Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Marketing to MommyBloggers: More Mommybloggers in the News

I'm reading: Marketing to MommyBloggers: More Mommybloggers in the NewsTweet this!

Chicago CBS2 News recently ran a two-part series on mommybloggers, with the splashy title: Secrets of Mommybloggers. I'm not sure if the secrets are that we get free product for review (that's a secret? I guess it is if a blogger does not disclose; I do) or that mom bloggers can make a lot of money (um, let's reclassify that as a myth, shall we?).

This mommyblogger's secrets include the fact that I sometimes blog in my underwear.

The CBS crew might find that tantalizing. What they did not grab onto was my response when they contacted me back in June about this series. They wanted my thoughts on the proposed FTC regs, blogging for pay and making money off my blog. (Notice the lack of ads?). My thoughts are below.

First props to my friend Alma, Marketing Mommy, and, well, I'm not sure what to say about Sheena. I met her at BlogHer and thought she was really sweet. I'm glad to see that upgrading her disclosure policy and becoming more transparent (honest) about her paid reviews, but I think she was played for a fool in the piece.

Kim Moldofsky []
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 12:36 PM
To: ********
Subject: RE: Blogger Story

Now there are many moms blogging for dollars, but before mombloggers became the Big New Thing, most moms started blogging as a creative outlet, to vent, and/or build a virtual community.

Even if you have a strong IRL (in real life) community, you can’t pick up the phone and call a mom friend to commiserate at 2 AM, but you can go online and connect with other moms who relate. You might not have pregnant women in your workplace, or on your block/in your apartment building, but you can connect with a group of women through or other sites to share your pregnancy stories. I know women whose baby groups stayed active for a decade beyond pregnancy.

Through my blog, I have formed friendships with women across the country and beyond. Blogging has opened up my world. I just ignore my husband when he makes comments about my imaginary friends.

Through the Chicago Moms Blog and its sister blogs, I’m connected to a fabulous network of smart, talented women who readily answer questions or share tips on anything from parenting to Facebook.

Blogging has also opened doors I never even knew existed. For example, last fall I spent the day at a rally driving school in New Hampshire thanks to Subaru (who I later did work for). The Subaru invitation was a result of an article in Automotive News in which I was quoted, which itself was a result of attending a GM Malibu test drive event. (Updated to add that hanging out with Nancy Pelosi trumped the driving school.)

Yes it’s fun to try new products and occasionally write reviews of them. And I think it’s great that blogging has also created money-making opportunities for women. Indeed, I consult as a Social Media Mom to help companies understand and connect with online mom influencers, but the feeling of community and the knowledge that I can share my voice in a way mothers of past generations could not are of key importance to me and many other mombloggers.


Are you still awake? Heartfelt as my note was, it obvioulsy didn't make for a very sexy, I mean newsworthy, story.

More on marketing to moms who blog.


Daisy said...

Reality isn't very sexy, is it? Maybe the underwear bit is more so.

Kimberly/Mom in the City said...

I think that bloggers have to be really careful when speaking to the media. Although some do, I don't think that most bloggers get paid to do reviews (by choice).

I don't think that the piece showed mom bloggers (in general) or Sheena (in particular) in the most flattering light. Live and learn.

Amy said...

The sad fact is that when you are contacted by the media and work on a piece with them, you are never quite sure what it is going to be edited into.

I was brought on a talk show once to educate moms on work-at-home scams. When I got there, they plopped me in the audience and said I was a victim.

It is a new thing for many of us and it is very eye-opening how these stories can be spun and how you can be used without credit to your site.

I really caution anyone being contacted by the media or by a paper to really be careful when these opportunities arise and to do your best to be your own advocate to make sure your credentials are listed when doing an interview.

I have been working on a piece in my head for the last year b/c I have been taken advantage enough to be a little jaded.

I didn't get to see the piece you are referring to, but Sheena is a very hard-working blogger who (I am sure) deserved more.

Marketing Mommy said...

I think ended up in the segment because I have pretty strong opinions regarding paid posts and overly cozy blogger-sponsor relations and I'm sure CBS was looking to drum up a little controversy.

