I'm a big fan of podcasts. In fact I like them so much I started my own as a way to stay creative in my industry between diaper changes and toddler tantrums. Since starting the Motherhood in Hollywood podcast I've been immersed in the online audio world even more. Listening, and reading everything I can about the medium, the technical aspects and how to market and grow an audience. I also write about my experiences as a mom from time to time on my blog so some might say this qualifies me to be a mommy blogger. I really hate that term, though I know some moms embrace it. To me it feels diminutive in some way. Like, "Oh honey, aren't you cute! You're a little mommy blogger!" No one has actually had the balls to say this to me, but it feels like something people are thinking it. So as part of my due diligence and google addiction, I've been researching and reading as many mom blogs as I can to see what it's all about.
The popularity of mommy blogging exploded about 10 years ago and has been going strong ever since. There are now millions of moms who identify as mommy bloggers and some who don't, but still fall in that category. This is a powerful group of women. Many of them representing brands and products on their blog as a way to supplement or create income. Mommy blogging has grown into a multi-million dollar industry with one report from a few years ago saying there are 3.9 million mom bloggers, but that number is probably much higher now. However in recent months, "Queen of The Mommy Bloggers" Heather Armstrong has come out and said she's pumping the breaks on her blog. Armstrong created Dooce.com, of one of the most groundbreaking and popular mommy blogs to-date. But now she says she wants to focus on other things. One quick internet search will show you many other long-time mommy bloggers are following suit.
So is this the tipping point for the beginning of the end of mommy blogs? Maybe. Some say what was once an original concept and unique outlet for parents is now too saturated and repetitive. I myself have written blog posts that felt like I've read them somewhere else before. It seems the potential downturn is picking up momentum. Ashley E. McGuire from Acculurated.com (who is also a mom) wrote a buzzy article about her hopes that we are seeing the end of mommy blogging. The Atlantic also raising questions about whether moms can keep making money while blogging in a recent post. So what's a mom to do when you need a creative outlet for sharing your experiences, but don't feel like rehashing the same stories about breastfeeding, sleep training and food that millions of other moms have already traversed? How can moms stay forward-thinking and relevant while still offering great content? What's does this mean for the future of mommy blogging?
There was a major podcast boom in 2014 mostly credited to the success of Serial. That's when people really started paying attention to podcasts, or online audio streaming. And experts say that boom is showing no signs of slowing in the coming years, in fact it's only going to grow. And many mommy bloggers are already on board with the new trend.
One look at the iTunes Kids and Family section on any given day and you'll see several new shows popping up from moms and "parenting experts" you've never heard of because the popularity of podcasting among parents is on the rise. Although iTunes (annoyingly) won't release the number of podcasts in it's database, anyone who's been paying attention can see the dramatic increase in the number of family oriented and mom-centered shows in that category. And the great thing about podcasting is it doesn't limit parents to just the Kids and Family arena. My podcast is also listed in Comedy and TV & Film because I'm hilarious and talk about TV and movies a lot. There is a wide range of topics moms and dads can cover in a podcast and many business savvy bloggers are catching on. Another great thing about podcasting is that it's, for the most part, a relatively inexpensive way to get your content to the general public. A podcast starter kit costs around $100 on Amazon and it's free to upload your show to players like iTunes, Stitcher and PlayerFM to name a few. It's also a very appealing medium for millennial moms who don't necessarily want to sit down and search through blog posts or watch how-to videos. They can listen to podcasts in the car, at the gym, and at their desk at work.
Podcasts are also having a celebrity mom moment right now. Everyone and their mama is getting on board the podcast train. Stars like Anna Faris, Jenna Elfman and Casey Wilson have all launched podcasts in the last few months. All of them are also moms, even though that may not be the focus of their show. They bring in lots of A-list guests to chat about their lives and we eat it up. Hear it up? Eh. You get the idea. And as with anything in business, once it hits big with celebrities that's when we start seeing a trend followed by brands who want in on the action.
I predict in the coming year we will start seeing more moms branching off from their traditional blog and into podcasting. But will it signal the end of the mommy blog? Not entirely. But I believe as more moms discover the ease and creativity behind this medium we will start to see a decline in mommy bloggers, and a rise of MomCasters.