Starting a business blog (sometimes known as a knowledge hub) is the best way to get found online by your target market and get them to see you as a reliable, trustworthy potential partner. However, coming up with quality content to fill it with is easier said than done. Hopefully these examples will give you some inspiration.
The art of getting business online is changing all the time, and it's not always the case that a tactic that worked a few years (or even months) ago still works now. However, high-quality content is just as valuable as ever, and that doesn't look likely to change. As long as your potential and existing customers have needs and challenges that they have to solve, they're going to search for solutions online. If your company can provide these solutions with relevant, useful content that is easy to find through Google, you're going to attract more leads.
Creating this super-effective content isn't easy, however. Typically, if you're a marketing person, you'll need to find a way to get the knowledge you need from colleagues and industry experts. You need to pitch it to your target audience at the right level, and there's a chance you'll face tough competition from other companies in the same industry. Even if you succeed with all this, your most successful pieces of content might not even be the ones you see as the best quality.
It can be a minefield, but it's always a good idea to learn from people who are doing it right. I looked through the online presences of the companies that I'm a customer of and looked for the best blogs I could find. I spotted a few ideas that I'd like to copy in future - if you do the same thing yourself, you'll probably find some sources of inspiration as well. Here's my selection, to get you started.
Grammarly is an online spelling and grammar-checking tool that we use a lot at Zooma - so if you spot any typos in this article, blame them.
I think their blog is an excellent example of the power of good content to draw in new visitors and convert them to the company's provided solution. Say you're looking to write a persuasive text, for example, or you're not sure whether the preposition in a sentence you're writing should be "to" or "for". If you Google for an answer to these questions, chances are you'll find an answer on Grammarly's blog, in a well-written, easy to understand and nicely-designed article. Happy with the answer, you think it would be handy to get a solution like this without having to Google next time - and you happily sign up for Grammarly.
There hasn't been any hard sell - they haven't made multiple efforts to convert you, or tried to lure you in with a free eBook. They solved your problem in a relevant way and immediately provided you with a solution to future problems.
Obviously, it might be harder to copy Grammarly's example if your company sells physical products or services. But the simple philosophy behind their content is worth keeping in mind when working on your next blog post.
I think webinars are overused sometimes, but in my opinion, they can be really effective when used in the right way. During the pandemic, lots of companies tried them out, and that trend looks likely to continue going forward.
The exclusivity and potential interactivity of webinars set them apart from any other content format - but they're also uniquely daunting for marketing teams. WebinarGeek's product is a webinar platform, so it's naturally in their interest to answer the questions and solve the problems of potential customers who are interested in getting started with webinars.
On their blog, they have a wide range of knowledge aimed at lots of different types of potential customers - from educators and marketers to internal trainers and salespeople. Importantly, they distinguish clearly between different categories of knowledge on the blog's homepage. There's a big difference between the practical details of producing a webinar and the best practices for using webinars to gather leads. Webinars are a content format like any other and can be used in many different ways, so it's really smart to divide the content in this way. Taking a topic-focused approach like this is a smart move if there are several different aspects to your company's product or service - so copying WebinarGeek's strategy, or even starting with topic clusters, might be a good way to go.
No list of inspirational business blogs would be complete without HubSpot - after all, they've been chiefly responsible for driving what is usually known as 'content marketing' forward over the last decade. HubSpot's business is selling software that can improve businesses' marketing, sales and service operations, so they have a major need for a large volume of content that covers a huge range of topics.
I think what sets HubSpot's blog apart more than anything else is the sheer depth of knowledge. The articles themselves are generally high-quality, but the downloadable 'gated' content, referred to as 'content offers', provide an extra level of detail. If you find an article that covers your exact issue, you're likely to also find a downloadable ebook, whitepaper, presentation, checklist or infographic that provides you with even more knowledge.
Importantly, these content offers do what they promise. Many companies that have copied HubSpot's content offer approach suffer from poor-quality gated content. If a potential customer gives you their contact details in exchange for a content offer, it needs to be worth it - otherwise, they'll lose trust in your company. On HubSpot's blog, I've never felt cheated or disappointed that the content I handed over my email address to get didn't provide me with what I expected. Content offers are vital for high-volume lead generation, but you should take some lessons from HubSpot before you start creating your own.
Hopefully, these three business blogs give you some inspiration and guidance for your own blog - if you're getting started or if you've already begun your journey, make sure to take a look at our in-depth guide to business blogging for more knowledge. You can also get our downloadable list of content ideas for your business blog if you're looking for more inspiration - download it for free down below.