The Motherhood CEO to Speak at Digital Marketing Masterclass in Pittsburgh

Digital Marketing Masterclass in Pittsburgh

The Motherhood’s CEO Cooper Munroe will be presenting insights and best practices on strategic influencer marketing at the upcoming Digital Marketing Masterclass in Pittsburgh on Thursday, October 12th. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the stats Cooper will be sharing:Digital Marketing Masterclass

Masterclassing offers a series of networking and business growth events around the country, connecting client-side executives with experts in the field of marketing to learn how they can best implement the latest industry tools and techniques. Each event is targeted to a different area of marketing (social, mobile, digital, etc.) and leaves time for roundtable discussions so that attendees can authentically connect and talk through the ideas presented.

Pittsburgh friends and partners, the Digital Marketing Masterclass in Pittsburgh is a half day on October 12 and free! We’d love to see you there! You can register here.

Social Media Week London: The Human Touch, Leveraging Data & More

To serve our clients and network as best we can, The Motherhood attends (in person or virtually) as many industry conferences as possible. This week was Social Media Week London, where industry experts convened to share insights on all things digital. Take a look at some of our top takeaways from the event:

The Importance of A HUMAN APPROACH

In his session “Process vs. People: Everything You Need to Know about Influencer Marketing,” Justin Rezvani, founder & CEO of theAmplify, explained the symbiotic relationship between technology and humans when it comes to influencer marketing. While technology is undoubtedly a valuable tool for any influencer marketing campaign — especially with operations — when it comes to building long-term relationships with influencers and identifying, capturing and participating in meaningful conversations, technology simply can’t replace the human touch.

Industry Principal, EMEA, of Hootsuite – Adrian Cockle – also underscored the importance of the human connection in his presentation. Hootsuite has 15 million+ users worldwide, and their guiding principles include:

  • Put humans first, always. As companies grow, they can lose sight of the customer. But people are looking for recommendations and interactions from human beings. Cockle shared that 21 percent of consumers report “liking” employee social media posts, far higher engagement than the average post on brand channels, and that two of the top three most-used sources of news (search, TV and social media) and information are peer-influenced media. What’s more, Google skews search to deliver results from “people like you.”
  • Humanity isn’t a trend: Brands can rely on a few fundamental human needs to stay the same over time: the need for listening & empathy, relationships, trust and security, and social belonging and community. By making these needs the pillars of a marketing strategy, brands can really tap into what motivates their consumers.
  • Embrace social evolution: As most savvy consumers know, social media is an excellent place for discovery. Cockle shared that 40 percent of internet users see social media as their first stop when researching a product – meaning the customized, customer-centric campaigns that have longevity are more important than ever. 
Leveraging Data & Measurement

BuzzFeed’s International Executive Creative Director & Executive Producer, Richard Alan Reid, shared how BuzzFeed relies on data-driven insights – a blend of art and science – to fuel creativity. The takeaway Reid shared is to continually test (whether that’s placement or content) and learn which approaches work best. Is your content being shared? If so, that’s a success; sharing is the ultimate form of flattery in this digital age!

Kathy Dykeman, Director of Northern Europe & Global Accounts Marketing Science for Facebook, shared why it’s important for businesses to understand metrics. Which metrics matter, exactly? Dykeman outlined the following:

  • Audience outcomes: Measure & optimize how you reach your audiences.
  • Brand outcomes: Measure how your media spend impacts brand objectives.
  • Sales outcomes: Measure how your media spend impacts sales objectives.
Social Media Best Practices

One of the biggest topics covered during the sessions overall was creating platform-specific content that resonates well with your audience. Anna Russett of Havas PR shared this reminder: “Social is advertising; we aren’t making ads that are speaking to people – people can speak back.”

Keeping in mind the two-way nature of social media, Dykeman of Facebook shared some best practices for creating engaging mobile videos for the Facebook platform:

  • Incorporate your brand identity and message early in the video — within the first few seconds – for those who don’t watch it in its entirety.
  • Show the brand for over half the video/ad’s duration, but not in an obtrusive way; make it clever.
  • Make the video as short as it can be, but as long as it needs to be to tell your story effectively.

