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For Mommy Bloggers Your Online Reputation is Your Newborn Child

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"Mommy Bloggers" have changed the way that marketers and brands interact with consumers and their products. Many bloggers have relationships with brands in the form of an ad on their website, running a Twitter chat contest, or doing product reviews.

But now they're looking for more lucrative opportunities to act as the brand voice, or spokesperson. Yet they're making some fundamental mistakes which are stopping them from getting to the next level of engagement.

I spoke at one of the biggest Mom Blogging conferences in North America, Mom 2.0, to advise bloggers on how to work with brands, and to avoid damaging their own brand. This includes the basic reminder that being "authentic" online doesn't have to mean throwing away your professionalism and strategic plan. Here are the three biggest mistakes I see Mommy Bloggers making:

Dear Mommy Blogger Rage
When an e-mail opening with "Dear Mommy Blogger" lands in your inbox, you might want to respond with disdain, and sometimes anger that the company has not addressed you by name and insulted you by calling you a "Mommy Blogger." So you vent about this on Twitter, Facebook, even devote an entire blog post to it. What you have failed to see is that you have just been contacted by a marketing, or public relations company, even maybe a brand, who has expressed an interest in working with you. While they may not want to work with you in the format you want, remember to respond in a professional way. It's easy to be taken off lists for any future projects, brands, and entire agencies. Respond to them and let them know the type of work you would be interested in, and make arrangements for a face to face meeting if possible. Keep the contact; throw away the content.

Frustweetion Fail
It's so easy and tempting to tweet about a product or service disappointment, but the ripple effect can have long term damaging impact on your reputation as a brand representative. The minute you tweet out about how Airline X has annoyed you, every person in your social network, and beyond, who has had a problem with this airline will respond and create a massive negative energy that not only Airline X will see, but Y, and other brands as well. You will become a brand risk. Brand bashing is not advocacy; it is brand bashing. Think twice. Backspace is your best friend on Twitter.

Not Ready for Your Close Up
Brands will want to know what you look and sound like if they want to hire you as a spokesperson. First, you have to make sure you look the part. And then, make sure you have video of you looking the part on your website. While iPhone or other camera videos can work, take advantage of local television when you can.

With only a small audience watching, you can get a high quality video clip, and be trained in television spokesperson work for free. You'll gain in experience in everything from how you sit, sound, lighting, make up, even how to interact with a host. Post the video on your website as soon as you can (if it's good) and if you have been smart enough to take on a product you want to work with, put a link out to them as well. Practice being a spokesperson before getting hired.
Above all, be easy to work with. As one senior public relations executive said to me as I left the stage "Brands tend to like that."