Different Types of Blogs, What Works and What’s Missing

This week I am learning more about blogs, I am really excited about this because before taking class I have wanted to blog but really haven’t made a commitment. Per this weeks lesson I am taking a closer look at some blogs that I normally look at.

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 10.52.06 PMThe first blog I will be looking at is Lizzy Pancakes. I take a look at this blog from time to time for a couple of reasons. One is that I knew Lizzy in college, and the second is that I am thoroughly impressed with the adult she has become. Lizzy’s blog is a recreational blog where she makes food, or shows photography or explains sewing or crafting projects. It is a great culmination of various items that are highly detailed and photographed beautifully. Lizzy shares blog space and invites guest bloggers which improves her traffic. As a person she is highly unique and awesome and I think it comes across nicely in her branding of her blog. She is witty and honest and that shows in her writing and how she explains her projects. Lizzy keeps her content fresh, but since she is blogging in a more recreational manner her content doesn’t always happen in consistent intervals. She does have widgets to share her blog as well as providing information to connect with her on other social media outlets.  It is somewhat successful because of the integration and giving her followers the ability to be more connected, however she could be more successful with more consistent blogging. In her blog Lizzy talks about having a sponsored post about a cheese and it links to a group blog about Honest Cooking that she is a part of, which I believe helps drive traffic to her site. I think since I used to know Lizzy personally I would love to see more of her vivacity come across through her blog, and I would want more consistent blogging. Since Lizzy does a lot of cooking there are a lot of potential advertisers with either baking items for her to try out.

ImageThe second blog I looked at, is one I love to go to for recipes, called The Shiksa Blog. Even though I was raised in a Jewish home, my mother didn’t really cook or host large family gatherings, so when I got married I was determined to turn that around. This blog helped me do that, it is a very informative blog about various kosher-style cooking. This is a professional blog with advertisers, cookbooks that can be purchased, consistently updated content and various ways to connect. This website is unique in the way that it provides people with kosher style cooking recipes in an easy to follow format that assists with celebrating Jewish holidays. I think since Tori Avey talks about how she converted to Judaism and really takes the time to explain things it helps with  her branding and reflects who she is. This site comes up high in the search engine, which is how I found it to begin with. Since this blog is about kosher-style cooking, I believe that it speaks to a specific group of people and due to that it would be greatly improved with an email newsletter system. I have looked over this website and have not found any way to sign up for a newsletter. Since there are so many different Jewish holidays, I think that is something that is missing. I wouldn’t say that a weekly newsletter should be put out, but an email a month ahead of a holiday with recipe ideas and information? I would definitely want that, and I bet a lot of other readers would as well.

ImageAnother site I found by searching, is The Pioneer Woman. The recipes that this blog puts out are raved about not only in other blogs, but on Pinterest too! What is most interesting to me is that even though she become popular on Pinterest for a lot of her cooking, her site is so much more. There is a “Confessions” section, as well as an “Entertainment” section proving that Ree Drummond is more than just a woman who cooks. The site gives people great ideas about cooking as well as giving a deeper look into the Pioneer Woman and what she deals with in her life. The way she has her site shows a lot about her branding and who she is, and by sharing in the way she does, it makes her unique. I do believe quite a lot of traffic is driven to her blog by Pinterest, but she also has an email newsletter that people can sign up for, which I am sure gives her a lot of return traffic. This blog is a professional blog with consistent updates, lots of innovative and creative content, ways to share and connect. She advertises her own book as well as having giveaways, some of which are done by advertisers and some of which she sponsors herself. Honestly, this blog is so well developed with such a unique sense of personality that shows throughout the posting that I don’t think anything is missing.

