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Toy Companies Talk — Mom Bloggers Can Make Their Products Sell

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mom-blogger-toy-reviewsWe have known it for years: Bloggers, especially mom bloggers, are big business. We have power, influence and social media reach and companies want to get their hands on us — or at least their products in our hands.

But, mainstream media seems to often question our worth, and even our credibility.

So, an article by an Associated Press reporter, Mae Anderson, Why Are Toys Selling Out? Might Be Mommy Blog Buzz, published in the NY Times this week was refreshing to read.

In the piece, Anderson explains the power of the mom blogger and how companies can harness it to make their products move.

According to the Associated Press story, Harold Chizick, vice president of global communications at Spin Master, said that it was in part because of mom bloggers and mom blog reviews they received for their reformulated Moon Dough that the product had a double-digit increase in sales. Chizick told Anderson, “If the company had used traditional ways to get the word out the roll out would have taken several months or longer. It was much faster than expected.”

For the article, Anderson also interviewed Maria Bailey, founder of BSM Media, one of the first firms to help companies pick the right influential mommy bloggers for their products, and Timetoplaymag.com‘s Jim Silver.

Silver warned that promoting to bloggers can backfire if your product doesn’t make the cut, explaining, “If they like something word gets around very quickly, if they don’t like something, word will also get around quickly.”

This point was reinforced by Cepia LLC, who was relatively unknown until mommy bloggers turned Zhu Zhu pets into a huge hit in 2009. Cepia’s senior vice president of marketing, Laura Kurzu, told Anderson that they work with bloggers every step of the way to develop toys, “Bloggers can be really great evangelists for the brand, but you have to be invested in listening to what they say to you,” she says. “You can’t just throw something out there and expect gratuitous support.”

I was relieved that Anderson stressed this point. Kurzu and Silver have it right — mom bloggers aren’t going to “sell” something that doesn’t resonate with them and their audience.

I asked Emily Vanek, who was the mom blogger featured and interviewed for the piece, about how she approaches the products she reviews and if she feels her readers trust her opinions. Emily explained, “Generally, I’ll only review products I’d actually use in everyday life. I can’t give my honest opinion if I honestly wouldn’t use it. I tell what worked with the product, what I would change if I could and what to be aware of. Keep in mind that what may work for one person, might not work for another. My readers trust my opinion because they know when I genuinely love a product and when I think one should go back to the drawing board.”

The news is spreading — not as quickly as the news about the best toys, but it is spreading — mom bloggers can play a critical role in product PR.

But that doesn’t mean that throwing your products out into the blogosphere will get you glowing reviews and instant sale spikes. Bloggers are not afraid to speak the truth — so make sure you want that truth out there.

Related Posts:
Why Professional Mom Bloggers are Here to Stay…
We Don’t Work for Free, But We Aren’t For Sale…
5 Reasons That Companies Should Hire Mom Bloggers
Ten Ways Bloggers can Benefit Companies

Read more of Janice’s posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

And don’t miss a post — follow @5MinutesforMom on Twitter!

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