For many, the mommy blogging subculture seems to amaze and perplex simultaneously. Blogging to build your brand is big business, and women hold a large space in the marketplace. According to eMarketer, blog advertising will reach $746 million by 2012. This doesn’t even include sponsorships and product reviews including the coveted free swag, which fuel much of the business between public relations firms and bloggers.
Mommy Bloggers Are a Target Audience for Advertisers Offering Brand Swag
Product reviews are fostered at conferences like BlogHer, which this week was held in San Diego with nearly 3,500 woman and “mom bloggers” attending. Many of these bloggers are bombarded by brands offering variations of conference swag such as product samples, promotional materials, and contests possibilities in an effort to entice the female blogging community to tweet about their products and push them on Facebook. The goal, of course, is to attain testimonials and endorsements because testimonials mean big business for the brands. Brand swag is a must at mommy and blogger conferences like BlogHer and BlogWorld. Fifty-five percent of social media moms said they made their purchase because of a recommendation from a personal review blog or website.
Bags and Bags of Conference Swag Galore
The opportunity for women bloggers to gain sponsorship and advertising dollars is big business. But it’s the free conference swag that drives the mommy blogger madness. Much like the Black Friday shopping frenzy, women rush the expo floor and attend invite-only brand parties leaving with arms loaded with bags of conference swag. “My swag from conferences like BlogHer makes for really great Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephews,” says Tamara Walker, who blogs at Momrn.com. I met up with Walker just before dinner as she walked to drop off her three bags of swag to her hotel room before heading out again to three or four more events later in the evening.
Female Bloggers Can Face Ethical Challenges When it Comes to Swag
The race for swag is part of what makes conferences aimed towards bloggers special. Wendy Piersall, author of “Mom Blogging for Dummies” says, “Brands at conferences like this (BlogHer) know not every blogger is going to write about them. Brands have a formula in place. That’s the nature of a conference like this. Hoarding swag is in poor taste yes, but it’s not unethical.”
Swag hoarding and the unethical nature that Piersall mentions came under fire two years ago when an exchange between a brand and a blogger went viral at BlogHer. The shoe company, Crocs was handing out shoes to bloggers and ran out which made one female blogger very unhappy. She threatened to ruin them if she didn’t receive her free swag.
Piersall says “This makes all mommy bloggers look bad when you do this. It garners the wrong kind of attention.” You can’t just take, take, take, and not offer any value back.”
I also serve as a writer for SmartBrief. This article I wrote was originally published here at the Social Media blog where I’m covering the BlogHer woman and mommy blogger conference.
Photo Credit Jaesonme.