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How We Built Out Our Mommy Influencer Network

How We Built Out Our
Mommy Influencer Network

Manimal Tales is a publisher of personalized books for all ages and occasions. As a small company, we did not have a large budget (or any budget really) to build out our influencer network of mothers, but we managed to do so anyway. 

This is the second article in our series detailing how we created that influencer strategy at Manimal Tales, and this article details the practical steps taken in order to do so, along with actual examples and other resources. We also talk about the overall strategy and go-to-market considerations when building your own influencer network, and also provide a list of all the mommy influencers who we have corresponded with as a valuable resource for other companies. Enjoy!

Table of Contents

  1. Our Six Step Process 
  2. Tracking Mommy Influencer Collaborations
  3. The Messaging We Used
  4. Spectrum of Responses
  5. Tactical Learnings
  6. Conclusion

Our Six Step Process

In our pursuit of connecting our personalized children's books with mommy influencers, we embarked on a meticulous journey that blended innovation with strategic precision. Our approach was shaped by the unique needs of our small business, aligning every step with our budget constraints and brand vision. Here's an in-depth look at how we built our curated list of mommy bloggers:

  1. Leveraging Instagram Search:
    a. Targeting the Sweet Spot: 
    Understanding that micro-influencers within the follower range of 2000 to 20000 were more likely to engage in exchange collaborations, we zoomed in on this range. This allowed us to tap into influencers who had a significant impact within a dedicated community, even though their follower counts might not be astronomical. This micro-influencer approach was ideal for our budget-conscious strategy.

    b. Crafting Specific Keyword Searches:
    Instagram's search functionality became our digital magnifying glass. We carefully crafted keyword searches that were directly aligned with our niche and target audience. Keywords such as "mom blog," "mom influencers," "kids blog," and "family blog" were chosen deliberately. These terms effectively brought forth influencers who were already producing content that closely resonated with our target demographic.

  2. Connecting with Our Audience:
    a. Analyzing Engaged Followers:
    Our own followers were a goldmine of information. By identifying those who actively engaged with our content, we gained insight into the profiles of potential mommy influencers who were already interested in what we offered. This approach ensured that our collaborations would feel natural and organic, as they were already familiar with and invested in our brand.

    b. Direct Outreach Based on Engagement:
    Reaching out to those followers who exhibited higher engagement levels allowed us to establish a connection that was based on shared interests. These influencers were more likely to respond positively to collaboration proposals, as their pre-existing interest in our brand indicated an alignment of values and content.

  3. Strategic Insights from Peer Brands:
    a. Studying Collaborations of Similar Brands:
    To add a layer of strategic insight, we analyzed influencer collaborations of similar book companies. This research offered valuable guidance on which influencers had a proven track record of effectively promoting books. We reached out to influencers who were already versed in showcasing literary products, ensuring that they would seamlessly align with our offerings.

    b. Leveraging Industry Connections:
    By identifying influencers who had successfully collaborated with our industry peers, we harnessed the existing rapport these influencers had with book-related content. This made our outreach more effective, as these influencers were already comfortable with promoting similar products.

  4. Crafting an Authentic Connection:
    a. Ensuring Brand Alignment:
    Our focus was not solely on follower counts; it was on finding mommy influencers whose content and audience closely aligned with our brand image. This alignment ensured that our collaborations wouldn't feel forced but would instead be a natural extension of the influencer's existing content.

  5. Leveraging Familiarity and Trust:
    a. Understanding Followers of Followers:
    We expanded our search beyond our immediate network by analyzing the followers of our followers. This method allowed us to identify influencers who were already in a familiar circle and shared similar interests. This indirect discovery method leveraged the trust that was already established within our follower base.
    b. Capitalizing on Mutual Interests:
    By targeting influencers who were followed by our own engaged audience, we tapped into a pre-existing interest in our niche. This shared interest acted as a foundation upon which we built our collaboration proposals.
  1. Crafting the Perfect Pitch:
    Our outreach wasn't hasty; it was a long term process (which is still ongoing). We invested time in understanding each influencer's content nuances, audience demographics, and engagement patterns. With this knowledge, we crafted personalized outreach messages that highlighted the alignment between their content and our brand, illustrating how a collaboration could be mutually beneficial.


