I've been meaning to do this for months - start my own blog, I mean. I often write for urbanmoms.ca about motherhood and products I love and cool things other women are doing but I haven't done it regularly and I've never really written about urbanmoms.ca. I guess I just assumed everyone kinda got it but yesterday, while checking out some stuff on del.icio.us I realized I was wrong...really wrong. How? You ask. Well...urbanmoms.ca really has two parts and both are a reflection of me - The Mom and The Marketer.
If you want to know how it all began you can read the story here. The gist of it is that urbanmoms.ca started as a community blog because I was so inspired by the amazing women I met after becoming a mom. Anyone can contribute, write about whatever they want, as long as their goal is to inform and not offend.
One of the most important components of this community is that ALL of our bloggers write without parameters. We do NOT edit their work. We do not dictate the topics. We do not approve them and neither do the brands who host some of our blogs. They are simply sponsoring the page. These forward-thinking brands understand that being a part of our community is good for their brand and that respecting the community is essential. I read the blogs just like anyone else. Sometimes I laugh, or cry, or cringe but that is the value. It is not a sanitized, copy-written, dumbed down version of what's real and that is really important.
As a community we want to hear the voices of other members, not one person's perspective or worse, one brand's perspective, but from each individual. That's where the Marketer in me comes in.
I've always pushed the envelope a bit, asked too many questions, and more than likely got on some people's nerves. As a marketer things are no different. For the years I worked in packaged goods, targeting the mom consumer attempting to get a bit more share of her pantry, I asked a lot of questions because things just didn't sit quite right with me. Here I was, a mom, the target audience, it was my pantry we were trying to gain share of and I struggled to relate to the marketing messages.
My "annoying" habit of looking at things from the perspective of the consumer is what finally led me to where I am now. It was always clear to me that it is much better for a brand to get to know their consumer and to reflect their consumer's values. Far better than it is for a brand to try to convince their consumer that they know who they are and what they want more than their consumer does. This simply does not work and, in the process, it pisses off the very person they are trying to impress.
So urbanmoms.ca is built on that philosophy - Power to the People. Not because we are radicals turning our backs on traditional media but because there is just too much to sift through and I'd rather hear it from someone I trust. Drive awareness en masse through TV or print but build a relationship through social media.
That brings me right back to my time on del.icio.us yesterday. I pride myself on the "realness" of the content on urbanmoms.ca. That is the whole point. So to the marketing wizards who have tagged some of our content advertorials or blogvertorials I BEG you to take a closer look. The brands you see here are endorsed by community members through the Go2Girlz or else they wouldn't be welcome and the blogs are written by moms whose only objective is to contribute to their community.
So, we're not about smoke and mirrors here. What you see is what you get. We work with brands that make sense because we acknowledge that we are consumers. But we respect this space and the people in it and that's what makes it a community.