Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Mommy Blogs"

From today's New York Times.

Like a lot of other aspects of social media, there is often the temptation to dismiss things like "blogging" and "tweeting" as just passing fads - until you read the numbers.

Although this article was written in the Style section of today's paper, blogging is becoming big business for some people. According to this article, advertising on so-called Mommy Blogs is expected to reach roughly $750 million by 2012, with large consumer products companies like Procter & Gamble leading the way.

Here's an excerpt, with the full link below:


March 12, 2010

Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy. I’m Too Busy Building My Brand.

BALTIMORE

ON a brisk Saturday morning this month, a dedicated crew of about 90 women, most in their 30s or thereabouts, arrived at a waterfront hotel here, prepared for a daylong conference that offered to school them in the latest must-have skill set for the minivan crowd.

Teaching your baby to read? Please. How to hide vegetables in your children’s food? Oh, that’s so 2008.

The topics on that day’s agenda included search-engine optimization, building a “comment tribe” and how to create an effective media kit. There would be much talk of defining your “brand” and driving up page views.

You know. For your blog.

Yes, they had come to Bloggy Boot Camp, the sold-out first stop on a five-city tour. It is the brainchild of Tiffany Romero and Heather Blair, the founders of the Secret Is in the Sauce, a community of 5,000 female bloggers. Boot Camp is at once a networking and social event, bringing together virtual friends for some real-time girly bonding, and an educational seminar designed to help the participants — about 90 percent of them mothers — to take their blogs up a notch, whether in hopes of generating ad revenue and sponsorships, attracting attention to a cause or branching out into paid journalism or marketing.

“You’re here because you want to be seen as a professional,” Ms. Romero told the group. A summer-camp director from Los Angeles, she steered the proceedings with the good-natured sass of a sorority social chairwoman and the enthusiasm of a, well, summer-camp director. (She went barefoot for much of the day and said “You guys!” a lot.)

After the obligatory announcement that participants — who had paid $89 and traveled from as far as California — should “feel free to tweet” (hashtag: bloggybootcamp), the women splayed their laptops, pecked at their BlackBerrys and traded business cards. A handful drank mimosas out of brightly colored plastic sippy cups.

“Do I call you ‘Jill’ or ‘Scary Mommy?’” a participant asked Jill Smokler, a speaker whose blog, about her life as a mother of three, typically draws about 36,000 page views a month.

Discussions ranged from how to let public relations firms know that you don’t work free (“Your time and your experience and your audience are worth something,” Ms. Romero said. “It’s capitalism, plain and simple.”) to the benefits of using Facebook fan pages and Twitter (“My entire life in social media changed when I got on Twitter,” she said to knowing nods).

There was a presentation on the new Federal Trade Commission guidelines requiring bloggers to disclose their connections to advertisers, and another on how to use keywords to make a post more visible in Google searches. Heed the speaker’s advice, and you, too, might get 28,549 views of your tutu-making tutorial!

Whereas so-called mommy blogs were once little more than glorified electronic scrapbooks, a place to share the latest pictures of little Aidan and Ava with Great-Aunt Sylvia in Omaha, they have more recently evolved into a cultural force to be reckoned with. Embellished with professional graphics, pithy tag lines and labels like “PR Friendly,” these blogs have become a burgeoning industry generating incomes ranging from $25 a month in what one blogger called “latte money” to, for a very elite few, six figures.

According to a 2009 study by BlogHer, iVillage and Compass Partners, 23 million women read, write or comment on blogs weekly.


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/fashion/14moms.html