Talking to startup founders, growth hackers, and marketers, the same question always comes up: "Should I be blogging?"
Yes, you should!
1. It's Free Marketing!
The benefit of blogging — especially if you create useful content — is that it's free marketing. High-quality content is likely to be read and shared, meaning that your simple blog post is helping you market yourself or your startup.
Even if your blog post doesn't go viral, it can still add significant long-term value as a resource. I've gone to the blogs of Buffer more times than I can count, solely for statistics to prove a point.
Buffer wrote a compelling blog post on the benefit of reposting your content. Buffer shares their articles multiple times after publication and it has been a powerful tool to continually attract users.
HubSpot — a billion dollar marketing software-as-a-service company — is built on the power of inbound marketing as a revenue center. The power of HubSpot's blog is downright scary.
Worst case, your blog post enters the your arsenal of articles you can share for the next two years.
2. Establishing Industry Expertise
If you have a startup in the video space, wouldn't you want the startup to be considered a video expert? Wouldn't you want people to go to your blog and your resources to get advice? That's exactly what Wistia does.
This is an opportunity to show your industry knowledge. Even if you're an expert in the space, people might not realize this. The power of blogging — similar to speaking at conferences — is that it allows you to be seen as an industry expert.
Other examples of companies that are seen as industry experts are KISSmetrics and MailChimp, who are experts on web analytics and email analytics.
Having your startup known as an industry expert is powerful for your brand.
3. Genuine Branding
On the same note, I maintain my own blog at sebfung.com, outside of my startups. This allows me to build my own personal branding, in a genuine way.
The benefit of a personal blog is that it allows you to talk in a more personal way. Most companies are afraid of being human for the wrong reasons. They think that this will make them seem unprofessional. The opposite is usually true — potential customers are more likely to convert because they aren't talking to robots.
I'm able to build my brand in a genuine way by talking "off the record."
One of the biggest problems that first-time startup founders run into is the lack of founder/market fit. You might be passionate about an industry and have a strong desire to disrupt a space, but are you the right team? A blog is a good platform to show your industry expertise, in a genuine way.
4. Compelling Storytelling
Many people dream of writing a book when they retire. They want to share their trials and tribulations, the challenges they faced and how they overcame them. Why not use a blog as a surrogate to start sharing your story today, instead of in 10, 20, or 50 years?
Writing "in the now" is often more compelling. You're better able to reflect your emotions at the time rather than afterwards. Writing is innately easier when the emotions are raw — it just seems to flow. You don't need to recall the facts or try to relive the pain; you're living through it at the moment.
Your struggles at the early-stage of your startup seem like an afterthought if you were just acquired for $x million. Would you rather read a blog post by Steve Jobs immediately after he got fired from Apple, or a summary, years after the fact?
5. Audience Engagement
You got someone as your customer — great! They're already through your funnel and are paying for your service, so you're done right?
No. You want to keep them happy. They already know what to expect from your product, so why not delight them by helping them succeed with your product?
There's significant value in customer service and even Paul Graham recognizes the power of doing things that don't scale.
Most of the tools I mentioned are surprisingly simple. Despite this, they are able to stand out (from a very crowded field) by engaging with their customers and acting as a resource. Their goal isn't necessarily user acquisition — it's user happiness.
If I like your tool, I'm going to like it even more knowing that you want to help me succeed.
What motivates you to blog? Let me know on Twitter (@sebfung).
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