Thursday, August 07, 2008

Company Blog Checkup: Coca-Cola

I have to say up front that I am a fan of the idea behind Coca-Cola's Conversations blog. What Coke has done is set up a blog for Phil Mooney, who describes himself as "the historian/archivist for The Coca-Cola Company for the last 30 years. " This is a great idea, because there is a very strong market and fanbase for Coca-Cola memorabilia, and collectibles. So it would seem that Phil would be one of the true experts on the history of the Coke brand, and that giving him his own blog to reach Coke collectors and historical enthusiasts would be a great move. Let's see if it is.

The content portion of a business blog usually makes or breaks its effectiveness. Phil covers how Coke's advertising has changed throughout the years (love this post that details the company's promotional efforts for the 1964 Olympics.). Besides how Coke's promotional efforts have changed, Phil also spends a great deal of time looking at popular Coke collectibles, and even gives some advice on assessing the value of said collectibles(another favorite post, a Fanta milkshake recipe published in the 80s). This exactly the type of content that a Coke collector would want to see. I do have a couple of small suggestions; I think Phil should add an occasional post on how to care for and preserve collectibles, and maybe invite readers to send pictures of their own collections of Coke memorabilia. This would be a great way to engage and excite readers. But these are minor quibbles, as on the whole, the blog does an excellent job of producing the type of content that will resonate with its audience.

Now let's move to the comments section. A byproduct of producing superior blog content, is frequently more comments being left by readers, and that appears to be the case here. Most posts have comments, and on average, a post left to the blog gets around 3 comments. Which is a decent amount. And Phil also does a pretty good job of replying to comments, especially from collectors asking questions about items they have, or want.

Next up is the posting frequency for the blog, and the hits just keep on coming. Coca-Cola Conversations is averaging just slightly higher than a post every other day, or 3-4 posts a week. This is sweet spot, and right in the 3-5 new posts a week range that you want to see from a superior business blog. And it's more impressive considering that Phil is the only author of the blog. But since Phil is obviously passionate about the history of this iconic brand, he is likely going to enjoy writing about the brand's history. This is also a great example of why companies should try to put their blog in the hands of the people that are the most passionate about the topics they will be writing about.

Finally, let's close with the sidebars. I think this is probably the 'weak' spot of the blog, but I just love how the first thing we see at the top of the blog is a picture of Phil, and his bio. Perfect! One very noticeable exclusion from the blog is that it doesn't have a blogroll. I am sure there must be plenty of sites and blogs devoted to Coke's history and collectibles, so why not add these to the sidebar? Think of this list as a resource for your readers, sites they can check out to get more information about their a hobby that they are passionate about.

There is a nice 'House Rules' section that clearly outlines that comments are moderated, and what is expected of comments before they are published. I like this approach because it removes all doubt, and it can help with future headaches, especially on a business blog that might not be as familiar with interacting with blog readers to begin with.

Overall, Coca-Cola Conversations is the best business blog that I've reviewed in quite a while. And it also shows that a company can be creative in how they blog. Many other large corporations, such as Nike and McDonalds, have a community of collectors that are passionate about the history of these companies and the products and collectibles that have been produced by and about their brands throughout the years. So other companies have the same opportunity to do what Coca-Cola has here, allowing Phil to blog about his passion, and at the same time reach out to and engage Coke collectors.

And now let's break down the scoring for the blog:

Content: 33 (Out of a possible 35) - Extremely solid. A few minor tweaks and finding ways to let readers spotlight their collections, would make the content all but perfect.

Comments: 23 (Out of a possible 35) - Phil does a great job of creating content that resonates with readers, and a decent job of replying to comments. I do think he could be a bit more active in replying, but he still does better than most company bloggers in replying to comments.

Posting Schedule: 13 (Out of a possible 15) - If you average better than a post every other day, you've done your job when it comes to number of posts for a company blog. I do see a few 3-4 day gaps in between posts, but if those were closed, the blog would have likely gotten a perfect score in this category.

Sidebars: 8 (Out of a possible 15) - Love the pic and bio at the top of the blog, but it really needs a blogroll.

Total Score: 77 (Out of a possible 100)

And with that, congrats go out to Coca-Cola Conversations for achieving the highest score for a blog since I added the scoring system back in May. Well done, Phil!

If Phil or anyone else from Coca-Cola wants to discuss this Company Blog Checkup with me, feel free to leave a comment here, or email me. If your a company 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.

Next week I'll profile another blogging company, and if anyone can think of a company blog that they want me to do a checkup on, feel free to email me! For a list of all the blog that have been profiled so far in the Company Blog Checkup series, click here.


Phil Mooney said...

Mack - This is great feedback on I'm still relatively new to blogging (just started in January) and I'm glad to hear I'm doing some things right! I have focused on the content -- talking about Coke's heritage and role in pop culture, and connecting our past with today and tomorrow. Great idea to include information about protecting Coke collectibles, and I'll get to work on the sidebar. For the record, though, I do accept and post photos of people's Coke collections! I'll make a better point of highlighting those in the future. Thanks so much -- Phil Mooney

Mack Collier said...

Phil thanks for commenting! Sorry I missed your previous posts about your readers' Coke collections. Do you think you could add a section on your sidebar to link to these posts? That would no doubt spark more readers to send in their photos, and I'm sure it would be great to see all the different items that collectors have!

And BTW, great job to have only been blogging since Jan!

John_Cass said...

Mack, this is a great review of coca-cola blog, especially relevant with the Olympics running at the moment and Coke's 80th anniversary sponsorshop. thanks for posting on the f500 business blogging wiki.