Long gone are the days when billboards, print advertisements and direct mail alone were the only ways to reach an audience of our choice. Today, entrepreneurs can take advantage of the many avenues of the Internet — most of which are free or relatively inexpensive. Setting up a presence on social media platforms and testing out segmented email marketing campaigns are today’s most promising marketing initiatives for startups. Results are accurately tracked and leads are constantly captured — all without signing a big check or licking a single stamp.
Many have attempted to enter the world of business blogging — with little to no fees, plus the potential for an article to go viral, it’s easy to see why the opportunity is so tempting for startups in any industry. However, the initiative isn’t fit for every marketing strategy, and has the potential to ruin the effectiveness and the reputation of your business for good.
I asked a panel of successful young entrepreneurs the following question:
Constant startup business blogging: good, bad or dead and why?
Consider these perspectives before you hit the “Publish” button on your next blog entry:
1. Great for Discovery
“It’s great! Take KISSmetrics for example — I never would have found about them if not for their incredible blog. They publish high-quality articles on a regular basis, and have made it a top-notch destination for entrepreneurs.”
-Ben Lang, EpicLaunch
2. It’s Dependent on the Startup
“Blogging can be a great tool if the startup has a lot of education associated with it or has an audience that reads a lot of content of a longer form. However, blogging for a startup can be really bad if the team is way too busy, and is only opening a blog because they think they should. If no one really wants to write it, it will end up neglected.”
-Caitlin McCabe, Real Bullets Branding
3. Awesome If Done Right
“Constant business blogging is critical to any business looking to establish themselves as a thought leader in their respective industry. There are certainly many cases where a startup does not need a constant blogging schedule, but still manages to find a large community excited to read what they have to say. The real key is creating incredible content people cannot wait to read.”
4. Don’t Share Every Detail!
“You shouldn’t be blogging about every detail of your startup — that’s boring and has been done. What you should be doing is showing your personality and creating content that your readers will want to read. Would this story also be interesting to someone only slightly interested in our industry? If the answer is yes, then publish it.”
-Nathan Lustig, Entrustet
5. Guided by Goals and Strengths
“Only do it if you have someone on your team who enjoys writing, is good at it, and can post relevant content consistently — at least a few times a week. Business blogging is most helpful if establishing a presence as a thought leader is important to your overall marketing strategy.”
-Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
6. Blogging Is Crucial!
“You may not need to post constantly — once a week can be more effective than 12 times a day — but a business blog can make a world of difference for SEO, community building and other crucial marketing efforts. That said, if you’re just going to set up a blog and then ignore it, don’t even bother. Focus your energy on something you’ll actually keep at.”
-Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
7. It’s a Time Killer!
“My experience has been that because there are now millions of blogs, their impact has gone down significantly. If you enjoy blogging as a hobby, go at it. But as a business strategy, it will take a lot of energy and hours of your time before it can scratch the service of making an impact. There are so many other effective ways to grow your business. Why blog?”
-Raoul Davis, Ascendant Group
8. What’s the Priority?
“I would say startup business blogging is a good thing only if it’s not being done instead of something else important. If you are sacrificing time you should be spending on marketing plans or other growth strategies, it may be counterproductive. It’s not easy to build a following and get noticed to make all the blogging worthwhile.”
-Justin Beegel, Infographic World, Inc.
9. Personality Display Case
“Blogging is an excellent way to market your business and showcase your company’s personality. Compared to other forms of marketing and advertising, blogging is relatively cheap and very effective!”
-Tim Jahn, Entrepreneurs Unpluggd
10. Are You Providing Value?
“In order to rank highly in Google, it’s important to publish original content several times per week. However, it shouldn’t just be all about your business or new product — you should aim to provide value to your target audiences through real advice and how-to articles. This will get the right eyes on your website and will (hopefully) result in conversions.”
-Heather Huhman, Come Recommended
11. Play the Game
“In today’s world, if you aren’t focusing on content marketing (ahem — it’s free, by the way), you’re missing an excellent opportunity to continually drive traffic to your product or service. It may seem like you have nothing to say, but you do. Establish a realistic editorial schedule and stick to it. The marketing approach is long and takes effort, but completely worth it.”
-Matt Cheuvront, Proof Branding
Image credit: DeclanTM