Image The fourth blog I looked at is called Make It and Love It, it is a semi-professional site about a wife and mom of 3 who would rather craft than clean a bathroom. Who can’t get behind that? I think the fact that Ashley is so open about how much she would rather do crafts and cook than clean is a huge part of why she is so successful. It creates an honest and open relationship that has become integrated in her branding. As seen in the picture to the left, there are many ways to connect with this site, include RSS Feeds and a newsletter, as well as various social media platforms. The main reason for this site is the tutorials section, and this leads me to believe that most of the traffic comes from searches, or word of mouth. Although digging deeper into the site shows some giveaways as well, which is also helpful in gaining traffic.  When you get to the site though, there are lots of tutorials and personality to keep you there. There are also a lot of advertisers on the site, varying from Adwords advertising, to specific sponsors. Ashley posts consistently a few times a week and varies which topic she is posting about. I think that something that is missing from this site is the life stories. She has 3 kids and a husband, while she adds anecdotes into what she is doing sometimes, I feel like a whole section could be added on what she is learning being a mom.

ImageThe last blog I am looking at is the Tip Junkie blog. This is a group blog with tips and information about a wide variety of topics. Food, Gifts, Holiday and Lifestyle just to name a few. The site has over 147,000 people liking them on Facebook, and even offers a Tip Junkie app! Readers can subscribe via email or RSS feeds, and can also connect on various social media platforms. It is a great site that has compiled data from lots of different women sharing and holds it in one place so that things can be found in an easier format. There is advertising from various advertisers, as well as Etsy advertising from their own store. I really think that this site is missing an “About” page explaining how it was founded and thought up and why it is there. I think that the lack of that information leaves readers without a lot of information about the person who thought this up, and sometimes buying into the branding of the person is what makes you come back for more. Since this is a group blog and has lots of followers on Facebook, as well as a daily tip newsletter, it shows up high in searches and gets a lot of shares whenever someone in the group posts their own tutorial.

All in all, I learned a lot about blogging this week. It makes me think of what my own branding and blog should be about. I have realized a lot while looking at these blog posts. It is not enough for someone to just be informative, I really think showing personality is key to having people truly enjoy your blog and want to come back for more. I also believe that even for a recreational blogger, consistent posting is key, since it gives readers something to look forward to. What do you think makes a great blog?


Old Navy Online – What Works and What Doesn’t.

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 2.07.04 PMLast week I took a look at Old Navy and what they were doing with their branding online. Old Navy does a great job of constantly updating their website with new promotions. Last week there was a promotion on baby clothes. This week there is a focus on women’s outfits. While Old Navy doesn’t have a blog, they do create new material online under their Shop Our Favorites section. For instance, new this week is a section called Black + White = Chic. This shows different products that they have in black and white to show people new ways to wear their pieces of clothing.

Other features on the site include signing up for emails, having the ability to find something in a store near you, and being able to click on various social media platform links. Such as their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest page. This provides customers with the ability to do their own pull marketing if they want to stay connected to the company in other ways.

Another cool feature is the ability to reach out and put your own information in the site and become a part of their database is a great example of pull marketing. Old Navy provides the opportunity to give your information in order to get coupons and discounts, this is a great way to not push customers too much and possibly push them away from wanting to be your customer. As far as push marketing techniques, once someone does sign up for emails or text messaging alerts, Old Navy does send emails quite frequently. In fact, they send an email about three or four times a week.

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No matter what week you go to their site, when you first get there, a coupon pops up to let you know that there is a possible discount depending on what you purchase. This is a great push marketing technique since they are letting the customer know right away that if they weren’t convinced they were going to buy something today, the coupon may be able to change their mind. Another couple of great features are being able to sign up by text message, or shop from a mobile phone. While there is an Old Navy mobile app, I really don’t think it is a great one.


