10 Things I Learned About Mommy Bloggers
Observations from Stephanie Azzarone following the
BlogHer 2009 Annual Conference
There 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.
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.
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.
Some moms blog for fun, others to make money. At one session, the
split was about 50:50.
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
Many mom bloggers look at product review samples as payment for
their work. Others see them simply as a means to get that work
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
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to mom bloggers, some are simply more professional
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.