Blogging is one of the best and lowest-cost ways to generate traffic and sales for your store, so “write a blog post” is firmly planted on your content marketing to-do list—but when it comes time to sit down and face that blank document?
Crickets. And a solid hour of deleting every sentence you put down.
You’re definitely not alone on this, since writing probably isn’t what got you into the business-owning game in the first place (unless you started with a blog and monetized it).
But since everything you’ve ever heard about how great blogging is for your business is true, we want to make it a bit easier to get those high-impact posts out the door.
That’s why we put together a kit of templates for four of the best posts you can create for your ecommerce store’s blog—and wrote this post to take you step-by-step through how to do it.
But first up: some prep work
You’ll need to know two things to really make your blog posts effective: your audience, and your goals.
Know your audience
First up, your audience. Before you write a single word, or plan a single post, you should be able to answer some basic questions about who your ideal customer is and what they want.
- Who’s buying your product? (This is everything from income, to age, to location, and more.)
- Why are they buying it?
- What do they care about?
- What do they believe to be true?
If you’re having trouble answering these questions—or if your answers feel pretty useless and vague—you need to get clear on those details before you pass go and collect all that sweet, sweet blog traffic.
Think about how much easier it’ll be to create epic articles for a 34-year-old female executive who buys locally-made products for her dog, because she’s passionate about supporting small businesses, and thinks that small-batch products are higher quality for her pooch—as opposed to simply “people who like dogs”.
Now that you’ve got your audience figured out, you need to set some goals for your blog.
Know your goals
Sure, posting once a week is a goal, but it’s not anything to get all that jazzed about.
To give yourself the incentive to knock your blog posts out of the park, try setting goals that relate directly to your business—like upping your email list or driving additional sales.
Thanks to the magic of online marketing, you can track the results of your blog posts in as much detail as you want. To get started, make sure Google Analytics is set up for your store (and you’ll need a Google account if you don’t have one yet).
Then it’s time to set business-focused goals, like having 1% of all your blog traffic convert to a sale. Just think about how much more motivated you’ll be to promote those posts if you know the traffic is going to lead to more money in your bank account.
Set business-focused goals, like having 1% of all your blog traffic convert to a sale.
Plus, it’s a handy reminder that if your goal is to convert readers to buyers, you’ll need to make sure your blog and its posts are set up to sell.
That might mean linking to products in your post, featuring a banner that promotes a sale, or using a popup that includes a coupon. Whatever your goal is, you can see how aiming for something beyond just “write a blog post” will help you get crystal-clear on tactics.
Now it's time to get going on those four powerhouse posts.
1. Gift guide post template
Gift guides are the perfect way to remind your audience that hey, insert-gifting-occasion-here is coming up soon, and your wares would make a great gift.
These posts do double-duty, because they can become a shareable wish list your audience will pass on, and they can be found via search engines by desperate gift-hunters who have no idea what to buy for guitar players, or football fans, or vegans, or yogis.
Hey, maybe they’re shopping for a guitar-playing football fan who loves to chow down on vegan grub after yoga class, and that’s your ideal target market. You never know. That would (potentially) be a hard person to shop for, and you might have the perfect thing for them!
So since we’re all still waiting for Oprah to do a favorite-things list for vegan, guitar-playing, football-loving yogis, a gift guide blog post is a great way for you to fill the void.
You’ll be able to include your products, along with some other stellar ideas that you think your target audience would love. It can be anything from related books, to other brands, but your goal is to provide a genuinely helpful list of gifts that your audience would adore. Here’s exactly how to do it.
For this post, you’ll need…
- A list of 8-12 items that would be perfect gifts for your target audience (including 1-3 of your products)
- An image of each item
- The price of each item
- A short description of each item, and why it’s a great gift for your audience
- A link to each item
Once you’ve got all that content, your post is about 80% of the way there (score).
For the best results, aim to include a variety of products and price points, all aiming for the same niche customer. If you know other small business’ products that would be perfect to include in the guide, reach out to them as you’re putting it together—it could be a great way to collaborate with other business owners.
2. Roundup post template
Think about your ideal customer. Is there anything they’re especially excited about? Struggling with?
For example, if you sell vegan-themed apparel like Wholesome Culture, and it’s close to a major holiday, your audience might be gearing up for parties, potlucks, and family meals that include a lot of animal products. You could round up a list of ten great vegan recipes for holiday events, which would be a seriously helpful—not to mention on-brand—resource.
