Blogger Relations Case Study: Mommybloggers

IStock_000003385753XSmallJust when you think that most agencies are starting to “get” Blogger Relations, a wave of bad examples pop-up. 

Luckily, many conscientious PR bloggers have had the patience to explain best practices, and as an industry we can only hope for positive change (and/or some forbearance from justifiably cranky bloggers).

Meanwhile, we all cry out for case studies, eh?  I can only point to great examples that I’ve seen published by others, and occasionally post one of our own.  Here’s one more in that vein.

Our client, NEAT Receipts (previously covered in the “Turning Lemons into Lemonade” post), makes a handy portable scanner.  Most of our work on the account, as you might expect, had been focused on businesspeople and, specifically, road warriors.  “Go to a business lunch, then scan the receipt on the front seat of your rental car before you leave the parking lot; build your expense report as-you-go.”  We get tons of ink for this straightforward pitch.

But one reporter whom we’d been talking to happened to leave her post at a techie outlet to join Martha Stewart Omnimedia.  Wonder of wonders, NEAT Receipts received a high-profile hit with Martha Stewart: which promptly caused the NEAT Receipts scanner to hit #1 on, swamping the company’s e-commerce system for a day. 

Between the Martha Stewart coup and a few subsequent “lifestyle” hits, we quickly figured out that this sleek li’l scanner was a hit with stay-at-home mothers who needed an easy way to capture their kids’ drawings, their household receipts, family recipes, etc.  Lo!  A new market was born.

1472566778_bd1036e477_mSHIFT set its sights on mommybloggers.  The problem was that everyone and their mother (pun intended) seemed to have discovered the breadth and power of this blogging niche.  As a result, many of the mombloggers were being swamped with inane spam from lackluster PR folk.  We needed to be especially careful and conscientious in our outreach.

After several weeks of research, we identified a niche-within-the-niche.  Whereas most mommy blogs are, appropriately, about “being a mom,” there is a narrow slice of sites written by some seriously geeky, gadget-loving moms.  Rather than hit-up all mombloggers widely, we narrowcasted our approach to a handful.

Stage One – “listening” – was a core component to the research.  Our list of 10+ “gadget-lovin’ mommas” was whittled down to 3, once we realized that 7 out of our top-ten didn’t seem likely to appreciate our type of gadget or approach.

Stage Two incorporated respectful outreach, either via email or via the Comments section of the mombloggers’ sites.  In the end, each of the three bloggers drafted nice reviews of the NEAT Receipts scanner.

IStock_000004122307XSmallBut Stage Three was what differentiated this campaign from most other programs. 

Most PR agencies would have been justifiably happy with these initial successes, marking it as a successful Blogger Relations effort.  We decided to push the envelope.

We re-approached the three mommybloggers with a proposition:  we’d give each of them 10 scanners to give away to their readers in a contest.  To qualify, their readers would need to either:

a) leave a comment about “why I’d love to win a NEAT Receipts scanner” at the mombloggers’ sites, or,

b) write a post on a blog of their own, with a trackback to the mommyblogger’s post which had inspired their entry.  (This was generally preferred, as it contributed to the mommybloggers’ own Technorati ranking and overall search engine rankings.)

Our humble scanner lit up the mommysphere.  Due to this single contest running on 3 sites, we generated over 80 follow-on blog posts about NEAT Receipts, and almost 1,200 reader comments about “what I’d do with a NEAT Receipts scanner.” 

This information was pure gold to our client, who had not only recently discovered a new market opportunity, but now also had access to hundreds of pages’ worth of free, user-generated market research which they could use to inspire future product development and messaging ideas.

From my perspective, this type of success – and the passion created for the NEAT Receipts brand – is even better than a Walt Mossberg hit!  (Not that we wouldn’t love it if Walt took a look, too!) 

Posted on: April 2, 2008 at 12:38 pm By Todd Defren
12 Responses to “Blogger Relations Case Study: Mommybloggers”


  • Csalomonlee says:

    This is great Todd. This is the perfect gift for my hubby’s bday to help with work and other improvements to the house, home sales and purchases. Wonder if realtors would be a target market, hmmm.

    Heck, I may use it to scan media articles for my clip book =)

  • MAx says:

    This is a very appreciatable work keep it up I liked it very much

  • Great case study Todd. I’ve mentioned it a couple times here at BlogHer Business as an example of the benefit of narrowcasting.

  • Lara Kretler says:

    Todd, thanks so much for sharing this great case study. As more savvy folks like you share best practices like these, hopefully there will be fewer bad pitches and failed attempts, which helps all of us in the PR world do a better job as well as improve our image. Bravo!

  • Added to Now Is Gone. Thanks for the heads up.


  • Chris Norton says:

    Great post and case study. I hope you don’t mind but I have covered your case study on my blog as I think it’s a good example of good practice.

  • This is a case of taking from the old and giving to the new. The idea of giving away something to a “media outlets’” viewers/readers is a successful concept that worked long before the web.

    The TD beauty in this one is using the old to generate comments in the new which, as anyone reading this knows, spins itself a new cloth of goodness. The giveaway that keeps on giving. Not bad.

    TD try out, it could be another venue,to reach moms.See you at the

  • Great case study, Todd! Very interesting how you transitioned from traditional PR outreach to digital engagement, then stimulating WOM. Any info on the impact on the client’s sales results (% increase) to this segment as a result?

  • Todd Defren says:

    @christie, that’s good feedback, and I will pass it on. Biz audience is still primary for NEAT; “lifestyle” is emerging – but, you make a good point that “lifestyle buyers” should feel welcomed at the site.

    @john, that Martha Stewart hit did happen a while ago, but in the intervening time we got those “subsequent lifestyle hits” and, the momblogger stuff happened last year. (Plus it took MONTHS to convince NEAT Receipts to allow me to post this tale. They’re shy.)

    @kami, LOL, thanks for buying a scanner: you’ve indirectly helped me make a mortgage payment. ;) … (To your point: yes, we bang the Tax Time drum a lot, on other media fronts.)

  • Kami Huyse says:

    First of all, this is a great approach to this market segment and community.

    Second, this post is prescient because, believe it or not, I just bought a Neat Receipt scanner in the Reagan National airport yesterday.

    I am not a Mommy blogger, as you know, but I am a mommy that blogs, I am a consultant, I am wife, and I do WAY too much stuff.

    Lately I have found I can’t keep up with the data entry for my business, and it seems that a certain tax day is fast approaching. I knew I had heard of Neat Receipts, and now I remember how I heard of them – YOU. I needed an assistant, and as soon as the box arrives (I had them ship it), I hope it will become just that for me.

    That said, I think you should also consider this campaign for stressed out consultants just before tax time (hey, we have to pay up quarterly).

  • John Holcomb says:

    this happened two years ago

  • Great case study. And what a cool product. As a PR mom, I might be a customer. One observation though is that the NEAT Receipts web site is still very business focused.

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