by trade, I was already very familiar with the value of social media early on and knowledgeable about best practices. It helped me build a following very fast and I’m proud of that.
How has blogging affected your career?I was unemployed after being laid off when I started the blog. I needed to write and wasn’t getting any offers, so I did my own thing. It helped me to stay relevant in my field and I was even able to present articles from my blog as writing samples to land the job I have now.
What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?Blog about what you love and nothing else. That’s the only way you’ll stick with it, no matter what life throws at you. Also: Listen to your readers and engage them. I get so many amazing ideas and such great feedback from the emails and FB/Twitter responses I receive. If I ignored them, I don’t think my blog would be what it is today.
What aspect of social media has helped your business?Retweets! Ha! My posts are shared with thousands and I’m humbled by this every day. I’m also grateful. It’s like free advertising that’s a click away.
What would you say is the single biggest reason for your success?Honesty. People don’t like to be lectured, they like to have conversations. I write from a very honest and personal place – I ‘m not hear to tell my readers what to do. I’m just saying, “This did or didn’t work for us, and maybe by reading our story it may inspire or help you out in some way.” That’s what we hope for, and I think our readers appreciate that and it keeps them coming back to read more. We sure do appreciate them.
If you could step back in time to when you were just starting out, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?Don’t beat yourself up when you can’t post daily; your readers won’t mind as much as you think. Sometimes I get into these funks because I feel bad for not posting for a week, but then I noticed that the traffic on the site doesn’t change. If only I had realized that before I skipped sleeping some nights just trying to make sure I put SOMETHING up.
Do you have any big projects in the works?Yes, I do. But, I’m staying mum about that for now. Keep an eye on Man Wife and Dog to see what exciting things will come this summer.
What websites to you visit most?More than I can even name, honestly. I try to frequent the marriage and relationship blogs of all kinds. It’s important to stay in the dialogue and keep up with what people are talking about and what the many different perspectives on the same topics are. It’s entertaining and it helps inspire material for my blog.
What is the best way for our readers to learn more about you or contact you for more information?I’m easy to reach on Twitter and Facebook for sure and emails are always welcome at email@example.com.
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