We’ve been live here at Coca-Cola Unbottled for a month, and I thought I would update you on what we’ve learned.  It’s been quite the ride.  Here goes:

1.    The blog is more global than we thought
When we launched in September, we anticipated that our audience would build very slowly. Within a few weeks, Coke Unbottled has become one of the most read blogs at Coca-Cola.  Our readers hail from 159 countries and have viewed nearly 40,000 pages of content. Only 46% of these readers are from the U.S. – and that percentage is steadily declining.

2.   There’s more content to share than we thought
We originally anticipated that we would post 2-3 times per week.  It turns out that we greatly underestimated demand within Coke to share stories.  A month in, we’re posting an average of one story per day and on many days we post two.  More importantly, the blog is routinizing in our culture as teams add a blog strategy to their communications plans.  And with the growth of the blog outside of the United States, we hope to roll out our first non-English content in the coming weeks.

3.   Building a content pipeline is harder than we thought
While we’ve been pleased with the volume of content we have to share, getting it “production ready” takes time. A lot of it.

Clearing rights and obtaining approvals are necessary but time consuming.  If you’re thinking about starting a blog at your company, make sure you build in twice as much time as you think you will need to cover off on the back end.

4.   Social syndication is more important than we thought
Everyone knows that social syndication – sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and others – is important.  We’ve had an aggressive syndication plan in place since our first post.  But we are surprised by how much traffic the social web drives.  Today, 62% of our readers are coming to the blog from social networks – a number that is holding steady over time.  The top driver: LinkedIn.

I look forward to reporting back from time to time on our experience. If you’re new to the blog, stay a while and explore.  We’re happy to have you on our journey.

Ashley Brown is Director of Digital Communications and Social Media at The Coca-Cola Company.