Thursday, August 16, 2007

Company Blog Checkup: Turkey Hill

It's summer, we are all fondly recalling the days when the temp was only 98, so what better time to review a company blog about ice cream? Turkey Hill's Ice Cream Journal serves up the scoop on its people and products, but how are the readers responding?

First, I'm not sure who the author is for Ice Cream Journal. Ernie Pinckney, the 'official ice cream taster' has his picture and an 'Ask Ernie' section set up on the sidebar. But all the posts are signed as being authored by 'Turkey Hill Team'. As I've said before, I think that's a no-no, we need to know exactly who is writing a blog's posts, and they need their pic and bio prominently displayed on the blog.

Now let's move to the content. I think the content of the Ice Cream Journal really taps into the potential of a company blog. When you first hear of a company blog for a dairy that sells ice cream, your thought might be 'Ok they'll blog about ice cream, then what?' But Ice Cream Journal not only blogs about its products, but also the people that create the ice cream, where it is created, and the people that buy it. There's posts about diary-farm tours, pictures of Ernie as a toddler, ice cream recipes, and even pictures of reader's pets after enjoying some Turkey Hill ice cream! They also throw in contests and reader polls. Ice Cream Journal taps into a fundamental truth about a successful company blog; it's not about the product, it's about the people. The people that create the product, and the people that buy it.

Ice Cream Journal is all about the comments. The only post I could find from the last two months that had less than 10 comments, was one left yesterday. Many posts have 20 or more comments, and someone from the 'Turkey Hill Team' had replied to almost every post. Often, the blog's authors would either offer to send readers items, or asked them to send pictures of their pets, etc, based on the comments readers were leaving. As always, the number of comments is a great way to judge the strength of the community on any blog, and Ice Cream Journal seems to be doing an excellent job of encouraging and responding to reader comments.

Now let's move to the sidebar. Ice Cream Journal has a section explaining what the blog is, search, and a section for email subscriptions, all at the top of the blog. Then we move down and see a reader poll and a section inviting readers to 'Ask Ernie' their 'technical' questions about the ice-cream creation process. Then we finish with archives by month, categories, and a nice collection of ice cream-related links. Finally, we have a couple of RSS buttons. I think for a company blog, there should also be a section explaining exactly what RSS is, as I would assume that many readers to the average company blog have no idea what the content-delivery system is, or how it could benefit them.

Overall, I really like Ice Cream Journal, and I think it's a wonderful example of why many companies should strongly consider adding a blog to its marketing efforts. The blog has a very vibrant community and connection between blog authors and readers. This connection allows Turkey Hill to not only learn a great deal about its customers (hint: free market research), but it also allows the readers/customers to learn more about Turkey Hill. And let's be honest, there's no shortage of ice cream makers and if you want to pick up a half gallon of french vanilla, you've got plenty of options. But overall, most of us will go with the brand that we know and trust. And the next time I'm on an ice cream run, I'll probably pick up a carton of Turkey Hill's.

And now for the scoring:

Content: 31 (Out of a possible 35) - All ice cream, all the time. The blog even has recipes and advice on curing the dreaded 'ice cream headache'.

Comments: 30 (Out of a possible 35) - Insane number of reader comments, yet few replies from Ernie and Turkey Hill. But most posts still get at least 50 comments, many over a hundred.

Posting Schedule: 13 (Out of a possible 15) - Averaging about 4-6 posts a week, which is excellent.

Sidebars: 13 (Out of a possible 15) - Love the pic and info on Ernie, and notice how the blog has a description for each blog on its blogroll!

Total Score: 87 (Out of a possible 100)

If anyone from Turkey Hill wants to discuss this Company Blog Checkup with me, feel free to leave a comment here, or email me, or both. If you're a company that would like to hire me to do an extensive checkup of your blog, you can click here for more information on my blogging and social media consulting services. And if anyone can think of a company blog that they want me to do a checkup on, feel free to email me!

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Marianne said...


Nice job with the Company Blog Checkup series. Great points and implementable suggestions.


Mack Collier said...

Thanks Marianne!

John Peters said...

I wish Ice Cream Journal has some free Ice Creams to taste! :D

Anyway, nice points! These are all good! Thank you for sharing!