In this week’s 5 Minutes with the Media, we’re joined by Rosemary Mac Cabe.
Rosemary is journalist, blogger and TV panellist. She runs her own blog, podcast and YouTube channel and has contributed to many national publications such as Tatler, The Irish Times and Image Magazine.
How would you describe your blog and blogging style?
When people ask what I blog about, I always say – kind of in a jokey way, so they’ll think I’m self-deprecating (I’m not), “it’s about me”. But that’s pretty much the truth. Does that make it a double bluff? I just write about whatever it is I want to write about, whether that’s a hotel I’ve visited or a fashion trend I’m interested in, or just something I’m thinking about. It’s nice because it means I have no real constraints.
What is the process of planning and writing your posts?
It depends. If I have a particular topic I want to write about, I’ll go over it in my head for days, maybe even weeks, beforehand. I’ll plan out sentences – sometimes I save little voice notes on my phone when things occur to me. Other times, it’s more stream-of-consciousness.
What has been your experience of blogging/freelance work since leaving behind the standard office hours?
It obviously has a lot to recommend it – working for yourself is very freeing and it’s great knowing that, any money you’re making, you’re making it for yourself. But at the same time, it can be very isolating. It’s really unreliable – you never know when your next payment is coming through and, at that, following up on payments can be incredibly time-consuming and stressful. I spend a lot of my time apologising for asking people for the money they owe me, which is infuriating.
You also need to be pretty disciplined; it can be really tempting to just spend your days in your pyjamas watching Netflix, and worry about things tomorrow. But there’s always tomorrow, isn’t there?
How important do you feel it is for bloggers/influencers to be transparent in terms of what’s been paid for/sponsored?
It’s the most important thing about any form of media: transparency. But I really feel for younger bloggers who maybe have been caught out not being transparent. Not to be condescending, but I did a Master’s in Journalism. I was taught all of this stuff. Media ethics, responsibility, transparency and so on. If I had just fallen into blogging by accident, as so many women do – because they’re stylish or they’re beautiful (usually both) or they have an interesting point of view – how would I know all of this? You learn as you go, and I think today’s online audience is very unforgiving of bloggers’ mistakes, which is difficult.
You’ve recently started a podcast, How to be Sound, what’s the process for this like?
Ah, this is so much fun! I’ve always wanted to get into radio, but I guess I kind of thought I might be discovered someday by the RTÉ bigwigs. When I realised, at the tender age of 32, that wasn’t going to happen, I thought I’d just do my own podcast. And I’m really enjoying it. I have a producer, Liam Geraghty, who does the recording and editing for How to be Sound; he’s an old hand, he works for The Business on RTÉ and has his own brilliant podcast, Meet Your Maker, so actually, my workload isn’t that massive!
I come up with the guests, line up the questions and do the actual talking. If it sounds straightforward, it is! I basically get to have chats with people I really like and admire for an hour, and then I get to share those chats with the world.
Have you anything planned for your podcast/blog in 2018?
Like I said, a lot of my content comes about because something has just occurred to me – so in terms of plans, no, my “plans” notebook is pretty empty! I have some nice collaborations coming up, which is great for me, but I find that audiences are really reluctant to hit the “like” button, or even to click through when they think something has been paid for, which is so disappointing. You spend your time creating free content and the odd time you get money for it, your followers – who have been consuming your content for free all along – refuse to play ball. I don’t really get it, to be honest. I go out of my way to like paid-for content for all of the brilliant women I follow; I’m delighted when I see talented women making bank! I’m also hoping to start drafting in a few more “celeb” type guests for HTBS; so far it’s been people I know, but now that I’m finding my feet it may be time to venture further afield.
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