Reflections on Mommy Bloggers

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As many know, in the last few years the number of mom’s blogging has exploded. Their popularity has surged as countless women go online daily for information, support, giveaways and entertainment.

Mommy Bloggers Are Hot

Mommy bloggers have become so influential that when McDonald’s named Rick Wion their first director-social media, the press release announced how the company had specifically mandated he beef up social media outreach to target groups such as mommy bloggers. While the press release made this sound like big news, McDonald’s has actually been using social media and working with Mommy bloggers for several years through its “Moms Quality Correspondents.” In another well known instance from a couple of years back, Mommy bloggers rallied in criticism of a Motrin campaign such that the ads were pulled. That was roughly two years ago. More recently, Pampers experienced a similar well-documented backlash. Basically, mommy bloggers are firmly established as hugely trusted influencers over a promotional campaign. We have some interesting links documenting this at the end of the Motrin case blog entry; networking, documenting home life, rallying behind a cause or a product and so many other things aren’t terribly new. It all has simply taken on new shape with the advent of the internet, the web and what we now term as social media (Blogs etc.). This ever-changing wave must be ridden.

Some Facts To Consider

By most accounts, Mom’s influence over 85% of all consumer purchases in the USA, and wield $5 trillion in purchasing power. In most cases moms do the majority of grocery shopping, Christmas shopping and vacation planning. And when they are looking to buy, they research online, ask trusted friends for advice and turn to their favorite mommy blog to see what other woman have to say. Because mommy bloggers typically only review products they need and almost never promote a product they would not want to use or have not tried, who wouldn’t trust them? These women tell it like it is and are known for their candid discussion of all issues. An influential mom can pump up a brand or break it down with one post. It sounds like a stereotype, but moms really are fiercely loyal and protective of their kind. When a mom finds a blogger she likes, she will quickly become a loyal follower, book marking and sharing the information with her friends much quicker than if it were a tech or news site. Not surprisingly, with more and more companies increasingly turning to these influential moms for promotional purposes and product endorsement, the Federal Trade Commission in December issued guidelines that recommend bloggers who write about a product to make clear to readers whether they have received money or other benefits.

Blogs Are Like A 24-7 Mom group

As these woman throng to the blogosphere to talk to someone who gets them and participate in discussions on everything from school, education, gardening, food, technology, baby products, kitchen gadgets, home-safety, automobiles, politics, environment, fashion, marriage, sex and anything else a mom wants to talk about, they also become the creators of content. The moms with a niche or interesting angle tend to grow their community and following with the most success. This, in turn, results in their increased sphere of influence. Beth Blecherman, one of our esteemed blogger allies cautions anyone who wishes to really make a niche for themselves (as a blogger) via online social media channels (i.e. blog, Twitter, video, Facebook etc): “Don’t try and do everything at once. In other words, focus on a certain subject or theme etc. Also, don’t hesitate to learn strategies from existing personal online brands that are successful. Look at their approach to their community building and how they integrate other social media tools.” She has a good point because if there is anything that distinguishes Mommy Bloggers from one another it’s those with a clear focus and ambition and those who are blogging for perhaps humbler reasons. By no means are we casting judgment. There is well-documented concern within the Mommy Blogger space that all of this online activity does detract from motherhood itself. To each their own.

Beth is the co-founder of http://www.siliconvalleymomsgroup.com and founder of http://www.techmamas.com

Where Does One Talk to “Mom”?

One of Media Needle’s most esteemed allies from this space Ciaran Blumenfeld (founder of http:// www.Momfluential.net) cautions “Blogs and sites will continue to grow and change and mutate. There is no such thing as a generic “blog” any more any way. There are photo sites, video sites, ranking sites, contest sites, review sites, editorial sites… Multimedia use will increase and social networking will just continue to swap spit with what’s out there now”. We agree. In other words, you might identify a strong set of Mommy bloggers by twitter re-tweets or a series of YouTube product testing videos. We’d be fools to not mention the ongoing snowball of facebook. In other words, we can still call it a “web” can’t we? A suite of tools are at everyone’s disposal of which the Blog is just one element. Keep your eyes open. Ciaran adds “I like Whrrl.com. There are so many apps and tools for information finding, gathering, sharing. It can be hard to keep up but I love the hunt for a new tool “find”/ I find new ones every day. Not all of them stick but the finding is fun!”

In Closing

We’d like to think that keeping it fun is helpful. Marketers can be dry. Brand advocates can be cut-and-paste. One thing we need to add is that this realm is made of real people with real life experience. If you wish to direct efforts towards the Mommy Blogger realm, cap it off with respect. Kimberly Kauer of Silicon Valley Moms comments in one of her 2009 entries “… we believe this debate points to a growing sentiment among female bloggers that we want sponsors to engage our minds, not our purses.” See: http://www.svmoms.com/2009/08/draft-a-blogher-lesson-in-womens-power-and-perception.html for better context. Moms with profit motives notwithstanding 🙂

This blog entry was edited by an “Honorary Uncle Blogger” with frequent interruptions by a 2 year old and a 1 year old.

Interesting links:

Jeremiah Owyang’s brilliant analysis of the Motrin “event” and how it was monitored: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/11/17/motrin-mothers-groundswell-by-the-numbers/

A stellar YouTube documentation of Mommy Tweets in response to the Motrin campaign: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhR-y1N6R8Q

A nice summary of the Pampers case study: http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Pampers+feels+wrath+mommy+bloggers/2701485/story.html

Elizabeth Zamos and Bernard Yin

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