[Photos] Good Times, Great Food in Seattle


The Palace Ballroom

Last week I visited Seattle on a press trip with Microsoft (which means they paid for everything and fed us very, very well).  The purpose of the trip was to learn about Windows 8 and Office 365. Although I am a hardcore digital maven I admit I didn’t take to the changes to Windows very well. I shunned them, in fact. I absolutely didn’t want to learn anything new and furthermore I just didn’t have the time to do so.

That said, I am here to tell you Windows 8 really changed my life. Everything is so seamless, connected, and very functional. My apps and Windows Phone sync beautifully so when I take a photo with my phone it automatically goes to my Skydrive account like magic! I remember when people used to caution us about the cloud. Now, I can’t think of living without it, frankly.

As someone who takes a lot of photos and has collected a ton of them on my desktop in various folders I can tell you having your photos stored in the cloud on Skydrive is one of the best things that has happened to my digital career. It has just made everything easier – simple as that.

Here are some photos I took with my camera at Tom Douglas’ The Palace Ballroom and  Tavolata and then uploaded to my Skydrive account. I love that all of my photos will now be in one place that I can access at any time, anywhere!

DSC_0013

Copyright: Microsoft

The Palace Ballroom

The Palace Ballroom

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Doling Advice Out to Brands Working With Mom Bloggers


I am pretty opinionated about how brands approach bloggers primarily because over the years I have learned what works and what doesn’t.

I applaud brands and agencies that think outside of the box. Sometimes, though, that out-of-the-box thinking while innovative can chap some bloggers.

At a Bulldog Reporter webinar, Top Mommy Bloggers Tell PR about Hottest Trends, Pitching Tips and Editorial Hooks, I along with Jessica Gottlieb, Jamie Reeves, and Dawn Yun will discuss the following:

What are the rules of pitching mommy bloggers? How do PR pros know which blogs are best for them or their client? How do they build long-term relationships with these online influencers? How has the “momosphere” changed in light of the economy and new consumer hot buttons? How are major brands interacting successfully with moms online—and what best practices should PR pros emulate?

To reserve your space in the webinar, visit Top Mommy Bloggers Tell PR about Hottest Trends, Pitching Tips and Editorial Hooks. It will be held on July 7 at 1 PM EDT.

Why Mom Bloggers Shouldn’t Work for Tweets and Links


If you’ve been following this blog you know I have embarked upon a project wherein I started a new, anonymous blog and I am using what I know to grow it. That said, I am learning quite a lot walking in the shoes of a new blogger.

One thing I am learning quite quickly is PR firms treat bloggers differently. If you are a new blogger, there seems to be an assumption by PR firms that we will do anything for traffic or to work with the brand they represent. Anything! In the PR firms’ defense, this is probably their experience with many novice bloggers.

So, I want to say this as clearly as I can: Even though you may be a new blogger, that does not mean you have to work for free just to work with brands.

Remember this basic rule: If a brand or PR firm thinks you’re good enough to work with from penning posts for their site, writing sponsored posts, or working as a spokesblogger, then you are good enough to be paid for your work. Do not work for link backs from microsites, brand sites or blogs, Facebook pages, or tweets from brand Twitter accounts. I don’t care if you started blogging yesterday and I don’t care if you think the traffic will put your blog in front of more people. Why set that precedent for yourself; that you’re simply not worth paying.

So, here’s what you need to do: You build up a great blog by nurturing it and making it a must-read by your peers and visitors who happen to stop by. You don’t need to be Houdini to do it, but you do need to have mad scientist skills. That is, you need to always be in the proverbial laboratory, thinking up creative ways to share and write content for your readers.

Then, once you have built a community around you and your blog is full of stellar posts, then you can work with brands and expect to be paid for your work where it is a win-win for everyone, not just a win for the brand and no-win for you!

It really is that simple!

Free Advice to Brands and PR Firms Looking to Work With Mom Bloggers


Since publishing my lists of mom bloggers with Klout there has been quite a bit of interest in them. For brands, media, and PR firms who are looking at these lists I caution you to understand that one’s Klout score is only a minor dimension into someone’s overall influence. In order to really understand a mom’s influence you have to get to know her by reading her posts and conversing with her either at conferences, events, or on Twitter. It takes more than reading lists to best determine who will be a perfect fit for your brand or campaign.

One of the most poignant comments left on my blog regarding Klout and influence was written by Katy who blogs at Bird on the Street. She said, “We tend to think of the digital space as a pyramid, but that’s hardly true. Everywhere you look women (and men) are creating and influencing in their particular niche.”

And, that is brilliant and so true!

In my last post, I mentioned there are pockets of influence throughout the mom blogging community instead of there being top mom bloggers and then everyone else.  That is what I sought to illustrate with my Klout lists.

In my chart above I have two mom blogging scenarios. The first is true to a certain extent, but for brands, it is important to understand that the second scenario is more true.

Scenario 1 : When you think of the mom blogging community certain names always bubble to the surface. These moms are the ones who dwell at the very top of the pyramid.

Scenario 2: What is more true of our community, however, is there are a lot of little niches like green, luxury, and travel mom bloggers and in each of those niches there are pockets of influencers. As a brand, this is the scenario you have to think hardest about.

