GardenRant readers don't need to be convinced that blogs are awesome – at least some of them, your favorites – but the big news is that the business world is getting on board the blog-train, too. Here's a couple of stellar examples of corporate blogs.
What you see in these two examples, often cited as among the best in business blogging, is that they're written not by the marketing department (coz ad copy is nothing like good blog-writing), not by employees who have other duties to attend to, but actual bloggers they've contracted with. People who are already communicating with the companies' customers, and doing it well.
And notice what the blog posts are about – not the company or its weekend special, but the topic its customers are most interested in. So Kodak's blog is about photography and that pretty blond is a photography writer with actual cred of her own, now blogging for Kodak. Fiskars's craft blog is written by a passionate bunch of crafters, called Fiskateers, who have their own fans lining up to meet them at local crafting events. (No lie.) On this random screen shot, the top post had already received an enviable 90 comments.
Garden Businesses Hire Bloggers
We were pleased to see Fine Gardening and Horticulture magazines hire popular gardenbloggers to contribute posts to their blogs, then promote the hell out of them via countless tweets. Companies that make other garden-related products are blogging, too, but with in-house staffers and mixed results (I'll deftly move on without naming the good, bad and uuuuugly among the ones I've seen).
Look who's Garden-Blogging next – Lowes!
Oh, yeah, you read that right. The Big Box near you has for years carried good gardening info on its website, and now it's about to launch a team blog composed of 8 garden writers, each posting weekly about their own region. The blog's called Garden Grow-Along, and from the bios there now (the first actual posts start next week) I see lots of names I recognize and whose writing I admire – Scott Calhoun, Marty Ross, Dee Nash, Irvine Virag, and Sharon Lovejoy – along with a few I don't know.
But the point is, they're doing what I'd like to see local garden centers doing. Corporate blogs humanize companies and create customer loyalty, and who wants to see all that online love go to Lowes and Home Depot?
Some Indies are Blogging, and Hiring Bloggers
But the good news is that garden centers ARE starting to blog, thanks in part to savvy trade associations doing their damnest to get their members to blog, Tweet and create Facebook pages. Many of these business owners are writing the blogs themselves or delegating blogging duties to regular staffers (sometimes their buyers), but others are deciding that they have neither the time nor the blogging expertise to do it well. So they're turning to gardenbloggers like Katie Elzer-Peters, Mary Ann Newcomer, Layanee DeMerchant, Robin Ripley, and me for help. So this growing group of bloggers has teamed up with some awesome web designers to form Garden Center Blogger, which offers the full scope of blogging and social media services to independent garden centers.
So bloggers and web designer/developers with talents to share and everyone out there who supports independent garden centers, join us by becoming a fan of our Facebook page. Our website's almost ready and I'll announce it here this week.
Give us your Garden-Center Blog Ideas
So readers, brainstorm with us. What would you like to see on the blog of your local, independent garden center? Some ideas to get us started are:
- What's happening in the garden this month, written by a local blogger
- Great plants in local gardens
- Cool events at the store
- Staff profiles, staff picks in their department
- Contests, product give-aways
- Stories about urban greening and gardening in your city
- What local Master Gardener groups are doing
- Photos/profiles of the gardens of famous people in your area
- Reviews of gardening books for your region
Okay, what would your dream indie-garden-center blog look like?