Back-to-School Shopping Trends Your Brand Should Know

The Motherhood shares back-to-school shopping trends for brands and bloggers

According to eMarketer, retail sales in the United States will increase by 2.6 percent during the 2016 back-to-school shopping season. And although it’s only mid-July, consumers have already started their back-to-school shopping, making it an opportune time for brands to integrate a back-to-school approach into their marketing strategies.

Here are some quick facts for brands and bloggers to know about the back-to-school season:

  • There’s a 290 percent increase in pinning related to back-to-school from July to September.
  • 85 percent of back-to-school pins are related to five specific categories: Food and Drink, Kids, DIY, Education and Photography.
  • In 2015, back-to-school search interest started trending up a week earlier than the year before and a whole three weeks earlier than in 2013.
  • 31 percent of parents will complete their back-to-school shopping after the school year starts.
  • More than half of college students are using their smartphones to comparison shop.
  • Parents are planning to spend an average of $917 per child on back-to-school supplies this year (with about $343 of that amount for technology).

Three trends to keep in mind this back-to-school shopping season:

In-Store purchases dominate, but mobile supports:

More than 80 percent of college parents, 74 percent of college students and 77 percent of K-12 parents purchase their supplies in-store. Consumers use search and social media on their mobile devices to research the best deals before heading to the store. Searches related to “near me” spike in the back-to-school season.

Takeaway: Social and search trends during this season provide opportunity to drive in-store visits.

Products endorsed OR SHARED by influencerS are top of mind:

Shoppers said blogs and social media conversations weigh in as much as traditional ad formats when it comes to driving their back-to-school purchases. Social media assists 46 percent of college students and 30 percent of parents with school-aged kids as they search for deals and coupons on their smartphones.

Takeaway: Integrating influencer marketing into back-to-school strategies and creating social sharing incentives for consumers will help brands’ products rise to the top of consumers’ shopping lists.

Deals and visuals will draw consumers:

Video and visual posts are continually rising to the top of social media feeds, even more so since recent algorithm updates. Visual central platforms like Pinterest and Instagram continue to increase in popularity, generating high engagement levels. Reportedly, consumers rate discounts and deals higher than value (quality) and brand loyalty when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

Takeaway: Combining these two trends can lead to a high return on back-to-school marketing and content creation.

The Motherhood shares back-to-school shopping trends for brands and bloggers

Summer DIY Never Looked So Good with Olympic Paints and Stains

For many of us, we kick off the summer with a list of projects we want to finish before the fall. By July, we may have lost our motivation to make it through the whole list. Most often, these projects include things we’ve been thinking about since spring, if not longer, so what we really need is a little inspiration just to get us started!

Earlier this year, we partnered with some incredibly creative, DIY-inspiring bloggers on behalf of Olympic Paints and Stains and challenged them to put their project ideas into action through beautiful, thoughtful mood boards that reflected projects they hoped to complete. We then armed them with their favorite Olympic Paints and asked them to document the process.

The results are AMAZING. 


Kenda of Remaking June blew us away with her office makeover, taking a standard-looking home office and turning it into a dreamy, chic, streamlined space that we all want to work in!

Olympic Paints

Katie of Mom’s Favorites also revamped her office space with a modern accent wall that’s so beautiful it could double as art.

Olympic Paints


Christy of Thrifty and Thriving transformed her laundry room into a space where we want to hang out (and maybe even do some laundry)!

Olympic Paints

Vanessa of See Vanessa Craft lived up to her crafty name and reputation with a striking before-and-after.

Olympic Paints

DIY Furniture

Jenn of Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog turned four simple wood crates into a rustic yet polished-looking coffee table that would easily be a focal point of any room.

Olympic Paints

Sia of Thrifty Northwest Mom delivered this hugely impressive transformation of a simple bookshelf when she incorporated candelabras from her wedding and brought the whole thing together with a fresh coat of paint. We’re in love!

Olympic Paints


Olympic Paint understands the thought process and the preparation that goes into home projects, and it’s with this in mind that they designed and launched the new Olympic Paints and Stains Color Center at Lowe’s, which each of our bloggers visited and utilized as they planned out their projects.

