As commerce continues its steady migration into the digital world, every company has become a media company. The ability to communicate, engage and characterize a brand online has quickly become table-stakes for modern marketers. The few brands that have been slow to adapt are now struggling to retain even their most devoted customers. Digital upstarts are rising to meet audiences in familiar online spaces, establishing magnetic personalities that capture attention from all corners of the web. Modern brands rightfully guard these assets closely. Most precious among them is a brand’s blog.
Media veterans know that building a blog takes time. Those that made the shift early have spent years passionately studying their audience and honing their content to align with their interests. Magazine editors, journalists and designers have come together to build expansive content hubs that draw new customers in and keep existing ones engaged. Some blogs have even taken on lives of their own, spinning off to become self-sufficient, ad-supported entities that feed leads and revenue back to their parent brand.
Though it can seem like a monumental undertaking, the value of a content-rich blog can’t be understated. By combining data-driven insights, imaginative editorial calendars, and an intimate understanding of their audience, the following brands have proven that the results are worth it.
With more than 34 years in business, J. Crew is an American multi-brand, multi-channel institution that knows its audience. Its flagship brand blog features clean, concise how-to guides on caring for its mid-to-high-end clothing products as well as seasonal style guides that drive conversions. It also runs candid interviews with members of its community like Shawn Joswick, a Brooklyn-based tailor known for customizing J.Crew products. The result is an intimate, on-brand publication that keeps J. Crew top-of-mind for its customers.
In addition to its robust online shopping portal, Anthropologie boasts over 200 retail locations worldwide. It offers shoppers a variety of high-end jewelry, clothing, housewares, beauty products and more. Besides its colorful style profiles and DIY crafting guides, Anthropologie editors have found success publishing beautifully illustrated seasonal recipes like these Bourbon Spiked Chilli Dogs, which include “a cheeky slug of bourbon in the sauce—solely for the extra heat, of course.”
As the web’s premiere DIY marketplace, Etsy offers its readers a steady stream of seasonal guides to handmade housewares, clothing, jewelry and more. It typically publishes three times per week, including community-building shop spotlights that help up-and-coming artisans get their creations in front of fresh eyes. Its active blog has helped Etsy clock up to 32 million unique monthly visitors and nearly 28.6 million active buyers as of 2016.
Furthermore (by Equinox)
Formerly known as Q, the rebranded Furthermore boasts a stable of seasoned media veterans including editor-in-chief Sheila Monaghan, formerly of Self magazine. Initially starting out as a publication for the New-York based luxury fitness brand Equinox, Furthermore promises readers workout routines, recipes and style guidance backed by a long list of expert medical advisors. A 2016 press release from the digital magazine’s launch explains how “Furthermore unites Equinox’s industry-leading fitness and wellness experts with worldwide tastemakers in lifestyle, fashion, technology and travel.”
Whole Story (by Whole Foods)
Following its $13.7 billion acquisition by Amazon, the editorial staff at Whole Story continue to publish stories that bolster Whole Foods brand values, such as transparency and ethical commerce. Their supplier stories shine a light on everything from family-owned tea farms to innovations in organic waste treatment. The blog’s editors also pepper in stories about new products that feels genuine due to keeping calls-to-action tasteful and value-driven.
While taking the online eyeglass market by storm, Warby Parker has published clean, concise lifestyle articles that enrich the lives of their customers. Though it publishes less frequently than others, its customer-centric site structure makes browsing its archives a breeze. Readers can easily sort through piles of expert recommendations on what to read, see, do and buy, all on an intuitive and enriching content platform that keeps its customer relationships strong.
Blue Apron—another direct-to-consumer brand making waves in the ecommerce space—knows the value of engaging content better than most. Its blog features piles of detailed recipes and tutorials to help its audience become better cooks and happier people. Readers can quickly parse the three primary categories of Eat, Learn, and Live to discover exciting new ways to make the most of their Blue Apron products. With an audience primarily made up of young to middle-aged professionals, the blog’s editors also publish relevant lifestyle content like 4 Family Dinners That Double As Kids’ Lunches or Our New Year’s Cocktail Countdown.
Engaging blog content helps new and old brands alike connect with their audience beyond transactional encounters. They let companies form powerful relationships with their audience by offering a lot and asking very little. It’s that kind of altruism that helps capture valuable mindshare, even among demographics that can be notoriously difficult for marketers to crack. Commit the time and resources necessary to building your own vibrant content hub, and you can look forward to enjoying the same success.