A blog is a great way to open up the dialogue between your startup and the online community. It is something we (Cahoots) have been doing for a few months now while we refine our concept and product. Our blog has been a fantastic tool, asset, and outlet for us. We are attracting a growing audience to engage with on a regular basis. As it turns out the biggest advantage isn’t the traffic, it’s the thought, research, feedback, and encouragement that blogging gives us. Therefore, we recommend blogging as a cornerstone to any startup. Here’s why:
1. The Edge: As of December 2012, there are over 634 million websites (Pingdom). There are an average of 150,000 new websites and 7.3 million pages added to the internet everyday. A blog is just one more way to get an edge and stand out from the competition. Research has found that companies who blog generate 67 percent more leads than those that don’t (Kanguro).
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Blogging will dramatically increase your Google Rank. Blog entries are indexed by Google every day. When you write about topics that are likely to be searched by your target audience you gain a lot of visibility.
3. Credibility: Blogging is a great way to share expertise. In addition, committing to blogging regularly demonstrates that you are committed to your startup and persistent. This will make both investors and the online community take you more seriously.
4. Validation: A blog is a great way to obtain the validation that your startup is solving a problem in a way that is congruent with your customer’s needs. Allowing comments on your blog keeps the conversation on your website, though it is good to have them on social media channels too.
5. Encouragement: Doing a tech startup involves spending a lot of long hours at the computer, often in solitude. Sometimes this can get a little lonely. Watching your content go viral is very reinforcing and fuels the entrepreneurial fire.
6. Communication Skills: Writing is a great way to develop your communication skills. Blogging about your startup or topics relevant to your business is a great way to get used to communicating ideas to complete strangers in a clear, concise, and meaningful manner.
7. Learning: Writing articles designed to be of use to your audience (such as this one) makes you research a topic, get your facts straight, and organize the information. By taking these steps for your readers you are also organizing the information for yourself and learning along the way.
8. Attracting Talent: We’ve had a few super talented people approach us about our startup via our blog and social media channels. A lot of the most talented professionals out there are very up-to-date, and part of staying current is reading relevant blogs and being on the lookout for trends. Blogging is a fantastic way to capture the attention of talent.
9. Inexpensive: A blog can quickly and easily be set up for free. The biggest cost of blogging is the time consumption, but we think it is very worthwhile.
When we say you should blog about your startup we really do mean you (yourself, your co-founders, or other involved parties), not hiring someone else to write on your behalf. In the early stages of your business it is very important to be deeply involved with every aspect of its inception. You’re building an identity, a brand, and a presence. In addition, the identity of early stage startups is usually somewhat unclear and you will end up spending just as much time communicating your vision to third parties as you would writing it yourself. However, getting blog posts edited by others, guest bloggers, and having content that is not related to your company written by other writers is okay- just be sure to read it before it is published.