To Blog, or Not–that is the question.  At BrandProject, we think that good blogs provide a cost effective platform to strengthen your brand story and add extra value beyond the product or service you’re selling. Mark Suster makes a great case for why every startup should have one in this article.

If you’re daunted by the idea of starting a blog – don’t be. Any new founder ready to start a business is already an expert in their chosen field . You have valuable knowledge to share, insights to offer and you’re familiar with the challenges facing your target market. Blogs provide a simple but effective platform to build a deeper connection with your customers and allow you to continue the relationship beyond the point of purchase.

Blogs also give you the room to communicate peripheral brand messaging and additional product details without taking up valuable real-estate on your main website. One of our portfolio companies, Owlet, wrote a post recently featuring an Owlet ‘unboxing’ -It’s a simple idea, but a good one. A step-by-step, visual experience of the Owlet experience was something too cumbersome for the main website, but valuable to anyone seriously considering a purchase.

Unlike an expensive ad-buy or TV commercial, blog posts have longevity — continuing to yield results as long as they’re available online. Next View Ventures does a great job of explaining the benefits of blog content and how to make the most of it in this article.

Even more important than whether to blog is how to blog. A bad blog can be worse than no blog at all; if there isn’t interesting or relevant posted regularly then you run the risk of providing a negative experience.  It can be easy to overthink a blog strategy, or get hung up on traffic numbers (or an initial lack of them), but by following some simple guidelines, you’ll build your way to a bank of good content, which will serve you for now and the future.  Some thoughts:

  • Be helpful, not boastful

Whatever you post on your blog should be relevant to the people you want to be reading it. It’s fine to tout brand benefits, within moderation. Put yourself in the shoes of the reader-what would you find helpful?What information can you provide that would solve a problem or lessen a challenge?

  • Get the ball rolling

Even if you’ve got the best content in the world, no one will read it if they don’t know it’s there. Use your regular marketing channels to spread the word, add it to your email signature, send a note to your friends & family. Link to other articles on websites relevant to yours for extra traction. Tweet out each article and tackle trending issues. Once your blog has some organic traffic, the ball will start rolling but it’s up to you to give things an initial push.

  • Feed it

Blogs are like plants. The more TLC they get, the better they’ll do. Give your readers a reason to keep coming back.

  • Stay in your lane and be authentic

It’s fine to share opinions – in fact, it’s a perfect place to do that.  Content should always be considered from your reader’s point of view. Will it be helpful, or is it solely contrarian? Are you providing an alternative solution, or just complaining? Do you have enough credibility to be tackling the issue? One of the most important attributes of any blog is authenticity, which is also the most obvious if it’s missing.

Ultimately, if you’re creating frequent, helpful, honest and authentic content that’s easy to find, you can’t lose. It might be a marathon, but as Suster says, you’ll see results over time.