Monday, December 31, 2012

Mom Blogger and Social Media Mom Trends

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The Stephanies (Schwab and Azzarone) have posited that we're reaching the end of the reign of the mommyblogger. I agree. And disagree. Although defining oneself as a social media mom is a dubious career move even in the best of times, I see exciting opportunities on the horizon even as others fading away.

When I look into my 2013 crystal ball I see the Wordle up above.

But before I go all rainbows and unicorns on you, I’m going to share the most disturbing trend of 2012: moms vlogging while driving, VWD, AKA making videos while driving. It’s unsafe, unnecessary and irresponsible. Imagine that the last video clip your child sees of you is the one left on the phone that survived your fatal crash. I’ve seen distracted driving campaigns get a lot of traction on momblogs, so this trend is especially odd. Mamas, stop endangering your life and the lives of others on the road.

And now on the unicorn and rainbows.

The Stephanies rightly report that the generic momblogger isn’t quite the PR darling she used to be. In part it's because smart PR and marketing folks are better targeting and measuring their outreach efforts. Smart bloggers, however, are defining and reaching specific niches.

Many established “mommy bloggers” are re-inventing themselves online. As their children and their blogs age, leading moms are following new or rediscovering old passions creating a niche blogs in the process. Kimberly Coleman did it with Foodie City Mom, Jennifer James did this with Mom Bloggers for Social Good, Meagan Francis launched The Kitchen Hour blog and podcast and I created The Maker Mom and #STEMchat.

Aside from Jennifer’s network, other bloggers continue to use their networks and contacts for social good whether writing about a cause to educate readers or raise funds or, in this case, diapers.

Brands are not only looking for niche, they are looking for quality, too.
Can you find us a blogger who posts nothing but reviews?” asked no client of mine. Ever. 
Brands look for providers of quality content-compelling stories, engaging stories, funny stories- told in an authentic voice when it comes to the more visible and higher paying campaigns.

That doesn’t mean only the A-listers with brilliant prose, high quality photos and ready-for-TV videos, not to mention thousands of eager fans on every social channel will get all the opportunities. Sure, they will get many, but there’s room for the rest of us, too. As Neil Gaiman mentioned in this inspirational commencement speech- if you’re a good writer who meets deadlines and is pleasant work with, you can go far.

Speaking of stories, if you doubt the importance of narrative, look at the success of Listen to Your Mother. (Side note: the LTYM Chicago application deadline is rapidly approaching.)

For the serious social media mom, exploring new platforms, whether it's a blog with a side of Tumblr or Google+ community--Kimberley Blaine launched the first parent community over there-- or G+ On-Air Hangouts (something I'm itching to launch in The Maker Mom G+ community), branching out is key.

Mom bloggers who haven't started growing their YouTube presence should get their cameras rolling. A network like Mom Pulse might help. My channel is independent, so if you’re part of a network, please share your experiences below.

Homemade videos are good practice for TV segments. A typical TV segment will hit many more eyeballs than a blog post and more bloggers are hitting the airwaves. In 2012, I did two morning news segments in conjunction with The Maker Mom, Rebecca and Nancy, my peeps from KidzVuz, did a holiday TV segment on hot gifts for tweens, and Angela England showed off educational gifts for kids.

Angela is also key to another trend, blog to book. Her Backyard Farming book recently launched, Beth Blecherman's and Amy Allen Clark's books are sitting on my desk and fab foodie and home cook Jennifer Perillo's book will be out soon.

Phew, that's a lot of ground to cover. Experienced bloggers know they can only stretch so far before they snap, so they'll make choices about what works for their blogs and their readers, not to mention their families.

That said, I think YouTube and Google+ are good bets. I'm not sure if 2013 will be the downfall of Facebook, but I see social media moms leading the way on G+. Will our friends and readers follow?

Where do you think this crazy business is leading us and what are you doing to stay ahead of the crowd?

Edited to add- according Wall Street Journal here's one trend I'm looking forward to in 2013 (sponsored video content at the click).  

14 comments:

adrienne said...

Amy's book is outstanding. Read it now.

Also looking forward to reading Minimalist Parenting (Asha of Parent Hacks and Christine of Boston Mamas) in the New Year.

Best wishes for 2013!

Elizabeth Towns said...

You have given me a lot to think about. I definitely agree that Google+ is getting a much needed boost because of Facebook's greatest error ever: algorithm changes that are killing blogger presence. Now Google+ should up their game by presenting more easy to use and help vids and walk through help aids.

