Slider by IWEBIX

GoDaddy ReBrand And New Hosting Services


 

Years ago when I started my business (TechMamas.com) I bought my web address (domain) from GoDaddy. Throughout the years I received great support for my domain, including numerous calls to their support line when I had to make changes. Because my business was online, my URL was an important part of my brand. It was a way for people to not only find my website, but it was a home for my writing, speaking, professional work and connecting with my community. Many small business owners are always looking for advice on how to create a website. When I was contacted by BlogHer about participating in GoDaddy’s campaign to share information about their redefined mission, I was interested to learn more. Listed below are some of the key details shared to me about the new GoDaddy mission which is centered on helping small businesses:

 

  •  GoDaddy views those working to make their business dreams a reality as GoGetters. They want to help GoGetter’s leverage the power of the internet.
  • They redesigned, reshaped and streamlined their user experience and their products are now geared towards helping small businesses.
  • Their new launch comes after months of research and extensive customer segmentation analysis. They brought in technology talent and senior leaders from companies such as Microsoft, Google, Intuit, Yahoo! & eBay.
  • The women presented on the GoDaddy site will be inspirational to represent small business owners. For example, their brochure at BlogHer showed a small business woman who hosts her site Recipe For Fitness with GoDaddy.

 

 

 

On their website, GoDaddy has a small business section with links such as: Choosing the right website address, setting up an professional email address, pros and cons to building your own website versus hiring a professional, website planning worksheet, 10 must haves for designing your website, how to get more visitors, SEO, how to secure your website, how to promote your business on a small budget and more.

 

Many small businesses that have blogs use a platform called WordPress. GoDaddy offers (shared) WordPress Web Hosting including offering performance features such as spreading traffic across multiple servers (when traffic spikes), security and support to fine tune your blog to help it run smoothly. I was surprised to learn not only about their WordPress hosting but also their economical pricing, that currently has unlimited space, bandwidth and email accounts for under $10.00 per month. GoDaddy also created a WordPress plugin called P3 Profiler that helps to improve load time.

 

So what do you think about GoDaddy’s new marketing and product focus? Click here to let them know if they are on the right track.

 

 
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All the words are my own.

 

 

 

 

#BlogHerPro ’13 Conference For Professionally-Minded Bloggers

*GIVEAWAY IS OVER – BUT PLEASE FEEL FREE TO USE FRIENDS DISCOUNT SHARED BELOW!.

BlogHer as been a big part of the most “important” reason why I got involved in social media: Community! I joined in 2006 because I had pivoted from a career in a top consulting firm to starting my own business. Over the years I have gained the value of not only meeting a great community of social media entrepreneurs but also learning so much  from BlogHer and the BlogHer conferences. That is why I am especially excited to attend BlogHer Pro 2013 as one of the Keynote Speakers on the  Monetization: Brands & Bloggers Keynote Discussion with some fantastic fellow social media professionals including Ana Picazo of Finding BonggaMom, Jim Lin from Ketchum PR and Busy Dad Blog, and Sarah Penna from Big Frame.. BEST YET – I have a discount code and am giving away TWO BlogHerPro13 conference passes! Can you tell that I am excited to be sharing the fun with others?

 

Just check out the other BlogHer Pro 2013  panels and speakers that include content management, mobile and business intensive workshops. Here is a link for where to  register for BlogHer Pro 2013 and more details: “BlogHer PRO is a multi-track conference for professionally-minded bloggers looking to take their business, marketing, and technical skills to the next level. Improve your knowledge and hone your skills on everything from personal brand to personal finance to personal privacy.” Honestly, this conference is also for anyone in business that wants to learn more about the powerful medium of blogging and social media for business.

 

DISCOUNT CODE: First of all I have a friends discount code to share (because my readers are my friends of course!Use Friends Discount code, PRO13FF, for 30% off registrationRegister today!

 

GIVEAWAY:  Second, I am giving away ONE CONFERENCE PASS to BlogHer Pro 2013 for TWO WINNERS (one conference pass will be given to each winner – 2 winners total).

TO ENTER: Please comment on this blog post (by Oct. 11, 12pm PST) and then share on Twitter that you have entered this contest.

DETAILS:  PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS POST BY OCT 11, 12PM PST. To enter, please comment on this post then tweet out “I entered @TechMama’s #BlogHerPRO ’13  giveaway  http://bit.ly/GDRZf4″.  For the comment please share what type of questions you have about being a social media professional? Do you have legal, SEO, content, questions about interacting with brands or general questions about how this all works? Or I would love to hear your story on how you use social media professionally.

