Mom 2.0 Summit: Brands should expect to pay bloggers for content

May 7, 2012

Blogger outreach

Overwhelming sentiment from Mom 2.0 Summit was that brands should be ready tp pay bloggers for content and bloggers should be prepared to market themselves to brands (Image credit:


Heading back from Mom 2.0 Summit in Miami right now. No, I didn’t get my picture taken at A1A Beachfront Ave. It’s unfortunate, but life goes on.

I was working the conference for a client, so I didn’t attend many of the sessions. But I did have time to catch one on the ROI of social media. There was very little discussion about how to measure social ROI from the panel of speakers, which included Rob Candelino from Unilever (Dove), Adam Keats from Weber Shandwick,  Isabel Kallman from TLC and Missy Maher from Edelman. Just some affirmation that we need to consider hard and soft metrics when tracking social and that its success is contextual and depends on client objectives. Points I agree with 100 percent.

The bulk of the session discussion actually centered around the evolution of the blogger/brand relationship. Remember, the majority of attendees at this conference are moms who blog for a living or as one part of their job. So its natural they would be curious to hear from brands and agencies working with brands.

You’ve heard my thoughts on this issue before. Bloggers are not media and companies should not expect to work with them in the same way as media. Pitching the Wall Street Journal is different than pitching one of these bloggers. Different audiences you can reach. Different types of pitches you’d send. Different expectations when it comes to compensation.

The majority of moms who blog are looking to monetize their sites. They don’t have a media company paying them to write what they write. So this is not going away. We’re going to keep seeing more and more of this. And that was the interesting part of the session – because the panelists acknowledged this fact and showed how companies are changing the way they think about  working with bloggers.

Keats made some great points on this topic:

  • The first was that he sees bloggers as content creators. And most content creators get paid. He used writers for TV and movies as an example.
  • The second was that a brand used to put a message out to millions in hopes of reaching the thousands who would relate to our story. Now brands should be telling their story to the thousands who then share it with millions – total 180.
  • The third was that if bloggers have the expectation of being paid, which he was totally fine with, then they need to be working hard to market themselves in order to meet brand expectations and make themselves stand out. In other words, show the brand why they should invest their money in you over other bloggers.

So what does this mean for the relationship between moms who blog and brands? Well, I think a few things:

  • If brands want to work with bloggers they should expect to pay at least some of them in cash or product, and in some cases both.
  • Brands need to educate internally and ensure leadership knows the difference between traditional media and bloggers. They are not the same.
  • Bloggers need to be willing to share their site analytics and brands need to ask for them.
  • In addition to analytics, bloggers should be looking for ways to tell their story and what niche audiences they have relationships with to any brands they are talking too.
  • We can’t expect bloggers to act like traditional media and stop looking for ways to monetize. And we can’t expect brands to invest large amounts of money in bloggers to just get a post. It has to go deeper than that – they need to know why the investment makes sense.

Folks, this is the direction blogger/brand partnerships are going. I see it every day in my work at Fleishman-Hillard. I heard it from leaders at two other well-respected agencies and one retail giant. And I heard it straight from the bloggers mouths.

So no “words to your mothers” while I was in Miami, but plenty of words from the mothers there on this controversial topic.

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CourtV 15 pts

I see the value in this for all parties, but also see why there is so much controversy around it. Blogging started as a totally transparent way to simply share your thoughts and experiences and connect with people. I completely understand that as the Internet has evolved, these bloggers have gotten very smart in building a brand for themselves by accident or on purpose - which requires a ton of work and deserves compensation. However, I worry that as more and more people begin to blog, it will be for the wrong reasons. It will definitely be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Clara 5 pts

Hi Justin - Makes total sense and is encouraging to me, as I have been thinking about becoming a mom blogger. It's a big world and I want to be deliberate about it and credible if I'm going to do it. The value I might bring to brands is one of the top things I'm thinking about. Haven't quite figured it out yet, but good to hear I'm definitely on the right track by making that a priority.

ElizabethSkeens1 6 pts

Yes! I've been saying (and doing) this for YEARS now and I think you explained the situation perfectly. Wish I could've seen this panel. Great group of respectable folks and, IMO, agencies that are doing it right. 


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