Blogger Rita Templeton Shares Her Scary Mommy Success Story

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I first came across Rita Templeton’s writing when I asked myself the question ‘I wonder who the most popular blogger on Scary Mommy is?’, and quickly found her posts at the top of the list.  I spent the next 30 minutes reading all of her posts (mostly about raising boys), and saying ‘oh my gosh YES!’ in between laughing out loud.  I wanted to find out how she got onto Scary Mommy (multiple times) and what that did for her blog. Here’s what I learned:

Blogger Rita Templeton Shares Her Scary Mommy Success Story


Beyond Your Blog:  Tell us about your personal blog, Fighting off Frumpy.

Rita Templeton:  I started my blog 5 years ago when I was pregnant with my 3rd son (of 4).  I really started it just to feel less alone as a mom. I’ve been a freelance writer for 10 years, so I worked at home and would do interviews in my pajamas.  The client would never know, but I felt so frumpy and disconnected from the world, that I started blogging just to connect with people.  I thought my mom and maybe a couple of my friends would read it, and then it started building steam.  I mostly blog about life as a mother, and the things that happen to you — the things you never think about happening as a non-parent, like cleaning up poop and stuff like that.

BYB:  Everyone wants to get on Scary Mommy, how did you manage to get on with your first post?

RT: I had a post on my blog called 10 Boy-Mom “Musts”.  It wasn’t even one of my favorites.  I thought it was mediocre.  I posted it on a Thursday or Friday, and by Monday it was completely viral.  I still don’t really know how it happened.  After it went viral from my site, I got an email from an online friend who moderates Scary Mommy’s Confessions saying that Jill (Smokler – Founder, Scary Mommy) was interested in running the post.  I was really excited and of course agreed.  They ran it this past June, and it did really well, and then Jill emailed me about my Your Penis Won’t Fall Off post and asked to run it.  So now, sometimes they will approach me and sometimes I will pitch things to them.  It’s a really nice relationship to have.

BYB: Viral means different things to different people.  Can you tell me what you mean when you described that first post as going “viral” on your blog?

RT: I don’t know the exact numbers, but let me put it to you this way: I woke up Monday morning after posting the previous Thursday or Friday and looked at the counter on my site telling me the number of visitors.  It showed 63 people and the most I had ever had at one time had been 4 or 5.  By the end of the next night I was having 1,000 people at a time!  You honestly never know when something is going to go viral.  I was blogging for 5 years before anything ever took off, and the post that did go viral was something I didn’t expect.

BYB:  What is your advice to other bloggers who have been blogging for a long time and might be underwhelmed with their page views or following etc.

RT: I had been at a point right before my post went viral when I had considered stopping blogging all together.  I was kind of in a slump and I didn’t feel like anyone was listening and then boom!, it blew up.  You just never know.

BYB:  Once that post was picked up by Scary Mommy, they were getting traffic from it.  Did you see overflow to your site?

RT:  That post actually crashed Scary Mommy’s site because of all the traffic.  My Facebook fan page went from 525 Facebook fans BEFORE the post hit Scary Mommy to 2,500 after.  Now I’m up to over 5,500.

BYB:  Most of your Scary Mommy posts are about raising boys (since you have 4 of them).  Are you mostly sticking to that topic?

RT:  I never have any specific topics in mind.  I just write about what I know, and I know about raising boys.  The ‘Your Penis Won’t Fall Off’ post  was inspired by the fact that my boys literally never let go of it!  My 6 year old and I were having a conversation the other day and I swear that he did not let go of his junk the entire time!  I mostly stick to things other moms can relate to.

Check out all of Rita’s Scary Mommy Posts HERE

BYB:  Can you tell us about any other benefits besides the nice traffic and social following since you’ve been on Scary Mommy?

RT:  The publicity is the kind you cannot buy.  The bigger picture is that I have a book in the works and agents are a lot more responsive to your pitches if you have a built-in audience.  So the likes and the traffic really help me there.

BYB: Any tips for bloggers trying to get onto Scary Mommy the old-fashioned way

RT: The list type posts seem to do really well.  I write those a lot because sometimes it’s hard to form one long coherent post.

BYB:  Tell me more about your aspirations to be published and featured.

RT:  I never submitted anything anywhere until my post went viral.  I guess I wasn’t really confident enough.  Since Scary Mommy, I’ve submitted a few things here and there.  I’ll be doing a guest post on sKIDmarks {Poop Happens}, which is one of my favorite blogs.  I was reading your interview with Mary Widdicks from Outmanned where she says the Huffington Post continually ignores her.  They do the same thing to me!  I had actually submitted my viral post to The Huffington post before Scary Mommy picked it up and they totally ignored it.  Then someone wrote a rebuttal post about girls and they ran that one!  As far as my book, I’ve got about 6 chapters and an outline finished.  It’s been on hiatus over the summer with four little boys at home.  I’m going to try to find an agent and go the traditional publishing route, but would consider self-publishing as well.

You can follow Rita and Fighting Of Frumpy on Twitter and Facebook

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10 Comments on “Blogger Rita Templeton Shares Her Scary Mommy Success Story”

  1. Pingback: Rejected! 8 Things To Do With Your Submission If It Gets Turned Down | Beyond Your Blog

  2. Thanks for this interview, Susan. And thank you so much, Rita, for being so candid in sharing your experiences and esp. your aspirations! Not to sound cruel or anything, but I’m glad to know that even someone like you (well-known and have become viral) has also had a difficult time being noticed by HuffPost. You just can’t tell and just gotta keep writing! Thanks again!

  3. What a great interview!! I love hearing how bloggers like Rita had been blogging for five years until she got noticed. That gives me such encouragement! What an amazing turn in her life of writing, so richly deserved.

    I thought Scary Mommy only took original work though? I’m guessing they just wanted your posts because they were so good and really took off when published on your own blog?

    I just submitted my first post to Scary Mommy a few minutes ago. I have yet to publish it on my blog, because I thought that was the ‘rule’. Could you clarify? It’s a doozer of a post… and I hope I submitted it correctly via email. I didn’t know how to go about it, so I just copied and pasted it in the email, attached my bio and picture. Does that seem correct?

    *Trying* 🙂

    1. Chris – you are correct. Taking a previously published post is the exception, not the rule, for Scary Mommy. I think the viral status of that really helped. Their submission process is very easy – you did just what I do. They are fabulous about getting back to you with a yea or no within a week or less usually, so you’ll hear something soon. I am interviewing Jill Smokler (Scary Mommy) for a podcast tomorrow, so look for that in the coming weeks!

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  8. Thanks for the interview, Susan. It’s inspiring for newbies like me who is thinking “Is anyone actually reading my blog?”

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