I have a confession, a pretty big one in-fact. I used to despise bloggers and vloggers. I used to wonder why Becky Basic was receiving free stuff and #gifted every single day and talking about the day she had with her child. BORING.
I used to blog several years ago under Freckles and Frolics, I didn’t have a niche and I was messy and unsure of my style. I dabbled in short stories, product review and opinion pieces. I had a few people (mostly family, ok, I mean my Mum) push me to write again because I was ‘good at it’ but I could never get past my block. Write about what? I was my own biggest critic and eventually gave it up. In hindsight, I think this is why I was so bothered by successful bloggers. It was only when in October 2018, a month after indenting my sofa with my body print and a newborn I created Midlands Mommies. To start with, it was a meet up group for Mums in the Midlands (Mom is a Midlands term, later realised this was mostly American term and re-branded). I had a Facebook group with 100 likes but I was so introverted I never actually created a meet up. I lost love for it and felt myself losing my creative spark again.
It was only when I came up on a follow loop (oh no, the unspoken term of the Influencer world) and I met some lovely Mum’s I felt that inspiration to focus the account about me, the Midlands Mummy. I created a blog again to document my days with Quinn and I love it.
I had never intended to ‘collaborate’ with brands as I’d never understood that side of it. I didn’t realise it was a two way street of advertising for the brand and most of the time, it was the influencer reaching out first. I had the support from my new found Mum friends who advised best way to pitch and what brands like to see. I think I was around 2000 followers when I sent my first few pitches and was accepted by a teething brand. I aimed for smaller brands to start with, as a way to boost both of us. I remember that sense of achievement when I received a message saying they had received a number of orders and followers since my post. Coincidence? Maybe. But there I was, doing something of value once more. The whole reason for my blog and Instagram account is an online journal of Quinn growing up and since, watching my wonderful Mum friends children’s grow. We’ve seen first teeth, first steps, first words and the dreaded sleep regressions, the Mum guilt and the endless advice and support from both the Mothering side and the blogger side. ‘Which photo is better?’ ‘Here is a discount code for this brand I rep for’ – the blogging community isn’t a horrible place.
I reached out to a few Mums who’s opinions mirror mine. Their blog is somewhere to document their life with their child/ren and everything that comes with it is a bonus. I then spoke with Mum Businesses (mix of followers) who gave their opinion on being approached. A large majority were flattered and loved it – they felt the bloggers they worked with were professional. The odd one would creep through with a ‘Collab?’ email with no personality. A few brand were unsure why influencers didn’t just buy their products instead and others had wished they were approached and we’re unsure how it all works.
Jodine Bootby, one half of the Gummee Teething brand offered her insight:
“I love working with influencers, particularly micro because it is such an easy and informative way to get my product in front of my target audience at very minimal cost.
I understand that the bloggers/influencers, as well as brands, are trying to grow something for themselves. Smaller influencers are keen to gain experience and add to their portfolio, and small brands can not afford to pay countless influencers to post content for them, so the two are a match made in heaven.
Each can get equal benefit, with the brand gaining content to use across social media as well as brand awareness and reach, and the creator gaining reach and exposure via shares of their content from the brand, as well as complimentary products and the addition of the brands to their portfolio and the experience of working with brands”
And that’s it really isn’t it? It’s a business relationship.
My Midlands Mummy brand I have since created another meet up page, I have hosted giveaways, I work as an ambassador for brands, rep for brands and yes, I do hashtag collaborate. I enjoy working with brands on what approach they want. I review products I will use and my followers will enjoy. It isn’t a case of here’s a freebie, see you later. I have found many, many small brands through my Instagram account newsfeed and recommendations from other bloggers. I remember the Love to Dream Swaddle I saw on an influencer page, before I had my own account. I wanted this product. I saw Gummee Teething products because I saw them in another blog. The power of social media is huge, and social media users play a big part and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Mummy Bloggers are on the rise and it can hard to find your voice in such a bustling community, but speak up, it’s such a welcoming place to be.
What products have you found through your followers? Do you have any positive Collab stories? Leave a comment below of your favourite Insta stores!