Anyway Dorothy Tucker, talked to me at my house for over an hour. What ended up in the segment was about 5-10 seconds. Still, I think that my point--that transparency is good for readers AND bloggers--didn't get entirely lost in the shuffle. I hope.

Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig said...

You know what I find interesting? That maybe .5% of my readers are even aware of this whole conversation. Just as most bloggers began blogging because they needed an outlet, most readers read blogs to find connections. Every time I get my head swimming in the back-and-forth of this conversation, I'm always brought back down to earth by a blissfully unaware reader who says "Um, what's all the hubub?"

I myself am torn by my attention to the "hubub," because on one hand I am incredibly curious about the nearly anthropological aspects of blogging (think documentary with hushed David Attenborough-like voice of narrator asking "what compels these women to blog?") and on the other hand I think "who the flip cares?!"

And who really DOES care what the "secrets" of mommybloggers are, especially when - as you cleverly put it - some of our most scandalous moments involve blogging in our skivvies and rolling our eyes at our so-not-social-media-savvy husbands? It just feels like a story for a story's sake, the salacious implication that we're all out to make a buck and for doing something so seemingly unimportant.

I agree with you, and with the spirit of this post - when I look up from my computer screen, and away from all the talk and shock and mockery over what mommybloggers do or don't do, I see a decidedly less interesting reality (kids, dishes, PTA meetings), one I'm sure no one would cover in a news piece.

Jennifer James said...

I watched the first part of the series and cringed. I felt sorry for Sheena because the reporter really, really set her up.

Jessica Gottlieb said...

it would have been great to identify Sheena as a walmart mom too.

I think we all know that changes everything.

deb@birdonawire said...

From watching the CBS piece and reading Sheena's blog, it looks as though she got sand bagged. Now, I don't have a clue what she makes, and honestly don't care. She is a part of the WalMart brigade and with that comes added pr, but not necessarily added traffic, which is what it takes to make money with any advertising. What she has today may not be tomorrow depending on traffic we all know that. So, for anyone to assume that she's getting rich on what she's doing, well they're just shooting the moon. Apparently, she's cleaned up her disclosures, which is good, but I did notice a large number of undisclosed link type posts, meh. If you're getting paid to blog, say it, don't just spout how much you're making in some high profile news piece.

That all being said, yes, anyone who's approached by media for video or print interviews needs to be careful and the WalMart moms, should have gotten that after the Christmas debauchle and the interview that quoted a non quote from Katja. Other bloggers need to be careful what is being said, what questions are answered, its just good biz the check what is being said about you. Once the crew has left, you have NO control over what's edited out, and how that piece is put back together. You are in control during the interview, if you don't know how to control an interview, by all means ask someone who does. There are plenty of publicity experts in this great wide world, some of us are even moms and we'd be glad to help. Just a word up, this world of marketing, and publicity isn't always "fair" kind of like life, but if you're aware and in charge, you can largely control what goes on. honestly.

Lisa said...

Dont' worry Kim -- she didn't want to talk to me after she found out the Sun Times did a really nice piece on me. What ended up getting printed explains a lot.

Kristina said...

Hmmm, I say go with the blogging in your underwear angle ... you'll be sure to star in the next drama--er, I mean, news segment--on mommy blogging.

LittleTechGirl said...

I'm chiming in very late here having just "met" Kim today. :) I saw the bit when it aired and it made me feel funny too. It sometimes amazes me the angle that a story will have once the media edits and edits and cuts out relevant things.

What's ironic is that when we talked about on the phone today about there being a myth that mommy bloggers make a bunch of $$ this is the EXACT story that I was thinking about. Free stuff is nice, but it does not pay the mortgage.

I'm sure stories like this had a lot to do with the FTC's decision on disclosure.

As for media attention, I have been on the unwanted end of the spectrum as well when I wrote about my iPhone moisture sensor troubles and ended up on CNN, then NBC in Boston. I'll just say that people LOVE to lash out.

Anyway, I am rambling. Looking forward to talking with you more. :)