Interview with with Benjamin Tipping, author of parenting and lifestyle blog, Mutterings of a Fool. Benjamin spoke to us about a Bookstart initiative he was recently involved in, using social media, working with PRs and vlogging.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different?
Despite the explosion of parent blogs in recent years I’m still part of a relatively small group of dads who blog so that gives a relatively unique voice on parenting to begin with. But there are 2 areas I try to focus on which I think make me different; first having fun in the outdoors with my children, I call them mini adventures and write a lot about the simple fun you can have in your garden or on walks. The second are is books, I’m passionate about getting young children interested and excited about reading books and was lucky to be involved in the Bookstart book selection recently as a result.
How do you measure the success of your website?
For me it’s all about the interactive, I will take a great comment on a post over page views every time. I like when blogging isn’t just a one way conversation and you can have some real discussion and debate.
What’s your favourite blog and why?
Clearly there are many great blogs, but one that I always love to see pop up in my Feedly reading list is Helloitsgemma. I love Gemma’s writing style and the focus on quality output on topics she’s interested in rather than a volume of posts
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Firstly do it! I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years now and have even started a second blog, the blogging community is great and blogging can take you to some places you’d never expect. Secondly and perhaps more importantly write for you, don’t try and keep with ‘fashions’ or trends in blogging, write about what interests you and you are passionate about.
How do you work with marketers and PRs?
I don’t do masses of reviews and stopped doing sponsored posts a couple of years ago. When I do get involved with a marketer I try to pick brands that I like and ones where I think we can build a relationship beyond a single post.
How do you use social media to promote/share content? What are the challenges?
I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and G+ like most people are but find Twitter and Facebook the most effective. Facebook tends to work when I’m writing some personal or about my family given the followers there. I also use Buffer to help schedule posts. Finally when I read blogs if I like the post I’ll comment but also share on Twitter, I really like trying to support other bloggers and that organic promotion for them can be very impactful.
What can PRs do in working better with you?
Actually read my blog, even if it’s just my about page and my PR page. At least you’ll know how old my children are and what I’m interested in rather than pitching a teenage fiction book for review when I have preschoolers.
What has been your blogging highlight?
There have been a number of great events I’ve been part of but the one I’m most proud of is being invited to join the Bookstart selection panel. Such a privilege being able to have an impact on the books young children will be given over the coming year and gave a great insight into some of the challenges in children’s education
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months?
Vlogging seems to be getting huge this year and becoming a real focus, beyond that I think we might see a slow down in the total number of parent blogs, feels like we may be close to the peak in the segment and many of those blogs will be hitting their first anniversary and inevitably enthusiasm and motivation for writing can fall.