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Last weekend, more than five hundred bloggers gathered at Moorgate, London, for the biggest parent blogger conference in the UK. 

The event, BritMums Live, attracted keynotes from Sarah Brown, Ruby Wax, Cherry Healey, and many respected bloggers, journalists and writers.

The collective power of parent bloggers

Before the event had even begun, the associated hashtag #BritMumsLive was trending on Twitter and had generated more than 5m impressions. This figure had since risen to 32m impressions (at the time of writing), and the conversation is still continuing!

If this isn’t evidence enough of the collective power of parent bloggers (and particularly mumbloggers), maybe the fact that thirty-four high profile companies chose to sponsor the event might be. “There's someone doing market research; these are bona fide opinion formers,” writes Guardian journalist Zoe Williams, who attended the event.

In the UK, we don’t yet have the mega-mumbloggers they have in the US, where some have become household names. In the US there is even a saying, “have you been Dooce-ed?” which means 'have you ever been exposed for something you've written on your blog?' after Dooce, the anonymous US blogger who was sacked by her employer when her identity was revealed.

But there is no shortage of talent amongst UK parent bloggers, and the stage is set to get even more competitive.

One of the opening sessions at BritMums Live, ‘British Blogging Now’, chaired by editor Carla Buzasi from the Huffington Post UK, exposed the shifting balance of power between influential bloggers and journalists.

There is a massive over-supply of writers in this digital era,” commented Steve Keenan from Travel Perspective. “Bloggers will replace freelance writers who just don’t ‘get’ blogging”.

Political blogger Dan Elton from Left Foot Forward, added to this saying: “We are ending up with people with multiple degrees writing for us for free”. A recent column in The Guardian within its ‘Comment is Free’ section tackled this very issue, asking why creative people, especially writers, are increasingly being “forced” to write for free. “The 'work for free' virus has spread because we lack collective organisation,” author, Jonathan Tasini, argued.

Within the BritMums Live session, another panellist, Sarah Ebner from The Times’ School Gate blog, confirmed: “Behind closed doors, there is an increasingly symbiotic relationship between journalists and bloggers”. She implied that while many journalists would prefer to not acknowledge their increasing reliance on bloggers for information and insight, it is in fact the state of play.

So what does the future hold for British bloggers, and in particular, parent bloggers?

If there’s one thing that BritMums Live confirmed, it’s the tremendous appetite that individuals across the social web have for parenting stories and opinions. 

This is extending into the book publishing space, with an increasing number of book agents and publishers scouring the blogosphere for potential up-and-coming writers, who have a strong social following and an interesting story to tell. In a book agent’s eyes, this is an extremely marketable offering, delegates were told.

BBC presenter Cherry Healey, who delivered the closing keynote for BritMums Live, disclosed that TV producers are also taking a keen interest in the parent blogger space. “Lots of people here have blogs which have massive telly potential...that are perfect for a wider audience,” she admitted.

She warned bloggers to be wary of TV producers who may run with their ideas and content if given the opportunity. “The perception of bloggers has really changed. Bloggers have huge power now”.

When it comes to the topic of blogging for the greater good, great optimism was expressed for the combined impact that bloggers might hold. A panel of charities including ONE, Kids Company and Give as you Live, jointly agreed that the parent blogger community could mobilise a small army if it wanted to.

Cherry Healey encouraged all bloggers present to call on the support of relevant celebrities and well-known figures via Twitter to champion their causes. One very valuable piece of advice was offered though by Polly Gowers from Give as you Live: “If you wouldn’t talk about it [in conversation], don’t blog about it”.

For charities, this is worth taking note of too. Don’t begin working with a blogger until you are reassured that your cause genuinely sings well with them.

Brands and business that exist in the parenting space should certainly be breaking into this thriving blogging community, if they haven’t done so already. “It’s no longer twee and silly,” admitted Cherry Healey.

Thinking intelligently and creatively about how you approach with and work with parenting bloggers is paramount. Currently, the majority of parent bloggers are PR friendly; but as their power and influence intensifies, they are likely to get harder to reach and engage with...particular if the UK follows in the footsteps of the US.

Wendy McAuliffe

Published 29 June, 2012 by Wendy McAuliffe

Wendy McAuliffe is founder and director of Populate Digital, and an Econsultancy trainer and contributor. Read her personal blog MummyMcAuliffe.

