I had the privilege of attending the Mummy and Daddy Blogger Awards (otherwise known as the MADs) at the TalkTalk Customer Experience Centre last night – and what a night it was. There was a lot of excitement, the odd tear, a bit of X Factor karaoke, a spontaneous dancing acceptance speech and an alleged near miss pant-wetting episode from one winner. Not the average awards night then.
For the uninitiated, the MADs celebrate the best in parenting blogging and this year over 50,000 votes were cast for 14 categories of blog. The winners are announced on the MADs website, but congratulations go out to all the finalists, in a hotly contested competition.
I was there helping out Sally Whittle, the Queen of mummy bloggers (although I’ve since found out her clients describe her as the “Overlord”, which is a bit more malevolent that her real-life demeanor) and assisting TalkTalk, the co-headline sponsor. Apart from being the doorman and various other tasks, I got to speak to some of the winners and nominees, some of whom I’d met at previous BlogCamps that I have been running with Sally and Kat. As only one of a handful of PRs (and men) there, I was lucky to get glimpse into what makes parenting bloggers tick.
Here’s some of what I’ve learnt over the past few events:
- Parenting bloggers are mostly mums, rather than dads. No surprises there, but congratulations to Tom, who won an award for Diary of a Dad (and for the record Sally, I’m really pleased you don’t have a Dads’ section)
- They’re seriously committed to their craft. Most of the top bloggers blog multiple times a week, often daily – sometimes multiple times per day. Consequently, they’ve become very good at it and aren’t adverse to trying out new platforms, widgets and apps
- They are feted by brands who see them as influencers, but most PRs and brands don’t seem to ask them very hard questions about the “value” of the interaction (e.g. asking about their blog’s traffic) or give them any clue how they’re quantifying it to their clients
- Brands and PRs are missing a trick if they think parenting blogs are all about nappies and the school run – my recent bloggers and PRs survey highlighted that people that said those who regularly blogged about parenting were also interested in topics such as technology, fitness and gaming
- They form a genuine community in their own right and extremely supportive of each other. There didn’t seem to be any jealousy from finalists when they didn’t win and the video that the ladies up for Most Innovative Blog came up with showed how much respect that have for each other (great idea btw Nicky)
- The blogs also have a life on Twitter and many with their own incarnation as dedicated Facebook pages
- There’s a real mix of those that blog strictly for fun and those that want to commercialise what they do. This goes beyond getting freebies that they all, not surprisingly, seem to like. This area seems to me to be under-exploited by brands and will develop into something more sophisticated than just doing reviews in the future
- It’s always better to meet bloggers and build up a rapport with a few rather than blast them all with mass-distributed press releases (this applies to all types of blogger)
So, if you want to find out what you missed out on, check out the #madblogawards on Twitter and the MADs own live blog. PRs looking to place opportunities with parenting blogs could do worse than put all the finalists in to Google Reader or Netvibes and read what they have to say, before doing anything.