Along the same lines, David Levin and David Schneider, Creative Directors of That Lot, shared platform-specific tips for boosting content performance.

Facebook: Brands should create more video to spur views and engagement – after all, 500 million people watch videos on Facebook on a daily basis. While videos should be designed for those watching them muted, they should be adaptable to play with sound, too, since Facebook is eventually moving away from muted videos. For Facebook Live, they shared the helpful reminder to create content that allows viewers to jump in and out of the live view without losing context. Facebook Canvas is another tool that brands and marketers should be taking advantage of, since it allows for a more immersive experience that blends copy, images and video. 

Instagram: Video is becoming more and more effective on this channel, especially those featuring human stories and grand, picturesque designs. Brands should utilize Instagram Stories (after all, 250 million people use them daily), and the Carousel feature, which encourages people to swipe and engage.

Twitter: Twitter is all about copy first, and one of their suggestions was to keep copy even shorter than the allotted 140 characters (in a move counter to the recent news that Twitter is testing an expansion to 280-character tweets). Text should be relatable and personality-filled, timely and relevant. That Lot executives also suggested having one person dedicated to pushing out content, and another listening for opportunistic outreach. For all channels, Levin and Schneider encourage brands to look for ways to do something differently on these platforms. For Twitter, they shared a “timeline invasion” example in which DIY company B&Q stacked images on top of each other for an interesting stop-in-your-tracks visual.

Snapchat: As brands continue to explore the best ways to work with Snapchat, Levin and Schneider explained that they should leverage the channel’s assets – filters, lenses and stories – to make their content more native and fun. Unlike Instagram, it’s expected and accepted to have less polished and “raw” content on Snapchat.


Our big takeaways: No matter which platforms you’re on, take a human approach, infuse personality in your message, listen to your audience and use insights and data to inform future campaigns.

Did you have the opportunity to go to Social Media Week London, or tune in virtually? What were your main takeaways from the event? Tell us in the comments!

Spotlight Blogger: Jackie with I Heart Arts n Crafts

For our October Spotlight Blogger, we wanted to shine a light on Jackie with I Heart Arts n Crafts — a mom of two, and, as you may have guessed, craft blogger extraordinaire whose easy tutorials can help you make some wicked pumpkin crafts and decorations this season! She is also a champion for Tracheosophageal Fistula/Esophageal Atresia (TEF/EA), a birth defect her son was born with (although it hasn’t stopped him from being an active and great big brother!).

Read more about Jackie’s insights on DIY blogging, social media and the influencer marketing industry in our Q&A:

What do you feel is the #1 trend in influencer marketing in 2017?
Facebook Live and videos seem to be huge lately and brands love it. I’ve just started tackling Facebook videos, and Facebook Live is on my to-do list.

What content do you feel your readers find most valuable?
Simple crafts that they can do with their children at home using things around the house. I’ve found the easiest crafts are always the most popular.

Tell us why you blog.
When I started blogging three years ago, it started off as a creative outlet for me while I was staying home with my son. It was more of a journal where I shared any craft projects that I was doing with my children. It wasn’t until about six months into it that I realized I could monetize my site and I started turning it into a business.

Where do you find inspiration for new blog posts?
I find inspiration everywhere! When I’m not feeling “crafty,” I usually go to the craft store to browse supplies or I find the most inspiration from my kids and their artwork and ideas.

What is your favorite space to engage with your readers?
My favorite place is Facebook. I absolutely love getting messages from my readers or posts on my wall with pictures of my crafts coming to life, and hearing how much fun their kids had doing it just makes my whole day!

Where do you see the most engagement with your content?
Facebook and Pinterest.

What’s the #1 question you’re asked by your readers, and what’s your answer?
I’ve gotten asked how to start blogging more times than I can remember. I always tell them to write about something they’re passionate about. I also have a “How To Start A DIY Craft Blog” page with step-by-step instructions on getting set up!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a blog?
Focus on being yourself and write about what you love. If you write about something you’re passionate about, you’ll do great!