1 more post from this author

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Tania @ Larger Family Life

My blog has grown extremely well over almost 4 yrs - far better than I imagined it would but I believe I still have a way to go.

I am lucky that it now provides a regular income & momentum is definitely gaining but there is still a widely-held assumption that blogging success comes overnight.

It doesn't.

It takes a lot of work, determination and dedication.

It would be great to see parent bloggers reach the same levels of success as those in the US. There are some fabulous writers out there but there will also be a lot who jump on the bandwagon hoping for quick success too. Only time will separate the two.

over 4 years ago

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Ian

Hi Tania

Great blog, my wife is just setting up a family blog and can't agree more that it takes time.

How much income would a blog of your age and size likely to make each month?

And what are some of the top mummy/daddy blogs in the UK ans US at the moment and again how much income would these be making per month?

over 4 years ago

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Tania @ Larger Family Life

Hi Ian,

I am not sure what other bloggers make. I think it would vary a great deal and depend on a number of factors.

There are so many different ways of creating an income stream but it's not guaranteed. Not everybody who creates a blog will be fortunate enough to earn an income from it.

I have considered writing about this in more detail on our site but not sure what the interest would be in it. I'd be happy to cover in more detail if the interest was there. Let me know!

over 4 years ago

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Ian

Hi Tania

I think it would be an interesting piece, and you never know it might get featured on the likes of econsultancy!

My own personal view is with ad revenue and affiliate streams even a starter blog with traffic of <10k visitors per month should make £20k per annum

How is your search/social marketing strategy going?

over 4 years ago

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Tania @ Larger Family Life

I think an income stream of £20k per annum on traffic of less than 10k per month is very optimistic!

over 4 years ago

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Kate On Thin Ice

Interesting article and highlights a lot of hope for the future of blogging in different areas.
I facilitated the discussion on Blogging for the Greater Good and think the partnerships between charities and bloggers are mainly in their infancy and it will be fascinating to see how they develop and how the best fit between the two is worked out.

over 4 years ago

Wendy McAuliffe

Wendy McAuliffe, Director at Econsultancy Enterprise Guest AccessEnterprise

Tania & Ian - thanks so much for adding such valuable discussion. I wouldn't like to comment on how much money can be made via a parenting blog, but there are certainly an ever-increasing range of opportunities about. I agree it is a long-term commitment and organic process.

Kate, you did a great job facilitating the discussion and I completely agree with you - it will be so interesting to see how the relationship between charities and bloggers evolve, as I think there is lots of scope for creativity and innovation. ONE already seems to be taking a great approach.

over 4 years ago

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Tania @ Larger Family Life

As I commented on Twitter earlier, I wonder why the UK doesn't have the mega-mumbloggers that the US does and is it likely we ever will?

over 4 years ago

Wendy McAuliffe

Wendy McAuliffe, Director at Econsultancy Enterprise Guest AccessEnterprise

Speaking personally, I think it's a possibility that the same could happen over here. We're probably lagging a bit behind the US when it comes to the mumblogger scene. I'd argue a lot depends on how the relationship between journalists and bloggers shapes up over the next year or so, along with brand perception of the two. But if we know that UK publishers and TV producers are already keeping a keen eye on the mumblogger scene, there's a wealth of possibilities on the cards...

over 4 years ago

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Blogger

Isn't it awful when the facts get in the way of a good story but Britmums Live wasn't the biggest blogger conference in the UK and it didn't have anywhere near 500 delegates in attendance.
This was easy for anyone to see as the main conference space was only set up to seat around 350 people and the event sponsors were throwing product at the delegates because they had so many goodie bags left over.

Your Twitter impressions numbers are interesting too because Britmums themselves stated a reach of 2.1 million people via their post conference newsletter.

over 4 years ago

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Susanna

Great post! The potential for parent blogging in the UK is huge. Next year's event will be even bigger and better and we will tackle issues relevant not only to parent bloggers, but all bloggers. The conversation continues on Twitter a week after the event, with more than 33 million impressions! Go BritMums Live!

over 4 years ago

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Ian

Hi

If 20k per annum is too much based on 10k impressions I might have to revise the forecasts!

Just out of interest what do the top mum bloggers in the UK earn from their blogs and how much do the top US mum bloggers earn?

Any ideas?

about 4 years ago

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