When many think of mom circles they think playgroups and sippy cups, strollers at the park and recipe swap days. Dare I date myself and mention Avon and Tupperware parties? The Internet has expanded the landscape of just how moms interact, do business, stay connected, become informed and yes ... shop! An estimated 34 million moms were online monthly in 2010 for news, shopping and information (eMarketer analysis). The fastest route for spreading the word is largely under our fingertips, or via "word of mouse."
A Nielsen report in 2009 shares that more than 3.9 million women with children in the U.S. write blogs—covering everything from parenting tips to automotives, from technology to baby gear. In less than five years, the number of moms using social media has skyrocketed more than 500 percent and around 19 percent of the total online population are moms between the ages of 25 and 54 with at least one child at home. While a challenge for traditional marketing, the growing rate of moms as “citizen journalists” is a force to be reckoned with and is gaining growing recognition from marketers, advertisers and the corporate world. Bloggers have become ideal “trust agents,” and many have quietly been making prominent marks online, and as well have branded themselves in various niches, both online and offline—one being “the mom blogger” niche.
The journey of parenthood can be an isolating and sometimes even a lonely process, but the Internet and social media networks have overwhelmingly invited opportunities for creative minds to build and maintain a connection in a world that moms might have never known was just right up the street! San Diego moms are no strangers in the growing blogosphere.
Kate Hamernik, founder of SanDiegoDealsAndSteals.com, had a strong focus when she built her site in 2009: “To share ways to spend less and have more fun in San Diego as well as provide online savings strategies.” With her tech-savvy husband's guidance, Kate designed her own personal website and brand which has become a popular local resource for finding coupons and local deep discounts. Kate proudly attributes her efforts in blogging and social media outreach to her successful fundraising campaigns for her family's second adoption process.
Denise Vakili, a Carlsbad mom and entrepreneur, recently started Charity Chatter, a blog where she and her young daughter sell their handmade jewelry and help raise money for good causes. “In my first month, through a specially designed bracelet, I was able to help Jay La Point, whom I found through a search on Twitter, raise almost $1,000 towards Miles for Miracles. I would love for A Charm for Charity (the face behind the blog name Charity Chatter) to become an avenue and a way to a means for people needing to raise money, for whatever reason: kids’ school expenses, sports activities, medical bills, nonprofit fundraising,” says Denise. She wants her blog to share “feel good” stories that have a connection to charities.
Like many bloggers Melanie Sheridan, the Carlsbad blogger behind meladramaticmommy.com, thrives on the connections and creative outlets she has found, so much so that she wants her blog to become her business. She began blogging in 2008, “for the chance to have something that's only for me, outside of being a wife and mom.” One of her current projects is a collaboration with two other local bloggers called sdblogconference.com. The site is devoted to ideas of where to go and what to do during BlogHer, this summer’s biggest blogging event.
Tapping into her journalism background, Christine Fox Grochowiak, another Carlsbad blogger, found that her local television segments covering everything mom-related would be best complimented with her own personal site, EveryDayMama.com. In her blog posts, Christine gives in-depth product reviews, promotes local events, and shares her favorite fashion and parenting topics. As far as income goes she notes, “I’ve been able to get other freelance writing jobs which give me a little extra spending money each month. It's also nice to have such a wonderful ‘keepsake’ for my kids of their journey growing up in this crazy, tech world.”
Sondra Santos Drahos launched her blog and company, Happy Healthy Hip Parenting in 2007 to honor families, support parents and enrich relationships. “I have a great deal of experience working through conflict in many types of relationships, and I use my personal history to help others reflect and enhance their relationships and how they communicate.” Sondra has been a Parent Adviser on ParentalWisdom.com as well as a guest on NPR's “The Takeaway.” She samples and reviews products and services from companies that want to reach parents and shares family resources and personal insight on her blog. In her business, she leads parent workshops as well as facilitating parenting courses and life coach services.
Sugar Jones, founder of Sugar in the Raw, makes a noteworthy point: “One of the most important roles in my life is that of being a mom, but my blog is not about my kids or parenting. It's about life, love, God, food, travel and sometimes family. I do write from the mom angle on other travel and consumer sites, but even then, I consider myself a lifestyle blogger.” Sugar encapsulates a sentiment that many blogger moms who do not blog as a norm about motherhood feel: “Lumping all of us together seems dismissive and, quite frankly, lazy.”
Interested in becoming a blogger, yourself? Sondra advises, “I encourage new bloggers to read articles about the business of blogging or to attend a conference devoted to blogging professionals. Learn from our mistakes, as those of us who have been doing it for a while are here to teach newbies what not to do.”
Spend a little time with these powerhouse ladies at an offline event and you will find a diverse and engaging community with a plethora of resources, insight, inspiration and information. By the time you “like” each other on Facebook and “follow" each other on Twitter, you will have expanded your own circle ... exponentially!