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.

From Blog to Business: Free E-Book Download

I am thrilled to finally announce the launch of From Blog to Business, an e-book written by Esther Crawford of and me.

In it, you will find some of the most comprehensive information about flipping your blog into a business found anywhere on the Net. It is our gift to those who really wanted to go to Blogher, but can’t. We’ve packed From Blog to Business with key information you need to learn how to partner with brands and monetize your blog.

We hope you enjoy From Blog to Business and share it with your friends.

Go to to download your free copy!

Mom Blogs Are Getting Younger: What That Means for Brands and Mom Bloggers

Recently, I looked at a group of the latest 1000 moms to join the Mom Bloggers Club and who listed the year they began blogging. The results probably will not surprise you. The vast majority of these moms started blogging in 2009 and 2010. In fact, 33% started blogging in 2010 and 32.31% started blogging in 2009. The numbers fall off considerably starting in 2008 at 15.91% and plummet each year thereafter.

What do these numbers reveal? These numbers could mean one of these things, or all of them working together.

  • Moms who started blogging in 2008 and later are experiencing blogger burnout now or are less interested in connecting in a club like the Mom Bloggers Club.
  • The Mom Bloggers Club is largely a social network that attracts new mom bloggers.
  • Many mom bloggers who have been blogging for 3 or more years are already a member of the club. This could be true since the club has been around since 2007 and is nearly 10,000 members strong.
  • Moms are starting blogs like never before.
  • The age of mom blogs is getting younger quickly.

Looking at these percentages, they’re not surprising! As mom blogging grows in popularity and the benefits flood in, the more new moms come into the fold and join our community. Moms will not stop blogging at the same pace moms begin which will prolong its peak for many years to come because the benefits are too abundant. At some point the novelty will wear thin, I’m sure. I just don’t see that happening anytime soon. In general terms, mom bloggers are born every day and there are even millennial bloggers who are already being primed to become parenting bloggers once they become moms and dads.

Right now we’re seeing an influx of new mom blogs, at least that’s the trend I am seeing at the Mom Bloggers Club.

What does this mean for brands?

1) It is going to be harder to catch the attention of those bloggers who have been around the block for three or more years (see the graph on the right). These are the bloggers whose inboxes are out of control with pitches and subsequently are extremely picky about the brands they work with.

2) Brand ambassador programs where moms are paid for their collective influence will continue to increase. The only other option is to blanket the community of smaller bloggers with product and pitches, but the ROI might not be there, or pray influencers notice your pitch or even care about it.

3) Brands will have to work harder to build relationships with influencers. That means pitches need to be spot on and influential parenting bloggers need to be courted.

4) This also means brands can become extremely picky about the bloggers they work with, too. It may become easier for brands to work with a select group of influential mom bloggers with a longtime readership who they trust, know and respect as opposed to working with a huge group of mom bloggers they don’t know.

What do these numbers mean for mom bloggers?

1) As mom bloggers continue to enter the fold, there is greater opportunity for your voice to be lost in the crowd. That means you have to work more creatively to be noticed.

2) Building a loyal audience is going to be key and set you apart from the growing sea of bloggers who are joining the blogging community every single day. Brands will be looking for personality over the number of product reviews you can post.

3) There will be greater opportunity to work in closer relationships with brands as they look to work with influencers who have been around for a while as opposed to those who started in the last two years or so. That is certainly not to say younger mom blogs aren’t experiencing success now, it’s just not as many as the longtime mom bloggers.

4) Due to the sheer numbers of new mom blogs, the definition on mom blogging will continue to change on their terms. What used to be “mom blogging” when I started five years ago will never be again. That age of mom blogging is gone — forever. If you’re a old-timer you will have to figure out how to stay relevant in this new age of blogging without losing your voice or your passion.

I am excited to see how the community will continue to change. It’s always fascinating to see.

What do you think the growing number of new mom blogs mean?

