Marketing Muscle of Mom Bloggers
In over a decade of formally studying moms, I’ve never seen as much of a frenzy surrounding one type of marketing initiative as I’ve witnessed with mom bloggers. Blogging has taken everyone by storm including the moms themselves. Much to their own surprise, Mom Bloggers are accidental business women. They are mothers who simply started a blog to chronicle their journey as a mother or to find like-minded women with children and are suddenly receiving hundreds of product samples, special event invitations and free merchandise in their inbox every day.
With as much attention as the mom blogosphere receives, it still only represents about one-third of the general population of mothers. Today, according to BlogHer research, more than 45 million women participate in the blogosphere weekly. It is estimated that about half are women with children, bringing the total to about 23 million of the 83 million moms in the US. This is why I often warn marketers who are targeting mothers not to view blogs as a silver bullet. The majority of mom bloggers are Generation X and Millennial mothers who post about their experiences as moms. More than 40% of women consider blogs a reliable source of advice and information and over 50% admit that blogs influence their buying decisions. (1) Most mom bloggers have only been in the blogosphere for less than twenty four months.
Blogging is the perfect tool for the Generation Y and Generation X mothers. Its functionality aligns very closely with the character traits of these two cohorts. First, blogging provides immediate gratification. Second, blogging fits nicely with their desire for customized motherhood. Blogging allows moms to connect with like-minded moms. If you are a Christian mom, you might follow Lori Seaborg’s blog, Just Pure Lovely, and if you are a New York mom you may follow the posts on Mommypoppins.com, where Anna Fader celebrates her New York upbringing by sharing the fun of raising a baby in Manhattan. Blogging also gives moms a platform for cause marketing and philanthropic support. Many moms use their blogs to connect with moms who share the same priorities or values. Finally, blogging as a tool allows moms to retain more of their own individualism. Yes, many of these moms blog on motherhood, but many use their blogs as a sounding board on life. Whether it’s not being satisfied in the bedroom or resenting housekeeping, moms have an outlet for their concerns or frustrations to be heard.
The use of mom blogs allows marketers to maximize the influence of mom mavens. This group, as we know, has long shared information about products, retailers and services with other mothers. Today with the help of the Internet, they can tell thousands, and in some cases millions, of other mothers. I hear more and more from moms that they have added mom blogs to their list of resources when researching a new product, travel destination or retailer. Marketers have quickly come to realize the power of mommy bloggers. Two great marketing initiatives rolled into one- viral online marketing and word of mouth influencers. However, it’s the “how to use mom bloggers” question that has created so much debate in the blogosphere and even more discussion in corporate America. The undefined rules of engagement with bloggers combined with the tidal wave of influence- both positive and negative- that can be generated by bloggers has forced many companies to make mistakes along the way.
Take the example of an egg company who sent out invitations to mom bloggers to distribute their Easter ideas to other moms. A great idea that, you’ll see, was spoiled by poor execution. The mistake that these eager marketers made was to send the Easter pitch to Jewish mom bloggers who were insulted that the marketer didn’t take the time to get to know them. The egg company received a great deal of negative reaction throughout the blogosphere. In traditional outreach, I’m sure that the egg company would not send the Easter ideas to the sports editor at the Washington Post but the appropriate features writer. The same rule applies with mom bloggers. Marketers and public relations professionals must take the time to get to know their target audience. Here are a few rules to remember in engaging Mom Bloggers:
1) Take the time to get to know the mom before contacting her.
I suggest reading the blog for a few days or follow the mom on Twitter;
2) Make sure the bloggers you are contacting are people you want representing your brand. Not all mom bloggers are created equal. If you have a problem with the “F” word being used in the same paragraph as your product’s name, it is in your best interest to identify the style of the mommy blogger;
3) Remember they are trying to build their brand just as you are trying to build yours. Create programs that allow the mom blogger to build her traffic via giveaways, sweepstakes, coupon codes and product exclusives;
4) The relationship should be a two way street. Don’t send a blogger a generic press kit with a lot of information about YOU and nothing in it for her. It’s not enough to say, “We think your audience will find this interesting. She doesn’t need your marketing messages, she’s got plenty others in her email inbox;
5) Personalize your communication to her;
6) When all else fails, just ask the mom for help.
Moms love to nurture relationships- not only with her children but also with brands. If you aren’t sure how to work with her, simply express your desire to collaborate and ask her for suggestions. Moms are innovative and creative and happy to help.
There are many ways to leverage your relationships with mom bloggers beyond basic product sampling. Some of the most effective programs include exclusive interviews with celebrity spokespeople, Twitter events, vlogging tours and meal planning kits. Recently, my team sent dinner kits to mom bloggers intended for their husbands. The dinner kits had everything the spouse needed to cook dinner and give mom the night off. As you can imagine, moms loved having dinner planned for them and expressed their appreciation through photos posted to Twitterpics, blog posts, videos posted to www.momtv.com, Facebook mentions and of course lots and lots of tweets. The idea is to get creative and establish a meaningful dialogue with these influential moms.
One final word on engaging mom bloggers: don’t stop at blogging when trying to connect your brand to social media mom influencers. Technology is changing quickly and moms are changing with it. Today’s mothers are quickly introducing video into their blogs and onto their Facebook profiles. Sites such asMomTV.com now have over 50 mom-produced live shows that draw hundreds of mothers every day to videos and vlogs. Newbaby.com boasts over 500 mom vloggers who are reviewing product and chronicling motherhood with their webcam. Moms are moving at the speed of technology and in order to truly engage them in a dialogue with your brand that allows them to share with their peers, you must communicate in a way that stays up with their multi-tasking, multi-media lives.
(1) -Wright, Susan. “BlogHer Statistics,” US National Census Data Projections, June 2007, www.compasspartners-llc.com.
Maria Bailey is CEO of BSM Media, a marketing and media firm that engages moms with brands. She is the author of “Marketing to Moms”, “Trillion Dollar Moms” and “Mom 3.0: Marketing with Today’s Mothers by Leveraging New Media and Technology”. She blogs at www.bluesuitmom.com and is the co-founder of MomTV.com, Newbaby.com and MomSelect.com. Marketers can watch her on www.marketingtomomsTV.com or follow her on Twitter(MomTalkRadio).