13 August 2007


“The Blogging Success Study was conducted by Dr. Walter Carl; the students in his Advanced Organizational Communications class (Spring 2006) at Northeastern University and John Cass and his colleagues at Backbone Media, Inc. The objective of this research was to determine the reasons, conditions and factors that make a blog successful, and to create a list of criteria to help companies assess whether and how they should engage in blogging.”

The students interviewed 20 corporate bloggers who had been blogging for over one year and who “considered their blogging efforts successful.” The bloggers were asked three questions:
1. How does the set up of a blog contribute to a blog’s success?
2. What is it about how you blog that makes the blog a success?
3. What is it about the content on a blog that makes the blog a success?

“After careful review, the research team identified five factors for success:” the ability to convey the corporate culture; transparency or openness, to establish credibility and trust; devotion of sufficient time; ability and willingness to dialogue; and entertaining writing style and personalization in order to bring humor and a human side to the blog.

Bloggers interviewed were from Adobe, Adweek, author and speaker Aliza Sherman Risdahl, BzzAgent (marketing and media), Conference Calls Unlimited, foodie blog Daily Eats, Emerson Process Management (automation and process control), Gourmet Station (chef-cooked meals), Indium Corporation (manufacturing), Landfair Furniture, Marqui (web content management), Masi Bicycles, Microsoft, Mississippi Hospital Association, MSInteractive (online research), Paperback Bazaar, PR and blogging professional Jeremy Pepper, coffee roaster Stone Creek Coffee, Stonyfield Farm (natural dairy products), and SuccessFactors (employee performance management software).

Among other things, the study found that “compelling content comes from unique experiences, industry content provides great relevancy for audiences, sometimes the most random content generates the most interest, [and] put search engine optimization marketing at the center of your blogging content strategy.”

Finally, when deciding if your company should blog, the study concludes, “Blogging is complex, and each company approaches blogging differently. If one measurement of success is reaching an audience, it is, therefore, important to choose a content strategy that is relevant to your audience. If you do not conduct a dialogue with your audience, but instead try to sell your audience something, your blog will probably not produce the traffic or links you seek. Without results, a company will either change its strategy in order to become an effective blogger or give up blogging entirely. The decision to blog, then, should be based upon an understanding of what resources are available and the commitment that is needed to maintain a successful blog.”

Executive Summary: http://www.scoutblogging.com/success_study/

Download entire study (free registration required):

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