Women of the Week, July 5, 2010: Lianne and Andrea
From what I can tell, parents have always loved talking about their kids. Whether it be how amazing little Johnny’s winning goal at last week’s soccer game was, or how young Susie wowed the crowd with her off-pitch rendition of On My Own, there is no shortage of conversation for parents the world over. These child-bearers also love to chat about how they raise their children – what feeding techniques they used, how they discipline naughty behaviour, what soap is least likely to irritate the skin of their tender gems. The internet brought with it the Information Age, and accessibility to content was (and still is) paramount. From Google to Yahoo, finding advice on how to be the perfect parent (note: no such title is held by anyone) is as easy as prepping porridge for the fruits of your loins; type “parenting” in a Google search and you’ll get 69,800,000 sites referencing the term.
Now, so far as I know, parents typically have more important priorities than weeding through millions of websites to find a nugget of knowledge to apply to their habits (such as raising the child they’re conducting their research for). Enter community parenting websites: Sites dedicated to farming through content and providing tilled information in easy-to-navigate, content-aware consortiums. Sites, such as Where Parents Talk.
Where Parents Talk is the fruition of an endeavour started by former broadcast journalists Lianne Castelino and Andrea Howick. In 2003, the pair launched Liandrea, a company dedicated to providing updated material for parents. Lianne had first mulled the idea in 1996, while she was taking prenatal classes with her husband. The videos her instructor used were dated, had errors, and showed practices no longer subscribed to by the medical community. “The instructor would put on the video and say the quality isn’t great, and then proceed to tell us what parts to watch and what parts to ignore. I looked at my husband and said, ‘I could do better.’ I could not get over the fact that this is the type of preparation that was available.”
Fastforward a few years, and Lianne began pitching her ideas to hospitals. Andrea was an acquaintance at the TV newsroom where they worked, and Lianne approached her, having a sense that Andrea was someone she could trust and work well with. They started Liandrea, which was a labour of love, a passion project both were intensely proud of. They produced their first video, Bringing Baby Home, about the first six months of parenthood; a how-to guide guide on care. They followed up the success of their first video with Yummy In My Tummy, and have enjoyed accolades for their work on both.
They started their first site, Liandrea.com, which was an effort to create a hub where parents could find information that was digestible and easily navigable. They taught themselves every step of the way, and were successful in tapping into the parenting site market so overwrought with content and baby blogs. A few years after the launch of Liandrea.com, Lianne and Andrea decided to rebrand and start from scratch with the help of Sari Gabbay of U2R1 Media, Inc. Why? The web had changed drastically since their first site’s inception, and they needed and wanted to harness the new tools available to them to further the experience of their audience.
Where Parents Talk relaunched just a few months ago, as a “hub of information where parents can go and communicate with each other, talk to us, find the latest news on parenting, weekly videos, tips, podcasts, and the list goes on,” says Andrea.
Where Parents Talk has also made the leap into social media, a forum the pair recognizes as a now inherently important tool to web ventures. Lianne and Andrea both credit social media with affording them the relationships with their audience that creates a bond and loyalty to their brand.
As I mentioned earlier, there are over 60 million sites either about or that reference parenting. So, what sets Where Parents Talk apart from the rest? “Ninety-nine per cent of parenting sites focus on moms. There is a tiny percentage of sites that focus on dads. We wanted Where Parents Talk to be an umbrella group. We have an area just for dads. It’s important for us to do something new and different.
“Men have become more involved. It’s the evolution of the family. Now there are daddy bloggers. They are trying to do what moms have always done,” says Andrea.
Where Parents Talk has succeeded in cultivating a community atmosphere online. This was important to the duo, as Lianne explains, “Parents need and crave information. Proximity is now an issue; a lot of people are alone, prenatal classes aren’t available everywhere. The heart [of Where Parents Talk] is how to prepare to be a parent, and what to do once you are.”
This important and rich resource is on its way to becoming one of the most influential and easy-to-use sites for parents. Lianne and Andrea have paid their dues and have become well-versed in the online realm. Look for more content, pertinent information, and tools from this mommy duo. Where Parents Talk will ultimately be where parents talk.
Published by:Adam Mazerall, Associate Editor