Monday, 3 October 2011

Psst! Want to read about mummy blogging in Tasmania?

Oui, c'est moi! Here I am in *my room of my own*. Yep, it's a rare shot of me, on my lonesome, without a pixie hanging off me! Look, you can see your goodies there - Bron's ring on my finger, Iris's butterfly scarf on my chair, Felicity's butterflies on the wall, just to mention a few.

The occasion, you ask? Well, I was fortunate enough to be included in a weekend article in The Mercury, Hobart's local newspaper, on 'mummy blogging'. It focussed on bloggers who make money from their blogs like the clever winner of the 2011 Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers competition, Melissa Goodsell of One Crafty Mumma!, those who don't but would like to such as Johanna Baker-Dowdell, those who accept sponsorship like Nicole Hastings and those who choose not to like me. I thought you might like to read a little about how some bloggers are finding this little caper down here.

Unfortunately, the article hasn't been posted online but The Mercury sent me it as a PDF which Blogger won't upload (*grumble*). So here is a text version for you.

October 1, 2011 Saturday Magazine The Mercury

Mummy blogging a money-spinner

Tech-savvy mums are the advertising world’s new secret weapon. GILL VOWLES reports.

When Blackmans Bay mother of two, Melissa Goodsell, started writing a blog five years ago, it was just for fun. Now Goodsell’s daily musings are earning her an income and providing her family with holidays and a new car. 

Goodsell is one of the estimated 2000 Australian 'mummy bloggers' who are turning their home-based hobby into a career by writing sponsored posts, reviewing products and selling advertising space on their blogs. Indeed the advertising industry is so keen on mummy bloggers there are now Australian agencies specialising in putting bloggers and advertisers in touch with each other.
Melissa Goodsell
Goodsell gains most of her business through Nuffnang, which advertises itself as the Asia-Pacific’s first blog advertising community. Other bloggers use the services of Brand Meets Blog or Kids Business which also holds regular Bloggers' Brunches in Melbourne.

Goodsell, 38, initially used her blog, One Crafty Mumma!, to write about scrapbooking, but found it evolved into stories about her family and lifestyle issues. As her readership grew – she now has about 2,500 daily readers – she was given the opportunity to write sponsored posts in return for goods or money. “I’ve written sponsored posts about food, technology and toys,” she said. “Although I have turned a few down because I didn’t feel they were the right fit for my blog.” 

Currently, Goodsell is blogging about a road trip she is taking with husband Richard and children James, 15, and Bella, 10, in a new Ford Territory she obtained for a year after being named Australia’s top female blogger.

Goodsell also blogged about the family’s last holiday – a sponsored trip to Hong Kong Disneyland earlier this year. “This year I have started making a small income from the blog, as Australia is slowly starting to follow the trend in the United States, where bloggers have been taken seriously by advertisers for some time,” Goodsell said.

Indeed, America’s Queen of the Mummy Bloggers, Heather Armstrong, is reputed to earn more than $1 million a year from her blog Dooce.com. Her closest rival, Ree Drummond, known as “The Pioneer Woman”, also earns big money and has recently been given her own TV show.

However, Hobart mummy blogger, Veronica Foale, who helped organise the first Australian Bloggers Conference, held in Sydney in March, said Aussie bloggers were not yet in that league. “Most mummy bloggers in Australia are earning little more than pocket money,” Foale said. “And more often than not, they are being paid only with free product.” 

Foale said the only Australian mummy blogger believed to be earning a decent living was former magazine editor Mia Freedman, with Mamamia. Although no one knows exactly what Freedman is making, her blog’s advertising page reveals she charges $1,950 a week for a reader poll and $2,500 a week for sponsorship of a weekly post or gallery. 

Foale said Australian brands had only just started to realise mums could sell product. “Studies have shown that mummy bloggers are better at selling than celebrities because of their trust capital – mums believe and trust what other mums tell them,” Foale said.

“Because of that trust capital, and because the readership of mummy blogs is so targeted, mummy bloggers tend to get the higher prices, even though there is more reader traffic and more advertisers in other blogging niches like technology. Mummy bloggers are also more highly rated because in Australia, women control most of the family spending.” 

