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Monday, March 23, 2009

7 Things Mom Bloggers Want To Say To PR People

When the digital moms segment aired on the Today Show, I had over a dozen colleagues and clients email me to ask if I had seen it. It is clear that Mom bloggers have certainly reached the public mind in a way that excites many marketers. Over SXSW, I had several opportunities to sit down and learn from mom bloggers what their experience has been of working with marketers. Dinner with the Walmart 11 moms, long conversations with Stacy and Rebecca from MomCentral and hallway conversations with people who are only indirectly connected with mom bloggers like Laura Mayes from Kirtsy - as well as experience in working on a few programs focused on mom bloggers for clients have all led to this post.

So, here are the top 7 things gleaned from conversations with mom bloggers that most of them really wanted PR people to know. At the end of the list is an 8th that I didn't actually hear from anyone, but still think is valid enough to include on this list:

  1. "Get to know me." Mom bloggers are often sharing extremely personal things about their lives on their blogs, from helping a family member deal with a difficult illness to their own stories of juggling everything. Take the cues from their writing about whether your product or service is a good fit and when is a good time to contact them about it.
  2. "Stop asking for free coverage." Most mom bloggers aren't like journalists and don't really "cover" products or news. They do write about things they find personally interesting, and often accept products to try, so invite trial and if you want to reach a mom bloggers audience, consider actually paying for a sponsorship or advertising as a way of supporting her instead.
  3. "Tell me who else is involved." Often a mom blogger you are talking to may know other moms who would be interested in your efforts or could suggest even better people for your effort from their personal network. Share your list early and be flexible enough to change it.
  4. "Remember I have kids." It's ironic how many marketers forget that Mom bloggers are moms first and foremost. So they can't do that conference call with your team at 8:30am, or pick up and head off for a 3 day weekend next week to take a tour of your factory. Don't be surprised to get a response to your email at 2am or it sometimes takes several days. Just because you're surgically attached to your Blackberry doesn't mean that they are too. Remember their schedule and family obligations and you'll be much more likely to get them involved.
  5. "Kids come in different ages." Again, this falls into the "duh" category of marketing knowledge, but moms have kids that are different ages and often your product's usefulness relates directly to how old a mom's kids are. Last time I checked, toddlers don't really eat beef jerky - so your free samples are probably not too useful.
  6. "Don't try to tell me what to write." This should be obvious, but surprisingly easy to forget for some marketers. Mom bloggers, like any other bloggers, want to have their own opinions and share them. If this makes you uncomfortable, a mom blogger program may not be the best option for your product.
  7. "Keep a relationship after your campaign." Nothing is worse than a campaign ending and all of a sudden everyone disappears off the face of the earth. Great blogger engagement is about the relationship. Don't let it die when your campaign ends.
  8. BONUS TIP NOT OVERHEARD (but still valid) - "Don't assume we want your stuff." Some mom bloggers are just blogging for personal reasons and are not interested in marketing. Others are very specific about who they would consider working with and you may not be on the short list. Don't assume just because you have a great new laundry detergent and moms often have to do laundry that they would love to sample your product.

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Comments

It was great to meet you-albeit breifly-at the Blog Talk Radio/11Moms dinner! I'm glad to see how much you absorbed from the conversations-your observations about Mom Bloggers are spot on.

As a corollary to your comment on "kids come in all ages" I'd like to remind folks that not every Mom Blogger has babies-my kids are school age and I have many blogging friends with teenagers. Asking me if I'd like to review your baby product just shows a total lack of research and tends to totally turn off a blogger.

Hey Rohit,

It was really nice meeting you at SXSW. What a wonderful post. I enjoyed our lunch at PF Changes and learned a lot from you. Thanks for the book by the way!

Thanks for sharing our thoughts and comments on Companies who contact bloggers.

Rohit,
Again, you hit the mark with your article. Great work!

http://begincommunications.blogspot.com/

Rohit,

Wonderful recap (and #8 was both intuitive and correct.) I'm not surprised that you gleaned all this from the interactions you had with many moms and marketers over the years, as you are sharp and seem to articulate the sentiments of mom bloggers very well!

Wishing you the best with your book!

Linsey Knerl

Rohit, you are clearly one of those people who knows how to listen. My impression of you was great at the 11Moms dinner, but I'm glad to see that you turned your interaction with us and many other mom bloggers into something that a lot of marketers need to hear. And you were absolutely correct in adding #8 :)

Awesome post Rohit!

