Industry Round-Up: Pinterest, Facebook Release New Publishing & Advertising Features

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Pinterest and Facebook have been busy announcing exciting new features for brands, consumers and advertisers: Find out more in this week’s Industry Round-Up from The Motherhood!

Pinterest Announces New Ad Services & Products

After naming its first general manager of monetization, Pinterest is ready to build its ad services and products portfolio. Pinterest’s new services include “Cinematic Pins,” improved audience targeting and new pricing structures.

Pinterest’s new Cinematic Pins will be animated pins that move when the user scrolls and stops when the user stops. The speed at which a user scrolls will determine how fast an animated pin moves.

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

In addition, Pinterest will begin offering a more niche system for audience targeting that will be based off a user’s interests and personas. Genre marketers will be able to target millennials, gardeners, foodies, travelers, etc.

Lastly, Pinterest announced plans to offer two new pricing structures to marketers. The “cost per engagement” model is for marketers looking to drive Pinterest users’ intent to purchase – marketers will only pay when a user signals intent toward the brand or product such as a repin, click-through or close-up of a specific pin. The “cost per action” pricing structure will be offered for advertisers looking to drive action such as the actual purchase of a product or service.

Tim Kendall, General Manager of Monetization at Pinterest, says, “We want to make it easy for marketers to work with us. They are only paying us if we achieve their objectives, and that takes the risk out of advertising on Pinterest, which we think is really important.”

Facebook Introduces Instant Articles

Last week, Facebook announced its plan for a direct-to-Facebook publishing service that allows publishers the ability to share articles and content directly on the social media site. Facebook Instant Articles will eliminate the current click-through model, meaning readers will not have to click through to read the article; it will appear directly on Facebook’s mobile apps.

 

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Photo Credit: Facebook

This new feature could have a huge influence on the way the publishing industry works. BuzzFeed, The New York Times, National Geographic and The Guardian are a few publishers that have access to Instant Articles, allowing these publications the opportunity to reach 936 million daily active Facebook users directly.

The Motherhood’s 5 Top Tips for Bloggers Working with Brands

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Over the years, The Motherhood has worked with thousands of bloggers on hundreds of campaigns for brands. As companies have recognized and embraced the influence of the online community, opportunities for ambassadorships and sponsored posts have increased dramatically.

When you work with brands, PR agencies and blogger networks (like The Motherhood), there are a few things you can remember to make a great impression and get yourself hired again and again.

In a nutshell, the advice from our team is be professional. When you’re hired to write a sponsored post, treat it like you would any other job: Be reliable, communicate with your team, read your emails thoroughly, meet deadlines and follow through on your commitments ethically and respectfully.

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If you want to stand out in the business of blogging, take a peek at The Motherhood’s five top tips for bloggers working with brands:

1) Be professional. When you make a commitment to a brand or network to participate in a sponsored campaign, it’s important to deliver. That includes showing up on time for events like Twitter parties, meeting post deadlines, responding promptly (within one business day) to emails and providing email updates if something comes up that might hinder your ability to honor those commitments.

2) Think like a brand. See your posts from their perspective. Often, brand representatives and marketers are on the hunt for great coverage they can highlight for their executive team. Take pride in your work, and imagine how you want your post to look if it ends up in front of the company CEO. For example:

  • Read the campaign guidelines and requirements carefully, and incorporate the suggested links, key messaging and images in your coverage.
  • Do not search Google Images for content – it often pulls up outdated photos or logos. Ask your contact instead for brand images; they’d be happy to help.
  • Proofread to ensure there are no errors or typos in your post before you click “publish.”
  • Make sure brand names are spelled correctly and include capital letters and proper trademarking if needed.
  • In your personal photos of the brand’s products, check the background to make sure there are no other brand names or logos visible. 

3) Go above and beyond. If you really want to shine, don’t just do the bare minimum! When you’re writing, be creative and tell your own story about the brand while incorporating their key messaging; brands aren’t interested in posts that simply copy and paste their bullet points. Publish your coverage before the day of the deadline and consider throwing in a couple of extra social media posts. Look up the campaign hashtag on Twitter and re-tweet a few times or start a relevant conversation using the hashtag – engagement matters.

