Why Would Your Company Need 13 Blogs?

I was begged the other day on Twitter to stop writing and Tweeting about a certain online retailer and a blog comment for a recent post on “17 Revelations On How An Online Retailer Went From Zero to $1.2 Billion” went like this.

“Jeff, you are one of my favorite bloggers but honestly I am so sick of hearing about Zappos I could hurl. The blogosphere needs to come up with a few new success stories.”

I was almost convinced that he  was right to request me to refrain, but as I am an evangelical believer in blogs, I had to write it.

So this obsession though has one more chapter, so I apologise in advance to those who have thus far tolerated my compulsive and annoying behaviour.

So why have thirteen blogs? A very good question that may have some answers.

  1. Because they have the resources and they just “can”
  2. I have a sneaking suspicion that they feel they have 13 different persona’s (market sectors) that buy their products  so they have a blog for each type of customer
  3. It will make the company look real and transparent
  4. It will position them as a “thought leader” in different sectors
  5. They realize that interesting and unique content including video will  attract attention

Note: I am sure there are a lot more, you can fill in the rest

So here is a snapshot of the Zappos blogs which may provide some inspiration for you to take some ideas back to the office.

Blog One:  Zappos Blog

This seems to aggregate the other blog posts into one location. I did a quick count and there were ten posts for one day (feeling a little blog challenged are we?)

Blog Two:  Couture, also known as the “The business of designing, making, and selling highly fashionable, usually custom-made clothing for women”

Of course the latest two blog posts were about the latest

Note: Guess what guys, not one “male” fashion item to be seen

Blog Three: Inside Zappos (for the curious) This includes an ecclectic mix of interesting and humourous content, including videos about the goings on around and about Zappos, as well as the use of certain housewares items. (even a donut eating contest)

Blog Four: CEO and COO (Real and transparent messages and articles from the Top Dog Tony Hseih) including

  • A CEO email regarding the Amazon Buyout
  1. Transparency & Values: Twitter constantly reminds me of who I want to be, and what I want Zappos to stand for
  2. Reframing Reality: Twitter encourages me to search for ways to view reality in a funnier and/or more positive way
  3. Helping Others: Twitter makes me think about how to make a positive impact on other people’s lives
  4. Gratitude: Twitter helps me notice and appreciate the little things in life

Blog Five: Running (this is for the running road warriors) The latest 2 posts being interesting articles that will engage the runner in us.

Blog Six: Zappos TV (To appeal to the video centric crowd with a dose of humour) Two recent examples of the content

Blog Seven: Coach (this one is to provide some daily inspiration and shine a bit of sunshine into the dark corner of your room)

Example: the “Happiness”  Post

Blog Eight: Rideshop (For those who like getting in the saddle and getting on their boards or skates)

Best Ski Resort of the Week: Big Bear Mountain Resorts

Blog Nine: Outdoor (For those who love to get down and dirty in the great outdoors)

A recent post for the iPod enabled cyclist  was about “Outdoor Playlists for Your iPod: Cycling Tunes

Blog Ten: Comfort (both mental and physical)

“Stress Management Tips: Managing Information Stress” (I will have to read that one !! )

“History Of Shoes: Ugg Boots” (they were invented in Australia apparently), From Winter Wear To Hollywood Runaways

Blog Eleven: Parents (such as articles about those important things like maternity and kids)

Maternity Style: Workout Clothing Essentials for Mom-to-Be”

Thanksgiving Cooking With Kids” (now that sounds like a nightmare)

Blog Twelve: Health And Fitness (for the healthy minded individual)

Such as “The Best ’80s Workout Videos: Sweatin’ to the Oldies (this is could be real scary)

Blog Thirteen (The final one): Fashion Culture (where celebrity and fashion meet)

Of course there is an article on Michael Jackson  “Rocking Rock Star Style: Fashions Inspired By Michael Jackson

Now have you been inspired about how you could apply the above to your company blog? Would like to hear some inspired comments on what you have included in your blog.


  • http://www.johnakerson.com/blog John Akerson

    Jeff – please ensure you remain a powerful evangelical believer in blogs. Please continue discussing success stories – even if you highlight Zappos. They’re good. If someone is unhappy that Zappos is good – by all means – they are free to do whatever they must do to outperform Zappos or whatever other successful competitor might exist in their segment.

