When I started Evolved Mommy in 2008 I was elated to know that there was a new outlet for my creative energy and a socially acceptable place for me to shamelessly seek attention. Moving to a small town had been hard on me, so it was absolutely delightful to be able to write a post or tweet and instantly tap into the whole world through my iPhone.

Magic.

Instantly, A thing that just a couple years before hadn’t even existed became my passion.

A community of strangers-turned-friends from across the country sprouted up around me. Much to my mother’s dismay I have met many, many of these internet people in real life.

“No, they are not scary, Mother. They are just like me.”

As I was wandering through the Internet meeting people and creating content I did constantly wonder where all this would lead. Never ever did I think that my odd background combination of staffing & HR management, Advertising & Public Relations plus outside sales would land me in e-commerce marketing.

But it did.

One day the CEO of a local e-commerce company DM’d me on Twitter asking if I could meet for coffee. I knew who this guy was because he had hosted an 1-day SEO workshop at his headquarters, where there are robots!

So, of course, I DM’d back something as graceful as “Yes. Ok. When. Are you available now? Because I could be there in 10 minutes.”

That coffee with John James, the CEO of Acumen Brands (better known as Country Outfitter) changed the trajectory of my life. Turns out he had several e-commerce brands (13 actually) and he wondered if I’d be interested in running social media marketing for those brands. He had heard I was doing this for other brands and thought I might know a thing or two.

For perspective, I joined Acumen in 2011. Country Outfitter did not yet exist. Here we are just a few years later and Country Outfitter is one of the largest retailers in the country.

Within a week of joining the very small marketing team of four people I was on a plane headed to Blissdom, where I met so many amazing fellow bloggers, a lot of whom were asking similar questions…

“How do I make money blogging?”

“How do I promote a brand without selling out?”

“How do I pitch the brands I’d love to work with?”

Those are still common questions, and there’s not necessarily a simple answer. We want to help define those answers and create smart partnerships.

The shear volume of blogs today makes it incredibly difficult for brands to know which blogs matter to their customers and their brand promise. A lot of brands really, really want to work with bloggers because they can see the power of authentic word of mouth marketing. Some brands have been burned by bad experiences, others have spent countless man-hours scouring the internet only to have their pitches fall flat.

That’s where the relationship and the science meet. Understanding what goes into blogging, and valuing the time, platform, tech skills, voice and passion of bloggers is critical to knowing how to create impactful relationships. Understanding that the prettiest blog isn’t always the most influential, and that most bloggers do this as a side hobby and don’t have a developer on retainer also helps. Algorithms narrow the options for campaigns by targeting bloggers in the right niche, geography or demographics who have influence (even if it’s hyper local), but there’s also an art to knowing immediately that Julia would be great for a campaign because she has a heart for special needs kids. The math can’t tell us that, but it can help us focus in on the other great matches.

If we do this right (and we will!) we won’t have to beg people to be a part of what we are doing. We will have access to bloggers for brands that are relevant and engaged because we bring them good campaigns and treat them with the respect they deserve. We will will have plenty of campaigns for bloggers (and social media influencers) because we bring the right bloggers to the table who create buzz and outstanding content.