Since its inception as a website in 2006, The Motherhood
has celebrated the power of women to change the world and make it a better place for children.
This week the award-winning mega-blog for mothers, based in Aspinwall, launched a new website that has cemented its position as a for-profit social media marketing company.
With a completely new website, and an assist from Pittsburgh-based Fireman Creative
and University of Pittsburgh’s Instutute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE),
The Motherhood hopes to achieve what few in the marketing business have done successfully to date: harness the power of social media influencers, in this case mommy bloggers, to promote national brands.
The Motherhood was founded by longtime friends Cooper Munroe of Fox Chapel and Emily McKhann of New York City. They created the site in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, helping to bring a virtual community of mothers together who were united in their desire to assist families hit hardest by the storm.
“The power of women drove the entire thing,” Munroe told Pop City in 2009. “We saw the power of the web for good and how, by doing our little bit with the website, we were able to make a difference.”
Savvy marketing women— they met each other in 1988 working for a public relations firm in Washington, D.C.—they had a long range plan from the start: to nurture a community of woman who would become the social media influencers in their future marketing business.
That day has come.
“It has been a wonderful journey,” says Munroe. “We work with organizations (and corporations) that really want to reach moms who are social media influencers with a deep and loyal readership. The word of mouth impact is unparalleled, women talking to women about what they care about.”
As a marketing company, The Motherhood organizes social campaigns and strategies for companies, promoting everything from the health and welfare of Sub-Saharan mothers to good hygiene, healthy pets and family fun.
For example, there’s the Listerine 21-Day Challenge to improve oral health. Merck for Mothers addresses maternal mortality rates in Uganda. The Hershey Camp Bondfire promotes s’mores in the summer.
The Motherhood connects the campaigns through thousands of blogger followers who push the stories out on their own blogs
. Some of the bloggers, not all, are paid by The Motherhood for their service.
Their reach is tantalizing. The Motherhood has more than 14,000 followers--6,000 followers on Facebook alone--a core network of 3000 mommy bloggers and another 10,000 potential bloggers across the country. The company counts many Fortune 500 companies among its clients: Johnson&Johnson, Bayer, Verizon, ConAgra Foods, Frito Lay to name a few.
“The most exciting thing is how people in Pittsburgh came together and are reshaping the advertising industry,” says Paul Fireman. “Through the magic of the community they've built, they only need to grab the ticket and take the bus.”
“It's not a mommy blog. It’s a whole new marketing channel, a sophisticated business that connects influencers to brands,” adds Bob Stein with Pitt’s IEE.
There may be a question, for some, of corporate accountability. Do social media marketing companies like The Motherhood have a responsibility to ensure that companies are as altruistic as their campaigns claim?
Munroe and McKhann believe that is not their role. As a marketing firm, they create, package and deliver information on the campaigns and programs to bloggers who, in turn, spin it into prose on their own websites.
"We believe in the campaigns we work on and the clients projects we bring to bloggers. We take on campaigns that raise all boats," Munroe says.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Cooper Munroe and Emily McKhann, The Motherhood; Paul Fireman, Fireman Creative; Bob Stein, University of Pittsburgh