4) Blog with integrity. When you’re invited to blog on behalf of a brand, it’s important to disclose work you’ve done (or are currently doing) for brand competitors before opting in. (In this case, it’s easier on everyone if you ask permission up front rather than forgiveness later!) In your blog coverage, remember to properly attribute photographs if they aren’t your own, provide links to source materials as needed and add a disclosure notice at the top of your post, per FTC guidelines.

5) Build respectful relationships. The most productive relationships between brands or networks and bloggers are ones built on mutual respect and open dialogue. For example, if you opt in for a campaign with a brand and begin to realize that particular program is not a good fit for your blog, you should feel comfortable sharing that feedback behind the scenes. Your honesty and discretion will be remembered.

Bring your best self to your work and business relationships, and it will make a difference. We hope you find these tips on working with brands helpful, and we hope to work with you through The Motherhood soon!

TM Book Club: Aloha Also Means Goodbye is a Fun Read

With summer just around the corner, we are turning our attention to fun beach reads with a brief review of Aloha Also Means Goodbye, a fictional romance written by Jessica Rosenberg of It’s My Life.

The central plot of Aloha Also Means Goodbye revolves around a love triangle: Jo, who’s in Hawaii to marry one man (Jordan), finds out her former love (Andy) is staying at the same resort. Jo was carrying a great deal of baggage from her relationship with Andy when she met Jordan five years ago, and running into Andy for the first time since he left her packs an emotional punch and sets up a dramatic storyline. Will Jo marry Jordan or reunite with Andy?

Aloha Also Means Goodbye

Contributing to the action are a colorful group of secondary characters: Jo’s two best friends Sadie and Roxie, her mother, a disinterested wedding planner, Andy’s two small children, his ex-wife and an attractive hotel employee named Kona, among others.

Aloha Also Means Goodbye delivers plenty of action – each character seems to have his or her own set of secrets and love interests that emerge as the story unfolds. If you can suspend reality for a few hours and prefer neatly wrapped, blissfully happy endings, this is an ideal book for you, particularly for a plane ride or an afternoon at the beach. The plot will grab you and pull you through quickly.

Tell the Makers of MOTRIN How You Make it Happen & Win!

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We have received information, product and materials from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of MOTRIN®. The opinions stated are our own. This is a sponsored post.

Moms, we know you’re unstoppable, and we know part of the way you stay unstoppable throughout the week is by making it happen on the weekends. Whether it’s things at home, keeping up with your own fitness routine or managing the family, you do it all week long and then continue to tackle things throughout the weekend. Moms everywhere find ways to fit it all in, and the makers of MOTRIN surveyed some of them to see how they’re making it happen at home. You can check out the results on this MOTRIN infographic.

We want you to share all of your great tips for making it happen at this week’s Twitter party on May 20 from 2-3 PM ET. Celebrity trainer Ashley Borden will be joining us for this discussion, and she will be sharing great tips on how you can take care of yourself while also taking care of all the other moving pieces in your life!

You can RSVP here for the Twitter party.

To help you feel better before and after any physically demanding project, consider some of Ashley’s tips* for adding stretches and toning moves to your daily routine. You’ll feel looser, leaner and ready to “Make It Happen.”

  • The “I’m cleaning under the couch on my hands and knees” back stretch: You know that great stretch when you arch and round your spine to really stretch those back muscles? Multi-task and peek under the couch for that missing remote while you’re at it. Alternate arching and rounding your spine, five times each way.
  • The “I’ve been avoiding it, but it’s finally time to tackle the yard work” shoulder stretch: While standing tall, interlace your hands behind your back. Try to reach down toward the floor and straighten your arms as much as you can. Raise your chest high and keep your eyes on the horizon. You will feel a big shoulder harness stretch around the both shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • The “I will paint this room by myself in one afternoon” triceps stretch: Start by putting your arms up over your head and bend your right arm so that your forearm hangs down. With your left hand grab your right elbow and pull it toward your head. Lean to the left to really open up your rib cage. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then switch sides and repeat with opposite arm. Do three rounds on each side. Then grab that paint roller and get moving!
  • The “I can look for dust bunnies while I strengthen my core” plank: Lying face-down on the floor, get into the plank position, supporting your body with your forearms and the tips of your toes, keeping your back and legs fully extended and straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds while you scan the floor for dust bunnies. Do five sets.
  • The “I can pick up the toys while toning my legs and tush” squat: Survey that playroom floor and see what needs tidying. Stand with knees shoulder-width apart and drop into a squat. Be mindful of your position and ensure your knees don’t extend past your toes. At the bottom of the squat, pick something up and put it where it belongs. Repeat until the playroom is clean.