What are your thoughts on programs measured by initial click-through rates?
I have a love/hate relationship with them. I understand the need for them and have had success doing a few but I’ve found that they can turn the readers away and the post can sound less authentic.

What are your thoughts on working with a brand on multiple occasions (vs. one-off programs)?
Working with a brand on multiple occasions is great! It’s the best way to form a lasting relationship with the brand.

What are your thoughts on online coupons?
Coming from an avid couponer, I love them!

What are your thoughts on Snapchat?
I have it downloaded on my phone, but I haven’t gotten past using the filters on the camera. I haven’t ventured too much into it because I don’t feel like it’s the best platform for my niche.

2017 is the year of ____:
Videos!

Influencer marketing is ____:
The future. Influencer marketing does so well because people can relate to them more than just watching an advertisement on TV.

What trend or platform is on its way out?
Google Plus.

Favorite program you’ve done with The Motherhood?
Chick-Fil-A, hands down! We had so much fun at the Children’s Museum!

What should brands start doing (better) when working with bloggers?
Let bloggers be more creative. The campaigns where I had full control sound the most authentic and always perform the best!

For more about Jackie, and for some amazing craft inspiration through I Heart Arts n Crafts, check out her blog or Pinterest page! 

I Heart Arts n Crafts


More about The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger Series

Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to feature.

Take a look at our other featured influencers here, and stop by in November for the next Spotlight Blogger!

Embrace Sustainable Clothing with prAna

Here at The Motherhood, we are always searching for comfortable clothing that is also stylish and versatile. Throw in a little love for our planet by supporting fair trade and sustainable practices, and we consider that a home run! One brand we worked with recently on a campaign with a group of fantastic bloggers checks all of those boxes for us: prAna.

Spoiler alert: Use the code TMF17 for 15% off your entire order at prAna.com (offer valid until Oct. 19; discount does not apply to sale items).

prAna

Photo courtesy of Natasha, Grits & Grace (featuring the Salinda Top)

We know that moms lead busy lives. From the office to home — and all the school pick ups, yoga classes, soccer games, grocery store visits and more in between — we just want to be comfortable in our clothes, look great and feel good about where they came from.

prAna

Photo courtesy of Tori, The Gal Next Door (featuring the Ellis Dress)

prAna clothing is designed by people who love to DO. Each piece of clothing comes from a unique experience, is designed with makers and doers in mind and comes from a sustainable clothing movement. Learn more about that movement here.

prAna

Photo courtesy of Rhonda, Life Food Family (featuring the Deco Crop)

So whether you’re planning a family adventure, heading out to run errands or even getting ready for a night out, consider adding some pieces from prAna to your closet and your life — they are stylish and versatile enough to fit any occasion.

prAna

Photo courtesy of Nikki, J.Nicolette (featuring the Sage Jogger)

You can check out all the amazing options that prAna has to offer at prAna.com and use the code TMF17 for 15% off your entire order (offer valid until Oct. 19; discount does not apply to sale items).

prAna

Photo courtesy of Kristi, Leap of Faith (featuring the Daria Sweater Hoodie)

Influencer Marketing 101: Deadlines, Commitments and Best Practices to Make Sure All Goes According to Plan

influencer marketing

It’s a scenario no marketer wants to encounter: You’re working on a campaign with a group of influencers, and someone goes radio silent — they’ve missed the deadline for publishing their coverage and are unresponsive to emails. It does happen once in a while in influencer marketing, as in all industries and in life, especially if the influencer might be facing an unexpected personal crisis or challenge.

Influencers with a high degree of professionalism and reliability often remain communicative and take the time to alert you about the situation with a quick email, which allows you to plan accordingly. Others get caught up and don’t think about the business implications of their failure to come through for the campaign. Below, we’ve shared a few best practices from our own experience for making plans and taking action around that possibility.

