We've all had professional crushes before. Remember the last time you walked out from a meeting with someone you really admired? That's a professional crush.
That time you opened up a random link from Facebook, only to discover a smile creeping across your face because the link is from a blog you just can't get enough of? Professional crush alert. And remember when you looked through your tweets and saw that you pretty much exclusively share content from one blog? You've got a professional crush.
Sometimes, these crushes last a few days -- like when a company has a funny flippant response to a Twitter troll. Other times, these crushes last a little longer -- like when you discover a blog you end up reading every day. Regardless of how long these crushes stick with us, they're crucial to staying inspired.
Unfortunately, some of us experience professional crush dry spells -- we'll walk around feeling uninspired, convinced that every blog in every industry is just doing the same old same old. But that's really not the case at all. Lots of companies out there are doing crazy cool things -- we just don't know about it yet.
Until now. I spoke with the rest of the content team here at HubSpot, and we all confessed the companies we've been professionally crushin' on. In case you need some new blogging inspiration, check 'em out below.
If you were to land on a random one of Eat24's blog posts, you might think we're crazy for including them in this list. About 90% of their posts are about getting free coupons -- which isn't exactly a blogging best practice we'd advocate.
The reason we're including them here, though, is because of the other 10%. For instance, you probably heard about them breaking up with Facebook -- if you look at that blog post, you'll see that Eat24 has one of the most unique and hilarious voices you've ever seen for a business. They don't mind tackling controversial topics, and they tackle them with an excitement and wit that'll make you want to read as many Eat24 posts as you can get your hands on -- even if they are about coupons.
Many people think blogs about business are all the same. They all feature the same insights about the same companies and people -- it becomes almost like a filter bubble.
First Round Capital, a venture capitalist firm, definitely doesn't fall into that camp. Its blog finds nuggets of genius in unexpected places. Sure, you might have heard of the company profiled in the piece -- which is probably why you clicked on the post in the first place -- but you'll be surprised to find fresh faces from those companies being interviewed, instead of the same ol' folks we hear from all the time. The interview itself will focus on something people don't often know about, too, making you feel like you've gotten a big gulp of fresh air from the industry.
This blog is so good I wish I could keep it a secret ... but check it out if you want some inspiration to find new and interesting angles in your industry.
Particularly for a B2B company, Intercom does a really nice job of developing creative and extremely useful content. They could easily get caught up on the whole "marketing to other businesses" thing, and create dry, promotional, unhelpful content for "professionals" -- but they don't.
One of the reasons we love their blog is because they use both design and copy to help readers better grasp concepts. You can see this in action in the example of above -- the simple graphic sits right at the top of the blog post, giving you a quick, easy-to-understand idea of what the whole blog post is about.
So if you need some motivation to take up a design course (or, you could just download our free design templates to start hacking it yourself), check out Intercom's blog.
You've probably seen us talk about ModCloth before on this blog, and there's a reason we pretty much always feature it when we talk about great content: They know who their buyer persona is, and every single piece of content they create is geared toward that persona.
Their blog is no exception. Their persona is witty, educated, and culturally savvy -- and each blog post addresses that persona. Take the above blog post for example, featuring fashion from American Horror Story. Not only is this timely since American Horror Story comes out soon, but it's also a show their persona loves. Oh and when you read the post, you'll be blown away by their tight, witty copywriting.
There really isn't one thing that ModCloth's blog does well -- it's a solid blog that any content marketer could learn from.
Yes, you read that right: Microsoft. Most of the time, the company comes across like an out-of-touch relative you only see during the holidays.
But they caught us off-guard in a very awesome way with the above piece. The story gives readers a closer look into the life of one team at Microsoft and how they protect data. It was beautiful. It was ... I'm just going to say it ... enthralling. And they haven't disappointed with subsequent stories -- so much so that we had to include it here.
Talk about an underdog story -- I'd definitely keep an eye on their blog posts going forward.
If you're looking for deep, research-driven dives into fascinating stories about economics, technology, and business, Priceonomics is the place to go. Like First Round Capital, Priceonomics manages to take everyday concepts -- like reviews -- and present insanely interesting angles on them. Probably my favorite thing about their blog is that their posts have sophisticated and thoughtful topics, but the writing is accessible and friendly -- which makes you walk away from each post feeling super super smart. (And who doesn't like to feel super smart?)
We all know by now that visual content is all the rage. But there's a key difference in knowing that visual content is important and actually creating visual content.
So if you need some inspiration to start on the latter, check out Beutler Ink. Granted, they are a design and data visualization firm, so they are pros at visual content creation, but their strategy is one to admire nonetheless. Beutler Ink often publishes infographics on events that are trending in the news, effectively combining real-time marketing with tangible demonstrations of their design capabilities -- an incredibly tough thing to do given how time-intensive visual content creation can be. Even if we can't all create visual content as well as Beutler, their work can inspire us to start using visual content in our marketing -- like, now.
What other company blogs are you crushin' on? Share your favorites in the comments!
Originally published Oct 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017