MEET the Somerset blogger who has become an internet sensation by opening up the social media door to popularity through ‘her honesty’.

Jo Middleton who is ‘a Somerset girl born and bred’ launched her internet career back in 2009.

She was originally working as a fundraiser for a charity but gave it all up as she wanted to become a freelance journalist.

However, she had no journalistic experience or any qualification relating to journalism but this did not deter her in her ambition.

Jo from Taunton, wrote up to 100 letters to various editors asking if they had any work.

While the majority of them were negative, there were a few who said yes.

This is The West Country:

She started writing about trout fishing (again she knew nothing about it) and for the now defunct Park and Holiday Homes which saw her going around the South West interviewing people who were staying at holiday homes.

She said: “I set up my own blog as a marketing tool even though I could not string a sentence together.

“But it evolved and it grew on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“When I started I was a single parent with two children aged seven and 14 years old. When I began what I did was to share my concerns about life as a single parent and saw it as a way of building up support.

“The aim of the blog was a chance for me to showcase my writing and for me to be myself.

“That has been important for me as being honest is the key.

“My style of writing is to write like I am talking to someone. I tell them what I am feeling and as though they are talking to me.

This is The West Country:

“When I am doing a post the first part of it is always an anecdote.

“I think the people who have been reading my column since the start have become very loyal.

“I would not review any brand which I did not agree with and did not approve with their ethics.”

The ‘honesty’ and ‘personal approach’ taken has certainly worked for Jo as on two social media platforms she has 79.7k followers on Twitters and 1.5k on Bloglovin.

What has been fantastic for Jo has been able to travel to four different continents all down to her blog.

She said: “Before I started writing my blog I have travelled no further a field than Spain.

“Then I was going to New York to interview Antonio Banderas. I was well outside my comfort zone for this.

This is The West Country:

“He really did sound like Puss in Boots when he spoke.

I did not know you had to have questions ready in advance I knew he would get asked hundreds of questions and I just wanted to be different.

“I did ask him if cats ruled the world would they leave food out for humans?”

On her blog page at slummysingle Jo describes what she does and who she is as: “Writer, marketer, trainer and mum of two, living in Somerset.

I have yet to get the hang of the whole ‘having a blogging niche’ thing, so expect random musings on everything from my teenage pregnancy experiences to car air fresheners. Do a search now if you like, they’re both there.”

This is The West Country:

This is what happens with her rants as she calls them on her website. Jo said: “I would like to say there was a strategic plan but I have to say I wait until something inspires me and when I get talking to people I get ideas.

“Such as seeing the £11 hairdressers. I enjoy finding things which I like and then see what happens after that.

“I enjoy finding stories.”

And this enjoyment is certainly something which Jo’s readers have picked up on and one which makes her blog a ‘must read’.

As she said: “What I feel is my talent is being able to write like I do.

“This is something I enjoy doing and people still enjoy reading it.

“They like the way I write and the feedback from them is great.

“This is not a hobby for me, it is a full time job and I am a professional and never miss any deadlines.

This is The West Country:

“Since I started blogging I have become much more confident and feel I am capable of so much more.

“I have learnt I am a lot braver than I thought and would never have imagined I would have travelled to the other side of the world on my own. And I am a much better blogger than fundraiser.”

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