Foale said the number of women mummy blogging had exploded in the past 18 months. “When I started about four years ago, there were about 200 mummy blogs in Australia, now there are about 2,000,” Foale said. “That has meant brands are noticing us more, but it also means the amount of competition is pushing prices down – something which also happened in the United States. But the bloggers who do really well use their blog as a launching pad for other things and the smart advice is to make money because of your blog, not on your blog.”
Johanna Baker-Dowdell  
Launceston mummy blogger Johanna Baker-Dowdell said money was not the reason most bloggers started. “I think they start because they are passionate about the things they write about and the money comes later,” she said. Baker-Dowdell writes two blogs – t-changers’s  posterous, where she writes about her young family’s tree-change, and her public relations' business blog, Strawberry Communications.

In July, Baker-Dowdell was one of the first 50 mummy bloggers invited to the inaugural Kids Business Bloggers Brunch in Melbourne where she saw first hand how powerful contact with the blogging community can be for businesses.

“Mummy bloggers are really coming to the fore as brand ambassadors and I don’t think the $1 million annual incomes being achieved in America can yet be ruled out in Australia,” she said. Although Baker-Dowdell has not yet monetised her blogs, she probably will in the future. “Mummy bloggers are extremely popular with advertisers because of the strong network they have around them,” she said. 

“But the best Australian example of a blogger making a living is Melbourne man Darren Rowse, who blogs at Problogger. “He started blogging reviews of photographic equipment and ended up making a full-time living from it and is now helping others to do the same.”
Nicole Hastings
Evandale photographer and mother of three young children, Nicole Hastings, 30, started her photoblog four years ago as a method of keeping track of her memories. Although she does not earn an income from her blog, she is hoping it will one day help her launch a business. “Originally my blog was just an extension of Flickr, where I was posting my photos, but in the past year I’ve been posting more regularly and accepting advertising,” Hastings said. 

“I am not making any money yet, although I have been sent some products to review and offer as reader giveaways. “Hopefully I will one day make a bit of money, but my eventual goal is to establish a photography business and I figure blogging is worthwhile if it gives me the opportunity to try out and review products which could help me later on.”

However, not all mummy bloggers are interested in making money. Hobart blogger and former solicitor, Jane Green, 41, has decided not to accept any sponsorship or advertising for her blog, Life on Planet Baby. Although the mother of three only started the blog a year ago, she already gets daily PR approaches. “My blog is my personal space, my form of self-expression, so at this stage, I am not interested in monetising it,” she said. 

Green, like many mummy bloggers, turned to blogging at a difficult time in her life.“Two years ago, my husband and I moved back to Tasmania with three children under three and a half,” Green said. “Within weeks, I was diagnosed with severe post-natal depression and was at home, on medication with three little ones. “On the computer one day, I stumbled across a blog and without even thinking about it, I hit ‘create blog’ and I was away, transported into an extraordinary other world I hadn’t known existed. Within a week or two, I had daily followers and it just grew exponentially from there.”

Green’s most popular posts are now read by 2,000 people and this year she was a finalist in the 2011 Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers competition

“It has just staggered me because a year ago I had no idea this world existed,” she said. “And the support I have had from people all over the world as I dealt with my illness, and recently the death of my father, has floored me. “A year ago I would have laughed out loud if someone had suggested that through blogging I would form deep, soul-enriching friendships with like-minded women around the world. Now I can’t imagine my life without blogging – I love it passionately and it brings me so much pleasure.”

So there you have it, lovely Planetarians - a little snapshot of how blogging has taken off down here in Tasmania. I was relieved it didn't turn out to be a bloggers-who-accept-sponsorship v bloggers-who-don't-accept-sponsorship article. You can read my approach to the whole advertising issue hereEach to their own, I say. That's how I feel now but I'm not discounting the possibility that I may change my mind at some point. I'd also add that I don't solely consider myself *just* a mummy blogger as I explain hereOh, and I'm not sure of I wear the tag of 'former solicitor' just yet! That's a bridge I haven't crossed yet.

I was particularly impressed by Veronica's assessment of the Australian mummy blogging genre in general. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. Where do you fit into the picture? Do share!
Photobucket

37 comments:

  1. Very interesting reading Jane - and lovely to see you in print :)

    The article seems very well balanced...one of each of you I guess. Am amazed at the $1million income tho, wow!!!!!!

    Happy Monday X

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  2. Hmmmmm, interesting!
    (cute picture of you BTW)

    I don't make money from my blog (and can't imagine I ever would) as I wanted it to be more of a diary for me and my family for the future.
    I do shamelessly show my makes (some of which are available in my online shop) but more because without them I would have nothing to say!!!

