Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In The Long Run, Balance Wins The Race: Social Media Marketing Advice

From Media Post Publicationsby Rob Garner , Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One of the main issues I encounter in search is how to balance approaches with other areas of the online marketing swarm, namely content development, public relations, social media and networks, and Web development.  Each has its own critical importance to natural search performance, and depending on who is in charge, search can either enhance each respective discipline, or it could also come at the expense of that discipline.  The best option is to balance all considerations in such a way that everyone wins. And the good news is that it can be done.

It's worth stepping back and assessing whether or not SEO strategy is complementing the overall strategy, orrunning over it.  A sustainable search program shouldn't have to come at the expense of any other discipline to provide incredible benefits to businesses and marketers, and the ideal output is an experience that considers the findability of content across all disciplines, in addition to meeting the search demands of those who are trying to find something.   

But overzealousness on any side can create a mess.  Slopping in SEO purely for search gain sucks, particularly when it comes at the expense of forming intelligible copy, usable aesthetics, and talking like a real person (not a robot).  In the same way, developing a site purely in Flash, conducting public relations efforts without understanding digital media or search strategies, and talking metaphorically all the time can create the same kind of disconnect with your audience. 

Here are some considerations that have a direct impact on findability for search marketers to use when working with other disciplines:
Don't sell out your credibility for links or publicity.  It can be easy to want to get aggressive with linking.  Sure, you could tell the biggest lie in the world and get an incredible amount of links, but at some point you have to determine if that's the kind of attention you want, because that is how your brand will be known in both search and social media.
Balance visual elements and rich apps with textual depth.  Search and RIAs don't have to mix like oil and water.  The best answer for creative, development, and search teams involved in this process (or dilemma, if you prefer), is how to balance it all together, considering usability for direct site users, and those coming from search engines. 
Don't always trade off keyword popularity for opportunities to directly engage with your audience.  I have discussions all the time about content strategy, and whether or not a highly searched keyword must always have to be in the title of the article or theme.  No, it does not.  Certainly it's a good thing to include most of the time, but if you are producing a high volume of content on a regular basis, then it is OK to simply create an engaging headline. Engagement is the new SEO, and by staying in tune with your audience, the benefits of social signals on search relevancy and authority often follow. 
Don't come off as impersonal or spammy to humans, in order to appeal to robots.  This may be the most common sin of SEO folk, who often go overboard in areas like linking, architecture, copywriting, social conversations and social network visibility, so it seems as if they're only talking to search engines, not people.  Again, engaging human beings with search signals can work - but turning those humans off with a pure SEO play can backfire in the long-term.
Respect "best practices" and common sense when engaging in social media.  There is no question that social signals are playing a greater role in how content is crawled, indexed, and retrieved.  I regularly engage in social media as a search tactic, but I do so with strategies of social engagement taking the lead, created and executed by the best social strategists I know.  If you don't address people in a sincere and meaningful way in social, then it does no good for a long-term sustainable strategy.

Here are some considerations for marketers on using search to get more from what you are already doing in public relations, Web development, creative, social media, and other areas.:
Don't ignore your search consultants.  A consultant with a balanced view of search can extend the opportunities for what you are currently doing in many other areas of digital marketing.  In turn, what you are doing could help lift other efforts as well, including search. 
Remember that engagement translates to findability at a very core level.  In addition to engaging with your target audience at the content and conversation level, keep in mind that there is an opportunity to engage with your core target in areas other than where you keep your core assets. Searchers may be seeking the content you already have, but they can only find it if core search optimization principle are used.
In the long run, a careful balance wins the race.

Friday, September 24, 2010

10 Ways To Put Your Website Content In Front Of More People and Drive More Traf

Jeff Bullas always has great content and here is a really nice post via a great blog “Smashing Magazine” by Paul Boag of, founder of UK Web design agency Headscape and author of “Website Owners Manual”. Read it - You will be glad you did.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trouble Choosing a Niche? Start a Personal Blog

Problogger always has great advice so read this - especially if you have a blog and are stuck or just starting to think about having a blog.

Trouble Choosing a Niche? Start a Personal Blog
“I’m having trouble deciding what topic to blog about.”
This was a statement I heard three times at the ProBlogger meet up in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago and is a problem that many PreBloggers face.

