h1 Email is the most powerful digital messaging tool. There’s no better way to engage an audience.
Tara Mandy, StrollerTraffic
When you like something enough to subscribe to it by email, you know you're hooked on something great– a fact not lost on Tara Mandy, publisher of StrollerTraffic. A free weekly email for stylish city moms with kids under three, StrollerTraffic shares new trends, adorable toys, meal ideas, and rain-day activities. And the writing is funny and playful—which helps put a smile on your face as you’re juggling your computer, toddler and lukewarm coffee. A former New York Magazine editor Tara is no small part of the site's magic.
A recent inductee into the Say 100 Parenting channel, we caught up with Tara (mom of two, daydreamer, cheese lover and travel snob) to learn more about her first scoop, her love for email as a publishing medium, how she finds her best stories, and what's next for her growing media empire.
You created StrollerTraffic in 2009. What was your breakout item or thing you did that put Stroller Traffic on the map? I remember, clearly, that the first Scoop to drive significant traffic our way was the initial Tylenol recall, in the fall of 2009. We must have been one of the very first media outlets to write about it. I got lucky. I went to the pharmacy super early on the morning of the recall to buy infant Tylenol for my daughter, who had a fever. The shelves had been stripped. I asked the pharmacist and learned about the recall. I hustled home and posted this Scoop. I re-posted it to facebook, and we had thousands and thousands of new visits that day.
What made you decide email was the way to go? Email is the most powerful digital messaging tool. Period. If you can create a product interesting enough for people to actually sign up for—and compelling enough for them to continue opening—there’s no better way to engage an audience. Social media is quicker. Blog traffic is larger. But email is by far the most impactful.
What are your most popular sections – and why do you think that is? Readers love the daily Scoops—they’re quick and helpful, whether informing readers of recalls or introducing them to new product releases. It’s a way for overwhelmed new moms to quickly keep up with what matters in the parenting world. We also find that our readers hyper-share our best-of lists and our gear reviews.
What did your experience as a magazine editor at New York Magazine bring to StrollerTraffic? Oh my goodness. I could never have succeeded at this without my experience at New York Magazine. It’s impossible to list all of the lessons learned. But I guess the most meaningful bit of education was the importance of making every word count in short "service" pieces: don’t use adjectives unless they actually describe something; be sure to give the reader all the info they need to act; and don’t waste the reader’s precious time with wordy fluff that might make you feel witty, but doesn’t actually help the reader in any way. I also learned how to read a press release with a discriminating eye.
You find some great stuff on StrollerTraffic – what's your secret? Our secret to finding great stuff is our Scouts. We tap into moms all across the country who are research addicts—the women who can’t help themselves from stopping in the baby stores on their blocks to see what’s new since last week; the moms who stop other moms in the street to ask, "where did you get that?" Those are our Scouts, and they keep us posted every day on their discoveries.
You did some product recommendations for Indagare and your site features product reviews and info about recalls and trends. How do you like to work with brands? We absolutely love working with other brands. As a small startup with a tight marketing budget, we rely on strategic partnerships to help grow our business. We look for like-minded companies who have a similar interest in chic, modern design, non-toxic ingredients, eco-thoughtful sensibilities, and an overall understanding of the new-mom perspective. Once we feel comfortable with the "fit," there are limitless ways in which we’ll work with our partners.
What other city Mom sites are doing it right? Who do you like to read/follow? Truthfully, we spend more time watching successful email companies—Tasting Table, Thrillist, DailyWorth—than we do watching "mom" media. I do try to pay attention to Cool Mom Picks whenever I can, because I find their voice smart and relevant. I think Mommy Poppins does a great job of covering the "what-to-do-with-your-kids" beat. And there are a handful of blogs—A Cup of Jo, Ivy League Insecurities, Mom-101—I try to catch up with when I can. But overall, I am just way short on time to read.
You've got StrollerTraffic, and now ScooterTraffic – what's next? RunwayTraffic! Our family travel edition. I spent 10 years covering travel for New York Magazine, so this is my comfort zone. I can’t freaking wait to launch it!
Follow Tara and StrollerTraffic on Twitter @StrollerTraffic
[Photos: JellyBean Pictures]