Posted tagged ‘Mom Bloggers’

Mom Blogger Profile: Liz Thompson of This Full House

April 1, 2009

liz-thompson-this-full-house-250jpgToday marks the launch of Mom Market Trends’ first in a series of monthly profiles of favorite mom bloggers. Liz Thompson of This Full House, welcome.

 

Liz Thompson

The big question: How do you manage to raise a family AND update your blog on a regular basis?

Good question. I try to get all of my writing done, while all 4 of my kids are in school, during the day.  Some days, this actually works.  Most times, I’m scrambling, to get things done, just like everyone else I know.

So, I now have a daily/weekly blogging schedule for each of my blogs. 

  • This Full House is my personal blog: I blog here 3 times per week, which includes  video blogging on Mondays, participating in Wordless Wednesdays and devoting Fridays to writing about, you know, just being a mom. 
  • This Full House Reviews is where I focus on products and the latest consumer issues:  I blog 5  times per week and run Open House Blog Tours on both blogs on Thursdays, where readers can leave links to their sites and events, every week.
  • This Full House Kids is our family blogging project:  I try and give my kids the chance to talk back, once a week.

My biggest trick is that I can schedule blog posts to publish at certain times and, this way, I can get a week’s worth of writing done ahead of time for the times when the kids are home sick, on spring break, etc…  Believe me, it works and helps keep the articles and stories I publish fresh and fun to write.      

How many years have you been a blogger? What’s changed since you started the blog?

I started blogging in 2003 – back before traffic counts and SEO’s ruled the earth – as another way to connect with other moms, share stories and feel a little less disconnected with life on the outside, beyond all the poop and diapers. 

 A lot has changed in 6 years. 

Today, the mom blog community has evolved and oftentimes is now approached as one rather large group of parenting experts.  It’s hard not to get caught up in it and then get frustrated when you start losing your voice, really.  Then again, I’m not a big fan of moms being lumped into one category, or over analyzing anything (or, anyone) anyway.

In fact, I just wrote a post about how competitive blogging has become, even among mom bloggers, to the point where in just using the term “mommy blogger” or “mom blogger” can make some people cringe. 

 I don’t have a problem with the term “mom blogger,” because I happen to be both.  Being a mom and a blogger are two distinctions that are very difficult to begin with, on their own. Put them together and, well, it amazes me when I can put two somewhat coherent sentences together without drooling all over my laptop.

People should try to remember that and perhaps I’ll respect myself better, in the morning. 

On your blog, you’ve discussed how companies successfully and unsuccessfully market to moms. Would you like to offer some dos and don’ts for this article? Switching gears, how do you market your blog? Do you think marketing your blog is important? 

Honestly, I don’t have a problem with companies marketing to moms (it’s pretty much the reason why I started my product review blog). I’m a mom and buy a lot of the stuff we use at our house, too.  I also spend a lot of my spare time on the internet looking for products or ways to make my family’s life a little easier.   

Then, I enjoy writing about them. 

Having said that, in marketing my blog, I have to be very careful with what I choose to write about.  Because, I’m sharing information with other families, that already have precious little time to spare, like mine.

The marketers that I work with understand this, already (if they don’t, I try to remind them) and, in turn, they know that I fully intend to share the insights I’ve gained from working with companies and their brands.  Hopefully, I can give my readers some relevant and practical information that they can take home and use, for themselves.

There are more than 7 million articles on proper blogger relations (I checked, according to Google) but it comes down to answering two simple questions.

You want people to trust your brand?

Do NOT waste a consumer’s time.

You want to market to moms?

Do NOT take a blogger for granted.

What’s your favorite thing about being a mom blogger?

Phew, an easy question.  I love meeting moms (and dads) from all walks of life, really and enjoy hearing from my readers — especially, when something I’ve written (or done) resonates really strongly with a fellow blogger.  

If you’ve visited with me (even once) then you know that I am clumsy, forgetful, easily distracted and just try too gosh-darned hard to be everything, to everyone and, more often than not, end up feeling like a horrible person/mother/blogger.

 Aaaand, I’m okay with that. 

 Because, at the end of the day, I know that there will be at least one person who will be able to relate and it makes me happy to know that a self-professed dork of a momblogger (like me) made anOTHER mother look AND feel good.

Visit Liz at This Full House.