The MOTRIN brand is inviting all of you unstoppable women to join in and celebrate Monday as a day of triumph by sharing how you “Make It Happen” over the weekend! You can share how you “Make It Happen” on the weekends when it comes to home, fitness, fashion and family by visiting the MOTRIN Facebook page on Mondays for a chance to win a one-on-one session with actress Jennie Garth in L.A. to discuss her DIY tips and tricks, plus other great prizes.**

*Remember to talk to your doctor before starting or changing any exercise routine and always use product as directed.

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 21 years or older. Enter Contest on 5/11/15. For Official Rules, including prize descriptions, visit http://bit.ly/MotrinMIHRules. Void where prohibited

Online Influencers Rave About The Motherhood Selects Program

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Last week, The Motherhood team announced the launch of The Motherhood Selects (#TMSelects), our first-ever program that spotlights beloved brands and products that our team internally nominates for recognition.

The team also handpicked 10 online influencers to receive the inaugural #TMSelects packages, and here’s what each had to say:

“This fabulous group of ladies decided to share some of their own favorite things (Oprah-style!) with some of the bloggers they connect with. I loved this concept, because this was not driven out of any sort of campaign. It was simply women sharing with other women products that they adore. I felt like I got to know these ladies better by trying out these products for myself, and in the process I started to fall in love with the products, too!” – Tiffany, Stuff Parents Need

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Photo Courtesy: Tiffany, Stuff Parents Need
“The thing that has really impressed me about the S’well bottle is how long the water I put in it stays honest-to-goodness COLD. Hours and hours, people!” – Tiffany

“Although I loved everything in the box, the Wild Explorers moccasins are my favorite. Even though they are ironically not even mine. Sissy has worn her bright yellow moccasins every single day since the box arrived. In fact, getting a photo of the soft-soled, leather shoes proved to be difficult since she won’t take them off! These shoes have already been well loved.” – Jen, The Suburban Mom

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Photo Courtesy: Jen, The Suburban Mom

Tésa of 2 Wired, 2 Tired also had a lot to say about the #TMSelects package, and was kind enough to share a video of herself opening it! Check it out on her YouTube page.

“Now this line of lip balms, lotion and more have been my favorites for a while as well! I love the product and it really works! The oval design is great for whole lip care and is clever to boot! Next time you see some, pick it up! It will be on your favorite lists as well!” – Lori, A Day in Motherhood

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Photo Courtesy: Lori, A Day in Motherhood

“You know it felt like Christmas getting these! I am a HUGE fan of moccs {as you ladies already know!} but I hadn’t heard of Wild Explorers! They are high-quality, soft-sole moccs AND can we talk about that color?! IN. LOVE. RIGHT. NOW.” – Danielle, Today’s the Best Day

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Photo Courtesy: Danielle, Today’s the Best Day

“Since LÄRABARs are both gluten and dairy-free, my older kids were able to snack on them too. We were all thrilled to find a product that we were able to eat and also tastes great.” – Alea, Premeditated Leftovers

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Photo courtesy: Alea, Premeditated Leftovers

“Can you believe that I have never tried the EOS lip balm before now? I was excited to see the EOS lip balm in this package as I have so many friends who love this stuff. It came at the perfect time, too, as my older daughter had been so sick this past week & her poor lips were chapped from being sick. Great time to put the EOS to the test for her & me, and it did not disappoint. EOS lip balm is paraben-free, petrolatum-free and phthalate-free, so not only great to use for moms but also our kids, too, knowing we are putting safe products on our kids lips! Love that they offer SPF 15, too, in their lip balm, perfect for the summertime weather.” – Jen, Thrifty Northwest Mom

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Photo Courtesy: Jen, Thrifty Northwest Mom

“I’ve never tried LÄRABARs before, but they are perfect for on-the-go snacking for me and the kids. I always have snacks in my purse or diaper bag because you never know when you’ll be out and need a little something to eat.” – Jamie, The Denver Housewife

