“We had a blog. We had an audience that then became our customers.” ~ Jason Fried, 37Signals.
The stories about how startups have succeeded because of blogs are amazing. Starting with 37Signals, who launched BaseCamp with their blog as it boasted tens of thousands of subscribers. Or Wufoo, doing it in a similar manner of only having a blog first.
1.) It brings you signups
One of the most obvious reasons of investing time into a blog for your startup is that people find out more about your product. Checking this month’s analytics, the Buffer blog sent about 1000 referrals at a bounce rate of 48% to our main site. Now, this isn’t crazy I admit, but it still represents a sizable junk of our overall traffic.
Here, I found that it is key that you create a strong call to action to make it easy for people to click through to your main site. Invest a few bucks in a nice WP-theme so people understand that you are serious.
2.) You provide value beyond your product
Your blog is an amazing opportunity for you to provide value beyond the functionality of your product. This means you can give people insights and high quality content without users having to give you something in return.
I found that this is crucial to win trust and create honest engagement around topics without being self-centered. Naturally people become interested in what else it is that you do and want to find out what it is all about you are doing.
3.) You become personally recognized for what you do
What I learnt is that it makes a massive difference that you are building a relationship with others as a fellow blogger and not purely as a marketer of a product. By maintaining an active blog you show that you are in the same boat, you are not trying to hard sell all the time.
As you move along, you become more knowledgeable in your niche, which makes your product more attractive. It is natural that we feel more comfortable to use an analytics tool by someone who has written dozens of posts in that area.
In short what I found is that you create your own goodwill with your blog.
4.) You can build a strong community
“With our blog we reach 100,000 people every day, who actually want to hear what we have to say.” ~ Jason Fried
This is something I can’t stress enough: I do this for the people I meet along the way. The element of being a transparent, social human being whilst building a startup is hugely important. What I found is that with a blog, I am able to strengthen the ties with other great bloggers and people interested in that particular niche.
An engaged blog together with an active Twitter account helped us a lot build these relationships.
2 amazing examples
If you are looking for a few good examples, I suggest you take a look at the Hubspot blog, which is the best blog of a company I can think of:
Hubspot blog on Inbound Marketing:
Another fantastic example is the Kissmetrics blog. Here I find it very impressive how calls to action are tied into the blog interface.
Kissmetrics blog on Online Marketing and Customer Acquisition:
The Buffer blog about Twitter and Social Media is rather in its infancy now. It might be a useful example just to get started.
How about you? Do you run an active blog for your startup? Which other values can you derive from it?
Image Credit: ayumina