 

 

 

Social Success

March 16, 2009

More people globally now use social networks/blogs than email – 66.8% vs. 65.1%, according to a study released last week by market research firm Nielsen. This means that two-thirds of the world’s Internet population visit social networking or blogging sites, categories that now account for almost 10% of all Internet time. Social networks and blogs are now the fourth most popular online activity today, following, in descending order: search, general interest portals & communities and software applications. Email comes in fifth, and the use of social networks grew at double the rate of email usage — 5.4% vs. 2.7%.

 

More details from the report:

 

  • Time spent on social networks and blogs is growing at over 3 times the rate of overall Internet growth. 

·         The total amount of time spent online worldwide increased by 18% between December 2007 and December 2008

·         In the same period the amount of time spent on “Member Community” sites  (social networks and blogs) rose by 63%.

 

And to think that not that long ago, email was considered the second coming.

 

For more details, see Global Faces and Networked Places. 

 

 

 

 

Kids Today Conference

February 27, 2009

 

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Kids Today conference in San Antonio, on how companies in the children’s home furnishings industry can – and should – work with mommy bloggers to market products. There was, happily, clear interest in the topic, meaning these manufacturers and retailers alike understand the influence bloggers have on the community of moms. Thank you to Kids Today magazine for the invitation and to members of the audience for your feedback.

 

Marketers, what have you learned in your dealings with mom bloggers – what experiences would you like to share?

 

Mom bloggers, what would you like marketers to know about the dos and don’ts of working with you most effectively?

Myth and the Mommy Blogger

January 19, 2009

Mommy bloggers have become so celebrated that a multitude of myths are wafting up around them. On Friday, Jessica Smith posted a great piece called the Top 10 Misconceptions About Mommy Bloggers on Mashable. From my own experience both as a marketer and a blogger, I couldn’t resist commenting below on some of the misconceptions she addresses:

 

·         Mommy Bloggers just write to get free stuff

·         Mommy Bloggers are uneducated, lack creativity, and don’t take writing seriously

                                                                                                    

Some mommy bloggers do just write to get free stuff—and why not, especially in this economy? But in return, they’re putting a lot of time and energy into letting their readers know exactly what they think about those products. Others at this stage are probably getting, from their point of view, too much free stuff, and it’s clearly not the reason they’re blogging. Their goal is to offer support and advice to other moms, build a reputation for themselves as influencers, and, increasingly to develop that positive visibility into professional opportunities. At Child’s Play Communications, where we specialize in marketing to moms, we rely on mom bloggers for educated feedback on everything from new products to the effective use of social media for our clients. We know from our relationships with them that many mommy bloggers come from PR, marketing, advertising and other fields where creativity and writing skills are key.                 

                                                                                                                          

·         Blogging is considered a hobby by most Mommy Bloggers

Not any of the ones I’ve met – which would explain why we’re working with them on a regular basis. Hobby? Everyone I know seems to be running blogging empires or to be on their way to doing so.

 

·         Mommy Bloggers only write about baby-related topics of conversation

Some do – lots do. But they also write about politics, sex, fitness, illnesses, business and the state of the world. I’m a mom and I blog about social and marketing trends that affect moms. Does that make me a mommy blogger?

 

·         Mommy Bloggers make tons of cash

·         Mommy Bloggers don’t make any money at all

Exceptionally innovative, dedicated and marketing-savvy mommy bloggers become advisors for corporations, write books, serve as spokespeople, attract major advertising – and make tons of cash. Others make a little bit of cash. And still more aren’t in it for the bucks, will never make money from it anyway and don’t really care because that’s not why they’re blogging in the first place.

For the full list of Top 10 Myths about Mommy Bloggers, visit http://mashable.com/author/jessica-smith/.

Out of the Mouths of Moms

December 8, 2008

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a terrific mom-blog presentation here in NYC, featuring a panel that included representatives of Mom Trends, Mom in the City, The Voice of Mom,  Savvy Mommy and Mom Central. The group discussed why they began blogging, the best and worst pitches they’ve received from publicists, and dos and don’ts for working with them most effectively. I’ve summarized some of their advice below:

 

