One of the biggest problems that business blogs (and many personal blogs, for that matter) have is building engagement with its readers. Today I wanted to highlight a blog that does a fantastic job of connecting with readers, the HomeGoods OpenHouse blog.
It starts with the strategy
First, the OpenHouse blog does such a good job of building engagement because it’s a focal point of the blog’s strategy. “The strategy for HG Openhouse is for our most passionate customers to talk to other customers about the love for their homes and surroundings whether that is in the form of decorating, entertaining, organizing, gifting, etc”, explains HomeGoods’ Marketing Manager, Kristie Rogers. “We want the bloggers to talk about what inspires them and how they make their home their happy place.”
Note in this screenshot that you can see the pictures of three different bloggers. The entire visual component of the blog is build around making you as comfortable as possible with the bloggers themselves. All have their pictures posted in each post they write, and rotating on the sidebar to the right, as well. HomeGoods wants you to get to know the OpenHouse bloggers as people, and truly understand the value of posting pictures of their bloggers. They also make it very easy to click the bios of the bloggers and learn more about them as people. All of this makes it easier for the readers to connect with the bloggers, which makes it more likely that they will comment on the blog.
And when readers do comment (almost every post has comments), note how the OpenHouse bloggers make a point of referring to the commenter by their first name. Here’s a good example, note that in both the comments Cathy wrote, she referred to the commenter by their first name. And note that Sandy picked up on this, and referred to Cathy by her first name in her comment back. The comments begin to look less like comments, and more like letters that friends are writing to each other.
So if you are wanting to get more engagement on your blog, look at what is working for OpenHouse on its blog; Lots of pictures and bios for every blogger, encouraging interaction and comments in the posts, and referring to commenters by their first name. All of this works together to help HomeGoods reach its blogging goal of creating interaction with its readers.
BTW this is the first in a series of posts I’ll be doing on company blogs. I’m looking for company blogs that excel in one particular area. For example in this post, the OpenHouse blog excels at creating engagement on its blog, so that’s why it was highlighted. If you have a favorite company blog that you would like to see me highlight next, please either leave a comment, or email me. Also, if you think your own company blog would be a good candidate, please send me a link so I can check it out!