 

WINNER CHOSEN AT RANDOM: The winner will be chosen randomly using Random.org and will be notified by Oct. 11 at 2pm pst. Winner must respond with confirmation by October 14 2pm pst.

 

Rules: 1. One Blog Post comment per person. One Blog Post comment is equal to one entry (so only one entry per person)  2. Winners are limited by geography to US residents only 21 years of age or older. 3. If a valid email address is not provided in the entry, another winner will be chosen. 4. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. 5. Approximate value of prizes may vary. 6. All decisions are final. 7. All Federal, State and Local taxes and travel expenses associated with receipt of prize is the sole responsibility of the winner. 8. By entering any giveaway on this website you release Techmamas.com from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action.

 

 

Disclosure: As a speaker on the Keynote Panel discussion for BlogHer Pro 13, I was assigned conference passes that I decided to share with my readers. All of my words are my own. The idea for this giveaway was also my own.

 

Branding, Miley Cyrus, #Twerk and Why This Matters For Parents

While the online and offline world are buzzing over Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance, I wonder where everyone has been for the last year. The performance by Hannah Montana’s alter ego was shocking – and not in a good way – but it was not too far off with what is already all over the web. Twerking has joined modern pop culture talk and videos all over the web, as evidenced with my favorite leading indicator of rebellious behavior….hot-selling shorts at summer beach stores.

 

 

Online dad Jim Higley agreed that we should not let Robin Thicke off the hook. Online  mom Beth Feldman (a.k.a RoleMommy) could not help but share her PR/branding tips to help Miley Cyrus and on OMG Insider:

 

 

 

 

 

Many teens and young adults believe that getting attention online, including social media, is a type of approval. Miley Cryus confirmed this point with her tweet after the VMA’s. Her performance had “306,000 tweets per minute – more then the superbowl“.

 

 

Is this type of attention the right type of attention for her brand? When I asked my teen son (who is very up on modern pop culture and a fan of rebellious musical performances) about Miley Cyrus’s VMA “Twerk” performance and how she was sharing how popular it was online he said “Ewwww“.  When my 10 year old sons have heard about the twerking incident, they shook their heads and said “What happened to Hannah Montana?”

 

With new reports that Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke knew they would be “making history” and that everyone is “overthinking it”, it seems as though it was a planned strategy.   I am also a fan of shocking musical performances such as Madonna and Lady Gaga, but  think this type of performance was not the right type of shocking for a professional image. Because I speak on the topic of branding for professionals, I thought I would share tips for parents to talk about branding/online image with their kids. With discussions raging on Miley Cryus’s behavior, this may just be the perfect time.

 

1. What is popular does not equal what is appropriate for your image/brand: I suggest that parents pay attention to the popular terms in modern pop culture (like Twerking) then help their kids understand what may be popular is not always appropriate. This goes hand in hand with kids’ understanding that the image they share online will stay with them the rest of their lives, and be seen by audiences varying from college recruiters to future employers. Then parents can discuss with their kids how to brand themselves with an understanding of allowing free expression that is appropriate to share online and what should be kept offline.

 

2. Parents Should Learn The Terms:  I was confused at how it took something as public as the VMAs to get people in an uproar about Twerking. It has been going on for some time. Yes, teens and dancing always seems to be a hot button or movie theme. So the more parents can keep up on the current terms, the better they will be prepared to discuss what is and is not appropriate for their kids age (again, what is popular may not be good for their personal brand). It’s great to give kids some slack regarding freedom of expression. But now that every event seems to have someone taking pictures and posting online, maybe some dances need to stay off the dance floor and social media platforms.

 

The task of trying to keep up to date on terms and websites kids are using may be overwhelming, but there are sites that offering information to help. My core philosophy is to start by rewarding kids for sharing what apps they are using and have regular internet safety talks.

 

At the same time, parents can look online to understand terms and apps. I start with monitoring research such as the Pew research reports and lists like the  top social media apps kids are using. Resources such as search engines and internet safety sites including NetSmartz, ESRB and Common Sense Media are also a great place to start.  ESRB has an updated version of its mobile ratings app to include interactive elements (shares personal info, shares location, users interact). Even though rumors about the word “Twerk” being added to the Oxford Dictionary may be wrong, the term WAS added to the Oxford Dictionary online (OED) which the Slate website called “a historical dictionary and it forms a record of all the core words and meanings in English over more than 1,000 years, from Old English to the present day, including many obsolete and historical terms. Words are never removed from the OED.” So the OED may be a good place to check to understand that foreign language our kids speak.

 

While the goal is to open up a respectful dialog with kids so they come to their parents to discuss issues, being a parent also means delivering the hard to hear but important information to protect their kids. This tweet shared by Miley seemed to show her Dad did not give her the difficult-to-hear feedback.

