What the Next Year Holds for Mom Bloggers + Brands That Court Them


Flying cross-country affords me the rare opportunity for uninterrupted thought. I started this post while flying home from LA on Monday and put the finishing touches on it today.

While it is always difficult to accurately predict what will happen in the next year for mom bloggers there are already actions in place that make me think the following trends will either emerge or pick up.

One thing I know for certain is the collective voice of blogging moms will remain one of the strongest in the country. No one can tell a brand’s story like bloggers. That’s what makes our community so unique and influential. Even though millions of moms currently read blogs, millions of moms don’t blog yet. We’re not even close to the saturation point of mom blogging because thousands of new mom bloggers come into the fold every month.

That said, the upcoming year will be even bigger than last and the year before that with opportunities for mom influencers.

The following are predictions for the next year as I see them. Make sure  to share what you think about the next year for moms who blog.

1) Select Mom Bloggers Will Really Make Money: There is already evidence that 2010 has been a big year for some mom bloggers. Moms are really starting to make money either with one big partnership or with several partnerships facilitated with various brands as either ambassadors or spokespeople. This trend will certainly continue as moms demand more and as other blogging industries, particularly beauty, fashion and food look to mom bloggers to continue to set the earning trends.

2) The Year of the Financial Services: I wrote in a recent post that the financial industry is lagging in their outreach to mom bloggers along with the pet and automobile industry. After talking with a few financial brands and seeing evidence already on blogs, look for the financial industry to kick into full gear especially as the holiday season gets underway.

3) The Year of PR Selectivity: Parts of the PR industry are starting to realize there are definitive nuances and hierarchies in the mom blogging community and a blanket approach to outreach is not as effective as being selective about the bloggers they work with. Some have even figured out that when newer, smaller bloggers are pitched a product and run with it, influencers won’t touch it. Look for PR firms to tighten up their outreach efforts in the coming year.

4) The Cream of the Crop: As much as this pains me to write, there will be a gradual separation of the influential bloggers and those who are trying to make their way up the mom blogging ladder. At the end of the day, brands need to deliver value to their clients and most brands equate value with hard numbers. Bigger, more influential bloggers have larger numbers. It’s hard to measure influence with relatively small numbers.

That said, however, there is still ample room for movement for new mom bloggers who have a stellar work ethic and professionalism to boot. Many small bloggers will be relegated to working with small companies while influencers will continue working with large brands.

5) The Rise of the Mom Blogger Spokesperson: More moms will be offered spokesperson duties (not ambassador roles) with brands either on a campaign by campaign basis or for an extended time. Brands are realizing mom bloggers are less expensive than celebrities, but possess more authenticity and are definitely more Net and social media savvy. This circumstance can result in a win-win situation for bloggers and brands.

6) Non-Mom Industries: Industries that traditionally do not market to moms will begin inching their way into the community as they seek to discover new ways into the family bank account. Most of these industries have only heard of the infamous “mommy bloggers” and will want to figure out how to tap the market to drum up buzz.

7) Product Reviews Will Still Rule the Space: I know this will make many of you unhappy, but product reviews aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They are too valuable to both bloggers and brands. There are still large companies we all know that are scared of working with bloggers. I’ve talked with a few, in fact. There are also small regional PR firms with large national accounts that are just getting wind of the mom blogging community and want to tap into blogging promotions. Product reviews are here to stay, at least for another year.

8) The Year of Tricky Gimmicks: Some companies and marketers will seek to take advantage of novice mom bloggers by promising a lot, but in actuality the return is not much at all. Yes, this has been going on for years, but the approach is definitely getting more sophisticated. False opportunities promise mom bloggers a lot, but  really turn them into free endorsers for huge brands.

9) SEO Wars: As more brands fight to snag the most influential bloggers, moms will look to stretch their influence by using SEO tactics to up their blog rankings and get on the radar of brands making keyword searches for bloggers in various niches.

Using SEO to get better search rankings is one thing, but the war over keyword bidding is an interesting phenomenon to watch. Look for mom bloggers to increasingly stake their claim to blog searches on Google.

10) Brand vs Brand: The mom blogging community is much smaller than most of us realize. That means brands need to outdo their competitors in the space to really establish relationships with key bloggers before their competitors.

11) Best Behavior: As the stakes rise and there is more to gain and to lose, there will be less mommy spats on Twitter, Facebook and on blogs and a more professional tone will arise from those whose brand is intimately tied to their earning potential.

12) Blog Skins: I have no idea why mom bloggers have perpetually stayed away from skins as a source of income. I foresee daring mom bloggers getting paid to run skins as a revenue source.

