dancing in the street during lockdown

Blogging. A birthday reflection.

In April it will be Meetoo’s 11th birthday! That’s longer than any other “job” I’ve had.

As I’ve mentioned before Meetoo is a side hustle that doesn’t generate an income – but this little blog has most certainly generated lots of other things. Things I couldn’t have imagined when I first hit publish while waiting for my kids to finish their school holiday swim program that fateful day in April 2011.

If you’ve ever been curious about starting a blog – for fun or for business – there are a couple of key things to consider before hitting publish.

Passion

To sustainably create content you’ll need to be interested in what you’re writing about, #der. That, or have a higher purpose to keep you accountable and regularly turning up, all while communicating in an engaging and genuine way.

I loved getting out of the house and having experiences with my kids. I also really enjoyed the practice of documenting what we did. Not only did it give me a reason to turn up and take the photos – I also had a greater purpose while I was at events: I had my audience to report back to!

Over the last 11 years I have published over 900 blog posts, given away 100’s of prizes and shared over 100 holiday lists. A testimony to the genuine passion I’ve had for what I was doing.

Writing isn’t always “fun”. By creating an audience I also created a responsibility to keep showing up and sharing what was useful to my readers. I also had a responsibility to the brands and events I was working with – to ensure that the content on my blog was engaging so that my audience kept returning to consume it. A side effect of success is that you create a beast you need to keep feeding!

Knowledge

While it’s good to have an idea on what your blogs theme or topic will be – I can vouch that you definitely don’t need to overthink things. My biggest piece advice to myself, if I had my time again, would be to just start and worry about the rest later!

Before I began Meetoo I spent a few months developing a business plan for a website – when in actual fact I really just needed to start publishing content. In those very early days the only people reading what I wrote were a few random people on the internet… it took me a few months of almost daily posts to find my groove and feel comfortable to share what I was doing with a handful of friends. And all but my first couple of posts from those early days have since been deleted (as they were pretty woeful!). One of the joys of digital publishing is not only can you delete old content, but you can also edit pesky typos.

HOWEVER there comes a time, when you’ve nailed your voice and purpose, where, if you want to get noticed more widely and be taken seriously as an influencer, you’ll need to invest some time in learning all the tricks to digital marketing. Back in 2011 there were plenty of bloggers sharing their tips about blogging. And I spent many hours listening to free webinars, watching YouTube tutorials and reading online articles. It was a lot of repetitive content to wade through. {You might want to consider some free tools, handily all in one place, on the re!earn website.}

And in the 2020’s if you want to be taken seriously as an influencer – you will need to consider yourself a real business. This is more than just presenting your blog professionally. As a publisher you also need to know how to support the digital marketing goals of brands you’re working with. After I had consumed all the free content I could find I began signing up to ProBlogger and The Digital Picnic courses – which both had the added benefits of networking with other digitally minded brands and influencers.

What’s your why

It’s one thing to love writing about a topic and understanding the digital landscape – you also need a purpose. I had a few, and they were pretty simple.

I wanted a genuine reason to be leaving the house and documenting what my kids and I were doing. I also wanted to experience more things than my small SAHM allowance could afford.

While I stepped away from my career to focus on my kids – I didn’t want to loose touch with the fast changing landscape that was PR. When Charlie was born, nearly 14 years ago, Facebook had only just added the function of Pages – and so brands were beginning to dip their toes into a digital marketing world that was beyond their website. By setting up my blog I could hone my skills in the digital space in a very practical hands on way.

And finally, becoming a parent is the very best thing that ever happened to me – however I did start to loose a sense of who I was in the endless piles of washing, dishes and broken sleep. When my marriage floundered it was my kids, friends, family and blog that kept me going.

What next for Meetoo?

This question has been sloshing about my brain for a few years now. When my eldest child turned 12 some four years ago I began to ask myself: what next? I honestly didn’t know. And between work, the blog and life – I actually didn’t have time to really think about it. So it went into the #toohardbasket section of my brain.

And then we had a global pandemic – and every event disappeared overnight. And I did my best to remain positive and upright while homeschooling and holding onto paying work. It seemed the universe paused Meetoo along with everything else. Initially I published online activities and during brief interludes, between lockdowns, I shared the odd review.

None of this down time gave me any clarity around “what next”. And so I took a longer break – which somehow turned into a year.

As the second year of lockdowns rolled around I had little left in the tank – and the little that was left I needed for keeping the lights on and keeping sane. I knew if I had no appetite for reading articles, my audience probably felt the same. I had no energy for opening emails. I actually couldn’t allow myself any more screen time either. Beyond sharing memes on IG Stories while eating Uber delivered ice-cream and re-watching The Bold Type and Younger on Stan, I literally had nothing useful to say.

And so, what’s next?

I am not disappearing – but I am taking stock. Event lists are not coming back (you can find excellent lists here: Tot Hot or Not and What’s On Melbourne). I will still share reviews that myself or my contributors experience. And I will still share events on my Facebook and things we are doing on my Instagram. And I will definitely still run some giveaways!

So if you’ve made it this far reading this post perhaps you’re thinking about starting a blog yourself? Or maybe you’d like to start with baby steps and become a Meetoo contributor? I am always excited to hear from parents who are happy to share their adventures with the world! Please do send me a DM via Facebook or Instagram and let’s chat πŸ˜˜