 

 

 

 

 

How do you keep up on terms used by your kids? Which ones do you have an issue with?

 

 

 

 

Secret to Social Media Curation – Goodbye Google Reader!

Among my little secrets I share to those looking to get more involved with social media is: being a social media influencer does not only mean that you only share your thoughts – you need to also share other relevant posts, tweets and social media updates that reflect your niche (the social sharing piece).

 

But how?

 

What I did to set up my system of social media and family tech curation was to chose 1,000 of the most relevant family and technology blogs and then add them to Google Reader (years ago). The way Google Reader works is that it was a place to add the “RSS” or subscription feeds from the sites you want updates on – then you can see the feeds listed together in one place. I compared this to gathering a list of all of my favorite websites in one place – then being able to search all current articles and posts together by subject.  I then went into my Google Reader,  searched for terms that matched my niche (family tech) and found my favorite posts of the day. The next step for me would be to share those posts over my social media streams. So my social media streams (such as Twitter) became not only places that I shared my updates, but relevant updates from social media and family tech space.

 

But as happens in the social media world, it was recently announced that Google is closing down Google Reader this summer. I had mixed feelings – it was time for a change but that meant I needed to find my new way to store my blog subscription feeds. Now that I use Windows 8 apps and Office 365, I also get lots of social updates from Windows 8 apps. One great Windows 8 app is called Nextgen Reader App.

 

Mashable created posts with not only information on how to export your RSS feeds from Google Reader, but also Google Reader alternatives such as Feedly, Fever, NetVibes, NewsBlur, The Old Reader, Managing News and Twitter Lists.

 

Listed below are some other posts that talk about alternatives. Do you use an RSS Feed reader? If so – which one? If you used Google Reader what are you switching to?

 

CNET: Google Reader is dying, but we have five worthy alternatives

Popular Science: The Best RSS Readers To Use Now That Google Reader Is Dead

 

 

 

 

#FamilyFriendlyWork – Social Media “Meme” Edition

I was one of the lucky ones.  As a Senior Manager at a top consulting firm with a 4 year-old son and twins on the way, I was offered options. The firm was very serious about providing a family friendly workplace, so I could have taken maternity leave and then come back to flexible assignment. With twins on the horizon, I decided to leave, but felt fortunate that the choice was mine and I had great options should I decide to stay. Many parents don’t have it so easy, working for companies that don’t have family friendly workplace policies, and forced to make difficult tradeoffs to achieve work/life balance.

 

 

After my twins were in preschool, I explored options to get back to work and decided to start my “career 2.0” by working in social media. Writing and consulting projects in social media offer the flexibility to work at home, but there were, and years later still are, many tech events and meetings that I needed to attend.  so I did the juggle of working with my husband’s work schedule and finding a sitter.

 

I was lucky to have a husband who contributed an equal partner in parenting, as well as a mother nearby and some reliable sitters available. While our family’s work-life balance was truly a balancing act, with multiple support options available I have been able to pull it off so far. In my book, “My Parent Plan“, I talk about the process of planning for childcare. Even if it is well anticipated and managed, it is still a challenge because there is never an easy solution to manage both the anticipated and unanticipated in life. Balancing the schedules of younger kids needing a sitter, as well as working through after school programs for older kids, is sometimes nearly impossible to plan.

 

 

If I had a national task force to solve this issue, I would try to do the following:

 

1. Use the power of local communities: I would love to see each local community accept the responsibility of helping organize local (safe) afterschool programs. There are so many people out of work (including teachers). What if local governments could help match qualified local professionals with nearby afterschool programs. Communities could team up with fitness centers (such as the YMCA or JCC’s) to use available space for needed family services.

 

 

2. Take Your Kids To Work (when possible). Let’s face it, not every workplace is a good fit for parents to share with their kids (and many kids are in school all day). How about expanding telecommuting options so if it fits with the job -  parents can utilize all the modern communication technology out there and work from home more often. Or what if some conferences and workplaces that were flexible offered childcare, allowed parents to bring their kids or offer supervised activities for kids?  After years of seeing parents taking their kids to the BlogHer Conferences, I was not surprised to see yet another year of childcare announced for BlogHer13. BlogHer is a great role model for incorporating a family friendly “conference” environment.

 

I have already seen many great examples of parents (moms and dads) taking their kids to work.  The Huffington post shared a picture of Licia Ronzulli with her toddler at European Parliament and Mom101 discussed what a family friendly work environment looks like with a picture of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand being sworn in holding her child. Unicef and many other organizations recognize “Parents should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance to fulfill their responsibilities within the community and to their children“.  The New York Times just recently published an article that discussed “For more than two decades the demands and hours of work have been intensifying. Yet progress in adopting family-friendly work practices and social policies has proceeded at a glacial pace.

