Please welcome to the Editor’s Q&A corner Parent.co Content Director, Sara Goldstein.
Q: Many of my readers are familiar with Parent.co and have even written for you before. For those who are discovering Parent.co for the first time, tell us about the site and the type of content you publish.
A: Parent.co is a digital publication for people who are as curious about the world as they are committed to raising great kids. Through personal narrative and expert advice, we hope to provide our readers with the inspiration and information to know better and do better every day. We understand that although parenting is subjective and opinions differ, the main objective is the same. That said, we stay away from publishing snarky rants, political or religiously focused pieces and anything that comes across as overly judgmental. None of that feels particularly useful in a space that endeavors to feel inclusive.
Q: We spoke briefly in 2016 when you were writing for Parent.co and I remember you had a wildly popular post called 30 Questions to Ask Your Kid Instead of “How Was Your Day?”. Tell us how your role has changed since then.
A: Many parenting sites speak directly to moms or dads specifically. It’s important to us that the pieces we publish speak to the full experience of raising kids. We want to represent ideals and concerns of moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and caregivers.
Q: You have specific article formats you publish. Can you give us a little info on each?
A: We’re always interested in digestible summations of recent studies that would interest parents, essays that center around key take-aways from the latest greatest book you read, explorations of fresh questions like (simply for example) How do the most successful schools do things differently? What does the latest in social research mean for marriage? What’s it like for the kids of parents who are in polyamorous relationships? We know there’s far more to explore beyond things like “why I stopped breastfeeding” and “10 ways you know you’re parenting a threenager.” We want to dig in to the conversations parents are truly compelled by, not just regurgitating what’s come to be expected from websites aimed at parents.
Q: Your submission guidelines are very thorough and informative and give some great examples for prospective writers to read. Can you give some examples of a few pieces that have rocked your payment bonus milestones so potential writers can get a feel for the type of content that has viral potential?
That said, here are a couple that worked and why:
10 Insights of Remarkable Parents from a Family Therapist: This was an out-of-the gate success. The author drew on her expertise and succinctly summed up some really fresh points. It’s positive and informative, and also has the bonus of being a listicle. (Let’s be honest, people want to know, even subconsciously how much time they’re going to invest once they click.
Dear Husband: I’m Not the Person You Married: This one was an instant traffic driver as well. Its raw and emotional honesty clearly resonated. This one also stirred up some not so nice attention from folks with whom it struck a negative chord. There’s an upside and a downside to having a post go viral!
The One Thing Parents Can Do to Make Mornings Smoother, According to Science: This may the perfect example of a successful piece. Its construction is also my current go-to suggestion when people ask my advice about what to write. Wrapped up in a relatable and clear tone, it takes one suggestion from a highly-regarded book and gives parents one simple task. It’s positive and totally do-able, without being precious or condescending. I really love this piece.
Q: You pay for original pieces you publish and offer a social share bonus as I mentioned in the previous question. Tell us how those work.
A: Our bonus is based on the total number of “Facebook Shares” within 30 days of a post’s original publication date. The structure is as follows:
$50 bonus : Articles with 1K combined likes and shares on Facebook
$150 bonus : Articles with 5k combined likes and shares on Facebook
$300 bonus : Articles with 20k combined likes and shares on Facebook
Q: Parent.co will consider previously published work and although there is no base payment, these pieces are eligible for your bonus (yay!). Do you have any tips for writers for how to share and promote their original and republished work for the best chance at reaching bonus milestones?
A: What’s interesting about the social bonus, is that the vast majority of writers who have achieved one of the benchmarks, didn’t actually set out with that as the goal. They wrote something that either struck a nerve, or was well thought out, and the readership got behind them. No amount of pleading with writer’s groups or spamming friends with repost requests can compete with a piece that organically gets wind in its sails. By the same token, some of my most favorite pieces haven’t reached the mark in that window.
All that said, however, self-promotion and savvy sharing is a real skill. I’d encourage writers to reach out to any organizations, people, companies, etc that they link within a piece and let them know they’ve mentioned them in this fantastic article they’ve just authored. Tweeting at them works too. It’s also great to send links to articles to other groups that may be interested in sharing it. Most organizations have Facebook pages and blogs and are always looking for solid content to share with their readership!
Q: Where is Parent.co headquartered and do you publish writing from international authors?
A: We are in downtown Burlington Vermont, a few blocks from Lake Champlain. We absolutely publish writing from all over.
A: We love irreverent, pragmatic writers. Full disclosure? An interesting bio always gets my attention.
Q: Do you have regular contributor positions available? If so, what is the process for becoming a regular writer for Parent.co
A: Currently we don’t have any contracts with regular writers, but we do have a small crew of weekly contributors. It’s something we’re open to considering, but nothing formal.
Q: What’s next for Parent.co?
A: In the last several months, we’ve really hit an incredible stride with a team that truly supports and constructively challenges one another to make Parent Co. a resource that parents trust and respect. We’re regularly working with companies we trust to create editorial for them that supports our shared values. In so doing, we’re implementing a revenue plan that is true to our mission of getting parents the useful, thoughtful, and high-quality content they’ve come to expect from us, free of banner ads and distracting junk.