An interview with one of UK’s top mummy blogger, Michelle Pannell, author of Mummy from the Heart. Michelle spoke to us about being over the ‘big sales pitch,’ the blogs she likes to read and her journey as a blogger to Ethiopia and Belarus.
Why should people read your blog?
Can I be honest and say that I’m totally over the big sales pitch? I think people should only read my blog if they find it engaging and want to. The content is a real of mix of themes like parenting, faith, positivity, charity and weight dilemmas but the golden thread is that I’m always honest and authentic in my writing and my Christian faith weaves through it.
What’s your favourite blog and why?
I don’t think I can pin down any one blog. Some days I’m in the mood to be inspired and then I’ll head over to the blog ‘Downs side Up,’ at other times I might want to get outdoors more and then it is ‘Coombe Mill,’ and for variety and a good laugh it is ‘Actually Mummy’ every time.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Go for it! Blogging is great fun but make sure you stay true to yourself. If you start to get involved in a blogging community it is very easy to lose your way and get wrapped up in much of the petty competitiveness. Then once you are trying to keep up with ‘the Joneses’ you lose your unique voice and with it, often your readership. People came to visit your blog for a reason, they liked what they read, so stick with it.
How does a good PR work with you?
I’m pleased to say that I’m still working with some PRs now after five years and this means we have a mutually successful relationship. For me that is all about clear communication, mutual benefit, realistic expectations, meeting obligations and being professional yet friendly.
What do PRs do that’s bad?
I’ve not had that many bad encounters with PRs. Yes some of them send me press releases which are completely irrelevant to my blog but I find a friendly email back normally removes me from the list and we can move on. We always have a choice to work on a campaign or not and different things suit different people, live and let live I say!
Sadly in recent times it has been the SEO executives who tend to be employing the underhand and unethical practices in my experience (of course that is not all of them).
What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
Towards the end of 2012 I made two journeys as a blogger to Ethiopia and Belarus with a prominent NGO and charity. 2013 ended up being a year of consolidating those experiences, talking at conferences and Church meetings across the country to continue spreading the word. I also received a trophy for outstanding contribution to the parenting blogging community at the MADS in September 2013 which was very special.
What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014?
The parenting blogsphere is growing at an astounding rate at the moment and it is great to see so many parents (especially mums) being empowered to speak out and make a difference to other parents. I believe 2014 is the year that we go back to basics and focus on creating great content with the use of strong images and video being key. Brands will be more discerning and wish to work with the bloggers who choose their partnerships and affiliations wisely. Gone is the time when the top blogs will be just a series of sponsored posts.