Sailing into Social Media With A Sponsored Blog


More and more brands are taking a step into social media with blog marketing sites. Ann Handley, the diva of the community world and the driving force behind the successful Marketing Prof's Daily Fix blog recently posted that, "Last year's (blog) boom is yet another indication that blogs have gone mainstream, probably more so than many other social media platforms."

Last night AiMA had a great meeting that focused on consumer generated advertising and consumer generated branding.  Congrats to Wade Forst, Spunlogic, who brought in Tom Daly, Global Interactive Marketing, Coca-Cola and Michael Friedman, Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Smokey Bones).

SomeBruce_smith companies are dipping their toes in, not with traditional conversaional blogs, but with sponsored blogs. Darden Restaurant's Bahama Breeze is following the travels of Caribbean artist Bruce Smith and his wife Jan (who it seems is writing many  posts but is not credited) as they sail from San Diego Bay to the Caribbean.

It's an interesting and real blog read especially the post about how Bruce and Jan rescued two Haitian migrants. See the 3/2 post .. sorry no permalink.* 

I thought it would fun and a good learning to develop an informal social media marketing / blog marketing analysis of the Bruce Smith Voyage Blog.

Transparency - Darden got the bloggy transparency right with mentions on the side nav bar of sponsorship. Lessons learned from our friends at Edelman perhaps?

Interactive - The Bruce Smith Voyage Blog is linked from Bahama Breeze's home page (zero Google rank). There is a MySpace page that seems to be a space holder since there is no current content, few friends (44) or comments (5).

Viral - Posts don't have unique permalinks .. missed opportunity for viral.* With a zero Google ranking on the blog there doesn't seem to be much pick up. Speaking of pick-up and viral buzz our pals at Technorati show 13 links from 5 sailing blogs while Google Blogs shows only 2 links.

Engagement - If engagement is measured by comments, links and trackbacks the Bruce Smith Voyage Blog is missing the boat.

Lessons Learned: Even a blog with interesting content, great writing and cool travel photos won't find friends unless you tell them you are there. That might include: traditional marketing that leverages the Bahama Breeze restaurants, to a blogger relations programs, to a search engine optimization initiative.

Sidebar: Mike mentioned that Darden's marketing strategies are intended to put butts in the seats. Don't know if that was the objective of this initiative and if so if it succeeded. Or if there is significant traffic from the blog to the website that spells s-u-c-c-e-s-s. But seems to me that the sails could have gotten more winds from this campaign.

Sidebar: Yvonne DiVita's Purina sponsored blog Scratchings and Sniffings is a great example of a corporate sponsored blog. Bloggy disclaimer Purina is a client.


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Blogs are a great asset to your online presence. A great way to enhance your blog, make it more attractive, and personaized, is to add cartoons and caricatures to it. Cartoons are are great way to communicate a message and connect with your audience. Magazines use this type of artwork to draw readers to articles and advertisements. There is something unique and special to a well made cartoon. Surprisingly adding cartoons to your website, blog, or other online presence can be quite inexpensive. The artwork at the top of this blog, The Diva Marketing Blog, is a perfect example. It looks great and keeps people on the page.

Posted by: Kelly Croy on Mar 30, 2007 1:38:20 AM

Kelly - Thanks for your kind words about the design of Diva's "skin." Your comment about cartoons adding to the fun and appeal of a blog is well taken and might be interesting for bloggers to consider. However, the majority of your comment is a blatant sales pitch, isn't written in the first person so I can only assume that you are not the artist but perhaps a PR representative, and is off topic of the post.

Sales pitches on comments are very "unbloggy" however, because the "art slant" sort of makes sense with the fact that Bruce is an artist, rather than delete your entire comment I have modified it (something I rarely do). If my readers are interested in learning more they have the opportunity to click on your link.

Posted by: Toby on Mar 30, 2007 2:10:04 AM

Toby, you are always at the forefront of great ideas - ever since I've met you, I've been delighted to be a part of your inner blog-buddy circle. This blog is a testament to the effectiveness of using a participatory platform to engage clients, customers, vendors, and individual communities as a whole.

As more and more business professionals 'get it'... we should see more and more participation. I find it exciting to be a part of such a dynamic changing landscape.

Thanks for mentioning Scratchings and Sniffings.

Posted by: Yvonne DiVita on Mar 30, 2007 8:28:59 AM

I have a coupon for Purina Little Bites and am not sure if it will work for Purina Indoor Complete Little Bites. I researched on line and the packaging is a bit different.

Posted by: home teeth whitening on Apr 28, 2010 10:20:53 AM

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