Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
Gemma Johnson, CEO of money saving website MyFamilyClub, on being blogging crazy, creating partnerships with PRs and why the site's money and shopping zones are the most PRable...
Tell us a bit about the history of the site
Back when I was five months pregnant with my first child, I was working in the prepaid card industry and I came up with the idea of a money management solution aimed at pregnant women. The idea was a prepaid card that had a discount portal attached to it and offered mums savings on their household essentials. I had always had high hopes for the idea and MyFamilyClub.co.uk was an extension of the original idea, combining the money management tool with a money saving content-rich hub of information and resources for parents.
Talk us through the key channels on the site.
We produce masses of content to help families save money. Some of our most popular features include our weekly round-up of best deals, discounts and our researched 'best buys' on your weekly family shop. Our voucher codes and competitions are very popular. We also have some great money saving tips and advice from expert how-to guides to instructional videos, eBooks and recipes!
Which are the most popular?
Our shopping zone is one of the most popular areas of the site. We know that savvy parents are always looking for ways to save money on shopping, from finding the cheapest price on household essentials to getting bargains on non-essentials like weekend breaks, fashion and entertainment. In a similar vein, our travel section and days out pieces are strong performers too.
As parents are sometimes stuck in a 'boredom rut' on what to cook each week, our recipe section is very popular.
Which bits of the site are most PRable?
Our money and shopping zones are our most popular and PRable. Primarily we're on the lookout for really good competitions which we can run onsite and within our newsletters. Since shopping is such an important part of our site, PRs who can provide great products to review, exclusive codes, vouchers or discounts will get to the head of the queue. Our audience loves affordable weekend breaks and days out suitable for the whole family. Travel pitches are very welcome. Finally, anyone who works with food and can think of interesting ideas for our kitchen zone should get in touch too. As a mum of two myself, food is an integral part of our day from packing school lunchboxes, providing healthy snacks on the go and of course, family mealtimes.
Tell us a bit about the typical reader? What are they looking for from the site?
We are a family-focused money saving website and we know that in most households it's mum who holds the purse strings. As an example, if I don't buy the children clothes my husband has no clue and I'll come home to find my two-and-a-half-year-old dressed in some awful concoction of baby clothes to fit a 12-month old and some of her eldest brother's clothing!
We know our demographic very well, and we can pinpoint their favourite activities down to eating out, shopping and spending quality time with the family. We also know that primarily they are looking for a bargain as the price of living is squeezing us all hard.
What's the best deal you've ever run on the site?
We've had lots of fantastic deals onsite but we get great feedback from our 'best buys' table. We have a team of dedicated writers who research the market and pull together the best places our families can find the biggest discounts on their weekly essentials – be it the cheapest place to buy toilet roll that week or the best deal to bulk buy nappies - we cover 17 of the routine household products that we know parents buy week in and week out. We also recently ran a competition offering a year's supply of washing powder, and we had more than 6,000 entries!
How popular are competitions?
Our competitions are incredibly popular, who doesn't like the feeling of winning something? Also, in the tough times we are all facing at the moment, winning a year's supply of washing powder or £1000 to spend at Tesco can make a huge difference to families. They are popular on our social channels too, with high levels of engagement. Our newsletters do very well and of the two weekly editions, one, due to popular demand, is dedicated solely to competitions.
What types of prizes tend to be on offer?
It's a real mixture but they are all family or mum friendly. Our most popular competitions are generally split into three parts, so bundles of family essentials (year supplies of washing powder, a month-free shop, that sort of thing), toy bundles and days out and weekend breaks.
Tell us about the Just Ask forum?. What does it offer to families?
Our Just Ask forum is a way for parents to be able to share with other mums. Subjects could range from fantastic shopping discounts spotted on the high street, to not-to-be-missed voucher codes. Just Ask is also a portal for parents to let off steam and get and share advice on more personal matters from work, to kids to diets.
What advice would you give to a PR pitching to the team?
We're always happy to work with PRs whether that's through running a competition, reviewing products or promoting fantastic codes and discounts. We're also on the lookout to create partnerships with PRs, so if you have a campaign which you want to get in front of a family audience and your brand is relevant, we’ll be happy to have an initial chat to see how we can work together.
What's the best way for them to get in contact?
In the first instance please email our communications executive, Diana Yeboah (Diana@MyFamilyClub.co.uk with any pitches. We're very busy but can do coffee or lunch where possible.
Is exclusivity on deals that are featured important?
Wherever possible! Our audience is pretty savvy and know their way around most of the big shopping and discount code websites. Give us a good product/deal and we'll shout about it from the roof tops.
You've got quite a strong team of bloggers. Anything PRs can do to help?
We're pretty blogging crazy at MyFamilyClub and we've got a strong following socially too. We're always up for doing guest blogging so if the subject is suitable, please do get in touch.
You've got more than 4,000 followers on Twitter. How important is social media for the site?
Very. We have a strong following on Facebook and Twitter and we take it very seriously. We also have a growing audience on Google +, Pinterest, Youtube, Reddit and Digg. We hold a very popular weekly twitter chat (#thriftythursday) which does incredibly well.
Are you Twitter mad or Twitter shy?
Twitter moderate. I love tweeting and have found lots of fantastic campaigns and ideas this way. I'm pretty busy so I'm not on Twitter all the time but I work with our digital team to suggest ideas and I make sure I keep up to date with websites like Mashable and Social Media Examiner.
I have been known to post odd tweets of my commuting journey which is around 1 hour 45 minutes each way, so I’ve been able to share the hilarious and not-so hilarious adventures on the tube!