What you really need to know about ecommerce blogging
You must blog when you have an online store. You may think this is a bold statement but it is simple fact: if you do not blog, you fall behind. Blog was still a novelty fifteen years ago, while today it is one of the unbeatable champions of lead generation and customer acquisition. And your competitors have already been using it for a while. So if you are still thinking about how to get started with it, we are coming to assist you in that with a compilation of information as complete as possible.
We will convince you with the numbers
Anyway, how much is it worth blogging? What can you achieve with uploading some lengthy text on a site where there should not be any – since the aim is to lead the arriving visitors to the products, make them convert and not to make them read! All right, if you are even a bit familiar with online marketing, you may know that one of the best tools of attracting new visitors is exactly the content. Where direct advertisements fail, content can make you reach a whole lot of new people.
Usually 80% of the visitors arriving at the blog are there for the first time – which means that you get a great tool to capture those who do not yet know you. Gaining new customers is always more difficult (and more costly) than keeping the existing ones. By providing valuable content to them you have already made the first step.
It is not a negligible fact either, that a company site which has a blog attracts 55% more of visitors. The users are looking for information, interesting content captures their attention, they are glad to read the texts that are relevant to them.
How does a blog influence link building? Incredibly effectively. Companies that blog regularly can generate, on average, 97% more inbound links than their not blogging competitors. It is even better if you make videos and share them in the company blog, because the posts that contain videos generate three times more links than the ones that do not contain any. It is also efficient from the point of view of SEO that the more posts you publish the more easily you can be found. If you publish quality content that the users will read and share, more and more of your sites will rank high on search results pages of the search engines.
But how will all this make you money? Well, according to the statistics, a B2B company that writes a blog generates 67% more leads than a company that does not blog.
Two thirds of online marketing professionals list blogs among the five most efficient lead generating tools and 68% of them planned in 2015 to intensify their blogging activities. Have we mentioned yet that the marketing professionals who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to benefit from positive ROI?
What and how to write?
The advantage of a company blog in ecommerce is priceless: you gain your own channel with it through which you can communicate the most important industrial news, can build your brand, can answer frequently asked questions, where you can write relevant and useful texts about your products (which may convince many customers that it is worth spending some money) without wanting to “pushily” sell anything. You can also use it as a kind of customer service platform: you may post here positive opinions, testimonials that will help you look more trustworthy. You can handle claims, complaints publicly, creating sympathy with the transparency and at the same time blowing away certain doubts of new potential clients concerning the company or the product. You will not just simply communicate with the customers with the help of the blog. If you write in an interesting way, you can build an audience that will come back even only to read your content – regardless of the fact whether they want to actually purchase something from you.
How to find the right topics…
Before you start blogging, it is worth surveying your target audience. First of all, take a look at what questions, expressions, keywords your audience looks for using the search engines – thus you will immediately find a great deal of topics that may be worth processing.
Find the relevant groups in the social media and monitor what the users communicate about. In what subjects do they ask for help in the forums? Which are the questions that arise relatively frequently? You can make thoroughly elaborated, detailed posts to answer these, which will not only strengthen you from an SEO point-of-view but by giving relevant and valuable answers, your expert status will also be strengthened in the eyes of your target audience.
You may find excellent topics if you review pages that are built specifically on a questions and answers format, for example, many professionals worldwide visit the high quality Quora first. Ideally, you will never run out of topics, but you can make the process simpler. Never search for only one topic at a time but for one or two dozens, in order to prepare well in advance. This way you will have more time to collect sources, gather information in order to make fully fledged posts. Use a publication calendar: define at least two weeks in advance when and what topic you will elaborate and when your posts will be published in your blog.
It is up to you what style you will use to communicate – whether you want to build a human interest, friendly brand or would you rather show a more distant, impersonal, severely expert image? Define this and stick to it even in the long run. Do not change your style in each post: the aim is to create a consistent image of yourself that those who regularly read you will get used to and will recognize. It is also important that the style is in line with the images you transmit through other channels. Try to communicate similarly in e-mail, in social media and also in your blog.
It is not very easy to write well. Many companies rather employ professional writers to write their blog because passion does not always make up for the several thousands of hours of experience.
At the same time, you can elaborate effective and enjoyable texts yourself by respecting some simple principles. In some cases, it may specifically be an advantage if you do not outsource writing – in case of customer relationship type posts, complaint handling or in case of the very thorough presentation of products it may be useful if the one who writes the blog gained the experience first hand.
Make sure you edit a text that is enjoyable: do not use too large paragraphs, start new ones after each couple of lines. Use lots and lots of subheadings that are short and raise attention.