Amended to Add (9/2/2010):

A word about skins: Yes, they are essentially sponsored backgrounds. Check out Perez Hilton’s advertising page and see examples of skins he has run. I think this would be a very smart way for mom bloggers to also earn money.

http://perezhilton.com/mediakit/US/index.html

13) Agents: I mentioned this in my last prediction post and I still believe this to be true: As mom bloggers are presented with more spokesperson jobs, they will need skillful agents to negotiate their contract.

14) Sponsored Bloggers: I still envision forward-thinking brands sponsoring a group of bloggers, paying them really well, and signing them to an exclusive contract to work with them only for at least a year. This is a perfect fit for those bloggers who want to work with brands, but don’t want to write tons of reviews and who don’t want to be a part of a lot of mini campaigns, but have a throng of loyal readers. I think it could really work and push forth a new revenue model for bloggers and an innovative way for brands to work with influential moms.

What trends do you think will emerge over the next year?

65 thoughts on “What the Next Year Holds for Mom Bloggers + Brands That Court Them

  1. As always you are so future forward in your thinking, identifying the trends and how lucky we are that you have such a gift for both and intuitive and fact based approach to sharing them. Reading this is immensely helpful in identifying strengths and areas that may need more attention when a social media mom considers her viability for brand connections and monetization. That in itself is a huge gift for you to educate and inform. Thank you!!!

  2. Fantastic article! Touches on very important points and provides eye opening information.

    My question to you is this.

    How do you think bi-lingual or Spanish language blogs fall in this courtship? With stats indicating that Latino spending is and will continue to be on the rise, I wonder how brands will react to that and in turn properly market to the Latino mono/ bi-lingual bi cultural community

  3. Jennifer, you have definitely hit several key points in this article that I agree with. There is more power and social media skills being a mom blogger versus a celebrity. I have always said too that I would love to hear from a mom blogger and get the real truth versus a celebrity that probably does not even use the product or brand. The mom blogger in most cases provides a more genuine voice.

  4. Got chills reading this. What a fantastic outlook for our industry.

    I also see mom bloggers getting more exposure via television and radio outlets as experts on their niche topics. Many may also turn into paying on-air gigs. Especially since so many are venturing into the vlogging world and getting good experience at being a one-woman show. A highly valued skill for on-air personalities.

    @Jessie–I see Latina bloggers following this same trend, but just a couple of steps behind. We are still in the process to educate the brands and PR companies on how to identify, approach and work with us. At the same time, we are growing as a community and helping each other out to follow the footsteps of those influencers that have gotten it right and make sure we all get it right, as well. More than ask how brands will react to our growth, is to ask how we can help secure a community of professional bloggers that work with integrity and constantly create incredible content that any one would want to be associated with.
    We´re already here and a presence…no denying that! ;)

    Thanks for a great article and the constant food for thought!

  5. I am always excited when one of your articles shows up on twitter. You do have a gift for seeing trends and being able to articulate them so well! I feel like more and more successful bloggers are starting their own media groups to connect companies and bloggers. I wondered if you had an opinion on that trend?

    Thank you for your work, will be pondering these for a while!!!

  6. I hope so much of this comes true, it’s changed so much over the past four years and I hope we’re over the ugly hump and the collaborations can become more streamlined (and more profitable.)

  7. Great insights.

    #8 had me cracking up. “Partnerships” “great opportunity” , “All you have to do is”, etc. Fortunately, many of us have become aware of these one-sided offerings and are warning the newer bloggers!

    I think that regional bloggers will also pick up a lot of steam AND income (which is encouraging…especailly for those bloggers who don’t really want to go national). Many national campaigns have local/regional components and I have noticed that they are starting to reach out to connected bloggers for a variety of paid services (writing/event planning/hostessing/consulting/etc.)

    In any case, I’m excited to see what the next year holds. It’s going to be an adventure…

  8. You have such amazing insight, as well as foresight, and I really value what you have to say.

    I’m still a newbie, but much more experienced than I was last year when I read your predictions, and I understand them on a whole different level now. I love that mommy blogging is a profession with rules, ethics, standards that we should all follow.

    You do make it sound very competitive, but what profession isn’t? I have a lot of work to do.

  9. Wow! Thanks for this eye opening list of trends. It’s if very helpful in planning and deciding which direction to take my blog. I am especially interested in the Financial Services Industry and am eager to see how it all pans out.

  10. #3 Really struck me as an odd prediction!

    While I agree companies are getting better at figuring out who will have the most influence, I doubt big bloggers would stop taking Dyson’s if they went with a newbie!

