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Please PR Pros, treat me like a Mom Blogger

When my son was young, my husband traveled somewhat frequently for work. He would usually be gone several nights at a time. There was no consideration of the fact that he had a baby at home or other responsibilities. And for my female friends with Wall Street jobs, it’s the same story. It’s the nature of much of the corporate world: we need you when we need you and your issues at home are yours to figure out.

Fast forward almost ten years, and I’m the one doing most of the traveling: to conferences, press junkets, and blogging events. I love it, but there are some headaches that go along with those trips; even an evening event close to home can cost me out of pocket and throw my household into chaos.

My husband can’t arrange his work schedule around mine, so when I’m going to be out of town I have to figure out how the kids are going to get to school in the morning, home in the afternoon, and who’s going to take care of them until my husband gets home each night.

I also try to arrange my flights so that on the day I leave I can take them to school, and on the day I get home I can pick them up. It can make traveling logistics difficult. If I were in the corporate world I wouldn’t expect the people hiring me to take any of this into consideration (the fact that they should take those needs into consideration is a whole other topic). However, I’m a mom blogger. There’s been a ton of debate over the past year as to whether that label is a good or bad thing, and why female bloggers with children are all being lumped together under one title no matter what we write about.

I don’t know what the answers are to those questions. But I do know that brands and PR companies often seek out mom bloggers for certain reasons: our relationships with our readers, our understanding of certain kinds of products, our ability to translate our experiences as moms into relatable posts, our availability, and our access to tiny, non-union focus groups that work for animal crackers and hugs.

Some of the qualities and qualifications that make mom bloggers valuable to companies are the very same things that can make meetings and trips difficult. This puts me into the awkward position of having to ask brands who want to work with me for things like childcare money, or specific flights, or a car service so that I can race home to relieve a babysitter or pick someone up from an after-school activity.  I’m constantly explaining why I need my car to the airport paid for (because I shouldn’t pay a penny out of pocket to write about your company) and why I can’t pop in to an event for just a little while, even though there will be free drinks and manicures (well, those “free” drinks and manicures will cost me $45 in babysitter money and nearly two hours on the subway).  Whether a mom blogger is freelancing to make a living or enjoying a hobby as a blogger, we all have costs and needs associated with helping you to promote something.

So what I ask is this: treat me like a mom blogger. You wanted someone who has an “in” with other mothers. You wanted someone with a following and a reputation and the ability to write about products you’re trying to sell to other moms. You’ve come to the right place, and I’d love to work with you. But please remember the qualities that brought you to me, and understand that I have needs much different than someone else who would not have the special qualities you’re looking for.

This is not a blanket indictment of all PR people and companies, just the ones that are trying to take advantage of me.  The vast majority of PR people I work with totally get it (that’s why I work with them, and invite them to my house and bake them cookies and entertain them with lewd emails).  I’m talking to the rest of you, the ones who treat me like I’m being an entitled diva when I send you my rates or try to negotiate a per diem.  If you don’t have it in your budget and can only work with bloggers who will work for free, fine.  But you can’t have it both ways: if you want to work with me, treat me like a mom blogger, with all of my mom blogger baggage.

Originally posted on Behind the Screen, a part of SelfishMom.com. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.

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16 Responses to “Please PR Pros, treat me like a Mom Blogger”

  1. Varda (SquashedMom) on December 9th, 2010 8:02 am
    1

    Great post, Amy. You’d think that they would ‘get it.” but then I’ve thought that of lots of folks that don’t. Happy Holidays to you!
    Varda (SquashedMom)´s last [type] ..Wordless Wednesday- Happy Chanukkah

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  2. Melissa Chapman on December 9th, 2010 10:05 am
    2

    LUV LUV LUV– that is all- AMY can I be you when I grow up?!

    [Reply]

  3. Amy on December 9th, 2010 10:07 am
    3

    @Melissa Chapman: Hell, you can be me now if it means I get to go back to bed! :-)

    [Reply]

  4. Shari on December 9th, 2010 10:17 am
    4

    Great Post!! Great Advice.

    [Reply]

  5. Marinka on December 9th, 2010 10:44 am
    5

    Love this post!

    (psst! Pr folk! I’m available by the hour, wink, wink!)
    Marinka´s last [type] ..Idiot

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  6. OHmommy on December 9th, 2010 10:52 am
    6

    Brava, Amy!

    [Reply]

  7. Sarahviz on December 9th, 2010 10:54 am
    7

    Perfectly said!
    Sarahviz´s last [type] ..Ode to My Third Child- Age 5

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  8. Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog on December 9th, 2010 10:59 am
    8

    I live just outside of Chicago and you have no IDEA how many events are scheduled for 6:00 on a Thursday night, downtown. I can actually DO that, if there’s somewhere for my kids, or they pay for the crazy parking that is available, but I cannot feasibly arrange getting to an event that lasts 2 hours and is only a “mixer” type of function.

