Gorkana Meets…Bonbon Break

First, tell us a bit about Bonbon Break and what topics the site covers.

BonBon Break is an online magazine for moms. Our editors curate content for busy women who do not have time to comb the web all day. Each editor has their own “room,” or segment of the site:

  • “Kitchen” features recipes and kitchen tips

  • “Family Room” covers parenting advice, anecdotes, and humor

  • “Bedroom” includes inspiration, relationships, personal growth, beauty & health

  • “Mom Cave” features hobbies, crafts, & DIY

  • “Playroom” highlights kids activities

  • “Backyard” covers gardening, camping, and outdoor activities

Tell us about your audience. What kind of reader traffic do you get? What posts tend to be most popular?

Our readers are Pinterest lovers! 90% of our readers are moms and 85% have a secondary degree. We average 100K pageviews a month. They really like our food and DIY posts collectively, however, our largest traffic spikes come from our parenting advice posts. Our most popular posts this year have been: 11 Ways to Raise a Grateful ChildCheesy Mashed Cauliflower Gratin (it is DELICIOUS), and 6 Easy Steps to Sleep through the Night.

Before establishing Bonbon Break, you also created the sites Mental Chew and Val Unplugged. Tell us about your background in social media and online journalism and what inspired you to start Bonbon Break.

I started Mental Chew as a journal of my gardening experience, which quickly turned into a list of recipes I was making with our seasonal harvest. Val Unplugged resulted from my need to keep my finger in the blogging world when BonBon Break went on hiatus last year. I just couldn't stay away! It has since been shut down, but Mental Chew still lives on since many of our favorite family recipes and years of our gardening progress live there.

I started blogging soon after my son was born. The transition from 80 hours/week middle school science, math, and tech teacher to stay-at-home mom was a rough one for me. Blogging gave me a sense of accomplishment and a schedule to keep to during the 24/7 world of motherhood. It filled the void I felt once I stopped spending my time creating a curriculum for my three classes.

My love of social media began with a community I created on Facebook for local moms. They swapped advice, baby gear, and more within the group. I tried to create an inviting atmosphere where moms could ask questions without judgment.

After syndicating two of my posts from Mental Chew on other sites, I realized that I wasn't receiving any benefit from the syndication. One site I had syndicated to received over 30K hits from my recipes, but I received a mere 6 hits in return. In addition, when I googled my recipes, the other site came up in the Top 5 and I was buried 3 pages into the list. As a stay-at-home mom, I worked really hard to put my posts together in the little time my baby allowed, and I felt exploited. I knew there had to be a way to share the content moms were working so hard to create and give them the traffic at the same time. This was the birth of BonBon BreakBonBon Break began in the spring of 2012, and was launched in July of that year.

One of the most distinctive elements of Bonbon Break is the combination of your own articles and links to other blogs you want to highlight. How does your team of writers and editors curate this assortment of original and shared content?

The idea is that our editors comb social media and various sources to find great content around specific topics that we generate as a team. After a contributor has worked with us, we will ask them for an original post if their work has been well-received by our audience or if we know they would do a good job of filling a need presented by our readers.

How has your team used other social media platforms to extend Bonbon Break’s online presence?

As I stated before, our readers love Pinterest and so do we! I am also active on Google+. I really adore the community feeling that can be developed in that space. We also have a private group for our contributors on Facebook where we discuss blogging topics from PR to legal, as well as current trends or services we are interested in addressing on the site.

Do you see Bonbon Break expanding to include any new content or features?

In December, we started BonBon Break LIVE, which is a weekly G+ Hangout / YouTube show that features our contributors. We feature hit topics from all of our rooms. In addition, we have filmed a single episode of BonBon Break GNO (Girls Night Out) which features myself and two of our editors along with two of our contributors covering hot topics. Both are being reworked right now and will be live again at the end of May.

In June, we will be exploring a new idea of featuring a group of bloggers over a 6 month span in the playroom. We are VERY excited about the team that we’ve created and we expect that the content is going to be amazing!

What are some of the PR opportunities you’ve worked with on Bonbon Break? How can publicists help you develop the blog’s content?

We have worked directly with companies and via PR companies for sponsored stories. We are very selective about the companies and products we share with our readers. They have to promote healthy families and healthy living. We only want to work with companies that take pride in being socially responsible.

When you’re not working on Bonbon Break, what other projects occupy your time?

BonBon Break takes up most of my downtime, namely any time I’m not devoting to raising my kids, being a decent partner to my husband, and planning local adventures. Island living in the Pacific Northwest allows us to unplug and be water-bound with little effort. We like getting dirty in our garden, hiking, camping, sailing, and just hanging out with our kids in the front yard, or inviting neighbors by for a glass of wine to kick back and enjoy the moment.

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