By Angie Valencia-Martinez
RL Public Relations

For thousands of female bloggers who descended upon the streets of New York City last week, BlogHer 2010 had the buzz and feel of the “big dance,” the Super Bowl.

That’s because BlogHer is the largest blogging conference for women who breathe all things social media through vehicles like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, among many, many others. This yearly extravaganza brings together an army of women with names like New York City Mama, SpanglishBaby and Bilingual in the Boonies – influential bloggers valued by PR firms for their ability to act as ambassadors to a brand.

Since first reaching out to the so-called mommy bloggers more than two years ago, I’ve witnessed firsthand the Latina social media explosion and ever growing presence of Blogueras on the blogosphere. I remember the surprise of one Latina mommy blogger when I invited her to a Licuado/Milkshake event after reading about her children who she endearingly called: Mexipinitos. Apparently, she had never been approached by a PR firm because she responded with a, “You’re inviting me, really?” Today, she’s seen as one of the founding Latina mommy bloggers.

These ladies, wielding their laptops, blackberries and iPhones to tell a story, have become a strong force to be reckoned with. Today, these Latinas are celebrating their success outside of the World Wide Web and attending conventions like BlogHer, being interviewed by major newspapers, and acting as guests on TV where they talk about the way they’ve shaped marketing to women.

On the first day of the three-day conference I spoke with Ana Flores, the woman behind http://www.spanglishbaby.com/. She had just enjoyed a stint on the Today Show wearing a bright red shirt complemented by a toothpaste smile. She had come along way, but she’s not alone. Latinas are outpacing the general market in the growth and use of social media. Plus, they are now seeing much more interest and engagement from big-name brands and companies. Still, she tells me, I was “her first.”

Ana was one of seven prominent Latina bloggers who were fully sponsored to attend this year’s BlogHer conference in the Big Apple. This, she said, represents the most bloggers from any market ever sponsored by ONE single company. Blogging has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Nowadays, there is money to be made, fame to be earned and influence to be gained.

At BlogHer 2010, the Latina influence was palpable, very prevalent with more Latinas attending than ever before; In fact, BlogHer featured  its first-ever all Latina panel and it was no coincidence that it also included a big social fiesta hosted by Latinas in Social Media.

Why is all this happening now — According to Sophia Mind, Hispanic women in the U.S. are one of the fastest-growing online demographics, and more than 85 percent of Latinas visit social networks on a regular basis. U.S. Hispanics are tech-savvy and love the Internet. The AOL Hispanic Cyberstudy reveals that online Hispanics tend to be young, affluent, with large households and are “more enthusiastic about the benefits of the Internet than [is] the general market.”

And if you’re still asking yourself, why PR practitioners including those at RLPR yearn to be featured in stories by Latina mommy bloggers, that’s because word of mouth is king among Latinas. More than 90 percent of all consumers report that the recommendation of a friend, family member or expert is the leading influence on their purchase behavior. And with 77 percent of Hispanics engaging in some kind of online socializing, social media is quickly becoming the battleground in which brand allegiances are won or lost.

So who are the Latina Bloggers that received the full “scholarship” to the big dance?

• Ana Lilian Flores – SpanglishBaby

• Carol Cain – The Adventures of a NYCity Mama

• Carrie Ferguson Weir – Tiki Tiki Blog

• Melanie Edwards – ModernMami.com and 40weeks Plus

• Rory Lassanske – Mamá Contemporánea

• Roxana A. Soto – SpanglishBaby and MimosBlog

• Silvia Martinez – Mamá Latina Tips

This blog is dedicated to you FABULOUS SEVEN. Thank you for continuing to help brands spread the word in English, Spanish and Spanglish con sabor.

Angie Valencia-Martinez is a Senior Account Executive at RL Public Relations + Marketing. She can be reached at angelina.valencia@rlpublicrelations.com