Startup Advice: Blogging or Not Blogging

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Since I took such a long break from blogging, I feel obligated to look at blogging (or not blogging) as a useful (or not) tool for early-stage enterprise startups. It comes up usually as we are planning to launch the company. Since PR planning starts a few months before the actual launch and many conversations such as analyst briefings are happening in the background and many startups prefer to stay in a semi-stealthy mode these days (for lack of a better term), they like to reveal some details, but not too many. So blogging comes up as a tool, with teasers, as they call them or we, PR people, call them, placed now and then on the semi-ready startup website to increase the content, which is barely there; remember….semi-stealthy? I tell them that unless they are lucky to have a prolific writer in-house (since some won’t have the budget to outsource it), these are a few guidelines they can follow before and even after the launch:
– Give the opportunity to a few employees to post on the company blog, since they all have different roles, backgrounds and writing styles, so the blog will be more colorful, with a mix of technical and business topics. Also, since startup employees wear so many hats and they are busy, their turn to post won’t come too soon if others are involved and they all take turns.
– Alternate educational posts with posts about your company. If they look too much like sales pitches, add a customer use case. That may help the situation and not turn people off right away.
– Big “no” to longer posts. Keep them as short as you can.
– Add pictures if they mean something. I don’t think in the enterprise world, we are crazy about cute pics that don’t add anything. OK, I would be OK with a meme maybe. 🙂
– Add links to various articles or blog posts. Hopefully, others will add links to yours.
– Have a Comments area, but don’t really expect comments right away. People try to stay away from corporate blogs, same way they try to stay away from corporate social media accounts, because they tend to be salesy. Offer them the opportunity to comment though.
– Invite guest bloggers. Yes, some will be paid-to-play, so consider that (people have to be paid for their time after all if they are consultants), but there are others who would be happy to be a guest blogger (maybe a tech partner or somebody from the community you know well).
– Don’t forget about social media. The blog has to be promoted and while your web designer will hopefully do all the right things in the background, make sure you and your colleagues share it on social media. It helps.

Happy writing!