How Blogging Can Drive eCommerce Sales
What’s just about the most common marketing advice these days?
“Start a blog.”
While it’s great advice and content offers many benefits, it doesn’t come without some drawbacks.
Blogging is Time Consuming
I’ve been doing the blogging and content marketing thing for about six years. One thing I can tell you: It just takes time.
It takes about three hours to research, write, edit, and format a blog post. (I write mostly B2B blog posts, so I can only speak in terms of those.)
That doesn’t include the work that goes into developing an editorial calendar (a schedule of posts for the next month or so), which is important to have if you’re coordinating with more than one writer or need to “sell content internally.”
Then, that’s just half the work.
The other half the job is to hustle the content on social media and get it in front of people. Simply writing something, publishing it, and letting it exist somewhere on the internet is not enough.
Other kinds of content like videos, photo essays, Slideshare presentations, or infographics could take even longer.
So, one has to wonder: For the time spent doing that, couldn’t you have just whipped up some Facebook ads and been done with it?
It Takes a Long Time to See a Return on Investment
The TL:DR here is this: Content marketing doesn’t work in a linear fashion. 90% of the time, people don’t see your blog post and click “buy” right away.
So, if this stuff is time consuming and it takes a while to show results, then why bother? When it comes to dozens of marketing channels and limited time, why would you spend time on this?
You’ll ultimately have to decide that for yourself.
But there are still many benefits to blogging that you should take into account as you make that decision.
In this post, we’ll walk through a few of the advantages of blogging for your online store.
A Blog Post Gives You Something to Share on Other Channels (Like Email)
Usually people take one of two approaches with their content:
- They auto-post content across social networks. Instagrams go to Twitter. Tweets go to Facebook…I’ve even seen email newsletters auto-posted to social networks.
- They create custom content for each separate social network.
I think both approaches are wrong.
A blog gives you a central place to start with your communications. From there, it’s all about re-packaging those blog posts into the right format for email, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Here’s what I mean: A taped video interview can be posted to your YouTube channel. That video can be embedded into a blog post on your own site. The best quotes from that video can turned into “quote cards” to share on a company Facebook page. Then, you can resize that quote card to share it on Instagram as well, or alternatively share a “behind the scenes” shot from the video interview.
With this approach, your message will be consistent, but the content itself is delivered in a way that’s relevant for each different platform. With your content in the right format, you’ll have really great posts to promote should you want to do boosted posts or promoted Tweets later on.
Blog Posts Are Great for SEO
Let’s take a moment to review the various kinds of search queries and how blogging fits in.
Navigational search queries: These are branded searches – like “redballetflats.com.” The intention behind these searches is to find a specific website.
Transactional search queries: These are product-specific searches made with the intention of making a purchase. If you sell red ballet flats, and someone knows she wants red ballet flats, she’ll look you up and hopefully find a product page that is optimized for those keywords.
Informational search queries: These are “question” searches, like “What are the best ballet flats for work?” or searches that cover a broad topic like “shoes.”
Informational search is where blogging shines. The “question” searches are ideal topics for blog posts, as you can answer that question with your content.
You Can Partner With Influential Bloggers for Content
Many online stores partner with well-known bloggers to get great content for their blogs.
Why it’s a win for the online stores: The stores get awesome content from people who write about these topics as their full time job. These bloggers are experts. Online stores also get the added benefit of traffic and awareness from working with influential writers who have a ton of credibility and strong followings on social media.
Why it’s a win for the bloggers: Bloggers benefit through increased traffic and visibility for their own blogs, which can lead to additional advertising opportunities. And, of course, there is also potentially compensation from the online store.
Wayfair is one example of an eCommerce company that works with bloggers to get great content for their blog. For example, take a look at this post from Maria of Two Peas And Their Pod on the Wayfair blog.
According to Quantcast, Maria’s blog gets more than 100,000 visits a month, and she has nearly 31,000 Twitter followers – a very influential woman to say the least! You can see why Wayfair wanted to work with her.
Here are a few places you can look to find relevant bloggers:
- Blogher – Parenting, Food, Fitness
- The Fitfluential Community – Fitness
- Independent Fashion Bloggers – Fashion
- Local blogging associations – Google “your city AND bloggers” and I guarantee you will stumble into a local bloggers group. Find the person who runs it and make a connection.
“Shop This Post” Widgets Help Increase Conversions
How “sales-y” you want to be in your blog posts is up to you. To get the SEO benefits of informational search phrases, you’ll want to err on the side of educational content and not practically re-blog your sales announcements. But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore product mentions all together.
You can use an embeddable widget to show off the products you mention in your post and enable readers to “shop the post.”
Try this tool: Take this widget into consideration. It’s from Shopify, and it can be embedded on any kind of website – Shopify, WordPress, Joomla, you name it. See the video below for more information.
Great Content Drives Email Subscribers
To get someone to subscribe to your email, you have to provide some kind of value up front. In some cases, that’s a giveaway. Other times, it’s a discount on the first purchase. Content also provides that value.
How it’s done: Klaviyo customer Tortuga Backpacks, which sells travel backpacks, offers a travel packing guide to new subscribers, as well as a ton of other travel hacks and how-to’s on their travel blog.
They provide the value up front with content, and they get a ton of value in return from email subscriptions and sales.
With so many marketing channels to manage and prioritize, it is hard to see where a blog would fit in over other options. But given how beneficial it is for all of your other channels, and the value it brings on its own, it’s easy to see why you should consider one for your store.
Do you have a blog for your online store? Let us know in the comments!