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Photo Courtesy: Jamie, The Denver Housewife

“I have mad love for companies that give back. S’well Bottles not only keep drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours, they also work with charity partners to provide clean water to places that need it. I was just talking this week with a friend about how water is such a luxury and how much we take it for granted. I love that every time I use my S’well water bottle I can be reminded just how lucky I truly am. And they aren’t kidding about the cold thing. It really truly is amazing.” – Jill, Just Jilly

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Photo Courtesy: Jill, Just Jilly

“What a fabulous list of favorite things from The Motherhood. These ladies sure know how to pick some amazing items to share. One of the most incredible, and my favorite, item in the box was the original piece of artwork from The Motherhood Art Director. Love it!” – Staci, 7 on a Shoestring

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Photo Courtesy: Staci, 7 on a Shoestring

The Motherhood Selects will return later this year, so stay tuned to see what we share next!

Q&A with Neylan McBaine of Brain Chase Productions

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This spring, The Motherhood has been working with the team behind the Brain Chase Summer Learning Challenge, along with a large team of mom influencers, to spread the word about this fun and interactive online summer learning option. Recently, we asked Brain Chase Chief Marketing Officer Neylan McBaine to share her thoughts on why Brain Chase is a unique, effective option for families.

Keep reading to learn what she has to say!

In your opinion, what sets Brain Chase apart from other online summer learning options?

Neylan McBaineBrain Chase brings together two things that are found in quality and quantity apart but are rarely combined effectively: education and entertainment. Singular successful examples last generations in our memories: Schoolhouse Rock, Where In the World Is Carmen San Diego?, even Sesame Street, to name a few from my own childhood. But Brain Chase takes that pairing into both the digital and offline worlds. By offering the best online curriculum resources on the web and motivating kids to use them by crafting a massive global treasure hunt, Brain Chase offers kids a framework in which they can learn from the best while not suffering the drudgery and nagging parental figures that accompany so many other options.

What was your family’s experience participating in Brain Chase last summer (before you were hired by the company)?

My three daughters are not particularly computer literate, so I am always looking for ways to introduce them to resources and sites online that will expose them to the best of what the internet has to offer. For me, one of the best parts of participating in the program last summer was seeing my kids become fluent on Khan Academy and myON in a structured, motivating environment. This year, Brain Chase has added Rosetta Stone and Google Books as curriculum partners, so we’re looking forward to becoming familiar with those this year.

While I might have appreciated seeing them become more familiar with the web’s “healthy” resources, their favorite part for sure was the adventure tools that came through the mail from the Grayson Academy of Antiquities (the fictional employer of our heroine, Mae Merriweather). They received a very cool decoder ring, a compass and seeds that revealed a secret password on their leaves when they grew. This year’s adventure tools are just as cool: a decoder medallion, a sundial and a mystery tool – but I know what it is and it is delightful. It’s magical to see kids receive a package in the mail that looks like it comes from an exotic adventureland and then figure out how to use something like a compass that is foreign to them today but directed our civilizations for thousands of years! (Apparently, the kids weren’t the only ones who love these tools.)

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How have parents and kids reacted to the idea of Brain Chase in general?

We joke in the office that Brain Chase is an “and then…” product: “So, it’s a summer program that’s online … and then there are real adventure tools … and then there are animated episodes … and then there are clues to a riddle … and then there’s a real buried treasure … and then there is a $10,000 prize…!” Parents and kids both become more and more intrigued when they learn about the extent of the program and all of the magical online and offline components. Overwhelmingly, when a parent grasps the full concept and the tremendous value we’re offering over five weeks, they can’t believe how fun and productive and flexible and useful the program is. We have some seriously devoted fans! The kids love the idea of the animated show and the real buried treasure, and parents love the fact that they won’t have to nag their kids about doing something productive with their inevitable summer screen time.

What is the most important thing you would like people to know about Brain Chase?

