The Quicken Loans blog, affectionately know as the DIFF blog, turned two years old.
It’s hard to believe that just over two years ago we jumped into this project, not really knowing what to expect and hoping we wouldn’t end up with egg on our face.
Quicken Loans had never blogged before and we had no idea how the
concept of the DIFF blog would be received by the blogosphere.
Another lame and boring corporate blog? We hoped not. Another venture into business blogging that no one read or cared about? We hoped not. Something that we would get bored with and post once a month if we remembered? We hoped not.
Well, I’m happy to say that none of these happened. We dove head-first into blogging and when we came up for air, we liked what we saw. And we’ve been doing the Michael Phelps ever since. Smooth sailing.
Last year, when the DIFF turned one, I listed some lessons learned and made a few insightful suggestions to consider for any companies not yet blogging.
This year, I’ll just say how happy I am that we are still doing this blog and I hope, in one form or another, the DIFF blog continues for years to come. We can’t tie the DIFF directly into some sort of ROI or even strongly associate it with giving us mortgage leads. To do so would be irresponsible and untruthful. We can’t make those claims and I’m not about to start. We can track the ROI of our other marketing efforts (paid search, online ads, email campaigns, partnerships, etc.) down to the penny. But not the Quicken Loans blog.
So, you might ask, why would an online mortgage company like Quicken Loans continue a project like this blog when it doesn’t contribute "directly" to the bottom line – selling mortgages?
It’s fun. That’s it. This is fun. We love it. And when you love something, you should nurture it, right? That’s the beauty of doing this blog. We have a ton of fun with the Quicken Loans blog and we are proud to admit it.
That’s not to say that there aren’t a million indirect benefits of doing this blog. There are. For example, posts from the Quicken Loans blog show up all over the place in organic search results. Every time someone searches Google or Yahoo or MSN and sees one of our stories in results, they see our name. Our brand. Just a quick example – the very first post we did, when Matt Cardwell wrote about a great experience he had at a Chicago pizzeria, ranks on the first page of Google for “slice of Chicago pizza”
(its #10 when I search – you might not see it at the same number I do, but most likely you will). That was the post that started it all. Now, ask me, “what does that do for your company and how does it help you sell mortgages?”
The answer – the odds are it doesn’t sell mortgages. But, can you guarantee me that someone looking for a slice of Chicago pizza won’t one day want a mortgage? Of course not. And maybe, just maybe, they see our name, like what they read (if they click through – which they often do) and now they know just a little more about an online company that doesn’t have storefronts in their neighborhood. And a lot of those “little bit mores” can add up.
But I don’t want to drag on about justifying why we do this. Let’s just say we like it, it works for us and we’ll keep doing it as long as we can.
I do want to point out a few folks who’ve left the DIFF team over the past year and thank them for their contributions.
Brian Doelle, who played a huge part in coming up with the concept, has moved on to become a major player in search marketing. If you are into search, you probably have heard of Brian, or will soon. Christy Brewer, who wrote a ton of posts and stepped in to lead the project several times, is now a librarian down in South Carolina. Corey Bailey left Quicken Loans to purse her dream of being a writer and last I heard was working at an ad agency. Ann-Marie Murphy now works on mega-projects with Quicken Loans chairman Dan Gilbert. She launched his blog, Choose Thinking, recently. If you haven’t read it, do so. Lots of good stuff there. Nicole Tongson now resides in the Windy City and churns out cool art for Sears. And finally, Melissa Morrison, who helped out tremendously in launching the blog, left us for a much more noble and difficult position – stay at home mom. From my heart, I can’t thank all of them enough and I wish them the best.
I’ve said this a million times and I’ll say it as long as I’m writing for the DIFF. The Quicken Loans blog is a team effort and is only what it is because of the input of dozens of people over the past two years. Everyone’s contributions to the DIFF, no matter how small, have helped us shape it and grow. Thanks to everyone, especially all of our guest bloggers, who’ve chipped in over the past two years.
I look forward to another year of searching for cool stuff and people to write about. Because, at the end of the day, the world is a pretty interesting place if you open your eyes.
Happy birthday, baby blog.