  • Set expectations up front. When you invite an influencer to participate in campaign you’re leading, include clear deadlines for all pieces of content. Be specific; if you’re expecting to see content published by a certain time of day, for example, be sure to lay out those details to avoid confusion.
  • Be prepared. Expect the best, but assume that an issue will come up for at least one influencer on your campaign team, and engage one or two extra participants to account for that scenario. If everyone comes through, you’ll have some bonus blog posts to help improve your brand’s SEO and grow your digital bookshelf. If not, you are covered.
  • Think through Plans B, C and D. Usually it’s possible to stretch the budget or exceed it by just a bit to bring on an extra influencer in case of emergency. But if you’re limited by other factors — the amount of product you have on hand to send to influencers to sample, for instance, or the fact that you can only facilitate influencer-hosted events in a certain number of markets — you might not be able to give yourself a cushion. In that case, think about where you would stand if an influencer did not honor her commitment to your campaign. Could you go out and purchase additional product to send to a backup influencer in her place? Use the budget allotted for the influencer event and engage a larger group to drive additional traffic to your client’s website? Redistribute the stipend to engage a blogger you’re already working with to publish additional content? Thinking through the possibilities and having backup ideas prepared will help you feel more in control and allow you to offer quick, smart solutions to your client or team.
  • Consider expectations around deliverables and deadlines. If your boss or client expects to see coverage from your influencer marketing efforts on a Friday, ask the influencers on your campaign team to publish content by that Wednesday. It will give you a little extra time to follow up with anyone who might not have her post live right on deadline, or who needs to make small edits before you share her work with your client or executive team. Or, if the campaign content is not extremely time-sensitive, offer a blogger who is dealing with a personal issue a few extra days beyond the stated deadline to complete the requirements. That small extension may mean the difference between a blogger who comes through 100% versus not at all.
  • Follow up with reminders, more than once, if needed. As deadlines approach, send quick reminder emails to influencers about the due date for their blog coverage, the event they agreed to attend (whether virtual or on the ground), and anything else they committed to handle. This will help ensure that their assignments on behalf of your brand or client are top of mind at the right time.
  • Know the difference between true emergencies and patterns of behavior. Influencers are independent operators, and everyone reacts differently to given situations. If you’ve worked with someone consistently in the past who was responsive and reliable, and she has a family emergency and misses her deadline (especially if she’s been communicative), it’s worth keeping her on your list for future work. On the other hand, if you notice that an influencer is consistently late, unresponsive and doesn’t always follow through with all campaign requirements, it might be time to move on.
Working with a large number of individuals can always come with unexpected issues, and influencer marketing is no exception. Life happens, but open and clear communication from all parties can help to mitigate issues throughout the campaign process. With the proper planning and preparation, you can remain flexible, be ready for anything and pivot to a solution that will ensure your campaign is still a success.

The Motherhood is Headed to Influencer Marketing Days

On September 26, industry pioneer and The Motherhood’s fearless leader, CEO Cooper Munroe, is off to this year’s Influencer Marketing Days Conference to share her insights on the advantages of working with micro-influencers, and what to expect by incorporating them into marketing strategy and planning.

Influencer Marketing Days is an annual conference held in New York City for anyone interested in learning more about running marketing campaigns with online influencers. This year’s conference will include some expert speakers alongside Cooper who will cover the industry’s challenges and best practices.

Cooper recently participated in a Q&A with the conference coordination team, where she shares more about The Motherhood, challenges within the influencer marketing industry and a sneak peek of her session: “Micro-Influencers, Major Impact.” Take a look at the full interview here, and here’s what she had to say about why interested marketers should take note of her presentation:

“Reach and influence aren’t always closely correlated; influence can happen at any level. A micro-influencer may influence a larger portion of his or her followers than a celebrity influencer. Because they are working hard to provide engaging content and grow their reach, micro-influencers generally put forth greater effort on behalf of a brand project as they build a community of followers and gain their trust. That translates to a strong degree of influence and meaningful engagement with a targeted audience. We have real-world examples of how micro-influencers made a huge impact on behalf of a brand, which is some of what marketers can expect to learn during my session.”

If you’d like to learn more from Cooper and others, we have a special discount code you can use to attend Influencer Marketing Days and hear Cooper’s presentation live! Use the code IMDMunroe to save 15 percent on your registration. Don’t forget to say hi to Cooper while you’re there!

