In Your Words 5 – Blog Breakdowns!

When discussing these blogs, the following criteria will be used to analyze each:

  • What type of blog is it per this week’s lecture?
  • What is its purpose?
  • What makes them unique?
  • Talk about how it reflects the brand.
  • What drives the traffic to the blog? High on search engine? IMC? Website links? What gets people to read!
  • Is it a successful blog per some of the bullet points in this week’s lecture?
  • What’s missing on the blog in your opinion?
  • Are there advertisers? If not, who are some potential advertisers?

TheOnion

  • The Onion is a satirical news blog that makes multiple daily posts from many different authors. onion
  • I like to believe that the purpose of The Onion is for readers to have a place to go to take a break from the hustle and grind of everyday life and read satirical news stories that often elude to real life stories but add exaggeration and comedy in order to make light of sometimes bad situations. 
  • What makes The Onion unique is the fact that on the surface, they look like a very professional news blog that takes itself seriously.  It doesn’t take long however to realize that the headlines on The Onion are often comical and may not be related to any real life news at all.
  • The Onion has created a very unique brand and much of that has started from even their name.  By consistently following a professional news model and just having well written satirical stories, The Onion can keep its brand consistent and become recognizable over many platforms including printed newspapers and even YouTube video headline stories.  Twitter headlines even can be satirical in 140 or less characters and The Onion can maintain its brand over many outlets.
  • There are many things that can drive traffic to The Onion.  For one, the headlines of articles are typically very “shareable” and are easy way to brighten the mood on someone’s Twitter feed or Facebook Timeline.  Also, consistency helps drive traffic because if someone sees an article that they find funny, it is easy to go back to the site and realize that The Onion has many of the same types of stories.
  • The Onion is a successful blog because they are always publishing new stories.  In a format such as theirs, The Onion has to be careful not to become too stale and they seem to do a good job of this by varying the subject matter of the stories and delivering to the point headlines that are usually good for a quick laugh.  Also, The Onion has a strong presence on all of the social media platforms that help make it successful. 
  • In my opinion, there is not a lot The Onion can do in order to improve its blog.  They follow many of the rules of good blogging including putting a face to some of the articles and publishing lots of good content.  If I had one critique of their site, it would be to consider being a little more organized on their homepage.  There really doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for why stories are placed where they are on the site and as a result, the site looks a little unorganized.
  • The main advertiser I saw on The Onion was Ford.

DeadSpin

  • DeadSpin is a professional sports blog with multiple contributors and publishes fresh content on a daily basis.  It has some news elements to it in that it follows sports news and “gossip” but also features many blog articles that are not directly related to a current event in sports.
  • DeadSpin appears to be “the watercooler” of sports talk in that it’s not really a news website, but more a casual conversation site about sports and some real life application of sports for the consumer.  For example, one of the articles on DeadSpin discusses Fantasy Football teams and analyzes why yours may not be doing so well.  The site also features stories on foods that go well with gameday.
  • deadspin1I think what makes DeadSpin unique is the fact that they are not exclusively sports and sports news.  The site feels more casual and conversational and features articles of interest and news as opposed to just reporting what is going on in sports.
  • As a brand, DeadSpin is rather strong but could use a little improvement in this area.  When I first read the title, I thought the blog was about music and though I quickly realized this was not the case when I got to the site, there still just doesn’t seem to be the same type of branding that I saw in the previous example. DeadSpin doesn’t really appear to have a “look,” though it does seem they stay pretty consistent with their formatting and appearance.
  • Content seems to be one of the big factors for driving traffic to DeadSpin.  The blog is up to date on sports news and many of the articles are very “shareable” in that they are accompanied by a video or images of some sort and probably display very well on a social site.  DeadSpin also appears to be the type of place where you go for a more in-depth look at some sports stories that you may not necessarily get from a news reporting sports show or site.
  • DeadSpin does certainly appear to be a successful blog from a few of the qualities we discussed.  First, there is always fresh content being published with good accompanying media and articles.  Second, they do have a presence on social media.  Finally, the articles have good personality as opposed to being just news reporting.
  • DeadSpin could use an improvement in their social media presence and we should see more links for posting articles to social media directly from the site.  I had to dig a little to find links to their social on the site and I don’t believe I saw a single button for social on the main page of the blog. 
  • DeadSpin does have advertisers and on my visit to the site, HP and Lenovo were advertising on the main page in the bottom left corner.