I’ve written numerous times about how to choose a niche or topic to write about but it struck me while talking to the Brisbane folk asking the question that the biggest factor in helping me to narrow in on my own niches was having a personal blog.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Are Twitter Followers Better than Facebook Fans ...

From eMarketer 

Twitter more likely to induce advocacy and future purchases

Marketers looking to push out the most effective messages to opt-in recipients must understand how audiences differ across channels and what causes them to connect with brands. Marketing venues that seem similar may differ strongly if their users have different needs and motivations.
According to the final edition of ExactTarget’s “Subscribers, Fans and Followers” report, the differences between email, Facebook and Twitter also include their influence on customer loyalty.
Daily Twitter users who followed a brand were more than twice as likely as daily Facebook users who “liked” a brand to say they were more likely to purchase from the brand after becoming a social media follower. What’s more, Facebook fans were the most likely group to actively disagree with the question. Subscribers to opt-in marketing emails fell in the middle.

US Internet Users Who Are More Likely to Purchase from a Brand After Becoming a Subscriber, Fan or Follower, April 2010 (% of respondents)

The pattern among Twitter followers, email subscribers and Facebook fans was similar when asked about whether they would recommend a brand. A third of Twitter followers said they were more apt to make a recommendation now that they followed a brand, compared with 24% of email subscribers and 21% of Facebook fans. Again, those who “liked” a brand on Facebook were most likely to actively disagree with the statement.

US Internet Users Who Are More Likely to Recommend a Brand After Becoming a Subscriber, Fan or Follower, April 2010 (% of respondents)

A February 2010 survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey also found that Twitter followers were more likely than Facebook fans to say they had an increased chance of buying or recommending the brands they connected with in social media.
These factors make Twitter followers attractive to marketers, but as the ExactTarget report notes, because of Twitter’s much smaller user base just 3% of US internet users follow a brand through the microblogging service. Those who do follow brands on Twitter are likely to be influencers in general, while Facebook users are more like the average consumer. And since Facebook users often become brand fans on the site because they are already fans in real life and want to use the brand as part of their self-image, it may be more difficult for them to actually increase their spending or advocate for the brand more than they did before “liking.”

Why Top Mom Bloggers Have Greater Earning Potential from Jennifer James Online

Jennifer James write s great blog on the mommy blogging thing.  Click here for her blog.  This is the full post below:

If you ever want to know how to make money as a mom blogger then you have to think like a businesswoman! Every blogger, no matter the niche, who continually works with brands is constantly sought out because they:
a) produce quality work
b) consistently deliver
c) are versatile
d) are always willing to learn
e) are careful about their online reputation and
f) know their worth
If you don’t have a business background it can be extremely intimidating to hear that you need to start thinking like a businessperson. The hard truth is that unless and until you start thinking like a businesswoman and become a “big picture” person you will continue to struggle to flip your blog into the business you envision. It’s that simple.
There is a reason a lot of the same mom bloggers work with brands. It’s because when they wake up in the morning and look at themselves in the mirror they see a savvy businesswoman, not just a mom blogger. They understand that perception is everything and they have made the conscious decision to perceive themselves as “more than” than “less than”. Some mom bloggers take several years to recognize the transformation from mere blogger to businesswoman. In fact, it took me several years to see it. I clearly followed the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hour rule except I sped up the process by working as a blogger more than 20 hours a week and I am still working to improve the work I do.
The great thing is brands are recognizing, too, that these moms are businesswomen and treat them as such. The brand-blogger relationships are symbiotic because brands call on these moms time and time again for campaigns and in return the moms do everything in their power to produce the results the brand is looking for. These moms are not selfish in their outlook. Rather, they think about the brand and what they can deliver first before thinking about the pay-off in the end.
These mom bloggers are versatile. They can tweet about a live event or put together a video series for a brand. They can pen creative content for a sponsor or drive their readers to get involved in a cause they believe in. They are never limited by always working to their strengths. Instead they figure out ways to bolster their weaknesses if that means a better outcome for a brand.
These mom bloggers are always learning and never get stuck in a rut. When they hear about the latest blogging trend or social networking site, they open an account right away or ride the trend wave for a while. They test everything because they are regarded as trendsetters and wouldn’t be caught not “in the know”. How do these bloggers know when new trends and sites come about? They are keen observers and don’t miss a beat.
Additionally, these mom bloggers guard their online reputation and keep it safe. They understand that people are always watching and that brands base who they work with by the reputation bloggers create. These moms understand the true power of their words and influence and don’t abuse it.
As I write this I am definitely thinking of several moms who embody these traits and I love them for it! I’m sure you know mom bloggers like this as well. They serve as great examples to us all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Value of Twitter Following from Brand Savant

Thank you Brand Savant for this interesting musing on how much a follower on Twitter is worth.  It's a thorny question.  Click here for the entire post.  Here are some excerpts.

