Connecting with Mom Bloggers

We often read about “mom bloggers” in consumer public relations as if they’re some sort of foreign country. We’re told to translate our message so they can understand it. The reality? They’re just as ordinary and extraordinary as the rest of us. They deserve meaningful conversations, not blind pitches that have been “momified” for playground cred.

We recently launched a sampling program for a packaged food that is often a favorite snack for children throughout the country. Mom (and dad) bloggers seemed like a natural fit to help spread the news, but we were faced with a unique challenge: The food we wanted to tout on school lunch menus was perceived (falsely) as unhealthy.

With growing conversation about child obesity and making school lunches healthier, we decided to establish a middle ground with parents. It could be a great fit for their household or at a friend’s place. Now let’s get one thing straight, we never agreed with Congress that pizza is a vegetable. But we were advocating for a different product – a healthy version of a kid-favorite food – that appeals to parents looking for a healthy but edible lunch option that kids wouldn’t boycott.

Our goal was to find these middle ground parents who weren’t ready to restrict their kid’s diet to kale and unsweetened Cheerios. Once we introduced our healthy alternative to mom bloggers, we explained the bad reputation the food had been receiving in the news and presented our version as a healthier option.

Most parents embraced the idea of a food that would both meet school lunch nutrition requirements and not elicit a gag sign from their kids. We sent samples to our mom bloggers, and they filled our inboxes with cute pictures of their children munching on our client’s food.

The insights of these parents were invaluable and with their feedback, we developed materials that our client could use to arm their sales team. This means the next time our client faces a skeptical audience, they can cite local moms and dads who support the product. Instead of approaching them with a message, we created an experience that would more easily lend itself to a conversation.

Most importantly, we established a relationship with these bloggers – a powerful force in the world of parenthood. Going beyond a sponsorship at the BlogHer conference, we created a point of engagement with our brand and connected through conversation. Moms still do the majority of shopping and make most purchasing decisions. Here are a few tips for connecting with parent bloggers to avoid a potential crisis communications issue:

  1. Make it memorable – Moms introduce their kids to brands and products. If you make their experience memorable, they’re likely to pass that on to their loved ones and friends.
  2. Be genuine – Don’t send samples blindly. Show how your product fills a need they have, makes their life easier, saves them money, etc. Anticipate and prepare for the “why” question.
  3. Lighten up – These are conversations and should be relaxed and fun, while of course, respectful. Most moms appreciate a good laugh.
  4. Keep their schedule in mind – Many moms’ schedules revolve around the school calendar, so keep this in mind when reaching out. Summers and vacation weeks are always busy. Be realistic about timing and understand that they have a life offline too.
  5. Do your research – Do their children have food allergies? Are they gluten-free? Organic only? You don’t want to have to send an EPI pen with your sample. Read their “about” page thoroughly. Have they eaten your product before? Mention it when reaching out to them.
  6. Avoid annoyances – Don’t refer to children as “rugrats” or other potentially sensitive terms. It won’t buy you much love with this audience. Don’t risk a great conversation by hitting a nerve.
  7. If you are not a mom, don’t pretend to be one – Be yourself and be genuine. Seek the advice of the true mom experts… other moms. Then be a good listener.

 

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