Telling Your Own Story, Branding, & #BloggyCon

Exploring My Brand and Myself at Bloggy Conference 2012

Johnny Rockets Kickoff Party for Bloggy Conference

We had so much fun at the Johnny Rockets Kickoff Party for Bloggy Conference – pinned our dreams to the Dream board, had awesome french fries and made french fry sculptures (well, watched the awesome Danielle Hatfield make one!)

Bloggy Conference 2012 was an amazing opportunity to connect with other bloggers and learn more about all areas of blogging, from branding to social media and how to earn money on your site. But I think the biggest lesson carrying me through the conference, and influencing everything else I learn, is that you have to tell your own story.

Here at the Cafe, part of telling this story is talking about special needs parenting, but a larger part of my work at the Cafe is making those special needs connections with all of you. Part of making those connections includes sharing information about the things that matter most to us, that move us, that inflame us, the defeat us, and sometimes, that wear us down.

Being real, being honest, being passionate here at Kat’s Cafe means that I get to share the ups and the downs with all of you guys, but I also (I hope!) get to make a difference as well.

The Real World of Branding as a Special Needs Parent

One of my biggest challenges as I begin to build Kat’s Cafe and now Kat’s Media (my new business!) is that in our world, everything stops when a kid has a seizure, or a meltdown, or any of the million other kid-mergencies that we deal with every day. Finding a way to be consistent in the midst of these challenges has been difficult for me.

Making it to Bloggy Con this year was a way for me to step out and step forward for myself, my blog, and my business. But I can’t leave those challenges behind. So what’s the answer to that?

I’m hoping some of you might have suggestions, but here I am going to list a few ways I am hoping to work around the challenges of this amazing life my family leads:

  1. I’m going to be a part of even more challenges, and I will attempt to participate in them regularly (though I won’t stress if my goal is to post 10 days for that challenge instead of 30 – I have to challenge myself yet still be realistic!)
  2. I’m going to share more quick posts with you guys – I’ve always wanted to be *that* writer, the one where you read what she says and then have to think about it. Not because I’m that profound, but because my writing challenges the reader in some way. (I discount my giveaways from this, but I do try to make my reviews just as original and unique and *personal* as I can). So expect more pictures, more “Join the Conversation,” and more “look at this neat resource I found!” from me as I strive to find a new “normal” for posting here at the Cafe.
  3. My family, then my work, and finally my blog will still be my steps to importance, but I am going to remember that my blog is for me and my readers and it is important! I find release in my writing as much as I hope I share something that moves and inspires others to act, to be curious, to care about the special needs world we live in.
  4. Look for some amazing new partnerships with some great friends I met at Bloggy Con as well as some of my bestest blogging buddies who have been with me since I started the Cafe up officially just over a year ago. (think: Youtube and more!)

    Meeting with Special & Determined's Marla!

    Special & Determined’s Marla and I became fast friends at Bloggy Con!

  5. Refocus my giveaways and reviews and guest posts so that the reader is always my first priority. I went a little giveaway happy for a bit there (surely you didn’t notice that, right *grin*) – and while I want to still offer those to you, I will be careful to selectively choose the ones I participate in.
  6. Look for a few really amazing new brand connections here at the Cafe as I bring you information and resource information from some folks I think will impress you!

    Neon Tiki Tribe and Kat's Cafe - New Friends with a Great Purpose!

    The guys from Neon Tiki Tribe and I hit it off when I realized that the kids’ series they were promoting were written in dyslexic-friendly font and chock full of family-friendly values. I can’t WAIT to tell my Cafe readers more about these amazing guys and their awesome series for kids!

  7. My awareness and advocacy will grow at the Cafe, since I have recently become one of the Global Team of 200 – a unique part of the Social Moms for Social Good site which focuses on global causes. I’m also a proud health advocate partnering with WEGO health and I will be participating in advocacy projects along with them sometimes too!
I know, I know … that sounds like a lot! But I won’t do it all at once – but I’m hoping that clear goals and connections and writing projects will help me stay focused here at the Cafe while still allowing me to put my blog in the correct order of importance in my life (family (God) and work first).
That doesn’t mean that I won’t still face challenges because of the awesomeness in this house – I will! Epilepsy, Autism, Rare Disorders … all these things will still impact me and my work at the Cafe. But I’m finally feeling more confident than ever that I can meet the needs of my family, my clients and my life, and still share the passion of it all here at the Cafe with you all.
What do you think? Do you face challenges as a special needs parent and blogger as well? Or have you in the past? Do you have any tips to share with me and other readers about how you have managed to be consistent as special needs blogger (or maybe as a blogger with other challenges you’ve faced)?

