I don’t know about you but I’m always drawn to the “Celebs: They’re Just Like Us” photos of Lauren Conrad grocery shopping or pumping gas. I know deep down she’s just a hard-working Southern Cali girl (who would be my bff if she knew me) but she’s on TV so she’s a celebrity.
Same goes for celebrity level bloggers! Kit and I had the chance to sit down with Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman at the International Home and Housewares Show. Ree is a All-Star Blogger, Cookbook Author, Cooking Show Host and now a designer of housewares (think adorably kitschy glass containers and cast iron pots). But, she is also a wife, mother and blogger. She actually calls herself a blogger! She’s just like us!
When we sat down to meet her I admitted to the fact that I am not a researcher and while I have visited Pioneer Woman and made a few of the recipes in the past I did not know Ree’s whole story. Kit knew it and had told me before we started and so we joked about it and Ree said “Oh, I don’t expect anyone to know anything about me.”
She’s just like us!
Ree started her blog way back in 2006 and it was called “Confessions of a Pioneer Woman”. For the first 7 or 8 months it was general lifestyle; her posts included several step-by-step photos of her family and life around the ranch. When she started blogging she took up photography and used the blog to improve her skills.
One day she was cooking a steak and she had her camera nearby. Ree took step-by-step photos of every little detail; the seasoning being sprinkled on, the butter melting in the pan, what medium-rare looks like. The steak post got a good response and as someone who cooked a lot it was natural to post more recipes.
Since all her posts included multiple photos after a few months she questioned whether home cooking and ranching life really belonged on the same site. It was then that she split the blog into two separate URLs – Confessions of a Pioneer Woman and The Pioneer Woman Cooks.
We asked if she felt angst or turmoil about breaking the sites apart and what it might do to/for her branding. Ree said she didn’t have any angst about it and back when she split them apart “branding” was a livestock term.
After a while it was too laborious to direct readers to both sites so she redesigned the site under The Pioneer Woman and made it easy for readers to navigate to the content they wanted to read.
Kit will be on the blog tomorrow with lessons we can learn from Ree’s networking skills and her journey off the blog but since Ree calls herself a blogger we asked her for some advice to share with you.
First of all she says you do not have to be an expert when you start. Have fun with it and it’s actually good to go back and say “oh I wish they’d strike those from the record”.
Secondly, she too has writers block and can feel uninspired. (I mean the lady has a TV show, cookbooks and a daily blog – who wouldn’t!) Her advice for those moments is to get busy… not that kind of busy. Ree believes that busy feeds inspiration so get up and start working. If you’re a food blogger, get cooking or try a new restaurant. If you’re a style/fashion blogger, grab a new magazine or dig something old out of your closet. Just get working because inspiration doesn’t come out of nowhere – it needs a place to start from!
Also Ree recommends writing everyday – even if you’re having writers block. The only way for you to work through it is to write something. Tell a funny story about commuting on the CTA, talk about a TV show you’re binge watching or how you were embarrassed by the state of your toes at yoga the other day. (Spring time pedicures anyone?) Just write – you’ll feel better and you’ll get some inspiration for the next post.
Finally, Ree didn’t stat her blog with the intention of hitting the big time. She credits her success to being open to opportunities as they came up but above it all she listens to her readers.
Since she’s a savvy sister, Ree has already listed out 10 Important Things She’s Learned about Blogging. Give it a read for some good reminders/advice and to really see how charming and Just-Like-Us Ree Drummond is.
story by Erin [@erinmbassett] who is excited for Whole Foods West Loop to open today and might be seeing Insurgent this afternoon #playinghooky #selfemployed. Oh, and she’s still allergic to pistachios.