As a veteran blogger of 15 years, Andrea Duclos started Oh Dear Drea to share her journey as a single mother. Since then, her blog has gained massive popularity for both its candid voice, enticing writing style, and beautiful, vibrant photography. Oh Dear Drea features the latest happenings and finds for natural living, vegan food, travel adventures, and home design. For sponsored blog posts, brands like Sugru, Blue Apron, NatureBox, and BarkBox regularly partner with Oh Dear Drea to co-promote their brand with excellent awareness, reach, and engagement.
Check out her influencer spotlight for a snapshot look into Andrea’s blogging world, her advice to new bloggers, and her philosophy for balancing social media and life.
How did you get started blogging?
I started blogging about 15 years ago. Crazy, right? I just wanted a place to write my angst teenage thoughts and have some sort of creative outlet. At some point I stopped for no particular reason. About a year later when I became pregnant I thought I should start again, completely fresh, leaving my teenage angst behind. I deleted my old space and created a new one to document my life as a single mother. I’m not a single mother now, but I think it was good to build a real connection with people first. Even in the best of times now, people know and trust that the life they see is really the life I’m living— and I genuinely think that’s important for the reader.
What was your first blog post?
I couldn’t tell you exactly, but if I had to guess it was probably something about being bored in computer class. In my new blog, it was just a picture of me, saying ”Hi, I’m starting this space again!”
What was your breakout moment?
I’m not sure if I had a ‘breakout’ moment. My blog slowly but surely gained momentum and readers. I think people just really liked the honesty and bluntness about it. My blog felt different than a lot of the other happy family blogs out there — I had a different story to tell and it wasn’t always happy and perfect, it was just life unfolding.
Have you ever written anything that’s gone viral?
I’m not quite sure how viral something has to be to be ‘viral’ but my most popular post to date has been “how to have a good life without spending a lot of money” —- it did incredibly well and was shared often. Which is mostly amusing to me because I said I would never write about money, but one day I sat down and wrote down all the little things we do that make us happy and it all came together, sort of perfectly.
How has blogging changed since you got started?
Well, the industry is a lot more saturated now, thats for sure. And Instagram! Social media in general has really changed the land of blogging, too. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I can’t hate it, since I’m part of it.
Where do you see blogging evolving?
I think it’s an overwhelming thing to think about. The possibilities are endless. There are ten million (slight exaggeration) more blogs now than there were 5 or 10 years ago. Who knows what it will be like in another 5 years.
What’s on your list of daily reads?
I can’t say I look at the web daily anymore. It’s maybe a blessing and a curse, but since I have to spend so much time with my own blog, I’d rather spend any extra free time away from a screen.
How do you keep up with social media?
Poorly? Haha. The same goes for social media. There was a point in time (when breast-feeding probably) when I would sit through and scroll through every photo. Now it’s sort of a big deal if I see three images. I post as often as I can, and try to stay connected with as many people as I can, but I no longer pressure myself to feel like I need to keep up all the time. I cant. I do it enough to keep up with the people I care about and to share the bit of life that are going on around me. I truly love and feel blessed by my blogging and social media experience and I always want to keep it that way, so I do just enough to have that balance where I can enjoy it, but enjoy other things as well.
If you had more time, what would you do more of?
Travel, picnic, have picnics while traveling.
What advice would you give to a blogger just getting started?
Live. I see so many blogs that are staging life just to blog about it. Live first, blog second. Not everything has to look so perfect all the time! I mean, unless your blog is about being perfect all the time, then that’s another story, but if you’re blogging about your life, then be sure to really live your life fully first!
What’s your advice to brands looking to build a campaign or partner with bloggers?
I think right off the bat you can see if someone is a good fit to represent your brand. I think somethings just feel right. Once you find that blog that feels like a good fit, I think it’s important to look into the blog to see if their audience is real. Sounds crazy to say, but there are too many accounts with large fake numbers nowadays. 20,000 followers with 90 likes per photo? Not a good sign. I mean, not every photo is going to be popular of of course but you want to see that there is validity and honesty with the brand you’re working with — it’s better for the company and better for the audience — basically a win for everyone.