Mum’s opinion is getting louder. She’s not just talking to five friends at the school gate, she’s running an influential blog and her reach is in the thousands.
As many big businesses are noticing, Mum’s opinion is worth serious money.
Datamonitor’s recent ‘Marketing to Australian Mums’ study calculates Australian mothers spending power at $132 billion a year. More than that, they are swaying the spending choices of relatives, friends and the wider market through word of mouth.
"There is a lot of credibility to having children and being a mum, and with that responsibility comes respect for their opinion," Datamonitor consumer analyst Katrina Diamonon said.
The world of ‘mummy blogs’ has been around for years, but it’s growing in popularity faster than newborn babies.
“The online market is exploding and we want to talk to that audience” says Dan Lawlor, PR and communications assistant at Bakers Delight. Bakers has engaged in ‘blogger sponsorship’ for well over a year. A number of popular blogs have posted product reviews and run giveaways of Bakers Delight vouchers on behalf of the company. Earlier this year, Bakers took part in the Bloggers Brunch run by Kidsbusiness.
“Mums are a great voice and an event like the Bloggers Brunch puts us right in front of an engaged audience who are interested in their children’s health,” says Lawlor. “Bloggers review our products and spread the word quickly and cost effectively. We’re really happy being a part of their community.”
Kidsbusiness is an agency specialising in marketing to mums and their children. “Mums are spending more time online than in any other media,” says Christie Nicholas, Senior Account Manager at Kidsbusiness. “An event like the Bloggers Brunch allows companies to tap into online communities and check, compare and connect with bloggers offline.”
Other events, like the Digital Parents’ Conference, offer sponsorship opportunities for companies. Kleenex Mums, the Australian online blogging presence of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, is the platinum sponsor at this year’s conference in March.
Small businesses might find events like the Digital Parents’ Conference and the Bloggers Brunch are out of their price range, though as Nicholas asserts “It depends on how much they value social media.” According to Nicholas if you are creating products and services that are attractive to families, you probably need to get into the blogging space sooner rather than later. The good news is there are plenty of ways to tap into the Australian parent blogging market that won’t cost you much at all.
1. Start with some of the big bloggers and go from there
The Digital Parents conference has a list of attendees on its site which might help you find a blogger who seems like a good fit for your product or service. Many blogs have a ‘blogroll’ (recommended blogs) in their sidebar or under a tab in their header. By clicking through from blog to blog, you can easily get a good idea of the networks that exist in the community and the top influencers within those networks. Top influencers will appear in lots of blogrolls.
2. Before you start, know what your end goal is
After you’ve had a good look around the blogs, make sure you’re very clear about what you expect to get out of any relationship you build. Why do you want to connect? Are Facebook clicks enough? Do you want feedback on your product? Do you want to get more product trials? ‘Word of mouth’ is a difficult marketing goal to measure, so have a clear goal and set parametres for success before you leap in.
3. Contact blog owners directly
Most blogs have a ‘contact me’ or ‘media’ area on their page. It’s easy enough to identify blogs you think would be a good fit for your products and send them an email asking if they would like to review your product or organise a giveaway. Some blogs aren’t open to advertising and sponsorship opportunities, but an equal number could be. It’s a safe bet to assume that if the blogger has advertisement banners, they are open for business.
4. Your email should be personal
It’s no surprise that bloggers receive many invitations to review and feature products. There are lots of posts out there about PR spam! The best way to stand out is to personalise your email to the blogger you’re writing to. The easiest way to nail this is to get to know and engage with them on their blog before you even send your email. Remember, commenting makes the blogging world go around.
5. Stagger your involvement
Blogging can be tricky country. Many of the big brands send out mass emails to loads of bloggers and end up with a product review on 10 or 20 blogs at the same time. While ‘opportunities to see’ is standard practice with traditional advertising, it doesn’t quite work like that in the blogging world.
It’s no surprise that the general consensus amongst the blogging community (who, remember, all tend to visit each others’ blogs in one way or another) is that this is a pretty dull approach. While you do get 10 different opinions on your product, its unlikely people are going to read 10 reviews on widgets one after the other. They might drop a quick comment to be in the running for your competition, but generally the mass-market approach is a wasted opportunity to extend your campaign and keep things personalised and special. Structure your connections.
6. Ask how you can get involved
Bloggers love to talk and tweet and Facebook and interact online for hours. They are involved, talented women with a lot to offer. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing (product reviews, giveaways, banner ads). Ask them for new opportunities for you to work together on their blog and see what they come up with. You may find a whole new way to talk to bloggers that’s all your own voice.