Spotlight Blogger: Ari with Love, Peace and Tiny Feet

This month, we’re shining a light on one of our favorite influencers, Ari with Love, Peace and Tiny Feet. Ari is a mom to two girls, an entrepreneur, author, holistic health advocate and, of course, a top influencer!

Take a look below for our Q&A with Ari.

What do you feel is the #1 trend in influencer marketing in 2017? 
I believe influencer marketing is once again embracing the art of storytelling. Influencers are starting to move away from simply reviews and relaying the brand’s story, to sharing with readers how the brands authentically fit into their lifestyles. 

What content do you feel your readers find most valuable?
I would say my “insider” tips that they can’t easily find on their own, and my holistic health articles. 

Tell us why you blog.
Blogging has given me a chance to connect with people from all over the world, from different walks of life and backgrounds. They find comfort in reading my stories and thoughts on my blog and will often reach out to me to share their personal stories, struggles and accomplishments.  

Where do you find inspiration for new blog posts?
My blog posts come from my everyday life encounters, eye-opening experiences in my parenting journey and incredible travel experiences. 

What is your favorite space to engage with your readers?
We engage via social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) at times for lighter topics, but I also have readers email me for more personal conversations. 

Where do you see the most engagement with your content?
Other than my blog itself, I find a lot of engagement on Instagram.

What’s the #1 question you’re asked by your readers, and what’s your answer?
“How did you find the courage to start blogging full time?” I tell them I just finally made the decision to follow my passion and determined that it was time to work on my own dream. The next question is always, “How do I start a blog?” The latter was my inspiration for starting a free blog series helping those people get started blogging. 

What are your thoughts on programs measured by initial click-through rates?
I don’t think they’re realistic. I have blog posts that get even more traction months or years after posting. A long-standing SEO strategy is the purpose of a good blog post. 

What are your thoughts on working with a brand on multiple occasions (vs. one-off programs)?
I would much rather a long-term partnership with a brand over a one-off. My readers begin to associate me with that particular brand and feel as though they can better trust my opinions at that point. 

What are your thoughts on online coupons?
Since I started blogging in the couponing space, I still believe there is a demand for these.  

Influencer marketing is ________.
Here to stay.

What trend or platform is on its way out?
Snapchat.

Favorite program you’ve done with The Motherhood?
If I had to choose, I’d say the Bertolli Mangia campaign. I was introduced to some new products I could easily incorporate into my lifestyle. The meals were so easy to prepare and my family genuinely had a great time together as I worked on constructing the post. 

What’s your greatest challenge when working with brands?
Unfortunately, I find that some brands still don’t quite understand how influencer marketing works and will either undervalue the work of influencers or try to approach campaigns with the same strategy and metrics as traditional media.

What are brands doing right when working with bloggers?
Providing relevant details of the campaign while allowing bloggers to express those in their own voices. 

What should brands start doing (better) when working with bloggers?
I think brands should put more effort into forming longer-term partnerships and ambassadorship programs with those bloggers whose style and content fit well with the brand’s mission.  

Read more about Ari and her musings on her blog!


More about The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger Series

Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to feature.

Take a look at our other featured influencers here, and stop by in October for the next Spotlight Blogger!

Want to Publish a Book? 8 Tips from Published Authors

The Motherhood’s network is comprised of influencers with amazing capabilities, and this month, as part of our The Other-hoods of The Motherhood series, we’re celebrating a unique niche within our network: influencers who are also published authors! Influencers often do more than their fair share of writing to maintain their blogs and social media channels, so we’re always so impressed with those who take the time and talent to share their writing with us in even more ways!

influencer authors

 

Tips from Published Authors

We asked a few influencers in our network to share their advice, and here’s what they said:

