Case study: Macromedia Blogs by John Cass is a must read. It explains the blogging strategy of Macromedia and why it is such a success. The rule of thumb under which Macromedia employees are allowed to blog is simple and useful benchmark:
I knew before about those 50 or so Macromedia employees blogging, but I didn't know that they had been syndicated on an aggregator together with 400 customer blogs. This blog aggregator is really phenomenal
- Only those employees who have something useful to contribute -- with relevant and quality content in terms of product information -- blog
- It's okay to personalize, but only about as much as their employees would in a face-to-face meeting; employee bloggers stick to product info;
- Product managers ask for feedback on products and request suggestions from customers;
- If Macromedia cannot implement a product suggestion, then they explain why
- The company actively watches online conversations about Macromedia, and when they see something that solicits a response, a Macromedia employee responds
Macromedia developed a type of category called smart categories. Smart categories index the posts, analyze the posts for keywords appearing on the page, and -- based on the conversation -- put the post into a smart category. The smart category feature can also exclude off topic posts, not including content, or contain other language Macromedia wanted to exclude. Macromedia maintained the existing regular categories for community continuity, but positioned the smart categories higher up the left hand navigation on the blog aggregator page.Go and check the RSS feeds, and especially the subscription menu using the smart categories. This is really brilliant. A new paradigm in corporate communication, undoubtedly.
In the latest version of the blog aggregator, Macromedia's traffic has risen dramatically. Most traffic to the aggregator does not come from search traffic, but blogger direct traffic from links and RSS readers pointing to the aggregator.