1.) Stuff Mom Never Told You
Living in Beijing I would have to make long subway rides for my commute. At first this was complete torture. Then I found a new passion to pass my time: podcasts. One of my favorite podcasts was Stuff Mom Never Told You. The podcast is devoted to speaking about subjects that are pertinent to modern society, especially topics that involved modern women. I went from being bored on a crowded subway to learning about new things every week. It was perfect for a nerd like me. When I discovered that they also have a blog I was over the moon. They post articles, photographs, and other material that maintains to the sites personal brand.
The two hosts Caroline and Cristen both have a background in journalism. The site is an offshoot of Howstuffworks.com, that resulted from a need for more female driven content. On the sites about page they state, “Fueled by boundless curiosity and rigorous research, Cristen and Caroline are girls-next-door gender experts who skillfully decode the biology, psychology and sociology of ladies and gents, from their evolutionary past to millennial present, to better understand all the Stuff Mom Never Told You. (SMNTY) The blog is a a professional one that has the personal touch of a recreational one. This blog is unique because they use it is a space to inform readers about on-going issues with our society. Check out this recently article they posted about NFL cheerleaders.
The majority of their traffic comes from their podcast, which is current ranked as number 51 on top podcasts on iTunes. This may not seem like a large number for people new to podcasts. Just so you are aware breaking into the top 100 is a huge accomplishment. It also doesn’t hurt that they are apart of the How Stuff Works brand. They currently have numerous channels that include Stuff You Missed in History Class, CarStuff, Stuff You Should Know, and many more. The connection to this brand plays a large responsibility to their success. The brand is kind of a big deal in the podcasting world. Forgive me if I sound like a hipster. That being said, they stand out from the pack because of their original content.
Although I clearly love the blog, one aspect that I find lacking is that the sites format allows for the advertising to be over powering. Sometimes it is hard as a reader to know where the articles begin and the advertisements end. I suppose that is the difference between the feeling of a recreational blog and a professional one. Sometimes I just do not want to deal with pop up advertisements. It is my millennial attention span coming into play.
Another major factor is that they connect the brand through multiple social media sites. As we learned this week in lecture every successful blog has a Twitter. SMNTY not only has that, they also have links to Facebook and Google+ on their blog. Their Instagram leaves a little to be desired sadly. Other than that they have a great IMC campaign that contributes to the overall brand. They have truly formed a viral community with the SMNTY brand. For example, I love when Cristen posts videos from their YouTube channel to the blog. It is a fun way to mix up the blog content. Here is a video I loved below:
2.) The Home Depot Blog
For me, Home Depot was never a brand that I connected with the blogging movement. My father is a carpenter. As a result, Home Depot always reminds me of middle aged men with firm hand shakes and a John Wayne swagger. That’s why when I searched for popular corporate blogs I was surprised when their company popped up. And I have to be honest, it is amazing! As someone who is always searching for fresh ways to decorate it by far my new favorite blog. Even though they are a professional blog, they produce content that speaks directly to the consumer.
Home Depot has taken advantage of the DIY movement through their blog. One of the few companies that have taken full advantage of Pinterest, Home Depot markets themselves well through the site. Every content that they post on their blog you have the option to re-pin to your Pinterest page. I am addicted to Pinterest, but one problem I have with this social media site is that my dreams never seem to become realities. I have enough mason jars in my pantry to make my own rustic wedding if I wanted to. As a result, the practicality of the Home Depot blog is what stands out to me. The projects that they display come with realistic tutorials. Right now I am looking for fun ways to make my own head board for my bed.
If I search for headboards DIY tutorials on their site it pops right up with different options for me. It displays everything I would need to make my own head board: materials, how long it takes, and most importantly average cost.
One part that I found lacking in the blog, is they could be posting content more frequently. Considering what an amazing marketing tool this blog is for the Home Depot brand I would think fresh content would be an almost daily priority. The blog mostly serves as an advertisement for Home Depot and the products they sell. Because of this I have not found that many advertisements for other companies on the the site. Their traffic to the blog also comes from the Home Depot company. Home Depot is high on the search engine for home good products and DIY classes.
The blog also posts classes that they host at Home Depot for those interested in having their own DIY projects. Further demonstrating that everything the site does pulls back to the Home Depot brand. No longer is the company the mecca for old carpenters. It can also be a place that twenty somethings can go to create. Making something out of nothing is what distinguishes the Home Depot brand. What would you pay to have some tile your bathroom floor, when they have tutorials on how to do it yourself? The brand preaches hard work and ingenuity. Two qualities that are as relevant now as when the company started in 1978. The blog is a not so much sentiment of them rebranding themselves, but a reflection of what the company always stood for. As their slogan goes, “You can do it. We can help.”
3.) The Everywhereist
This blog is something that I stumbled upon when I traveled abroad. Being a female traveling alone can be daunting. It is nice to read about the experience of another woman. One of my greatest pet peeves with travel blogs is that they tend to read like a poor man’s version of Eat Pray Love. Every travel blogger seems to be on some great spirit quest to find themselves through travel. The Everywhereist’s writer Geraldine may be lost, but what I like about her is that she doesn’t seem to want to be found. She embraces the here and now with amazing sincerity. The recreational blog began after she was laid off. From then on, she traveled the world to give support to her husband while he was away on business.
What I like most about the blog is it’s raw honesty and humor. Geraldine comes across as a very genuine person, who does not shy away from her flaws. That ability to embrace herself flaws and all was what set The Everywhereist apart from other travel blogs.
Just take a look at her writing yourself. After a trip to Ireland she wrote, “The thing about Ireland – and Europe in general, really – is that there are castles all over the damn place. They’re sort of like Red Lobster restaurants in America. Everyone’s hometown has one, and they’re usually in various states of disrepair and completely empty. Unless relatives are visiting from afar, you probably aren’t going to set foot in one.” (The Everywhereist) Her writing style makes it seem as if she is speaking to you in person. She just happens to be more articulate. Being funny also never hurts in my opinion. It is writing like this that helped The Everywhereist grow from just another travel blog, to one with thousands of followers. She was even able to use this success write her own book. That is a blog writers dream!
As for advertisement, you rarely see pop up ads on the blog. Geraldine and her husband, however, are investors in TechStars Seattle. Every now and then she will write an article that pertains to these companies. I like that she hasn’t given in to major advertisers. It keeps the personal touch to the blog. This always for her brand to be consistent. Consistency in herself is a reflection in the consistency in her brand. Geraldine does not let advertisements over power this.
After her blog was around for awhile she gained popularity because of her content. Her writing style is both entertaining and insightful. You can read, laugh, learn, and escape all at the same time. She has also received numerous awards. Forbes listed her blog as one of the the Top Lifestyle Blogs for Women. That goes to show you that gaining the attention of notable news organizations never hurts a brand. Along with other awards, traffic to her blog went through the roof. Not to mention, she has a strong IMC campaign. Geraldine has both a Facebook page, Twitter Account, and an Instagram feed to die for. Compared to the other first blogs I have mentioned; the number of followers she has for each account are low. What I love though is that her blog went from nothing to receiving cyber recognition. As someone who wants to one day have a successful blog of her own, I can learn more from her personal blog than I can from one with professional backing.