Brain Chase is unlike anything else parents are familiar with today, so it requires a bit of education to understand just how comprehensive our value is. On the education side, we’re researching and curating and partnering with the very best curriculum providers on the web, most of which are expensive as stand-alone subscriptions. With Brain Chase, kids will get seven weeks of access to Rosetta Stone, for instance (the kids can access Rosetta Stone for two additional weeks after our program ends to continue with their work), which is not a cheap resource. We’re also providing streamlined log-ins to each curriculum partner and a dashboard where the student’s work on each site is tracked. We’re providing a motivational framework so the child won’t have to be nagged to do their work, a place where kids can become familiar with the “superfoods” of the web and not just the “junk.”

On the entertainment side, we have an original animated series featuring our own characters, and the episodes are packed with clues to the location of a real-life buried treasure. The adventure tools we send in the mail are essential for completing the weekly education challenges but also for solving the global treasure hunt. All of that makes for an amazing value when you compare it to those components separately or to any other five-week summer camp, and when you consider that our program can be done from anywhere, at any time.

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As a parent yourself, what do you most love about the Brain Chase academic offerings?

All of our academic offerings are entirely flexible and can be personalized to the students’ needs. So my three daughters – 11, 9 and 6 – can each get exactly what they need from the program. With Khan Academy, for instance, my 11-year-old can choose to review fifth grade math or go on to sixth grade math, and my 6-year-old can select first grade math. Similarly, my kids can select different books to read and even different languages to study through Rosetta Stone. What this means is that Brain Chase can be used as a tool to help kids review last year’s work or get ahead for the next year. We’ve had a number of touching stories from parents whose kids used Brain Chase last year to catch up after missing some school due to illness or learning disabilities. I love that part of our program.

Our kids want to know if Brain Chase can come to their classrooms! Any plans to tap the larger education market?

Absolutely! Our summer program will always be our foundational offering, but we’re in the process now of looking for partners with whom we can build after-school programs and expand our product offerings. We’d love to use our existing motivational framework to make additional learning fun in the after-school hours, or personalize the animations and treasure hunt to a specific educational group. We currently have a program where we give teachers $15 for each of their students who registers for Brain Chase, so getting a lot of kids in a class to register for the summer program is a great fundraiser for a teacher or a school.

You can visit Brain Chase here to register!

Two New Twitter Party Series Ahead!

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The month of May brings warmer weather, school graduations, new sports seasons — and two new Twitter party series from The Motherhood! This month, we’re looking forward to bringing you conversations that will include celebrity hosts and experts, as well as opportunities to connect like-minded women to share personal experiences and advice.

#MakeItHappen Twitter Party Series

#MakeItHappen with Jennie Garth & MOTRIN

Wednesday, May 13 @ 2 p.m. ET

Do you thrive on a busy lifestyle? Are you an unstoppable woman? The MOTRIN Brand is here to help support those women who are always at the center of things – the hubs of their family and social circles. For these unstoppable women, weekdays are packed with responsibilities, so the weekends are filled with overflow to-do items!

This spring, the makers of MOTRIN, together with actress and mom Jennie Garth, will be sharing tips, tricks and advice to help keep unstoppable women inspired and motivated while they #MakeItHappen over the weekend, so that Mondays become a day of triumph! Join us as we kick off this Twitter party series on May 13 at 2 p.m. ET, chatting with Jennie Garth about her favorite DIY project weekend tips. We’ll be talking paint, measurement, wallpaper and more!

To learn more about how to #MakeItHappen over the weekend, go to the MOTRIN Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MOTRIN where you’ll find tips, tricks and inspiration to help you be unstoppable during the busy weekend!

Prizes: We will be giving away five $50 Visa gift cards to randomly selected individuals based on the event’s RSVPs.**

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. RSVP by 2:55 p.m. ET on May 13, 2015. See official rules for complete details on the Twitter party series.

#MakeItHappen with Ashley Borden & MOTRIN

Wednesday, May 20 @ 2 p.m. ET

For many women, weekdays are packed with juggling the responsibilities of their careers and families, leaving weekends as a narrow timeframe for taking care of other to-do items. In two short days, they can turn their homes into works of art, take care of their families, go grocery shopping and much more! MOTRIN supports these unstoppable women who are always at the center of things, thriving on a busy lifestyle. They refuse to let pain put their lives, or the lives of those they love, on hold.

This spring, MOTRIN is working with a fitness and lifestyle consultant to some of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces and world-class athletes, Ashley Borden, to share tips, tricks and advice to help these unstoppable women take care of themselves over their busy weekends while they’re also helping #MakeItHappen in other areas of their lives.

