What Content Marketers Can Learn from Mom Publishers

This article was originally published by Strategy Online on July 18th

By Paul Cowan

If you are in the content marketing game, you know that the constant quest to link your products to a relevant story du jour is a challenging feat.

So who can we learn from? Media companies targeting moms.

The mom blog phenomenon from a few years back revealed how individuals can build scale through publishing relevant content to their networks. They were scrappy, working on small (or no) budgets, distributing through multiple channels and super-focused on building from the grassroots up.

The category matured and bloggers aggregated into properties, and now we are in the second wave of this category with organizations like Yummymummyclub.ca, Savvymom.ca, and Urbanmoms.ca being the dominant players. They aren’t blogs. They aren’t traditional publishers. They are digital lifestyle marketers that have purely digital blogging roots. We can learn a lot from them.

I analyzed their Facebook activity to see if I could understand how these marketers were leveraging social for engagement. Overall they average a 0.1% engagement rate on their Facebook posts. While this may not be a huge engagement rate, they all post a lot, often up to five times a day. The key here is that they post frequently, they test and they learn. They are more focused on overall engagement and the relationship with their audiences instead of getting myopically focused on metrics in our data-obsessed marketing world. They know their audience.

When you look at some of the best performing posts, they are clearly telling relevant stories that their audiences are interested in. Here is the top performing post for Yummymummyclub.ca. It is primary content from the site, with a compelling visual and topic that is directly relevant to the audience.

The top performing post for Savvymom.ca is primary content from the site with more of a niche topic.

I asked Erica Ehm, creator and publisher of Yummymummyclub.ca, for her take on how brands can improve their content:

“The ultimate goal for any piece of content, branded or otherwise, is to engage the reader and elicit some sort of reaction from them. While brands are keen on having a lot of brand placement in integrated content, we find that less brand and more story and/or useful information for the reader is more effective in engaging the readers. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being sold to. But they do like feeling valued; that their connection to your brand is meaningful.”

So here is my take on what brands can learn:

Focus on context

This is where these organizations excel. They know their audience because they are their audience and can provide the best context for the target’s life. Marketers need to contextualize their communications in more relevant ways. The increased time people are spending on digital, mobile and social channels have made attention more challenging. The competition is not companies; it’s baby videos, foodie pictures and cat memes.

Network, network, network

One of the biggest assets these organizations have is their network, as this is what these companies spawned from. They also spend a good deal of time building out their corporate network. They are actively posting multiple times a day and are re-posting others’ material, something that is often overlooked by brand marketers. Understanding and analyzing a brand’s social network is key to gaining a solid understanding of similar brands and potential partnership marketing opportunities that should exist.

Capitalize on real-time data

The constant feedback loop is critical. Mom-focused media companies are great at understanding what works and continually testing to improve performance. There are a variety of new ways that marketers can capture and collect data on a more real-time basis. From harvesting browsing patterns and collecting mobile and social data, digital footprints are offering unprecedented views into what people’s likes, interest and intents are.