December editorials are traditionally packed with predictions for the following year and, therefore, I will proffer this one: 2013 may well be the end of the mommy blogger as we know her.
Since we became involved in marketing to mom bloggers way back (seven or eight years ago), the role of mothers in the blog world has changed significantly. Once known exclusively for posting about their kids, moms who blog are now more than ever posting about products, which is both a good and bad thing for marketers.
On the one hand, for the simple cost of product, shipping costs and, typically, a middleman such as a PR agency with connections in the space, companies everywhere have the opportunity to create visibility and credibility for their products among other moms. No doubt about it, moms trust other moms’ opinions and this directly impacts buying habits. In fact, according to research we conducted in September 2012, 92% of women who are active in social media indicate that they have made a purchase as a result of a social media recommendation, primarily via a blog.
While mom reviews in many ways offer great opportunities, their impact very much depends on the bloggers involved. Brands are, justifiably, looking for that direct link between post and purchase, and, increasingly, it is only a limited number -- those at the top of the scale in terms of reach and professionalism -- that drive traffic.
Unfortunately, too many bloggers feel a sense of entitlement -- “I am, therefore you need me, therefore I can pretty much do whatever I want and, oh, by the way, I expect to be paid for it” -- without a sense of obligation. Posts are often dashed off with little more than a “cut and paste” from press releases, reviews are shorter than ever, facts are inaccurate, and -- my pet peeve -- deadlines are ignored.
And yet … there is that ever-important trust factor.
In the coming year, brands will, and should, become more selective in the bloggers that they choose to deal with. Mass is great for visibility -- and there is value to that -- but targeting the right bloggers is the better choice for impact. In 2013, brands will plan their marketing strategies not on the fact that bloggers are the way to go, but on proven, measurable efficacy in meeting objectives. The cream will rise to the crop. As for the rest, many will find more room in their homes where all those free samples may once have been.