  1. Start with a Great Outline. “Your book’s outline can be like a road map to writing your book. For me, my outline becomes my table of contents, my book proposal, and finally, my to-do list. Of course, it changes along the way as the whole thing comes together, but that original scribbling of ideas helps keep me focused throughout the entire process of book-writing.” – Mary Helen with Mary Makes Good 
  2. Team Up with a Great Agent. “My greatest source of support has come from my book agent, Sally Ekus of The Ekus Group. Sally and I have worked on three book proposals together, two of which have been made into real-life books! Having Sally by my side helps me feel confident while navigating the world of book deals and publishing – a world that I knew next to nothing about. She has been my negotiator, cheerleader, sounding board and ally from day one – and I can’t imagine having gotten this far without her. If you think you need to be a world-famous blogger or celebrity to work with an agent, you are wrong. I was (and still am) neither of those things, but I AM an author!” – Mary Helen with Mary Makes Good 
  3. Set Realistic Goals and Stick to Them. “Since most book deals don’t offer large enough advances to quit your day job, most first-time authors have to figure out how they will balance book writing with the rest of their everyday life. Whether that’s childcare, a day job, a small business, a busy blog (or in my case, all of these things), cramming time for your book into your schedule can be a challenge. Go easy on yourself by setting goals that suit your lifestyle. If you start to fall behind, talk to your agent and your publisher about what’s happening BEFORE you miss a deadline or run out of steam. One big advantage to publishing your book with the help of an agent and a publisher is that you aren’t doing this alone. You are a team, so communication and mutual support is key.” – Mary Helen with Mary Makes Good 
  4. Plan Ahead to Create a Following. “First, be sure you’ve set up all social media platforms and your website early. This is important, even if you don’t have a following or a book out, so you can start to gain an audience. I would definitely hire a PR company that can help with a cover reveal, blog tours and a release blitz.” – Anissa with Life, Books, & Loves 
  5. Network with Other Authors in your Genre. “…that way they can share when your book is released. They can also help you out with any questions or concerns you may have. When it comes to promotions, relationships with others are key. Being prepared ahead of time with these aspects helps tremendously in getting the word out and launching your book.” – Anissa with Life, Books, & Loves    
  6. Tease Your Launch. “In the weeks leading up to your book’s release, write articles, blog posts, and social media posts that support the messaging of your book to whet your audience’s appetite to hear more from you on that topic.” – Kayla Aimee with Kayla Aimee Writes 
  7. Use Digital Word of Mouth. “Even in this digital age, book sales happen through word of mouth! People buy books because someone recommended the book to them. Reach out to your network and ask them to share information about your book with their friends and family, both in person and on their personal social media site(s).” – Kayla Aimee with Kayla Aimee Writes 
  8. Make It Easy to Share. “Pre-write messages that are easy to share on social media, and that have lots of pre-made images for sharing, too. Giving your team a collection of messaging to share makes it easy on them. While it’s always best to get a personal endorsement, it can be really helpful for people to see your messaging ideas and use them as a jumping off point for what they’d like to write.” – Kayla Aimee with Kayla Aimee Writes 

Thank you for sharing these tips with us and our readers, Mary Helen, Anissa and Kayla Aimee!

book sales influencers


Are you looking to execute a social media and blog influencer marketing campaign highlighting influencers who are also authors? Contact us! We can create strategic, scalable, unique and engaging influencer marketing campaigns that fit your needs and deliver quality content and meaningful results.

Spotlight Blogger: Heather with Brie Brie Blooms

We recently caught up with Heather, mom of two (and don’t forget her hedgehog, dog and two cats!), crafter extraordinaire and the woman behind top lifestyle blog Brie Brie Blooms! Below, Heather shares her insights on the influencer marketing industry and social media trends as part of our Spotlight Blogger series:

What do you feel is the #1 trend in influencer marketing in 2017? Ambassadorships! We have been aware of great partnerships, including long-term ambassador opportunities with brands, but with marketing teams seeing value in maintaining relationships with influencers, those ambassador opportunities are continuing to grow. Sure that means we have more exclusivity contracts and guidelines, but that also means we can negotiate better rates and terms that make sense for the partnerships that actually fit our blogs and social channels instead of brands coming to us with one-time opportunities.

