As the dad blogging community grows, the buzz around it is increasing. Since moms have shown themselves as a force in the blogosphere, speculation is emerging over whether dad bloggers will be a force in their own right.
I’ll go ahead and say it: dads are coming up, and brands need to understand how to engage the community successfully.
Being Daddy in a World of Mommies
First let’s put the modern-day dad in context. Dads who blog about fatherhood are by implication active in the lives of their children. As a father I can attest to the uncomfortable role in which active dads find themselves placed by society. Initially we’re hailed as heroes for being active at all, since the bar for what most people consider a “good” father is low. The smiling faces I get when I take my son out for an afternoon without his mom attest to this.
But underneath the smiles is a quiet condescension about my role in his life. It’s commonly assumed that my afternoon with my son is a break from his “real” parent. My session of “babysitting” won’t replace what he gets from his primary caregiver, right? It’s in this tension that dad bloggers live: between the burden of discovering their inabilities as a father and the low expectations placed upon them by others.
Whereas mom bloggers are struggling not to be put in a box, dad bloggers are fighting for a seat at the parenting table. They’re trying to bring respect to the institution of fatherhood. Being a dad, especially a stay-at-home dad, is being a minority in a field dominated by women.
Respecting the Role of the Father
Brands should acknowledge that dads have a role to play in the lives of their kids. Blogging moms (taking care not to say ‘mommybloggers’) have had the attention of brands because numerous studies have shown them to make most of the purchasing decisions for a household. But in many households, parents collaborate on purchasing decisions, especially on big ticket items. Why not have the support of both parents? What about stay-at-home dads and single dads?
Some industries, such as consumer electronics, already have the attention of most men and could benefit from collaboration with dads. Last year Sony made an important step. In an effort to reach out to their readership, Sony sent some high profile dads products to try out with their families. They called it the DigiDads Project.
What made DigiDads work was a recognition that dad bloggers have their own voice, and their own ideas about what to share with their audiences. Sound familiar? The same successful formula has been used to engage moms online. Treating dads as an equal part of the parenting equation goes a long way towards gaining their respect.
At the same time, all bloggers are individuals and should be treated as such. I’m a father, but I don’t always blog about being a father. Dad blogs cover a variety of subjects. Knowing the interests and quirks of each person is an important step in the engagement process.
The Year of Daddy
I think we’re going to hear more about dad bloggers in the coming year as agencies and the brands they represent realize the potential of the dad blogger community. When mom engagement began online, it blew up when brands and moms began working together. My hope is that the same will happen with dads, and we’ll be treated like blogging equals instead of a passing trend.
Weigh in: What do you think about the growing community of dad bloggers? I’d especially love to hear from other dads.