analyses of company blogs
Mack Collier of The Viral Garden has been running a series called The Company Blog Checkup Series, where he analyses company blogs for flaws, perfections and what could be done better. They’re interesting reading, and I’m thinking they might make a good basis for a student assignment at some point. I’m not teaching any courses this year (hurrah for sabbaticals!) but I’m giving a guest lecture at The Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration later this semester, in a course on viral marketing taught by Ingeborg Kleppe – and of course I’ll be there to talk about blogs. It’s a three hour session, which is too long for just a talk. I think there are no computers, but there’d be time to hand out printed screenshots of a company blog and have students do on-the-spot analyses of it. You’d need at least two or three screenshots I think – the front page, a single post with comments, and maybe a third page with other posts – but even with just that, you could certainly look at some of the points Collier tends to discuss, and others. Is there a clear author of the posts? Do posts invite reader engagement? Does the blogger get involved in the comments? What kind of posts are there? Is there engagement in a larger conversation (links to other blogs)? Does te blog promote its readers? Are posts frequent or sporadic? Does the writing style work? The layout? What more could this blog do?
Really this would just be an updated version of the Blog Review assignment I had students do a few years ago, but more, well, market-oriented and obviously useful. At least to students of marketing.
Oh, and by the way: if you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field, running some kind of a series on how to be excellent in whatever that field is seems to be a popular – and successful – approach these days. Collier uses a great photo of himself holding a stethoscope, implicitly calling himself a blog doctor – although comparing the photo to the photo of himself in the sidebar, I’m not sure it’s the same person – and what’s that woman’s face doing pasted on top of the stethoscope?
Darren Rowse at ProBlogger has run a very successful series on How to Build a Better Blog in 31 Days, where he posts a tip a day – but more cleverly, invites readers to get involved by posting their own tips to their own sites. He doesn’t require them to link back to him, but if they submit their tips through a form on his blog, he promises to link to them. Brilliant: he promotes his readers, making them happy and building community, AND he gets the kudos of coordinating a large community effort to gather ideas about how to improve a blog.