I have to admit, when I hear the word “blog” I think of middle aged women attempting to master a crockpot recipe for each day of the year, or a distressed teen using the internet as their diary. I’ve always thought of blogs as being personal, not professional, but what I never realized is that several websites I may turn to for travel advice, recipes, or how to train my dog that are actually blogs.
There are different categories that a blog may fall into- news, professional/semi-professional, recreational, aggregator, or group- and there are a variety of people and companies that contribute to blogs. Below are three of my favorite blogs to follow.
PostSecret.com is a recreational blog that started as a bit of an art project and eventually turned into an international inspiration. People from around the world will mail an anonymous postcard with whatever secret it is they may have to an address in Germantown, Maryland. Every Sunday Frank Warren, the founder of the blog, will post ten or more of these anonymous secrets to the blog to share with the world. A few years into the project, the creator teamed up with International Suicide Prevention to provide an outlet for those who may relate to the deep suicidal secrets that are posted each week. Frank Warren also began teaming up with colleges and started hosting events, inviting individuals to share their secrets in a safe environment.
The project is very inspiring. It has turned from an art exhibit into a community, allowing people to reach out for help, provide help, discuss individual differences, and accept that they are not alone in having secrets. The layout of this blog is very simple. The simple black background offsets the usually colorful postcards. Besides the Sunday Secrets, the only advertisements are for upcoming PostSecret Live! events, PostSecret book releases, and then a live Twitter and Facebook feed.
PostSecret.com is definitely a successful blog. The brand is available on multiple social media sites and always has sharing buttons included. The uniqueness of this project drives people to come back every week. Should someone send in a secret, they are eager to see whether it is posted on the site, published in a book, or included in a YouTube collaboration. Though I have never sent in a secret, I routinely check the blog each Sunday for the new secrets, and have since I discovered the blog several years ago. Some secrets make you laugh, some break your heart, and some make you think “me too.”
Though there are no advertisers on the website, I think this is how the site should be. With such a variety of secrets, no specific advertiser could fit perfectly. If this is not a blog you are aware you, I definitely suggest you check it out. It is bound to make you either appreciate what it is you have or remind you that you are not alone in the world.
Never Stop Exploring
NeverStopExploring.com is both a recreational and a group blog. The North Face athletes and their surrounding community contribute to this blog that includes not only stories, but tips, tricks, photos, events, the how and why of The North Face apparel and accessories, as well as company news.
What makes this blog unique is that caters to the extreme sports that The North Face creates clothing and products for. This blog is not about soccer, tennis, or field hockey. It is about freeskiing, alpine climbing, and mountain athletics. It is about snowboarding, hiking, and cross training. The North Face’s sponsored athletes all contribute to this blog as do their trainers and various other individuals who are well versed in the sports and travel surrounding these activities. The North Face is known for being durable and extreme and this blog is a great reflection of that. It clearly is sponsored by the brand, yet it offers plenty of updated blogs in a variety of topics to appeal to anyone who is a fan of the company.
The blog could be tweaked a bit to be more successful per our lecture this week. For starters each topic does not seem to keep up to date posts. Recently the snow sports as well as cross training sports have blogs from as recent as this week, but the travel and hiking topics have not had up dated blog since fall. Though the blog does include links to The North Face’s social media sites, as well as to the company’s website The Northface.com, a live feed showing the connection would make it feel much more connected. The content is definitely original, the pictures are gorgeous, and the topics are more than relevant, but it would be much for successful if it were more connected, better updated, and easier to stumble across online.
Don’t tell my boss, but I do follow the Pandora blog (iHearRadio has yet to jump on the blog train). As someone who is a big fan of the comings and goings of new music artist, Pandora’s blog offers great insight to new music that is coming on the scene. This would be considered a professional blog over a recreational blog due to the fact that the people contributing to this blog are involved daily in the music business.
The Pandora blog’s purpose is to create a deeper and more connected listener experience. Each post provides a variety of interesting information for the reader, from one-on-one interviews with music artists to statistics gathered from Pandora.com. Blogs are posted at least once a week, if not more often, and the ability to share or connect on social media is listed on every page. The blog can be found on Pandora.com, but it also can be found when searching Google for music blogs. There are not any advertisements to be found on this blog, but I think that is a reflection of Pandora’s brand. One of the biggest appeals of Pandora Radio is that you can create a radio station without being bothered by excessive advertisements. Not allowing advertisements on the blog page maintains the brand’s image of being all about the music without interruptions.
Pandora’s blog is definitely successful, but I think it could have a better layout. It is easy to use and matches the Pandora.com colors and overall look, but I think a simpler layout could make it even more user-friendly. If the featured categories were maybe listed at the top it would make it much easier to navigate and see what the blog has to offer. Overall, it is a very interesting blog that is written in a conversational tone and provide great information for Pandora users and music lovers alike.