Launched in 2012 Dadbloguk.com has become one of the most influential dad blogs in the UK. We talk to former journalist turned stay at home dad John Adams about his busy life as a blogger, working with Sainsbury’s and how he likes to work with PRs.
What’s new on Dad Blog UK? Having just taken delivery of a new camera, I’m getting back into vlogging. I’ve got some great things planned for 2016 so please do pay a visit to my YouTube channel to see what I’ve been up to. I’m also in the process of getting some design changes made to the blog. I hope to have the update done by mid-January at the latest, as well as a redesigned and revamped media pack.
What has been a fun and interesting campaign you have recently worked on? What was different about it? There’s one I have just worked on with Sainsbury’s. It was a campaign called ‘Storytellers’ that had the aim of promoting childhood literacy. I had to record myself reading the Judith Kerr book Mog’s Christmas Calamity to my three year old daughter Elizabeth. It was great to get her involved and to my amazement she sat still throughout. It’s great to bond with your kids over a book and to capture it on film was priceless.
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges? I use all the main social media channels; Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin and Instagram. Pretty much everything I do is promoted on Twitter and Facebook. If I want PR people and SEO agencies to see something in particular, I usually put it on LinkedIn. I tend to use Instagram to promote my fashion and style blog posts or events I have attended.
What advice would you give to a someone who wants to start a blog? If you are going to blog and make money from it, it is hard work. It can look glamorous attending events and so on, but you are expected to produce results; work to deadlines, write accurately and promote your posts on social media. It’s not too dissimilar to working in PR and communications. It looks glamorous but it involves a lot of work.
How do you work with PRs? I work with PRs in a number of ways. I am always open to be contacted, so don’t be shy of calling or emailing. I have worked in PR myself so I know you have a job to do. Sometimes I will approach PR people if there’s a particular subject or product or service I want to try out. Don’t, however, rely on me to make the first move if you have something you think might interest me. I am incredibly busy so do shout if you want my attention.
Do you feel bloggers need to be compensated for the work they do? Yes I do. The media landscape has changed, print media is much less influential than it used to be and the power has shifted to social influencers like me. We are mostly small business people working from home. We do not have the backing of large, wealthy media organisations. Writing a blog post is easy. Taking and editing photographs, shooting video, tagging blog posts and promoting on social media takes a huge amount of time. This has to be acknowledged.
What do you feel about sponsorship disclosure? I think sponsorship disclosure is necessary. I don’t think it needs to be any more detailed than: ‘Disclosure; this is a collaborative post’. If you think about the print media, all they do is stick the word “advertorial” on a page so this is the digital equivalent.
List three best practices PRs need to follow for better blogger outreach?
- What is your deadline for producing content? I know many bloggers get funny about working to deadlines, but if you ask me to work on a campaign I want to know roughly how long the campaign is running so I can see how long I have to turn content round.
- Are you inviting me to an event? If yes, give me as much notice as possible. Bloggers get treated exactly the same as journalists when it comes to event invites, there’s often only 48 hours notice. Bloggers are small business people, often with children. We don’t work in well-staffed newsrooms where invites can be shared around. We need to plan in advance and this is a message the PR industry doesn’t seem to have learned yet.
- I understand that you send out emails in bulk but do check they are addressed properly. You’d be amazed how often emails come my way with the wrong name on them or addressed to “Dear Mummy Blogger”. I don’t tend to take these things too personally, but many bloggers do!
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? You may have gathered there’s a bit of a theme, I am going to be expanding my vlogging exploits. I’m also really keen to write more fashion and style related posts. There are not many men of my age (just over the threshold of 40) who write about these subjects. It’s one aspect of what I do that I really enjoy. Don’t be too surprised if I also write a bit more about food. One of my most successful blog posts of 2015 was about slow cooker recipes. This caught me completely by surprise but shows it’s an area I could be more active in.
Editorial information on John Adams, Dadbloguk.com and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the Media Database.