Best Digital Agency

Five Best Brand Blogs of 2015

While most brands are dabbling in Facebook or trying their hand at Instagram, few are combining the power of blogging with Web design and search engine optimization (SEO) to generate leads and cultivate brand loyalty.

Our favorite branded blogs, however, do just that. They provide unique content in a way that makes you forget it’s coming from the company’s marketing department. It’s a retailer that reads like your favorite fashion blogger. Or a B2B company that shares its industry secrets.

And here’s the kicker—these blogs actually make the companies money. According to Hubspot, B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that don’t, while those same blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links with Google.

How are they doing it? Take a look at our favorite branded blogs and see.

Airbnb

Airbnb blog
We’ve known we liked Airbnb for quite some time (shoutout to Abbie in Austin). But when they launched their new branding back in July it was love. And as for the Web design on their stellar blog, do yourself a favor and take cues from the brand’s minimalist layout, clear-cut categories (News, Design, Events, Hospitality, Local Lens, Wanderlust, Stories) and fantastic photography. It’s been our experience that many blogs let photography take a backseat to words on a page. But if we’ve learned anything from Facebook, it’s that imagery wins every time. In fact, articles with images get 94% more views over those without an image.
In addition, Airbnb puts forward a finished product that we as bloggers will never, ever stop pushing for: truly engaging content. Try this couple who’s been traveling the world via Airbnb for more than 897 days. And besides crafting compelling stories, the blog also hands out share-worthy expertise, i.e. thought leadership, such as why you should study abroad and how you can make it happen.

Whole Foods

WholeFoods blog

 

If there’s one thing the Whole Story has, it’s variety. And we’re not just talking produce. We love the wealth of useful and informative cooking and health information posted every.single.day. And because it features recipes and advice you’d find on any cooking blog worth its salt, it doesn’t feel branded. It has the ease of that-one-blog your friend Pinned with the authority of a cooking magazine. You’ll find interviews with health experts and doctors, What to Make This Week featuring an entire week’s worth of dinners, tons of recipes, tips (we’re partial to 5 Tips for Living Dairy Free), meal plans and unique videos.

Ann Taylor
Ann Taylor blog example

Leave it to Ann Taylor to put forward something totally editorial. Scrolling through Look Both Ways is akin to flipping through the pages of your favorite fashion mag. Case in point: Resort Ready: How to Travel Like A Pro. This single article encompasses so many of our favorite blog elements that it’s hard to know where to start. Tasteful Web design, a question and answer format (if you’ve ever sat through one of our blog trainings, you know we’re a sucker for a good Q&A), sweet and simple graphics.

Of course, you’ll also find the trends, DIY outfits and tips.

But here’s where it gets unique: Look Both Ways manages to merge all of its content onto this one channel, including #AT3Ways which shows how to wear one piece three ways; 15-second style—a series of Instagram videos that teach users how to curate outfits; and “The Changemakers”—a subsection featuring women doing innovative and inspiring things in their lives (here they featured leaders at Tumblr). Home run, we say.

Warby Parker

Warby Parker blog example

We’re already fans of Warby Parker’s quirky and unmistakable Instagram feed, so it’s only fitting that the brand’s blog roll and Web design would be just as drool-inducing.

For starters, the blog’s categories (To See, To Read, To Buy, To Meet, To Do) lend it to being more than a brand. For example, “To Read” is an awesome extension of the literal function of glasses, not just their aesthetic. Warby Parker’s team also embraces another of our favorite pieces of content—infographics, like this chart to help you pick a book.

To that end, Warby Parker manages to feature a diverse array of content, but remain relelvant and incredibly on-brand. From the design to topical matter, it all screams Warby Parker…while managing not to scream, “Buy our glasses!”

Oh, and if you want to learn how to tout your company culture and excellent writing in one fell swoop, read this blog post.

Intercom

Intercom blog example

You might not have heard of Intercom, but if you’re a B2B—heck, if you’re anyone creating content—now’s the time. The tech company’s blog, Inside Intercom, is exceptionally creative and useful with some pretty slick Web design to boot. Anyone leading the copy of a company trying to simplify complex content should take note of Intercom’s use of  infographics to elaborate on intricate ideas, like this one that explains the customer on-boarding process or this one that illustrates how customer size dictates sales strategy. Combine all that with totally unique value with client stories told in a fresh way, and we’re sold.

What blogs do you turn to for inspiration? Learn our secret sauce for boosting your team’s blogging power and organic SEO in under an hour.