In Australia, ‘mummy bloggers’ are taking the nation by storm.
After the success seen here in the UK and especially across the Atlantic in the USA, more and more Australian mothers have been taking to blogging to share their thoughts on everything mother / family / woman.
Developing substantial followings, several Australian mummy bloggers have become particularly successful and are said, like many UK and USA mummy bloggers, to have started to receive requests for paid product endorsements.
Capitalising on this development, The Remarkables Group has been setup to manage the relationship between brands and bloggers to fully ensure the most success is seen for both bloggers and brands alike.
But for many, this commercial development of the many mummy bloggers’ blogs has caused a stir in the community – and not a positive one.
These mummy bloggers have substantial followings because they’re honest. They tell their readers about things that have happened to them. Products they have personally tried and tested, giving honest reviews, whether that praises a well-known item or provides nothing but negative comments.
With the development of The Remarkables Group and the more business-orientated view of the mummy bloggers’ blogs, it’s leaving many believing that they’re going to be reading content that isn’t from the actual mum’s point of view.
And this leads us on to the point of ensuring you find the fine line between a business blog and a social blog – make it too business / commercial and you’ll find you have very little user-engagement and a minimal amount of returning customers, but make it too social and it will struggle to meet any of your business’s objectives.
So how do you find that right middle ground?
Firstly, you need to define your target audience. Not every organisation’s ‘middle ground’ is going to be the same and every organisation’s use of a blog will vary. The use should be tailored to their target audience and therefore if you’re a financial services organisation, generally speaking the ‘middle ground’ you’re looking for between commercial issues and social conversations is going to be different to an online baby clothes retailer’s.
Defining your target audience may not be something that’s easy to do, however, especially when compared to other, offline resources. Very often you’ll have to start to blog and aim for a specific audience, but be aware – and happy – to constantly redefine your audience until you find the most receptive market for the content you need to deliver. A blog is obviously available for every single person to read, but people’s habits online often vary to their habits offline, so there is every possibility that your efforts online need to vary to those offline as your audience reacts differently and expects different things.
There’s then the need to understand the blog’s versatility and that when developed properly, it can cater for every market, whether you’re looking to target a specific industry or on a completely business or completely social basis. Due to this versatility, however, it’s important that as an organisation, you truly harness it and you shouldn’t believe your blog needs to be entirely business or social, but it should very often be a combination of both.
Of course, talk about your business and topical news items that are of interest to your audience, but don’t forget that at the end of the day, they are human. They may be reading your blog for business purposes, but they need something to stimulate them, make them laugh, smile or simply think – and this is very often done by stepping away from your primary focused topics and talking about something that although relevant to your audience, offers a lighthearted view on a product, service or news item.
Now whilst the level of versatility that a blog offers is without doubt one of the resource’s most beneficial aspects, it can cause problems as it allows for change easily and to a certain extent, this is where the problems have occurred with the Australian mummy bloggers.
Change is good. Staying in one place and doing the exact same thing day in, day out can cause everyone involved to become complacent and the level of effectiveness can decrease – but any change that does happen, when it comes to blogging, needs to happen gradually over time.
The Australian mummy bloggers operated purely social, independent blogs. Now they’ve got a very substantial commercial interest. This move itself isn’t one that should be frowned upon in theory, but many of the blogs’ readers are likely to be unhappy because the change was so quick.
Do the readers have a right to know that there’s going to be change? Not really, no. Should they have been informed beforehand? It wasn’t a requirement, so again, no. Was the change bigger than the blogger is likely to have realised? Without doubt, yes.
Humans are creatures of habit. We like constants. We like building relationships and going to the same places, as we know what we’re going to receive. When something changes, it can leave us feeling uncomfortable, even if the change isn’t, in reality, that big.
The readers have been visiting the mummy bloggers’ blogs for advice. Support. An insight into their lives. A general chat, all from an individual, independent point of view. Now the bloggers have said they’ll promote specific items, whilst it’s unlikely to detract from the bulk of the content or message of the blog, to the readers, it means it’s no longer a completely independent blog and it can be influenced by organisations who have the finances available.
To us, The Remarkables Group are doing something fantastic. Showcasing the power of blogging and just how financially successful it can be in its own right without even integrating it within a standard business model, it’s helping bloggers to harness the unseen power and influence they have.
But the mummy bloggers need to understand just how much of a detrimental impact it could have on their blog if they decide to go down the more commercial route. The idea of any business blog should be to benefit an organisation and this is what The Remarkables Group are aiming to do, but with the mummy bloggers’ blogs, they started off entirely social. Completely independent and individual and this is how they gained their popularity.
Moving to a more commercial platform definitely has its benefits for both blogger and reader alike, but it’s absolutely imperative that they don’t forget the primary, initial focus of their blog – providing high quality content from their own point of view that their readers are wanting to read and not regular, sales-type content that is simply promoting product after product.
Blogging is all about communicating with your audience and if you fail to get this right, the simple fact is you’re going to struggle to see any long-term success with any type of blog.