Asking If The Mom Blog Is Dead Is the Wrong Question
by Liz O’Donnell
PR Week caused quite a stir this week with a debate titled, “Is the Mommy Blog Dead?” If you can get past the title (because we all know better than to call someone who didn’t raise you “mommy” don’t we?), it’s an interesting read.
Jessica Gottlieb, founder of Word of Mouth: Women, argued that yes indeed the mom blog is dead. Even though I disagree with her, much of what she had to say was right on. “Facebook brings moms together for information gathering and groupthink. Audiences no longer need blogs.” True, to a degree. If you need to reach a niche audience, private Facebook groups are where it’s at right now. But it won’t be forever. Facebook could change an algorithm or do away with groups or who knows what. True, we don’t need blogs to reach everyone today, but where’s the staying power?
Gottlieb quotes a publicist who says, “I often wonder if the only people mom bloggers are bringing awareness to are other bloggers.” I’ve wondered the same. And yes, sometimes that is the case, but not for all bloggers. And that’s where I think Gottlieb’s argument goes south. She says, “Bloggers display virtually no growth in writing after a decade of work. Evolve or die. Bloggers chose death.” Not true, not for all bloggers anyway.
I enjoy a unique perspective on this topic as I am both a communications professional and a blogger. I recruit bloggers for paid brand campaigns and I wade through pitches from brands in my personal inbox on a daily basis. From this vantage point I know that there are bloggers who get it and bloggers who do not. And there are brands who get it and brands who do not. And “it” is the power of the online influencer – the person who has earned the trust and respect of their followers by delivering useful, relevant and authentic information and who has also earned the trust of the brands they represent by delivering quality work, engaging content, and ultimately, ROI. This blogger serves up a blend of quality storytelling with sponsored content that is useful to readers. This blogger deserves compensation for professional work and for delivering a qualified audience and smart brands are willing to pay for that.
Which brings me to Aaron Sherinian, chief communications and marketing officer, U.N. Foundation who said no, mom blogging is not dead. Sheridan notes, “As women continue to lead the way in catching on to new trends quickly, the average blogger also maintains multiple active channels, inspiring loyal communities on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Snapchat. Many of the bloggers in our digital influence network of moms have built out an online presence far beyond their original blog.” Smart bloggers are evolving. And perhaps more importantly Sheridan notes, “Dads are a powerful constituency: another parent with a platform willing to use it for good.”
And that is precisely why mom blogging is not dead. Because today, a mom blogger might be a father, an adult child caring for aging parents, a child-free woman. And today, that blogger may not be a blogger at all. She or he may be a vlogger, a podcaster, or a Snapchat sensation.
Asking if the mom blog is dead is the wrong question. Better to ask, “Who do I need to reach?” and then, “Who influences that person?”