I saw an interesting question this morning on the Twitter from Shiv Singh:
What’s the value of a tweet sent by a person with a million followers? What’s the Cost Per Tweet Impression?
I’m going to marinate on this for a few days, because it’s a thornier problem than one might initially surmise. Here’s where the problem gets deep. First of all, unlike, say, a banner ad, there is no guarantee that I will be “served” the impression of a tweet, if I miss it in my timeline. In contrast, if a website says it served a million impressions of an ad, then itwas served to roughly two million eyeballs. Of course, many of those eyeballs may have blocked, ignored, or quickly scrolled away from that ad, but I can at least quantify what those of us who research the Out-Of-Home media space call “opportunity to see.”
With a tweet, it’s a little less straightforward, since one million followers don’t equate to one million impressions. If you follow over a thousand people on Twitter, your timeline is cluttered to the point that you’d likely have to actively seek out tweets from an individual Twitter user in order to guarantee that you had “seen” a given tweet from that user.
Contrast that to someone on Twitter who, to return to Shiv’s original question, has one million followers. Let’s take Tony Robbins, who currently has 1.8 million followers. Tony is what can fairly be called a Twitter “broadcaster,” and I make no value judgement whatsoever about this. If he tweets something, I suppose I might reply, but my Twitter affections shall go unrequited – I have no expectation of a reply from Tony. This isn’t to disparage him; merely an acknowledgement that a million followers doesn’t scale. I don’t expect a reply, because I know that he has too many followers, too many possible conversations to engage in to have even seen my tweet, and I generally don’t like talking to myself (or to someone “managing” the Tony Robbins Twitter account not named Tony Robbins.)
At some point, then, a Power-Twitterer stops engaging people and becomes a broadcaster, because they have no other choice. If LeBron James actually does answer someone’s tweet, it’s the Twitter equivalent of answering one piece of fan mail – an “example” of engagement that doesn’t prove the rule. If someone with 1,000 followers tweets a question, I think those followers expect that this is an entree to a conversation. If someone with a million followers tweets a question, I daresay the vast majority of those followers realize the question is rhetorical. (I admit there is also the confounding variable of the retweet to deal with here, but engagement also comes into play in retweet behavior.)
Perhaps, therefore, the number of followers a given Twitter user has becomes a sort of barometer of engagement expectations. South of some magic number, a tweet is an invitation to connect. North of that number, a tweet is an inefficient broadcast advertisement. In this sense, that number is like a “Dunbar’s Number” for a new age of asymmetrical, asynchronous conversation. And that actual number, the “elusive statistic” referred to in the title of this post, is less important than what the number is perceived to be by the followers of a given Twitterer.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Should Mom Bloggers Discuss What They Make? From JenniferJamesOnline

There is a consistent theme that runs through a lot of conversations about money in the mom blogosphere. Typically moms want other bloggers to reveal what they earn in order to get an idea of how to price various partnerships they have with brands. But is this the right thing to do?
I know it can be frustrating when you’re new to the world of brand partnerships. You don’t want to undersell yourself and you don’t want to price yourself out of an opportunity either. In my case, I had to figure out the hard way through good old-fashioned trial and error. When I first started working with brands many years ago I charged far too low for services rendered. Then I got hip to the world of business and started charging what I was worth and I haven’t looked back since.
Whenever I can put mom bloggers in the ballpark of what they should charge brands, I am always happy to help because as women we tend to undersell ourselves a lot. That said, however, sharing specific rates that you charge brands can become quite problematic. People talk behind closed doors and relationships can become strained if money discussions come into play particularly if a brand pays two mom bloggers different rates.  That’s never a good situation!
There is also the potential for other bloggers to throw roadblocks in your way if you reveal too much of how much you earn, especially if you’re on the higher end of earning potential among mom bloggers. It’s sad, but true. Even though in an ideal world we would all love to throw numbers on the table, money talk tends to complicate things, right? People act strange. Think about all the hubub made over what Dooce makes in a month or what Chris Brogan charges in a day.
Like Melanie wrote in her brilliant post this week, Why Do Bloggers Continue to Work for Free?, no blogger should work for free. (As an aside, I would like to clarify something very quickly, though. When I review products I don’t charge for that. When I work with a brand on an extended campaign by lending my likeness to their web site and social media outlets, create content for them and generally work for them, I always charge.)
I’m sure you’re wondering: How can I NOT work for free if I don’t know what to charge? Good question! Always start by knowing you will charge a brand for services you perform or content you create. You also have to be confident in your ability to perform and therefore should charge accordingly. If you overcharge, oftentimes brands will negotiate a rate that works for both parties. If you feel it is too low, always be willing to walk away. Never accept a lower fee than you know you deserve because you are desperate to work with a certain brand.
Remember this: Always err on the side of overcharging because you have the option to negotiate. And you never know, a brand may go with your original rate!

