An international model turned entrepreneur, Michelle Hon, founder of The Chill Mom, started out her journey as a lifestyle blogger turned influencer in 2013. This was in a bid to document her experience as a first time mother.
Being a lifestyle blogger with motherhood as a focus also allowed Hon to endeavour in other topics pertaining to pregnancy, self-care, children development and “mumpreneurship” resources for mothers. This allowed the mother of three her to start her own baby-planning business, which sees her helping women plan and manage the arrival of their babies.
Currently, Hon is working on her first book – The Chill Mom: Secrets to An Enjoyable Pregnancy and Confident Motherhood.
Hon has also worked with numerous brands and was a Fisher-Price Play IQ Ambassador Mum. Other brands that she has worked with various brands such as Dyson, Pigeon, Cetaphil, Nivea, Macao Tourism Board, Star Cruises, Shell, Volvo, to name a few.
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In this edition of "Now following", Marketing sits down with Hon on how she managed to carve a niche for herself in the mommy space and strike a connection with her followers.
Marketing: When and how did you start out as an influencer?
I started blogging in 2013.
Marketing: What is your “claim to fame?”
My blog, The Chill Mom, is a motherhood lifestyle blog which aims to make pregnancy and early motherhood an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. I write from a personal and professional viewpoint based on my experience as a baby planner and business owner. I’ve also appeared as a guest host and baby-planning expert in a television documentary series which was aired on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 in Singapore.
Marketing: What inspired you to start blogging about being a mother?
My mother passed away when I was very young, so I had no idea what she went through during pregnancy and early motherhood days staying home looking after me and my siblings. I started this blog when my firstborn was six months old and I wanted to document my experience, so she’ll have something to refer to when it’s her time to be a mother.
Marketing: How would you describe your followers?
My followers are mostly mothers between the age of 26 to 45. They are urban living and modern mothers who want to have it all - family, career, a comfortable lifestyle and looking good in the process.
Marketing: What do you do to strike a connection with your followers?
I’ve been lucky enough to have spoken at events and got to meet some of my readers. Those are invaluable encounters which I get to ask them what they want to read more on the blog. I’m in a number of Facebook mothers groups. I listen to what their concerns are and try to address those concerns on my blog. I’m also very active on Instagram.
Marketing: Which platform gives you the highest engagement with your followers?
Instagram because it give us a peek into each others’ lives and in many ways we, mothers can identify with what one another. Having said that, I also like Facebook for sharing content, discussing ideas and hearing the opinions of my followers.
Marketing: What are some of the challenges of being an influencer in Singapore?
Some of the challenges I’ve faced are overly restrictive content guidelines and not enough time allocation for project completion.
Marketing: What are some of the outrageous demands you have gotten from clients?
I don’t remember having any outrageous demand from clients. Maybe my agency, Nuffnang, shielded those from me!
Marketing: What kind of client personalities do you avoid and enjoy working with?
I don’t discriminate in terms of personality. I believe people generally just want to get their job done or in this case, promote their brands and products the best way possible. There may be less than desirable traits, but it’s all part of working life.
I choose my projects based on the message of the campaign, if it aligns with my values, and whether it’s something that I would buy with my own money.
I avoid products or services I don’t use or believe in.
Marketing: What are some things you feel clients should take note of when it comes to working with influencers?
I think it’s important to recognise that we have a life outside of being an influencer. We could be mothers, students, stylists, working professionals, and it is those roles that we play that resonate most with our followers. I feel happiest working in a campaign that lets me be me.
Marketing: How can marketers make the influencer-client relationship sweeter?
Better pay! (Laughs) Half-joking aside, if a product or service is something that the influencer already using or buying, it is much easier to come up with a genuine, glowing review. I also prefer long term partnerships with brands I believe in.
Marketing: Who is an influencer you look up to? Any fellow local influencers you look up to?
I’ve been following @mommyshorts and @jetsetmama forever. Locally, I admire @tjinlee for the many change-maker roles that she plays. And she does it in style too.
Marketing: What are some of your views on the influencer landscape locally and globally?
I think it’s a very young industry that is growing rapidly. Many clients are more receptive to influencer marketing but only a few know if it really helps with conversion. I think we are still in the figuring-it-out stage and it’s exciting to see how it evolves.
Marketing: What’s next for you?
I’m in the final editing stage of my book, also titled The Chill Mom and hopefully, it will be published by the third quarter this year. As my blog is also tied to my maternity concierge business, I want to produce more pregnancy related downloadable resources for my readers.
Perhaps more videos for a YouTube channel too. I hope I’d be able to juggle all projects, along with raising my kids without losing my head!