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding? Also, just because someone is a newer blogger doesn’t mean they don’t have some serious WOM influence! PR may want to keep that in mind!

  11. Jennifer,

    First off: Sorry I missed you when you were here in L.A.

    Next: Wanted to tell you how comprehensive I think your list of predictions for us mommy bloggers looks. I’ve certainly experienced some of the growth that you’re talking about. The moms and women who blog who continue to educate themselves on the latest social media trends and technologies are poised to stay ahead of the curve. Brands and PR and marketing agencies certainly appear to be getting more and more sophisticated with how they execute their social media strategies, particularly those who are starting to put a lot more effort into connecting and conversing with the most influential ladies who blog.

    Like you, I’m excited about what’s on your crystal ball. Keep up the great posts, you always have something insightful to share with the rest of us.

  12. I hope #11 prevails for sure!

    I see the following already happening and being a trend via personal experience and from other bloggers I know:
    #3, #5, #9, #14

    Wow, I cannot wait to see how this year plays out! Glad I am part of it all and up for “playing” (so to speak)!

    Great post Jennifer, as always!

  13. I remember the post you did last year at this time….or maybe it was just another prediction post earlier this year but I love these posts of yours! I agreed with #14 last year and I do again this year. It seems that a certain amount of influential bloggers are still waiting for brands and companies to catch up. You know? Anyway – I love reading these posts of yours. Thank you.

  14. Jennifer you did an awesome job! Thanks for sharing this with us and the brands. You’ve laid out the ideal scenarios. When companies realize working with MomBloggers as SpokesMoms they have a real Mom in the market that reaches many other real moms, they will not have the disconnect that just working with celebrities brings. Thanks again!

  15. I have been working with a few mom blogs in the last year, as a brand manager, and have had great luck with finding a niche and being *selective* with product reviews. It’s important to determine what your blog says about your personal brand.

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

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  17. Jennifer, you always have your finger on the pulse and I believe your predictions to be entirely accurate.

    As someone who’s “been around the block” I’ve already taken issue with No. 8 and have forewarned my newbie readers to keep their radar on red alert.

    Presently I’m one of only 3 bloggers from Connecticut (Hartford market) in the Chevy Girlfriend Getaway program, that you spoke to regarding the automobile and financial markets. IMHO, as demographics change, brands and industries must recognize that traditional media targeting may no longer be effective. As a blogger with a cross-generational readership, I believe that brands are recognizing that if baby boomers such as myself want to stay connected with family, they must become technologically savvy – and with that newly acquired knowledge – they’ll start obtaining their news from online sources.

    Short story – you’re right on the money about the financial and auto industry kicking into high gear in the upcoming year.

  18. Hi Jennifer! Great article! I am glad you think product reviews are here to stay! As a product review blogger (and proud of it!), I absolutely love what I do and am happy to see you feel that this genre will be sticking around. I think my site provides a service to both my readers and brands alike which makes it a valuable resource in the blogosphere.

    Looking forward to 2011!

  19. This post makes me sad. I like you Jennifer and you are right on with everything you have said. I just hate that the “mommy blogosphere” ends up sounding like something with wars, demands, and a ladder to climb. If that’s what business model the average blogger wants to pursue then I wish them luck. There are other ways to make money through online business that don’t require popularity contests.

    • Hi Jendi. I understand what you’re saying. The truth is that a lot of moms are building businesses with their blogs and even off-shoot businesses and sometimes that means business terms like “ladders to climb”, “agents”, and “demands” come into play.

  20. I’m sure you’re right about a lot of these things Jennifer.

    I have another prediction for you though… that more mom bloggers will realize there is a path to real profit that doesn’t involve shmoozing big brands or having to kiss behinds to be part of some in crowd.

    • Completely agree….the road to a long-lasting and profitable business comes from real value. While I have no problem with moms lending their voices to brands as an adjunct to a business, the real concern for moms who want to have a profitable business/brand should be developing their own brand/service/product and providing value to a community long-term. If an endorsement comes as a result, fantastic! But to chase endorsements before a long-term strategy seems backward to me. I’d rather profit long-term than constantly chase down sponsors.

      I have to agree with #11….I would love nothing more than for the mom blogging community to become more professional. Personal spats and bad behavior have unfortunately plagued the mom blogging community as of late and it’s embarrassing. I’d love for this prediction to prove true.

      • Jen, You are absolutely right about chasing brands. I started out writing what I know and teaching my readers and grew my loyal following that way. Then I learned about mom bloggers working with brands and because I have always been left out of that conversation I started to “chase the brands” as you say and it made me unhappy. I know what I am good at and brands should see the value and influence in what I have to offer.

