If you’re running your own online store, then you know that having a blog is critically important for generating traffic to your store. A blog significantly improves search rankings and gives you a chance to connect with more customers.
But what if you’re not an amazing writer? And what if you don’t know what to blog about?
Don’t worry. The first blog post is always the hardest. That’s why we collected examples of different kinds of posts for your inspiration.
Take a look, and consider writing to tell your story, announce a sale, or give a guide to your products today.
Make a List of Influencers to Follow
Here’s an easy way to create good content – and offers the potential to be widely-shared:
Make a list of the top 25 blogs, Twitter accounts, or even Tumblrs, for someone interested in your industry to follow. Compile that list, write a few sentences about why you included each blog or Twitter account, publish it, and send it to the people you feature. If you do it tastefully, there’s a good chance that they’ll share the post with their audiences. That will get you lots of traffic – in addition to improving your SEO.
Here’s an example of a post that compiles a list of blogs to follow, from Coffee Cup News. And here’s an excerpt:
Answer Questions About Your Industry
Some of the most successful pieces of content marketing ever comes via Marcus Sheridan of River Pools and Spas.
River Pools and Spas installs fiberglass pools, the cost of which is not always transparent. Sheridan decided to write blog posts about every aspect of fiberglass pools.
Sheridan’s posts were so good that the New York Times profiled him with a headline: “A Revolutionary Marketing Strategy: Answer Customers’ Questions.”
His blog posts often rank on the first page of Google for their search terms. And that’s driven both traffic and sales.
Here’s an example of a very informative post in that ranks well and answers customer questions, from River Pools and Spas. Take a look at this excerpt:
Profile Your Team
Your team is made up of interesting people. Why not feature their stories?
There’s a variety of things that you can do. You can write up a short bio of them that includes their interests and where they’ve been. This can also take the format of a Q&A, when you spend 15 minutes chatting with someone on your team and then write up the questions and their responses.
This is an especially easy way to generate some good content. Most importantly, it gives your customers a sense of who they’re dealing with. When they purchase a product from your store, they know that they’re buying from real people with real passions.
Here’s an example of a wonderful profile of a bookbinder at DODOcase. DODOcase is proud of being based in San Francisco, and notice that one of its questions is about why the employee loves the city.
Give a Sneak Peek of New Products (and Ask for Feedback)
There’s two ways that this tactic can be valuable:
First, it generates excitement from your customers for a new product. If they like what you do and are loyal towards your brand, they’ll feel especially good that they get to see a new thing first.
Second, it has the potential to increase engagement. If you manufacture your products, consider floating a prototype for people to see; they may offer valuable input on what can be improved. And if you don’t manufacture your own products, ask your readers which of the options you can stock most appeals to them. Let them anticipate something that they’ll buy from you.
Here’s an example of a company putting prototypes up on its blog while asking for feedback, via Catan Boards. There are two photos of the prototype, and the commenters are quite excited about it. And here’s an excerpt.
Make a Tutorial for Your Products
Everybody wins when your customers know how to use your products.
Not every product needs an in-depth tutorial on how it's used. But for certain products this can be a big help.
Does your product have cool, non-obvious uses? Is it best enjoyed in a certain condition? Is there something that the customer should do to make the most of it? By all means point all of these things out. Potential customers may see one more way to use your product and existing customers may be pleased to discover a new way to use it.
Here's an example of a blog post that offers ideas for getting the most out of a hearing aid, from Audicus. Much of it is non-obvious and can improve the experience of customers. Here’s a brief excerpt.
Announce a Sale
This one's pretty obvious. When you have a big sale coming up, announce it on your blog. It'll give people something to link to.
Use the space to talk about the products you have on sale, and if it's applicable, why these products are right for the occasion. (It may be, for example, the perfect present for Mother's Day.) And if you're able to design something, put together a graphic.
Here's an example of a blog post that announces a sale in the form of a great graphic, via the Cult Crew. Notice that the red, white, and blue theme goes perfectly with the Fourth of July.
Run a Contest
Running a contest is similar to announcing a sale. They're both effective and attractive ways to get more attention for your store. Just make sure that you’re not making the common mistakes with giveaways and contests.
You can have all sorts of giveaways, of your products, of gift cards, or even special experiences like a visit to your store. And entering the contest can take a variety of forms. The easiest way is to submit a comment at the end of the post. You can also ask people to tweet about your store or share it on another social media platform.
Set up Gleam to make the most out of your contest. Gleam offers one-click entry, built-in viral sharing, and multiple ways of picking new winners.
Here's an example of an effective contest run on the blog of Kigurumi, which sells animal onesies. It asks entrants to submit by posting a picture of themselves in their onesies on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or email, for a music festival pass the following year. Here’s how Kigurumi introduces it.
Write About an Event You Participated In
If you help put on an event then you should definitely write about it. But you can also write about something that you don’t own, like your thoughts on a conference.
Write up your impressions and thoughts about a conference or meetup you went to. It shows that you’re paying attention to where your industry is going and people will appreciate the insights. Make sure to snap a few pictures and post them up too.
Here’s an example of a blog post that shares actionable tips for how to succeed at a trade show, via Sycamore Street Press. There are lots of photos among the tips and the recollections of how the event went. Here’s how the piece starts:
Tell the History of Your Company
Being an entrepreneur means something special. Few people think of it, and even fewer people act on it.
So what’s your founding story?
Share the story of why you decided to become an entrepreneur. Was it driven by an event? Was it the result of a special trip? Were you struck by inspiration of some sort? Tell the story and connect better with your customers.
Here’s an example of a post that tells the founding story of Pura Vida Bracelets. The business was started when two friends visited Costa Rica, and is now successful enough to have been featured on Good Morning America and Sports Illustrated. Here’s how the post starts.
Make a Video: Product Tutorial
Okay, we don’t want to give the impression that content marketing is only blogging. It can be making videos, writing emails, and other kinds of content-generation too.
Sometimes you just can’t write about how to use a product. You have to show, not tell. Then it’s time to post a video on Youtube (or some other platform).
Besides, video marketing is effective. By one estimate, consumers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.
Shoot a product tutorial to introduce your product, its benefits, and how it can best be used.
Here’s an example of a video that very informatively discusses how to fit a road bike, via Performance Bicycle.
Make a Video: How Your Product Is Made
Our last suggestion for an easy piece of content: Make a video of how your product is made.
Do you have a very interesting manufacturing process? Does it require special tools and equipment? Is the process fun to look at? Shoot a video of its production.
Here’s an example of a very cool video via Doucette and Wolfe Furniture of a Windsor Chair leg being made.
You know your business well, and there are lots of opportunities to create good content by telling people about cool things in your industry. Write a blog post, shoot a video, or generate some other type of content today to tell your story and improve SEO.