 

To help move the discussion of family friendly work environments forward I want to call on the power of social media to share #FamilyFriendlyWork success stories. I hope this will ignite the discussion and show that creating a family friendly workplace is possible. Keep in mind, I do believe a family friendly work environment does not mean everyone should bring their kids to work, it means that parents can have the support to either find the right childcare or include their kids in relevant work experiences when possible.  What better way to inspire our own kids to create their own career goals?

 

CALL TO ACTION:

 

Please comment below with your family friendly work environment ideas, success stories or links to blog posts (or any social media) or websites that discuss this. For those parents that want to share links to pictures of their #FamilyFriendlyWork please do so. It can happen!

 

MY EXAMPLE:

 

I took my 14 year old son to a tech conference (he even received his own press badge) as my cameraman and video editor!

 

 

If you post or share, please use the hashtag #familyfriendlywork and share your ideas (and links) as comments to this post.

 

Disclosure: This post is just my own way of trying to further the discussion of family friendly work environments…

 

 

 

 

Safe Haven Movie Tech Press Tour: Romance meets Social Media

The movie, Safe Haven, will share the romance by opening on Valentines Day, February 14th. In my last post, I shared my thoughts about the movie, a must see romantic thriller! I was fortunate a month ago to join the Author/Producer, Nicholas Sparks, and one of the movie’s stars Josh Duhamel, as well as the Relativity Media team for part of their tech press tour. How unique and exciting to see a movie include tech partnerships as part of their launch, giving fans new ways to expand their movie experience. With an engaging cast (including Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough), a beautiful set, and a great story written by Nicholas Sparks, the movie delivers on all fronts.
 
 
The San Francisco Safe Haven tech tour included the following stops:
1. PopSugar: The Safe Haven team stopped by PopSugar where they had a fun “cupcake” ambush of their editors and posed for pictures at a photobooth. Both Josh Duhamel and Nicholas Sparks were great sports posing for pictures with each and every one who waited in line for a picture, all with equal enthusiasm! They even let one specific tech mom sneak in for a picture she will never forget.
 
 

Safe Haven Movie Tech Tour (Josh Duhamel, Beth Blecherman – TechMama, Nicholas Sparks)

 

 

1. One Kings Lane:
Safe Haven provided One Kings Lane with approximately 20 décor items from the set.  One Kings Lane will execute a Safe Haven sale on or around 2/14 for 72 hours where they will sell the set décor, signed books from Sparks, and a signed script.  Proceeds will benefit the Nicholas Sparks Foundation.  I can’t wait to see what set items will be available for sale considering that the movie set location was scenic Wilmington and Southport, North Carolina.

 

 

2. Shutterfly :   Nicholas Sparks and Josh Duhamel engaged with a big group of fans at Shutterfly, taking photos together and answering questions.

Save Haven Movie Tech Tour at Shutterfly Offices (Nicholas Sparks, Shutterfly employee and Josh Duhamel.

 

 

They inspired enough romance from talking that CEO of Shutterfly Jeff Housenbold gave a kiss to his wife at the end of the event (everyone cheered).

Safe Haven Movie Tech Tour at Shutterfly Office ( Jeff Housenbold, Nicholas Sparks, Josh Duhamel)

 

 

The fun Shutterfly offer available now for anyone is: Send 5 free Shutterfly cards to the people you love! Use promo code: safehaven at www.shutterfly.com/safehaven  to redeem this offer by 2/25/13.

 

 

3. Twitter:  The Safe Haven team also stopped by Twitter’s headquarters and participated in a screening organized by Twitter Movies (with Twitter staff)

 

 

Safe Haven movie tech tour – Twitter Movies interviews Nicholas Sparks and Josh Duhamel

 

 

After seeing Josh Duhamel and Nicholas Sparks in action, I realized they understood not only the art of making movies and books, but also how to engage with their fans in a genuine way. Nicholas Sparks shared that interactions in social media can foster quality listening… and listening produces measurable data. He listens to social media conversations on books and movies regarding what the fans like and don’t like, and that helps him analyze what people really want. In addition, the Safe Haven team realizes that social media is not only important, but is also growing.  You can follow the Safe Haven movie on multiple social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more! Safe Haven is now out in the theatres, so click here to find out movie times.

 

 

Disclosure: This was a press event.

