Taking liberty with lyrics from a Rod Stewart song, “every blogger has a story.”
By interviewing brilliant bloggers who don’t have Scoble-like notoriety, I hope to share what’s behind their distinctive voices and followings.
For my third interview, I spoke with Amy Tenderich who started Diabetes Mine in 2005 after learning she had Type 1 diabetes. By 2007, she landed on Forbes’ must-read health blogs list and earlier this year achieved what many bloggers would consider utopia, selling her property to the Alliance Health Networks.
If you want to see the mantra – blog about your passion – in action, check out Amy’s posts.
Amy was kind enough to talk with me about her blog, the voice she puts forth and a new tag line for the Marine Corps.
Q: Considering you started your blog in 2005, you were a pioneer in bringing social media to health care.
A: When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I turned to Google, searched on “diabetes foot care” and got millions of hits. What does this mean? That I can’t wear sandals? I wanted to use the Internet to connect with other people and get a reality check on what the doctors were telling me. Unfortunately, there was no way to find like people. That motivated me to start the blog.
Q: Your first post triggered many comments. That must have been gratifying.
A: I didn’t know what to expect. But it provided immediate feedback that I might be onto something. Today, there are over 800 blogs just on diabetes, so I feel like I’ve been part of this healthcare revolution.
Q: Was there a particular post or event that propelled the blog to the next level?
A: When I was featured in The Wall Street Journal. Laura Landro at The Journal writes a column called “The Informed Patient.” She did a story on patient blogging that included me. That made a huge difference in our visibility.
Q: I’m sure the Journal article caused a spike in traffic.
Q: Has SEO played an important role in building your audience?
A: I don’t know squat about SEO. My philosophy is simple: Fresh content gets attention. I try to offer fresh content every single day.
Q: Consistently writing every day is going to stockpile some great content.
A: I agree. We’re planning a site re-design so it’s easier to search archived content.
Q: When you reflect on the blog, is there anything that has surprised you about your audience?
A: I thought the details would bore people, but that’s not the case. We consistently get feedback that they want detailed information.
Q: Can you pinpoint one element that’s your “secret sauce.”
A: I’d say its gonzo journalism. I put myself in the story starting with my very first post and this continues today. Plus, I go in with a critical eye and ask questions of the establishment.
Q: Was this tough to do.?
A: Not at all. I felt like I was set free to tell my story. No one was going to tell me where I have to add an exclamation point.
Q: After reading your blog, I can see you also bring a strong personal dimension to your storytelling.
A: Absolutely. The whole idea is to make the blog personal.
Note: Check out Amy’s Thanksgiving post from a couple years ago.
Don’t worry. Be happy. Enjoy the day! (And the long weekend!)
That is my 7-year-old’s artwork, btw: Mr. Scarecrow. Does he look bummed, just because he might be missing a functioning brain? No Sir. So no bemoaning your dead pancreas today People, OK?
Hey, if nothing else, be glad you’re not an astronaut; if you thought we PWDs had food troubles on this feast day, check out their plight.
Warm holiday greetings to all…
“Diabetes Mine,” November 26, 2009
Q: I also like the levity you bring to the topic.
A: It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so yes, I want to be informative. But living with diabetes is crap, so let’s have some fun as well. The magic combination is to make the site both a resource and entertaining. I want every post to say something that people didn’t already know and do it in a fun way and a personal way. I don’t hit the mark every time but that’s the goal.
Note: Good example of this levity below:
Happy Mother’s Day, All! Anyone else have their kids routinely tell them to please not be so “mother-ish”? Yeah, well it comes with the territory.
For this week’s Sunday Funnies, by beloved fellow type 1 artist Haidee Merritt, something that for some reason reminded me of Jewish mothers the world over…
Sunday Funnies: So Mother-ish
”Diabetes Mine,” May 8, 2011
Tomorrow, we’ll publish the second half of the interview which covers advocacy, venting and that new tagline for the Marine Corps mentioned earlier.