Category Archives: Marketing to Moms

A snapshot of the blogger-brand relationship survey.

The Blogger-Brand Relationship Research Report is Now Available!

A snapshot of the blogger-brand relationship survey.
A snapshot of the blogger-brand relationship survey.

I’ve been blogging since 2003. That’s when blogs were still called “weblogs” and no one really knew what they were. I have my husband to thank for this particular foray into digital content creation — he thought a blog might be a good way to chronicle our drive across country that summer. He was right. Our family and friends loved reading about our adventures and viewing our vacation photos online as they happened.

Ten years later, blogs have come a long way, and so have I.  As a former marketer for a parenting brand and now as a digital marketing consultant, I see the immense value of blogs as a marketing tool. And hundreds of the world’s largest brands agree.

The budgets in this space are immense. The business is moving and changing rapidly.

But the data is sparse.

What is actually happening here? Why are brands spending thousands of dollars at blogger conferences and practically throwing free product at them? Why are bloggers’ inboxes filling up with press releases as if they are print magazine editors? Don’t bloggers know we don’t pay for product reviews? Don’t PR firms and brands know bloggers can’t work for free?

Faced with this confusion from both clients and bloggers, I dusted off the research methods portion of my brain (well-developed back in graduate school and the years following) and I developed a survey for bloggers about their experiences working with brands. In designing the survey, I attempted to answer the following two questions:

What is the current state of the blogger-brand relationship from the bloggers’ perspective?
How can brands and bloggers work together for mutual benefit?

I assembled an Advisory Group of Very Smart People (experienced bloggers and marketing professionals) to give me feedback on the survey design. When the survey was ready, I tapped into my blogger network and social media channels to promote it. In other words, I spent about a month begging bloggers to take the survey. And thankfully, 227 of them did.

Before I even had a chance to write up the results I started lining up speaking engagements to share the data. I’ve found that there’s an incredibly eager audience for this information. I spoke to bloggers and brands at Mom 2.0 Summit. I spoke to juvenile manufacturers and retailers at the All Baby & Child Spring Educational Conference. And I spoke to PR professionals at the PRSA Boston Social Media Summit. You can view those presentation decks and read more about what I presented here and here.

And now, I’ve written the summary report. In the report I outline 5 major themes that emerged from the data about the blogger-brand relationship. These themes cover the four topic areas of my survey: Engagement, Compensation, Experience and Demographics. You can download your free copy of the research report here.

The findings may surprise you. However if you’re a blogger, the findings are likely more validating than earth-shattering.

The summary report is just that, a summary. The full report takes a deeper diving into the data and is available for purchase, starting at $199. I can also create a custom report and/or presentation for your business or firm. Send me an email if you are interested in the full report or a custom report/presentation.

 

How brands measure blogger influence

Blogger Influence: How Brands Measure It, and How Bloggers Wish They Would

It’s becoming increasingly clear that a blogger’s “influence” cannot be measured simply with a single number, or even a small collection of numbers. Bloggers today have a wide online (and offline) presence and audience engagement that are not easily quantified with statistics like pageviews and followers.

Today I am speaking on a panel at Mom 2.0 Summit about influence beyond your blog and the trend toward brands and PR firms valuing a blogger’s entire “social footprint” when establishing relationships. My 2013 Blogger-Brand Relationship Survey included two specific questions about measuring influence — What numbers are brands asking for? and What numbers do bloggers wish brands would ask for? It’s interesting to see the contrasts between how brands value bloggers, and how they value themselves. See my presentation deck below for more data and information on this topic. You can also download the free research report.

Bloggers, how do you communicate your value to a brand or PR firm? Are you able to represent all the facets of your influence?

mom 20 blogger

5 Findings About Bloggers and Brands from the 2013 Blogger-Brand Relationship Survey

mom 20 bloggerLast month, I conducted an independent research survey of bloggers to try and gather some research-based information about the often complex (and occasionally thorny) relationship between bloggers and brands.