60 Proven Ways to Increase Your Online Marketing Influence from Hubspot Blog

1. Stop talking about your products and services and create valuable content.
2. Increase conversion rates on your landing pages by improving your buttons.
3. Build your thought leadership and digital influence through transparency.
4. Demonstrate commitment and increase your digital influence through consistency.
5. Know where you’re going, then make what you say about the people around you.
6. Follow better people.
7. Align yourself with outstanding strategic partners.
8. Make connections online, then meet the person in the real world, offline.
9. Create content that stands for something: ‘Higher purpose content marketing.’
10. Look under the hood of the shiny new technologies coming out.
11. Believe in ‘social objects’ as the way we socialize and share with others.
12. Avoid ‘incestuous blogging’ and look outside your circle.
13. Start talking to people.
14. Think about your narrative strategy because people connect with stories worth telling.
15. Find people who have your audience but not your products and co-create with them.
16. Establish influence either through complete honesty or absolute fakery - not in between.
17. Give your content roots and give it wings.
18. Try Facebook advertising.
19. Develop your online influence by getting offline and meeting people in real life.
20. Get very, very good at filtering and aggregating content.
21. Be early in the news cycles of any conversation of interest, then make context explicit.
22. Increase visibility through web video; the fastest way to get your message out there.
23. Feel passionate about your content and overcome your fears of reaching out.
24. Defy convention where it’s appropriate.
25. Share good content consistently.
26. Let your passion shine to create meaningful relationships and build deep connections.
27. Learn how to talk more about other people.
28. Get on Facebook, get on Faceboook now, and use it for your business.
29. Make people around you more successful than you are, and share stories from the heart.
30. Talk about what you know because content is always king.
31. Make something worth talking about.
32. Get your self properly interviewed.
33. Repeat your tweets.
34. Get more influence online by moving offline.
35. Really understand your audience, then build things that really help them.
36. Master one niche, own that niche, then use webinar marketing to promote your brand.
37. Think about what gifts and expertise you have that you can leverage to help others.
38. Map a strategy for integrating social media with other tactics.
39. Change from thinking about my influence to our influence.
40. Get active in other people’s communities.
41. Build ‘digital dimensionality’ by showing your many different sides.
42. Listen to the conversations taking place around you, then start to engage.
43. Network with other influencers and make them aware of your consistent value.
44. Think about the authenticity, consistency, and depth of your voice and story
45. Be willing to shake up your world.
46. Learn to be a storyteller, understand the psychology of people, create quality content.
47. Share ideas liberally and get increased accountability from the digital community.
48. Establish your business model before you attempt to become influential online.
49. Be consistent, connect the practical with the profound, and listen for the silence.
50. Find a unique niche you can own, focus on it and become known for that.
51. Find out what social network your customers are using and be there for them.
52. Build a community of readers by figuring out ways to get people talking.
53. Make friends along the way by helping others achieve their goals.
54. Think about social media as strategy to enhance your existing marketing goals.
55. Be systematic in establishing relationships with those on the same business path.
56. Become an advocate for gifted up and comers as they enter social media.
57. Start the media arm of your company that educates, inspires and entertains.
58. Give more than you get and build trust and relationships over time.
59. Take a look at what you have that others can’t do and use it to get where you need to go.
60. Figure out your value, identify influential individuals and connect to them directly.