    As for the root question of THIS blog, there’s a very simple answer and probably a dozen more complex ones. Why have 13 blogs? The most compelling reason (the simplest reason)for having 13 blogs is because putting the effort, time, resources and money into having 13 blogs is beneficial to customers, employees, owners…

    Additionally, having those 13 blogs provides exposure, as you mentioned, to 13 marketing sub-segments. I think that is a company focused view on it. A customer focused view would be to say that having 13 blogs provides information that is useful to 13 segments of customers. I think that if you distilled Zappos success into a single statement, a single tweet perhaps, that statement might be almost zenlike: “By putting customers’ needs, wants and satisfaction first, Zappos finds success.” In that respect, putting 13 blogs out there delivers a quantity and segmentation of information that meets and exceeds customers needs, and facilitates customer satisfaction.

    All companies should find value in that approach.

  • http://closebutsofar.com. closebutsofar

    Why Would Your Company Need 13 Blogs? Because the CEO has multiple personality disorder!!!

  • Molly C Gaines


    In reply to your question of ‘why’, I’m in agreement with this particular theory:

    ‘I have a sneaking suspicion that they feel they have 13 different persona’s (market sectors) that buy their products so they have a blog for each type of customer’

    Zappos is wise to expand on each of their market segments through the use of multiple blogs. There’s a drastic difference between a fashionista eyeing a pair of Kate Spade pumps and a 15 year old skateboarder searching for a pair of new kicks to match his board’. Multiple blogs succeed in bridging this gap, enabling Zappos to hone in on each individual brand beneath their massive umbrella. More importantly, it encourages reader participation and engagement and offers a richer experience.

    I work with a client who has 25 segments within their overall brand, each with a unique target audience. We recently implemented a similar strategy to support each sector- so for me, your post is timely.

    Last, it seems that Zappos is your muse, and I don’t feel you need to apologize for that. We write about what inspires us, and the Zappos success story is nothing if not inspiring.

  • http://www.webanatics.com Kevin Leversee

    Brilliant sh*t. I was just emailing my colleagues on why we needed to blog and blog, and blog, and communicate.

    I did this with my previous company and the results spoke for themselves. People want to know what the heck your doing, and the HUMAN side of things, not just the business.

    this is why having a personality is better than a robot yelling tweets at people.

    I thank you for this Cluetrain enforcing post.

    -Kevin Leversee

  • http://www.thejobswami.com Bill Morgan

    You have demonstrated very clearly why multiple blogs are great for businesses.

    I have 1 going but at least 5 others I want to get going on various interests and topics. They all somehow relate to the core though whichis jobs, careers, how to find a job, recruiting, etc…

    Zappos does a great job of keeping it in line with the overall Zappos corporate umbrella s they provide many types of shoes.

    Imagine the power if Nike did this. Wow!

    Keep writing.

    Bill Morgan
    The Job Swami Career Advice Site

  • http://twitter.com/Anerian Corrie Davidson

    So is Zappos sending you massive amounts of shoes yet??

    But seriously, great article and a good example of why/how to expand your standard corporate blog into something more robust and beneficial…

  • http://blog.sonjajefferson.co.uk Sonja Jefferson

    Hi Jeff.

    Thanks – I like this article and it’s good to see an example of a company that puts so much effort into the creation of relevant content for each particular set of buyers. I have no doubt that it pays off for them.

    On a smaller scale I have a client who takes a similar approach. Inspired by your article I’ve just posted an overview of their strategy on my blog: ‘One mid-sized recruitment consultancy, 10 different blogs: why?’ See: http://tinyurl.com/yc3g8a7

    The MD of this firm is relatively new to the world of social media and blogs and would love feedback and advice on his approach. Do comment on my blog if you have any thoughts.


  • http://www.wipro.com Carona Mohapatra


    Yes, we have had an overdose of blogs and case studies related to Zappos but this one is indeed an eye opener. Looks like Zappos guys have really managed to segment their audience(read business stakeholders)and have come up with this crazy but successful idea of 13 blogs.

    I am wondering how do they manage to pull it off though and whether we can get any insider info on their investment on blogs ( both from resource and bandwidth point of view) :). Most of the companies struggle on this issue as creating original and meaninful content for blogs remains a challenge for many.



  • Gregory Yovanof

    As always, a very insightful post. Thanks Jeff.

  • http://www.thayermedia.com April Thayer

    Good post. I like reading about Zappos, personally.

    I’m inclined to think you’re spot on with the segmentation idea. I also have to believe that all those blogs represent different SEO opportunities – and that would be a bit of a challenge to accomplish inside a single blog. (It would be kind of schizophrenic if it were done that way.)

