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Full disclosure -- I did this over in the DIY meta a little while ago.

So, as most of you know, I've been assigned to promote Parenting. I figured I should post about what I've been working on, the ideas we developed in chat, and the things we've been batting about in the office.

  1. Ads on Websites -- One of the big things I've been working on is getting ads for the Parenting site on other websites, such as the PTA website. I'm also looking at the American School Counselors Association for ad placement, and the Parent-Teacher Organization. Some of these sites have gotten back to me with numbers and ad requirements, some have not. Do you think these are the right spaces for us to be having ads? Are there other sites we should be looking at? Should we have advertising at all?

    [UPDATE] We're on the PTA site! http://www.pta.org/topics.asp

  2. User-Share Program with Other Sites -- Some of our biggest "competitors" are Cafemom, Babycenter, and TheBump. But these sites aren't really our competitors; the scope, tone, and general attitude of our website versus theirs are very different. That said, all of us are wanting to do something pretty similar: create a main resource for parents to go to for information. The former three are, as per our users' descriptions, more chatty than we are. As such, one of the ideas that came out of chat would be to do some sort of user-sharing program between our site and theirs.

    User-share here would mean something very specific: we would have some of their users come to our site and provide us with feedback and information about what they thought of our site, our general attitude, and how welcoming/helpful we are. Basically, they would provide us with really valuable information about our site from outsiders' perspectives. In return.we would provide much the same service for them. Note that this would have to be a site-wide effort taken on by all of our users. I'm putting out feelers into their communities about this right now, but I'm unsure about how much we could realistically offer them. Would something like this be a good idea? Would you commit to it? If so, make an answer saying as much, or comment to this question saying as much. I need hard numbers saying yes/no, not just upvotes.

  3. Conferences and the Like -- There are conferences and similar meet-ups for parents, counselors, and other childcare-related professionals. I'm looking into a few of these right now for exhibition rates, opportunities, and so forth. Do you guys think we should be going to these places? Are such events worthy of our time? Are there other places/ways for us to get the professionals that we want on this site?

  4. Crash a Morning Show -- One of the things we're considering doing is having me dress up as the Stack Exchange Logo (i.e. the quote bubble) and go crash NBC's Today show. How good/bad is this idea? Or, more accurately, how awesome is this idea?!

  5. Something Else -- I've had a few other ideas batted around at me: mommy/daddy and me classes, posters up in doctors' offices or daycare centers, professional playdate organizers, and so on. Are there other options we could explore? We're wary of doing print/TV ads, but otherwise anything is game. Name it, and maybe we can make it a reality!

I made this meta post for two reasons. First, this is your community. Ultimately, I will not be the one having to handle new users and answer new questions. (Well, maybe I will; I like participating here, haha.) But, and this is more important, it's imperative that us CHAOS people make sure that you are all aware of what we're doing at any time. If you ever have ANY questions about what I'm doing, what I'm working on, or what my plans are, feel free to ping me in chat! I'm often already in there anyway, and I'm always happy to blather on about what I've accomplished...or whine about what I haven't. :D

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Thanks, Aarthi, for all of your help and efforts!

To address the specific elements of your plan:

  1. I think these are excellent target markets. As has been mentioned before, a lot of the focus on our site seems to be primarily on infants, toddlers, and newborns. Marketing to parents and professionals who deal with older children will help to fill an area that we should shore up.
  2. I'm certainly willing to welcome and guide new users from the other communities. I'm also interested in providing feedback on their sites, although I guess I am a little curious as to how interested they will be in the perspective of fathers, particularly cafe*mom*.com (a search for Groups with keyword "fathers" on cafemom.com returns a group for "times where our husband,boyfriend or childs father, just Ticks us off" but no group for actual fathers). Hopefully they will be more gender-diverse in their content than the parenting magazines I've had the misfortune to peruse.
  3. It is my belief that the conferences will be a good avenue to pursue. The participants should be fairly passionate about parenting, which is definitely the demographic that we want to attract. Whether it will be worthy of our time remains to be seen. It would be ideal if we could track how many new users originated from introductions at such events.
  4. Pictures should be posted! Preferable some video footage, too. Is it possible to have someone record the Today show that day and post the relevant clips on youtube or something similar, and link it to the site so we can all see?
  5. I'm tapped out of ideas at the moment, but if I come up with anything more, I'll certainly let you know!

Thanks again for all your work!

  • re: #2 -- It was something we mentioned in chat. I'm working on reaching out to them, but, yes, I'm curious to see what we can offer them, realistically. re: #3 -- I'm trying to find a couple of really good conferences to sink money into. Unfortunately, conferences are kind of cost-inefficient. re: #4 -- we'll see what we can do ;) – Aarthi Aug 25 '11 at 19:03
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  1. Both of these seem to have good potential since the PTA & PTO should target parents and teachers while ASCA should consider SE as a resource to direct parents to as well as participate in themselves.

  2. I have little experience in this area, so I'll leave that to you, the experts. I suspect it will depend largely on user participation.

  3. The annual conferences for the American Speech Hearing Association, American Physical Therapy Association, and American Occupational Therapy Association are all potentially good options for professionals that serve pediatric populations.

  4. Not sure how profitable this will be, but have FUN!

  5. I wonder if Home School groups/associations may be fruitful targets.

  • re: 3 and 5 -- Great suggestions, I'll look into 'em. :) – Aarthi Aug 25 '11 at 19:22
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I also want to answer on specific points:

  1. It makes sense to start advertising with US-based sites simply because of the relative size. However, it should also be considered to advertise on other English-language and foreign-language sites: UK, Germany/Austria/Switzerland come to mind as places with large userbases. I can't offer specific sites right here except for parents.at which I've already mentioned elsewhere.
  2. I'll cheerfully welcome any new user, regardless whether he comes from another parenting site or is truly new. But --- I don't think we can make any sort of promise on behalf of our users toward those sites: I can only speak for myself when I say that this site uses up all the time that I want to spend online on parenting, and I have no interest in investing time elsewhere. Some users might want to participate on several sites, but it's not a commitment that you or we can sign -- it's up to the individuals.
  3. Baby-expo's etc. are a great way to distribute flyers to parents, and that has value. But I don't think it's very effective in grabbing professionals; for that, I think that professional conferences (and ads in their journals?) would be more effective.
  4. I think it's a fabulously fun idea. But I have doubts about its effectiveness -- but keep in mind that I have but the faintest idea of what that show is, so I might be mistaken. I think Beofett is right, in that the most "marketing" value comes from publishing the story after the fact.
  5. No new input from me at this time.
  • re: #1 -- and I definitely want to get in on some of the UK sites and then expand eastward from there. I'm worried that one of the things I'll bump into will be the language barrier, but then against SE/SO is English-only. Ah well it's future!Aarthi's problem. re: #2 -- good to know; I will very much bear that in mind. re: #4 -- The Today show is the single most-watched morning programme in the U.S. Its target audience and ours for Parenting overlap considerably. But yes; it could be a great "viral" thing. Thanks for your input, Torben! You're always very thorough -- I love it! :D – Aarthi Aug 25 '11 at 19:31

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