An interview with Helen Neale, author of parenting site KiddyCharts and round-up editor at BritMums. Helen spoke to us about the challenging bits of parenting, her printable charts and how new bloggers should read, read and read some more.
Why should people read your blog?
I write my blog for lots of reasons, but mainly to help people and to give them a bit of a giggle every now and then. If I manage both with a post, then great. Hopefully, anyone that reads or watches one of the posts on my blog will have found out something, or even got something, to help them with the challenging bit of parenting. And oh my, aren’t there a few of those!
What makes your blog different?
I offer a lot of free, personalised printable resources that you can’t get anywhere else. And I mean that; we are truly unique. Our personalised charts are printable from the site, and can help you with anything from getting the kids ready in the morning to potty training. The blog was set up to help other mums just like me, and I so hope that it is, and continues to do so in 2014.
What’s your favourite blog and why?
What an impossible question! That really does depend on what I am looking for and why… there are some wonderful writers out there, and amazing crafters. If I am after some great writing, then I love reading Dorky Mum whose recent posts about her move to Tasmania have been so beautifully penned. For craft inspiration, I love looking at Red Ted Art and Mum of One who have some amazing projects for little ones. I have even been inspired to try and start crafting some more on KiddyCharts after reading their posts. My hobby of Origami may need to get an airing in 2014!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
When I started, I had a clear vision of what I wanted my blog to be; and that is so important. It can be so easy to lose sight of why you started your blog, and what you wanted it to do for YOU. This can be particularly easy to do when you begin to get approached by organisations interested in your little piece of the internet.
Join networks like Love all Blogs and Britmums where you can get advice from other bloggers, and support too. We are a friendly bunch, and like to help where we can. Most importantly read, read and read some more about blogging, and other blogs as well. I did a hell of a lot of that before I started my blog. Mainly because I don’t like doing anything without researching it first properly; I am an ex-analyst after all! However, if you are armed with the right information, if people to start to approach you about working with you, you can see the value in your blog for yourself, for them and your readers much more clearly. This means you can decide more easily which brands you would like to work with, if indeed any at all.
How does a good PR work with you?
Personally. It really is that simple. I much prefer it when a PR has taken the time to get to know my blog, and its own place in this 6,000 strong parent blogging field. I don’t mean at initial approach, I appreciate that many PRs don’t have the time to do this. However, KiddyCharts can offer a fair few things that some other blogs can’t; from bespoke printables to hosting hangouts. It really helps if a PR has taken the time when I respond to them to take a look at the content on the blog, and so knows what KiddyCharts can do personally for their brand. That way we are all helping each other really well.
What do PRs do that’s bad?
The worst thing that a PR can do is not answer an approach. I really don’t mind if my pitch didn’t work, but I would love to hear from them; even if it is a simple: ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.
I have taken the time to write the pitch, and I get a fair number of emails a day; from press releases to specific offers. It would be lovely if PRs took the time to reply to me each and every time. I try to reply to all the PRs, even if it’s a no. I would love the same courtesy where possible. We are all busy people I know, but a quick reply can go a long way. You never know, we might not be able to help each other this time, but there is always a next time.
What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
Starting the blog properly! All my printables went live in January 2013. I have been tweaking and twerking (not literally of course) here and there ever since.
What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014?
2014 is the year of the craft… because my daughter wants to do more. I am also focusing more on developing my printables. I have big plans for some great new ones that I hope will do a lot of good for parents with children who need that little bit extra help. I am also looking to do more custom work with brands on the printables side too. I have some wonderful ideas; just need an outlet for them all!