Recently, because there are people who always ask if something is “dead,” a PR outlet asked if mommy blogs are dead.
Mommy blogs are far from dead – but those who treat it as a hobby may not have much of a future. This has nothing to do with the quality of their content.
There are two challenges facing mom bloggers and dad bloggers, too.
- If you treat it as a hobby, it stays a hobby.
Those who treat their mommy blog as a hobby tend to start writing when their kids are newborns, and the content they provide can often be interesting, humorous and helpful.
But then, their kids get older, and the issues facing teens and the parents of teens tends not to be as cute. (I say this as the father of three teens.)
And that’s when mommy bloggers who are hobbyists tend to stop their blogs.
At least that’s what we found on behalf of a client looking to connect with local mommy bloggers. Our research found a lot of previously dynamic local mom bloggers had stopped maintaining their blogs within the past 18 months. In fact, we found that even a collective of mom bloggers (who had teamed together to create a more robust local mom blog) had pretty much shut down.
When we did some digging to figure out what had happened, it seemed that those who shut down had older kids.
That might seem anecdotal but after that project, I came across a New York Times’ blog post by Elizabeth Bastos: “Why I Decided to Stop Writing About My Children.” In explaining why she wrote about her children, Bastos writes, “There is a hunger in our culture for true stories from the parenting trenches where life is lived mud-flecked and raw…We live in a break-the-internet arms race of oversharing.” She initially defended a recent blog post “I had written about my son’s first signs of puberty,” saying “adolescent sexuality is an emergent, fascinating topic, especially for parents who are figuring out how to address difficult questions with their children.”
But, Bastos realized, “My children didn’t give me their permission to tell their stories…If I’m going to continue writing, I realize I need to find some new material, and for that I’m going to have to look more deeply within myself or entirely outside.”
That’s part of the problem for mom bloggers. What to write about. It’s hard to write about sleep training and other infant and toddler issues when you’re now focused on homework, screen-time addiction, etc.
So, there may be a natural life cycle for parental blogs — I’ve seen the same thing occur with daddy bloggers, too.
- It can’t be only about your blog.
Another challenge for parental bloggers is that blogs themselves may not be the best mechanism these days.
If your audience is on Facebook, parental bloggers need to make sure they’re doing more than writing new blog posts. They also need to constantly update their Facebook pages, Pinterests, Instagrams and Snapchats. It’s a lot of work.
And it helps to have a strong point of view and to think about reviewing and updating content along the way. That’s what magazines geared to an age group (Cricket, Seventeen, Boys Life, Redbook, etc.) do — they write new articles covering a standard set of topics like beauty, body, life, love and shopping (the key navigation buttons on redbookmag.com). I say this with deep respect for these publications that continue to cover similar issues but find new ways to address their readers’ interests and needs.
It certainly takes more work, and it may well be challenging to come up with yet another new slant back-to-school shopping tips, but that’s what parenting bloggers need to do to — if that’s their goal — to maintain their blogs after the kids become teens.
The good news is, of course, there will always be another generation of clueless parents (speaking as one) who need parenting advice and will look for it online.