This week, my personal blog, The Working Closet, was named one of Babble Media’s Top 100 Mom Blogs of 2011. ABC News dubbed the list “the most influential mom bloggers in North America.” ABC adds that 32 million moms go online each month, with over half visiting blogs.

That’s a lot of influence.

So how influential are the women on Babble’s list? Very influential. “There are now 3.9 million mom blogs in North America alone, according to,” ABC News reports. “Of those, about 500 have considerable power and reach, [Babble Co-founder Rufus] Griscom said. Another 4,500 take blogging seriously enough that they might fly to a blogger conference.”

That Is amazing.

The world of mom bloggers is a pretty small community; of the 100 names on Babble’s list, half are women I have met in real life over the past few years, at conferences and retreats and PR events. Another quarter are blogs I read regularly. Many of these women are my friends, people I exchange holiday cards and emails with. But they are also women I work with on panel presentations and various projects; as an editor, they are my go-to people when I need writers or spokespeople.

These are the influencers.

What does it mean to say that a blogger is an “influencer?” It means that she has readers — hundreds or thousands or, in some cases, hundreds of thousands — who are listening to what she has to say and basing their own behavior on her opinions and recommendations. My personal web site is a style blog; I write about products and brands as part of my daily posting. I hear from readers and Twitter followers and Facebook fans that they take my recommendations seriously. They trust me, and they buy the products I write about. That’s influence.

How does a blogger become an influencer? Two things are key: she has to write with an authentic voice, and she has to create excellent content. The bloggers on the Babble list are doing both of those things, both in their personal writing and in any work they do with brands. In fact, that’s why brands want to work with these women — because they are willing to lend their authentic voice and incredible writing to the conversation about ideas and issues and items that they think are worthwhile.

But influencers are also picky; we’re not the mom bloggers who will create free content in exchange for samples of a product we could pick up ourselves at CVS. We’re looking for brands that are a match for our beliefs and our values and our lifestyles, because those are the brands we can speak about in an organic, trustworthy way. We are also looking for brands that will compensate us fairly for our work and our influence. We’re not in it for free stuff; we know our voice is valuable and powerful.

I’m thrilled to be included in Babble’s list; I love what I do, and I work hard at it, and it is nice to be recognized for that. It’s also nice to realize that people really are listening to what I say, even if I spend most of my time talking about shoes.