Business Trips, Books, Kenya, and Joining the Fight Against Extreme Poverty #ONEMOMS

Above: Christine Young, Me, Jendi , Monica Brady at Type-A Conference.

It’s midnight and I’m sitting here staring at my computer screen and the clock. I’m working and wishing the time would just slow down.

I just got back from Type-A Conference this afternoon, ran errands to make sure the week is in order, and then I’m heading out the door at 4 AM to catch a 6 AM flight. I’m traveling to Florida today, the fifth time this year. I love it down there, but man is it hot this time of year. Even though the Florida heat can be brutal in June at least I’m not going to New York where the tar on the roofs of the skyscrapers coupled with the pavement make for a special kind of sweltering hell. I’ll take Florida!

For my combined six hours of flight time today I just downloaded The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier to my Nook Color. The Bottom Billion is one of the suggested books we read before embarking on our trip to Kenya with I can’t wait to dig into it. And like I tweeted last week I can’t wait to share with you our itinerary for the trip. We are going to learn so much in Kenya it is unbelievable. More about that soon!

And speaking of, they have created a new landing page just for our trip to Kenya. You will see our blog posts, photos of the 10 of us who are going, as well as a place where you can join ONE to fight against extreme poverty. Don’t forget ONE doesn’t want your money, they simply want your voice.

2011 Predictions for Mom Bloggers

The new year wouldn’t start off officially for me if I didn’t lay out my mom blogger predictions for 2011.

First and foremost, the brand and mom blogger partnerships that you saw blossom in 2010 will continue to increase in 2011. There will be ample opportunity to work with brands, but you will have to be smart and understand that while the opportunities will be plenty, there are also more moms for brands to choose from!

Increased Competition: More and more young moms are finding that their lives do not have to be spent solely on platforms like Facebook, Youtube, and Livejournal and are starting to create their own blogs and drawing in their own audiences. That means there will be a lot of new mom bloggers coming into the fold increasing the competition for those who are looking to work with brands.

Additionally, women from professional industries who are not traditional digital mavens will create mom blogs and position themselves to partner with brands. In doing this they will provide stiff competition to influencer mom bloggers who have built their brand for years. In 2011 you’ll need to step up your game to be noticed whether that means re-branding totally, networking more, or getting a blog facelift. Make sure your blog and its contents are memorable and stand out from the crowd!

A Number’s Game: As marketers and brands become more sophisticated about influence (and that it is largely tied to numbers) you will have to start thinking like a business and concentrate on your traffic and social media following as much as you think about writing great content. I know, bummer! Companies like numbers they can relate to. The higher your numbers, the better off you will be. That said, 2011 may not be your year to work with brands, but may be your year to pump up the volume.

Thinking Beyond Your Blog: Most moms who will succeed greatly in 2011 will think far beyond their blog. They may have two blogs; they may write for a large  parenting or local site; they may have an Internet radio show, they may record a podcast. Whatever it is, the moms who will succeed will be those who use multiple platforms to create and disseminate their content.

Simplicity Takes Center Stage: I foresee many mom bloggers paring down their many affiliations and concentrating on the partnerships that make the most sense for them. In years past, mom bloggers have cast their net wide in order to gobble up any opportunity that came their way. I see this as a year where mom bloggers become very picky about the brands they partner with understanding that these partnerships carry more weight than they originally thought.

The Year of Reinvention: Not only will 2011 be the year that mom bloggers have to repair years of being perceived as “hard to work with” and “too demanding”, mom bloggers will also have to innovate in order to stay relevant.

From the brand perspective

Mom Bloggers Trump Celebs: There is already a top-heavy level of mega mom blogger influencers that has established itself over the last five years or so. As we all know, many brands hire celebrities to endorse campaigns or products. I predict that many brands will realize in order to reach the online mom market moms don’t want to relate to out-of-touch mom celebrities. Rather they relate to someone who is like them – a fellow mom blogger. Brands will begin hiring more mom bloggers as spokesbloggers in addition to or in lieu of celebrities.

