WOW, what an incredible week!
At one point I thought my phone was going to self combust and I’d be left with nothing more than a blob of melted plastic. I was forced to turn all sound notifications off, as it clearly thought it was at the last night of the proms complete with symbol clashes!
But, throughout all this madness my quiet little life has plodded on uninterrupted…and I suppose that really IS the joy of the Internet. We are so overly immersed in the online world, but yet can be completely detached if we choose to.
So, what am I talking about? Well, unless you managed to completely disentangle yourself from the web this week then you might have seen my name or worse still, my awful selfie crop up in a few unexpected places.
Lucky you eh?
I was incredibly fortunate in the respect that one of my blog posts was deemed not only interesting enough to be read by a journalist (a huge compliment, and massive confidence boost for a complete novice of a writer like me) but also worthy to be picked up. She contacted me directly and asked if she could write a report on it and I of course, said yes.
Now as you probably know, I’m only a month into writing but I desperately want to make a success of this little blog of mine, I can’t really explain why but it’s so important to me. It’s something that I’ve chosen to do just for myself and something that so far I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve somehow managed to find the time to work on it (so far that is, as baby isn’t here yet and things are probably going to change in that sense) whereas I was really struggling to work on orders from my online shop, and made the decision a while back to close for maternity leave. Most importantly I’ve discovered my voice…something that in a household of boys, is somewhat of a novelty. Perhaps I just needed a new creative outlet? At the moment this is all very much still a hobby/interest BUT if I grow my following, who knows where it might take me? That in mind, I felt like some exposure for my blog was just too good an opportunity to turn down, and luckily the chosen post was based on a subject that I’m passionate about ‘getting out there’ as public knowledge.
The finished report by Joanna Lovell was uploaded onto the Hull Daily Mail site on Tuesday, and that’s when everything went a little bit crazy but in an amazingly good way.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely naive. I know how the Internet works, and how things can snowball easily and go viral. Joanna had even mentioned that it could possibly get picked up by sister media sites IF it got enough interest. I definitely didn’t go into it blind.
What I WAS surprised about was the sheer volume of people ‘talking’ about it. My blog post on schooling decisions for my summer born little boy, was clearly a hot topic. It caught me off guard a little…I think part of me believed it would come to nothing much, get a fair number of comments debating the pros and cons of my decision, and perhaps garner a few more blog hits in the process. BUT, to cut a long story short I have seen articles and versions of the original report EVERYWHERE online!!
I think what I really struggled to comprehend was the fact that I’d written something good enough to be considered newsworthy and cause a media debate. However, I already knew that the subject was going to cause an emotional response as naturally us parents react with feeling to anything child related. And my aim in writing the original blog post, was to make other parents aware of the choices available to them and the options to consider. The sheer volume of comments from people who clearly weren’t aware, proved my point enormously.
I have been completely overwhelmed by the response…I still get butterflies when I think about it.
During this whirlwind of a week, I have in fact learned some valuable lessons in being media savvy:
Buckle up Buttercup.
No matter what the subject, you’re never going to please everyone, FACT. I could have written about my dislike of celery and there would be people out there willing to tell me they’ve eaten it three times a day for their entire lives, and that it’s never done them any harm!
However, the subject I had written about goes against the perceived ‘norm’ so I was naturally expecting a bit of backlash. Luckily, I have skin the thickness of a Rhino’s backside and didn’t let the small amount of negativity get to me. There are always going to be people who only ever read the headline before passing judgement too, that’s part and parcel of opening yourself up to the general public. Also I’ve never really taken myself too seriously, so I had to laugh at some of the let’s say ‘less polite’ comments. It’s important to keep your sense of humour!
Focus Your Energy.
As the news article spread I literally couldn’t keep up with all the tags, likes, tweets, reposts, pins, and blog comments, plus reading through the comments on different sites…so I simply stopped trying.
As a heavily pregnant mum with two young boys to look after, I definitely had bigger fish to fry. This gave me a sense of perspective and I decided to just focus my attention on the people who had taken the time to reach out to me personally. I have answered comments on my blog post, replied to DM’s via my Facebook page and also to the emails I have received. I chose to remain active on the posts within the Flexible School Admissions for Summer Borns group, simply because the members had helped and advised me so much.
Easy Come, Easy Go
One of the huge benefits of working for yourself is that you have complete control over your output. Whether this be the blog post content that I’ve written or, the schedule of social media posts I’ve created.
When a third party gets involved you have to simply relinquish that control, no matter how hard you may find it. Yes, the choice of headline wording wasn’t what I’d have personally used, but I also completely understand that there needs to be a hook to grab people’s attention…journalists 100% know what they’re doing!
As the ‘storm’ spread I noticed the original details becoming more and more diluted. Again, this is the way of modern ‘instant’ news I suppose, it has to travel fast in order to keep it’s momentum. Because the original article was first posted on a Hull specific site, I quickly became known as:
‘Emma, 38 from Hull, Yorkshire’
Whereas in reality, I was sat reading with a cuppa approx 120 miles away wishing that they’d quoted me as being younger. I must admit to enjoying the aminosity that it has afforded me though.
New images were added, my writing was clearly edited (I’m assuming to fit in with word counts etc) BUT, the important thing was my blog link was still included and my Facebook page credited meaning that the correct information could still be accessed with a quick click via my blog.
Embrace The Excitement
Opportunities like this don’t come round very often, and I have been incredibly lucky that it’s happened so early into my blogging journey. Naturally, I have allowed myself to get a little bit excited and feel proud of what I’ve achieved in such a short space of time.
I have received so much support since the article was published. People expressing that they are fully behind my decision or simply understanding my reasons for doing it. Even those who wouldn’t necessarily choose to do the same for their child, have taken the time to thank me for bringing the subject to their attention.
I’ve also had praise from the Summer Born Campaign supporters for championing the cause, and getting it back into the media spotlight.
And perhaps most importantly I’ve had parents contact me looking for advise, with questions about the process and not knowing where to start. I truly feel like I’ve been able to help by pointing them in the right direction, and arming them with the correct information going forward.
I’ve gained followers on my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Hits to my blog have gone through the roof and I’ve increased my number of blog followers and subscribers. Great stuff all round!
Overall, it’s been a hugely positive experience and it’s made me feel like a fully fledged blogger…this morning I saw that I had made it over onto an Australian parenting site!
My next goal is to write some product reviews. If you would like to work with me then please get in touch via my contact page.
And, if all else fails…at least I can now say that I’m famous in Hull!!
All images my own unless otherwise credited.