- 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
2.3 What Is It About The Content On A Blog That Makes A Blog Successful?
posted: November 2, 2006 2:09 AM
Content is very important to the success of a blog. We asked the bloggers what it was about the content on a blog that contributed to the success of a corporate blog. Two very important factors that the bloggers mentioned the most were writing transparently and writing content that is entertaining and/or personal. This issue is discussed in greater detain in Section Three.
Compelling Content Comes from Unique Experiences
Content that is unique and gives readers a view of the world they would not gain from anywhere else is an important factor in the success of many blogs.
Tim Jackson, writing for the Masi Bikes blog, writes about the Tour de France. The irony of the success of his posts about the Tour de France is that he writes about what is happening on the Tour from his office in San Diego. Tim reads news reports about the race and gives his updates and opinions about what’s happening. Readers in the bicycle world appreciate Tim’s insight highly, even if Tim Jackson is not even attending the major cycling event.
The Stonyfield Farm blog was the most successful blog run by Stonyfield Farm. Jonathan the farmer, Stonyfield’s organic farming blogger, writes about whatever is happening in his life, the calving season or maple sugar season. The success of the Stonyfield Farm organic farming blog is because it is all about a farmer’s unique experiences in farming an organic farm. What must seem mundane to the farmer is refreshing, compelling and entertaining content to most readers.
The content on the Masi biking blog and the Stonyfield Farm organic farming blog really defines and reinforces the stature of each company brand. Masi is associated with the most famous cycle race in the world, and from reading the organic farming blog it is pretty clear that Stonyfield makes its yogurt with organic milk because you can read all about how the milk is produced on the farmer’s organic farming blog.
Industry Content Provides Great Relevancy for Audiences
Content that is industry related on a blog can be the content that brings success to a blog. Several bloggers interviewed described how their blogs’ themes changed over time to relate even more to their industry. Content can be very compelling to an audience when a blog author writes about their industry in general as opposed to just their own product line.
Eric Anderson of Adobe writes unique industry content for his audience, who are developers interested in reading about Adobe’s technology. Deborah Franke and Jim Cahill of Emerson Process Management and Dr. Ron Lasky of Indium Corporation focus most of their blog content on their industries (process automation technology and electronic assembly materials, respectively), and in the process hope to demonstrate the skills and expertise of their bloggers through the good coverage of their industry, thereby associating their company’s brands with a blogger who is a thought leader in their communities. In contrast Zane Safrit of Conference Calls Unlimited makes sure he specifically does not write about his company’s industry, rather Zane writes about his customer’s marketplace, the small business environment.
Eric Anderson from Adobe said that publishing content that people need is very important to building a successful blog. Eric said the posts that generate the most traffic are those posts that discuss Adobe's competitors and content about a product’s future direction. Eric said that his style of blog writing has progressed over time. He used to write about new releases etc., all content he had not written, and he got tired of referencing this type of material. Now Eric writes about technical information not covered anywhere else.
Rick Short from Indium Corporation explained the biggest reason their blogs are successful is because of the stature of Dr. Ron Lasky in the industry. He also said that controversial subjects garnered more interest on the blog, but that is not what the Indium blogs aim for in terms of content. As time has progressed, Dr. Lasky has grown in his blog writing; he is now more comfortable writing in this medium. His posts are longer and more detailed. Rick thought he was more comfortable because Dr. Lasky had a better idea of what people wanted to read on his blog. Rick said, "You need to know what people want to hear. You know, you need to know what interests people."
David Paull at MSInteractive described how he started a blog at his company and quickly realized that to be authentic he had to write about more than just his company's products and services. David writes about his clients’ markets and industry, he ensures that the blog provides useful information for his customers. David stated that it took a few iterations before he found the right voice for his blog.
Max Goldman of SuccessFactors stated that he stays on topic about the human resources industry in his blog. He does not post a lot of articles about personal issues because his audience would not be interested.
Deborah Franke and Jim Cahill of Emerson Process Management keep their blog focused on making it as easy as possible for customers in the process-manufacturing world to talk to experts at Emerson Process Management. Deb said, "The best way to get visibility to your expertise message, we believe, is to blog." Both Deb and Jim said that the posts that have generated the most interest are those where there is already some discussion and interest on the web. The Emerson Process blog has added something to the discussion through the bloggers perspective on an issue.
Sometimes The Most Random Content Generates The Most Interest
A common theme discussed by the bloggers was that it is not always predictable which blog posts will attract the most attention. Oftentimes, they are not the posts one would expect, and sometimes not even related to the industry or company at all. Many bloggers described how it was often personal posts unrelated to the main topic of the blog that generated a lot of comments and traffic. A post that is about unrelated subject matter demonstrates the connections between an audience member and a blogger, and so builds a closer connection between blogger and their readership, precisely because the post is less about business and more about living life.
The content that generates the most comments can be very random on Janet Johnson’s blog at Marqui, and she has been surprised that her personal posts have generated some of the most surprising comments.
Put Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing at the Center of Your Blogging Content Strategy
A blog can be a great way to develop a lot of content, but also a way to help a company achieve top rankings on search engine keywords their audience uses to find a company on the web. Many companies hope to gain a lot of traffic from search engines and aim to achieve higher search engine rankings in order to get more traffic. In addition, customers sometimes perceive a top ranking on a search engine to indicate that a company is a stronger brand than their competitors. Thus, to the extent that high search engine rankings help with brand perception it could be stated that blogs help with brand perception.
Both the quantity of Web content and the proper use of keywords used for search are important factors in achieving a high-ranking search engines. Donna makes SEO strategy really pay off for her blog. She is diligent about writing content that targets the keywords her audience finds relevant. The payoff is top rankings on search engines for the keywords she targets. Donna stated that her blog has achieved a number two ranking on the keyword "gourmet dinners" in Yahoo! The Gourmet Station blog has played a big part in helping Donna’s company to achieve those high rankings.
The topic that generates the most conversation and interaction from readers on the Gourmet Station blog is romance. Donna said the reason for traffic success with romance-related keywords is the high search engine volumes for romance, and that romance is so closely associated with dinner in terms of romantic dinners.
Seasonality can also be a factor in search engine marketing. Searches on particular keywords rise and fall with the season depending on the industry and products. As seasons change, Donna changes the content on her blog to target the interests of her audience by targeting different related keywords. Timely publishing can also have an effect on the rankings of a web page related to a keyword. Donna makes sure each of the 14 categories on the Gourmet Station blog has a fresh recent post in each of the categories, so that she can generate a volume of content around a set of keywords.
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