The Mystery of Mommy Bloggers – PR and Advertising Blurred

In the majority of households today, moms hold the buying power. Some stats cite US moms totaling 75 million, of which 85 percent influence or make the household purchases. Combine this with the rise of the mommy blogger – expected to reach nearly 4 million in 2011 – and moms are the Holy Grail for many consumer-focused products.

Mom bloggers represent a unique set of influencers with many varieties – some write product reviews, some offer coupons and deals, others offer real-life accounts of their experiences as a mom, and the list goes on. As a mom, I have some go-to reads for parenting tips, insights, recipes and comic relief. But as a PR professional, I struggle with the blurring between advertising and PR. While most mom bloggers say they accept PR pitches, many actually charge a fee for their posts.

We recently worked with a reputable mom blog network that has helped many well-known consumer product goods companies reach this powerful but precarious audience. Our goal was to introduce moms to a sales and shopping site. Having leveraged broadcast and other media channels to successfully drive traffic and usage of this client’s website, we expected a similar, positive traffic spike from a list of targeted and relevant mom bloggers interested in shopping and saving money. Surprisingly, our experience resulted in very little traffic.

While there is a “this is a sponsored post” disclaimer that may not stand out when the mom and/or her family is using, riding, wearing or giving away a highlighted product, I believe the PR influence of mommy bloggers has been overstated. They may have dedicated readers, but they fall short in driving traffic and users.

Have you had a different experience with mom bloggers promoting products? We’d love to hear your perspective.

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