While I frantically work on the summary report, while simultaneously jetting to the west coast to share some of the findings at Mom 2.0 Summit, I thought I’d share a few discoveries I’ve made since diving into the numbers, just to give you a sense of what’s to come. To get your copy of the summary report when it’s ready, join my email list.

First of all, an overview of the respondents. 227 bloggers responded to the survey during a 5-week period in March and April of 2013. 92% are female, 87% have children. They blog about dozens of topics – however the most frequently named are “Family/Parenting”, “Food, Recipes and/or Cooking” and “Products and Reviews”.

The majority of respondents are experienced, mid- to high-traffic bloggers: 84% have been blogging 3 years or more, and more than half reported having 10K + unique visitors per month.

Finding #1: Bloggers blog, foremost, because they love to write.

Bloggers are occasionally portrayed as money-grubbing opportunists climbing over each other for free swag. Not so. When asked, “Why do you blog?” the most popular response by far is “I love to write.” Even 70% of the highest traffic bloggers, who have the most potential to profit from their blogs, reported that their reason for blogging was for the love of writing.

Finding #2: Bloggers are inundated with pitches from brands that don’t fit their blog.

97% of bloggers get email pitches from brands and PR firms, and 40% of bloggers reported getting 10 or more email pitches per day. When asked how many of those email pitches are “right on target for your blog’s content and tone”, 40% said very few to none were a good match.

Finding #3: Personal communication matters when pitching bloggers.

When bloggers are confronted with an inbox full of pitches that don’t match their blog content, getting personalized emails from brands and PR firms help pitches and opportunities stand out. When asked how they typically connect with brands for the first time, the most popular response was “a personal email from the brand/PR firm” and the LEAST popular response was “a mass email pitch from the brand/PR firm”.

Fact #4: A “chance to win” is nearly never enough to win over a blogger.

Guess what? Offering bloggers “a chance to win” something will usually not compel them to do work on your behalf, despite the popularity of this particular tactic. 78% of bloggers reported having been offered a “chance to win a prize” as compensation for a product post. 90% said they rarely or never accept such an offer.

Fact #5: Bloggers want brands to look beyond the numbers.

The top 3 metrics that brands are asking for as a measure of bloggers’ influence are: Twitter followers, Facebook fans and blog traffic statistics. And although many bloggers agree that those numbers are important, when asked what metrics they wish brands would ask for more frequently, the majority named reader engagement metrics such as comments, subscribers and interactions on social channels.

A blogger with a smaller but loyal and trusting readership often has more influence than one with tons of page views. Some brands get this, but many do not.

I’ll be talking a lot more about measures of influence at the “Influence Beyond Your Blog” panel at Mom 2.0 Summit this Saturday. If you won’t be there, you can view my presentation deck here.

For more data from the 2013 Blogger-Brand Relationship Survey, sign up for my email list to get the summary report when it is released.

photo credit: blancastella via photopin cc

My business card organizer. Yes, that's Colonel Sanders. We met in Louisville, KY.

6 Tips for Marketers Attending Blogging Conferences

My business card organizer. Yes, that's Colonel Sanders. We met in Louisville, KY.
My business card organizer. Yes, that’s Colonel Sanders. We met at a trade show in Louisville, KY.

Today my friend and former colleague Nancy Holtzman from Isis Parenting asked me for some advice on navigating a blogger conference when you’re a marketer. She’s attending the Blissdom blogging conference with her marketing hat on, hoping to make some connections on behalf of her (fabulous) brand. (She’s a blogger too, and a Twitter fanatic to boot.)

I know first-hand that it can be a little awkward to attend a blogging conference when you’re a brand/blogger/marketer/notsurewhatIam. Overall, mom blogging conferences like Blissdom, Mom 2.0 and BlogHer are fantastic places to learn and network on behalf of your brand. And you are absolutely not alone. Brands, PR reps, mompreneurs, book authors and other brand/blogger morphs abound at blogging conferences.

