Working with mummy bloggers

I sent this information out to my newsletter database recently, but thought it would be worth putting it on here too -with a few minor additions.

In May 2008 I took the plunge and started writing a blog. It was simply a place that I could let off steam, recall funny incidents about my children or ponder deep thoughts. I gradually began to get comments on my blog and started reading other blogs written by mothers. Nothing in the papers or reality TV can come close to the real life drama and humour drafted by mums on blogs every day.

 I was then invited to become a member of British Mummy Bloggers, a network of mums who blog. At the time there were under 20 members. Less than a year later and the network now has roughly 600 members. Mummy blogging is  regularly written about in the media, like this piece in the Sunday Times or this in The Times.
PR companies and businesses are desperate to influence this group. Some are getting it right. Many are not. So how do you get mummy bloggers to write about you?
Understand them: Mummy bloggers are not journalists. They’re mums. They care about what you and I care about. If your product happens to be something that helps them, fab. But don’t expect them to rave about it. Some mummy bloggers are happy to review products and set themselves up as a slightly commercial venture. There is a group on British Mummy Bloggers (BMB) who are open to receiving PR pitches – take a look at those for a start – but you’ll need to have a blog yourself to get onto it.
Read their blogs: This might seem crazy. Who has time to read all the blogs out there? But it’s worth reading some of them – particularly the bigger, more well known ones who are likely to have a higher readership or those that cover your specific industry. Get to understand them and their lives. Know their hot buttons. Know whether they’re pregnant, have babies, toddlers or teens. Know whether they’re an eco-evangelist or a yummy mummy or a travel expert. You could try this list for starters.
Be a blogger yourself: If you are a mum and you run your own business, you should have a blog. You can link it to your website and make it business-centric, but you can also add personal posts or thoughts about motherhood, being a mumpreneur etc. If you are a blogger, you have a legitimate right to be a member of British Mummy Bloggers, which then gets you into the ‘inner circle’. What’s more, everytime you post a blog entry, you can tweet about it on Twitter, link it to a Facebook page or use it as content for customer newsletters.
Comment on other people’s blogs: It’s what bloggers live for and it’s how you make friends and broaden readership of your own blog. Bloggers who you’re nice to are more likely to be nice back to you. And might be more willing to review your products/speak kindly about your business.
Don’t nag them or send them generic press releases: As a mummy blogger, I get sent an array of press releases from PR companies that are utter rubbish. They pretend to know me by naming my blog in their email, but that’s as far as their understanding goes. And it shows.  So make your outreach targeted and don’t harrass them. They’re busy mums. Blogging is a hobby. They’re not there to publish your news.
So what kind of things can you do to get them talking?
Sponsor a BMB meet up: British Mummy Bloggers holds regular meet ups for its mums. If you sponsor a meet up, you get to chat to the mums about your products before they all have a good old natter amongst themselves. Afterwards, you’ll get mentions in their blogs as they write about what a fab time they had at the meet up. There are additional costs involved though. The person to contact is Susanna Scottwho runs the BMB network.
Hold a competition/offer a prize: Many bloggers are happy to run a competition on their blog for their readers to enter as it helps boost their visitor numbers, but the prize needs to be good and relevant to the blog. You also can’t dictate how they’ll run the competition. As long as they mention you and give you a link, they’re covering their end of the deal. Don’t expect them to manage the logistics of it though – like accepting entries and sending out prizes.
Give products out for review: Offer bloggers the chance to review your product – but make sure it’s relevant to them. Don’t expect the mum of teens to try out a new baby bottle.
Run a competition: Encourage bloggers to write about a specific subject (including a mention of/link to your business) with the best entry winning a prize.
Give them a fab day out: ideally with their kids and/or with other mummy bloggers. Disney and Haven have paid for selected bloggers to go out to resorts with a huge amount of discussion generated as a result.
Run a campaign: whether it’s child safety or health awareness, mummy bloggers are keen to help if they really see the benefit. So if you have something topical to talk about, share it with them. But make sure it’s relevant to them!
Finally, there is still debate about how influential these mums are. After all, many have very small readership figures. Sally over at Whosthemummy wrote a great post about viewer stats and the number of visitors bloggers get. The key is to make talking to bloggers part of your overall outreach strategy. As mummy blogging grabs more headlines, you can be sure readership figures will go up. You want to be sure that if they talk about you, they’re saying good things.
For more thoughts on how to reach mummy bloggers read Susanna Scott’s blog post on the subject and this on how not to do it! Or contact Peekaboo for advice.

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