Engadget

  • Engadget is a professional blog that publishes new content on a daily basis from multiple writers.
  • The purpose of Engadget is to break news related to new technology and to give reviews of technology that has been released.  Enadget also travels to various technology events and lets readers feel like they are there through up to the minute stories and pictures from these events.
  • Engadget is unique in that it is a good place for electronics news but also features reviews and live blogging from events that makes it individual and personable.  Engadget is also unique in that it is a blog that I have grown to “trust.”  I like the way their authors discuss electronics that are relevant to me and their reviews are often something that help me determine whether or not to make a purchase. 
  • This mix of news stories and personal reviews are what create the brand of Engadget and allow readers to begin to form a personal relationship with the site.  Consistent branding across multiple platforms allows Engadget to become identifiable while still allowing each individual author to have his or her own voice that connects with the audience in a unique way.
  • Traffic comes to Engadget for a few different reasons. First, Engadget is often one of the only sites with up to the second reporting from some of the major events related to technology.  I found out about the site when I read their live blog from an Apple event that the public was not invited to.  Engadget allowed me to feel connected to the event even though I was not there.  Engadget often ranks high on my Google searches for product reviews and they have a good presence on social media. 
  • Enadget is a successful blog in that they post new fresh content on a daily basis and the Engadget standard for articles always is very high.  The site also features personalities in its engadgetstories and even a picture on the main page features a more funny/emotional picture of an author’s reaction to a certain type of electronics.
  • It is hard for me to give suggestions to Engadget because I do feel they are doing a very good job at blogging.  The site has good ties back to social media and is very organized and allows me to search for articles and reviews while still looking like a news blog.  It is one of my favorite sites to visit on the internet.  If I had to say anything, I suppose Engadget could do with a little more of a presence off the internet.  Marketing items such as Engadget tshirts or even mouse pads could help with brand recognition and subliminally make Engadget a site more people use to learn about electronics through recognition.
  • Engadget does have advertisers; and on my visit to the site I saw ads from Dyson as well as Century Link.  

LifeHacker

  • LifeHacker is a professional blog that posts multiple daily articles from a variety of authors.
  • The purpose of LifeHackers is to create content that is both interesting to the reader and hopefully helps to make their lives easier through helping them do things that they may not have realized they could do. 
  • LifeHacker is unique in that it tries to get its readers to think about many of the things around them in a different way.  For example, iOS 7 is a popular topic of discussion right now and rather than telling you about the features of iOS 7, LifeHacker tells you about the “Top 10 Secret Features of iOS 7.”
  • This concept is important for LifeHacker, because if done correctly can take on many different forms and allow then to spread their brand to many different platforms and readers.  As the LifeHacker name can be synonymous with many different facets of life, by remaining consistent as the site has done, they are able to “hack” many different things and publish loads of fresh content across multiple platforms.
  • Content really seems to be the best feature that drives traffic to the blog and I often see LifeHacker articles published on other platforms as content for other sites. 
  • LifeHacker seems pretty successful based on the criteria we discussed.  They publish fresh content on a daily basis, they have a personality (creatively emphasized by the 16 bit originalrenderings of the contributors on the “about” page), and there are a few links to social media.
  • Where LifeHacker seems to be missing opportunities is in the fact that they don’t really seem to have a strong IMC or communication plan with its audience.  I know of LifeHacker because I have seen other sites pick up some of their articles.  LifeHacker itself doesn’t seem to be presenting itself in some of the arenas where it could thrive.  There is a section of the population (the Lowe’s type of do-it-yourselfers) that would really enjoy articles like these and I wonder if LifeHacker appeals to them, or has visibility with them.
  • There is advertising on LifeHacker and during my visits I saw an ad for American Express and Netflix.

MacRumors

macrumors

  • Finally, another one of my personal favorites, MacRumors is a news blog that contributes daily articles from multiple authors and editors.
  • MacRumors scours the internet for news articles and speculation on upcoming Apple products and gives up to the minute updates on developments within the Apple world.
  • MacRumors is unique in that it often takes content from other sites in order to validate its rumors.  We may speculate about a feature of an upcoming iPhone on MacRumors, but often the rumors are back up by a possibly credible source.  You don’t fully know the articles on MacRumors are true until Apple reveals them but half the fun of MacRumors is in the shared speculation.
  • This theme helps the brand in that as long as MacRumors can continue to deliver fresh articles on rumors around Apple products, they can eventually create a strong brand around this concept.  Users will return because they know MacRumors is as early as early can be.  These articles can also be published on social, thereby contributing to the branding.
  • I think what mostly drives traffic to the blog is the freshness associated with their content.  As a repeat viewer of MacRumors I feel I am as knowledgeable about future Apple products as consumer-ly possible. Also, MacRumors frequently comes up on my search results when searching for details on Apple products.
  • MacRumors is a successful blog in that it publishes fresh content on pretty much a daily basis.  The challenge in front of MacRumors that they have risen to is the fact that they have to be on the “front lines” of a very breaking news topic.  Spreading a rumor about a product is one thing, MacRumors often has to try to be the FIRST to spread a new topic and they seem to do a very good job of that.  There is also a noticeable presence on social.
  • I think MacRumors could do well to socialize their blog a little bit more however.  The discussion is what could really change MacRumors from a “breaking news” type blog into a blog that not only breaks news, but also highly encourages readers to discuss possible Apple products and give their thoughts on speculation.  The forums feature helps with this, but a stronger presence on Facebook and Twitter where engagement is highly encouraged could really bring this over the top.
  • Advertisements were present on MacRumors; and in an act of brilliance, Gazelle, a company for trading in used Apple products was the advertising company on my visit.
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