Rather than launch its own blog, Johnson's Baby will foster women's participation in the blogosphere.
In a bid to connect with the "mom-blogging" phenomenon, Johnson's Baby, the baby care products division of Johnson & Johnson, is putting together a blog directory as part of a new branded social media site.
The yet-to-be-named portal, expected to launch in the fall, is aimed at helping Johnson's become involved in what the company sees as a social trend important to its brand. The company conducted research among women 18 and older and found that 85 percent of those who gave birth in the last four years spend free time online. More than a third said they found support from other moms online.
"Johnson's recognizes that today's moms are connecting in entirely new ways," Bridgette Heller, global president of Johnson's Baby, said in a statement. "While previous generations congregated on a daily basis at the park bench to discuss the parenting issues of the day, today's moms have found a new place. The blogosphere, open for conversation day or night, is the modern mom's park bench."
The new blog directory will be designed with an eye toward helping mothers find mom bloggers through keyword searches and tags. They'll be indexed by similar interests, number of kids and region of the country. The site will also offer non-blogging mothers advice on how to start. Organizers hope to get existing bloggers to participate by bringing them traffic and offering tips on how to increase their audiences.
J&J recruited a panel of "top mom bloggers" to advise the company on this initiative.
"We didn't go into this as experts, for sure," Lindsay Kalaw, product director at Johnson's Baby, told ClickZ. "We've learned a lot about the blogging community. We wanted to identify moms seen as influential in this space and we asked them, 'What would you be looking for from a blog directory?'"
One of the things that emerged is that bloggers, unsurprisingly, aren't looking "to be bombarded with advertisements," Kalaw said. In keeping with this sentiment, Johnson's will keep branding on the site light, though the company does intend to inform visitors about ongoing programs and provide sampling opportunities.
"It's not a space where we're looking to push product," said Kalaw.
Though the site itself isn't scheduled to launch until fall, the company has set up a page at baby.com/BlogHer to collect e-mail addresses and blog URLs. The company timed its announcement of the program to coincide with the BlogHer women bloggers' conference that took place in San Jose last week. Johnson's was also a gold sponsor of that event.
"I think for us it's about being relevant. We have an amazing heritage on which we draw," Kalaw said. "Because we've been around so long, moms trust us. But we need to make sure that we're up to date and modern and this is one of the ways we can do that."
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
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