5 blogs that became brands

Blogs are personal diaries. Until they aren’t.  Many successful bloggers started simply by documenting their passions. Now, they’re employed with advertising revenues, book deals, fashion deals, and yes, they are powerful brands.

This week, Pressboard is breaking down 5 mega-successful blogs. Why are they successful and what can we learn from them to apply to our own company blogs.

TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2014

1. TechCrunch — Tech

Every tech startup wants to be covered by TechCrunch. It’s the undisputable source for everything tech and new. Founder Michael Arrington is known as the prophet of Silicon Valley for his ability.

TechCrunch Disrupt is a make-or-break event for some startups. TechCrunch Disrupt is an event that keeps TechCrunch relevant all year long.

Lesson: Curate a recurring event that brings credibility for other companies, not only your own.

Brian Boy

2. BryanBoy — Fashion

With a Marc Jacobs bag named after him BB Bag, Bryanboy is the ultimate fashion blogger. Want your brand to become relevant for the masses? You need Bryanboy to approve it.

Some companies built credibility by releasing whitepapers. Some industries, such as fashion, are not conducive to such formalities. Instead, a photo of an influential holding your product can be just the ticket to a thousand words and a thousand orders.

Lesson: Find your industry’s influencers and study them. What sorts of products or services do they promote? How can you get on his or her radar?

Mashable's Pete Cashmore

3. Mashable — News

Mashable is a unique website because unlike most successful blogs, it’s not one with a narrow niche. The Mashable slogan, “the leading source of news, information & resources for the Connected Generation,” is intentionally vague. On any given day, Mashable produces content that educates and informs from Turkey to small town USA. The content gets to the nugget of the story in the first sentence then expands from there. It’s the ultimate news site of the Internet because it’s just that—mashable and shareable.

Mashable has also successfully incorporated sponsored stories onto the blog. We covered them in our Top 5 Brand and Publisher Collaborations. Their ability to use sponsors to create unique content makes them an especially powerful brand.

Lesson: Who can you partner with to find a larger audience? Collaborations can be the perfect way to expand your reach as a new brand.

Perez Hilton

4. Perez Hilton — Entertainment

Perhaps more notorious than famous, Perez Hilton makes millions talking about, and creating, celebrity gossip. The man behind it, Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr., holds vast influence over which celebrities will become the hot new thing. A Perez Hilton-approved new artist can hit the big time. Just ask Lady Gaga. It might be fluff to you but PerezHilton.com is the blog on celebrity gossip.

Lesson: The Internet has re-defined who can be an authority. No longer does a website need to be a faceless organization to be considered an authority on even the most niche topics. For your company blog, should the writer become the face of it? It’s certainly something to consider.

Humans of New York

4. Humans of New York — Photography

Humans of New York (HONY) is a nostalgic Tumblr blog built entirely about photographs is captivating in its simplicity. Started in 2010, Brandon Stanton, walks the streets of New York taking photos of those he finds interesting. Gradually, he began to add their stories to the photos he posted on his blog. It’s refreshingly endearing in its purpose to share the stories and photographs of people from all walks of life.

One bestselling book later and Brandon is now on a tour dubbed “Humans of New York UN World Tour” where he documents the lives of people around the world. Now serving a greater purpose than the stories of regular New Yorkers, HONY continues to be a place free of snark or jadedness.

Lesson: A simple concept with a genuine purpose connects best with an audience. Readers can see behind a marketing scheme. Create genuine content and add a little soul to it.

Young House Love

5. Young House Love — DIY Home Improvement

John and Sherry Petersik at Young House Love (YHL) have accomplished what every DIY blogger dreams of accomplishing: They make their living off of blogging (Their bestselling eponymous book and YHL-branded products at Target probably didn’t hurt either).

YHL is a blog where DIY bloggers or wanna-be DIY bloggers learn how to spruce up their homes, themselves and on the cheap. If there’s a new home improvement product on the market, YHL will probably test it out and give you their honest review about it. It’s the Internet’s version of the Good Housekeeping Seal.

Lesson: If you believe in your product, send it to people who will broadcast their honest opinions about it. Be careful though. The transparency of this format means that negative reviews can happen too.

What do these powerful blogs have in common? Perhaps most poignantly, they are the authorities of their industry. Their readers come to these websites for the source of information. Although we might not think of TechCrunch or Mashable as blogs anymore, they started out from those humble beginnings with big dreams and a purpose.

All blogs have to start somewhere. Just because your company blog has a small audience now, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have a purpose and authority. Start small and build up, learning from these blog giants along the way.

Have a company blog you think is worth sharing on Pressboard? Share with us @Pressboard

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