    Thanks for sharing
    fee x

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  3. What a fabulous mention, Jane. And the article was really interesting about what motivates people to blog and how you all began. Blogging is a growing and is just getting bigger. xx

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  4. Hi Jane, A great article. I am like a sponge I can't stop reading blogs! Have a wonderful day. Mimi xx

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  5. Fascinating to read thanks Jane!

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  6. What a gorgeous photo of you in your special room Lovely!

    I enjoyed the tone of the article and liked how they took a true cross-section and as you say didn't set one group against another.

    As you know I'm an ad-free Blogerista but I'm tentatively dipping my toes into the pool of sponsorship. I'm opting only for those products that truly resonate with me and enhance rather than provide distraction to the 'flow' of my blog.

    Biggest of happy hugs,
    Felicity x

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  7. Oh, that's fantastic Jane! The power of these 'little' blogs is really quite staggering. Congratulations sweet, so well-deserved :) xx

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  8. Great read Jane and congrats on being included. I definitely blog for me and must admit that I sometimes forget that others read it too!
    I guess if you have a huge following and are happy with the products that you are being asked to endorse/advertise then it would be ok. I'm not sure that I would enjoy the pressure of having to write something though. I just like drifting in and out, writing when I have the time and the inclination.
    x

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  9. LOVE the article - great piccie of you too!! My little blog is ad free and just about what I do...amazing how everyone is so different :)
    Might see you in Tassie as I'm down for a week to photograph and trade at the Mathilda's/Boutique Market and then a little family holiday!!!! can't wait x

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  10. I must say I don't enjoy seeing the advertising distracting me when I look at a blog. It also makes me wonder how it affects the ability to just be you as you write your opinions. At least with no adverts you can be 100% you. However if I thought there was a chance to earn enough money to treat my family to some extra trips to the cinema or weekends away I might be tempted...

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  11. Great read Jane - and lovely pics of you. I have like you been overwhelmed by the response and amazing network out here in *blogland'- It is a happy little haven amongst the madness of the 'real' world.
    Have a lovely day,
    Axxx

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  12. Thanks for sharing the article, how lovely to see your thoughts in the article :)

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  13. Look at you you gorgeous thing. At your desk!! Looking pretty comfy in that heavenly workspace. Go you!!! Thanks for the thank. Brought tears to my eyes. And that photo. Wonderful!!! XX

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  14. Great article! This is why I've recently separated reviews, giveaways and sponsored posts from the main content of the blog. It means I can have a side income which helps with paying for hosting and blogging conferences but I'm not bombarding subscribers with stuff.

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  15. Crumbs I hope MOTH never reads this post Jane. If he knew about the million smackeroonies he'd have me locked in a room blogging 24/7.
    Millie xx

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  16. Congratulations on being included in the article, clever lady, I love the photo of you too:) I think each to their own about advertising on blogs but for me I'm happy to keep blogging just about me and my family. xo

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  17. Oh WOW Jane, this is wonderful! I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the article and LOVE the pic of you in your special space. Like yourself, it literally astounds me how incredible the blogging world is. It is so exciting to think we're able to meet all these tremendous women and communicate on a daily basis through our keyboards. My blog isn't quite big enough for monetizing to be a consideration, though I very much doubt I would go down that path even if it was. I just love having a place to write and post pictures of my musings... and making connections with lovelies like you Jane :o) xo

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  18. Yes, agree! Glad they didn't play off the advertising vs no advertising because we know how the media like to play us women off e.g. breasfeeding vs bottle feeding, natural birth vs c-sections, etc. Congratulations on being featured.

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  19. Congratulation Jane for the mention and the photo:)Very interesting article thanks for sharing.I personally do not get attracted to the money making blog type but it is great that everyone is able to find its little bit of happiness via blogging.We are all so unique and so are our little blogs and the reasons to blog!:)
    xx

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  20. I had heard about the article, but living in Melbourne hadn't read it. Thanks for publishing it for us!

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  21. That's goo that you weren't pitted against one another - that could have been ugly!!

    And any publicity is good, I think!