Tracking Mommy Influencer Collaborations

For our small business, specializing in personalized books for children, this was a crucial step to ensure that our influencer strategy was executed seamlessly. Here's a detailed look at how we organized our efforts using a Google Sheets tracker.

  • Creating a Masterpiece of Efficiency: Google Sheets Tracker
  • With our list of mommy influencers in hand, we recognized the need for a streamlined approach to manage our outreach, collaborations, and outcomes. Google Sheets emerged as our virtual command center, offering flexibility, accessibility, and ease of use.

    Sheet 1: Mom Influencer Database

    Our first sheet became a comprehensive database of all the mommy influencers we had discovered. This sheet included the following essential fields:

    1. Name: The influencer's name, helping us identify them easily.
    2. Country: Geographic location, which allowed us to identify potential regional relevance.
    3. Followers: The number of followers an influencer had, helping us gauge their reach.
    4. Description: A brief note highlighting the influencer's content focus and style.

    Sheet 2: Outreach and Collaboration Tracker

    The second sheet became our dynamic workspace, enabling us to meticulously track every interaction and collaboration. This sheet was designed to provide an organized snapshot of our progress, allowing us to make informed decisions and nurture relationships effectively. It included the following fields:

    1. Name: The influencer's name, serving as the primary identifier.
    2. Date the Message Was Sent: The date we initiated contact, helping us gauge response times.
    3. Number of Followers: A quick reference to the influencer's follower count.
    4. Reached Out Via: The communication channel used (e.g., email, direct message).
    5. Status: A dynamic field tracking the progression of the collaboration (e.g., pending, in progress, completed).
    6. The Code We Sent: A unique code provided to influencers for tracking purposes.
    7. Which Book They Ordered: A record of the personalized book the influencer chose, aiding content creation.
    8. If They Posted the Content on Socials: An indicator of whether the influencer posted content, helping us assess engagement.
    9. If They Are Willing To Do a Giveaway: Whether the influencer expressed interest in a giveaway, boosting engagement possibilities.

    Efficiency at its Finest: Benefits of the Tracker


    1. Holistic Oversight: With our Google Sheets tracker, we could swiftly access the status of each collaboration, ensuring nothing fell through the cracks.
    2. Data-Driven Insights: The tracker provided real-time insights into response rates, collaboration success, and engagement levels, helping us fine-tune our approach.
    3. Time Management: By centralizing information, we optimized time spent on coordination, follow-ups, and tracking progress.
    4. Tailored Outreach: The tracker allowed us to tailor our follow-ups and interactions based on each influencer's journey and preferences.
    5. Strategic Decision-Making: Armed with organized data, we could make informed decisions about collaboration extensions, giveaways, and future partnerships.


    Our Google Sheets tracker wasn't just a tool; it was the backbone of our influencer strategy. With a structured database of influencers and a collaboration tracker, we streamlined our approach, creating efficiency, personalization, and strategic insights. As we ventured into the world of mommy influencer collaborations, our tracker ensured that every opportunity leveraged, and every collaboration orchestrated seamlessly. 


    The Messaging We Used

    In the dynamic realm of influencer collaborations, the ability to craft a compelling proposition can make all the difference. As a small business specializing in personalized books for children, we recognized the power of a well-crafted offer when reaching out to mommy bloggers. Here's an in-depth look at how we approached our proposition, the message we sent, and the diverse responses we encountered during our influencer outreach journey.

    The Proposition

    In our quest to collaborate with mommy influencers, we understood the importance of creating a proposition that resonated with their interests and values. Our approach was centered around offering genuine value while aligning with the authenticity of our brand. Our proposition revolved around sending influencers a free hardcover book in exchange for a review post on their Instagram. This post would showcase the book, highlight what they loved about it, and include photos that they would provide, which we could feature on our social media platforms. This proposition aimed to create a win-win scenario - influencers would receive a valuable product, and we would benefit from their authentic endorsement and user-generated content.