        As far as the spat and bad behavior, not only does it look bad for the mom blogging community it looks bad for women because you don’t see the men having “cat fights” at conferences and spats on Twitter. Personally I have stayed out of all of that because I want to protect the image I have created online and I wouldn’t act that way in public so I am not going to act that way online. If mom bloggers want to be taken seriously they need to act that way.

  21. This is very interesting. I like your insight. I am still trying to figure out where I fit in the mom blogging world. I have quite a bit of influence but because of my topic brands don’t see me as an influencer. I actually earn a full-time living as a blogger already but not by working with brands. I want to change the way brands look at “sweepers” to realize that we are consumers too (we eat, shop, buy clothes, go on vacation, and love our favorite brands) and that the prizes we win can make us loyal customers for life. That said, I have as much “power” as a mom blogger to drive traffic and influence readers and I look forward to this next year of blogging and seeing where I fit into the brand conversation.

    Another thing I hope happens is that brands and PR companies start realizing we don’t work for free. They send us emails and press releases and say “I hope you will share this with your readers” because their experience has told them that mom bloggers will do just that. Of course, they often have very good things to give us that are valuable for our readers but they also don’t realize how much time it takes to prepare a post properly. And if they want us to host a giveaway they don’t realize how much work and follow-up goes into that too.

  22. Jennifer, I always love reading your take on our community. You’ve hit the nail on the head again. I do hope you’re right and all of the items on your list come true. As for the competition, there is such a thing as healthy competition. It forces everyone to stay on their toes and do their best. That’s not a bad thing.

    But the tension that sometimes arises in our circles can seem petty and unnecessary. I’ve said to some of my IRL friends that women could rule the world if we’d just learn to get along with one another better.

    There’s enough room here for all of us. I hope some of the people who are saying they are already experiencing some of the trends you mentioned also read your post from 9/19 and are helping others in the community to get there as well.

  23. Great article & discussion! What scares me is my own tendency to jump at lesser opportunities for the fun or the product and then realize how much my time is getting eaten up for little to no compensation — especially when I realize that the product wasn’t worth it either. That’s time I could have given my family and friends or reading a great book. And, I hate the competitiveness this whole profit factor raises in my own blood and the ugliness I see in others who are much more outspoken in an unbridled manner when things don’t go their way. But, it is what it is. When you introduce money, you get competition. That’s where mom bloggers like anyone else in business just need to be encouraged to keep doing what they do and make sure they are doing it well for their own satisfaction and others will take notice.

    I think it is all the self-promotion that begins to get ugly – especially by people who’s skills can’t back up what they are promoting -OR, who don’t have the time to do it well but still want a piece of the pie. Then you get into who is favoring who and why people are or are not included in blog conferences or parties. I really get discouraged by it all but I keep going because I enjoy what little I have time to participate in. I will admit that I am one of those with little time but want to go to some of the fun events when they come up. Actually meeting real bloggers and building real relationships makes it worth it.

    Oh, that’s a trend I don’t see here: more and more sponsored events that bring live people together — or the rise of sponsored house parties. I am seeing it more and more.

  24. Great thoughts. I just joined the mom blogging community in the last couple of months after becoming a new mommy, and had blogged for years on my own so this is a whole new world to me. I’m really amazed at all mommy bloggers have to offer and the community they build! Excited to be a part of what is to come!

  25. Jennifer this is a fabulous article that gives us all so much to think about and to be excited for! Once again, you have given this community a great list of things to think about and to work on. I am excited for this next year and have been working on letters to some companies to establish longer term relationships. Thanks!

  26. It sounds like there’s a lot in store for the blogging community! I can only hope to become big enough to be noticed by companies before the small blogs start getting weeded out. Great article Jennifer!

  27. Fantastic post, thank you. Although hugely intimidating! Does it mean that the new mom blogger is starting out too late? At which point do you say, “Ok, I’ve been blogging for X months and still only get 40 hits a day, it’s time to admit that I am just not striking a nerve.”?

  28. You are dynamite, Jennifer James. So forward-thinking! I always get excited when I see one of your new posts in my Twitter stream.

    Your predictions strike me as being spot-on. #14 is of special interest to me. I have become increasingly interested in larger campaigns as opposed to single-post-partnerships.

    Also – I agree with Ana Flores (above) that bloggers will become even more visible in traditional media outlets. I envision TV shows, newspapers, and magazines hiring bloggers as hosts, special guests, and/or columnists.

  29. Pingback: Talking Professional Blogging, Blogging for Money, and Sponsored Content — ModernMami™.com

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