Why Some Mom Bloggers Aren’t “Advertiser Approved”

I recently overheard a group of PR folks talking about an online promotion they did with mom bloggers, but how some mom bloggers scare them.  They mentioned one mom blogger who is wide-open in what she says and is known for her foul language.  But she has a huge following.

Welcome to the dilemma many advertisers and their agencies and PR firms face when marketing to moms.   You want to tap into the connection these mom bloggers have with their audience.  You want to tap into their authentic voices.   Yet you are afraid of….their authentic voices.

Why blogs are the perfect place for advertisers who want to reach moms

The reason why blogs and other forms of social media work so well to promote products to moms is because real moms are talking about real situations using real language.  That's why these comments/reviews/endorsements are so powerful.

Why brands and advertisers are afraid of these blogs

One thing they're afraid of is what happens if a mom blogger says something negative about their brand or product experience.

But there's something else going on.

What happens when that powerful comment/review/endorsement shows up on a blog where that mom is talking about: not loving her daughter right away, feeling ugly because her husband won't touch her sexually, breast feeding another woman's child, drinking too much, threatening to beat up another kid, or using the F-bomb…..what happens then? 

Welcome to reality.   One of the very reasons why mom blogs are so popular is that they are telling it like it is.    These aren't your perfect supermoms.  They are brutally honest, heartbreakingly vulnerable and fatally flawed.

These are real moms, and folks, it ain't always pretty.  But that's the point for a lot of mom bloggers and mom blog readers.  This is an imperfect but authentic side of mothering they don't hear about in mainstream media.

Mom blogger Suburban Turmoil tackles this subject in Why Mommy Blogging Is No Longer a Radical Act.

As blogging goes mainstream, mom bloggers are starting to look and sound more and more like they came straight out of a diaper ad. And frankly, the moms who don't make motherhood seem like an 18-year-long Hallmark commercial are getting harder and harder to hear amid the babbling about whateveritiswethinktheadvertiserswantustosay.

Are mom bloggers censoring their authentic voices in order to make sure they are "advertiser friendly?"

Today, if a mom blogger wants online authority, she's better off establishing herself as a Social Media Maven and all-around Supermom. She'd do well to make sure every hair is in place (courtesy of her stylist), her flab is firmly in check (thanks to EA SPORTS Active), and she has a media kit handy, to send out to potential sponsors.

After all, why would an advertiser want a mother who admits on her blog to smoking the occasional cigarette and hiding in the closet sometimes when her kids won't stop fighting, when it can now have a mom who only posts pictures of herself smiling and perfectly made up, and who writes posts doling out plucky advice on everything from proper mascara application to what to wear to upcoming blog conferences?

Go read the full post and be sure to check out the comments. 

Look at Suburban Turmoil's tag line at the top of her blog "Wiping ass and taking names."   I LOVE that.  But I can just picture some advertiser sitting in a conference room going, 'Oh My God, she used the word "ass."   That might offend some of our customers – better not touch that one."

I'm not trying to rag too much on brands and advertisers. I know they walk a fine line and don't want to do anything that might offend their customers or negatively impact their brand.  

But I also think there's room for compromise.  

So what are bloggers and advertisers to do?

Find some middle ground.  Advertisers, If you truly feel a blogger is too controversial, fine, don't do business with her.  But don't expect your mom blogger to be squeaky clean.  Don't just look for those safe mom figures you see in ads.  

Here's why:   According to M2Moms, 73% of moms feel advertisers don't really understand what it's like to be a mom.

Many moms aren't relating to those nice squeaky clean moms you feature in your ads.  Who do they relate to?  Mom bloggers – to their voices, to their stories and to their lives.

My advice to mom bloggers is – keep it real.  It's your blog.   It's up to you to decide what does and does not go on it.  I am 100% for making money from your blog.  If advertisers are a good fit and want to work with you – have at it.   If some advertisers think you're too controversial, so be it.   But remember some brands love controversy.  Or make money other ways like by writing a book, or speaking.

Bottom linethere are so few authentic women's voices in media today – we can't afford to lose a single one.  

Nuf said.





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5 Responses to Why Some Mom Bloggers Aren’t “Advertiser Approved”

  1. Busy Mom says:

    “Authentic” doesn’t have to equal shocking or rude. It seems like there’s nothing in between the wild attention seeking behavior and completely fake or greedy mom bloggers anymore.

  2. EarnestGirl says:

    I applaud your even-handedness in supporting the choices mom bloggers may choose to make, but also your support of women owning their stories, and in particular, their voices. I will always believe that truth telling can be a radical act.

  3. What’s so attractive about mom bloggers is the raw, untamed power; what’s so scary (for advertisers) is that raw, untamed power is well, raw and untamed. When placing a print buy, an advertiser knows exactly what they will get; when placing their product with a mom blogger, there are many, many unknowns. Authenticity is scary precisely because it cannot be controlled. As time goes by, more advertisers will become increasingly comfortable with the unknown. Great post, Holly!

  4. Holly Buchanan says:

    EarnestGirl – yes indeed telling the truth can be a radical act. Can I quote you on that?
    David- I hear you. This is scary territory. My feeling is – moms are already having these conversations about you (brands) – you can either ignore the conversations, or join in. What I’ve seen is that most moms WANT brands to join in the conversation.
    There’s a seat at the table for brands. You’re not necessarily sure who’s going to show up and what direction the conversation is going to take, but I believe it’s better to be in that seat and participating rather than having that seat sit empty.

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