Stealth startups: To blog or not to blog?
Should a startup blog even before they are ready to tell the world about their idea? By blogging will you be giving away your idea? Is there a real benefit to creating a blog and updating it on a regular basis? These are questions I asked myself when we founded Pixily and in the ensuing months when we were in stealth mode.
Reflecting back on these questions, we at Pixily wish we started blogging within the first couple of months of founding Pixily. It would have helped us in a number of ways including acquiring customers, being perceived as an authority in the market and in recruiting employees. In this post, I will cover the benefits and in a following post I will talk about blogging strategies that a stealth mode startup can employ.
Blogging helps you acquire customers for next to nothing
My friends at HubSpot will tell you and I wholeheartedly agree with them that it is better to be found by your potential customers than finding them. It is a lot cheaper, it is easier to convert them into paying customers and they see the value in your product or service.
Inbound marketing is the idea of getting found by potential customers. The best example of getting found is when potential customers search on keywords that are relevant to your product on Google and find your website ranked in the top search results.
Outbound marketing is the idea of you finding the customers. Examples include advertising, running seminars, webcasts, and participating in trade shows. One thing that is common to all these tactics is that you need to reach out to potential customers before they hear your message and express interest in your products.
For inbound marketing to work, you need to be perceived as an authority on topics that matter to your firm. The easiest and cheapest way to be attain authority is through blogging. The more you blog about topics that are related to your product or service, the more people are going to read them and the more people are going to link to your blog. And the more people that link to your blog, the higher the Google page rank.
A higher page rank will generate more organic traffic to your site and may convert into paying customers – all without having to pay for keyword advertising.
Blogging helps with building your brand
One of the big benefits of blogging is creating awareness for your product and your company in the market. The more you write about the industry or the customer base in which your product will play, the more people will read your blog and therefore help you become an authority in your industry. Over a period of time, your brand will become recognizable, your product will be easier to sell and they will be willing to pay more for it.
Blogging helps with recruiting employees
One of the first places that a potential employee goes these days is your blog. The blog is a window into your company. The blog content, the language and the style goes to show what kind of people work and run the organization and how they treat their fellow workers. Technical employees go through the posts to get a glimpse for what kind of technologies are being used by the firm and if the firm encourages independence and creativity. The more you blog about your firm, the values, the technologies, and the methodologies, the more it would be easier to recruit talent.
Blogging helps with potraying an established company image
People who come to your web site are looking to find out more about your product, your firm, the people who are behind it, its customer base and what people are saying about it. They want to know if you will be around. To be able to create an established company image, you need to make it look like you have been around for a while and your blog can help you do that. If you have been blogging for many months leading up to your product launch, you would have a lot of diverse content and a potential customer would trust you more than some body else who does not have that content.
Blogging helps you get into the practice of blogging
Blogging does not come naturally to a lot of people including me. It is an acquired skill. If you start blogging early on in your firm’s life, you would have developed the skill, and the discipline needed to blog. More importantly, you would have figured out what topics will resonate with your readership and your customer base. All this practice will come handy when you launch your product. You will be naturally inclined to blog and create news more frequently.
These are some of the key benefits my partners, Anand Rajaram and Vikram Kumar, and I have found in authoring blogs. If there are other benefits that you have realized when blogging for your early stage startup, we would love to hear about it.