The SA mom blogs network has introduced me to so many awesome mom’s who blog, one of which lives right around here! Megan Kelly Botha.
I was pretty surprised to find her and especially surprised to find how sweet and approachable she is – I always fear that the more established bloggers would be all “I’m above you go away”…(hehehe)
Megan does A LOT of reviews on both her baby blog and beauty blog and the great thing is, she doesn’t sugar coat things…if a product sucks she wont hesitate to say so, and that is great 🙂
I interviewed her about what blogging means to her here is what she had to say:
1. What do you do when not blogging?
I am quite busy, to be honest! I work from home, in the evenings, for an American based company, organizing gaming parties in the Tampa area. During the day, I am busy catching up on housework, enjoying life on a farm with 5 dogs at my ankles and a 5 month old who just wants to go-go-go! In between all of that, I try find some time to blog, do research on current trends and hopefully grab some time to record tutorials. (Which I haven’t since the birth of my baby boy)
2. What made you decide to blog?
I was originally reviewing beauty products on a popular beauty site and the community members kept encouraging me to start my own blog. So in the beginning, I reviewed products but after a few months, it started to grow into something more. I decided to start sharing bits of my life (especially as I was pregnant) the posts that were more than just reviews, were growing in popularity and after giving birth, I thought – what an incredible way to document our life, as new parents, so I started Baby Blog.
3. What was your concept behind the two blogs?
As I said, originally – Beauty Blog, was aimed at reviewing beauty products but soon it grew into a lifestyle blog aimed at delivering my readers with reviews, tutorials and trends for beauty and fashion, as well as the latest news and whatever is going on in my life, at the moment.
Baby Blog is aimed at parents – old, new, expecting, anyone, really! I had originally launched, “Mom’s Manic Monday” on Beauty Blog, but soon found that I couldn’t just write one post a week, because as parents – we all know, beauty goes out the door and baby becomes the topic of every conversation. I thought that baby deserved its own blog and pretty soon launched Baby Blog.
4. Did you find yourself nervous at prospect of letting people into your life in this way?
I guess it reflects in my posts, too. I started with very basic, informative but to the point reviews which later grew into personal posts. Now, when taking on new reviews – I share photos of me, without any makeup, with pimples and red blotches. I PUT THAT, OUT ON THE INTERNET… FOREVER! I had many trust issues to start with, my background has made me build walls and question people BUT my blog has been a sort of therapy.
I have become a better person since blogging, built genuine friendships, gained confidence and most of all – I am happier! This is the happiest I have ever been. Having the opportunity to say things and sometimes, I even receive blog-love for it. It’s just incredible! But I have also been able to work through a lot, putting thoughts into perspective and letting go of a lot of baggage. My blog has made me a better person!
5. Do you ever worry that your kids will be like “mom why are you exposing my life?”
Growing up, I moved A LOT! I think I have been to something like 6 primary schools and 4 high schools. Through the moves, we never really hoarded much and all the memories of my childhood are down to a single envelope of photos and a scrapbook of certificates and some school reports. Although, I have a very good memory, I am sure there are loads of things that I have forgotten, things that would have been great to read about or see in photos. I guess that, that is my motivation – I know that I flood my Instagram with photos of my kid (you’re probably sick of them!) and my other social media sites are often full of milestones that he has reached. Not to mention an entire blog dedicated to my adventures of motherhood… I hope that all of this documenting will show him, just how important he is to me, how much I love him… I never ever want to forget this moment. I try write in a way that won’t make him feel ashamed, but I think – with us as parents, he will most likely have our strange sense of humor… he already laughs when he farts. What it comes down to is, time is no friend of mine… so I do what I can to hold on to each treasured moment and maybe one day… I can share it with his kids. I believe his memories, photos and home videos are safer on my blog than in a shoebox that will more than likely get damaged, chewed up by our dogs or lost in a move.
6. Does your family read your blog?
My mom is a dedicated reader but as for the rest of my family – it isn’t very often. It used to upset me because I felt like how can I expect anyone else to read my blog, when my own family won’t. I have come to the realization that I don’t blog for anyone else but me… this is my way of getting everything out. So whether they read it or not, isn’t really my worry. Also, I don’t think many people take blogging seriously, they see it as a hobby and don’t really understand that their are communities who support and uplift bloggers. Some see blogging as a way of getting freebies, not realizing that sure, goody bags and media drops are LOADS of fun, but it takes time and effort to deliver posts that are worthy of those freebies. Time and effort isn’t free and those goodies take hard work and dedication!
