The rise of the parent blogger has become an undeniable force, and who better to tell us the latest trends than the founders of BritMums, Britain’s biggest collective of lifestyle bloggers and social influencers.
Kazoo’s Louise Butler caught up with founders, Susanna and Jen to get the low down.
1) Thanks for taking the time to talk to Kazoo, what’s the latest news over at BritMums HQ?
Susanna: We’re gearing up for BritMums Live 2015, the UK’s biggest, buzziest blogging event in the UK. It’s 2-days of talks/learning and inspiration. Brands can get involved in our hub area.
Jen: We have BritMums Live as Susanna mentioned, which is gearing up to be the best yet. There will be opportunities there for brands to run Instagram and Pinterest activities — that’s something we’re doing more and more of with the network. Our Instagram competitions create fantastic visual content and we’re getting fantastic results with them.
2) Are you seeing any trends or challenges facing across the blogosphere? And can you tell us about these?
Susanna: We are seeing a move away from Facebook to platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
Jen: Bloggers are more and more aware of the benefits of using each platform. Whenever Facebook or Pinterest tweak their algorithms, the bloggers are aware of how it impacts their reach and visibility. These days the word is social media optimisation, in which bloggers work across all the main platforms for reach and amplification.
3) For those of our readers who don’t know the story, how was the concept of BritMums formed?
Susanna: The BritMums community was formed to create a place where bloggers could congregate and share ideas and inspiration. It’s grown into a community of more than 8,000 blogs!
Jen: >>JUST LIKE SHE SAID!
4) Are you noticing any particular areas of growth and development?
Susanna: Family travel is big this year as is YouTube and video blogging. To follow the trend of bloggers becoming more professional, more and more bloggers are utilising LinkedIn
Jen: Family travel blogging is really taking hold and the craft and food niches continue to be strongly populated and developing fast. More and more Mum bloggers are plunging into using video, whether review, opinion pieces to camera, unboxing videos with products or short narrative videos. They’re looking for strategies to grow their YouTube channels and perfect their skills. It’s the perfect time to start doing more with BritMums, Mum bloggers and video, as they are on the cusp of blowing up.
5) Obviously declaring endorsement remains to be a hot topic, do you have any advice here?
Susanna: Yes, make sure that you always follow ASA guidelines (you can find out more on BritMums.com)
Jen: We always advise bloggers to be transparent and disclose commercial relationships. That said, it’s important we pay attention to scale. Just because a blogger receives a product to review, for example, doesn’t mean that their post is a sponsored post or purely commercial content. We educate bloggers about the ASA guidelines; we also advocate for content rules that are clear and proportionate.
6) Are you noticing differences in how brands work with bloggers?
Susanna: The relationship is maturing and becoming more professional, there is also more transparency.
Jen: Both bloggers and brands are approaching the relationships in a more professional manner, being clear about their expectations. As the number of bloggers continues to grow, there are a lot more opportunities on both sides of the fence. Unfortunately, some brands dive in without a clear plan or a clear idea of what motivates the bloggers and what kind of project or campaign will get traction. That can result in both sides going away feeling that the interaction was less than satisfactory. That’s what BritMums aims to solve in its projects.
7) What is your morning routine for gathering your news and content fix each day?
Susanna: We scan our apps and news sites, check twitter and G+ and generally see what everyone is talking about. We are also old fashioned and read the papers!
Jen: It’s a combination of radio, news sites, and daily newsletter updates, even an actual paper picked up from the newsagent. We also have BritMums members tweeting, Facebooking, G+’ing us and clueing us to what’s getting attention. There’s always something happening. As a result of being in touch with overall news as well as how our members feel about it, BritMums frequently comments on news stories on Sky News, BBC Radio, BBC The Papers and more.
8) Are there any exciting plans in the pipeline for BritMums? Or BritMums Live that we should look out for?
Susanna: BritMums Live is shaping up to be another not-to-miss blogging event of the year. Check out the web site for more information http://www.britmums.com/britmumslive/
Jen: We’re always evolving — that’s one of the exciting things about working in this space. There is always something new happening and new technology evolving. We’re launched our Instagram competitions recently and those have taken off in a big way. BritMums Live will be better than ever, with a strong focus on improving your blog’s design and advanced social media sessions aimed at seasoned bloggers.
9) The challenge balancing parenting and work responsibilities is something that affects a lot of us, have either of you any advice in these areas?
Susanna: Our advice is not to try to do it all! Pick a few things and do them well.
Jen: There’s no one balance that works for everyone all the time, I went back to work quite soon after my daughter was born, which worked for us. Now that she’s a tween, it seems she needs me more than ever to be around in the time before bed to go over homework, read together and just chill. Once she starts secondary school, I’m sure our schedule will shift again. It’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent; everyone has to find his or her own way.
10) What would be your three desert island items?
Susanna: Reeses peanut butter cups, my iPhone and cashmere socks.
Jen: A Robert’s radio tuned to Radio 4, macaroni cheese and a supply of journals with my favourite fountain pen.