When I need inspiration for content that delights, email campaigns that actually work, and social media interactions that are genuinely fun ... I turn to one source: an online clothing store called ModCloth. My closet is proof that their marketing works. (Perhaps a little too well.) And watching them grow has been a master class in what a customer-driven company should look like.
Ask any inbound marketer, and most will name a company whose marketing inspires them like ModCloth inspires me. One they turn to when they need to re-ignite their fires, so to speak.
For this post, that's exactly what I did, with a particular focus on blogs. I asked other inbound marketers to name companies they think are rocking their blogs the way we'd all like to. I left out the obvious suspects -- we all know Moz, KISSmetrics, and other, similar are amazing at the whole inbound thing. But if I’ve left out your favorite company, please share it in the comments or on our thread on Inbound.org.
6 Cool Company Blogs
1) Bark & Co.
With blog traffic that has grown from 200k unique visitors to 9 million in a year,BarkPost -- a blog from Bark & Co., the company that brought us BarkBox -- is doing a lot of things right with inbound. Their content engages audiences by tapping into a puppy-loving niche with lighthearted, silly, dog-crazy content. Even their newsletter subscription form is keyed in to their unique brand voice:
“Looking back, a huge part of our success is that we knew we couldn’t get the same reach with boring stuff like ‘how to trim your dog’s toenails,'" says Stacie Grissom, BarkPost's editor-in-chief. "Or going a little bit too intense on animal welfare like those Sarah McLachlan commercials -- we didn’t want to do that. By looking at everybody else and finding a different niche, that's how we were able to get an audience."
Their editorial team focuses on fun and educational content to build a loyal audience, rather than plugging their products in every post. “When we do decide to promote something, we want to make sure we have an audience that likes listening to us normally before we go and recommend a product.”
Yap! I mean, Yes!
Though this help desk software company is relatively new, GrooveHQ is proving their growth strategies on their blog. For one, each post garnering around a thousand shares. Even their thank-you page for subscribing to their blog is inspired:
Groove only publishes one post a week, but each one is high-value, thoughtful, interesting, informative and fun. They're crushing it.
HelpScout is a customer service company that has zero salespeople -- meaning they rely entirely on inbound marketing efforts to gain clients.
On their website, they encourage clients to acquire customers "the new way." What do they mean by that? "Acquiring new customers means understanding what makes your customers tick and investing heavily in inbound marketing strategies such as content, building an email newsletter and search engine optimization (SEO)," reads their page on customer acquisition strategies for entrepreneurs.
This opening line to one of their blog posts stuck out to me: “Marketing is not something you do to people; it’s something you do for people." If that doesn't embody inbound marketing to a tee, I don't know what does.
Not every company is going to have a glamorous product or service, but that doesn’t mean inbound doesn't work. Laserfiche is an ECM software company that focuses on government, financial services, and education markets -- and it's gone from garnering zero leads from their website to having online leads account for 60% of closes.
A secret of theirs? Mining their frequently asked questions and writing entire blog posts about them. "We have found success with explainer posts about the most common questions we here," wrote Poulton. "An excellent source for these questions are all of the new folks we on board. Before they get a chance to learn too much about the company the industry, we find out what confuses them the most and the easiest way to explain these concepts!"
When they run out, they start a conversation in their LinkedIn groups. These are content marketing best practices any business can -- and should -- follow.
Paypal’s competition is turning up the heat with their visually stunning blog. In fact, there’s no comparing the two blogs, even if the services themselves are, well, comparable.
Payoneer’s content includes genuinely helpful subjects like “Spring Cleaning for your Freelance Business,” “How to Determine the Quality of an Affiliate Program,” and “Hot Products to Sell in your Store This Spring.” They’re all about the entrepreneur, whereas Paypal’s blog is all about Paypal (I love Paypal, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not that interesting!).
6) Inbound Mantra
The inbound marketing company and HubSpot partner Inbound Mantra has strong blog posts, but that's not the main reason it's in here. Where it really shines is in the comment sections of those blog posts. Scroll down to the bottom of some of their posts and you’ll find high-level engagement between commenter's and the author.
The result? Discussions that intelligently argue and discuss some of the most important issues in inbound marketing today. Check out this post on selfless inbound marketing, and then read the discussion in the comments that examines whether “selfless” is really the best route. Compelling stuff.
Which companies do you think are rocking their inbound marketing efforts, particularly their blogs? Share with us in the comment sections!
Originally published Apr 21, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017