7. What do you hope to achieve through the blog?
I’d like to take my writing to a professional level but as for my blog – it always surprises me. I never expected much of it, yet it has become something! I mean – here I am, writing out my answers for an interview… how crazy is that? – Before my blog, I was an introvert, fighting a war inside. Since I’ve started my blog, I am constantly challenging myself, whether it be applying for new jobs or a writing internship, I approach people, I make friends, I put myself out there. In all honesty, my blog is probably one of the greatest things that could have happened, and that is more than I could have ever hoped for.
Ideally, I’d like to inspire people and be helpful. I know how scary motherhood can be and family members are sometimes a nag with their advice, so I hope that my posts help by reading about my experiences. For instance, I cried for an entire day, when I had to make the decision to circumcise my son and in that moment, no one but Google could console me. It was reading real-life stories that comforted me and helped me through the trials of motherhood. I hate the idea of feeling alone so I hope to provide other moms with a place, where they will never feel that way. I hope that Beauty Blog teaches women to be confident in themselves, none of this conforming to media nonsense. Ladies, my thighs touch – and I am okay with that!
8. What do you think about the blogging culture in South Africa?
When I started blogging, I was naive and didn’t even know such a thing existed. I have learnt that a large part of the success of your blog, relies on how you interact with other bloggers. I believe in upliftment, encouragement and motivation. I believe in ‘community’. I get upset when I read bloggers who are VERY successful, in comparison to my little blog, put down newbees. I prefer the bloggers who read newbee posts, share them and assist where they can. I love how when you tweet about how bad your days is, there will be a blogger out there sending you caffeine and hugs! That’s the part of blogging culture that I choose to focus on. If you show support and engage with bloggers, they’ll return the love.
9. What do you think makes for a “good blog”
There are the obvious things to remember like make it appealing and always have engaging material. But I believe it’s the way you deliver it. I love blogs that are simple, easy to navigate through and the font is clean and neat – you should have no problem reading what they have to say. Their pictures are their own, showing honest results, etc. I enjoy relatable (and humorous) content – this is where honesty comes in. Don’t tell me about the foundation you “love” in hopes of partnering up with the brand, tell me the truth! I have the utmost respect for the brands who care about what bloggers say and they go onto share their links despite it not always being the review that states how absolutely perfect their products are. Those are the brands you want to work with and the only way of making that happen is by being honest. Honesty attracts a good audience – they’ll appreciate your content more as it differs from the “copy and paste” reviews. Recently, I had a challenging experience with skincare, as my readers will know, and even after trying to the fix the problem, my skin just wasn’t agreeing with their products. I posted my review, pictures and all and in return, I got one of the most heartfelt letters from the company, thanking me for the time and most importantly, the honesty! I value that more than anything! If you can afford MAC and Bobbi Brown – good for you! Tell me about it! But if you can’t, then tell me about the products you use, the ones you love and don’t. In a recent post, I admitted that I use R25 eyeliner found at a Chinese shop – it doesn’t make me any less of a blogger. If you’re into fashion – don’t tell me you’re a size 2, when you’re a size 8. I am the first to admit that I am no model – I have a baby and I enjoy food! Honest content is appealing because people realize you are only human, they put themselves in your shoes and see… wow, we’re alike, I could so enjoy having a glass of wine with this blogger.
10. How do you personally measure success in the blogging world
Success is determined by your own measure. As mentioned, I never set out for my blog to be anything more than sharing my opinion but I have gained SO much from it. Just writing this, I see how much it has given me. That is how I measure success. It is not by how many Twitter followers you have, or how many Facebook likes you get in an hour – it is about how it makes YOU feel. After writing a post, I feel a sense of accomplishment, success and excitement. Often, as I complete one post, I want to write the next and the next and the next, scheduling them to go live on different days. Then there are the days that I have nothing, no energy, no inspiration – I just want to be a mom. And that is ok. I listen to my mom and how highly she speaks of my blogs, how she questions others, “have you read this one, or that one?” – sure, she is my mom. So she is meant to do that, right? – but I have made her proud, my husband believes that anything is possible since I started blogging and most of all, I make me proud… and happy!