Friday, August 26, 2011


Last week I was lucky enough to meet one of the women at the forefront of blogging in Britain. Susanna Scott is author of A Modern Mother and co-founder of BritMums, a network of 3,000 parent bloggers with an aggregated audience of 10 million. She started blogging three years ago and has been ranked by Cision as a top 10 mum blogger.

Susanna and me in SF's Chinatown 
Susanna, 46, lives in a small town near Newbury, England with her Scottish husband, an IT sales director and three girls (ages 6, 7 and 9). Two years ago she founded BritMums with Jennifer Howze, former Times "Alpha Mummy" columnist. BritMum connects bloggers and holds conferences in London.

We met through a mutual friend as Susanna is from the East Bay, California. She returns for six weeks every summer for some sun and to see her parents. We ate chow mien at Far East Cafe in San Francisco's Chinatown, then strolled to the park around the corner so her daughters could play while I bombarded her with questions.
Surprising thing about Susanna? In person she is gentle, incredibly helpful and low-key. And, endearingly, though she attends loads of premieres and parties, she seldom recognises celebrities.

1. How and why did you get started?
I started blogging three years ago because, I joke, it was cheaper than therapy. I had three children in less than three years, and two were premature. I left my job as an IT marketing director to be a full-time mum and I missed a part of myself. Blogging gave me back my voice.

2. What do you think is the perfect blog post? Number of words, number of pictures, frequency, topic? 
I’d don’t have favourites, everyone’s style is different and you either click with it or you don’t. And sometimes you are in the mood for different types of posts – funny, poignant, thoughtful, whimsical – you can find it all online.

3. Your most popular blog post?
My most popular blog post was one I wrote about our Polish cleaner. It was short, about 300 words, but has been stumbling around blogosphere for the past three years.

4. What is the best way to get more readers?
Join a community like BritMums, BlogHer, etc to find like-minded bloggers. Also, be a reader (and commenter). Do not despair, you WILL find your tribe, they are out there.

5. You mentioned you no longer have a nanny. How do you make it work? 
Erm, not very well. We have lots of playdates and some part-time help. I have nightmares of being asked to a meeting last minute and not being able to make it because I have to drop off at an after-school club.

6. I notice you don't post pictures of your children. Why is this? And what other things will you not do?
I don’t publish that many pics of my kids, I feel that I can control my privacy, and should give them the same option. I don’t write about sex, I’d get into trouble.

7. What should bloggers expect to get out of conferences?
The best part of blogging conference is connecting with so many people that you know online. Also, the energy and the atmosphere is contagious.

8. What are your favourite blogs? I usually hang out with expats, like The Potty Diaries, Expat Mum, Nappy Valley Girl in New York and of course your blog!

9. Sometimes it takes me forever to do a blog post. How long do you take?
If I get stuck on a blog post I just figure it was not meant to be.

10. Can you make any money from blogging?
You can make pocket money, and supplemental income, though only a select few with ever earn enough to pay their mortgage. I think you should blog because you love it, and anything else that comes out of it is a bonus. I also think that blogging can be a stepping stone to other things, like writing contracts, etc. But do it because you love it.

Thanks Susanna, see you when you're next in the Bay Area.

Now, gentle readers, how would you answer these questions?


  1. Thank-you for your good wishes.I have got some good tips from this post as I am only starting out in the blogging world!

  2. Great interview!! You must have the coolest group of friends!

  3. I have read those exact answers elsewhere too. I must have read another interview of her...

    Jody, do know you of a Bay Area blogging community? Such as BlogHer?

  4. Oooh, a mention. How exciting!!!

  5. I started blogging to find my SELF, my voice... to stay connected, to pursue my passions (be it a recipe, an article of clothing...)... to put my heart out there, and meet others that are willing to do the same... to SHARE!!

    I take forever at times to do posts as well (much more time than is usually intended)!

    A butternut squash soup recipe that I posted last fall has remained my most popular post.

    I do it because I love it :).

  6. I really enjoyed this interview--- I think she has a balanced attitude about blogging and life. Thank you for sharing!

