An Open Letter to Our Clients and Influencers

At the end of May, we were both surprised and dismayed to learn that the Mommy Guru Media Blogging Network had re-branded themselves as Social Swayy. As most of you know, Sway Group has been in business since April of 2011 and has been actively using the service mark “Sway” since that time.

While there is plenty of room in the marketplace for various providers of social media services, Social Swayy’s use of a mark that is confusingly similar to Sway Group’s trademarks, for identical services, is likely to cause confusion amongst both our clients and influencers, given that it implies an association between Social Swayy and Sway Group where absolutely none exists.

We have invested both time and money (not to mention our hearts and souls) in the development of the “Sway” brand over the last three years, and to have another company attempt to piggyback on this effort is disheartening at best.  We have respectfully requested this company cease and desist all use of the “Swayy” brand immediately and we are working with outside counsel to bring closure to this matter. We will continue to keep you apprised of any developments and we thank you all for your support.

Sway Roster Bloggers Honored With Iris Awards

In 2013, the Mom 2.0 Summit announced the Iris Awards, an annual recognition event to reward the year’s greatest achievements in parenting blogging as determined by leaders in new media, traditional media, journalism, marketing and the creative arts. A call for nominations began earlier this year, ran through March 3rd, and winners were announced on May 3rd, 2014.


The Iris Awards ceremony (produced in partnership Turner Broadcasting and HLN) was held on the closing night of the 2014 Mom 2.0 Summit in Atlanta, and we’re incredibly proud to announce that 6 bloggers from our Sway roster were honored for their amazing body of work.

Congratulations to ….

Blog Vanguard: Heather Armstrong of Dooce

Best Writing: Rebecca Woolf of Girl’s Gone Child

Best Photography: Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks

Most Thought-Provoking Content: Kelly Wickham of Mocha Momma

Best Brand Campaign of the Year: babyGap A Celebration of Motherhood Firsts from Cool Mom Picks

Blog of the Year: Rage Against the Minivan by Kristen Howerton

We’re so honored to be associated with the talented members of our Sway roster, and we extend huge, heartfelt, standing-ovation congratulations to all the nominees and winners of the first annual Iris Awards.

Sway Group CEO at Marketing Land: “The Fatal Mistake Content Marketers Are Making With Nofollow”

Have you ever second-guessed running a blogger sponsorship, for fear that Google’s nofollow link requirement would make the endeavor an SEO failure? Sway Group CEO Danielle Wiley addresses this common misconception in her latest Marketing Land article, titled “The Fatal Mistake Content Marketers Are Making With Nofollow.”

She writes,

When marketers focus too much of their attention on search engine optimization (SEO), they lose sight of the big picture. Do you want to create brand awareness? Connect with the vast, highly engaged audience of a popular blogger? Bring real traffic back to your own website? Drive sales? A nofollow link can do all those things and more.

Danielle explains what nofollow means for marketers, and shows how sponsored posts still spark conversations even if (especially if) they follow Google’s search engine Terms of Service to the letter. Learn how transparency drives online credibility, and why good content will always win over search ratings trickery:

Key publishers can deliver branded content that’s compelling enough for readers to share with their network of friends and followers. In turn, their socially active connections of influencers will share, re-blog, link and drive brand awareness. This is where a paid strategy results in earned media, and there isn’t a Google requirement in the world that can stop it from happening if your content is on target.

no follow link mistakes

Read Danielle’s entire article here, and check out the rest of her Marketing Land articles.

Sway Group CEO at Marketing Land: “Why Brands Should Turn To Bloggers Instead Of Celebrity Spokespeople”

Sway Group’s CEO Danielle Wiley is a featured writer for Marketing Land (don’t miss her article on “How To Market On Pinterest And Instagram — Even If You Don’t Have A Branded Account”), and her most recent contribution just went live this morning. In “Why Brands Should Turn To Bloggers Instead Of Celebrity Spokespeople,” Danielle shares her thoughts on adopting a broader definition of what makes an effective spokesperson.

how to influence purchase

For some companies, it’s far more valuable to hire an affordable spokesperson with a track record of good ROI. Someone with a built-in community, social reach, and real world expertise in brand collaboration.

That’s where online publishers come in. It may seem far-fetched that a blogger has the potential to wield as much influence as, say, Bill Cosby — but the fact is, times have changed. When it comes to influencing purchasing decisions, celebrities simply don’t hold the sway they used to.

Danielle covers the power of blogger endorsements, the research that indicates blogs have become one of the most influential digital resources when it comes to buying goods and services, the pitfalls of using traditional celebrity spokespeople, and how to create brand passion among online communities.

Read her entire article here, and follow Danielle’s future Marketing Land articles for more advice on content marketing, social media, and partnering with online publishers.

Storytelling Week: Sway Roster Shares Powerful Blogger Stories

Each of our bloggers know what it’s like to write something that truly resonates with their audience. Maybe it’s a piece that generates a lot of comments, or results in some meaningful email conversations — or maybe it simply lingers in a reader’s memory, long after the words are published.

In honor of National Storytelling Week, we asked some of the folks from our Sway roster to tell us about a time when they were particularly moved by a blogger’s story. Here’s what they shared:



“The Logic of Stupid Poor People” by academic/blogger Tressie McMillan Cottom has stuck with me because I am intimately aware of being on both ends of the spectrum of economics: very wealthy growing up, losing it all, being affected by Reagonomics, and then ending up homeless and on welfare with a child to raise at 15. I knew people judged me, but I didn’t know why I felt the need to spend money on looking presentable. I just knew I didn’t want to be an Other. This stuck with me longer than I ever expected. — Kelly Wickham of Mocha Momma.