 

 

Safe Haven Movie Out Feb. 14 – Must See Romantic Thriller

Last week I had the fun and fabulous opportunity to accompany Author and Producer Nicholas Sparks and Co-Star Josh Duhamel of the movie “Safe Haven” as they toured some local SF Bay Area tech companies. I’m a fan of Josh Duhamel movies, where he delivers great performances as a romantic lead actor, and I also look forward to movies made from Nicholas Spark’s romantic books. While comedies and action thrillers have their place, I can’t resist a good romantic movie in a beautiful setting where the main characters sizzle, experiencing romance and transformation through a suspenseful storyline.

 

 

A private screening of “Safe Haven” that day helped me realize that the movie delivers on all of that (and more!!). Here is information about the movie Safe Haven from Nicholas Sparks website: “When a mysterious young woman arrives in a small North Carolina town, her reluctance to join the tight knit community raises questions about her past. Slowly, she begins putting down roots, and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex, a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love in this deeply moving romantic thriller.” The movie is inspired by Nicholas Spark’s book of the same name “Safe Haven”. Both Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough brought their characters alive with that special chemistry that makes you root for them being together.  

 

Josh’s and Nicholas’ onscreen work is very entertaining. Would they be as engaging offscreen in real life interaction with their fans? To my delight, they delivered – and much more. Social media professionals appreciate the importance of engaging with the online community. I am thrilled every time I meet someone in real life who follows my online tech parenting columns and social media updates. From what I witnessed, Nicholas Sparks and Josh Duhamel were authentically excited to meet with fans throughout the day and greeted each and every one with the same enthusiasm, even though the line at some locations to take pictures with them was very long (such as the stop at Popsugar). They laughed, talked and made everyone feel at ease, even the gal at one of the tour stops who cried (of joy) when she saw Josh Duhamel. They even made one specific Techmama (trying to keep her cool) very happy by posing with her for some fun pictures.

 

Left to right: Safe Haven (movie) Co-Star Josh Duhamel , TechMama Beth Blecherman and Author & Producer Nicholas Sparks

 

 

Josh Duhamel shared that he enjoys social media interaction with his fans via Twitter, Facebook and more. These communication methods are important to interact with his online community as well as share information about charity events such as the Youth Run with the Red Cross.

 

Nicholas Sparks revealed that he values the importance of digital to reach fans and followers, utilizing multiple platforms such as his website, Facebook page and Twitter @SparksNicholas.  He believes that interacting on digital platforms fosters quality listening, and helps him gather feedback from fans. He created the Nicholas Sparks Foundation, “a nonprofit committed to inspiring and transforming students lives through education, curriculum development, and life changing international experiences, so they are prepared to embrace a life of being active learners and engaged global citizens“. Relativity Media  (Safe Haven’s Studio) partnered with the Nicholas Sparks Foundation by offering fans the ability to purchase tickets to Los Angeles Safe Haven Premiere and Post Premiere Reception on February 5th. The tickets will support the Nicholas Sparks Foundation.

 

 

There are also multiple social media channels to follow details about the movie including the Safe Haven Facebook page, @SafeHavenMovie Twitter Id (and #SafeHaven hashtag) and Instagram. I saw fans sharing on the social media sites that they can’t wait for the movie to come out. Luckily, it is coming out soon – this Valentines Day (Febuary 14th).

 

Part II of my posts about Safe Haven will include more details about tech companies visited on the Safe Haven (movie) tech tour.

 

Disclosure: This is a press update.

 

 

 

Building Success: Using Bing Webmaster Tools

 

As part of my preparation for BlogHer PRO, I had the opportunity to speak to Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager with Bing’s Webmaster Program. He will be leading the lunch Keynote titled, “Lunch, and Keynote Brought to You by Bing — Growing Your Audience and Influence with Social + Search”.  Forrester explained to me the details of his personal journey: to share with others how to build success and how to leverage your business assets to become successful. He also believes that to deliver a quality product you need to have customer interaction.  His two books, “Turn Clicks Into Customers: Proven Marketing Techniques for Converting Online Traffic into Revenue” and “How to Make Money with Your Blog: The Ultimate Reference Guide for Building, Optimizing, and Monetizing Your Blog” detail how a business can increase customers and generate revenue with blogs.

 

We discussed many different topics related to blogging and one was of particular interest. Forrester discussed the new features of the Bing Webmaster tools including the “Link Explorer, SEO Analyzer/SEO Reports, and updates to current tools such as our Keyword Research Tool (beta), and our URL Removal Tool.” Bing Webmaster tools (available to anyone) detail standard info including queries, your site’s ranking and where you were shown. The tools also send alerts and when combined with Bing crawler you can proactively manage bandwidth by time of day. Another option is to set controls that someone else manages for your website. With Link Explorer you can not only see who is linking to you, but also who is linking to your competitors. BingBot offers the ability to have a crawler fetch your blog’s URL then have a search engine assess the code on the page and come back with a status. For example, you can watch out for signs of hacks in your websites such as really long links. Forrester shared important advice for all bloggers: we should get to know what “normal” code looks like on our website so we can spot when it has been hacked.

