5 brand blogs to learn from

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While Facebook offers brands a convenient channel to reach more than 500 million current and potential customers, it's important not to forget your social media roots. A brand blog gives your company a place to archive events and stories, and acts as a hub where you can send your customers when 140 Twitter characters just isn't enough space.

It's easy to look at a brand blog and determine its success (or lack thereof) by the number of reader comments, but those numbers don't tell the whole story. Engagement and success go beyond what you see on the surface. When done right, brand blogs can play an important role in everything from branding to SEO.

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Brand blogs can range from the straight company/ product-only approach or they can give your readers a taste of your company culture, allowing them to connect with your brand on a deeper level. For example, if you're lucky, your customers interact with your company in cool or unique ways, and a blog a perfect showcase.

There are some basic keys to blog success, such as post frequency, links to social media channels, and corporate pages, but there are some brands that have kicked it up a notch with a few other important features. Let's take a look at a few favorites and what your brand might be missing.

A blog with a name and face
Kodak's A Thousand Words blog is one of three blogs from the photo product brand. The other blogs focus on how Kodak products can help companies grow their business and expertise about digital imaging technology.

 

The A Thousand Words blog shares stories from Kodak employees about imaging and "its power to influence our world." Kodak.com's chief blogger Jenny Cisney and her team offer a warm and light look at what happens behind the scenes at Kodak. Much of the blog is devoted to Kodak events and sponsorships, as well as stories of the interesting photo enthusiasts who cross the brand's path.

Kodak's blog posts feature the author's headshot, full name, job title, and office location. This way, readers know whether the information is coming from Kodak's marketing intern or a brand manager. Not that there's anything wrong with interns, of course, but putting a name, face, and title to a post adds credibility, expertise, and a unique connection for readers. Kodak also has guest bloggers, who add variety and outside expertise.

The blog is updated frequently -- almost daily, in fact. As one would expect, most posts incorporate striking photography. Kodak products are featured throughout, but they're more of an afterthought to the photography tips/ techniques and event recaps.

All three of Kodak's blogs are streamlined, user-friendly, and free of clutter. Readers can rate the posts, up to five stars, which can help guide a brand's editorial direction and maybe even business decisions. Kodak also makes it simple for readers to share the posts via the usual channels, like Facebook, Twitter, and email.

The subscribe button is easy to find on each blog, and posts are categorized. Posts are organized in a calendar, with the top posts highlighted.

Kodak makes an important point in its blog's "About" page when it notes that "Inquiries that are unrelated to this blog -- such as warranty-related questions -- will be redirected to an appropriate resource." Although it's unlikely that each of its visitors studies that page, highlighting the blog's purpose might be saving the content team a little bit of misdirected heartache.

Kodak has done a nice job of creating content that appeals to photo-enthusiasts, not just Kodak customers.

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