12 Startup Blogs That Are Killing the Game

By Ritika Puri April 22nd, 2014

Startups are typically strapped for resources, neck-deep in product specs, laser-focused on customer acquisition, and dreaming of hacking massive growth.

Some startups have found a magic elixir in their company blog; after all, content marketing is all about relationship-building at scale. Great stories can help you reach exponentially more people than an army of over-caffeinated sales folks can—and reach them in the right way. Through blogging, a small startup can quickly develop a big voice, become an industry thought leader, and reap the inbound rewards.

“When done right, your community creates a sense of belonging,” wrote Speaks co-founder David Spinks for the 500 Startups blog. “Members feel like they’re part of something important and they’re proud, they feel special. Their experience with your brand then becomes so much more than just products and features.”

Here are 12 awesome startups that are killing the game when it comes to content marketing.

1. KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics is a SaaS analytics company that helps marketers and business owners track their users at the individual level. The company has positioned its blog as a go-to resource for design, marketing, copywriting, and analytics how-tos, quickly becoming a hub for the marketing community.

Why the blog rocks: As of September 2013, 50 percent of KISSmetrics’ revenue comes from organic SEO. By bringing together some of the top leaders in the marketing industry, KISSmetrics’ blog regularly receives hundreds of shares and dozens of comments, proving that readership is consistent and engagement is high.

2. Moz

Moz is another SaaS analytics company that specializes in SEO and market intelligence tools. Since its earliest days, the company has been running an SEO and Inbound marketing blog that brings together experts in the marketing industry.

Why the blog rocks: Moz is an established industry authority on SEO. They regularly collaborate with other startups, including Buffer and Optimizely, to host webinars on topics that its community cares about, such as “How to Avoid a Social Media Disaster.”

3. Buffer

Buffer is a web-based tool that helps people (and brands) manage their social media shares. By practicing what they preach about the importance of shares and engagement, Buffer cultivated a massive audience in search of social media thought leadership.

Why the blog rocks: One word: transparency. Buffer analyzes and publishes its data to educate marketers about social media best practices. By offering readers information that feels exclusive in the industry—like “The Complete Guide to Growing Your Facebook Reach“—Buffer differentiates itself from many other companies that are more reticent to share their secrets.

4. Clarity

Clarity is an “advice marketplace” that connects customers with subject matter experts in business, marketing, design, and other areas. The company’s blog features content from its community of experts.

Why the blog rocks: Clarity creates a community around the business world’s most influential leaders. Their contributions are heartfelt, authentic, and down to earth, emphasizing the emotional side of starting a business. The blog has been crucial to Clarity’s growth initiatives, and it attracts thousands of new visitors each day.

5. Freshbooks

At first glance, the term “cloud accounting” may seem like the opposite of a conversation starter. But Freshbooks has dug beneath the surface to truly understand its customer base of small business owners and solopreneurs. The blog caters to this very passionate and ambitious audience.

Why the blog rocks: Accounting is only part of the Freshbooks editorial equation. Their blog dives into the topic of entrepreneurship from a more holistic angle. Heck, they recently hired me to cover my experience with Obamacare. When commenters slammed me (and Freshbooks), the blog team decided to stand back, let the community speak, and “encourage the dialogue.” Awesome.

6. Unbounce

Landing pages are tough to launch. That’s where Unbounce comes in, providing marketers and website owners with high-converting landing page optimization software. Its blog is dedicated to the world of conversion optimization and design—but with a great sense of humor.

Why the blog rocks: The thought leadership here is solid. Unbounce has attracted some of the top conversion experts across the globe to share their experiences and advice in one place. The blog boasts a highly engaged audience, interactive content, and a strong community. Content has been key to helping this Vancouver startup become a household name in the online marketing world. With playful headlines including “5 Lessons From Mad Men‘s Peggy Olson and Other Badass TV Marketers,” each post generates hundreds of shares every day.

7. HubSpot

HubSpot was one of the first startups to champion content marketing. The company sells a marketing automation system that sits at the intersection of blogging, social media, white papers, and email marketing.

Why the blog rocks: Whether you’re looking for actionable how-tos or marketing thought leadership, HubSpot has it all. Not only does it serve readers’ needs, but the blog has also been instrumental to HubSpot’s core product’s growth. With topics like “how to get your leadership team to blog more,” it’s not uncommon to see blog posts receive thousands of shares. (Full disclosure: The Content Strategist has an editorial relationship with HubSpot.)

8. HowAboutWe’s “The Date Report”

What’s more romantic than a company that’s on a mission to bring couples closer together? To boost traffic on their platform for finding the best date spots in your city, HowAboutWe launched an entertaining blog that explores the world of dating.

Why the blog rocks: Providing readers with trendy tips such as “A Definitive Guide to the Sexiest and Grossest Abbrevs,” HowAboutWe’s blog is its own editorial powerhouse. It’s funny, real, and practical—and could probably be its own magazine.

9. Shopify

Shopify is all about helping people run their e-commerce stores. The startup is thriving, and it recently launched a blog to educate its prospects and existing customer base about ways to make more out of their properties.

Why the blog rocks: Shopify produces content that is quite tactical — exactly what the company’s audience needs. With topics like “How to Use Polyvore to Drive Traffic,” readers can arm themselves with the knowledge they need in order to run an online shop.

10. has built a tool to improve the hiring process by matching candidates to jobs based on their values and goals. The company’s blog explores the world of work.

Why the blog rocks: brings a fresh perspective to the archaic world of recruiting, and it consistently features thought-provoking and engaging articles concerned with readers’ wealth and happiness. The content is perfect for kicking your butt into gear, closely aligning with the brand’s core mission and vision to better engage millennials at work.

11. Visually

Visually is a marketplace for visual content, so you can probably guess what their blog covers.

Why this blog rocks: The Visually blog is an indispensable cheat sheet for how to create visual content that actually moves the needle. Most of their stories are shared at least 200 times, so others in the marketing world definitely agree. (Full disclosure: The Content Strategist has an editorial relationship with Visually.)

12. 99U

Is Behance still a startup even after being acquired by Adobe? We’re going to argue “yes”—partially because the the 99U blog is just so darn good.

Why this blog rocks: It’s a cornucopia of creativity and productivity tips to get you inspired—including many from the world’s greatest artists and entrepreneurs. It’s rare to find a 99U article that hasn’t been shared at least a few hundred times.

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