We are often asked for advice about how brands can more effectively work with mom bloggers. We’ve researched women bloggers and their likes, dislikes, wants and needs. And we regularly give presentations – to brands and to agencies – on how to get the most out of campaigns that involve mom bloggers. Here we’ll share some of our research and tactics for best practices.
It’s always interesting to us that many agencies and PR firms assign young staffers and/or staffers who don’t have or who’ve never had children, to work with and/or court mom bloggers. While they are certainly very capable marketing and PR professionals, the problem here is often the disconnect. And it only makes sense; in some cases, it can be difficult for people who don’t have children to understand the mindset of a parent.
Parenthood changes your life. In amazing and sometimes impossible to understand ways. And the parenting blogosphere is filled with people who are writing their way through this incredible journey. Some of them are men; many of them are women.
These parent bloggers are very attractive to brands and agencies. In many instances through the process of writing their blogs these individuals have built their own personal brands and communities, and are considered experts in the parenting space. They typically have loyal readers and have built deep friendships in the blogging community through their own blogs and other social networks.
Let’s Talk Numbers
We love numbers. And when it comes to women bloggers, discovering what motivates them, what they seek, and how to work with them most effectively is all in the numbers.
In a 2011 survey done by The Social Studies Group and BlogFrog exploring things like blogger/brand experience, the ideal brand/blogger relationship and other key elements of the female blogger universe, some interesting facts came to light. They include things like:
• Two-thirds of bloggers reject at least half of the pitches they receive from brands.
• Social good matters to bloggers. Trust levels increase 56% for campaigns that include an element of social good.
• More than 40% of influential bloggers either remain undiscovered by brands and/or have never been approached by them.
• The majority of women bloggers want long-term, deeper relationships with a few special brands.
Smart Women, Choosing Home
Many times, women bloggers are underestimated. Especially by the very brands and agencies who most might want to work with them. They rarely choose to stay home and raise children because they don’t have any other choice. Instead, they most often knowingly opt for the chance to do so. And they are mostly a well-educated group, with a large percentage having bachelor’s degrees and/or some post-graduate study.
The largest groups of female bloggers are ages 30-34 (23%) or 35-39 (20%), closely followed by those aged 25-29 (15%) and 40-44 (14%). And boy, have they got kids – some 74% of women bloggers have children 18 and under living at home. Not surprisingly, the most popular topics they blog about include things like family and parenting, lifestyle, crafts/DIY, food and product reviews.
In short, they blog about what they do and what they know. They blog about products they try, products they love, services they discover, things they recommend, and they also aren’t shy about talking about what they don’t like and what they don’t recommend. They want to share and, equally as important, they listen to one another and they take one another’s advice. Research supports that – 93% of female bloggers have purchased a product they found on a blog or via an online community.
How Brands Connect with Women Bloggers
Our research found that brands and agencies are often doing a poor job of connecting with mom bloggers. Blind, bulk, non-targeted email pitches are common and bloggers often feel disrespected and disregarded as a result. Brands and their agents often exhibit lack of preparation and/or interest in a woman blogger and often.
Not surprisingly, while many women bloggers might have started blogging as a way to share parenting experiences and be a part of a community of women navigating parenthood together, most of them view their blog as their job. And they spend a lot of hours on a weekly basis working on creating content for their blogs. Our research confirmed that the thing that many brands and agencies seem to overlook is so simple: those women would like to be compensated for the work they put into their blogs.
• 90% of women bloggers want to work with brands, so long as there is some form of compensation
• 67% think revenue generation (not just “stuff”) is either somewhat or very important.
• Of the paltry 21% of female bloggers earning $1,000+ per year as a result of their blogs, almost all are spending 30 hours or more per week on their blog
Sadly, especially given the above, blogging sure isn’t profitable for a vast majority of female bloggers. Ask yourself how willing you might be to spend 30 hours a week or more working on your blog and earning what literally could amount to infinitely less than minimum wage. All while also trying to raise a family.
What Brands Can Learn
Don’t be discouraged. Women bloggers are generally very, very interested in working with brands that they believe in, brands who take the time to get to know them and who compensate them fairly. They like campaigns that make sense and suit their respective audiences and they really like for things to be organized. They want to know exactly what’s expected of them and what the compensation will be for the work. They like clear and concise communication from the brand or agency representative and they like to feel valued. When you think about it, those things aren’t shocking – they make sense.
So, if you’re a brand or an agency thinking about or wanting to work with mom bloggers, we’ll hope you’ll take some of the information here and put it to good use. Make sure the campaigns that you have in mind make sense for the bloggers you target working with. And if you’re not sure, find a parent or two within the agency or company and ask them for an opinion. Bloggers want to be a part of campaigns that not only make sense, but campaigns that suit their audiences. So do yourselves both a favor and get to know them, what they blog about and whether or not what they do suits your needs. Don’t waste their time just because you’ve not done your homework.
Mom and parent bloggers can bring a lot of value to your campaigns. And it only takes a little bit of effort to potentially have a huge success. And isn’t that what we all want?
About my Co-Author
I co-authored this piece with my good friend and frequent collaborator, Shelly Kramer. Shelly is the CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing, a full service digital communications agency. She is a marketer, strategist, content creator, speaker and social media savvy geek focused on digital media and all forms of digital strategy, content strategy and creation and online marketing. To the astonishment of her many mathematics professors, she’s also become partial to stats, numbers, analyses and measurement of all kinds.
She’s a brilliant strategist, brand builder, and thinker – and one of the most wonderful and geekiest people I know! If you get the chance to hear her speak, I promise you’ll learn something. Meantime, follow her on Twitter. You won’t be sorry. Not only will you get great info (she’s very generous with sharing!), but she’s very amusing. Oh, and did I say smart? Big time smart.
This article first appeared in The Social Media Monthly Magazine, in March of 2012.