Getting a few of the right reporters to cover an event used to be good enough. These days, companies are adding blogger- targeted experiences to their p.r. and event programs in order to give their message extra reach and credibility. But once bloggers are on site, it takes more than a swag bag to keep them tuned in. Brands need to show that they read the blogger’s blogs, they know what’s going on in their lives and they understand their unique interests and needs. Sound like a lot? It is. But in the case of one blogger segment— mommy bloggers—the extra attention can be worth the effort.
One of the most blogger-influenced segments in the consumer market is also the group with the biggest purchasing power—tech-savvy moms. Beth Feldman, founder of rolemommy.com (an online community created to inspire, entertain and inform busy moms) and author of See Mom Run, says that brands have to keep in mind that today’s mom is very busy, so she’s extremely discerning about what gets her time and attention.
Last August, Feldman helped Kool- Aid and KaBOOM! (a non-profit dedicated to bringing play back into the lives of children) organize a Play Day for moms and their kids in a Manhattan loft. In addition to creating an event that brought kids and moms together for a day of wholesome games, the brand added value by bringing on celebrity kids’ photographer Jade Albert to shoot free Christmas photos. The harried moms appreciated the gesture, which eliminated one more “to do” on their list as well as provided them (and their children) with an exclusive and meaningful experience.
“We don’t have many hours in our day and bloggers are now being invited to so many events that there’s got to be something that we’re really going to enjoy,” Feldman says. “In this case, the hassle of the holiday picture was taken care of.”
The bloggers also walked away with a Kool-Aid branded cooler and a KaBOOM! play kit to recreate the Play Day experience at home (swag is fine as long as it’s relevant). What wouldn’t have worked, Feldman says, is if Kool-Aid and KaBOOM! had invited moms without their kids to a demo about the Play Days and passed out samples of the powdery beverage.
When Kashi food brand wanted to engage the blogger community, it flew a handful of bloggers on Oct. 7 to what it called the Blogger Adventure Retreat at its company headquarters in La Jolla, CA, for a few days of the full Kashi treatment. Blogger Isabel Kallman (she writes the blog Minding My Own Business on alphamom.com) attended the trip because she’s been a longtime fan of the brand and has written about it on her blog.
After a good night’s rest, the bloggers were treated to yoga and other healthy activities on the beach led by folks in the company’s marketing and p.r. departments. Turns out the company runs these sessions on a regular basis for the local La Jolla community, which emphasized the authenticity of Kashi’s healthy living mantra. Also important to Kallman was the fact that Kashi selected bloggers that really love the brand. That means they know they have mentioned the brand in online discussions.
“Brands should know thy bloggers,” says Kallman. “Make sure an event is the right fit in terms of the ethos of the blogger.” Doing your homework on a blogger can reveal meaningful details, too, like if a mommy blogger has recently given birth. This can allow the brand to take special care of those bloggers who are taking time out of their lives to attend one of their events.
“If you reach a blogger that just had a baby, extend an invitation to the baby as well, because moms may still be nursing,” adds Kallman. “Kashi had a nursing room in their facility and daycare for the children.” Though well thought-out experiences are meaningful to bloggers, what they give brands in return is of big value as well. Engaged bloggers will not only tell the worldwide web what they like about a product or brand, they can serve as helpful focus groups and brand ambassadors, too.
When Hershey teamed up with FOX last May to promote the movie “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” it invited 10 highly influential bloggers and their kids to an exclusive event at the Smithsonian, which included a late-night tour of the museum and tickets to attend the movie’s red carpet premiere. “We invited not only the bloggers but their kids as well to show them that we authentically wanted to form a relationship with them,” says Jody Cook, director of product publicity at Hershey, who handled the program. “We continue to include the bloggers in a lot of our product news and look to them to help us with how we can better communicate to that environment.” Hershey’s outreach to the blogger community resulted in more than 40 targeted and unique blog posts and more than 6.6 million impressions through word-of-mouth marketing. EM