An estimated 53.6 million new posts appear per month on WordPress alone. Why even start a blog with so much competing noise out there?
Because a business blog for your ecommerce store is a great way to establish relationships with customers in a non-sales context. Good blog content engages by solving problems and informing readers. Your business meets a unique customer need and your blog should speak to that. If it does, and you follow the advice below, you’ll increase your chances of standing out from the 53, 599,000,000 other posts going up this month, and you just might gain a few new customers.
1 Get to know your audience
Before you start writing anything, ask yourself these two questions:
Why am I writing this?
Your business goal may be to get sales leads, but the primary goal of your blog is to inform your readers and give them advice to solve a problem. In this way, you can use your blog to build authority and trust, which you’ll need to attract and retain customers.
Who is my audience?
You should have created customer personas when you started building your business. Get them out and keep them in mind when you’re writing. This will help you get into your ideal customer’s head and write TO them: what are they interested in? What are their problems? What kind of tone do they react to, ie highly technical or casual and relaxed?
2 Have a conversation
Once you know who you’re talking to, think about how you’re going to talk to them. A blog should be friendly and engaging, practical and easy to navigate
– Get to the point: Your readers are busy people, so show that you value their time by getting straight to the point. Favor the active tense and be concise: don’t use ten words when you can use five.
– Keep it simple: you’re here to make your customers’ lives easier by providing expert help, not to show off your expansive vocabulary. Avoid industry jargon and long, rambling introductions or side-notes.
3 Inform, don’t sell
People are bombarded with sales messages from the time they wake up to the time they slip back into bed at night. Chances are, they’re not coming to your site to read another pitch. They’re going to be asking themselves ‘What’s in it for me?’, so make sure you have a compelling response. Develop blog content that gives something to your reader: the answer to a question, the solution to a problem, a piece of information they didn’t know.
4 Craft catchy headlines and tweet-able titles
Headlines and subtitles have a dual role: to attract curious readers and push your blog to the top of search engine rankings. Short, to-the-point titles are easy to share on social media, where you can generate conversation and engagement around your blog.
Think about using evocative, sensory words, or incorporating questions that pique interest. Numbers have been found to attract clicks, but they’ve been heavily used to the point of being annoying, so use them sparingly and always with a compelling theme connected to your business, e.g. “7 tips for a good night’s sleep” if you sell bedding.
5 Structure your ideas
No one likes sifting through a rambling jumble of text online. Make it easy for your readers to follow your train of thought and pick out the information that they need. Try these tips:
- Use subtitles to organize your ideas
- Divide body text into digestible paragraphs
- Use bullets for easy-to-scan lists
And remember, ALWAYS check grammar and spelling. Not only will this make your writing pop, it will reassure your readers about your professionalism.
Use related images to break up text and add an attractive visual elements. Photos, drawings and diagrams can also be great ways to explain complex ideas.
6 Use keywords
Before you begin writing, make a list of keyword related to your business and the subject you’re tackling. Keep them in mind as you write and try to incorporate them judiciously throughout your text, especially in titles and subtitles. Over time, and coupled with reader engagement–comments and social sharing–keywords will help you rank higher in search engines.
Be wary of using too many keywords–you’re writing for people, not search engines–and never, ever copy and paste text from your own blog or other sites. Duplicate content will get you into major trouble with Google.
7 Go Out on a Bang
Before signing off, recap the main takeaways for your readers and include a call to action. This is where you might be able to slip in something related to your sales goal, like getting readers to sign up for your newsletter or check out a related product page.
Here are some suggestions for writing calls to action:
- Ask readers a question to encourage comments and shares.
- Use engaging text that asks a question.
- Give a clear direction of what you want the reader to do next.
- Create a sense of urgency.
- Focus on the benefits.
- Embed call to action in link. You can be creative if it’s appropriate and clear.
…and most importantly…
8 Be consistent
Creating and maintaining a business blog takes a lot of time and energy, but you don’t have to commit to writing an article every day from the beginning. Build a healthy blog by posting regularly, even if it’s only once a week. You can use newsletters and social media to inform your community about new posts. Just remember, once you start the machine, you have to keep it running!
An old blog post with more information about creating an editorial calendar which helps with consistency …
- Post on a consistent schedule
- Tailor content and tone to your audience
- Write posts that deliver value to your readers
- Structure content for readability
- Run spell check!
- Finish on a call to action