I admit that, while it lasted, I loved being considered an ‘influencer’ at the peak of my Crunchy blogging.
For many reasons. I loved the group of bloggers I met and made friends with. We were all in ‘it’ together. Working with agencies and brands gave my site (seemingly) a purpose. It gave me a job basically. I was ‘legit.’ I was doing important work and getting paid. Mostly getting paid in stuff and event invites, but it sure shaped how our family lived our daily lives.
Now that my star power is on the decline and my name and site vanishes from the lists (rapidly replaced by the many newer blogger mommas with younger kids than my aged crew), and I get invited to less and less events and to participate in campaigns, I can see just how big the effect was on our life.
Travel – As well as getting to go solo (AWAY FROM MY KIDS) for media events, my family did get TWO Disney experiences. My opportunities were tiny compared to many big bloggers out there, but they have certainly given us great memories.
Stuff – Again, compared to many bloggers, the stuff I have been ‘paid’ in is paltry. But we certainly have enjoyed it all. And many people start blogging just for the lure of the ‘stuff.’ But that really should NOT be someone’s sole reason to start a blog.
Events – Being someone who is not particularly social, being able to attend events with a group that I was either friendly or at least new people attending was a great experience and loads of fun.
Blogging started out for me as life raft to my sanity which was being eroded as a stay at home mom who had no farking clue what she was doing. I seriously lost my shit when I became a parent. I loved being a mom, but I lost myself. I lost who I was as a person and that affected my parenting. Writing and writing online and finding a community that was beyond Gymboree’s and diaper talk was huge for me.
When I started to find out about the local “mom bloggers” here, it was like having the best of both worlds. Women who ‘got’ me. I was in heaven.
Then it got better. Then the ad networks offered me money and brands started to talk to me. My families calender got busy with free shows and tickets to the Aquarium, The Zoo, movies and much more. All I had to do was be ‘media’ and write about it.
Now when the family ask me about going to an event, I have to be like a regular person and look at the price, and being that we are a family of five, my reaction tends to be ‘UH noo.’
So basically, all the family activities that I have been asked to share and rave about on my blog are actually in reality too expensive for a family like mine who are not bloggers.
Example – Canyon of Lights. Don’t get me wrong. It is AMAZING. GORGEOUS. But it is $38 dollars for an adult.
Another example – Enchant. Looks great. $20 for an adult and $60 for a family pass. However they get a nod of approval from me because their pass is for up THREE kids and that never happens. However it is still $60. For lights and to buy stuff. Oh and while most of the bloggers that have attended have been very careful about their experiences there, I have read from other non-bloggers about how awful it has been in mud and dark and not stroller or less able friendly.
Which brings me to another point. Mom bloggers have fought very hard to rid themselves of the condescending ‘mommy’ aspect of their blogging careers. They want to be taken seriously as ‘media’ and influencers. They believe in their role when it comes to promotions and reviews and want their work and their readership to be taken seriously. Bloggers as a whole as well as the Instagrammers out there while heavily courted by the brands because THEY know that people rely heavily not just on believing what ‘celebrities’ tell us is good, but just how influenced our decisions are by our peers. And in the digital world even more so. Which turns this into a slight rant….in Vancouver, I would really appreciate parenting bloggers to talk about the cost of ‘entertainment’ in this city. It is NOT cheap. Anything family friendly does not mean wallet friendly.
Every year the same ‘mom’ experts appear on the Breakfast shows and talk about the same things and nothing is mentioned about cost. So much, especially at this time of year is totally out of reach for families on a more em..’restrictive’ income.
Out of all the genres of blogging, I think us mom’s need to step slightly beyond the joy of getting stuff for free and remember WHY we were so relieved to get the free stuff or tickets or whatever. We need to look at who our audience is and be a service to them instead of a disservice.
I also think brands and events should be okay with less than glowing reviews. Or at least glowing but with caveats. Brands and bloggers would earn a bit more cred with a teeny dose of honesty.
I will totally admit that I have been just as guilty. But it started to bother me more and more and is probably one reason that I don’t feel totally left out of the club as I watch my old compadres heading to the latest media event or taking their family to the next big show.
Due to my larger family and more restrictive income I am also thankful for those few PR agencies that still do have me on their list.
Which brings me back to an earlier point about what blogging meant for me beyond the social life and extra income. Working with brands and agencies got me back to a world I had always loved. I had worked briefly in communications before becoming a stay at home mom and have always loved marketing. My own branding experiences got me into digital marketing and social media and so I was thrilled to write what I basically saw as marketing material. That experience has done me well as now here I am working for a digital marketing agency and writing marketing materials.
Which leads me to the point again that blogging IS a business and a responsibility. If you are working with brands, you are WORKING with brands. Understand your role and the tone of the writing that is expected and why that tone is expected. But don’t be afraid to question the tone or make sure your voice and message is not lost in the brands messaging. And if you don’t like a show or event or product. Say so. Protect your blog and what you wanted it to be. Make it worthwhile for people to read. And not just for the giveaways. Go and write good shit people. Just write good shit.
Another example – The Christmas Market. I pay to buy stuff???
Also…..is everyone about food trucks now in Vancouver? Don’t get me wrong…is good food. BUT EVERYTHING HAS THEM NOW!!!!