I just got back from BlogHer, the largest gathering of female bloggers in America. It's the 5th year of the conference and has grown from a scrappy, homegrown, volunteer effort to a nationally renowned, corporate-sponsored conference. I had to pack an additional bag because of all of the swag given away. Brands like Disney, HP, Chevy, Eucerin, Wal-Mart, Pepsi and many more all competed for the eyes, ears and keyboards of women from around the nation. It makes sense: women account for an estimated 70% of all U.S. retail purchases.
Moms are more powerful than ever, thanks to Web 2.0. According to Katie Couric who recorded a special clip from the set of CBS Evening News for BlogHer 2008 (as seen above), 36 million women write or read blogs each week. I was there because 46% of mommy bloggers have contributed to a cause or a political campaign. My firm Fission Strategy specializes in providing social media savvy online strategy & services to leading nonprofits and foundations. One of our clients, MomsRising.Org, has successfully tapped into the power of the mommy bloggers and I went to BlogHer to further those connections and to learn more about what moms online are interested in.
With a few keystrokes, any well-connected mommy blogger can mobilize an army of other advocates to support or take down a brand, a cause or public figure. The world of mommy bloggers is unique even among the Web and has its own culture, cliques, leaders, stars and foot soldiers.
Founded in 2006, MomsRising.Org is working towards a family friendly America--some of their issues include health care reform, toxins in toys, equal pay and paid sick leave for moms. Fission recently helped MomsRising re-design its Web site to be more friendly to the plugged-in moms and those who love them across the country. This includes a prominent blog, twitter feed, easy ways to share MomsRising content plus lots of photos and videos.
We worked with MomsRising recently to help them roll out their customizable video for Mother's Day in which you can embed the name of your favorite mom and nominate her as "Mother of the Year". The video is over-the-top funny and features Brangelina, Beyonce, Barack Obama, and a talking baby. We worked with MomsRising to reach out to mommy bloggers and those discussing Mother's Day on blogs and over twitter. Twitter is the 24/7 backchannel for mommy bloggers, and MomsRising tweeted the video to many moms to encourage peer-to-peer sharing.
The results were spectacular: the video gathered over 14 million views in a two-week period. MomsRising's citizen membership went from 140,000 supporters to 1.1 million, thanks in part to innovative blogger, twitter and online partner outreach. MomsRising's story shows how powerful mothers can be when you enlist their support in ways they appreciate and enjoy.
You can get up-to-speed with BlogHer '09 through their official liveblogs.
Cheryl Contee is a partner and co-founder of the social media consultancy Fission Strategy where she specializes in online advocacy, engagement, and communications.
Read more of Cheryl Contee's Fission Strategy blog