When taking action to build your brand, a blog may not seem like the most important item on your to-do list. After all, you want to make sure that your products are quality and the way they get to your customers is seamless. However, having a blog for your ecommerce business has several benefits from a marketing perspective:
- It keeps your audience engaged and interested in your business
- It establishes you as an expert within your industry
- It allows you to explain why your products are the best
- It helps you build connections with other entrepreneurs
Running a business blog is well worth the effort if you’re looking for ways to help your business grow, even if it may seem time-consuming. Read on for some expert suggestions on how to make sure your ecommerce store’s blog hits the mark.
1. Have a Clear Point of View
First and foremost, make sure that your blog and its corresponding posts have a specific point of view. If your ecommerce business sells lawn care equipment, focus on posts that relate to lawn care and related topics only—don’t post about your other hobbies, politics, family, etc.
Think of it this way: if your posts are all over the place, you won’t be able to capture the audience you want to, which is strictly lawn care equipment customers and other industry experts. Remember, blogging is all about finding your niche, so make sure you have a point of view that really applies to the market that you want to talk to.
2. Get Organized with an Editorial Calendar
When it comes to running a well-oiled blog, good organization is key. Once you have your point of view down, set up a monthly editorial calendar and decide on a posting cadence that will work with your schedule. Are you only able to write one article per week, or do you plan to write something new on a daily basis? Figure out when you want to post, and sit down at the beginning of each month to assign publication dates for each one. With deadlines looking you in the face, it’s a lot harder to let blog duties fall through the cracks.
As you plan your posting cadence, make sure that you are planning for posts to be published on a regular basis. The idea here is to train your readers to expect when your blogs are coming out. So whether it's once a week, twice a week or every single day, make sure that you have consistently-timed blog posts; otherwise, readers will completely forget about you.
3. Brainstorm Compelling Topic Ideas
Once you know how often you plan to post and when each deadline is, it’s time to brainstorm topic ideas that will appeal to your audience. Unfortunately, your familiarity with your products and services can sometimes become your own worst enemy, driving you towards repetitive blog posts that cover the same subjects. A few simple brainstorming methods can help you look at your business from a new angle and fuel content that attracts searchers and converts readers.
- Free Writing: To identify the best ideas, you must let as many ideas surface as possible—even if they seem bad at first. Practice free writing to tap into the unedited, idea-forming part of your brain by sitting down and writing for 15 minutes straight without stopping. If you don’t have anything to write about, simply write “I have nothing to write about” until you do. When you stumble onto an idea, keep following it for a few sentences before moving to the next. Once you’re done, you will likely have more than one lead for an article idea. Even if you have only one, however, that’s more than you would have produced by staring blankly at your screen for 15 minutes.
- Mind Mapping: Mind mapping exercises help take the focus away from writing so that you can concentrate on basic concepts. With a pencil and paper, start by writing a broad, overused, and/or easy topic in the center of the page. Draw eight or so branches from the center and write down new, related concepts as they come to you, adding more branches from those concepts as well. By the time you are done, you should easily be able to find a path in the diagram that leads to (one or a few) much more specific, unique article topics than what you started with.
- Internet Mining: Another simple way to discover new topics is to simply start internet searches related to your industry. Look at answer sites like Quora, Reddit, forms, or social media to see what questions consumers are asking in relation to your industry—these are the things people want to know more about, so centering a post around them will make your business look more relevant and knowledgeable. You can also scan your blog comments for questions and turn them into answers that could span an entire article.
- Competitor Research: If your competitors already use a blog to attract more customers, you can easily look into their performance to see what’s working for them. Use SEO sites like Moz to plug in your competitor’s website and see their top inbound links—that is, links to their site from another website—to get a better idea of what people in your industry want to share and link to. From there, you can write your own blog posts around similar topics that other sites will hopefully link to.
4. Make Sure Each Post Is Valuable and Engaging
Even the most unique topic can fall flat if it isn’t presented in a way that will hold readers’ interest. To put it plainly: don't be boring. No one likes a wet blanket, and that applies to your blog as well. Make sure that you are presenting your topic in an engaging way so that nobody gets bored and clicks away. If your brand’s tone tends to be fun and informal, this is a great time to let your humor and wit shine through.
At the same time, you will want to make sure that your posts are offering something of value to your readers. No one will read your blog (or any other content for that matter) if you're not teaching them something new or giving them a new perspective they haven’t heard before. If you have something valuable to say, more and more people will be interested in reading it.
5. Distribute Posts Across the Web
If nobody is aware of your blog, then your readership will always be low to none. Make sure you are distributing your blog and its posts wherever you can to raise awareness and build an audience. A few of the most popular places you can share your blog posts are across your social media accounts, in your email newsletter, and in email campaigns centered around a specific topic.
Want to get even more creative? Take a look back at the answer sites you looked through while mining the internet for content ideas. If any blog posts you have answer the question(s) at hand, post an answer to the post with a link to your blog if you can—this will get more eyes on your post where people are interested in it most.
6. Collaborate with Other Writers and Sites
It’s good to mix up the tone of your posts, especially if you’re writing a business-oriented blog. Work your networking muscles and find experts in your industry who would be willing to guest post on your blog, especially about topics that you may be slightly less knowledgeable about. Not only will you reap the benefits of having fresh voices, but you’ll also likely get some social traction from guest posters.
It’s also important to find blogs you can guest post for—not so much for variety, but for SEO purposes. SEO can be tricky, but one great way to make your site rise in the search rankings is by getting links to your store on high-quality sites. A simple way to do this is by writing informative guest posts for sites within your business niche, and getting them to include a link back to your store. Not only is this great for SEO, but it’s also a fantastic way to get your name out there and find future collaborators for your own blog.
7. Track Success with Google Analytics
Google Analytics can provide a wealth of valuable information about your store itself, but it can also be a useful tool for keeping track of blog traffic. With Analytics, you can see not only where traffic is coming from, but also which articles people are reading most often.
Most importantly, you can use GA to track each post’s bounce rate. A bounce rate is the amount of average time readers spend on a certain page—in this case, the amount of time they spend reading a blog post. The lower the bounce rate, the better your post is performing. An average bounce rate for most pages is about 50%. This is a great piece of data to consider when deciding topics for future posts—stick to themes in line with articles that have a good bounce rate, and avoid topics that have had a bounce rate of 75% or higher.
Running a blog for your ecommerce store is a great way to get your business noticed online and keep an audience of potential customers engaged with your business. By following the suggestions above, you'll be sure to increase your number of readers, followers, and comments.