Writers Unblocked Blog

Helping Moms Achieve Balance, Katie Berry Found Her Voice

A blog post by Drew D-VDrew D-V Avatar

As we’ve said before, Written only exists because of great publishers and bloggers. Written was created in order to find a new, more rewarding way for publishers and brands to work together that didn't involve cramming more ads into pages. Written helps brands reach their ideal audience via exclusively licensed content--what our bloggers and publishers already have in their back-catalog--and we think our system provides great benefit to both sides!


Spotlighting the wide variety of voices in our blogger community is something we strive to do, so today we’re speaking with Katie Berry of Housewifehowtos.com. An experienced blogger and devoted wife and mother, Katie was kind enough to take the time from her busy schedule and caregiving, to answer our questions. We’re thankful she took the time: {Interview edited for clarity and space}


Why did you first start blogging?

I started my first blog back in 2003 when my husband, who was Active Duty Army at the time, was stationed in Hawaii. As idyllic as that sounds, he was often out of the country. Our youngest was a toddler at the time, so entire days would go by when I didn't speak with other adults. I was going a bit stir-crazy, so I began blogging to communicate with other grownups.

Nine years later, I was still blogging. My husband had retired, my son was a preteen, and we'd moved to the Midwest. At that point, my blogging switched focus from being about me and my need to communicate, and became instead about helping other people. 

That's when I established HousewifeHowTos.com, where I teach others how to run a house economically and efficiently. I remember how difficult I'd once found it to juggle my roles as a mom and wife in charge of a household with my need for time to pursue my own interests. I wanted my blog to help others avoid that kind of insane stress. It's funny, though: changing my focus to helping others helped me, too. I've loved blogging so much more since making that change!


What was the hardest obstacle to overcome related to your blogging?

Distractions! When you work at home on your laptop, it's difficult for family to understand that you're not just "playing online", and that asking where the juice is (rather than looking in the fridge) might cost you the sentence you've been crafting in your head for the past five minutes.


How do you come up with interesting new concepts and ideas for your writing?

Since my blog is about taking care of one's home, I often find writing inspiration in my own household chores. For instance, the other morning my washing machine started making a strange sound. I investigated and found the pipe clogged with all sorts of nastiness which needed to be cleared. Who knew those pipes need regular cleaning? I don't recall ever reading about the need to regularly maintain them, so guess what I'm writing a blog entry about today?HouseWifeHowTos avatar

Other times, my ideas come from searches on my blog. I use a plug-in called "Search Meter" which tracks both successful and unsuccessful searches. The latter are a goldmine for ideas. So are my Facebook and Twitter accounts where people ask questions all the time.


Ok, then with those ideas, how consistently do you write articles or produce new content?

I'm a firm believer that the best, most helpful content isn't forced. If I set myself a schedule to write X number of blog entries a week, I can almost guarantee they won't be very good because at that point it's not about the content but the quantity. I'd rather publish quality, useful content sporadically, than mediocre or awful content often.


What type of articles do you enjoy writing the most?

 I've somehow built a reputation for coming up with ways to do things around the house that make people ask themselves "Why didn't I think of that?" Those articles are my favorite to write because they're often about some nagging little problem many of us put up with and don't know how to fix. When my blog helps someone it makes me ridiculously happy!


That's great. It's clear your readers interact with you and your blog. What's your key for attracting this engaged audience?

Find a way to help people, and then help people. Also, don't stop once you've posted an article: interact with your social media communities. Look for ways you can be more useful to them, because those are the people who'll come back to you next time they need help.


What were your initial experiences in trying to monetize your blog?

Oh, it was so frustrating! I read about bloggers with a fraction of my blog's traffic who said they were making serious money with things Google AdSense, but I was lucky to see a couple of bucks per day. I've sold a few ads directly myself, which means I've researched appropriate ad rates and how to ensure advertisers don't switch landing pages to something that would lead to a Google penalty for my blog. But finding quality advertiser's on one's own is practically a full-time job in itself.

Then Written.com contacted me about licensing some of my content and, wow, what a game changer that has been!


What did you think when you first got an offer from Written?

I'll be honest, I thought it was a scam. Someone wanted to pay me good money for something I'd already written? (Heh, I just got the reason for the company's name now. Yeah, sometimes I'm a bit slow.) Like many other bloggers, I've dealt with my fair share of content scrapers, so I just couldn't imagine a company being up-front about wanting to use my content, with attribution, and also pay me for it!


Thanks Katie! So how have your initial experiences been with Written?

Working with Written is so very, very easy. I just write what I'd ordinarily write, which means there's none of the pressure to sound like a PR firm or rave about a product. If Written has a client that works with my content, they let me know and I can accept the license or not.

If I accept the license, their client gets the traffic from that article but -- and here's what really surprised me -- I still have new people come visit me since Written attributes the article to my blog. Meanwhile, it’s all above board in Google’s eyes… AND I get paid! What's not to like about that?



We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Who wouldn't like getting paid well, every month, for posts you’ve already created, and an audience you have already developed? Even better, you choose the brands you work with so your editorial voice is never compromised. Why? Because you license content you have already written.

If you want to access these and the many other benefits of the Written platform, sign up today at www.written.com/bloggers!


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