The Center allows people to browse paints and stains in one place, where colors are organized to make finding and comparing shades easier than ever. You can shop in three different ways, depending on what works for your creative style, whether it’s by color (through the chips), lifestyle (through the lifestyle brochures) or project (using room and project brochures). If you want to see how a paint color will look before you head to Lowe’s, you can upload a photo of your room to the Olympic Paint Visualizer Tool.

The Motherhood worked with these bloggers as part of a sponsored campaign on behalf of Olympic Paints and Stains.

Hack the Summer: Tips and Tricks for Family Fun in Pittsburgh

Tips and tricks for family fun in Pittsburgh

In collaboration with Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh, The Motherhood teamed up with Brown Mamas, Pgh Momtourage and Sugar Aunts — and their friends, families and communities of readers — to create the ultimate list of tips, tricks and places to visit for family fun in Pittsburgh.

The curated list of “summer hacks” includes many free and low-cost activities that will appeal to family members of all ages and are located all across the region. The best part? Even the most in-the-know Pittsburghers may find a few hidden gems that have escaped their knowledge!

Tips and tricks for family fun in Pittsburgh

Which one will you visit first?

Family Fun in Pittsburgh Starts with Food

The inspiration for curating these tips for family fun in Pittsburgh is the launch of Chick-fil-A One — a digital app that brings together mobile ordering, mobile payment and surprise giveaways!

As the tastiest of all summer hacks, Chick-fil-A One offers families benefits including a super-easy way to customize each person’s order and the ability to pay in advance and skip the line at the cash register. What parent wouldn’t love that benefit, especially during busy lunch or dinner times? We’re guessing the 82 percent of parents who responded to our survey to say they’d do almost anything to avoid long lines when they have their children in tow will be heading straight to iTunes or Google Play to download Chick-fil-A One.

Bonus hack: for an easy and fun way to get in on the Chick-fil-A One action, just tweet #CFAOne with the horizontal cow emoji 🐄 to receive a prompt to download the app from Twitter directly.

Chick-fil-A is about to make all of your chicken sandwich dreams come true just by ordering with your phone. Chick-fil-A will thank customers who order using Chick-fil-A One with free food offers for their favorite menu items. Sign. Us. Up.

Share your Hacks

We’d love to hear your ideas for creating family fun in Pittsburgh — and other cities across the country! Comment below with your tips, tricks and places to visit in your own hometown.

Hack the summer ART created by alison mckown, graphic designer for the motherhood.

Blogger Spotlight: Caryn, Rockin’ Mama

Kissing the Frog

From raw and in-the-moment, to the greatest spot for engagement, Caryn of Rockin Mama shares about what social platforms she loves, her advice for those looking to start a blog and the biggest shift you’ll see in social media in 2016.

Check out Rockin’ Mama in our July Blogger Spotlight below, and give her a shout-out at @RockinMama.

The Motherhood Blogger Spotlight: Caryn, Rockin' Mama

Want to see more?

Check out our most recent blogger spotlights, as well as our 2015 Blogger Spotlight Series.

How does the Blogger Spotlight Series work?

Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top-performing 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 invite as our featured blogger. Stop back August 1 for the next blogger spotlight!

Dads Feel Ignored By Parenting Companies, And They Aren’t Happy About It

How a Kickstarter campaign to build the first dads’ clothing line can change the game of parenting

Guest post by Andrew Bentley, Father + Figure, CEO

For several years before my wife became pregnant, we discussed wanting to be equal parenting partners. We were going to be like swaddling superheros back-to-back, fighting the evils of teething and poopy diaper monsters. We bonded over it.

But when she became pregnant and we moved from discussion to actual preparation, I started to feel left behind. The vast majority of books, classes and equipment were geared towards mothers. During birth, I read, dads are supposed to stay out of the way and try not to faint. And for the first time I was conscious to the deluge of commercials, TV characters and books that paint dads as helpless parenting punchlines. My superhero dad cape withered.

