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Thursday, 19 February 2015 15:26

‘Half-city, half-country kid’ enjoying blogging

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The person behind the fast growing twitter account @HatMusings and blog The Blogging Hatter: A Medicine Hat Lifestyle Blog is actually from the country ... barely.

The constantly busy Brandie Peters grew up in the best of both worlds in that she was raised just outside of the limits of Medicine Hat near Echodale Park. Still considered living in the rural area, she went to Seven Persons School for her elementary school and then to Eagle Butte for high school.
With her lifestyle blog, she looks to generate interest in all that is going on in the area of Medicine Hat. She does everything from feature local coffee shops and what makes them unique, to upcoming concerts, theatrical productions as well as major events such as the Market at Medalta.
While she is a big supporter of local business as well, Peters will also go out of her comfort zone and had no trouble weighing in on the recent legal issues surrounding Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston.
The self-described “half city, half-country kid” took an instant appreciation of the arts and loves to express herself creatively.
“Growing up, I was always writing and drawing. I used to draw and compose my own books. I actually can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I also was extremely into acting and theatre — this later melded into a passion for script writing,” explains Peters.
“I really can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I am sure my parents would vouch for this fact. When I was in middle school it was all short stories, and in high school it was all scripts. I also did quite a bit of journaling. It wasn’t until I had graduated from film school that I began blogging and to be completely honest it came about sort of by accident. I was applying for freelance scriptwriting work online and I realized that I would have to diversify if I wanted to start making money as a writing contractor. I was hired for my first blogging job in 2011 and I just went from there.
“Most of the work that I did online up until recently was copywriting or commercial blogging. Some jobs were better than others. After three years of it, I really missed creative writing just for fun.
“The style of writing that I am most passionate about continues to be narrative story telling. I am constantly trying to find new ways to combine my blogging skills and my passion for creative writing to create my own distinct style.”
Peters’ style of writing is not to far off what she is like if you meet her face-to-face. Friendly, she’s confident in her abilities, not shy about offering an informed opinion and most importantly, passionate about what she does.
She takes it seriously and people within Medicine Hat are sitting up and taking notice. Her blog is starting to generate a real following.
“The Blogging Hatter came about as a desire to try something a bit different and make my own rules. By the time I started The Blogging Hatter, I had been doing the commercial blogging thing for over three years. I had written a lot for other people, but I had really gotten away from writing for fun, or writing about the things that I was passionate about,” explains Peters. “I came up with this sort of fluid concept of a personal journal slash Medicine Hat lifestyle blog. I launched the blog in November last year and sort of lightly began marketing it through social media. It wasn’t until last year that I settled on a definite concept for the blog. I decided I wanted to tell stories about the events, businesses, and characters of our city.
“I also wanted to document my own growth and adventures as I started a small business of my own. Most of all though, the blog became about trying to pinpoint what it actually means to be a “Hatter”. I want to showcase the special aspects of Medicine Hat that makes our city so unique.”
She is busy all the time. She also writes another blog (@Betterbragirl) and has a young family.
Because she is her own boss in regards to the blog, she has far better control on managing her own time.
Peters is also enjoying it because it doesn’t seem like work to her. She loves talking to people and finding out what makes them tick.
An old adage in the media business states in general terms that “everyone has a story.” Peters loves to find those interesting and sometimes inspirational stories such as Stella Sehn from Sweet Pure Honey.
It’s all a learning curve, but she’s loving it.
“So far I have received the most enjoyment out of having experiences and then coming up with a way to format that into a blog story,” Peters explains.
“With The Blogging Hatter, I want to do so much more than write advertisement copy, I really want to ‘tell it’ and develop a unique and distinctive voice. It’s still an open format. I haven’t quite perfected it yet. It’s exciting though to be working on something and developing a concept with unlimited possibilities. It really helps that so far my work has been really well received by my fellow Hatters.
“Just (recently) I broke my own record for visitors on the blog. I went from about 100 readers daily to 530 Medicine Hat visitors in a single day. I am always looking at the analytics. It comes with the territory of being in the content marketing business. Even if I wasn’t tracking it, I’d know that something is up. Ever since I started including videos people have started recognizing me when I am out with my family. It’s amazing. The feedback and support so far has been wonderful. In many ways it has inspired me to continue on this journey and see where I end up. Knowing I have an audience, it gives me a reason to stick with it.”
She adds the best thing about the work she does is the diversity and the fact every day is different.
Noting there is a lot of a gratification that comes with being her own boss, setting her own hours, and working on projects that interest her, there is the downside of freelancing. That includes a lack of job security and the fact that one is constantly having to write pitches and bids.
Peters says this is why she has tried to stick with a handful of regular clients. She considers herself really lucky to have developed a reputation now so she doesn’t have to spend as much time chasing down jobs. They just come to her from past clients or through recommendations.
However, she is pushing the blog hard and is trying to be in social media as much as possible.
“I am not 100 per cent certain where I want the blog to go. I know I am going to continue to work on it because it has been a wonderful outlet for me as a writer,” explains Peters. “I have this dream about it eventually becoming more of a lifestyle web-zine with other contributing writers. I want it to be a trusted entertainment media source in Medicine Hat and surrounding area, but that is just the dream. I am a huge dreamer and I really believe in the power of forward thinking and keeping an optimistic perspective. If things keep happening the way they have, it could very well happen and that would just be great. For now, I have just decided to ‘live out-loud’ for a year’s time. I am giving myself a year to just experiment, and take on as many opportunities as I possibly can. I am already learning so much about myself as well as the city where I live. I am running with it and seeing where I end up. I hope that people connect with that and continue to encourage me. It’s exciting. I know that only good things can come of it.”
(Prairie Post and Peters will partner for some stories and blog links in the future. Watch future online and print editions.)

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor