Mom 2.0 Summit; If you bond with Mom, Mom will bond with your brand

March 29, 2009

Last month, I represented BPR at the Mom2.0Summit in Houston TX a social media conference focusing on ways that marketers and PR professionals can converse with the extremely influential world of Mom-bloggers. Going in, I had no idea what to expect – a conference room filled to capacity with Moms, most with kids and computers in tow, was a vastly different experience from the tech conferences of my industry, whose attendees are typically 20-30 something guys. Turns out, the conference was a great mix of practical advice and networking, and offered valuable insight on ways to adjust traditional PR methods in order to succeed in the 2.0 world.

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The Word-of-Mom Potential

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Everyone is buzzing about the power of social media, especially within the blogosphere. Advertisers, marketers and PR professionals are salivating at its potential – and rightfully so! A recent study conducted by Compass Partners in 2008 uncovered some astonishing statistics about the “Mom-blogger” niche. The study indicated that 36.1 million women are actively participating in the blogosphere each week (15.1 are publishing, 21.1 are reading and posting comments). Of the women surveyed, 64% claimed that they have recently purchased a product based on the advice of another blogger. Another astounding revelation: Women are so passionate about blogging that 49% of those surveyed said they would give up their cell phones and 43% would give up reading their newspaper in order to keep the blogs they read and/or write.

So how do you bridge the gap between you and the blogger?

In one corner, you have a PR team who wants the very active and very viral network of Mom blogs to be aware of their client’s brand, company and products. In the other corner, you have women conversing on the Internet – women writing blogs, tweeting away on Twitter, and conversing together on Facebook. What’s missing is the emotional connection between the two.

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The biggest mistake a PR professional can make is thinking that they can talk to bloggers directly about their products. Women, mom-bloggers especially, don’t care about your client’s products. Yes, it’s a harsh statement, but it was also the most unanimous message resounding from the bloggers attending Mom2.0Summit. Mom-bloggers do not write their blogs in hopes of fame, fortune, or product pitches; instead they are writing in order to form a community, and to forge emotional connections with other mothers. These Mom-bloggers do not care about your client’s next big thing. They care about what’s going on in their lives and they care about things that they have emotional connections with.

One of the conference panels, entitled “End of Marketing and PR as We Know It,” emphasized the necessity of forming a connection with the blogger who’d like to reach. During the session, an audience member inquired about the best approach for someone who isn’t active in the mom community to pitch someone who is. The answer from Kristen Chase of Motherhood Uncensored was simple: you can’t. “If you’re looking in from the outside, you won’t be heard.” said Kristen, “But if you’re in inside my community, and you approach me with a cool product you’d like me to check out, I’ll listen to your pitch. And if it’s not right for me, I’ll tell you about my friend who I think may love it.”

In other words, instead of asking her to come to you – go to her.

If you want a Mom-blogger to pay attention to what your clients have to offer, you need to focus on what she cares about, what she is talking about, and what she is doing. The best way to do this? Instead of trying to start a conversation, join in the online conversation she is already having.

One of the best examples of this relationship is action is the infamous road-trip of well-known blogger Bossy (check out Bossy’s Excellent Road Trip). Georgia Getz, known in the blogosphere as “Bossy” of iambossy.com, decided to embark on a cross-country road-trip in order to meet the fans of her website. Saturn heard about her intentions and decided to “loan” Bossy various Saturn vehicles to drive on each leg of her trip. Throughout the journey, Bossy blogged about the cars, posting comments like, “This road trip is making me want a Saturn”, and “Alright, that’s it! I’m buying a Saturn.” Readers began posting about the cars on their own sites as well. One reader wrote, “I saw a Saturn Aura parked outside my Starbucks today and thought, Bossy is that you? The only reason I noticed was because of Bossy.”

And so, after three days of networking sessions, twitter lessons, and marketing panels, the main theme of the conference was clear: bonding is the bottom line. For PR this means that that when leveraging social media to bring awareness to your client and their products, find out what the bloggers are already doing, and then find a way to tie on your client’s product to improve that experience. If you bond with Mom first, then Mom will happily bond with your brand. She will blog about it, twitter it and will share her experience with her vast network while you (and your client) will have hit the social media mother-load.

– Catharine

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