A few weeks ago we asked Joe Chernov, VP of Content at HubSpot, which brand he thinks is producing inspirational content marketing. His choice was The First Round Review, which he called "one of the smartest blogs on the Internet.“
After hearing Chernov’s high praise we took a closer look at the site and quickly realized why he loves it so much.
The blog is published by a VC group, First Round Capital, but it doesn’t feel like a company mouthpiece at all. There is no overt praising of the firm or bland press releases. Instead, there are stories and pieces of actionable advice from knowledgeable start-up experts.
The content is read and frequently shared because it is truly useful. The pieces aren’t vague or filled with buzzwords; they’re engaging, well-written, and help to solve real problems the intended audience is struggling with.
The key to the blog’s success can be seen immediately on the homepage. Rather than featuring the latest story or most shared pieces first, there is a big link to the manifesto.
The details of the manifesto, like the rest of the blog, are lucid and intelligent:
- We’ll get out of the way and let experts speak directly to you about what they believe is most important. (That’s why we choose not to use bylines.)
- Every article will serve up tactics that you can use today to change your company and your career.
- We will never be boring. The stories you find on here are crafted to teach, to engage and to stick.
These guiding principles give the site a clarity that’s missing from many other blogs created by companies—the publisher always knows exactly what type of content to post and readers know exactly what to expect. No wonder it’s one of the smartest blogs on the Internet.