    Sarahx

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  22. What an interesting article Jane. I'm happy just blogging for me about the bits'n'pieces we get up to as a fam. Istill can't believe it's possible to make so much $ from blogging! But then again, funnily enough, Darren is actually an IRL friend of mine that I've known since long before he started blogging and he's certainly made a lovely life for himself & his fam through blogging.

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  23. This was a really interesting article. I just recently discovered your blog and am really enjoying reading your thoughts. The (non-monetary!) benefits you talk about in the article may have been part of the inspiration for me starting my own blog :) I love the support that I've seen as an outside observer in the blogging, so wanted to join in. People can sometimes be catty and silly, but from what I've seen and heard in the blogosphere, there is very little of that going on; it's mostly just generous, good-hearted people. It's an amazing world out there! Congrats on the article.

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  24. Hi there - This is Brenda Gaddi, founder of Digital Parents (formerly Aussie Mummy Bloggers). I would just like to officially state that Veronica Foale is not a founder of Digital Parents. Please refer to this post on Digital Parents.

    http://digitalparents.com.au/forum/topics/going-forward-abc-amb

    Kin regards,
    Brenda

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  25. Wow! It was so interesting to read all your varied responses on this issue. That's what I love about Blogland - the diversity of opinions.

    That's a neat solution to it, Zoey - great thinking.

    And Emma, how cool to know Darren personally ☺.

    Duly noted, Brenda.

    J x

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  26. Excellent article Jane, thanks so much for sharing and gorgeous pic of you too!

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  27. I love your 'space'. I am just creating my own space too - and I have that 'imagine' word as well. Just trying to figure out how to make it 'mine' :)

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  28. Lovely photo of you, Jane and a terrific article. Exciting times for Aussie bloggers! Thanks for sharing it :)

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  29. Very interesting article Jane. it is such a touchy subject sponsors, reviews and the like, the article is well balanced and shows how times are changing in the mummy blogging market.

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  30. Yay for being featured Jane! And I love the article -- go Australian bloggers!!!

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  31. Thanks, ladies. The journalist who wrote it was so enthused once she'd finished - she had no idea what Blogland was really like until this article. And even then, people in the newsroom were asking her "What's a blog?" ☺. J x

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  32. Hooray, Jane. You look absolutely gorgeous in your room of your own. You should be very proud of being a part of this article. I thought it was well balanced and showed many of the different sides of blogging beautifully. It was nice that you represented us 'non-PR' blogs so well too. It quite irritates me that suddenly just about every blog known to (wo)man is trying to 'make something' out of blogging. That's not the reason 99% of us started blogging and I don't understand why it has to be the be all end all. Sometimes I think people assume that you have to be on the PR circuit to consider yourself a 'successful' blogger.... Ah, ego. Again. x

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  33. Why thanks, Bron. No wonder we're such firm friends. J x PS See your ring there?

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  34. Hello Jane,
    Lovely to read about the taking off of mummy blogging in Oz, finally, when it's become such a phenomenon in the UK. (British Mummy Bloggers' first conference Cybermummy in 2009 made page 2 of the Financial Times... )

    I am a Pom and an Aussie, very confusing. I also live in Tas and have been blogging about our adventures on five acres here for the past three years. Am now writing 'the book of the blog'. I too had a bit of post natal depression after my second baby was born, right after we spent a year renovating a house in Brisbane and moving here, with a three yo already on the ground... stressful, and then isolating. So your story touched a cord with me.

    Will drop in occasionally to see how you're going, altho I try not to spend toooo much time blogging now, concentrating instead on the book. Am in bed with a cold today, the only time I really get on the blog or on the dreaded Facebook now.

    After reading this article, I'm thinking more and more how lovely it would be to have a Tassie get together of mummy bloggers, maybe once or twice a year in a park in Ross...?? THere's a few of us around..

    See you in the blogosphere.
    Fiona, aka Apple Island Wife x

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  35. Thanks for sharing this article. I found it via Nicole Hastings blog post last week. It paints an interesting big picture of the scope of mummy blogging. I'm not keen to monetise but interested in knowing more about it. At the moment it seems like too much work for too little gain especially for a small fish like me in a big sea.

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  36. Hi Fiona and Veronica Thanks for dropping by.

    I'm delighted to find a fellow Islander blogger, Fiona and yes, that's a great idea. Something I'm working on.

    It certainly isn't a decision to be made lightly, Veronica - I think you have to really commit to it if you want to make a go of it.

    J x

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Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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