10 Things I Learned About Mommy Bloggers

Observations from Stephanie Azzarone following the BlogHer 2009 Annual Conference

ImageThere are 42 million women active in social media today on at least a weekly basis, and a little over half of them are moms. Of those, about 11.5 million write, comment on and/or read blogs.
In July, I had the pleasure of attending BlogHer, the country’s largest conference of women bloggers. It was, to say the least, both an educational and entertaining experience. The gathering was filled with lots of hugging, incredible enthusiasm, more parties and freebies than the average citizen could handle, celebrities, lots of helpful information and great networking. It also revealed or underscored some truths and trends that toy companies should keep in mind when targeting this growing and highly influential audience.

  1. Mom bloggers are not all alike. At the BlogHer dinner my company, Child’s Play Communications, hosted for our Team Mom blogger review network, I sat between a stay-at-home mom of 6 and a Yale grad who is currently a full-time corporate VP. They both have very successful blogs. Companies reaching out to mom bloggers would be wise to read all blogs carefully and not make assumptions about the personalities behind them. In this world as with traditional media, smart targeting is key to success.
  2. A current subject of concern among bloggers: Pending FTC guidelines that may penalize them for making false claims or not disclosing that they were given free product or payment for a review. The agency is expected to announce its decision later this month. Marketers should follow this development carefully and be confident that the bloggers they are working with are following the rules.
  3. Some moms blog for fun, others to make money. At one session, the split was about 50:50.
  4. Compensation is a major topic. Some mom bloggers want to be paid for reviewing products. Others feel doing so will ruin their integrity. This is one topic that is not likely to go away soon. Manufacturers would do well to know where the bloggers they deal with stand on the subject.
  5. Many mom bloggers look at product review samples as payment for their work. Others see them simply as a means to get that work done. 
  6. On an ongoing basis when pitching bloggers, many companies offer giveaways as a way of securing blogger visibility. But certain bloggers don’t like doing giveaways because it takes too much time and effort. Others won’t review your product unless they can do giveaways. 
  7. Many moms feel that they are inundated with products to review. This has reached such a point that one blogger group called for a “PR Blackout” the week of August 10 – a period during which participants would refuse to post any information from publicists or even to take their calls. As of publication date, this is taking place among members of this group. Many other bloggers feel this is a self-defeating move for the momosphere.  Still others want to know why they’re not getting any products to review. Companies need to identify which bloggers want to partner with them on an ongoing basis, and which don’t.
  8. Major BlogHer exhibitors such as PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Microsoft, along with toy company sponsors such as Leapfrog and Wild Planet, clearly recognize the value of targeting bloggers. At booths or parties, companies typically offered free products or on-site pampering – which bloggers have come to expect.
  9. Those exhibitor/sponsor freebies were the source of much post-conference buzz. When it came to “swag,” bloggers felt that there was either too much or too little. In one case, a blogger threatened a Crocs representative that if he didn’t provide her with free samples, she would write negatively about him on her blog. The bottom line for companies: Be prepared for anything.
  10. When it comes to mom bloggers, some are simply more professional than others.

Stephanie Azzarone is president of Child’s Play Communications, specialists in publicity and marketing communications for products targeted to moms. She has been involved in social media for the past few years and is founder of Team Mom, the award-winning mommy blogger product-review network. She was also the speaker in the Ask the Expert session of BlogHer Business and has addressed the subject of marketing to mom bloggers at numerous industry functions. Stephanie blogs about social and marketing trends that affect moms at Mom Market Trends. Hasbro, Gund, K’NEX and Spinmaster have been among her company’s many toy clients.