Saturday 11 February 2012

Establishing Yourself in a Crowded Blogosphere: Mammasaurus

Hey all, we have a good one for you today.  It is Annie from Mammasaurus, the lady behind Love All Blogs.  Annie is a pretty new blogger herself but she has really established herself in a short time and I believe she blogs with a ferocity I have not seen in many bloggers.  I reckon she is a work hard, play hard kind of lady! Here is what she says -

RAWR I’m Mammasaurus, Evil Mastermind of Love Blogs MWHAHAHAAA! Actually I’m really Annie, mother of 8, wife of 1, lover of gin… I write stuff, I draw stuff. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s nonsense and on the odd occasion it’s sad and thought provoking – but if I had to sum it up in word that word would be ‘eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!’. Make of that what you will.


Starting a blog is a bit of a learning curve, you spend the first few weeks trying to make it look lovely and learning all about posts and pages and learning the lingo (hands up who else sat and thought ‘what the dickens is a meme?’ ) ?!

It’ll soon become apparent that this new world of blogging that you have stumbled in to is big, really big, in fact forget big - it’s HUGE! You may start to feel a bit dejected when you work hard on your posts, writing stuff you feel proud of but feel like you aren’t getting noticed. So just how do you cement yourself in to Blogland? Here’s my advice…

Join in. Join networks and read other peoples blogs – this is the single most effective way to show people who you are. As a newer blogger you soon become aware of the ‘big names’ in Blogland, the established bloggers who it will seem that everyone knows. There are however thousands of bloggers and so it can feel a bit daunting when you first set out.

My advice is to find newer bloggers like yourself through networks or even just tweeting out ‘any other newer bloggers out there ?!’. Read these fellow newer bloggers blogs and comment if you can. People tend to visit a commenter's blog back to comment and over time you will find you have a handful of firm favourites. Keep up the commenting, chat on Twitter and you will soon start to form your own little ‘circle’ of friends. This is the first real step into feeling part of the blogging community.

Join in with memes, blog hops or anything that you can try and join in and link up to. Be sure to visit some of the other blogs who take part in these as you’ll be writing about similar things but there’s usually a big variety of interpretation amongst the posts which makes for great reading.

Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you have an idea for a meme, challenge or blog hop of your own, no matter how daft it seems, act on it! There are so many good ideas ‘out there’ that not every new idea will take off – but if you don’t try you won’t know! If you need advice or help with an idea you have don’t be afraid to ask some of the more established bloggers – they are usually flattered to be asked for help!

Create your own identity. No need to wear a Super-hero cloak or put your pants on your head, just discover who you are and what you love to write about and build on that. Some bloggers become known for being funny, writing reviews, promoting breastfeeding, taking amazing photographs, charity work and so on. Find what you enjoy blogging about and work from there.

Be nice. You’ll never agree with everyone on everything but it’s important to remember that people’s blogs are personal to them and there are emotions attached to them. If you read something that you strongly disagree with then by all means explain your point of view but do so in the nicest way possible as it’s easy to misunderstand comments sometimes and take offence.

Remember these things take time. No one comes in to blogging and is an overnight blogging mega-star! Becoming established takes time and can be jolly hard work. Over time the things your write about, how you participate and communicate with others and how you approach situations can gain you respect from other bloggers. The established most ‘well known’ names in blogging are where they are through a combination of talent, passion and sheer hard work.

Don’t give up! Sometimes you’ll find you go through a spell when it seems no one is visiting your blog and commenting and this is why it’s important to find something you love to write about because if you enjoy blogging it can carry you through any lulls – and we all have lulls.

And finally enjoy it!

Thank you Mammasaurus, I am sure so many people will be interested to read how you managed to take the parenting blogworld by storm in such a short amount of time. Before you go, I have just a few questions you could answer for us all.....  pretty please....

*  How did you find out about blogging and what made you start?
A friend of mine blogs for a large Mums Network over in Australia and it was reading her funny posts that encouraged me to get in to blogging and so one day, completely on a whim I set up a Wordpress blog - and the rest is history.

