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Using Content Analysis For Corporate Blogging Strategy

Content analysis is a related technique to narrative analysis and may provide even more results for the corporate blog manager. Content analysis involves the counting of associated words, phrases or themes within a document. You can then compare counts of clusters of words across a community to determine patterns of ideas and themes.

Bernard Berelson also suggested several other ways content analysis could be used.

Conceptual analysis is an approach within the technique of content analysis. Conceptual analysis is the process of examining a text for the existence of a concept. As the conceptual analysis process requires that a researcher first know what the concept is, the process of conceptual analysis will not allow a corporate blog manager to develop a content strategy for a corporate blog without pre-defining the concepts. It is possible for a blog manager to interactively research the concepts during the process of analysis. A blog manager must conduct an analysis of the discussion themes that are most important within a blogging community to understand how those themes will influence the eventual blog content strategy. If you will, the starting point for developing a blog content strategy is unknown. The conceptual analysis methodology if interactive, rather than pre-determined can be useful in providing a method by which blog managers can develop their corporate blogging content strategy.

Carley (1992) provides eight steps for conceptual analysis:

The Colorado State University’s guide to content analysis provides a good road map to content analysis.

1. Decide the level of analysis.
2. Decide how many concepts to code for.
3. Decide whether to code for existence or frequency of a concept.
4. Decide on how you will distinguish among concepts.
5. Develop rules for coding your texts.
6. Decide what to do with "irrelevant" information.
7. Code the texts.
8. Analyze your results.

1. Decide the level of analysis.

First build a list of blogs within a community. Decide how far back you should read within the community of blogs, I’d suggest, one month, three months or a year. Many conceptual analysis researchers go to the level of individual word or phrase in their research. In contrast corporate blog managers will probably not have the time for such an analysis. Rather an idea or theme will be the key constituent for a corporate blog content analysis.

2. Decide how many concepts to code for.

Until you have researched the whole community you will not know all of the concepts you will need to look for. It is not possible to pre-determine the list of concepts, but a researcher can find out the list of concepts within a community interactively as they study the community of blogs.

3. Decide whether to code for existence or frequency of a concept.

An important step, as you want to understand the importance of various concepts or themes within the community. Mere existence of a concept on one blog does not mean the rest of the community are interested in that concept, tracking the existence of concepts across a community and their frequency within the community will highlight the most important ideas in the community.

4. Decide on how you will distinguish among concepts.

Grouping concepts and ideas is an important part of the process. When I was conducting a blogging assessment of the auto blogging community for my chapter in my book to provide an example of a blogging assessment I often had to decide whether to throw an idea into green technologies related to autos, or an auto review. The coding of concepts will influence which blogs you consider cover subjects within your community. In my chapter on the blogging assessment for the book, the issue of green auto technology was discussed by a lot of green related blogs. I had to decide whether to include those blogs and the topic of green auto technology within the auto blogging community, I decided to include several green technology blog sites that regularly published content on the topic of green auto technology because auto topics were a regular topic in the green blogging community, and were regularly cited by other auto blogs.

5. Develop rules for coding your texts.

6. Decide what to do with "irrelevant" information.

If a concept is mentioned once by bloggers but not across the rest of the community consider dropping that concept.

7. Code the texts.

Conducting an analysis by hand rather than with software tools can take a lot of time. However, if you use automation there is less chance of producing errors. Content analysis software available for sale, if you wish to find some online tools, the online marketing industry does provide some quick tools for analysis, the keyword analysis tools will determine keywords, keyword phrases and the frequency of keywords and keyword phrases. In addition to developing a content strategy the use of such tools means that you will develop keywords for search engine marketing.

8. Analyze your results.

Looking for patterns across the community is the most useful way the data can be analyzed. What are the most important themes within a community? If you have decided to go the extra step and determine the relative positive or negative inferences of an idea, you will also be aware of the popularity of an idea with a community.

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