Last year Jo Middleton found herself taking centre stage at last year’s #VuelioBlogAwards winning best UK Blog of 2015 and best Parenting Blog for her website Slummy Single Mummy. Currently a mum of two, living in Somerset, Jo divides her time between her family, blogging and as well as being a freelance marketing, social media consultant, copywriter and trainer. Jo’s blog contains her musings of everything from Sesame Street, Disney Children books to family travel. In this spotlight, Jo chats to us about using her blog to make a difference, collaborating with PRs, interviewing Antonio Banderas and why being listed on our Vuelio Blog Ranking is important to her.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? This is the ultimate question isn’t it?! I could say something here about all the awards I have won, or generally talk about how hilarious I am, but I guess people will just have to have a read and decide for themselves. Generally, I try to just be a normal person and chat away about myself. I did write a post about my youngest daughter recently that made her cry (not in a bad way). That’s the power of my words!
How do you measure the success of your website? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look at the stats side of things, and get excited when a post attracted a lot of visitors or comments, but there really is more to it than that.
I like it when I get individual feedback or comments from people that show I’ve actually made a little bit of a difference in their day, whether it’s making them think about starting a pension, a recipe idea that they’ve loved, or just giving them a bit of a laugh.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? I think you just have to go for it. Don’t go into it though thinking that it will be some kind of immediate, amazing money making thing. It was a couple of years at least before I made any money from my blog, and that was seven years ago when there was far less competition. Just be yourself, be honest and authentic. (A really over-used word, but so true.)
How do you work with marketers and PRs? In all sorts of ways! I like to be as imaginative and collaborative as possible, so I prefer to work on larger projects that incorporate a few different strands rather than just in and out, sponsored post, bish bash bosh. I love projects that involve interesting experiences, behind the scenes stuff, or opportunities to try things that I wouldn’t normally have the chance to try.
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges? I do use social media to promote my content, but I find it harder and harder to get any traction as there is just so much content out there and everything whizzes by so quickly. My content is more about the words than the pictures, so Facebook and Twitter work better for me than things like Pinterest. I’d definitely recommend focussing on doing one or two social media platforms really well, rather than trying to spread yourself too thin.
What can PRs do in working better with you? To be honest, most of the people I work with are lovely. That’s probably not the cool thing to say, but I hardly ever have any complaints. Sure, there are little things people could be sure to check, like including my name (and getting it right!), but generally PRs are very efficient and polite. If something isn’t right for me, I just say no thank you. I always try to be nice too!
What has been your blogging highlight?
I’ve done loads of really cool stuff through my blog, like ski trips, visiting Ethiopia and flying to New York to interview Antonio Banderas.
Recently my highlights have included a 24 tour of Stockholm with Volvo, creating some video content for them, and visiting a chocolate factory and getting to eat as much as I liked! That was awesome. Plus, in October I got paid to stay in bed for the day. It’s a tough life.
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? Well, the beauty of what I do is that I just don’t know what’s around the corner! At any point a new and exciting project could land in my inbox – that’s what I really love about what I do. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to travel, as I love visiting new places.
What does the Vuelio Blog Ranking mean to you and how does it affect your blog? The Vuelio Blog Ranking is really important to me and I get traffic everyday through the list, proving how valuable it is in terms of connecting me with PRs and brands. Winning the Vuelio Best Parenting Blog and Best UK Blog awards last year was massive for me, both professionally and personally, as it gave me a huge confidence boost. I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to be involved this year as a judge – that was a really big honour.