As an online seller, you know better than anyone else that 24 is not enough hours in a day.
Your daily to-do list seems to grow three lines for every one you check off. So when someone tells you, “You need to start a blog for your business,” you’re like, “Really? Is that a crucial use of my time when I have so much else going on?”
Yes. Yes it is. Blogging is your super power when it comes to selling products online.
Need a statistic to prove it? Well according to HubSpot research, marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see a positive return on investment… that means more growth, more customers, and more green!
A totally kick-butt blog should be the hub of your whole marketing shebang. Why?
- A blog creates a targeted community
- Linking social media to your blog stirs up word-of-mouth and points targeted customers toward your brand.
- A blog is a platform entirely controlled by you
- Post what you want without interference from outside voices.
- A blog boosts your SEO
- Make it easy for customers find you! Show up higher in those Google search results.
- A blog is an easy and cost-effective way to spread brand awareness
- It’s a relatively low investment for a huge payoff. More good content = more awareness for your brand.
- A blog drives sales!
- Earn credibility as a thought-leader and show potential customers why they can’t live without your products.
Now, that all sounds fine and dandy, but how do you know what content to post? Well, here’s the one-two-three for creating a blog that drives online sales.
Before Starting a Blog, Ask Yourself:
- Why am I blogging?
- Who am I blogging for?
- What content do my followers want
1. Why are you blogging?
This is where you establish why you even made the darn thing. Maybe you want your product blog to:
- Introduce your business to the world
- A blog puts a face to your brand
- Personalize your business
- Create a human side to your brand and gain an emotional connection with customers (major brownie points here)
- Establish yourself as an expert in your field
- Boost credibility by demonstrating your specific knowledge
- Provide valuable information to your visitors
- Enhance your visitors’ lives with useful, up-to-date content on your field of expertise
- Entertain the interests of your customers
- Enter your customers’ lifestyle with content that relates to the interests of your audience
- Create communication with your customers
- Get feedback to improve your customer service and grow your business
- Drive sales to your online shop
- Intrigue readers enough to want to know more, without directly pushing your products on them
- Rank higher in search engine results
- Update regular content and post keywords to increase discoverability
Choose more than one option if you’re aiming to do more! Just always keep your purpose in mind, every single time you draft up some blog content. This is your blogging mantra. Stay focused.
2. Who are you blogging for? Who is your audience?
Ever been on a terrible first date? Those dinners when he just keeps talking about the horsepower in his car’s engine, or she just can’t stop talking about her 12 cats? Remember how you sort of just, tuned out… Well, blog readers do that too. The content you post isn’t meant to appease your own interests – there is a “who” out there. If you identify and understand that “who” before you write content for them, you may just convince them to stay for after dinner drinks… that’s metaphor for blogging goals like convince them to click, follow or even convert into a sale!
Create your buyer personas
Don’t just write to a faceless, abstract persona. Identify exactly who you want to reach, and treat them like an actual individual. Start with a name, gender and age. Make these up based on your target demographic – who you’re marketing your products to. Find a photo online of a person to represent this persona.
Now, spend some time getting to know this target customer (or interview customers you already have to take the guess work out!) For example, if you sell handmade jewelry, you’re in the fashion niche and you may be targeting a female audience. Imagine the woman who’s wearing your necklaces. Is she young or mature? Is she a career-focused professional or a social butterfly with a wild side? Does she like to make stylish statements or is she looking for a hassle free, timeless look? How does she spend her day? What annoys her? What interests her? What’s she watching on Netflix? What blogs does she follow?
3. What Content Should I Share with My Audience?
It’s time to really get in the heads of your target readers to discover and create the type of content they want to read. Take things, events, and values they care about that are related to your product. This will all go into creating a content plan that is optimized for reaching your personas in real life.
- What are you offering your audience that’s unique?
Before you write any post, stop to think about what value you’re offering your audience. What’s the unique angle you’re writing from that is different from other blogs in your genre? Think about your niche, brainstorm your original experiences, and bring something new to the conversation. Take a look at similar blogs and websites you know your personas are reading – see what’s out there and find a way to expand the subjects with your own twist. See how Reel Thread uses the minimal layout and bold photos of popular fashion blogs, but sticks to the unique focus of life events that happen in a t-shirt.
- What do your readers care about?
Try to open up discussions on topics on your blogs. Include polls, questions and quizzes that readers can respond to in the comments. Always reply to these interactions, taking note of their interests and their questions for future blog posts. Remember that your audience might change. Always keep track of what posts your followers are responding to positively. You might notice that specific topics get the most interaction, or your might notice that your humorous posts get more attention than your artistic ones. It might be time to adjust your focus to reflect these areas of interest.
- What calendar events and dates matter to your audience?
Whether it’s Christmas or back-to-school, think about what is important to your personas at different times of year and make a list of these dates. For example: Valentines Day could be a great time focus content on date-night outfits, cooking recipes or handmade gifts. See how Rebekah Brooks’ handmade jewelry blog made the most of V-day. Use SEO techniques and include keywords that capture these seasonal interests and embrace topics that are more likely to be searched at certain times of the year.
- Are you pushing your audience too hard?
Readers don’t spend time on your blog to be directly marketed to, just like most people don’t watch television just for the advertisements. Give them enough information to capture their attention, but leave them wanting just a little bit more. A subtle nudge like “for more information…” or “want to know more about…” can help turn visitors into clients.
Tips for Polishing Off the Perfect Blog Post
Now how do you get that draft from concept to greatest blog post in history? Follow the 5 Elements for the perfect post:
- Include a captivating opening: Appeal to a specific need, interest or concern of your personas
- Include a relatable image with caption: Sharp images add color and visual appeal to a block of text
- Maintain a clear viewpoint: Don’t let the body of your article veer all over the place – always return back to your thesis
- Incorporate outside data: Prove you’re up-to-date with the industry and back-up your arguments to gain credibility
- Keep an easy-to-read structure: Break up long paragraphs, keep relevant content under relevant headings, and incorporate lists or charts
Get Blogging and Boost Your Online Sales
The time you invest in your blog will be worth it if you remember to:
- Identify why you’re blogging
- Envision who you’re writing to
- Only write about what your readers care about
See how many customers your new tricked-out blog earns, and you’ll be wishing you waved this magic blogging wand sooner!
This is a guest post from Rachel at MadeFreshly: Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the e-commerce platform that makes your passion pay off.