Newswise — A new study by Northeastern University Professor Walter Carl and John Cass at Backbone Media Inc. examines the conditions and factors that contribute to a successful corporate blog and helps companies decide whether or not they should blog. The project, conducted by students in Dr. Carl's spring 2006 Advanced Organizational Communication class, studies corporate blogs at a number of leading companies including Adobe, BzzAgent, Microsoft and Stonyfield Farms.

According to the study, five factors that consistently contributed to the success or failure of a blog were:

"¢ Culture: If a company has particular cultural traits worth revealing or a bad reputation it wants to repudiate, blogging can be an attractive option."¢ Transparency: Critical to establishing credibility and trust with an audience. People want to see an honest portrayal of a company and know that there are not ulterior motives behind the blog. Blog audiences respect a willingness to disclose all points of view on a subject."¢ Time: It takes a lot of time to set up, research and write a quality blog. Companies need to identify a person who has the time or whose schedule is freed up to make the time, or need to engage a group of people to share the responsibility."¢ Dialogue: A company's ability and willingness to engage in a dialogue with their customer base about topics that the customer base is interested in is critical to its blogging success."¢ Entertaining writing style and personalization: A blogger's writing style and how much they are willing to reveal about their life, experience and opinions brings human interest to a blog, helps build a personal connection with readers and will keep people reading.

"We believe that this study will provide valuable information to people and companies who are new to corporate blogging or contemplating getting into corporate blogging" said Walter Carl, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University. "One of the unique aspects of this study is that we make available to readers summaries of twenty case studies of successful bloggers that examine how and why they have been successful. The insight gained from those who have done this, and done it well, is priceless."

The study also looks at how the set-up of a blog contributes to its success. Key factors identified are:

"¢ Strategic planning: Important to develop clear blogging goals in advance."¢ Blogger selection: Important to pick someone who is, among other things, open to listening to the audience, has a passion for the topic, is a good writer and has a friendly approach."¢ Reading other blogs: Critical to read other blogs in your industry to gain understanding of your industry's blogging community."¢ Practice with an internal blog before going external: Helps employees become familiar with blogging and makes for a smoother transition to the external community.

The study examines a number of other questions and issues including: What is it about how you blog that makes a blog a success? What is it about the content on a blog that makes the blog a success?

The Blogging Success Study was conducted by Walter Carl and the students in his Spring 2006 Advanced Organizational Communication class (Melissa Buckley, Greg Chick, Krista Grosser, Leah Hyland, Amanda Johnson, Annmarie Martel, Amanda Nastari, Krystle Randall, Laura Stevenson, and Kennie Swanson), and John Cass and his colleagues at Backbone Media Inc. (Stephen Turcotte, Megan Dickinson, Kristine Munroe and Dave Alpert).

For a copy of the full report, visit:

About Northeastern:Northeastern University, located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, is a world leader in practice-oriented education and recognized for its expert faculty and first-rate academic and research facilities. Northeastern integrates challenging liberal arts and professional studies with the nation's largest cooperative education program. Through co-op, Northeastern undergraduates alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, giving them nearly two years of professional experience upon graduation. The majority of Northeastern graduates receive a job offer from a co-op employer. For more information, please visit

About Backbone Media, Inc.Founded in 1996, Backbone Media, Inc. was one of the first search engine optimization firms. As a pioneer in the field of SEO, Backbone has been helping companies improve search engine rankings, strengthen their web presence and increase Internet marketing ROI for over 10 years. Today, Backbone specializes in search engine marketing, web site design, web site application development and corporate blogging strategies. Backbone Media, Inc. is headquartered in Waltham, MA. For more information, please visit