Overblog Jumps the Pond

Frédéric Montagnon created Overblog in 2004. Today, it’s the third biggest blogging platform in Europe, and boasts millions of accounts on its site.

This year, the company is setting up shop in New York, where it will attempt to break into the US blogging scene.

The goal of Overblog is to “help people and organizations increase their online visibility while leveraging the ever-trickier social media environment that is pushing brands and people into becoming publishers.”

The site hosts more than three million blogs and has 35 million monthly users. According to comScore stats, “It ranks third, right behind WordPress and Blogger but way ahead of Tumblr in Europe,” the company says.

What makes Overblog different from the other sites is its social component. It assists users in organizing a stream of social content onto their pages, whether it’s coming from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, or Instagram. Its other features include free designs that can be customized with HTML or CSS, analytics tracking on the dashboard, multiple user access on one page, and offering a 50-50 revenue split with bloggers who receive at least 500 unique visitors per day.

“If you intend to be a serious blogger and you want visibility, [our platform] is good for you because the SEO approach is really comprehensive,” said Liva Judic, CMO of the company. “It puts it all in one place, enriching the content and making you more visible to the search engines. So if you’re an individual or small business wanting to build a brand, its a good strategy to be on Overblog.”

In a world where people have numerous identities and accounts online, all that separated information may not help define the brand.

“It’s frustrating to fragment your content and your identity on different platform, [and] OverBlog fixes that for you, and for the people who want to follow you,” said Founder and COO Frédéric Montagnon.

The social stream on Overblog can also be modified. Setting can filter tweets, status updates, and uploaded pictures. For example, said Judic, if Coca Cola was running a campaign on the site, it could set up a hashtag called Cola, and any tweet without the hashtag would not come up on its page.

In terms of brands, Overblog has worked on a localized campaign for Red Bull in Miami, and hosts, the official site of the YouTube celebrity and singer with over 428 million hits. With the transition to the US, the company hopes more brands will be pulled to its platform.

“Overblog used to be just a blogging platform but now it’s evolved into a more sophisticated platform or tool where people can have all the social together along with the blogging,” Judic said. “Europe is a little slower and the European social scene looks at the US most of the time.”

The platform’s European roots — along with its international appeal — could work in a brand or blogger’s favor, she said.

“In the past, it was sufficient enough to say ‘my product is the best you can find,’ and to buy media space to repeat it on TV, radio and press,”Montagnon said. “As the distribution model has totally changed in the digital world (people distribute the content themselves through recommendations), you need to stick people to something instead of trying to interrupt their experience.”

Image by Flickr

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