These three screenshots were from their app, Old Navy Snap Appy. The concept is that when you snap a picture of their logo, anywhere, you get a “snap surprise”.  The photo all the way to the left is the wheel spinning to see what you’ll get. I snapped 8 photos and all I ever got was either a Fabcabulary or a Fabulous Phone-Y Compliment. Either way, it was not impressive. To improve upon this content, I really would suggest including the “Outfits We Love” section in this app. I would also make it easier to use this app for shopping, instead when you click on it, nothing happens. Also, if there is a possibility of a “deal” on the wheel, it should actually happen in a timely manner. Since I didn’t get one when I spun 8 times, I will never bother to do it again. Even though I shop at Old Navy all the time, I will forget about this since I have never gotten anything valuable from it. This app is a way that they could really improve upon their integrated marketing. It does not include the same information that is on their website, but it also does not add anything to my Old Navy experience. The marketing in store and online always seems happy and friendly and helpful, this app is none of those things. The website is fabulous, the only thing that can be improved upon is possibly having a blog. I have noticed a lot of fashion companies have blogs describing outfit choices and give information about accessories. I think this would be a great way to reach out to customers in a non-push format so that they can get some added value without having to purchase anything.

Push and Pull Marketing

After all that we learned this week, I believe that push and pull marketing work together to increase people viewing both social media sites as well as websites. Push marketing is great because it allows a company to do what it is there to do, sell. It allows for honesty in a time where having integrity and believing in a company or product may not always happen. It also is great for a consumer since push marketing sometimes involves an incentive of some kind. Whether it is a free item with purchase, a discount code for a coupon, or early entry into a sale, no matter what the consumer is winning if it is a product they are interested in. Lastly, push marketing is a great way to ensure that the people who are viewing your site and signing up for your emails want to be there. If they don’t they won’t sign up which will save you time rather than have people use fake email addresses and getting bounce backs.

However, people don’t always want the hard sell, and that is why pull marketing is also great. With pull marketing a company has to work for their end game, whether it is for someone to buy a product or just sign up for a newsletter. Pull marketing forces companies to look outside their comfort zone and offer different pieces of information to get what they want. It is a great way for a company to teach a consumer something different about what is going on with their brand, for instance as a social media maven, I post a lot of different blogs and articles on my page so that people can take that knowledge and learn something on their own. Also, it allows consumers to decide if they want to take part in the marketing or not. Consumers make the decisions, and people like to make their own decisions instead of having their email taken unknowingly.

I think the two concepts work together by finding consumers who are interested in your product or company and by allowing consumers to be in charge of their own news feeds or what emails they receive.  Professor Rhoads spoke in her lecture about the drastic difference between how many people visit a Facebook or Twitter page and how many visit a website. I believe that is extremely true since companies that don’t sell on their website don’t always have interesting information on there to grab a consumer’s attention. Integrating website information with social media feeds is essential to direct traffic between the two.


One company that I think does a great job integrating the two marketing concepts, is J.Crew. They do a fabulous job of not only having an interesting Facebook page, but also of directing their consumers back to their own website. For instance, their Discovered collection shows a bunch of special items that they have selected and when people want to look at them further, they choose to go to the site. This way, even though a consumer may want more information, they have to get it themselves and it isn’t always a hard sell.


Another thing that J.Crew does is have their own blog. This is a great way for their consumers to follow up with what the women or men in the office believe are the greatest trends. It is also a place for individuals to get free fashion advice from people they want to style themselves after. Once you look at the blog and find an outfit you like, it is up to you to go back to the site and purchase the different pieces to create it.

The second company I looked at is Chanel. Looking at these two companies makes me think that fashion truly lends itself to great push and pull marketing.


Chanel is considered high fashion or haute couture, yet for someone who wants to stay in touch with what is going on with them, there is a Facebook page filled with videos and information about photo shoots with celebrities as well as images like this one that link to their Chanel News site that gives information about different events happening around the world as well as the ability to subscribe and receive all of this information at your email. Another prime example of using the push and pull marketing method to put information out there in an interesting way and allowing the consumer to decide whether or not they want to take the next step and receive more information.

Why I Think Old Navy is Getting it Right


Old Navy is a company that I believe is handing social media and brand strategy in a very effective way. When it comes to reaching out to customers, they send emails consistently letting people know about sales and upcoming products, as well as staying on top of different forms of social media. On their website, when you go to their page, there are consistently happy pictures and images while still constantly allocating a section right on the home page that gives a coupon code, or sale information.

