What mamas want: CafeMom aims for right tone on YouTube

When we talk about making web content for niche audiences, moms come up a lot — countless series, from non-scripted fare like Momversation to comedies like In The Motherhood, have been developed to appeal to women with children.

But CafeMom, a web community for moms that is also now one of the latest participants in YouTube’s Made For Web channel initiative, believes that it has a unique approach for its YouTube channel.

“I’d disagree that there’s been plenty of video content targeted towards moms. I think there’s been a lot of video created for brands who want to reach moms,” CafeMom EVP of content Tracy Odell said via email. “I think it’s extremely important to get the voice right. We’ve got the largest community of moms in the country on CafeMom and we’re listening to moms all day every day, hearing what they’re talking about how they talk about these topics.”

So far, viewcounts for CafeMom series aren’t stellar; three months ago, a series of videos featuring Suzanne Somers racked up six-figure viewcounts, and some controversial topics do attract real attention. But most of the shows making up the channel’s new line-up of programming hover in the 1,000-6,000 range.

But its line-up does feature some unique concepts. On Broadway, With Kids, a series about what it’s like to be a Broadway professional and a parent, caught my interest, as well as Our Special Life, which focuses on families raising special needs children.

The latter show came directly from the CafeMom community, according to Odell: “We asked moms what kind of show they’d like to see, and they told us they wanted to see a show about families raising special needs kids because they want to know life is like for these moms.” Several Special Life episodes have five-figure viewcounts, making it one of CafeMom’s most successful new series.

Key to CafeMom’s approach is building a subscriber base — “our new slate of programming includes verbal callouts from all our hosts asking viewers to subscribe to our channel,” Odell said — and they’ve reportedly seen accordingly a 25 percent increase in subscribers per month since January. In addition, they’ve noted a 241 percent increase in monthly positive engagement over that time.

Really, the most important part of CafeMom’s approach is this: “The exciting thing about producing a channel on YouTube is that we can use minute to minute data to analyze what’s working and what’s not,” Odell said. “We are embracing this opportunity to try different types of programming and… discover what moms really want to watch.”

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