Just a few years ago, if someone said “mom bloggers,” you’d think of stay-at-home moms with nothing better to do than to review your brand’s products (I’m not saying that was true even then, but it was the perception).
Now moms who blog are a force to be reckoned with…and one you want on your team.
I recently attended BlogHer, the largest conference for women who blog. There were over 3,000 attendees, mostly female, but with a few guys thrown in for good measure. I previously attended in 2008, and was blown away at how much the conference and exhibit hall had ballooned in just three years. It goes to prove that brands recognize the power that bloggers have.
In the opening session, the founders of BlogHer shared some interesting statistics with us. BlogHer and DeVries conducted a study called “Beauty Is in the Eye of the Blog Holder,” and found that bloggers lead the way in influencing other women in purchasing beauty products:
Which resource is most helpful to provide beauty and product advice and recommendations?
- Familiar bloggers: 61 percent
- Store website: 46 percent
- Social network: 33 percent
- Message board: 20 percent
- Blog that was stumbled upon in search: 19 percent
A full 80 percent of those surveyed said they consider bloggers as reliable a resource for recommendations on beauty as a magazine writer or editor. Clearly, this is a demographic that can no longer be ignored.
Working With Mom Bloggers
While some bloggers do “work for cookies,” meaning that brands send them products to review and no monetary compensation, more bloggers are demanding fair compensation for their time. And I agree. Many companies question whether paying bloggers to review their products will skew the review. And I say that a blogger has a responsibility to her readers to give a fair and accurate review of a product, money or no money. Brands should pay them for their time, just like they’d pay a consultant.
If a blogger hates the product, she has the opportunity to communicate her problems with the company rather than writing a review that will put the company in a bad light. Trust the process, people. Bloggers deserve to be paid.
More brands are coming up with innovative ways to work with bloggers, beyond reviewing or giving away product. Companies like Collective Bias are corralling bloggers and connecting them with brands for interactive nationwide campaigns. They’re holding events in cities all over the country; having bloggers photojournal their experience in their stores; and giving away cash prizes. By working with a well-respected blogger base, brands are getting more bang for their buck that advertising can’t beat.
To make mom blogging work for your brand, find bloggers who are already talking about your products, or who at least have an audience of your target market. Open the floor to ways you can work together long-term. And compensate them. You’ll create brand ambassadors for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising, and get better results.
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Good, useful post. Working with mom bloggers is both an art and a science. It can be easy to stumble if brands don’t think things through. I even suggest using small focus groups first to vet major promotions.
Also, get to know the mom bloggers you are pitching, before you pitch a product. Do your research and make sure you are pitching the right product to the right blogger. I’ve heard mom bloggers complain, just like journalists do, about receiving too many un-targeted pitches. Brands should be aware that some mom bloggers have complained, sometimes publicly on their blogs or on social networking sites, (or in private at mom blogger events) about botched product pitches. It is a new landscape that we need to navigate carefully.
PR pros should do more than just grab a list of bloggers and send out a pitch on a product of interest to parents of 2-3-year-olds, when half of the bloggers on the list target parents of tweens, teens or infants.
Your last point is especially poignant. I myself have been pitched for diapers when my child is 7! And realize too, PR folks, that mom bloggers are among the most vocal in sharing good and bad about your brand, so if you don’t do your homework, you’ll be blasted!
PR pros are often pushed for time, and social media has, as you noted, brought in new elements that we need to learn before we leap in. Short cuts we used to take may have different consequences than they used to.
I was lucky to connect with several very cool mom bloggers early on during my use of Twitter in 2007 and 2008. I got to know them over time, long before I pitched them anything, or brought them in for a focus group or quick consult. I have found those connections invaluable, as well as a few have become friends.
Personally I think 2011 is the Year of the (mom)Blogger!
And while I’m passionate about bloggers getting compensated I think many don’t realize that I’m not always talking about CASH.
(maybe I’m in the minority…)
I recently wrote a piece on my personal blog titled: Will Blog for Toilet Paper… my main point is (like Cathy points out) if you know the blogger you might find out there are talking points beyond cash that will make sense to a blogger.
In my case do NOT offer me lotion. I don’t need it and won’t work for lotion. However, I ALWAYS need toilet paper. (I was tongue in cheek.. but should you scroll down my comments on that post.. you’d see that an online toilet paper website-who knew they existed?- came to me offering to pay me in toilet paper! Heck yes I said!)
Also if you come to me with a cause campaign surrounding Juvenile Diabetes Research or wellness I will jump at it and refuse payment to boot. (I sleep with a Type 1 Diabetic).
My last point is that for some of ‘us’ this is still a ‘jobby’ (not everyone!) but remembering that this is fun for me as well as a way to supplement income will help you understand my point of view. Help me keep it fun.
Help me WANT to say yes to you. Don’t offer me lotion. Find something that will work for both of us!
You’re right; shortcuts have much more public consequences!
I, too, have gotten to know a lot of mom bloggers (primarily because I have a personal blog and attend lots of blogging conferences), so I’m privvy to hearing their complaints about PR pros.
Great points in the comments! I think that verification/selection process is part of the reason companies like the one mentioned, and One2One Network or Global Influence, are a great place to start for companies trying to explore this world – they specifically help narrow down the list to bloggers who have expressed an interest in that topic or a related topic.
@Carissa!! Good to see you! All my bloggy buddies are starting to show up here, I see. You’re right: there’s a wide range of what bloggers want in return (connection to a good brand, free product, money), so PR folks need to customize (though from the other side, I can see that being time consuming).
@Ang–Hello to you! Another benefit to PR folks working with a vetted list is that they can find out how much traffic a blog gets. I know early on, a lot of PR pros didn’t bother to find out how many visitors a site got, then got upset when the 10 people who read the review post didn’t buy the product!
Ohh that opens a whole can of worms to talk about a bloggers stats/reach VS what the PR/brand’s goals are for the campaign.
It’s a total headache when it’s not made clear to you the blogger what their goals for the job are.. and when you ask.. you get.. um.. yeah.. we don’t know!
Regarding Cathy’s first comment, I would emphasize the art. Mom bloggers have very complex motivations so focusing on just one thing can work beautifully or backfire horribly (just ask Motrin).
@Eggmarketing – AKA Susan – By the way – I like the subtle nature of your title – Secrets to Marketing With Mom Bloggers…the emphasis on “with” not “to.”
Good to see @CarissaRogers & @AngEngland here, just two of many mom bloggers who get that the marketing landscape is changing and who are willing to try and find the ways to make it work for both PR pros & mom bloggers.
@Cathy–Hello! The subtle difference between “with” and “to” is that you’re trying to partner, not cram some message down the blogger’s throat! Thanks for your tweets on this, by the way.