 

Katrina Moody

Katrina Moody

Graphic Designer, Wordpress Addict, Blogger at Kat's Media & More
I'm a special needs parent before just about everything else in life, but also a passionate advocate for my three boys and husband, who all have a bit of awesomeness about them. Awesomeness = Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome, Autism, Epilepsy, Dyslexia, Cerebral Palsy, and more. It all adds up to some awesome kids and an amazing family.
Katrina Moody
Katrina Moody
  • http://www.simplyraising8.com Missy Rogers

    Thanks for sharing. I am hoping to go to a blog conference one of these years. To be honest the biggest thing that drew me to read the post was them french fries… lol

    • http://katscafe.org Katrina Moody

      I know – don’t they look amazing? They were equally tasty! True story – I posted a pic of the fries to Facebook and my hubby said he and the kids demanded I got them real french fries “cooked in oil” from a restaurant *snickers*

  • http://www.WomanlyWoman.com Liz from WomanlyWoman.com

    I love this post! I’m sorry I didn’t get to talk with you longer at the conference. If I were a kid now, I would be considered “special needs” and if my mom were going through what she went through with me when I was a child she would have loved to be able to connect with moms like you. Your work in that area probably reaches way more people than you know. :)

    Also, I am about to start my own design business! I’d love to learn from you. Maybe I could be your unpaid intern!

    • http://katscafe.org Katrina Moody

      Aw – so happy to connect with you further Liz! Isn’t it amazing the various connections within the special needs community that we make as we get older? I can only hope that more and more people are encouraged, helped, and supported via the Cafe!

      I don’t let folks work for free! But I do keep a running list of folks to defer potential clients to when my own workload is busy – friend me on Facebook (if you haven’t already?) and let’s chat further!

  • http://www.special-and-determined.com Marla Murasko

    What a fantastic post Katrina, and thank you for letting me apart of it. I am so honored to have met you at BloggyCon and to be partnering with you to advocate for children with special needs. I think we have formed such an amazing and power friendship/partnership to do good in this world to spread awareness.

    You are truly an amazing woman and I am blessed to have met you!

    • http://katscafe.org Katrina Moody

      Aw – that is so sweet Marla! {{hugs}} I feel like we were meant to connect, seriously! I can’t wait to move forward with some of our goals for pushing forward advocacy and awareness :D

  • http://redtigertraining.com/ Chris

    Hey, your blog is very touching! It is so nice that you can share your experiences with other people. Please keep up posting! PS. Great pictures! :)

    • http://katscafe.org Katrina Moody

      Thanks Chris – I had a lot of fun at the conference!

  • http://www.2sistersandablog.com Angie

    Hey Katrina -
    Great to meet you at the conference, even if it was only briefly (I loved seeing someone nod in agreement when I said words like “SEO, coding, plugins, etc.) ;)

    Great takeaways from the conference and I LOVE that you’ve decided to keep your goals realistic for you. Sometimes we get caught up in what everyone else is doing and feel like we have to do the same. I for one, am thrilled that I finally figured out (like you mentioned) that this blogging thing is for ME and to do what I ENJOY! Best of luck to you :)

    • http://katscafe.org Katrina Moody

      Aw thanks so much for stopping by Angie! I’ve had the most amazing comments about my awesome new headshot and can’t thank you enough for that … but honestly I learned so much from Bloggy Con I could write several more posts and still not run out of material!

      Notice I actually took a step back for a week or so? I’ve been busy with business and thought I’d take the time to rethink some of my goals for my site. I’m excited to move forward as well, and can’t wait to start working on more goals with some of the great folks I met at the Bloggy Conference! :D

      By the way, did I tell you that you ROCKED??? Because you totally do!