We like reading blogs. We’re guessing you do too, which is why you’re spending time here. But what makes a good brand blog can be incredibly subjective – we’ve each got our own likes and dislikes. Without getting under the dashboard of those blogs with Google Analytics, it’s tough to really say which are actually being read, let alone if they’re achieving their goals.
So what we’re really left with is: what do we (people who work in the world of digital) think makes great brand blogs from the outside? What we’ve chosen today are five interesting and varied business blogs that have a mix of great visuals, good user experience, and approach their respective industries in an effective manner. In short, these are great examples of blog content for 2016/17.
Can you even remember what Red Bull do anymore? I think they made an energy drink years ago. But you wouldn’t think they do in 2016, as they’ve snowballed over the year into an amazing content marketing entertainment machine. Their reach stretches from the best new music to Formula 1 sponsorship. They host tonnes of extreme sports events. And all of this gets prime coverage on their blog.
Red Bull pretty much cornered the market in providing this style of content to adrenaline-seeking millennials. You could argue now that they’re all about creating content and not selling the energy drink. That they’re a brand that’s more famous for being a brand. But they are still the textbook example of using blogging to promote a brand over using a blog as a sales pitch. (And the latter won’t work these days.)
Fashion retailer Jack Wills has undergone significant rebranding recently, and the blog has formed a key part in displaying the new look and feel. The brand has always been about selling a lifestyle around its clothes, and its blog is the perfect way of showing that associated lifestyle.
For those of us with long memories, Jack Wills always used to have physical handbooks that showed its products in an idealised lifestyle photo shoot. The digital handbook today lives on through the blog, but it’s opened out to become a fashion lifestyle magazine – focusing on locations, people and events that the brand wants to show an association with.
What the Jack Wills handbook also highlights is the distinction between product pages and blogs. Brands should use product pages to sell their products. Blogs should be about other things: to retain customers or bring in new ones via increasingly engaging, Google-loving methods.
Isn’t energy one of the most boring industries you can imagine? Maybe. But General Electric have set the benchmark for producing some super-engaging content around this subject, with more than just one blog. They’ve looked at the industry from a different angle entirely, used amazing photography, gifs, infographics and more to captivate and inform about a complex industry. The subjects on their GE Reports blog on their industry and technology generate a sense of wonder.
It just goes to show that no matter how dry you think your industry might be to people, there’s always a way to make things engaging.
Etsy’s blog is a great example of providing content that’s fit for purpose. And it’s simple in reality. To attract and retain people who are interested in all things craft-related (so users use the Etsy site and platform) they discuss relevant topics. The latest trends, gift ideas as well as their own awards. Every post is visually engaging and uses beautiful imagery.
Maybe this is cheating a bit. (It almost certainly is.) Though Medium is itself a brand, it is an amalgamation of writing from both individuals and now other brands. It is a magazine made up of blogs. It is the ultimate form of content curation, as Medium gets other people to create all this content for them. Getting so many users to contribute also means it becomes a central destination for thousands of social shares too (that’s because if you’ve written something there, you want people to know about it).
In short, Medium is the ultimate content distribution platform. It’s a simple way for users and other businesses to reach a large online audience – without their users navigating a complex content management system. It’s a smorgasbord of storytelling, creativity and user interaction, putting words (which is really what blogs are about) at the centre of their whole world.
What’s best about Medium in our eyes though is its exceptional interface. The user experience is phenomenally clean, with large, crisp fonts. Reading any post is simple and pleasurable, and highlights how UX helps make strong content even more effective.
Vote For Us In The UK Blog Awards
We have been nominated for both the Digital & Technology and PR, Media, Marketing & Communications categories and we would really appreciate if you could spare a minute to vote for our blog in these awards.
Voting for the UK Blog Awards 2017 is live and closes on Monday 19th December. The public vote is an important aspect of the judging procedure as it allows the contestant’s community to have their say and show their support for the content on the blog. Once the public vote is over, the top entrants from each category will go through to Phase Two: The expert judging panel.