 

In addition to all of these tools, Bing is now the first search engines to provide SEO advice to users. This is accomplished with SEO Analyzer, which scans a URL then shares what SEO work needs to be done.This tool helps you know what SEO work needs to be done now, helps you learn more about SEO from a trusted source and can help you test fresh areas of your site quickly.
When I checked out the Bing Webmaster Tools online, I was happy to see blog posts from the Bing Webmaster blog that explains key product areas. For those who want to find out more, there are Bing Webmaster Guidelines blog posts and  free recorded webinars . The Bing Webmaster Getting Started Checklist is a great place for the user to start outlining the process and tools to build workflow. This checklist covers areas such as how to configure your site reports and data, Webmaster diagnostic tools and SEO Analyzer.

 

Here are some of the blog posts that are great resources not only for Bing Webmaster tools but also for SEO and reporting:

 

For more information, check the BlogHer Pro live blogs.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.  

 

Top Tips For KidTech App’s To Pitch Parent Bloggers

On Nov. 7,  I was thrilled to speak at a KidTech Meetup organized and moderated by Chandini Ammineni , Co-Founder of Activity Hero, to discuss how Kid Tech startups can get in front of their target audience. Speakers included @iRewardChart, @sareosenblatt, and @mike_greenfield at @500Startups in Mountain View. I gave the perspective as a family tech blogger, contributor to tech websites and social media entrepreneur on how KidTech websites/app companies should reach out to parent bloggers.  While I could discuss this subject for hours, the tips below relate directly to the panel discussion and questions I received after.

 

1. IDENTIFY PARENT BLOGGERS: The first step is to identify the parent bloggers who cover your niche or whose audience is your target market. Read their blogs to make sure their writing style fits the type of coverage you desire with your target market. Understand that there are not only general parent bloggers covering parenting issues but also parent bloggers focusing on a niche such as travel, tech, fashion, education and many others. Sites such as CoolMomPicks and CoolMomTech.com have readers that come to the site specifically to shop. Some of the other sites I write for, such as Mashable Lifestyle and LaptopMag – also have an audience of parents that visits the site to get information to help make technology decisions (as well as sites such as CNET that will have reviews showcased at Target and many other tech review sites). There are a great group of tech moms that blog – which I will  cover in another post (and conferences such as the MamaBear and MommyTechCES).

 

Then there are also big parenting community websites such as BlogHerMoms (and BlogHer conference)  , Blogalicious (site and conference),  MomBlogMag, Blissfully Domestic (and conferences), Go MightyType A Parent (site and conference), Project You Mag, Mom it Forward (site and conference), 5 Minutes For Mom, 5 Minutes For Special Needs,   Mom 2.0 and even Dad 2.0!.  There are parenting sites that focus on niches such as Travelingmom for travel, ShutterSisters for photographers, MomPulse for Video,  Getting Gorgeous, Mom Trends and Working Closet for Fashion, MakerMom for STEM, Mamavation and Pure Natural Diva for healthy living, Mouthy Housewives for humor,  Blue Star Family for Military lifestyle, tons of food bloggers,  TeachMama that has an education focus and TheGoToMom for raising emotionally healthy kids.  There are also numerous other parenting sites such as Babble, BabyCenter, Circle of Moms , Cafe Mom and conferences.

 

I told the group that it is important to look not only look at the big sites, but also at the smaller parenting bloggers (such as Project Underblog)  with highly engaged and committed audiences. I will be creating a post by next week starting a list of local SF Bay Area bloggers (and other local bloggers). Audience engagement is a key attribute to consider when picking bloggers to pitch.

 

2. ANALYZE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS OF YOUR TARGET MARKET:  The next step is to decide on the social media platforms your target market uses and identify bloggers that have channels on those platforms. For example,  I explained to the panel audience that many early adopters and social media savvy parents I know are on Twitter, Google+ , Instagram, Pinterest and others. But many of my “in real life” school parents use Facebook, parenting community websites and email groups to get their information. All of the parents I know use search engines and blogs for information – sometimes as their first source when investigating a site or product. Parents also use category searches in the app stores and sites that offer app reviews. Videos are also a big source of information for many parents, especially because their kids use YouTube as their source of information. Lastly, niche sites such as Pinterest offer ways for parents to get a visual representation of information.