Tell us why you blog.
Blogging brings me so much joy and gives the ability to work at my own pace, although that is 99% flying through the day on coffee and very little sleep. I was laid off from a corporate career while on maternity leave with my first daughter almost nine years ago. I started blogging as a way to connect and share crafting ideas. That led to wanting to learn about blogging and how I really could turn it into a career path. That led to a full-time position as a campaign manager and learning invaluable experience in influencer marketing. I’m back to working on my own blog full time, and the full circle path it has taken me on has been extremely rewarding.

Where do you find inspiration for new blog posts?
I find inspiration in everything around me. I’m a visual learner and tend to spark up my best ideas when I’m strolling the aisles of Target, or chasing my two-year-old daughter through the grocery store, silently begging for her to let us get our list purchased without any major meltdowns, or when I’m feeding ducks at our neighborhood lake. Inspiration is everywhere, and I’m always thinking, “I should write about this experience.”

What content do you feel your readers find most valuable?
The best content is real content that sparked more than just a product review or quick tip list. My most valuable content to my readers are those feel-good stories embracing the challenges of parenting and successes when we can stop and relish our children’s accomplishments. That, and chocolate.

What is your favorite space to engage with your readers?
My favorite social platform is Twitter because it’s fast-moving. Short, sweet and to the point.

Where do you see the most engagement with your content?
Personally, I see the most engagement on my posts themselves. I enjoy interacting with my audience by replying to comments and I feel brands are paying attention to the comment count. This is not an accurate depiction of the campaign success, though, as that’s only a tiny piece of the engagement.

What’s the #1 question you’re asked by your readers, and what’s your answer?
“My child loves animals too, how did your daughter become the SeaWorld guest kid blogger?” My eight-year-old daughter has been the SeaWorld kid blogger for a few years. She is the only child blogger contributing to their site, and we have had amazing learning opportunities in and out of the parks. My husband and I both grew up visiting SeaWorld. We began visiting the San Diego park with our daughter when she was just an infant and she truly loved it. More visits to SeaWorld and then me visiting for a few media events led us to her making an impact on the public relations team by her love for sea lions. She is articulate, smart, dedicated and genuinely excited to learn. Paired with her natural and organic love for the parks along with a very supportive blogging mom, her role as the SeaWorld kid blogger is a natural fit that I would consider an ambassadorship.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a blog?
Think bigger picture and not just what you are interested in today. Just because you have a super duper adorable puppy, your blog might not be named “The Super Adorable Puppy Blog” with content just about that puppy. Blogs are no longer just an online journal that you might share with your family and friends. If you want to have a blog as a marketing platform, make a plan just like you would if you said, “I’m starting a business today.”

What are your thoughts on programs measured by initial click-through rates?
Working on both sides of the equation, as an influencer and, for several years, as a campaign manager, I understand there needs to be a real measurement for brands and clients. However, the impact of a topic or piece of content cannot simply be measured by a click-through rate. Sometimes an influencer uses a very powerful image on social featuring the brand or product, and while that might not get a click-through to the post, it most definitely will seamlessly place that brand on the radar of the consumer.

What are you thoughts on online coupons?
Online coupons are a great way for brands to drive product purchases while working with influencers. It’s also a nice way for us to provide something of value to our audience.

What are your thoughts on Snapchat?
Snapchat is fun, but I feel it’s lost the engagement we were once seeing as its popularity started to soar. For marketing purposes, some brands are doing it right. Let’s just hope it’s still around when everyone else decides to jump aboard too.

My 2017 holiday predictions: _______.
Starting early. We know Halloween content begins late summer and Christmas is quick to follow. Get ahead of the game now!

Influencer marketing is ________.
Growing and gaining a better understanding from brands. This is debatable. Some get it and some don’t. In my opinion, we are starting to see many more pursuing influencer outreach with smarter, more professional approaches. Brands are hiring influencers to help them understand how to work with influencers and make it a better win-win partnership for us all.

Favorite program you’ve done with The Motherhood?
My favorite program was visiting a local food bank to learn about their community kitchen program that makes a difference for children facing food insecurity, while also providing culinary education and life skills to secure employment in the food service industry to struggling individuals.