Why do poor people make stupid, illogical decisions to buy status symbols? For the same reason all but only the most wealthy buy status symbols, I suppose. We want to belong. And, not just for the psychic rewards, but belonging to one group at the right time can mean the difference between unemployment and employment, a good job as opposed to a bad job, housing or a shelter, and so on. Someone mentioned on twitter that poor people can be presentable with affordable options from Kmart. But the issue is not about being presentable. Presentable is the bare minimum of social civility. It means being clean, not smelling, wearing shirts and shoes for service and the like. Presentable as a sufficient condition for gainful, dignified work or successful social interactions is a privilege. It’s the aging white hippie who can cut the ponytail of his youthful rebellion and walk into senior management while aging black panthers can never completely outrun the effects of stigmatization against which they were courting a revolution. Presentable is relative and, like life, it ain’t fair.

(Read Tressie’s full post.)

I love Shana from She is a fashion and style blogger that doesn’t turn me off for being a fashion and style blogger. Instead, she makes it seem like every woman has an inner Wonder Woman just waiting to be shown. In her post titled “Post-Chemo Recovery Update (aka IS YOUR HAIR GROWING YET, S?)”, she shares her vulnerability and reflects on her hair growing back after her recent battle with breast cancer. Gulp. Love her. — Heather Gibbs Flett of

I’ve never been so excited to shave my legs.  HA!  Add that to things I never thought I’d say. But this process is weird.  I mean my hair is growing back, but my eyelashes have never looked worse.  And half my eyebrow fell off the other day.  Seriously.  I took a shower, then toweled off and looked in the mirror- BAM.  Half an eyebrow.

(Read Shana’s full post.)

Amanda’s writing is always honest and raw, but this particular post, called “Staging Happines,” about being in the wings, both literally and figuratively, struck a chord. It’s a reminder that we’re not perfect, we’re all struggling with our own forms of inner demons, and that sometimes the “happy ending” is just realization, acceptance, and readying ourselves for what tomorrow brings. — Kristen Chase of Cool Mom Picks.

Getting lost in managing other people’s details is a very real problem, a routine scenario even, when it comes to moms (or at least this mom). I understand the role I had in disappearing.  I  want to make sure that I use my voice. I need it for my sanity, for my family’s happiness, and ultimately, it’s my responsibility to give the girls a template for helping stage their own happiness as they go through life.

(Read Amanda’s full post.)

I loved this post by Tara that describes her first delivery as a midwife in Haiti. It’s a harrowing account of how fragile life is, and also a pointed reminder that childbirth can be a life-or-death situation for many women without resources. — Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan.

Morning light came, Stephanie had made some progress. She did some walking and stair climbing and took a shower in between her vocal exercises. She worked hard all morning and into the mid afternoon.  Her blood pressure was high and the appropriate steps were taken to manage that.  Stephanie said every hour or so, “I can’t do this anymore. I feel that I have suffered too much.”

That is an understandable way to feel. These are things women in labor say. When those things are said, we say, “di tet w, mwen ka fe sa, mwen gen fos” – “tell yourself I can do this, I have strength.”  These  are easily the most often uttered words during a labor at the Heartline Maternity Center. Di tet w – ‘MWEN KA FE SA.’

(Read Tara’s full post.)

Jessica Ashley’s storytelling in “The Day We May Have Seen a Man Die” took me on a journey. I could feel the sun and the sand and the gratitude and the confusion, the fear, the hope. Her post transported me to another place…to the ocean, but also to another quieter, less explored place inside. There were moments while reading that post where I held my breath. For the rest of the day, I felt like something had expanded internally. It was both unsettling and incredibly freeing. — Asha Dornfest of Parent Hacks.

Jessica’s post drew me in from the first paragraph with sharp detail and a strong sense of place, and everything from the pace of the narrative to the dialogue had me right there on that beach with her. The conclusion is even better: lovely and heartfelt and bittersweet and very, very human. — Meagan Francis of The Happiest Home.

He was limp, ashen, water foamed from his nose as swimmers dragged him to a flat of sand and a lifeguard pressed air into his mouth. Right there, as the sky turned a golden blue and sun stretched its fingers from the horizon to the crashing tide. Right there, with the babies with hats and protruding, full bellies splashing birds and stepping tiny toes into the water. Right there, with kids surfing in unzipped wetsuits and a photographer gently moving a family posed on a blanket into the right light. And me and my love, taking pictures of each other and of the seaweed, walking and talking about the big, beautiful future.

Then and there, a man may have died.

(Read Jessica’s full post.)

This is a post that details the day Shannon left her abusive mother, never physically looking back, but revisiting it every year for the past 22. Her reflections on this day have evolved from vague and philosophical, to agonizingly detailed, to therapeutically humorous. This particular post is the most concrete, from the cold steel windowsill on the bus that represented the first step of a thousand, to her mother’s cruel laughter that evokes the kind of fear that paralyzes a 3-year old upon encountering his first Disney villain. To step into this post is to step into uncertainty, disgust and redemption all at once. — Jim Lin of The Busy Dad Blog.

I packed everything I could carry into the only luggage I had, my school backpack and two plastic grocery bags. That night she screamed at me from the bottom of the stairs, “You can never come back. Your brother can come back, but you never can. There will not be one trace of your existence in this house when you leave.”

And I’ve never spoken to her since. I burned everything of mine I could burn, I sliced or tore or cut the rest and threw it all in the dumpster outside our front door. Sixteen years of my life was buried alive in that dumpster, and I’ve spent the past 19 years trying to ignore its screaming.

(Read Shannon’s full post.)

Do you have any memorable blog post links to share? Let us know in the comments!