Women dominate online writing about parenting. So-called mommy blogs get millions of hits per month. But dads are trying to carve out their space online. How the dads can boost their popularity – and how the moms can bring in more bucks – was a hot topic at South by Southwest Interactive:
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A group of about 70 bloggers has gathered in a hotel in Austin for a panel discussion called “Not Your Mommy’s Blog: The Evolution of Dad Blogs.” They’re trying to figure out how dads can be a bigger part of the parenting conversation online.
But a few hours later, another group of bloggers met a few blocks away for a panel called “Monetizing Mommy” – strategies mom bloggers could use to lure more lucrative sponsorship deals to their websites.
The difference in the panels says it all: Moms rake it in while dads pick up the scraps.
Danielle Wiley owns a management agency for bloggers that helps them get sponsorship deals and television appearances. Wiley represents about 50 bloggers. Only one is a man.
“I think there’s still this assumption that moms are the ones doing all the purchasing,” she says. “That’s what the studies are saying.”
But some of the discrepancy also comes from how men and women use the Internet.
Jason Avant manages a site called dadcentric.com, which he started in 2005.
“We know that women in general spend a lot more time online in terms of content. Women do spend a lot of time looking for stuff to read online,” he says. “I think dads and men in general use the Internet as more of a tool to find out stuff – where is this, how does this work – things like that.”
Avant manages a team of 11 writers. He says his site makes money, and in a good month, he can receive up to 50,000 page views.
Compare that to the top mom blog in Wiley’s stable. Tipjunkie.com gets 6 million hits per month.
Catherine Connors writes herbadmother.com. Her blog gets several hundred thousand hits per month, and last year Connors made well into six figures from sponsorship deals with companies like GM and Intel.
“You get a mom blogger taking a GM car on a cross-country road trip, that changes the narrative around GM,” she says. “It’s not just about what kind of motor it has or how fast it goes or even how fuel-efficient it is. It’s about can this stand up to your kids.”
Connors says for dads to succeed, they need to speak more specifically to other men.
“I think the more dads embrace themselves as a community … and bring more men into that conversation, and expand what they write about and talk about so that it’s more facing into other areas of men’s lives, I think they can really develop quite a big community and talk about parenting in a different way.”
Jason Avant, the dad blogger, is trying just that. One of his writers is a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. He’s writing about the experience of being away from his kids for a year.
At one point, the dad panel shifted to a discussion of other areas that attract men and how they could be tapped to lure readers. Men’s love for competition and sports was quickly mentioned, and that led to an idea from AJ Jacobs. He writes about fatherhood for Esquire magazine.
“What about a fantasy child care league?” Jacobs asked. “I don’t know how it would work. Put together the perfect team of kids or the perfect team of fathers. Maybe that will be my next project?”
The decision of where to draft your own kid should provide plenty to write about.