  • Spell their names right. As obvious as this seems – and as ludicrous that someone might not do this – this is actually not the first time I’ve hear this very complaint.
  • Keep follow-up to a minimum – and don’t call. These are moms who are juggling blogging with raising their kids. They do NOT want you to call them while they’re changing diapers. The panelists’ consensus was that it’s OK to follow up once by email – but if there is no response after that, assume they’re not interested.
  • Don’t make sweeping assumptions. Savvy Mommy’s Victoria Pericon mentioned one pitch she received about how moms never wear high heels – and commented that she wears 3-5” heels all the time.
  • If you’re scheduling an event to which you want bloggers to bring their kids, don’t do it during school hours – another no-brainer that apparently some ignore.
  • Ask permission before sending product samples.
  • Pitching mom bloggers a product designed for kids the same age as their own is the best way to generate interest, but not the only way. Many bloggers have contributing reviewers whose children vary in age, or run blogs designed to cover a broad range of ages and product categories.
  • Don’t be dishonest. One panelist cited the example of a reader who posted about how wonderful a product was, presenting himself as a parent who used it – only to be revealed later as the inventor of the product.
  • Keep in mind that bloggers’ impact extends far beyond their own blogs – most of the moms on the panel write for other sites such as Babble or Babyzone, while others maintain a major audience through frequent TV appearances.

The Motrin Mess

November 20, 2008

Beware the ticked-off mommy blogger.

 

If anyone actually still doubts the power of moms in general – or the mom blogger in particular – last weekend’s gale-force storm over a Motrin ad is the perfect example of how this online community can:

a) (to extend the weather analogy) leave marketers feeling thunderstruck, and

b) dramatically impact how businesses communicate with moms.

A summary: When McNeil Consumer Healthcare, maker of pain reliever Motrin (and a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), posted an ad on the Motrin website about “baby wearing” — carrying a child in a baby carrier, such as a sling or a wrap – a number of moms reacted negatively to the ad. The ad’s intent was to encourage moms to use Motrin to alleviate the sore muscles that could result from wearing a child all day. Moms, however, were offended by the ad’s implication that they wear their babies to be “fashionable” and by the voiceover saying that “in theory” carrying your baby around in this way is a good idea and that “supposedly” it’s a real bonding experience.

The moms blogged and twittered their thoughts, which of course were read by other moms, many of whom also reacted negatively to the ad. They published THEIR comments. To quote The New York Times’ Lisa Belkin, who summed it all up well in her Motherlode blog:

“By Saturday evening (the ad was) the most tweeted subject on Twitter. By Sunday there was a nine minute video on YouTube, to the tune of Danny Boy, showing screen shots of the outraged twitter posts interspersed with photos of Moms carrying babies in slings.

Bloggers began calling for boycotts. Bloggers asked their readers to alert the mainstream press. A few voices chimed in to say they didn’t find the ad to be that big a deal. There are a few more examples here and here.)

By Sunday afternoon a few bloggers and tweeters had gotten the ad agency that created the ad on the phone, to find they didn’t know a lot about Twitter and didn’t seem to have a clue that there was so much anger piling up online.”

Belkin goes on to identify mom bloggers—correctly — as “one of the most vocal, quickest-to-blog, ‘strongest-to-band-together-and-form-one-opinion-like-the-Borg’ collectives out there.”

The resolution: McNeil pulled the ad from its Web site, and their vp of marketing publicly apologized to the mom bloggers, both on the Motrin site and via direct emails—a response, we feel, that was appropriate.

 

Blogging is all about conversation, and sometimes conversation escalates to confrontation – a whisper becomes a shout. The lesson here: Companies need to listen, as soon as mom bloggers begin to speak. In this online world, even the smallest delay in response can make a difference. The Motrin controversy began on a weekend. By Monday, the ad was pulled from the site—for the speed of that response, McNeil should be commended.

 

Of course, the whole experience raises this question: Where should the line be drawn? At what point must a company react in a major way to criticism, vs. simply accepting that not everyone is going to like everything it does? How many moms felt the ad was innocuous, but didn’t publicly argue on behalf of Big Pharma? And how many – could it be? — identified with sore muscles from wearing their babies? Were moms who opposed the ad truly greater in number (as it certainly seemed) – or simply more vocal?

 

Some observers suggested that McNeil should have run the ad past moms themselves before it was launched. That goes without saying. But we don’t know what kind of mom testing McNeil did or did not do before introducing the ad.  Not all moms or even mom bloggers will react the same way to a product concept, ad copy or the messaging in a PR campaign—even with the up-front input of one group of moms, fiascos can still occur.

 

All that having been said – here’s to the moms who made their voices known, and to the marketer who paid attention. More power to you both. And may all marketers keep the Motrin experience in mind – and a very large bottle of same in hand — so they don’t have their own headache in the future.