Wednesday, 29 July 2009

How to market to female bloggers

A survey of attendees to BlogHer 2009 (biggest conference of female bloggers in North America) by Ketchum showed that while over half of those surveyed are contacted by PR professionals at least once a week, public relations and marketing professionals are still not quite getting it right.

What should PRs be doing to market to women bloggers? The common themes from the survey aren’t surprising, any female blogger could recite most of them wearily by heart, so it’s disappointing that they’re still prevalent:

  • “Take the time to read their blogs and understand their areas of focus. Many women bloggers said they would like to hear about news and products that better match their specific interests.
  • This applies to location, too. A number of respondents said they receive communications about products and events not available in their regions or even their countries.
  • Know that they are “more than their blog” – they have other roles in addition to being a mom or a blogger, say respondents, including jobs outside the home.
  • Similarly, don’t assume that all women bloggers are “mommy bloggers.”

I've certainly had emails from some quarters continue despite my politely replying that I'm not e.g. a gamer so I don't review games. (I am interested in mobile - stay tuned for a review of Skype on 3 soon.)

The second is kinda shocking. Mass emails, I expect; but to the wrong country?

At least I don’t get the last problem, in fact I still get people emailing me who assume I’m male! (I’m guessing it’s the “us” in “Improbulus” but it could be because I try to avoid talking about anything pink, motherly or kiddie related on this blog.)

I don’t really mind if people assume I am no more than my blog, as I try to put a lot into this when I’ve time. Unless that point is getting at the following, which I do have a bugbear about - and I feel this applies to PRs dealing with all bloggers, not just female bloggers:

  • Don't assume bloggers have nothing else to do and will instantly drop everything in order to immediately reply to your email / review your product / go to your launch. Bloggers who aren't pro bloggers do have day jobs and lives, and we'll try to get to your product or service when we can, but there may be a long queue and these things take time (at least in my case, as I mostly write quite detailed reviews).
  • Corollary: if you want me to go to your launch, press conference or meeting, please please please give me lots of advance notice and an indication of what it's about and how long it will take, so I can schedule other events in my life to fit it in. And don't be surprised if I can't make it if you're only holding one event in one slot on one day with one week's notice. In other words, put on several sessions throughout the day / evening, on more than one day, if you really want lots of bloggers to attend.
I think that actually the lesson for PR & marketing people is pretty simple: just engage brain, treat bloggers (male or female) as working professionals with limited time, and you won't go far wrong. A polite targeted enquiry never goes amiss, even if mass emails may go unanswered.

Thanks to Mat Morrison for his tweet of a Bulldog Reporter report on the Ketchum survey.

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