    Of course, I don’t have the “problem” of having to fly places.Dang. I would like to try that problem, please!!
    Tracey – JustAnotherMommyBlog´s last [type] ..Im Not As Crazy as I Feared

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    Lisa Reply:

    @Tracey – JustAnotherMommyBlog, Tracey, I have the same problem! I always hear how great it is to live so close to Chicago, but my husband doesn’t even get home till six, then an hour train ride in, and now the event is over!!
    Lisa´s last [type] ..Wordless Wednesday- Madison Reading At Church

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  9. Dagmar Bleasdale on December 9th, 2010 11:31 am
    9

    Bravo!

    Amy, thank you so much for this! As a blogger who takes blogging very seriously and treats her blog like a business, I feel the same way. I’ve been working long, unpaid hours for over a years and my blog is taking off. Now that PR people want to work with me more and more, I need them to understand that I need to get compensated for my work.

    I think a lot of PR firms still think it’s enough to offer some food at the event, but as in your case, it will cost me $50+ to go to an event in NYC since I am in Westchester. I paid that out of pocket several times to pay my dues, but I can’t afford and refuse to do it considering where my blog is now.

    I just blogged about the same thing :) http://dagmarbleasdale.com/2010/11/new-york-times-about-monetizing-motherhood-and-blogging/

    My best,
    Dagmar
    Dagmar’s momsense
    Dagmar Bleasdale´s last [type] ..Wordless Wednesday — No Santa But Cat in The Hat

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  10. Raul on December 9th, 2010 12:22 pm
    10

    Amy,

    What a great job educating people on the needs of mommy bloggers. I am a soon to be daddy blogger and getting ready for the baby has limited my travel this past year because different to being without children there are some costs involved.

    I guess some companies want to use bloggers without giving them compensation which really is something to worry about. Here locally in Puerto Rico I get invited to many events where I have to pay for parking and other things (I don’t even get Swag, by the way great disclosure).

    Some companies think the internet, social media, and influence from bloggers is free and I am glad that you are bringing all your great points to make this change. Count on my support (although I am not a mommy blogger).

    regards,
    Raul
    Raul´s last [type] ..7 Reasons Why Santa Claus Stays Away from Social Media

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  11. Posts I Enjoyed And Learned From | Profitable Mommy Blogging on December 28th, 2010 8:59 am
    11

    [...] Mom bloggers are an interesting group of people. In some areas we don’t ask for enough and in other areas we demand more. PR Pros aren’t sure what to do with us. Amy of Selfish Mom wants to be treated like a mom blogger. [...]

  12. katepickle on January 1st, 2011 5:52 am
    12

    Well said!

    I am a mum blogger and as such my kids are a big part of my life – I was recently surprised that a PR rep expected that it would be ‘no problem’ for me to attend a function that ran over school pick up time and one where my newborn wasn’t welcome to attend… but I think the PR guy was more surprised when I said that I didn’t travel without my baby so thanks but no thanks.

    [Reply]

  13. Links from Day 2 at CES | Blogging Angels on January 24th, 2011 3:56 pm
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    [...] We all talked about the unfortunately-named Mommy tech. And Amy hyped her post, Please PR Pros, treat me like a Mom Blogger. [...]

  14. Charles Colp on February 23rd, 2011 4:57 pm
    14

    If the companies were to call me for a service in-call for my IT work. They would not bat an eye paying me for my travel time, cost, plus an extra charge for any non-standard hours. They would also have to work with my schedule. If company XYZ needed me but I was still at company BCD they would be fine (usually) working around my schedule. I have worked for many companies big and small and even with all of these extras, they are always happy with my price. They should treat Mommy Bloggers with the same respect and as if they are a previously scheduled engagement.

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    Amy Reply:

    @Charles Colp, Thanks so much for your comment, Charles. I think there are two reasons why it happened this way. Number one, this whole part of the blogging business really did start with moms doing it on the side with no goal of having a business. I started that way. And it’s really difficult when you’ve developed a relationship in one way to suddenly switch and say OK, now you have to pay me. The second problem is that (sweeping generalization alert!) most women I see operating in this space are putting up with things that men simply wouldn’t put up with. I would love to someday study the differences between blogs written by moms who work full time out of the house and moms who work in the house and moms who weren’t working at all when they started blogging. I’m wondering if there are any patterns as to how they approach the business part of it.

    [Reply]

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