Blog Analysis: The Smarty Pig, Guest Post by Tara Price

In my Social Media Marketing course at East Carolina University, we study blogging as part of the unit on social publishing strategies in social media marketing (for more on social publishing, see my book, Social Media Marketing). In the blog analysis assignment, students dissect and analyze a blog of their choice, looking for content sources and quality, the use of linkbait, relevance for the target audience, and general commitment to the success of the blog.

Tara Price analyzed The Smarty Pig blog. Read on for her take on this fun and relevant blog. You can also follow @SmartyPig on Twitter.

One of my favorite blogs is The Smarty Pig Blog (http://blog.smartypig.com/).  SmartyPig (https://www.smartypig.com/) is a free online savings bank that promotes saving in the pursuit of financial happiness.  Unlike traditional savings accounts, SmartyPig has established a goal setting system within the account whereby users set up multiple goals, establish the target amounts they are trying to save for each goal, and then work toward completing each savings goal.  They have such a strong social media marketing strategy in play that I used SmartyPig as an example to answer one of the questions on our exam last weekend, but today I’m focusing specifically on their blog.  The blog is written in first person in a style that is informal and conversational.  For my tastes, that writing style is perfect.  When I read it, it’s almost as if the author could be sitting right across from me in my living room sharing her tips.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s primary blogger, works for SmartyPig as a direct employee and has been blogging for them since August 2010.  At the end of each blog post she touts herself as being the “SmartyPig Media Mad Woman.”

The blog’s target audience appears to be SmartyPig customers and prospective customers between the ages of 20 and 50.  Many of the articles posted are about saving for a home, managing the cost of a newborn, saving for a wedding, saving for a college education for your child, and other life events that typically take place between the ages of 20 and 50. New blog posts are added 2-5 times per month and center around financial advice specific to saving money.  The most recent blog “The Cost of Fun” was posted on May 16, 2013 and provides helpful suggestions on how to have fun on a budget.  Previous posts include “Babies Cost What!?” which focuses on the cost of raising a child and tips on how to manage those costs, “Saving is the Key to Taking Control of Your Finances” providing helpful tips on how to get started on saving, “Clean it Up This Spring!” sharing good ideas for saving on summer household expenses like electric bills for air conditioning, and “Refund Refuge” guiding readers on responsible ways to manage tax refund money.

In every post, Sarah focuses on reinforcing the brand messaging which is “Simple. Smart. Savings.” by introducing readers to various ways to save money by approaching the task of saving in a simple, smart and sensible fashion.  I would consider the content to be pillar content.  The information posted is educational and SmartyPig encourages commenting and sharing of the information.  At the end of each blog post, they offer the opportunity to Like the post on Facebook, comment on the post right on the blog website (which also carries over to the Facebook page) or Retweet the post on Twitter… all with the simple click of a button.

Linkbaiting is perhaps the one area that SmartyPig can improve upon.  The titles for their posts, for the most part, are straight forward and rarely emulate the common hook techniques.  For example, SmartyPig could have easily employed a research hook with the “Cost of Fun” post by titling it “47% of Americans Say They Only Need $30 To Have Fun”, a statistic from the article.  Nevertheless, the blog does appear to be a good marketing tool for SmartyPig.  The Facebook Likes and Retweets are leveraging the network effect of Web 2.0 and ultimately getting their name out there.   After all, that’s how I found out about them and now I utilize SmartyPig for all of my savings goals.  Thanks, Facebook and SmartyPig!

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