If you’re a retailer that sells children’s products – or products parents purchase for their children – then you’ve probably reached out to mommy bloggers before. Mommy bloggers are often an untapped marketing channel, but they provide a good ROI for the time and money investment.
Marketers routinely sign mommy bloggers to write about their products because of the exposure it can provide. If the product is a hit, the mommy blogger will be an excellent brand evangelist, and drive traffic – and potential sales – back to your site.
“You get an amazing ROI because the cost of the promotion is only the cost of your time finding the bloggers, the cost of the merchandise you send her for free, the shipping charge to get it there, and your time in helping develop the blog,” says Ian MacDonald, division vice president, ecommerce and marketing with PartySuppliesDelivered.com.
Here are seven tips from MacDonald on how to reach out to mommy bloggers, and how can you can maximize the partnership:
Make sure you understand the goal – it’s SEO: Getting your domain and links on other reputable websites is a key component of SEO. When he was general manager at Centruy Novelty, MacDonald’s goal was to get a handful of links on a handful of blogs to boost its SEO. “If we actually received a sale from the blog, that was bonus.”
You must do the heavy lifting: You must find the mommies, pitch the idea, pitch your product, and maybe even help with the copy. The most popular blogs are inundated with pitches from retailers. To make her life easier (and your information more likely published) you must do some of the work.
Macdonald indentified these blogs via two methods:
1. Google search. For example “pirate birthday party blog”. Google the particular theme/occasion/product you need a blog regarding. This was useful for finding a handful of very targeted blog. But the downside of this is you can’t tell how popular the blog is (you want to invest your time with popular blogs—you get the most eyeballs and Google SEO page rank boost this way).
2. Commission Junction publisher listing reports. You can use you affiliate networks’ reporting to identify popular blogs. You can search the blogs by theme (like “pirate” or “party”) and you can see their visit traffic. Plus, if the blog was already showing advertisements via a network like CJ, you could conclude this was a “sophisticated” blogger who would be interested in making money.
Give the blogger a choice: MacDonald’s best concept was to send mom a pack of party supplies and have her write about it.
“So we might start by telling her, ‘Here are the birthday party themes we have; which of these would your kids like?’ Then ship her an assortment of product, enough for all the kids,” MacDonald says.
The blogger would get free party supplies in exchange for a three or four paragraph story about the party and the products. Some mommy bloggers, too, would include pictures, and that would be a bonus.
Let the blogger tell her story: A lot of blogs review the merchandise, talking about the pros and cons.
“That works great for technical products or products that actually do something,” MacDonald says. “But for party supplies, a story works much better. I would ask for a collage of pictures from their party—here’s Aaron’s friends arriving, look at the great decorations. Here is Aaron eating his birthday cake on his paper pirate plates. Here they are smashing the pirate piñata, etc. And each time she references a product, link back to the item detail page.”
After all, the links back to your website is the whole point of the marketing strategy.
Pick a product/product category that you plan to stock for a long time: Once the blog is published, you get the SEO boost forever. So don’t waste your time on a category that is short-lived.
Pick a product/category where an SEO boost can make a difference: Avoid hypercompetitive markets and focus on something niche.
“In our case, we could avoid “birthday parties” and instead zero-in on blogs and products for “boys pirate birthday parties,” MacDonald says.