Blogging is like the modern day welcome mat, showing passers-by that someone is home and will probably answer the doorbell if you ring it.
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For startups, this is particularly important as you strive to establish your voice and brand point of view. Beside giving your startup a platform, having a blog can help you establish thought leadership, build SEO, and promote things that central to your brand’s messaging.
But not all corporate blogs are created equal. When it comes to starting a blog, there are a few basic parameters to consider.
Telling the right story
First of all, what the heck are you going to talk about? Instead of just writing about your own company, provide content that’s helpful for your followers and fans. Here are a few options:
1. Create engaging, thought leadership content
Finding the white space where your brand can tell a unique story can help position your company as thought leaders. For example, Contently, a company that connects journalists with brands, runs a blog called The Content Strategist. Publishing original content weekly, it focuses in on relevant strategies, insights and projects central to its mission of creating good content
Shane Snow, CCO of Contently adds, “Well-run blogs can be great for attracting talent and building relationships with prospective customers. And in the early days, positioning the founders as thought leaders through blogging is helpful when raising early investment and working on high-profile deals.”
Additionally, General Assembly, an education group focused on technology, uses its blog to share on tutorials, insights, and spread awareness about its events.
Like GA, Birchbox, a subscription-based makeup company, focuses on engaging community members through inspiration, tips, tricks and trends, adding tremendous value to the community by enlisting experts and thought leaders to use their products in new and innovative ways.
2. Celebrate the product or the people who use the product
Not every startup blog needs to publish original thought leadership content; many successful startup blogs focus on the people and community using the actual product.
The Kickstarter Blog, for example, highlights members of the Kickstarter community working on interesting projects. Porter Haney, CEO of real-time social polling company Wedgies, talks about how its company blog taps into a larger community of people central to the company’s mission.
“We focus heavily on Wedgies-related material, but we also love to write about the lessons we learn as a startup, things we discover about startup culture, products other startups are building that we love, and what it’s like to run a startup in Las Vegas.”
3. Curate content from various sources
Curating high quality articles or content from the Web is a low-risk way to insert your startup into a larger conversation and solidify a point of view. By collecting and publishing content from various people, brands, and sources from around the Web, your startup can create a dynamic conversation around things relevant to its core audience.
“Startups should curate content that is already out there that relates to their industry,” she says. “At Fueled, a mobile development company, we publish ‘Top Up: This Week in Mobile,’ which features a roundup of that week’s mobile news. It’s a great way for us to stay focused on the news too!”
Whatever focus you choose, defining the goal of the blog and the ways in which your startup can add value to the larger conversation will help your company determine the right content strategy.
Choosing the right medium
After you’ve determined the type of stories you want to tell, honing in on the format with which you’d like to tell those stories is the next step.
Contently’s Snow adds, “To stand out, tell better stories. That might mean any number of things—more thoughtful writing, more interesting or provocative ideas, multimedia.”
Once you’ve honed in on the story and the format, you can explore a multitude of free, paid, custom, photo or social sites from WordPress or Blogger, to Instagram, Tumblr and beyond. This will depend on the voice you intend to add to your company, and the types of audience you want to attract.
Finding inspiration and always evolving
Once you’ve landed on the types of stories your brand wants to tell, how you want to tell them, and on what platform, it’s important to let continually evolve and grow with the ecosystem and company.
Connor Murphy, founder of Datahug, a digital relationship management tool says a blog is a great way to “scale” your company story. “[Blogs] allow you to quickly and affordable share your story and help customers understand your goals, your product and why your company matters.”
The most important thing is to continually draw inspiration and evolve with the ecosystem. Keep a RSS feed of blogs that inspire you on Feedly or Netvibes and keep an eye on Twitter and Tumblr. The most important thing you can do is get involved.