(More Polished) Thoughts About BlogHer

Thank you to Adweek.com for publishing my OpEd to Marketers about BlogHer10. The original ranting about this also on this blog.

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5 Things Marketers Didn’t “Get” about BlogHer10

Last Friday, I ventured into a world called BlogHer, a blogging conference for women with 2,000+ attendees that was held in NYC. Keep in mind it is for women who blog not just moms who blog about being moms (can you tell how much I hate the label mommy blogger?). Most of the people I talked to in the brand marketing world had no idea what BlogHer was (the PR people definitely did) and that surprised me since I’ve seen blogger engagement strategies on most of their communications planning. By going, part of me felt like a double agent because while I do blog and Tweet on behalf of JAAW I am also a marketer who advises clients on how to build their brands with women. I decided to approach the event with the goal of being a fly on the wall.

    My observations:

Il vantaggio più significativo di questò prodotto, e dobbiamo dire che gli studi non hanno dimostrato un aumento dei fattori di rischio dovuti all’assunzione del Levitra. Sildenafil dura per 36 ore, la raccomandazione è di Assumere Kamagra 30 minuti prima dell’attività sessuale, tutto questo può indebolire l’effetto del Vardenafil, cambiamenti della vista.

1. Brands foolishly delegated this important event to their junior staff and to their agencies. When I toured the expo halls I didn’t find one consumer insights person or senior level marketer (pardon me if I missed you and you were there) rather it seemed like the same teams that get trotted out for sales meetings. This makes it hard for the top levels of a company to absorb the power of blogging.

2. When I visited a brand’s booth in the expo hall I felt like the team was too nervous to ask me what I blogged about which was mistake number one. Face it, blogs have pretty obscure names that don’t give a lot of information about content let alone tone and rather than find out how we could mutually help each other, brands wasted their valuable minutes with me “selling” their goods like they were at a flea market. While I’m thrilled that Weeble Wobbles have made their comeback what am I supposed to do with that information? (That said my twins loved the ones I brought home.)

3. Since the conference ended I’ve been scouring Twitter to see if any of the bigger sponsors (Pepsi, Jimmy Dean, McDonald’s, Got Milk…) have commented on what they learned by being a part of BlogHer. Radio silence. Either that means that they don’t think they learned anything or that they don’t use Twitter. Both pretty tragic. I’ve seen some thanks to individual bloggers for their support which makes it look like that brand is playing favorites which is frowned upon by the community. Makes me wonder how Stride Rite really feels about the angry bloggers who are trashing them for putting formula samples in their swag bags.

4. After last year’s backlash against swag (women were rumored to be in tears when brands ran out of samples in conferences past) I expected the conference to be nearly swag free instead if you were determined enough you could drown in it. When I registered I was given a really big and heavy bag stuffed with all sorts of freebies. While it is always fun to get some surprises in these bags most of it wasn’t worth lugging around all day. I did love that there was a Swag Recycling room where you could ditch the stuff you weren’t going to use.

5. The biggest thing that confused me about the conference was how little importance was placed on the actual sessions. Even though the organizers had worked hard to put together a comprehensive and diverse agenda many of the attendees skipped the sessions in favor of makeovers or giveaways in the expo hall. Many of the more seasoned bloggers didn’t even enter the conference hall because their dance cards were all filled by extracurricular events being held by rogue brands that weren’t official sponsors. Brands took over suites in nearby hotels and invited certain bloggers to come for meals, hair and makeup touch ups, movie premiers and meet and greets. Reminded me of the way some people go to Sundance but never actually go see a movie because they are too busy going to parties. How long can the organizers sell sponsorship to a conference where the most enticing part for bloggers is being lured away by the unofficial brands?

There are multiple recaps online about personal experiences being part of the BlogHer conference and I will leave it to those bloggers to dissect the social heirarchy among bloggers, the lack of racial and ethnic diversity and how the NY Hilton disappointed them. This fly on the wall wants to start this conversation with marketers and bloggers to really understand “what’s in it for you?”

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Fine. Everyone Go to BlogHer and Leave Me Behind.


I am okay now but I know that come next week when all of my favorite bloggers are in Chicago toegether it will feel like I’m staying home on prom night while all my friends are in a stretch limo drinking underage without me.  It’s not like I didn’t know when registration was or didn’t think I could go, I just dropped the ball.  And now I’m sad.

But if I’m really honest with myself,  I would also admit that I was a little too intimidated to go and meet some the blog celebrities that I admire so much.  What would I even say if I met Design Mom in person? (I think I would tell her what she wrote about her sister made me cry)  Would I finally get to meet the Manic Mommies? I’m not sure if Kristin or Erin would consider me a friend-to-be or a crazed stalker because I talk about them like we are old pals from summer camp.  (I felt this way when I missed the Manic Mommies Escape too).  I’m sure the coolest moms from Cool Mom Picks will be there and I would want to tell them how there was one week when I had salmonella that I bought something recommended on their blog every single day.  Bloggers who I know IRL will be there too like the ultra fabulous Tonya Staab from A Day in My Life and I will be glued to my Tweet Deck to hear about everything.

So ladies enjoy everything, don’t get so much swag that you have to pay extra for your luggage on the way home and most of all get home quickly so I have something to read.

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Is blogging just about seeking approval?

Rambling Warning: Not sure there is a cohesive point to this blog but I needed to get the thoughts out of my head. It gets crowded in there.

So now that we are done writing our new book (coming out in the Fall) I can’t stop thinking about some of the content.  In the book we talk about the lengths women go to when it comes to protecting their egos and seeking approval. In the book we dissect this to understand the marketing implications but right now I just keep thinking about it as it applies to the blogosphere.

The blogosphere sort of reminds me of high school because:

  • It’s about finding people just like you: Bloggers need to feel loved or their blogs die a slow death (hear that readers? we want some comments to keep us motivated).  So bloggers work very hard to become part of their own tightly knit e-community. So decorating bloggers find other decorating bloggers who “get them” and so on and so on.  Basically we cling to other bloggers who think like we do ultimately surrounding ourselves with people who think we are swell so that our ego feels supported.
  • It’s all about your scores: Feeling loved in the blogosphere can often be quantified by the number of link backs from other blogs, the number of followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook or just the sheer number of comments to a post.  Show me the love by showing me the masses!
  • There is a head cheerleader: I read a lot of blogs every day (marketing, products, moms) and I’m starting to see a trend among commenters and links.  The same faces and names come up time and time again.  And there is definitely a popular crowd in each of these communities.  For mommy blogs (I hate that name but I don’t know what else to use) there are invisible heirarchies ruled by queen bee influencer.  Each sect has their own – the queen of natural baby, the queen of slacker moms, the queen of SAHMs… You can watch other bloggers go out of their way to earn her good graces and get her approval by commenting on her posts even if it is just to say a supportive “me too.”
  • There are most definitely proms: BlogHer, WOMMA, CES, ANA …

Am I making sense? Can you think of any similarities?

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July 24, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

A look at an early production of WORK


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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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