Macaroni Kid

In January, Cathy Siroka’s 5-year-old son was diagnosed with celiac disease. The news changed her life.

After learning all she could about the condition, she was motivated to promote healthy nutrition. With years of experience in marketing communications, writing and editing, she researched parenting newsletters for good ideas.

One — Macaroni Kid — appeared in every search.

It’s a national template with content covering health, travel, fitness and safety. But there are opportunities for local content too. “Publisher Moms” provide information on family-based activities — classes, shows, events — as well as home-based stuff like cooking projects, and arts and crafts.

There was no need to reinvent the wheel. Cathy became editor/publisher of the Westport-to-Greenwich edition.

In just 6 weeks ago, she’s already signed up a couple of hundred subscribers.

It’s not easy work. In addition to marketing Macaroni Kid to readers and advertisers, she hunts down all those family-friendly activities. Keeps up to date on new store openings (and closings). And asks organizers and merchants for discounts, coupons and free passes (for contest prizes).

She also writes appealing copy each for each week’s free e-newsletter, and oversees the Macaroni Kid website.

The current newsletter includes information on a kids’ triathlon at the Stamford JCC, a summer youth job fair in Bridgeport, Westport’s Great Duck Race, and the July 15 Westport Y Point to Point Swim.

The Westport Y Point to Point Swim is a great family event.

There’s also a giveaway: 2 family 4-pack tickets to Stepping Stones’ Summer Jam Teen Concert. The age range for Macaroni Kid is “newborn through high school,” Cathy says.

Newsletter subscribers gain access to a 24/7 family forum. It’s intended for posts like “Can anyone recommend a good swim teacher?” and “It’s 7:30 on a Saturday night. I need a dentist — help!”

In just 6 weeks publishing Macaroni Kid, Cathy — an 8-year Westporter — says she’s learned a lot about this town.

“People in Westport care a lot about their kids,” she notes. “But they’re very giving. They appreciate what they have. They don’t take living here for granted. They realize that with this life comes responsibilities. They really like events that have charitable aspects to them.”

Particularly if — as the Macaroni Kid tagline says — they “entertain, stimulate and exhaust” their kids.

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