Why should people read your blog?
The Mum Blog is one of the UK’s most popular travel, parenting and lifestyle blogs, but one big difference is I never follow the crowd. I always do my own thing, or as I like to say, blog to my own beat. So it always offers great content, but it’s never predictable. It’s a quality blog!
What makes your blog different?
I think because I have been a journalist for over 20 years, I bring all my editorial expertise to my blog. The Mum Blog has been established for three years and I was blogging for two years in various guises before launching it, so I know what works but I am also not afraid to take risks. For example, in among my cuddlier posts about beautiful destinations and gorgeous things, I will blog about the Blackfish controversy or FGM and people really respond to that as well. I have a very strong, authentic voice, whether I’m blogging about travel or shopping or anything else, and my readers and twitter followers trust me, which is hugely important when you’re a blogger.
What’s your favourite blog and why?
I love English Mum because Becky mixes posts about food and travel and they’re always beautifully written with great photography. I also really love Katy Hill’s blog – although she’s fairly high profile she’s not afraid to take risks or be controversial if it’s something she feels strongly about and I absolutely applaud that. And Tara Cain’s Sticky Fingers blog – Tara was one of the first British bloggers to introduce a weekly crowd-sourced blogging idea with her photography gallery and actually, as a direct result of that, my own blog photography has really improved.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Be sure about the reasons why you want to write a blog, otherwise you just won’t commit to it. Blogging takes time – I blog in the mornings before work or after work, for example, and I work full-time; I don’t blog every day but you do have to be disciplined. You have to do it because you really love writing or taking photos and being part of a massive community. Don’t EVER start a blog thinking you’re going to make money from it, because first and foremost the content has to be there, and if it isn’t, the rewards (and there are lots of these) definitely won’t follow.
How does a good PR work with you?
Approach me with something tangible that will make a good blog post. I never, ever blog from press releases. The pitches that work best for me and The Mum Blog are those that will give me fodder for a great post – for example, being invited to an event that’s a good fit with the blog, to meet and interview someone who is a good fit with the blog, or to get involved with a campaign that resonates. It’s all about synergy.
What do PRs do that’s bad?
Send me press releases that aren’t remotely relevant, or listings information. The Mum Blog is not a listings site. It’s a BLOG.
What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
So many! Being chosen to be a Royal Mum for Royal Caribbean and taken on a cruise round the Caribbean with some of the best British parent bloggers around; becoming a finalist in the BritMums awards in the ‘travel’ category; being named one of the top 20 travel tweeters by mytravelmoney.co.uk. I am so grateful for all the opportunities blogging has given me both personally and professionally.
What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014?
I think (I hope) that we’re going to see more bloggers (from every sector) getting back to what’s really important about blogging in 2014, focusing on content a lot more. Personally I enjoy really crafting a post, as with the one about a visit to Kids Company. I also think vlogging is going to really explode this year – for me as a travel blogger that’s a hugely important area. And I am a big fan of vlog reviews, and roping in members of my family to help out. For example, this vlog review of a phone by my niece has had nearly 10,000 views, not bad going!