I had a hunch I wasn’t alone in my disappointment with parenting resources and cultural norms, especially after hearing similar sentiment from my new dad friends. To better understand the new father experience, I conducted a survey of 350 millennial dads. Turns out, 84% of them wish parenting companies better understood their needs. I expected lots of dads to feel left behind, but this large majority blew me away.

dads' clothing line

The lack of attention given to new fathers has consequences. More than three quarters of dads surveyed feel they aren’t valued as parents when products and services aren’t geared towards them. Personally, it made me feel like a second-class parent.

Inspired by dozens of dads sharing their stories with me and becoming a father myself, I am building a startup to support and inspire dads. My company, Father + Figure, is developing the first clothing line designed for new dads. The clothing combines fashion and utility, with built-in features to help dads care for their children.

Why clothing? When my wife started wearing maternity clothes, I noticed they weren’t only practical but also helped her get in the mindset of carrying and caring for a child. Feeling prepared is an important component of confident care-taking of a newborn. Father + Figure’s clothes are fashionable uniforms for dads to put on for the big game.

The line includes a t-shirt, a long-sleeve denim shirt and bandana print burp rags. Stylistically and functionally, they are inspired by classic american workwear, with features like loops to store burp rags or attach toys. Father + Figure’s shirts are made from the softest materials I could find. They include extra soft patches where babies are most often held, such as along the forearms.

dads' clothing line

After designing and testing for more than a year my dads’ clothing line is ready to be produced here in the USA. In order to do that I am raising funds for our first product run. If you want to join this movement to support dads please back our Kickstarter project here. We’ve gotten tremendous support but still need more.

Britt & Britt Share Their New Mom Must-Haves

new mom must have products and services for babies

As colleagues, friends and first-time moms, The Motherhood’s Brittnee and Brittney often turn to each other for advice, recommendations and support on everything related to raising little ones. New mom must-haves is a common watercooler topic in our office!

With summer being the top season for births in the U.S., Britt & Britt thought now would be the perfect time for a round-up of favorite items that they often share with others. As members of an award-winning social media marketing agency that connects influential moms with top consumer brands, we are in a unique position of learning about the latest and greatest products and services that make families’ lives just a little bit easier, and several of our favorite partners are included below.

Brittnee’s Top Picks

VTech montior: one of our new mom must-haves

Image courtesy of Meghan, JaMonkey

When she was expecting, Britt put a video monitor on the very top of her shopping list. However, once her son became more mobile, he thought he’d demonstrate his growing strength and dexterity by pulling the camera off the wall and throwing it across the room, rendering it useless. When Britt was researching replacement options, VTech monitors* rose to the top of her list. The VTech Safe and Sound Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitor checked all of the boxes of features she was looking for: high-res video, pan/zoom/tilt capabilities, night vision and a talk-back option. She’s already scouting locations in her house to install additional camera units, which will be incredibly helpful as her little one puts his newly acquired walking skills to use!

The MamaRoo by 4Moms was an absolute live-saver for Britt! Her son loved the rocking and swaying motions (the “kangaroo” setting was his favorite), and it was often the only way she could overcome his resistance to nap in those early days.

Many a skeptical parent has resisted this one (Britt even originally removed it from her registry because after reading about it she couldn’t fathom using it!), but she later ran out and bought one at the start of her little man’s first cold. She learned firsthand the NoseFrida “The Snotsucker” Nasal Aspirator is a must. Don’t ask, just do it.

When baby’s tummy was upset, Colic Calm was the gentlest, most effective, all-natural solution Britt found. She now gifts this to every new mom she knows! Pro tip: put a bib on your baby when delivering the drops. The product is very dark and can stain clothing.

Those first few months with a newborn can be difficult, beautiful, magical, frustrating, confusing and sometimes isolating — all at the same time. Britt recommends taking a look at the Covey app* for help. Covey is a way to meet other parents based on interests, location and kids’ ages. It’s a nice low-pressure way to connect with others, get advice and share experiences in a supportive, online environment. If you want to take your digital friendships to “real life” friendships, it’s easy to find info on local playdates, family-friendly activities and meet-ups. Covey is available on iTunes and Google Play.

