The uncomfortable truth about mommy bloggers, branding and kids.
The other day I read a post from one of my favorite authors and mommy bloggers – Christina Katz. She was really ticked off about how mommy bloggers were portrayed in a recent New York Times article: “Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy. I’m Too Busy Building My Brand.”
She also took issue with being called a brand. Curious, I read the article.
To Christina’s point, the piece hinted at the idea that mommy bloggers are somehow sellouts by positioning themselves as a brand channel for companies looking to reach women. I admit, the headline choice was an attempt to be cute and capture attention because not all moms who blog ignore their kids for personal gain. Regardless of whether or not you blog, who hasn’t told their children: ‘I’m too busy right now doing important stuff; go play?’
To me, the article took a whack at revealing the mystery of the mommy blogging business without too much depth and failed to deliver on the promise of the headline. How about an article highlighting women who seek balance, while striving to be taken seriously in their chosen profession, whether or not they blog?
What’s a mommy blogger?
Moms who write about topics that are of interest to other moms, and publish these writings online are called mommy bloggers. A blog used to be synonymous for online diary and poor writing. Although these connotations still lurk beneath the surface, a well-written blog is a powerful word of mouth marketing tool, especially if you have a big audience. Mommy bloggers with lots of followers are coveted by companies who want to reach the mother lode of purchasers for their products and services.
Ironically, I don’t feel at ease labeling myself as a mommy blogger. I’m a writer who happens to use a blog as an outlet to publish stories about motherhood, love and life. My blog helps me to share and connect with an intimate reader base. Oh, and it also helps to build my brand.
What’s a brand?
A brand is a name. It’s the essence, reputation, or personality of who or what you are. Most often we associate brands with companies like Nike, Apple and Toyota. However, people are brands, too. Think Martha Stewart, Lady Gaga, Barack Obama, and don’t forget your mom.
It’s human nature to gather around things we believe in, value and trust. How do you decide whose email messages you’re going to read and respond to first? Whose will you ignore, or trash? I believe that if someone makes you feel good, stands for something you believe in, gives you good advice, shares something of importance, or asks you to do something fun, then he or she is important to you. Good brands, like good people deliver value for your time.
What does building your brand mean?
When you’re updating your resume, fundraising for your favorite charity, cleaning your house before your in-laws come over, emailing parents about a school function, or connecting with others on LinkedIn, you’re trying to make a strong, memorable and positive impression.
Like Christina, however, you still may not view yourself as a brand. Society likes to segment similar groupings and categorize them. It makes it easier to talk about something if you give it a name.
I don’t like fences
Like the Cole Porter song, “Don’t fence me in,” (I like Bob Hope’s goofy rendition of it on an episode of The Muppet Show) I don’t like fences. I prefer to “be myself in the evenin’ breeze.” What if the labels of mommy blogger and brand aren’t really fences, but haystacks of authenticity, transparency, trustworthiness, and values? As long as I remain true to these tenets, labels really don’t matter.
Now, it’s time for me to get off my horse; my son needs some lovin’ from his momma.