Friend of Standing, John Cass encouraged me to write a review for the Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki. Reviewers evaluate a Fortune 500 company’s blogging efforts for how the company deals with customer issues and gaining product feedback.
Easton Ellsworth began the project in 2006 and in early 2008, John and he agreed to resurrect the project and began inviting corporate bloggers (like us) and personal bloggers to review Fortune 500 blogs and post them on their Web sites and link to them on the Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki.
The primary objective of this project, according to Easton, is to “talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each corporate blog and glean lessons for our own business blogging efforts.”
Without further ado, here is my take on the Graco Blog:
“The Graco blog is a place where you can read some of the latest news from Graco and engage in respectful dialogue with the team at Graco, fellow Graco customers and parents interested in the Graco brand.” The Graco Blog is one of the best Fortune 500 blogs we’ve viewed. Many blogs are too “busy” and take away from the actual content. The Graco Blog’s simplistic WordPress template doesn’t overwhelm the intention of the blog, to help parents perfect the “art” of parenting.
The blog is easy to access with such a simple URL and a dummy-proof subscription link allows every reader to be notified of updates, whether or not they use the aggregators that are still catching on with some folks who are just beginning to read and comment on blogs.
“Mommy Bloggers” (as much as the term makes mothers who blog cringe) are all the rage these days and the Graco Blog provides a professional companion in the form of a collaborative blog run by employees who are their target audience – parents. The biographies of each contributor can be found in the sidebar and each includes a photograph of the contributor and their child or children, and really establishes an understanding between contributor and reader that what the reader is reading is authentic.
Unlike many other Fortune 500 blogs, the bloggers come from all departments within Graco: branding, commercialization, public relations, marketing and strollers and travel systems.
The Graco Blog is great because of what it doesn’t do: it doesn’t speak down to its readers like many of the more technology-focused industry blogs. It is written in a conscientious and inviting manner and although the blog was founded under four months ago (in December 2007), it’s easy to tell (with readers’ comments and input into the content of Graco employees’ posts) that a community is being formed – and isn’t the purpose of a blog to engage with and perhaps create a targeted community? The Graco blog has thrown out pretense in favor of a simple product that delivers to the customers that keep it in the Fortune 500.