So, this week’s assignment was a little bit daunting to me in that I really wanted to capture a great professional blog in action. The problem? I don’t subscribe to any professional blogs! First, I took to my Facebook friends, begging for some ideas. Campbell’s Soup, Smart Water, Toys R Us, none of these organizations have blogs; but Campbell’s soup is the perfect organization for a blog – think of all the content available! But, I digress. Only one suggestion panned out, someone named Gary Vaynerchuk, but he’s a Jet’s fan and for that reason, I’m not covering him. So, I started to think of organizations that seemed sophisticated…because, surely, sophisticated organizations have blogs…and score!!
Pottery Barn has a fantastic professional blog and it meets all the indicators of a successful blog. First, they have the staple witty blog name. Second, they post regularly, at least once every day or two, not going past 3 days without new content. Their posts are relevant and interesting, just check out their Father’s Day post earlier today, June 15, 2014. In fact, 3 of the posts in the past 8 days have been fresh content relating to Father’s Day and relevant to their target market’s interests, including a brunch recipe. Next, their Twitter posts feed back to their blog posts (fulfilling the requirement that a top blog has a strong relationship with Twitter and pushing fans to read their content), and all blog pages have a static social media channel button for easy access to each Pottery Barn social page. They also have a clear link to their blog from their website and an easy-to-find “subscribe” widget once you arrive. The layout is clean, sophisticated (imagine that) and easy to read, and they even post a “Weekly Roundup” containing links to each of the blog posts that week. The longevity is there and the advertising that does exist on the blog is primarily the brand’s self-promotion of their own products. I think the only change I would make is to feature their philanthropic initiatives on their blog and link to partnership organizations to which they donate. Other than that, I think they have a great integrated marketing communications strategy. I adore you, Pottery Barn, and your little blog too. Now, if you would only lower your prices, I’d be able to shop with you (wink, wink).
I stumbled upon this blog a while back when a friend posted a link to Facebook. She by She is a group blog featuring many guest bloggers as well as regular contributors. Fresh, new content is posted every week to every couple of days, and it is content that is relevant to the website’s target market. The blog is linked regularly on Twitter. Facebook is utilized to share blog links and other relevant articles published by other sites. The longevity seems to be there. She by She makes it easy to connect, share and subscribe to their content. The layout is clean, consistent, easy to read, and simple. I would like to see them re-evaluate, or rewrite their mission statement. I am not quite clear on how the organization is using survey data…maybe they are funneling it back into blog posts? While the blog content is relevant, I doesn’t seem to be very interesting or exciting to its target market. It is easy to share the posts, but they don’t seem to generate many shares and they are certainly lacking in comments (with almost all of them at 0). There is no advertising on the blog. In fact, I am not quite sure how the organization is funded, if at all. I do not follow this blog, mostly because it does not interest me at all…in fact, it makes me want to fall asleep right now…
…and Baby Sideburns saves me from snoozing!! This last blog is my favorite to read at the moment because it offers a lot of comedic relief. To be honest, I have no idea why the author, Karen Alpert, has two separate blogs under the same name. Typically, when she links to her blog from Facebook or Twitter, she links to the first blog linked above. This is an example of a semi-professional blog. While blogging and writing is the author’s profession, she is a one-woman show writing about everyday life with her kids, husband, and friends. Her posts are less frequent than a professional blog, usually at least once a week. In Baby Sideburns (1) and (2) there are advertisements, product reviews, as well as links to purchase the author’s book – which, if you are a mom and you like funny, laugh-out-loud stories…buy this book. It’s hilarious. That said, I think she could do a lot better on the look and feel of her blog. The layout screams amateur, which I can promise you she is not, and I think she would have a lot more success in selling her book if she invested more time into the layout of both of her blog sites. She is a blogger, but is WAY more active on other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, usually posting once a day. Instead of having the blog post directly to Facebook and Twitter, she crafts an interesting headline from a line in the blog that is slightly more captivating than the title of the blog post itself and then inserts the link to the blog post. For example, her most recent post read, “So I thought to my self, what would Alicia Silverstone do? And then I did the complete opposite. http://bit.ly/1quqcPb.” All in all, though, this blog has almost all indicators of a successful blog. New posts are published often, published content is new and fresh, blog links to Twitter, there are numerous sites to connect with the author, and content is easy to share. Again, I would improve upon the aesthetics of the blog and create an easier, more seamless avenue for the blogger to subscribe to content. Right now the author is relying on pull marketing through social media, I would like to see a better email subscription system to be used to push content to subscribers. Did I mention her book rocks? It does; it really, really does.