As the number of sites on the Internet floats around one billion, the challenge with every new startup is to be found and stand out. More important, if someone does find your site, the content better be enticing enough for them to come back. Blogging is one of the best ways to do this and build a brand, even before you have a product or service.
In this age of relationships, you, the entrepreneur, are a very important element of your new brand, and it’s never too early to start marketing the value of your expertise, insights and ideas. A great solution is necessary, but not sufficient, to build a great startup. Thus I recommend that every entrepreneur start blogging in parallel with solution development for the following benefits:
1. Get customer idea feedback before you commit resources.
Every entrepreneur should count on at least a couple of adjustments or pivots before they get it right. The challenge is to spend minimal time and money learning. After a few blogs about your concept, the comments better match your passion, or it’s time to rethink your idea.
2. Blogging will improve your site search engine ranking.
New and relevant content on a regular basis is a major driver in search engine optimization, as well as the inbound and outbound links that blog comments generate. If you post on industry sites, or get syndicated to popular sites, your scores and visibility will go up even more.
3. Develop an efficient and effective writing style.
A good blog is a short and tightly-written message, which is key to every business communication. I see too many investor pitches, and even executive summaries that ramble on for many pages without a clear message. Practice makes perfect, and feedback will tell you quickly if you are on target.
4. Let that ideal co-founder find you.
Blogs are a great way for potential business partners to find each other, and build a social media relationship before getting into the hard negotiations of who gets how much. Your reach with a blog is much broader than traditional business networking channels and industry conferences.
5. Demonstrate thought leadership to potential employees.
In small companies and startups, people seek out leaders they want to work for, in lieu of a big company with more job security. From your perspective, you want team members who are taking the initiative to stay current by seeking out new ideas and leaders from blogs on the Internet.
6. Start building your customer community early.
Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, but marketing is all about building excitement and suspense. It is never too early to start collecting leads and building a brand. You may even find alternate revenue streams, including speaking engagements and consulting, to bridge the gap to product rollout.
7. It's the first step to full use of social media marketing.
Every blog entry needs promotion through social media, so you will learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites. From there it’s a short step to podcasting, YouTube videos and Instagram. Customers these days expect to find your information where they are, not where you are.
8. Establish visibility and attract funding sources.
Be assured that the best investors are actively scanning blogs for new entrepreneurs and new ideas. It’s far more satisfying and fruitful to be approached by potential investors, rather than cold-calling a list of people who never heard of you. Investors invest in people as much as the idea.
All of this is possible on every entrepreneur’s budget, since the major blogging platforms, including Tumblr, WordPress and Blogger (Google) are free. Each can be linked directly into your site domain name for maximum SEO impact. In fact, WordPress can also provide a simple base website through static pages, thus even eliminating standard site hosting fees.
Never forget that blogging is most effective for “pull marketing,” and should never be used push your product. If you provide value to your audience, they will be pulled to you and your website for related solutions. That’s a win-win situation for you and your customers, and puts you head and shoulders above the crowd. Start today.