Brittney’s New Mom Must-Haves

MiMedia: one of our new mom must-haves

Image courtesy of Julie, Mommie Cooks

When you take a series of 40+ photos of your child’s first taste of solid food and you can’t bear to delete a single imperfect shot even though your phone is nearly out of space, there’s an elegant solution to this storage dilemma: MiMedia*, a personal cloud that organizes and stores digital files in one safe, secure spot. Britt has been using MiMedia for several weeks and notes that it’s the most simple, user-friendly solution she’s found — and she’s tried many! It’s unbelievably easy to use, even for the most sleep-deprived of parents. It’s well-worth taking a few seconds to sign up online and download the app. Use the code TheMotherhood for a free 10GB account!

Speaking of apps, Britt and her husband couldn’t live without the Baby Connect app, especially during the first few months after their daughter was born. BabyConnect provides a super simple way to track daily activities from feedings to diaper changes, as well as milestones and growth stats. You can even download charts and graphs so you can see trends and patterns over time. The list of features is impressive, and data can sync to more than one mobile device.

After taking turns staying awake holding their newborn all night for the first week after they came home from the hospital, Britt and her husband knew they had to find something their daughter would sleep in. The flat bassinet earned a hard “no” from their daughter and the crib in the next room might as well have been a mile away. However, once they tried the Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, the game was officially changed. Parents, the reviews are true: the Rock ‘n Play is indeed made with sleepy dust!

Butt Paste: one of our new mom-haves

Image courtesy of April, April Golightly

No diaper bag or changing table is complete without Butt Paste*. These colorful tubes of ointment kick rash like nothing else! Free from harsh ingredients, Butt Paste saves those baby buns from the 3Ps — parabens, preservatives and phthalates — earning it an A+ in Britt’s book. She always includes a few tubes into baby shower gifts. Are you a #ButtPasteMom, too?

We know 82 percent** of parents would do almost anything to avoid long lines at fast food restaurants when they have children in tow, and Britt is one of them! When all she hears from the back seat of the car is “Snaaack! Snaaack!” Britt knows she needs to find some waffle fries and chicken strips NOW. One of Britt’s best mom-to-mom tips is to download the Chick-fil-A* ONE mobile app. This awesome app allows you to order and pay for food in advance, meaning you can bypass the line at the register or minimize time in the drive-thru. This is a seriously awesome perk, especially if you visit during busy lunch and dinner times, because everyone knows toddlers don’t wait for food. Click over to iTunes or Google Play and download this lifesaver today!

What are your new mom must-haves? We’d love to hear what you couldn’t live without. Share your suggestions via the comments. Another mom out there just may discover her new favorite product.

* Indicates the brand is a partner of The Motherhood. All opinions are our own and none of the content is meant to be medical advice. Be sure to contact your healthcare provider for recommendations specific to your family.
**According to a recent survey commissioned by Chick-fil-A.

Heat Up Your Summer Marketing with Influencer Campaigns

Heat Up Your Summer Marketing with Influencer Campaigns

With the official start of summer quickly approaching, The Motherhood’s social listening team compiled a few ideas to heat up your summer marketing tactics by integrating influencer campaigns that take advantage of trending topics and seasonal events.

Social posts on mobile devices increase by about 30 percent in the summer, and posts with the keyword “travel” spike by 46 percent, so this is no time for online marketing strategy to take a vacation. Brands can reach consumers online during this peak vacation and travel time by knowing the trends and drawing on natural topics and tie-ins for the season.

According to Facebook, the top summer topics from 2015 were running, beach, parties, parks and forests, and movies. This summer, consider crafting an authentic influencer marketing campaign to create valuable content while leveraging these summer events and trends.

Here are some seasonal events and search trends to be aware of when creating your summer marketing campaigns or your brand’s social posts:



SCHOOL’S OUT FOR THE SUMMER – As kids’ annual vacation from schoolwork begins, parents plan activities. There are more than 40,500 searches of “summer activities for kids” in June alone. Celebrate summer break and include your product in posts or pictures of fun summer activities.

TRAVEL PLANNING – Make your brand top-of-mind during summer travel planning. Fun fact: Tuesday is the most popular day to make travel-related purchases online. If possible, post early in the week about how your brand purchase can help with consumers’ travel plans!