The function of these is to make those readers that only run through the text easily find what they are interested in. For example, if you are writing about a given product type, these people will most likely be interested in one or two particular issues, so it is worth editing your text in a way that they already notice these even during a quick scrolling. Always highlight the main messages and it will not do harm either if you use illustrations.
Furthermore, you can also use your previously made videos: some user groups prefer watching an informative video of a couple of minutes to reading a longer professional type text (e.g. managing directors). That is why it is also important to…
Mutate the content!
Once you write a blog, also use your different pieces of content on other platforms and in different forms. You can make an infographic from an extremely well written professional article, you can edit a downloadable e-book by compiling your writings of similar subjects. You can work several times and in different forms on a topic loved by the audience. Moreover, that is indispensable.
Even the best blogs repeat themselves and that is for a reason: you can regard it as a kind of A/B test where you target the different buyer personas with different content or you can try to achieve bigger success with the same audience.
Distribute your content wherever you can
Also make sure you share each and every one of your articles on as many platforms as possible. A Facebook page for example is ideal for that: you can publish your best articles again and again from time to time. You can find out with a little experimenting which are the best channels for you – it may also happen that the best social platform for you will not be Facebook but LinkedIn or Instagram for that matter.
Do not publish only on your own sites: share your posts also with different groups and in different forums where your target audience will find them in an organic way.
It is also worth sending out automated newsletters. Offer a bait (for example a free e-book), you only request an e-mail address in return from the user. This way you can send the users a couple of times a month the most popular posts or the ones that are the most relevant to them – and of course you can recommend your products to them.
You don’t need to work alone
Your blog will attract a much bigger audience if you can somehow have an influence on the online opinion leaders. These may be authors who write consumer blogs, recognised experts in your professional field or online celebrities who lead activities that are relevant to your online store in some way.
It is best when they also share and link your articles. Consequently, this results in you becoming much more visible than if you shared the content only through your own channels. You are now on your way to going viral. However, you can also contact them in a more direct way. You can invite them to write articles for your blog and you can also send guest posts to other popular blogs yourself.
All this will also bring you traffic for free while assisting you in building your link profile, thus strengthening you in terms of SEO.
You have to wait for success but it is worth it!
Blogging is a strategy that will not bring you results in a couple of weeks. This is a long-term investment that, on the other hand, will definitely return if you pay attention to a few little things. It may also happen that you will realize what your blog is really about only after a year.
It is also possible that you will get started with the intention of writing about a certain subject, but it may turn out as time passes that your audience is interested in something totally different. You may even find out that your audience is different than what you originally thought. The blog has to become mature, you have to collect sufficient experience and mainly data to be able to say anything certain about it.
After a year you will know exactly which topics and which content formats the individuals in your audience like. You will also know which posts generate leads and which only bring you visitors or in what style you have to communicate. You will be stronger by that time, because you will have returning visitors, a reader base, new inbound links will reinforce your profile and you will be known throughout the social media.
If you are eager to calculate the returns on investment only after a couple of weeks, you might as well forget about blogging. This is a strategy that rewards those who are patient.
- Make a content calendar! But be flexible as well: Do not be afraid to change your plans if you have to write about current events, or if the preferences of your audience change. Dare to modify your plans according to the data.
- Define the efficiency indicators! You have to know what to measure. It is not irrelevant whether the number of visitors or leads, the ratio of successful conversions or the links pointing to your website represent success for you. You have to explicitly lay down KPIs already at the beginning.
- Use analytics and analyse! Check at regular intervals which are those posts, formats and date and time that bring better results and focus on those!
- Write down your ideas! The best topic ideas come to your mind randomly, so make sure you collect them in one place and preferably do not note them on a bunch of little scraps of paper.
- Have you run out of topics? Absolutely not. Look around on professional pages and in relevant groups of the social media. Use BuzzSumo in order to find out which are the most popular relevant topics that you can process.
- Harmonize your blog, social and e-mail strategies! Transmit your contents through all possible channels in order to reach as many people as possible.
- Make it easily accessible! The user should be able to easily reach the main page of the blog, with one click from the opening page or from any other page of the ecommerce store, and also the relevant content from the store’s sub-pages.
- Do not forget about SEO! Never write for Google, but always keep in mind to look for topics that people actually search on. Carry out keyword analyses, review what kind of actual long tail expressions your buyer personas enter in the search engines and answer their questions.
- Do not be a lonely hero! If you want to do everything alone, including the writing, the analytics, the design, the distribution, the planning and the organization, your back will break under this task. Entrust your capable colleagues if you have to, hire professionals if necessary.
Don’t give up! Be patient and produce more and more quality material. Trust your efforts: if you build it, they will come.