  7. It's good to hear someone successful in blogging be real about it -- I hear all the time how you can make money blogging, but nobody ever really says how. This sounds more like the truth.

    Great interview!

  8. How inspiring it must have been to meet with this blogger! I enjoyed reading her answers to these great questions. It takes me a long time to put posts together somedays. If it takes too long, I usually think it was not meant to be either, like she mentioned. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has those times!

  9. Delightful interview, Jody. Great to see you have such interesting contacts.
    How would I answer the questions? Hmmmm.

  10. Sounds like an interesting person. She gave great answers.

  11. Good interview - you have Susanna down to a t there - she's great at answering questions honestly! And thankyou very much for the link (And if you're reading this Susanna, thanks for the mention!)

  12. Susanna is great! Sounds like you had a wonderful time. met so many like minded bloggers through BritMums it was a real life saver when I was stuck at home on my own!

  13. You both look so stylish in that photo!

  14. I do NOT joke when I say that my blog is my therapist! When life kicks you in the head, what more constructive response than to write about it and share the experience?

    Cheers, ladies! And thank you for sharing.

  15. i started blogging because i couldn't stand facebook....which is ironic because now every one of my posts is updated ON facebook.
    i'm not sure which post was the most popular...maybe the one where i took a stand against the charlie sheen bashing {i received many emails from that}.
    hope you're having a nice weekend.

  16. It was BritMums (or British Mummy Bloggers when I began) which helped me find my way with blogging and through them I've found so many great online 'friends'.
    Great that you should meet Susanna.

  17. How incredible! I MUST visit her blog. Thanks so much for introducing (I should have known her until now). I could not agree anymore with Susanna about blogging. Do it because you love it. Cheaper than therapy. That's so true!! I found a creative outlet when I started blogging, and it is definitely been therapeutic. I also started blogging because I'd lost myself after kids were born. Blogging helped me to rediscover my own self, so to speak! It's like as if I wanted to say: Hey, I'm not dead yet! I'm still alive and full of energy and creativity. So many times we moms feel dead to ourselves when we sacrifice all we have to our children and families. Or at least that how I felt.
    Also, I had a post about a research that showed that best thing men can do for their health is to get married. For women however, it was communicating with girlfriends. So blogging is indeed therapeutic, especially for those of us who don't get out much ;)


  18. Great interview - I liked what she said about blogging helped her to "find her voice." I can relate to that. Thanks for posting!

  19. She sounds like a fantastic blogger! :) This is a great interview!

    I love her quote that she chose to blog because it was cheaper than therapy. I actually started my blog for a similar reason. I needed a place to vent and reflect. Obviously, blogging turns into something much more along the way.

    I often say blogging was the greatest decision of my life because of all the friends I've made in this online community. It's saved my life. (Seriously). I don't ever want to see my blog become a money-maker for that would take away the joy from it, I think.

  20. I love this and I cant wait to explore her blog! I love the questions and are always meeting great people! :)

    I started my personal blog because I wanted to write and didnt really find a job in writing, which is what I went to school for! I had a job that was just paying the bills and missed my creative side. I'd have to say my most popular would be the one about our wedding or our wedding plans...The wedding blog industry is so large, its amazing!! I dont post pics of my stepdaughters either...for the same reasons. I would love to...but its a scary world out there.

    Also my fav blogs are: Poppies and Sunshine, Express-O, Lovely Little Details, AboutLastWeekend, A Village Town, OhtobeaMuse, BrideChic, AllWomenStalk, and many more!

  21. It's so cool that you got to meet her. I love meeting up with bloggers in person, always so fun!

    xo mary jo

  22. it's always great to meet bloggers and one from the other side of the pond sounds great!

  23. I started blogging because I love writing and never otherwise seem to get the chance. Bitesized blog posts are perfect for the busy working woman! My most popular posts seem to be the ones where I am rude about Gwyneth Paltrow (sorry, but I just can't resist!)

  24. Thanks for writing this Jody, it was such a pleasure to finally meet you IRL.


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