Danielle Donders is an avid blogger who has found herself on the receiving end of a growing wave of pitches from marketers for products and services. She shared her experience and insights with the Third Tuesday Ottawa attendees last night.
Danielle began her Postcards from the Mothership blog, which she referred to as her “online shrine to parental self absorption,” in January 2005. Nearly three years and more than 950 posts later, she’s still at it. No blog fading for her.
Why does she do it? “Self-indulgent narcissism. I started to talk about my life and people listened. They liked me. They really liked me. People care about what I say. And I’m totally addicted to it.”
And public relations practitioners and marketers definitely seem to care about what Danielle things and writes about. In just the last four months, she’s received pitches for skin lotion, shoes, coffee, head lice cures, three different cell phones, soup, Nestle Quick, recipe exchange site; public service site about breast exams, contests about writing, yogurt, Bounty paper towels, and books.
Why do marketers care about mommy bloggers? Mothers trust other mothers and look to them for testimonials and referrals to quality services and products. “The mom-osphere is very intimate. Everybody’s unique perspective on issues common to mothers makes it compelling reading for others.”
She says that she can really tell who cares about the bloggers they pitch and those that are just carpeting the terrain. For example, “I got an free pass invitation to go to a fitness centre for teens in Los Angeles. I’m a suburban mom in Ottawa with a 3 and 5 year old. They didn’t read my blog. So, I don’t care” about what there’re pitching.
Advice for blogger relations: “Be a part of the community. That makes all the difference. Get to know the blogger. Show me that you care about what I’m writing, not simply about the eyeballs that come to my site. Follow up afterwards to let the blogger know that you read what they wrote and that you appreciated what they wrote.”
Danielle talked about one successful pitch to her – the Krazr blogger cellphone campaign. “I felt like they cared about what I was blogging about. One of their staff would follow up with me. He made a comment on a post I wrote about the phones.”
Does accepting a product oblige her to be positive about the product? “No. I’m obliged to be polite and reasonable and fair about the product. But if I hated the phone, I’d say so.” Danielle in fact indicated that before the trial with the Motorola phone, she had been offered a trial with a Nokia phone. She found it to be “too much phone and confusing” and she said so.
In her “day job”, Danielle works for the federal government. She has parlayed her experience as a mommy blogger into a full time assignment to help her department figure out the intersection between social media and government communications. She believes that social media can put a human face on government.
How should government approach bloggers? They should absolutely listen. … You’re not going to get an accurate impression. But do you get an accurate impression by reading the Globe and Mail.”
“Government is slow. It’s like turning around the Queen Mary. It takes some very strong evangelists. … They are so risk averse.”
A great presentation from an engaging personality. Thank you Danielle!