Women Bloggers Gaining Clout

A recent Ketchum survey of attendees of BlogHer '09, the largest gathering of female bloggers in North America, confirms that women bloggers are a growing channel of influence for marketing and public relations professionals to target as key influencers -- but only if communications professionals do their homework first.

Conducted in June 2009 among bloggers registered to attend BlogHer, the largest gathering of women bloggers in North America, the survey revealed that approximately four in 10 have provided information or feedback collected on their blogs to marketers to help them better market to women or mothers. But an even larger percentage (53%) said they would consider doing so if asked, revealing an untapped opportunity for marketing and PR professionals to enhance and expand their base of influencers when marketing to women.

The survey also showed that nearly half of those surveyed say they hear from public relations professionals at least once a week, with another 30 percent being contacted daily. However, despite this frequency of communication, women bloggers indicate that PR and marketing professionals need to do their homework if they want to work more effectively with this audience.

When respondents were asked what they ask marketers to know before contacting them, several common themes emerged:

    * 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."

The survey also examined bloggers' perceptions of how consumer technology products are marketed to women. According to BlogHer attendees, the most common mistake that companies make is to use patronizing language (33%), followed closely by employing stereotypes (28%). Other missteps included not being clear on product benefits (15%), using too much jargon (11%) and making products that appeal to men (7%).