Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Two Cents on Mommy Blogging/Branding

*This post has been sitting in my Drafts folder since May about 3/4 finished. Now seems as good a time as any to finally finish it. 

I had the pleasure of having some one-on-one, face-to-face conversations about this subject, most recently with Jessica Gottlieb and YvonneinLA about the oh-so-controversial issue of whether or not Mommy and her blog are getting paid what they're worth.

This is an issue that has been lingering in my mind since I started contributing to LA Moms, and all of a sudden, offers for reviews, events and link swaps are commonplace subjects in my email.

Now, before I get too ahead of myself here, I don't want anyone thinking I actually believe that I'm a top blogger on anyone's list. That's not why I started it, that's not why I continue to do it.

It actually started because of a mom community site that I belonged to where I found that I wanted to write essay-long answers to questions. I wanted to express my experience.

For me, the experience has been far greater than I ever could have imagined, and I have this great community of friends across the blogosphere!

It never occurred to me that by doing so, I would become a marketer's ally. Yet I have taken advantage of those opportunities, too. I have gotten facials and seen ice shows and of course, the Yahoo! Mother Board summit.

The question I always ask myself is this: is it worthwhile for me and my family?

Worthwhile doesn't always have to mean money to me. Worthwhile can mean opportunities that we would not otherwise have; the chance to interview Tony and Emmy winner Kristin Chenoweth, for example. Seeing Riley on Dinosaur Train. But I turn down a lot of requests because my girls have aged out of the products.

I turn down (or ignore) at least half of the requests I receive. I ignored the request for fabulous Father's Day gifts, since it was clear to me she had never read a post. I reply to some, stating that I disagree with a company's practices and therefore, will not participate. I reply to some, regrettably that I have to say no because I either perceive a conflict of interest, or a scheduling conflict. It's actually getting to the point where I almost dread opening them because chances are it will be something I have to turn down.

And I know for my part as a reader of blogs, I tend to ignore a lot of the reviews. Not because I don't value that person's opinion, but because the products being reviewed simply aren't of use to me or my family.

So when you see a review post for me, there's a reason that it was worth my time and/or effort for me and my family. I cannot guarantee that the product or service will be of use to you. I will absolutely come to the product/event with an optimistic view, but I won't be afraid to say what disappointed me about it. I will write with the readers in mind to a point, but I can only talk expertly about my family's experience.

As most of you know, I'm pretty busy these days so it will take something really intriguing to get me to say yes to even review something, let alone schedule in an event, but if I do, I am doing so because I believe the time and effort will be worth it.

That's about as close as I can get to a branding guideline.


L.A. Story said...

Well said, April. Definitely a balanced point of view. Hope to see you soon!

Penelope said...

I think you've provided an excellent two cents here. :) I see the same thing: authenticity shines through.

How lovely that the opportunities present themselves for you though!

Pippi said...

I hope things continue to go well with your blogging experience!

jenn said...

I think that's a good way to look at it. I know I can't stand blogs that have nothing but reviews because I know that's the only reason they're blogging. But I certainly don't mind seeing some reviews from a blogger that I enjoy. Especially when I know they are giving an honest review.

Jack Steiner said...

At least you are honest about what you are doing and why. So many bloggers aren't.

Jen said...

I'm right there with you on all of these comments. I mostly get offers via my eatwrite blog, and I won't review foods that aren't all natural, etc., but that's for the same reasons you stated - other products aren't worth it for my family.

I also agree about the blogs that are all reviews, all the time.

Great post.

Mandy said...

Good post .. I've been getting more requests for product reviews and am considering whether I should do these. I haven't so far because of restrictions on the BlogHer networks. I'm struggling with whether to do reviews for products that seem closely related to divorce (the topic of my site) or to go more broadly.

The Single Mothers Chronicles said...

it's terrific you are sought after and remain true to your original goals!