Why Startups Should Blog by Joshua Monen | Tuesday, August 28, 2012
“Would it be worth it for me to start a blog?”
That’s a good question. As the founder of a startup you need to make the most effective use of your time and resources. You don’t have enough time to engage in every online activity out there. You must pick and choose the activities with the highest ROI and that are right for you.
Is it social media, blogging, SEO, email marketing, webinars, video, podcasting, or e-books? The list goes on. There are benefits to each tactic. But I believe blogging, or “content marketing” as it’s now known in 2012, offers one of the highest ROI. And I’ll give you five reasons why below.
By the way, since you’re reading a blog right now I’m going to skip the whole “Blogging 101” lesson and assume you already understand the basics. If you don’t, then read this post by ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse before you continue.
1. A Place for Thought Leaders to Shine
One of the greatest benefits writing a blog offers is the potential to become recognized as a thought leader in your industry. People like Fred Wilson, Mark Suster and Seth Godin are great examples of this. They each maintain a blog where they share innovative ideas with the world. And as a result they have acquired rather large followings.
Now most people like the idea of being a thought leader just like they relish the idea of being a published author. But it’s the actions thought leaders, and writers, take that separate the winners from the wannabes. So let’s take a critical look at what true thought leaders really do.
First, a thought leader is a leader. I know that’s not exactly earth-shattering news. But there’s an idea floating around that suggests you too can become a thought leader simply by posting a few blog posts and referring to yourself (or “positioning” yourself) as a thought leader. Sorry, but it’s not that easy.
A true thought leader leads people through innovative thinking. Instead of echoing what everyone else is already saying they contribute new and brilliant ideas. They’re the people creating the content that everyone else regurgitates.
2. To Build an Audience
Pull out your what-every-startup-needs-to-succeed checklist for a moment.
Great idea that solves a problem? Check.
The drive to turn that idea into reality? Check.
A rock star team to help you succeed? Check.
An active online audience who can’t wait for your business to launch? Er…well about that.
Yes, let’s talk about that. Because without an engaged audience your idea is simply that, an idea. But a great idea combined with a mass of people willing to pay money for it… now that’s a winner.
Imagine having 5,000 readers subscribed to your blog. People interested in the product or service you’ll soon be offering and who offer valuable feedback. These are the people you’ll be serving so it’s better to get to know them early on. Plus, it looks good to investors when you can show them a large following of people who’ve demonstrated interest in your product or service.
3. A Blog Can Help You Rank Well On Google
When it comes to SEO and getting your website to rank well on Google there are two primary approaches. The first is to try and figure out ways to trick Google (i.e. buying backlinks, stuffing your pages with tons of obnoxious keywords, etc.). The second, and the one we recommend, is to give Google what they want: quality content that’s matches search queries.
And a blog is a great way to do just that. Not only will you be building an audience, and perhaps demonstrating your thought leadership skills, but you’ll also be increasing your online search ranking. In fact one study revealed businesses that blogged had 55% more website visitors than those who didn’t. This proves that when you give Google what they want (relevant, quality content) they’ll give you what you want (more visitors).
4. Blogs Are Great Resources for Social Media
Social media is another great tool to help promote your startup. Especially when you consider the massive amount of people you could potentially reach.
- Facebook had 955 million users as of June 2012
- Twitter had 500 million users as of April 2012
- Google Plus had 250 million users as of June 2012
- LinkedIn had 161 million users as of Feb 2012
But in order to be successful with social media you need to have something of value to contribute to the conversation. You’re not going to attract a large following by just posting witty status updates. Have you ever heard of a status update going viral? Of course not, but it happens to blog posts all the time.
And startups who post 1-2 times a week will have 50-100 blog posts by the end of the year. That’s 50-100 posts you could easily repurpose by sharing them on social media sites like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and others.
5. Blogs Enhance Relationships
As you probably know people do business with those they know, like and trust. And maintaining a blog is a great way to build rapport with people. Since blogging tends to be more informal and conversational than most forms of media it allows the reader to connect with you on a personal level.
Plus, blogging allows you to not only connect but to also interact with your readers in the form of comments. Blog comments are a great way to develop community. Readers are free to ask questions, share ideas and interact with other readers. And when you invite and respond to comments you let your readers know they’re valued and their voice have been heard.
Now I’ll take my own advice and ask you to leave a comment below. So please, let me know what you think about blogging and if you feel it’s worth it to start one. And if you have a blog feel free to link to it with a brief description of what it is.