FATHER’S DAY – Searches related to “Father’s Day,” specifically related to “gifts” and “ideas,” peak this month! Mobile dominates Father’s Day searches and social posts and the most likely requirements for gifts are “fun” and “practical”.

Fun June Holidays: National Candy Month & National Adopt-a-Cat Month



INDEPENDENCE DAY – The average American spends about $300 on Fourth of July celebrations. Searches for “grilling” peak around this holiday. Festival- and holiday-related content brings 1.5x more engagement than average. Creating Independence Day themed content can generate high engagement and value yearly.

STAYCATIONS – Searches about “staycations” peak in July and increase in popularity every year. A surprising number of travel searches are for hotels near home. This trend promises to increase in popularity in the future, so creating evergreen content could bring high value over time.

Fun July Holidays: National Ice Cream Month 



RIO OLYMPICS – Nothing brings the world together like the Olympic games, with millennials more focused on team victory than individual glory. It is an inherently social event, with 86 percent of online users planning to use Facebook for “voicing Olympic reactions.”

MOVING MONTH – Searches for real estate and house hunting peak in late summer. This, as well as all of the college students moving into their new dorms, leads to a increase in moving.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL Be early and be online: consumers search for information on back-to-school products before searching for a store near them to purchase. Pay attention to the must-haves in your product category this season and bridge the gap between search and store.

Fun August Holidays: Family Fun Month & National Picnic Month



LABOR DAY – Searches related to “Labor Day” are highest on the day itself, including a high number of searches for sales around this holiday.

GRANDPARENTS DAY – There are more than 450,000 searches for “Grandparents Day” in September. While only 13 percent of grandchildren communicate with their grandparents via social media, younger generations will still be posting about the holiday on their social channels!

Fun September Holidays: Baby Safety Month & Self Improvement Month

Timing is everything with these summer trends and events, especially on social media. By posting content at the beginning of the week or month that is focused on planning and activities, you can fuel inspiration long-term! Posting slightly before peak periods will allow your brand to lead the conversation as well as provide opportunity to rise to the top of online search results. Furthermore, these trends and events resurface every year, so evergreen blog content from trusted influencers created with SEO in mind will continue to provide value for years to come.

Keep in mind that for every topic and event listed above, there is bound to be a trending hashtag with it, so consider adding a trending hashtag or two to your social posts to increase the reach of your summer marketing efforts.

Happy Summer!

Interested in building an influencer marketing campaign with these trends in mind? Contact us!

PR News Names The Motherhood Social Media Team of the Year

Photo courtesy of PR News

Yesterday, The Motherhood was honored to be named Social Media Team of the Year, alongside the UN Foundation, at the PR News 2016 Social Media Awards luncheon in South Beach, Miami.

Social Media Team of the Year

Image credit: Brittney Coburn

The Motherhood’s Brittney Coburn was on hand to accept the Social Media Team of the Year award at the luncheon, which celebrated the nation’s most noteworthy campaigns of the year. The winners represent the year’s most creative, resourceful and shareable campaigns.

We are so proud of the remarkable work and creativity that comes from our team and are incredibly thankful to PR News for this recognition!

From the PR News website:

“This year’s Social Media Award winners embodied the curiosity and flexibility that’s required to stay on top of the rapidly changing social media space. As social continues to come of age, these practitioners were able to score unrivaled successes for their organizations and brands. They tracked, promoted and adapted their messages in ways that continue to push the discipline of public relations into the future.

“Despite the challenges associated with proving how social can translate into actions that drive purchases, donations, membership and community action, the PR pros behind these campaigns show that there’s incredible value where most of us live: on social media.”

Featured image above courtesy PR News.

#MeasurementMonday: How to Measure SEO Success of a Blog Post

Measure social engagement as part of influencer campaigns

A staggering 89 percent of consumers begin their purchase process with a search engine, which leaves no doubt that search engine optimization (SEO) in influencer marketing campaigns plays a huge factor in generating long-term value and results for brands.

To best understand how important good SEO can be for a campaign, consider this: The first page of Google Search Results receives more than 91 percent of all search clicks, with the top three results in the list nabbing 61 percent of all clicks. Not only can strategic SEO help influencer content rise to the top of search results, but it can also boost your own company website’s ranking: Blog posts are sources of authoritative inbound links which factor into your own site’s search ranking success.

