Bearded Backchat with Natalie from Plutonium Sox
Bearded Backchat is a chance for me to interview PR people and fellow bloggers. This week it’s Natalie from Plutonium Sox
Who are you?
I’m Natalie, I blog at Plutonium Sox.
What is your “day job”?
I’m a work at home mum, freelance writer, blogger and social media manager.
What is your blog called and where can we find it?
My blog is called Plutonium Sox - and before you ask, it’s named after my dogs. When I first started blogging we had two dogs called Pluto and Soxa. It made perfect sense. You can find my blog here: http://plutoniumsox.com/
What’s your blog about?
It’s a fairly eclectic parenting blog. I write a lot about travel and days out, ethical products and opinionated rants.
Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging to help with promotion of a travel business that I was running at the time.
Why do you still blog?
I rarely speak to anyone outside of my immediate family, so it’s great to have a platform to express myself and pretend that somebody cares!
How has blogging changed since you started?
I think my own approach to blogging has been the biggest change. At first, it was just something that I did and felt a bit obliged to do. But I eventually realised that there was a whole big blogging community out there and they’re pretty fab. So now, I spend as much time reading and commenting on blogs as I do writing. Plus I’m very active on social media and writing posts is just a small part of blogging to me.
Would you count your blog as a job or something fun to do in your spare time?
Blogging is a part of my job these days, in that I work with some amazing brands on my blog and it does form a part of my income. But it has actually been the thing that led me into the work I’m doing now, which I love. I’d never thought of being a freelance writer until somebody approached me and offered me work having read my blog. The same goes for social media management. So now as well as being a hobby, a place to express myself and somewhere to record our lives, my blog is a showcase for my work.
Where do you get the inspiration to write a blog post?
I’m quite opinionated on life in general, and realistically nobody wants to listen to my rants. So I write them down on my blog. I also blog about what we’ve been up to - days out, holidays and just day to day life. There’s never any shortage of things to write.
If you could recommend three other blogs to read, what three would you recommend and why?
I’d recommend What the Redhead Said http://whattheredheadsaid.com/ because Donna is literally the most successful blogger I know, but she’s also one of the nicest. Her posts read beautifully and keep me captivated right to the end. Her photos are gorgeous too, and she’s always ready with help and advice whenever anyone needs it.
My next one is A Cornish Mum http://acornishmum.com/ - or Acornish as she likes to be known. Stevie writes about important issues like Type 1 Diabetes in a way that is so powerful that she managed to get Eastenders script writers to sit up and listen. She also writes fabulous reviews and shares stunning photographs of Cornwall - both her own photos and those of other bloggers.
And finally, Inside Martyn’s Thoughts http://www.insidemartynsthoughts.com/ because of the sheer variety of awesome posts. Martyn writes incredibly candid and insightful posts on both mental and physical health issues, shares gems of information about home education, and has inspired recipes. I’m never sure what I’m going to be reading when I embark on one of Martyn’s posts, but I do know that it will always be brilliant.
What is the single best thing that has come about as a result of your blog?
We’ve had some amazing opportunities as a direct result of my blog, including a few fab family holidays. But probably the best thing that has come from the blog has been the ability to work as a freelance writer, doing what I love and working from home. I fit my hours around family life so I don’t miss out on anything. As you can imagine it’s busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What would be your perfect blog post?
I’m currently training for my first ultramarathon and I’m under no illusion that it’s going to be tough. So my perfect blog post would be to interview one of my heroes, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. I’d ask him how he finds the mental strength to keep going when physically, he’s got nothing left. Actually, there’s loads I’d ask him although I’d probably be a little bit tongue tied, he’s such an amazing man.
What can you recommend to other bloggers to increase the traffic to their sites?
I’d recommend not to bother trying. Do the usual stuff - optimise everything for SEO and share on social media, but don’t get obsessed with it. I went through a stage where that stuff meant everything to me, and I spent all my time attached to a phone or screen trying to convince people to read my blog. These days, I just get on with living - and as a consequence, I’ve got more interesting stuff to write about. And guess what? Now people want to read it, and my site traffic is higher than ever.
Which brands do you enjoy working with?
I loved working with Drayton Manor because we really made the most of our year as ambassadors for them. We were there once every few weeks and it’s my children’s favourite place in the world. I also love the Sea Life Centre and The Malvern Spa - both of which are fabulous days out, although very different! In terms of reviews, I love working with prezzybox, they’re always open to ideas on how to work together. TomTom were a pleasure to work with too. And I love to work with travel brands such as Bluestone and Embrace Scotland, who we’ve had some amazing holidays with. And I’m about to work with Fly Baden, going on a press trip with them to the beautiful Black Forest in Germany, which happens to be where my ancestors originated from. This could well be the best collaboration yet.
Everyone has that one company that they have always wanted to work with but have never quite been able to. Who is yours?
At the moment, I’d really like to work with Wiggle. I’ve always found them to go the extra mile in terms of customer service when I’ve shopped with them, they even send little free things in with my order. They sell equipment for running, cycling, swimming and triathlon - all the things I love. After my ultramarathon this year, I’ve got my sights on a half ironman for next year. So, for now, I’d want to raid wiggle for running gear in return for mentions in multiple blog posts and product placement on all my social media. But I’d also like to build up an ongoing relationship with them, it would be awesome to have a brand coming to me and saying, “Hey, you said you were going to do an ironman, stop making excuses and promote our brand!”
What is your own personal favourite post on your site?
I quite like this one - http://plutoniumsox.com/being-a-work-from-home-mum/letter-busy-mum/ - A Letter to a Busy Mum. Life isn’t easy here, I’m always busy and I need to remind myself sometimes to stop and take the time to enjoy the girls’ childhood. Because one day I’m going to wake up and realise they don’t need me anymore. This is one of those posts that makes me think when I read it, and I was pleased when a few other people said that they related to it, and it made them stop and think too.
Whose blog would you love to be featured on or write a guest post for?
Actually, I’d love to write for a magazine. I adore blogging, but I’m looking to broaden my horizons now and do a different type of writing.
Is there anybody that you’d like to see featured in the Bearded Backchat series?
I’m not sure if Martyn from Inside Martyn’s Mind has featured yet, but if not then he’d definitely be my choice, I’d love to read his answers to your questions. I featured him over on my blog a little while back and it was a great read.
Lastly, if you were to interview another blogger, what question would you ask that I haven’t asked here?…
I’d ask them what their dreams are for the future.
… And what is your answer to that question?
I want to be there to see my children grow up and live their own dreams, without pushing my hopes, opinions and personality onto them. And for me, I want to finish my ultramarathon, do an ironman and travel around Europe in a camper van for a year when the girls are a bit older. And in the future, I want to spend a lot more time travelling. There’s too much of the world I haven’t seen.
Thanks for taking part, Natalie!
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/PlutoniumSox/
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/PlutoniumSox
Instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/plutonium_sox
Don’t forget to visit the Plutonium Sox blog too.
(Header adapted from an original design by www.lucykatedesign.co.uk, with thanks)