Why It Matters by Missy Maher.

Blogger outreach and partnerships play a large role in increasing brand exposure, broadening reach and introducing brands to new communities. One network that has exponentially expanded in recent years is the dad blogger community – growing in number and addressing a wide variety of topics, trends and passions.

This theme was ever-present at the 2013 Dad 2.0 Summit that took place in Houston from January 31 – February 2. Here are five key takeaways to keep in mind:

1. Dads Are Influential, Online and Off

Dad bloggers are tapping into cultural tides and societal shifts and they continue to develop influential audiences. Reporters from outlets such as The New York Times were in attendance at the Dad 2.0 Summit, proving that traditional media is now more in tune with dad bloggers, seeking to understand their influence both online and off. In return, dad editors, writers and content producers are continuing to contribute more to these publications. Take dad blogger Jim Higley, for example, who shares his experiences with fatherhood regularly with The Huffington Post under the identity of his “Bobblehead Dad” blog.

2. Break Convention

The assembled group of “dads who blog” are engrained in many facets of life, not just the “conventional” definitions of either fatherhood or masculinity. They are interested in more than sports, beer and cars. Dads are playing an important day-to-day role in their families, and they want to be engaged with brands year-round, rather than only on Father’s Day and during grilling season.

3. Modern Family Insight Into “Universal Parenting” Holds True

Dad 2.0 stressed the importance of partnership in parenting as mom and dad roles are becoming increasingly gender-neutral. Moms are no longer creating the shopping list and handing it to dad, for example. The leader of the New York Dads group recently talked about this very topic on The Wall Street Journal website, sharing the ways at-home dads are now putting a masculine stamp on child-rearing and home life.

4. Seeking Meaningful Brand Engagement

Dads view their blogs as businesses, seeing themselves as a group who can influence brands and purchases, and they expect brands to compensate them for their time. They are hungry for information on how to brand themselves, and are listening to and learning from the mom bloggers before them.

5. Consider Convergence

Men are more likely than ever to put fatherhood at the front and center of their identities, working their careers around their family obligations. They are actively talking about fatherhood – no matter what the channel – opening doors and opportunities that might not have otherwise existed. Look at Parenting.com, for instance, which recently created a series of comedy shorts called “Lords of the Playground,” featuring a dad’s view of the playground.

Dads continue to make news, showing us that their role is just as valuable as moms’ in raising their kids; marketers should keep in mind and show respect for dads when reaching out to them. Events like Dad 2.0 are the perfect opportunity to form relationships with this audience. Which are some particularly good examples of of connecting and building relationships with Dads both on and offline?

*2013 Dad 2.0 Summit Brand participants Kraft, Dove Men+Care and Huggies are Edelman clients.

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