It's going in my "Link it rather than re-writing it" folder so I can just point people here.

It's amazing how many marketers and PR folks don't even think about these things. Thanks again for distilling it down to one great post! :)

The biggest problem is people not taking time to read the blogs and see what you are about. All of those rules would not be needed if someone just took 10 minutes to read the blogs.

Everyone is different. It's the same for media, 90% of the pitches I get for the Wright Place TV Show are topics we do not cover. I feel your pain.

Dr. Wright
The Wright Place TV Show
http://wrightplacetv.com/stimulus
www.twitter.com/drwright1


Thanks for the reminder of how to work with mom bloggers. I agree with your number 1 of "get to know me." As is with any type of PR program, it is all about building personal relationships. Once you do this the other things fall into place.

That was very well said. I am a mom, I have two blogs and I review a lot of items because I like them, I have never been contacted by marketers but I know for a fact I have incluenced a lot of purchases over the last year! I enjoy reading more about mom blogging and marketing especially since it work every day.

Thank you.

Wow. I cannot believe it. Someone (other than us) gets it.

Great post, you covered all of the bases!

It was great to meet you at SxSW!

Nice tip. Though I am not a mum but it applies to all, I think. Thanks once again.

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Thanks a lot for the above mentioned tips, I think we must be careful enough while commenting on any post and taking care for the future commenting.

This IS a great list. It also comes down to a lot of common sense dealing with human interaction (not just mom-interaction). 'Let's get to know each other a little before you ask me for a favor.'

What I have found by working closely with the women/mom blog world is that if you really get involved in the community, you will inevitably get so much back. These women are smart, savvy and have their finger on the pulse of today's way of interacting with brands and products.

I learn something new from them everyday and it makes me better at what I do. Be careful PR/Marketing people, you might just make a few new friends along the way as well...

This just goes to show that just because it doesn't come from an anonymous hotmail account, doesn't mean it's not SPAM!!!

When companies "ASSUME" - well, you know the rest.

Yes, it seems like common sense that a company who wants to "leverage" a blogger's following might spend 15 minutes scanning the posts and trying to get a "feel" for whether this particular mommy blogger is a good "fit" for their product or service.

Unfortunately, common sense is getting less and less common these days.

I just think it's ironic that companies who want to connect with these bloggers in an effort to connect more personally with customers can't be BOTHERED to connect with these mommy bloggers. I mean, I get it that you can't expect to "personally know" 15,000 customers - but surely it's worth the time and effort to get to know the ONE blogger who can connect you with those 15,000 customers!!!

Great post. So many of these a person would think are common sense concerning mom bloggers. Thanks for bringing them up.

What a smart round-up. I hope the marketers are listening.

This is a new frontier, and traditional journalistic pr approaches don't fit when a blogger is not only a writer, but also the editor, publisher, and ad sales team of her own site.

In fact if more people kept #7 in mind that would probably impact everything.

Bravo! This is so excellent. I can't wait to RT and post it on FB.

Hey there,
What a great article! Thanks for taking the time to speak on our behalf.. I just wish this was taught in marketing courses!!

GREAT article! Thanks for posting this one.

Very good points! Another stumbling block I run into is companies who only want to play "the numbers game." Please don't assume that just because our numbers haven't made it to the level of other bloggers, that our opinions aren't just as valid. I would much rather read a review from someone who had a real, legitimate need for a product over someone who was given the opportunity just because they have 'X' number of subscribers or 'X' number of unique visits per day. Also, please consider that someone who does a lot or reviews and giveaways may have big numbers, but not a very engaged audience (people who only subscribe and comment for the giveaway for example).

I had a company agree to work with me on a brand-new site I contribute to. There was no free product involved, just a feature in an article I was putting together.

When the PR person asked for the site stats I was very honest that the site had only been live for less than two months and that we were trying to build a readership and had not started using any analytics features because it was too early. I never heard from her again. Needless to say, I now have a very poor image of her, her company and their product and can't see myself buying from them let alone offering to include them in a national event I have coming up that they might be a really good fit for. Can you say, burned bridge?!

Sorry to hijack your comments with my rant but this still really upsets me!

I've had experiences with all of the above. Including Mel's story where a PR-ish person disappeared after I shared our site stats.

Luckily I've also had some great experiences. Not surprisingly the best were with other moms who have started companies or sell their wares.

I'd add as 4a. there are obvious times of year when we're swamped with requests. Back-to-school, holidays etc. please keep that in mind too!

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