The Peculiar Mommyblogging Niche
I’ve been thinking a lot about the mommies lately.
For a variety of reasons, it’s a peculiar niche. To be on the mommyblogging A-list (assuming you throw out P-Dub and Dooce for being statistical outliers) you don’t usually have to have much more than, say, 80,000 page views per month. In some cases, it may even be less than this. The really big stars like Nie Nie, MckMama, Rebecca Woolf, or Heather Spohr have over 500,000 pageviews per month, but there are plenty of mommybloggers who are considered to be solidly well-known and “A-list” who are well beneath that mark. Why? In any other niche, this would never fly.
It’s the advertisers. We are a small niche, but we’re a rich niche.
There’s a reason that there are so many conferences in this one niche that — as compared to other blogging niches — is fairly starved for traffic. The advertisers love this niche. They love to come to our events, they love to advertise on our blogs (especially in the content columns) and they love to get us to use their products.
The fact that Blog World Expo would want me to come review their conference got me thinking about this: this is a huge conference that only has one parenting track and virtually none of the same sponsors that BlogHer has. I have not discussed anything with the organizers of Blog World Expo, but how could they not want to get their hands on some of that mommy money? How could they not want to get more mommies at their conference, and with the mommies, the sponsors who come with them? For the past five years or so, it seems to me that the typical sponsors you see in the momblogging world (Nestle, McDonald’s, Kraft, GM, P&G, et al.) have been ghettoized into conferences that specifically have the word “mom” or “woman” associated with them, whereas the mainstream blogging conferences like Blog World Expo and SXSW Interactive are sponsored by tech companies, beer companies, some airlines, and a few interlopers such as Kodak and Pepsico.
Why don’t the big conferences cash in? Why don’t they court us? Is it because they can’t compete with BlogHer? I cannot imagine that’s the problem. I think if they really wanted to get us to come to their conferences they’d make it happen. It’s not that hard, and I could tell them how to make it happen today (but I’m going to make them pay me for this first, in case you’re wondering why I’m not just going to say it here). I think the reason it hasn’t happened yet is more complicated.
I think the other conferences haven’t courted the mommies yet because, up until now, it’s been a booming economy and the mommies — let’s face it — are a pain in the ass. Nobody wants to deal with them. The other tech conferences are mostly male-dominated and the conference organizers know what they are dealing with. Bring in the mommies and you’ve got a whole other beast. But with a changing economic environment, it may be that they need to start thinking about expanding the mommyblogging tracks of their conferences so that they can lower the prices of the conference passes. And if they do that, they are going to need some people who can help them figure out the logistics. There’s an opportunity there for people who are willing to sniff it out.