This just in: Women bloggers are the new powerhouse journalists

August 28, 2012

In case we were wondering about the power of women bloggers today, trust me, we shouldn't. But don't take my word for it. Take the surprise live feed of President Barack Obama straight from the White House as the opening keynote at the 2012 BlogHer Conference as proof. Followed soon after by Katie Couric, Martha Stewart and other notables. 

It's clear they know something we all should too: that the more than 5,000 influential women bloggers at this conference are shaping the dialogue, behavior and buying habits of women across the country. 

As I sat among these women – many of whom were rocking babies and tweeting at the same time – I had to pinch myself. Is this the new face of journalism? For sure, a rapidly growing, influential segment. They've got rate cards, media kits and Quantcast scores to quantify the value of their influence. They know the importance of working with PR professionals as critical allies and liaisons to brands. They recognize they need to deliver for brands – that brands must shape behavior and drive store traffic – and know there's a win-win opportunity to work with them and still maintain the integrity of their posts. And most of all, they are master relationship-builders. 

To see the brands present only reinforced these realities. From Johnson & Johnson to Kohler to an on-site launch of The Lorax DVD soon to be released in stores (complete with a "live" Lorax in the flesh), the conference was riddled with Fortune 500 companies anxious to put free products into the hands of these powerful, everyday women because they knew that just a few positive blog or Twitter conversations can reach thousands. And the rest is reputation and sales history.

Martha Stewart clearly knew she had a rare opportunity with these women. Her parting words said it all: "I would love to link to your blogs. Tweet @MarthaStewart and hashtag #checkoutmyblogmartha and I will link to your blog. I'm very curious about what you are all doing. I know some of you are massively successful and some yet undiscovered."

Melissa Flynn is a member of the Richards Partners consumer team.