Here are some of the tips I shared with Nancy:

1. Unless you are a conference sponsor, don’t hand out company literature, brochures, or swag items like hats, t-shirts or pens (okay, maybe one pen is fine, but only if someone asks for one). This is called “suitcasing” and it’s against the rules. Don’t leave any of that stuff on the tables either. It’s not cool, looks bad for your brand and it could get you kicked out of the conference.

2. Bring lots of business cards. A ton. A whole box. Hand one to everyone you meet. Deal them out like playing cards at every table. Don’t be shy. This is the the acceptable, legitimate way to share your contact information.

3. Come up with a filing system for the cards that you collect. Some people bring zipper pouches, binders, or those cute little boxes from Moo. Did you meet someone you absolutely positively need to follow-up with? Jot a note on their card and set it aside in a special spot. Collecting a card just to be polite? Set aside a catch-all area for those cards so they don’t dilute your pile of important contacts. [Bonus tip: Once you’ve amassed a pile of business cards, use a business card scanning app for your smartphone to scan all of that contact info into your address book.]

4. Tweet sparingly from your company account. Mom blogging conference attendees use Twitter like a text messaging platform. It’s easy and fun to connect with fellow attendees with the conference hashtag, and you’ll find yourself using Twitter to ask a friend to meet you by the elevator after the morning keynote. Try not to clutter your company twitter feed with conference tweets – instead, use a personal Twitter account. Make sure your personal Twitter bio mentions your position at the company and the company’s Twitter handle. That will help you maximize Twitter networking while not alienating your company’s fans (most of whom will have no idea what the conference tag/chatter is all about).

5. Restrain yourself in the expo area. You’re human, so when you get a load of the conference swag at mom blogging conferences, you’re gonna want a piece of that. Who wouldn’t? But restrain yourself. Walking out of the expo area with an armful of vibrators might not be a great idea. Conference sponsors pay big money to shower products on influential mom bloggers, not fellow marketers. And whatever you do, don’t share your business cards with sponsors in the expo area. Doing so will put you on the email list of dozens of PR firms, from which your inbox may never recover.

6. Follow-up after the conference with personal messages. For your most valuable contacts, individual personal emails is the best way to follow up. Refer to a conversation you had, or a session you both attended. Your personal message will stand out amongst the dozens of canned “Dear Blogger” emails that will surely fill her inbox post-conference.

Any other tips to share with marketers attending blogging conferences? Share them in the comments.

 

800px-Roche_Bros,_West_Roxbury_MA

How Roche Bros. Supermarket is Winning Customers (and Bloggers) With Social Listening

Last weekend a tweet from my friend Jessica compelled me to comment. It was about grocery delivery, which is one of my favorite services for parents of small children.

She then went on to say how she preferred Roche Bros. delivery to their local competitor. When I asked her why, she described how they have no tipping, no minimum order requirement and a full selection of grocery products. And free pie.

And although she had only mentioned Roche Bros. once by their Twitter handle, they had been listening in on our entire conversation (what us social media types call “social listening”), because the next morning we both got this tweet from them.

But it doesn’t end there. When Jessica’s scheduled grocery delivery arrived later that day, Roche Bros. included a thank you gift: a bouquet of flowers for her and two painted pumpkins for her children.

Jessica was so impressed that she posted the story to her professional network – the Boston Parent Bloggers, an active community of over 130 area mom and dad bloggers.

 

 

 

Much “liking” ensued. The bloggers were enamored that one of their own would have such a great experience with a brand.

Oh, and then Jessica wrote a glowing review about them on her blog.

By using social listening strategies – following the Twitter conversations about their brand, and then going the extra mile with their customer, the smart people at Roche Bros. inadvertently reached out to over 100 bloggers without a formal campaign.

And they got a post on Jessica’s blog. And mine.

Get ready for a busy delivery season, Roche Bros.