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July 31st, 2008

Thoughts on BlogHer 08 and 07 and 06

BlogHer 08

There has been plenty of discussion the past few days about BlogHer. As a veteran of the past three BlogHer conferences it’s interesting to map the trends over time.

Rohit points out that it’s more than moms and that’s always been the case. I often tell the story about the final general session in ’06 when a women stood up and literally declared, “I’m not a mommy blogger, so quit calling me one, who is with me?” and half the hands in the room went up. Perhaps then all those brands courting mommy-bloggers realized they may have been alienating half the audience.

Granted, moms are a big part of the conference, but one of the big discussion points in one of the sessions is that there are varying definitions for mom: married, single, working, stay-at-home, etc. But even within those broad segments there are further subdivisions. The end result? You can’t generalize or assume, you need to learn who they are, almost on an individual basis.

There is not one specific thing that unites all of them. You could say, they’re all women, but some men do attend……and I mean those that aren’t working in a PR/marketing/sponsor capacity. BlogHer has always been one of my favorite events because it focuses more on the users, not the tools. And the users have hundreds of different reasons they do what they do. If you don’t want to spend the time learning who they are, why should the spend the time on you and your product?

BlogHer 08 - Exhibitor Area

Jeremiah wonders about the brands trying to reach out and perhaps over-saturate the marketplace. There has been an interesting shift here. In ’07, in Chicago the Momosphere session was rather hotly contested with discussions of bad PR pitches and the attempt of PR and marketing to ‘influence’ the mommy-bloggers. Was it ok, were you selling out were the questions asked.

This year, walking out of the Commercializing the Momosphere session I almost felt things had flipped. The moms know brands want/need them, and they’re using it to their advantage. One panelist discussed receiving a pitch from T-Mobile, and then responding, ‘sure, what will you pay me?’. Yet another panelist discussed how she doesn’t wait for pitches, she directly contacts companies asking for product. Then you have all the disclosure issue, which wasn’t talked about that much.

Another aspect of the over-saturation was all the side events. It seemed like every sponsor has something going on, then a whole other set of brands not represented at the show also had a party, or suite or some other event. You could literally have gone to BlogHer and spent all your time with things other than the sessions.

Then the schwag, all two tons of it. At least Zwaggle was on hand with a schwag recycling program. Next year I think I’d advise a client to do one of two things:

1. Give away free rolling suitcases for attendees to pack and take home all the items they receive

2. Provide free boxes and shipping for them to FedEx all the schwag home.

I’ll have more thoughts soon, plus some things I took away from the sessions.

About the Author
Josh Hallett leads up the Voce Connect Client Services team, managing the care and feeding of clients and developing social media strategies with the rest of the team. You can also read his personal Hyku blog and follow him on Twitter @hyku.

Filed in Events, Social Media

Add Your Comment4 Responses to “Thoughts on BlogHer 08 and 07 and 06”

Jody Reale--Zwaggle on July 22nd, 2008 at 1:32 am

Josh, Thanks for mentioning Zwaggle’s presence at BlogHer. We had a fun and insightful experience all the way around. I do think that there’s more and more awareness about the waste that conferences can generate, and that there’s an opportunity there for everyone, including the environment, to win. Whatever the answer is, it’s going to have to be a group effort, so thanks for taking the issue into consideration and giving it your thought and attention. Maybe we’ll see you next year!

Lotta on July 22nd, 2008 at 1:53 am

(One of the panelist in the commercialization session)

My advice to marketers? Most bloggers, mommies or otherwise, are so very excited about the “human experience” they get from blogging. The more you can integrate your brand with this experience the more receptive they will be to advertising, linking and so on.

More specifically, help the mom that can’t afford to get to pay her medical bills, buy groceries and so on. Give a mommy blogger some exposure/traffic by highlighting her writing about post partum depression. Host an “anxiety suite” at BlogHer09 where the many folks struggling with the social aspect of the convention can hide out.

Word gets around.

Busy Mom on July 22nd, 2008 at 2:45 pm

My advice to marketers is to hand out business card holders with 2 sides, one for your card and one for cards you receive.

Bonus if it can somehow hang on your name tag lanyard.

Myrna on July 25th, 2008 at 2:22 am

I noticed a total lack of interest in moms with older children and what a big market that is. The only areas that interested me were the HP skins (perfect for teenagers individualizing) and of course WI and Nintendo (but really those products are mostly for tweens) One booth was actually about how teenagers drink cough syrup. The blog I am soon to launch is keen to include educational themes but gosh, I don’t think that’s the only theme related to teenagers! Sooner or later the mommybloggers who used the Sesame St suite will be raising tweens and teens like me!

And,as an older mom (50’s) I felt a disconnect- but not sure if that’s because sponsors don’t recognize older moms or if there AREN’T many older moms blogging.?? Thx