Another way they emphasize their branding is by using the picture shown above on both their Facebook page and Twitter page. Using the same pictures across various platforms is a great way to maintain ease of identification for users. This way people know what company they are looking at very quickly.


Old Navy stays up to date with various information on Twitter by posting anywhere from 1 – 4 times per day. Some Twitter posts, are more well received than others. I screenshot a picture to the right of what is one of their most popular recent tweets. It got 50 retweets and was selected as a favorite, 100 times. It is promoting a sale, while also promoting a new style. This is one of the ways that Old Navy is keeping their customers engaged in their Twitter feed while also letting them know what is going on in their stores.

This week we read an article by Stephanie Schwab that spoke about branding. I think that of the things she speaks about, the branding voice really resonates with Old Navy. The tone that is used by Old Navy is consistently bright and cheery while being informative about products. The character is friendly, warm, and directed to women throughout all of their sites. The purpose is clearly to sell and the language is always simple. I believe that Old Navy uses Stephanie Schwab’s concepts wholeheartedly.

oldnavypinterestThe concept also extends to their Pinterest page. While Old Navy still strives to sell their clothing, on Pinterest they are also reaching out and showing their customers different ways that they can use their clothing in their lifestyle. This shows the company in a different way. Instead of always selling to the consumer, they are now also showcasing their items and other items and how consumers can use them in their life.

All of these different things are why I think Old Navy is doing a great job reaching out to customers. They have a consistent brand and are working on reaching out to customers in various social media platforms.

Communication Planning vs. Media Planning

Before reading this chapter, I will admit that I thought communications planning and media planning weren’t all that different. However, I was completely wrong. According to Young (2010) “Media planning is focused on reaching as many of the right audience in the right place at the right time and at the right cost as possible, whereas communications planning is less about reaching people than influencing them.” 1 As more social media applications and platforms grow in popularity, influence is a major desire for companies and people. Knowing how you are influencing people has become such a major strategy that platforms have come out solely to measure influence, such as Klout. I have to say that when I plugged in all of my information and saw what my own Klout score was, seeing the impact of my influence was incredible. It was enough to really make me think of what I was doing to see how I could influence the people who follow, like, or friend me even more. I find it very interesting that across all platforms, people may or may not choose to follow a brand. For instance, I have a lot of followers on Pinterest, but not nearly as many on Instagram. This shows that some platforms may showcase my personality and ingenuity better than others. Just because people find me interesting in one aspect, they might not find me interesting at all in another. This holds true for brands and companies as well. Just because I have liked Old Navy on Facebook, does not mean I am interested in seeing what they are doing on Twitter. Influence is a concept that shows how much companies have to prove their brand management across various borders.

Thinking of how to apply the concept of influence to various channels, I took a look at the readings and video and would like to focus on how the tone, purpose, language, and persona can enhance a brand no matter what platform is used.2  By ensuring that what a company or person puts out into the world maintains the same branding as what they do in print and other communication appeals, I believe this is a good way to handle branding and create a communications strategy. For instance, I would like to expand my business in social media, so not only do I strive to show my personality through all of my social media interaction, but I also like to try and help others with ideas when possible. I created a Pinterest board solely about social media which has already helped me get new followers and new people interacting with me. This is a strategy that I am using to help my brand. Whether it will work or not, I will see in the long run. Right now my main focus is creating a brand that I feel best represents me. I think companies need to do the same thing when it comes to their own brand strategies and they need to figure out ways to be on many social media platforms in different ways that represent their own branding strategy.

1 – Young, Antony. “A Shift From Media Planning to Communications Planning.” Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 74. Print.

2 – Schwab, Stephanie. “Finding Your Brand Voice.” Social Media Explorer Finding Your Brand Voice Comments. N.p., 31 Mar. 2011. Web. 05 Sept. 2013. <http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/finding-your-brand-voice/&gt;.

