Why You Should Have Your Staff Blog

Posted By on December 5, 2013

One winner of 37Signals "WorkCanWait contest in which they invited people to lampoon a recent Microsoft marketing campaign. Guess which company won and why?

One winner of 37Signals “WorkCanWait contest in which they invited people to lampoon a recent Microsoft marketing campaign. Guess which company won and why?


Imagine Clark Kent ripping off his business suit and walking out of the phone booth wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a tatt on his bicep.
 
Hip, approachable smarties are the superheroes of social media. They work at your front desk or test software in a cubicle in the back or are out planning a company event. Put the right ones to work on your business blog and your social media presence will come to life—the life of your company’s. Here’s how one company is building its business through a home-grown blog.

Basecamp’s Action Figures

Meet Basecamp, an online tool for managing collaborative projects. The company’s landing page is pure vanilla—a customer-lead-generating sales tool.
basecamp landing page

 

Now, meet Signals to Noise, a couple dozen bloggers who are anything but vanilla. This tribe looks like they hang out all day long in cafes.
 
the team three

“Oh, so that’s who works at Basecamp.” After looking at its photo gallery, we’re curious. We want to know these people and read what they have to say. Not so surprisingly, when we click the link to Basecamp on the same page, we might think the pitch is cool because it came from human beings who are hip, opinionated and fun to be around.

Signals to Noise – the Blog Part of Social Media Marketing

If you’re just learning how to start a business blog, I recommend reading everything Signals to Noise posts. They get how a blog is a handshake between selling and being social, between presenting an impersonal, all-business face and a scruffy one.
 
Sometimes their posts are product marketing – transparently so – but these posts always take advantage of social media to engage customers. In this one they ask their customers to share what they’ve made with Basecamp.
 
what has it helped you make
 
This post is a not-so-subtle, effective way to market what is, after all, a collaboration tool. Here’s why it’s smart social media marketing:

  • It educates people about what Basecamp does
  • It lets customers tell their stories
  • It communicates Basecamp’s value prop—“we help you make stuff with other people”
  • It reinforces that there are no lobbies, no receptionists, no walls between you, the customer, and Basecamp, the business
  • It links to the Basecamp landing page where they can potentially acquire customers

Another benefit to Basecamp–the customer stories are free, user-generated content that will help you feed the content beast known as the editorial calendar.

#WorkCanWait

Signals to Noise really showed its personality in a mini-branding campaign that poked fun at Microsoft. The fun took place over the course of several blog posts and enlivened their Twitter feed.*
 
The first post lampoons Microsoft’s all-corporate, antediluvian marketing approach on display in an infographic. #GetItDone is its hashtag and the images are all about the joys(!) of working remotely. Signals to Noise responds with a wickedly funny infographic titled with the hashtag “WorkCanWait.
ms vs 37 infographic

This is sheer social media marketing genius. The content is less about marketing products and more about acquiring cultural cachet. I’m sure it’s appealing to one of Basecamp’s primary audiences—young, social-media comfy, high-tech workers.

The-Blog-Twitter-Corridor

In each post, Signals to Noise asks people to pile on against Microsoft and its all-work-no-play ethic—on Twitter. Send us your spoofs as an infographic, and we’ll pick the winning ones. Connecting a blog post and Twitter in this way creates the perfect ingredients for social media marketing: Clear instructions for how to participate. Clever hashtag. Hysterical subject matter. Possibility of fame.
Take a look at this submission:
die alone
Are you laughing yet?

Willy Leeks Meets Superman

One more example—this one by Willy Leeks, a graphic designer with a Twitter following of 211.

will leeks infographic larger

How many followers does Signals to Noise have? 100,000. Willy Leeks wins. Signals to Noise wins.
 
I’m betting the next post by Signals to Noise will focus on marketing Basecamp. Time to visit the phone booth.

 
*(Don’t get too confused by the @37Signals Twitter handle. 37Signals is the development and design arm for Basecamp, and a couple other online tools. The blog Signals to Noise serves both sides of the house.)