How To Create An Ecommerce Blog People Actually Want To Read
Publishing a really good blog means you create an opportunity to attract new visitors, build brand awareness, and convert new leads. Ultimately, it’s about quality engagement with your potential customers.
Whilst everybody blogs these days, most organizations are missing a few vital tricks. Do you know how to create an ecommerce blog that people actually want to read? Read on for our guide.
Before you plough head first into your ecommerce blog, make sure you have a solid digital strategy in place. Understanding what you’re trying to achieve should be a formalized step at the beginning of your blogging journey.
Think about the goals you want to achieve through blogging by outlining your key content/sales metrics and ROI goals before you start. Put a strategy in place to help keep your efforts on track, and invest in ecommerce marketing tools to help you scale.
Once you start building up your community, it may be tempting to want to capitalize on some of the numbers in front of you. Don’t be swayed from your original strategy. The real value of blog posts is in building up your brand story, not just acting as a ephemeral sales pitch.
Everything you post has longevity. Publishing useful resources, true stories and real conversations will win you more brand awareness and stronger longer-term prospects. Don’t sell yourself short by thinking of your blog as merely a cheap sales vehicle or a place to push out silo content.
The Right People Writing
Who is actually going to write your blog? You have two choices here:
- Write your blog yourself
- Get somebody else to write it
Writing your own blog can be a great way to get across your true brand authenticity and voice. However, it takes commitment. You need to be able to regularly publish content on your blog – at least once a week. Your audience needs to be able to rely on your content. And it does need a certain level of writing ability, or at least the desire to learn. Too many entrepreneurs dive in head-first with blogging, without reading up on how online content is really created and consumed. There’s potential for a lot of unnecessary stress to be created.
If you don’t have the time or verve to write your own blogs, you are not alone. Many ecommerce blog owners do not have the time to regularly commit to writing and publishing blog posts to the standards and frequency of need identified in their marketing strategy.
If you are employing someone else’s service for your blog, you can find:
- Someone already working with you to write the blogs. This may be an employee who works right at the front of your business who is better placed to tell your story.
- A specialist content writer(s) with experience in your niche industry — this could be a freelancer or an agency. Just make sure that you trust them with your brand voice.
Be Authentic: Tell Your Story
Once you have a solid strategy in place and you have identified the right people to work on your ecommerce blog, you can begin to outline your story.
The only way that you will really engage your audience through content marketing is by being totally authentic. And the way to build this up? Tell a good story.
People buy from people. We all know that. And stories are people. They live and breathe tales of human adventure. Blogging really good stories is a fantastic way for your audience to really get to know your brand and the values that are important to you.
Here are some story ideas to get you started:
- A trip to your factory or suppliers — what product insights did you learn? Who is behind the materials and the production?
- Is there a ‘feel good’ story lurking in your customer reviews or testimonials? Why not showcase your brand through your biggest advocates?
- What problem/solution framework initially pushed your brand to market? Have you told this story to your audience yet?
- Team dynamics — what people stories can you tell from the ecommerce frontline?
Build A Community & Encourage Engagement
Content marketing, blogging and other forms of digital marketing are not one-way mediums. Of course, this is nothing new. A large percentage of us regularly interact with big brands via social media – 78% of people who complain via Twitter expect the brand to respond within an hour. But what does this mean for your ecommerce blog?
By bringing authenticity and good stories into the mix, your brand is opening up the conversation and creating social proof. Your goal with every piece of content you publish is to encourage engagement from your audience. With engagement, your audience suddenly starts to look more like a community than a wall of marketing prospects.
As well as inviting feedback on your content from your community, get them involved in creating their own content. Open up your blog to guest posts, run competitions for your followers, create a hashtag, and share their stories on your platforms too.
Threadless.com is a good example – their website is divided into three sections: Shop, Discover and Participate. It’s a blog & content-based marketing strategy which now drives their business model.
Keep SEO In Mind, But Write For The Reader
Google is constantly updating its search algorithms. These changes have brought SEO to the forefront of everybody’s minds, and impact marketing strategies across the world.
Using SEO plugins like Yoast for WordPress alongside your ecommerce theme ensures you’re hitting the sweet spot in terms of keywords and technical readability. And this is something you should definitely optimize — posts can be a big source of ecommerce referral traffic and sales. Seasonal keywords can be an especially lucrative niche to target — so get topical and seasonal with your SEO keyword strategy.
But if you’re writing your blog specifically for the search engines, you’re doing it wrong – write content for people, and optimize it for Google.
Don’t forget what we’ve covered above: be authentic and encourage a sense of community, to create real and lasting value for your audience. Patagonia does this wonderfully, with its strong visual and ethical The Cleanest Line blog content woven in with products.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
The use of images is an incredibly powerful way to publish content that people actually want to look at. The popularity of Instagram illustrates this.
And what better way to show your real brand voice than with imagery? Not only can strong photos can make the difference between a piece of content attracting engagement or not, but they can be valuable pieces of content in their own right.
Embrace images, and make sure you work with their potential. This is not somewhere to cut corners with your marketing strategy; don’t just use stock images or copy what someone else has done. DIY your visual brand if you can, or equip your storytellers with a great smartphone and photography training. Use awesome images to tell your brand story.
Don’t forget to involve your customers and their photos too. Made.com has made a whole new platform, Made.com Unboxed, encouraging customers to share photos of their furniture at home – the ultimate social proof.
Measure Your Blogging Efforts
Just as we set out with a strategy at the beginning, it’s important to constantly measure your analytics to see how effective your blog is in the long run. The digital world is constantly evolving, and unless you adopt new content methods like GIFs, video, and interactive content, you may find yourself lagging behind the competition.
Start off using analytics tools to track your metrics. Using this data, you can turn numbers into KPIs, giving you an idea of return on time, resources, and financial investment.
However, remember that publishing an ecommerce blog is not a quick, sales-oriented marketing effort.
Embrace this principle when reviewing the data you have compiled. Then bend your analytics to make the most of the longevity and real engagement opportunities it provides, by looking at:
Apply these to your future blog posts so that you can increase both your reach and your engagement levels. Keep doing more of the stuff that worked, and less of the stuff that didn’t/ Sounds deceptively simple, but too many marketers veer off track with their content production.
Whilst blogging can be seen as a fun and informal part of your marketing strategy you must treat it seriously. Make sure that you have a solid plan for your ecommerce blog which you measure as you go. By focusing on the points I have raised you will be sure to create an ecommerce blog that people want to engage with, and that also helps you reach measurable sales goals.
Victoria Greene is an ecommerce specialist and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on ecommerce and how copywriters can fine-tune their skills. She is passionate about using her experience to help other professionals grow as writers and content creators.