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Sat, Apr 28, 2012
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Making money out of your mummy blog
by Clara Chow

MY DISCOVERY that mummy-blogger boot camps actually exist recently made me feel like an absolute slacker.

In a New York Times article last month, Ms Jennifer Mendelsohn reported on her participation in The Bloggy Boot Camp, a sold-out five-city educational- cum-networking tour in the United States to help its female blogging community – 90 per cent mothers – take their blogs up a notch.

“Teaching your baby to read? Please. How to hide vegetables in your children’s food? Oh, that’s so 2008,” wrote Ms Mendelsohn. “The topics on that day’s agenda included search-engine optimisation, building a ‘comment tribe’ and how to create an effective media kit. There would be much talk of defining your ‘brand’ and driving up page views.”

Not to be outdone, British mummy bloggers will be getting their own CyberMummy 2010 conference in London on July 3, where writing good posts, video blogging and getting paid for it will be addressed, complete with “biscuits, lunch and wine”.

Woah. For more than five years, I’d been pecking at a blog that chronicled my experience as a bio clock-ticking single gal, then a first-time mum and, now, a second-time one. And in all that time, I’d given zero thought to “monetising” or directing the traffic to my blog – now put on temporary hiatus – apart from a very kind offer from a maternity-wear shop for me to try out and blog about its goods once.

Admittedly, I am luckier than most home-bound mothers in that I have this column to air my motherhood views and theories with a mainstream audience. To me, my blog is purely a personal indulgence, for the entertainment of the Supportive Spouse and a handful of loyal friends and readers.

But, having had my eyes opened to the branding and marketing potential of running a mummy blog, I started to research into the professional possibilities. In the US and Britain, motherhood bloggers have started to amass formidable social and political clout.

Mum-blogger Heather Armstrong, whose is arguably as blue chip as they come in the blogosphere, has just been invited by the White House to participate in its Forum on Workplace Flexibility. Parenting website Mumsnet has successfully campaigned for an ad campaign centred around how “career women make bad mothers” to be pulled.

I am now optimistically looking forward to the day when prominent mother bloggers here are consulted on how to raise the birth rate, make workplaces more family-friendly and improve the education system.

Yet, in one of society's quirks, mothers who blog to contribute to the household coffers or betterment of the world by way of cyberspace, are still being viewed with a kind of suspicious double standard.

The implication is that mothers who are serious about blogging professionally are doing so at the expense of their children. Still, in the past, given the opacity of the motherhood world, weary, isolated stay-at-home mums had no way of comparing notes, swopping tips on how to up productivity and sell themselves convincingly to key stakeholders (i.e., the kids and their partners).

This is a far cry from the landscape today in which the savvy mummy blogger is advised by experts on various ways to brand herself.

The key, I feel, is to make cultivating a genuine, personal voice your priority. And if anyone has any ideas on upping the game of Singapore mother bloggers, boot camp-style or otherwise, please drop me a line at manicmummy.

[email protected] The first step to building a successful brand, I know, is to listen to our audience.

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