Posted by Jeanne Hopkins

4 Ways to Use Social Proof (Before Anyone Knows Who You Are) from Copyblogger

Have you read the classic post from the Copyblogger archives explaining why you need to leverage social proof on your blog? If so, then I don’t need to convince you how important social proof is for online success.
Social proof is pretty simple. It’s just the human instinct that if someone else is doing something (buying a product, reading a blog, jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge) then it’s probably a good thing to do.
It’s not right and it’s not wrong — it’s just how we human beings are wired.
Social proof can give a blog great momentum. Once you have lots of readers, you’ll find new people purely because you have lots of readers.
But how can you pull it off when you’re just starting out and don’t have much social proof to leverage?
For example, new readers to Copyblogger glance over at the left-hand side of the site and see that more than 129,000 people already subscribe. The most common line of thinking is “Hm, maybe I should do that, too. 129,328 subscribers can’t be wrong, right?”
But when you’re just getting your blog off the ground, this kind of social proof simply doesn’t help. It took me a year to get 1000 subscribers on my blog, and when I did I proudly displayed my subscriber count for all to see — only to take it down a few months later because Feedburner was unreliable about displaying the right number.
You may not be able to use the same specific social proof techniques that the big blogs do. But there are at least four reliable ways I know to use social proof when your blog is still in the beginner stages.

1. Encourage comments

In the early days, a blog post that has no comments is like a party without people: no one wants to be the first one to show up.
A lively comment discussion shows new readers that your blog has an engaged community to interact with — that other cool people are at this party. The problem is, nobody wants to be first to comment, even if plenty of people are comfortable being second, third, and fourth.
One way to get readers over the hurdle is to specifically ask for comments. You can also end every post with a great question that encourages response. Some blogs even offer prizes for the best commenters.
But if you’re still having a hard time getting comments going on your posts, there’s an easy way to break the ice.
Get yourself a blog buddy who will comment on every post you write (you can do the same for them). Reply to each of their comments promptly.
When you respond to comments, others are encouraged to join in. Now that your blog buddy has broken the ice, others will be more comfortable about joining the conversation.
You may want to extend this to a small blog pack, a group of bloggers in a related topic who support one another’s work. It’s a great way to boost your traffic and subscriptions.

2. Tell stories

Social proof doesn’t always have to be about big numbers. You can also share stories that show how you’ve benefited others.
When I set up my web design company in 1998, I ran across many business owners who were skeptical about the need for a website. I started telling the skeptics a true story about one of my clients who shared their fears. That client took the plunge and cancelled his yellow pages ad so he could test the waters with a website instead.
He never looked back. His website was able to generate new leads for a smaller investment. And while his costly yellow pages ads ended up in the recycling bin the next year, his website is a great investment for years to come.
That story helped a lot of people find their courage and set up their own sites. Engage your blog readers by telling compelling stories that show how someone else has benefited from taking your advice.
You don’t have to go overboard — bragging will often chase readers away. Instead, tell the story like you would to a friend over lunch and you’ll hit the right note.

3. Get testimonials

In the early days of my blog I put up a raving readers page to let people know that yes, this blog did have some readers. And better yet, those readers were interesting, engaged, and global.
There are lots of ways to make testimonials work for you — but first you have to collect some.
When you start a new business or blog you may not have any clients who can vouch for you yet. Try giving a few people something for nothing and ask for a testimonial if they like it. Start with your friends and branch out from there. If you can’t outright give your product away, at least give out some free trials or samples.
Make it easy for people to give you testimonials. Try asking specific questions. You can also write up any compliments you get by email or over the phone, then ask for your fan’s approval to use it as a testimonial on your website.
(I hope it goes without saying, never write fake testimonials. You’re aiming to build credibility and trust here, not destroy it.)
If you offer a high-quality service or product, your customers will want to help you promote it. Include the name of the person and that person’s occupation or company if it’s relevant. Pictures can also improve your testimonials’ credibility and enhance the element of proof.

