Josi Denise became a “mummy blogger” in 2013, building up “The American Mama” blog to reach “tens of thousands” of monthly readers, generating the mum of three “thousands of dollars”
But the blog came to an abrupt end late last week, when Denise had a crisis of conscience and quit.
First there’s the readership. According to Denise, barely anyone is actually reading mummy blogs. The comments are mostly from other mummy bloggers looking to build up their networks:
Why? Because your s— is boring. Nobody cares about your shampoo you bought at Walmart and how you’re so thankful the company decided to work with you. Nobody cares about anything you are saying because you aren’t telling an engaging story. You are not giving your readers anything they haven’t already heard.
Then there’s the see-through relentless happiness and exclamation marks. Denise said the last brand she worked with even sent back her draft blog post, “edited with at least half a dozen exclamation points added.”
Denise is particularly sick of mummy bloggers’ fake endorsement of products — or “sunshine and f—— daisy reviews,” where bloggers are too spineless to tell a brand of what they really think of the product because of the risk that they might not work them again.
She also opens up about her own experience when her blog was more opaque when it should have been: Paying a virtual assistant to post her links over the internet for SEO and back traffic; embellishing her stats in her media kit; and using social media management services to connect with similar bloggers and then unfollowing those who didn’t follow her back on Instagram or Twitter.
Most of the techniques were not effective.
Denise recalls running a prize draw in 2014, offering people the chance to win a Kitchenaid mixer if they signed up to her newsletter. She gained hundreds of email subscribers and thousands of social media and was “invited on an all-expense paid trip to tour a certain chicken corporation’s headquarters to hear about how much money they donate to said charity, and then roped into a writing a post about that even though I didn’t agree with the ethics of the company at all.”
But in reality, she gained nothing.
Bloggers inflating their numbers are “f—— cheating” and if they’re interesting enough they shouldn’t need to incentivise people to follow, according to Denise, who says her most viral post was an angry open letter directed to her ex who wasn’t paying child support.
“Genuine content, with a genuine voice, is the only way to gain real readers and connect with real people,” Denise wrote.
She signs off her blog post with this piece of advice to mummy bloggers:
Just quit. Quit now before you get burnt out and feel guilty. Quit before you realise you wasted years of your life writing b——- about your kids’ childhood and your relationships instead of being actually involved. Quit before you get caught up in some legal mess with a brand contract and your house is cluttered with shit to review that you do not need and nobody else needs either. Quit before you feel like a failure instead of finding the intersection of happy and fulfilled.
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