By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Last May, Nielsen Online (ya know, the guys who monitor consumer trends and surveyed you for months about your TV viewing. Can you believe you had to admit to watching The Deep End?) came out with the "Power Mom 50" list. It's a "collection of leading voices in the mom blogosphere based on a blend of blog posts, comments and link love developed through ongoing monitoring of more than 10,000 mom and parenting blogs as tracked by Nielsen Buzzmetrics. In addition to Web site engagement, the number of Twitter followers, ratings and other metrics were included in the calibration to provide a comprehensive sphere of authority and influence." Most of the moms and mom sites on this list fit into the following categories based on content (let it be known that the category names are straight from Nielsen, and if anyone ever called me a "Mamaste" to my face, I'd flip the dog straight in their manipura chakra):
Savvy Spenders: These moms blog about pinching pennies and make me think that maybe I'm not the only mom in DFW who can't resist a clearance aisle. Me: "They're 80 percent off!" My husband: "But we don't need a ferret." Sites like DealSeekingMom.com organize the week's latest coupons at a variety of stores ranging from Babies"R"Us to Victoria's Secret. Links and printable PDFs are right at your fingertips, which makes saving money on the Internet and in stores super easy for a newbie mom like me. With thousands of followers, these sites most definitely increase coupon traffic into the Wallymart.
Mom-Approved: These ladies review all the best family-friendly products. Usually though, their reviews are brand-sponsored. From what I've seen, they're marketers in mom's clothing who rarely trash the brands they're reviewing because they're getting shopping sprees and freebies as incentives to write reviews. And more power to 'em. Hey, CoverGirl: send me free shit so I can write about it too.
Queen Bees: Nielsen classifies these bloggers as moms who "anchor their writing around parenting, nesting, decor and food." I expected these blogs to all be sunshine and roses about pregnancy and motherhood, but some of them are way more entertaining and real than that. Blogs like Mom-101.com tell momhood like it is. An excerpt from my favorite post from Mom-101.com: "You want to know what games your 1-year-old really likes to play? ...Kick the Head...I Like to Put My Fingers in Poo...and Put Things in Your Mouth You Can Choke On." Not to brag, but my daughter's an Olympic Gold Medalist in the sport of Open Eyehole Stabbing. Gotta start 'em young.
Mamastes: Hippie mom bloggers. They focus on going green, spirituality and travel. These are the Angelina Jolies of the mom blogging world. Cloth diapers. Glass baby bottles. If they could find a way, these chicks would recycle barf. And they're politically active: The moms at OrganicMania.com wrote their Maryland senators to pass a bill that would ban BPA (used in plastics) in children's products. The bill passed 46 to 0. No idea where these chicks find the time to e-mail their senators—some days I don't even get to pee until 7 p.m.
Tech Moms: This group is a bunch of tech-savvy women who are now tech-savvy, plus a baby. Blogs focus on navigating technology with a family. Sites like TechMamas.com blog about cyberbullying, Twitter in the classroom and all kinds of baby gadgets. If you're looking for a post on how to get your infant into your MMORPG guild, this is the place.
CEO Moms: Mom bloggers who work at the office all day, come home to a baby, make dinner and somehow find time to blog about it. BizzieMommy.com interviews other "mompreneurs" like her and posts her advice on balancing work and being a mom. My balancing recipe requires a baby-sitter and a beer on Friday night. High five!
In addition to these power moms, Nielsen added a "Power Pack" of moms on their list who "pack too much of a punch to be categorized." (They sound more like box drinks than people, but whatev.) They have thousands of readers and followers, they travel the world speaking at conferences—they're professional bloggers, most of whom make a living at this.
Maria Bailey (of bluesuitmom.com) makes her living in Florida and is No. 2 on the Power Pack list. She's a working mom with four kids, who has made an international business out of helping marketers sell to moms. She calls herself the "Old Lady of the Internet" because, compared with a lot of the other moms on the list, she's been focused on empowering other moms for a really long time. Back in 1998, she launched bluesuitmom.com as a way to reach out to other working moms.
Bailey says, "Marketers weren't creating the products moms needed and weren't listening to moms." She was frustrated. "We're spending so much money, and nobody's listening." So she took matters into her own hands: She wrote a few books on the spending power of moms including Trillion Dollar Moms and Mom 3.0: Marketing With Today's Mothers by Leveraging New Media and Technology and launched BSM Media. Now an international company, BSM Media partners with marketers to help them specifically target moms.