A lot of the brands who are serious about the mom blogging space already understand this. But, if you are new to the space this is a lesson you have to learn quickly if you want optimal outreach with mom bloggers.

50 More Mom Bloggers With 40+ @Klout Score


Quick Links | 50 Mom Bloggers With 40+ Klout Score | Measuring Mom Bloggers One Score at a Time | 50 More Mom Bloggers With 40+ @Klout Score


As promised I created another list of mom bloggers whose Klout score is 40 or higher. As aforementioned, there were tons of mom bloggers I completely omitted last week which is wholly unfortunate. To remedy that, I put a call out and have now created a crowdsourced list of mom bloggers who master the social web.

One thing I have maintained for years is there are pockets of influence throughout the mom blogging community. Our community is vast, diverse, and ever-changing. For that reason, I wanted to recognize as many mom bloggers as possible for their efforts.


TwitterName
Klout
Score
1. BookieBoo 74
2. QueenofSpain 65
3Geekbabe 65
4. CarlaYoung 64
5. MommyNiri 59
6. BarefootFoodie 59
7. Looneytunes 58
8. MamaSpohr 57
9. MariaMelee 56
10. KristineBrite 56
11. PhDinParenting 55
12. Crissy 55
13. Sthrnfairytale 55
14JustPrecious 55
15. DanielleSmithTV 54


TwitterName
Klout
Score
16. MamasMoney 54
17. StacieinAtlanta 53
18LittleTechGirl 53
19. Sahans 53
20. RedneckMommy 52
21. Fakeginger 52
22. Mommywords 51
23. MyGoMom 51
24. UnxperiencedMom 51
25. Adventuroo 50
26. ComplicatedMama 49
27. Military_Mom 49
28. Kristysf 49
29Jennyitup 49
30. ErikaLehmann 48


TwitterName
Klout
Score
31 Cuponeando 48
32. ShellThings 48
33FromTracie 48
34. TheMommyologist 47
35. LosAngelista 47
36. MollyinMinn 47
37. MooshInIndy 46
38. DigitalKadi 46
39. VDog 46
40. Jodifur 46
41. Thienkim 46
42. MomDot 45
43. MusingsFromMe 45
44MultitaskingMe 44
45. GaBabyMaker 44


TwitterName
Klout
Score
46. OurOrdinaryLife 44
47. JoeyFortman 44
48Mami2Mommy 44
49. RockDrool 44
50. ManicMother 44

+ More Mom Bloggers

holleeinbalance 43
mindfulmomma 43
itsmoments 43
tothink 42
noflashcards 42
momagenda 42
Moomettes 41
misslori 41
gograhamgo 41
momfluential 41
gingeranderson 40
lifewithoutpink 40
purenaturaldiva
40
twincident 40

Why Top Mom Bloggers Have Greater Earning Power


If you ever want to know how to make money as a mom blogger then you have to think like a businesswoman! Every blogger, no matter the niche, who continually works with brands is constantly sought out because they:

a) produce quality work
b) consistently deliver
c) are versatile
d) are always willing to learn
e) are careful about their online reputation and
f) know their worth

If you don’t have a business background it can be extremely intimidating to hear that you need to start thinking like a businessperson. The hard truth is that unless and until you start thinking like a businesswoman and become a “big picture” person you will continue to struggle to flip your blog into the business you envision. It’s that simple.

There is a reason a lot of the same mom bloggers work with brands. It’s because when they wake up in the morning and look at themselves in the mirror they see a savvy businesswoman, not just a mom blogger. They understand that perception is everything and they have made the conscious decision to perceive themselves as “more than” than “less than”. Some mom bloggers take several years to recognize the transformation from mere blogger to businesswoman. In fact, it took me several years to see it. I clearly followed the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hour rule except I sped up the process by working as a blogger more than 20 hours a week and I am still working to improve the work I do.

The great thing is brands are recognizing, too, that these moms are businesswomen and treat them as such. The brand-blogger relationships are symbiotic because brands call on these moms time and time again for campaigns and in return the moms do everything in their power to produce the results the brand is looking for. These moms are not selfish in their outlook. Rather, they think about the brand and what they can deliver first before thinking about the pay-off in the end.

These mom bloggers are versatile. They can tweet about a live event or put together a video series for a brand. They can pen creative content for a sponsor or drive their readers to get involved in a cause they believe in. They are never limited by always working to their strengths. Instead they figure out ways to bolster their weaknesses if that means a better outcome for a brand.

These mom bloggers are always learning and never get stuck in a rut. When they hear about the latest blogging trend or social networking site, they open an account right away or ride the trend wave for a while. They test everything because they are regarded as trendsetters and wouldn’t be caught not “in the know”. How do these bloggers know when new trends and sites come about? They are keen observers and don’t miss a beat.

Additionally, these mom bloggers guard their online reputation and keep it safe. They understand that people are always watching and that brands base who they work with by the reputation bloggers create. These moms understand the true power of their words and influence and don’t abuse it.

As I write this I am definitely thinking of several moms who embody these traits and I love them for it! I’m sure you know mom bloggers like this as well. They serve as great examples to us all.

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?