In the social media world, there’s no shortage of blog posts discussing mistakes to avoid. In the startup world, there’s a plethora of post-mortems discussing lessons learned, offering a wise perspective enabled by 20/20 hindsight. But what can you do right now to make your startup’s blog great? And how do seemingly idealistic tips like “write content that solves your customers’ problems” and “measure everything!!” actually play out in the real world?
We could all use inspiration from startups who create shareable content each day. See how you can incorporate their strategies into your own content marketing.
7 Startups Who Do Blogging Right
1. OK Cupid – Data is your asset.
OK Cupid sends out regular surveys and collects metrics on users’ points of view when it comes to relationships and err…. “dating.” On the OK Trends blog, they deliver the findings through helpful word clouds and graphs, offering the data based on demographics. What do Christians like to do on first dates? What do beer drinkers prefer when it comes to dating versus those who don’t like beer? Statistics can be shocking, and alarming trends are shareable. Statistics can also teach you something specific, and new lessons and tips are shareable as well.
2. Birchbox – Keep your readers engaged with a call to action.
With guest bloggers and how-to videos, the Birchbox content is always fresh. To keep readers engaged “in the funnel,” they optimize their posts with a call to action. Whether it’s recommending a product or another blog post, they manage to keep you interested in what they do without over-selling it. They remind me of the content empire Mint built with the Mintlife blog. With so much content to choose from and the calls-to-action, Birchbox increases the liklihood that readers will discover a post they love enough to share.
3. How About We – Write well.
The How About We blog is incredibly well-written – but not in the SAT vocabulary way. Among an online sea of overly-abbreviated garbage smattered with emoticons, the How About We blog shares dating advice in a funny, thoughtful and well-articulated way. Whether it’s New Years Eve dating tips or 2012 dating resolutions, the blog entertains. Most of all, How About We doesn’t talk about themselves.
When you’re just starting out, your potential customers don’t care about you yet. Customers care about their problems and interests, and if you write about those you’re sure to draw in relevant readers who will share your content.
4. 37 Signals – Draw a line in the sand.
On the Signals vs. Noise blog, 37 Signals has a strong opinion about pretty much everything they write about, whether it’s small business tips, culture or design. In their book Rework they call this “drawing a line in the sand.” Having a distinctive perspective about your topic is how you win super-fans, but not everyone is going to agree with you. Other points of view work to your advantage though, as your content becomes the hub for great conversations, drawing traffic and social shares.
Ask yourself: What is my startup’s point of view?
5. Runkeeper – Change it up with different kinds of content.
Runkeeper’s blog has fitness tips, user profiles, contests and the occasional product update. I’m impressed with their recent use of Slideshare to visualize their fitness tips. Slideshare is known for its library of B2B webinar and conference slides, but this was an innovative use of the platform coming from a B2C perspective. With Pinterest becoming so popular, the content marketers who find ways to visually communicate will achieve more traffic and more social shares.
6. Etsy – Think big.
Etsy’s content strives to be more than an arts and crafts blog. They’ve built a visually-compelling lifestyle blog that shares the sellers’ stories and covers topics ranging from food to photography. While some may say this approach indicates a lack of focus, their blogging frequency gives them room to explore. Like Birchbox, each Etsy blog post includes a call-to-action that engages the reader and drives their interest to even more content.
7. SEOmoz – Build a community.
Keeping up with the ever-changing Google algorithms can be difficult, but SEOmoz gives you the sense that we’re all in this together. The YouMoz blog features community blog posts, while the main SEOmoz blog shares SEO, PPC, and blogging guides, including the must-see White Board Fridays series.
Your content strategy is more than your blog. How will you share this blog post on Twitter? Will you share it on Facebook? This recent post by their gifted community manager Jennita Lopez explains how SEOmoz successfully approaches this process. It’s worth noting that although this post is about SEOmoz, the real focus is a topic (community building) that is relevant for their marketing audience.
Bonus blog #8 – The Shareaholic blog, of course! Sharing blogging tips and more, we follow the example of our fellow startups with everything we post.
Your Blog is For Your Customers
This list includes a B2B software company, a cosmetics retailer and two online dating sites. What do they all have in common? Their blogs are for their customers. Entrepreneurial reflections and photos from the holiday party have their time and place – on your personal blog or Facebook page. When it comes to creating shareable content and user acquisition, the most successful blogs are the ones that put the needs and interests of current and potential customers first.