America's Next Top Blogger

August 11th, 2008

Did you hear about Southwest’s latest nationwide customer contest? No, they’re not doing a national search to find the next great American pilot. Actually they are holding a contest from August 5 through August 31, to find one lucky customer who dreams of becoming the next Southwest Blog-O-spondent, aka, the company’s traveling blogger.

For the past six months, Southwest Airlines Employee Christi Day has occupied the role as the Company’s chief Blog-o-spondent, traveling to Southwest cities across the country and filming short segments for the Company’s blog, Nuts about Southwest These segments cover anything and everything about Southwest, including features on their culture, employees, and company operations.

Here’s how the competition works. Customers can submit a one-minute audition video on the official contest site and fellow Southwest Customers will be able to view and vote for their favorite video submissions. On September 1, the three contestants with the most votes will be invited to this year’s BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas to compete in a final competition round, where they will be joined by Christi Day and the Southwest Blog Team. On the morning of Saturday, Sept. 20, the three finalists will meet at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where they will receive a video assignment that will serve as their final challenge. Each contestant’s final video submission will be posted on the contest site on Sept. 21, and customers will have another opportunity to vote for their favorite and help select the official Nuts About Southwest Blog-o-spondent. The final video submissions will be judged by current Blog-o-spondent Christi Day and a panel of Southwest Airlines Judges.

Sounds like a cool gig, huh? While I’m not sure how much traffic this contest will actually get, what strikes me most is that this may just be one of the most powerful PR tools for promoting a blog we’ve seen to date. In the uber competitive blogging world, getting a company blog known, and read is a very hard feat to accomplish. Take if from us–It’s hard enough to get noticed when you’re blogging about news and gossip, but when your blogging about your own company, the chances of peaking wide reader interest is difficult at best.

While one of the most powerful ways to promote your blog in the general blogosphere is to connect with other bloggers who write about the same topics as you do, with company blogs, this just doesn’t cut it.

So the idea of creating a nationwide contest to become part of the Southwest blogging Team is ideal. Not only do thousands of people now know what Nut about Southwest is, but now they may not even be interested in seeing what kind of content they have on the site, and they may even look again tomorrow. Heck, I logged on as was fascinated by a video blog on their culture committee celebrating Hokey Day, a Southwest tradition. Not only did I like their blog, I walked away thinking about how much southwest genuinely values their employees.

Well done Southwest! Pat yourselves on the back. This idea will fly your blog into a whole new airspace.

Posted Under: Storytelling
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