I've seen a few different approaches.
Some companies simply have their blog buried somewhere on their website.
Some start an industry-wide standalone publication that's more like a magazine/newspaper.
Some build a standalone blog just for their company
Some build some kind of a content hub, kind of like Hubspot that seems to mix a bit of everything.
How should I choose where and how to structure my content? Where should I be directing my energy to efficiently generate leads? Does separating your blog/publication from your company website reduce the visitor's exposure to your brand too much? Does the increase in visibility of the blog/publication as well as amount of outside content offset the reduced exposure to your brand thanks to greater quantity of visitors?
Most of the times stand alone publications are made up of biased stuff put together to boost the awesomeness of publisher's products, I believe these cannot bring in a lot of leads.
A blog on the other hand can cover a diverse range of topics, you may put references to your publication and your products inside your blog.
That way, your blog will become more authentic. You can also get others talking about your blog which will eventually bring people to your product catalogue.
Good observations - there are many options out there with pros and cons to each depending on your type of business. Having helped hundreds of companies through that process, here are a few general rules of thumb:
* If you've got content TRULY unique to an industry, AND you've got the wherewithal to support getting in front of the right people (advertising dollars, elbow grease, etc.), launching a standalone publication can be a viable route.
* Given that I'm typically working with time and/or budget constrained companies, finding a way to work within existing systems is often more practical. Example: Starting an industry forum in LinkedIn (if you happen to be in a niche that doesn't have one already).
* Generally, a blog that is part of a company website (blog.company.com or company.com/blog) is a good route to go. That way blog traffic contributes to the overall traffic to your website, creating the sort of "Google Juice" that helps to improve your ranking in search engines over time.
The application that you use to build the blog/publication is really a separate question. The two most common platforms are WordPress and HubSpot. If your goal is ultimately lead generation, then there's no question in my mind that it's worth it for you to take a really close look at HubSpot. HubSpot is a much more comprehensive tool for managing a lead generation process. It's best in class, hands down - nothing else comes close.
Hope that helps you in the right general direction. Happy to answer any further questions you have about the pros/cons of WordPress vs. HubSpot and how to generate leads online, just give me a call. Good luck!
How can you serve your market and customers best? What answers are your customers trying to solve? What resources do they use? These questions can be answered by some research you can conduct. The outcome will help you decide the right topics and formats.
Hope this will help you.