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Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

Here’s The Scoop: The Secret is in The Sauce

Welcome to our new monthly column,
The Scoop.

The Scoop will introduce you to people from the world of blogging who are turning heads and offering up the unexpected. First on our list for closer inspection are creators of The Secret is in The Sauce (SITS), Heather and Tiffany

Heather (Mindless Junque)and Tiffany (R Family Diaries) were frustrated with current methods of developing readership and started dreaming of an alternative. They wanted to find a way to introduce bloggers to each other and offer support to a primarily female audience.

They launched The Secret is in The Sauce June 1 with a blogging survival kit give away, and within two days they had more than 2,000 site visitors. The early success is confirmation of Heather and Tiffany’s belief that the recipe for success is support. By tapping into the essence of “girl power” and the viral characteristics of blogging, they are quickly creating quite a sorority.

SITS participants seem to mostly fall under the category of “Mommy Bloggers“… women writing about their experiences with parenting, family and interpersonal relationships.

Anyone who’s been blogging for a while, from mommy bloggers to corporate PR types and media mavens, will tell you that reader comments are the coveted award. By commenting, readers become active participants creating a two-way dialog and a sense of validation for the writer.

A blogger may have hundreds or even thousands of readers, but turning those readers into commenters is quite a different challenge. Heather and Tiffany, self-proclaimed comment junkies, have set out to help other bloggers increase their readership while also creating a community of like-minded women who are ready to tap their inner junkie and comment, comment, comment. It’s a unique model and by focusing externally, SITS brings a new dimension to the proven idea of women helping women.

Here’s how SITS works: Bloggers submit their three favorite posts for consideration and each day someone new is highlighted as the Featured Blogger. Heather and Tiffany provide a bit of commentary with links to the blogger’s best posts, and its the job of SITS participants to follow the links and share a little comment love. To build on the sense of community and gain exposure, Heather and Tiffany offer a SITS graphic that bloggers can add to their own pages as a button…”We are better together and by adopting the button below, you are pledging to support your fellow SITS bloggers.

The Scoop Q&A

How long have you known each other and how did you meet?

Heather: Tiffany moved into the house across the street from me in the Fall of 2007. A love for “junking” and chatting over tea led to a great friendship. We hit it off right away and while we aren’t neighbors anymore, we’re still very close.

Why did you create The Secret is in The Sauce (SITS) and what was your inspiration?

We had registered our personal blogs with huge sites where they would get buried in the middle of thousands of other blogs. It was so frustrating!! We were talking about how to get our blogs noticed and we started dreaming. Our inspiration was knowing that there had to be hundreds of other women, just like us, wanting to be heard and not knowing how to be seen. SITS seemed like the perfect solution.

What kind of a planning and research did you do before launching SITS?

We spent a lot of time looking at other sites and bloggers. We listened to what they were saying and we went to the huge sites that host thousands of bloggers. It was obvious at that point that what everyone needed was a day in the sun. It’s a win/win solution.

What’s the story behind the name?

We were being silly one day and looking at the French/English dictionary and we saw the phrase, The Secret is in the Sauce. We loved that expression and it captured the essence of what we wanted to do. The secret to a good blog is the ingredients. You never know what’s in the “sauce” until you look at the recipe. I could go on and on all day.

What role does Heather play with SITS?

Heather: We both share everything equally. That’s why we get along so well. We really do play nicely together. We talk on the phone at least three times a day to discuss the site. It’s a full time job for sure so we both are very understanding of the other’s commitments. We’re constantly picking up where the other left off.

What role does Tiffany play with SITS?

Tiffany: Heather said it perfectly. It’s hard to tell where one of us ends and the other begins. A true respect for one another’s ideas and talents makes us great partners.

SITS had more than 2,000 visitors in two days. To what do you attribute your early success?

We tapped into a need. That’s the long and short of it. I mean, bloggers get their day in the sun and our readers discover new blogs. It made sense to pick three really good posts and feature those. You get a “taste” of the blogger. Oh, man, this “sauce” analogy just goes on and on and on…

Are you surprised by the response you’ve received?

Absolutely. We’ve sat on the phone and cried over it. There’s something very satisfying about giving women (and we do have a couple of men) a platform in which to shine.

Do you think women are blogging to create a sense of community? And if so, why?

Oh sure! Women are amazing creatures and have the ability to multi-task in amazing ways. We are the protectors, healers, teachers, cleaners, cooks, drivers, puzzle solvers…we do it all. But that can be a lonely place and in the midst of juggling all these roles we have to find ourselves in there somewhere. Blogging is the perfect place to wave your hands and say, “I’m here! I’m still here!!”

As of this interview, the blog you’ve featured on SITS are all humorous. Why?

Honestly, we haven’t planned it that way. In fact, we have a few in the line up that don’t focus on humor at all, but let’s face it…in every season of life, we need to be able to laugh at our challenges. During the day-to-day, it’s nice to laugh.

What are your future plans for The Secret is in The Sauce?

We have a couple of top secret spin off ideas. We have big plans for this and both of us are very entrepreneurial. It’s very exciting.

Has SITS increased visibility and traffic for your personal blogs?

Yes, but we were laughing the other day that SITS has become our baby. We spend way more time on SITS than on our own blogs. I’m sure that will ebb and flow.

It’s difficult to keep track of how many blogs exist. The number continues to grow exponentially and currently it’s estimated there are 110 million blogs. Some are great, and some are not. Sifting through the clutter is next to impossible and it’s far too easy to get lost as you jump from blog roll to blog roll, completely forgetting where you’ve been and how you got to where you are. SITS seems to provide a bit of structure to help readers stay focused, and they’re making it extra saucy with weekly contests and prizes.

The key to success for participating bloggers will be to capture readers’ attention for longer than a day. SITS shines a spotlight, but it’s still up to bloggers themselves to provide content that’s compelling enough for readers to return-it’s the secret saucy ingredient for every writer.

We’ll be watching with anticipation as Heather and Tiffany continue to grow their SITS sorority and we predict that if they can continue the momentum and interest, those top-secret spin offs they mentioned will be hugely successful with an already cultivated audience and perhaps even a multitude of advertisers knocking on the door.

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