I fired back with some questions regarding Amazon's blog strategy (thought it would make an interesting blog post, of course) and Chris sent through some thoughtful replies. Happy reading:
Linda: What are your primary goals for the blog? (perhaps put in order of importance or list your own) Customer conversation?
Search engine optimization?
Chris: Our primary goal for the blogs is to create a place where our editors can share their passions and interests with our customers and the larger community. Our editorial teams have a lot of collected experience and knowledge, and they love talking about it - which also becomes a great resource for our customers.
Linda: How do you measure blog success?
Chris: Unfortunately, I can't speak to our success measurement process, however we are very excited about the feedback we have received from our customers and are always looking for new and interesting things to talk about and ways we can innovate our blog.
Linda: Do you have a social media strategy (promotion through RSS aggregators, involvement in niche communities, participation in blog carnivals, submitting to Digg/Reddit/StumbleUpon etc)? Do you "seed" campaigns or let the readers spread your content organically?
Chris: We have tried to make it easy for readers to share interesting content via Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon, and we've certainly seen some success from it. We realize the importance these types of social media to the web content community and will continue add more sharing features.
Linda: I notice your blogs link out to many other sites from the blogroll and within blog posts. Do you have a blogger relations strategy? Are your authors engaging with topical bloggers through other networks like MyBlogLog, Facebook, StumbleUpon etc?
Chris: We're in the beginning stages of getting to know the people who run other blogs that we like. Our editors are also trying to get out into the online communities and networks.
Linda: Do you have a corporate blogging policy in place? A comment policy?
Chris: We are not able to discuss our internal policies.
Linda: What are the biggest challenges with maintaining these blogs?
Chris: The challenges are probably the same as with anyone who commits to trying to make a high quality blog. Creating a space that customers will want to visit regularly means first and foremost that the content is very, very good. Keeping the bar high on content and making sure we tackle the issues that matter to our customers are the things we're focused on.
Linda: Are there plans for more blogs in the future? (Wine, Music, Gaming, Fashion etc?)
Chris: We just launched 3 new blogs at the end of April: Chordstrike (Music): www.chordstrike.com End User (Electronics): www.enduserblog.com Armchair Commentary (Movies & TV): www.armchaircommentary.com
That gives us 6 blogs. We'll continue to monitor further opportunities in other categories.