Blog Report Card

10/19/2004

Report_card

Had an energizing chat with Jackie,Church of the Customer , this afternoon about blogs. Exciting to exchange ideas with another blogger who sees the bigger vision of where blogs are heading and how they can and will impact business. Bloggers are the friendliest people!

Sidebar: Realized that I've never seen or spoken with many of the folks I've "met" online. Strange how relationships and friendships are built via this new medium.

We agreed that as blogs become accepted as credible business/marketing strategies the pioneer, shoot from the hip, attitude we know and love, will morph into a more disciplined approach. [See Diva Marketing's post So Long to the Blog Wild Wild West ] One of the most influential change agents will be the higher education community. Since many colleges and universities offer new media courses it's a an easy stretch to add a lecture or even classes on blogs.

A great example is Dr Jill Walker’s, University of Bergen, class on digital culture. As part of their assignments, students are required to review exisiting blogs. Professor Scott Rettberg, Richard Stockton College, also requires students to evaluate blogs in his new media class. Here are just a few blogs that are used in Professor Rettberg's class:
- What’s in Rebecca’s Pocket
- Jill/txt
- Grand Text Auto
- Smart Mobs (Howard Rheingold)
- Doc Searls
- My trailer is bigger than your trailer

Lessons Learned: You never know who will be reading (or reviewing) your blog. A thread on Blogshop: one of the bloggers whose blog was reviewed has just announced he might quit blogging seeing people actually WRITING about him.

Based on Professor Walker's suggested criteria, here's a Blog Report Card. What grade would you give the blogs you read? What grade would you give your own blog?

Blog Marketing Report Card
Strategy
1. Is there a clear target audience for the blog?
2. Is the purpose of the blog clear? What is the main point of the blog?
3. Are the themes consistent with the purpose of the blog?
4. Is the content relevant and of value (based on the purpose)? What do you read between the lines?

Structure/Style
5. Is the writing style easy to read on a webpage?
6. Is the organisational structure e.g., use of archives, categories, information about the blogger easy to navigate?
7. Does the visual design add to ease of the read?
8. Are there resouce links and a blogroll?
9. Is the relationship between the graphical design and the style of writing harmonious or conflicted?
10. Frequency: how often does the blogger post?

Credibility
11. Who is the blogger (about us/me page)?
12. Is the blog part of a community e.g, Nettdagbok.no, Livejournal, webrings, etc.?
13. Does the blogger appear to take part in other communities, offline or online?
14. Does it seem likely that the blog might be fictional?
15. Who links to the blog? Are the many links? What kinds of people/websites? (Hint: Use Technorati, Google, etc.)
16. Is discussion encouraged? Are comments enabled? Are there many comments? Are they all from the same people?
17. Would you recommend it to other readers? Perhaps you’d recommend it to some but not to everyone?
18. Will you continue to read it?

"Toto I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!"

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Comments

You've done it, Toby. This report card should be circulated all over the net and used as an introduction to blogging for newbies. May I have permission to use it in my Business Blogging Boot Camp training manual-- giving you all proper credit?

Posted by: Yvonne DiVita on Oct 20, 2004 10:44:03 AM

Yvonne -

Absolutely! And thanks for your feedback. If blogs are going to be "graded" bloggers should set the bar.

Toby

Posted by: Toby on Oct 20, 2004 12:13:24 PM

I am new to blogging, but it seems to me that the energy from blogs arises from the messy extemporaneous tone that they take. Real people are bloggers and you can tell. Polished blogs are a little like the bland blah blah that sucks the life out of corporate-speak or the offensive manipulation that is advertising. Finally, meeting that academic checklist places that miserable little critic back on the shoulder. When blogs are graded, I will move on to something else.

Posted by: lizthoughts on Jan 7, 2007 9:11:30 PM

Great post! Although I'm not a full time internet marketer or blogger, I make my living in insurance marketing and helping in the whole process of selling insurance. This said though, I do participate in many blogs and think they really help people build their businesses. The criteria listed in this article really give bloggers an idea of the things they should be doing to get the most out of their blog. Thanks for posting!

Posted by: Michaela Roberts on Feb 23, 2007 9:53:50 PM

I really enjoyed this post and it applies even if I'm not blogging as a "business", persay. I've struggled with who my blog is aimed toward... When I began back in 2004, I was just journalling. Now, being back at blogging I don't know I have any clarity on the matter... but I know it was helpful being able to journal online and let people find me who had similar interests. I hope over time I'll learn who those people are and it will help define my blog more. In the meantime, I just try to make it something of honest interest to me.

Posted by: Ali on Sep 3, 2008 12:34:48 PM

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