The Business of Mommy Blogs
There is an interesting topic being discussed on the Mom blogs right now. I first read about it in a post by one of our SavvyExperts and author of The Mother of All Parenting Books (as well as many others), Ann Douglas.
With publishers like Babble.com producing lists like ‘The Top 50 Mom Blogs of 2010’ comes a big debate on the issues of competition and compensation for mom bloggers. Such things are apparently rarely discussed in open among the mom bloggers as they are deemed contrary by some to the very nature of the organic and collaborative blogging community.
In a post written by Katie Allison Granju, a top US mommy blogger, her version of that culture is explained well: “Those of us mamas who blog—whether or not we happen to make these ‘best of’ lists—really aren’t in ‘competition’ with one another in the same way an MBA student would understand business competition. Although we do operate within the same media category, we are part of a uniquely interconnected and highly organic ecosystem of relationships and conversations. The independent mommy blogosphere is a living example of how a ‘rising tide lifts all boats.’ If one of us attracts a certain amount of traffic to our blog, and we link to another blog we like—or even to a blog post with which we may disagree that day—our traffic becomes that other blogger’s traffic, and so on and so on. That’s how it works. We depend on one another, and we like it that way.”
Meanwhile, Catherine Connors, a prominent Canadian mom blogger who has made a successful business of her blog, Her Bad Mother is sheepish but honest about the actual business of blogging, and her view is that mommy blogging should be regarded and accepted as a serious enterprise. Her reasons for not openly discussing the topic of success are as follows: “There are, I think, a million reasons why we don’t talk about it (success) in these spaces—for me, these include fear of being attacked for what some might think is my undeserved success, and a certain prissy squeamishness about talking about my success or about anything that might be perceived as a veiled-but-nonetheless-self-congratulatory discussion of my success—but whatever the reason, the lack of conversation hurts us.”
Andrea Tomkins, our Ottawa SavvyScribe and esteemed blogger, sums up this entire debate on her own blog, Inside the Fish Bowl if you are interested in reading more on the topic.
My two cents? After reading these honest and heartfelt posts (common on the mom blogs and at the core of their success), I am left with a few thoughts. Firstly, I congratulate all mom bloggers for their success and their efforts. Whether they intended to do so or not (some did, some didn’t), they have attracted the attention of mainstream media, top brands and advertisers. They have become a powerful and highly sought after influential voice.
Here’s the thing. With that voice comes responsibility and choices. Every single mom blogger has the ability to make a choice and be honest with herself about what she intends to do with her writing. If she is writing for personal reasons, to work through some of her own life/parenting questions, develop online relationships and hopefully become a better mother, then all the power to her. But if one chooses to make a business from one’s blog, I have a huge amount of admiration…and a little bit of advice. Building a community and a loyal audience is hard work. It’s not a part-time job and it’s not a job to be taken lightly. Any mom who has built that kind of community by delivering quality content should be proud of herself and should never be shy about that success. She should also be able to monetize the value of that audience, because if she doesn’t, then brands will figure out a way to take advantage of her influence.
Keep writing, be honest with yourself and make choices. But don’t be shy. Blogging is supposed to be all about transparency anyway, isn’t it?
Does anyone else want to join the discussion?