We’ll continue the MOTRIN Twitter party series on May 20 at 2 p.m. ET as we chat with Ashley Borden about her favorite tips for tackling DIY projects while staying pain-free, thanks to her favorite quick and simple stretches and exercises.

To learn more about how to #MakeItHappen over the weekend, go to the MOTRIN Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MOTRIN where you’ll find tips, tricks and inspiration to help you stay unstoppable during the busy weekend!

Prizes: We will be giving away five $50 Visa gift cards to randomly selected individuals based on the event’s RSVPs.** We can’t wait to see you at the Twitter party!

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. RSVP by 2:55 p.m. ET on May 13, 2015. See official rules for complete details on the Twitter party series.

#TheStorkOTC Twitter Chat Series

#TheStorkOTC Nutrition & Lifestyle

Tuesday, May 19 @ 1 p.m. ET

Have you ever struggled on your journey to start a family? Do you know someone who has? Join us for this first of six Twitter chats focused on fertility and conception, sponsored by The Stork OTC. For 30 minutes, we’ll be discussing how a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition can be a smart first step when trying to conceive.

During this 30-minute mini chat, we will be discussing some great ideas and tips to get you started on a healthy journey! You’ll also have a chance to win one of three $25 gift cards to CVS/pharmacy by answering some trivia questions! For more information on The Stork OTC, please visit their website.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician.

Click here for the full schedule for #TheStorkOTC Chat Series.

We hope you can join us for these informative chats!

Iris Awards Win: Congratulations to ONE Girls and Women

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Bloggers, organizations and campaigns were honored in early May at the Iris Awards, hosted at Mom 2.0 Summit, and among them was an organization especially important to The Motherhood and close to all of our hearts: ONE Girls and Women. (The Motherhood co-founders Cooper Munroe and Emily McKhann serve on the organization’s advisory board alongside other top online influencers.)

Several years ago, The Motherhood worked with the ONE Campaign to create initiative building awareness around women’s issues in Africa. With eight other influential online moms – Rachel Fox, Amy GraffJennifer James, Lindsay Maines, Shayne Moore, Elisa Morgan, Jyl Pattee, and Karen Walrond - Cooper and Emily visited Kenya with the ONE team to learn about conditions and relief efforts in Africa and share what they were learning and witnessing with women back home in America.

The blogger community responded enthusiastically to the trip, following the ONE Moms in real time through their Twitter hashtag, a dedicated page on the ONE Campaign’s website, a page on The Motherhood and hundreds of blogs around the country that promoted the organization’s work and offered support.

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The grassroots social media movement around the ONE Moms drew the attention of ABC World News, which named the ONE Moms as ABC News’ Person of the Week on “World News Tonight” with Diane Sawyer after their return to the U.S.

Starting this Mother’s Day, ONE and Heifer International will lead a ONE Girls and Women trip through Malawi with an exceptional group of bloggers.  You can follow along and support the trip here.  The hashtags are #ONEHeifer and #Malawi.

Thank you ONE Girls and Women for the great work you do, and congratulations Ginny Wolfe and Jeannine Harvey on your well deserved Iris Awards win!

The Iris Awards image is courtesy of Mom 2.0 Summit. 

The Motherhood Selects: S’well Bottle

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If you’ve been following along this week, you know that The Motherhood launched The Motherhood Selects (#TMSelects) just days ago, an exclusive program that features products that The Motherhood team personally loves and uses. You can read all about it in Monday’s blog post.

The #TMSelects package that was recently shared with some of our network’s top influencers included four products, one of which was the S’well Bottle, a unique stainless steel bottle that can hold both hot and cold liquids.

One of The Motherhood’s co-founders, Emily McKhann, was the first to fall in love with this uniquely designed bottle, which she later introduced to the entire team when she gifted each of us with the IVY S’well bottle (from the Glitter Collection) which matched up with The Motherhood’s color scheme oh-so-s’well!

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It wasn’t long before each of us also fell in love with the mission behind the bottle — to reduce the number of plastic water bottles used every day. Additionally, S’well puts community and charity at the forefront, contributing to several charitable organizations on a regular basis.

The stainless steel bottles have such a unique design, they’re easy to spot, whether it’s in the office, in the city or on the hiking trails.

