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The Peculiar Mommyblogging Niche

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.

Comments (6)

  1. Sep 22, 2010

    I think you’re going to be surprised at how many mommy bloggers attend BWE. I’ve been the past two years and last year there were a TON. A lot of the brands they work with were there (though not necessarily the ones you mention in your article) and those brands were hosting parties off-site. They weren’t really in the Expo area, but they were there and they were networking and schilling (both sides: the brands and the bloggers).

    I think a lot of the so-called A-list mom bloggers are looking to be taken more seriously and are attending the previously tech-centric conferences like BWE an SxSW. It’s see and be seen. If they can network, they’ll be there. And speaking of networking, you’re right that pageviews matter, but so does networking. So many bloggers think it’s going to drop into their laps. It’s not. This is your business and if you want to get in with the right people, you have to go where those people are and they’re at the conferences.

    I understand this is a little scattered and I could go on, but I’ll spare you. 😉 I’ll be interested to read your review of BWE. I really like Rick and his family and I think he puts on a great conference. There’s a lot of learning to be had if you look in the right places and avoid the obvious draws that will be packed.

  2. Sep 22, 2010

    Melanie, interesting! Thanks for your input. Do you have any recommendations of what I should check out? Are you going this year? I have been looking at the schedule but have not committed to anything yet. My first thought in looking at the BWE Conference from the perspective of a typical mommyblogger is that the pass is really expensive, even in comparison to SXSWi. I was skeptical how many mommies would be willing to pay for the conference — even the ones who recognize the value of networking.

  3. Sep 22, 2010

    The reality is, that to brands and pr firms it is about ‘scope of influence’ and not always massive page views. Brands are looking to court bloggers at ANY LEVEL who have a strong relationship with their readers and can actively influence their buying decisions. So while someone might have 400,000 readers who stop buy to see what kind of train wreck of life they have…the brands realize those kinds of voyeuristic readers do NOT translate into buyers. If anything they might be negatively influenced by such a blogger. It is the bloggers who have a relationship and camaraderie that make brands happy.

    My post today is about the brand/blogging history…and I think it says a lot about the purposeful development of this….

  4. Sep 22, 2010

    Just to play devils advocate here. I wonder if the desire to have moms more involved with tech conferences is really about the sponsorship dollars. Lets face it big beer companies and travel companies have plenty of money to shell out for conference. And there are plenty of brands that male focused that love opportunties like this.

    Could it be that the desire to have the moms there is because of the sponsorship dollars or potentially because of the major issue tech is having finding women in tech to take part and speak? Or is it all intermingled and related?

    I don’t have the answer I just wanted to explore the thought 🙂

  5. Sep 22, 2010

    Women may not make as much money as men, but they often choose how the money is spent. Every woman I know has picked the house, most of the clothes, furniture, cars, etc. that they or their family has purchased. I know *I* have.

    Any male advertiser who is reading this–who planned your last vacation? Who bought your suits? Who chose the food served at the last party you gave? Who picked out her car, and who gave you suggestions about which car *you* bought? Who decorated your house?

  6. Sep 24, 2010

    I often wondered about this since I am always surprised to see bloggers who are not “big” by any means getting sweet deals with affiliate links, sponsored give-aways and so on. I found it odd that companies would hand out those perks to pretty much anyone who was willing to call, but this does explain a lot of the phenomenon. It is not about the size of the audience, but the connections to potential consumers.

    However, this seems a bit at odds with what you are discussing here as to why more blog/tech/media outlets have not opened up to the mommies as a great potential resource. I think you are right that it has a lot to do with the perception that the “mommies,” for lack of a better term, are not perceived as being prepared to run with the big boys from a tech perspective. Plus, lets face it, if you read even two sentences about BlogHer you are probably convinced that all mommy-bloggers are bat-shit crazy…but I do digress.

    My long, and rambling, point is that I think it all comes down to marketing/PR/etc. not really having a great grip on how the system works and what it can or can not do. As you pointed out there are tons of ways this could be lucrative, but I am not sure everyone understands the inner working of “the system.” I think you should, for a handsome sum of course, tell them just how to do that. Making the jump to these “real” media/tech events is the next logical step for mommies who blog as business, someone (ahem…Anna) just needs to point the way.

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