Mom bloggers and brands: What they want, what you need

The mom blogging community is a powerful and influential one. How well do you understand their desires?

We are often asked for advice about how brand reps can more effectively work with mom bloggers. We’ve researched female bloggers and their likes, dislikes, wants, and needs. We also regularly give presentations—to brand reps and to agencies—on how to get the most out of campaigns that involve mom bloggers.

Here we’ll share some of our research and tactics for best practices.

It’s interesting that many agencies and PR firms assign young staffers and/or associates who’ve never had children to work with and/or court mom bloggers. Though these folks are certainly capable marketing and PR professionals, there is a disconnect. That only makes sense; it can be difficult for people who don’t have children to understand the parental mindset.

Parenthood changes your life, in amazing and sometimes inconceivable ways. The parenting blogosphere is filled with people who are writing their way through that incredible journey.

These parent bloggers are attractive to brands and agencies. Many have built personal brands and communities and are considered experts in the parenting space. They typically have loyal readers and deep friendships in the blogging community through their blogs and social networks.

Let’s talk numbers

Discovering what motivates women bloggers, what they seek, and how to work most effectively with them lies in the numbers.

A 2011 survey by The Social Studies Group and BlogFrog explored topics such as blogger/brand experience, the ideal brand/blogger relationship, and other key elements of the female blogger universe.

(The survey targeted self-identifying “Green Moms,” and doesn’t describe the full mom blogger world. However, we’ll use this group as a microcosm. Keep that in mind when digesting these data, which will be referred to throughout the story.)

From the survey, some interesting facts emerged, among them:

• Two-thirds of bloggers reject at least half the pitches they get from brands.
• Social good matters to bloggers. Trust levels increase 56 percent for campaigns that include an element of social good.
• More than 40 percent of influential bloggers have never been approached by brands, in some cases because brand reps simply don’t know they exist.
• The majority of women bloggers want long-term, deeper relationships with a few special brands.

Smart women, choosing home

Many times, women bloggers are underestimated, especially by the very brands and agencies that most might want to work with them. They rarely choose to stay home and raise children because they don’t have any other choice. Instead, they most often opt for the chance to do so. They are mostly a well-educated group, with a large percentage holding bachelor’s degrees and/or some post-graduate study.

The largest groups of female bloggers are ages 30 to 34 (23 percent) or 35 to 39 (20 percent), followed by those ages 25 to 29 (15 percent) and 40 to 44 (14 percent).

And have they got kids—74 percent of women bloggers have children 18 and under living at home. The most popular topics they blog about include family and parenting, lifestyle, crafts/do-it-yourself, food, and product reviews.

What are mom bloggers writing about?

That’s kind of a no-brainer. They blog about what they do and what they know. They blog about products they try, products they love, services they discover, things they recommend. They also aren’t shy about talking about what they don’t like and what they don’t recommend.

They want to share, and, equally as important, they listen to one another and take one another’s advice. Research supports that—93 percent of female bloggers have bought a product they found on a blog or via an online community.

How brands connect with women bloggers

Our research found that brands and agencies are often doing a poor job of connecting with mom bloggers. Blind, bulk, non-targeted email pitches are common, and bloggers often feel disrespected and disregarded as a result. Brands and their agents often exhibit lack of preparation and/or interest in a female blogger.

Money matters

Though many women bloggers may have started blogging as a way to share parenting experiences and be a part of a community of women navigating parenthood together, most of them view their blog as their job. They spend a lot of hours each week creating content for their blogs.

Our research confirmed that many brands and agencies overlook something simple: Those women would like to be compensated for the work they put into their blogs.

• 90 percent of women bloggers want to work with brands, so long as there is some form of compensation.
• 67 percent think revenue generation (not just “stuff”) is either somewhat or very important.
• Of the paltry 21 percent of female bloggers earning more than $1,000 per year as a result of their blogs, almost all are spending 30 hours or more per week on their blog.

As you can see, blogging sure isn’t profitable for a vast majority of female bloggers. In case you’re not into math as much as we are, 30 hours per week for 52 weeks is 1,560 hours. At $1,000 in income per year, that’s a whopping 64 cents per hour.

Brands and agencies doing blogger outreach, ask yourselves how willing you might be to spend 30 hours a week or more working on your business and earning 64 cents an hour—while trying to raise a family.

What brands can learn

Don’t be discouraged. Mom bloggers are generally interested in working with brands they believe in, brands whose reps get to know them and compensate them fairly. Dad bloggers do, too. Collectively, they like campaigns that make sense and suit their respective audiences.

They also like things to be organized. They want to know exactly what’s expected of them and what the compensation will be. They desire clear and concise communication from the brand or agency representative, and they want to feel valued. Those things aren’t shocking—they make sense.

If you’re a brand or agency rep seeking to work with mom bloggers, put this information to good use. Make sure the campaigns that you have in mind make sense for the bloggers with whom you want to work.

If you’re not sure, find a parent or two within the agency or company and ask them for an opinion. Bloggers want to be a part of campaigns that not only make sense, but also suit their respective audiences. Do yourselves a favor: Get to know them, what they blog about, and whether what they do suits your needs. Don’t waste their time just because you haven’t done your homework.

Parent bloggers can bring a lot of value to your campaigns. It takes only a little bit of effort to have a potentially huge success, and isn’t that what we all want?

Shelly Kramer is the founder and chief imagination officer of V3 Integrated Marketing. She co-authored this piece with Wendy Goldman Scherer, a partner of The Social Studies Group, a social media research firm she founded in 1996. This article first appeared in the March 2012 issue of The Social Media Monthly Magazine.

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