Made to stick: Does your blog have enough glue to connect?

Posted on February 24, 2012

4


At the rate blogs are rising in the online space, it seems like content publishing is a necessity to connect with the digital crowd.The easiest way to promote a person, an idea, a brand or an offer is to blog about it. It is your own space where you have the freedom to tell a story to the audience of your choice. As you can see I am connected with you on my blog that is created to discuss the various online marketing strategies and mediums that I as a digital marketing specialist have evolved with.

Did you know that currently there are 70 million wordpress and 39 million Tumblr blogs worldwide? On an average, 4 out of 5 internet users visit social networks and blogs.

Yes, social media and blogs are here to stay as a recent study below depicts (according to BlogPulse). If people are adding nearly 3 million blogs per month, surely this is a tool worth understanding and maximizing. That is the conclusion Technorati reached in their 2011 State of the Blogosphere Report.

As per the report, bloggers fall into one of five categories:

1. Hobbyist—Someone who blogs for fun and doesn’t report any income from blogging (this represents 60% of the study).

2. Professional Part-time—These people typically blog to supplement their income and blog about personal musings or technology (approximately 9% of respondents).

3. Professional Full-time—These individuals make their living by blogging, but typically work freelance (approximately 9% of respondents).

4. Corporate—Corporate bloggers blog full-time as part of their job or are contracted to blog full-time for a company (8% of respondents).

5. Entrepreneur—Entrepreneurs blog for a company or organization they own (13% of respondents).

So you have the facts in front of you; you have experienced the buzz and you might also be able to relate to the categories that are stated above. My objective in this post is to explore the corporate blog- a platform most companies today are using to advance their social media efforts. Interestingly, I was at the AT&T Networking Leaders Academy Annual Conference yesterday, notable bloggers like Michael Brenner, Cheryl Burgess and Mark Schaefer spoke about how to create a blog and most importantly how to promote it.

Schafer intrigued us with a blog analysis session where in he stated the process of judging a blog. And to demonstrate his methodology I am going to bring up a few corporate blogs and imply his assessment pointers.

1-Blog: gereports.com

“GEreports.com is a simple, no-frills-way of communicating what’s happening at GE. Our goal is to be a resource for people who are interested in learning more about GE.”

Purpose of this blog: It seems like it is just to talk about what’s happening at GE in a very “it’s all about me” approach. The presence of the “job” tab leads to further confusion. Is this a blog or a recruiting platform?

What works? : The presence of categorization of topics in the “topics” tab

What doesn’t work?
> News oriented look and feel
> There is no introduction to what the blog is about
> The information is just slapped on the page
> The social media elements of sharing and commenting are buried
> The humanization factor is missing; there are no authors for the posts
> There is no personalization for the visitor (for instance recommended posts)
> The dates of the posts are far below which is the first things most visitors want to see

Engagement: It is not engaging the audience; merely informational approach.

Is the content RITE?
Relevant:
Not really
Interesting: Not at all
Timely: If it simply to announce a news, yes.
Entertaining: Not at all

Business benefits being created: There is no linkage to its product pages or the value of owning the brand. It is more so an extended PR room which is a complete turn off.

2-Blog: rackspace.com/blog/


Rackspace delivers enterprise-level hosting services to businesses of all sizes and kinds around the world. It started in 1998 and since has grown to serve more than 172,000 customers.

Purpose of this blog:

> To generate interest in Rackspace products and tie it into the sales cycle.
> To create a dialog and exchange of ideas between potential leads and experts in the industry.

What works?
> The look, feel and navigation of the blog is very engrossing
> The categorization is well spread out across all products and services; there is also a special section to announce new products and features.
> Each blogger is introduced and profiled to add the personalization factor
> Very well SEO implementation in terms of keywords and links.
> The product pages are tied into the navigation bar

What doesn’t work?: I would say there is nothing to add to this. It is a perfect example of a complete blog.

Engagement: The Rackspace blog has a high level of engagement with a strong facebook and twitter following. If you look at the comments on the posts, there is a lot of interaction going on from a relevant section of visitors.

Is the content RITE?
Relevant:
Yes, it links the right audience with the right content. Their choices of topics are based on terms that are high in search volume currently.
Interesting:
Yes
Timely:
Yes
Entertaining:
Yes

Business benefits being created: The interest is generated in products related to cloud services and other related enterprise level products. Notice the well placed links on related keywords in the blog posts. It is clearly, a very well linkage of relevant content to relevant product pages minus the sales pitch.

3-Blog.jetblue.com

BlueTales is the Official Corporate Blog of JetBlue Airways. As the “destination for all things JetBlue and beyond,” BlueTales publishes timely news and commentary about happenings at JetBlue and in the wider airline industry.

Purpose of this blog: To create a dialog and connection between the airline and its customers

What works?
> A very well-defined and set-up layout, design and theme
> The presentation of posts in pictures and on the page.
> The Blue tail ticker which creatively introduces the blog
> The tone of the content is very much related to what the company provides but there is no selling involved
> Word cloud that makes posts stand out

What doesn’t work?
Lack of authors. Even though there is a personalized approach, there is no name or identity attached to the posts.

Engagement: There is a strong engagement with the audience and this is the sole purpose of the blog which it serves well. There is a lot of social activity and sharing.

Is the content RITE?
Relevant: Yes
Interesting: Yes
Timely: Yes
Entertaining: To some extent, yes.

Business benefits being created: It is solely created for engagement with the brand and winning loyal brand followers.

Thank you, Schafer for this methodology as it really helps you understand the real objective of creating a blog. If you ask a SEO specialist like me, the number #1 reason to create a blog is to extend the social media reach of your brand and create a community of loyal followers. It is about creating a conversation and a connection. The #2 reason is to help in SEO. Blogging is a great tool to use appropriate keywords and content to drive traffic to your website and eventually turn into leads or conversions. It is also about creating link equity and giving search spiders more to index. Undoubtedly, in today’s digital world the rules of promoting a product value have been replaced by the “blogging” approach coupled with social media shares.