Your roundup post is going to be different based on your audience and what resources are already out there, but they all follow a similar structure.
For this post, you'll need...
- An introduction to the list—who it’s for and why you put it together
- A list of all of the resources you’re including (posts, products, etc.)
- A link for each resource
- An image for each resource
- A short description of each resource
- A price for each resource, if applicable
The great thing is that once you’ve got the general structure of a roundup post locked down, it’s one of the most versatile posts out there. Sure, your first one might be a roundup of resources around a specific theme, or of other great posts from around the internet, but this general framework works for so much more.
You could use the roundup post structure to pull together your top blog posts from the past year, or your favorite products from the last year, or your own best-selling products. Any time you’re struggling to come up with a blog post and you need to have one up (like, yesterday) this flexible framework can be your new go-to.
Plus, once you’ve got the idea and written down a list of what to include, you’ve done the hardest part—the writing will be much easier from there.
3. How-to guide post template
If you want to go a bit further than a helpful roundup, why not dive in and teach your audience something with a how-to blog post?
If a roundup post of recipes is good, a how-to post of one of your original (and delicious) recipes would be even better, and it’s not just for brands who talk food.
Your audience is looking for information, and there’s definitely something they could learn from you, whether it’s styling a perfect fall look, organizing their home office, or choosing the perfect glasses for their face shape.
Take this example from 100% Pure Cosmetics. They saw an opportunity to help their audience transition their makeup routine from summer to fall, so they put together a helpful guide that focuses on how to transition each major category of makeup.
So think about what your audience already cares about, and how that overlaps with your brand. What could you teach them that would be a good fit—and that they would trust you to know how to do?
PLANNING TIP: Make sure you’re choosing a topic that people are interested in by doing your SEO research ahead of time. Here’s an in-depth guide to keyword research that can help you snag a topic that will deliver plenty of search traffic over time.
Now onto the post.
For this post, you'll need...
- An introduction (tell the reader why you’re teaching them this skill and how it will help them)
- A list of each step in the process
- An overview or guide to completing each step
- Images as needed (you might not need an image to clearly communicate each step)
4. Interview post template
One way to guarantee your post gets shared beyond your audience is to interview other people. No one’s immune to ego, after all, and they’ll probably share the interview with their audience once it’s up.
Plus, getting experts to talk about what they’re passionate about can be entertaining and useful for both you and your audience—and it’s a great way to generate a post without coming up with all of the ideas yourself.
Before you get started, consider the strategy for your interviews—both who you’re going to ask, and what you’re going to ask them.
Are you aiming to give your audience a sneak peek behind the scenes? Are you aiming to help teach and educate? To figure it out, go back to your audience and what they currently need, like, and want.
One great example is from Jennifer USA, a streetwear clothing line for women. They have an ongoing series of interviews with inspiring women on their blog, featuring everyone from a Fulbright grant awardee to a freelance writer to Danielle Fishel—the actress who played Topanga on Boy Meets World.
Now that you’ve got some ideas going, it’s time to reach out to the people you want to interview. Here’s an outreach template you can swipe and modify.
I’m YOUR NAME, from YOUR COMPANY. We make YOUR PRODUCT for YOUR AUDIENCE.
I love THINGS YOU ADMIRE ABOUT THEM and I think our audience would too—would you be open to being interviewed for our blog?
The interview will take about AMOUNT OF TIME and I’d be happy to work around your schedule.
Once you’ve got a yes from your interviewee, and a clear interview direction, you're most of the way there.
For this post, you'll need...
- A list of questions
- A way to record your interview (voice recording, taking notes, or doing the interview by email all work well)
If you want to level up the post, you can add…
- An image (or several) of the person you’re interviewing
- An image or two featuring quotations from the interview, for sharing on social media
Now, it’s time to promote that post
It’s all well and good to spend time creating great content for your blog, but getting blog posts finished is only half the battle. Now, you’ll need to promote those posts—but luckily, these four posts make it a bit easier to get your name out there.
Other than the how-to guide, every other post on this list involves at least one other person or business you can reach out to and ask them to share the post. After hitting “publish” on each post, reach out to anyone who’s products, posts, or names were included, and let them know about it.
Here’s a sample email you can swipe.
I'm the owner of YOUR COMPANY. We love what you’re doing with THEIR COMPANY. I wanted to say hello and let you know we mentioned THEIR COMPANY on the blog today. Here's the link: URL
Keep up the great work!
After that, here’s a list of other ways you can help drive even more traffic to your website.