Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog Stalk

Assignment: Blog Review

Review five or more blogs from the list provided and write about two or three of the blogs you reviewed.

After visiting several blogs on the list provided, I decided to really take a look at three: Mashable, AdFreak and Fahlgren Mortine, all of which stood out to me and caught my interest. The commonalities I found among the three were things like simple design, user-friendly content, applicable information, catchy titles and subtitles, and a particularly conversational tone. This was one of the major weaknesses I found in some of the other blogs I visited; they didn't seem to quite get the idea of a blog and what it's used for. I understand a blogger may have a more targeted audience, but if I want to read a plain-Jane business article I'll go to the paper or the company's annual report. I'm going to a blog to take a break from traditional, straight-forward and professional writing and am looking to have a more relaxing yet still informative reading experience. A few of the blogs I did not choose to look further into also lacked graphics, unique topics and an aesthetically pleasing design.

I particularly liked the information found in the said chosen blogs because they are either applicable to me and my career or they were about something that sucked me in enough that I had to read it. I feel a blog post has definitely succeeded with me as a reader if I feel the need to re-tweet it, and particularly with Mashable, I did. I was actually familiar with Mashable prior to this assignment and find myself on it frequently while searching for social media tips and other bits of advice, and I've actually re-tweeted something I've stumbled on almost every time I visit. I was immediately attracted to AdFreak as I have always been intrigued by the world of advertising and find myself analyzing ads while watching TV, trying to figure out how the idea came to someone, what message the company was going for and how it relates to their overall brand experience, and who the message was targeted toward. Being a Strategic Communication major I'm sure I'm abnormally interested in ads, but either way the content on AdFreak is informative and entertaining and the blog is a great place to find noteworthy ads I may have missed. Fahlgren Mortine's blog doesn't seem to be on quite as grand of a scale as the other two, but the content again was pertinent to me and not too stuffy. They offer great advice to PR professionals, interns and students, and the titles really make readers stop and at least read the first few lines. I also liked that an image was paired with each post so that a simple design was maintained while also having some element of visual interest.

I think while at first glance one might write these blogs off as only being significant to PR, marketing and advertising professionals, they are actually pertainable and appealing to a much broader audience. For
example, one of the instances when I was searching for something and landed on Mashable, I was helping out a friend who is trying to increase sales at his family's hotels in a small town where most of the hotels are within the same radius of points of interest and are all at about the same price point. Mashable had great tips on utilizing social media to make a small business grow, and also had a fantastic article on a small hotel that broke through the clutter of New York City to become a hotel known
for social media. This shows that blogs like this can be of service not only to those in marketing-related fields, but also to businessmen and women and anyone looking for advice on improving sales, a brand, an event or a message. Even if one is only looking for entertainment, I know many people who are interesting in advertising and marketing topics who are in fairly unrelated fields. 

The contributors on Fahlgren Mortine, AdFreak and Mashable are all employees of their respective companies, but with Fahlgren it's a bit different because "employee" means they have an entirely different set of responsibilities outside of the blog as vice presidents and senior counselors of the advertising agency. Those who work for AdWeek and Mashable are writers and though they do things with other sites through their companies, they are primarily editors and writers.

Though I got a little more personality and fun from the contributors of Mashable and AdFreak, those of Fahlgren Mortine still did a nice job of keeping things light and conversational. This makes sense as Mashable and AdFreak are devoted to blogging and other media-based tasks, and Fahlgren is an agency that has a reputation aside from and greater than its blog. The bloggers of all three are apparently well informed and well-versed in the topics they write about.

I would visit all three of these blogs again. Though I am most likely to continue to revisit Mashable as I have already done so, I feel AdFreak is entertaining and would help me keep tabs on what's going on in the realm of advertising, and Fahlgren holds useful information in the industry I'm pursuing, and it comes from current public relations and advertising specialists.

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