• Meta-Post: The Blog

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    1/15/2014— Kelsey Breseman

    The value of a company blog

    Keeping a blog takes up a fair amount of time, and it’s not always top of the list when you’re worried about shipping a project. However, I think it’s worth the effort, and here’s why:

    Furthering the mission

    Every company has a mission, and the blog is great for expounding on company values. We’ve used it to discuss our takes on JavaScript, PRISM, and open source. This helps us engage with the people we hope to reach and spread our overall mission.

    Blogging is a particularly useful tool for us in this regard because part of our mission is to help web developers enter the hardware space and start hardware companies. As people with primarily web development backgrounds starting a hardware company, by blogging about what we’re doing and challenges we face, we’re directly furthering that aspect of what we, as a company, are trying to accomplish.

    Personality

    When people talk about companies, they often forget that the company is comprised of people. There are only six of us, and each of us has a different perspective, writing style, and set of interests. The blog gives us a place to speak to the public as individuals, humanizing the company and making us more approachable. A post from Eric looks different from a post by Jon, even on largely the same topic. Reading the blog, you can learn that Jia watches Adventure Time and Tim likes to throw things at her. That’s a really cool thing about startups: we’re not faceless. If you order something, we’ll smile. If you write a mean tweet about us, we’ll see it. If you email team@technical.io, we’ll read it and get back to you. We’re people; we want you to like us, and we want to know what you think we could do better. Keeping a blog helps us show that to you.

    Reflection

    When you’re heads-down shipping product, it can be really hard to poke your head up and look at the big picture. Writing is an excellent tool for reflection. Our blogging schedule is about once every two weeks per person, so every two weeks or so, we have to think deeply enough about something company-relevant to express a written opinion or account.

    Keeping to this post schedule can be challenging, but I’ve found that when I sit down with a teammate to help them figure out what to write, something worthwhile surfaces pretty quickly: “Well, I’ve been working on PCBs a lot.” “We haven’t really talked about our open source mission; most open source companies do.” “I’ve been getting a lot of emails about power management from people.” What are you doing? What are you thinking about? It doesn’t have to be deep, but you should probably have thought about something in the last two weeks.

    Record

    Since we regularly post updates to our blog, we can go back and look at what we were thinking or doing at specific points in time. By reading back through the blog, we can look again at why we were excited about the logo we picked, how we were feeling halfway through our crowdfunding campaign, and watch our ideas evolve over time.

    Consistent presence

    It’s important to communicate regularly with your audience. We email our backers every two weeks with updates so they know how their product is coming along. However, our audience is larger than just our backers, and we try to post to our blog more often than that, and with more varied content. This lets potential customers, investors, our parents, etc. know what our company has been up to recently, just by checking our website.

    Plus, if you don’t keep a consistent presence online (we barely blogged in December), your Klout score drops like a stone:

    Each post drives traffic, as well. Our pageviews spike for an hour or two after every blog post. Every single blog post we’ve published has had engagement on Twitter (sparking new Twitter followers), and gotten Facebook likes. We only use company Tumblr for the blog (it’s not listed on our contact page or anything) and we’re up to 169 Tumblr followers, with new likes, reblogs, and tumblr follows nearly every day. And occasionally, people even email us because they had something to say about something we put on the blog. That’s worth a lot.

    How we keep the blog

    • Editor in chief: I make the blog post schedule. I remind people when their blog posts are coming due, discuss ideas for new posts with them, go over their writing for proofreading and clarity, publish to the blog, and spread the link out to social media. I think it’s a good idea to have one person in charge of all this because it means someone has read all the posts, knows how long it’s been since the last one, and publishes consistently.

    • Team editing: I do the first pass of edits, but the author typically also sends out the google doc link to the rest of the team for fact- and am-I-missing-something checks. This way everybody on the team knows what has been said to the public.

    • Publishing: I publish our blog to our company’s Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest. We get some click-throughs from each of these, but depending on the post, Twitter and Facebook pretty much always get the most traction. Tumblr’s reblogs, however, continue to generate traffic even weeks or months later.

    Our blog is now six months old! Here are some nostalgia-links.

    Thanks for reading! As always, please keep in touch.

    Kelsey

    kelsey@technical.io

    #kelsey breseman #technical machine #blog #company blog #company culture #startup

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

November 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013