I recently wrote a pity post about how I wasn't "feeling it" when it came to my blog and blogging in general and that by being a so-called mommy blogger who lists herself as "PR Friendly," I had lost the reason I began blogging in the first place.
I am not the only one who has expressed similar sentiments. Deborah Cruz just published a post titled "Is Blogging Dead?" Deborah doesn't feel that blogging is dying, but evolving and I tend to agree.
There are millions of blogs out there and not all of them are mom or parent blogs and not all of them are monetized or work with brands in any way. However, being a marketing magnet for brands and PR agencies HAS changed those blogs that have opened themselves up to this and has changed how those people (myself included) blog.
The word "brand" was probably the most overused term in these circles during 2013. I wonder if we will get a new word for this year. We have all got very conscious of our image online and that means a lot of self-editing when it comes to what we put on our blogs and other social media channels.
"Niche" is another word used a lot. Having a focus, be it healthy eating or environmentally friendly or home schooling is attractive to marketers, but again eliminates a lot of what we talk about on our sites, especially when it comes to the realities of parenting.
Instead, we have a myriad of blogs that present themselves as "experts" in their fields. Blogs filled with tips and tricks when it comes to their vision of parenting. Personal blogs more and more look like pages out of Today's Parent magazine instead of sites that share daily life with kids. All brand-friendly and alluring to marketers.
The background chatter is filled with bloggers concerned about taking professional shots of their food or composters or safe non-plastic toys and the right camera to do so. Gone are stories of parenting imperfection like why their 11-year-old still can't tie his shoes, but yet can have a girlfriend (I haven't blogged that one yet).
I agree that this is a bit of a sweeping statement and there are still loads of really great parent writers out there, sharing their raw and sometimes heartbreaking tales of parenting. There have been a few confessional trends right in this publication, this post on rage included. However, the lure of monetization and free stuff too has changed how many of us think about blogging and this has affected the content. Hence why these types of posts now come across as "startling" and "raw" instead of being the norm when it comes to parenting. Life is NOT like a Pinterest board. Sometimes we suck at it and sometimes we chuck out recyclables into the garbage.
I started blogging to share my concerns, failures and successes when it came to being a parent. I read blogs that would help me feel relieved that I wasn't alone. Now more than ever, I tend to doubt the veracity of the posts I am reading. How can everyone else manage their families and feed them nutritious foods and keep things looking like a Pottery Barn catalogue and I can't. What is wrong with me?
I am tired of blogging making me feel like not only a failure as a parent, but now as a failure as a savvy marketer who is a hotshot when it comes to SEO, link building and my shaky understanding of Rafflecopter.
For 2014 I think my main goal will be to accept my mediocrity at everything and stop comparing myself to other parents and parent bloggers.
One day, I hope that PR companies and brands will once again look to those more "unique" bloggers out there who don't have such slick and shiny blogs, media kits or marketing plans and let us too have a bigger piece of the pie. In the meantime, I hope that I can be brave enough to blog "real" again and let's go back to parenting blogs being safe places for openness and support of our fellow moms whose children still rely on Velcro and who feed their kids junk food.