Is the mommy blog dead?

Jessica Gottlieb, the founder of Word of Mouth: Women, and the UN Foundation's Aaron Sherinian debate whether mom bloggers are still influential.

Jessica Gottlieb (L) and Aaron Sherinian
Jessica Gottlieb (L) and Aaron Sherinian

Jessica Gottlieb,
Founder, Word of Mouth: Women
Former mom blogger who left the field to found an influencer agency

Mom Blogging was a booming industry based on the sharing of homespun wisdom. It died explosively from a toxic brew of greed, hubris, and lowered standards. 

Ask a mom blogger and she will tell you blogging is alive and well as she points you to her very own site. She likely has a page with affiliate links to resources so you can start your own. Mom blogging became the network marketing of the new millennium. There are blogs, conferences, planners, and events by and for mom bloggers that exist only to excite potential bloggers and bring them into the fold.

Readers reject bloggers as trusted experts. Unless sites have finely honed niches, no one is interested in their lifestyle. Snapchat and Instagram are for rubbernecking. Facebook brings moms together for information gathering and groupthink. Audiences no longer need blogs. The stories became redundant and sponsorships ranged from tired to crude.

Conferences taught bloggers how to edit photos, monetise, and to pitch the Today show. There was a failure to elevate the writing.

Coupling little focus on the craft of storytelling with a grab for fame and fortune the most notable of the early mom bloggers feature sites riddled with typos and notes for assistants. Bloggers display virtually no growth in writing after a decade of work. Evolve or die.

Bloggers chose death.

As mom blogs survive on sponsored posts their dwindling readership is skeptical. Are high levels of enthusiasm over diapers believable? Is a mom from Minnesota a sunscreen expert? Is there any product she would mention gratis? Was there disclosure? The answers are almost always no.

I asked AJ Feuerman, a Los Angeles based publicist, who echoed my sentiments about mom bloggers and film junkets: "I often wonder if the only people mom bloggers are bringing awareness to are other bloggers. There's probably an argument to be made that they're consumers, too, so that's okay, but I doubt the success of a film like Star Wars or Captain America hinges on mommy bloggers getting the word out. Until someone can show me exactly how many movie tickets and how much merchandise one blog moved, I remain skeptical."

We Mom Bloggers should have tried to be better. Instead we tried to be famous. The cart was before the horse and now the horse is dead.

by Aaron Sherinian,
Chief communications and marketing officer, U.N. Foundation
Previously a foreign service officer for the State Department and MD of public affairs at the Millennium Challenge Corporation

"When you wake up a mother, you wake up a world." I can’t claim to have come up with that piece of wisdom, but I cleave to it when considering how to maximize our digital influence campaigns.

When you find vocal mothers with vibrant online communities who trust them implicitly, and these mothers engage those communities in conversations that matter, they become a powerful part of the solution to the world’s big problems.

The mom blogger is not dead. Those predicting her demise have underestimated the power and reach of this community in a big way. And she is not particularly attached to her old definition, nor is she strictly attached to her old platforms.

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.

This past year, as the United Nations Foundation looked to promote Moms+SocialGood, our annual one-day event to highlight global issues that impact the health of moms and children around the world, we invited this group of influencers into the conversation about family planning, moms dying in child birth, and refugees, etc.

The more digital influencers we help connect with these issues, the more of their audiences they help wake up to these realities. This is a group that is very enthusiastic about our work. They generously spend their time with the United Nations Foundation, and they want to bring their friends and community along with them. They remain a natural focus for us and a critical piece of our digital strategy. We seek out dad bloggers, too. Dads are a powerful constituency: another parent with a platform willing to use it for good, and we always need more voices like that.

As these women collectively morph how we think about what influencers look like, the definition of the mom blog — or, as we like to call it, the "mom’s digital influencer network" — has shifted beneath our feet.

Another thing to remember: When you wake up a blogger, you wake up their children, too. When it comes to creating change, that’s as good as it gets. 

PRWeek’s View: The mom blog is not dead, but, as is the case with all influencers, transparency is more important than ever. Full disclosure is a must for any brand working with mom bloggers.

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