No Game Changing Moment in 2011: I would argue that the last real game changing moment in the mom blogging community came with the launch of the Walmart Moms. I do not foresee a game changing moment in the mom blogging community in 2011. I think everything is on cruise control right now. If there is a game changing moment, a brand will have to allocate a large budget to it and put in hours upon hours of hard thinking to come up with something fresh and innovative.

Long Shot Prediction of 2011: In other blogging niches, I have seen many blogs get acquired by larger media sites. The trend in the mom blogger community, however, is to be hired as freelancers or to enter into syndication contracts. 2011 may see the first game changing blog acquisitions where large brands or media sites capitalize on a blogger’s readership and brand instead of simply hiring them to write content while losing the moms’ readers in the process.

Think Like a Content Creator, Not Just a Mom Blogger

Last weekend I traveled down to Atlanta to speak about blog monetization at Lavish, a fabulous conference for lifestyle bloggers. At Lavish, one thing I learned is many lifestyle bloggers have not monetized their blogs the way mom bloggers have, so it was refreshing to discuss a topic that is very relevant to a brand-new audience.

One of the points I made during my Lavish session was to change the way you think about the work you do as a blogger. That is, instead of seeing yourself as a mere blogger, think of yourself as a content creator. There is a difference.

I have heard it time and again that those who create quality content and entertainment will be the ones who succeed in blogging and in all other media businesses. That’s why Oprah makes more money than the people who pay her. Isn’t that a brilliant point? I heard that on ESPN Radio last week of all places when they were talking  about something other than sports.

Thinking differently about the work you do will definitely change the way you write and the goals you set for yourself. It wasn’t until I saw myself as a businesswoman that my eyes finally opened to the possibilities for my sites. If you really want to set yourself apart from other bloggers in your niche, you have to rework how you perceive the content you create every day.

Considering yourself a mere blogger may imply you have no real strategy or direction to your content; that you latch onto every opportunity that comes your way. As a content creator you strategize about the editorial direction of your blog, are deliberate and thoughtful about the posts you write and are serious about the frequency in which you publish new content.

Stellar content creators pride themselves in writing posts in a new and unique way every day instead of churning out trite content. Content creators plan and organize their writing. Content creators present their work in a way that is pleasing not only to the eye of their readers, but also to their imagination and intelligence. They tell a story with their writing even when the topic is mundane.

Look at it this way:  Your blog is quite akin to being a small media company whose reputation and profits rely solely on the quality of your work, including your content and the way you present it just like or That’s why I am thrilled with the prospects and possibilities of Mom Blog magazine. With a team of amazing writers and a cartoonist I am awed by the content they provide every day.

In 2011 concentrate on thinking like a content creator and see what happens. Let me know how it turns out!

Mom Bloggers: It’s All About the Big Picture

The holidays are gearing up which means there are going to be a lot of campaigns flowing in and through the mom blogging community. That’s all to say: Brace yourself! The next two months are going to be interesting!

As a mom blogger, this is the perfect time to start thinking about the future of your blog. It will be tempting to pounce on every opportunity that comes your way, but remember to slow down and think about your blog and the big picture.

Here are a few tenets to remember this holiday season:

  • If a brand approaches you with an out-of-this-world opportunity, but it doesn’t fit your blog, say no. It really is easier than you think.
  • If you get more product pitches than you know what to do with, review only those products that benefit you, your readership, and will keep your editorial tone consistent.
  • If you see a ton of your mom friends working with a brand and that brand doesn’t approach you, don’t worry about it! Opportunities will abound this season and many will certainly come your way.
  • If you get overwhelmed this season, think about partnering with bloggers you respect on holiday blogging projects. You never know, it may spin into something bigger in the new year.
  • If you find a lot of companies are coming to you to join their affiliate program (which they will), ask why they won’t advertise with you instead.
  • If you find yourself getting too much stuff, be sure to give a little, too. There will be many charities that desperately need your help.
  • If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break and regroup.

The holiday season is the time to strive for excellence on your blog because it will set the tone for 2011. Err on the side of not doing too much more during these prime months and focus your efforts on writing exceptional content and forging quality brand partnerships.

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.

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

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

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

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
twincident 40

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.

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?