 

3. DECIDE ON IF IT IS A PRESS PITCH OR SERVICE PITCH:

I explained to the panel audience that a press pitch is one where you are providing information about your product to the parent blogger. While it is appropriate to ask them if they are interested in reviewing the app, product or website – there can be no request for what they will say or when they will post. A press pitch is simply providing your press release related information to the blogger – and if they feel it is relevant for their audience, they will cover it. You should never “pay” for press coverage, but in return there is no responsibility for the blogger to cover the product. But press coverage is very influential for parents when the blogger is giving their honest perspective on the product.

 

I created TechMamas.com and @TechMama on Twitter to have an authentic conversation about family technology apps, products and websites. When I post about a press release, it is because the topic is valuable to my readers. For a blog to be successful, above all else, they always need to consider what their readers want to see. At the same time, many parent bloggers are flooded with great information, so it is hard to share it all. Because of that, it is  important to refine your “pitch” before you send it (which I will discuss on point 4).

 

A service pitch is when you would like a service (that should be “paid”) such as having the blogger participate in a paid campaign, load ads on their website, host a Twitter party, giveaway, live event or early product test. For example, I am frequently hired to run Twitter Parties where we discuss a specific topic with other co-hosts “related” to the product (and use the product hashtag). Sponsoring a giveaway on a blog is also an effective outreach strategy.  Having a “list of top xyz bloggers” contest where you make people go out and get votes to be in the top list is not a good outreach strategy (and will not engage the influential bloggers). It is better to hire a blogger to help with the contest and develop “editors top picks”, then leave it open to also have people nominate other names to be added on the list. Overall, providing services is something that bloggers should be paid for. Bloggers need to disclose any “sponsored” relationships (and this disclosure per FTC should be part of any contractual agreements). I created a consulting “service” specifically to help companies beta test products in advance of general product availability because of my background reviewing  many products that launched with problems that could have been resolved in early beta testing.

 

Along with hiring bloggers for campaigns (or ads) on their websites, you can hire bloggers to create content (written, photo or video) on your website. It is valuable to hire a blogger to create content or assist with social media because they understand how to reach out to their audience and they already have an engaged community. There is nothing that brings life, social interaction and discussion to a company website like having a blog and social media channel “conversations”.  There are also agencies that have large networks of bloggers for social media campaigns (including BlogHer or Clever Girls Collective).  The key is that the paid blogger campaigns should not be just a “sales pitch” – no one wants to read a sales pitch. Blogger campaigns need to have “authentic” content including experiences that your target audience can relate to.

 

4. REFINE YOUR PITCH BEFORE YOU SEND AN EMAIL:

 

Parent bloggers receive many emails each day and are time constrained. Before you send an email, refine your pitch. Give the same consideration to emails sent to parent bloggers that you give to the elevator pitch used to raise investor funding. Start with an authentic greeting, don’t say “I have been reading your blog and love it” unless your really mean it. Also, it is important to use the name of the blogger on any correspondence instead of “Dear blogger”. I even received a pitch once that had just “Dear ” with no name!

 

After the greeting, you have the first paragraph to make the sale for why they should read on. Include the app, site or product name, URL (including links to apps stores if relevant) and a very concise statement of what it does. Then explain the key features, the value proposition and what is so compelling about your product/app/website that the blogger’s audience will be interested to read about it. After that – It is always nice to give some of the story behind the product, app or site – especially if you are a fellow parent that found inspiration for the product from your life as a parent. Include images they can use for posting and your contact information if they have  questions. Make sure to use a subject title in the email that will grab their attention.

 

Here is an example of a recent pitch email I received about a new website geared towards parents. This is not the only format to use (there are many). But what I liked about it is that it was short, to the point, had a clear explanation of what the site does, included their contact info, press release and high resolution image to use. Best of all – they created a blog post on their site with more information (and included the URL).

 

Great “press” pitch example:

Hi Beth,
(asked how I was doing, said they like how my blog is family +tech and then said that they appreciate that I stay up to date with the trends etc).  I thought you may be interested in our new site called (website name). (Then they includedexplanation of what the site doesand what makes it special etch). I’ve included some more info below, and there’s also a blog post here about the launch (link to post URL). (then they said they would love to share more information about it – and gave their contact info).

Next – they listed the press release and included high resolution images I could use to post.

 

 **No need to mention that they liked my blog, but the way they did it was authentic so it worked for me.

 

Bad Pitch Example -  At the same time, I got this pitch:

Dear fabulous blogger,
We know PR people sometimes drive you nut (they went on to ask me to take a survey etc for the “chance” of winning a gift basket)..

