Who is Jim Lin? (provided in the all-important sounding 3rd person) Jim Lin started his blog when he had one kid who did funny things.
These days, he comes home to five of them. However, this does not mean he’s been creating new “blog fodder” year after year, as much as he’d like you to come to that virile conclusion.
Jim is at the helm of a newly blended family, full of new adventures, mishaps, joys and piles of dirty dishes. OH, THE DIRTY DISHES!
Jim documents these stories on his blog, mostly so he can piece together where he’s been the last couple days when he wakes up drooling and disoriented in his office.
How would you describe your blog?
Random stories, and things I do to indulge my absurd side.
On the random stories front, it’s mostly about my parenting adventures. I started it because my son did the funniest things and I simply wanted to document them. We tend to forget the “everyday funnies” that happen with our kids because the milestones tend to take up so much brain space.
On the absurd side, it’s mostly projects I do with brands, because no one wants to watch “brand content.” But absurd content about brands? Now there’s a reason to waste some time on a random website about parenting.
Rocking the Dad Blog Scene
When (and how) did you decide to become a blogger?
About eight years ago, I had a 2-hour train commute to work that involved switching trains 3 times. To pass the time, I tried reading. However, I fall asleep when I read, which is inconvenient when staying awake to switch trains is essential to your well-being in the paycheck department. So I decided to blog instead.
The short answer: to stay awake.
How did you choose your niche (or did it choose you)?
Since I was the first person in my peer group and family generation to have kids, no one laughed at or understood my parenting jokes and anecdotes. Then I remembered “the Internet laughs at everything!” As long as they are laughing, I don’t really care if it’s at me or with me. I suspect 90% of the time it’s at me. I’m ok with that.
What changes have you seen in the dad blogsphere in the time you’ve been blogging?
Biggest change as been the conversation moving away from the blogs and into social media.
Back in the day, the comment section is where you met new friends, discovered new bloggers, and connected with like minded folks. Comment sections are graveyards now. Engagement has moved to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Connections happen so much faster now because it’s way easier to conjure up 140 characters than an entire blog post. However, I think the connections you make now are a lot more superficial because you don’t have to devote the time to read blog posts anymore, which helps you really get to know someone.
If you could do it again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, really. It’s been a crazy ride I wouldn’t trade for anything.
What points of difference are there in being a dad blogger (as compared to a mom blogger)?
It’s a much smaller world. And because of that, I feel that there is much more of a sense of community there. Mom blogging is so immense, that I feel a lot of newer folks might feel totally lost in the crowd.
With dad blogging, there’s still much more of a “welcome to the club!” kind of thing when new dad bloggers decide to set up homestead on the internet.
What advice would you give someone wanting to get into dad blogging now?
Get to know some dad bloggers via social media. It’s always nice to it the scene with some people who you can count on to read your stuff and promote you, aside from just your mom.
What tips do you have for dad bloggers wanting to monetise their blogs?
Create an awesome blog and build your audience first. It never ever works the other way around.
In my day job, I am a digital strategist for a PR firm. A large part of my job is to find influencers to work with.
I look for decent reach and, most importantly, an engaged audience. Without that, I’m moving on.
If you create content with the sole objective of your audience loving the crap out of it, the money will follow. If you create a blog to follow the money, you’ll always be behind it.
What advice do you have for branding yourself as a blogger (and connecting with networks/brands/PR teams who are dad-blog friendly)?
Be authentic, or else you will never enjoy it enough to put the work in. If you aren’t funny, don’t try to be. If you aren’t deep and thoughtful, don’t try to be.
It’s a lot work, so unless you love it, it ain’t gonna happen.
That said, make connections. I don’t mean in the technical sense, but rather the personal sense. Have conversations with people you want to connect with. Be social, be useful, be entertaining and be friendly. Yes, this sounds like making friends and connections in real life. Surprise! The internet is people!
Read the blogs of people you relate with. Leave comments, interact with them on social media. And the same with the brands you love. Let them know you love them. Not by being all crazy fanboy, but showing your enthusiasm by interacting with their social posts, giving them love on social or your blog. As I hope you can see, all of this takes time and effort.
There’s no way around that. Be patient. That’s why you have to do it because you love it, not because you want to make money from it. It must be a passion, not a job.
What are your top tips for growing blog traffic?
First and foremost, create good content. Without that, nothing else you do will matter one bit. Second, build your community. And I mean community, not network.
A network doesn’t care about you. Your community does.
A community is made up of people who you support, dig and appreciate, and vice versa. You build this through being yourself and connecting with others in an authentic way through conversation, engagement, and shared values and interests. These are the people who will share your stuff because they love you and your stuff, not because you are part of some link exchange.
There is nothing I hate more than automated link exchanges and other sharing tools. The only sharing tool you need is “people who love the shit out of you and want their friends to do the same.”
Name one wonderful thing you’ve gained from blogging?
Pretty much the life I live and love. I met my girlfriend via blogging and my current job recruited me directly because of what I have done blogging and on social media.
I love Jim’s blog. So much so my laptop and Google get their sh*t together and know that when I type the letters b.u. into the search bar they must deliver me one thing and one thing only – The Busy Dad Blog.
The Tumblr account is Jim eating stuff. Yep.
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Image used with the kind permission of Mr Jim Lin of The Busy Dad Blog fame. Thanks Jim. (Am I the only one who says that in their head with a Scottish accent??)
Image of big peep and little peep hands by Gillnisha via Pixabay CC0 no attrib.