The challenge for a vendor selling tools to the marketing or PR space is that they’ve got to be experts.
Why is this such a challenge? This is because most vendors are technology companies first, which means they are people that may be good at writing code, but not necessarily great at marketing. It’s a law of nature that often gets overlooked by customers and prospective customers because the juxtaposition of tool and space is a powerful persuasive leap.
There are a dozen vendor blogs I read regularly — which means I check in on them about twice a week. Of course, I manage a good old fashioned RSS reader (Netvibes is my preferred reader) so I’m continuously adding and removing vendor blogs to keep current. As of the moment, my list has vendors that make tools for blogging, SEO, email marketing, marketing automation, social media management, and a couple that pitch themselves as all-in-one.
Of this list, there are just two vendors that I think do a really bang up job with their blogs.
1. Buffer’s Blog. Known colloquially as BufferApp, Buffer’s blog is a geek’s paradise because they combined a mix of art and science. The company only updates it’s blog once or twice a week at most, but the content is well researched, reads well, sometimes consists of contributed content, and as a result gets hundreds, if not thousands, of social shares.
A great example of an outstanding post is also their most recent: Why getting new things makes us feel so good: Novelty and the brain. Many of their posts have a flavor of psychology or behavioral marketing, which is what makes it so interesting. However, there’s another reason I like the blog — the management team plays an active role. For example, Leo Widrich, a co-founder wrote this post: For the first time, you can now schedule retweets. I’d only add that the new browser extension for Chrome works beautifully; I liked it so much I went “awesome,” as the Buffer pitch reads, and upgraded to the paid version of Buffer.
2. Zemanta. Zemanta is one of those tools that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The company has raised bits and pieces in seed funding, the largest amount coming in 2010 and was worth about $3 million, according to its CrunchBase profile. However the company has been kicking around since at least 2007 and developed a recommendation engine before recommendation engines became cool. The core is a WordPress plugin that suggests relevant content bloggers can link to if they so choose. Scroll to the bottom of this post Soulati Media On The Street with @Triberr @DinoDogan, by Jayme Soulati, to see an example. I’ve seen a lot of start ups come and go in my career, and I’m convinced those that bet on seed funding will get their return.
Zemanta’s blog is updated more frequently, often several times a week, and also has a nice mix of content that also appeals to geek marketers. I enjoyed this post, Tapping the Social CEO: How One Restaurant Brand is Winning on Twitter, by Nate Riggs, but they also delve into big data and managed to score a content marketing guest post by Content Marketing Institute evangelist Joe Pulizzi. Zemanta also isn’t afraid to take a stand, as they did with this post: Comments Are Not a Measure of Your Blog’s Quality because “75% of readers are passive and only 5% are somehow engaged.”
These are two vendor blogs I think are worth following. What are some vendor blogs you’ve seen that you’d recommend?
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Frank: I have been using Zemanta's "related material" tool on my EGO blog on Blogger in the past, but it seems that it is not compatible with the new dynamic format. I haven't come around to test out the Buffer app yet. Maybe it is time now... ;)
We can get a ton out of vendor blogs, for sure, Frank. There's one I totally recommend, and it's HubSpot. Ginny Soskey went there to manage its blog; she came from Shareaholic where she was banging it up. Since she migrated to HubSpot, the Shareaholic blog has been marginal; in fact, I'm not seeing much action there.
It goes to show you, "behind every blog is a person.!" Thanks for the link love!