For brands, publishing has historically been reserved for journalists.
Nowadays, brand publishers are as prolific as social media strategists, PPC experts and advertising gurus. But there are still plenty of naysayers, skeptical about blogging's potential and unclear about how producing content will impact their overall business goals.
Before jumping to the wrong conclusions about the value of business blogging, see what 12 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) have to say about how content helps their companies grow.
1. Tell (Visual) Stories Worth Sharing
For Jared Feldman of social media intelligence firm Mashwork, the company's blog serves as a destination for shareable storytelling.
"Our company believes that data is only as good as the stories we tell with it. The same goes for our blog -- no one wants to read about our technology; they want to hear stories about how it impacts business outcomes. We also make design a priority. To that end, all of our blog posts are highly visual, which we've found leads to more sharing."
With heightened awareness, Feldman is more likely to see potential clients filling up his sales team's pipeline.
2. Express Brand Identity
"The ONA blog is a key component of expressing our brand's identity: we love to highlight emerging photographers, feature our favorite blogs and retail partners and share our recent travels," says Tracy Foster, Founder of ONA.
Foster employs her blog to be a reflection of the ONA brand and its target audience.
3. Build an Email List Through Great Content
On Patrick Conley's mind is leads.
For Automation Heroes, he says, "The main goal of our blog is to put relevant content up, attracting the type of clients we're looking for. We have a big push to get readers signing up for free offers on our site via email, so we may follow up with them. A one-time visitor who doesn't return to our site isn't worth much to us, but a new email captured could turn into a new client."
4. Attract Top Industry Talent
Growing the team is what makes the process of producing, publishing and promoting content worthwhile for James Simpson of web game maker GoldFire Studios.
"We regularly publish content that interests developers and others within our industry, especially locally. This has allowed us to spread our brand to the people that we would be most interested in hiring, and this strategy has worked wonders. In fact, most people that have worked with us have found us through our blog."
5. Build Credibility
"Our company blog serves many purposes, but one key goal is its ability to build credibility," shares David Ehrenberg of Early Growth FS.
"When you don't have a well-known, established brand, content can help you create awareness, build your brand and establish credibility. We offer a tons of useful, educational content that helps to position us as thought leaders in the startup financial space."
6. Give Partners a Behind-the-Scenes Look
A sneak peak can garner loyalty too.
"Our blog is for our business partners," says Ty Morse of interactive firm Songwhale. "It shows them what's going on in the business and keeps them up to date on our activities, strategies and affiliates."
It's fun and informative -- and above all, it's human. "Our blog shares additional information about us, our employees and our company culture, and lets potential and current customers see who we are. Customers want to know who they are working with, and company blogs allow them that access."
7. Become an Industry Thought Leader
Jason Grill owner at JGrill Media agrees. "Without a doubt, the best thing to do on your blog marketing-wise is to provide expert opinion on your market or vertical."
Grill suggests, "If you're a fashion B2C company, publish new trends and style tips. If you're an industrial B2B company, write about information on new partnership opportunities. Thought leadership builds credibility and grows your active following and client list."
8. Connect Personally With Fans
"We work hard to make sure people think of our business as comprised of a group of real individuals, and not some soulless enterprise," tells Aaron Schwartz, CEO of brand Modify Watches.
"As a startup, we include hand-written notes and business cards with every order. That way, you know exactly who you're dealing with. But we use the blog to add more color. Aside from sharing a behind-the-scenes look, we try to share more depth stories about all of our teammates."
9. Capture Media Attention
"We post articles frequently on our company blog to discuss technical topics, but have found recently that it is also a great avenue to garner media attention," reveals Björn Stansvik of mobile app design and development house MentorMate.
The best industry blogs tend to develop into authoritative voices within their respective industry. "Members of the local media frequent our blog and often report on the innovative things we do or the changes we see in technology."
10. Analyze Your Own Data
Bhavin Shah, co-founder of Refresh.io, uses the company blog to serve two purposes:
- Announce product features, news and updates.
- Provide thought leadership.
"A great way to implement the second point is by sharing and analyzing your data. Technology companies often have data sets that yield powerful insights, and you can showcase what you've learned on your blog. Ultimately, it's about producing high-quality content."
11. Facilitate Word-of-Mouth Marketing
"Content marketing is our core business, so we take our blog very seriously," shares Mary Ellen Slayter of agency Reputation Capital.
"We are less concerned about SEO than building connections with people over time, facilitating word of mouth and demonstrating our competence to prospects." And it's that selfless sort of thinking that has made their blog a success. Slayter adds, "So far, this approach has worked very well for us."
12. Distinguish Yourself From the Competition
In such a crowded space, Alex Lorton of catering startup Cater2.me, leverages his company's blog to separate itself from the competition.
Lorton discloses, "Through the blog we are able to solidify our brand voice, demonstrate our values and create original content that our various audiences can relate to. We pride ourselves on being friendly and approachable, and the blog allows us to show that to our clients."
Why do you blog? Share your reasons below!
This article originally appeared on the Shareaholic content marketing blog and is republished with permission.