- paul on Microsoft, Heather Hamilton
- John Cass on Microsoft, Heather Hamilton
- Heather on Microsoft, Heather Hamilton
- Nobelle.net on Appendix 5.0 Blogging Glossary
- Laurent Pacalin on Appendix 5.0 Blogging Glossary
- kelleyfurniture on Landfair Furniture, Mike Landfair
- Andy Komack on Adweek, Cathy Taylor
- Christopher Penn, Financial Aid Podcast on Table of Contents
- John Cass on Table of Contents
- Francis Wu on Table of Contents
- Albert Klamt on Table of Contents
- Matt Jones on Table of Contents
- Margherita on 2.3 What Is It About The Content On A Blog That Makes A Blog Successful?
- Jim Cahill on Thank You For Participating
- Christopher N Baccus on Thank You For Participating
- John Cass on Thank You For Participating
- Tery Spataro on Daily Eats, Tery Spataro
- Chris on Stonyfield Farm, Chris Halvorson
- John Cass on Stonyfield Farm, Chris Halvorson
Successful Blogs from the study
- Authors and Bios
- Blogger Interviews
- Blogging Glossary
- Blogging Research Methodology
- Blogging Success Study
- Choosing the Right Blogger
- Company Blog
- Company Culture
- Deciding to Blog or Not
- Generating Dialogue
- Interview Questions
- Online PR
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing
- Social Media Strategy
- Starting a Blog
- The Time Investment
- Top Content Strategies
- Top Habits
- Top Success Factors
- Writing Style
Stonyfield Farm, Chris Halvorson
posted: October 28, 2006 7:57 PM
1.1.19 Company: Stonyfield Farm
Blogger: Chris Halvorson
Student Interviewer: Krystle Randall
Chris Halvorson is famous in the blogosphere for being hired as a blogger for one of the first non-technology companies, Stonyfield Farm, a yogurt company.
Describing the inspiration for the Stonyfield blogs, Chris told the interviewer that the Howard Dean campaign in the Presidential election had a big effect on Gary Hirshberg, the CEO of Stonyfield Farm. After watching the benefits to the Dean campaign in the election, Gary wanted to use blogs as a way to connect with his customers.
Stonyfield’s blog is very well known in a number of blogging communities because of its early adoption of the corporate blogging. The company started with five blogs and reduced the number of blogs to two. We asked Chris why the company cut down on the number of blogs. Chris said, "We started out with five, I was the only staff person doing it and it did get to be a little too much to write and maintain five. We had five different topic areas and all along we considered it one big experiment. So, we put the five out there to see what works. We got rid of one because it never seemed to find an audience. It was sort of an insider’s view to the company, you know, I wrote about quirky little things we did as employees. We had a potluck today, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, or whatever it was and it didn’t really seem to find an audience which is in retrospect, understandable."
Chris explained that the company had a blog focused on the environment but it shut down because there was not enough time to write content for the blog. Stonyfield decided that it would be better to let other voices in the blogosphere take the lead on this issue. Chris said that while it’s important to conduct organic farming and support alternative energy, it is not the main focus of the company.
Chris explained that Stonyfield did not review or fact check content before she published it. Chris thought that lack of restrictions on what could be posted led to a very human voice for the blog. Chris spends about two hours a day writing the two remaining blogs. Chris writes all the content, except for the Bovine Bugle. The content for that blog is written by one of Stonyfield's organic farmers.
Stonyfield did want some measurement of success for its blogs, and wanted to demonstrate that the blog was building relationships with blog readers. Chris told us that the measurement for success for the blog was when a reader commented or sent a note to the bloggers.
One of the biggest success factors identified for Stonyfield blogs was the Stonyfield Farm blog. Jonathan, Stonyfield’s organic farming blogger, writes about whatever is happening in his life on the farm, during the calving season or maple sugar season. As one of the first consumer product company’s to blog, Stonyfield caught everyone's attention in the early days of blogging, they were watched closely to see what the company would do and how it would blog.
Chris told the interviewer that the blog was successful even though Chris did not write about yogurt more than three or four times in two years.
Chris did not spend a lot of time linking to other bloggers. However, she did monitor the web for mentions of Stonyfield on other blogs. She would correct any factual errors stated on other blogs and link to relevant websites.
When the blog first started in April of 2004, Chris used to write about politics and religion and other non-business issues. Those posts received a lot of comments. The company started a blog about strong women because the majority of yogurt eaters are women. One of the most popular posts was who readers thought would make the best women presidential candidate.
One of the Stonyfield employees, a father of a new baby, wrote a post about how messy his house was because of the time he and his partner were spending time on looking after the new baby. The employee mentioned that his family used formula and this caused some readers to write that Stonyfield endorsed infant formula instead of breast-feeding, even though Stonyfield did not. The post on baby formula received over forty comments. So many comments were made that it was almost to the point of being unmanageable for the company. The Stonyfield blog did not have a comment policy, and Chris decided to create one stating that if all points of view have been stated in comments Chris would not allow any additional comments.
Chris moderates blog posts for the tone of the comments. She does not let the blogs ever get very "nasty," which is something she has seen on many blogs about parenting where people will criticize each other for making different choices. Chris would also not allow comments that are factually wrong, such as a comment stating, "babies need to watch television in the first month of life." Chris would do some of her own fact checking or post the comment with her own comment stating that the issues raised have not been proven.
Chris spends a lot of time reading the news about parenting. Chris tied the blog content into Stonyfield yogurt products because the company was one of the first companies to put DHA in their yogurt, a fatty acid helpful for the brain development of babies. Chris would not try to pitch the product but ask questions around the subject, such as asking if people know about the importance of their babies eating DHA, and if they or their babies eat food with DHA in it. Chris said she tries to "raise questions in people's minds" or be provocative, by asking the question what do you think of this issue or that, to generate comments.
Chris thought it was important for companies to understand how blogs can be applied in their own marketplace and learn how a blog can be useful to their company. Chris thinks companies should not be afraid of their customers’ responses and that a company will need to dedicate enough resources for a company to be able to blog.
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» Appendix 1.0 Corporate Blogger Interview Summaries from Blogging Success Study
Each student interviewed two corporate bloggers in a recorded session. Each student transcribed one interview for course credit; the remaining interviews were transcribed by Megan Dickinson of Backbone Media, Inc. Rather than provide ... [Read More]
Tracked on November 3, 2006 9:59 PM