One characteristic that we were absolutely desperate to see when judging our longlist of blogs was passion.
There are many blogs out there the aim of which is to simply boost the search engine presence of the company or person behind it. These are the blogs that post a hundred articles a day on completely unrelated topics from authors with nothing to connect them. The editors generally don't care what's getting published as long as it's something.
Not for us those ramshackle, poorly written sham blogs. The kind of blogs we want to introduce to our readers are those where the authorial voice is strong, the author knowledgeable and the enthusiasm infectious.
Both of the winners featured in today's post have those qualities in spade-fulls. Both are in the Marketing/PR sphere. One is an individual and one is a company but both are well worth reading...
About: Simon Lilly is something of an ecommerce guru. He helped Liz Earle Beauty Co. Ltd to a Which? Award for Best Online Retailer in 2011 and now heads up the ecommerce team at clothing brand Animal.
While the focus of Simon's blog is very much on internet retailing the advice, guidance, industry news and interesting tidbits on offer are relevant to anyone who regularly comes into contact with the world of online marketing. And let's face it, that's most of us these days.
While the frequency of his posts isn't exactly overwhelming he is very consistent and by following his blog you'll be sure to get some real insights from the industry on around a bi-monthly basis.
He was ahead of the curve on providing advice on the EU cookie directives earlier this year (see top posts below) and he also keeps his finger on the technology pulse, offering considered opinion on potentially game changing devices and software.
His writing style is crisp and engaging and really comes alive when he talks about putting the customer at the heart of all your marketing -and indeed business- efforts.
Here Simon gave one the best and certainly most actionable post I've seen on how the EU cookie directives might affect your website and what to do about it.
About: Blue Sky are a PR and communications company specialising in niche sectors such as HR, recruitment, and business &t higher education. They started doing business in 2002 and they're based in Hertfordshire.
As you can see from the screenshot, Blue Sky turn your conception of what to expect from the blog of a PR firm on it's head.
They're not unnecessarily flashy, they don't spin hyperbolic stories out of nothing and they don't big themselves up at every opportunity.
Instead, what you get is considered, thoughtful and insightful posts on a wide variety of topics from the PR and media industry itself through to recruitment, general employment issues and even a running analysis of last year's Apprentice.
Where Blue Sky have really triumphed though is in achieving a unity of tone between all the blog authors (all of whom work for the company).
t's quite a difficult task to get several authors adopting the same writing style and an even more difficult task to find a common style that's unpretentious, informal and very easy to read.
Tracey Dunn reminds us that employee benefits come in more forms than gym memberships and private healthcare and that a little can go a long way when it comes to making your staff feel valued.