4. Incorporate media

Being mentioned in the media is another great way to leverage social proof. It’s surprisingly effective to add, “As mentioned/recommended in the Smalltown Weekly” to your blog’s About page, even if the media outlet is a minor one. Gather a few mentions and you might decide to create a dedicated media page. And while you’re at it, remember that a mention on a big blog can be at least as powerful as a print publication.
Two of my friends have a half-serious competition to get the most mentions in local papers this year. If the prize is a more successful business and bigger client list, I’d say they’re both going to win.
Spend some time brainstorming ways your business might be mentioned in the press, on social media, or on TV. Can you make a friendly call to journalists or bloggers who write about your topic, tell them what you do, and ask them if they’d like a free sample or a free consultation to offer to readers? Could you speak free of charge at an event to get your name out there and establish your expertise? What story can you tell that would interest your local paper or favorite blog?
Have fun and be creative. Even when your blog is brand-new, you can start leveraging social proof today while you wait for your RSS subscriber count to grow.
And of course, as your subscriber count grows, you’ll have even more options.
How about you? What’s your favorite tip for leveraging social proof on your blog?
About the Author: Annabel Candy has been teaching people how to win business online since 1996. If you want empowering tips for life and work including blogging, Internet marketing, and entrepreneurship, check out her blog Get In the Hot Spot.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rank Widget for Alexa, Technorati, Yahoo Search Inlinks and Google Page Rank

Go to this site to see how your blog stacks up.  This is a cool tool because you can check Google Page Rank, Alexa Page Rank, Technorati Blog rank and/or Yahoo! Search Inlinks!.  All in one place.  I'm not sure which one is the definitive one, but I think it may be Technorati.  What do you think?

I actually really like this tool, but wanted to note that you need to submit your blog to each of these blog rankers to show up and it's a bit of a process that will take a few days at least but well worth it!

Friday, September 3, 2010

14 Predictions for the Mom Blogger Industry ...

This is from Jennifer James Online.
The following are predictions for the next year as I see them. Make sure  to share what you think about the next year for moms who blog.
1) Select Mom Bloggers Will Really Make Money: There is already evidence that 2010 has been a big year for some mom bloggers. Moms are really starting to make money either with one big partnership or with several partnerships facilitated with various brands as either ambassadors or spokespeople. This trend will certainly continue as moms demand more and as other blogging industries, particularly beauty, fashion and food look to mom bloggers to continue to set the earning trends.
2) The Year of the Financial Services: I wrote in a recent post that the financial industry is lagging in their outreach to mom bloggers along with the pet and automobile industry. After talking with a few financial brands and seeing evidence already on blogs, look for the financial industry to kick into full gear especially as the holiday season gets underway.
3) The Year of PR Selectivity: Parts of the PR industry are starting to realize there are definitive nuances and hierarchies in the mom blogging community and a blanket approach to outreach is not as effective as being selective about the bloggers they work with. Some have even figured out that when newer, smaller bloggers are pitched a product and run with it, influencers won’t touch it. Look for PR firms to tighten up their outreach efforts in the coming year.
4) The Cream of the Crop: As much as this pains me to write, there will be a gradual separation of the influential bloggers and those who are trying to make their way up the mom blogging ladder. At the end of the day, brands need to deliver value to their clients and most brands equate value with hard numbers. Bigger, more influential bloggers have larger numbers. It’s hard to measure influence with relatively small numbers.
That said, however, there is still ample room for movement for new mom bloggers who have a stellar work ethic and professionalism to boot. Many small bloggers will be relegated to working with small companies while influencers will continue working with large brands.
5) The Rise of the Mom Blogger Spokesperson: More moms will be offered spokesperson duties (not ambassador roles) with brands either on a campaign by campaign basis or for an extended time. Brands are realizing mom bloggers are less expensive than celebrities, but possess more authenticity and are definitely more Net and social media savvy. This circumstance can result in a win-win situation for bloggers and brands.
6) Non-Mom Industries: Industries that traditionally do not market to moms will begin inching their way into the community as they seek to discover new ways into the family bank account. Most of these industries have only heard of the infamous “mommy bloggers” and will want to figure out how to tap the market to drum up buzz.
7) Product Reviews Will Still Rule the Space: I know this will make many of you unhappy, but product reviews aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They are too valuable to both bloggers and brands. There are still large companies we all know that are scared of working with bloggers. I’ve talked with a few, in fact. There are also small regional PR firms with large national accounts that are just getting wind of the mom blogging community and want to tap into blogging promotions. Product reviews are here to stay, at least for another year.
8) The Year of Tricky Gimmicks: Some companies and marketers will seek to take advantage of novice mom bloggers by promising a lot, but in actuality the return is not much at all. Yes, this has been going on for years, but the approach is definitely getting more sophisticated. False opportunities promise mom bloggers a lot, but  really turn them into free endorsers for huge brands.
9) SEO Wars: As more brands fight to snag the most influential bloggers, moms will look to stretch their influence by using SEO tactics to up their blog rankings and get on the radar of brands making keyword searches for bloggers in various niches.
Using SEO to get better search rankings is one thing, but the war over keyword bidding is an interesting phenomenon to watch. Look for mom bloggers to increasingly stake their claim to blog searches on Google.
10) Brand vs Brand: The mom blogging community is much smaller than most of us realize. That means brands need to outdo their competitors in the space to really establish relationships with key bloggers before their competitors.
11) Best Behavior: As the stakes rise and there is more to gain and to lose, there will be less mommy spats on Twitter, Facebook and on blogs and a more professional tone will arise from those whose brand is intimately tied to their earning potential.
12) Blog Skins: I have no idea why mom bloggers have perpetually stayed away from skins as a source of income. I foresee daring mom bloggers getting paid to run skins as a revenue source.