    The Outreach Message

    The cornerstone of our influencer outreach was the initial message we sent to mommy bloggers. Our message was carefully designed to capture their attention, convey our brand essence, and express our eagerness to collaborate. Here's the message we sent to every influencer:

    "Hello! We love your content and would like to collaborate with you. Manimal Tales creates unique personalized books for all ages and occasions. We can offer you a free hardcover book in exchange for a review post and content that we can feature on our social media. If things go well, we’d love to do this periodically with you. If you’re interested, please let us know. Thank you!"

    This message encapsulated our brand's enthusiasm, the product we aimed to offer, and our openness to establishing a lasting partnership. Its concise yet engaging nature aimed to capture the influencers' attention and encourage them to explore the potential collaboration further.

    We totally get how life can get crazy busy, and we know Instagram messages sometimes slip through the cracks. So, we sent a couple of friendly follow-ups to influencers every 5 days just to check in and make sure they didn't miss our collab offer.

    The second message was a quick shout-out to ensure they caught our first one and to nudge them for a simple yes or no. Here's what we said

    “Hello. Just wanted to follow up on the previous message. If you are interested, we can discuss the next steps. And if not, no worries, let us know. Thank you!”

    Lastly, our final text was to make sure of their decision and also ask for their rate card so we could keep it on file for future use.  

    “Hey, sorry for bugging you but we just wanted to ask one last time if you were interested and if not, if you could send us your rate card if you have one for us to keep on file!”

    The Spectrum of Responses

    The influencer landscape is richly diverse, and our outreach yielded an array of responses that mirrored this diversity. Our experience encompassed a range of outcomes, each offering valuable insights into the influencers' preferences, expectations, and collaborative styles:

    1. Acceptance of Our Proposition: A segment of mommy influencers resonated with our proposition and accepted our offer of a free hardcover book in exchange for a review post and content sharing. These collaborations, built on mutual value exchange, formed authentic partnerships that aligned seamlessly with our brand ethos.
    2. Positive Responses with Price Lists: Some influencers responded positively to our outreach but presented their pricing for collaboration. This showed their readiness to work with brands but within a specified fee structure. These responses provided insights into the market's rate expectations for influencer collaborations.
    3. Non-Responsive Segments: It's important to acknowledge that in the influencer landscape, not every outreach receives a response. A significant portion of influencers chose not to respond to our initial message. 


    Our journey through influencer outreach was a set of varied responses. Crafting an irresistible proposition and initiating contact with a well-crafted message was our aim. As a small business, these interactions provided us with valuable insights into influencers' expectations, pricing models, and collaboration preferences. From price-list responses to enthusiastic acceptance and non-responsiveness, each interaction added a layer of knowledge to our influencer strategy. 

    Tactical Learnings

    Through our journey of working with influencers, below are some of our key tactical learnings about our partnerships:

    1.  Asking for Video Content: 
      Having seen the  increasing prominence of video content in the influencer landscape, we understood the need of using  video content into our collaboration requests. Seeking video content from influencers added an audio-visual dimension to our marketing efforts, making it a more immersive and an engaging showcase of our personalized children's books.
    2.  Requesting All Content for Reuse:
      Efficiency took center stage as we refined our content creation approach. By requesting influencers to share all content produced during our collaborations, we were able to curate a repository of  pictures and videos. This allowed us the flexibility to repurpose content across different marketing channels and marketplaces.
    3. Asking Influencers to invite us as Collaborators:
      Being added as collaborators ensures that the collaborative content appears on both the influencer's feed and our feed. This doubles the visibility of the content, exposing it to both the influencer's followers and our own audience.Collaborative posts have the potential to reach a larger audience. This expanded reach is beneficial for increasing brand awareness and attracting new followers who may be interested in personalized books.
    4. Incorporating Giveaways to Boost Traffic: 
      Recognizing the potential for giveaways to amplify our reach, we integrated this strategy into our influencer collaborations. By partnering with influencers for giveaways, we not only increased our visibility but also incentivized audience engagement. This tactic effectively drove traffic to our platforms.



    Our pursuit to integrate our personalized children's books with mommy influencers involved a rather innovative approach, which was tailored to the requirements of our small business. It started by leveraging Instagram search to target the micro-influencer sweet spot, connecting with engaged followers, drawing strategic insights from peer brands, and creating content that our audience would like.

