Title: Contributing blogger
Christine Coppa first joined the blogging community while she was still pregnant, penning the popular “Storked!” blog for Glamour's website about her experiences as a pregnant, and single, 26-year-old. She now writes the Mama's Boy blog for Parenting.com, detailing the ins and outs of raising her now 3-year-old-son Jack Domenic (JD) on her own. She is also the author of Rattled (Broadway Books, 2009). She speaks to Erica Iacono about the “mommy blogger” label, how she navigates the FTC disclosure requirements, and why writing about potty training gets her excited.
There are some women who are offended by the label “mommy blogger” because they think it pigeonholes them. How do you identify yourself?
When I started out with Glamour, I just identified myself as a contributor to glamour.com and I think that's why Storked did so well— because the editors at Glamour didn't label me as “mommy blogger.” I was just someone blogging about a lifestyle choice and turn of events. Now, blogging for Parenting.com, I did sort of morph into a "mommy blogger" because my blog posts now are about JD's potty-training triumphs and talking to his soccer coach about being a single mom and how I don't want him to bring up “Dad” overtly to Jack. I don't classify my career as “I'm a mommy blogger;” it's just another freelance job among many that I'm doing right now.
Some bloggers complain about being approached by PR professionals with impersonal and untargeted pitches. What has your experience been?
You can still do a blast pitch and make it personal. I don't like people who don't take the time to read my blog. I have had good experiences with PR professionals though: Coyne PR is top-notch. They reached out to me and said, “We read your blog. We read about you buying Jack his first art easel.” Crayola is their client and I really responded to that [pitch] because they took the time to really read my blog. FlashpointPR is another great one I've worked with. I never feel like I'm being used. I've had some good experiences with PR people. Back when I was writing Storked, I had such a crazy day. I was working full-time and I stopped to get Ciao Bella [ice cream] on my way home. When I opened it up it was completely frost bitten, so I blogged about it. The publicist got my information from Glamour and sent me a case of my favorite flavor and I blogged about that too.
Your blog is unique in that you're a single woman writing about her experiences parenting. Do you think that sets you apart and allows for different types of pitches from PR professionals?
Having worked for Glamour, beauty companies and fashion lines are more likely to approach me. Just being associated with a magazine and not doing this alone in my home gave me a big edge as far as getting approached by publicists. I worked for Glamour for three years and now I'm with Parenting and I think that gives me an edge.
What other blogs do you read?
I love Girl's Gone Child. Her story was a lot like mine—she got pregnant earlier in her relationship and she decided to keep the baby. She actually married her child's father and they had another child. I really related to her story in a lot of ways. I'm a really big fan of Dooce.com—she's the mother of mommy blogs. She really just set the bar and I enjoy her humor and sassiness. I'm a contributor at Babble.com, so I'm always there reading some of the blogs and essays because they're so out of the box.
Do you think you're now pigeonholed into the “mommy blogger” category or do you think you could blog about other topics if you wanted to?
For the past couple of years, it's just been a natural fit to blog about baby products and motherhood. Especially when the book came out, it felt like it was all part of this big marketing plan and I respected the direction my editors were going in because it helped launch the book and bring more traffic to my blog. I don't consider myself pigeonholed though. Right now, I'm actually interested in amazing ways to potty train your child over the weekend. I'm not just writing these things for a paycheck because I'm actually learning and getting to interview experts that are telling me how to handle my son when it's time to take away the pacifier and how to diffuse a tantrum in the mall. It's great because I'm hearing from the best of the best and I'm getting paid. A lot of my readers from Glamour were not moms. They were using my blog as a metaphor—dealing with this curveball in her life. I was always so touched by it.
photo credit: Sherri O'Conner