Invading the world of the Mommy blogger

Betty-draper Are you watching Mad Men, the hit TV show?  Noticed that look of dazed or startled expression that sometimes flits across the Betty Draper's face? 

I never see it in real life.

As a hardworking anthropologist, I spend a lot of time doing interviews in people's homes.  Usually this means I am talking to the female head of household, a woman in her 30s or 40s. 

No Betty Drapers here.  My respondents are intelligent and intense.  Often they will zero in on my questions, divine my intent, and take over the interview.  My job now: take notes as fast as I can.

This should not surprise.  These Betty Drapers are nothing like Betty Draper.  They are well educated with one and sometimes two college degrees.  They worked before marriage so they have knowledge, experience, and connections beyond the home. (They may well still work.) They have all the usual media feeds, so they know what is happening outside the home.  And they have all the social media feeds, so they are networked everywhere.  The domestic home, and middle class suburb, that may have imprisoned women after World War II are now "exploded" by education within and media without. 

The last point to make here: these women know popular culture.  They have new acuity that we now see exhibited everywhere.  Frequently, they have that passionately informed fandom captured by Henry Jenkins.  If these women are not imprisoned by a siloed suburb, they are certainly not imprisoned by "soaps" and a parochial media.  Plus, they are "working closely" with their kids, and therefore well informed developments in youth culture. 

When I was writing Chief Culture Officer, I kept thinking that these women would be excellent readers for the book.  At some point in the evolution of every home, perhaps when the last child starts high school, women begin to think in earnest about returning to the work force (if they have not been there all along).  And they would make very good Chief Culture Officers or people who work for Chief Culture Officers.   They are in other words ideal readers for this book. 

I have done my marketing due diligence.  I have reached out to the so-called Mommy bloggers and asked them to review the book.  I have reached out to neighbors and asked if they would comment on whether and how the book is useful to them.  The jury is still out on my neighbors and I have one "mommy blogger" still to check in, but I am feeling underwhelmed. 

Your assignment, if you choose to accept it: If you were me, what would you do to reach out to this readership?

9 thoughts on “Invading the world of the Mommy blogger

  1. Kevin Romo-leon

    Mr. McCracken:

    I absolutely agree with your post, and how you have described the ‘modern’ woman. However, the following is my perspective that will explain why not one of your “mommy bloggers” has checked in with you.

    Problem: Although the women you have researched are educated, professional, experienced, and knowledgeable – let’s not forget that they are indeed “mommies”. These women have TWO jobs – their ‘day’ job (professional career), and their ‘never-ending’ job (being a mom).

    Their responsibilities as a mother are ongoing: taking Johnny and Sally to soccer practice, parent/teacher conferences, grocery shopping, laundry, and the list goes on and on.

    With this in mind – the TIME investment in reading an entire book and producing a detailed review is last on their priority list. Unlike Betty Draper who has all the time in the world – a task like reading a book is more than often a luxury for them – something that they will “get around to.”

    Solution: Create a ‘blog-like forum’ for this readership. You have appropriately named them mommy “bloggers” – these women love to share their ideas and opinions (us guys call it ‘gossip’). But the important thing is the way they go about it. Women choose blogging because it doesn’t take much ‘time’ – it’s quick, convenient, and allows them to share their perspective with other women who have a common interest.

    My suggestion to you is to break your book up into sections or chapters – and create say weekly ‘assignments’. Have this readership ‘blog’ after each chapter – oppose to ‘reviewing’ it after its entirety.

    The time investment now goes from a whole day’s worth of reading plus the time to refer back and review – to 15-20 minutes a chapter plus 10 minutes of review (30 minutes tops for their whole effort). And most importantly – the feedback that every other “mommy blogger” shares will only encourage and inspire the next mom to add to the conversation.

    By adopting a blog-like forum for this particular readership – in the end, you will have a much more detailed and focused review than ever imagined. Because moms like to talk and share, and educated moms will only leverage the conversation (one interval at a time) that will offer unique insights as to how your teachings are useful to them.

  2. Liz

    What Kevin said, plus many SAH Mommybloggers have children in elementary school.


    “More Women provides a collective voice and resource for women whose lifestyle choices, phases in life and blogs precludes a focus on parenting.

    More Women offers opportunities for members/bloggers who wish to be available to marketers, companies and organizations as guides and participants in consumer product evaluation”

  3. Virginia Postrel

    No matter whom you’re trying to reach, you need to be writing articles targeted to the specific interests of those audiences that they can then discuss, pass around, blog about, etc. Reading time is limited, and there are thousands of books crying for attention. Why should someone read yours? You need to give them a taste of your thinking, packaged in a way that intrigues them and presented in a forum they already pay attention to. This is, of course, easier said than done. Kevin’s comment provides one possible approach, though how you get an audience for this blog-like forum is the hard part.

  4. Paula Rosch

    Grant, I agree with Kevin. Companies that want feedback from moms (or any other busy target audience) create interactive websites to get them involved and get their opinions. Moms look for intelligent information and connections. They also look for deals (coupons!) – what’s in it for them to review, even if it IS a good read? How about a download of another publication that would be fun for them, kids, lifestyle, or any other part of their everyday lives.

  5. Susan A

    Well, at the risk of sounding obtuse, you could actually reach out to Mommy Bloggers. There are lots of them, they aren’t that hard to find.
    Maybe you could comp them a book.
    Radically conservative approach, almost reactionary, but it could just work. [wink]

  6. Brian

    do these women really like being called “mommy” bloggers? just curious if this is an identity that they’d adopt or reject. cheers & all the best, Grant!

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