ONLINE blogging has enjoyed a massive boom of late with no signs of it slowing down any time soon.
One Tinonee mum, who launched her own blog Twinkle in the Eye about a year ago, has found herself in the middle of a growing industry at a very exciting time.
She’s also in a group that marketers now know to be a powerful source.
Bree Katsamangos is what has been labelled in the blogosphere as a ‘mummy blogger’.
It’s a term some bloggers don’t like but Bree has no qualms about it.
“I don’t mind it at all. I’m proud of what I do.
“I love being a mother and I love writing about it, and the audience is interested in that.
“The blog’s really about sharing my experiences of motherhood. I also interview other mothers and include other commentary and cooking.”
While it’s not clear how many Australian women are bloggers, the Australian Women Bloggers Directory lists more than 1200 female-authored blogging websites in the country.
Bree initially had no intention of joining the industry.
“I didn’t know what blogging was.
“I found myself at home on maternity leave with my newborn son William and I was looking at how to set up an online business and create an income.
“I stumbled across blogging and thought, I can do this.
“I sort of thought it would be hobby but I knew there was a chance it could develop a bit of an income stream”.
She’s been online for almost a year and has more than 6500 hits a month and 1200 plus followers.
It was also a steep learning curve, but she navigated it well. “I felt my way along and learnt. The internet’s great like that.
“It’s a good thing. I thought I was going to be a bit bored on maternity leave and it kept me stimulated and learning new skills.
“All of a sudden I’ve developed a vocabulary around html such as improving SEO (search engine optimisation).”
Twinkle in the Eye has gone from strength to strength and a community has formed around it.
Bree enjoys the creativity and the chance to be more reflective about her experiences of motherhood.
As the blog took off Bree has found herself working with brands who pay her for access to her followers.
“They pay me to do sponsored posts and giveaways or they pay me to allow them to advertise on my site.
“I’ve discovered mummy bloggers are considered a force to be reckoned with. Brands like working with them.
“Statistics have shown that if a mum is going to buy a product, and a blogger or a friend recommend something, that person is 90 per cent likely to buy it.
“These are better odds than magazines and newspapers and this is appealing to advertisers.
“In America it’s all very much a business.
“In Australia they’re clicking onto the power of the community and their influence on mums.”
But Bree is quick to point out that she will only agree to such an arrangement when the product being advertised is something she wants to be aligned with.
One collaboration that has got her excited is a 12-month arrangement with Bent on Food where she is working with Donna Carrier and using her products, showcasing them on the sites and running giveaways.
“I’ll also attend her cooking school and write about it on the blog.”
In conjunction with Bent on Food she’s also putting together four cooking events a year which includes cooking challenges and allow people to come together, share food and knowledge and do a cooking school.
The first is being held in September.
As a sideline Bree has also established a Cookin’ the Books Facebook page, which is a community of amateur cooks mostly based in the Manning Valley, who cook one recipe a week from a cookbook, take a photo and share it.
As for Twinkle In the Eye she has embraced the social media realm with identities on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus and also networks heavily with other Digital Parents.
On a practical level, this means that when she uploads a post on the website, she uses the social media sites to link back to the original post.
“Also, if I’ve cooked something I pin it to the pin board on Pinterest.
“It all works together to drive traffic to the site,” she said.
Bree uploads blog posts three to four times a week.
One of these is Wordless Wednesday, which is a blog story told through photos, where other bloggers link up to it (“I have over 50 linking up”).
Then there’s Flash Blog Friday where people can link up their favourite post from the week. She gets about 50 of those as well.
“This also helps drive the traffic.”
Things have had to be more organised now though as she is back at work as a youth development officer at Greater Taree City Council three days a week.
“I’d like to work part time while having children and complement that lost income with the site.”
She’s been back at work for a couple of months now and she said it’s little more tricky to fit things in.
“I have to get up at 5am on Wednesday in order to get my Wordless Wednesday up and running before my son gets up”.
She also uses nights to blog.
“But I still have nights looking after bub.”
She said she tries not to let too much pressure build up.
“It’s not something I always have to do. But if I had to pick between housework and blogging I’d pick blogging. It’s a good procrastinating tool.”
You can check out Bree’s blog at http://www.twinkleintheeyeblog.com/