Classic Marketing v. Social Marketing

This week we have been looking at the differences between classic, traditional marketing, and social media marketing. I think that there are strengths to both kinds of marketing but I think that as more people are coming into the digital age, social media marketing is the way of the future. While there are people who still look at magazines and newspapers for their primary sources of information, more and more people are looking online for things such as watching TV or keeping up with what is going on in the world. I think some classic marketing campaigns, such as billboard ads or subway stations have a place but shorter online ads should be incorporated into a marketing campaign as well. Should companies stick to just one way or the other? No, I truly think that companies should maintain both levels of marketing, possibly with an emphasis on social media, since companies are able to gain more traction and react to customers better. Scheduling campaigns is great, and when people can schedule using social media as well as traditional formats I think that is the way to success. I looked at Old Navy since they are a company that is doing well.  They  are running a long range campaign where fans send in pictures in football gear from Old Navy and send it in with the hashtag, #ONSuperFan.


This campaign is a great way to ask for customer interaction and have customers come back and look for their pictures. While doing that, customers will see new content that has been posted including sales that are going on or new outfit ideas. Old Navy is really doing a good job at interacting with their customers, including responding to complaints.


Here is a screenshot of customer complaints and how Old Navy customer relations employees respond to different complaints.

I think Old Navy is a company that not only has great campaign ads, but is also handling customer communications amazingly well. They respond to customers quickly and try to handle any and all complaints. I think in the way that Old Navy is handling their marketing, they are more successful with long range ad campaigns, as well as customer communications. I think the transparency of quick interaction that handles customers problems publicly is much better than communication that is done behind closed doors.

All in all, while scheduling ads does well in a classic and traditional format as well as spontaneously through social media, customer communications are really done  better in a fast and public fashion. This way customers know that a company is reliable with immediate interaction.

Google V. Facebook

When first looking at the question of who is bigger on a social scale, Google or Facebook, I initially wanted to say Facebook since when I think of interacting socially, it really is the first thing that leaps to mind. However, while social was originally considered interaction between two or more people, it is now a growing force that encompasses many different pieces. Due to the ever changing nature of being social, I do think that Google might actually be the winner. The reasoning is simple, even people who have sworn to stay away from Facebook for various reasons, still use Google. Google is talked about on a daily basis, from which picture it is using that day as a search box, to people asking for information and saying, “Will you Google that for me?”. While Facebook is wonderful for many things, keeping in touch with friends and family, keeping a watchful eye on frenemies, or just wanting to see what is going on with past classmates, Google is something spoken about constantly. Facebook can be deemed something of a guilty pleasure. A lot of people just use it for “Facebook stalking” and because of that don’t necessarily have the human component of being spoken about. Some people upload information occasionally, while others never upload it at all. Another growing complaint I have heard is the frustration levels of people who don’t understand how to really use Facebook to its fullest extent and because of that stay away from it at all costs. On the other hand, since Google hasn’t changed its format, and it is fairly user friendly, no one really complains about it. Even 80 year olds know enough about it to ask for help finding information in “The Google”. While I think that Facebook is truly revolutionary for allowing people to stay connected, I just don’t see it having the massive social impact that Google does, online and out in the real world.

As far as advertising is concerned, according to Young (2010), “The change that Google has wrought on advertising cannot be overstated. It forced a paradigm shift for advertisers, moving their decision making away from targeting demographics and mass audiences to connecting with individuals in a much more relevant way.”1 Once it became apparent that Google was here to stay with the innovative way it was helping people find products or resources that had the best keywords, it created a dynamic change in the way people looked at their websites. Instead of keeping a website stagnant, they began to be updated consistently using different words in hopes that a product or resource would become the best match. Due to this, I really think that Google is more effective when advertising. It allows more companies to be found in one setting without allowing someone to buy their way to the top. Instead it focuses on what the consumer wants and needs. For these reasons I think Google is way ahead of Facebook when it comes to both being bigger on a social scale and when it comes to being effective on advertising.


1 – Young, Antony. “Google And Facebook.” Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 29. Print.