As a media professional helping companies with media and content strategy, I’m always curious to see how digital businesses tackle their own company blog and website. I like to find websites where I can pick up marketing insights and communications advice about my industry, beyond go-to sites like Mashable.
I’m also intrigued by the day-to-day management of how companies tackle content on their website. Do they have a dedicated member of staff managing the blog with one voice throughout or is it a team effort offering a multi-perspective insight? I am also curious to see how they connect their services, product and what they do to their consumers. Do they publish white papers or e-books as a way for lead generation and sales? Are they a brand turned publisher in their own right? What kind of evergreen content do they produce? And how do they stay consistent across other channels as well, like social and PR? Do they present themselves as an authoritative thought leader or do they have more of a conversation and a dialogue with their audiences? Or are they a distinct hybrid – and how do they get that balance right?
What I love most is seeing companies who demonstrate energy, excitement and passion about what they do.
Here is my roundup of Boston based company websites and blogs that I am reading right now.
Hubspot, the inbound marketing company, is a firm that truly leads the field by example. Their website integrates inbound marketing at its finest and shows companies how to do it by doing it themselves. From slideshare presentations to blog posts, white papers, e-books, guides, one-pagers and more – Hubspot equips content marketers with tips to nail their content strategy. While they do have paid services, they offer a lot of resources for free. Sharing is caring.
an example of a guide that is a one-pager:
2. Constant Contact
This Waltham based company specializing in email marketing offers broad tutorials like emailing 101 to more specific tips such as managing Facebook campaigns, using Twitter better or integrating PR into an email marketing strategy. It’s clear Constant Contact cares about their clients beyond their email campaign and are committed to educating customers on utilizing other media platforms the best they can – with or without their service. I’ve used Constant Contact a lot in creating email marketing campaigns and I love what they offer to their customers in regards to advice. Offering added value like this is great customer service for existing customers while also being a useful tool for recruiting new ones (see the call to action on the right side bar, with an email sign up right below it).
Constant Contact shows us that it is not about a hard sell for them:
Leaf, a tablet POS built for brick & mortar businesses, has a unique capability to show how business can connect to their customers through the data they gather through their system. I first heard about Leaf at the Harvard Business School’s Cyberposium conference last year. They were on a panel about small businesses, and I was immediately captivated by the quality of customer service and advice they provide their clients. Leaf realizes their customers success is their own success too and this philosophy runs throughout their online communications, with articles like “Visual Media: Why Small Businesses Should Use It For Marketing and How To Get Started.” Plus, not only do they show-and-tell success stories/ case studies (which I always love reading), they also address universal problems and best practices within the retail industry.
Side note: what I also really like is how they use their blog as a point of entry. They choose to link to that on Twitter over the company homepage. If you are proud of your company blog – this is a great way to drive traffic.
4. Microsoft New England
Microsoft New England, the interdisciplinary research lab in Cambridge, is committed to collaborating with the Boston community. Their company blog shows the ways they connect and interact with local innovators who do interesting things in fields like technology, arts and education. Their company blog is delightfully chatty and conversational – which is surprising coming from such a corporate giant. Whether it’s highlighting exciting happenings in Kendall Square (where they are based), or showing their involvement with Boston Public Schools, it is clear they want to be seen in a supportive, neighborly way. More specifically – they want to show themselves as the kind of neighbor you can go to when you need a stick of butter or a cup of sugar. Their blog is meaningful, interesting and ultimately inspirational. Bravo Microsoft!
Nannigans, an advertising platform that helps markets plan, measure and predict advertising spend, has a robust website dedicated to educating the industry on how to use targeting effectively in a marketing strategy. With a blog that is updated daily (sometimes more!), case study analysis, e-books and resources like informative white papers, it’s clear the company is committed to showing and sharing marketing insights. They have nifty and helpful infographics too, like these visual guides for Facebook marketing.
And here are some of their company e-books, presented in a clean and neat way:
6. Overdrive Interactive
Looking at Overdrive Interactive’s landing page for their blog you’d have to look close to realize they are actually a marketing agency and not a media news site. They are a digital publisher in their own right, with newsworthy stories like the Facebook WhatsApp acquisition and a witty angle on the winter Olympics. They also provide handy guides to walk you through all you need to know about digital advertising and social media marketing. Offering these resources are great for lead generation, SEO, etc while also being a means to position your company as a thought leader. If you are a digital marketer (advertising, social, content strategist) this is a site worth checking out for tips, advice and new angles.
So what can you, as a media business, learn from these examples in developing your own website content?
Here are my 8 tips:
1) Don’t be selfish.
2) Do provide tips, resources, guides, e-books at no cost
3) Don’t expect anything in return
4) Do be nice
5) Do focus on the success of others
6) Don’t hard sell
7) Do be natural with your reader
8) Do demonstrate that you go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure your client’s success. Their success is your success.
I’m always on the lookout for great company blogs and websites (especially if you are Boston based!). Tweet me @melissadewitte if you have any suggestions for me to check out (who knows, maybe you could be featured here next!) or comment below. I promise to respond!