Amber Strocel is a known for blogging for VancouverMom.ca, Strocel.com and TheV3H.com.
For her work for Strocel.com, she won Canadian Living ‘blog of the month’ in March 2011 and was named ‘20 Mom blogs we love’ by SweetMama. Read on to hear how she writes for three blogs and juggles two kids.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the chance to do things that I would never have the chance to do otherwise. For example, in the past few months I've toured a sulphur shipping terminal, tried pole dancing, done pottery, given speeches, taken my daughter to meet the premier and interviewed some amazing people, including Pamela Martin.
When is the best time to pitch to you?
I don't think it's about the time of the pitch - it's about the content. However, I will say that I need notice. I have two kids, and I plan the editorial calendar out at least a week in advance on the sites I manage (Strocel.com, VancouverMom.ca and TheV3H.com). If you're doing something on Saturday, I'm not going to be able to drop everything and cover it if you tell me on Thursday.
What do you look for in a story?
I actually wrote a whole blog post about what I look for in a pitch. I want it to be something I could actually see myself talking to a friend about, and it's important that the pitch conforms with my personal values. I want it to be relevant to the blog I'll be posting it on, and I want it to be interesting. I want to be getting some kind of personal value from the experience as well.
But the big thing - and the thing that will make me say "yes" most often - is if someone is going to get a fun experience out of it. If I have the chance to bring my kids to see something great, I am jumping on that. In the same vein, if I get to offer something amazing to a VancouverMom.ca contributor, I'll jump on that. As bloggers we don't get much financial compensation for our time, but if we can have a fabulous experience, that makes up for it.
What’s your biggest bug bare when working with PRs?
When they call me "mommy". Seriously, not even my kids call me mommy. If someone does that, I'll usually send a polite response explaining why that's not cool. A close second is being invited to events in Toronto. I can't just pop over on my lunch break, I live in Vancouver.
What’s your average day like?
That's hard to say - it sometimes feels like there are no average days, especially when I'm knee-deep in summer vacation. Work days for me happen the three days each week when my son is in daycare and my daughter is in school.
On those days I do my best to eliminate all distractions and stay at my desk. I don't always do as well as I could at that though, as meetings and other things pop up and eat into my work time. On the days I have one or both of my kids with me I run errands, schedule interviews (my kids love those because I usually let them watch TV while I'm on the call), and go about the business of living. I try to get as much done during the day as I can, but I still spend some time working after my kids are in bed most evenings.
Really, I spend 365 days a year trying to squeeze some productive time in where I can, while also staying present with my family.
What’s your favourite social network and why?
I am in love with Instagram right now, deeply and profoundly. I was late to the party, and I can't believe I held out so long. I like it because taking photos makes me more mindful. I look at everything in a different way and I see beauty in ordinary things. Plus, my kids like having their photos taken, so I can be on Instagram and be present with my kids at the same time.
What coffee shop are you most likely to be found in?
I love Caffe Divano in Port Moody. I'm a suburbanite!
What’s your personal career ambition?
Until recently, I would have said to write a book. However, since I started podcasting, I would say that my personal ambition is to have my own interview show. I love collecting other people's stories. It feels like an amazing privilege when someone shares something of themselves with you. Plus, it's really eye-opening because you never know which conversations are going to totally rock your world. It's often not the people who you'd think would be the most interesting who really blow you away.