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Mamalode: Authentic, Sexy, World-Class Stories About Motherhood

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h1 Moms control 85% of household spending, but 91% feel like advertisers don't understand them. We do.

Elke and Dori, Mamalode

What does modern mommyhood look like? A lot of things - and you'll find essence of all that on Mamalode, an online community and lifestyle site for active, outspoken and smart moms. Mamalode began as a free, local print publication, caught fire with its readers and is now an online site that posts every day, three times a day during the week. Put another way, Lisa Stone of BlogHer sums up Mamalode in one simple sentence: "America's best parenting magazine."

A new Say Media content partner, Mamalode was created by Elke Govertsen and Dori Gilels. We checked in with them about what posts their readers love, how they like to work with brands – and why it all comes back to storytelling.

You have a great following online. How would you describe your readers? Mamalode readers are moms. They are like best friends—engaging with us on the Web, on Facebook, via text or Twitter, through print and in person. We may or may not live in the same community, but we are a community. We share this experience called motherhood and we see ourselves reflected in each other’s stories, songs, poetry and images. Together, we make it real. We laugh, cry, lean in and hold each other. We are grateful to have found one another.

For those that are new to your site, what are some great posts to start with?

Listen by Stacey Conner

You're Not Alone by Elroy Davis (This is a dad article! We love dads.)

The Noise of Life by Jessica Watson

And check out a playlist, mamasays or a mouths of babes poem.

Was there one post or a series of posts that put you on the map? There really wasn’t a single post or story that put us on the map, but there have been posts that required us to do CPR on our old website. These posts generated thousands of likes because they were real emotive slices of life that resonated with readers and writers alike. Now we have a custom management system that holds more content, handles more traffic and provides more fun ways to engage with Mamalode.

At the end of the day, response to our local print magazine was the real catalyst for our growth and expansion into web and digital. Local readers and advertisers shared the magazine with friends and family, far and wide, leading to a global community of paid subscribers in all 50 states and 10 countries. We knew then we struck a chord and we wanted to give Mamalode to more moms.

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Each month you have a theme for posts on the site. Where did you get the inspiration for themes – and is it part of your print roots? The monthly themes on our website do have roots in our print product. Our first print edition theme was first things first. We’ve also used identity, adventure, faith, work, enough, connection, home, letting go, space. While these themes have always been intentionally broad enough to hold many different stories, they are the thread that binds it all together. They challenge us to think and stretch and possibly even reshape how we think about our own experiences. We have a chalkboard wall in our office full of future themes. And there are endless words to choose from, so we’ll never run out.

You also have scheduled times of day when posts go live – what made you take that approach? We understand the general lifestyle of our readers. We know a mom’s day is often shaped by the rhythm of her family, her children and her work—especially for those moms with younger kids at home. A mom’s me-time™ is limited and perhaps sacred. We want to give her something when she has that break or need, or the desire to submit, share or just enjoy what we do, together. We also want her to come back for more, whether she wants it all at once or a little bit at a time. Because after all, we’re here for her.

Any surprises you've learned about what Moms really want to read (or don't)? We tend to avoid the how-to stories. There are plenty of resources for the nuts and bolts. Our readers are informed, savvy people who are looking to us for HEART. Since we are moms, we know there is much more to motherhood than looking great, eating yogurt and pleasing everyone. In fact, sometimes we just want to throw our hands up in the air, let our hair down, do something crazy, drop an F bomb, sink into a good book, listen to great music, laugh, feel sexy and maybe even cry. Moms are looking for the truth and each other. We aim to create space for the whole mother—and moms are responding. That we know.

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How do you like to work with brands? What's a recent favorite campaign? We aggregate the most powerful spending demographic in the United States. Moms control 85 percent of household spending, but 91 percent feel like advertisers don't understand them. We do. And we want to create connections for moms with the brands they love by finding authentic, creative ways to communicate, solve problems and fulfill material wants and needs.

Right now we are putting a fun campaign together with some of our biggest writers (we aggregate many of the power mommy bloggers). The impact and reach of this program will be huge, yet the experience will be intimate. This is our Blogger-in-Residence™, which features a multi-day writing retreat in Montana where bloggers will have a chance to hone their writing skills and generate content to be published on on a rotating basis in the months following the retreat. It’s like a summer camp for bloggers. This campaign is a brand new initiative, so there are still sponsorship opportunities for brands wanting to harness this group, and their audiences, in a unique way that encompasses online content, an event, video and a special iPad publication.

We always strive to offer more than the average platform. For example, one hospital has advertised with us for years—in print and online. The relationship began with a print ad and expanded to include exclusive sponsorship of an online events calendar and the use our creative team for the development of custom print publications. Our ability to work with brands on multiple platforms gives us many different ways to reach and engage our audience, and theirs.

How would you finish this sentence: First-person storytelling is…


It is how we can connect to each other, bridge our differences, move people.

It is the heart of Mamalode.

Thanks for letting us tell our story today. We can’t wait to hear yours.

Mamalode is a Say Media content partner. Follow Mamalode on Twitter @Mamalode.

[Photos of Elke and family (top) and Dori and family (second) compliments of Mamalode]

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