As a mother of two, social media and blogs have provided both a source of salvation (moms supporting moms), a source of frustration (moms judging moms) and a source of information (moms helping moms).
It turns out that parents are heavy users of social media and mothers, in particular, interact with their social media channels frequently to share information and access emotional support. “Mom blogs” (like mine) also provide an additional platform for women to share with each other. It’s not surprising, then, that many companies are trying to engage with moms online and be a part of that conversation.
I read “mom” and lifestyle blogs frequently and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that the volume of sponsored posts has increased. For those bloggers that are in a position to make money from their blog, it’s only natural that this revenue come in the form of sponsored content as marketers move away from banner ads.
Blogger outreach has provided a tremendous opportunity for companies to partner with bloggers to “[have] their story become part of hers” (in the words of former blogger Catherine Connors). This is a critical strategy because in a recent survey, findings showed that most people trust the recommendations of friends. A blogger you follow is that trusted friend; exactly what the customers want and the marketers need.
Of course, this blogger partnership comes in many forms. Not only may a blogger create a post for their blog advertising the product, but they may also post to their social media accounts, furthering the brand’s reach. See: the staged Instagram shot.
The thing is, as sponsored posts become more frequent, they inevitably feel less authentic and become less effective. As an example, the other day, I read a post by another “mom blogger”. After reading the post, I realized it was an ad for a fertility product. Honestly, I felt a bit “had”. One blog commenter summed it up perfectly:
“I think reading a heartfelt post like this and then finding out that it is sponsored is a bit like meeting an old friend for coffee, catching up, and then at the end of the conversation she asks you if you are interested in starting beachbody. The conversation/post was great, but you leave feeling a bit used.” – Claire
(Please note, while we have the same first name, this commenter was not me!)
My point is in order for companies to drive sales through bloggers and sponsored content, sponsored content has to feel fully integrated into the blogger’s story and brand. Otherwise it just feels like a plain ol’ ad.
And, honestly, everything is feeling like a plain old ad lately which is why I’m getting bored of blogs. How many mom or lifestyle blogs have you looked at lately where there is a Blue Apron post? WE GET IT. Two free meals with your first order!
In time, I think revenue bloggers will need to adapt and reinvent the ways in which they obtain their blogging income, just as print publications were forced to adapt. If you aren’t providing authentic content, eventually the audience will tire of what you are producing and stop visiting.
I don’t know what I’m trying to say here. I guess I just want to say to my fellow bloggers: Stop trying to sell me beachbody and instead just relate to me.