I have avoided youtube but have been doing some EXPO v-logging, so I guess I had better get my behind in gear (wishing it was from a Serta grandmother of all beds!).

This is a great commentary on the direction of mom bloggers, and possibly on which direction some of us should not be going. Great post.

Pam Schmidt said...

I am new to blogging, and my perspective is one of a Kindergarten teacher talking to parents and educators. So my audience is the young mom and possibly the Mommy Blogger. Your points help me to consider the future of blogging trends, thanks!

I've been using YouTube videos as an intro to my daily blog posts. I guess I am aiming in the right direction. Is that different than the YouTube points you've made?

Lastly, I wonder if Mommy Blogs are truly on their way out/pushing change OR if Mommy Bloggers perceive the change because their own children are moving into a new phase of life?

Melanie Sheridan said...

Niche blogging is huge. Those are the blogs making the most money, IMHO. I think a lot of bloggers will shut their doors as they realize how difficult it is to sustain an audience.

Gayle Weiswasser said...

Interesting take on Google+. You think social media moms are paving the way there?

Laila @OnlyLaila said...

I've always thought niche blogging was the way to go. It's helps create a specific community and helps you connect better with brands. I've also noticed a rise in bloggers creating books out of their content. Some are good, others not so much.

Kathy said...

I swear I left a comment here earlier, but it is not showing up, so I will try again...

First off, I had no idea there was a trend of mom bloggers doing that. YIKES!!! I can't even begin to imagine or comprehend that... So I won't try.

As for what keeps me coming back to reading specific blogs week after week and year after year, I have found that it is more the voice vs. the niche. When I really like the way someone writes/tells me a story/their story. That said, I totally get the importance of niche blogging and believe we can and should do some of both.

That was one of the conclusions that the panel I spoke with at BlogHer`12 came to, in our session My Blog No Longer Fits Me: Blogging After Life Change. That when our lives and circumstances change, we don't always have to change our blogs completely, we can allow them to evolve with us.

In terms of what I do to stay ahead of the crowd or at least keep up, I am a fan of blog hops/writing exercises (both hosting and participating). Here is a link to the ones that I do at Bereaved and Blessed:

http://bereavedandblessed.com/projects-regular-series/

Thank you for this thought-provoking piece about blogging and social media trends in the New Year. Lots to chew on here.

Amanda O. said...

Interesting topic...I'm sure many Mom Bloggers are in the process of reinvention in order to keep up with the times. I think niche blogging is the key to longevity in this game. Great post!

Sarah said...

Great stuff to think about! I probably should start doing some vlogging (not while driving of course!), but it's so intimidating.

Katia said...

As a new blogger who is looking to grow her audience I devour articles such as yours. I am not familiar with some of the terminology and I am assuming that niche blogs are ones that specialize in a narrow topic such as the backyard farming example someone had mentioned?

I don't believe that my blog would qualify as niche, but I believe in my blog because it's honest and funny. I am wondering if anyone can offer advice on promoting a blog that is mainly a humour/stories from life blog as opposed to a review/service more functional blog.

Thank you!

Keianna J said...

I am team niche blogging all the way! I began my blog as a mom learning to style her daughter's hair. As I began to get better at hairstyling, it became a passion of mine so I decided to enroll in hair school. Since attending hair school, I have grown & now I style & specialize in children hair care.

I will not turn my back on mom blogging because it is truly my humble beginnings. I wouldn't know the things I know now if it wasn't for blogging.

I do need to get back on Youtube & Use other social media to my advantage. Facebook has limited my audience view with trying to get people to pay for ads, so I believe it is time for me to make the switch to something different.

Thanks for writing this article. It really was a huge eye opener for me. Thank you.

Donna said...

Niche blogging has ALWAYS been the way to earn more money. Alas - I have never been able to focus enough on one topic to pull it off!

Kimberly/Foodie City Mom said...

Thanks for the mention Kim!

Niche blogging IS fun. I'm learning a lot and have been offered many great mutually beneficial opportunities.

(I'm happy that I kept my other blog too though. There, I can write about the other things that interest me when I have extra time. We moms are multifaceted gems!)

Kim Tracy Prince said...

I've had your newsletter in my in-box for a long time and I'm just getting around to this post. Thanks for the inclusion. Diapers!!

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