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9 tips on blogging for retailers

16 April, 2014

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Blogging offers online retailers huge opportunities for not only promoting products, but also engaging with customers and building long-term brand loyalty.

As I explained in my recent blogging for ecommerce post, it is possible to “blog your way” to the top of Google and power your social media campaigns through your blogs.

And blogs work across all industries. There are some great examples across:

…to name just a few.

Customers – especially for high value products – now demand detailed information (including photos), and will often search for content about products before they make a purchase. Savvy retailers are now blogging and uploading rich content (photos and videos) to attract customer attention and entice them to buy.

Here are ten tips on managing blogs and how to use blogging to boost your webstore sales.

 (1)  Know your keywords

It is important to understand what your customers are searching on and ensure those words and phrases are represented in your content and metadata. My recent post on how to do your own keyword research explains the process.

keyword research

(2)  Make it visual

Great retail blogs now mix text, images, photos and video content to create an in-store experience for customers.

  • This fashion blogger uses strong images to show products at their best
  • ASOS uses photos of celebrities as inspiration for aspiring fashionistas
  • Chrysler uses video to show its cars in action from every angle

(3)  Think about your backlinks

As well as keywords, search engines use the number and quality of links between your site and other established industry websites to work out your search engine ranking. Backlinks are links to your website, hosted on another website. Websites with good quality backlinks are ranked higher.

There are a number of ways you can build backlinks:

  • Get mentions in blogs on other websites
  • Achieve media coverage on news websites
  • Write guest blogs on other websites
  • Article submission sites should be used with caution, since Google has recently changed it’s algorithms to penalise “spammy” content or content created purely for linkbuilding purposes

(4)  Integrate your blog with your social media pages

Blogs provide regular content to share through your other social media sites (which we will cover in detail in webinar 3). The sharable nature of product images is perfect for retail, with sites such as Pinterest seeing huge expansion as consumer demand for visual content has grown rapidly. User-generated content, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ are now being ranked more highly by search engines, so it pays to invest in social media and blogging.

social media

Brands using social media well include:

(5) Follow and engage with industry bloggers and reviewers

If you manufacture or sell products online, engaging with the top bloggers and reviewers in your industry and getting them to talk about your brand on their can expose your products to whole new audiences. See how this blogger credits and links to the brand website.

Thought leadership blogs and bloggers are highly trusted sources of information about new products, and readers of industry blogs are already interested and engaged, so conversion is easier. Following industry bloggers can also give you ideas for your own content and expert blogging.

(6)  Start a new craze and go viral

This video shows the power of blogging to start a new product craze (you may remember the Google advert!)

This British mum-of-two started a global fashion craze from her kitchen table. The film charts the rise of Julie Deane & The Cambridge Satchel Company. From creating the satchel idea to becoming a hit with vloggers and bloggers and then exploding onto the fashion world; we see how Julie used the web to go from kitchen to catwalk.

(7) Getting comments and reviews

The community of online customers and fans are priceless to building trust in your brand.  In fact, recent reports have found that 31% of surveyed consumers read an online review before making a purchase and 50 or more product reviews can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.

(8) Blog for purpose

When creating blog posts, remember what the blog is for. Think about your audience, the purpose of your blog, and the content. You are trying to create an in-store experience online. Customers want to see products from all angles. They want to know the specifications, details on the materials etc. The more questions you leave them with, the less likely they are to buy.

Share ideas on how the products might be used, and how it might fit into their lifestyle. Give them reasons to buy.

(9) Know your spec

Ecommerce blogs should contain a mix of words, pictures and video. For written blogs, a good blog should be at least 500 words (for SEO purposes) and no more than about 850. Thought leadership blogs could be longer, but you may lose your reader if they are short on time.

Blogs should be no more than 2% keywords density and should have a catchy title, as well as (for text blogs) some images to break up the text.

I hope these tips have provided you with ideas and inspirations for your managing blogs and expert blogging.

These blogging tips for retailers were taken from my How to use blogging to maximise sales webinar, delivered last year for Tri-City Retail.

The webinar was the second of a three-part series on digital marketing advice for retailers:

  1. Creating a Webstore that Maximizes Sales
  2. How to Use Blogging to Maximize Online Sales
  3. How to Use Social Media to Build Lasting Relationships with Your Customers

You can download the webinars from the Tri-City Retails website.

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  • Liam says:

    Hi Jonny. Enjoyed the post. Love the Cambridge Satchel Company example of getting social media right.

    I think point 5 is the thing that most people get wring. Many write blogs and wait for visitors to come and participate. The reality is, if you want people to participate on your blog, you usually need to be the one that participates first.

    I’d also add that you really need to think about how much you enjoy writing. If you don’t and you find blogging a bit of a shore, I don’t think you’ll ever get results from it and you’ll just hate it. Better to do something that you do enjoy, or if blogging is essential to your business, outsource it.

    What are you’re thoughts with regards video blogging. Do you think it can be a more powerful form of marketing than a standard blog?

    Cheers,

    Liam

    • Jonny Ross says:

      Hi Liam,

      Thanks for stopping by, completely agree video blogging is really powerful and to be honest something I don’t do enough of! I think people digest content in lots of different ways these days and we need to cater for their needs.

      Are you video blogging?

      Jonny

    1. Liam says:

      Hi Jonny. Enjoyed the post. Love the Cambridge Satchel Company example of getting social media right.

      I think point 5 is the thing that most people get wring. Many write blogs and wait for visitors to come and participate. The reality is, if you want people to participate on your blog, you usually need to be the one that participates first.

      I’d also add that you really need to think about how much you enjoy writing. If you don’t and you find blogging a bit of a shore, I don’t think you’ll ever get results from it and you’ll just hate it. Better to do something that you do enjoy, or if blogging is essential to your business, outsource it.

      What are you’re thoughts with regards video blogging. Do you think it can be a more powerful form of marketing than a standard blog?

      Cheers,

      Liam

      1. Jonny Ross says:

        Hi Liam,

        Thanks for stopping by, completely agree video blogging is really powerful and to be honest something I don’t do enough of! I think people digest content in lots of different ways these days and we need to cater for their needs.

        Are you video blogging?

        Jonny

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