    To do this as seamlessly as possible while being organized , we used a Google Sheets tracker, serving as a centralized hub for managing collaborations. This tool comprised a comprehensive influencer database and an outreach/collaboration tracker, providing oversight, data-driven insights, and enabling us to be able to track the outreach process without too much hassle.

    Our messaging was simple and to the point without any clickbait and revolved around a proposition that highlighted genuine value, offering influencers a complimentary hardcover book in exchange for a review post. The outreach message was crafted to be direct , effective and convey our enthusiasm for potential collaborations.

    The dynamic response spectrum revealed diverse outcomes, including influencers accepting our proposition, positive responses featuring price lists, and non-responsive segments. Each interaction was entered into our google tracker and we got insights into influencers' expectations, pricing dynamics, and collaboration preferences, contributing to the refinement of our influencer strategy.

    Learnings from our influencer partnerships underscored the significance of incorporating video content, requesting comprehensive content for repurposing, encouraging influencers to add us as collaborators for dual visibility, and integrating giveaways to enhance audience engagement and platform traffic.

    In total, our journey was explorative and when we started, we had no clue what would or would not work.  Combined with some planning, efficient execution, and adaptive learning, we figured out what is best for us (and we hope that it is for you too). As we went about our mommy influencer collaborations hunt, we learnt and now we write this blog hoping that it helps you! 

    General Questions

    Manimal Tales is a publisher of beautifully illustrated personalized books. We have personalized books for children and adults. From birthday books to new baby tales, and from bedtime stories to ABC books, we have custom books for all occasions!

    We even offer PhotoStories, our personalized picture books with photos.

    At Manimal Tales, we fervently believe every child should be the hero of their own story!

    Personalized books (or custom books as they are sometimes referred to) allow the reader to become the hero of the story - literally.

    The main character in the story is the reader / receiver of the book, and is represented by an avatar that looks like them. There are usually lots of additional personalized details printed in the stories, including the receiver's name, age, family members and more.

    Our PhotoStories offer a whole new level of personalization by allowing you to add your own photos into the story and have them printed out with the book.

    Browse through our collection of custom books to see which ones work for your loved ones!

    It's super easy to personalize your own book!

    Browse through our collection of personalized stories and select the titles you want. On the product page, add the details required to personalize the book (name, age, family members, photos etc.). You can then preview the entire book before you buy, so you know exactly what you're going to get!

    Once you're satisfied, add the book to your cart, enter your payment details and your unique, one-of-a-kind personalized book will arrive on your doorstep in 6 to 9 days!

    The short answer is that it depends on the personalized book title in question!

    All books will have your loved one as the main protagonist and their name will be printed on the book cover as well as in the story.

    In some of our books like Dreamland and What Will I Be? the (the An ABC Story) your loved one's name is printed on every page.

    In our Manimal Tales series, in addition to your child's name, you can select an avatar that looks like your child.

    In our custom baby tales, Your Baby's Story and Your Baby's Story (Sibling version), you have to enter names and select avatars for the parents and the siblings as well.

    And for our PhotoStories, you can further customize the books by uploading and adding your own photos directly into the book. The stories have been written to incorporate the photos as part of the story itself.

    Whichever personalized book you do choose, we guarantee your loved one's will love our custom tales just as much as we do!

    We have books for all ages and occasions! On the menu bar at the top of the page you can filter through our collections of personalized books by a variety of different criteria.

    We have personalized books for:

    - Birthdays

    - New babies / baby showers

    - Bedtime books

    - Back To School / ABC books

    - Seek & Find books

    We also offer custom books with engaging stories about:

    - Friendship and bravery

    - Standing up for your beliefs

    - Animal rights and adventure

    We have personalized books across all ages:

    - 0 to 3 years

    - 3 to 6 years

    - 6 years and above

    - Adult stories

    Lastly we have our PhotoStories, which allow users to upload photos and have them become part of the story!

    - Happy Birthday Personalized PhotoStory

    - Your Baby's Personalized PhotoStory

    Nothing beats getting a book with your name on it!

    Personalized books are treasured and loved by all, and make great keepsakes.

    We offer custom books for all occasions, ensuring you will always find a book to meet your needs.

    You can always reach us by filling out our Contact Form.

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