My blogging friend, Lisa, contacted me and asked if I would host this post for her. I agreed as it's a subject that I'm passionate about and can always be found discussing off-blog in various forums and Facebook groups.
* * *
If you don't know me, I'm called 'The Mummy Whisperer', and I love blogging. I was a coach/therapist who after having kids decided to focus just on Mums; but then I found a love of blogging, won an award and wrote a best selling book to help Mums enjoy being a Mum more; so I'm now addicted totally!
I've been watching the Mummy Blogging community with interest as it starts to follow patterns I've seen before. I've been expecting a big shake, there have been lots of disagreements which have caused upset, but the panic about do follow or no follow links for paid posts is the start of the bigger shake up.
A maturing community needs to learn to balance laws with freedom, structures with innovation, and altruism with narcissism (i.e. giving and receiving) in order to grow. So the question is where will bloggers go and what's the future?
MOST IMPORTANTLY: I don't think that anyone *should* make any particular decision or that any of the options below are better than another. What is important is that you don't get dragged along by what everyone else is doing and that you listen to your heart and do what works for you and your family.
1) Back To The Enjoyment
Loads are going to realise that they need to go back to doing what they enjoyed. The overwhelm, juggling with family commitments, small financial remuneration, stress of blogger lists, constant learning curve, upsets about awards, and fallings out, are just not worth pushing it too far. For them the joy is in the community, the diary of their lives, the writing and the cathartic nature of writing, plus a few little freebies here and there.
As their children grow some will increase their involvement, stop, or keep it as a really enjoyable hobby.
'Mummy blogging' is a fantastic solution to the feelings of isolation that Mums often feel nowadays and a way of distracting from the day to day drudgery and stress of being a mum, so I think it is 'reason enough' to blog for fun. Be proud if this is where you are and ENJOY!!!
2) Putting In The Hours, But Not Getting Anywhere
Some will decide they want than just enjoyment; maybe it's financial gains, links to a future business, or just competitive success. They will up their games, learn the rules of dealing with the 'real world', become more professional, and start to value their work more. It's going to be more competitive for a while, especially if the flow of sponsored posts does reduce from companies who were after follow links.
I hate to say this, but some do not have the ability to take off here and will struggle. It's not to do with background, class, education levels, or the ability to 'play the game' with links and comments. It's to do with mindset, strength (remaining steady despite being flamed or trolled or someone letting you down or falling out), professional fair exchange (no whining, and making sure that we give a great service to your readers and clients without being taken the p*ss out of), and knowing who you are.
Who are you, why is your blog good, and what are you planning on doing with it or following it to, are the questions bloggers need to be asking themselves here.
If it's a struggle, the question is, are you just about to break through a barrier or is it really not for you? It's easy to look at blogging and think that it's the thing for you; but maybe you'd be more successful at something else?
3) Blogging Success
Some blogs are going to really take off and become more successful; either in views, remuneration, awards, lists or all of the above.
The 'normal' world is getting more interested, and there will be an influx of less techie readers who realise that blogs make great reads. They will enjoy lists of interesting blogs, like Love All Blogs, or the Britmums roundups, and linkies that collect useful information. They'll subscribe to kindle version of blogs because it's easier or get them emailed to them, and will have no interest in using RSS.
Sponsored posts may reduce, but campaigns like the recent 'My Family Club' one will increase, where a team of bloggers from different specialities work together, and provide a full service including attending events on/offline and a specified number of social media interactions. There are always ways around problems, for example having email lists for reviews and competitions would work as well.
These bloggers will be putting in the time to keep up with the technical and social media changes, will have clear readerships/niches and stand out from a crowd so that companies are clear on who they will be reaching.
4) Blogging Leading Onto Something Else
One of the reasons why I reckon all mums who enjoy writing should have a blog, is because writing is magical; it gives you a sense of yourself and your voice. Many mummy bloggers are going to learn things about themselves, what they would love to do for work and practical skills they can use. So the blogs may continue, but purely as a backdrop to their other services.
There is a huge market of small businesses who have been either trying to do stuff themselves, or being ripped off by 'specialists'. They will love the fact that as bloggers we are ahead of the game on understanding Blog Design, building a website from a blog, social media, PR and writing good copy. We can save them TIME and MONEY by taking over these roles for them.
Some will end up going back into the corporate world as 'specialists' due to their blogging experience or in the area that their blog covers; like parenting experts, eco subjects, craft, photography or cookery.
Some are already being paid to write for magazines and websites or have already written their own ebooks via Amazon or got a publishing deal.
A few have written eCourses, already, and it would be great to see more so that the great knowledge on our blogs can be passed on; perhaps you know how to buy the perfect buggy, home schooling, or dealing with difficult employers?
Even face to face workshops will happen, especially for crafts, cookery and writing skills.
5) Making a name for themselves
There is always a hierarchy, that's the way the world works. A few lucky bloggers are going to become stars in their own rights.
We've already got a lots of bloggers who started out vlogging and ended up on radio or TV, and two have got their own shows already; how amazing is that! The media is going to find that bloggers are a great source of innovative opinions and ideas, so expect to see more and more of us appearing on radio shows or the TV. A small number will get their own shows or become regulars; there is a particular craft blogger who I suspect will be one of those!
Backing us up are the different communities and conference organisers like Blogcamp/Tots100, Cybher, Britmums and Love All Blogs. Whatever you think of them and even if you prefer to stick to being in just one 'camp', be in no doubt that we need all of them in order to succeed as a community. They provide diversity, different approaches and opportunities. They are most likely to become the intermediaries to many of these opportunities like 'agents', and will therefore continue to earn from the blogging community; which is fair enough. They saw the opportunity, they put in the hours and hard work and created the structure for us, and they will have the contacts.
Now don't go panicking about where you are and where you will end up. I got a bit depressed this week while writing this post myself as I'm not sure where I will end up either.
At the end of the day I feel it's right for me to keep writing; I just need to decide wether to chill more for a bit and ramp up later, or go for a few opportunities now. We are Mums; the eternal jugglers of life, so this will constantly be our battle!
All in all, expect seismic tremors on a massive scale, and a huge shakeup which might change your view of where you want your blog to go. But out of that is going to come a much stronger community, more than the currently rather insular one.
There will be new bloggers afterwards following the same sort of path, but they will not get the chance to see loads of bloggers go through them at the same time as we will. It's going to be a ride, just remember whichever path you follow to make sure you are enjoying it too!!
Where do you think you will end up? Are you looking forward to the changes, or dreading it? Are you overwhelmed or excited?
Do you think you are putting in too much time practically speaking for your family's commitments, or is now 'your time' to shine?
Who do you think has the potential to go onto huge amounts of success? You?