Last week, on the blog Everything PR, Phil Butler posted a rant on the subject of mommy bloggers. Apparently it was sparked by a news release he saw about tomorrow’s Bulldog Reporter PR University audio conference on pitching mommy bloggers. I am speaking on that panel, as a publicist who has successfully worked with this audience for the past few years.
He begins by blasting the organizers of the event for positioning the mom blogger, in their press materials, as the “holy grail” – his term, not theirs. Yet for most companies, mom is, appropriately, just that – the key target audience, the one responsible for 80-85% of household spending decisions. And these days, the way to reach her is through social media – especially, by means of mommy bloggers.
He goes on to say that “though many Moms who blog or use the Internet are still focused on their kids, some are wholly focused on the almighty dollar – period.” And if that weren’t enough, “I can tell the reader one thing about the Mommy blogosphere these days – marketing and PR money has turned many of these Moms into review slinging money grubbers whose only concerns are freebies and paid for positive reviews of products.”
And let’s not overlook this: “I do not want to get into the specifics, or to hurt anyone unduly, but suffice it to say that large PR and marketing companies have pretty much “paid off” many of the most influential Moms out there.”
Hold on there. Paid? We don’t pay the mommy bloggers we work with. We never have. And it’s never been a problem.
He goes on: “We have people working on this very issue right now reporting all manner of “under the table” type operations.”
A little too cloak-and-dagger for me, Phil.
He then provides an example from his own experience, regarding a free service that he felt was valuable for families and that he pitched to the mom blogger community. The response:
“Out of about 50 Mommy Bloggers in our networks, and an untold zillion of others on Twitter and other networks, can you guess how many just told their readers about this wonderful kids tool? One.”
Hey, Phil. Maybe they didn’t like the service. Or maybe you didn’t approach them properly. Or maybe you just thought that they should be grateful for the information. Believe me, these days they get plenty of information. Did they not run it because it didn’t add to their bottom line or their kid’s toy chest? In some – repeat, some — cases, probably yes. The important learning here is that not all mom bloggers are alike.
“As for the ones who we have supported in their social media outreaches all these years, and offered to help in other ways so many times, not one even bothered to ask questions about this tool.”
OK. Now here – finally — we have something to agree on. Yes, when there is an ongoing relationship, and when an agency has gone out of its way to support a blogger, and that blogger simply refuses to review a product nonetheless and doesn’t even get back to the publicist to say why – well, yeah, that stinks. In fact it makes me crazy. But, really, much as I hate to admit it – how is that different from a reporter who may have covered your clients in the past, and then suddenly doesn’t?
Oh, and hey, Phil? Your “thing” in the article about the mommy bloggers’ ongoing use of the word “adorable”? Not so adorable.