Black Blogger Month: Man, Wife & Dog, Digital Love Zone

Noticing a void online for real wives talking about the joys and pains of being married, Charli Penn created her own

Charli Penn (r) and the love of her life (Image: Di Bezi Photography

Charli Penn loves all things, well… love. In fact, she’s made a career out of her amorous passion via her day job and blog, ManWifeAndDog.com. A journalist by trade, Penn has been covering weddings, sex, dating and relationships for about five of her eight years in her career field. Currently serving as the Relationships Editor for Essence.com by day, Penn muses about the realities of marriage as a newlywed with a perspective so candid and down-to-Earth that her readers feel like they’re sitting in their living rooms chatting with their best girlfriend.

It’s not just readers that have taken note. Man, Wife & Dog has been profiled by Media Bistro’s 10,000 Words blog, and landed Penn a spot as Huffington Post’s “After the Wedding Blogger.” With 45,000 monthly visitors and counting, Man, Wife & Dog’s fan base is rapidly growing and Penn plans to utilize her platform to launch the next phase of her career as an author. The New Jersey native is almost done with an advice book that focuses on surviving the first year of marriage, which she plans to self-publish and sell on her site. As part of Black Blogger Month, BlackEnterprise.com chatted with the relationship maven about her inspiration behind starting her blog and why she’s dedicated to promoting positive Black love.

I started blogging because…

When I got engaged, my husband and I scoured the web in search of engaging and useful advice for newlyweds. There were a lot of books out there, but we didn’t see many positive resources for newlyweds who wanted to start their marriage off on the right foot. The sites we found seemed more technical than personal. We like to learn from experience and I felt that voice was missing. I’m a writer and online editor by trade, and I had recently been laid off from my full time job. I was planning a wedding and job hunting but I had a lot of time on my hands still. Starting a blog about my marriage, from it’s inception, seemed like the perfect way to combine my two passions—making our marriage work and writing—and have something to do with my time that might actually be of use to others.

Man, Wife & Dog stands out because…

I’m not lecturing my readers. I’m saying, Hey, we did this or tried that and it did or didn’t work for us. Here’s why, and what we learned. Perhaps if you read along, it can motivate or inspire you in some way too. That’s all I’m after. I think my readers appreciate my transparency and my ability to be vulnerable in my writing. Yet, at the same time, it does provide a service. I try to share useful information, tips, and new information that wives can appreciate and use in their day-to-day lives. There are so many mommy blogs out there, but not all wives are mothers. A lot of the mommy blogs focus so much on perfecting parenting that they neglect to cover the ins and outs of navigating marriage. I like to think I help to fill that void.

The biggest mistake I ever made in business was…

Not monetizing my blog from day one. I didn’t set out to make money doing this, so I was more focused on developing content than a business model. Although I think that’s honorable, it’s also a naïve approach to blogging I’ve since learned. There have been many days where I saw incredible spikes in traffic and had the site been fully monetized at that point, I would have earned a lot of money for the work I did that week or day. I’m more on top of that now.

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