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Blogging: A No-Brainer for Startups

April 19, 2011

Guest post by Heather Eatherton.

I came across a great blog post by Mark Suster on TechCrunch a few weeks ago and wanted to share it here… just in case you missed it.

If you search “should I blog?”, “how to start a blog”, “or “what to write in a blog”, you’ll find a myriad of links.  Most of them are valuable.  Most of them say the same thing.  Not because everyone’s drinking the same Kool-Aid, but because the principles are what they are (summed up here, in as few words as possible):

  • Write about what you know best
  • Be passionate about the subject
  • Know your audience
  • Contribute consistently
  • Promote the hell out of it

The fundamentals are the same no matter the type of blog.  What differentiates a business blog from a personal blog is often what’s at stake.  People are surprisingly willing to completely expose their personal lives, if it means getting a few thousand Twitter followers or a Pampers sponsorship (myself included, though I have neither… yet).  But when it comes to business blogs, people are leery of publicly announcing their thoughts/feelings/opinions in fear that they might offend a potential customer, partner, or sponsor.  “Couldn’t I lose business if I say the wrong thing?”  The answer to that question is, “not likely”, if you’re blogging the right way.

Mr. Suster does a great job of outlining the Who, What, Where, When and How (and even What’s Next?) in his post, so I won’t go into all that again here.  Not everyone in the blogosphere may agree with your POV; you may ruffle a few feathers along the way and/or engage your audience to share why they see things differently.  That is still affective blogging.  If you know your business/industry and your audience, and your blog reflects that knowledge and your passion, then how can you wrong?

Bottom line:  blogging for startups is a no-brainer.  You are short on money and you need to get information about your product/service out to the right audience (VCs, key influencers in your industry, potential partners/customers).  Use your blog to educate the community by being a thought-leader in your field, convince your customers that your product/service is different/better, and ignite others with your passion.  But please, keep a few things in mind…

– Don’t confuse “cheap/free” with “easy”.  While there is very little monetary investment in social media, it does require a lot of time and effort.  Create a strategy, map out your other social media tactics, and do your research.  Spend time building up your community within the key social networks, as well as in the blogosphere, to see what other people are doing.  You shouldn’t expect people to come to your space if you don’t visit theirs.

– Don’t let an intern write your blog*.  I’ve read this in various articles and always get a chuckle.  It’s okay to let someone else handle the set up, editorial scheduling, and reporting, but only you know your business inside-and-out and you should be the voice behind the content.

– Don’t overanalyze.  If the content is thoughtful and of interest to you, it will be of interest to others in the industry.  If you learned a lesson that will help others along the way, there’s real value in that.  Not everything you write is going to be gold, but if you spend too much time criticizing your posts, you’ll probably never publish anything.

– Don’t expect results overnight.  Growing a loyal and engaged audience takes time.  Define your key success measurements and watch to make sure that you’re growing week to week, month to month.  Depending on your type of business, quality is better than quantity, so take that into account when setting your success metrics.  Yes, it’s viral and word can often spread fast.  But very few people achieve Charlie Sheen Twitter success in one day.  Only those with #tigerblood.

– Look for help!  There are certified experts online that have expelled a lot of blood, sweat and tears searching out the best tips, tricks and tools so that you don’t have to.  Try ’em out, see what you like best.  And keep checking back… social media is changing all the time.

– Lastly, enjoy the ride.  Remember, you’re writing about something that means a great deal to you, so don’t treat is like a chore.

Now, go… get blogging!

* It is okay to let them guest post, from time to time.  Guest author Heather Eatherton (@hleatherton) began working with Crowded Ocean last year as our social media “intern”.  Although she has 10 years of TV, print and online advertising experience, she’s making a new start as a social media specialist to keep a toe in the water while the rest of her body chases around her 2 year old son.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 19, 2011 5:08 pm

    Excellent advice! Dana

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