Chrissie Saunders started writing her Mediocre Mum blog for fun three years ago. Through a combination of building up a big following on Twitter and IT skills, she was recently named number one parent blogger on Twitter and has the number three parent blog in the UK, according to communications software company Cision.
She is also often in The Tots 100 index, the UK’s largest community of active mum and dad bloggers. Klout.com, which measures blogging influence on the ability to engage and influence others, says she “may not be a celebrity, but within her area of expertise her opinion is second to none”.
Canadian-born Chrissie started blogging a few months after setting up a Twitter account when she found that she had things to say that "went beyond 140 characters".
Chrissie, who lives in St Albans, says she really enjoys blogging and finds the mummy blogging community very supportive.
“I really love writing my blog and it's a great way to really engage with people, especially if you're not sure about something. You can ask people questions and get them to comment on issues and it can solidify things in your head,” she says.
She set up the blog for fun and had no initial plans to monetise it nor any great strategy to promote it. “I don't spend a lot of time commenting on other people's blogs as people say you should to build a following,” she says. “Mainly because I don't have time.”
She does, however, have a few ads on it and hopes to have more. She also links to it on her Twitter feed, which has over 6,000 followers, and has various plug-ins on it, including onlywire which syndicates it to Google plus and social news website reddit, among other sites. In addition, she is aware of search engine optimisation issues which helps with page rankings.
Another reason for her interest in the blog and its success is her work. Chrissie is an IT consultant, who mainly works in education, advising teachers, for instance, on using interactive whiteboards.
She says: “I would like to start teaching children and teachers about blogging. It's a wonderful way to inspire them. My daughter starts school in April and I would like to start a blogging club there.”
The blog, which is mainly on family issues, has also acted as a springboard to other opportunities. Chrissie works with SMEs giving them advice on how to use social media, for instance, how to set up a Twitter account. “I explain to them that they need to have a presence on Twitter. People nowadays may not pick up the phone or want to email. Twitter is a really good branch of a business' customer services department. Marketing has changed too so instead of broadcasting that you have a great deal you have to engage with people and build trust rather than just sell, sell, sell.”
She also advises them on how to use hootsuite to schedule tweets and on how to identify someone in the company who can tweet and respond to tweets as soon as possible. “People expect answers quickly on Twitter,” she says. “Bigger businesses don't have to engage in chit chat as much as they already have a big brand, but for smaller companies more leg work is needed.”
Chrissie, who runs a business networking group, is speaking in April and May at business networking events on social media.
For her own blog, she blogs around four or five times a week and roughly keeps to a weekly schedule, for instance, on Tuesdays she blogs about technology and does reviews of new apps. She mainly blogs in the evening after her daughter has gone to bed and says the time a blog takes to write varies, according to how much research she has to do.
Her job is freelance and she tends to go into schools after 3.30pm which means she can get a good work life balance. She normally doesn't work on Fridays and a childminder looks after her daughter until 6pm on the days she does work.
Chrissie says she is lucky that her job and outside interests have coincided. “I read a lot of blogs on subjects I am interested in when I have time," she says. "My hobby is playing on the computer. I watch tv in the evening with my ipad. I live via the computer.”