 

 

All I can say – is yes, sometimes PR people drives us nuts. But in the end, bloggers want to build real relationships with brands/businesses. So we appreciate the “good pitches”.

 

4. PITCHING TO BIG WEBSITES:
While I have a personal blog, TechMamas.com, where I share my “personal” perspective, I also have contributed to several sites, including CoolMomTech, Mashable and LaptopMag.  It is important to understand that the editors of the bigger websites decide what their contributors will  cover. It is important to go through the proper channels to pitch to the editor (or “info” email if relevant).  Posts on the big sites also go through an editing process which means that not everything the contributor puts into the post makes it to the final post. Like everyone else, the editors also need to cultivate material relevant to their readers. And for contributors to stay valuable to a website, they also need to put their “readers” first at all time and create content they want to read.

 

Do you have any tips or experiences to share about pitching to parent bloggers? If so, please comment below!

 

 

TechMamas.com is a website that curates the best of family technology and social media. Beth Blecherman’s new book “My Parent Plan” is up on Amazon with the ebook version out in mid November. Beth consults with start-ups and businesses to assist with beta testing family tech products, websites and apps.

 

 

 

Social TV With Friends of Ricki (Lake)

While I have met a good number of celebrities since I started blogging, the quality I value most when meeting anyone is being authentic. Some celebrities have so many levels of protection around them – that they don’t ever connect directly with their fans to have “authentic” discussions. Social media has created new ways for celebrities (and everyone) to connect online with a wide network of people. But having the courage for engaging in real conversations on social media is the challenge.

 

When Social Media Girlfriends Britt Michaelian and Dabney Porte contacted me to share details about the new community they were leading (Friends of Ricki), I was excited to find out more (and become one of the Founding Members). The Friends of Ricki Community is the first Social TV community of it’s kind with engaging discussions and members that are always a pleasure to connect with. The production team of the Ricki Lake Show are very active in participating throughout the communities various social media channels. I even had the opportunity to ask a question directly to Ricki Lake about her favorite gadget – and received this video response (check out the video to find what Ricki Lake’s favorite gadget was at the time).

 

When I had a chance to attend a live Friends of Ricki meetup at the end of a business trip to Los Angeles, I wondered if that would be the same experience as the online community? Would that feeling of support, connection and sharing of ideas translate well from the online Friends of Ricki community to a live meetup?

 

All I can say is a big BIG YES! I hope everyone has a chance to meet other Friends of Ricki members (all of which had fascinating stories to tell of their own).

 

 

The big reveal to me was meeting the Ricki Lake Show production team and of course Ricki Lake. They were not only excited about the Ricki Lake Show – but also to meet and learn about the Friends of Ricki members in attendance. We shared some food & drinks at the beautiful Montage Beverly Hills (a great spot for a meetup I must say). But when Ricki Lake walked into the meetup, I wondered if she would be connect with us directly as well. The answer to that is another big YES. When Ricki Lake walked into the room, she was authentic from the start. She sat down with a bunch of us and asked “us” questions first (true to her girlfriend reputation). Ricki Lake connected to being single which she was before she recently got married again, to being a mom and to the regular struggles we all go through as women. The whole celebrity label faded away, and it truly felt like I was hanging out with a fabulous group of girlfriends. We also enjoyed when Ricki Lake shared some details about her romantic journey to meeting and marrying her new husband. I connected with that as well – it took me some time to find my soulmate (who I am so happy to be married to).

 

 

Beth Blecherman (left) with Ricki Lake (right) – enjoying talking about her new book Never Say Never.

 

Mushy moments aside, I was thrilled that Social TV also translates to real life connections – ones that I value every day online (and I hope to see live again soon!). I included pictures in this post from the live meetup. I am still gathering names – which I will add. I also gathered below information so everyone can join in the Friends of Rick community fun.

 

 

Bryan Moore from the Ricki Lake Show (production team) interacting with the Friends of Ricki community online using his laptop – and hanging with fellow Friends or Ricki members (in above picture Elisa @30secondmom  ).

 

 

@RaiseTheQueen @DailyDimmick and @TechMama

 

 

@RaiseTheQueen and @TechMama – missing @TheGoToMom (who was not at event because she was keynoting at another fabulous meetup: Disney Social Media Moms conference).

 

 

Friends of Ricki members giving each other hugs goodbye after a fun night!

Information on how you can join in the Friends of Ricki community fun:

 

Friends of Ricki community was created to meet, connect, share stories and news with  friends and connect with Ricki Lake and the Ricki Lake Show production team. Here are some of the social media channels:

 

 

Disclosure: My participation in the Friends of Ricki community is volunteer (not paid). I paid for my own travel expenses to Los Angeles.