Sarah, of The Motherhood, participated in the #5BoroBikeTour in New York City over the weekend, S'well bottle in hand!

Sarah, of The Motherhood, participated in the #5BoroBikeTour in New York City over the weekend, S’well bottle in hand!

While some of us use it as our go-to water bottle for the gym and hiking, others opt to load it up with hot coffee in the morning for our commutes. Drinks stay cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 without any condensation on the outside, ever. The cap also prevents leakage and can even hold carbonation.

Check them out. Which S’well Bottle would you pick?

Mom 2.0 Highlights: The Importance of Storytelling

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Once Upon a Time: Team members from The Motherhood joined several hundred bloggers and a number of brands gathered in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the 2015 Mom 2.0 Summit. The theme of the conference, thanks in large part to title sponsor Dove (a client of The Motherhood’s), was the power of storytelling.

The Mom 2.0 Summit Guide made the point, echoed by speakers and sessions during the three-day conference, that “this community is shaping conversations on everything from modern parenting, to marketing trends, to racial equality.” That influence can be parlayed into business success, a means to support your family and opportunities to use your voice and platforms to impact issues close to your own heart.

Set the Stage for Your Success

In the business of blogging, a good media kit is an important tool in telling your story: Your influence and audience, topics and themes you cover on your blog, personal details like your location and kids’ ages, information about what you deliver and expect from sponsored posts – everything that will tell a brand representative why you’re a good fit for a campaign and why he or she should hire you.

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Speaker Stacie Connerty of Divine Lifestyle recommended hiring someone to create a media kit for you if you’re uncertain about the format, design and information to include. And if you’re uncomfortable writing about yourself and your blog’s attributes, consider swapping with a friend to draft each other’s bio and introduction.

Brands Recognize the Power of Blog Authenticity and Anecdotes

During a panel discussion, brand representatives from Kia Motors, Best Buy, SmartyPants Vitamins and Abbott (which creates Similac and PediaSure) offered confirmation of what we at The Motherhood already know:

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Companies are increasingly approaching bloggers and using social media in their marketing strategies because it works. One example: When the Kia Motors team created a blog campaign around an auto show appearance instead of hosting their usual press conference for traditional media, they saw a greater number of impressions and engagement.

While brands say that reach does matter, another thing they look for in bloggers when they consider a partnership is authentic blog and social content that demonstrates a passion and affinity for their brand or product category. In other words, share stories from the heart about the things you love, and it could help you land partnerships with your favorite companies.

In fact, Mom 2.0 is a great place to network with those companies – one of the things we like most about the conference is the number and variety of sponsors. This year, we particularly enjoyed talking with representatives from Breyers ice cream (who organized a delicious toppings bar at the welcome party) and the Juice Products Association (who created a fascinating, information-packed booth in the Sponsor Marketplace).

Visual Storytelling is Increasingly Important

While authenticity is key, this year, it’s the ability to share your story through beautiful photos and nicely edited video that will give you the real advantage. Brands are becoming more and more interested in sharing their own stories through visual mediums like Pinterest, Instagram and video platforms (such as YouTube, Vine and Instagram again).

What's next Mom 2.0

For example, Mom 2.0 Summit title sponsor Dove is currently running a #BeautyStory campaign inspired by a letter identifying Dove as the beauty secret of four generations of women in one family. The brand chose to share this family’s story in a video to illustrate the campaign. (The Motherhood is currently working on a creative campaign for Dove #BeautyStory with a group of wonderful bloggers, so keep an eye out for their posts, too!)

To give companies like Dove an opportunity to work with you through more visual platforms like Instagram, Ilana of Mommy Shorts recommends sharing diverse photos (your kids, landscapes, pets, interior shots, etc.), so brands can see where they could fit seamlessly.

The “Happily Ever After”

Beyond working with brands and sharing stories to foster a sense of community, gathering followers and gaining influence online gives us all an opportunity to make a difference in the world around us, create awareness around issues that matter and use our voices for good. Together, we can make 2015 the year of raising all boats.

The Mom 2.0 2016 location and dates were announced during the conference, too – let us know if you’ll be in beautiful Laguna Niguel, Calif., from April 27-29 next year! Keep an eye on the website; tickets will go on sale in a few months.

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