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Finding the Perfect Mommy Hands

July 31, 2009

In my earlier post about why brands need Mommy Bloggers, I talked a little about how these influentials review products. Get your product into the right hands and let them advertise for you. Sounds easy, but finding those perfect hands takes a bit of planning.

Everybody Loves Swag
Yes, everybody loves free stuff — especially Moms, often on a budget, infrequently indulging or buying things for themselves. I’ve never seen so much swag at a conference [BlogHer ’09], not to mention the frenzy over it. One even went as far to blackmail a brand rep.

swag.JPGYes, one company even sent flowers to every attendee’s room.

While most of the BlogHer conference goers took advantage of the freebies (myself and Lindsay Ferrier included), many (most of the eco-conscious bloggers) questioned the true intension of the parties and even the day parts including Lynn Miller, and Cate Nelson,
Christine Koh, and Stephanie Precourt.

One of the best brand interactions I saw* was from GoGirl. They sent “GoGirls” (young, bubbly brand representatives) to give out free samples and coupons and answer questions about the novel product. No boring representative parked behind a booth. No free sample stuffed inside a bag with a plethora of other goodies. Real girls who’ve tried the product showing, telling other women about it. Unfortunately they ran out before I could get one, but one GoGirl gave me her card and told me to contact her if I’d like to blog about it.

One area that was lacking was technology. Annie from PhD in Parenting nailed it when she said she’d like to see more companies who are behind the technology they’re using or might potentially use. Think: blog platforms, software, apps, etc.

To brands, it was better to be there than not. Face time with these influentials is key. If they’re not in love your brand, talk with them one-on-one and find out why. Maybe it’s just that they don’t understand your product or your company’s mission. Make plans to attend BlogHer10 if you haven’t already. Just make sure you do it in the most eco-friendly way possible. [Sidebar: This is an already huge and growing Mommy Blogger niche. There surely was no shortage of expert bloggers in this area.]

How Do You Pick the Right Mommy Blogger?
Readership is a must of course. But it really comes down to personality and chemistry. How well does she (or could she) represent your brand? Check out her writing and previous reviews. Are you okay with her style and tone? If you’re not, don’t even think about asking her to change for you.

This can get tricky, because sometimes the blogger picks you. If you’re not doing it already, you should be monitoring who’s talking about you. If they’re saying good things, wonderful. Send them an email or comment on their blog to say thanks. But what if they give you a poor review?

Counter the Bad with Some Love
You can’t please everyone, but you can do your best to address their concerns. What is it about your product or company that they didn’t like? It might be something that can be rectified over honest-to-goodness customer service.

Don’t fix the review or demand that it be taken down. That will cause your brand more harm than good. Instead, use it as an opportunity. Dell did this when a blogger complained about a computer and the company, fueling a firestorm of more hate posts. Dell countered first with a blog post, then by asking customers what they wanted (hence, IdeaStorm was born).

Are They Blogging With Integrity?
The latest FTC rulings demanding that bloggers disclose paid reviews have changed the landscape and spurred many questions surrounding transparency (as reported by NPR). Before the influx of brands turning to Mommy Bloggers, brands would occasionally sponsor a blogger’s writing, meaning the blogger still retained her Mommy Blogger identity and not one of a brand spokesperson. As of late, some Mommy Bloggers have taken up gigs writing for brands. Also, advertising on blogs – if any – used to have no links to editorial content. Now, they’re being mixed.

Some Mommy Bloggers (remember I’m using this term loosely), like Jessica Gottlieb, welcome this. Four longtime female bloggers, Susan Getgood, Liz Gumbinner, Kristen Chase, and Julie Marsh, created the Blog with Integrity pledge and badge where bloggers vow to disclose relationships with marketers, cite sources, credit inspiration, be professional and most of all honest. This is good for consumers and if done right, it’s good for brands.

It’s Okay to Pay
Ideally, the best praises are the ones that happen by chance. Though paid reviews or ones where brands offer their product to the blogger, can still work in your favor.

Make sure your blogger creates transparency by dedicating a page to strictly show sponsors and advertisers. Make sure the paid review mention is immediately visible. You might think this would turn away readers. But those who blog with integrity have built a trusted following and that following expects truth in both sponsorship and the review. Most Mommy Bloggers will only write about products they’ve had a good experience with.

If you’re asking a Mommy Blogger to review your product, foster better reviews by:
1. Allowing her to write how she writes.
2. Refraining from changing or editing the review. Remember, this is how she feels about the product, brand or company, not marketing speak.
3. Making sure she discloses to her readers the sponsorship.
4. Bloggers: what are some other ways we can work with you?

Stay tuned for examples of brands who’ve enlisted Mommy Bloggers successfully in this series about using one of your most networked customers to advertise for you.

*I didn’t attend the exhibitors’ floor. This opinion is based only on Thursday evening’s parties.
NOTE: This post originally appeared on Threeminds.

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