The story so far:
A nine year girl in Scotland, Martha Payne decided that she wanted to do a writing project. She wasn’t very fond of her school dinners and she decided that she would take a photograph of her school dinners and write about them.
What happened in the next six weeks is phenomenal.
- 31st April – Started blog
- 9th May – Her blog had 250 000 visits
- 10th May – Tweet from Jamie Oliver showing his support “Shocking but inspirational blog. Keep going. Big love from Jamie x”
- 14th May – visits to the site reached 325 000. She and her dad had a Radio Interview
- 15th May – Council visit the school
- 23rd May – She and her dad get invited by Scottish Chef, Nick Nairn to a meeting to discuss school dinners and cookery lessons
- 25th May – Children told officially that they may have as much fruit, vegetables and bread as they want.
- 1st June – Her dad sets up a JustGiving Page for Mary’s Meals – a charity that she raised money for last year. They raised £70 by selling handmade gifts. She hoped to raise £7000 to build a kitchen in Malawi.
- 4th June – raised £760 for the charity
- 13th June – Meets Nick Nairn at his cookery school
- 14th June – Council ban her from taking photographs. By this time over 2 million people had visited her blog and she raised £2000
- 15th June – Council Chief overturns the ban. Funds raised for Mary’s Meals reach £45,889
- 18th June – Her blog had well over 6 million visits in total and she had raised over £87k. I found out about her charity at about 5 pm at that stage it had reached £84k within a few hours it had increased by thousands.
All major newspapers have picked up her story and it has gone viral. As a result, she has raised awareness for school dinners and raised a substantial amount of money for a small charity.
So what can you learn from this story? It would be so easy to dismiss Martha Payne as exceptional or very lucky. Yes, she is exceptional and she did get lucky, but if you read her blog, NeverSeconds, you will realise that her blog is full of charm. She didn’t just get publicity because of her age, she does so many things right as a blogger.
Nine Tips for blogging
- Just do it – she didn’t let her age stop her
- Keep it Simple – Most of Martha’s posts are simple – A photograph and a review and they probably average about 250 words. It is so easy to make blogging overly complicated.
- Focus on your Readers -She was happy to highlight other people: Once Martha started receiving photographs of other children’s dinners, she published them on her blog.
- Be yourself -Her personality comes through in her blog and she is charming.
- Focus on one thing – Her blog is focused on the one thing – school dinners
- Be adaptable – She responds to feedback: When people started to comment that she was lucky to have school dinners, she agreed with them and used the blog’s popularity to raise money for a related charity that she was passionate about.
- Respond to comments – She responds to people who leave comment and thanks people frequently. She includes photographs she was sent.
- Seize the moment -When opportunity came her way, she was willing to be interviewed and photographed (obviously with her parent’s guidance). She talks about things that happen at the time they happen rather than long after they happened. Her blog is very fresh.
- Forget perfection -She is willing to learn and happy to admit mistakes. She doesn’t try to be perfect.
When someone is exceptional, we often ignore the lessons we can learn from them. If you still think that you can’t blog, pop over to NeverSeconds and visit her JustGiving Page and be inspired to get started.