Slicing And Dicing The Blogosphere For Food

It didn't really start with the explosion in cooking shows. Long before "Top Chef," women traded recipes and silently ranked their neighbors. This one's a good cook, that one's a gourmet, she orders out. Marketers stymied by the mass market approach most prevalent before cable often used the same message for moms across the spectrum ... which wasn't really that wide anyway.

Fast forward to 2010 and marketers face a whole new challenge, slicing and dicing the blogosphere. The sheer amount of information about food on screens of various sizes, and the national appetite for it, has transformed both the American palate and the American kitchen. Food bloggers rest in the upper echelons and inspire the handiest of cooks. These chefs, professional food writers and gourmets act as our aspirational segment and belong as a target in many a food product social media marketing plan.

Further along the continuum, recipe bloggers dedicate their blogs to the pursuit of good food. Foodies rather than professional chefs, they actively whet our appetite for real food created by real people in real kitchens, as opposed to the wildly over-supplied spaces of the professionals. And there is where we start to see overlap with the mom blogger segment.

The mom blogosphere is filled with bloggers offering recipes simple and complex. This is where it gets tough for those of us involved in marketing to moms.

Recognizing that the mom blogosphere is large enough to be highly segmented and "sliced and diced" in different ways, we vacillate among approaching top bloggers who post an occasional recipe, recipe bloggers -- moms who focus solely on cooking -- and mom bloggers who have cooking as a one of the major focuses of their blog (along with parenting, crafts and/or a host of other topics).

And we start mincing from there. Do we approach green bloggers who post organic recipes? Maybe cost-savings moms of large families are more on target? What about low-fat/low-calorie moms?

Lacking a definitive list of bloggers by type, reach and contact information as is readily found (though not always accurate) in the PR world, we are left to the labor-intensive task of reviewing and researching blog by blog. There are, of course, several sources currently in development and Googling almost always gives any good marketer a leg up, but little takes the place of established contacts. And in the mom blogosphere, that personal contact element is key.

As social media become more an integral part of marketing, and as bloggers play a greater role in that plan, developing and maintaining those databases become a greater part of the agency job -- an unexpected analytical addition to the PR toolbox. Maybe there is a new home for MBA analytical types -- the PR/social media firm.

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