One thing everyone who’s ever been involved in a startup knows is that they are extremely time-consuming. Running a business in general usually requires way more effort than a 9 to 5 job, successful founders and co-founders are rarely not working, even more so at a startup where overtime can be the difference between the next round of funding or shutting down.
With so much to do and so little free time, why is blogging considered a necessity in today’s startup world? Shouldn’t that time be used for setting up new marketing campaigns, split-testing or even schmoozing investors? Is blogging really that important? YES.
Online marketing changed. It evolved from simply buying ads, email lists and so on to what is now called inbound marketing, also known as the most effective marketing method for online-based businesses.
In short, inbound marketing is the art of promoting a company through valuable content such as blog posts, newsletters, podcasts and so on. It refers to marketing strategies that focus on bringing visitors/customers in as opposed to traditional advertising (ads, tv spots, flyers, telemarketing, etc.), now referred to as outbound marketing.
This, plus the rise of social media and reviews, makes it obvious that a winning online marketing strategy basically means two-way communication between a company and its potential customers. Blogging is widely considered the best way to achieving this since it is free and its potential is limitless in terms of its reach.
Clearly, that makes it a must for any startup hoping to achieve growth, success and a passionate following. It is also the best way to announce company changes, product launches, promotions and more importantly, showing transparency and authenticity. It makes a company seem accessible on a personal level and not just another corporate identity hoping to sell a product.
Keep in mind, a blog (quality content and regularly updated) is probably the most effective way to a proper Search Engine Optimization campaign in order to rank on Google as well as other search engines for relevant search inquiries. Recent statistics show that 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine, ranking high isn’t a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity.
Now that we know why startups should blog, let’s see which startups are doing it well, time to get inspired.
The idea is to create demand out of thin air, let’s take a look at some startups which have mastered the art of blogging and acquiring customers, buzz and exposure simply by providing extremely valuable content through their company blog.
Kissmetrics is an SaaS company that provides analytics which help track users on an individual level in order to assist with customer acquisition and decision-making. The Kissmetrics Blog has quickly positioned itself as a go-to resource for online marketing and analytics, and it’s paying off. For example, their “beginner’s guide to Google Analytics” featured on the Kissmetrics blog was shared on Twitter alone over one thousand times. This isn’t out of the ordinary for Kissmetrics, their blog posts regularly get hundreds, even thousands, of shares. That kind of sharing, propelled by awesome quality content, is the base for a solid SEO strategy, something no startup wants to miss. As mentioned by Neil Patel, a co-founder at Kissmetrics, organic SEO is responsible for generating over 50% of Kissmetrics’ revenue. Keep in mind, the majority of the SEO traffic mentioned comes through the blog thanks to quality content, infographics and consistency. There is no question the blog played a HUGE part in Kissmetrics’ undeniable success in a competitive market.
Buffer is a web-based tool that helps make social media sharing easier for both people and companies by allowing to schedule posts throughout the day. Buffer used transparency to differentiate their blog from other startup blogs, in other words they practice what they preach. They don’t only talk about sharing on social media and so on, they do it. They even go as far as sharing things like the salaries of every employee at Buffer. People love being behind the scenes and this kind of information makes a reader/visitor/user feel like a VIP and it shows, over two-thousand likes on Facebook as well as one thousand shares on LinkedIn for that article alone. Buffer built on that strategy and on top of that they deeply focused on providing informative content, exclusive tips as well as guest blogging a ton. It is no surprise that content-marketing (inbound marketing) drove over 70% of their daily signups up until recently.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows anyone to sell online. The startup is thriving and has raised over $120M in funding, they are definitely doing something right. Their blog is a perfect example, it quickly became the go-to place for anyone running an e-commerce business or looking to start one. They produce interesting articles, tips and guides that can be directly applied to small or large online businesses, it’s useful information for anyone in the industry, and that’s why it’s being shared. They’ve also managed to build a loyal following, over 48 000 newsletter subscribers that are eager to get the latest tips which can ultimately help them increase conversions.
The Shopify Blog has become a trusted authority source for e-commerce business owners and digital marketers. In fact, their following is so loyal that even a simple product announcement can get them over 1500 shares on social media, how’s that for free advertising? The trick here is that the content they provide on their blog for free is so valuable for an online business owner that it makes the cost of using Shopify as a service (e-commerce platform) feel like a steal.
There are many others doing it right and we’ll be covering them as well as we continue this series. Next up will be how to blog as a startup and of course, what to blog about.