In 2004, Marisa Treviño was working as an editor for a monthly trade magazine and was routinely published across the nation as a freelance opinion editorialist. Even though she was living off her writing, Marisa wasn’t completely satisfied. She was churning out columns more quickly than they could be published by outside media outlets, and she grew frustrated by her lack of control over the publishing processes for her writings.
The cure for Marisa’s frustration? To start a blog.
She had heard about blogs; and the more she learned about them, the more she knew this was the answer. Finally, she would be able to control how often she published and could write whatever she wanted. So, she started writing daily blog posts about issues she cared about; and now, that little blog has evolved into a full-blown news site with an ever-growing readership.
Today, Marisa Treviño is a blogging expert. She recently published an e-book with Booktango — A Simple Start to Blogging with Social Media — to share her knowledge and experience with others. We talked with Marisa to learn more about her story and the advice she has to offer fellow writers:
Today, Latina Lista is an impressive site — a full-blown news site that covers a wide range of timely issues. Tell us a bit about how Latina Lista started.
I started out writing about women’s issues from the Latina perspective. At the time, there was literally a handful of national Latina opinion writers and bloggers, so I just started writing and posting. It wasn’t long before immigration issues began to surface and that became a part of my writings, as well as politics.
After writing for two years, I had a reader from the Northwest who was a very talented graphic designer. He was also very generous, and he told me that I needed a better platform to present my content. He took me from the cookie-cutter template I was using to designing an awesome site that allowed me to showcase just how many topics I was actually writing about.
When I saw that I was covering far more than just women’s issues and politics, I knew I was publishing a news site and not just a single-issue blog.
Since then, I’ve had two redesigns and am constantly striving to reinvent and improve the reader experience online with Latina Lista.
What were the first months like? What did it take to help your blog grow?
When I first started Latina Lista, I worked on it at night. During the day, I would edit the trade journal I worked at and come home and after dinner would start writing a daily post — sometimes not hitting the pillow until midnight. Though I would come home exhausted, those feelings disappeared when I started writing my posts — and it’s still like that today.
Back then, there were so few Latina bloggers that there was a great hunger from the Latino community to read a perspective that represented them; but it couldn’t be found (easily) in mainstream media.
It took about two months when I started Latina Lista for it to get noticed by readers, other bloggers and even mainstream media. It was all a very organic growth that has been instrumental in the ongoing existence of Latina Lista, especially since I still have many of those same readers who started out with me when Latina Lista was a simple blog.
How do you manage Latina Lista in its current form?
I am very fortunate to have a webmaster who handles all the really ‘techy’ stuff for me and a great social media editor who does my monthly newsletter. The rest is what keeps me having 14-16-hour days — researching, writing and posting; creating partnerships and collaborations with bloggers, organizations and other media; finding interesting sources and posting to my social media platforms.
What advice do you have for other writers trying to start and maintain a successful blog?
The first piece of advice is to write about something you are passionate about. If you’re passionate about the issue, you won’t notice all the time and energy you put into your blog — without pay! It has to be something you enjoy writing about.
To be a truly successful blogger, blog every day. I know some people say they can blog only twice or three times a week; and if that’s all you can do, that’s fine. But for those who are really interested in sharing their knowledge with others and eventually getting recognized for it — just blog every day and use social media to promote it.
Next week we’ll talk with Marisa about how she uses social media and other platforms to help broaden her influence and reach different types of readers.
For more comprehensive advice on blogging from Marisa, be sure to check out her new e-book from Booktango — A Simple Start to Blogging with Social Media.
Have you ever tried to start a blog? What have your experiences been like?