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Dance With Me: How PR Professionals and Mom Bloggers Can Dance to the Same Beat

Today I followed a few links from Twitter to discover the most unfortunate public fight between a mom blogger and president of a PR firm. It’s not pretty. I’m not going to link to either post because I’m sure both parties just wish the story would die. I do, however, want to address PR professionals and mom bloggers about how to work together where everyone is happy at the end of the day.

PR Professionals: Tips for Working With Bloggers

1) Read the blogs you seek to pitch. I mean, actually read the blogs and not just the last three posts.

2) Follow the bloggers you want to pitch on Twitter. People are different on Twitter than they are on their blogs. You’ll be able to glean insights about a blogger’s tastes and personality that you otherwise wouldn’t catch if you only read their blog.

3) Never pitch bloggers in a mass email. Personalize and individualize your pitches. Last month I spoke to a group of PR professionals from smaller firms and their main concern was they don’t have time to personalize emails and instead opt for mass emails. In a nutshell, I told them they need to make time. They don’t have a choice and neither do you.

4) Always address bloggers by name.

5) Build a relationship with bloggers. If that means going to conferences and networking until you’re blue in the face, or even taking bloggers out to dinner without pitching involved, do it! Increasingly, PR professionals who dance best are those who pay attention and form key relationships.

6) Quality is better than quantity every time.

7) Understand this: Every mom blogger is different.

8) Resist pushing unusual requests on bloggers even though you know some will comply. For example,

  • Do not require bloggers to tweet or “like” your client’s product in exchange for a review. In fact, don’t require anything in exchange for a review. Bloggers ultimately make the decision whether they want to review a product or not, even if a product has been sent to them.
  • Do not require bloggers to use certain keywords and link to a specific site page in their review. They’ll word their review any way they wish. Remember, it’s a product review, not a SEO shill post.
  • Do not ask moms to review a product from a high res image.

9) Don’t hound bloggers for review posts. It’s fine to follow up, but don’t hassle bloggers about a $25 product.

Mom Bloggers: Tips for Working With PR Professionals

1) PR firms, for the most part, do not pay for product reviews. Why? Most of their clients only understand traditional media and would freak out if they knew their PR firm is “buying” reviews. However, if a PR firm asks you to do things that go beyond a basic product review like tweeting, liking, creating video, penning a series of blog posts about a campaign or product, then they need to pay you. I repeat: If anything goes beyond the basic product review, they need to pay you!

I and other mom bloggers are imploring you to get paid for your work, but that doesn’t mean product reviews.

2) It’s OK to charge for giveaways. I know product reviews and the obligatory giveaway have been coupled for a long time, but if you don’t want to run a giveaway for free, that’s OK. Giveaways boil down to free advertising for a brand, plus they are a pain to facilitate.

3)  Be sure to be friendly, but firm with PR professionals, especially those you disagree with or who send you a terrible pitch. After all, they are people too and, believe me, the PR world is very small. It’s smaller than the mom blogging community and you know how we talk!

4) Don’t pass around PR professionals’ email addresses and phone numbers. Even though they pitched you doesn’t mean they want to be hounded by 100 of your blog friends.

5) If you demand a fee for your work, whether it’s consulting or being a part of a large, extended campaign, be sure to be able to prove your worth.

6) Even though a lot of PR people don’t read About Me pages, it’s your job to spell out the types of pitches you will and will not accept.

It’s unfortunate that PR firms and mom bloggers are starting to experience missteps. It’s my hope that my advice above will help the two parties make the dance work.

The #1 Reason Why I Trash a Pitch

I read every pitch that lands in my inbox. Believe me, that’s a heck of a lot of pitches. It’s unbearable, really, but I feel an obligation to at least read every pitch. That doesn’t mean I’ll respond to every pitch, but I will certainly read them all.

With the volume of pitches I receive I have to make decisions on each and every one in about five seconds. If a pitch has been sent to me as part of a mailing list of any sort it is always, always, ALWAYS deleted! If my email address is part of a list of undisclosed recipients, the pitch is deleted. And, if the pitch is in the form of a newsletter, it is deleted.

If you can’t be bothered to address me by my name or even read my blog, I can’t be bothered to read your pitch.