In today’s Measurement Monday post, we are taking a close look at how to structure campaigns for SEO success, as well as how to measure that success practically and accurately.

measure see success of blog post

In one of our previous posts, we touched on why influencer-generated evergreen content is so powerful. Blog posts that are “evergreen” offer brands long-term results, as they help content rise to the top of search rankings and provide potential customers with readily available resources as they are searching for information related to the brand or product.

Before launching an influencer marketing campaign, be sure to do some keyword research and craft a strategy that leverages specific keywords in the blogger-generated content. The words and phrases you use should offer a balance of the most commonly searched terms (those that currently rank the highest) and those that have lower competition and are more “ownable” to your brand. These keywords should appear not only in the headings of blog posts but also regularly throughout the body content and in image descriptions.

It’s important to remember that you can use SEO strategy in social media posts by utilizing keywords, especially since Facebook and Twitter posts are treated like any other web page by Google’s rankings. Studies have shown that engagement of social media posts have a direct correlation to higher search rankings, furthering the value of engagement in influencer campaigns. You can apply SEO on Pinterest by focusing on image relevancy and using strategic keywords in pin titles and descriptions. Social signals increase search rankings by signaling search engines you are relevant and by increasing domain authority.

When correctly executed, influencer-generated blog posts can become significant traffic sources for a brand website over time. For example, in one of The Motherhood’s recent campaigns for a healthcare client, blog posts from our team of influencers served as one of the top drivers of traffic to the client’s website and contributed to significant conversion. Many of the influencers’ blog posts have generated hundreds and even thousands of monthly visits to the company’s site.

As you can see in the graph below, the top-performing blog post increased in popularity over time, generating a high level of traffic from Pinterest and organic search and continuing to drive high levels of visits to the company’s site, even 10 months after being posted.

evergreen traffic increase over time

A study by Halverson Group found that the lifespan of a blog post is almost 24 times as long as the standard 30 days reporting metric, indicating that the current measurement metrics are undervaluing blog post performance by failing to measure any results over time. The takeaway? It is important that our measurement methods account for this long-term value.

Metrics that can be monitored to track the SEO success of a blog post include search engine rankings, views after a certain period of time, and social media engagement. It is important that these factors are tracked consistently across blog posts if there are multiple posts resulting from a given campaign.

Three ways to measure the SEO success of a blog post:

  1. Record the page views at time increments, such as after one week of posting, three months and six months after. Be sure that these numbers are being recorded from a consistent measurement source across all posts.
  2. Do a search for your keywords and pay attention to how the post ranks on search engines. This includes images that appear in search!
  3. Monitor engagement on Pinterest (and other social platforms). While this activity may not always immediately convert to page views, it will over time, and it indicates intent and boosts search rankings. Engagement on other platforms should also be measured, as social signals increase the off-page SEO results.

SEO, along with effective measurement of long-term campaign success, are important strategic factors in influencer marketing. Using the three methods mentioned above, the long-term value of search engine optimized influencer marketing can be better reported and included in the measurement of overall campaign success.

Interested in learning more? Read all of our #MeasurementMonday series posts HERE.

Campaigns with The Motherhood’s bloggers have seen program content rise to the top of search rankings. We’d love to work with you in developing easy-to-find, evergreen blog posts that will live on for potential consumers to find when they’re searching for more information online prior to purchase. If you’re interested in working with us, email

Blogger Spotlight: Kristy, Mommy Hates Cooking

Kissing the Frog

Video, value and vintage inspiration – Kristy of Mommy Hates Cooking tells all in this month’s blogger spotlight!

As our featured June blogger, Kristy dishes on what’s in and what’s out, along with why 2016 is the year for truly “living” and how she plans to implement that philosophy with her own family.

Dig in below to read more, and give Kristy a shout out at @MomHatesCooking.

Mommy Hates Cooking

Love what you see?

Check out our most recent blogger spotlights, as well as our 2015 Blogger Spotlight Series.

How does the Blogger Spotlight Series work?

Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top-performing 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 invite as our featured blogger. Stop back July 1 for the next blogger spotlight!

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