Serving Up Real Life On A Blog: Kristan Roland
Wife. Mom. Blogger. Entrepreneur. Kristan Roland of Fort Smith wears a lot of different hats. Each day, she balances managing a household and caring for her husband, Jess, and two kids with running a thriving blog and business. Her site, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, is a domestic go-to, covering everything from baking and meal planning, to books and make-up. Along the way, Roland shares hilarious quips and excerpts from her daily life, which include kitchen mishaps and toddler tales. Readers gain more than just helpful recipes and styling tips, they get a personal glimpse into the “crazy” life of one stay-at-home mom-turned-blogger, turned-legit-business woman.
It all began five years ago, when Roland's son, Jon David, started kindergarten, leaving her with a few free hours. With a knack for baking and a way with the written word, Roland decided to try her hand at blogging. She scoured the Internet reading tons of cooking blogs and sites. What she found, or didn't find to be more exact, helped shape what Confessions would come to be.
“Lots of blogs do recipes, but when I would look through them, I wasn't seeing women like me,” said Roland. “Reading them was often intimidating because what they were putting out there didn't resemble my world at all. I wanted to focus on finding women to connect with. I decided that I wanted my blog to be a true reflection of me with recipes and posts that would be encouraging to readers. I always want viewers to look at my pictures and think, ‘I can do that, I want to give that recipe a try.’”
Readers quickly connected with Roland and Confessions of a Cookbook Queen grew rapidly in popularity.
“Some people start a personal blog and later on it evolves into an income-earner for them,” said Roland. “I knew going in that I wanted it to be something that helped make me a living.”
And that it did. As readership began to increase, advertisements came and later prominent national companies were seeking her out for promotion of their products. Roland does frequent giveaways on her site and highlights specific brands, including Pillsbury, Ziploc and LeCreuset, through sponsored posts. This past year, she signed on to blog for Spoonful, a Disney site that shares recipes, crafts and other creative projects. She also is a contributor to this magazine.
Roland's credits also extend to a number of other outlets. She serves as a contributor to lifestyle blog Living Locurto and has developed recipes for Parents Magazine and Candy.com. Roland has been featured on dozens of sites including Babble, Craft Gossip, Tidy Mom, the Washington Post and Cupcakes Take the Cake.
Five years in, Roland still loves the work she does and the relationships she has established with her readers. “I do love it, but some days are definitely more work than others,” she said. “Lots of planning goes into my posts. People will sometimes ask about a dish I posted within the past couple of days asking if I have any still around the house. I usually have to think because that food may be long-gone or already in the freezer.”
Roland has learned a great deal since launching her blog, especially in the area of photography.
“When I started, I took most of my pictures with a simple, point-and-shoot camera. I soon realized that I needed to learn more about photography so I could better present my work. It is an important aspect of what I do because I want my food to look as good as I know it tastes.”
Social media also plays a critical role in driving traffic to Confessions. Several hundred thousand fans follow Roland on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Her success is an inspiration to many, demonstrating that in today's technology-driven society, creators, crafters and artists of all kinds can carve out a niche in the online world of business.
“It is wonderful to see so many women, who are home caring for their kids, sharing their incredible talents in this way,” said Roland.
Despite her ever-growing popularity and booming business, Roland remains deeply committed to her most important roles as wife and mom. She remains grateful for the opportunity to parlay her talents into a business that gives her flexibility and the ability to work from home.
“The biggest blessing about what I do is that I can pretty much work when I want and from wherever I want.”
Roland's “real-life” approach to her blogging makes her both approachable and entertaining to her readers. She has built her business on sharing ideas that are achievable to even novice cooks and crafters and, in doing so, has connected to an audience simply looking for ways to make their lives tastier, prettier and simpler. Her appeal lies in her sincerity and humility, as evident by a line in her blog's “about me” section: “And I’m a prime example that even the most imperfect people can create fabulous things in the kitchen.”
THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN THE NOVEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF ENTERTAINMENT FORT SMITH MAGAZINE.