  • http://twitter.com/IliaSo Iliaso

    Hello, Jeff
    try to read every your post) good content

    have question: what do u think about translating blogs to other services? from livejournal to blogger, for example
    is it good or not?

  • http://www.whatdoestonydo.com Tony Marciante

    Great post, keep talking Zappos..let the haters relax. Unless I’m missing, no share on social media buttons? Wanted to spread the word….

  • http://keithburtis.com/ Keith Burtis

    For all of the folks reading this that think their company needs thirteen blogs I would have to say to think hard and long about that first. Zappos is a special company that understands social media tools from the top down. They use it in interesting and engaging ways as shown in the article. However, I do digital audits all the time and find the biggest companies that “can” and do have multiple blogs to be either 100% self promotional and dry or I find barren wastelands. Someone gets excited about blogging, tweeting, facebooking or whatever and they lose interest quickly.

    It’s super important to do tests. Blogs have the ability to be segmented by topics or categories. If yu have a division that wants their own blog make them add to the enterprise blog first. If they show promise, conversions and the ability to keep it up then give them their own playground.

    Social media sites and blogs generate tremendous SEO. The worst thing for a customer, potential employee or anyone for that matter to see is an abandoned blog or twitter presence. Don’t let your first impression to a potential client be an old blog with tumbleweeds blowing through it.

    All that said, blogging is absolutely one of the most underutilized and powerful tools out there!
    Thanks for writing this!

    • Asia Matos

      I completely agree. I don’t think Zappos has any store fronts, so their digital presence would of course be top priority. And since they know that this will be huge to their success, they probably have dedicated teams to produce all of this content (because thirteen blogs is a TON of content).

      It also serves as a competitive advantage in a way. The ability to produce thirteen-blogs-worth of relevant content that ties into their products isn’t something another firm could easily copy. Zappos also clearly has an understanding and repertoire with their customers – hence Jeff Bullas being a huge brand advocate. 😉

  • http://www.tijba.nl Teije Bakker

    Dear Jeff,

    Thank you for your blog!

    That is exactly the concept Online branding I worked out. I am glad that a company like Zappos uses this approach. A better reference is hard to get!

  • http://www.accelerated-training-consultancy.co.uk Beverley Ireland-Symonds

    Thank you Jeff – this is a really useful blog. I am particularly interested because I run a training company that appeals to different sectors and we have tried to incorporate that in one blog and it doesn’t work – so thank you. Back to the drawing board.

    By the way I also run a company that has a fashion arm and as you guys were obviously feeling left out over the bags – I shall write a feature on men bags and send it to you!!


  • http://killersharkmarketing.com Joseph Doughty

    Thanks for the post this is more confirmation that our own multi-blog strategies are used by the best in the internet marketing industry.

  • http://www.360innovate.co.uk/service/social-media-management/ Social Media Marketing

    Also, if these are high ranking blogs they can be used for SEO purposes to create backlinks to the other blogs.

  • http://www.thonginphone.com ภาษาเกาหลี

    i need too.

  • http://twitter.com/thexyznetwork Thexyz Network

    Why not just use 13 different blog categories?

  • http://twitter.com/SethBrewer Seth Brewer

    Interesting that this post is over 2 years old, and Zappos is now up to 18 blogs. The approach must be working. Congratulations on reading it right Jeff.

  • http://twitter.com/KymleeIsAwesome Kimberlee Morrison

    We were having a conversation about just needing three separate blogs at Infusionsoft. In the end, we all (meaning blog content creators) had to define both the purpose and the target audience to justify having multiple blogs. When it comes to blogs, it’s almost always best to avoid the “everything and the kitchen sink” approach. And when I went to Zappos blogs, I wasn’t so interested in their marketing content, I wanted just the Insights/company culture content. In fact, I unsubscribed from the blog when it was EATKS because it simply wasn’t targeted enough. Not every company needs 13 blogs, but if they’re going to develop a blog, it should be targeted. And if the need arises for something that doesn’t fit the target, it’s time to launch a different blog.

  • Holly McIlwain

    Makes perfect sense, thank you for posting and I love your address to your naysayer at the onset. I’m working on a dot com launch that has a broad reach and may have that many blogs as you know who. Thanks Y’all.

  • http://sentientobserver.com/ Lora Leathco

    I love your #1 answer: “Because they have the resources and they just can.” I think varying blogs may be the wave of the future. We now live in a world where 13 year olds have the ability to create multimedia blogs and are doing it well in a lot of cases. The level of creativity in business is likely to increase as these kids take over the world. That means us old farts better step up our game.