I love feel-good campaigns, and as a parent, I feel so broken by learning about the food insecurity rates. I visited the food bank, met individuals in the program and learned about what brought them there. I met incredible people with complicated stories that I never would have been able to share otherwise. And maybe by sharing their stories, I reached someone that needed the same kind of help.

Dove Love Your Hair was also a HUGE favorite project. I cut my very long hair because my oldest daughter cut her hair over holiday break after a classmate with cancer had passed away. The day following her haircut, she was so excited to go to school and show her friends her new shorter style. She came home from first grade asking for a time machine because friends said very unkind things about her hair. I was heartbroken and told her I would cut my hair to match. Her little face lit up and I drove straight to the salon. Teaching our daughters how to have hair confidence is so important, and this was a great campaign to be involved in.

What are brands doing right when working with bloggers?
Brands are treating influencers as highly valuable resources with engaged audiences. They are asking for our insight to help them understand how to work with influencers.

What should brands start doing (better) when working with bloggers?
Our time is valuable, and we should be compensated fairly for our work. No one wants to work for free products. If it were up to my two daughters, they would happily let me fill up their rooms with toys, but then there’s that adult-paying-bills thing that has to happen, too.

Read more of Heather’s insights on her blog, here!


More about The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger Series
Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to feature.

Take a look at our other featured influencers here, and stop by in September for the next Spotlight Blogger!

Back-to-School Shopping Trends and Insights

back-to-school shopping trends

It’s August, and for many families, that means it’s back-to-school time! Did you know that back-to-school is the second-largest shopping season of the year? According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), shopping trends indicate that back-to-school and back-to-college spending are projected to reach $83.6 billion this year, with the average seasonal shopper expected to spend $688 this year.

The Motherhood explored back-to-school shopping trends, including how consumers research, where they are buying and how social media habits come into play for this year’s popular shopping season. Here’s what we found:

When are People Shopping?

According to an NRF back-to-college spending survey, nearly half of those surveyed (46.7 percent) plan to start their back-to-college shopping between three weeks and one month before school starts. The same timing applies to elementary school students, according to School Family Media’s TeacherLists.com*, a service that gives parents a one-click system to order their child’s exact school supply list from online retailers.

Southern states account for 44 percent of all school enrollments, and the majority of these shoppers (70 percent) begin before August. This group also spends more than those in other regions of the country — an average of $554.

Research and Social Inform Purchasing Decisions

Google Trends indicates that searches for back-to-school start to increase as early as June, and peak in August. What’s more is that three out of five searches on the topic occur on mobile devices, which is a 35 percent increase in mobile back-to-school searches from the 2015-2016 school year.

When it comes to mobile, a survey by Deloitte indicated that shoppers use computers and smartphones during the shopping journey. Furthermore, 27 percent said they plan to use social media for transactional reasons (to find coupons and to browse items), and 77 percent said they would try new digital in-store technologies that offer value/convenience.

Online vs. Brick-and-Mortar

Small Business Trends reports that last year, 70 percent of back-to-school sales took place in brick-and-mortar stores. eMarketer projects that online sales will grow by 14.8 percent compared to last year — but will only account for a little more than eight percent of all back-to-school retail sales. One reason behind the preference for in-store shopping could be because of tax-free shopping days, which many states hold in August.

What’s on Shopping Lists?

Deloitte indicated that traditional school supplies (think folders and paper notebooks) are less in-demand since there has been a shift to technology-based learning in schools. Another reason could be that parents are using pre-made school supply kits, which are offered in some places. This year, the majority of shoppers’ budgets (55 percent) is expected to go to clothing and accessories, which is 10 percentage points higher than 2016 back-to-school shopping.

eMarketer predicts that the most popular products purchased during this season include: apparel and accessories, books, music and videos, computers and consumer electronics, office equipment and supplies, and toys, hobbies and sporting goods.

Do any of these back-to-school shopping trends surprise you? Where do you do most of your shopping, and does social media inform your purchasing decisions? Tell us in the comments!

*Teacherlists.com is a partner of the motherhood, but this post is not sponsored and All opinions are our own.
Page 2 of 7212345...102030...Last »