What Should I Blog about as a Maternal Health Consultant? with Arianna Taboada

The “What Should I Blog About?” series gives you examples of what real business owners are blogging about to promote their work in their industry. These interviews will spark new ideas for your own blog and give you encouragement in overcoming your blogging struggles. Check out other posts in the series here. 

If your business is in a unique or unusual industry, you might find yourself wondering how to make blogging work for you. You look everywhere for inspiration but keep coming up short. Luckily for you, Arianna Taboada has done the hard work of figuring out how to blog for an out-of-the-box business---and she's sharing her secrets right here.

Arianna is a maternal health consultant who works with experienced entrepreneurs who are becoming first-time mothers, helping them customize their maternity leave plan and return to work. She is deeply committed to providing ongoing, multi-faceted support that meets the professional, physical, mental, social, and emotional needs of entrepreneurs as they babyproof their business and navigate new motherhood.

Maternity leave for entrepreneurs is a topic I'm passionate about, which is one reason I'm so excited to share Arianna's top-notch blog strategy!

Welcome, Arianna! Tell us a bit about your business and yourself.

I’ve been in the maternal health field since 2002 and went into private practice (and was introduced to the small business world) in 2012. Prior to starting my consulting practice, I worked on maternal health issues for over a decade as a health educator, a social worker in a mental health clinic, a reproductive health researcher, and a yoga therapist.

I draw from my expertise as a maternal health professional, combined with my experience as a business owner and mother, to provide highly personalized services so expecting entrepreneurs have the tools and information they need to make decisions and take action when it comes to balancing their business with a new baby.

I am also driven by a social justice mission in my work. As self-employed entrepreneurs, freelancers, and business owners, pregnancy places us on the margins of social safety nets with little to no protection. We are left vulnerable and exposed at a time in life and business when support matters the most, and I am proud to be part of the dialogue and solution about improving social policies that improve our quality of life, our business’ ability to thrive, and our collective ability to make meaningful contributions to the world.

When did you first start blogging for your business? What did you write about as a new blogger?

I began blogging in 2014. My very first blog posts were reflective, almost journal-like pieces about maternal health, ranging from mental health to nutrition (recipes included). I had lots of images, I included my personal experiences in almost every post, and I never had an editorial calendar (and so I posted once, maybe twice, a month at best.)

My background in academia and research was hard to break. I often had several drafts before I hit publish, and I even had some posts with a reference list of peer-reviewed journals. Most of these have since been removed from my blog as I fine-tuned my brand and began offering content that spoke directly to client needs.

What does your blog look like these days?

This may seem counterintuitive, but I experienced a huge shift in my ability to consistently produce content when I worried less about the writing style and focused more on answering a question that clients had. I made an effort to actually shorten the length of my posts, removed images, and committed to publishing a post and sending it to my list weekly.

In terms of becoming more organized and efficient in my content process, I actually outsourced some pieces of the puzzle. I hired a coach to help me re-envision my content categories, I hired a content marketing expert (Ashley!) to help brainstorm posts for categories that I really needed to strengthen. Then I reworked my publication process so that I was solely responsible for writing, and my VA handled all the formatting and publishing pieces. This has helped me refine content to meet my audience's needs and helped me make the actual process of writing and publishing more streamlined.

What are some of your most popular posts? Why do you think they resonate with your readers so much?

The posts that have been most well-received by readers are those that answer simple questions that readers may be asking themselves. (What are some of the key principles that can guide my maternity leave? Who are the postpartum professionals that I should be aware of before having my baby?)

I’ve also had great responses to easy-to-implement posts that clearly outline a process or systems that directly meet a need business owners have when they are planning their leave.

In a nutshell, I think pinpointing the questions people have and writing in response to what they want to know has been the key.

Your blog includes interviews and guest posts with fellow mama business owners. Where do you find people to interview who are a good fit for your audience?

This is where your network of support (one of the key concepts I help clients map out) is key, not just in your personal life but your professional one too! I have a strong network of colleagues and business friends whose work I really admire and respect, and I have often featured them in my Mama Stories series.

I also use guest posting/series as an opportunity to make new connections with fellow entrepreneurs I may not already have an established relationship with. For example, for my upcoming Show Maternity Leave Who’s Boss series, I was interested in featuring women who would reflect on what it was like to take leave from their established business. I had 2-3 coaches I could ask, but I wanted to highlight different business models as well, so I put a call out with the requirements in a Facebook group and got to know some new business owners/guest contributors that way.

Your blog feels like a safe space with excellent advice for new or expectant mamas who may not know where else to turn. What tips do you have for other biz owners who want their blogs to feel welcoming and not overly corporate?

When you write, imagine you are writing for one specific person. You can bring a particular client to mind, for example, and simply ask yourself, how would I share this information with them? For me, that usually means trying to be both informative and friendly so that I can provide value that is easy to digest.

Part of my personal struggle with finding my blogging voice was how to capture my expertise without coming off as stuffy or overly serious. So I sometimes joke, and I often don’t use full sentences---but I balance it out with occasionally mentioning my own experience or my professional training. I try to remind people that there is a real live human behind the blog, just as much as I keep the fact that my readers are real live humans in mind when I am writing.

Any other tips to share with other online entrepreneurs who want to blog for their business?

A great exercise that I learned from book coach Parrish Wilson is to write/type without looking at the screen. If you are at a laptop, tilt the screen down. If you are at a desktop stare at the keyboard as you type. Just let yourself freeflow without going back and reading (or judging!) what you write. It makes all the difference in getting the words to flow a bit more smoothly!

Thanks for joining us, Arianna!

Be sure to check out Arianna's blog and catch up with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Seriously, if you're a freelancer who has even the slightest chance of having kids, you'll want to bookmark her blog.) 

Want to read more about how I handled my two maternity leaves while running a business? Check out my interview on Arianna's blog!