Mom Buying Power and Marketing to Them Via Social Media

From Engage Moms: 

You Should Be Talking To Women By Zephrin Lasker Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In 2009, Ad Age reported that women controlled $4.3 trillion of the $5.9 trillion in U.S. consumer spending, or 73% of household spending. And in a trend that continues to go up, up and away, DM News reported this year that women influence as much as 85% of the household purchases.

And moms (a subset of women) have a disproportionately high impact on the economy. Marketing Sherpa reports that the buying power of moms was over $2.1 trillion annually. The book, Trillion Dollar Moms, states that moms account for 55% of spending on consumer electronics and 51% of all food purchases in America.

So, no matter what your product category is, you might want to be targeting your message to women. At the BDI Conference hosted by CUNY in New York City in August, Matt Gentile, director of PR and Communication at Century 21, revealed that the entire social marketing effort of the real estate firm was geared to reach women.
"If it were left to my devices," he said, "I would still be in Florida. My wife played a very influential role in our moving and buying property in New York." And Century 21 is not alone. The marketing efforts of brands like Axe and Old Spice have women as the preferred demographic for both creative development as well as media placements.
But just what is the best way to get your message across to this highly influential segment? All roads point to the Internet.

According to the June 2010 UNICast What Women Want from the Web Report, 64% of women plan to use the Internet to find sales and compare prices whenever they plan to make a purchase, for small- and big-ticket items alike. In fact, women 18 to 24 are much more inclined to do this kind of comparison shopping research solely online.
"Plainly put, women are utilizing the Internet as a resource for simple and complex purchasing inquiries. They enjoy, arguably more so than men, educating themselves through the use of the Net," says Emily Carroll, manager, Strategic Insights, Leapfrog Interactive. "They're looking for more shortcuts to save time and money. In doing so, they're searching more, browsing more, consuming more content, and seeking input from their trusted friends and confidants online."

With these dynamics, social networking is especially important when it comes to marketing to women. Social networks like Facebook and community sites like Graco Nation enable women to make a connection with one another, and have discussions over a product, service or brand.

This is why marketers looking to get their message across to women effectively would not be advised to make one message and broadcast it to a wide audience. Instead, they can look to capture the basic contact information of an end user, build trust through relevant communications over a period of time, before extending the conversation to social networks.

And that's not all. Marketing to women via social networks requires a highly nuanced approach.
"There are vast differences in the way that men and women use social media," says Carroll. "Men might engage in games like Mafia Wars or post information about what they are doing, like attending a sporting event with their sons. Women, on the other hand, will typically discuss products they use and like as well as coupons or information about sales that are going on."

Huggies is a great example of a brand leveraging the unique dynamics of this segment to maximize the impact of its message. In its weekly email communications stream, Huggies embeds links to download a pregnancy countdown widget. Once an expectant mother downloads the widget, she can choose to embed it in her social networking profile. Huggies sends relevant information to the mom through the widget daily -- information that she can then share and discuss with her friends and other expectant moms.

The Old Spice viral video, "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," is another great example of a brand using social media to get their message across to women effectively. Unless you have been staying underneath the great oil covered ocean, you've probably seen or at least heard of the commercial. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Old Spice YouTube channel has already garnered 75 million views -- and it shows no signs of slowing down.
In summary, no matter what your product, there's a good chance you should be talking to women. And for your campaign to be effective, they should find it easy to talk about you. As marketers have found out in recent years, the rewards of recognizing these shifts in market and marketing dynamics are manifold. It does appear that at least on the Internet, the spirit of the Khasi tribe has just received a massively new lease on life.