The 16 Blogs Your Customers Need You To Read – The Recurve 16
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In a world where the number of actual Customer Engagement Agencies are limited, and people equate a Facebook Like to “engagement,” it can be difficult to build a solid reading list that encompass the full scope of what it takes to foster engaged customers.

To that end, we’ve decided to put together the Recurve 16 – a list of blogs, when taken as a whole, that provide a well-rounded overview of customer engagement. Each blog has been placed into one of the four areas that we see as fundamental to Customer Engagement:

  • Content & Social
  • Design & UX
  • Experiments & Data
  • Business & Leadership

As you’d expect from Recurve, the blogs chosen for inclusion in the Recurve 16 are deliberately hype-free, opting instead for data-driven and actionable.

Content & Social

Content and Social are big parts or customer engagement – giving customers direct access to businesses in a semi-public venue. Customer engagement demands that content and social provide actual value, and those included in this section do that.

Experience: The Blog

Written by Augie Ray, E:TB is a pulls-no-punches blog dead set on taking the hype out of social media. When everyone was praising Esurance for their Super Bowl cash giveaway, Augie was crunching the numbers. And he’s currently doing the same for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you’re looking to use social, but want to skip the hype, look here.

Averages 2-4 posts per month

http://www.experiencetheblog.com/

GatherContent

I love GatherContent as a tool, and their blog does a good job of mixing updates about the tool with tips for helping organizations leverage content. With posts like “The Art of Content Approval” this is one blog that helps organizations embrace content in a meaningful way.

Averages 1-2 posts per month

https://blog.gathercontent.com/

InsideCXM

With an explicit focus on improving customer experience, InsideCXM does a good job of tackling modern digital and marketing issues and translating them into C-Suite speak.

Averages 5 posts per week.

http://www.insidecxm.com/

Buffer

This one’s a bit of a gimmie, but by tapping some of the biggest names in social media, Buffer manages to put out a string of lengthy posts. These are more focused on tactics, and tend to conflate correlation with causation, but they’re worth a skim.

Averages 5 posts per week

https://blog.bufferapp.com/


Design & UX

Design, so it goes, is something that is only noticed when it’s bad or gets in the way. Pairing design with UX (User Experience) means that the design serves the user – and that’s fundamental to good customer engagement.

UX Booth

UX Booth takes many of the ideas bandied about in the content and social media world and filters them through a user-focused lense. The result are more articles than blog posts, but well worth the read.

Averages 1-2 Posts per week

http://www.uxbooth.com/

Boxes and Arrows

While Boxes and Arrows is ultimately a design blog, Boxes and Arrows tends to focus on design as a tool to improve user experience.

Averages 1 post per week.

http://boxesandarrows.com

Mule Design

I first learned of Mule Design thanks to the most famous Creative Mornings lecture (the coarsely-named F*ck you, Pay Me [1]). Mule is a design firm that pays more than lip service to research and data. More so, the Off the Hoof is a great resource for learning how to work with designers – a frequent occurrence for just about every modern business.

Averages 2-3 Posts Per Month* (recently returned)

http://muledesign.com/blog/


Experiments & Data

Test early, test often. With the shift towards operating online, it is easier than ever to create small experiments and test hunches in real time. These blogs focus not on hype or miracle marketing cures, but on concrete tests that you can replicate yourself.

Marketing Experiments

The Marketing Experiments Blog, from the folks at MECLABS, is aptly named. This blog focuses purely on experiments performed for the sake of improving marketing. Most of the posts deal with conversion rate optimization, and MECLABS is even kind enough to publish their Level of Confidence.

Averages 2-3 posts per week

http://www.marketingexperiments.com

@AndrewChen

Andrew Chen is one of the bigger voices in the growth hacker community. And buzzwordiness aside, good growth hackers focus on learning what customers value and adapting products to serve those values. In other words, there’s a lot of overlap between Customer Engagement and Growth Hacking. Andrew’s posts focus on building communities with actionable case studies.

Averages 1-2 posts per month

http://andrewchen.co/recent/

Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik

Kaushik’s job title is Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google. His blog, however, is all about analytics. He drifts between practical application and theory, but manages to stay fairly neutral on analytics solutions.

Averages 1 post per month

http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/

Quicksprout

Written by Neil Patel (co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KissMetrics), this is another Growth Hacker blog, but focused more on using data to drive marketing (rather than the other way around). The subjects run the gamut from remarketing, to conversion rate optimization, to even corporate blogging, but

Averages 2 posts per week

http://www.quicksprout.com/blog/

RJMetrics

If you run a SaaS or Ecommerce business, you probably already know RJMetrics. But even if you don’t the RJMetrics blog is data-focused and built for those who like to experiment. The blog is broken down into three areas – thinking in data, applying data, and telling stories with data – which can be applied with relative ease.

Averages 1-2 posts per week

http://blog.rjmetrics.com/

Brooks Bell

An iteration more than a decade in the making, Brooks Bell is a dedicated towards testing, rather than assuming. They’re a data-driven bunch, and their blog reflects that – with a mixture of original posts and curated lists from around the web.

Averages 2-3 posts per week

http://www.brooksbell.com/blog/


Business & Leadership

Engaged Customers often are the result of Engaged Employees. And Engaged Employees are often the result of good businesses. Because of that, it’s important to keep an eye on the business side of the house.

KelloggInsight

The Kellogg School of Management maintains four blogs under the Insight brand. The blog that I find most appealing is the Markets and Customers. As the name suggests, this blog deals with the anticipating and meeting customer needs. The articles are long, but tend to skip the hype.

Average 1 post per 2-3 months

http://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/browse/initiative/markets/

HBR

Harvard Business Review takes the opposite approach of Kellogg to reach the same goal. That is, HBR publishes numerous posts each day. Thankfully, they tend to be shorter. You’ll need a free account to read them, but there’s usually a few good gems dealing with managing and motivating employees, especially when your goal is to increase employee engagement.

Average 4-8 posts per day

http://blogs.hbr.org/

Floricane

Floricane is a both a neighbor and a blog focused on helping businesses create fully engaged employees. As we’ve talked about before – employee engagement is crucial in engaging customers [2]. To that end, Floricane provides down-to-earth insights on how to create a culture of leadership within the modern organization.

Averages 2-3 posts per week

http://www.floricane.com/blog/


This is the first instance of this list, but due to the short lifespan of blogs, we’re planning a Spring 2015 review. If you have any blogs that you feel are left out, please let us know. We’re always looking for good reading material.

Written by Bradley Robb

Bradley Robb

Bradley Robb has spent the last decade as a professional writer, strategist and digital producer. Before co-founding Recurve, Bradley served in the US Army. Bradley also hates cinnamon and once stopped a T-72 with his middle finger.

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