*  Did Mammsaurus start out how it is now, or has it changed over time?
When Mammasaurus started out it was very much focused on the funny things that my children did. Over the past few months it's morphed into a blog about...well...I don't know! And I think it's the not knowing what I am actually doing that makes me love it so much!

*  You mention about the big name bloggers, what strategy did you take with them? Did you actively engage with them or choose to focus on the newer bloggers like yourself?
Initially I was scared stiff to even try and engage with the big name bloggers! My biggest support in the first few months was from other newer bloggers. Back in the first couple of months I hosted a 'Look! A Book!' week to try to reach out to other bloggers - it was all newer bloggers who joined in. The first person to offer to join in was Actually Mummy who remains my closest blogging buddy to this day!

*  At a guess, how many blogs would you say you comment on each week? and how many of those are new blogs to you?
Cor blimey that's a question and a half ! Quite a lot, on an average week anywhere between 50 -150 blogs, with about 10 being 'new to me' blogs. I always used to be sure to read every blog entered in to Love New Blogs but with Love All Blogs having over 300 entries every week I am finding it hard to get round them all any more - but I do try!

I once told a close blogging buddy to try reading as many blogs as she could and comment if she found she was engaged - within 2 weeks she saw a dramatic rise in her own blog stats.

*  Did you have a plan in the beginning for the Love new blogs series, which of course developed into Love all Blogs?
There was no 'masterplan' and it's been a really organic process. A couple of weeks after Love New Blogs began I found that I was receiving a few emails each week asking if I had a similar site for non-parent bloggers (as Love New Blogs was aimed at newer parent bloggers). Then I met Diary of a Dad at BlogCamp and it became apparent that dads were being a bit under-represented as the main parent blogger networks do welcome dads but their Network names are very much 'Mum' orientated - Love Dad Blogs followed and then before long there was Love Craft, Love Cookery and Love Photo Blogs and eventually morphed into Love All Blogs.

*  What are your personal objectives for blogging in 2012?
I aim to keep blogging and focus on Love All Blogs as a priority in the short term until I have it running as smoothly as I can, I am working on some really rather nerdy things that will revolutionise the site at the moment which I find really exciting (yes I know - I am sad!)

I want to Support Black Dog Tribe more throughout the year ahead, mental health issues are personal to me and so we 'click' and I feel that I can really relate to what they hope to achieve. I've looked for a charity to support for the past few months and I wanted to find a Charity that isn't yet represented much within blogging circles. There are some wonderful Charities that are greatly supported by many bloggers - I'd personally like to see more smaller charities supported by different bloggers rather than dozens of bloggers supporting just one or two as I am now realising that the exposure can make such a big difference to them.

I'd love to speak at an event at some point. Any event, I'm not fussy though sadly I have no idea what about - I have no real 'experience' or 'skills' to share but I do think I could really inject some enthusiasm and motivation into anyone who blogs if I could sit them down for 15 minutes!

*  Do you check out your stats? and if yes, do you have an aspirational level that you would like to reach for page views/ uniques/ followers or whatever your favourite measure is?
Oh I used to check them - every day and it was a big deal for me! I know we all say 'it's not about the stats' but I think for many they do play a big part! These days I tend to check every other week and if I see I am about to reach a 'milestone' then I get excited - I reached 50,000 visits last week and I did celebrate with a G&T silently! I don't have an aspirational level that I'd like to get to though, I'm just going to keep on blogging and see what happens!

So, did you learn something new about the lady behind the RAWR?  I always find it so interesting to find out what makes other people tick.  Thanks Annie for a super insight. What have I got for you tomorrow I hear you cry?  Well New Bloggers Fortnight is on a one day holiday.  Tomorrow I have a couple of things I need to post up on the blog and then we will be back in the swing of things on Monday and I will be super pleased to welcome Wendy from Inside the Wendy House onto the blog. She will be talking about her success working with brands, reviewing, running giveaways and the like.
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